Monday, February 1, 2010

Catapults and trebuchets….tweener style



My boys are well….boys. They are very different from my daughter, who had even outgrown any vestiges of her former girly girl self by the time she was four. Given their subjects of interest are often quite different than those my daughter, it shouldn’t have surprised me when they discovered a catapult model building class while perusing a flyer for youth community education classes in Rochester. Truth be told, they almost convulsed with excitement.

This caused me a bit of concern. At the county fair last August, my older son had seen a model that could have thrown small boulders. Despite the engineering curiosity and the intense desire to learn, this was not an object I wanted my children to posses. My boys are very kind hearted and I love them dearly; however, they do not always think prior to acting and I could only picture a broken window in the future. I was scared—windows are expensive.

My kids are also pretty good about not constantly pestering for lots of “stuff.” They are aware educational items are surely to win out over a new game and they know they better pick and choose wisely. After the class had been brought up numerous times, I finally relented despite very grave concerns. We drove down and registered for the class. I was immediately second guessing my sanity.

My daughter and I delivered them to their teacher the night of the night of the class. We spent the better part of two hours wondering what we had just done. When we returned to retrieve them, they stood in front of miniature catapults. We smiled; powered by a rubber band, it was big enough to toss a marble. They excitedly chattered about military history and pointed to the whiteboard asking me if I knew what that was drawn up there. I felt a little proud and a little mischievous as I was about to crush them with my answer: “Why that is a trebuchet.” Yes, a girl—worst of all, a mom, knew what that was. Secretly, I think they were a little proud—the dad next to us had no idea.

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