Scott and I finished up our February sessions of “Side By Side Saturdays” by making shrinky-dinks. I always let the boys pick out the project they want, and Jason never went for shrinky-dinks, though it was offered every week we went. I’m not sure why Scott picked it, but it turned out to be more fun than I expected.
I remember these things being around when I was a kid, but I never got them. Basically, you just use ordinary colored pencils to draw on the rough side of a transparent sheet of plastic (the other side is glossy), then you put it in an oven at 350 degrees and it shrinks to about a fourth of its size, becoming hard and almost glass-like in the process. (After that you can use it on a key ring, a charm bracelet, or what have you.) We used a toaster oven with a glass door; Scott and the other kids probably enjoyed watching the things shrivel up more than the actual drawing part.
We also got to pick up our finished mask, after working on it for the previous two weeks. Scott made all the decisions about materials to use, designs and colors, and I have to say it turned out pretty great. We included holes on the sides to hang it up, so now we just need to find a space in the house for it. The boys’ room is out, as they’re guaranteed to smash it.
After a quick lunch, it was off to the Huguenot District Pinewood Derby meet, which Jason had qualified for by placing second in his den. It would have been a cool experience just for the ability to see so many Tiger Scouts (Jason is the only one in his whole pack, but at Districts the room was packed with them), but as it happened, Jason’s car did very well and made it into the final six.
The best part, for me, was watching Jason interact with the other scouts, especially two boys he cheered for whenever their cars were raced. They returned the favor for him. The boy next to Jason ended up winning 1st Place, and Jason hung around to see him get the award and congratulate him. Then we hung around to see the awards handed out for the Wolf cubs, including Jason’s denmate Ethan, who took Third in his age group. It surprised me how quickly the once-packed auditorium thinned out as the afternoon wore on; apparently most cubs and their parents left as soon as their cars were eliminated, which seems a bit rude to me (although in some cases, there were tears, so I can see wanting to cheer the kids up somewhere privately, maybe with an ice cream cone). Anyway I was impressed with Jason not only for cheering on his competitors but also for wanting to hang around to be part of the too-small crowd applauding the victors. I know he’s a good kid of course, but he still surprises me sometimes. More than once I’ve concluded I’m getting as much or more out of scouting as he is, just in being able to see him interact so positively with his peers.
Gracie continues to entertain, as well. The other day, Laura was reading her a Sandra Boynton book that begins, “A cow says ‘moo’, a sheep says ‘baa,’ three singing pigs say ‘la-la-la!'” then goes on with, “No, no, you say, that isn’t right, a pig says ‘oink’ all day and night.” It goes on for 10 pages of so of animal noises and ends with the line, “It’s quiet now…what do YOU say?” When Laura directed the question at Gracie, she answered seriously, “No, no.” This perplexed Laura momentarily until she remembered the line at the beginning: “No, no, you say…”
Right you are, Grace, right you are.