About, Parenting

Conversations with the Kids

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Mr. 3: My poop is flat!

Me: I wonder how that happened?

Mr. 3: Maybe there aren’t enough nutrients?

Me: Maybe… how do we get more nutrients?

Mr. 3: Yogurt? Yeah! I REALLY want some yogurt!


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Me: Twinkle twinkle little start…

Mr. 1: NOOO!

Me: Abcdef…

Mr. 1: NOOOOO!

Me: The stars at night, are big and bright!

Mr. 1: NOOO!

Me: Do you want me to stop singing?

Mr. 1: No!

Me: Do you like saying no?

Mr. 1: No?

Me: Do you like saying yes?

Mr. 1: *nods head emphatically*


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Me: Happy 11 week birthday!

Fetus: …

Me: We are supposed to start feeling better now!

Fetus: …

Me: Alright! Let’s have a good day! Go Team!

Fetus: …

 

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Adventures

Big Truck Day

Yesterday in Redmond, Washington, it was Big Truck Day. I found out about this on my local homeschool Facebook group when I asked for ideas to satisfy kids obsessed with trucks. 

Just as an example of how much my 3-year-old loves trucks is that he feeds himself with his front loader and dump truck instead of using the recommended utensils.

Big Truck Day was like a dream come true for both of my boys and they would run from one truck to another scream laughing in excitement. 

There was a garbage truck, and I am super surprised that Mr. 3 didn’t go “Blippi” on us. (His favorite show which talks about trucks and things.)

Next was a ladder fire truck with its ladder reaching to the sky. The fireman gave Mr. 3 a fire truck he’s been wearing a lot.

There was a bus, and Mr. 1 tried to close the doors on everyone. Whoops!

There was a dump truck where Mr. 3 spilled water on the drivers’ seat. I think this was his favorite as he came back to it twice!

My personal favorite was the moving truck by Two Men and a Truck. These guys went above and beyond by turning the back of the truck into a miniature playground with tunnels and inflatable balls. 


Everyone else just had their doors open and an empty truck… like UPS truck with empty shelves. 
My phone overheated or just rebelled against me halfway through so I couldn’t get pictures of the cat adoption van, cupcake car, ice cream truck, backhoe(another favorite), tractor, and many other trucks I don’t even remember the names for. 

It was so much fun for the boys and we caught a short tractor ride before we headed to the bathrooms and then the car to go home. 

When we got home, after naps in the car, the little ones built their own truck show.


It was a beautiful and exciting day and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for similar events!

(Although it was scary when the boys ran in opposite directions, it was totally worth the stress to see them so excited!)

Daily Lessons, Parenting

Being Helpful

My kids love being helpful. I know it can be frustrating when they start sweeping the ceiling, or that vacuuming takes 8 times as long. And yet, it is in our best interest to let them help! They are learning important lessons such as helping and caring for others, taking care of themselves and their belongings, teamwork, problem solving, fine and gross motor coordination, and SO much more.  Continue reading “Being Helpful”

Daily Lessons, play, Projects

Warning: Severe Heat in the Seattle area!

It’s 90 degrees in Seattle. Yowza! How are we keeping cool? We aren’t. One thing that surprised us when we moved here from Texas was the general lack of centralized A/C.

We have a little unit A/C but the kids won’t leave the door closed, so it’s no good to anyone.

Actually, it does a great job of blowing bubbles. Still, if you are paying $200 for a bubble blower… you are crazy and probably insolvent. 

Forgive me, the heat makes me cranky. 

What we are doing is taking it easy and keeping busy. We’ve got some collaging with contact paper, playdoh, painting on the patio, sticking pipe cleaners into things that have holes, and drinking lots of water.


Also, playing with ice until the freezer runs out. I took an idea from my recent follower Heather (thanks!) and froze some of their water resistant toys in a big bowl of water. Mr. 3 poured salt all over it and we played with together for a little while, at least 30 minutes.  

The salt was as old as he is, so I’m not too heart broken about him using the whole bottle. 

How are you keeping cool? 

By the way, I’m super excited to announce… that Mr. 3 has started “reading” to Mr. 1 and finds many opportunities to explain things to him. 

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm”

“No, that’s not a truck, that’s a tractor” 

I love it. I love it. I love it. 

Math, Projects, Science

Cooking with Kids – Pizza

I believe I mentioned before that letting your children help out in the kitchen, while hard on your counters and floors, is beneficial for them in multiple ways.

