Wednesday, June 27, 2007

lessons learned

(Zoo Boy playing with another of his fancy "toys" -- a ballpoint pen that he insists in a sword.)

A few days ago we went out to run some errands, and on arriving home, I noticed a firefly resting on our screen door. I waited to see if the boys would discover it themselves before pointing it out to them, and was shocked when Zoo Boy, usually a huge fan of bugs of all types, reach over and squashed it.

In true shock and sadness I said "Oh, honey, you hurt it!", wondering if he'd realized what the results of his action would be. He was obviously suprised at either my reaction or his own violent act, and blurted out a quick "I'm sorry!" as a way to repair, backing away from the scene of the crime. Realizing that he may have just been acting on impulse that he might later regret on his own (especially give his sensitive personality), and remembering all too clearly a similar moment in my own youth where I purosely hurt a small helpless animal and later experienced intense guilt, I wanted to connect him to the reality of the event, but not force guilt upon him, rather let him come to his own judgement on the act. So instead I focused on the value of the bug's life rather than the act itself.

I purposely kept my voice calm and just stated the facts as I scraped the body off the screen door and flicked it over the railing. "It was a nice little firefly. But now it's dead." Zoo Boy thought on that a moment or two and, with all innocence, offered "but it was just an insect". "Yes" I said, again just stating the facts, keeping emotion out of it, "but it's still a life". And then I left it alone. Zoo Boy joined his brother inside and they went back to the business of being kids, playing some game or another. As I passed by on my way to the kitchen, I stopped to kiss the top of his head and told him that I loved him. Silently I hoped that the incident had been internalized by him, but figured that it might be weeks or months before I got any proof of that.

It actually only took a couple of hours. In the middle of our usual afternoon activities, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and there he was, fighting back tears. He said, mournfully, "Mommy, I'm REALLY sorry about hurting that firefly", and then began sobbing. I told him that I knew he was sorry and I held him and let him cry for awhile. Then I told him "Everybody does something they're sorry about later. What's important is to learn from that." He cried for another minute or two, then dried his eyes and said "Thank you, mommy, that's better" and ran back to play.

breakfast water safety lecture

This morning we were treated to a breakfast seminar on water safety, put on by the esteemed Professor J. So pull up a bagel, pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy his illustrated water safety tips! Paraphrasing him as closely as I can remember:

First, here's a diagram of the swimming areas at our local lake's beach. You'll note the raft in the deep side (no diving off the raft! Only jump straight!) and the swimmer in the shallow side. It's very important to NOT feed the geese or other birds.

(The rest is adapted visusally to include the swim alert flags at the state shoreline beaches, apparently because we have no such system at our local beach.)

This sign means "open for swimming".

This sign means "Warning! No lifeguard on duty! Swim at your own risk."

This sign means "Swimming is unsafe. Beach is closed."

I know I feel safer for knowing all that, don't you?

Monday, June 25, 2007

opening day!

Today was the big day we've been waiting for -- the first weekday of the season for our beloved local beach! So of course, we were there! Our summer plan is basically spend as much time as possible here. It was a great first day too -- just hot enough to make you think you really needed to be in the water.

The boys plunged right into the lake as soon as we hit the beach (they're the two with the blue float vests on). They had a great time splashing around with other kids (and at times parents). I brought a book along to keep myself occupied (one of my plans for all this beach time is to plan our fall homeschooling adventures), but I was having too much fun watching them to get anything read.

After an hour in the water, J decided to come ashore, get dressed, and build himself a sand castle.

Meanwhile, Zoo Boy busied himself doing....what only Zoo Boy knows. He spent a lot of the time running around with a pig-shaped shovel singing some song he made up that started with nonsense words and ended with pig noises. You know, the typical stuff kids do at the beach....

Two very happy boys on the beach. It was a great afternoon, the first of many to come over the next couple of months!

Zoo Boy says he thinks we should try something from the icecream truck tomorrow. Sounds like a plan to me!

weekend visitors

We had the pleasure of hosting a good friend of mine and her son this weekend, who were visiting New England for the Enki Education Homeschooling Conference, which ended this past Friday. The kids quickly became fast friends and had a blast. J and his new pal especially enjoyed "buddy reading" -- they almost immediately starting taking turns reading alternating lines in books. They also enjoyed talking about one of the things they have in common -- a passion for Spongebob Squarepants!

