Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3-30-11 The Wild Things are Right Here!!

Conrad just told me that when he grows up he wants to be a photographer, but not the kind who takes pictures of people. The kind who takes pictures of wild animals. This sounds exciting, doesn't it? When I was little I walked around telling people that I wanted to be a psychologist; he has a more clear idea of what his dream occupation is than I did. I suggested to Conrad that we go to the zoo and he could practice taking pictures of animals. He let me know that it wouldn't be necessary because he could just practice here. I'm afraid he's right!

It's easy for me to get carried away with my job of nurturing and molding my children. There's so much to consider: physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual development. I want them to be kind and considerate, use good manners, have strong people skills, oh, the list could go on because I see how amazing they are and I want them to develop to their full God-given potential. I read a lot of mommy books (I buy even more than I read!), activity books, cards, just stuff that "holds the key to divine parenting". The more I'm trying to learn about my kids, the more I'm learning about myself and the truth is that I can try and create a mommy curriculum for myself all day long, but what's really important is that I live the way I want my children to live. There are no 10 Steps to Parenting and there's no such thing as magic. Other people's strategies, suggestions, and entire 350-page books (my longest mommy read yet -- 350 pages about getting your child to sleep well. . .) can only be used as ideas for you to incorporate into your life. That's just how life is; uniquely yours. I can't carbon-copy somebody else's approach and day in day out mothering skills because I'm not them and I don't have their kids.

Here are the books on my nightstand right now. I'm about half-way through all of them; they're all good.

Fearless by Max Lucado
The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg
Stopping Stress Before it Stops You by Kevin Leman
The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman
Praying the Scriptures for your Children by Jodie Berndt

The most recent chapter book that I've finished was Third-Grade Detectives. Yes, I read it out loud. Yes, I have a touch of ADD.

Monday, March 28, 2011

3-28-11 Catching a Rainbow

You know I love a good theme. Around March 16th I stumbled upon a website full of super cute preschool activities for St. Patrick's Day. We did as many as we could squeeze in when we weren't eating corned beef and cabbage and then reubens, but some of the ideas I could extend even farther because they were based on rainbows -- unless it's St. Paddy's Day, you cut the pot of gold. Because we all know only leprechauns have access to the pot of gold at the end of rainbows.

Anyway, Rainbow is a nice big word for Conrad and the concept of colors is perfect for Max. Our science activity was to catch a rainbow. We've been trying to do this for a week, but we needed the sun to cooperate. Today, was our day. We filled up a jar of water and held it up to different windows of our house where the sun was streaming in. We were trying to get the colors of the refracted light to show onto the white paper we had on the floor. This finally worked at the front door. Very exciting!! The boys then used their water colors to color the rainbow.

The conversation naturally led to the first rainbow ever and what it stood for. At the bottom of our poster I'm going to add "All God's Promises are True".

3-27-11 Catching Up. . .

I keep deleting the text of this post because I've been trying to recap the past few weeks. Most of those mornings have started with me guzzling down my cup of coffee. That's a sign of busy days. Coffee is meant to be sipped! During that time I went to mommy school, took my three boys to a wedding, survived another bout of the trio having diarrhea, and. . . and, there was more. I know there was. . . In that time period Max started telling me that I am pretty. Caden waves good-bye, babbles mama and dada, and gives kisses. Conrad can make his bed, get himself dressed, and make my coffee. It's been a good kind of busy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

3-5-11 No Mommies, No Armies

It's a 20 degree day and we ventured out for Conrad's first swim lesson. Well, his first swim lesson was a few years ago when we took a mommy and me class. Let me reminisce a little bit. It was fabulous. We got in the water, sang little songs and moved through the water like it was just another dance venue.

Today, only he got into the water and I was directed to the viewing area UPSTAIRS: seemed a little far away. . . He wasn't even wearing armies, but he was grinning ear to ear. He was one of three students and was by far the most eager. They sang little songs like we did in mommy and me class and Conrad was brimming with pride as he practiced kicking and moving his arms back and forth. I brought a book with me and that's what the seasoned parents were doing - reading or texting. How could I read? I had to watch the swim lesson story unfold and capture it on my video camera. Turned out that the other two mommies leaning over the edge of the plexi glass wall belonged to the other two students in Conrad's beginner class. This isn't much of a coincidence.

Conrad soon looked up and found me; he waved and called hello and his smile said this was the best ever. For a second, I regretted that he didn't need me for this, but in that moment he did need me. He needed me to be in the stands watching.

His swim teacher (coach??) took each of the students one at a time to practice and Conrad is certainly comfortable in the water. I had wanted to start swim lessons last year, but had a hard time with the scheduling. Plus, Conrad was very clear that he did not want swim lessons, nor did he need swim lessons. He already knew how to swim. I planted the idea that he could show everybody how well he could swim at swim lessons. Apparently, the idea just needed to sink in because by this morning he was psyched to get to the pool. I saw another little glimpse of his independent spirit.

Max and Caden were with Daddy and one on one time is at a premium for Conrad and I. The conversation was an important part of this morning... when Conrad's internal dialogue is made audible. There is so much wonder in a four-year-olds mind. An adult knows exactly what to expect from swim lessons, but for a preschooler, the imagination kicks in. The lesson exceeded what his imagination had drummed up.

Here's my swim lesson mom oath: I will stop reminding him that as soon as he will put his head all the way under water that he can move up to the next level. I will no longer entertain the idea of signing him up for back lessons level 1-A and then 1-B. I will let him be a beginner and just enjoy the level where actually gets to play!