September 25, 2008

Procrastinate, and do it NOW.

Posted in Baby Talk, Crazy Homeschoolers tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I have the worst problem with updating my blog. Ideas come to me constantly – I’ll be in the car, or the shower, or folding laundry, or nursing the baby, and think “oh, I need to blog about (insert topic here) before I forget all about it!” And then I forget all about it. I sit down in front of the computer and get engrossed in something else (usually either JustMommies, or some massive time-waster on Facebook) and don’t even think about blogging. And then, when I actually DO think of blogging while in close proximity to a computer…well, I’m just so stinking far behind that I don’t even know where to begin. As is the case today.

Since my last post, my baby girl turned nine months old. That was two weeks ago, so I guess she’s actually nine and a half months old. Three quarters of a year. Where the heck has the last nine months gone? I want them back. Whoever stole them from me – bring. them. back. I know that’s not likely to happen, so I’m doing my best to move ahead, and am actually planning for her first birthday already. I have a box of cupcake-themed decorations in the closet already, and the ridiculously expensive cake pan from Williams-Sonoma that will make a big 3D cupcake-shaped cake. I HAD to have it, and I’m justifying it by pledging to make this cake for her every year, until she’s old enough to be utterly mortified by it – and then probably for a few more years after that.

She started properly crawling this past Sunday. She’s been mobile for a while now, but she finally got the hang of the whole hands-and-knees thing that is what most people consider crawling. And of course, she figures this out while in the church nursery – with someone else. The ONE Sunday morning that my dear sweet darling husband volunteers to sit with her in the nursery so I can stay in our Sunday School class – well, of course that would be when she decides to show off, wouldn’t it? Thank goodness for nifty phones with video capability – I did at least get to see it later. And now I’m seeing it non-stop, from the time she rolls out of bed in the morning until the time she passes out at night. It didn’t take her long to put two and two together – crawling equals freedom, to get into anything, anywhere.

Well, you have an older daughter – weren’t you prepared for this?, you ask (or I assume you do, at least.) No, no I was not prepared for this. You see, the Princess had a full-blown case of Jabba the Hut Syndrome when she was this age. She was just such a massive chunk that she was quite content to mostly stay in one place and play with what she could reach. She would scoot around a little (it was easier for her; we had hardwood floors then) and was probably capable of more than she bothered with. But she never did really crawl, she didn’t cruise until just before her first birthday, and didn’t bother with those first steps until fifteen months. I had just resigned myself to hauling her piggyback-style off to college when she let go of the couch and took off one morning, and hasn’t slowed down since. So no, I really wasn’t expecting Boogie to be so fast at nine months, although I should have figured that a) a second baby would be faster because she wants to keep up with her sister, and b) I’m older and more tired now, so Murphy’s freaking Law says that she would be a fast learner as well.

And the Princess? Well, DH was concerned that she’d be smarter than him before long, and I think that day is nearly here. Heck, she’s going to pass me soon, and I don’t know what I’m going to do then. Maybe I’ll just turn lesson planning over to her and let her teach me what she wants to learn. Yes, she is truly a tiny smartypants – and thank goodness for it, as I likely wouldn’t have the patience to homeschool her if she weren’t. Not that anyone else would necessarily be interested, but I don’t want to forget – so here’s a quick rundown of our typical school day…

– We start with our Bible lesson over breakfast. This includes a devotion, saying the Lord’s Prayer (which she does nearly flawlessly now), and our memory verses. She knows four verses now – we do one each week. We use the A Beka Bible curriculum, which I both love and hate. I like having everything spelled out for me – teach this, then this, then this – to be sure that I don’t leave anything out. But at the same time, this kid has known the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, et al since she was a tiny, tiny girl and they’re a little boring for her now. I’m having to pull out more details to keep her interested.

– After the Bible lesson, we read an entry from the book 365 Manners Kids Should Know. Not neccessarily that day’s entry – I do skip around a bit to cover the ones that are applicable now. After all, the chances of her needing to know proper ettiquette at a bar mitzvah are currently pretty slim.

– Next up is geography. I printed out a map of the U.S. and she colors in one state each day, reviewing the ones she’s done before. As of this morning, she can identify New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama (she’s finally stopped calling it “Obama”), Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

– After breakfast comes math. She can add by ones now, and is learning basic addiction facts (2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc.) Today we’ll start skip counting by twos, which should be interesting.

– After lunch, we do our daily phonics/reading lesson. Not sure what I’m going to do after next week, as she only has three lessons left in her phonics curriculum! I checked out several level and one and two readers from the library yesterday to serve as her reading practice until I figure out which curriculum to go with next. If I can keep the books hidden, I can make her read them to me…if not, she tends to remember the story and tries to cheat. I hope the books I picked aren’t too easy – last week she sat down with a Mercer Mayer book and read it cover to cover with no help. I’m so proud of her (she got my bookworm gene!) but I little flabbergasted too. Am I supposed to buy first grade readers for my four-year-old?!

– The rest of the day varies. We do Social Studies on Tuesdays since that’s gymnastics day and we don’t have much time. The A Beka K5 Social Studies book is basically a giant coloring book, so we’re rolling through that. Some days we do science – using the God’s World reader combined with experiments from The Backyard Scientist or things I find online (or just feeding and watching the sea monkeys). Other days we do history, using Story of the World. Just got the activity book that goes along with it yesterday, and boy are there plenty of things to tie in there. The next chapter – ancient Egypt – ought to be interesting.

I know, that sounds like an awful lot for such a little one, but it really doesn’t take all that long. We might spend two hours on an average day “doing school” – whereas if I sent her to preschool, she’d be gone for at least three.

