Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mommy Humiliation

Like most mothers, I can't even find privacy in the bathroom.  This has had the unfortunate result of Miss J knowing, and asking, all about the end result of a menstrual cycle.  I had to explain in 3.5-year-old terms to try and calm her worries.

Well, I had to go stock up on supplies at the store.  If you thought getting feminine hygiene products was embarrassing enough as a teenager when the cashier was some boy from school, try doing it with chatty little girls who know way more than they should.

I was rushing down the aisle with "the package".  The whole time Miss J was trotting behind saying (quite loudly, I might add) "You got bloods, Mommy?  These make your bum feel better? Your bum hurt?  Alright, these make your bum feel better."

We could not get out of there fast enough.

Monday, May 14, 2012


This week, we learned the story of Rapunzel.  Not familiar with the story?  I had to shorten and simplify it, because the original is just a tad long and complex for my 3-year-old.  I would be willing to put up a vieo of me telling the story if you want some ideas on how to tell a story out loud.  Let me know, if you would like that.

You will need:
popsicle sticks
contact paper
yellow yarn
vanilla wafers
strawberry frosting

Monday: Tell the story and talk about the letter.  This week's letter is H for hair.  Draw a picture of the story with a big letter "H" either on the window, or on a large sheet of paper and display it by the kitchen table so you can talk about it at meal times.

Tuesday:  Make Popsicle stick puppets.  You can use the pictures I have here or find your own.  Color them, cut them out, and tape them on popsicle sticks.  If coloring holds your child's attention, have them join you, if not, do it on your own.  Then tell the story with the puppets.  Laminate them if you want them to last longer.  Your kids will want to play with them!  I added a small braid of yellow yarn onto the tower so that Rapunzel could "let down her hair".

Wednesday: Act it out.  I surprised the kids by braiding a long bunch of yarn and fastening it to our stair railing.  When Miss J woke up she shouted for me to "Come and Look!  It's Rapunzel's hair!"  Then she wanted her brother to come help her get it down.  Later that day we acted out the story with some letting down Rapunzel's hair and someone else climbing up the stairs holding onto it.

Thursday:  Make "hair art"  Cut several different lengths of yellow yarn.  Cut a large piece of contact paper into some shape(a heart, sun, tear drop) Then decorate it by arranging the yarn on the sticky part.  Cover with another piece of contact paper, and hand in a window.

Friday:  Eat it!  Make Rapunzel's tower out of Vanilla Wafers and strawberry frosting. 

 Don't forget to tell the story at least once every day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fairy Tale Preschool

I realized last week, that the preschool curriculum I was using was ok, but I didn't feel passionate about it.  So I decided to make up my own.  I really want my learning interactions with my kids to be about more than just the ABC's and 123's.  I feel like with reading and talking to them (and a healthy dose of letter factory) kids will catch on to those things in their own time, without it being pushed.  I wanted to give my kids more of a literary foundation than just the basics.  Thus, my fairy tale preschool curriculum.

Fairy tales, folk tales, myths, fables, and legends are an important basis to understand future literary works.  Especially more complex works that will draw on them for allusions and metaphors.  They also teach a child about how a story works, the build up, the foreshadowing, the climax, the end.  Children love fairy tales!  Adults may find some of them in their purest form gruesome, but children don't think like that.  They just enjoy the story, and when good wins out over evil, they feel safe in their world.

The way I am doing it, is that every week we focus on a different fairy tale.  Last week it was "The Gingerbread Man".  This week it is Rapunzel.  I choose a word from the fairy tale and make it's first letter, the letter of the week.  Then I write the letter really big on our window, with a small illustration of the word.  Sometimes I add a picture from the story.  This week, H is for hair, and there is a picture of Rapunzel's hair flowing out of her tower to the witch down below, while the prince hides and watches.

Every day of the week you tell the story.  I highly recommend telling the story aloud without a book.  Children love storytelling, and imagining what is happening.  Get into it.  Add some details, give your characters different voices, change your volume.  If storytelling isn't your forte, practice a few times to make sure you have the story right.  Try and keep the story as similar as possible with every retelling.  Repetition is key.  Don't be surprised when your little one asks you to tell the story again, and again, and again!

Every day of the week has a different theme/activity to go along with the story.
Monday - tell it
Tuesday - Puppet Show
Wednesday - Act it out
Thursday - Arts/craft it
Friday - Eat it

So last week I told "The Gingerbread Man" story on Monday, went over F is for Fox and printed off a picture of a fox to show the kids.  Then Tuesday, I printed off these coloring pages of the different characters in the story, we colored them and taped them onto popsicle sticks and told the story using the puppets.  Wednesday, we acted out the story together.  Miss J couldn't decide who she wanted to be and tried out several different characters.  Thursday, we decorated felt gingerbread men and turned them into hand puppets.  Friday we baked, decorated and ate gingerbread men cookies.

I will post what we are doing every week and you can follow along or use past stories if you want.  Or you can make it up for yourself and just follow the flexible guidelines for each day.  The most important part is telling the story every day.  I have already had so many fun moments with my kids, and the thoroughly enjoy this part of our days.   I can't wait to share more with you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our Screen Free Week

...wasn't 100% screen free.  But it was FAR less than normal.  Except for searching for rental homes on Tuesday and the occasional printing off of a coloring page, I was able to keep my internet time to after the kids went to bed, and even then it was pretty short for the most part.  The kids didn't even seem to notice the change much.  The weather was beautiful and we played outside.  There were some changes though.

The kids played more, and their play was more imaginative, deeper, and lasted longer.

We found a frog in our backyard, visited the river, and had picnics at the park.

I was able to take pleasure in things I wouldn't have even noticed before.  For example, on Wednesday I was making bread and a movement from my favorite symphony came on the radio, and I was able to just appreciate that moment of beauty and peace.

I got a lot more done!  We had homemade bread every day this week (I made it on Monday and Wednesday).   My house was cleaner. I wrote thank you notes, planned lessons, and even scrapped the preschool curriculum I was using and made my own (more on that later this week, let's just say it is so much more fun).

I felt sharper, and more with it, more in the moment.

I realized on Tuesday after I had been on the internet for a while, that I just felt blah.  My mind felt passive and kind of numbly buzzing.  I realized that all the times when my fingers itch to get on the internet, with no good reason other than to surf, that I am just craving that feeling of doing something without actually having to think.  That escape.  I finished up "Simplicity Parenting" (if you haven't read it, you should) and the author quotes a definition of addiction he liked, and I realized that it pertained to me.  He said that an addiction is using an outside stimulus to avoid inward growth.  When I looked around at all the things I was doing, the little moments and pauses, the extra work, the extra cuddles, books and time with my kids, I realized that I had been replacing inward growth with my outside stimulus of choice...the internet.

So things are changing around here.  I am going to continue the pattern of only checking my social media and  e-mail after the kids go to bed.  I may still get on the computer to print something off or look up a recipe or craft, but other than that, I am rally going to try to keep the computer off during the day.  Same for the TV.

Although, as a caveat to all of this, I am moving soon, so I am sure the computer and TV will be used a lot here in the next 6 weeks to get things done.

I enjoyed the change. I enjoyed the peace, the small things I wouldn't have noticed before.  I know most people didn't participate, but I would challenge you just to make a small change, a slight drawback in your screen activity, and see what you notice!