We took a couple of short hikes during their visit, the boys happily bounding ahead of us slowpoke adults. We visited a couple of state forests on Saturday, including The Laurel Sanctuary that we had hoped to catch at peak blooming. We missed by a week or two, or so it looked, but it also didn't seem like it had been a very good year for Mountain Laurel this year, there just weren't many bushes in bloom. But we had a nice hike anyway, and the woods were pretty even without a quantity of laurel blossoms.

Sunday we headed down to a state beach on Long Island Sound. Zoo Boy enjoyed digging in the sand, wading along the water's edge, and, best of all, following the gulls and terns up and down the beach. We're pretty sure he's going to grow up to be a professional beach comber....

Meanwhile, the other two boys spent the bulk of their time in the ridiculously cold water. I'm not sure how they did it! The fact that the day itself wasn't particularly hot, AND had a stiff breeze, sure didn't help. In this photo, The Map Man kept them entertained as long as he could stand it out there, but he eventually shivered his way in. J soon followed, after more than an hour in the frigid surf. Their friend just wouldn't give up, though, and spent more than two hours out there. He must be half polar bear! (I meanwhile was sitting on our blanket under an umbrella -- I did get a toe or two wet before all was said and done, but my activity was limited strictly to rock and shell collecting. Swimming in the ocean doens't hold a lot of appeal to me, especially on a chilly day!)

J proves how cold it was when he got out. He also entertained us by shivering to the tune of "Ode To Joy".

It was a great weekend! In addition to the photos I managed to capture of the boys' fun, we also visited a local playground, had a little campfire where we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores, and spent a lot of time just hanging out and playing and visiting at our place. Laughter is good for the soul, and our souls were brimming by the time we put our friends on their plane home this morning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

of frogs and ponds

I promised to talk a little more about our tadpoles a few posts back. And I'm here to make good on that promise!

We've had a fun few weeks watching our tadpoles develop, setting up an environment for them, learning about frog development, reading about ponds, visiting various frog ponds to identify the types of frogs living there, and releasing our own froglets when they get to the insect-eating stage of their lives.

At first it was hard to tell our tadpole species apart -- they were pretty much all the same shape, size and color. (See the first photo and tell me if YOU can see any difference!) But the differences became apparent pretty quickly -- the tiny spring peepers quickly sprouted legs and shrank their tails and became froglets ready to be realeased within a couple of weeks. What we're left with now are....well, we're not sure! About ten individuals of some other species of frog. The tadpoles were the same size as the peeper tadpoles when we collected them, but they've not even started growing back legs yet -- they just keep eating, and growing, and eating, and growing....we're going to have to wait until they develop further to identify them!

This is the tank we set up for them. It's a 10 gallon aquarium tank, and is about 75% shallow water, with a couple of deeper places at the far edge, and about 25% above water so that the frogs can climb out of the water when they are ready. We've noticed that the froglets start playing around with coming out of the water for short amounts of time even though they still have tails a day or two before they emerge completely. Must be working on their developing lungs!

That small jar on top of the tank is what we use to transport the froglets to the frog pond to release. It has a couple of small stones in it for the frogs to climb out on, and also a small bit of pond water because sometimes we release emerging frogs if we know we won't be getting to the pond again within the next couple of days. Since we're not catching bugs for frogs to eat, we need to move them out when they are ready because there's nothing for them to eat in the tank.

Here's what the inside of the tank looks like -- we gather some native pond plants (only those that are dislodged and washed ashore from storms, as it's not legal to collect these from the wild) to give the tadpoles a more natural habitat. Little did we know, but they actually eat the pond plants! Those leaves wind up with little track marks in them, and the tadpoles have much prefered their natural foods over the goldfish flakes that our books on tadpoles told us to feed them, so we've had to replace the leaves occassionally. Makes sense, I guess! The funny thing is, these plants are washed ashore and half-dead when we collect them, yet they are flourishing in our tank, some are even preparing to bloom. I guess we've set up a good pond habitat!

A bullfrog in it's natural habitat, taken at one of our pond visits. I've got my fingers crossed that these tadpoles might be bullfrog tadpoles, as it can take up to two years for them to mature out as frogs, and bullfrogs would emerge large enough to eat small crickets, which we could buy at a pet store, so we could hang onto the adult frogs for a bit and complete our lifecycle study. There are plenty of bullfrogs in the pond where we got our tadpoles, so there's hope! Then again, with about a dozen species of native frogs, I guess chances are more likely they are something else. We've been having fun taking guesses at what they might be -- Zoo Boy feels they must be Pickerel Frogs, J is hoping for Wood Frogs. We all sort of hope they are toads, as then we could release them in our pastures instead of at the pond. It is possible to buy tadpoles of many native species at aquatic garden stores, so we may eventually look into that, especially if we decide to create an outdoor frog pond habitat in our yard. (An appealing thought, but probably a bit too much work given the age of the kids right now -- we'll probably file that thought under "future projects".)

