Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The News That's The News.

As mentioned previously, 2012 is moving right along whether I'm ready for it or not.  Astrid is exhibiting the regression in toilet training that we knew she would with her mama pregnant.   Odin will be welcomed to our world in the second half of May, and No. 1 and her family are enjoying their new house which is halfway between the homes of both sets of grandparents.  We visited them there last Tuesday afternoon as tornados raced through North Texas.  None of us encountered any damage, even the Darwin Award candidates who drove through them. 


We left the Easter egg, Easter dinner, etc. to No. 1's in-laws; their Christian status makes them the logical candidates and I don't even want to support the concept of  an Easter bunny.  Holidays make for nice pictures, though.


No. 2 has also been experiencing some fairly significant life changes.  She's still going to nursing school and working as a bartender, but she tried out a Groupon trapeze lesson and got hooked on it.
This resulted ultimately in a new boyfriend and participation in an amateur circus.  I could use some tips from her on stretching the hours in a day. 
Two of my favorite pics are these: 


No. 2 was Astrid's age when I started her in gymnastics (along with No.1 and No. 3).  She absolutely LOVED it, and I'll never forget her first day and how she took me aside after we got home to say, "That man (the coach) made me spin around a bar."  It sounded like a complaint until she said, "When can I go again?"  She was good at gymnastics ... good enough that the gym coach wanted her to join the team and compete.  That would mean practice 5 days/week and I didn't think gymnastics more important than softball, scouts, music lessons and all the other things that make for well-rounded childhoods.  Besides, I had two other kids to think about and competitions require dedication to the one child's one activity with a future of maybe the Olympic games followed by underwear salesperson.  So, I said, "No" to a gymnastic future for her.  Heh.   

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Summer is here already, and I'm not ready.

I started some tomatoes and peppers in February, but I recently killed them accidentally and really should have started them in December or January because they should be in the ground by now.  It's steadily been in the70s and 80s around here and I don't think it's going back to winter temps this year.  I've started some new seeds, but they'll probably be ready for the REALLY hot part of summer which looks like it could come this year starting in May. 

So, Astrid and I started the day after Em borrowed a lawn mower to make some sense of the backyard.  We really need to buy a lawnmower, but that's supposed to be Em's area and I don't want to nag.  I pulled up all the stuff I bought and laid down last summer to keep the grasses out of the garden beds and dileanate a border before Em mowed.  All it did was get caught in the mower and the grasses grew right into it.  We don't have "weird trash collection", so I'm not sure yet what to do with it.  We also don't have a truck to drive it to the dump and Em doesn't sound willing to spend any money this year hiring someone to help with this kindof stuff. 

The peas Astrid planted in the raised bed last fall have started fruiting and a few were even bulging enough for her to try fresh peas.

Of course, her sand and water table were exposed to winter's dirt and bird poop, so washing was in order after an initial appraisal. 





After all this, it was time for a bath and some inside activities. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've stopped washing my hair.

It started out with the dandruff problem that kept recurring and how I was so annoyed that I'd wash my hair with the dandruff shampoo and almost immediately my scalp would start to itch.  Following that, I read that to have healthy hair you should just stop doing things to it.  Then, I got tired of feeling guilty if I didn't wash my hair often enough and thought about how Europeans don't feel guilty when they don't shower as much as Americans, so why should I always be worried about stupid stuff like this?  THEN, I noticed how NOT washing my hair seemed to stop the itching.  I still worried about whether it would stink like dirty hair, though, but I asked Em to sniff my hair and he said it didn't smell like anything. 


So, I'm gonna see how long this will last.  It's not as though I have oily hair (Mine is dry), so my concern was really about whether it would stink, and I think that took me back to the days when I smoked.  Since I don't smoke anymore and haven't for about 8 years now, what might cause my hair
to stink?  I don't go to bars or other smoke-filled rooms (as though there are even bars where smoking is allowed these days).

My maternal grandmother had hair even longer than mine and she rarely washed it ... perhaps once/year.  I like having long hair, but I don't like washing it and I don't like having an itchy scalp.  Seems to me my grandmother had a solution to the problem. 

