Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Day of Home Preschool

Despite the fact that I tend to believe in the "better late than early" approach to academics for young children, I have a four-year-old who is dying to "do school" like some of her little friends who are in preschool these days.  So, today was our first day of home preschool!

We started the day off with a brand new book for the occasion:

During the course of the morning, we read several books, made bread, used perler beads, and worked on learning to play the game of Mancala.  She wanted to do more, more, more, and is eager to keep working on her handwriting, and asks me reading-related questions all day long.

I asked Nell a few questions in the days leading up to beginning preschool with her, and enjoyed hearing {and recording} her answers.

Q: What do you think people learn in school?
A: Reading.  Doing flips.  Doing all sorts of things.  Painting toenails yourself.  Learn how to not be naughty.  Learn how to drive a car.  Learn how to take care of plants.  Getting a new wheel for your car if you have a flat wheel.  Learn to crack eggs!

Q: What do you most want to learn in preschool?
A: Learning flips.  Doing ballerina things.  Ballet.  I want to go to a ballet dance class like Sadie and Nora do.  I want to learn like the number twenty and eight and forty all sorts of numbers.  Art, like painting leaves like we did today.  Gluing and cutting things.  And read books like about Nancy who lost her memory.  And learn to read by myself.  I don't know how to draw a dump truck; do you think you could teach me that?

Q: What are your favorite things to do?
A: Everything.  I love to go to my swimming lesson.  Play my violin.  Dance.  Play outside.  Read books.   Play!

So many things about our home environment are already things I consider valuable "preschool activities" -- like our morning basket time, the many books we read, the violin practice we do, folk songs and hymns we sing, cooking and baking, outdoor play, art, and small chores about the house.  But this eager girlie wants "preschool," and the usual daily activities are not quite enough to convince her... so I'm off to keep working on my list of new things to do in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

a morning at the beach at low tide

This morning was a perfect morning for a beach trip, and we got to enjoy a spectacular low tide.

A little girl on a big beach... magical.

There were hermit crabs and snails in tide pools everywhere.  Ree was fascinated, but I had to save a few snails from her curious probing fingers and thumbs.

Small green and pink pails were quickly filled with treasures, including plenty of water so the little creatures could survive their experience in the hands of a two-year-old and a four-year-old.

Nell made sand castles and surrounded them with carefully selected stones.

Ree did some sand sculpting of her own, totally engrossed -- that little tongue!

My sister-in-law joined us for the morning and the girls couldn't have been more pleased with her company.  They were both particularly fond of scattering sand all over her towel and clambering into her lap uninvited!

It was a good morning, complete with lunch on the beach while some sea gulls circled us menacingly.

And oh, the treasures that made their way home with us in those pink and green pails.  Shells, a few sea gull feathers, and many, many rocks.  Nell is very fond of rocks.

As we arrived home and she walked inside with rocks in hand, I commented, "You love rocks so much; maybe you'll be a geologist when you grow up!"  Her face fell, her lower lip quivered, and she replied, "No!  I'm going to be a princess!"

And on that note, this worn out beach bum transferred to her crib without a peep...

...And the future princess settled down to "just read books" and immediately dropped off to sleep.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nellisms, vol. 7

Oh man, some of these quotes are from a while ago.  Like maybe a year ago.  I jotted them down in notes on my iPhone and they've lain there neglected for too long!

Photos have similarly been neglected on my hard drive for a couple of months now.  It was a cool day in late spring, and Nell was wearing a dress my mother made for me when I was her age.  Naturally, I pulled out the camera -- in spite of the fact that she had just spilled water down the front of it, as you can see in some of the pictures!

Here are a few gems from a year ago, when we were traveling by plane to California and I attempted to buy good behavior through the bribe of Trader Joe's lollipops:

Sarah: "Shhh, please be quiet on the airplane!"
Nell: "But it's callin' to me and I'm callin' back to it!"

And, after licking for a little while and making no apparent progress:
"How do you get a lollipop into your tummy?"

* * *

and a great quote, at age three, shortly before that flight to California, and clearly not yet understanding the principles of travel by air:

Nell: "I want to take my toy briefcase to see Grandma and Grandpa!  Oh, wait.  I can't take my briefcase because if I'm holding it then I won't be able to fly."
Sarah: "Well, you don't have to fly, silly goose.  The airplane flies and you get to sit in a seat on it."
Nell: "I know, but I have to fly to get up in the sky and get on the airplane!"

And then I explained the purpose of airports.  And asked her if she had ever flown before, wondering how it was possible she thought a hand with a briefcase in it would be her greatest impediment.

While I was trying to close the door and have a moment of privacy to use the bathroom:
Nell: "Okay, Mama, I'm just going to go in the yiying woom [living room]."
Sarah: "Great."
Nell (popping her head back around the corner): "Okay, I'm just gonna go get my phone."
Sarah: "Good, okay."
Nell (back again to clarify): "My PRETEND phone."
Sarah: "Yep."
Nell: "Okay I'm back!"
Sarah: "When am I going to get some privacy around here?!"
Nell: "You won't!  Because we're kids!"

{Quite insightful for a girl of, at the time, three!}

* * *

Sarah: "Can I have a snuggle?"
Nell: "Not right now."
Sarah: "Ok.  But I love your snuggles!"
Nell: "Oh, ok then.  Maybe we can snuggle for three days.  Or maybe seven.  Okay?"