And here's my favorite frog pond, in a nearby state forest, and the place where we're releasing our froglets. If we do decide to create our own pond, I'm going to use this one as my model!

Amongst our favorites of the books we've been reading on the frog/pond topic are:

Tale of a Tadpole, by Barbara Ann Porte, illustrated by Annie Cannon. The development of a toad from the persective of a young girl and her family, ends with her deciding to release the toad in her garden. Nice story, a little corny, but presents the facts of development in a less formal format than most books on the topic.

From Tadpole to Frog, by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Holly Keller. This is one of those Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science books that I've mentioned before. So it's a little fact-heavy (though not so much as some of their other books), but it's simplistic and does tell the story of bullfrog development with illustrations in each stage. At the end it illustrates and discusses the other common species of frogs. We liked it enough to buy it.

The rest of our books are general pond study books:

Around the Pond: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George. GORGEOUS book, nice story, great illustrations, a bit of mystery, a bit of mapping, everything a kid would love. A big-time favorite here!

Beaver Pond Moose Pond, by Jim Arnosky. As I've mentioned before, this is one of my favorite children's authors, so you won't be too surprised that several of his books will be listed here. This one is my favorite of the group. Not only are his illustrations lush, but he's so careful to include various integral pieces of the environments he's writing about, you get a sense of the fullness of the habitat without it being drummed into your head. In this story, you get to see many of the different species that utilize a beaver pond.

Otters Under Water, by Jim Arnosky. Ditto to the above! Just a lovely, simple story about otters in their natural aquatic habitat.

Raccoon On His Own, by -- you guessed it! -- Jim Arnosky. I may have already mentioned this books previously, and it's more about a slow moving stream/river than a pond, but the aquatic life is pertinent to our topic, and the story is of a raccoon's somewhat accidental exploration of it's environment, but with the strong sense/illustration that his family is still nearby supporting him. Great message for kids my guys' age in addition to exploring the aquatic habitat.

Given that we've still got the tadpoles (who knows for how long!) and that we're about to start spending afternoons at the local lake, I'm guessing our pond theme may continue most of the summer in one form or another. Ok by me! I like getting my feet wet.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

construction -- done at last!

And here it is! Anyone want to come play?

Monday, June 18, 2007

gearing down for summer

We're getting ready to slip into summer mode around here. As suggested by the Enki Education homeschooling curriculum, we're going to take the summer off from "formal" school activities (not that we've done a whole lot of that sort of thing yet anyway!) and spend the summer relaxing, rejuvinating, and preparing for the coming year. I sort of "pishawed" the idea when I first read it -- I mean, one of the great things about homeschooling is that you're not tied to a traditional school schedule! But as it works out, I did end up feeling like I needed some time to concentrate on planning for fall, and I felt like the kids needed a break from organized activities. So we're officially on Summer Break as of today!

To prepare for our summer of relaxation, we went into town to run some summer-like errands. Everything we needed to do was at Town Hall (shown pictured here), but our timing was a little off -- the office where we needed to buy our dog liscences was open, but the office where we needed to buy our lake pass was out to lunch. So we took care of the dog business and took a stroll around town for half an hour while waiting for the other office to re-open.

We live in a pretty typical New England small town. The downtown area is small and built primarily of stone; there's an old railroad depot that has been converted into cute shops; there are stone arch bridges that run over the small river that winds through the downtown area; there is still an active freight rail line that stops traffic several times a day in the center of town. The brick sidewalks are lined with benches located under mature trees. All in all, think of New England, and you'll think of our town. Not at all a bad place to waste a little time while waiting to buy a beach pass.

