All us guys in the house are thankful for Gina for so many reasons, and one of those reasons is that she is extremely deft at seeking out fun and exciting activities for us to do as a family. One of those activities is a called Fun Shop. I asked some of my students if they had heard of this, and the response was unbelievably enthusiastic. Apparently it has been a monument on the Springfield social landscape for quite some time, and just about everyone here who has young children knows about it. Fun Shop, in a nutshell, is a learning environment for toddlers, where they come to the Fun Shop classroom with their parents once a week for one hour and a half. There is a train/truck/airplane section, a playhouse section, a puppet section, a loft, playdough, slides and other climbing toys, a water table, a big boat filled with rice and beans (like a sandbox) big toys and a reading center. There is actually much more, but I think you get the point. It's similar to what you would see in a preschool, except the parents don't drop the kids off. We play along with them and, generally, get to act like a kid.

We've been going for 3 weeks, and here is a rundown of how it has gone:

  • Week 1: Sam did pretty well, but Nate pitched a wall-eyed fit. He thought we were dropping him off at the church nursery (at least that's my theory). The biggest meltdown came at the end when it was time to clean up.
  • Week 2: Much better. Sam and Nate both did great, but Nate threw another tantrum when it was time to clean up. Any guesses about what Gina and I talked about working on more at home?
  • Week 3: No fits. Nate didn't exactly help clean up, but he didn't scream and roll around while Gina cleaned up. She held him for most of the clean up time, but the fact that there was no weeping or gnashing of teeth is a step in the right direction.

We have 10 more weeks of Fun Shop, and my prediction is that both Sam and Nate will be helping clean up like champs by the time it's all done. Then I can show them how to use our vacuum cleaner at home. Here are some pictures so you can get an idea about the kinds of things they do. There are more photos in our web album.