Monday, March 31, 2014

Accordion Lessons

This weekend we spent  Sunday morning walking around our local flea market. As usual it was a morning full of fun.

We walked around for about 3 hrs and Animal only asked to be carried about a dozen times. We did pick him up a handful of times because there were giant puddles everywhere from Saturdays rain storms, but he walked 98% of the time so it was a successful trip in that sense.

Why not let him walk, run or jump in the puddles? Well you see, this weekend when I did some spring cleaning I pulled out his cool sandals so I wouldn't have to dig for them when the weather changes. He loves them and changed his trusty sneakers for the sandals all by himself. I made a small attempt to change the shoes back. He wasn't having it.

I could see the sunlight beaming in through the shutters and thought, why not?

As soon as we got there I saw exactly why not. It was too late. We were there. We avoided puddles as best we could, until eventually the toes of his socks were soaked. Luckily I had a spare in his backpack and we stopped to dry his toes and have a snack.

We let him ride the plethora of 50 cent kiddie rides and took a turn on the carousel.

Afterwards we found a cute pair of (new) shoes and the real fun began. He ran through puddles. He jumped in them. Splashing in as many as he could. Until a little boy, 4 or 5 years old walked by playing with a small child size accordion. Animal watched, and then turned his head this way and that trying to get a peak at the little musician.

Just a few aisles later we found ourselves in front of a vendor selling various children's instruments and so my husband bought Animal his first red accordion.

Animal carried the heavy (for a toddler) box around the rest of the morning until we headed home.

After nap time, we showed him how to hold the accordion and showed him how to push the buttons to make music play. He had a hard time at first, but soon he got the hang of it. Yelling, "look daddy, I did it".

Neither my hubby nor I play the accordion. Actually I know absolutely no one who does. So now I'm wondering, are there accordion lessons for kids?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Parenting Fail #98, #102, and #144

We have been dealing with this fail for a long time.

I can't really remember when it started only that Baby Centers emails reassured me, and other parents that this was a normal phase, and how to best deal with it.

We tried to follow the advise and tips. Then we went rogue and tried harsher tactics. It didn't work, and we reverted quickly back to the Baby Center tips. I thought we were finally past it, and we were on to the next. We were wrong.

My son is a biter.

We don't know why. He's got so many words and he's learning more and more to ask for things and to express himself with these words. We do not bite. We do not spank we don't even really swat. (That's what we tried by the way, hitting his mouth. It didn't work, and we decided after each trying it once that it would not work with our kid). We are not violent. We use words to fight with in our home. So why so much aggression? Why biting?

I was a biter, could that explain it? My dad bit me, and I stopped he says. I can't do it. Besides he has bitten himself (and left teeth marks) and it has not deterred him.

I am at my wits end. I feel embarrassed, stupid and incompetent. 

I believe as a professional I should be able to help him, or at least have the patience to deal with it. He's not the only two year old I know with this problem and God knows he wont be the last. In the mean time I have a fear of taking him anywhere or doing anything. I don't think I'm writing this as a cry for help. Feel free to leave me advice, I think I've heard it all, but I could be wrong. He's in school (where he will be shadowed in the near future as they try to help us get through this phase). We take him to the playground, we give time outs, and offer a ton of attention and love. What else? What else is there? 

I think I'm writing this post more as a confession. Asking to be absolved. I want other people to know I recognize the problem. We recognize the problem. We are working (have been working on it) for so long, and we wont give up. I'm sorry if my son bites you, or your child. I try to be close enough to stop it. We are consistent in not allowing it, of giving consequences for these actions. 

I have to believe that someday we'll get past it. Everyone does, right? I did. Animal will too.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What We Are Reading: Little Bea And The Snowy Day

Little Bea And The Snowy Day

Every Christmas I order a holiday book from Scholastic book clubs for each of the students in my class. I choose the holiday book that's on sale, usually a dollar maybe two each (because I'm a preschool teacher not an engineer). I sign the book with a Christmas wish and hope they will enjoy with their family for at least a few months. 

Sometimes (most times) the book is from a known book series, but sometimes it's  new book, as was the case this year. Little Bea And The Snowy Day by Daniel Roode  published 12/27/2011. It's a book about a busy bee, her friends and their fun day in the snow.

