Friday Confession: Some Help, Please?

Let me introduce you to Preschooler.

She is my first-born.  And fits the first child descriptionperfectly.  She is extremely loving, empathetic, and protective.  She is also stubborn, headstrong, and fiercely independent.

She is a learner.  Her naturally inquisitive nature means that we are talking/learning/exploring all the time.  She will start preschool in the fall and has been talking about it for a year already.  The former teacher in me notices that she has a strong auditory learning style.  Especially if what she is learning is set to music.  So here’s where I’m hoping somebody out there will have some ideas.  I confess:

Early childhood education is NOT my forte.

Elementary?  I know how to teach those kids. Preschool?  Eh. I just can’t get in their little heads.

And yet, I have this 3 year old who shows a definite interest in learning her numbers and letters.  She can count almost to 20 (she has a few random number skips), can recite/sing the alphabet, and can correctly identify a handful of numbers and letters.  She would like to know more, and I’d like to be able to help her out, but she’s not a visual kid and so many of the tactics I’ve seen are not sticking.  Any thoughts on how to teach an auditory learner avisual skill?  More particularly, a 3 year old auditory learner?

I should add that I’m not in any huge hurry, and I realize that she’s still very young.  But recognizing numbers and letters aren’t beyond the realm of possibility, especially since she’s showing the interest, right?

And it would really help the dinner-making process if she was not systematically pulling each and every  letter magnet out if it’s orderly row (that she created) on the fridge and demanding, “Mommy, what this one?!”

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Links?  Blogs?  I’ll take ’em all!


Friday Confession: Lessons from Alexander

Yesterday was the” terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”  Like Alexander , my day began poorly and just got worse and worse.  The climax came during dinner when I had reached my emotional limit and snapped at my husband, for snapping at our daughter, which led to my then fleeing from the room, and my daughter dissolving into hurt and confused tears.

Not my finest parenting moment.

And so I confess:

Yesterday was a big ol’ parenting FAIL.

There were no educational moments, no nature walks in the sunshine, no snuggling and reading of library books.  It was a “barely getting by” kinda day.  And then after the kids went to bed, there was some wine, some venting, some discussion, and some decisions made.  And then I  fell asleep (only to get up 2x in the night for feedings).

But today?  Today has been a much better day.  I’ve forgiven myself for my bad day.  The sun is literally shining, my children are in better moods, and we’re moving on.

So for anyone else who needs a redo on the day, take heart. Every terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day must eventually come to an end.

And the law of averages says that the next day will be better.

Friday Confessions: Adult Swim

Welcome back to Friday and another confession!

(Maybe I should start by confessing that I’m tuning out the Toddler’s yakking from upstairs because she thinks she’s going to skip a nap today, and I think she’s got to be joking.)

But that’s not really what I came to confess, thought it IS somewhat related.

I’ve been turning a blind eye to the state of my house so that I can grab me-time (and my own book) instead.

That’s one just about anybody can relate to, right?

I usually blog about children’s books, and that’s what much of my reading time involves.  But then there’s the “adult swim” books.  The ones that are not meant to be shared with the Toddler, but are for me alone.  I used to read before bed, and sometimes still do, but lately I’ve been finding that I’m too tired by that point in the day.  So instead, I grab some me-time during naptime.  Lately, I’ve read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  At a recent trip to the library book sale, I also picked up several new-to me titles, including my current read A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel.

Next on the list? The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks.

When do you have “adult swim”?  What are you reading?  I can always add something new to my list.

It’s okay.  The laundry can wait.

Friday Confession: Well, That Works, Too…

What a beautiful, sunny Friday!  Hardly the the type of day for any serious confessing.  So, let’s keep it light, shall we?

The Toddler has replaced Jesus with a whale.

We have two toddler Bibles.  One given to us by friends, and one given to The Toddler by our church to honor her baptism.

While miniature sized, they’re still on the heavy side, and so for quite awhile they’ve spent most of their time sitting on a low bookshelf in her room, and not getting much attention.

But recently, she pulled them both off the shelf to look through, and now they’ve become favorites.  Except she’s not really interested in reading most of the stories.  She’s not interested in Jesus, or the apostles, or really any of the traditional children’s Bible stories.  In fact, she doesn’t even refer to the books as “Bibles”.

She calls them the “whale books.”  As in, “Mama, ree way-o book!  Find way-o, Mama!”

That would be the story of Jonah, in case you’re wondering.  If I’m really lucky, I can get her to flip to the story of Noah’s Ark (more animals).  But most days?  We just read about the whales.

I guess we’ll get to the other stuff later.

And just in case you’re wondering… the whale story can be found on page 208 in one Bible, and 221 in the other.

I’ve checked.  Repeatedly.

