Family fun

The family that plays together stays together. Good thing we do a lot of playing.


 Fiona watches her green golf ball float down a stream on hole 15 at Pier 25 Mini Golf.
Fiona watches her green golf ball float down a stream on hole 15 at Pier 25 Mini Golf.

Miniature golf

20 August 2013

Just after we moved here, Dustin discovered a mini-golf course on the west side of Manhattan, out on a pier over the Hudson River. We finally found just the right evening to go. Fiona picked out her golf ball—green—and got a little tiny golf club, and we started the course. She was very enthusiastic about picking up the balls and moving them; she was less conscientious about taking turns, and had a tendency to hit her ball over and over again without any pause at all between strokes. We helped, of course. She definitely understood the goal, but generally used her golf club more like a croquet mallet. The best parts of any mini-golf course are the special greens where the ball disappears and then reappears somewhere else, and Fiona especially enjoyed those, particularly the one where it was nearly impossible to hit the ball across a narrow bridge, and therefore the ball fell in the water and popped up on the other side of the green.

usan and Fiona find another piece of the puzzle as we find our way out of the corn maze.
Susan and Fiona find another piece of the puzzle as we find our way out of the corn maze.

Corn maze

12 October 2013

The Queens County Farm Museum, where Fiona’s school went to on a field trip last year, has a corn maze every year. We were looking forward to it for weeks. The place was packed—a complete madhouse, since they had hay rides and apples and all sorts of other activities besides the corn maze. But we were focused. They gave us a flag on an 8-foot pole so that we wouldn’t get lost (well, not completely lost) as well as some puzzles to work on inside the maze. One of the puzzles was an actual map of the maze, and in each sector of the maze we had to find a mailbox with a new piece of the map. As I recall, we eventually gave up on finding all of the pieces: we had been to every sector, and we knew exactly where we were, but couldn’t find that last mailbox in sector 3. Oh, well.

Fiona did a great job of exploring the maze with us. She walked a long way and helped us find the mailboxes. She also wanted to carry the flag pole, but it was a bit long for her and she had a hard time holding it up straight. By the end of the day, we were all pretty tired and dusty, so we shuffled back to the bus to go home.

Fiona, in her frog costume on Halloween, and one of her forest school friends, Alyosha Kai, hang out on a log in the pine barrens at Forest Park, Queens.
Fiona, in her frog costume on Halloween, and one of her forest school friends, Alyosha Kai, hang out on a log in the pine barrens at Forest Park, Queens.

Halloween

31 October 2013

This year, Fiona and I started looking at Halloween costume possibilities in the summertime. We brainstormed a list of ideas; some of Fiona’s included things like “chair” and “table” and “rock”. I also did a Google image search for “kids Halloween costumes.” Fiona loved looking at those pictures.

After a few weeks, Fiona had narrowed her choices down to frog, skunk, or… something else; I can’t remember what. Ultimately, she chose frog. I had her look at some pictures of green frogs and some pictures of tree frogs, and she said that the tree frog with orange toes was her favorite. That worked out nicely, since I had an old Halloween costume with a giant green turtleneck and a giant yellow-orange turtleneck (I was corn on the cob one year). I cut it up and made Fiona a pair of pants, a shirt, and a frog hood, along with orange gloves and shoe covers. I was pretty pleased with myself.

Fiona was delighted to dress up as a frog, although she pretty much refused to wear the shoe covers. She wore the costume to forest school that day and climbed up on a log—a perfect picture.

Later in the day, we went to meet some friends who were visiting New York and had gone to some kind of children’s festival in the West Village. We were running late, though, and by the time we got there, the freaks were already out and the festival was basically over, so we got out as fast as we could and went to Brooklyn Heights. Trick-or-treating after dark is a lot less fun, it turns out, because there are too many pushy eight-year-olds and eleven-year-olds. In the late afternoon, when it’s still just the little kids, everyone is much friendlier, and it’s less crowded. Also, the costumes are more age-appropriate, unlike the gory and risqué things the older kids wear. At one point, Fiona was lining up in front of someone’s stoop, and the kid handing out the candy had a scary white mask on. She took the candy but then looked up at his face and very nearly started running until I calmed her down. But we nevertheless had a good time, and Fiona went home with quite a bit of candy.


This article appeared on pages 2–3 of Issue 12 | October 2013.

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