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On the Rocks

We had a small errand to do at the store today. As I packed our snack to take with us to the park I was thinking maybe we could eat it under the pine trees boughs. But once outside I realized the ground was soggy and eating under the tree wouldn’t be at all pleasant. Near the store are some large limestone rocks and as soon as Brigit heard we were headed that way she asked to play on them. Ahh….the perfect high and dry place to eat our snack! These large craggy rocks are a mini adventure gym. One of them is not too high for Lily if I’m right with her. She’ loves climbing on and off of them.

Later, after Brigit’s rest, and while Lily was still sleeping, I set out a number of bowls on the floor for Brigit to mix colours. I put a few drops of food colour into each bowl and she added water and mixed the colors, sometimes making new colours and sometimes altering the intensity of the colours. We’ve done this before and Brigit now seems to mix less randomly as if she knows which colour tones and shades she wants to make.

Lily is Talking

In the last two weeks Lily’s expressive language has begun to explode. From stringing together groups of syllabic vowel sounds to attaching beginning consonants to now speaking beginning and ending consonants for two word sentences. She is saying things like “Sock on, Thank-you Mommy, Boot on, Mitten on, Bye Cwawa…..It’s amazing!

I am fascinated by Lily’s curiosity and interest in language. Some days I could see her watching my mouth to see how my tongue formed words. She would watch and then try the word again. She always gave us ‘phrases’ in response to our questions and requests. An Lily loved a song. Recently we recognize the songs she sings. Like Happy Little Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Ring Around the Rosey and Hush Little Baby. These are songs we’ve been singing to her for months; songs that she knows we sing to communicate with her. It’s a delight to hear her singing them back to us.

Lily’s receptive language of course has also been developing. Lily can easily find her own social way with her siblings. No small feat when you’re the youngest! She has been able to express clearly what she wants and doesn’t want. I think this is hard for Sammy and Brigit sometimes. They are having to recognize Lily as a full sibling with rights and privileges – not just a cute baby whom they can tell what to do.

Lily loves to please and responds positively to instructions and tasks. We all enjoy asking her to help us out – like fetch this or that or help us clean up.Her developing language is a huge benefit to her.

I think the biggest change I see in Lily these days is her pleasure in being included in our activities. She comes to circle and plunks herself down, tapping her knees in readiness for our Good Morning song. She sits and listens to a story from beginning to end, perhaps because she loves the little things we do after the story – like our drumming and calendar activities. Along with the growth in her language, Lily is growing in her sense of self in relation to her wider world.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day was a fine time. Brigit had had several days of doing valentine art which included making cards for family and friends and a valentine box for her treasures. Sammy joined us in these projects and also made the valentines he needed to take to school.

I am including Lily for art more readily these days, rather than saving our art time for when she is asleep. This week she tried a few new art ‘techniques’. Up to now, it’s been pretty much only drawing with markers and painting with Lily. This week she also did gluing, paper tearing, coloured water painting, sticking on tape and adding sparkles to her work. Of course, as is true for all early artists, having ‘work’ to show at the end of the day isn’t her goal. Lily loves to deconstruct as much as she enjoys making the piece. However, on Friday after working long and hard with her ‘mar’s’, Lily’s word for markers, she took it to daddy to show him. She loved the praise she got!

Our ‘In our hearts’ drumming continues to be a meaningful time and was especially good for valentine’s day. This little ritual gave us the structure to talk about our friends and special people in our lives. We learned a new song to give as a gift to our friends on valentines day or any other day.

Tell Me Why

Tell me why the stars do shine
Tell me why the ivy twines
Tell me why the sky is blue
And I will tell you just why I love you

Later in the day the girls and I went down to the park to play hide and seek among the trees and tell stories under the evergreen boughs.

fav toys - trike, PT and wagon

The paved traffic-free pathway winding through our local park is perfect for ‘triking’. These last few days we’ve been short on snow, so our toys have been the trike, wagon and the ‘pink thing’ (the only name we could think of for this funny looking very useful toy). Brigit has enjoyed the freedom of this paved ‘road’ to stop and get off her tricyle and hop on again safely. I can let the kids push off for their ride down the small hill with as much power as they can give it. They can’t go fast enough for serious crashes but they get enough speed to have fun.

I like the trike because it is a social toy. The trike is far more flexible for the pre-schooler to use in pretend play with other children than a two wheeler.The child can stop and get off with ease then jump back on to move just a little bit or a long way. I bring ropes with us when we go to the park. We attach the wagon, pink thing and trike to each other in various ways to make trains. The children take turns pulling each other and exchanging riding seats. Even Lily takes her turn, riding the trike tied to the end of the train as well as pulling the wagon from the front.

These three and four wheelers invite lots of creative play and lead to incredible exercise. Every hill they ride down they have to push and pull the toys back up. They’re tired by the time we get back home!

Winning the Gold

Photo by Robert Bell http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

If the competition is for Attention then winning the Gold is getting the biggest share of it. One day recently Sammy wasn’t feeling very well and I offered him little extra comforts to make his day easier. Brigit of course cried ‘unfair’.

They were just small comforts really. But the race to get ‘the best’ was launched when I offered Sammy my place on the couch along with the warm fleecy blanket. Sammy and Brigit demanded equal time to sit in that spot. Though the coveted blanket was just one of many in the house, this became the premium place to sit for the rest of the afternoon. There were several more instances that afternoon of Brigit competing with Sammy’s illness for attention. Like when we got dressed to play outside and I suggested to Sammy that he wear his neck warmer. Brigit jumped in front of him to grab it out of the box for herself.

I know this isn’t about Brigit wanting Sammy to stay sick. It’s about her feeling insecure because her rules for ‘fair’ aren’t the same as mine. She feels challenged to accept that I will decide what is just and fair based on how I perceive their needs. Equal distribution, in her mind, is the only fair way but I won’t promise that. Brigit (like most Three year olds) doesn’t like ambiguity. I don’t want her to feel uncertain, but I do want her to see that I feel confident in my decision making and that I carry the overall big picture about what is good for her. So sometimes I will make decisions that won’t make her feel like she won anything, but she and her siblings will all come through with their needs being met.

Soup and Noodles

I promised Brigit that today we would make noodles. I was also going to make creamy tomato soup, so the noodles would be a side dish.

We started by putting enough flour in a bowl for noodles for all of us. Sammy made a donut hole in the centre then he and Brigit each cracked an egg into it. Lily and I stirred the egg into the flour. From there, I finished the mixing and kneading adding small amounts of water until the dough held together. Cutting the noodles wasn’t easy for the kids, but they hung in. Our noodles were wide and uneven – but a very good lunch served hot with butter and parmesan.

Before we started making the soup I gave the kids the tomatoes to hold, squish and squeeze out some juice. Children often don’t like the slimy, pulpy texture of tomatoes so I wanted to let them get a little familiar with this vegetable. But still, no luck with Sammy; he wouldn’t touch the tomato once the skin was off. We chopped and stewed them, then pressed them through a sieve. I added milk and warmed it then poured the soup into their bowls over broccoli. Lily and Brigit enjoyed it, but Sammy remained constant in his refusal to taste. At least now there’s a little less mystery around this unpopular veggie.

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