Pizza is a great way to let them help out. They can do it all (make the dough, roll it out, put on toppings) or just help with the toppings.

I use the American Test Kitchen pizza dough recipe, it makes a small pizza so I normally double it. I let my 3-year-old help dump the measuring spoons, help me count scoops, and press the buttons on the processor.

Combine 1 cup BREAD flour, 2/3 tsp instant yeast, a little salt. Add 1 tbsp oil and then slowly add up to 7 or 8 tbsp of water until it forms a ball and is no longer sticking to processor. (By slowly, I meant you should run the processor every few scoops to see how it’s mixing.) Take it out and knead it a bit and form a ball. Let it rise in a covered bowl for an hour and then roll out and add toppings. I bake mine at 375(F) for 10 minutes, or until all the cheese is nice and gooey and the crust is starting to turn golden. You may need to change the cooking time and temperature based on your toppings.

It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it is fun! Let your kids in on the joy of cooking. They may even want to help wipe down the counter when they are done. (Mine did not, they wanted to eat the rest of the shredded cheese, resulting in my having to vacuum when the 1-year-old started dropping cheese everywhere.)

Parenting

Ask more questions

It’s funny how when you buy a car you start seeing it everywhere. Or when you (or your spouse) are pregnant you start noticing pregnant women everywhere. 

I read an interesting quote from Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting and it opened my eyes to dealing with some of my 3 year old’s behavior.

I almost always answer his questions directly, but this may not be ideal. Apparently, it could be very beneficial for him to think up some answers on his own.

Even when we’re unwilling to give kids the last word, we can still give them the first word— that is, a chance to make their case. Thus, when children ask whether it’s okay to do something, it often makes sense to respond with “Well, what do you think?” This lets them know that their viewpoint counts, and also invites them to play an active role in considering the implications of their request.

After I read this, I noticed Mr. 3 would ask me behavior questions. Perhaps it is coincidence, but I had never really heard him do this before. I decided that he should have the chance to decide a few things.

Mr. 3: Does Blippi put his feet on the table? (Read: can I put my feet on the table ?)

Me: …What do you think?

Mr. 3: No, he doesn’t. 

And he didn’t put his feet on the table, which is an improvement because when he is a baby (as opposed to a dog, a squirrel, Blippi, or anything) he and his brother tend to get in contests to see who can put their feet on the table and scream the loudest.

Mr. 3: *giggles while reaching into the toilet a little* Does Blippi touch the toilet water?

Me: (Thinking: EW you JUST peed in there!!) … What do you think?

Mr. 3: *takes hand out* No, he doesn’t.

And later he asked if Blippi sleeps with his hat on and decided that, yes, he does sleep with his hat on. This is not something worth arguing about so I agreed. He took the hat off a few minutes later because it was hot and\or itchy, but it was his choice.

By the way, it’s been over 24 hours since I yelled at my kids, and I am feeling strong!

Parenting

Guilt

I was complaining to my mother a few weeks ago about how much I had been yelling at my kids, and her response was simply, “You are going to feel that way for the rest of your life. I still feel guilty today.”

That is both depressing and terrifying and I dont want to feel that way.

For the most part I remember my childhood quite fondly, and was good friends with my mom throughout my teenage years and still today. But if there is a way to avoid the blow ups and yelling and dragging across the room by the hair ( I will never let you forget), then I need to learn it now. Rumor has it that adolescents are even more infuriating than 3 year olds.

They may look like angels…

I started reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and he is saying all the right things. He is saying that parenting is hard, really hard, and that we all make mistakes. He is saying our number one job is to love our children and that sometimes the things we do to them make them forget that we do love them.He is saying with an open mind and heart we can change. We don’t have to yell at our children, we have to listen to them. We don’t have to put them in time out to cry inconsolably and forget the reason why, we have to comfort them and explain, show them a better way to do things.

Hindsight is always clearer and it’s so darn difficult in the heat of the moment to remember these things. For example, Mr. 3 poked me in the eye with his toothbrush and did not listen to me in my repeated requests to acknowledge me, brush his teeth, and put on his diaper. He would periodically and with increasing frustration say, “my name is Morgan!”

