Daily Lessons

New Leaf

I’m feeling much better! I still have frequent headaches and need to nap every day, but I am feeling mostly better!

I’ve been directing my newfound energy and willpower to my kids, and I am noticing their response.

First, I have started offering open art activities again. We are staying simple, because that is what they like best, and also it is easiest to set up. We have done chalk on construction paper, and watercolors with permanent marker pictures. We also made more flags because Mr. 3 has been interested in racing and racing flags. (He asked for this himself, and that made me SO happy!)

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Mr. 3 has reached a new art milestone. A few months ago he was drawing circles that were… circles. Now he draws circles that are “train tracks” or “rocket ships with windows that are train tracks” or “elephant intestines”. He’s telling stories with his art, which is new and exciting. It means he feels he can express his interests, even if it’s just the same circles!

Mr. 1 makes one type of movement (horizontal line to the right) so I think changing up the materials will help keep him interested.

Second, I’ve been getting on the floor to play with them every once in a while. They are fairly independent players but I want to show them that I am interested in their games and I ask questions about what they are doing. I ask questions when I lay on the couch, too, but it feels so distant.

We’ve been reading as much as ever, which I am happy to do. I’ve included some Halloween books to help get the kids excited about the holiday.

Mr. 3 has been asking a lot of questions that make me feel like he is really trying to learn reading and math. He asks “how many train pieces am I holding?” and “what if I put two down?” and when we walk by stores or signs he asks, “what does that sign say”? This has been a recent change in his questions which usually are more “Why [repeat whatever Mommy just said].”

I hope things are going well for you, too!

 

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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: …

 

Parenting

My 3 Year Old stopped napping!

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Mr. 3 has stopped napping. This is a recent development, and the transition has actually been pretty smooth. He lasted 3.5 years and for that I am so grateful! I am grateful, also, for his ability to play mostly independently while I nap.

I’m not giving up MY nap just because Mr. 3 has given up his.

I lay the 18 month old down around 12:30 and I ask Mr. 3 if he needs anything else before I lay down. Usually he just asks for his milk. Then I go lay down and try to sleep.

Sometimes he wakes me up for a good reason, usually because he has to poop.

Sometimes he wakes me up for not such a good reason, “are you awake?,” or  “can you take apart these train pieces”.

For the most part he just plays with his train set and, or his magnet tiles and patiently waits for me to wake up.

How does your family handle nap time? 

 

Adventures

Bowling

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We tried something new with the kids this weekend. Bowling!

We only stayed for one game, which took approximately an hour, which was just as long as the attention span of my 18 month old. Both the 3 and 1.5-year-old had a little trouble taking turns and wanted to roll the ball down the ramp all the time.

When it WAS their turn, they would get super excited. Mr. 3 had no trouble carrying the 5 and sometimes 8 pound balls, but we helped the really little boy carry and guide the ball to the ramp.

We also distracted them with hot chocolate when it wasn’t their turn.

Overall the experience was interesting, and the boys really seemed to enjoy themselves. Bowling is a fun, turn taking game. The boys both really enjoy knocking things over, so this game is right up their alley. (Haha)

You can also practice counting the pins standing or knocked over. You can practice simple take away math if your child is interested. (You knocked over 3 of the 10 pins, how many are left? Your brother gets two tries, how many does he have left?)

Honestly, the most difficult part of it was trying to leave when the 3-year-old noticed the slices of cake at a family’s nearby table.

Have you gone bowling with your children? How do you make the trip a success? 

 

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. 

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.

Adventures

Pike Place Farmer’s Market

Last week we went to the Pike Place Farmer’s Market.

In Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling he says to be wary of going on field trips for field trips sake. He emphasizes that your children will learn more and better if it’s something they or you are interested in, or if it’s necessary to go.

(I’m still working my way through the book, but it is not quite as inspiring as I found Learning All the Time to be. This is because some of the anecdotes are the same and Teach Your Own is less John Holt and more just letters from parents to his Growing Without Schooling magazine. )


Well we had to go to the Farmer’s market at Pike Place for two reasons:

1. That is where Bavarian Meats, the only German store and deli that I am aware of in this area is located.

2. We needed to buy some local honey.

Also as a bonus reason, we were out of fruit at home.

The boys both enjoyed the trip.

We parked at the Target because it is free if you spend at least $20 at Target, and we needed towels and underwear for Daddy.

Then we walked one block and found ourselves at the market. First stop was the honey, which was quick and easy.

Next, we threaded our way through the crowds (even on a weekday morning) to the other end of the market to find the German store. We stocked up on wieners, Knackwurst, and Bratwurst, and pretzel bread. I also got some Grießbrei pudding mix.

The ladies at the store are super sweet and they gave each of my boys a wiener, and then I received a smoked sausage as well.

Then we walked by the Beechers cheese shop where you can watch them making cheese in large tubs. Mr 3. was fascinated with this and we watched for quite a while.


Then we pushed our way back to one of the fruit markets and purchased some beautiful blueberries, raspberries, and a bunch of bananas. The boys were still hungry after the sausage so we went to the waterfront viewing area to eat some of the bananas.  The viewing area was really just 4 windows that looked past highway 99 to the water. The boys enjoyed watching the cars and trucks on the highway.


We finished up our trip by going back to Target. At this point Mr. 1 fell asleep in the stroller and Mr. 3 got really grumpy. When I was paying he refused to walk forward and wandered away toward the cereal. He then caused a scene when I insisted he listen and get in the stroller, resulting in my losing my place in line and forcing him into the stroller. 5 minutes later he was asleep in the car.

I let them sleep in the car, and when they woke up I made quesadillas and let them enjoy the berries. A colorful market lunch.


Overall it was a fun time, and we will go again in a few months for more German food.

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, Health, Parenting, Science

Questions Questions

Some questions my 3 year old asked me in the last twenty minutes:

How do you take down the curtain?

How do you take down the blinds?

How do you take down the window?

How do you take down the screen?

Why are feet stinky?

Why don’t dogs and cats have stinky feet? (Listen to Stinky Feet by Jim Cosgrove… it’s a funny song.)

Why do we live with dogs and cats? (He was distracted by his brother before I could get into a long explanation about symbiotic relationships, or even to say that they are cute.)

Why do dogs and cats have hair?

Why do we have hair?

Why is your hair black or something?

Why is/what do you mean my hair is like daddy’s?


An hour ago my husband and I had an interesting discussion about the moon and how it orbits around the planet so you never see the other side. This was brought on by questions from Mr. 3 about why he can see the moon and the sun at the same time.


I love questions like these. I wish all of his questions were interesting. I think probably all his questions are interesting to him, but it can get very frustrating when the conversation goes like this:

Me: Gosh, it sure is nice out today.

Mr. 3: Why is it nice out?

Me: Because the sun is shining, and its warm!

Mr. 3: why is the sun shining and its warm out?

Me: It is warm out because the sun is shining.

Mr. 3: Why is it warm out because the sun is shining?

Me: …

Maybe the problem is that he doesn’t know how to ask what he really wants to know about, but depending on my patience level I usually just end up saying, “What do you think?” 


What is the most interesting question your children have asked you recently?