Fortune Cookie Messages For Outnumbered Parents At Kite Festivals

These Are The Days We'll Remember...At The Laredo Kite Festival.  By Critters And Crayons.

At The Laredo Kite Festival

 

One of the festivals we absolutely love to attend each year in Laredo is the Kite Festival in March.

Today, we attended our fourth.

This means that we have attended since our children were in diapers, nursing, learning to crawl, learning to walk, learning to talk….all the way up to this year.

This year is the first year both children are past all of those milestones, but they can also both hold their own kites, fly their own kites, and be genuinely interested in holding and flying their own kites.  

They can do these things after getting just a little bit of help by Mom or Dad to catch the wind, of course.

I have to say, though, there is one truth that appears to be self-evident and inviolable.

If I had a fortune cookie message to foretell my future or offer sage advice about taking more than one child to any Kite Festival alone, it would read:

 

“Winds Favor The Wise Parent Who Is Not Outnumbered By Children Or Kites.”

 

Another possible fortune cookie message might bring a different perspective while delivering the same message:

 

“One Foolish Parent With Two Children At Kite Festival
 Will Be Entangled In The Strings Of Crashed Kites.”

 

Each year, we pile into the mini-van on a beautiful, but very hot day, with our newly selected kites.  We walk to the festival from our distant parking spots.  
 
We find a plot of land that is not completely marshy and that is not so packed with people that we might get one of our kites airborne.

 

But, the unspoken and unfair Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents ALWAYS kicks in.

 

That law, in case you have not experienced it firsthand is:

 

“Your Child’s Kite Will Only Fly When Your Other Child’s Kite Crashes Into Some Unassuming Picnickers.”

 

And this Law is also supported by a couple of Theorums:

 

“The Vertical Height Of One Child’s Kite Is Directly Proportional To The Vertical Drop Of Your Other Child’s Kite.”

 

“If You Rescue One Child’s Kite By Gaining Wind Resistance By Running,

You Will Surely Run Through A Mudhole Where You Sink 3 Inches Before Kite Still Crashes Into Some Unassuming Picnickers.”

 

(Seriously, I cannot believe they didn’t move the first time.)

 

But, do you know what?

 

I’m certain we’ll be back, again, next year.

 

We may have muddy shoes and ankles, and some tangled kite string, and maybe even some occasionally frustrated children who haven’t completely grasped how to keep their kites in the air for longer than a few minutes, but, overall, we’re making some serious improvement.

 

Next year, we may be able to break that Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents and its supporting Theorums.

 

Maybe, our Fortune Cookie Message, if we had a fortune cookie with a message about the Kite Festival, might read:

 

“Outnumbered Parent At Kite Festival Will See Two Kites In Air Simultaneously.”

 

or, maybe:

 

“You Will Not Trip On Tangled Kite Strings This Year.”

 

That would be cool.

 

But, maybe next year this fortune could really happen:

 

“You Will Remember To Wear Crappy Shoes To Places Where You Know You Will Run Through Mud.”

 

And, maybe, just maybe, some folks will get this fortune cookie message:

 

“Picnicker Who Moves After Kite Crashes Into Face Finishes Rest Of PB&J In Peace.”

 

But, I want to wish “Cheers” to all of the families out during the pretty Spring Days doing these kinds of activities.

 

There is humor in them, and sometimes, a little frustration.  
 
Yes.  Sometimes, you cave to the frustration after that Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents kicks you in the teeth and ruins your shoes, again…when those imaginary fortune cookies foretold the future you should have predicted yourself.

 

For instance, I FINALLY cut the streamers completely off of one kite, and even sliced clean through the strings from the kite handle to regain the circulation to my legs after a near tourniquet had been formed by an errant kite with a very strong and determined child yanking on the other end.

 

I DID offer to pay the screaming child for the damage but she ran off to find her parents before I could give her any money.

 

(Um…..Really Sorry About That If It Belonged To Your Kid And You’re Reading This Now After Wondering Why Your Wailing Kid Brought Back A Kite Frame, But I Couldn’t Feel Anything Below My Ankle…..)

 

Seriously, though.

 

Days Like Today Are Never Boring. The Never-Boring Days Are The Real Memory-Makers.

 

THESE REALLY ARE THE DAYS WE ALL WILL REMEMBER.

