Saturday, February 23, 2019

C Week-Carousel, Cards, Cordie!

Whew!  C week was a whirlwind.  We only finished D week yesterday, but already it feels like a long time ago.  Check out all we did!  This week had some of my favorite activities so far.  It wasn't as learning heavy, but it was a lot of fun!

Monday:  Caterpillar C and Cooties
Tuesday:  Chromatography and Cinderella
Wednesday:  Car Coloring and Card making
Thursday:  Carousel and Cake pops
Friday:  C worksheet and Crab decorating

Every week we take the letter of the week and make a craft out of it, usually an animal.  Somehow I almost never end up with a picture, but this time I got a process pic.  Cordie used her fine motor skills for gluing, stacking (an addition to the plan haha), and drawing on caterpillar legs.

That afternoon we played two rounds of Cooties.  I love that game.  Of all the games she has learned to play so far, that is my second favorite.  Only Pretty Pretty Princess beats it out.  After the actual game, Cordie insisted that the Cooties needed to go on a picnic and who am I to stand in the way of  Cootie Congregation?

Tuesday we did a chromatography experiment.  The fine motor skill involved drawing a fairly precise circle on the coffee filter and folding the filter so that only the tip touched the water.  This was fun, but we quickly learned that only certain marker brands will separate into colored brands.  Sharpies do not and neither do dry erase markers.  Crayola Washable markers do a bit, but our best look was with a pack that we had picked up at the Dollar Store.  By the time we had found the best markers, we were out of filters!  Sad trombone!  The goal of this experiment is to let the water soak up the coffee filter and as it does, it will separate the colors. You can see a bit of blue and pink coming out of the dark purple we started with.  If you start with good markers, then you could follow up the science by using pipe cleaners to make butterflies from the pretty coffee filters. 

Wednesday was car coloring.  I thought this was a lot of fun!  Theo did too.  Cordie was obstinate about it until Brother started playing, then she wanted in on the action.  We used paper towels to draw on, but obviously one of those big rolls of paper would work better, or even plain wrapping paper for a fun party package.

We also made cards as the next day was Valentine's Day.  Cordie's f.m. skills still aren't up to snuff, but I was so so so proud of her cutting that day.  She wouldn't even try to cut a circle a couple of months ago and she ended up cutting out an entire recognizable heart.  We then taped the hearts (one she cut and one I did) to construction paper and she painted over and around it.  When the paint dried, we lifted off the heart and the outline was there on the prettily painted paper (try saying that three times fast).

Thursday was Valentine's and we just had fun.  We went to the carousel and rode the Santa Train.  It doesn't go up and down-why is that Cordie's favorite???  Theo's eyes were basically rolling in his head after one ride, so we played at the little park that has just been built outside the carousel.  Then we went for cake pops.  Yum!

Friday we did a C worksheet that went way better than the B one. C is an easier shape to make and I made sure wait until Cords was in the right frame of mind to do it.  We also made the ugliest crab out of a paper plate that anyone has ever seen.  I had envisioned something different, as with so many other things!  The plan had been to stick pipe cleaners in as legs and let her put beads on them as a fine motor skill, but she espied the glitter.  Ah, glitter.  I have such a love/hate relationship with it.  Anyway, the glitter was poured on the crab Tomatoa style and the beads and everything else in her grasp was added as more decoration.  Eye roll.  Some beads were put on the legs, so the f.m. box got checked, but I'm still sweeping up glitter.

That was C week!  We just finished D week and I'll blog about that soon.  Entering E week!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Nothing Good Comes After "Cowabunga"

There are a lot of things a child can say that sends a chill through a parent's bones:  the wordless shriek that indicates a night terror, a scream of "HELP" following a thud, or even a whispered "Mommy" in the middle of the night when you open your eyes and their nose is two inches from your own.  Today I heard the scariest word so far- COWABUNGA!!  You know deep in your soul that nothing good is about to happen and that you cannot reach them fast enough to stop it.  It's the child equivalent of "hold my beer".  Here are some things you can do before responding to that terrifying call.

1.  Thank God for this opportunity to practice patience.  Delicately remind Him that you've been practicing that a lot and would like to be done with it.  K?  Thanks!  Amen.

2.  Finally remember to write "first aid kit" on the Target list.

3.  Pour the last of the Prosecco in the orange juice you poured three hours ago and still haven't finished.  It's 11, that's brunchtime,.

4.  Decide to introduce child to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

5.  Remember that one Ninja Turtle used nunchucks and immediately decide against introducing them because what you need is your kid using her jump rope to thrash people with.

Start to head to investigate the situation.  Hear the toilet lid.

6.  Download a meditation app.

7.  Take some deep calming breaths. 

8.  Go ahead and find some paper towels and cleaning supplies.

9.  Remember your pre-child life and sigh.  Remember that you want(ed?) two more kids and laugh maniacally. 

Peek your head around the corner and ask tentatively "Is everything okay in here?"

