Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ten Apples Up On Top!

One apple, up on top.

I must admit that I am quite impressed with them and with myself, that all of them were able to get a real apple to stay on their heads long enough for a picture.

Two was a bit more tricky, but Lilo managed to do it

and Stitch gave it a valiant effort.

After that, nobody could do three. We tried real apples, pretend apples from the kitchen area, beanbags, and peek-a-blocks. We talked about how it was hard to be still so things didn't slide off, and Lilo made the connection that her hair is "fuzzy" enough that things stayed on a little longer. She said her hair was curly and fuzzy so it wasn't as slippery as some of the other kids. She sat with Bianca and tried to talk about it, but B is a little too young to make it work yet. :) It was fun though- I like watching how they try to figure things out.

So we skipped to the next fun part of the book:


Which I didn't actually have handy, but a broom is just as good.

And after that we all sat down to color our favorite page, in an attempt to make a book we might be able to put together. I don't think that part is going to happen, but they all had a good time.

Bianca and Stitch are VERY interested in coloring right now and always cry when I say it's time to put up the crayons.

O'Malley's "apples" up on top, and Stitch's interpretation of the story.

Luckily, I don't charge extra for the fine privilege of sharing my artistic talents with the kids. :) They could tell it was a lion and they were happy. That's all that matters. What can I say? I'm a trained English teacher. I love reading books and making connections with them. That does not, however, mean I am any good at art! Bianca's is just as good, I think!

Lilo was very pleased with hers- it actually has apples that she counted, and a person, and the beginnings of writing her name. She's ready to move on too- this is her last week with us. Then she's home for the summer and off to preschool.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Focus- Hercules

Hercules is working hard on all his big skills these days- he's getting close to being able to sit up on his own, although right now he still face plants into the blanket pretty quickly. :) We're working on it. Here he is on top of the table in supervisory capacity. He looks a little perplexed at the view from up here...

He's also getting pretty good at rolling over. Usually on any given day he chooses one way to roll, and then decides the OTHER way is his favorite place to be. I've never seen him go from tummy to back and then tummy again, or the other way around. If he's hanging out on his tummy, he'll flip to his back and then be angry and wave his arms around like a stuck beetle and not be able to get back over. If he decides it's a good day to lie on his back and observe the fan, then that's when he flips to his belly and gets angry that his face is in the rug. He cracks me up.

He's eating cereal at home now, I hear, although we haven't had the pleasure of serving him any here yet. It won't be long at all before he's in a buckle chair eating Kix with the big kids. They get so big, so fast!

He's also joined the ranks of Roo and Chip when it comes to a great love of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It makes me laugh that they all think that one show is the best thing on the planet. I'm not really sure what makes it better than anything else, but he definitely thinks it is.

Mr. Hercules! Disney name, yes, but I always end up doing the Nutty Professor chant. Hercules, Hercules! He gonna be my little Hercules! :) It makes him smile. And also look at me like he thinks I might be a little crazy. I can't imagine why he thinks that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Respectful Kids

I have tons of stuff I want to post- my camera is being uncooperative and so I haven't been able to put up a Friday Focus or our fingerpainting antics this week. In the meantime, here's some other stuff on my mind. :)

I get the babycenter emails every week on milestones and typical stuff, and I really love this latest one about respect. We work a LOT on respect around here- I think it's one of the most important things you can teach a small child. It doesn't magically appear when they go to school or get a job, and if they aren't modeled it, they aren't going to display it. Manners matter. Respect matters. Do you say please and thank you to your kids? Do they hear you being respectful to friends and family? Even if you think they're too young to understand, they're always listening and some of their first words are going to be things they've heard you say.

Although this email was based on three year olds, I think it works really well for kids even as young as the Pink Ladies (18 months- 2 years).

(ganked shamelessly from

What you can do

Demonstrate respectful behavior. "We don't generally give our children the kind of respect that we demand from them," says Jerry Wyckoff, a psychologist and the coauthor of Twenty Teachable Virtues. "We get confused because often, our upbringing makes us equate respect with fear. 'I really respected my father because I knew he'd hit me if ... ' That's not respect — that's fear." Instead, begin by listening. It can be hard to wait patiently for a preschooler to have her say, but it's worth it. Get down on her level, look her in the eye, and let her know you're interested in what she's telling you. It's the best way to teach her to listen to you just as carefully.

Teach polite responses. Your preschooler can show caring and respect for others through good manners. As soon as she can communicate verbally, she can learn to say "please" and "thank you." Explain that you'd rather help her when she's polite to you, and that you don't like it when she orders you around. Again, being respectful yourself works better than lecturing. Say "please" and "thank you" regularly to your preschooler (and others), and she'll learn that these words are part of normal communication, both within your family and in public.

Avoid overreacting. If your preschooler calls you a "stupid-head," try not to get upset (after all, you know you're not a stupid-head). A child who wants to provoke a reaction will endure almost any unpleasantness just to get a rise out of you. Instead, get face to face and say quietly but firmly, "We don't call each other names in our family." Then show her how to get what she wants by being respectful: "When you want me to play with you, just ask me nicely. Say, 'Daddy, I want you to come and have a tea party with me right now.'"

Expect disagreements. Life would be much easier if our kids always happily complied with our requests, but that's not human nature. Try to remember that when your preschooler won't do your bidding, she isn't trying to be disrespectful — she just has a different opinion.

Teach her that she'll fare better if she can learn to stop expressing herself disrespectfully ("You never take me to the park, you bad mommy!") and instead learns to put a positive spin on her requests ("Can we please go to the park after the grocery store?").

Set limits. "One of the best ways to demonstrate respect is to be both kind and firm in your discipline," says Nelsen. "Being kind shows respect for your child, and being firm shows respect for what needs to be done." So if your preschooler throws a fit in the supermarket, and none of your coping tactics work, what do you do? "Kindly but firmly take her out to the car, and sit and read a magazine until she's done," advises Nelsen. Then you can say calmly, "Now you're ready to try again," and return to the store. Gradually she'll learn that a temper tantrum doesn't alter the fact that the food shopping has to get done.

Talk it over later. Sometimes the best way to handle disrespectful behavior is to discuss it with your preschooler later, when you've both had a chance to cool off. You can validate her feelings and make your point by saying, "Honey, I could tell you were very upset. What do you think caused that? What ideas do you have to solve the problem? What would be a more respectful way to tell me how you're feeling?"

"If a child knows you're really curious about her thinking, it's amazing — she'll often come to the same conclusion you would," says Nelsen. "And children can do this from the time they're 4."

Praise respectful behavior. Reinforce your preschooler's impromptu displays of politeness as much as possible. But be specific. "The praise should describe the behavior in detail," Wyckoff emphasizes. "We tend to say, 'good girl,' 'good boy,' 'good job.'" Instead, say, "Thank you for saying please when you asked for a treat," or "Thank you for knocking before you came in." Be explicit, and your child will quickly learn that her efforts are worthwhile and appreciated.

I love the idea of being specific in the praise- it's a pet peeve of mine when I hear people say "be a good boy today..." My philosophy is that the child IS a good boy. Sometimes their behavior stinks real bad and needs serious adjustment, but I try never to tie the essence of good or bad into the behavior. You are NOT a bad boy. You're angry right now and we need to work on your attitude, but I know that you can choose to have good behavior...