Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Baby sign of the week: Orange

Nate shows CJ the sign for "orange."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easy Kindergarten math game

When Nate comes home from a long day of school, I want nothing more than to hold my first baby and learn all about his day. But since Caroline still needs three naps, the last one falls inconveniently between getting Nate from the bus and eating dinner. The last nap is challenging to get, so I usually end up just holding her so I can be sure that she gets the nap, rather than put her down awake (and risk a missed nap), like I normally do. If she misses the nap, she becomes over-tired and wakes up at night. And that is brutal for me. Nobody likes Angry Zombie Mommy. Just ask Dave.

Nate will often watch television and have a snack after school while I give her a nap. Since he's not watching any tv the rest of the day, the television doesn't really bother me like it used to over the summer. But I do feel badly if I have to spend time putting her down soon after Nate gets home and don't get to really connect with him. Lucky for Nate, my guilt sometimes translates into games. If I know Caroline will need a nap soon after school, sometimes I will try to set up a new activity to keep him busy.  It's amazing how excited he'll get when he comes home to find something new sitting out for him. 

Last week I adapted an envelope sorting game to make an addition game. I wrote equations on little die cut papers we had left over from years ago. And then I set up envelopes with the answers on the outside. So for example, he would pull out a leaf marked "6+6" and the goal would be to put it in the envelope marked "12."  He loved it! But, it was a little too easy for him and he went through the cards pretty quickly. He wanted a more challenging version, so I wrote subtraction equations on the backsof the cards. By that time I finished updating the cards, though, he lost interest and had moved onto some other exciting project in his art corner. Luckily, I don't think it involved "Poop Man!" Or should I say, "Poop! Man!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bunching of the small clothes: Christmas edition

You know what really bothers me? When my sweet five year old asks out of the blue one morning before school, with a sad little worried expression, whether I think he will get presents from Santa this year. The reason he's anxious, it turns out, is because he knows he doesn't listen to me all of the time. Particularly in the morning, before school. Mind you, this is mid-November. And I have never told him that he needs to be good to get presents. (Although I did send him a creepy video card from Santa that said he was on the "good list" last year. Despite what my husband tells everyone in the chat forums, I'm not perfect.) And as tempting as it would be to milk the Santa thing for cooperation, I find it despicable to get your kids to behave for a month out of fear. But that concept - be good to get on Santa's list - is everywhere. In songs, on shows, in movies. Even before Thanksgiving.

Maybe that's too harsh to say I find it despicable. Tons of excellent parents do it and I'm sure it doesn't destroy their children. Mine probably did it too. I don't remember. But I hate the idea that we teach children that they should get presents because they deserve it for "behaving." How about the idea that he is getting presents because he is loved and he needs to try to be on good behavior ALL year long?

To be clear, I'm not above bribery when it comes to parenting. Sometimes parenting is about survival. But Christmas is a HUGE thing and that sort of emotional black mail disturbs me. I don't have any lawn signs that tell people to put the Christ in Christmas, but I do want to preserve the true spirit of Christmas. Love, family, giving, homemade cookies and all of that important jazz.

In other news, I found this on the back of one of Nate's school papers. So obviously, I have this whole parenting thing under control. I cannot wait for my parent-teacher conference next month.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All of the cool kids are born on the 23rd

Thinking about my mom today, as I do every day. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

First letter to Caroline

Dear Sparkle Eyes,

Hello my sweet little girl. I have so much I want to say to you that it's been intimidating to even start a letter to you, knowing I rarely have the time or energy to write all of my thoughts down. So I'll just start small and tell you what has been going on lately.

The most exciting new development is that you've already started signing back to me! I kept thinking you were just flexing your hand a lot until it dawned on me that you were signing milk. And at first, since it was the only sign you could do, you signed it for everything - essentially babbling "milk, milk, milk" all day long with your hand. But I see you try practicing "light" too and getting so excited when I acknowledge your communication attempts. You also already created your own sign for "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" which you request every diaper change. At least I think that is what is happening. It is amazing to me that a baby so young is already capable of "talking" to her mommy.

You're very strong and mobile. You've been rolling both ways for months and can get across the room to investigate little bits of fuzz on the rug with no problem. You can sit for longer periods of time, but can't get into the sitting position on your own. You've just recently been getting on your hands and knees and trying to crawl. When I put you on the rug to explore, you love playing with your ball, feeling the texture of the rug under your fingers and slapping any nearby books. And there are always books nearby, because Nate likes to set up your play area so that you are surrounded. Like a princess in a book castle.

I would not say you are always quick to laugh (you've been making us work for it!), but when you do start, you often have a laughing fit that is incredibly adorable. These belly laugh episodes are most often triggered by your brother, but your dad and I have managed to get you going on occasion too and it is the sweetest thing ever.

Your other interests include sucking on fabric, pulling hair and practicing your fine motor skills. I've been slowly introducing solids over the past month and you've impressed me with your ability to pick up small bits of food and get them into your mouth. You get frustrated that the process is difficult, but you are pretty determined. Bananas are your absolute favorite.

As long as you are well rested, fed and have a little something to play with, you're a content little monkey.  I am so glad you are here. I love you more than tongue can tell, sweet girl.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Caroline Jane at 4 and 5 months

Time is flying...

And now she's rolling and scooting all over the place, getting better at sitting and paying very close attention to any signs I'm using. She's pretty easy going in many aspects and quick to laugh when you blow on her belly or big brother makes a funny face. We love our sweet little monkey.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Weird Science

Apparently some crazy stuff happens in the middle that transforms animals. And we haven't even shown him The Fly yet...

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