I'll keep you informed of any progress.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Getting Back To Normal After Birthday.

I dunno what happened to the video(s) and even some of the pictures I'd wanted to post of Astrid's birthday, but I assure you it was a hectic day and I learned that I do not want to volunteer to have her party HERE again.  Next year will have to be someplace like Chucky Cheese if it's my turn. 


I couldn't help but notice, as well, how different my birthday gifts were from the others she received.  She got tons of fun stuff, while I got her a child-sized rake so she could help her dad rake leaves, a fold-up step stool so she could reach what she can't reach without it, a crank flash-light so she could "read" her books before bed at night (without ever needing to replace batteries or bulbs) and two books on nature. 

She also got lots of kitchen-like stuff for pretend cooking, tea parties, etc.  She doesn't have so much of that over here.   She has two small cups with saucers and a plate (all glass).  She had TWO plates, but one broke after she dropped it on the rock foyer floor.    [I have a few more small plates like that, but I want her to spend some time noticing the gap in the settings so the concept of  "glass breaks when dropped on rock" is absorbed.]  For the most, her play areas here are carpeted, so her glass stuff doesn't break if dropped.   Sometimes she "pretend" cooks food we've made out of play dough, but mostly she helps with the real thing.



This past week she helped make crockpot pea soup before helping to make Valentine's Day cookies.  My hope was to roll and cut cookies, but I used the cake-mix cookie recipe with a strawberry mix and the dough never got "unsticky" enough no matter how much flour I added. 











I need to get her an apron that covers more of her body, but until I do No. 1 seems to understand why I frequently suggest that she dress her in crap clothes when she comes here. 

Cookie-making dish washing went to a new dimension when she learned about the sink spray. 




  

She ate so much strawberry dough that even with a bath she was pretty much bouncing off the walls when No. 1 came to get her.

I find cleaning up after baking or messy experiments invigorating, but I found myself angry this week when Astrid  took out a rubber-like puzzle kit, didn't bother to try and work any of it and left it on the floor for me to put away.  That was the first time I felt anger with Astrid and I expressed it both to Astrid and No. 1.  The source of the anger was less that Astrid had taken something from the shelf and just thrown it on the floor than the difficulty involved with putting all the pieces back into the package.   No. 1 suggested that I put the pieces in another package.   I felt that defeated the purpose of a "toddler travel tote", but today I repackaged the pieces and put the original box up for when someone besides me travels with her, because there's no room in my relationship with Astrid for anger.

Astrid 2nd Birthday.

Astrid's birthday party this year was held last Saturday at the home of her dad's parents.  I am SO glad I volunteered THEM, because between all the people and all the gifts, *I* was pretty overwhelmed.  I picked just a few of the pics and videos out of hundreds, not because they were representative of the day, but because *I* liked them.  Em's birthday was just two days after this party, so he was included in the event. 










Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Today is Astrid's 2nd Birthday, so we're moving on to year 3!

We only have Astrid on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday normally; this week we'll miss Friday because another set of grandparents is coming to town to attend her birthday party on Saturday and I'm sure they'll want to spend as much time with her as they can. 


I'm thinking of her third year and anticipating the fun we'll have.  She knows the alphabet pretty well now, knows colors and shapes except for the most unusual;  Em and I hadn't heard of the quatrefoil before I bought a clock shape-sorter.  She talks in complete sentences and we have conversations.  I called to wish her a happy birthday and she said, "Mormor, I'm two!"  We've moved on to small jigsaw puzzles already, but we do them together.  No. 1 once chided her for refusing my help with a yogurt cup, saying, "Astrid, there are still times when you need a little help.", and now when she needs help she says, "Help!" and I say things like, "This one is hard because the  ... " 

I'm not sure she's ready yet, but I'll give some new reading material a try this next year like "Classic Myths To Read Aloud", "Aesops Fables",  "Book of Greek Myths" and "Bible Stories For the Young".  We'll also keep discussing time (calendar, clock, days of the week) and begin geography with continents of the world.  She MAY begin reading this year OR ... 


she may decide to take the whole year off and wait for her little brother to get old enough to join her. 


