Friday, December 30, 2011
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! 2011 was AWESOME for all of us here...our family is so happy. We wish for more of the same for 2012. This weekend is going to be a lot of fun for the little one :-)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
LC planned the entire day. She had her choice of any activity in NYC (that was open on Xmas Day!)...and she chose the Mary Poppins film at Lincoln Center (only $6 per ticket). We shared a nice tub of popcorn (about $4)...then we walked to the Heckscher playground in Central Park (that's actually my childhood playground and this was LC's first time there, she insisted we go and I managed not to get lost)...we shared a hot dog ($2), then along with a bunch of tourists, in 40 degree weather, LC had a blast in the gigantic sandbox, nice swings...and we climbed real, huge rocks (free and priceless entertainment).
When we got home, I made dinner, we had Christmas cookies, we played board games, read books together and made lots of drawings. LC also had a special Christmas wish that I granted...we couldn't turn on computers, cameras, her portable DVD player, (we have no TV anyway) or use phones all day. That's right, monkey wanted 100% undivided attention from the time we woke up (8am) until the time we slept, which happened to be 8:30pm, because we were so wiped out from our day of fun and it didn't involve spending a lot of money or exchanging presents and LC told me "this was best Christmas ever!"
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
This last week and a half, LC and I hit so many fun places. I can't really write about it here, since I'm writing about it for work. But let me share her outside-of-home artwork that is now proudly displayed at home:
LC thoroughly enjoyed painting the wood birdhouse in the above pic and I made the little snowman (with an orange crayon nose). For the below picture frame, LC glued bits of paper down on a board to make a collage and then a Triceratops cutout was placed on top; she decorated the frame with foam animal stickers and palm trees.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
LC: "I made it because you are the sweetest mommy. Mommy and baby, they dancing."
A colorful burst of creative energy:
LC's first drawing of a flower! Exciting for us.
LC is the absolute sweetest distraction, while I'm trying to get some work done. For example, she was drawing on the chalkboard and saying such cute things: "Cone and Plie, they are mommy and baby. Love your family. Taking a little break on the beach. Silly chalk!"
She also came up to me recently and convinced me to attend her "lego school," where LC teaches the fine art of building the perfect tower with the small lego pieces. She was a very good teacher.
She has become a fan of Rigatoni pasta...and tonight after dinner, she told me "thank you mother for a lovely pasta meal." That's a direct quote, ha. So polite, for a 3 year old!
Her favorite phrase now is "don't worry about it", she picked it up from me, but it sounds so cute when a 3 year old says she will take care of something...so her mommy doesn't have to worry about it. Very considerate and helpful.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Then, LC wanted to go through the rest of my 14" x 17" sketch pad. She asked if she could color in some other pages. I joined in, now and then. She enjoyed coloring in my illustrations with me more than she seems to like coloring books that we pick up. I guess she felt like we were a team, making art together.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
This morning (as we were getting ready to go grocery shopping):
LC: "Brush start letter b?"
(Sees the stuffed sea lion...)
LC: "Sea lion start letter c?"
Me: "That's a hard one...sea lion starts with the s-s-s-s-s sound, like snake."
LC: "S !"
Me: "That's right."
LC: "Pen starts with letter p. P-p-p-p-p sound."
Me: "Yes. Good job figuring that out."
LC: "Wand start letter w. Wand say w-w-w-w. That how you spell wand."
Me: "I can't believe you figured that out all by yourself."
LC: "Strange start letter s. S-s-s-s-s sound."
Me: "That was a hard one! How did you do that?...great job."
LC: "I figured out hard one. Yay. Airplane start letter a. That how you spell airplane."
Me: "WOW, I can't believe it. That's amazing."
LC: "Boots start letter b. You figured that out, mommy think that amazing. Picture start letter p. Mommy surprised I know spell. Box start letter b. B-b-b-b-b sound. Bag start letter b."
Me: "You're doing great, figuring all this out."
LC: "Tissue start letter t."
LC: "Jelly start letter j."
Me: "That's a hard one, good job!"
(Looking at all the objects in her environment...now spotting the outlet...)
Me: "Nice job."
LC: "Paper start letter p. Duck start letter d. Diamond start letter d. Flamingo start with letter f."
Me: "All of those are right...you are trying so hard...and I'm glad you like letters so much."
