Friday, December 17, 2010
She also loves to read, but not in a group. When we sit down and read our story book every morning, she usually pays half attention while she's playing with toys and won't come sit down. She listens, but she doesn't really like to try to look at the pictures when there are other kids in the way and she has to share the space. :) If she happens to be the only one around she'll ask me to read to her, but she has to sit in my lap and have my full attention to make it through the book. Otherwise she's off to the next thing.
Bianca has got a great belly laugh. She doesn't bring it out very often here unless I tickle her, so it's always a treat to hear it when she thinks something is funny. It's fun to watch her too.
Don't you just have to smile with her? :) Love it.
Proudly displaying her piggy headband during the Big Red Barn unit.
I really love that the girls are all such good friends. They bicker like sisters and sometimes pretend they don't like each other much, but there are a lot of moments like this. Stitch came and got Bianca and was taking her to the table to serve her some sort of delicious plastic lunch.
Eating lunch is very hard work and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
You may notice she's got a different hairstyle in every picture. Kudos to her mom for getting all that accomplished so early in the morning. She always comes decked out with various ponytails and cute accessories. Over Thanksgiving she had tons of beaded braids put in and she came back looking super fancy. The other girls went wild. LOVED her hair and were so sad that theirs wasn't like that. At lunch that first day Bianca was sitting in her chair laughing and wildly shaking her head back and forth so all the beads clicked together and made a lot of noise. I thought Aurora's head was going to pop off- she was shaking even harder and not making any sound at all, of course. It made her really mad that she was working so hard to be as cool as Bianca and couldn't get her hair to make noise. I couldn't stop laughing.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Next: we baked our first batch of Christmas cookies today. Attendance is down this week due to sickness and maybe it's cowardly, but I prefer baking when not everybody is here. :) We'll do it again several times when there are different combinations of kids here so they all get to help. They're getting pretty decent at taking turns and standing in line, but they get really squirrelly if there are too many and they have to wait a "long time".
Stitch has been cracking me up through this whole process. She stirred and poured and took her turn, and then went and buckled herself in a chair. "Tray on! I ready! Eat cookie!" I keep telling her it's not time for cookies, that we're going to have lunch first, and they're too hot, but she is not dissuaded from the idea that if she just sits there long enough, cookies will come her way.
We made the cookies off the back of the candy cane flavored Hershey kisses bag, with a few allergy modifications. Usually I make my own flour blend or use one of the ones from my favorite cookbook, but I've had this bag of Bob's Red Mill all purpose gluten free baking mix in the cabinet and it needed to be used. To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for it. It's got garbanzo bean flour and fava bean flour in it. I was worried the cookies would taste like hummus or something. Plus I can't get over the Silence of the Lambs reference about eating the guy's liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti. I want to make that weird slurpy noise he makes every time I think of fava beans.
Yes, I am a strange individual. But some things just stick with ya, more than you wish they would, ya know?
Here. Look at Silvermist being cute and helping, to get that other image out of your head.
Anyway. Happily, they do not taste like hummus, or anything else unsavory. The mint kisses help a lot. It's still not my favorite cookie flour but I bet it might be good for thickening sauces or something like that.
Now I have to go make lunch quickly before their heads explode from lack of cookie!
Monday, December 6, 2010
We took a bit of a break from Read It Once Again, and I've missed it. A new binder came today for The Letters Are Lost, so I'm going to spend the next few days copying and laminating and getting that one ready to go. We haven't decided if we're going to start it before Christmas or wait until January. I think I may wait, and in the meantime go to the library and check out ALL the books they have that are available through RIOA, and read them to the kids over the next few weeks to see which ones they like best for the spring ordering.
We've had a couple spaces open for the past few months, and babies are starting to be born! We have a new little boy starting next month who was born last week if he was on schedule. And we have this tiny princess starting soon too:
I cannot wait to get my hands on this greasy girlie and sniff her neck. Hercules and Tigger are getting SO BIG, SO FAST. Feels like a long time since we had such a tiny one.
Speaking of the boys, Hercules is full-on walking. All over the place. I just really don't see how it happened so fast. He still seems little to me. But he insists that he is in fact a Large Man and should be treated as such.
Tigger is pulling up on stuff and crawling lightning fast. He tortures his sister on a daily basis by pulling up on her tray and trying to eat her lunch. She is unimpressed by his skills.
