Monthly Archives: July 2010

my brilliant boy

 

Today Big Brother drew on his chalk board a butterfly emegering from a crilulis (did i even spell that correctly? I’ll have to correct later if not).

Then he told me all about it. 

ROCK!!!!

Yesterday our butterfly launched ( i have pictures of that too, soon).

I am so proud of him, he understood, remembered, drew it, and told me about it useing correct terms!!!!!!!

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Little Brother

July 29th

 I worry sometimes Big Brother gets more coverage in this blog due to his school related stuff, so tonight a look at my littlest cuddle bug. 

Little Brother has been saying “meowwwwww” for a couple of weeks now.   In fact we have total conservations in cat these days.  TODAY he mimicked me squeaking for a mouse AND neighing for a horse!!  I am so excited, he is really starting to mimic sounds!!!!!  🙂  🙂  🙂 

This is huge; Big Brother didn’t have this level of verbal skill at under 3. 

Little Brother is at such a cute age.  He runs to the door to meet Daddy and the joy of his face is priceless.  Tonight he CAREFULLY put down his water bottle in the middle of the floor, SQUEALED and ran to the door as soon as Big Brother let out the nightly yell of “DADDY HOME”.

He is verbalizing a lot.  No real words.  Well there is something that sounds kind of like “THAT” to the adult ear, but kind of isn’t at the same time.  However, he points and talks and talks now.  He gives a definite, and strong, shake of his head for a negative (though no nod for the positive) this alone is a bonus.  Food is so much easier.  Now he screeches at the fridge and opens it (yes opens it by himself) and I can offer “eggs” “milk” yogurt” and get definite NOs until I hit on the right one.  That is wonderful. 

He has found his nose and ears, and some times comes up to you and points at his nose and giggles, expecting a great adult reaction.  Once in a while he will even consent to show you and ear or his nose upon request but not all the time, a lot of the time, he just smiles at you like “oh you silly adult”. 

He verbalizes and seems to have discussions, he talks to toys and to himself, there are some deep discussions too.  Once in a while we get a sound of “NO” strong on the “oooo” sounds or “SSSS” or he will mimic some other word spoke to him, in tone, pitch and stress if not in actual sound.  Recently we have gotten a “BBBBTT” sound with a wave for BYE.  Still no good words save “meeooow”.  🙂

He can sign MORE and PLEASE but will only do so for something really motivational.  Once he does, he gives himself a “AHHY” afterwards, sometimes even clapping for himself, again used to a big adult reaction!  He is starting to sign water but it is much more difficult to get him to do that.   I am seeing a lot more “sign babble” as he seems to be getting the concept that he can talk that way. 

We played Bear Family this week.  This was started by Little Brother.  Yogi Bear was on TV, he was watching that as Big Brother still played play-doh. 

I walked around the sofa and found Little Brother on feet and hands, he smiles and growled at me. 

So I got down on all 4 and roared back at him.  He giggled and giggled.  Big Bother came to join us. 

We made a cave, hibernated (at instruction of Big bother) and caught fish (Big Brother again) and craw around and growled a lot. 

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Five Questions to Ask Myself

I seek time to pray in my daily life.  Quiet time alone in any pray closet is not a big part of this season of my life.  I try to challenge myself to pray anytime I have a mental moment during my day and one of my biggest personal challenges is to remember to seek God while I nurse Little Brother to bed, or parent Big Brother to bed.  The quiet, the soft breathing sounds, the end of the day (at least for the boys).  The love is something you can physically feel as the boys cuddle in tight.  I try to lift my boys up to God, I try to lift up our family, I try to remember to offer myself and my parenting to Him as an offering of service and faith.

As time has gone on and I have spent time nightly (both at bedtime and over night nursings, been doing that every 45 minutes to every 3 hours since Nov 2005 J ) trying to evaluate my parenting against my own personal standards, my own personals ideals.  How did I show my boys the love of God today, what did I handle in a positive and grace filled way?  When did I miss the mark and react in an erred way, where did I over react or miss the bigger moment?  Would I want my boys to parent their children the vay I parented them today? 

