Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Potty Mouths

I honestly do no know where they get it. Lately I have been mortified at the words coming out of my precious babies mouths. Constantly. At breakfast. At lunch. At dinner. At play. It's starting to worry me, bug me, embarrass me.

Here they are sweetly, innocently building pirate ships. So adorable...and moments later I hear...

"This is my Pee Pee, Poo Poo, pirate ship"

We are in the kitchen making one of the cakes I'm going to need for this weekend, and I'm telling them "put this one cup of flour in" and in response I get. "One cup of Poop" followed by fits of boy giggles.

We sing (to the tune of No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed):
No more poopers pooping on the bed
No more poopers pooping on the bed
that is what the pooper said.

at meals...

Talk of poop and pee has now been banned from the table.

Intellectually I understand that is a good thing. They are working on potty training and it is only natural to explore through language the things they are trying to master. We are making progress (except for today) and they are mastering using the toilet at school. Evan is so proud of himself that he can go all by himself. Ryan still prefers to have help. However Ryan is pooping on the potty 99% of the time. Evan prefers pooping in his underwear. But pee, really, except for today, they are telling me 99% of the time. Although I never thought we'd get there, we are making progress. Can I get a Hallelujah!

But seriously, I am over conversations like this:

Evan: "Ryan, are you a pooper?"
Ryan: "No, I'm a pee pee puppy."
Evan: "Poopy, poop, poop, poop"
Ryan: "Pee, pee, puppy, pee, pee, pee"
Evan: giggles
Ryan: giggles
Me: Rolls eyes, shakes head, secretly smiles.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Words of love and wisdom, by Evan

I read to the kids at school today, and it was such a joy. The boys were so excited to have me in their classroom! The kids play outside before they have their story time. Because Ryan and Evan were so excited for me to be there, they asked to come inside early (can you believe that? thank goodness I was on time), they set up the chairs for us to sit in and were anxiously awaiting my arrival. When all of their classmates came in from playing outside, both boys started shouting "My Mommy is here, My Mom is here! She is going to read!" I'm not sure anything can make you feel more loved than that kind of excitement.

"A friendly cacti said, I love my boy." Evan said hugging his stuffed cactus. "Thank you so much for getting me Cacti from Arizona."

"You can't knock mine down, it is more appropriate for Ryan to knock mine down if I knocked his down." Evan discussing "turn about is fair play" with me, as it applies to blocks.

We had some fun with leftover Livestrong chalk this weekend. I had some fun doing some extra laundry.

Evan asked me the other day, "Mommy, why do you love me?" Oh, Evan, why do I love you? Let me count the ways! (I listed off a bunch of things that nearly had my Mom in tears.) "I love you because you are kind, and sweet, because you are thoughtful, because you make my heart full, because you make me smile, and you make me happy, and because you love so passionately..."

And he does, everything is "Do you know what I love?" "I love...(whatever he is doing, holding, or thinking about at the moment"

For the record, Evan is no longer "assessed" as he now tells me. "I'm not assessed with Black Speakers any more Mom, because I like guitars too." "I'm not assessed with Red any more, because I love pur-pul" "I'm not assessed with..." Oh you get the picture...according to him, he's no longer obsessed.

Me, however? still very "assessed" with my boys.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What we've been up to lately

Going. Constantly.

We've been going to this great park almost every week. The boys love this open field and I mean love it. They run, kick, and throw balls of every type for hours. They tackle, wrestle, and dribble...oh and laugh as they tumble to the ground in a heap.

They also take naps.

We have been celebrating Theodore Geisel's birthday all month at school. They made these "Cat in the Hat" Hats and loved wearing them around the house. We've been working on rhyming a lot because well, it's Dr. Seuss. This morning Ryan came up with this:

One little puppy sitting in the bed
He turned to mama pup and said
"Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof"
what was in his head?

I wonder if that is how Dr. Seuss got started?

The other week we went to the lake with our friend Tobin and Mr. Philip. We decided that we should let the boys ride their bikes around the lake. Philip and I overestimated had no clue pushed our kids too far. For the record. 5 miles is too far. Anything over 3 miles not so much fun for anyone involved.

But it was seriously cute. Three little ones speeding down the path, stopping to look at cacti. What could be better?

On Monday we met my Mom in San Juan Capistrano for a little birthday lunch for me. We did this last year and it was so amazing to me how much the boys remembered about our trip. They told me all about how they were afraid on the train, but then cried because they didn't want to get off. They told me all about feeding the bunnies and guinea pigs, and they told me all about the red jeep they got to ride on.

We got there early, and the boys got some good quality time feeding lettuce, carrots, and broccoli to the animals. We rode the train, with no tears. And, as a total shock to me the boys both wanted to ride the horses. Just recently they had the opportunity to ride little tiny ponies at a friend's house and they both objected, LOUDLY. I was dumbfounded to see them both happy as little jockeys.

Yes, the whole place heard Evan's squeals of delight as he passed in front of this huge cactus.

Ryan's take: "look Evan a Cacti!"

