Friday, June 17, 2011


 Zhen loves the trampoline. He got the idea of jumping with his big dog. I like that better than when he jumps with other kids - yesterday he had a big goose egg on his forehead from colliding with a neighbor boy.

I have a non-stop anxiety in the summer that I ought to be "doing something" and not allowing the kids to spend so much time on screens.  The bigs have an x-box which gets lots of play by Sergei and Ilya, and their friends.  Sergei spends a lot of time doing this and that on the computer....everything from looking at the menu of his favorite Sushi restuarant, to watching tutorials about dry-walling.  Zhen is a Ruhnscape fanatic.....and Sergei and his neighborhood friend enjoy that, too.  And, then, there is TV - Zhen loves cartoons and Mythbusters. 
So, actually, I love to hear the exclamation - "Mom!  I'm going to go jump!"  Furthermore, I think it helps regulate all of them.

And, unlike soccer, their other favorite outdoor activity, there is no danger to the neighbor's window.  We have a bit of an issue because there is a very crabby lady who lives across the street.  We live on a quiet street and there is no problem with the kids playing soccer in the street - except that one lady has a FIT if the ball rolls even a foot onto her grass - and I have to tell you - there is nothing at all "special" about her lawn, and no bushes or flowers to be damaged.  At most the ball might go a yard or two onto her grass - it is not like it goes near her porch or windows....I have to believe she is just an irritable soul.  So, if she is in evidence, they'll play on the driveway - and that IS dangerous - to windows. We've replaced the neighbor's basement window twice and his garage door window twice.  Fortunately, he doesn't actually live there; the house is empty most of the time.

Then, there's bikes.  I'd hate to think how many bikes we've had stolen.   I think all we have left is one very sub-standard specimen.  Sergei's "good" bike was stolen when he rode it to the drugstore.  He was only a moment, so didn't lock it......  Then, Ilya lay his in the front lawn and went to the garage, looking up to see a gang of kids steal his bike....  He ran in to get Craig to chase them down in the car, but between Ilya's rudimentary English at the time, and Craig's having been napping, no chase was forthcoming. Two more were stolen right out of our garage - when it was carelessly left open one night.  So, at this point there is no exercise to be had bike-riding. 

I was so much more protective of my older kids; I wouldn't even let them jump on a trampoline at a friend's house.  I had Aidan keep his bike at the church because I thought East Lansing so much safer.  Aidan and Lydia were not allowed to play, unsupervised, anywhere but the back yard.  There was no way I'd let them go to the park without me, let alone walk to the party store!!  I didn't allow TV watching, unless it was religous videos from the parish collection, or something on public TV.  The Russians do all these things. 

The common wisdom about parents "loosening up" is certainly true in my case.  But I think there were two other things going on, as well.  When you know your child has done way more perilous and on-his-own things in a far-distant and seemingly much more dangerous place, it seems oddly silly to be over-protective.  Sergei and Ilya entertained themselves by jumping off roofs and out of second story windows into snowdrifts, for example - so, I should say a trampoline is too dangerous?  Anastasia was living on her own, and foraging for food in a city nearly as big as ours - so, how can I say she can't take a run, or go to the playground in the park (a block away) on her own?  Then, too, having been given more freedom, they are more self-confident and savvy, really.  And they are all very strong and fit.  They not only climb trees, they leap out of them.  Zhen doesn't just jump on the trampoline, he is attempting to perfect a flying dismount.  Yes. Onto dirt.  OK - occasionally I am still shocked and horrified.   And glad we are just a block from the hospital.


Mike and Christie said...

LOL! Jumping off of roofs into snowdrifts!
My friend broke both ankles one summer when his mother was at work. The twins were on the garage roof. His brother coaxed him to to step on the garage door which was up, and it would lower him down. (they were playing superhero)
The garage door instantly slammed and my friend fell to his demise. LOL

Our crabby neighbor is now in a nursing home. I can't say that I'm sorry. 9 years of her bitterness nearly did me in. She came over one time and asked when we were sending the girls back to Russia....UGH??????

I too prefer them to be busy with constructive things.... but oh how they just LOVE summer. :)

Tina in CT said...

Thankfully I had a daughter that was not as adventureous.

Michelle, Mike, Michael & Brett said...

Your son looks like he is having a ball on the trampoline especially with his dog. We have two big dogs too! ;-)
I wish my husband would let me buy our boys (10 1/2 and 5 1/2) a trampoline. He thinks they would break their legs. It doesn't help that we know a boy that unfortuantely broke his leg on a trampoline. But my boys need exercise especially my 5 1/2 year old. I have them in soccer and we go swimming after work and on the weekends. However, the more you have to offer them the better. I think that exercise does regulate them too!! I will bug my husband again this weekend! Wish me luck!! ;-)
Best Wishes,
Michelle B.

Annie said...

I saw the worst trampoline accident of all in 5th grade - back when they had them in schools. A classmate was doing some simple thing - just a seat drop, I think - but somehow he landed oddly and became paralyzed from the waist down. So - you can see why I didn't let Aidan and Lydia on one! But seeing so many people with trampolines in their yards these days, I guess that incident was a freak accident, or maybe he had some genetic weakness. They never explained it to us, if you can imagine. Apart from telling us he was in a wheelchair - and he never returned to school.

Diana said...

Sounds like you're in for a nice summer! And yes I agree, there's no putting the horse back in the barn! Also, my kids relish their freedom and independence - they often go bike riding or to the park together. Now that Andrew is older, he can easily look after Natasha for a few hours as well. It's stops us all from driving each other crazy really!

We do have electronics, but my boys will sit for hours and hours at a strech if I don't intervene. THEN, they'll give me attitude and be all grumpy because they have "screen eyes" as I like to call it! It would be nice if they knew how to moderate!! But apparently I'm "old fashioned" for thinking summer was meant to be spent outdoors in hte fresh air and sunshine!

Tina in CT said...

Since I live in the NE, I agree that kids are to be outside playing, reading or whatever in the summer. We lived at the CT shore summers and often my daughter wouldn't want to be on the beach. Since our cottage was a stone's throw away from the beach steps (and it's a tiny, tiny beach), she and her friend would often play in our yard or on the porch. My summer rule was stay outside except on rainy days.

Annie said...

Diana - you are are are living the same life in different places, I think!

There's a battle daily with "screens"....the only thing that tempers me a bit is remembering how my mom, especially, used to nag me to "put that book down and go outside".