We attended a workshop last weekend. We had a great time socializing with the wonderful kids, caring parents and awesome teacher...we made art, learned some sign language, listened to live music- cello and French horn duet - and did some yoga together etc. LC told the teacher that she wanted to be an architect (while she was building a cool structure). Then, the teacher pointed up at a large ball (painted to resemble the earth) and asked the kids what it was...and LC said "that is a planet...the planet earth." When the teacher was about to start reading a book about an astronaut and the planets in our solar system...LC said "astronaut start with the letter a." Other parents, with kids a couple of months younger than LC, told us they were impressed by LC's knowledge and surprised that she is so bright since she isn't even attending school yet.
I heard her in the bathroom yesterday singing the alphabet song that she learned last year. It feels infinitely better to just let her take it at her own pace, witnessing her self-motivated discoveries and being there to help guide her along whenever she asks for help. She is one of the happiest kids on the block and I'd like to keep it that way.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
She sat at the kitchen table and I gave her the materials. She went through quite a lot of drawing pads the last few months, so I decided to take off the brown cardboard backing from a couple of those old pads. So, she had a nice hard surface to work with...and I gave her the remaining Crayola Washable Kids' Paint (non-toxic, no mixing with water necessary, bright colors, and awesome washability). When she finished the painting, I gave her a new set of Crayola Washable Glitter Glue tubes. LC (explaining her painting): "A place where they have horses. Black horses and white horses and brown horses."
She is wearing the clear Alex Artist Apron with Long Sleeves, which will fit her until she is 6 years old. It doesn't look super comfy, but she hasn't complained yet...probably because she is used to wearing bibs for meals. Clean-up was just a quick wipe of the vinyl apron, the pink vinyl tablecloth and a little soap and water on her hands. Threw out a couple of styrofoam plates, rinsed the brush and put away the art supplies...and left the paintings on a shelf to dry. Yes, when we go to art workshops/classes, LC can go at it and get as messy as she wants in the studio rooms. At our home, we like to minimize mess and make clean-up fast and easy...but I would never deprive her of the pleasure of making art with her little hands.
She finished a second painting and told me she wanted glue. I took out the Elmer's Washable School Glue. She needed suggestions for a collage. I love mixed media collage art paintings, there are no rules...have fun using your imagination. I really should get some old magazines and create little tear sheets of all sorts of pictures and cut up some old fabric and wallpaper, too...and collect old buttons, stamps, metal pieces...put it all in a basket...so she can have a bunch of cool patterns, textures, images & colors to spice up a collage. She can take this further in the future and use various media (not just paint), opaque or transparent, and also layer the work a bit.
I said "how about feathers?" She liked that idea. Then, she wanted "sparkly stuff." So, I gave her a scrunched up bit of silver paper and a few sparkly shapes that she glued onto the painting. Then, she asked for "more stuff" so I gave her a yellow pipe cleaner. Then I looked in my closet and ripped off the moon & stars section of a Stayfree Maxi Pads bag (bet you didn't expect that). LC still wanted "more stuff" for the collage. So, I gave her a handful of wooden beads, then a handful of pennies. She found this fascinating and had fun sticking them to the surface and wanted more pennies. That's all I had, though. Lastly, I gave her a couple of Mickey Mouse band-aids and told her "OK, I think this is all I have for the collage, don't you think this is done now?" She nodded. There you have it. Pics below, after her artwork dried overnight.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Such simple materials, too. The wrapping paper we buy from the discount store is rolled around a large sheet of brown craft paper that normally gets thrown out...so, I thought hmmmm....let's not throw it out...let me just tape that to the living room floor and invite LC to grab her crayons and draw.
We went to a very nice 3rd birthday outing for one of LC's friends and a Melissa & Doug watercolor paint set was given to us in the party favor bag...LC didn't waste any time making a painting at home.
Contruction paper, crayons. LC: "A fly in the jungle...a fly came from the jungle."
Crayola Model Magic. LC: "I made a boat!"
LC: "I made a cake!"
Here's LC doing a happy dance. Why?
She sounded out and read her first word. (10 lessons down for us, 90 to go.)
