Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Retired Teachers Can Be Generous!

Oh, how I appreciate retiring teachers getting rid of their gently-used classroom materials!

Yesterday, Maeve and I drove out to a local woman's house to buy from her some super cool mummy kits, from her old classroom. She very sweetly asked Maeve a few questions and was friendly and chatty, and for a pittance, we scored two identical kits for learning about mummies!

We spent some time yesterday trying to make canopic jars for the kit, since it came with lids and no jars. I pulled some cardboard out of the recycling bin and got to work making storage jars for all the organs that can be removed from the mummy models.

It reminds me of a few years ago when a retiring teacher in our neighborhood had a garage sale, where we bought armloads of books, and some literary stuffed animals including Paddington. She was so sweet and kept trying to get us to take more books! And of course, my aunt who retired from teaching kindergarten years and years ago, but often pulls all kinds of goodies out of her stores to give to Maeve.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maeve is Trying New Foods!

Don't jinx it... don't jinx it... don't jinx it... don't jinx it...

I'm hoping I won't jinx it by writing about it, but Maeve seems to have turned over a new leaf in the food-trying department. It seemed to start last week when we ordered in Indian food and there were lots of new things to try. She ate a whole plate of Chicken Biryani, and tried chapatti, even dipped in chutney! Now, she didn't care for the chapatti, but she tried so many new things, I was amazed and proud!

Maeve's usual mode of trying new foods is either a) Fight to the death not to put it in her mouth or b) Taste the tiniest portion possible, declare it delicious, and refuse to eat any more. Whether a or b method was used depended on how vegetable-y the food looked, and her general mood at the time.

But last Sunday night, Daddy made his famous fish n chips, and Maeve, I kid you not, ate one and a half fillets! This coming from a child who has never allowed seafood to pass her lips, ever! You could have knocked me over with a feather!

It is so freeing, knowing she's willing to try so many new things! It gives me glimmers of hope that the child won't be eating just mac and cheese and hot dogs when she heads off to college. Do you think she'll try my Zuppa Toscana tonight? We'll see!

Of course, trying a new Ben and Jerry's flavor is not too big a challenge!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Her Friend's Birthday of Science!

We had such a precious time at Maeve's friend B's birthday this weekend. B is such an awesome kid, and he had a fantastic birthday party theme: science. Yep, that's right, a science birthday party! The kids got to participate in experiments of several varieties, and there were safety goggles for party favors! Daddy volunteered to help run one of the experiments, and he loved explaining the exothermic reaction (or Elephant Toothpaste) to the kiddos, aged 2-8.

They also got to make a play goop/slime, an "ocean in a bottle", and pretend snow, all of which came home with them! And B's birthday cake was so awesome, it had beakers full of dry ice on top! Best of all, Maeve got to eat birthday cake at another kid's party for the first time! I used to have to bring her chocolate pudding because of the dairy/egg allergy issues.

You really couldn't have planned a cooler, more fun birthday party! I was definitely taking mental notes in case Maeve wants a science birthday someday! She had an absolute blast!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Maeve and her Appreciative Listeners

“An appreciative listener is always stimulating.” ― Agatha ChristieThe Mysterious Affair at Styles

It's so delightful to me to watch Maeve interact with other adults. She's even starting to manage conversations with strangers when they ask her questions, but the best thing is adults who love her. Once she senses that she has a captive audience, she jumps in with both feet and patiently explains to them everything she knows on a topic.

I remember the feeling of having an adult listen to me, really listen, and how they would sometimes give me the impression I was imparting important information. There was no feeling like that in the world. Sometimes other kids didn't understand, or were uninterested, or were about to mock you for what you just said, but never grownups.  It gave me such a rush to feel listened to and important, it's probably part of why I used to want to be a teacher.

And watching Maeve explain mummification (again) to her aunts last night, as they solemnly nodded and asked good questions, I could tell she was feeling it, too. It's not that having your parents listen to you means nothing, but you kind of feel like they have to listen to you, it's their job. But when other adults listen so intently, it feels like a confirmation that you have interesting thoughts, that you are worthy of being really listened to.

I'm just so glad she has people in her life that will do that for her.

Like her grandma

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trying New Things, Being Bold

"What’s important is that we embrace the idea that risk taking is a part of childhood" - Richard Rende

Something about being four, it seems like Maeve is picking up new skills every day. And I don't just mean her toilet-paper mummification skills, although we're getting plenty of practice. But she can climb to the top of the jungle gym, drop from two feet off the ground, ride her bike all the way to the park, and even, at long last, buckle herself into her own carseat.

I do my best to encourage these new freedoms, even while my brain is screaming she will fall and die and it will be your fault. I try to listen to that other part, that says she's getting older, she can do it, just stay close and be ready to help. 

I'll tell you what, it'd be a lot easier to be a bad parent. To not let her take risks on the playground, never take her places she might misbehave or be uncomfortable, and not even try to teach her new skills. That would be way easier. I never realized, at least before becoming a mom, that being a parent meant doing the hard work of finding a balance between protection and encouragement. All the time.

                                                          But I keep trying, just like she does.