Back at home, the kids kick into full summer gear in (and out of) the wading pool. I've scaled our summer daily rhythms down to bare minimum:

-wake, open curtains, make beds (around 8am, or whenever!)
-sensory brushing (@ 10 min)
-outdoor play/morning chores (still in PJs, of course! :-) (@ 45 min)
-breakfast (@ 30 min)
-free play while I shower (@ 30 min)
-toothbrushing, sensory brushing, dressing (@ 20 min)
-run errands (grocery shopping, etc) OR baking OR arts/crafts OR creative play (depending on the day) (@ 1 1/2 - 2 hrs)
-lunch (@ 30 min)
-rest (@ 1 hr)
-beach (lake) (@ 3 hrs)
-afternoon chores/outdoor play (@ 1 hr)
-dinner (@ 1 hr)
-outdoor play (@ 1hr)
-bed prep (@ 30 min)
-family story time (@ 30 min)
-bed (around 9 pm)

Here's the kids sporting those new towels I talked about yesterday. They can't wait to take them to the beach! The local lake has the nicest little beach, which is where we'll be spending every afternoon (weather dependent of course). If that doesn't sound like summer, I don't know what does!

Zoo Boy is ready for indoor activities too. Here's his screwdriver family -- he's showing off the really big one now, but they've all got names and personalities which I can't hope to remember (but no doubt will get in trouble for not being able to identify at some point!). Between wire hanger "hook birds", camera tripod "robots" and screwdriver "families", who needs toys??

Which makes me think that a tag sale might be a good summer activity....

more construction, and we're still not done yet!

To be fair, we only put in a couple of hours of work on Sunday. It would be nice to say that was because it was Father's Day and we decided to give The Map Man a well-deserved break. But, well, that's not how it went.

Here he starts work on the clubhouse roof slats.

Next came installing the tunnel, which required both of our hands involved. Despite the fact that it's hotter than blue blazes inside that thing, the kids spent a good chunk of the morning inside of it today. I was dying just lying in there long enough to brace the sides while The Map Man screwed the supports in place.

Then he started working on the crow's nest. This is about as far as we got yesterday, as after I took this photo I headed indoors to hustle the kids into some clothes and throw our swim stuff in a bag so that we could move on to our next destination....

Another construction project! My sister kept an eye on the kids while The Map Man and I gave my brother-in-law a hand with his deck. Looks like a frustrating project, glad I wasn't involved with any of the planning. I'm strictly a "got hammer, tell me where to nail" sort of girl.

The kids had a blast playing with their cousins all afternoon. We (the kids and I) even ventured into the 61 degree (F) pool. Brrrrr. We didn't stay there long, but it sure was refreshing! Of course, none of the kids wanted to get out, but as the only adult foolhardy enough to jump in, I called an end to the "fun" when I could no longer feel anything below my waist.

We were then treated to a really great dinner on the grill, then headed home with sleepy little ones and not enough light left in the day to finish up the playset. Hopefully this evening....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

construction day 4

Well, I guess I lied. We put in another full day's work yesterday, yet our playscape is not done. Partly because our wonderful new babysitter wasn't available today so we didn't get that several hours of uninterupted work time. Partly because our farrier came to trim the ponies feet so we had to take a break then. Partly because we had to quit at 5:00 when storms started moving through. But mostly because I just was being overly optomistic when I said we only had one more day. But, we're getting closer! In this first photo, The Map Man works on framing the roof on the clubhouse porch.

And here's a picture to prove that I actually WAS involved with the whole process too. In this photo I'm attaching the "rocks" for the climbing wall/ladder (seen closer up in the next photo). Unfortunately it was a brutally hot and humid day. But we got really lucky with the weather -- things got bad storm-wise all around us a good two hours before anything actually hit here, so we got in a couple more hours of work than we would have otherwise.

Zoo Boy peeks around the support beam as I work. We'd filled the kiddy pool and the kids were in and out of it all afternoon. Here, Zoo Boy is sporting his new hooded "duck" towel. J got one that looks like a dinosaur. We got these towels from Company Kids -- they were a little pricey (for a towel), but the kids have been playing in them ever since they came, and we're going to spend a lot of time at the local lake this summer, so they're going to come in handy.

The Map Man works on the planks that make up the walk way that run through the tunnel. This was about the last thing that got accomplished yesterday, right after I took this photo I ran inside to check the radar and saw some bad storms approaching, so we started wrapping things up about an hour after I took this shot, and it began raining soon after that.

And here's where things stood last night (taken during a lull in the rain). We're getting really close! We still need to put the roof boards on the framing, install the tunnel (the supports are in, so that should go somewhat quickly), build the crow's nest, and hang the swings. Hopefully we'll get it all done this morning before we need to leave for my sister's house, where we're celebrating Father's Day with my family and helping my brother-in-law work on his deck. Because, you know, you can never do enough carpentry work....

