Saturday, October 14, 2006

On the Road to Florida

We're on our way to Disney World, after scrambling around town finishing up errands all morning. So what did we learn today, besides how to drive Mommy insane by singing everything instead of saying it? Or how to insist on pushing the "Fast Speed" button on the back of Mommy's headrest, and forcing Mommy to pretend to be blown back my G forces, until you push it again? Besides that?

We're half way to Disney World after a morning of running errands around town and an afternoon of driving in a straight line south. As I sit here, waiting for him to fall asleep, I am tempted to think of this day as wasted, learning-wise. We didn't sit down together and study any Spanish grammar. We didn't do any math problems. But thinking back on the day, I know his brain was engaged all the way.

1. Geography. Benny held his laminated map and followed out progress from Virginia to South Carolina, where we stopped. He learned that country has two meanings (well, he learned two of the several meanings of country). He's still working on grasping that there is interstitial space between cities that's neither city nor just "country" but is actually a county or a township or whatever. Might help if I had a better grasp on that myself.

2. Art and Zoology. Dad and Benny and Sadie took turns drawing animals and guessing what they were while we were waiting for our dinner at the restaurant. My favorite was the duck-billed platypus which Benny guessed was a beaver. Pretty good guess. We concluded that a platypus is a beaver with a beak, and will look it up next time we go to the library. Benny drew a very cool weathervane and had the N reversed to show which way it was pointing.

3. Physics. Tonight in the hotel bathtub, the children had only the big plastic drinking cups the hotel had provided us, to use as toys. They ended up doing several different experiments and Benny taught Sadie how to submerge the cup just to the lip, then let it spring back up. We explained to her that the air down in the empty cup wants to get on top of the water, because the water is heavier than the air. Don't know if Sadie really grasped it, but in explaining it to her, Benny connected this with the behavior of a helium balloon.

4. Music. Okay, well, here I am exposing my Disney weakness, but they happily sang along to the "Disney Princess Sing-a-Long" DVD that I Netflixxed for the trip. It was very sweet hearing Benny piping out those words along with Snow White and the rest. And got in a little reading practice. I'm sure he never saw "Bibbity Bobbity Boo" spelled out before.

5. Reading. Speaking of reading, Benny's been engrossed in his book, Walt Disney World: For Kids By Kids, which is a kid's guidebook, mixed in with puzzles and things to fill in, scrapbook pages, autograph pages, etc. He's most interested in researching the rides he wants to see at the Magic Kingdom, and is becoming a fount of information (and marketing propaganda phrases) on Tomorrowland.

6. Gym. Apart from wrestling with the dog before we put him in the kennel, Benny also did some exercises when we stopped for dinner, including standing on one leg, which he can do for a remarkable stretch of time, thanks to karate, and other shenanigans. Last year on the way down, we made them do figure eights around trees to burn off their energy at the South Carolina Welcome Center -- we remembered, driving by, what a kick Benny got out of signing the guest book and yakking with the people at the tourism desk.

Finally, Benny lost a tooth this morning. And he's about to learn that the tooth fairy can find him even in a hotel halfway to Disney World, because the tooth fairy is just savvy that way.

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