Friday, January 29, 2010

Toys of the month: gravity

Nicholas suddenly figured out the other day or week that if he drops something, then it makes a noise when it hits the floor.  He is FASCINATED by this.

As I'm posting, Nicholas is continuing with his scientific experiments in the physics and acoustics of gravity.  Very interesting stuff there.  Really.  The stuff of real science.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Toys of the month: Rings and things

Of all the crazy toys... buttons, shakers, rattles, colors, moving parts... one of Nicholas' favorite toys is the simple rings.

We received one of those playmats for kids, with the arches for hanging things. We rig up any number of toys, or sometimes conglomerations of toys. Earlier this month or last, he suddenly discovered shaking things. If I hang a series of rings with something attached to make noise, one of his favorite things is to grab the rings, and just shake them to hear the noise. When he discovered he could make a noise, then he would start to shake just about anything to see if it makes noise. Anyway, he loves the rings, because he can grab them with both hands, chew on them, pull them, and shake them, and they're easy to grab.

He also has been practicing for the past few months on the pacifier.... removing it, looking at it, replacing it.... So, while he studies his other toys, sometimes he'll just sit and contemplate the pacifier for a while. Also one of his favorite toys.

Subjects for upcoming posts:
Gravity: In the past few weeks, Nicholas started a deep scientific study of gravity and acoustics, involving some toy disks he has, a desk, and the floor. Still under investigation
Hands and Fingers: My wife just told me that today Nicholas was studying his fingers when they suddenly BENT. Fascinating....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Toys of the month: the phone cord

Favorite game: see how fast he can whip the phone cord back and forth to see if it will rattle.
It's just so tempting, this funny cord that dangles in front of him, so stretchy, so curvy.

On the second sketch, Nicholas was moving around like an excited little monkey, and Diana was struggling to have a nice conversation with her mom, hold onto the squirmy critter attacking the phone cord, hold onto the phone as he was pulling on it, and somehow try to stay in a position for a few minutes while I did my sketch. By the time I got to focusing on her, there was no more patience left, and she didnt come out too "frumoasa"... beautiful.

So, I tried to do a better job with Diana in the next sketch. But then after a minute focusing on Diana, Nicholas was really squirmy squirmy and was a challenge to catch him semi-still....

In the second sketch, Nicholas was a bit "out of proportion".... something like one of those old medieval paintings or icons, where the child is drawn smaller than reality and with adult proportions. Probably a result of focusing on one subject, then focusing on the other, but not on the composition as a whole.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Toys of the month: Johnny Jump-Up

Nicholas loves the Johnny Jump-Up. We have to be super careful when putting him in, but once he's in there he is free to move, and loves to move his legs and spin around. Combined with the "surprise" of seeing a face again, this is amazingly FUN for him. We have these knit argyle socks with little rubbery stuff on the bottom... we call them his spiderman shoes.... we put these on him so he'll stick to the floor. No good to have the little legs going, going, but no traction. With the spiderman shoes, he spins around 360 or more, catches himself, does some dancing, and spins again.

We received this little car (ages 3+) (the ever-critical "M" which makes perfect sense in english, makes no sense in Romaneste, for which the word for months is "luni", so they thought "...'3+', perfect, 3 months); anyway, it has these crazy blinking lights, sings a blaring song endlessly, and spins around and makes little movements... it will absolutely scratch the brain. Nicholas LOVES it. He could watch it for an hour I think. At first I thought, "3+... no way for a 6 month old" (he was 3-4 months when he received it), but the minute we turned it on and he saw it spinning around, blinking, and blaring, he was FASCINATED. Now, I think that along with all the "educational" toys "designed for learning", blah blah blah, a few good old crazy nonsense toys that just blink and flash and carry on and spin around and entertain are good to have around to kind of balance things out and keep things fun.

So combine the Johnny Jump-Up with the Crazy Car, and Nicholas is HAPPY. Nicholas will watch the car, and when the car spins around, Nicholas will spin around sometimes.

These are two toys that work.

Nicholas inspecting the grain on the door

Another toy that works (Hardwood Doors). He's at the stage where he's trying to grab the shapes he sees in the grain on the door.