And thanks to the both of them, my Christmas tree is in solitary confinement this season.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The five Pink Ladies are all officially two years old now and are beginning to shamble slowly toward the idea of potty training. Some are further along than others in terms of whether or not they will sit, will do anything when they sit, will be truthful about contents of diaper when asked... :) We've been having a bit of success with a couple of them peeing in our froggy potty on a semi-irregular basis, but nobody has done the Big Job until today.
And the winner is......
If I was mean, I'd put a picture of her sitting on it. But A: what if she wants to be a lawyer when she grows up and there are pictures of her first poop on the internet? And B: I didn't take any pictures of her sitting there.
I absolutely love that it was Roo. She doesn't really get to be first at anything very often. I think it will be hilarious if the girl who can't yet walk unassisted is the first one trained. But she told Kanga she needed to and wanted to sit on the potty, and this is the FIRST TIME she's ever even sat on the potty at all. Major success. I'm so excited for her. And she's so proud. I stamped her hand with a blue kittycat for a reward and she keeps waving it in my face and talking about meow and poop. It's funny.
Friday, November 12, 2010
She loves her some headbands. We try to make as many as we can, and even though she's very likely to rip it several times during the day taking it on and off, she loves to wear it and makes me staple it back together every time.
During our Very Hungry Caterpillar unit, she spent a lot of time wrapped up in a cocoon and squirming around. Sometimes she would suddenly fling the blanket out behind her and flap it like wings for a few minutes, but then she'd retreat back into the cocoon some more.
Okay, so her form needs some work. A one-handed swing doesn't have much power. But she can still hit the ball just fine! She and O'Malley like to get out there and see who can hit more balls. They jump up and down and yell HOME RUN!!! after each one.
Working on muddy piggies with Aurora. She's gotten quite good at staying in, or at least near, the lines and her painting is improving with every project. It's one of her favorite things to do here and she's never happier than when I say it's time to paint.
Cheesy happiness with yet another headband.
Let's see... what else is she up to these days? She's perfectly capable of climbing out of her pack and play during naptime, as is Aurora, and I think before too long it will be time to transition them over to cots. I've been putting it off, but they're ready. I hear she's begun to climb out of her crib at home too. It's just that time. She is awesome at two-foot jumping now and frequently requests the Jumping Song that we sing during circle time every day. "Stitch, Stitch, jump up and down, jump up and down, jump up and down! Stitch, Stitch, jump up and down, and sit right back down..." That's how we usually begin circle time, to call them all together, and it's her favorite. She always reminds me if it's getting late in the morning and we haven't done our jumping yet.
She's coming out of a stage where she was eating like a linebacker. Some meals she would eat more than the other four Pink Ladies put together. I have no idea where she puts it. Maybe she needs all that energy for the jumping or something, but the chick is HUNGRY. And lets you know. :) She likes almost everything and will eat seconds and thirds, but if I happen to make something she doesn't like, she gives me the stink eye in a big way. "I don't like it. Don't want it." And she always gives special emphasis to the ending Ts and Ks in that phrase, so it's very separated and distinct. Don'T liKe iT. Don'T wanT iT. Sounds hilarious. I have a feeling that may have come from big sis Lilo. She looks very like her when she says it.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
We played a lot of games using various animal sounds and they've all acquired a few new ones. I think I talked in Roo's post about the confusion of the word "pig" sounding just like "moo" in Thai. That cracks me up. My other favorite is the rooster. Each kid has their own special way to cock-a-doodle-doo and they are all hilarious. One of the games we played was learning about how the rooster is the "alarm clock" of the barnyard, so they all pretended to be other animals sleeping and then I was the rooster and woke them all up by making loud rooster noises. Then they all wanted to have a turn being the rooster. I was actually kind of concerned afterwards that O'Malley would wake me up at 5 am by cock-a-doodling in my ear. Thankfully that hasn't happened. But I do have to say that his snoring sheep is the funniest thing ever.
They love to make headbands and this unit especially offered a lot of opportunities for that. We did a pig and a chicken. I don't think I remembered to get pictures of Hercules or Tigger wearing theirs, but it's fun that there are things even the littles can do with us.
