A hard lesson for an 8-year-old

By | Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 5:34 pm

Kevin had a short day at school Friday and no after-school program, so we decided to go to the museum and the park, two of his favorite places.  The museum was nice, but we went a bit soon since last time, so not much had changed.  They change the second-floor collections often, but those were still mostly the same things we saw last time.  This isn’t exactly a bad thing, it just means we get to spend more time looking at details, reading more about the things we see, and basically learning more.  We took in a lot of the civil war paintings this time–something we largely overlooked in the past””and also learned more about native Americans, their tools and weapons, and saw some huge (live!) giant millipedes from Africa.  Kevin even found some “hidden” cabinets that you can open to reveal lots of artifacts he had never seen before.

Before we left, we visited the gift shop as we always do.  Kevin still loves getting a plaster dinosaur egg now and then and spending hours excavating the egg with the small pick and brush included with it.  Each eggs holds a hand-painted ceramic dinosaur.  He has a collection of 5 of the dinosaurs now.  Since the first one, we have reminded him many times that they are fragile, but they look so much like just another dinosaur toy that he plays with them.  I’ve already had to repair 3 of them, supergluing legs and tails that have broken off.  Anyway, along with the dinosaur egg he also wanted one of those wooden animals with the spring-loaded thumb-button underneath them.  They’re assembled with strings attached to the spring, so when you push the button underneath up the string loosen and the animal appears to collapse, or “dance” with repeated pushing and releasing of the spring.

After the museum we went to the park for a short time and then went home.  On the ride home Kevin said “Dad, my toy broke!”.  I checked it when we got home and sure enough a string had broken and one whole leg had fallen off””4 pieces in all””leaving him with a 3-legged animal.  I couldn’t repair it myself after trying several times last night, so I left it for Sandy to try to fix.  This morning he played with his 3-legged animal some more and the head fell off.  He refuses to let me throw it away though, wanting to wait to see if Sandy can fix it for him.  And so it waits.

This morning he spent over 4 hours with his latest one and he was very excited to finish it.  We washed the remaining plaster powder from it and he was all grins.  Shortly after this he was dancing around in the dining room with it when he said “ooopsie!” and it hit the floor with a crunch.  The tail and one leg had broken off and flew across the floor.  He found the leg and it looks like another clean break, so I could probably repair it easily.  But he’s still searching for the tail.  Without the tail it’s pretty pointless to repair it at all.  He’s still searching the area, and neither of us can figure out where the heck it could have went that we can’t find.  He’s searching for it right now, refusing to give up.  So basically, all of his little treasures from this weekend were a total loss.  He’s pretty sad right now, but still searching.

Update:  It’s about 45 minutes after writing that last paragraph and Kevin has found the tail!  Using superglue I have performed emergency dinosaur surgery, reattaching his tail and leg.  He is resting well now, and we expect a full recovery.  Whew.  I guess it wasn’t a total loss after all.  We’ll see how he holds up after recovery.  Kevin is now relieved, glad to have one trinket intact, and I think he might even be willing to give up on the three-legged headless spring-loaded animal now and put him to rest.  We’ll see.