Sunday, March 30, 2008

That's not comfortable.

I'm not sure I've mentioned this before, but Luke sometimes likes to use my face as a pillow. It's usually when he's tired and scrambling around the bed a little and no, it isn't comfortable. I'll usually let him do it for a little while, as long as it helps settle him down.

Yesterday when I was putting him to sleep, he was holding his baby (the Gloworm I told you about before). It's head was resting right on his face.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is not a homeschooling blog

But maybe I should start one... There are some milestones happening around here that I probably wouldn't have noticed if Emmett were going to kindergarten next year. Other homeschoolers (and maybe all other parents, really) may find these observations very familiar. They're exciting to me, though, just like his first real smile or when he started grabbing toys as an infant.

About six months ago, Emmett hated to write (and of course, when he did write it was very hard to read). So I bought him mazes, and connect-the-dots, and a brightly colored learn-to-write the alphabet workbook. I got a calligraphy book for myself so we could practice together. (An aside - that was eye-opening. Calligraphy is very frustrating!) He used these materials some and thought they were fun, but nothing really took hold.

Then the universe conspired with me to get him to learn to write: Our math workbooks (that he enjoys doing with me) started including practice writing numbers. His music class had(very simple) homework, and he needed to write to do it. For a while we simply stopped doing the math, but he wanted to do the music homework so I helped him. We'd do the work orally, then I'd write the answers with a highlighter. Finally, he'd trace my letters.

A couple of weeks ago when I got out the math workbook, I realized that he was writing numbers fine. Sometimes backwards, but fine! So we skipped past the writing practice, and went on with the math. Over the course of about six months, he went from writing very poorly to writing like a little kid who's just learning. It wasn't practice, it was just time. (Here's where all the unschooling parents can say, "well, duh!")

The other interesting learning milestone we've hit is interest in and understanding of addition. We've been playing with it whenever it comes up. The flashes of understanding are great to watch - he's been adding two small numbers without counting on his fingers some of the time, and he seems especially proud when he does that. We were doing 15 + 6, and when he went to count on his fingers I stopped him and asked him, "What's 15 + 5?" He answered "Twenty" and before I could finish saying "Well, then what must 15 + 6 be?" he had already shouted out "Twenty-one!"

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

That's my boy!

At Science & Play this week, we were comparing what happens to sugar and cornstarch when you add them to water (sugar dissolves, cornstarch is just a suspension that will settle back out). Each kid had two bowls to try it themselves. I looked over, and Emmett was drinking his sugar-water with a spoon. Later, I saw him eating white sugar with a spoon from the little cup of sugar I had poured so I could spoon it out to each kid. Plain white sugar!

And then today we went to Young Chef's Academy and Emmett learned to make fresh pasta (we made more for dinner!). The kids each made a little garlic herb butter to put on their pasta. Each kid really only got a few bites of pasta, though, and they'd made about a tablespoon of the butter. So after he finished his pasta, Emmett began eating the garlic herb butter. Straight up.

I guess we need to work on body part vocabulary

At the doctor, Luke and Emmett both got shots (they both handled them reasonably well). The next morning, Luke was moaning "knee, knee!" to me and I realized that he doesn't know the word thigh, so "knee" was the closest body part to where he was sore. Poor baby. He went on to have a normal day, though, and didn't mention it again after the morning.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Emmett draws a dog!

At the doctor today, Emmett was very bothered that I was having a long conversation with the doctor and not paying attention to him. The doc was smart, and asked him to draw a picture of his favorite animal. I wondered what would happen, because I've never seen him draw animals (or any object, really) before. He's drawn some inventive flowers, but that's it. He wanted me to do it, so I suggested he start with a circle for the head. After drawing that, he looked at me again. I suggested some ears. Next he drew a loooooooong oval to one side of the head, and told me it was the body (whew! I thought it was one biiiiiiig ear). He added ears, eyes, legs, and a tail. First he drew the tail between the dogs legs, but then he wanted the dog to be happy so he drew another one raised high. It was really quite amazing, because he hasn't gone representational with his artwork at home, at all.

Easter

We went to a very large egg hunt on Easter (something like 1000 eggs and 40 kids, I'd guess). Luke seemed amazed that there were suckers (and lots of other candy) just lying around on the ground! He probably went through 3 in the short time we were there. By the time we got home the kids had eaten enough candy to become sticky messes, so I threw them in the bathtub. When I took Luke out, I told Emmett I was taking him for a nap and asked him to get himself out and dressed. I was tired, so I just stayed with Luke and napped too. David had been feeling sick, so he was on the couch (sleeping?) too.

