Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Well that was a day...

I am sure you noticed the lapse in my 12 Days of Christmas giveaways.  I will get one up tomorrow!

On the 31st, I was reading some Cabinet of Curiosities chats about the new year and someone said that they had a theory that as your New Year's Day goes, so does the year.  She was planning a calm day of stitching.  Right now all I can say is - GOSH I HOPE NOT!

I was up until 2am waiting for my newly adult child to get back home from fireworks drenched from rain and then woke up to a call from our credit card company about fraud very early in the morning.  So I have dragged around all day on fumes.  Then my computer wouldn't turn on and so couldn't get lessons out.  And as soon as I came downstairs I found my younger child (supposedly fresh with sleep) dragging around pronouncing that he didn't want to do robots anymore (sure sign of some breakdown of the system that was causing frustration).

It takes bent tweezers to insert the screw into the hole in three
moving items through a drilled access hole - and if you miss,
the screw gets lost in the arm and you have to disassemble
much to then shake it out.  38 on the arm.  This is the third
time it has been done in two weeks.  UGH.
So not knowing what fire to put out - I choose helping the random robot kid who slept here in his street clothes last night.  He had worked on the robot and helped us celebrate the new year and was the pitch hitter early this morning with the massive moving robot arm problem.  This one required putting super tiny special ordered screws into a movable stage system with tweezers while someone else used needle nose pliers to hold the lock nut.  Tedious and way beyond every child's frustration zone (kinda watch making level precision).  Before I could shower, the rest of the team showed up (we have a general open door policy but usually I have a clue they are coming).  Not today.  But they were the calvary and I needed to feed many of them...so a quick shower and off to the store.  Much work went on and the super duper frustrating task (there were 38 of those screws for tweezers) was shared by all the kids for the first time resulting in them all understanding my younger son's constant Oscar worthy 'fabulous frustration flops' from working on that part of the system.  And I will admit that almost every day this last week I thought at some point they 'wouldn't make it' with a working robot for this coming weekend competition.

A Fabulous Frustration Flop in progress after a full day of
work and still the thing has two problems crop up for every
one solved.
By the end of the night, he was working happily again and adding new 'features' to their to-do list.  It was a stunning turn around.  At one point they did some practice driving under competition conditions and crossed a goal they set 23 days ago when they decided to trash their robot and build another one from the ground up.  Realize that most teams work on one robot for 4 months.  There was much relief as they are going to be ready for their first qualifier this weekend and it only took pouring 12 hour days in with kids showing up every day except Christmas.  They had set the goal that day they failed massively at their scrimmage.  If they built a new robot design and it could do XYZ, we would order them team sweatshirts.  They were sooooo excited to cross that line and the whole room knew it.  So tomorrow they get ordered.

We have talked with many of our 'robot parents' over break as they had time to hang out while the work was going on.  We all agree that at this point in the kid's lives learning how to deal with frustration and stress you can't really walk away from is the most important thing they are all getting out of this.  They are learning that you have to stick to it.  We call it getting over the hump.  And over time, you start to believe that you can tackle and succeed at impossible tasks.  It just takes patience and perserverence.

This is really a heat gun to do shrink tubing.  But on break
they made snacks with it.
We spend time talking about emotions, making jokes, playing lots of basketball and football and today added some really inappropriate tool use to the mix (imagine a kid learning to do shrink insulation on wiring musing that this 700 degree hot air gun must make some awesome s'mores.... well heck yea!!).  Honestly there are days where I have no idea why they come back.  Really - cause I want to run out of the house and not come back myself!!  ha ha.

But they do.  It's crazy.

And apparently so will be this year if we go by today.

Back to the giveaways tomorrow!

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