Friday, March 25, 2011

Discovering Fun by Robin Gorman Newman

Who knew?!

Seth had half a day from school due to parent teacher meetings, and I wasn't quite sure what to do with him.  Other than our typical routine of snack, downtime, homework, bath, etc., we had many more hours to fill together.

I decided I was going to take him to the library to pick out a mystery for his next school reading assignment. While he doesn't love to read, he does love animals, and this particular library branch is next to Petland.  So, we popped in to visit with the lizards, ferrets, frogs, turtles, a lone floppy-eared rabbit (super cute), and a multitude of varied birds, including one cockatiel that reminded us of our pet Smokey.  But, how long can you spend in a small pet store?! up was Associated, for a quick food shop and bottle/can return.  He loves helping me put them into the machine and standing by for the crunch noise.  Something about it pleases him.  We didn't have much on our shopping list this trip, but when we carted down the Produce aisle, I discovered a gem in the raw.  We passed a bin of scruffy-looking coconuts, and I asked Seth if he ever saw or touched a coconut?  He said, "no"  (I didn't think he had.).  I plopped one into his hands, and he was immediately intrigued with the texture and weight, and especially with the notion of coconut milk being inside.  What does that taste like", he wondered.

The coconut made it's way officially into our cart, and once in the car driving home, we had a strategic discussion re: how we were going to break it open back home.  Seth was SO up for the task. I loved watching his enthusiasm as the wheels turned in his mind.

He readily put his plan into action.  He dug out his hammer, a can opener, screwdriver, and went to work. Before I knew it, he poked a hole in the coconut, stuck a straw through it, and was sampling the milk.  Not his favorite beverage, but he thought it was cool.  He banged hard on the rest of the coconut, but nothing was happening.

The weather had finally turned a bit warmer and sunny here in NY, so I had an idea.  I put the coconut in three plastic supermarket bags, and invited Seth to go out into the street and whack the coconut against the driveway until it breaks.  He loved it, and it worked!

I thought...what a great way for a busy boy to expend some energy!  And, he got a kick out of tasting the coconut, though that really became secondary.  The thrill was in the process...and a "cheap" thrill at that.  The price was right....99 cents for a coconut....a bargain in the kids entertainment arena...and a good alternative to Toys R Us..

I now know that, on a dull day, a trip to the supermarket to pick up a coconut might be enough to engage Seth.  It's the simple, surprise pleasures and unexpected finds in unexpected places that sometimes create some of life's finest memories.  I won't soon forget the image of him striking the coconut bag against the ground and his delight in seeing it crumble into pieces.  It was priceless.  Associated is my new "go to" destination with Seth.

I'm wondering what else in the produce section might get his blood going?  Any suggestions?

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