Added note (11/26/11): Though we were progressing well through the lessons...her joyfulness was being extinguished by the structured approach...I decided to abandon the book. I much prefer how a 3 year old (and 4 year old) learns about the world naturally...self-initiating...exploration...asking questions etc. It's not about bragging rights to me...it's about LC remaining happy and building on knowledge as she follows her interests. She loves books. She loves letters and numbers. She still comes up to me, wide-eyed, to tell me how this word and that word start with the same letter and end with this sound etc. But I'm not going to pressure her to learn how to read, write, spell and do math & take (ugh) tests based on some arbitrary timeline. A 3 year old should PLAY, no matter how bright the 3 year old may be...no need to school them when they should be playing...and I shouldn't feel pressured to do so by those we meet in NYC. Let's create. Let's play. Be happy.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Here's what I wrote on the chalkboard, as we practiced making the sounds of the letters: (But she mastered this months ago, for just about all the letters in the alphabet.)
I wrote the letters on paper, she practiced tracing over them a few times and then she wrote the letters herself: (I do need to research methods to teach proper pencil grip).
I've tried to put this off for as long as I could...but LC has been attempting to read, write, tell time and do math for many months. Might as well teach her in a more structured manner, right?...so there aren't gaps in the knowledge.
There's so much pressure for kids to focus on academics too early in life (and then constantly be tested)...without being allowed to play and use their imagination...I believe that "play is the work of kids." Her pediatrician agreed with me...and suggested I wait until she turns 4 years old. I have been following her interests and guiding her creatively, with hands-on experiences...answering her questions, but never initiating lessons. By 2 1/2, she mastered what most kids master by 4. She is now 3 1/2 years old.
I finally gave up and we started lesson #1 today....why?
Well...the daily conversations last week went like this:
"Lemon starts with the letter L, mommy?"
"I figure it out! Haaa....Baby start with the letter B?"
"Gate start with the letter G?"
"Why cat and kite sound same beginning, but different letter starts it?"
"I don't know."
"Flower starts with letter F?"
"Books start letter B?"
"Yes, very good."
"And Bug starts letter B, too?"
"And Bee say buh-buh-buh! A lot of things start letter B!"
"Puzzle start with letter B, too?"
"No...puzzle is puh-puh-puh...like pet and Petek, so that is...what letter, LC?"
"Puzzle start letter P!"
"Fire start with letter, F, too..."
"Yes. Are you ready to learn how to read, LC?"
"Uh-huh!!!! Ball start letter B, mommy?"
"Giraffe start letter G?"
"Yes...I really have to finish reading this list, so I can send it for work, OK? I will read to you soon and it's time to get ready for bed. We need to wake up early tomorrow."
She runs back into the room...
"Tomato start letter T, mommy?"
"Yes, good job figuring that out."
Starts dancing the happy dance.
She comes back into the room.
"Hand has letter A in it?..like AND starts A?"
She looks thrilled, like she just broke the Da Vinci code.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Me and My Place in Space (by Joan Sweeney)
Where The Wild Things Are (by Maurice Sendak)
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC (by June Sobel)
The Cat in the Hat (by Dr. Seuss)
Green Eggs and Ham (by Dr. Seuss)
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (by Dr. Seuss)
Llama, Llama Red Pajama (by Anna Dewdney)
Llama Llama Misses Mama (by Anna Dewdney)
Mister Seahorse (by Eric Carle)
Telling Time with Diego (by Lara Bergen)
My First Mother Goose (by Tomie dePaola)
Mr. Happy (by Roger Hargreaves)
Mr. Grumpy (by Roger Hargreaves)
Dinosaur Roar! (by Paul Stickland)
But Not The Hippopotamus (by Sandra Boynton)
Opposites (by Sandra Boynton)
The Going To Bed Book (by Sandra Boynton)
How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? (by Jane Yolen)
The Feelings Book (by Todd Parr)
Little Monster's Alphabet Book (by Mercer Mayer)
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I might buy LC a magnetic, wooden figure dress-up set for Christmas, because now she is enjoying dressing up the Melissa & Doug stickers.
For years, we chose not to watch a lot of TV, since it's such a passive activity and wastes so much time. Then, the TV broke down and it has been 3 months now that we have survived without a TV. Life is great! We enjoy so many activities, inside and outside the home.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
LC posing with Cotton:
LC sitting next to Wrinkle:
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The necklace she made for herself (doggy charm + pink & purple beads + purple string):
The necklace she made for her friend V's upcoming birthday (cat charm + blue, green, orange, purple beads + blue string):
Then, she wanted to make something for me...so I asked for a bracelet with the cute red & black creature and only red beads...(I wanted a color combo that would work with something from my wardrobe, so I could actually wear this outside...proudly telling folks my 3 year old daughter made this for me!)