 

HAVE YOU BEEN TO A KITE FESTIVAL?
 
STORIES!

 

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“Great Work! For a Girl!” A Conversation With My Daughter On International Women’s Day

 
 
 

 “Great Work! For a GIRL.”

 

These are words that I heard from my first grade daughter’s mouth this morning about her OWN work.

 

There was a major learning event in our home this morning, and it is fitting that it unexpectedly happened to happen on International Women’s Day 2014.

 

As our daughter worked on a very intricate Rainbow Loom rubber band bracelet, I heard her utter the words with pride and seriousness,

 

“Great Work! FOR A GIRL!!!”

 

Time Stopped.

 
It is not an exaggeration to say that I felt like my heart stopped a little.

 

What did she just say with such happiness?  How?  HOW????!!!

 

It was clearly time for a serious talk.

I asked where she’d heard that phrase and she said she heard it on Scooby Doo.

 

I explained to our daughter that it was a line meant to be an insult because whoever said it didn’t think that a girl could do great work in whatever situation they were working in.

 
Both our 5 year old son and our 6 and a half year old girl found this very confusing.

 
How was that an insult?  That was not an insult.  They said, “Great Work!” and it WAS “Great Work… For A Girl!”
 

Oh My. Oh My.  Oh My, My, My, My, My…….
 
 

There is work to be done in this home…

in this home where we celebrate women….

NO…

In this home where we celebrate PEOPLE

who work hard and achieve,

who do good things, and who make a difference.   

There is work to be done in this family of open-minded people,

from our ancestors,

to our extended family,

to the friends we laugh with,

to the teachers we honor,

and in the way we live,

where we recognize

and exalt and read about

THE PEOPLE WHO DO GREAT WORK….

 
 
The first answers to the questions I asked were a bit alarming from our little Pre-Schooler and First Grader.
 

  “Do you think girls can do the same great work boys can do?

‘Do you think girls can be just as strong or fast as boys?”

“Do you think girls are as smart as boys?”

“Do you think boys can be just as good as girls at art, or cooking, or fashion as girls?”

 

(*I used those fashion & cooking examples because they are traditionally ascribed to stereotypically “girly” pastimes and commercial toys-  like the color pink.  And, I know these are the activities my children associate with activities that GIRLS should be better at than BOYS).

 
 
And, then, I recalled a Super Hero episode I overheard recently where Batman and Superman ordered burgers and milkshakes and then cut Wonder Woman off as she ordered a salad and whole wheat toast.
 

“She’ll have the same! Make it 3!” Superman yelled.

“You’ll work it off later, Princess,” Batman responded.

Wonder Woman sat quietly and waited for her burger.

 
 

The Messages. Those Messages.

 

The Subliminal and The Overt.

 
 

They had already chipped away at the developing worldview of my perspective-vulnerable kids, and I had not seen it.

 

I remember watching an Independent Lens Documentary about the rise and fall of Wonder Woman.

 
She went from empowering icon to a female super hero who needed to be rescued herself as her own powers had devolved to be…Just….LESS THAN.
 

It was called “Wonder Women!  The Untold Story of American Super Heroines”
 

I watched that documentary because it happened to follow the other Independent Lens Documentaries I’d DVR’ed.

 
The Wonder Woman episode followed one about a man obsessed with Chinese Mail-Order Brides and another on the dwindling number of nomadic Mongolian tribes still bartering with precious strands of silk that had to be vigilantly protected from mold or rot to avoid complete destitution.
 

It was just a documentary between documentaries.
 

It was just a documentary because we really had moved forward and past that kind of thinking.

 

UNTIL TODAY.

 

TODAY, WONDER WOMAN LOOKED AT THE NEW LASSO OF HOPE

THAT SHE MADE HERSELF

ON THE UBIQUITOUSLY AVAILABLE AND AWARD-WINNING

TOY OF THE YEAR!”,

AND SHE EXCLAIMED,

“GREAT WORK! FOR A GIRL!”

 
 
And, it happened, of all days, TODAY, on International Women’s Day.
 

By the end of our talk, I feel like both of our kids understand why saying “Great Work! For A Girl…” is NOT a compliment.

 

“Great Work” Is Very Simply “GREAT WORK”.

 

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US IS CAPABLE OF IT.

 

EVERY ONE.

 

AND “BAD WORK” is equally, and simply, “BAD WORK”….

