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.