I am a sucker for a list, a concise way to encapsulate a bigger topic.  To this end I have come up with a list of 5 simple questions.  Five area of life, five area of parenting that I feel should be address daily.  Five elements of the boys that need growing, five elements that will determine the Man they will someday be.   

  1. Have we done something to strengthen their minds / intellect
  2. Have we done something to strength their sprit / faith / their foundation in God? 
  3. Have we done something to strengthen their bodies
  4. Have we done something to strengthen their emotional self
  5. Have we done something to strengthen our family bond(s)

Have we done something to strengthen their minds / intellect?  Have I presented an opportunity for them to be curios or to explore their world?  This could be academic, but it could be their beloved activity of digging for dinosaur bones.  Anything that uses their brains, their minds, their creativity.  Getting away from the TV; trying something new.  Reading, talking, playing I Spy.  Momma’s biggest challenge here is letting them have the time to be little boys.  Digging in the dirt for 45 minutes, 30 minutes with a lump of play-doh – a challenge to momma to sit back and be. 

Have we done something to strengthen their moral growth?  Have I lead them in prayer?  Have we read their Bible, have they seen me read mine?  What have we talked about, what example have I set for them? 

Have we done something to strengthen their body?  Have we run, jumped?  Have we played and played hard?  Have we done something that included a new skill (standing on one foot) and I challenging them to use their bodies, or even just allowing them to?  What have they eaten, or at least been offered?  What have I done to instruct them in care of their bodies, in choices about food or behavior? 

Have we done something to strengthen the emotional selves of the boys.  Have we cuddled, have I genuinely told them I love them, have I fed them plenty of eye contact and positive physical contact.  Have I made them feel loved, based on their perception, not my understanding?  Have I done something, really made contact with them, to grow our family bond?  Parent and child, or sibling to sibling? 

The beauty is that the big five do not need to be five different times of the day.  One moment often “counts” towards many area of the five.  Consider there is no way to read their Bible and strengthen their faith, without also growing them intellectually also.  A long walk to stretch the little legs?  Also a chance to explore the wildflowers on the way, wildflowers given to us by God. 

 What questions do you ask yourself, daily, about your parenting?

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Big Brother July 2010 “school assessment”

I think it is fairly we known at this point that we, as a family, plan to home school our children in the primary grades.  I think it is commonly well known that we do not support the “rush to school” that is so over-whelming these days.  I think it is rather clear that even if we were choosing to enroll in public schools we would not be using pre-school.  I will further state, and I doubt this is a surprise, that we are very troubled by the push to make compulsory education laws start younger and younger (as states like Iowa push to make preschool mandatory).  I will further state I personally feel a mistake was made in making Kindergarten 1. Mandatory and 2. Academic.  Note: Kindergarten is NOT legally mandatory in all 50 states, though few want to tell you that and none make such a fact a “well known fact”.   Actually it is only mandatory in 14 states.  14 states, bet you didn’t know that, I didn’t.

I have stated before, and I will state again that the rush, the push to cram academics younger and younger is not only sad it is dangerous.

That all being fact, I am a lover of check lists and do function, once in a while, in the reality populated by the majority of the rest of the population.  J  So when Big Brother turned 3 I sought out a solid check list of “things that should be accomplished in pre-school”.  Nothing overly academic, nothing ‘advanced’, just the basics. 

I found this site, a world book site:   http://www.worldbook.com/typical_course_of_study.htmlorld

Starting when Big Brother was 3 I printed this pre-school list out a couple of times a year and crossed off things he has mastered, noted what he had some skill out and noted to myself to look for opportunities to introduce or work on things he has no mastery of at all.  I did this mainly to have some outside resource to be sure I was not missing something obvious.  For example: you can not blame a 4.5 year old for not being able to use scissors when momma never gave him a pair to use. 