 

For instance:

“BAD WORK” = Bad script writing where Wonder Woman isn’t capable of ordering her own lunch.

 

 

I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW, PARENTS….

IF YOU HEARD THOSE CRAZILY ANTIQUATED,

HEART-BREAKING,

AND SO INNOCENTLY UTTERED WORDS

COME FROM YOUR OWN AMAZING, CAPABLE, SMART, DEVELOPING CHILD’S MOUTH…..

  WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE SAID?

 

 

 

AFTER OUR TALK, I HAD BOTH OF MY KIDS YELL SOMETHING.

 

OUR BOY YELLED IT.

 

OUR GIRL YELLED IT.

 

I YELLED IT.

 

I HOPE YOU AND YOUR KIDS YELL IT, TOO.

 

"I WILL DO GREAT WORK!"  A post by Critters And Crayons On International Women's Day 2014.
“I WILL DO GREAT WORK!”

 
 

MAY EVERY SINGLE PERSON

ALL OVER THE WORLD

ORDER HIS OR HER OWN LUNCH,

AND BE GIVEN CREDIT FOR GREAT WORK

BECAUSE IT IS JUST, SIMPLY, GREAT.

 
 

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

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Parenting Is Like Sledding. Sled Optional.

My kids often surprise us with the unspeakably comical things that they say.

They also make us pause when their questions require an honest and thoughtful answer.

We’re coming off of a holiday trip that bore some of the typical challenges of traveling during an already busy season.

Sometimes, reality didn’t match the idyllic scenes in a Hallmark Movie for the various tugs and pulls of life, and family, and obligations.

Essentially, it was a normal holiday season- one that many might relate to, and one that might lead a child to ask a simple, but very thought-provoking question of her parents like our six-year old daughter did tonight on the way back from a drugstore where we bought vitamins for immunity support to stave off any more festive seasonal illness-on-the-go.

 

“Mom?  Is It Easy Having Kids?”

 

I could have answered her quickly with a fleeting and dishonest, “YES! It’s Super Easy!”, but I’ve got a sort of rule about not lying about that kind of stuff. 

I don’t want to be the Army Recruiter who promises someone a job in a highly marketable computer field who then lands him in a basement working with dot matrix printers circa 1985.  That’s just bad Mommy PR.  So, I told her the truth.

 

“No.  Having Kids Is Not Easy.”

 

Our First Grader looked concerned so I elaborated,

 

“But….It IS Awesome!”

 

Our daughter was confused.

 

“How can something be hard and awesome at the same time, Mommy?”

 

I didn’t have any concrete examples to give in that second.

 

But, I told her that most things that are completely awesome

in our lives are usually not that easy.  

BUT, THEY ARE USUALLY WORTH IT.

 

I may have blanked on examples but our daughter threw one out.  She said,

 

“You mean like if we’re sledding

and we have to walk all the way up

to the top of the hill in the freezing cold

so that we can sled down super fast

and have all that fun

spinning all the way down?”

 

I didn’t think I could put it any better myself so I told her that was pretty much exactly right.

Really, that is about the best metaphor I could think of that I didn’t think of at all.

Maybe, to complete the parallel, I could have added a few crash-and-burns at the bottom of the hill, some broken sleds, or a dud slope or two to round out the analogy, but I felt pretty good she now understood that something can be TOTALLY NOT EASY while still being simultaneously TOTALLY AWESOME.

That’s Us.

We Parents.

 

We’re all trudging up a slope,

looking for a safe route,

eyes on the peak,

moving forward when it hurts,

striving upward when we fall,

willing onward when we’re cold,

and getting to the end

as honestly and happily as we can

so that the long and arduous trip

might all be worth it

for one magnificent launch,

followed by a brief 

and validating

soar to the bottom,

on a cheap, round sled

that spins you like a top

until you crash,

or fall,

or coast to a stop,

Hoping For The Coast,

Always Hoping For The Coast,

so that we might trudge back up

to do it all over,

Again.

 

That’s Us.

That’s Parenting.

It’s Not Easy Having Kids.  But, It IS Freaking Awesome.

 

It’s Like That.

 

 IT’S ALSO LIKE THIS.

 

Parenting.  We Got This. From Critters And Crayons.

