Friday, October 31, 2008

George the Monkey

Okay, I knew I said that I was giong to talk abuot teh state fair and I will! We had lots of fun, Katie rode several rides, patted the goats, saw the chickens and napped for a LONG time afterwards.

BUT, today I have to take a side journey and mention the episode of Curious George I saw yesterday with Katie. Katie has recently started watching the show, which she calls George the Monkey and it provides some variety instead of just Dragon Tales in our days. It was a better episode for me to watch than Katie, I thought because George didn't want to take a bath. He had lost his bubble-making frog, Sproingy and was no longer interested in taking abath, even though he was covered (and I mean covered) in mud. Of course, while he was refusing a bath, he was getting mud on anything and everything he touched. Sound familiar anyone? Dad (the man in the yellow hat) did not understand why he had a filthy monkey who suddenly wouldn't take a bath. He tried 6 ways to Sunday, just like we as parents of toddlers try to finagle our children, to get George to take a bath and was stymied at every turn. He also did not understand why George would not take a bath so the primary problem, the missing frog, was not solved. I so completely identified with the man in yellow it was amazing. I thought about the times Katie cries to go to the potty and, as soon as she sits down, cries to be changed (she did some of this at 3:45 this morning) all while there is nothing to change. I thought about the times Katie loves to take a bath, and the times she won't take a bath to save her life. Or the fact that she is scared to death of the elevator, unless we are carrying her, but loved the carousel with the horses that go up and down. I empathized with George's dad on how he got advice from a friend and tried creative ways to get him clean without actually giving him a bath. I especially empathised when he had to take a walk because he needed to stop thinking about all the problems for a while.

My conclusion, something is going on in their toddler brains that is totally logical to them that makes them do what they do. The fact that we don't know about it or what it might be is immaterial. I will assume that it exists and remember that it is not my fault or anything I am doing that is causing the problem. Instead I will take a deep breath and hose her off in the driveway. :)

Halloween is here! I am so excited about Katie's dragon costume, especially since she didn't HAVE a costume a week ago. More on that and pics to come!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It just gets better...FYI - TMI

After our exciting and exhausting weekend, last week started off on an auspicious note. Monday, we went to bed late after watching another episode of the Anne of Green Gables trilogy. Just after we went to bed Katie woke up for the first time very upset. She woke up two more times in short succession before we heard the worst sounds a parent wants to hear, especially in the middle of the night...vomiting. She threw up every 15-30 minutes until 6 am.

We were up, literally, all night. We went downstairs after she had soiled every sheet that we own and half her stuffed animals were in the laundry. We watched 5 episodes of Dragon Tales from about 3 - 5:30 am with her sitting on my lap. there is nothing more awful than feeling your child dry heave every fifteen minutes. I was trying to teach her to use a bucket instead of the floor, her clothes or anything else, which she did not like. Dragon Tales was truly a blessing. She was distracted enough by the show that her dismay at vomiting was short-lived once it finished. Unfotunately for both Jim and I, we only had 5 episodes of Dragon Tales on the Tivo. We watched them over and over and over again... She finally napped on the couch for a short while near 6. After she managed to go at least a half hour without vomiting, I carried her up to bed and started calling substitutes so that I could get a little rest. I had sent Jim to bed at 4:45 so that someone would be coherent enough to take her to the doctor. At 6:30 or so I went into school to prep my lesson plans for my sub. When the office staff came in and saw me, up all night, greasy hair pulled back into a ponytail and glasses (no contacts), I got a bunch of surprised looks and startled, "Oh!"s. I even got one, " look terrible!" It was actually pretty funny. :) Jim stayed home on Wednesday with her while I went into school and he was soooo happy when 11:30 came around and the new Dragon Tales came on TV so that there was a new one in the mix. It's definitely time to burn some episodes to DVD so we have more to choose from next time!

It's amazing just how your body stops protesting after awhile. I was so tired, I didn't even notice. I was wide awake enough to keep moving. It was actually much worse later in the week as I never quite caught up on sleep. The good news is, she stayed home Tuesday and Wednesday and then happily went back to daycare on Thursday. She didn't sleep through the night for three or four more nights but manged to keep all her food down. Now, I think I'll turn in since I'm still catching up!

Next stop, the State Fair!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoughts on single parenting

Well, my primary thought on single parenting is I don't know how they do it! Jim went out of town this past weekend to photograph a show in Asheville and it was just me, Katie and Ricarda. It was a wild weekend.

