March 31, 2009

Dissapointed - co-sleeping meet up

Yesterday I attending a co-sleeping "meet-up".  I was really excited about it, and was hopefully there would be at least one mom there who was onto baby #2.  I was also hopeful that it would be facilitated and not just a free for all.  It ended up being all new mom's, mostly with little babies and a total free-for-all.  I didn't contribute one thing to the group.  For the most part I could even hear because the facilitators daughter was throwing this hard plastic ball the entire time.

Let me address the ball throwing first.  Pooks was having a great time playing with the facilitators 3 year old daughter.  The got a hold of this hard ball and the 3 year old started throwing it down really hard.  I didn't want Pookie to do that because I was concerned it would land on one of the little babies, also it was extremely noisy.  I took her aside, kneeled down and explained that yes she could play with the toys, but that she could not throw them because it could hurt the babies.  She did a little demo of not throwing the toy and pointed to the babies.  She ran off and did not throw the toys once.   I just couldn't understand why the 3 year olds mom couldn't do the same.  She even had chances to get rid of the toy, but just handed it back.  It was weird because she seemed uncomfortable with the ball throwing.   My only thought was that she knew if she intervened at all her daughter would have a tantrum.  I don't know to me it looked like unparenting, rather than gentle discipline.  I feel like this is exactly what a lot of people mistake GD for and why people think it doesn't work.

The big disappointment was that it was totally unfacilitated.  Other that intros the rest was a free-for-all.   I am not good in big groups like that so I didn't say one thing.  I felt like I had a lot to offer since I was one of only 2 mom's with 2 year olds - most were under 1.  There were lots of topics that we never got to since it wasn't led.  There was also a big talk on getting your baby to take a bottle, which was frustrating since it was totally off topic.  I felt like some bad advice was being given and one of the other mom's tried to intervene with more solid advice but she wasn't really let in to the convo.  Anyways I left feeling pretty horrible because I had paid 10 bucks to just sit there and not even hear or contribute anything.  At least Pooks had a good time.

I figured the other mom's would be pretty earthy, but I only felt like a few were, and I felt like those mom's were pretty quite.  I am sure I saw one of the mom's hit her babies hand as well.  I was so excited that these mom's would be very much like the MDC crowd, and would have thoughts and idea's that were new to me.

I guess I should be thankful that I do have a couple of friends who are into natural living. Perhaps I should give up on going to these groups.  There will be one next week on elimination communication.  Hopefully it will be better.  

March 26, 2009

Goals & Pooks' hair

I just had to share this pic of Pookie's hair. Will it ever be long enough for pigtails?

I usually have some sort of goal I am working on with Pooks.  It started pretty much right after she was born and I was home alone all day and needed something to do.   So first I worked with her to give her opportunities to try reaching for objects and holding on to them.   Then we worked on her neck strength.  It wasn't like I was on a mission or anything, I just felt like I should give her lots of chances to practice doing the things that would make her stronger and better able to explore her environment.

Some of my current "goals" for Pooks - I am mostly writing it out to remind me :P
  •  Help her learn to sign the alphabet and to gain an awareness of the alphabet & words.  By no means do I sit down and drill her but I try to point out letters throughout the day, and we practice signing the letters together which she likes.  So far she can get up to F.  She also has started pointing out "E" when we see signs while driving.  
  • I always try to challenge her physically.  I guess that is the dance teacher in me.  She can balance on one leg with the other high in the air.  It is so cute to see.  Right now we are doing a lot of bunny hops.  They are hard for her but she likes trying.  We are also getting her a balance bike so that should be fun for her.
  • Colours.  She is slowly starting to get it.  I just need to keep on myself to label objects along with their colour.
  • Asking nicely.  I have been explaining to her that she can ask nice and it make me happy to do things for her.  Sometimes she will just start whining and fussing when she wants something.  It  seems in times of desperation she forgets about using words.  I very gently say to her "what would you like?  Can you ask nicely?"  Almost immediately her face lightens and she will let me know what she would like and say please.  It always seems like she is thinking "oh yeah, I just have to ask!".

Unschooling Inspiration

I really enjoy reading about unschooling.  It seems to make so much sense to me.  For anyone that doesn't know about it basically it is a way of homeschooling children in which you let the child lead the way and learn in their own time.  If they have an interest you can help them explore it, but there are no traditional "lessons" - unless the child chooses it.  If I were to homeschool I would definitely be very influenced by unschooling, however like most things I would probably find my own way and use some more traditional methods.