Since O'Malley has dropped his nap I try to do some big boy work with him in the afternoons. Most days it's fighting a losing battle. He really wants to play Wii and isn't nearly as interested in doing school the way his big sister Duchess was. I think homeschool may be out of the question for this one. But anyway. This activity was called Bats in the Barn and it had cards where you count how many bats there are, and then match them to the numeral. He had a good time and I was pleased to actually have a day where he got something done, even if he did make faces at me.
Miss Bianca, hard at work painting a muddy piggy. I think when we're not doing a Read It Once Again unit, the thing they all miss the most is the painting. (Well, except for Chip. He doesn't like to paint for some reason. Not sure why.) We're doing some Thanksgiving books and getting ready for our big feast the next few weeks, and they're always asking me when they can paint again. I'll have to find some turkeys for them to do. :)
Friday, October 29, 2010
They've been doing a lot of work on strengthening the muscles in her mouth so things like milkshakes and lollipops are actual exercise- helping her form her lips correctly and not drool and stuff like that. It's fun to get to spoil her a bit too. She's drinking from a straw consistently now and the first time she realized it was fun was because I let her drink my strawberry shake. :)
Roo has received an official diagnosis of cerebral palsy in the last few months, which allows her to get more equipment at school to help her out with various things. The therapy ladies are currently working to figure out which type of trainer will assist her best in learning to walk. This one was the first one we got, and they've since decided that she's a little too advanced for it. It makes her sit down more and they think she can focus on standing and stepping a lot better with something else. But here she is trying this one out. She was not too excited about it at first.
She definitely wants to stand though. This is one of my favorite pictures of her. She's got a death grip on the gate, and she did fall straight over like a tree after I set the camera down, but she was excited to stand there!
She's having a great time painting and doing art with the other girls too now, and constantly wants to go outside. She doesn't care if she gets dirty or if bugs bite her. She just wants to be out there doing everything she can physically do today, while figuring out how to do something ELSE tomorrow. I love her spirit.
As soon as the back door opens, she is out like a shot. Doesn't care about skinning her elbows on the porch or getting muddy or the fact that she can't climb up the slide alone yet. She can reach the handle of the stroller to push the babies around and she has a BLAST.
Roo's acquired an annoying repetitive habit that we have to fuss at her for constantly, just like everybody else. :) I think she digs it. Just grins when we drag her away from the fridge OVER and OVER and OVER. Now that she's learned to open it and get her milk out of the bottom shelf, she spends half her life refrigerating my kitchen. In a weird way I like that she's getting in trouble. She's decided she's going to stand up for herself and do what she can do. And she'll go far.
Oh, and during our Big Red Barn work this month, I was noticing that she was doing weird sounds for some of the animals and mixing them up, so I asked Kanga. Turns out, the way to say "pig" in Thai sounds just like "moo". Awesome. I guess that's the downside to being bilingual. I kept thinking she just wasn't getting it, but actually she's getting it in TWO languages and trying to school the rest of us!
Friday, October 22, 2010
She's currently in the "I can take my clothes off by myself" stage. It's to the point where before we tuck her into bed for her nap, we have to put a piece of duct tape across her diaper tapes, or else we have a streaker and a big mess to clean. We're constantly looking over and asking, "Aurora, where are your pants?" or "Hey sweetie, we wear clothes at school. Go get your shirt." I do kind of hope she grows out of this soon. But yay for motor skills! She also raises the entertainment factor at lunch. She was done eating and decided to take her shirt off, but being buckled in impeded her progress... her one arm got stuck in the shirt and she was trapped. It made her mad, but it made me laugh and I had to take her picture before I rescued her.
She's completely obsessed with the plastic kitchen food right now. There must be a pink donut or some fake corn on the cob within reach every.single.minute or we hear about it. "WHERE MY DONUT GO? WHERE?!?!?!" She bops around in the little kitchen area, moving her food from the microwave to a plate and back again, and carries it around with her to have close by during story time or singing.
Aurora's emotions run high most of the time. If she's happy, she's delighted. She bounces, she jumps, she claps her hands and laughs hysterically. If she's sad or angry, she is prostrate on the floor, kicking her feet and screaming. Everything is very terrible and she loses all her many words instantly in the face of her anger. :) We don't take her nearly as seriously as she'd like us to though, and her fits never last long when she doesn't get an audience.
