Finally, a (somewhat) clean house

Today was somewhat productive. I ended the day with educated kids, a clean living room, a clean table, clean(-ish) kitchen, and lots of clean clothes (that still need to be folded). So, not bad!

We finished ancient Rome yesterday, and today read the missionary stories of Thomas and John Mark. So tomorrow we start Vikings! What a jump. Hopefully the kids will be interested.

We’re also speeding through our read-alouds like crazy. We’re supposed to be on our second read-aloud, having read two stories from another book that is a compilation. Instead, we’ve read four of them, as well as most of the stories from that book, and a bunch of other books I’ve been substituting in. I’ve started a list of extra books to check out from the library just to keep us in books!

I brought back in an older math book we’d been using for a while last summer, Singapore Earlybird Math. We’d done about 1/3rd or so, I think, and then put it aside. Since we’ve gotten through Life of Fred very quickly, and I packed away our RightStart materials, I pulled out the Singapore books again so that we have at least some math to go through. She’s doing fairly well with it, doesn’t seem to mind it too much. I’ve been careful to not use the word “math,” just to say, “Okay, now we’re going to work on this book.” We’ve also started using Kumon’s “Easy Telling Time” book, as I’d like to gradually introduce time-telling.

I’ve noticed, though, that she really doesn’t know how to write the numbers, gets them backwards, etc. Her writing of letters has much improved since she’s been doing handwriting sheets–while she doesn’t always do them correct, the constant use of handwriting practice seems to be gradually influencing her writing without my having to harp on it. So I’d like to do the same for numbers, except that our handwriting program, “A Reason For Handwriting,” doesn’t cover them. It doesn’t introduce the numbers until level A, and then it just sort of assumes that kids basically know how to form them and doesn’t give them much practice. So I found a site online that allows you to generate handwriting pages, and made pages for the numbers 1-20, writing the name of the number at the top of the page. I’ll start those on Monday, hopefully that will help make a difference in her writing.

Tomorrow I’m taking the girls to an event at Toys ‘R’ Us, a launch of their new Lego Friends sets. Kids get to build a lemonade stand to go with their “Friends” sets, and there are supposed to be some other activities as well. I think the girls will love it! I haven’t told them about it yet, but I definitely want to go. I called to see if it would be okay for Jenny to come, too, since she’s only 3, and they said it would be fine. Charlotte will tag along, of course, too, but I plan to have her in the back carrier so that I can help the others without Charlotte getting into everything. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Updated “About” page; a playground story

I happened to notice today that I hadn’t updated my “About” page since I started this blog, over two years ago. So I thought I’d best do that, as it said that Emily was named Beth and was 2 1/2. Hope that wasn’t confusing any new visitors! I use pseudonyms for my kids, and I changed the names I used at some point during the blog. I updated *some* but not all of the old posts.

It’s been warm here. Shockingly warm, for January, really. I took the kids to the park yesterday and today. Although, both times, the parks weren’t all that great. Next time I might just drive a bit farther and go to the really good park. Today’s park wasn’t too bad, although there was another mom there who was sort of annoying me.

It’s hard to pinpoint what bothered me. Part of it, I think, was her familiarity with us. She acted like we were old friends from the start, chatting to my kids and teasing them within a minute of our arrival, when we’d never met. One thing that really bothered me was when Emily started trying to climb up this thing that was sort of like a double helix, attached to the side of the main climbing structure. So you could climb up it, then climb onto the top of the climbing structure and go down a slide. Well, when Emily started up it, this women went to block the top and sort of roared at Emily. I could see Emily sort of balk, so I played along, saying, “Oh, no, there’s a monster at the top!” Emily then grinned and kept climbing. But when she got most of the way there (and this is not a huge thing, she was maybe two feet off the ground), she started to fall, then managed to catch herself and get down safely.

I could have caught her, preventing her fall entirely. But, honestly, I don’t think parents who catch their kids from every potential fall do their kids a service. I think that kids *need* to get a little scared, to fall, to get back up and climb again. I think that we need to let kids have adventures and excitement, and not babyproof their world.

This woman obviously didn’t think so. Because as Emily caught herself, the woman gasped. “Oh, my! Wow, you almost really fell and hurt yourself! Wow, it’s a good thing you caught yourself, you would have really been hurt! You need to be more careful. Goodness, you would have been seriously hurt.” Over and over and over. I didn’t quite know what to say, as my first thought was, “Shut up!” Emily is already not incredibly adventurous, a bit scared of trying new things… this was not helpful.

And the thing was… her feet were down, her head was up, it was two feet to the ground. If she fell? She’d land on her feet, probably topple backwards, scream and cry… and recover. We’re not talking head injury or broken limb.

Right after that, Emily ran off to something else. The woman was still going on about it, but this time directed to me. So I responded, saying something like, “Well, we’d rather the kids take some risks and not always protect them from falls, we think it’s better for them to fall a bit, get up, and discover that they can be tough and they can get on with things.” She said, “But she could have really been hurt!” I don’t remember what I said, but we went another round or two and then gave up (I had to walk off to help with a kid).

Of *course* about ten minutes later, Emily fell while going down these steps that are supposed to look sort of like stairs hewn in rock, three rows of them (with the center misaligned). A seriously easy thing to climb up and down… Charlotte, my 1-year-old, went up the stairs with me spotting her from behind. Emily fell off the last of these because she was climbing down too fast, and screamed and screamed… and I felt like the woman was probably thinking, “I told you so.” She didn’t even look at me, so this was just totally in my head because of our previous encounter. But I was rather glad to leave that park in the end.

Charlotte has started really getting into things. She loves to eat, and for a while she’d bring you a bowl and a box of cereal if she got hungry. Then one day, I noticed that she had a bowl of cereal that nobody had poured for her. She’d poured it herself. Yes, this would be the thing that my 17-month-old would be precocious in… procuring her own food. She keeps getting into all the unlatched cabinets, homeschool stuff, crayons, basically anything she can find.

The other day, Jenny had a ring pop. She didn’t have it in her mouth at the moment, just on her finger. Charlotte spotted it, went over, and sucked the lollipop part right into her mouth and clamped down *hard*, so that she was sucking on the lollipop and the ring part was still on Jenny’s finger. Jenny freaked out. “Mommy, Charlotte’s getting my sucker!” Charlotte knew perfectly well that this was probably her one and only chance to taste a lollipop until she was beyond the choking stage, so she had that thing clenched between jaws of steel and she was *not* going to let go. I probably should have been all freaked out–“Sugar! Choking hazard!” I did rescue it from Charlotte, but inside I was laughing my head off. It was just so utterly hilarious. Poor Jenny. As soon as I freed it from Charlotte, she popped it back into her mouth before Charlotte could get another chance, and that was it for Charlotte and ring pops for at least a couple of years.