Birthday pics will come after Saturday.  Her party this year is being held at the home of daddy's parents.


In other news, the next-door neighbor of "daddy" died and daddy's parents are looking forward to No. 1 and her family living next-door.  Daddy doesn't really think it's a good idea (Who WOULD?), but doesn't want to hurt the feelings of his parents.  This is where I a) wonder why my kids don't seem to mind hurting MY feelings and b) am grateful that my kids have grown to be independent enough to think for themselves. 


Em and I had so much fun taking the night bus to an Oklahoma casino last week that we're going to do it again THIS week. 


How's life with you?

 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ring toss, stickers, and bubbles.

Had an extraordinary day thrift-store shopping this week.  Don't know if I mentioned it previously or not, but I absolutely HATE new games.  Where they were once created of metal or wood with glass marbles (that enabled me to break the glass door on my parents' bookcase), the new ones have cheap cardboard boards and plastic "marbles".  I say this after buying a new "Hi-Ho Cherry-O" game that *I* broke within minutes. 


Picked up chinese checkers, parcheesi, monopoly junior and an extra-large version of JAX. 


Got a few other things that I didn't have ... like basters (think tub toys) and spaghetti measuring devices (think bubble wands).  Also got a few rubber finger puppets that Astrid can use in the tub and a ring-toss game. 


There's no one in this household who doesn't need to improve on the ring-toss game, so I (temporarily ... until we improve) left it in the main living room. 


Astrid is spending more time playing independently now and I was a bit torn on whether I should interfere with her.  Each day she's here, I leave a sticker exercise for her.



She's not old enough to have the coordination for perfection, but I find it necessary (to feed MY internal OCD tendencies) to point out that the mitten stickers are more appropriate for the child's hands than the tree branches. 
Of course she has no experience with mittens, so I'm back to the "which comes first?" argument. 
I think tomorrow's session will include a lesson on how our country's mathematical choice is the Arabic base 10 and how we have no other numbers besides 0 through 9.  She's fond of reciting "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, twelve".    Paying attention to her independent play, I also noticed that she's confused regarding some alphabetic symbols.  At first, I didn't want to interfere with her notions, but now feel that (as her teacher) I should gently point out these mistakes.
It doesn't look like I could handle an unschooling situation well. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Two is the first of many "awkward" ages.

There's been a lot written about the "terrible" twos, and I'd admit that there's a little something to all the fuss, but it's hardly the worst period in one's life.  It's more the culmination of independent thought that's been building for 6 months or more.  There aren't even any hormones involved (as in puberty and menopause).  So, it came as no surprise to me that Astrid showed up one morning in a mood previously reflected by "I don't want to go ; I want to go back to bed!" 


I had paints ready for her that day, and there certainly wasn't any need to eat breakfast BEFORE doing the sticker exercise that I always leave on the little table in my office for her, so I suggested that dad just leave her when she chose to do the sticker exercise before breakfast.  That was about a week ago and I think she's done the sticker exercise every day since before choosing to eat. 


Painting is a great way to "expel the demons", and I suspect the famous painters of old had their share of demons to expel. 



I didn't even bother to don her paint smock -- this new paint washes out readily anyway --- and I pulled a chair over so she could sit while painting.  When she was done painting (using both brush and hands) the demons had been expelled and she was once again happy and (what most of us notice more) compliant.  We had more fun together that day than usual. 


Tomorrow is another painting day.  I try to fit one in each week even with the added time-waste of a Mickey Mouse video.    I also try and fit in a bath play period once/week because we have a huge bathroom tub in our master bathroom that we never use.

  Until now, we'd been adhering to recommendations that children under two years old watch zero TV/videos.  Somehow she learned of Mickey Mouse, though, so I started searching out free MM club videos. 


Local weather has been pretty spring-like lately, so we've been taking walks each time she's here, as well.  Last Friday we had magnets I'd ordered, so I tied two of them to pencils and we "fished" for objects on our walk.  She caught a pretty big screw.