Well, that is NOT the name I gave him, and in MY increasing frustration I kept not calling him Morgan, which made him not listen to me. Finally I yelled, and then I cried, and then I apologized and said I needed a moment to calm down. Then I realized my mistake, and apologized for calling him the wrong name and I asked him to be patient with me because I had been calling him — for 3 years and it’s hard to stop. He told me he was happy now and we proceeded to read stories and finish getting ready for bed.

I know I have a lot to learn, and lots of patience to build up. I want to try though, because I love my children and I want what is best for them. I want to listen to them, respect them, and teach them some better problem solving skills than I currently possess. I definitely do NOT want to yell at them again as it is bad for everyone involved.

Parenting

1 Small Change

My 3-year-old brought his Safari/Monster Truck into the bathroom with this morning and said something to the effect of, “he’s a bad monster truck. He is mean, he tears the toilet paper and bangs into the door!”

The way Mr. 3 said this made me feel like he was talking about himself, and that he feels like he is a bad or mean person just because he sometimes does bad or mean things.

In that moment I said, “maybe he is just grumpy, and needs a hug. Just because we do mean things doesn’t mean we are mean people.”

Later, as I spent more time thinking about it, I began to think that his attitude is caused by the way I react when he does bad or mean things.

For example, when he pushes his brother I would normally say, “Stop! Do NOT push your brother, that is not a nice thing to do. That is mean! You could hurt or scare him!” I sometimes have even said, “You are being mean to your brother!”.

I would like to change my town and words to reflect his actions, and not his overall attitude. I would like to start saying, “That is not how we do things here. We say, “M– could I have my train back, or ask mommy for help.”

I hope this helps him realize that he is not a bad person. I worry that if he feels like he is a bad or mean person that he will start doing bad and mean things just because he thinks that is what he is supposed to be. A self-perpetuating cycle. I feel that he has been pushing more lately, and I hope that by changing my response we will see a difference in his responses.

I did get this inspiration from the John Holt book, Teach Your Own. I finished reading it, and you can find my review on my other blog.

About, Parenting

Teach Your Own – John Holt – Chapter 2

I am reading another John Holt book, so I have a lot I want to talk about. This book is Teach Your Own, the how and why of homeschooling. John Holt originally wrote this book in the 60’s, but the book has been updated in 2003 by Pat Feranga.

Chapter two addresses the common homeschooling questions of, “how will my children learn enough”, “how do I teach my kids for x number of hours a day,”. More importantly it provides some background and studies on what it takes to be a good teacher, and to be successful at homeschooling.

Continue reading “Teach Your Own – John Holt – Chapter 2”

Daily Lessons, Language, Parenting

The rest of the day

I know that last post was a little hard to read, but writing it out definitely helped me get some perspective and help cement my realization that I just need to be more patient. 

Also, the bad times help us appreciate the good times more, don’t they?

After they woke up from their nap, we ended up having a wonderful afternoon. We did a lot of playing outside. They picked wildflowers (weeds) and rocks in a field near the house, and dug a large hole in our backyard. 


It was really awesome watching them work together on the hole, and getting along for at least 20 minutes. Every once in a while Mr. 3 would say, “Excuse me M—-, I am trying to dig here!” 


I told him he has to speak clearly and slowly to his brother and so now he emphasizes each word, and it’s so funny to hear him talk like that.

Little brother kept trying to climb into the hole.

We also discovered that while raw green beans have a tough shell that is kind of gross to chew, the little pods inside the shell are juicy and delicious. We spent quite some time shelling and eating the green beans in the garden. We compared flavors of the different sized pods.


When we got back inside they took a bath together and then immediately wanted to play in the sand box. 

The 15 month old has made some great vocabulary strides in the last few days. He can say “WOW” when we read Wow, Says the Owl. He can also say “baby” out loud, but I think he was really trying to say Brother, which he also just started signing. 

It’s adorable when he signs brother and walks through out the house (or toy store) looking for his big brother. 

He handed me a bib and said “b b b bib!” 

He is trying to jump and just kind of bounces up and down on his toes.

Big brother on the other hand is working on standing on one foot now. And he does great impersonations of his favorite Blippi shows. And he didn’t ask for the Kindle once yesterday, I think he has accepted my computers are for responsible people speech? 

And guess what? When he pooped in his diaper in the evening, I calmly asked him if he wanted to go potty, and when he indicated “no”, I told him to let me know when he was done and we could get him cleaned up. 

See, I CAN do this wonderful job of taking care of and helping my children explore the world.