Friday Confessions: Not alot of Princess-ing here

I guess confession #1 should be

It’s actually Saturday

Oops.  Didn’t get this one up in time.  Sorry ’bout that.

Much of my facebook, twitter feed, and bloglist yesterday was consumed with thoughts and comments about the much-anticipated Royal Wedding.  Me?  My toddler chose to sleep in until 7:45 (!?!) yesterday morning, and so…I did, too.  Which means that I didn’t watch the events live.  The Toddler got up, and I convinced her to watch the balcony kiss, only by telling her to look for the princess, and then wave at the “princess” when she emerged.  As soon as that was over, The Toddler asked if she could watch Thomas.  And that was the extent of our girly moment.

Which brings us to  confession # 2–

I’m not raising a girly-girl

Despite her looks (blond, blue-eyed, and on the petite side), The Toddler is rough and tumble.  She can’t wait until her Daddy gets home so that he will run, and jump, and chase and wrestle with her in the way only daddies can.

That rough-and-tumble personality is reflected on her bookshelf, too.  There are some typically girly titles, but there are also books about Thomas the Tank Engine (a favorite!), dump trucks, dinosaurs, and airplanes.  And while sometimes I’ll admit I wish she showed more interest in Fancy Nancy than Baby’s 1st Trucks, it’s all part of who she is, and learning about her world.  So we read the dump truck book.  Repeatedly.  And every once in awhile?  We read the dump truck book while wearing a princess dress-up gown.

Guess there’s a little bit of girly-girl in there after all.

What do you think?  Does your bookshelf reflect a wide variety of preferences?  Does your child have a strong passion for a particular subject?  Sound off!

Friday Confessions: Looting

Today’s Friday confession is about looting.  As in,

I scored some serious loot this morning.

Despite the drizzly and once again chilly weather, I loaded up The Toddler, the stroller, and an armload of snacks this morning.  We headed to our local library,  and the children’s/teen book sale.  Trying to navigate a stroller, even a small one, through the limited space in which the sale was held was no easy feat, but we all managed, and I came home victorious.

Several of these titles are classics that I came across in my time in the classroom.  At one point, I had my own copies, but I gave many of my books to another teacher when I left the classroom several years ago.  Time to restock! Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? is new to me, but fits my cute-but-rough-and-tumble daughter perfectly.  And if you haven’t read A Chair for My Mother, try it out.  It’s tissue-worthy. 

Isn’t Stellaluna a wonderful story?  For those of you who read to your children at bedtime, this is a sweet bedtime story.  Also, if you’re two, apparently At the Zoo is a must-read.  The Toddler grabbed this one off the table, and it kept her entertained while I continued browsing.

16 books, for a grand total of $10 and the money goes back into our public library system.

Not bad for a Friday morning outing.

(And another confession?  Husband just called to tell me he was coming home an hour early.  Wonder if I can sneak out again to browse toddler-free…?)

Friday Confessions: Count Me Out

My confession this week is short and sweet:

We didn’t do alot of reading this week

Some, yes, but not much.  Remember when I wrote about how skipping a day was okay?  I’m giving myself that grace this week.  My husband has been out of town, The Toddler caught some type of stomach bug (with all the joy that a stomach bug brings), and I had to put my cat of almost 16 years to sleep.

It was a rough week.

We got a little bit of reading and snuggling in when The Toddler started to feel a little better.  You can check back on Sunday to see what that looked like.

But for the most part, this week was just about survival.

I’m working on making a mental shift because The Toddler turns the big 0-2 tomorrow, and after the last couple days, we really need the celebration!

So.  Goodbye to this week.  On to the next!

Friday Confession: Damaged Goods

Hello, Friday!  It’s cold and dreary here, but NOT snowing, like it is further north, so I’ll take it.

This week’s confession began as a simple “oops”, but turned into a much greater musing.

First, the confession:

This week, The Toddler broke a DVD borrowed from our public library

And when I say broke, I don’t mean merely scratched.  In a moment of lax parenting, she managed to snap half of the DVD in two.  Bummer.

So when we went to the library today, I returned the books, and then brought the DVD up to the counter and explained what happened and that I’d like to pay for it.  The librarian looked up the worth ($10), and informed me that there was an additional $3 processing fee, so the total would be $13.  I told her that was fine, and that I had a few overdue charges on my account, and would just pay everything off at once.  As she began processing my charges, she expressed gratitude and surprise that I had ‘fessed up.  She was, in fact, so thankful for my honesty, that she waived the processing fee (a kind act for which I am grateful!)

As I was standing there, a man approached the counter next to me.  He opened the DVD case he was holding, a 2-disc deluxe edition of Disney’s Cinderella,  and explained that he had checked the DVD out for his daughter a few days ago, but that when he tried to play it, the DVD wouldn’t work.  It is, he said, visibly cracked and no longer playable.  The librarian seemed a little skeptical of his story, and claimed that they usually checked the media items as they were returned, but ultimately took the DVD and said that they would look up the previous borrower.  I’m guessing that the library will never receive the money to replace that item because whether the disc was damaged by this man or the previous borrower, it appears that it’s one man’s word against the other, and since the library has no proof against either party, they’re out of luck.

