Thoughts and musings of Peter Kupfer


  • Category Archives IKup
  • Thoughts about having a second child and letting the first one grow…

    As I sit here with less than 12 hours until the fourth member of our little family is born, I have a chance to reflect on the last three years and what lies ahead. Child birth is a weird feeling. Unlike other decision and changes in your life, you can’t change your mind at the last minute. No matter what happens, as time marches inexorably forward, there will be a new life entering the world shortly after 10 AM June 13th. I’ve been trying to sift through my emotions but am still not sure what to make of it all.

    There is a part of me (and at times I feel guilty for this emotion) that is sad to see this chapter of lives end. Having little IKup has been so much fun and I enjoy the time the three of us have had together. I found myself just squeezing him tight trying to hold on to this feeling before everything changes. I don’t even know that it is the birth of the new child that is making me feel this way, but rather how independent he is becoming. As much as we have tried taught him to be independent, and as much as he should be independent, it is still hard to realize he needs you a little less everyday. Now, he wakes up from his nap says, “Dad, I’m need to go poopy. I’m going to sit on the potty and go poopy.” Then he does it.

    Ultimately I am excited to see what kind of person he becomes, but it is a little sad at times to not be the one that has to put him on the potty and those sorts of things.

    As for child number two, I am very anxious to see if he turns out to be as stellar as Isaac did. Gina and I just tried to do our best with IKup using logic and common sense and he turned out pretty spectacular. The more I think about it, I don’t really think that a second kid is going to just be twice as much work. It is not just like we are now going to raising a second kid, we have to also manage the relationship between the two children. That is my biggest concern. In teaching, I have seen many families of siblings. Some turn out to be the same as each other (either both awesome or both not so awesome) or they turn out to be opposites of each other. I don’t know that there is really a trick to making to happen, you just have to go with your gut.

    Ultimately I am hoping that having two little guys running around is going to be more than twice as much fun. I am very excited for IKup to have someone to play with (in several months that is) all the time. It will be different because child number two will have to share a lot of experience that IKup go to himself, but as they share them together, hopefully they will have even more fun.

    So, I’m not sure if I making sense or not, but I can hopefully sleep now having gotten those thoughts out of my head and into the cloud. We soon will be a square family.

  • Wii Review: Learning with the Poo-Yoos

    While playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 last week, little Isaac wanted to get involved and kept taking my Wiimote to play the “mouse game.” (Somehow he mistook Mario for Mickey Mouse.) While this was cute and all, it made me want to find him a Wii game of his own to play with and learn how to use the Wiimote and possibly let me play my game in peace.

    After looking at a few choices I settled on a WiiWare game called Learning with the PooYoos.

    Learning with the PooYoos is a game developed in France and available via WiiWare download on the Wii for 500 points ($5.00). The game is designed with two different levels: Little PooYoos (ages 3-4) and Big PooYoos (ages 5-6). Given the age levels, the graphics and catchy theme song are perfect and will capture the young players’ attention. After you pick you level, there are two different games to play. One involves matching the shape of a PooYoo with the shape in a cloud (first picture below) and the second involved popping balloons with the water from the elephant PooYoo’s trunk.


    Isaac can not yet handle the shape matching game so I can’t speak as much to that part of the game, but we have played the balloon popping game several times. In the little PooYoo level of this game the player simply shakes the remote and the elephant PooYoo shoots water at balloons until they are all gone. (As shown in the video of Isaac below.) In the Big PooYoo level, the player actually has to point the Wiimote at the screen and aim at the balloons to pop them.

    After you pop the balloons the first time, the game has an intermission and asks what shape the balloons were and then goes through a second round of balloon popping followed by a question of what color the balloons were. Then the PooYoos lead you through a nice dance routine. During the dance routine, by pressing different buttons on the Wiimote various effects happen on screen like spot lights, confetti and other fun. After the dance, you take a boat ride where again, pressing buttons on the Wiimote causes different effects on the screen. Isaac especially enjoys pushing the buttons and causing lights and the sun (a fan to him) to go across the screen.

    Isaac has not played the big PooYoo level, but he enjoys the little PooYoo level quite a lot. Simply shaking the remote is a nice way for him to learn about the cause and effect relationship of the Wii. As I said, he truly enjoys pushing the buttons on the Wiimote that cause various visual effects to appear on the screen.