Anyways... now that Pooks is getting older and is really learning things, I am doing my best to pick up on what she is interested in and read up on what she could possibly learn.  Currently she is obsessed with "both" or "bof" as she says.  She is always pointing out when two things match.  The other day our two cats were sitting together and she said "bof" or we were playing cars and she grabbed the two red ones and said "bof".  Since this concept is so interesting to her right now I am going to go out and get a memory/ matching game and see if she likes finding "bofs". :P  

I found an awesome link "Curriculum Standards for Preschoolers".  Obviously Pooks isn't a preschooler yet but I found the majority of things on that list were things I could incorporate into our everyday lives.  For example things like "big/ little" or "over/ under".  She already mostly understands those but after reading that link it inspired me to point those kinds of things out to her. I wrote out all the ones I thought were within her grasp now or in the near future and stuck them on my fridge to remind me to incorporate them into our play.

March 25, 2009

Montessori Type Activity

I really love getting ideas from Montessori, however right now neither Pookie nor myself are interested in doing things quite as specifically as true montessori activities are.  We just get inspiration from the activities, practical life etc and make them our own.

I got Pooks these really ceramic dishes from Ikea for her kitchen.  One of the things it comes with is a tiny pouring jug which immediately made me think of Montessori.  So one night when I was attempting unsuccessfully to cook dinner, I came up with this activity.  I showed her how to do it and she really enjoyed it.  Basically she put the jug in the blue bowl and used it to fill all the cups, and once she did that she poured the water back into the blue bowl.  We will definitely have to do this one again!

More Creativity

I found this little ceramic (?) easter shapes at the dollar store that came with some paints.  I figured for a dollar why not.  She really enjoyed doing this, although I realized I didn't fully think out my purchase when I smelt the paints!  They were a bit on the toxic side.  Oh well I lived on the edge and let her paint.  I watched her carefully so she didn't get any on her or decide to give it a taste.   She was really amazed when we went back to her egg and it was all dry and shiny.  Once again I had to stop myself from micro-managing the whole process.  It was hard to watch her mix all the paint colours into an ugly brown hue, however she didn't mind and seemed to really like her end product.  The great thing about all this painting we are doing is she seems to be gaining more and more awareness of her colours.  More and more she is pointing to the correct colour when I ask.  Although all colours for the most part are "booo" - blue.

We also made some whole wheat playdough.  We had no white flour, but it worked fine.  We used neon food dye and with the whole wheat flour I really like the end result.  I decided to make her three different colours and not worry if she mixed them up.  So far they have actually stayed separate.  Her favourite thing to do is have me make a bowl and then we make berries and fill up the bowl. 

Egg Carton Caterpillars

My mom used to do this craft with us when we were kids and I always loved it, even when I was much older.  It is SO easy and Pookie just LOVED it.  All you do is cut an egg carton in half to get two caterpillars.  Put a couple holes in the "head" for antena and the rest is up to you.  I put the antenna on and helped Pookie glue on eyes, then drew a happy mouth.  After that she really saw what we were doing and I let her go to town attempting to glue pieces of cut up foam sticks & some feathers.  She worked on it for a long time and did surprisingly well with the glue.  I did my best not to interfere.  I want her to be creative and not do something the way I think it should be done.  For example after explaining to her that you should leave the foam pieces on so they can dry, she decided she would still like to pull them off and put them back on again.  I held back and just let her do what she wanted.  Also I gently explained you just needed a little bit of glue but sometimes she really wanted a lot... again I decided I should just bite my tongue and let her experiment.

We still have the caterpillars and she is enjoying playing with them.  I think next time we will paint first and then glue the next day.

March 20, 2009

Surviving a Public Meltdown

Today Pookie and I went to the library and then to the mall.  We went into Mastermind, which always has lots of toys out for the kids to play with.  Pooks played for ages on the Thomas table and then with this wooden barn.  Then she says "baby" and races over to the babies.  She spotted some Corolle doll not in a box she had never seen before.  She grabbed it and cuddled it and started high-tailing it out of the store.  I raced after her and stopped her.  I got down on her level and explained the doll had to go back.  Then she started hugging it really tight saying "please please", in a desperate voice.  I might of got it for her but it was $20, and just not worth it.  After explaining to her that the doll had to go back with it's friends, she really lost it.  I moved quickly, picked her up, put the doll back and got out of the store.