 

Trusting Clutches, Giant Smiles, And Closed Eyes

 

 Astride Quiet Screams And Immense Hopes

 

 That You Will Coast,

 

Coast Without Crashing,

 

 Still Smiling, Still Laughing,

 

Without Breaking Anything,

 

After That Fervent And Amazing Ride

 

Hoping You Didn’t Lose Your Sled On The Way…

 

But Even If You Had,

 

It Would Have Been Worth

 

Every

 

Terrifying

 

 Moment. 

 

So, to wrap it all up in a nice, pithy little phrase:

 

Parenting Is Like Sledding.  Sled Optional.

 It’s  Easy  AWESOME!

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Mom, What Is College? Do They Let You Go To Recess Every Day?

mom whats college 2

 

These days, the kids have been on a roll when it comes to verbal communication.

This morning, our 4-year old son informed me that I was “spectacled”.

I don’t wear glasses so he was using that term properly, but in a more unorthodox way.  His knowledge of that term comes from his obsession with crocodilian species, and the spectacled caiman is one that is spotted.

He was referring to my freckled face.

I can’t complain, though.

When my daughter realized I had freckles, she mistakenly called them “pickles”, and explained that they were, “You Know!  The Dots All Over Your Face!” as she poked the air like she was popping balloons with a needle.

 

Then, there was a HILARIOUS circular conversation between my son, my daughter and me the other day about his puffy coat.

He didn’t want to wear it.  There was a reason for it.     It was an astonishingly funny and unexpected series of accidental insults and miscommunications.  To read that one, go HERE.

 

Fast forward to tonight.

As I was putting the kids to bed, our 4 year old boy piped up with the statement that he didn’t want to go to college.   He’d been told that college wasn’t fun so he had decided he didn’t want to go.

I explained that he didn’t know what college was just yet, so he asked,

 

“Well, Mom, What IS College?”

 

So, I tried to put it in the simplest terms.

 

“Son, you are in pre-school, and your sister was in kinder last year.  

You’ll start kindergarten next year.  

Then you go to first grade.  

Then second.

Then third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh,

eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh,and twelfth grades!  

Then, you go off to college!  

It is great fun!  

Your daddy and I loved it so much we went to college even after college!”

 

The kids looked very surprised.

And, then the real questions started.  It was tough to keep a straight face- but I did, because the kids were earnest with their genuine questions about college now.

 

Our daughter asked,

 

“Mom?  Do they let you go to recess every day?”

 

I told her that they normally did.

 

And, our son asked, “

“Do they let you bring your toys to school?”

 

I told him that they did, but I never knew anyone who wanted to bring their toys to class.

 

And, then our daughter asked,

 

“Can you sit anywhere you want to at lunch? I mean, can you sit with anyone you want to sit with?”

 

So, I told her that was one of the best parts of college!

 

I also explained that many kids couldn’t wait to go to college because they could live in a big building with all of their friends!  Everyone has their own room.  So,our daughter’s best friend could live across the hall, or our son’s best friend could have a room next door!

 

The kids looked horrified.

 

They both yelled, “NOOOOOOO!!!!    I want to live with you and daddy! “

 

I told them they might change their minds one day.

Then, as I was turning out the light and tucking them in, our daughter whispered something to me,

 

“Mom.   I WILL probably get my own apartment when I go to college.  

BUT, you can come and visit me anytime.  

You can bring anything you want if you want to stay with me.  And, you can stay with me anytime.”

 

I’m not sure how binding that is without credible witnesses.

Her brother doesn’t count as one because he still believes in imaginary creatures and his signature is too shaky to hold up on any affidavits, especially since most of his letters are still backward.

 

She gave me a big hug and a kiss.

 

And, I whispered back,

 

“Thank you, Honey. I will!   And, and if you want, I can also be a recess monitor!”

 

She beamed.

 

“REALLY, MOM???!!!   THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!!  

COLLEGE IS GOING TO BE SO FUN!!!”

 

 

I’m optimistic that she might still feel this way in 12 years.

It could happen, right?

:)

HAVE YOU HAD ANY FUNNY CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR KIDS LATELY?

 

PLEASE SHARE!

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It’s All About Winning In First Grade Girls Basketball

One thing I am over the moon about is that our 6 year old girl loves to play basketball.

It is pretty much the only sport I know how to play.

I am nearly 40 years old and truly have no concept of what “fourth down” or “offsides” means. Basketball is IT.