The upside to this is that she's not very physical- just to keep balance in the universe I guess, I've noticed that there are two kinds of kids at this age. You have the weepy ones, and then the ones who haul off and slug you. We've got strategies to help them through this stage either way, and it's interesting to see which way they fall. You can't always predict by their behavior as babies, but we nearly always have a split pretty evenly down the middle. It's just so hard to learn to control yourself when you're two. Sometimes you have to yell about it, and sometimes you have to push your friend.
But back to Aurora... she loves to find little cubbyholes to hide in. The other day she was calling me and I couldn't find her for a minute- then I realized she was under the table, but lying on top of the chairs. :) Silly girl.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Everybody was given a copy of our schedule, but I know how things are. :) You put it in a very safe place, never to be seen again, and then you can't remember whether daycare is open or not. So. Here is our 2010 schedule. Since the holidays are quickly approaching, I figured a refresher might be nice. Kanga and I will work on the 2011 schedule soon and you should have it by Christmas of this year.
Giant Steps: Noteworthy Days for 2010
In addition to our paid holidays for the year, we also reserve the right to take 4 paid personal days. Any additional vacation days we take will be of no charge to you. If you are on vacation, please remember that you must continue to pay to hold your child’s space.
Friday, January 1: paid holiday for New Year’s
Friday, January 29: paid personal day
Friday, April 2: paid holiday for Good Friday
Monday, May 31: paid holiday for Memorial Day
Friday, July 2: paid personal day
Monday, July 5: paid holiday for 4th of July
Monday, September 6: paid holiday for Labor Day
Tuesday, November 23: 4th annual daycare feast lunch for parents- come and go, 11:30-1:30
Wednesday, November 24: paid personal day
Thursday/Friday November 25/26: paid holiday for Thanksgiving
Thursday/Friday December 23/24: paid holiday for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day
Thursday/Friday December 30/31: paid holiday for New Year’s Eve/ New Year’s Day
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Miss Silvermist is the most articulate of the bunch at this point and constantly tells us, bosses us, and otherwise lets us know the things she finds important. She's also quick to correct her friends when she sees they're not following a rule. Never mind that she'll be doing it herself in ten seconds. That's completely different.
At lunch, Aurora was asking for more food and yelling "MORE FOOD! MORE! MOOOORRRRRE!" Silvermist just looks at her with the scornful eyebrow and says, "You manners?" :) When she wants more she's likely to forget the please and thank you herself, but it's so much easier to remember that OTHER people ought to be polite.
And then today Roo learned how to open the fridge, which is a huge milestone. She'd had to resort to begging her friends to not step on her and please bring her milk over HERE!!! Silvermist decided that Roo really should close it. Again, never mind that she herself will stand there with the door open so long that it's "S, please close the door. S, we don't stand with the fridge open. Sweetie, shut the door now. SILVERMIST! FOR THE LOVE OF PETE SHUT THE FRIDGE AND BACK AWAY WITH YOUR HANDS IN YOUR POCKETS!" And she just laughs. Sometimes she closes it and sometimes we have to bodily scoot her away. So she definitely knows the rules, and so do we. But we were being a bit lenient with Roo since she was having such great success in finally getting the door open. When she finally was able to open it and scoot out of the way so it didn't shut on her, she just lay there marveling at the salad dressing and grinning. Silvermist found this to be unacceptable.
Commentary with this goes: "Roo! Move away. No, Roo! Shut da door! I shut da door now! YOU MOVE BACK!!!!" All in a very cheerful voice, but accompanied by dress tugging and the understanding that she is to be immediately obeyed. :)
I wear my caterpillar hat. I wear my caterpillar hat. I wear my caterpillar hat!!!