10.  Try not to cry

(The look she gave me when she told me she wasn't using her listening ears)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Maybe Baby No More!

This is Theo.  He hasn't been introduced officially on the blog.  He's cute, curly, and now he's ours!

When we adopted Cordie, the process was straightforward and simple, at least as simple as adoption ever is.  It was the positive example an agency wants to trot out.  "Look how fast they were chosen!  Look how smoothly things went with the birth parents!  Look how everyone is happy with the end result!"  Theo's was not like that at all.  It was fraught from the moment we got the initial message until finalization.

It was so unsure, in fact, that I had to have a conversation with Cordie to explain that we might not be able to keep Theo.  This was world rocking news for her and us!  I told her that Theo was our "maybe baby" and it was our job to love him as much as we could for as long as we had him.  This meant for months Cordie would tell us and random people at the store, "Theo isn't ours."  It's amazing that the police didn't show up at my door on a suspected kidnapping tip.  Seriously though, that was one of the hardest conversations I've ever had.  She was only 3.5 years old!  It was hard enough for me as an adult to deal with the uncertainty!  When the social worker came to visit, she was almost in tears and asking if she was there to take Theo away.  It's been hard.  Really, really hard.

Finally, finally, FINALLY though, Theo IS ours!  Our court date was last week and he is now a part of our forever family.  We are all relieved to have this season of instability behind us.  As Cordie told me yesterday "he's my favorite"!

We all love you to bits, Theo!  I'm so glad you are Cordie's "for sure sibling" now!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

B Week- Buggy and Bubbly Fun

It's B Week bi--er, besties!  It was another fun, fine motor packed week, but this time there were brownies so I have to say that it was better than A week.  We had one day where Cordie was puny so that messed up our schedule a bit and we didn't quite get everything accomplished that we wanted.  Here was what we did get done:

Monday:  Bubba visit and Beauty and the Beast
Tuesday:  Bake Brownies and Bonus Bubbles
Wednesday:  Bug fossils and Build with Blocks
Thursday:  Bubble snake and Bunny B
Friday:  B worksheet and Bean Balance

My grandmother is called Bubba, so you may not have this activity available to you haha!  We went to Bubba's where Cordie played in the leaves and had some sort of allergic reaction.  That prompted an evening of laying around with a rash, itchy eyes, and low grade fever, but it was a great time to get in Beauty and the Beast!  Problem:  Cordie was scared of the wolves in the movie and is now scared of monsters in her room, so this day was a bit of disaster.  Your mileage may vary.

By Tuesday, Cords had rallied, but our day was hectic.  We baked brownies which were super delish.  It was warm and sunny (hallelujah!) so Cordie went outside and got in some bubble blowing that hadn't been on the schedule, but still began with B.  She cracks me up taking the deepest possible breath to blow bubbles.  The brownies ended up being our fine motor skill for that day because of sunshine.  She did really great filling the teaspoons and spreading the brownies in the pan.

Wednesday we did bug fossils, which was a fun activity and so easy.  I'm all about easy.  Take plastic bugs, press into play-doh to see the impression they leave, presto-Done!  Working and shaping the play-doh works her hand muscles and gently lifting the bugs out by their legs works her fine motor skills. 

Later we did Legos.  I have never liked Legos, but I like the idea of Legos.  The last time Cordie and I tried this particular set she got VERY upset because she couldn't get her building to look like what she had in her mind.  Today was totally different!  She built all by herself and happily narrated what each piece's purpose was.  It's so cool to watch how much and how quickly kid's grow and change.

Thursday was another nice day outside.  My soul needed it.  We have had crazy, insane amounts of rain and I need the sun like a fish needs water.  We made a bubble snake by blowing through a cut off water bottle with a baby washcloth on the end.  The bubble solution was dish soap, water, and corn syrup.  The corn syrup helps the bubbles adhere to one another and form a snake.  If you have gylcerin that would work even better, but I didn't have any and didn't want to buy any just for this.  You can find gylcerin in the cake section of a hobby store (it's used in fondant) or in the first section. 

We also made a B into a bunny with cotton balls and ears.  This worked her hand muscles by squeezing the glue and helping to cut out the ears.  It worked her fine motor skills when she used a pink marker to color in the ears, and of course cutting is a f.m. skill as well.

Friday we did a bean balance.  I would do this again when she's beginning to learn math.  It's quick and easy and is a great way to visualize the concept of "equal to".  To work her motor skills, I gave her three different sizes of "picker-uppers", a scoop, a spoon, and tweezers.  She used these to put black beans in the two cups to make them balance.

Finally we did our B worksheet, which was a real struggle.  I didn't do it at her best time and she was fighting me.  Also, B is a much harder shape to make than A or C.  Mom fail.  Oh well, we still have 24 weeks to improve upon that.