It has been amazing to watch a team of girls go from not knowing how to simply dribble at the try-outs, to watching them practice fast break drills.

The hoops are lower and the rules at this early level of girls basketball can pretty much be boiled down to the following,

“You Are Allowed To Travel All You Want,
Just As Long As You Remember To Double-Dribble In Between!”

They often forget.

It is a real highlight to watch a little ponytailed girl fight for the ball, and with exuberant intent, take off down the court in a full sprint, protecting that ball like it’s the hot Black Friday Toy Of The Year.

One thing that all of our girls can do this year is protect the ball. We have come up with a drill wherein the first one to grab the rebound or the fumbled ball yells, “I’ve got it!” so that team-mates don’t continue to try to wrestle it from her.

WE ACTUALLY PRACTICE NOT STEALING FROM OURSELVES.

One of the funniest things to see in a game is how desperately and self-sacrificially these 6 year olds will throw themselves on a basketball, and how difficult it is to pull it from their grasps. The person who seems to have the most difficult time getting the ball out of a little girl’s hands is the referee.

You can often see the referees attempting to get the ball after repeated pleas for it. When they get ahold of it, they nearly lift the determined girl’s body up as a rigid unit since she has encased the ball in a tight fetal position, sealed with the resilience of Super Glue, eyes closed, and with a clenched will to NOT LET GO.

We may also not have our shots perfected, but they are generally headed in an upward AND forward direction.

This is a vast improvement from where we started 2 months ago.

Getting the ball INTO the basket, or simply NEAR the lowered basket, is on the long-term training agenda. Just you watch. We’ll be swishing soon.

It is helpful to remember that these are skills that are cumulative.

We’re going to get it.

Besides, these young ladies and future UCONN Point Guards and Forwards have already demonstrated a tenacious spirit and drive to WIN.

As you can see, they are a formidable bunch in pink.

Attentive. Driven. Ready To Go!

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-1

The diminutive hoopsters with matching pink hairbows (which will surely result in technical fouls in later years if worn during a game) are pounding the court!

Go Pink!

On those hairbows, the greatest problem with them is not that they are particularly hazardous in the under-the-basket brawls for the ball.

It is that they tend to fall out, and the little girls spend their time searching for the fallen bows on the court rather then focusing on their part of the zone defense.

It’s a little comical to watch. “I Got Her! I Got Her! Wait a minute. Where’s my hairbow? There it is by the boundary line!”

And a nice little hole is made for the fast break straight to the basket.

Often, the little girls end up tossing their hairbows to mom in the sidelines as they run up the court after a basket was made because they were obliviously searching for their lost hair bows.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-2

Even so, the B Team is waiting with baited breath for the chance to go in and redeem that error!

We’re down by 2! Put Me In, Coach!

Well, Sorta.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-3

I have absolutely no idea why we lost.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-4

Killer Instincts.

We’ve got ‘em.

We may have lost the basketball game, but some of these girls were TOP DOG in Rock Paper Scissors.

My daughter can often be overheard after a hard-won Handsie-Game on Sidelines as saying, “ROCK ALWAYS WINS! I LOVE ROCK!”

And, don’t get me wrong, we didn’t just lose because second string likes to play Say Say My Playmate.

Lots of parents want to know what the Red Shirt Policy is.

Some of those opposing team kids look like they’ve already started memorizing multiplication tables.

They probably already know how to tie their shoes and keep their letters facing the right direction. I bet their lower case “b’s” don’t look like “d’s”, anymore.

Just saying.

It can’t possibly be this.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-4

Just give us a couple of years.

Cumulative.

It’s All Cumulative.

We’re working on dribbling without looking, fast break drills, a crippling man-to-man defense, and a very cool double-back-hand-reverse slap for Say Say My Playmate, in the meantime.

DO YOUR KIDS PLAY SPORTS IN EARLY ELEMENTARY?

ANY FUNNY OBSERVATIONS?

PLEASE DO SHARE!

** HUMOR DISCLAIMER: I am by no means implying that there is any wrongdoing by any teams in the league we play in. That snippet about the Red Shirt policy was thrown in for comedic effect. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for 5 ft tall 1st graders with uncommon hand and eye coordination to abound on some teams.**

 

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Kids Play In The Same Language

 

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

Kids Play In The Same Language.

