Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marbles Rocks!

What would I do without Marbles? And why are they closed on Mondays anyway?! Marbles is the Children's Museum here, in Raleigh. And we go there A LOT. As a matter of fact, not a week goes by without us stopping by for an hour or so.

Thankfully, back in the fat times, we got the family membership so now we only pay for parking. And sometimes we don't pay for parking either, when the parking meter machine in the museum's parking lot is broken (which's been happening a lot lately). Of course, other times we pay way too much, like the other day when I got a $20 ticket for parking 6 inches too far from the curb. So unfair!

Anyway, back to the Marbles. Mark loves the place. He always asks me to go to the "zemey" (he can't or won't say музей). We already have a routine worked out. First, we go upstairs to play the drums. Here are the two phrases Mark now says very well:

Марк банит как дяди! (he also watches a video of a drum line at the Carnival in Rio)

Бабаны забили! (this is actually a line from an audio-book he listens to)

After he's done with drums, we quickly stop by the little Moroccan marketplace corner where Mark serves us some pretend tea. Then we're about leave, but not without watching some German pop videos. His favorite is Emanuela, because the video shows a marching band.

Then we move to the racing cars. At first Mark used to just watch other kids racing. But lately he wants me to build a car for him. Then he races it downt he track and excitedly toddles along.

Then I usually make a paper airplane for Mark to launch from the balcony and we move on to a workbench. Now, workbenches at Marbles have real tools - screwdrivers, hand-drills, hand-saws... Mark tried the saw the other day, but didn't like that once the a piece of wood was sawed off, there would be not way to stick it back on. So he prefers screwdriver and screws (which, by the way, are available by the bucket).

Then we go to the fitness exhibit. At first Mark used to go through a little obstacle course. Then he moved on to throwing plastic balls into the ball pit (but he never wants to get into the ball pit). Later he was into throwing plastic play foods into big buckets. And then finally he discovered the hockey rink. The rink is actually all plastic and the kids take shoes off before going in and slide or walk across in their socks.

Usually there are about 20 boys ages 4-7 wielding small hockey sticks in the rink (and the rink is probably 15 by 30 feet). Obviously, it's a very hectic place and is absolutely irresistible to Mark. He gets the smallest stick and walks around grinning widely and miraculously avoiding all the sticks and pucks. And obviously, it's impossible to hoax him out of this rink. The only way to get him to get out is to ... well... get in there, grab Mark, and drag him out. I try to stay away from the rink for now.

After exhausting our options upstairs, we move downstairs to play with Thomas the Train sets at a giant train table. Occassionally Mark also goes to the pirate ship. And he always makes his way to the pretend kitchen and the grocery store. He used to cook kasha, but now expanded his repertoir and offers soups, muffins, torts, pasta, egg, hot dog, pancake, or kasha.