June 11, 2010

The Rocket Rocker, Take Two

I don't really get the obsession with kids' toys, quite honestly.  It's like a man designing high heels or a bra.  It's like vegetarians who smoke.  Or homeschoolers with bad attitudes.  We don't have kids yet but oh if we did they'd have the coolest toys and most imaginatively explosive playrooms ever.  In the meantime, it's this weird paradox.  Gepetto in his workshop churning out stoves and rockets and wooden cradles for - everyone else's kids.

It's funny because we do know a few things about babies.  Diapers, burping, and some of them don't like scratchy beards, (DUSTAN).  But we have no clue when it comes to little people.  So the whole time Dust is making toys we're all "How high does a two year old stand?" and "Would a six year old really play with this?  Can a six year old even fit into this?  WILL ANYONE'S KID PLAY WITH THIS TOY?"  To the point that when the toy is all said and done, to see a little body playing with it is elating.  We look at each other like It really works!

The imaginings of the Rocket Rocker took shape soon after the little stove, and in one take Dustan busted this puppy out.

The Rocket Rocker has serious rocking capacity, but the thing kids loved most was the interactive joy stick that pivots in all directions.  I think the hardest part of wooden toys is the balance between making it interactive while allowing for imagination.  You want to keep it simple, but it's tempting to keep adding stuff.  Makes me totally understand how someone somewhere made a really cute doll and was like "But she needs to eat, drink, cry, pee, and say Mama, too!" 

Dust ran the RR by Lindsay when it was in the finishing stages and she's the one who suggested he leave the backend open, so another child could make use of it as a little seat.  She was totally right!  (Leave it to a mother of a 2, 4 and 5 year old).  At the grand opening of RG Natural Babies, where the RR is on display, the ninos really did that.  It really worked!

June 10, 2010

what started as The Rocket Rocker turned into Braindump

Some days I find myself reaching out for relationship on the internet, only to keep coming up empty.  I hate that feeling.  A vacant inbox, no Facebook alerts, blogs abandoned, nothing good to Google.  How dull, how lonely, how dumb.  Oh look!  An email!  From Urban Outfitters.  You know it's bad when you start reading your own spam.

Days like this I'm clicking around in my inbox, remembering fondly what it was to be caught up in mundane hiking, only sometimes interspersed with lightning storms, head wounds and rattlesnakes.  The AT was so far from anything civilized, climate-controlled, slick, shiny, modern or functional.  It was a little freaky, very earthy, and while I wouldn't describe it as survival, it sure made the concept of self-entertainment irrelevant.  Completely opposite of hulu or YouTube.  No chair-sitting (ever!) or double-clicking, zero access to stand-up comedy or tidbits of news or a friend request or noaa.gov (and baby, I missed you out there).  Our work and play were the same, we wore the same underwear for days, and even dirty fingernails felt clean if dunked in a clear stream.  In other words, life in a one-room house you carry on your back was inevitably simple.   

Now I poke around at flashy buttons and unread links looking for stuff, for constant somewhat-meaningless connections that make me feel tied in all directions.  I just don't want to end up liking it that way.  I don't think you need to hike the Appalachian Trail to realize this - at all.  I think we all know it.  It's just that the trail forced it out, wrung it out and left us happy in the back of a dirty pick-up with a cold soda and no cell service.  I want to remember it because it's so easy to forget.

There are so many great connections to be made out there in cyber world, and I don't want to come off as ungrateful for the good side.  It's just that...too much is wearying.  It has nothing to do with blogging or sending emails or pulling up four different ways of preparing the brussel sprouts I just bought.  It has everything to do with being bored or lonely and hoping what I find on Facebook can cheer me up.  Just the thought of that makes me want to throw my computer out my second-story window in slow motion and pour my heart out like water in the presence of the Lord.  Also in slow motion.  Making up stories as I go and carving something out of wood or marble.  The very opposite of something clever or mildly amusing coming to me.

I'll go for the essence of it, but I would never ever do that in reality.  This computer is on loan to me, and I don't even let myself bring it in the kitchen when I'm on allrecipes.com.  Just for the record, JJ.