 

They just a find a way to get over the minor obstacle of competent verbal communication.

One of the best aspects of living on the US/Mexico border is the opportunity for our children to experience a different culture and language.

I was reminded of this today as my children played at an indoor play area.

I posted about it on the Critters And Crayons Facebook Page and realized that such a great thing really warrants its very own blog post.

Our 6 year old daughter ran around playing tag with a new friend.

She ran up to me and said,
 
 

“Mom! I made a new friend!  She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish!   So we made up a game!”

 

 
 
I asked how they played that game.  And our daughter answered,
 
 

“I teach her English and she teaches me Spanish!
It’s called Speaking Different Languages!”

 
 
I noted how brilliant that was.

It is, isn’t it?
 
 

When you have so much in common,

like the need to be gleeful in the moment

for the sake of loving that moment,

then language is not a worthy foe.

 
 

That’s something children have figured out.

A reader commented on Facebook, “And a child shall lead them.”

Yes.

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

And So They Shall.

And So They Do.

 
 

For more posts on bilingualism and culture with kids…..

 

But, She Doesn’t Like Me….

 

Bilingualism, The Border, Dora, And Kids…

 
 

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The Cheer Up Gift

A friend of mine was having a tough time.

She was feeling like the world was just one big toilet bowl.

We knew this from her graphic descriptions of just the kind of stuff her days seemed to be filled with.

She also has a broken toilet paper holder in her bathroom.

I know this because she said so when I ran THIS post about our very essential alligator toilet paper holder.

So, I knew what the most efficient gift would be to fix two problems at the same time.

The Best Cheer Up Gift Ever

She says it was the best Cheer Up Gift Ever.

She laughed.

Mission Accomplished.

HOW DO YOU CHEER FRIENDS AND FAMILY UP?

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The One Hundred Board In Our Montessori Kitchen Corner: The Opportunity Learner’s Series


The Hundred Board In Our Montessori Kitchen Corner

 

Back in April, I ran the introductory post for the Critters And Crayons Opportunity Learner’s Series and I broke down how we had structured our kitchen corner to host Montessori-Style learning materials for the kids to access at any time.

It’s been a busy, busy couple of months, but here is the first part of that series featuring The Hundred Board.

We purchased our Hundred Board via The Montessori Outlet.

But here is a great post by We Can Do All Things that teaches you how to make a Hundred Board  yourself!

 

Montessori Hundred Board

 

The picture above was taken several months ago in our kitchen.  Our son had taken out The Hundred Board and tiles after lunch.

When the kids take out an activity and work for awhile, but do not complete the activity, we will generally allow the board to stay “as is” on the kitchen floor or table so the kids can come back to their work (or play) when they want to.  This differs somewhat from what you’d find in a traditional Montessori environment.  The tiles and the board would be put away at the end of the activity.

(  If the activity is in the way, or is not attempted for a period of time, the children will put the activity away once they confirm they are not interested in pursuing it further.  Unless we are working on a specific lesson for our Summer studies, I do not force them to complete the full Hundred Board activity if it’s pulled out.)

They usually do!

You can see how we were using The Montessori Hundred Board tonight with our four year old pre-school son in this YouTube Video.

 

 

When you watch the video, you’ll see that there is room for some fun and humor as your kids use the board.

 

“What’s That?”

“Ten.”

“What’s That?”

“Ten-TEEN!”

Love.  That.

 

You might have noticed that the video shows our older daughter showing her brother how to look for number patterns.

 

One of the aspects I really enjoy watching in Montessori

environments is how

children assume leadership roles

when teaching the younger children

how to do tasks and use materials…  

 

There are many ways to use The Hundred Board in a Montessori classroom or homeschool environment, but we use it for very basic purposes right now as our son is beginning to grasp simple math concepts:

  • Number Recognition
  • Number Sequencing From 1-10 
  • Number Pattern Recognition (1, 11,21,31,41,51, etc…)
  • Counting By 10s (10,20,30,40,50, etc)

This means that we don’t fixate too much on whether or not he knows all the number names up to 100 just yet.

For instance, tonight, he emplaced all the tiles properly from 1-50 on the board before we finished up our “Summer Bridging” homework.

While his sister and I worked on word endings and high frequency words, he sat quietly matching tiles to the board looking for number patterns.

