Monday, January 31, 2005

books books and more books

We've been busy playing Harold and the Purple Crayon. He briefly drew pictures with a purple marker as you might expect but Ro's not much into drawing. He's very 3-D and he quickly ditched the marker in favor of recreating Harold's world with household objects such as using one of my belts with toys around the buckle to be a flower.

The thing that I've noticed about Ro watching books or videos of books like the Scholastic series is that it seems to prompt him into lots of pretending. This is really different than other videos. For example, Ro likes and watches Bob the builder but Ro has never once pretended to be Bob or any bob character. I think this is because the Bob stories are fundamentally lame and fairly stupid -- and while Bob stories may serve to entertain or distract your child, which is certainly useful -- they don't do anything for developing their imagination -- or at least not my kid. I think I'm going to pay more attention to see what things will trigger Ro's imagination or not and then avoid simple entertainment as much as possible.

We've also been playing Good Night Gorilla and Click Clack Moo. The story of Farmer Brown and his demanding cows has somehow gotten all mixed up with Old MacDonald had a farm and the nativity story - because I hear him mumbling about cows and baby jesus and farmer brown eieio.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Drama and more drama

snowpillows, originally uploaded by skweerell.

Here are Ro's indoor snowmen, which I mentioned in an earlier post. The snowpillows as I call them. The long things coming down by the nose are supposed to be arms - not Fu Manchu mustaches.

Besides building things, Ro's really developing a passion for drama (and melodrama natch). We've been reinacting The Three Little Pigs on a daily basis. I'm always the wolf. He climbs into a box (the straw house) and I blow it down. Then, he hops into another box (the stick house) and I blow it down. Finally, he gets into a last box and I blow and blow and blow and it goes nowhere. I asked him why his house didn't blow away and he said " Sorry, brick strong." he he.

Another thing we've been playing is Pete's a Pizza based on the book by William Steig, which is a very sweet book. A dad cheers up his son by pretending he's a pizza and rolling him like dough, tossing him and putting shredded paper (pretend cheese) on him etc. Ro loves it. We take turns being the pizza. I'm so tired all the time that I almost always start dozing off when it's my turn to be the pizza. The couch is our oven, so I get to lay there and cook for awhile and off course fall asleep. Ro gets a bit annoyed that I'm not a very exciting pizza. It's all Sim's fault though. She doesn't want to sleep anymore. ergh.

The last thing he's really into dramatizing is In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. He builds an airplane out of pillows and runs around with a measuring cup. He has the entire book memorized. I'm so happy he likes this book because it's a favorite from my own childhood. He likes doing Where the Wild Things are as well but not as much as The Night Kitchen.

Monday, January 17, 2005

All the world's an igloo

igloo, originally uploaded by skweerell.

Ro loves snow and snow related things such as igloos, snowmen and sleds. Besides playing in it, he even likes looking at the Inuit diorama at the science museum, which shows the eskimos with their igloo, sleds and mighty huskies. Anyhow, he built an igloo at preschool on Thursday that totally blew me away. His teacher helped him of course but he stuck through with it until completion. The other kids had like 5 or 6 corn starch blobs stuck to their cardboard. Not even a partial wall. I was staring at them trying to figure out what the day's project was when Ro suddenly whipped out his huge igloo. I was shocked because it was complete and because none of the past craft projects have really grabbed Ro. He probably spends less time at the craft table than any other kid -- until this igloo project came up. Then, he was the last to leave.

Little kids are all really into their particular things. It might be trains or the alphabet or drama or whatever. If you can tap into their interests, then they can accomplish amazing things even at the tender age of three. Since building the pictured igloo, he's been on an igloo rampage using pillows and blankets to construct igloo forts every day for the last five days. It's great -- but messy. In his despair at the lack of snow outside, he even made pillow snowmen. I'll have to put up a picture of them as well. They're so funny.