An hour later when I got up, I asked David where Emmett was. He wasn't sure, so I went to Emmett's room and it was immediately clear why I hadn't heard from Emmett the whole time. He was lying naked on his belly reading a book, with his bucket of Easter candy next to him and candy wrappers all around.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I don't think he gets it.

While riding in the car, Emmett read some trivia questions about Shrek to David and I. There were three questions on the card, but he didn't stop after reading them just once. On the first go-round, we didn't know the answers. For the next couple cycles we answered correctly. Like a quiz show host, Emmett would yell out "You get a point" to whoever answered first and tell us who was ahead. It was getting a bit tedious, so we started answering wrong. One of the questions was "What color was Shrek's hair when he was a human?" The answer was brown, but David and I were listing off every color we could think of. Emmett started giving clues, finally revealing to us that it starts with "BR" and ends with "OWN."

David shouted out "Breakdown!"

Emmett had had enough, and said, "You've got to be kidding me! It's BROWN!!!"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Super Emmett!

I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned Emmett's green cape. It's an old scarf that I've tied into a cape, and he wears it a lot. In the house, to Spanish school, running errands, whatever.

Now he's seen an episode of Curious George where George was a Super Spy. Of course, that means Emmett is a Super Spy too. Today he hid in the closet and when I went to get a shirt for Luke, he threw Legos to surprise me. He succeeded, which is rare - his powers for deception aren't that great. Later when out running errands, he told store clerks that he was a super spy and explained all about his plans for tricking me. With me standing there, of course (I told you his powers for deception are poor).

He wants to build a periscope so he can see around corners, because that's what George did on the cartoon. So I've added mirrors to the regular shopping list this week.

Luke has mannerisms

Lately, Luke will nod his head "yes" in answer to almost any question. I have to remind Emmett that he doesn't really know what he was asking him, lest Emmett get angry when Luke doesn't proceed to do whatever Emmett wanted. The nods are more than just head nods, though. His whole upper body bobs with his head, which is really cute.

Luke has a funny run, too. He pumps his arms vigorously, and his legs seem to swing out to the sides. It seems like his lower legs swing out more than his upper legs, though that doesn't seem anatomically possible. His hips wiggle back and forth a lot, too. I should try to get some running on video.

Luke's baby

In the toy section at Target, Luke has been paying a lot of attention to Baby Alive. He grabs the box off the lowest shelf and toddles around with it saying "Beebee" over and over. I ignored it the first time, but after the second I began trying to figure out what kind of baby I could get him. Certainly not one that "eats" and "poops."

Of course, my first choice would be a totally awesome Waldorf doll like this, but $130 seems a bit steep. At a friend's house, I noticed that Luke was carrying around a Gloworm, and they had those at Target for $10 so I quickly pulled his attention away from the gross baby doll and to the gloworm. It was easy - the worm plays songs.

At bedtime, Luke usually asks for his "Beebee." Falling asleep, he plays the music a few times (and it lights up), but it hasn't prolonged bedtime noticeably. Maybe the worm will make a decent transition object, someday when I'm not putting Luke all the way to sleep every night.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Games that aren't fun.

This evening Luke was sitting in my lap when he slapped my face. I was a little surprised, and I said, "Ouch! Touch mama gently" or something like that. It seemed to work; He started gently rubbing my cheek. But then within a few minutes, we went through it a few more times. So is he a slow learner, or did this become a game?

Little bits on Luke

Luke has nearly learned to take off his shirt, so he's half naked much of the time that we're home. I haven't convinced him that he has to keep it on when we're out, so I'm left to try to distract him when he tries.

The weather has warmed up enough that Emmett and Luke are playing outside almost every day. Luke seems to have figured out the cold pretty well, because when he wants to go outside he comes to me with a mitten and says, "Min." Then he'll bring me a hat and say, "Hat."

Fun with Spanish

Emmett's been occasionally rolling his "Rs" in English words. Like his super rrrrrrrat (a handkerchief rolled up and tied to look like a rat). It's rare, but kind of funny when it happens.

Shoe On

Yesterday Luke said his first two-word phrase while I was putting on his shoes - "Shoe on."