Black Friday Shopping Success!

I am so thankful to live in the Day of the Interweb!

Today, I did not fight a single crowd or search for a single parking spot, but I got (almost) all of my Christmas shopping done — online. It’ll be delivered right to my door — stress free. I do need to make one stop at Family Christian for a few trinkets for friends and another at my favorite local toy store for a couple of stocking stuffers for Caroline.

I am thrilled! Now, I will admit that Christmas shopping has gotten easier these past two years. My side of the family has decided to go gift-free. Last year we took a trip together, and we’ll continue that again, probably every other year. We decided to have the adults draw names in John’s family this year, so that made things easier there.

I’m happy to have this week between Thanksgiving before Advent begins. I’ll get finished with the hectic, commercial part of the holiday — the shopping — and make my plan for Advent activities to do with Caroline.

In Sickness and in Health

For nearly two-and-a-half years, I’ve had a pretty easy path, thanks to “mothering through breastfeeding.” That’s a La Leche League catch-phrase, acknowledging that breastfeeding is much more than just nutrition. Now that my daughter has weaned, I have to explore some new methods of mothering, specifically in mothering a sick toddler.

One of the best benefits for us of extended nursing was the immunological benefits. Caroline was rarely sick, and those few times she was, she recovered quickly and easily. Now that she isn’t getting the immunities of momma milk, she’s struggling with a bout of diarrhea. I am upset with myself, knowing that she probably wouldn’t have caught the bug if she were still nursing. I have to worry more about keeping her hydrated since she isn’t getting the comforting hydration of my milk. And I don’t have that super cure-all, the amazing anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial, anti-infective breast milk, to squirt on her chapped bottom brought on from the frequent wiping.

She’s doing fine, though. She’s playing and eating (and wearing a pull-up.) Her burning bottom is her biggest fret, so I’m not too worried. And John is with us this week — thank goodness because she is quite the daddy’s girl lately and that is exaggerated by her illness.

This will pass, and I will grow as a mother in this new season of parenting Caroline.

Neighborhood Co-op

A few neighbors and I, all looking for a bit of a break during the day and some social time for the kids but unhappy with formal MDOs or preschools for two-year-olds, have formed a co-op, hired a teacher, and worked up a rough curriculum / schedule. We started our “school” last week. Caroline *loves* school so far.

We have four kids — three moms will rotate as hosts and one mom works from home and has donated her nanny as the teacher’s assistant. We each pay our teacher $20 a week. School is from 9:30 until noon on Mondays and Wednesdays. This first week, the moms stayed to model the curriculum for the teacher and help the kids adjust. Next week, the teacher will run the show and us moms will linger elsewhere in the host’s home. After that, we’ll play it by ear, having an open-door policy for moms to be there whenever they’d like. The host mom will be at home during school hours, but will only get involved if she is needed.

Each week, we’ll have a theme based on a story or picture book. We’ll incorporate the theme into the snack, craft, songs, etc. This week we read Pete’s a Pizza. One day, the kids made mini pizzas for snack. They also made their own pizzas on the felt board.

Here’s our routine (subject to change for special guests or activities, which will be planned often.)

9:30-9:45 Circle Time — Hello Song, calendar and weather, concept book (shapes, colors, numbers, alphabet), song with movement/motions, story book

9:45-10:15 Work Time — Child-chosen, individual activities based on the Montessori work period

10:15-10:35 Snack — kids wash hands, prepare snack, eat, and help clean up

10:35-10:50 Sharing Time — “show and tell”, phonics song, music with instruments

10:50-11:20 Arts / Craft — some days, free expression; some days, planned craft

11:20-12 Free play, usually outside

A new aspect of our school is that two of the kids are bilingual, speaking Spanish exclusively at home and just beginning to use English. They’ll improve their English, and I’m excited that Caroline will be exposed to more Spanish than I could ever use with her. The teacher is bilingual, and our teacher’s aid speaks Spanish and a bit of English.

I’m really excited about our program. It being a co-op, I have lots of say in how I want it run. And we all know I have strong opinions on how I want my daughter educated. Since it is home-based, I don’t feel like I’m starting my daughter in any kind of institutional program too early. She’s still at-home (or at a friend’s home.)

I’m sure I’ll post again about our little adventure.

Make the Pie Higher

Make the Pie Higher

words by George W. Bush; setting by Richard Thompson

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It’s a world of madmen
And uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish
Can coexist.

Families is where our nation finds hope
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

Snopes shows it true and even details the circumstances of each quote.