So far so…

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My thoughts after three weeks of homeschooling my spunky 2-year old:

*  A 2-year old can be a fantastic learner, but is not a young adult (‘learned that on day 1).

*  What I do today will influence the tone of our home as that 2-year old grows into that young adult

*  That’s why I have to default to JOY JOY JOY no matter what.

* And since JOY is a fruit of the Spirit, He’s the inspiration of our days.

* And He gets first say about each activity in our curriculum book, calendar, or else where.

* The “school day,” therefore, has quickly morphed from a strict block of “SCHOOL TIME: FROM 10 – 12 EVERY DAY!” (I promise, I was not going to install an automated bell-system, although those who know me – including my former students – know that I’m a sucker for a classroom full of rosy-faced, hand-folded enthusiastic learners. Perhaps its a rebirth of my mom’s teaching days in the Catholic school system or my own idyllic imaginings of the one-room school house. Regardless, I have to make a conscious decision every day not to assume that everybody loves to sit down and read the Classics while working through an in-depth study guide.) As I was saying, my original strict-scheduled plan has transformed into days full (or half-full, anyway) of learning activities that usually relate to the day’s themes and contain a similar structure, but are much more fun and much more… age-appropriate.

* In other words, I calmed down about the whole thing and both Vivienne and I are having a wonderful time together, learning and playing and waiting for daddy to come home.

Helping a baby to love books

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My mom passed along the idea of reading during Vivienne’s meals as soon as she was sitting up in her little booster chair at a couple months old. By the time Viv could munch on some finger food, she was listening attentively to several books and nursery rhymes; now, at age 2, she loves to read at the table or snuggled up on the couch.  I read during most breakfasts and lunches; we’ve reserved dinner time as our family’s chance to talk to each other and catch up on the day.  I hope that this tradition continues and we enjoy many lunchtimes of reading to each other and discussing our stories.

I’m going to bed at 8:30 tonight…

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* because I woke up super early, mostly in a panic that my intended-for-humor comment on a friend’s blog might have been misunderstood. I don’t know why it took me 24 hours post-comment to realize that my solution to her morning sickness (especially the nausea she feels at the scent of her toddler’s hair) could be offensive, questionable, and insensitive. At the time, I thought that shaving her toddler’s hair would be a perfectly acceptable and humorous suggestion. After all, I reasoned, the little girl would fit in with other bald toddlers and would save her mother tons of money in de-tangle spray. (Besides, I couldn’t add one more comment about saltines to her list.) Nevertheless, I promptly deleted my comment upon waking.

* because I mutilated a friend’s amazing offer to watch Vivienne tomorrow by asking if she’d vacuum my basement instead. Nothing could make me so shamelessly obsessed with my unvacuumed basement as the midwife who told me that I can’t vacuum carpets for the time being. (Don’t worry, I called my friend and took back my vacuum-request.)

* because both V and I are trying to stop biting our nails, but when she woke up from her nap, Viv confessed, “I was nibbling my nails just like a bunny!” (Which just made me worry that she is hanging out with nail-nibbling bunnies, which we all know are up to no good.)

* because the sign at WalMart reading “38 cents” on the barrel of massive gourds meant “38 cents per pound,” which I did not find out until I lugged four of the toddler-sized squash to the register. “Oh,” I mumbled… “I thought it was too good to be true.” So much for $1.52 mantel decoration. (And so much for not lifting toddlers these days.)

* because when we were driving home from WalMart, V’s voice broke through my daze, “Are you biting your nails, Mommy?!”

* because Vivienne is going through a “dance your pants off” stage (for real) and we just happened to have gone to Baby’s (a 60’s diner) for dinner. The juke-box music inspired her greatly and she was shake, rattle, and rolling through the entire meal… including the post-dinner Bazooka bubble gum course. When the restaurant was suddenly transforming into her personal playground, it was time to leave. Just as we were preparing to leave, V decided to run — shriekingly — to the opposite side of the restaurant, which really is out of character but was disastrous nonetheless. As I firmly — but *ever-so-lovingly* — took hold of V’s arm, I looked at the waitress and mumbled, “I can’t believe that the child doing that is mine…”

* because when I took Viv to the Baby’s bathroom and asked, “What has gotten into you?” She sparkled up at me, “BUBBLEGUM!”


our personal Mary Poppins

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Vivienne is in love with Mary Poppins. So much so, that her medical advice is straight from the movie…

Case in point: Last night, Ryan was suffering through one of his allergy sneezing spells. V waited patiently for him to tuck her into bed as he sneezed and sneezed and sneezed… Amongst Ryan’s hearty ACHOO’s, I heard a sweet little voice suggest, “You could always laugh instead!”

…I’m sure he wishes he could…


toddler time!

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At 9:15 every Tuesday morning, Vivienne finds her name-tag on the felt board, grabs a carpet square and enjoys Toddler Time at Schlow Library.  This week, all of her inhibitions faded away as she sang along to every song, played the triangle in a band, and took her shoes off (I’m glad she feels so “at home” in the library. My dream come true!)




A collage of our favorite story characters.  I never know when V will gasp something like, “THERE’S AMELIA BEDELIA!” in the middle of book about loud trucks or women with many hats.


Pretending to be Ms. Sharon…

jingle bells: week 19 prayers

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Weigh in: About 15 centimeters crown to rump, and weighing eight ounces!

This week’s project: permanent teeth buds are forming behind the milk teeth buds.  (Munch, munch.)

Please continue to pray that our little family would have faith that God will hold all things together.  We wait expectantly for our “big” ultrasound next Tuesday, but are resting in the fact that God already has the inside glimpse of who this little one is…

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

how do you say…?

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My most recent wonderings regarding V include whether or not we should begin teaching her a foreign language while her brain is in the glory days of malleability. Because I have minimal foreign language skills and exposure, I’d have to rely heavily on a “program,” like Muzzy. I wouldn’t mind this, but I’d want to make sure we choose an effective program… and a useful language.

Until now, my argument against employing “baby talk” programs has been the seemingly arbitrariness of choosing which language to teach an infant; how am I supposed to know if she will be living in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood, working in China for the FBI, or leading a mission in Quebec 30 years from now? After all, if she needs to know a language as an adult, won’t she be able to learn enough basics to survive? I expressed these thoughts to a dear bilingual friend who set me straight with the stats about how languages open up dormant areas of the brain and expand an individual’s emotional IQ, etc. I decided to dedicate this question to prayer and wait for God to reveal which language would be best for Vivienne.

Strangely (or not), as of now, I feel like His answer is that we are free to choose; that it’s okay for me not to choose Chinese or Spanish for practical/futuristic reasons, but instead to choose, say, French because of its beauty.

Even stranger (or not) is that as soon as I began praying about it, Vivienne began asking me about the American Sign Language she saw on our beat-up VHS copy of Christmas Eve On Sesame Street. “What’s this, Mommy?” she’s been asking as she imitates Linda’s hands about taking Christmas with you all through the year. I don’t know if sign language opens the same dormant portals of the brain as auditory languages do, but I do know that using our hands to communicate language opens portals of the heart that auditory languages don’t. Perhaps we’ll pursue a bit of both here on Hickory Road…


Do any of my five faithful commenters (or others!) have wisdom on this matter?