Onward to C week!

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Week-Amazing and Apple Filled

Right before Cordie turned 3, we did Letter of the Week.  We began in September and ended (at X) when Theo suddenly made his appearance on the scene.  Cordie has been asking to do it again since last summer.  I had a three month old baby and it was just too much to consider and plan at that time.  Recently, we've discovered that Cordie is having some fine motor control issues.  I decided to do a second round of Letter of the Week with an emphasis on fine motor activities.  There are so few years of childhood and I wanted it to feel like play, even if she's really working on something.  This was A week; here's a look at our schedule of activities.

Monday:  Archeologist dig and Airplane play
Tuesday:  Alligator A and Aladdin
Wednesday:  Ant from spoons and Apple sensory box
Thursday:  Apple stamping and Aliens & Astronauts
Friday:  A worksheet and Arctic Activity-blubber

When we did LotW the first go-round I had specific categories I wanted to fill in each week:  food, motion, Disney movie, and craft.  This time I am trying to be a little more chill.  It was an intense experience the first time.  I tried to do 3-4 activities each day and that is not reasonable now.  This time my categories are:  fine motor, science, Disney movie, worksheet.  Of course, there are tons of other categories you could add like music or nature.

Every week I scour both kids' book shelves for books that fit our letter.  Last time I strove for 15 different books each week (enough for our three nightly stories for all five days of activities).  Again, I'm going more relaxed this time, so whatever we have is what we have.  A is an easy one and we had a lot of choices.

Our Archeologist dig was my favorite fine motor activity.  I took small dinosaurs like you get at the dollar tree, buried them in a planter, and gave her different diameter brushes to brush away the dirt from the dinos.  After the dinos were exhumed, they got a bath from a squirt bottle while I suggested specific parts that she douse to encourage not only working her finger and hand muscles by squeezing, but also aim the stream onto teeny tiny dino feet and tails.

Airplane play included some in flight snacks and imaging what all we could see from the air (and an all to real kicking of the chair in front of us).  This was Theo's favorite because he got in on the action.

Alligator A practiced fine motor skills with squeezing the glue bottle, cutting teeth, coloring the eyes, and placing the teeth.  Unfortunately, our alligator had rotten teeth that began to fall out.  The dentist had to be called and the teeth had to be extracted.  I feel torn when she does crafts like this because I know a teacher won't say that it's "right", but it's way more creative than just filling the interior of the A with teeth as I had planned.

Our Ant from spoons was a Pinterest fail.  If you attempt this one yourself, black spoons are the way to go.  Our ant legs were too short because we needed to cover the body thoroughly.  Eh, whatever.  We're pretty short ourselves!  Fine motor skills were gluing and wrapping the pipe cleaners.

Aliens and Astronauts is a variation of hide and seek.  The astronaut hunts for the alien and when found, the alien chases the astronaut.  The astronaut can make it back to base for safety or be caught and eaten (tickled and nom-nom-nomed) by the alien.  I conceived it as a fun game because she loves hide and seek, but there is definitely a deeper and darker narrative about colonialism if you want to get into that.  Who doesn't want to discuss the crimes against indigenous people with their preschooler!?

Our science activity for the week was an Arctic theme.  First Cordie put her hand in icy water to feel how cold it is.  Then I put on a plastic glove, a layer of Crisco, and a second glove.  Then she stuck her hand back in to feel how much warmer she felt.  Then I talked to her about how polar bears, whales, and other Arctic animals have a similar layer of fat that keeps them warm in subzero temperatures.  Afterward, the unused Crisco turned into dumplings, so this was probably Josh's favorite activity!

Whew!  It was a busy week and we've got 25 more to go, or less if I decided to combine some of those hard to find letters into one week-I'm looking at you X, I can't take a whole week of xylophone playing!  Stay tuned for B week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

If You Give a Child a Strawberry Milkshake

If you take a child to church, she will expect Pal's for lunch.

When you get to Pal's she will only want a strawberry milkshake to drink, which you will get her because she is underweight and her doctor prescribed more milkshakes.  Nothing is fair in life.

While she drinks her milkshake, she'll take off her shoes and socks.

If your child takes off her shoes and socks, you'll have to carry her into the house because it's January.  This was the child's plan all along.

When you carry the child, diaper bag, Pal's bag of trash, and your drink, you won't have enough hands to also carry the strawberry milkshake.  The strawberry milkshake will only be 1/3 drunk because of the aforementioned underweight issues.  You will vow to come back for it.

If you leave the strawberry milkshake behind, you will forget it because motherhood has left you with only 4 brain cells and all four are committed to remembering the entire script of The Polar Express.

When, not if, you forget the strawberry milkshake, it will freeze overnight.