In October, in preparation of Little Brother turning 3 I will print the list out for him too.  J Sad huh, my baby, is going to be 3?  I am more amazed that my big boy, my first baby, is going to be 5!!!!!!

So my point here, many family members and friends read this blog to “know” the boys; to keep up with the boys.  So I decided this time, when I updated the accomplishment check list, this past week, that I should share it here for others to see who do not see the boys very often and may not really know how they are learning and maturing.

I have to say, each and every time I go though this list, checking off what Big Brother has mastered and looking at what it is apparently I am not giving him he opportunity to master, I am again and again amazed how God has created them to learn from life.  Big Brother asks to sit down and “do school” some, and we do – a dot-to-dot or a maze or 2.  But the vast majority of what my boys learn they learn without formal lessons.  And as you will note, while Big Brother is not “kindergarten aged” according to this state till fall of 2011 (so 13 or 14 months from now) you will see that he has mastered almost everything on the list now. 

Taken from:  http://www.worldbook.com/typical_course_of_study_preschool_curriculum_guide.html

Big Brother: As of July 2010 (4 y 8 months)

Size

* Understands big and little.
* Understands long and short.
* Matches shapes or objects based on size.

Colors and Shapes

* Recognizes and names primary colors.
* Recognizes circles.
* Recognizes rectangles.
* Matches shapes or objects based on shape.

* Copies shapes.

Numbers

* Counts orally through 10.
* Counts objects in one-to-one correspondence.
* Understands empty and full.
* Understands more and less.

Reading Readiness

* Remembers objects from a given picture.
* Knows what a letter is.
* Has been read to frequently.
* Has been read to daily.
* Looks at books and magazines.
* Recognizes some nursery rhymes.
* Identifies parts of the body.

* Identifies objects that have a functional use.
* Knows common farm and zoo animals.
* Pronounces own first name.
* Pronounces own last name.
* Expresses self verbally.
* Identifies other children by name
* Tells the meaning of simple words.

* Repeats a sentence of 6-8 words.
* Completes incomplete sentence with proper word.
* Has own books.
* Understands that print carries a message.
* Pretends to read.
* Uses left-to-right progression.
* Answers questions about a short story.

* Tells the meaning of words heard in story.
* Looks at pictures and tells a story.
* Identifies own first name in manuscript.
* Prints own first name.

Position and Direction

* Understands up and down.
* Understands in and out.
* Understands front and back.
* Understands over (on) and under.
* Understands top, bottom, middle.
* Understands beside and next to.
* Understands hot and cold.
* Understands fast and slow.

Time

* Understands day and night.
* Knows age and birthday.

Listening and Sequencing

* Follows simple directions.
* Listens to a short story.
* Listens carefully.

* Recognizes common sounds.
* Repeats a sequence of sounds.
* Repeats a sequence of orally given numbers.
* Retells simple stories in sequence.

Motor Skills

* Is able to run.
* Is able to walk a straight line.
* Is able to jump.
* Is able to hop.
* Is able to alternate feet walking down stairs.
* Is able to march.

* Is able to stand on one foot for 5-10 seconds.
* Is able to walk backwards for five feet.
* Is able to throw a ball.
* Pastes objects.
* Claps hands.
* Matches simple objects.
* Touches fingers.

* Able to button a garment.
* Builds with blocks.
* Completes simple puzzles (5 pieces or less).

* Draws and colors beyond a simple scribble.
* Able to zip a zipper.
* Controls pencil and crayon well.
* Cuts simple shapes.
* Handles scissors well.
* Able to copy simple shapes.

Social-Emotional Development

* Can be away from parents or primary care givers for 2-3 hours without being upset.
* Takes care of toilet needs independently.
* Feels good about self.
* Is not afraid to go to school.
* Cares for own belongings.
* Knows full name.
* Dresses self.
* Knows how to use handkerchief or tissue.
* Knows own sex.
* Brushes teeth.

* Crosses residential street safely.
* Asks to go to school.
* Knows parents’ names.
* Knows home address.
* Knows home phone number.
* Enters into casual conversation.
* Carries a plate of food.

