Saturday, April 11, 2009

Love, sand, dinosaurs and a hammock

During my pregnancy with Miranda, Jove would cuddle under a blanket and pretend to be in my pouch, as if I was a kangaroo. There was also a seasonal variation known as Santa belly but that only lasted a month or two. Then Miranda was born and nursed and Jove would want to be under my shirt pretending to nurse. Now, Miranda is weaned, but for old times sake she still likes to cuddle under a shirt with Jup, Jove or I. Jove would probably like to be under someone's shirt too but he doesn't fit. Belly love is very popular around here and I will miss it when it isn't anymore.

A few warm days and a delivery of new sand to the sand box means that Jove is again spending as much time as possible in the backyard. Sometimes we are all out there and sometimes he stays out there for an hour or two playing by himself. This, blessedly, usually falls during the time of day when Miranda is napping and I am getting dinner under way. Now, I wouldn't want to leave you with the misconception that Jove spends his time in the sand box. The sand box is only the place where the sand is stored; it gets used all over: to build houses for ants, fire pits to contain the fires we have in the back (don't tell the authorities), to make "bessie," otherwise known as asphalt, out of sand, dirt and water and any other mixture or experiment he can think up. Needless to say, despite my best efforts most of the time there is a thin layer of grit from tracked in sand on my kitchen floor. Spring is here!

Jove had never shown any interest in dinosaurs until we read a book called The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins. It is based on the true story of a British artist and natural scientist who was the first person to create three-dimensional models of dinosaurs based on fossil discoveries in Europe during the Victorian Period. Hawkins was contracted to make models for a paleontology museum that was supposed to be constructed in New York City and a corrupt New York City official, Boss Tweed, paid thugs to destroy his work and pieces of it are buried under Central Park. This story struck a chord with Jove; and I planned a trip for just him and I to go the Natural History Museum to see their fossil collection. The museum was so uncrowded that we were really able to explore and linger at our own pace. I was delighted by the seriousness of Jove's interest in the subject and I learned a lot myself.
We have been reading more books with dinosaurs in them, both factual and whimsical stories.

We went to a small museum in Connecticut a couple of days ago and there were original paintings by Waterhouse Hawkins. I was excited to see them myself.
There was also a simulated paleontological dig site complete with chisels, brushes and a key to the embedded fossils. At home, Jove likes to sort his plastic dinosaurs by characteristics (walks on two legs vs. four, big head vs. small head) and re-create dinosaur interactions that don't bode well for the plant-eaters, if you know what I mean. I am excited to see where his interest will go next, more dinosaurs or on to the next topic.

Not just a hammock, the hammock: I love it and I admit I was wrong about how great it would be. About a month ago, Jup started researching hammocks to sleep in while backpacking because sleeping on the ground is hard, literally. So he tells me he plans to buy a hammock and I am skeptical about how useful it would really be and my inner frugalista is thinking, do you really need a hammock? you just bought a tent 8 months ago? But, Jup was determined to become a hanger instead of a ground dweller, these people even have their own lingo...
So, the hammock arrived a little over a week ago and Jup has been practicing rigging it up: Once in the backyard and the kids and cousins tried it, once in a local park unsuccessfully because of the wind and last night in the basement. Jup cleaned and reorganized the basement and then strung up his hammock. I came downstairs to check it out this morning and ended up napping in it for at least a hour. So if you come to our house and we have replaced all of our furniture with hammocks, you'll know why. Mighty comfy...


Nanimal said...

really? we love our stand up hammock but one that needs "rigging" sounds like fun...

We went to cranbrook to check out a "dinosaur egg" exhibit today... I am still trying to get mny boys hooked. i LOOOOOOVED dinos. seriously - I have stuffed dinosaurs and books and was really into them... they just aren't as stoked... we liked the museum anyhow and digging for fossils is a good time.

shirley said...

Carmen, the sand storage thing sounds familar. Except you and Jason just feeled up the sand box with water. Those were wonderful days. The belly thing what a warm and loving thing. love mom

sunnywave said...

you make me want to go take a nap in a hammock!!!! :)

love the cuddling!!

hugs, love to you and your family.