    My biggest complaint with the game is that the few questions it asks are always the same. At one point the game asks what color the bubbles are or what color an umbrella was but the answer is always the same color. I would like it better if the color would rotate to make Isaac think a little more. There is a version 2 released, but I have not looked at it yet.

    Ultimately, this game did exactly what I wanted it to do, especially for only $5.oo. Isaac is able to use the Wiimote and learn how it works. He is learning more about cause and effect relationships and a little about hand-eye coordination. Another learning piece I didn’t think about was that it counts on screen and out load to help re-enforce math skills. I have a feeling I will download the second episode before the end of the summer for Isaac to play. If you have a two – six year old who you want to introduce to the world of Wii, this is the game for you.


  • Grayslake Parks: Mill Creek Park

    Mill Creek Park is one of the Grayslake Park District’s must full featured playgrounds (As you can see from the picture at the bottom, Isaac gets a little overwhelmed there.) There is one large structure as shown below on the left. The side of the structure with the large red twisty slide is well suited for intermediate climbers and is relatively safe without too many places to walk off. The piece on the left with the straight slide, after the gazebo, is very difficult to access unless you are an advanced climber so the play structure offers fun and challenges for all climbers.

    The pictures on the right above are of the smaller play structure adjacent to the larger one. The small structure is good for youngsters who have just started moving. If they can crawl or get up stairs, then they can have fun. If nothing else, parents can help the tykes on the small structure and let them go down the slide. Isaac really enjoyed this area when he was 1 because he do almost all of it on his own and it has a steering wheel on it, which he always likes.

    Another nice feature of this park is the picnic pavilion. This is located very near the play area so you could have a large outing here and still be close enough to supervise young children. The picture on the left below shows the pavilion, the picture in the middle shows Isaac trying, unsuccessfully to climb up the harder side of the play structure, and the picture on the right is Isaac making his way to the twisty slide.

    The park also has swings (I think two baby and two regular) and is adjacent to several soccer fields.

    The park is easy to get either by car or by bike. Continue reading 

  • Grayslake Parks: Cullen Park

    Cullen Park holds the distinction of being the Grayslake Park District”s only all metal park. It is located off of 120 in the Grayslake Apartment area. There is one large play structure there with slides and areas for both little and big ones so multiple kids can be entertained in one place. The pictures here show the large twisty slide on the left side of the structure and the smaller straight slide on the right. (You can see Isaac in action on the slides in the pictures at the bottom.) You can also see the chain link ladder in the right that can give the more skilled climbers a good challenge.

    Cullen Park -- #2 -- Big StructureCullen Park #2 -- Middle of StructueCullen Park #3 -- Small Area

    The park also includes two real swings and two baby swings along with two bouncy animal things (picture below on the left). The other feature that sets this park apart is that it has a half basketball court (which you can see in the picture on the right below and in the map below). Now, this can be a mixed blessing. One of the times we were there several guys were playing basketball and swearing quite a bit. It wasn’t anymore than you would hear in a YMCA gym pickup game, but I wasn’t a big fan of it with Isaac near by.

    Isaac by the slides.

    One of the things Isaac likes best about this park is that he can smash and bang on the metal parts (either the slide of the tube) to make lots of noise.

    [adsense] Continue reading 

  • Isaac’s 13th Month

    Isaac has now been alive 13 months and I wanted to recap his adventures this month.

    The summer began which meant we were starting our time with our pool passes. Isaac loves the water and he runs around in it and even when he falls in over his head you just pick him up real fast and then he is ready to go again after spitting the water out.

    Issac in Water Issac in Water 2

    We also recently discovered the Grayslake Park District Splash Park, and Isaac loves this place too. It is just an adventure land with water toys he can run around in. He has been “bumping into” girls there also and saying, “Hi.” He is a gonna be a heart breaker I fear. (I love the one on the left!)
    At the splash park Isaac and the splash park Isaac walking through the Isaac wash at the splash park

    Much like the pool and the park. Isaac loves bath and is still quite exciting to get to splash around. I think really it is just that he likes violence and destruction much like Continue reading