* * *

Looking over my shoulder while I read a recipe on my phone, pretending to understand what she saw:
Nell: "Whoah that is intesdin.  That is weally weally intesdin."

* * *

Playing with a shape-sorting toy cube:
Sarah: "That's called a trapezoid.  Can you say that word?"
Nell: "No I can't.  I'm too big for that."

And now for a few more recent quotes!

* * *

Holding a block up to her ear like a phone:
"Oh hiiiii pretend doctor.  My baby is just crying all night.  What should I do?"

* * *

Driving down the highway:
"Maybe someday we should just get me a teeny tiny little motorcycle."

* * *

Trying to say 'girl':
"How can I say guwul instead of guwul?  How can I say it?  I'm so little.  Can we talk about it?"

* * *

Sarah: "What would you want to do if you had a million dollars?   Is there anything you'd want to buy?"
Nell: "Some juice.  I'm thirsty."

* * *

Pondering deep thoughts:
"I wonder what it feels like to be born?"

* * *

Playing out a grim scenario with a small toy figure and bus:
"Oh sorry guy you're gone forever!  Crush crunch crushed by the bus!"

* * *

"Can I brush my eyebrows with a toothbrush?"

* * *

Overheard narrating as a playmobil girl:
"Please may I have some fingers?  I don't have any.  Please may I have a lot of fingers?"

When my foot was broken back in March:
"But how can it be broken?  It still looks like one foot!"

"I'm so glad that I get to help you when your foot is hurt.  I just love helping you!"

* * *

At tea/snack time, matter-of-factly:
"After my tea and apple I'm gonna get mawwied and have a baby."

* * *

After our friends the Hansons had a new baby named Maeve:
"I want a new baby sister!  Her name is gonna be Baby Maeve Mike Mulligan."

* * *

An apparent product of the patriarchy:
Sarah: "Okay, so the lady who teaches your nature class is named Mrs. Dunfee.  Can you say that?"
Nell: "No, no, I can't say that.  I can only say Mister."

* * *

And further revealing of her understanding of gender roles:
Sarah (absentmindedly to myself early one morning, after being out late the previous night at an orchestra rehearsal): "Why didn't Daddy clean up the kitchen last night?"
Nell (because she hears everything, which I should have known!): "Because he is not a helper.  And also he is not a girl."

{After that I told Nathan he should be sure to sometimes do dishes when the girls were awake to see as well as helping around the house after they are in bed at night!  And we did have a good laugh about her little statement!}

"Sometimes when I do my little smile and then I turn it into a really big smile, then I can't find the first one again."

* * *

Wobbling her head around from side to side:
"I'm being a wild wild wild girl!"

* * *

Admiring the rose gold watch Nathan got me for our anniversary back in December:
"I just loooove your shiny watch.  I must have one when I get bigger!  I just must!"

* * *

Sarah: "Are you going to finish your salad for dinner?"
Nell: "Well my tummy is weally full."
Sarah: "Is it too full to have one of the cookies we made, too?"
Nell: "Weeeeell the lettuce will scoot back so the cookie will have room."

* * *

Singing to herself outside: 
"Oh it's so lovely, it's a beautiful day!  Oh it's so lovely, it's a beautiful day!"

Sunday, June 19, 2016

the best polaroid in the world

Sitting on my desk is the best polaroid in the world.  A little me, hair in braids, a romper with ties at the shoulders, arms flung around my Dad's neck.  

Yesterday I called home to talk to my parents, and my Mom wasn't home.  This meant that Dad, who usually hands the phone over to Mom immediately as "the more qualified parent" (his impression of things, not mine!) was the only one home, and subsequently we talked on the phone for almost an hour.

I shared my worries about money, about the fact that I over-fertilized our lawn through my ineptitude and thus have probably killed it, about a certain daughter's tantrum I wasn't sure I had responded to correctly.  He listened, as he always has, never too quick to dole out excessive amounts of advice, but always ready with empathy and reassurances that things tends to work out well enough in the end.  And when he does offer advice, it's always good.

{I wrote this about my Dad three years ago, all of which is as true today as it was then!}

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad a girl could have.

~ ~ ~

And Happy Father's Day to the best Dad my own two girls could have, too.  He managed to come home from work a little earlier than usual today so he could play music with the girls, share a pizza dinner with us, and even pose for a picture with minimal complaining.

Marie learned to say "Happy Daddy Day" for the occasion.

Where would the world be without good fathers?

Happy Daddy Day, indeed.

Friday, June 17, 2016

these lovely days

Spring has come and nearly gone already, alternately floating by in golden moments and flying by in the days that seem to move too swiftly.

We've watched the magnolias bloom and then watched the blooms fade away and the green leaves come.

We've filled an old piano frame with dirt and subsequently planted lettuces in it.

We've enjoyed rainy spring days as well as the sunshiny ones, floating boats and splashing in puddles.

We've frolicked in fields of buttercups...

...and in our own front yard.

There have been trips to the park, and a trip to the beach!

We've seen the water lilies blossom and held frogs in our hands.

And what would spring be without an ice cream cone on a sunny, warm day?

Here's to a summer as lovely as spring has been!