Yesterday, Evan woke up from his nap to go pee pee. Which by the way is the only time they will tell me they have to go to the bathroom, when they are supposed to be sleeping. But a potty training update is well over due and this post is already kind of long. I was watching hockey and heard the call from Evan's room, I paused the game to take him to the potty. He took one look at the TV and said to me in his most stern voice, "What on Earth are you doing?" "No Watching TV!" "NO!" His little finger pointed at my nose. He followed up with, "will you pause it so I can see someone shoot a goal?" I was laughing so hard I'm not sure where the pee went.

Today, and I do not have pictures of this event...Evan lost his glasses.
He and Ryan were running down this big hill at the park and he fell, and off his glasses came. I guess. He got up and got to the bottom and turned around to me and said, "and I ran even when my glasses were off" What? Shoot, where did he fall, where was he exactly on this hill. They are glasses I should be able to find them pretty easily. Right? WRONG?

I LOVE the Amazing Race, and I have to admit I make fun of them when they are doing the "needle in a haystack" challenges and they get all frustrated because they can't find the needle. I always think or say. Calm down, take on the challenge methodically and it is no problem!

About a half an hour into looking for Evan's $250 glasses, I got a little panicky. GRANTED, it was time to go home and have lunch to keep the kids on schedule. But I have to admit, I got a bit frustrated. And heck it's only $250 bucks, not a million. So, I apologize to all I have ridiculed on the Amazing Race. It is hard to find something when you REALLY want to find it, and it is difficult. BUT, I also had two kids to watch WHILE I was searching every inch of that damn hillside for one pair of glasses.

I walked up and down the hill maybe 20 times. I crawled on my hands and knees. Moved almost every single blade of grass. Searched. Methodically walked over every inch. They were no where. And now, it was almost noon. I had resigned myself to calling off the search for now, we'd have to come back after naps, post signs and look some more. I walked almost to the top of the hill where the boys were playing so nicely, to collect them, and lo and behold, right there, almost at the summit, THE GLASSES!

Yeah, I was so sure that he'd lost them when he fell, I'd been concentrating on the bottom section of the hill, um, where he fell! Especially since he told me they fell off when he fell down. I guess they fell off his face before that.

lesson one: Don't take a almost 4 year old's word for anything.
lesson two: Give up sooner and walk up the hill farther to go home.
lesson three: I am VERY allergic to grass, who knew?
lesson four: Don't make fun of racers on the Amazing Race, or now I am better prepared for that road block!

Friday, March 5, 2010

To homeschool or not.

I went to a meeting last night and it scared me.

I have been obsessively stressing thinking a lot about when the boys start Kindergarten. what should we do? Private school is cost prohibitive, and the options near us are not exactly what I see as a good fit for us. Public school is in a state of disrepair. In addition to my opposition to the direction in which a public school education teaches, in preparation for the many, many standardized tests, there is the budget crisis in the State of California.

Last night I was told that next year it is a very strong possibility that the class sizes in our district will go from 24 children (which is already a lot of kids) to as many as 36. WITH. ONE. TEACHER. The principal who was giving this presentation said, "oh, don't worry, years ago we always had 32 or more kids in a class". I was outraged.

(Here is where I'm going to rant a little)
Years ago, we were not expecting our Kindergartners to be reading by the time they left. Years ago we were not expecting that Kindergartners were writing all of their letters and numbers properly. Years ago Kindergartners were not learning to add and subtract. Years ago Kindergartners were learning their letters in Kindergarten. Years ago Kindergartners were socializing in Kindergarten. Kindergarten was preschool. Now we expect 4 and 5 year old children to sit still for 120 minutes of language arts, 60 minutes of math, 30 minutes of science, 30 minutes of social studies, with only 30 minutes for art, music, physical education, 40 minutes for lunch and 40 minutes of snack/recess time. Seriously? Really? This doesn't sound like Kindergarten to me. And I know, broken down like that it sounds worse than it really is. I'm sure the learning is interactive and can be considered play. But does it sound like fun to you? I remember Kindergarten as a fun place. I remember it as a place I started a lifetime of learning to LOVE learning. This sounds like an education testing factory to me.

Everything I have learned about early childhood education has taught me that young children learn best by doing, playing, observing and discussing. Not from worksheets. I have a friend who is a mom of a Kindergartner, her son comes home with a packet of 20 worksheets for homework every month. He is required to write the letter or number on the worksheet 50 times. Wow, that sounds fun and engaging. That sounds like a great way to stifle all of the love for learning right out of a 5 year old.

You know what really pushed me over the edge last night? When one of the teachers said that even now, with 24 student, she spends more time with the kids that really need it, the kids that are behind (behind in Kindergarten mind you) and that the kids that are doing well, have to do so more on their own. Yikes. I DO. NOT. LIKE. THE. SOUND. OF. THAT! Not at all.

So now I am freaking out really stressing.

I love my children, I love being with them. But I think they need to take direction and learn from other adults. I also think I might not have the required patience to teach Kindergarten. I also believe that separation is a good thing.

In a perfect world? I'd find a couple of like minded families, hire a teacher, share the costs and our homes, and my boys would get the best possible education. They would be constantly challenged, without feeling pressured. They would have one on one attention everyday. They would be exposed to anything and everything. They would develop a zeal and true love of learning. Oh, and I wouldn't be the only adult in the room!