So public librarians, tell me.  How often does this happen that damaged items are “secretly” returned? Because it seems so common sense to me:  you break it, you buy it!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like having to go in and apologize for ruining an item, but there was no scolding, no yelling, no public flogging.  To the contrary, the whole exchange between myself and the librarian was pleasant.  And really, when public libraries are offering the resources to me for FREE and I damage that resource, aren’t I doubly obligated to pay?

So thank you to my public library system for graciously accepting my apologies.  And shame on those who try to skimp out of $5, or $10, or whatever the replacement fee might be.  Remember that while these services are free to you as a borrower, they are not free.

Friday Confession: Raiding the $1 Bin

Hello, friends.  I have to admit, I’m a little taken aback that it’s Friday already.  This week has been a busy one, and I’m surprised to see that Friday is here already.

Nevertheless, Friday it is.  My confession this week is part confession, part secret shopping tip:

I get some of the Toddler’s books from the $1 bin.

Specifically, I get them from the $1 bin at Target (oh, how I love Target!)  Don’t get me wrong– we have numerous books on our shelves that are beautiful hardbound books.  But I supplement that collection with “in the moment” texts from the $1 bin.  These are books that are not necessarily ones that she’ll keep forever and ever, but capture her interest at this stage of her life.

In other words, Sesame Street books.

$1 each, folks.  Which means that I can snag several and put them in her backpack as a nice surprise during our upcoming travel.  Kids not Sesame Street fans?  There are often others on colors, modes of transportation, or even rhyming.  And for toddlers who can still be a little rough on their books, the board books are perfect.

My confession, and secret for inexpensive, colorful, purposeful toddler books.

Because really, who doesn’t need another excuse to visit Target?

Friday Confession: It’s Okay to Miss A Day

Welcome back to Friday Confession.  I’ve actually been thinking about this week’s confession since much earlier in the week when I read what I tookto be a tongue-in-cheek post from a mother who listed all the reasons she dislikes reading to her kids.  Reasons such as having to read the same book 9, 389 times, or having the kids fight over whose bed they were going to read the bedtime story in, or fighting over whose turn it was to pick a book at the end of the day when she was worn out and ready for the child-rearing noise to stop.

I’m not linking back to the post, because #1-I’m having trouble finding it again, and my time on the computer today is limited by an active toddler and a growing to-do list, and #2-many individuals left truly scathing comments and I have no desire to further spread such nastiness.

So here it is, my confession for the week:

I don’t enjoy every. single reading experience with my child.

I call myself a literacy advocate.  I would say that, on average, The Toddler climbs on my lap AT LEAST once a day to share some storytime.  For the most part, I like this time because it allows us to snuggle.  I like hearing her learn the stories and begin to participate, even though she’s a long way from actually reading.

But let’s be truly honest.  There are times I would like a glass of wine, a book of my own, or a rerun of The Office just as much.  Maybe even more (shock and scandal!)

The response this woman received  to a post on her personal blog has bothered me because the reality is, this parenting thing is hard. Some days the kids arrive home from school, you load them into the car, grab dinner on the run, head to basketball/dance/karate, then come home and corral the exhausted kids into bed before collapsing into bed yourself.  Or the toddler has flat-out refused to nap, resulting in an afternoon of whining and leg-clinging. The last thing on your mind is getting in some story time.

Hear this:

It’s okay to miss a day.

Or you have a child who is a reluctant reader.  “Forcing” him or her to read for x amount of time every single day is leading to increasingly violent tantrums and a growing distaste for all things literary.  But “the experts” say to read daily.  Hear this:

It’s okay to miss a day.

Or you’re sick (anyone else get that stomach flu this winter?).  You can barely perform the basic functions, reading aloud physically requires too much effort.  Hear this:

It’s okay to miss a day.

Look, sometimes as parents, we have to make sacrifices.  We have to read the same story 9,730 times (a day) before our child gets tired of it.  We have to suck it up and give them our undivided attention at the end of a day that seems to have lasted as long as a week.  We have to serve them an occasional less-than-healthy meal because we are having a go-go-go day.  Those are realities.  Here’s another one: Time spent reading with your kiddo is sometimes going to feel less like bonding and more like a chore.  It just is.  But hopefully the next time is better.  Hopefully, over the long term, it’s an experience for you and your child to enjoy together.

So take some of the “experts” with a grain of salt.  Spend time with your child, do the best you can.  But if life gets in the way, and the book remains on the shelf?

It’s okay to miss a day.