But even if we don't get it completely finished, we should be to a point where we could finish up the details during the week. The goal has always been to have it done by the time our out-of-town guests come next weekend. I'm happy to say, it looks like we'll reach that goal! And then we can move on to the next project....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

rousing my intuition

I spent the past several days at a workshop put on by Enki Education entitled "Rousing Intuition". The general idea behind the concept (as best as I can explain, which is not neccessarily a complete or thorough description) is to help parents (or educators) foster their intuition and be able to understand themselves more deeply and less judgementally, and to bring them to a place where they can use those intuitive skills to understand and more effectively teach their children. The workshop included exercises in mindfulness meditation (which serves to help us be more present -- more mindful -- in our lives), discussion and activities to help recognize different temperaments, dispositions, and learning styles, and an activity that worked on helping us to recognize when we're being judgemental and how to look into that judgement and find the "truth". The overlying theme was discovering which pathways were most open, and using those open pathways to find access to others. The sculpture in this photo is something that I helped create with other members of the workshop who displayed similar dispositions, just to give an idea of how hands-on this workshop was.

The workshop kicked off a longer week-long Enki Education Homeschooling Conference that is being held at a private camp in south-central New Hampshire. The grounds are beautiful and includes two lakes, many trails, a variety of buildings both old and new, and a lovely lakefront area. As an early riser, I was able to explore quite a bit of the grounds before our daily activities began. Unfortunately, I was having some trouble with my camera phone (I later discovered that I'd inadvertantly left the settings in "macro" mode after photographing some wildflowers -- I always knew that habit would get me in trouble!), so most of the photos I took during the course of the 3 days were blurry, so I apologize for the lousy photography. This is a picture of the lake that the beachfront is located on. I'm hoping they'll hold the conference here again next year so that I get a chance to explore further. This year I just attended the workshop.

And here's the other lake, a short hike from the dining hall.

One of the really unique aspects of the conference is the childcare situation -- during each of the two daily work sessions, there is an experienced Enki childcare staff to provide stimulating and interesting (and of course, Enki-friendly!) activities for the children that are enrolled, to provide a very camp-like atmosphere for the kids, without the stress of being truly away from their families. I was extremely impressed with the childcare staff, and am looking forward to enrolling at least J (maybe both kids) in the program next year. There were a lot of quite young children enrolled and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy the program.

This is a group of blue flag (wild iris) I found growing along the above pond on one of my early morning hikes.

The workshop was an incredible experience for me. I experienced many revelations about myself (some of those "aha!" moments), including the fact that I care very deeply about relationships (so deeply, in fact, that most of the decisions I make/have made in my life revolve around making and maintaining connections with others), that I'm a primarily kinesthetic learner (which was a HUGE surprise to me, but certainly explains a lot), and that I have a strongly playful temperament, which, while that wasn't a surprise in and of itself, it did allow me to finally come to terms with who I am and gave me the permission to feel comfortable about it. Most of my life I've felt like I needed to supress my playful, enthusiastic side (in fact, I've been told many times by others that I'm too loud, too active, too busy). I've tried repeatedly, with no success (now I know why!), to change myself into a quieter, more peaceful person. Coming to understand my basic temperament made me realize that this is just who I am, and, more importantly, that it's OK. I don't think I'll worry about showing who I really am or spend any more energy trying to change into something I'm not any more. Now the goal is to allow my children to experience that same sense of freedom to be who they are without judgement or trying to change them. Which happens to be what I've always wanted anyway, but now I think I'm better prepare to allow it to happen.

One more photo -- the waterfront area, complete with beach, dock, raft, and a supply of canoes. I wish I could have gotten a picture inside the "daycare" room (not that they were indoors very much, mind you!), it was like a fairy tale. Play silks adorned the walls and floor, baskets of sea shells and rocks, piles of interesting logs and bark, nooks and crannies to hide in and explore, an absolute imagination factory!

One of my favorite parts of every day was the morning family circle -- an experienced Enki educator led us all in songs/verse and dance/movement. It was such an amazing feeling to do that as a community -- it's hard to do a true "circle" when it's just you and a kid or two! It's more a meandering. So getting to experience a larger circle was so much fun and very inspiring.

All in all, this was one of the most valuable workshops I've ever been to. It was a deeply moving experience to be able to meet and talk with other families walking a similar educational path, and I came away feeling very connected to the community. That in itself will carry me into the coming "school" year with renewed commitment and zeal.