On Wednesday, when you frantically throw everyone into the car for gymnastics, you will notice that there is something sticky all over the car seat.  The forgotten milkshake will have busted through the cup, melted, and leaked every-friggin-where.

If it is Wednesday morning, you won't have the time to deal with this because you're already running late for gymnastics, so you will stuff the child in the seat and she will knock the cup over, spreading the sticky, stinky mess to the shoes and socks left in the floorboard from Sunday.

After gymnastics class you will go to Pal's for a sweet tea because there is no caffeine in your house and life cannot continue in this barbaric manner.

If you go to Pal's, she's going to want a strawberry milkshake.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sippy Cups-Are You a Straw Cup?

In my youth, I did some babysitting.  In the course of babysitting at one particular mother's house, I was unloading the dishwasher (because I was the go-above-and-beyond type *pats self on back*).  I went to put away a sippy cup and a mountain of brightly colored, different shaped cups cascaded out of the cabinet.  After several tries at a better way of stacking, I backed across the room, threw the last cup in there, and let loose a clever Rube Goldberg machine to slam the cabinet door closed.  Not quite, but I did toss the cup in and slam the door as quickly as possible and mentally apologized for the mess it was going to make later.  After the mental apology, I kind of judged those cups and that disorganization.  Oh the wisdom of a teenage babysitter!  "I couldn't handle that sort of cup chaos falling all the time!  I'd do something about it!"

What precisely would I have done?  Because on the other side of that cabinet, I would LOVE to know what my grand plan was.  Suffice it to say, sippy cups are slowly taking over my house.  I still can't handle the chaos and the constant falling out of cabinets, but am at a loss to both fix it and to stem the never ending tide of new sippy cups entering the house.  It's like that scene in Harry Potter, where the goblets keep multiplying in Bellatrix's vault each time they touch one, except there is never a cool dragon ride, just lots of cups.

We started with the basic pink, two handled, training cup.  It molded like nothing I've ever seen.  I could not keep it clean.  It would mold in little crevices that I had to use special brushes to get to and even the sanitize cycle on the washer couldn't cut through the fungus.  I still have it.  Why?  I don't know.  Then we went through a trial period of several different types of handled sippy cups because she didn't want to drink out of anything.  I have those cups too.  Still.  Languishing in the cabinet.  Now we are past the handled cups and into the very slick-sided plastic ones.  Soon we will move from that kind that has a spout to the straw kind.  All these cups will take up space in my cabinet theoretically for the next 15 years depending on the age differences of our future hypothetical children.  Well that's a depressing thought.

Here's a more fun thought.  In the course of thinking about all these sippy cups, I have decided that sippy cups could be a personality test, each one has distinctive characteristics.  

The Leaker:  You are so full of life and joy, so full in fact you can't keep that joy in.  It just spills out of you.  Joy everywhere.  This means that people either love you or hate you.  Some people just rub that joy on their face and through their hair like it's a deep conditioner.  Other people look at you and say "you are a hot mess of emotions" and put you in the back of the proverbial cabinet.

The Handled Cup:  Who can use a cup?  You can!  You can!  Cup!  Cup!  Cup!  You are a never tiring cheerleader.  You cheer, you help, you eeeeease people out of the old into the new.  You meet people at their level and take them to a new one.  But then they leave.  And you're okay.  Okay-ish.  You just want to be LOVED okay???  You are a freakin' Giving Tree of love and devotion and help and then people just move on to newer flashier cups leaving you to pick up that a new baby?  Who can use a cup?  You can!  You can!

The No-Handled Cup:  Yep, don't mean to brag, but you have arrived.  Look at all these freshmen.  You're big man on campus.  You know what's what and you don't mind to shove a few smaller people out of the way to get it.  You just got your first credit card and you are using it!  Why have one outfit when you can have every color, every Disney character, and even monogrammed.  Go big or go home.

The Perfect Cup:  You are part of a couple.  It's the two of you all the time.  When you go to sleep, you're clutched in their arms.  When they wake up, you are the first thing they want.  You go everywhere together.  Everywhere!  Do NOT possibly forget to take you somewhere!  Fury will rain down upon your head!  Other people might say this is unhealthy, but you don't care.  You're world is completely taken up by your one person, the rest fades to black...until a new cup comes to the cabinet.  Dun dun dun!

Straw Cup:  There are a lot of words that could describe you, we'll call you a mother lovin' bad bottom.  Oh yeah.  You are a world traveler-the park, church, the children's museum, what what!  You are independent.  You love new things and aren't afraid to give them a try.  Coconut juice anyone?  The world is your oyster and you are going to put your sticky hands on all of it!

The Glass:  You are the black tie, pearl draped, only eat things with five adjectives person.  You are delicate.  You are what everyone aspires to be.  No one can touch you.  Look down to those lower shelves and judge all the plastic flotsam you see!  Bwhaha!

So, be honest, who are you?