*****

On to other, more random things now…such as HOW in the world I’ve found time to write an entry this long on a Thursday morning? Well, that’s one upside to Boogie’s crawling – she’s much happier playing in the floor for longer periods now. I can get online for a little bit while she explores. I just have to keep prying her little fingers off of the laptop’s AC cord.

I just took her out on the front porch for a few minutes – it’s so windy this morning, and she seemed to enjoy that. I love watching her when she’s watching something interesting – her blue eyes get so big, and her little lips part while she’s staring. It’s an awesome opportunity to nuzzle into those chubby cheeks and smell her sweet baby smell. I hope that doesn’t go away anytime soon.

And, as if on cue, she crawls over to me, climbs my leg and screams. Of course.

Sleep is still an issue here – or rather, the lack of it, during the day. She just doesn’t nap. It’s not that she doesn’t need them – she’s falling down tired by 5:00, but I can’t let her nap that late. We would all be happier people if she’d nap during the day…but I’ve kind of gotten used to being grouchy, and at the very least know that I’ll survive this. Surely to goodness this will get easier before long.

Our annual visit to the pumpkin patch is just a few weeks away now – hard to believe! I’m so, so thankful that fall is here and it’s getting cooler. I hate summer – hate it, with a pink and purple polka dotted passion. I just want to refrigerate the whole house in the summertime and never, ever leave it. Fall, now – I love being outside during the fall. Boogie, unfortunately, does not. Well, she does like the outdoors – as long as she’s being held. She doesn’t care for the swing and screams if grass touches her, so there’s not a lot to do for her just yet. Anyway. Hopefully she’ll tolerate the grass for 15 seconds at the pumpkin patch, long enough for me to get the picture that I absolutely must have. She’s going to be a white tiger for Halloween, and has the most adorable costume ever – the one that I loved but talked myself out of when Princess was a baby. Princess, on the other hand, refuses to be a princess this year, because those costumes are easy to find. No, she insists on being EVE, from the movie Wall-E. EVE, who Disney/Pixar neglected to make a costume of this year. EVE, who is a shiny white robot with no legs – she hovers. EVE of the impossibly shaped body. Thank goodness I never learned to sew, so the task of negotiating this particular costume falls into my mom’s capable hands… We’ll see what happens with that.

There’s more – there’s always more – but I think that’s plenty for now. I’m caught up enough, I think, that maybe I won’t dread writing more tomorrow…

July 18, 2008

I heart my grandshrimp.

Posted in Crazy Homeschoolers tagged , , , , at 3:36 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

Guess I haven’t mentioned yet that we’re a homeschooling family, have I? Yep, we’re crazy homeschoolers. My kiddos are wildly unsocialized – don’t make direct eye contact with them. They’re like little wolverines.

Okay, that’s entirely untrue. Sass is anything but antisocial – in fact, we often find ourselves wondering just where her super-social gene came from, as she certainly didn’t inherit it from her parents. Boogie is too young yet to be antisocial; she’ll go to most anyone except my mother-in-law, for reasons entirely unknown to anyone but her little self. Although we have our theories. *ahem*

Anyway, I was browsing the toy department at Wal-Mart last week, looking for an appropriate bribe surprise for Sass, who was being reasonably well-behaved while we shopped for groceries, when I came across Sea Monkeys! My reaction, of course, was that of any former-kid who had drooled over the wordy Sea Monkey ads in the back of her Archie comics – amazing, live sea monkeys! Watch them come to live before your very eyes! And do tricks! And clean your room and eat your broccoli! That is, my reaction was: “Hey, cool! Sea Monkeys!” And since I wanted them, I immediately justified buying them for Sass by turning them into a summertime science curriculum. I need to do more science-y things anyway, as we mostly focus on reading and math. But hey, she is only four.

So we came home with her nifty new little blue Sea Monkey tank, filled it up and added the water purifier, and waited the requisite 24 hours before adding the eggs to the tank. The next morning, while squinting into the water, I distinctly saw a little squiggle swimming about. Later that day, I saw a bunch more little squiggles – at least a dozen of them, and a few of them actually identifiable as the teensy brine shrimp they are. (But “monkeys” sounds like so much more fun, doesn’t it?!) I pointed them out to her, and we spent at least two happy minutes peering into the water at them. Sass immediately christened the largest squiggle Wall-E, and the next-largest squiggle Eve. Girlfriend is a little obsessed with Pixar films.

That evening, I was multitasking as usual – making dinner (chicken casserole, which is semi-June-ish), straightening the kitchen and talking on the phone to my mom. I was telling her all about our new little critters, how neat they were, how excited Rachael was, etc. All this while I was wiping the countertops around the tank. And then, just as I’d finished talking about them… *THUNK*  That was me knocking over the sea monkey tank, in case you didn’t recognize that particular breed of “thunk”. Water and sea monkeys flew all over the kitchen counter, into the floor…there was no saving the poor little things. I couldn’t even SEE them, much less rescue them. Sass, being in the next room, flew into the kitchen in a rage, placed her little hands squarely on her hips, stomped her foot and yelled, “ASHAME OF YOU!”

Ashame of me indeed. I felt terrible. Horrible. Miserable. Lower than low. I am pond scum. I am the amoeba that feed on pond scum. I murdered my baby’s pets. It was accidental shrimp-slaughter, but it was a massacre nonetheless.

I did what any mom would do, I suppose. I hugged her and told her how very (VERY) sorry I was, and that I would hie to Wal-Mart that very evening to buy her all new Sea Monkeys, and that she would have two tanks instead of just one. And I did.

Round two of our sea monkey experiment is now in residence on the kitchen counter – we just added the eggs to the water tonight. I’ll be looking tomorrow to see if there are new baby shrimp wiggling around in the water, but you can rest assured that I won’t be getting too close.