Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gymnastics, Perhaps?


A fine balance

Unlike Ronan, Nieve chooses her efforts carefully. She does not buzz about with manic energy nor will she run for running's sake - only the act of dancing will get Nieve exert herself to exhaustion.

A notable display of hand strength, coordination, and determination

But a couple of weeks ago we saw Nieve engage her gross motor skills with gusto. She was attending a birthday party at a nearby kids gym and was working hard to master several of the apparatuses set up for the children.

Thoughtful Ronan, "Holding it (the beam) steady" for Nieve

First Nieve concentrated on the balance beam, going backwards and forwards, making sure she could comfortably turn around without falling off.

"Hand, hand, foot, foot"

Next she crawled up and down slanted parallel bars, showing patience, strength and balance. She wore a determined look as she purposefully moved her hands and feet forwards or backwards, depending upon the desired direction.

Enjoying a little bit of group play

Oh yes, we are terribly proud of her

Nieve also had fun with group games, running in circles with a ball, chasing her brother, and reacting to instructions. She also enjoyed pulling funny faces when sitting next to her friends.

Hanging like (with) the big girls

What seemed to call to Nieve most, however, were the uneven parallel bars. She was serious and determined; she worked to get her feet up onto the lower bar to mimick her friend's older sister.

A little hand position improvisation. It didn't work, but it was fun to see her try different approaches

Once Nieve had the backs of her knees over the lower bar, she tried to improve her position and struggled to pull herself up. Mom and I were impressed that she had the hand and arm strength to spend several minutes hanging and pulling through a series of forceful attempts.

Just hanging upside down. For some, that's enough.

Mom and I are always looking for ways to foster Nieve's love for physical activity - the time at the gym has given us hope that perhaps there is some form of exercise that Nieve will grow to love.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flowers for a Girl

Nieve admired the pink fringe on the blossom

Nieve loves all things pretty, and flowers are no exception. This evening we took advantage of the warming weather and stunning sunset to enjoy dinner in the backyard.

A warm dusk and soft grass makes for a happy girl

Nieve loved sitting on the soft grass and decided that bringing a potted flowering plant would make it even better. She studied each blossom as she quietly quietly talked to herself; she seemed entirely engrossed with the little plant. She looked so charming, sitting barefoot with her precious plant - fortunately Ronan and I had enough time to grab a camera and take some pictures.

Nieve seemed at perfect ease with her little plant

Nieve proceeded to carry the plant around wherever she went; to the dinner, to the sandbox, to her treehouse, and back inside after the sun set. I'm looking forward to many more summer evenings where Nieve can repeat her acts of flower fondness.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Only in Silicon Valley...

...is a Segway a vehicle of choice for a Lego villain

The other night Ronan was cobbling together a variety of Lego creations when I noticed a small, odd-looking Lego vehicle in his fleet. I asked him what it was and he replied, "A Segway, for Rattla."

Sure enough, it was a decent replica of a Segway, even if Ronan did put a steering wheel on it (he's never seen a Segway in person nor does he under stand how maneuvering one works). It sparked a fun conversation about two-wheeled vehicle dynamics - he wondered why a Segway would be unstable, even at speed, when a bicycle does just fine. That led to learning about gyroscopes, axis of rotation, angular momentum, heavy batteries and the notion of center of mass.


A steering wheel on a Segway... that could be fun to watch

Eventually Ronan tired of my explanations and went back to building vehicles. His next creation was more straightforward from a balance standpoint, but orders of magnitude more fun to drive - a, "Rocket propelled snowmobile."