To not overwhelm him,

I only issued him 10 tiles at time

to work on properly sequencing one row of 10 at a time.

 

After he completed one row, say 11-20, I issued him the next 10 to match up.

If you’re a trained Montessori Guide, you’ll probably notice that I haven’t done the lesson exactly as you might find it done in a formal video of instruction where the tiles are slid up the proper column slowly and methodically.  :)

I give our son ten tiles out of order and he sorts through them to find the numbers he wants to fit into the patterns on the board.

There IS one thing that has stuck in my mind since speaking with a Montessori Director  that I find fascinating and try to remember when working with my kids.

It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me.
It’s actually very hard for me to remember and implement.

 

A lot of the interaction between Montessori Guides

and children can seem to be…

very smooth,

very methodical,

very slow,

and at times,

even elegant. 

 

Our Montessori Director said that Montessori Guides move slowly so kids could see “clear snapshots”.    It makes so much sense.

 

If we are hurried when talking,

 

or teaching,

 

or listening….

 

something is going to be missed.

 

It’s not the easiest thing to do

 

or remember when doing anything “instructional”

 

as a parent, or otherwise.

 

Not at all.

 

The Hundred Board was one of our daughter’s favorite Montessori Materials in the home and I can see our son really enjoys it, too!

This photo was taken over a year ago in our play area….full of lots of conventional toys that she chose to by-pass to “play” with this educational material.

Isn’t Montessori cool?  :)

 

Montessori Hundred Board Critters and Crayons Opportunity Learners Series

For more articles about how to use the Hundred Board,

you can check out the following links!

 

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Laundry & My Summer Outfit: Better Together

This is a sponsored post written by me as part of The DailyBuzz Moms Tastemaker Program on behalf of P&G.

 

 I received a Target Gift Card to purchase products to review and have chosen to post about our experience which will result in monetary compensation.

 

 Even though I have received products and compensation, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

 

*****

 

I have a small confession to make.

 

I have never, ever, never-ever-in-my-entire-life-EVER used…

 

Fabric Softener.

 

It’s True.

I actually had no idea about how to even put it into the washing machine.

Do I add it after the wash cycle?

Where do I even put something like that?

It turned out that our machine actually had a handy little receptacle labeled, “Fabric Softener” and I could add it right at the same time as our detergent.

Well, that was a score!  (These Kelly Ripa-endorsed washing machines WERE worth what we paid for them, after all.)

fabric softener p+g post

Look At That! A Place For Fabric Softener Built Right In! WHO KNEW? :)

If you’ve read my blog before, you need but to run a search of “laundry” to find out that it’s not something I’m very good at staying on top of.

I can do a lot of stuff, and to a pretty high standard.  I mean…I do a lot of stuff-  like most moms.

But, LAUNDRY?

Hmmm….  Let’s recap, Shall We?

You can see my laundry failure in…

    • THIS POST where the pile keeps coming back and back and back,
    • OR THIS POST where we learned how homemade moon sand turned into laundry super glue if you don’t wash it all out of your kids’ clothing first (tiny, itty bitty detail to remember),
    • OR  THIS POST where I flooded the kitchen with my sister’s dishwasher and nearly burned the house down cleaning the oven (wait, that’s not about laundry, but it’s close enough),
    • OR THIS POST where we learned how a really huge laundry pile actually encourages children to play,
    • OR THIS POST which ran on Scary Mommy about The Myth Of The Super Mom and my monstrous laundry pile was The Star.

 

Critters And Crayons  Life And Parenting In Before And After Photos 14

 

So, knowing that laundry is not something that I normally get very excited about, and having never used fabric softener before in nearly four decades, I was looking forward to trying out the P&G products together which I had read were “BETTER TOGETHER“.

 

IMG_9645

 

I tried the Tide ® Free & Gentle Detergent with Downy ® Ultra Silk Touch followed by the Bounce ® Free & Sensitive Dryer Sheets on a Summer outfit  of a simple cream-colored top and fitted jeans that I planned to wear on a family outing to the movie theater.

I was really happy with the outcome!

All of the clothes, and especially the towels and throws, that were washed in the loads of laundry I did using the P&G products did come out much more soft to the touch!

Here’s that outfit that was washed with all three.

 

P+G Post Summer Outfit

 

I actually SORTED my laundry this time, too (since I’m breaking with routine and going all out!)