We live in sunny California and have not yet taken our first trip to the snow. I do NOT love this book. Honestly I don't even enjoy reading it. Maybe because I didn't grow up playing in snow, and I hate the cold. This year we had a two week dip into 29-33 degree nights and days that barely touched 50 degrees and I swore I would die. So you can see I am very biased. 

Animal on the other hand LOVES this book and weeks after Christmas, this is still requested at least once a week, and I must read a minimum of twice. He loves the pictures and he likes the simple words. That rhyme on some pages and don't on others (something that makes me a little crazy, as I find it harder to find a comfortable rhythm to read aloud with). He doesn't care. I try to focus on how much I enjoy snuggling my little guy.  

So what to do with a book you don't love to read? Try a little lesson planning. Focus on skills you're trying to build on. 

I like to ask Animal questions about what the little forest friends are doing. I ask him to point out colors or help me count. I also ask open ended questions, like what kind of snow friend would you build? Because we're still working on vocabulary and communication.

At some point in the story the furry friends dig in the snow and then show each other what they have found. If you don't want to go outside, or you would like a contained area, you can do the same activity with a bowl, or water table filled with snow, fake snow in my case and small toys. You can roll "snowballs" with mashed potatoes and have a little sensory fun.

Give them measuring cups and cups or bowls of different sizes. Ask them to guess how many scoops it will take to fill each. Which will take more? Yay for math fun. 

Or have a "snowball" fight with crumpled paper if you want P.E. I can think of so many activities to do with this book that I almost love it. If you're looking for ideas or want more in this area just leave in the comments section. 

See you next Thursday, until then I hope you and your little ones can snuggle together for a great story.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Health Scares

Pre Biopsy View

I've had a few health scares. 

Not many. I've always lucked out. Even as a kid. I never got too sick. Much to my mother's delight, I was (am) the biggest baby so it was especially horrid for my mommy when I did fall ill.

I don't get the flu shot and very, very rarely get the flu. I work with children and rarely get so much as a cold. It happens, and when it does I swear I'm dying. Still I rarely have to miss work, or even a run.

Even with my strong immune system, I've always had this suspicious feeling that when my time comes it will be to something terrible. Maybe because I feel guilty when someone awesome gets gravely ill. When I see a story about someone battling cancer, aids, leukemia, diabetes or anything of the like, I wonder, "Why not me?". 

Really, what makes me so lucky? There's no reason. Reality is these ailments can strike anyone, and they do. 

I myself have had 2 previous scares. One involving an ultrasound. The second involving a biopsy, then a decision about a simple office visit or a more aggressive outpatient surgery. I chose the more aggressive treatment. Now I face my second biopsy (unrelated to first), another bullet I'm hoping to dodge.

Why am I so worried? Is it a premonition? Is it that real illness has been like the scariest of Bogey men to me? Or is it that I'm a parent now? 

I'm unlikely to figure it out tonight. If I figure it out before I get a call, I'll let you know.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why Don't Boys Like Girls With Short Hair?

First I'd like to say I don't care why. 

Maybe they love our long hair because they wish they had it. Maybe they associate it with femininity, or sensuality, or freedom. I don't give a shit. 

I titled my post that hoping Google will send some readers my way. 

I've never been what you would call girly. As soon as my mom stopped doing my hair, it went down hill fast. I was a frizzy maned mess. I have a decent face. A cute Mexican, maybe Persian face. Also a good personality. I learned to do my make up and mastered the tomboy look. My hair being a disaster just went with my look. I hated my hair. I couldn't get over it.  It was my enemy. 

When I would see a girl with really short hair I would think, "Lucky bitch".  I was very over weight at one point in my life and I didn't want to be a fat girl with a "butch" haircut. why is it butch for a girl to have short hair I'll never understand. stupid society with it's stupid gender rules.

After years of hard work I got in decent shape. The tomboy look was working for me and I was getting hit on a lot. I was feeling pretty confident, so I finally did it. I cut my hair. I got my favorite style, a pixie cut. 

I looked fucking great. I was young, my hair finally looked good, my tiny eyes looked big. I was in shape and with my new confidence I even tried to dress a little more grown up. Think JCrew catalog (Ethnic edition).  Literally, everything I bought that year came from that catalog.

You know what happened. All of a sudden I was invisible to the opposite sex. So me with a frizzy mess on my head way better than me with a sleek cut. I loved how I looked, but no one else seemed too. Except other girls and women. I got a lot of compliments from the women who new me, even only kind of. But I was invisible to everyone else, especially men.

