I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March. You should do it too! Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!
I almost got my electric car racetrack set out at Christmas time. I carried it down from the storage barn attic with the Christmas decorations. But then I thought it through. Why would I add another thing to my house on top of the tree, the wrapping paper, the decorations and the new gifts? I set it on top of a shelf by the barn door, and forgot about it.
Today, I finish putting the groceries away, and L asks, “What’s that thing that looks like racetrack in a box? H and I saw it while we were playing outside.” I start straightening up the random legos, shoes, socks, toy animals, drawings, markers, etc., thinking.
“How did you see it while you were outside?” I accuse.
“It’s right there, in the window. We saw it through the window.”
I want to say no. Do I need to mention the legos, shoes, socks, toy animals, drawings, markers, etc. again? But, it is their spring break, and it would be fun. A new old toy.
“That toy needs a blank space, totally clear.” I say. “Clean up the toy area and then there will be space. I’m not trying to bribe you, it’s just the truth. It needs space, a hardwood floor, and no mess. I’m not sure it will still work, but we can try it if we have the space.”
A 2 beat pause, and she’s off, calling her brothers, telling them the plan. The play area is clean in record time.
It’s been almost 30 years since someone has played with this toy, but the box looks familiar to me.
The inside is dusty in that old box sort of way, with crumpled paper that makes me feel old.
We set it up: “START with a basic OVAL track layout NOT the layout pictured on the BOX,” Figure one tells us. “Racing on carpet is not recommended” it warns in bold. Sometimes I am a direction follower. So, we move the carpet, and make an oval.
It would be nice if it just works. But of course the cars won’t go. (Click link for a tiny video of our trials.) We try all the different plugs, cars, remote controls and terminal tracks. We polish the pick ups, and we kept trying. “Well, that was a good try.” H says, “Let’s pack it up.” A teachable moment of perseverance, if you ask me. So we keep trying. And I keep hoping that it will work, so my perseverance lesson won’t backfire.
Finally, while I make dinner and talk to my mom on the phone, I hear “It’s going! It’s going! It’s going! It’s going!” And what a lovely noise it is. (Click link for a tiny video of our success!)
I think my slice is about perseverance, and if it is I should definitely learn to spell that without spell checker helping me out. But maybe I’ve stretched out the wrong part of this evening’s slice.
Maybe it’s about letting kids play. I watch and I listen to my kids take turns, fight about turns, race, make new track shapes, go back to the oval shape, fight about the shape, make a new shape, create obstacle courses, and the list goes on.
Maybe it’s about how the big(ger) kids had a hard time giving my 5 year old a chance, but how they did in the end. In truth my 5 year old is only now getting his real chance at the toy, while his brother and sister are making slow motion videos in the other room.
It’s like a dream in a dream though, I’m slicing while I am slicing. While I write, I am being interrupted. At almost each word, E’s excited words are calling to me. “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Watch my car get trapped in this obstacle course/Watch my car go slow/How do you even untwist this?”
I’m frustrated because I’m trying to concentrate. I should know better. But, his little face is so excited, so my head bobs, as I watch in between my words.
“Okay.” I nod. “But then mommy needs to finish writing.”
“Okay. Just once. Wait. That wasn’t what’s supposed to happen. That’s wrong. Can you watch again?”
At one point, my head jumps up, exasperated about the 15th time I’ve been distracted. I immediately feel horrible, and he does too. “Sorry mommy. Can you just watch this one more time?”
“Of course I can. But then mommy needs to finish writing.”
My head bobs, my eyes peer over the table, and somehow I still write.
So, maybe it is about Perseverance.
Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance.
“Mommy! Mommy! It sparks blue if I make it go faster and faster. Do you smell that smoke?”
The racetrack has been fun, but I think it’s going back in the barn.