Growing up, I never thought much about being a parent. I figured I'd have kids someday, because that seemed to be the way of things. What would my kids do for fun (besides read, of course)? Maybe have tea parties? Play dress-up? Our blended family had four girls and two boys, one of whom was much younger than me, and the other much older. I didn't really know what they were into, with the notable exception of my little brother's obsession with Calvin and Hobbes.
Then I grew up and got married and had two boys, and I learned they were into tractors and construction equipment. And animals and superheroes and weapons and space and robots and monsters and Calvin and Hobbes. And Lego. Boy howdy, are they into Lego.
Anyone who's been around kids for a while knows they periodically molt old interests. A few endure (see Lego), but many are replaced entirely. Nels could identify a knuckleboom loader or a feller buncher as a preschooler, but he wouldn't be able to now.
Our most recent activities kick-started last Christmas, when Nels asked for a model of a battleship. He built one, then another. By the time he started an airplane, Willem wanted in on the action. Between the two of them, they have put together the USS Arizona, the BB-63 Missouri, a P-51 Mustang, a B-17 Flying Fortress, a US Tank M41 Walker Bulldog, a Willys MB Jeep, a Bell H-13H, and a CH-47D "Chinook." An A-10 Warthog is in the works, but Nels seems to have lost the steam to work on it. And yes, I did have to copy all of those names from their boxes.
The wonderful thing about model-building is that it's an activity that both Shaun and the boys enjoy, so they can spend time together and nobody's suffering through it.
Also, it's quiet.
When Willem has a model going, he's always up before the rest of us. I wake up and find him already downstairs and hard at work in the lamplight. It is one of my favorite things.
Willem and Shaun each built a Bell H-13H. Otherwise known as the MASH helicopter.
Willem's models live on his bookcase, above the books and underneath the monsters. We should probably bow to the inevitable and line an entire wall of his bedroom with shelves.
Here's Nels with his B-17.
The models are great. But the REAL hobby around here these days is the building and flying of model airplanes. Which needs its own post. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go throw myself a tea party.