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Go south, young van

They may not be cowpokes, but at this point in the summer, my kids are poking each other all day long. So I'm only too happy to load 'em up and move 'em out. We're riding the range (aka. I-390 South) to Corning for the Kids West Festival at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art.

            At Kids West, the young'uns can have plenty of hands-on fun. They can make small clay pinch pots like the ones used by Native Americans, and weave paper designs inspired by Navajo rugs on display in the Museum. Kids won't have to wait until high noon to draw. They can help design a Western town on a giant chalk board all day long.

            Doug Corey will re-create a cowboy camp with his authentic chuck wagon and lots of interesting artifacts. He's a cowboyologist. That must be some new type of liberal arts degree.

            At the Mini-Trading Post, kids can work, play, and dress like Native Americans and cowboys. Rhinestones are optional.

            Of course, no celebration of the Old West would be complete without musical entertainment. Doc Possum will be playing kid-friendly acoustic rock at noon on both days. Buy one of his CDs so you can play Possum at home.

            Kids West takes place directly behind the Museum on Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's free and held in collaboration with Corning's annual ARTSFest, a juried fine arts show.,, or 607-937-5386.

--- Linda Kostin (

This week for families:

Arnett Branch Library New Life Music, Wed, July 21, 2:30 p.m. | Artist and cartooning demonstration, Wed, July 28, 2:30 p.m. | Arnett Branch Library, 310 Arnett Blvd. 428-8114

Arts in Action for Tweens Aug 16-20. For 10- to 12-year-olds, Hochstein School, 454-4596,

City Summer Kids Club Mon-Fri through Sept 3. For ages 6-10, various recreation centers, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $50 per week. 428-6767,

ClubMom Day of Indulgence Fri, July 23. For all mothers, Crown Plaza, 70 State St, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free.

Cool Kids Thurs, July 22: Brockport Summer Jazz Ensemble, 7-9 p.m. | Fri, July 23: Renaissance olden music and storytelling, 7-8 p.m. | Sagawa Park, Main and Erie Sts, Brockport. Free. 637-3984

Henrietta Public Library Toddler storytime, Wed, July 21 and 28, 10:30-11 a.m. | Mr. Beau The Clown, Wed, July 21, 2-3 p.m. | Preschool storytime, Thurs, July 22, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | Storytime, Thurs, July 22, 5-year-olds, 11-11:30 a.m. | Movie, Fri, July 23, ages 4 and up, 2 p.m. | Family pajama storytime, Mon, July 26, ages 2-8, 7 p.m. | Whitetail Deer program, Mon, July 26, 10:30-11:30 a.m. | Jumbles, Tues, July 27, grades 1-3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. | Boondoggle Craft, Wed, July 28, 7-8 p.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7093

Kids Café Mon-Thurs through Aug 19. Meal program for kids up to age 17, Church of Love Faith Center, 700 Exchange St, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Main Game Sat, July 24. Sports and recreation activities for kids, information on community recreation programs, karate and boxing demos, live music, Main St between State St and Plymouth Ave, 12-6 p.m. Free. 428-6767

RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium 657 East Ave. A Trip to Saturn and Pluto, Saturdays 1 p.m. | The Sky Tonight, Sat 10:30 a.m. | I See The Sky, for ages 3-5, Sat 9:30 a.m.| The Beatles Laser, Sat 10 p.m. | Reserve seats. Tix: $4-$7. See "Movies" section for large-format film showings. 271-1880

Rochester Boys Choir Now auditioning, grades 2-7, Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave. 381-9228,

Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005. | Body Carnival: the Science and Fun of Being You, ongoing. | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through Jan 2006. | Live Science Demos, Wed-Fri 3:30 p.m., Sat 2, 3, 4, Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30. | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880,

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Dave Walton, Sun, July 25, live music, 3 p.m. | BugZoo, through Wed, Aug 18. | Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453,

Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. | Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700

Summer Food Service Program Free lunch and breakfast for kids under 18, Mon-Fri, various sites. Call for registration and info. 428-7872, 325-1440

Teddy Bear Tea Sun, July 25. Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens, 151 Charlotte St, Canandaigua, 2:30-4 p.m. $5, $10 adults. 396-7433

Volunteers of America Universal Pre-K Programs Openings available, for 4- and 5-yr-olds, free to city residents, 100 State St or 214 Lake Ave, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 647-1344, 263-3103

The sleepover as dry run

It's midnight.



            My seven-year-old is at a sleepover and I'm a wreck. He's been ready for sleepovers since he was three. I am still not ready.

            Why do I see his empty bed as a grim foreshadowing of our future? It will become empty when he goes off to college, for sure. I just hope it doesn't happen before then. I know this sounds hysterical, but the empty bed says death to me. Certainly, as my son becomes more independent, his childhood dies along with my role as a parent. And that's the plan, right?

            But kids really do die sometimes. Julien, a toddler friend of my nephew, died in March. Alex, my friends' 26-year-old son, died in June. So far we've been lucky. We've had broken bones, stitches, and surgery. These are things I can handle.

            Even as I drink greedily from the deep well of pleasure that my children give me, I never forget that with this happiness comes the potential for loss and unimaginable pain. Soon I'll pick my son up from the sleepover. I can't wait. He's a "cool" kid, so I won't slobber all over him in front of his friends. Once I get him home, though, I'll throw him on the bed and tickle him while I have the chance.

--- Jennifer Loviglio

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