One of the toys bought for my daughter that never really excited her imagination was a set of wood screws and threaded disks that my sister sent for a birthday. They are lovely Plan toys which always are great quality and are also very environmentally friendly. Regardless of this, my daughter only casually played with them.
My son, however, is fascinated by them and will sit for long periods of time screwing and unscrewing the pieces. It seems he is very ready for this right now.
On Thursdays, I drop my daughter off at her chorus class and then find something to do with my son for the hour. We can’t stay and watch because he gets impatient and loud. Last Thursday, the last class of the year, it was hot–90+ degrees. I thought we might go to the nearby water park, but on the way we passed a construction site where a combo bucket loader and back hoe was filling a hole. The bucket was fascinating. After the operator pushed a pile together, the bucket came apart in two pieces and chomped down on the pile to pick it up. We spent the whole time watching this over and over again.
Monday, while not planned out, was chock full of stuff. My daughter walked to school, a 40 activity for her. While her feet move at a pretty good clip, her mouth moves even faster. I got a rambling stream of consciousness story both on the way to and from school. She also had music class which necessitated my waking up my son, picking her up from school to walk across the street, and then picking her up a quick 45 minutes later. My son and I went downtown in the morning and spent time at the Children’s Museum. I did laundry and dishes. Lots of stuff. Between all of that, there was a great deal of walking, some at kid’s pace and some at mine.
One of the most memorable experiences from the day, however, happened when we stopped. On the way home from music class and as the sky grew dark, we came upon a road resurfacing project in action. Steaming asphalt, several road rollers of different sizes, an asphalt paver, and its dump truck full of asphalt. My son and daughter watched with rapt attention to the dump truck as it backed up to the paver and to the two vehicles as they worked in tandem to place a ribbon of hot asphalt on the road. Right behind them the little roller was zipping around man hole and sewer covers while the bigger ones smashed the surface into a smooth, black roadway. The five or ten minutes we stayed there were some of the best of the day. Best was the warm smile and wave from one of the workers to my daughter. This must have been the end of a really long shift, but he was genuinely warm and connecting. She talked about being a road construction worker for a good ten minutes afterward.
So often when I am out walking with the kids, it is the journey and what we see on the way that makes the day special. Both kids love to stop and watch construction vehicles!