Another glorious weekend has passed. Weekends like the last weekend will become more and more scarce as the children grow up, but I can enjoy them for now.
My wife and daughter were out of town for the weekend, so my son and I got to spend the whole weekend playing together. Ahhhhhhh. I don't have the energy of a five year old anymore, but I can still have fun.
We started out with a walk in the park. It was kind of a rainy day, so there were not many other people in the park. The nature trails were very quiet. We could walk through and talk about nature without any disturbances. Things were so peacefull the squirrels and chipmunks were out in full force. For a five year old, he is extremely well versed on a variety of topics. We managed a two hour walk and did not talk about Pokemon once. :)
After the walk was the obligatory trip to McDonalds. I really don't care for the food, but the whole experience is geared towards children. He likes the "food" and loves the playroom. He'll patiently sit and eat his food because he knows he's not allowed to play until the food is gone. While he's in the playroom, it's a good chance for me to sit and get my legs back from the walk. Just a few yes, I can see you waves once in a while and he's a happy camper.
We spent the rest of the day building Lego robots. The R2-D2 robot from the Droid Developer Kit was pretty cool. The model does not look very sharp, but what it lacks in form, it makes up for in function. The Micro Scout RCX has 7 built in programs that really make for an active model quite quickly. With just a flashlight R2 can exibit 7 different behaviours. A few were quite simple, but just the thing to engage a five year old mind. After a bit of playing around, he started to understand what was going on, and started to play what if with R2. I could see the gears turning in his mind as he tried to hack R2 and see if he could get some unexpected results. He was able to get R2 in such a position that he would respond to the hall light. Nothing suprising, but still a good use of the existing environment instead of the flashlight. Enough to make me proud.
And then the macaroni and cheese. For those worried about our health, we also had oranges.
After dinner, we went for the Holy Grail. Lego Mindstorms. As longtime readers will note, I had some slight troubles with my Mindstorms. However, I digress. We had a great time with that. We built the robot that detects the edges of the table and turns to avoid falling off. We were building on a round table, and that lead to some problems. Both of the sensor arms would drop off the table and the robot would stop. We played around with it for a bit, boucing ideas off each other and just generally trying new things. It was fun. When that got old, we played with the light sensor and mounted it on the robot. When it got to the table edge, it would stop. We didn't go onto make it change course, but we discussed the idea. He began to ask the important questions, "How does it work?" and the like. We discussed programming a little bit, and he seemed interested. That was fun.
By this time, it was time for Iron Chef. He was starting to get pretty tired, but managed to hang in for the first half of IC. He drifted off to sleep on the couch and I carried him into his bedroom and tucked him in after IC was over.
Sunday was just a nice day of playing games and watching cartoons. He wanted to build more robots, but I talked him into going outside and kicking a ball around for a bit. That was more for my benefit than his. I don't want him to totally geek out at five and I can use the running around. Together he and I can find the balance between physical and mental exercise.
It was a good time for the both of us, and really pointed out to me how good my life is. Just the sort of thing I needed.