* Maintains self-control.
* Gets along well with other children.
* Plays with other children.
* Recognizes authority.
* Shares with others.
* Talks easily.
* Likes teachers.
* Meets visitors without shyness.
* Puts away toys.

* Able to stay on task.
* Able to work independently.
* Helps family with chores.

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Going to the park: A Big Brother Funny

Yesterday I took the boys to run errands and stopped at the park part of the way though. I feel bad for the kids in the car seat, drug along on my tasks so I try to at least stop at the park for them.

Both boys did a GREAT job, there were 3 other kids there and my two interacted nicely, took turns and had a great time. I was really proud of how they both looked out for the little girl, maybe 2 or a little past 2.

One of the other two boys was I’d guess Big Brother’s age (4 to 5) but a lot bigger, not taller, just bigger. We’ll call him Jack.

Jack asked Big Brother his name, Big Brother told him but I guess jack could not understand him (I think he says his name quite clearly) so Jack asked 2 more times, the final time I helped Big Brother. Then Jack asked him “what are you”, now even momma is not sure what the boy meant, but he didn’t seem mean about it. However you gotta love what Big Brother told him.

“I am a human, a boy”

With Big Bother’s speech it sounds like “ou-mon” something Jamaican 🙂  I think I am going to be sad when his speech is 100% cleared up, i like some of what he says now too much. 

We did end up having to leave because this other boy got too wound up and grabbed Little Brother.

Nothing happened. But I decided not to stay and let something happen. I set my children up to be successful, not to fail and so we left the situation before bad choices started on our part. This way I could praise them when we left, not have to get on to them.

The kids, all of them, were lining up to go down the big slide. I was sitting at the top and Jack’s Grandfather was at the bottom (the little gril was his sister and would not go down unless Gradpa was there).  The whole line made many many rotations, though the slide, back up and they were going a great job – with some prompting—of waiting their turn, sliding, getting out of the way and most challenging waiting for the last slider to move before launching themselves.   I was impressed how well they were waiting on the little girl and not rushing her too much.

After one trip down the slide Jack didn’t come right back up to the top and thus the order of the line changed because my two ran right up to the top as soon as they hit bottom. Jack came up and yelled at Big Brother for cutting in line (because the order of the 5 kids going down the slide was different) then yelled at ME “butting in line is not allowed” . I really have to question a child or 4 or 5 that will yell in an adult’s face.  My boys may get really angry but I just can’t see them doing that. Jack then grabbed Little Brother’s shirt to get him off the slide. Little Brother, I do not think, noticed. He launched himself and I let Big Brother slide one last time and told him we were leaving.

Once in the car I told both my boys what a great  job they did but that I did not like how the other child was acting and so we needed to leave. I wanted them to be able to make good choices and the best way to make good choices is to avoid peers who are making bad choices.

My boys did 35 minutes of a GREAT job.

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Art!! it is the process, right?

So I decided the boys have not gotten to do enough art recetnly, we color most days, but not really diving into an art expereince for them. 

So today I decided to get them back into paint.   Of course, meant for the paint to be on PAPER, but hey, what fun is THAT?

It is the PROCESS of art of toddlers and pre-schoolers, right??  Not the end result?  🙂  read:  http://www.hsclassroom.net/2010/11/art-in-early-childhood/

In our next home I will have a school room where we can also do arts and crafts easier.  If we build again, I will have a school / craft room with a big counter, a couple of deep sinks and a cork board wall for drying projects.  I lust after a place to prep art, and clean up (and DO IT) that is not my kitchen.

I set out 2-sided sponges for the boys — scruby on one side an d spong on the other so we could explore texture, right mom.  🙂

Apperantly their bodies are the best canvus for art.  Good thing Momma only gets washable paint, and we also have art clothing.  Now we just hope these masterpeices dry in the hot humid grage.   

