Monday, February 17, 2014

Last couple weeks of January. In a nutshell. . .

Compromises and Castles
For Christmas, Claire got a Fisher Price Disney Princess Songs Castle.  If you know me well, I'm not totally into pushing my kid toward the Disney Princess aisle.  A few of the movies, we aren't keen on her watching until she's significantly older and can reason through the message of the film.  Yes, we're THAT family.  But the Fisher Price set and the little dolls for it aren't exactly sexy and the set was something she'd been interested in for a little while. It wound up on her Christmas list and the grandparents happily obliged ;-)  She LOVES it. In fact, our biggest issue with it is the fact that Ashlyn would like to play with it, too.  Now, I'm stuck in a parenting conundrum over this one.  Ashlyn is clumsy.  Ashlyn doesn't "get" how to play like Claire does.  On some level, I wouldn't want to play with Ashlyn either, especially if it was something that I loved and didn't want broken but at the same time I would like Claire to have compassion for and patience for her awkward, sweet, runny-nosed younger sister- "the least of these."  Not sure "forcing her to share" is going to instill a innate desire to share.  Not to get political but, I'm not raising a socialist, I'm raising a Covenant child whom I hope will, one day, become a Christian who will love and give of her own volition and out of gratitude to God.  
So, at first, the castle (along with a couple other dollhouses we've received as hand-me-downs) wound up in the kitchen on the island.  Ashlyn couldn't reach that far so Claire could play, all alone with sister bothering her.  But several things bothered me about this arrangement.  1. Claire was getting away with this.  I'm fine with giving her playtime with things she loves by herself but this was still in the middle of everything, she wasn't losing out on anything by doing it this way.  She still would see Ashlyn as nothing more than a pest. 2. She took over my kitchen island. Everytime I walked into the kitchen I wanted to scream.  I can handle very little clutter in a space (even though I'm not always on top of this as I wish I could be) and I completely resonated with a speaker back when I did MOPS who said, "Clutter is like visual noise."  Um, YES!!!! Yes it IS!!!!  So when I walked into my kitchen and attempted to get anything done in there, I felt like I was trying to think with a stereo blasting Raffi and Disney music simultaneously.  Don't get me wrong, I get having kids means you put your "perfect house" on hold but I also believe you have got to know your limits.  This was mine.  
So with those ideas circulating through my head, I decided it was time to discuss with Claire the new rules at the house. No more toys on the kitchen island.  She's need to put the castle on the floor.  And you know what?  Ashlyn was annoying a few times but they did learn to play together.  And then, like most 19 month old babies, Ashlyn's attention span became short and and she was, soon, not as interested in the castle and all was right with the world again.
But the issue will come up again, whether it's over another castle, Claire's ceramic dishes in their shared play kitchen area or a doll that either girl has claimed.  I think we are going to stick to "no one's forced to share" BUT I want to set things up in such a way that sharing is the more desirable thing.  Giving sister one doll while you play to keep you playing together and both sisters happy.  Or saying the stingy child is allowed to play alone but make sure the other child is given something fun to do, something the other child would want to do too.  I do want to make sure the girls know that their sense of ownership is respected as well as instill a desire to be together and to share.  I'm certainly open to more ideas from people with two or more kids who have dealt well with this!
We did a few "school" things this week.  King David was the topic and we did a few activities with the "letter L"  One of the David activities had to do with the story of David and how the Ark of the Covenant came home during David's reign.  We made an "Ark" out of an old jello box and she was to decorate it so that it showed that God's laws were inside it.  I gave her a few options: stickers, glue, Cheerios, macaroni.  The Cheerios and Macaroni were biggest hits, to my surprise.  I was pretty sure the stickers would win in the end.  Who knew?!

Letter L was the letter of the week and we did the usual: letter on the ground, Hide and Seek "L" and gluing Cheerios to a sheet of paper in the shape of an "L"  Nothing new but she doesn't see to notice.  She's used to the repetition and, thus far, she doesn't seem bored.  The crazy thing is, I'm already mentally considering what it is that we might be doing next year and THAT is super exciting. . . but more on that later. 

A few things the girls discovered around the house this week. #1: I took the girls to Ikea and bought them a few things for their "play kitchen"/"house" area up in the loft.  The biggest thing, I thought, was missing was a few more food items and a dishes set, both of which IKEA sells pretty cheap but good quality.  The girls have loved it.  I learned Claire loves colors and color patterns.  She likes things to match.  The IKEA set come in 4 colors and she likes each color to be used and stacked TOGETHER.  It's pretty funny but exciting, too.  I'd like to see her artistic side blossom with her attention to these details and care for color.  She "served" me a pretty yummy dinner of fish and veggies one night. It was so much fun watching her play. 

Claire also discovered "Aggravation"  which has been sitting in our game closet for some time now.  She, pretty much, used it as a marbles game.  Knocked the marbles out the the holes, etc.  But what the heck? Points for creativity. . .

Few other moments from January:  Snack time during the Sermon Lesson at church :-)

Church Potluck Business Meeting.  The little lasted thought the potluck. . .

But wound up under the table having a coffee straw fight during the Business Meeting. . .
We started a new semester at To The Pointe Productions.  Claire LOVES it.  A few new kids in her class and a few kids switched to other classes.  Things are a little different but the teacher is the same and she loves her teacher :-)

Auntie Nini (our pastor's wife) gave the girls a microphone for Christmas.  We have a love/hate relationship with this thing. . .
Playdough sculptures are getting more and more interesting.  She's actually trying to make something which is fun to watch.  Although, she's getting all the colors mixed up.  But that's ok, if it's in the name of art ;-)
On Tuesdays I take the girls to the Cal Aero Preserve Library for storytime when they wake up from their naps ontime.  The latest one we've been to was celebrating the Lunar New Year.  Claire wore her "horsey dress!" in celebration of the "Year of the Horse"   The storytime is a little quirky and the public school daycare kids who attend storytime make it ever interesting, but the girls love to check out books and be a part of everything! 

Toward the end of the month, we had our monthly game night with friends I went to high school with.  We are up to 9 kids and counting in the group.  It's pretty amazing.  The kids love being together and the adults (oh my, when did THAT happen?!) get to socialize and be together.  It's pretty fun.  I'm bummed we can't make it more often, though!!!!
So that was the end of January.  I already have a beginning of Feb. post in my head plus a few others to announce a few crazy and exciting things going on with us!  Thanks for reading along. . .

1 comment:

  1. Love the pics! (Especially game night!)

    Grace and Rosalie have been having that sharing issue. Rosalie really really likes Grace's cars. And Grace screams bloody murder whenever Rosalie touches them. So, when this happens, I ask Grace to please find one of Rosalie's toys and hand it to her (we have a small plastic tub full of baby toys). So far, Grace is happy to oblige and Rosalie is just happy to be playing next to Grace with whatever Grace hands her. We do have some toys that are "Schulert Family" toys and some toys that belong to each individual girl. Good luck on that one--I feel your pain. AND, I totally agree about clutter being visual noise--I'd never heard that, but YES!