Friday, August 19, 2011

The hills are alive

This is not much of a post, more of a question. A discussion starter. For all you parents and some-day parents out there: how do you decide what type of music is appropriate for your kiddos to listen to? Let's just agree from the start that of course anything obscene or sexy or violent is out.

From birth (and before), we basically decided that we wanted Abraham to listen to stuff that we like. We wanted him to like cool indie-hipster music and whatever it is Anderson listens to. So from an early age, we played (and he loved) The Arcade Fire, Wilco, Liars, Blonde Redhead, Deerhunter, Grizzly Bear, Interpol, Bright Eyes, and so on. You get the idea. Now, at almost two, he can identify and name these bands when he hears them. Of course, we skipped a song if it had bad language. But there have been some things we let him listen to, or have introduced more recently, that I am finding a little more questionable now that he is talking and repeating everything he hears. For instance, "shut up and go to sleep," "happiness is a warm gun," "how quickly will I die if I jump from the top of the parachutes?"

Right at this moment, some of you are all like, "what is the big deal?" while others are horrified by what terrible parents we must be. So what are your thoughts on music and kids?

Bee-tee-dubs, we do have some children's music that he listens to as well, although it's mostly stuff I/we listened to as kids (Red Grammer, Raffi).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To accept or decline

I got friended in real life today. It was...nice? Awkward? Surprising. I went to get my oil changed, and Abraham and I waited in the kid's room. There was another mom and her four-year-old there, who generously let Abraham play with a bunch of cars, trucks, and trains that they brought from home. The mom and I struck up a conversation while our boys played together. I am, as you know, shy and awkward, and unlikely to initiate such a conversation. But luckily I am capable of making appropriate comments and questions come out of my mouth in reply. Then when their car was ready, she asked for my contact info so that we could hang out some time, maybe go to the zoo! I don't understand why! I mean, I'm not that cool. We didn't really have anything in common, other than being moms and liking the beach and owning cars. We didn't have any deep, meaningful conversation. It was just the basic getting-to-know you stuff. The chatting-with-a-stranger stuff. No social security numbers were given out.

Of course, I gave her my number and asked for hers and said that would be nice. And then when she left, I wondered if I was lying. I would never have asked for her number, nor would the idea have even crossed my mind that we should hang out if she hadn't brought it up. But maybe it would be nice. Maybe that's how you make friends. Maybe it's not so strange. She seemed normal enough. She's a real estate agent and teaches swim lessons at the Y. Her husband is an electrician. They're about to go on vacation to the beach. Maybe I need to be more open to actually connecting with people. Maybe I should have made that conversation more meaningful. I don't know why I feel I have to stick to the shallow topics with strangers.

Anyway, I have decided that, if for no other reason than an interesting social experiment, I will text her after she gets back from the beach and see if they want to go to the park or the zoo. We'll see!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Artistic round-up in photos

Making tortillas. Cooking is art!


Body as canvas

Creating ocean scene before beach trip. That's real sand, baby!

Adding fish and shell stickers

Playing dress up

Creating ocean in a bottle to take on beach trip

Open-ended art activity: I put out paint, glue, paper, scraps of paper and felt, cotton balls, q-tips, etc for him to use as he pleased.  

...Ultimately, he didn't do that much with it. :(  I think it was too "messy" for him. We'll try again another time!

New art table arrangement, with materials out on table instead of in cabinet. He went straight for it as soon as he woke up from his nap. Amazing how just changing up the location/presentation of something will get him interested.

Very intent.
That's it for now! Sensory play round-up coming up soon! See how cheaty these posts are? I get to share a bunch of things that we've been doing without actually writing about them that much! Ha!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Abraham and the Three Bears

Another literature connection we did last week (omg, can you tell I'm an English teacher? awkward!) was to create scenes from the story of "Abraham and the Three Bears" that I have told this kiddo for almost a year now. Still a favorite, but now he likes to help tell the story and decide what toys Abraham and Baby Bear play with at the end.

