homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We don't need no fancy learnin' toys!

Two recent "hey Mom, look!" moments...

Counting berries on the neighbor's deck steps

Making shapes with lunch

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Applying language

Cayden has a small, but growing, vocabulary. And he's starting to apply it in the theoretical. That is, instead of just pointing/grunting at unfamiliar objects, he is starting to use existing known words to represent new things. What a neat phase in language development this is; I'd forgotten just how much I love it.

Right now the word he's testing out is "nest". With all of the leaves gone from the trees and many of the birds departed for southern climates, we are finding a lot of nests on our walks. I've been showing them to the boys--up close, in a few cases. We found a robin's nest with two "dud" eggs still inside, and tore down a bluejay nest from the neighbor's porch overhang (oh, and for the record: dang--bluejays are sloppy nest makers!).

Anyway.

He's making connections. My sister-in-law has a grapevine wreath with a raffia bow hanging in her front hallway. It's a nest. One of his picture books has a photo of a goat eating some grass. Nest. Hay bale at the farm? You guessed it.

I am getting such a kick out of this. It's a huge cognitive shift, from learning labels to assigning them on his own. This is the time when you look at your kid anew and say, "Man, you're really clever!"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Keep on rollin'

Okay, here's another wacky idea from my mental complaint list. Feel free to claim it as your own if you have the energy to apply for the patent. I won't mind.

Maybe in other parts of the country, this might sound insane. But here in Pennsylvania, the world is decidedly NOT flat. Even the most over-landscaped of flat parking lots are not flat. We can't help it. It's hilly country.

It's also a pain in the butt to juggle two kids and unload an entire shopping cart full of groceries, usually with one hand (see: kids), while the cart is slowly (or rapidly, even more fun!) rolling AWAY from your car. So you try to stick your foot under one wheel to kind of jam it in place, but you know--you don't have a wide range of movement with your foot stuck under the cart. So, what to do? Hold the cart and throw the groceries?

It just isn't graceful.

You know, strollers have had those nice wheel-brakes on them for what? Millennia, now? You know what I'm talking about...you stomp on the little foot lever thingy and the stroller doesn't scoot out from under you as you're trying to un/load your kid.

So come on, why not carts? They have small wheels, too, and it's not a complicated design. And man, would it come in handy.

Someone make this for me, please?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Reason Number Eleventy Billion Why I Love This Kid

Optimism.

Oh sure, to some extent all kids have a more optimistic outlook than most adults. But I was pretty easily frustrated even as a kid. My eldest stepson is the same way. If we don't excel on the first try, well, it was a stupid idea to start with and we hate everyone.

A few days ago we were at a playground, kicking around a soccer ball. My four-year announced that he was going to kick it a certain distance. (No, not "X feet"...more like, "to that tree") He got a nice running start and kicked it with all of his tiny little might.

It fell significantly short.

While I took a breath to give him the ol' "nice try", he chased the ball and kicked it again. And shouted with great joy, "See! I did it! It only took me TWO KICKS and I thought it would take THREE!"

Now there's a kid who knows how to break a difficult task into achievable steps.

Or maybe he just isn't holding himself to some rigid (even self-imposed, which I can tell you is sometimes far worse!) standard.

Yay Theo. I love you, buddy!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween photos

I know you've been waiting! :p

Here's a very unhappy Buzz Lightyear. What can I say? The child hates too many accessories.

Here's a much happier, stripped-down version, in action.

We also had a "bat" man in our candy-seeking entourage.

After a few years of me making complicated costumes that didn't get worn, I was a little gunshy about putting our 18-month-old in anything more unusual than sweats, so this worked well. However, I probably needn't have worried. Here he is, playing with last year's Costume That Wasn't.

I'm so thrilled that someone liked it! Maybe next year?