And hey, I'm all about the zeal! :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

are you sick of construction pictures yet?

We only have one more day of work to complete this project, so your misery will end soon. More importantly, OUR misery will end soon. It's been a pretty good project, but as with all projects, little things here and there need tweaking and adjusting, and it's just getting a bit wearing.

But anyway, here we are on day 3 of construction of our new playscape -- The Map Man is diligently making the 2nd story safe with railings and boards so that the kids can play up there again without giving me a heart-attack. I'm diligently taking photos of the process. (Just kidding, I've honestly done my share on this project, and in fact, despite what it looks like in this particular series of photos, I've gotten my hands plenty dirty and my muscles plenty tired.)

One final step before letting the kids loose on the tower: bolting on the slide. By mid-day the tower was safe for the kids to play on (assuming they don't launch themselves out the window, which will eventually get a screen, or the tunnel opening which will eventually attach to -- duh -- a tunnel). There's still quite a bit of work remaining on the tower -- the clubhouse and porch need a roof, and the entire bottom story needs rails and boards and another wall (and sand in the sand pit, like our entire side yard isn't sandy enough!). The roof will have to wait for another day, but we got busy on the lower story right away.

The kids were beyond thrilled to get to play on their under-construction playset! They spent the late afternoon and evening scrambling around the clubhouse and decking, climbing the ladder, sliding down the slide. Pretending that the upper story was a restaurant. And a pirate ship. And a space craft. And a jail. I personally thought that it looked like The Map Man was in a pig pen down in that bottom story....

Here's The Man screwing down the bottom story floor/decking. I told him that this is really good practice for next summer when we build a new deck. (I'm trying the idea on for size -- we desperately need a new deck, ours is about the size of a postage stamp and has looked like it might collapse at any moment since we moved in here 11 years ago. We did bolt it to the house a few years back when the kids started venturing out there, so collapse isn't really possible, but it's just a sad, sad, sad deck that needs to go. So eventually there WILL be a new deck out there -- the question is when, and if we'll attempt such a lofty project ourselves. We're capable -- I think -- but do we really WANT to do it?)

And here's what the playscape looked like by the end of the day. What's left, you ask? The roof on the clubhouse and porch. The beams for the swings and trapeze bar. The tunnel that goes over that and leads to the clubhouse. The crow's nest that goes in front of the tunnel entrance. The climbing wall/ladder that leads to the crow's nest. Hanging the swings. Collapsing into an exhausted heap.

It sounds like a lot. Ok, it IS a lot. But I really think we'll get it done with just one more full day of work, so hopefully over this coming weekend, if the weather holds out for us. Hours logged so far: about 22. But I'm guessing that the instructions assume that the "two moderately skilled people" are people that each own their own sets of tools. Sharing one tape measure between the two of us is not the most efficient way to get this job done.

Boco and Take That save the planet Earth

Let me introduce you to some of my kids' favorite superheros, their villainous alien counter-part, and the planet they all live on. (These "toys" were constructed by the kids out of plastic snap-together building toys that the kids got at a restaurant -- the story line and the toy design is all theirs -- after this story line had continued for the past week, I decided it was time to document it. I have added a few embellishments based on my observations.)

This is our hero, Boco. He's a superhero who can fly VERY fast. HE attacks in quick fly-by fashion, then turns around to fly back in for another attack. He can't stand up on his own, yet he should NEVER be left lying down on the job. Really, he's happiest in flight. And he also seems pretty happy letting his side-kick do the majority of the grunt work.

This is Boco's trusted side-kick, Take That. He's very powerful (makes sense, huh? I mean, he's actually got the ability to stand on his own -- that's a mighty force to be reckoned with!). When he attacks, with his trade-mark cry of "take that!", it's with so much power that he actually makes his opponent fall into pieces. I'm glad he's on our side!

This is Boco's evil arch-nemesis, Betty Martin. He's an alien. He needs to be destroyed. Repeatedly. When he is destroyed (usually by Take That), he falls into pieces, but is then able to almost instantly pull himself back together to provide endless opportunities for battles.

They all live here, on this planet, called Earth. Oh, it's not the SAME planet Earth that we live on. It's an entirely DIFFERENT planet Earth. From the looks of things, I'd say that this planet Earth didn't take the threat of global warming very seriously....hopefully our planet Earth won't wind up looking like this one!