I could hardly hold her because she was going all limp.  She was SOBBING so loud, and it seemed like everyone was looking.  I looked for a spot to put her down and talk to her.  She wouldn't stand and ended up lying down flat on her back in tears.  I tried reasoning with her, offered to take her to the pet store, but it was clear she just needed to cry.  Again I carried her, this time over to a soft bench.  I put her down and let her cry for a while.  OMG I swear EVERYONE was staring at us.  That was the only stressful thing about the whole situation.  I gave up sooner than I probably "should" of and took her down to the pet store.  There she slowly came out of "it", but she was still a toddler on the edge. :P  Finally she was calm enough that I could get her organized to go home.  

There is something really empowering about getting through a public tantrum without losing your cool.  So many times I see people yelling at their kids making the situation worse.  I am always sympathetic because it is so hard to deal with, at the same time I take notes on what NOT to do.   Next time if it happens I will take her to a place that is a bit more private so I can let her work it out.

March 16, 2009

Language Explosion has Begun

It seems that the "language explosion" has begun for Pookie. There have been times that I have been vaguely worried that she didn't use as many words as her peers. Mostly I knew it was unfounded and that her comprehension was wonderful and that with her signs, and sounds she could communicate very well. Still I have been hopeful she would start talking soon, and now I got my wish!

It is amazing how each day she says a few new words, & uses more words to communicate. She is also using a few phrases like "all done" and "I don't know". Last night we were looking at a book and I was pointed to the pictures asking her what they were. There were two pictures of berries, and she pointed to one picture then the other and said "both". This just blew my mind... I know it really isn't that amazing, but to hear her use a word like "both" correctly was pretty cool.

I am working on an excel sheet so I can list all the words she knows, and when she acquires them. So far I am up to 100. I think by the time she is 2 she will be talking quite well. My baby is growing up!!

EC Grad

I think I can say with 100% certainty that Pookie is now an EC Grad. In the last 2 weeks she has started waking up in the middle of the night to tell me she has to go pee, and during the day she has been 100% reliable, and lets me know when she has to go. My hope was that she would be a grad by the time she turned 2, so we are 2 months ahead of schedule!

I remember when I first started reading about EC it seemed so over the top, and foreign to me. By no means was I against it but it just seemed extremist. Now it seems like the most natural thing you could do.

Last week my sister sent me a link to an article on ECing,
and it just BLEW MY MIND that people got so angry and were so negative about it in their comments. I think a lot of people totally miss the point, and think that you are trying to "train" a newborn, and really it isn't about that at all. Some people say "it is the parents that are trained"... I know some EC parents get offended by this but I do think there is truth to that... and SO WHAT?

So what if I have trained myself to listen to my babies needs, and make sure she isn't sitting in a dirty diaper? Is that really so bad? After my husband - who really just goes along with my ideas, read the article and comments he said "but who puts an age limit on getting past crapping yourself? Seriously!?! " . So true! What is so bad about a child learning to use the potty sooner than later?

March 7, 2009

Play Space

I always love it when I get to see other families' play spaces, so I thought I would share one of ours.  We have one finished room in the basement.  1/3 of it is for our couch and TV and everything behind it is for Pookie.  We got the storage system from ikea.  It works really well for toys with lots of parts & for stuffed animals.  

I got the foam letters and numbers were given to us from my husbands cousin.  Since our walls are in such rough shape down there (notice the pealing wallpaper - not picked by us), I didn't hesitate to put them up.

I got the open shelf on craigslist for $20, it is $100 at ikea.  I just put that down there last week and Pookie has been enjoying having her puzzles on it.

Not seen in the shot is a closet.  Once we do a bit more decluttering, my husband is going to dry wall it, paint it and turn it into a secret hideaway for Pookie.  My cousins had one under their stairs and I was always loved playing in there so much.

We also have some toys upstairs in our living room/ dining room - her kitchen and some other odds and ends are up there.   

March 2, 2009

Imaginative Play

Pookie's play these day's consist almost entirely of imaginative play.  She has two Corolle dolls and will take the two of them, make voices for them (no words though), make them dance around, push each other in the stroller.  She will even put puzzle pieces in their tiny hands and try to get them to do her puzzles.  When she plays with me or DH she always wants to play dolls, with her farm set or train set.  It is pretty amazing to watch,  especially when she gets really involved all by herself.  

I am trying my best to foster this and encourage her imagination as much as I can.  We have started to play "cats".  We walk around on all fours, meowing, cleaning our selves and rubbing heads.   She really enjoys this game.

Another one that seemed to click this morning is play "baby" where she pretends to be a little baby.  It was pretty cute she crawled into my arms and I rocked her like a baby and she did her impersonation of a little baby crying - which actually sounds like a screech.  

I always thought the baby phase would be my favourite but I am enjoying her toddlerhood much more!  It is so amazing watching her grow and learn everyday.