Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Train Keeps a Rollin'

My real job is all about solving problems. And when certain things go sideways, which they do daily, I often end up breaking a process down to its core and then tinkering with different approaches to fixing the issue. This works great, at work.

However, I have developed a very bad habit outside the office of believing (incorrectly) that I can use this same approach with. . . . .well just about everything. We get a new appliance or electronic device and the manual never gets looked at because I can just figure it out. Similarly I don't need to look at maps because I can just deduce where we are and when we are getting close to where we need to be. Diagrams? Who needs em?

I have the utmost confidence in my abilities. That is, until they let me down. Honestly, this happens enough that I really should change my approach.

So, it came as a big surprise to me when I entered our living room the other morning to find Lukas putting together sections of his wooden train track. He had a few straight sections snapped together, with a curved section at each end. The beginnings of an oval.

His having snapped sections together was not what surprised me. What surprised me was that as I approached, he stopped, unfolded, and gave a long and thoughtful stare at this:

Then he proceeded to pull more curved sections out of the container and to continue his building project. I think I could actually see the wheels turning as he stared at that diagram. I won't embellish. He incorrectly attached the next curved piece of track. But hey, he is only 21 months old.

When I relayed these events on to Mrs. LIAYF, her response was "Hmmm. Maybe he will grow up to be an Engineer."

That would be great, I thought. I'm sure he would let me ride the on the train for free. And I wouldn't need a map either!


Super Mega Dad said...

That's too funny. Hopefully the next generation will figure out that instructions are their friends.

It's taken me many years of training to trust in instructions and GPS technology instead of my own limited abilities. I can actually find my way across town now. Down to 3 meters!

SciFi Dad said...

That is impressive. I'm still waiting for the second milestone in train track building (the first being assembling multiple pieces together, as Lukas has mastered): closed loops.

I'm not holding my breath, though, seeing as how my wife has yet to figure it out. Maybe it's not an inherent skill?

Or maybe it's because I am an engineer.

Ed said...

That's pretty impressive. My kids wouldn't even try.

Dan said...

We've slowly built up our collection of wooden railway peices until we can fill two medium sized articulated trucks.

It's all for the kids of course. Not for me. No, not in the slightest.

Jason Roth said...

I see signs of true brilliance.

Anonymous said...

We have parts of this same track adn I seem to remember finding another style that fit together perfectly with it so we could do even more stuff. My son, too, is the diagram follower adn I am the one that tries to bend the laws of physics. We had some battery powered trains (Thomas) and we tested it out to see if it could make it around...I tried to see if I could 3V of battery on the train instead of the 1.5.

Keep him with the diagram...you can play after he goes to bed.

Being us... said...

Pretty Awesome! But the real question is: What does it mean that Jacob just likes to tear the tracks apart after I sit down like a goober with my diagram fitting all of the pieces together perfectly? He also makes crashing noises as he drives his trucks over the track ripping it up??? Hmmmmm...((GRIN))

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Super Mega Dad - I need to learn to embrace technology and let it help me. GPS would be beneficial for me.

@Scifi - I had 'deduced' that you were an Engineer. Still works for me once in a while.

@Ed - Well, we'll see if it is a learning style that sticks.

@Dan - I don't get any enjoyment out of the trains either. None at all...

@VegasDad - He is curious and eager to learn. That is as far as I will go for now.

@MTAE - I try bend the rules, but end up staring at the pieces saying "I know something should go here." lol.

@Mandy - It means that he is having a blast. That is what it means. Good for him.

raino said...

one of my daughters is truly the only put her together in this household. doesn't matter what it is, shes the one. i, on the other hand, am clueless and y'know what...i'm okay with that!

Eric said...

Have you filled out his Harvard app yet? Jk Seriously man that is awesome... I hope my kid can do that.. but if he takes after me he won't... I hate directions. lol

Rob said...

How cool! I love that expression the kids get when you can see the wheels turning. Cooper's expression is usually accompanied by loud breathing; when we hear that, we know he's on to something even if we can't see him.

Good for you, James. Sounds like logic and perseverance are two of his many great qualities!

Dad Stuff said...

Those type of toys are great. Our kids like to follow the directions when putting things together.
I have put together some directions for tidying their rooms next.

Captain Dumbass said...

Oh ya, well my kid makes ass prints in Play-Doh!

Damn, I just noticed your previous post and remembered somebody tagged me with that but I can't remember who. I'm surprised anyone follows me.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@raino - Me too. I don't mind being the clueless one. It'll be to my advantage someday.

@Eric - All us dad's hope the kids take after Mom for the learning type things.

@Rob - That is great. I can picture Cooper with that loud breathing. The little telling things we notice about our kids.

@Dadstuff - Send them along when they are complete. I'm sure I'll need them.

@Captain DA - The playdough thing was pure genious.

That was Super Mega Dad if you are interested in taking a stab at it.