Heather and I postponed our weekly Friday afternoon get together with the kids so I could get some work done before I had Katie over the weekend. I knew I wasn't going to get anything done during the weekend! We met Saturday morning to let the kids play and then went to lunch. For a change, lunch went pretty well. We couldn't decide whether it went better because we're getting smarter as moms taking our kids out in public, or that the kids might actually be getting a little more mature. I vote for smart moms. :)

When I returned home and got Katie in bed (late, nearly 1:45), Ricarda told me that she needed to be in Raleigh in 30 minutes! I'm definitely the mom of a teenager. :)

When she got back from the State Fair later that evening, we watched the 5 hour version of Pride and Prejudice. (Awesome movie, BTW.) I have found a kindred spirit in movie watching in Ricarda. We watched Pride and Prejudice spread out over two or three nights and then watched all three Anne of Green Gables movies. We had a blast and stayed up way too late every night. A good time was had by all.

Sunday was pretty crazy too as I took Katie and Ricarda to church and then, after nap, tried to go shopping for several hours with Katie. She was very well behaved but there is a limit of what one can do with a toddler in tow. In short, I got nothing for myself, which I really needed but we got a bunch of other things done. Best of all, I found an amazing sale at JC Penney. Long-sleeved shirts for $4.50! I bought...a lot. Enough to, hopefully get us through the whole winter, possibly with one not stained beyond recognition as all of her summer shirts are now. Too bad the pants didn't fit her, otherwise I would have purchased a bunch of those too.

Jim didn't come home until late Sunday night so, after three trying hours of shopping, I fed the kids and put Katie to bed. I felt like I had things mostly under control but I was exhausted!

More to tell tomorrow about this week and our trip to the State Fair today!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chocolate or cookies?

Katie is hilarious at dinnertime. She is just as much a cookie monster as her mom is and would happily not eat anything as long as she can have a cookie. When she sits down in the chair, she says "Have a cookie now?" When I say she has to eat some dinner before she can have a cookie, she happily eats one bite and then innocently asks "Have a cookie now?" It's great. We do this several times until she eats a satisfactory amount for me to decide to give her a cookie.

She often, however, cannot decide between a cookie and chocolate (some kind of chocolate candy, currently fun size Three Musketeers bars). The other night she ate some dinner and specifically asked for chocolate. I asked her if she wanted a cookie. She said, "No, don't want a cookie, I want chocolate." So, I brought her the candy bar and got a cookie for myself. Insta meltdown. "I want a cookie!!!!!" she cries. "I don't want chocolate!!!" So, a change from my normal, I decided to take the chocolate that she was sending my way and get a cookie from the jar. I then held them, one in each hand, and offered her a choice (that's what I'm supposed to be doing, right?) She distinctly chose the chocolate. So, I put the cookie back (it hadn't been touched by her yet. Again, insta meltdown. In fact she cried hysterically through the entire eating of her chocolate. One of the funniest images I have ever seen was her, in full crying hysteria mode, with the entire Three Musketeer bar in her mouth, partially sticking out crying, "Don't want chocolate! I want a cookie!!!!!!" repeatedly.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reading CAN be fun

Have you ever heard friends or acquaintances talking about a book or movie or television show and wanted to join in but couldn't because you didn't read or see it? My middle school Hispanic (ESL) kids experience that everyday because the books they are able to read in English are nowhere near the grade level books that their peers are reading.

Okay, so I not above using this blog to push an agenda, at least a small one. Teachers, as you know, have limited resources. We sometimes have to look outside our school budgets to get some things that we want or need to help our students. Donors Choose is a website dedicated to helping teachers find funding for these small project outside of our own pocketbooks. I have recently posted a proposal on Donors Choose to help improve my students literacy skills.

The proposal will give you more details but, in a nutshell, I would like some Spanish language versions of novels that my students would otherwise read in English, if they could. Books like Harry Potter, The Outsiders, Little Women, Hatchet, The Chronicles of Narnia, Eragon, and more are available in Spanish. These books will allow my Hispanic students to read complex and interesting texts at the same level as their peers. Many of Hispanic studnts are currently stuck reading Arthur books (1st and 2nd grade level) or other similar books because they don't have the literacy skills in English to read what their peers are reading. Reading for fun in Spanish will develop their Spanish literacy skills (which helps their English literacy skills!) while giving them the opportunity to connect with their friends.

Check out more details at the following website and feel free to send this link to everyone you know! The total proposal only costs $414 so even small donations will make this dream come true!