I got this idea because we have a normal sized rocking chair and also a kid-sized. So we just needed one more to make three! I made a small one out of cardboard. It shall we say...not very sturdy. For some reason I was expecting it to be very easy to make and expecting it to hold up well. Neither of those were true. It broke as soon as Abraham sat on it. (But I suppose, since Abraham breaks it in the story, I could say that was intentional...)

Baby Bear's little rocking chair

Big hard chair, medium soft chair, little chair

Three bowls of porridge

Abraham tasting the porridge

Abraham trying out the three beds

The Bear Family

Abraham hugging the bears

They all lived happily ever after...
He really got excited about acting out the whole story. If I can find a sturdier small rocking chair, I'd like to try this again, and maybe make it a semi-permanent installation that he can play with on his own. The main problem was the scale of everything, because in the story, of course, Abraham is supposed to be the same size as Baby Bear. But this didn't really work out in reality. But I don't think he minded!

In the kitchen

For some reason lately cooking dinner has been annoying. I'm sick of everything that I know how to make, Anderson has made his two dishes, and I don't want to look up recipes. Too much work, too much time. Also, we're trying to eat healthier, cutting out as much processed food as we can. Sooo...we subscribed to The Fresh 20! Basically, this is a meal planning website. For $5 a month, you get 5 recipes a week (classic, vegetarian, or gluten-free), plus a shopping list for each week. The cool thing is that each week's worth of recipes uses only 20 fresh, whole-food ingredients, and then some pantry staples (rice, pasta, etc). So the meals will be really healthy! It's a little intimidating, though, because several of the recipes use ingredients that I rarely or never cook with, like fava beans, eggplant, kale, portabello mushrooms, jicama. Maybe that's not so weird to some of you. I've eaten these things, but they're just not usually on the rotation of things I prepare. I was tempted to pick and choose which recipes I wanted to try, but decided that that would defeat part of the purpose of the subscription in the first place. So I'm going for it, even if it's weird. (We went with the vegetarian meal plan, btw. Cheaper and healthier, and more normal for us, since we cook meat at home less than once a week.)

Yesterday, Day 1, the meal was portabello melts, kale chips, and cantalope. The portabello melts were awesome! Portabellos, avocado, cheese, tomato, onions, on a toasted sandwich. Definitely will make this again. Very simple and good, yet not something I probably would have tried without a recipe. I didn't make the kale chips, though, because we've had them before and didn't really like them. I made edamame instead, for an easy baby-pleaser.

Anyway, point is, if anyone is in a meal rut or looking to eat healthier, I would recommend the Fresh 20! Well, for Day 1, anyway. We'll see how it goes from here! Next meal is Southern Squash Casserole, Tomato Salad, and Fresh Blueberries.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Artistic endeavors

I've been meaning for months to post about some of the fun art and activities we do: finger painting, painting with brushes, making prints, coloring and stickers, sensory trays, felt boards, puppet shows, etc. Here's one we did today - a great literature connection!

One of Abraham's favorite books (and mine, I will admit) is Little Pea. I bought this book for him before he was born. Basically, it's about a pea who hates candy, but has to eat it every night before he can have his dessert...which is spinach! Very cute, and the illustrations are great. So we have read this book a lot and all have it memorized at this point. I wanted to do something to go beyond the story*, so I thought of creating a felt storyboard. Abraham has an ocean felt board I created that he really likes, so I figured this would go over well too. Here is how it turned out:

Litte Pea felt storyboard

This was so easy and cheap to make. Felt pieces are 29 cents at Michaels, and most of this came from pieces I had already bought. Then I just free-handed the drawings based on the book. I'm sure these would be a little better if I were a better artist, but hey, they work for us! You can see the Pea family (Little Pea actually has a sad/angry face on the back for when he has to eat his candy), all the different types of candy, the bowl of spinach, the spoon that Papa Pea uses to fling Little Pea high in the air, and the hill that Little Pea likes to roll down. Abraham really liked watching me actually make all the pieces. He got so excited when each piece was done. I let him color his own piece of candy too, which you can see up there. Then we sat down and I told him the story from memory, adding and moving pieces on the board as needed. Big hit! Now we'll see if he plays with this on his own and tells the story himself.

*Besides, ahem, using the example of Little Pea to get Abe to eat things he is not fond of...and peaking his interest in spinach.