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Pray in the real life of a Mother

I have been reading a lot about the Ministry of Motherhood, about the Ministry of the Home and the Hearth; about seeking God where you (or I) are at this point in life and time. You may remember that the profession or ministry of being a mom and a wife is one of my main themes in this blog and I hope in my life.  I seek more of God, but I certainly don’t have hours to read the Bible or to spend on my knees (unless I am cleaning).

1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to “Pray without ceasing”.

This post is by no means a deep discussion of a Bible verse. But this verse contains an interesting concept, and actually a direct commandment. I understand many people struggle with this verse; a direct instruction that seems, on the surface, to be impossible. Many people eventually dismissing the commandment, as a grand ideal that can not be achieved (forgetting that even if a grand ideal of faith can not be achieved in perfection on earth, we are called to run the good race and strive) or as applicable only to special situations and thus not to them. We all know we will not achieve perfection until we meet our God face to face, so the inability to reach perfection now is a poor excuse for not striving to do our best; and the instruction is not directed only to a certain or special population so we must assume it is for all of us.

Consider 2 Timothy 4:7 : I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

Never are we commanded to win the fight or the race, only to fight it and to finish it.

So presented with a seemingly impossible command (to pray with out stopping), and understanding we are not expected to achieve perfection only to continually seek it and strive for it; we need to seek out first what the direction can really be saying to us on a practical level and secondly how we can seek to follow the grand ideal in the real world we live in.

I want to ask you to think about, I challenge you to think about, one basics question. This question is the seed that started this blog post to begin with: why does pray have to be a separate time of our life.

Yes, I acknowledge that it is important to set aside time to be alone with our Lord. But I am the mother of two small children, alone time? What is that? I have a child on my lap eating cereal as I type this. If I was to slot my pray time into only time when I can come before the Lord in peace and quiet, it simply would not happen; or at least it would not happen “without ceasing”.

Too many mother’s of young children fall into guilt when the reality of this season of our lives is that we do not have the quiet pray time we used to have. I encourage all mother’s to think of this: God know our lives, He knows of the toys and the dinner dishes, the gardens to be weeded and the floor that has to be moped again today barely 14 hours after it was last mopped. God gave you the child or children you are parenting, God gave that child(ren) their personality(ies). If you are running from 5 am till 11 pm and then up in the middle of the night too, as I am, to mother and still manage a house God see that, God knows that, God created that situation for you. Furthermore you are right where God wants you. I additionally I am not the first to suggest He created that situation, created this season in your life, for a specific purpose.

I have two thoughts about pray and about praying without ceasing, that I want to offer to you for thought, and consideration. They are somewhat connected. They are thoughts that I am currently trying to incorporate into my life, in to my walk of faith.

1. everything I (or you) do during the day can be, should be, done with an attitude of pray. An attitude of service. Suddenly you are not just mopping the floor AGAIN, you are serving your family and serving God who gave you this family (this specific family that spills something sticky daily) to tend.

2. If we consciously start our day by offering the day and our activities up to God then #1 becomes that much easier.

Allow your daily efforts, to be an offering of pray to God. Think, actually think about it “Lord I am blessed to have dishes to wash, meals to feed my family. Thank you. Help me be a good steward of our blessing and help me show my love for my family by providing them a clean home”. Because of this, I hope you and I will have an even greater desire put forth an effort worthy of being offered up to God, an effort worth of being in service to Him. When presented as an offering to God as an act of service not only to the family but to Him who gave that family, how could ANY task remain unimportant.

I read this quote recently: Pope John Paul II observed that the Morning Offering [the Catholic pray offering a believers day to God] is “of fundamental importance in the life of each and every one of the faithful.”

Wow – how different could my day be if I started off offering it up to God, the good, the bad and the boring? How different, more vivid, could my faith walk be if I continually try to think of God in my daily activities (pray without ceasing)?

My hope and pray is that as I become more and more practiced at this “attitude of pray” I will be blessed by becoming more aware of Our Lord’s presence in every aspect of my life and daily activities.

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