She's been very excited about painting every day with our new curriculum. Here's the barn to go with Big Red Barn, of course, which is our title for the month. I like the way this is set up- it asks you to do the paintings one on one with each kid, only use one color at a time, and work on directives like wearing a smock, holding the brush, talking about color, and staying in the lines. Set up other opportunities for creativity- this one is for following directions and improving. She's getting better every time about remembering to stay at least near the lines, and we're working on colors. Right now all of them are blue. :)
And then there's this, which may be my favorite picture that I've ever taken of Silvermist in all the months she's been here. The weather is finally gorgeous and we've been out in the yard a lot this week. The kids are all reacquainting themselves with toys they haven't seen in months and running around having a great time. Silvermist was sitting on the red scooter holding a toy- it's in her left hand in this picture so I can't see it and I don't remember what it was. She was totally minding her own business and out of nowhere Aurora comes running at her and snatches it away. Indignation ensues, along with some yelling on both sides and some mediation from Kanga about being sweet and Silvermist had it first and Aurora needs to give it back now and wait her turn etc.... Normal stuff. While this was going on, Silvermist had of course gotten off the scooter so she could chase Aurora down to get her stuff back. When the crisis had passed and she was once more in possession of the Very Important Item, she turned around to get back on her scooter..... only to find that Stitch had snuck in out of nowhere and occupied it. I LOVE THIS LOOK ON HER FACE. It's such a grown up, "you have GOT to be kidding me with this!" face. Totally cracks me up.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
We've been doing some butterfly work too. Here is a gluing collage we made of some butterfly wings, and also using scarves as butterfly wings to do some flying of our own.
We also did Muffin Tin Monday for lunch, choosing all foods that the caterpillar ate in the book. They were practically incoherent with glee to get a tiny piece of cone and bite of ice cream as part of their lunch. :) No seconds on that part though, just the healthy stuff.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Our Esme has moved on as of last week. Her family found a new house that is still sort of in the area but just far enough away that our place is not really convenient anymore. I thought I'd put a slideshow together to give her parents- since she started in January she missed out on the Christmas one I do, and I have lots of cute pictures of her. Then I couldn't get my DVD burner to work and didn't get to give them a copy. So at least it will be here so they can see it.
We will miss you, Esmeralda! We wish you luck and fun times at your new school! :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Roo's therapy has been going really well lately and she's making tons of progress! We're so excited to see her picking up her feet to take steps now. I took a video of her walking too but right now Blogger is being highly uncooperative and not letting me publish. Hopefully it will work later.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
We started our Very Hungry Caterpillar curriculum and so far we are all loving it. We'll be reading the book about 9 every morning for the next four weeks and then doing all our activities based around that. After just two days of reading it the girls are already saying "still HUNGRY!!" and looking in the kitchen area for apples and strawberries. I found a bulletin board set with all the pictures from the book and yesterday we all painted a section of huge caterpillar to put on the wall. I like the way our work area is looking so far.
Also new starting this week: Kanga and I went to the first half of a Love and Logic conference this past weekend. It's been really refreshing for both of us to have new strategies to deal with the little discipline issues that come up. The kids got it right away too. There's far less explaining with this program, which is a big change for me. I'm used to running commentary. "Okay, it's time to get off the sad wall. Do you remember why you were there? That's right, you were jumping on the couch, and that is not nice. We're not going to do that anymore, right?..." as their eyes glaze over....
With this, you sing the Uh Oh song. "UH OH! A little buckle chair time coming up for you now. How sad!" in this really sweet singsong-y voice. And that's it. You put them in the chair, on the wall, or whatever spot you have set up, and if they choose to be angry about that, it's fine. Once they're calm, they get two minutes of "recovery time" and you tell them, "you can get up and play with us as soon as you're ready to be sweet." When they get up, that's it. You don't talk about what the behavior was- the program says that kids have more sense than the family dog. :) They know good and well what they did.
We had some uh-oh time yesterday morning, and by the afternoon when we would sing UH OH, everybody would look around wide-eyed to see if who was the offending party. They're all smart. After about 30 seconds into her second time in the chair, Silvermist started saying, "I ready to be sweet!!" And she was.
The other part of the program is choices. Give as many as possible, as often as possible, and make sure you can live with whichever one they pick. Would you like Kix or Chex? In an orange bowl or a blue bowl? Big spoon or little spoon? Dry or with milk? Do you want to pour the milk or would you like me to do it? Ask questions and give them choices- let them figure out what is best without nagging or bossing all the time. Then when there's a safety issue or a big thing that you need, you can say, "hey, it's my turn to pick. I gave you so many choices today!" It's working well, but I think our husbands are having trouble with it- either that or they like to mock us. Or both. Kanga said her hubby passed Tigger off to her on Sunday and said, "Okay Tigger, are you going to puke on Mommy's shirt or Mommy's pants?" :) Ha.
Caterpillars, painting, choices, and UH OH. That pretty much makes up the next four weeks. I'm excited!!