Sunday, August 21, 2011

I like expensive things. I just do. Or maybe I just hate cheap crap made in China, but as a general rule, if there's a fancy deluxury version of something, I want it. I know kids can be entertained by toilet paper rolls, but I'm secretly like, "I want the toilet paper roll handcrafted from endangered teak by resurrected Homo floresiensis!" As such, I'm feeling all pleased with myself that my better angels beat my spendy shoulder devils today and that I still provided my child with an excellent childhood experience.

1. Paper REUSE! There's been much debate in this house recently about if children are entitled to clean printer paper for scribbling. My husband's brother never let him have new paper to write on when he was little, so we're like, "Mmmm...scrap paper, what's up with that?" Anyway, we discovered today that the ridiculous free phonebooks that (a) still exist, (b) are delivered to your house for free, (c) still exist LOL, are nothing if not 600 pages of perfectly useful, handsomely bound scrap paper. Yay! (It's not like the kid even knows how to hold a crayon anyway.)

2. Bug Cage REUSE: I have been literally agonizing over the question of bug cages, because that's the kind of weird that I am. The one we had as kids was handmade by my crafty grandfather, but that's now a family heirloom, so what does one do when one wants to imprison a cool bug for nature study by children? Big Lots has some appalling plastic-crap-from-China models, but I don't want to subsidize that! Anyway, today I caught a green fig beetle to show Jackson. Green fig beetles are these magnificent iridescent emerald bugs that sound like B-29 bombers. They are beautiful and interesting, and so clumsy and slow that even someone like me can grab them right out of the air if they fly low enough. I carry the bug in the house and tell Andrew, "Um, can you get up and help me find a jar to put this thing in? I can't open my hands or it will escape." Husband gamely comes to the kitchen to help me find a jar when he's like, "Would this work?" This is a empty plastic box that recently held strawberries, and I'm like "THIS IS GENIUS! It's SEE-THROUGH and comes with pre-made AIR HOLES!" Suffice it to say, we got the big bug in the container, Jackson was interested enough to say "Bug! Bug!" a couple of times, and even nature cynic Andrew was impressed by the bug's color. Long story short, bug season and berry box season coincide, so henceforth we shall use reuse berry boxes for our bug cages. Now if only I could catch the lizard that lives in the compost bin...

Baby during intermission
The wolf, he bad
3. FREE ENTERTAINMENT: I find myself stunned that this is real or even exists, but I took Jackson to a free play at a Culver City park and it was awesome. The Culver City Public Theater sets up show for two months every summer in a grove of trees and entertains kids for free. We saw a production of Big Bad Wolf Tales by Blake Anthony Edwards (Eric Pierce was awesome as the wolf), and Jackson was rapt for the first act. (Less rapt for the second act, by which time he had figured out: "That is not a wolf, mom, that is a man. Also, I don't really understand English, and I don't get any of these pop culture references at all.") Parking was free and plentiful, we sat under a shady tree, and there were even dogs in attendance, all the better to entertain small boys who don't yet have an appreciation of the finer points of The Stage.

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