No pink or gray top for this Momma-

I think all three products DID work “BETTER TOGETHER”.

 

P&G Summer Outfit Post 2

 

For anyone who is “Laundry-Challenged” (like me), anything that helps you look forward to doing it is a major plus.

I’m pretty happy about the results of this product review.

I not only know how to combine some effective products, but I also know where the fabric softener receptacle is in our washing machine.

This experience MAY be enough to convince me to start sorting our laundry regularly so the color “white” is not simply implied, anymore.

I mean….WHO KNEW????!!!!

:)

I feel that I can definitely recommend P&G’s Tide ®, Downy ® and Bounce ® as “BETTER TOGETHER”.

And, I also recommend sorting your laundry.

You Are Welcome, Folks!

 

So, I’m wondering….Have You Tried Tide ®, Downy ® and Bounce ® Together?

And….How Do You Sort Your Laundry Loads?

BrandLogos_BTEquationTag_125x125

This post is sponsored by P&G. With Tide ®, Downy ® and Bounce ®,

you can keep your summer fashions looking new up to 50% longer.*

Text CLEAN to TARGET (827438) for mobile coupons.

*vs. leading value detergent alone

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Dad’s “ALL IN” When He Plays With The Kids…

We are a pretty “ALL IN” family.  We believe in working hard, learning hard, loving hard and playing hard.

Still, I always find myself laughing when I see DAD to KID play interactions that I wouldn’t have thought to have myself.
 
 

My hubby definitely knows how to take himself

right down to the kids’ level

when it comes to play

and it’s something that I like LOVE to see.

The Man is ALL IN when he plays with the kids.

 
 
For instance, we recently had a dinner conundrum.

About a year ago, I figured out that, on days when there was nothing redeemable in my freezer or pantry, that I could make something super fast and make it fun.

I somehow justified that the levity we’d all experience in playing with our food, might possibly cancel out the general unhealthiness of what was on the plate.

It’s a sort of “Go Big Or Go Home” mentality.

So dinner, in such instances, can be very precisely-shaped dinosaur nuggets, pretzels that form logs, ranch sauce to form lakes and some veggies (at least there are veggies, right?) steamed in the bag in the microwave that I’m hoping is BPA-free….

You can see how we formed our Dino-Dinner Habitats in this post:
 

BY ALL MEANS, PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD

 

 

So….Fast Forward a year and a half.

There I was with a freezer full of exactly one pack of frozen-through sausages and pretty much nothing else that might actually resemble a good, healthy dinner-  even if my pantry and fridge were in one of those “Chopped” baskets on the Food Network….
 
It would be a Dino-Dinner Habitat Kind Of Night.
 

The difference is that on THIS  night,

dad was home for it.

 
And, we found something out.

Dad knows how play with his dinner, too-   And he likes to teach young kids what REAL dramatic play is all about.

So, on THIS Dino-Dinner Habitat night, we had dino-habitats and lots and lots of realism.
 
I should have known what was in store when my husband said,
 

“Hey!  Do we have any Ketchup?!??!?!”

My Hubby Setting The Stage....

My Hubby Setting The Stage….

And, now the torch of realistic dramatic food play with color-and-texture-appropriate props has been passed down to his children for them to pass these same important lessons down to their children one day….

Dino-Dinner Habitat Critters And Crayons 2

 

My hubby’s awesome.

Kind of reminds of when my hubby taught my kids his best clean “Knock Knock” Joke.

It’s all good.

We went grocery shopping the next day.

Unsuspecting dino-nuggets should be spared any carnage for a little while, anyway.

But, this experience is one of many that seems to demonstrate something I love to watch.

When dad plays with the kids, he’s ALL IN.
 

I could write a lot more about how Dads

can be ALL IN when playing with their kids,  

but I think, in this case,

pictures are far more descriptive….

 

When Dads Play With Kids

Dad’s ALL IN when doing art with googly eyes….

When Dads Play With Kids 2

Dad’s ALL IN when sledding…..

When Dads Go All In Playing With Kids

Even when doing art with old make-up, he’s “ALL IN”….YES. That IS a grim reaper drawn with mascara and eyeliner. ha!


 
 

WATCHING DADS INTERACT WITH THE KIDS IS SOMETHING SPECIAL, ISN’T IT?

 
 
 

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