It was disheartening, and a big blow to the ego. I grew my hair out.

It was a disaster. Again. Until I discovered (and purchased) an awesome flat iron, and I asked all the girls with great hair, who did their hair. I had my second grown up haircut. A short A line bob. It was cute. Flattering. 

I got in really great shape again. I cut my hair shorter. Not a pixie cut. In my heart I knew I needed that hairdo again. I gained 10lbs and then I kept thinking as soon as I loose this, I'm chopping it (my hair off). I got close, but tried an edgy cut instead. A warm up to that pixie cut. I was gonna go super pixie too. 

Instead I got pregnant. Then I couldn't lose the weight. Could. Not. Lose. It. 

Then I did. I wanted to get that last ten off and just be fit again. Then sitting in my stylist chair. I thought FUCK IT. What if I never lose those ten pounds. I don't look awful. I have a good face, a face with high cheek bones and a strong defined chin. My eyes pop with this cut and I want it. I want it so bad. I hate pretending I can do things like my hair. I don't pretend that well either, BTW. 

So I did it. Every girl I know has complimented me. Even girls I know don't like short hair. Maybe they recognize this is the best for me. Or maybe it just looks good. Or maybe they're just being nice. I don't care. I love it. I love me like this. 

The hubby was less than thrilled, he was supportive of my haircut, but I showed a shot of a girl with a shaggy pixie cut. An inch maybe inch and half longer than mine. It will grow, I told him. It took him a day to get over it. I don't know how much he likes it, but I know he loves me. And I love it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where Have I Been?

You may have wondered? Or maybe you haven't.

So many things have happened since last I wrote.  

It feels like years ago, but I'm pretty sure it's only been a few months. Here's a short list of what happened to me. The good, the bad and the ugly.

1.  I blew my cars engine. It was heartbreaking. I loved that car, like really loved it. I'm not too proud to say I cried when the tow truck came to take it from me. It took some time to come to terms with what I had done and how I would solve the dilemma of having no vehicle. It was a big ordeal finding and purchasing my new (to me) car. It's cool, but I'm not going to lie. I really, really miss MY car. Randomly I'll imagine I'm still driving my old car and I'll get sad all over again. Even now 3 months later.

2. We got a notice that our rent was being raised. Again. We refused to pay a penny more for our large but rundown apartment. So we were forced to start looking for a new home. Something we had been doing for years anyway (because as fore mentioned we were living in a rundown apartment) but could not seem to afford anything in our beautiful, but ridiculously expensive city. 

Then, on the same night we got that letter, the hubby found a listing for a cute two bedroom house on the street we lived on when we got married. That  just so happened to be walking distance from my moms house (our babysitter), and close to the the elementary school we want our son to attend.

We went to check it out. No expectations. 

We filled out the application, and two credit checks later, we were moving into our first house together. Very exciting. Right? Totally. 

Only problem is this house has no garage, and our old garage was full. Not hoarder full, I used to park my beloved car in there. Nonetheless it was packed. Many trips to the dumpster and the local donation center later and we still have a small storage shed worth of things that don't fit into our home (without turning us into an episode of Hoarders). 

3. The Hubby got pneumonia over the Christmas break. He refused for days to go to the doctors and when he did it's because he thought he was going to die. Lucky for us he did, or he just might have. It was a tough week. He survived.

4. Animal has been keeping us way busy, as toddlers are apt to do. He's talking so much, it's a big relief to finally hear. I can't even count how many words he has anymore, most are clear and he's even gotten a few five word sentences in there. 

He's giving us new worries, new laughs, new troubles and lots of happiness. Also lots of writing material if I ever make the time again. 

Sometimes as we read something for the tenth time in an hour I think: This is the next, What We Are Reading. Then I never sit down and write. I only imagine what I'll write later that night when I finally pull out the laptop. Then I don't.

5. I have been running. I have a new partner. The Tall guy has started to join me. It's going great. Last weekend we ran 5 miles and two weekends ago I ran up a hill I haven't run since I was pregnant. 

Also my dad's back. He was never gone, but he had been injured and sidelined and now he's up and running along side me.

So that's where I've been. Now I'm back and I hope you will also come back to check out what's happening on this here blog.