He was so happy when it snowed last night. He kept jumping up and down saying "Hooray Snow! Hooray Snow!" and then he was out in 12 degree weather for an hour just shoveling and dragging his sled to make tracks. He thinks the fun part is pulling the sled -- like a husky. So yeah - this week I'm having visions of him as a future Iditarod competitor.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sim so pretty

As Daddy got Sim ready for her bath last nigh, Ro sat by her and told her that she had "pretty eyes, pretty hair, pretty ears, pretty mouth" and so on as he patted all of her parts. It was so sweet. He's so good to her. We really couldn't have gotten a better big brother. She adores him too. He always gets her biggest smiles and she just thrives on his attention. She loves to be walked where we hold her hands and let her toddle along. No matter where we are in the house, she always heads for Ro's room to see what he's up to. He's always encouraging her too and seems so happy/proud of her when she manages to do something new. It's really great.

When I was still pregnant with Sim, I asked this mom of two how hard having two little ones was and she said it was really hard sometimes but when you saw your children starting to have positive interactions with each other that it all felt worth it. I totally agree. It makes me feel so happy to see how kind Ro is to her.

Friday, January 14, 2005

pass the whisk

We had dinner together as a family tonight, which was wonderful because it's not something that we manage to do very often as the kids frequently need to eat before I have dinner ready for us. I gave Sim a whisk to play with and she eventually lost interest in it and then Ro took it and played with it. After awhile, he announced it was Mommy's turn and passed the whisk to me. I demonstrated whisking techniques and then it was Daddy's turn. Daddy pretended it was a microphone and sang a little la-la-la song and then passed it back to Roey. He sang all of "The wheels on the bus" and I was surprised because I didn't know he knew the whole song. Then, we passed the whisk around did lots and lots of singing with many variations of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Daddy did the beat poet version and I did the punk rock version, which made Sim stare at me like I was a crazy person. Ro thought our interpretations were funny and would mimic us. His squint eyed mimicry of Daddy's crooner style variation particularly had us in stitches. I especially like Ro's additional lyrics like "twinkle twinkle little cloud in the dark". We were all chuckling very much and it was just a nice way to wind down the day. I could see why people say its important for families to eat together. I hope to be able to manage it more often as the kids get older.

Also, I pretended Ro was a drum and drummed on his back. Then he wanted to be a violin, xylophone, a horn and some cymbals and I had to "play" him properly. He also sang more of other songs that I didn't think he knew. He always surprises me. Ninety percent of the time he seems to have no interest in music whatsoever but every once in awhile he's crazy for it. All those times he seems like he's not paying attention, he's really just soaking it all in.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

List Monster

It's so funny to me that no matter how expensive of a toy you buy your child, they'll still be happier with a piece of paper - preferably a useful one such as a grocery list. Because of this, my grocery shopping trips have taken on an element of competition now. Can I shop faster than Sim can eat my grocery list? If I'm really on my game, I usually only have two or three things left to find by the time she's mutilated my list beyond recognition. I try to buy her off with toys or other bits of paper, but it's futile. She only wants my list and then she wants to gum it to pulp. Letting her play with it keeps her happy. Letting her play with it too long leads to me curtailing my trip because I haven't a clue what I'm supposed to be buying without a list. I keep wondering what other shoppers think when they see me mumbling to myself and trying to piece soggy bits of paper back into something meaningful. Does that say olives? Did I need olives? I can't remember.

Monday, January 10, 2005

If we were snow...

snowfamily2005, originally uploaded by skweerell.

we'd be a pile of mush in the backyard right now but this is what we looked like as a snowman family on Saturday. We started out building just one snowman, who became Daddy and then I suggested a baby snowman meaning a little bitty one but Ro took it to mean Simone of course. So, we built a baby and then we had to have a Roey Snowman and a Mommy Snowman. After we were done with these, he wanted to build a snow house for the snow family and grandma and grandpa snowman as well. However, we were cold and lazy so we managed to lure him back inside with the promise of homemade hot chocolate, which was lovely. I added a little cinnamon and vanilla and it really makes all the difference.

Today is Monday and the snowmen are little piles of clothes sitting in the snow. I wish I'd remembered to pick up the hats and such today. I'm sort of worried the squirrels will make off with them.