Archive for March, 2009

Sound show-and-tell

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Reid has had a couple of show-and-tell activities lately for which Reid has had to bring items that begin with a particular sound.

I have to confess that I don’t always read Reid’s communication book as soon as she gets home. Thursdays are a particular challenge since we go straight from school to Kindermusik and don’t get home until after 7:00. I was feeling lucky one Thursday evening when I read the note in Reid’s communication book at home instead of at school the next day and it said that she needed to bring “a” sound things for show-and-tell the next day. There wasn’t any indication as to whether the discussion would be in English or French. Reid supplied the answer – French – and we gathered a few Playmobil people. Three kids in a Ziplock became “les amis” and some grown ups in a separate bag became “les adultes”. I added “une assiette” (plate), “un alligator”, a picture of “un athlète” and Reid was all set. At the last moment, Reid asked me to write the names of each item on a piece of paper. I complied after only a brief discussion of the fact that she can’t actually read.

Most recently, we were collecting “j” sounds and I was glad that they told us on Wednesday. “Jaune” was obvious and “jupe” came quickly but then I was stumped. It’s harder than you’d think, trying to brainstorm words that:
* begin with a certain sound;
* are spelled in a “normal” way, e.g. giraffe doesn’t work because it has the right sound but not the right initial letter;
* have physical manifestations, e.g. “jolie” has the required sound and letter but how do we put “pretty” into a sandwich bag? and
* are things known to Reid.

And all the while Ken and I are working in our second language.

Despite the fact – or maybe because of it – that we were running late, Reid insisted on writing the list of the things that she was taking herself. She patiently, precisely, though not necessarily accurately, formed each letter as I spoke it. Ken, meanwhile, fidgetted for a bit before resigning himself to being really late. On the bright side, Reid got to practice making her letters. She makes pretty much every letter in a manner contrary to the learn-to-print workbooks that I’ve purchased but never had Reid complete. I don’t know whether to speak with her teachers – maybe they are following a method that I don’t know of – or try and interest her in the workbooks. I don’t want her to spend 2 years developing bad habits that will then have to changed in grade 1. And, yes, I know I worry a lot but it’s part of my charm ;+)

Peter Pan or a lost boy she is not

Monday, March 30th, 2009

One morning last week, I was savouring my morning cuddle with Reid and I told her that I didn’t want her to ever grow up. Reid sighed and started in with a super-patient, explanation, “Don’t you want me to have babies? Like me and you…” After a pause, during which Reid indulged me with another hug, “That’s the way it is, my mama.”

Sigh. She let me down gently, at least.

Toddle not waddle

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Reid likes to play baby, as I’ve mentioned. If she is the baby, she is an infant with remarkable verbal skills (to allow her to tell me how she wants to be parented or what sounds/movements mean). If I am the baby, I have to be a toddler since Reid can’t carry me. Just recently, I was walking down the hall in the midst of a game of “baby” and Reid called out, “Waddle! You’re a baby.” Now, I’ve got lots of self-confidence and a decent body image but I just couldn’t agree to waddling. I turned and corrected Reid, “It’s toddle, with a ‘t’. Like little kids are toddlers.” I can keep my knees locked to mimic a toddler’s gait but I can’t handle Reid commenting on my waddle. Even a mama has her limits.

Accurate translation but …

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I walked into the living room on Saturday afternoon to see Reid grinning her “I’m trouble with a capital ‘T’”. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me that she was telling Ken how to say, ‘”I peed in my pants,” in French. She had the right words in the right order and, as always, her accent was great. I had to ask her if she thought Ken would ever need to know that phrase. Reid turned up the power on her grin and assured me that it was the sort of thing her dad might need. She should focus on “Where is the bathroom?” and “May I have some of that [cheese/bread/candy/etc.]? But there would be much fewer giggles if she did, I suppose.

When I make this sound

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

For the last few months (I started writing this on November 4) Reid has been playing with sounds and meanings. She will put a couple of sounds together and then say, “That means …” I have chalked it up to her learning French at school, though I’ve also read that 4 year olds love to make up words in general. Most recently, Reid has incorporated hand signals and body movements into her repertoire of things that mean other things. For example, she’ll say “If I do this:” and then she’ll wiggle her body a couple of times and then hold her arms straight up, “it means X. But if I do this:” and she’ll stomp her foot or whatever, “it means Y.” I don’t know if this means Reid will be a linguist but I do know that it requires that we pay good attention when she is talking and signalling.

When my sherpa is in another country

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Leaving for Toronto was a tougher undertaking than usual. I don’t always notice how much Ken does to make my life easier – it happens after nearly 12 years of marriage – but it was very apparent last Thursday. Apparently, he loads the stuff that I’ve already packed into the car while I gather food and last minute things. With Ken in London, England, I was scrambling to pack the car, the cooler, feed the cats and worms, and all the rest. So, this is a public “thank you” to Ken for all of the things he does that I don’t notice.

Elevator blues

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Remember on our last trip to Toronto, when Dylan went running ahead because he wanted to be the one who pushed both the elevator call button and the floor button. Now that I think of it, I didn’t write about it at the time because I was feeling like such a bad auntie. In a nutshell, Dylan ran much faster than I expected, the elevator was also much quicker than anticipated and Dylan got on the elevator and the doors shut before I could stop him. I had Reid go to Aunt Karin and when they were back, Aunt Karin went to our floor while I stood guard in case Dylan came back down. She found him in the elevator lobby on our floor with an uncomfortable-looking twenty something man. Reid was nearly crying and Dylan was actually crying by the time we were all reunited. On the upside, neither kid even approached the elevator doors without a grown-up for the rest of our weekend.

Well, this time we had elevator troubles of a different sort. On the way to our room on the 20th floor of the hotel, Damien started to fuss. I thought he was upset because Aunt Karin wasn’t there with us. But he was super-excited to go to the swimming pool until it was time to get into the elevator and he got upset again. Damien is a man of few words and I’m no detective but I made the connection. The people who rode the elevators with didn’t look too impressed with the noise. People can be creeps, eh? At our second hotel, we were (thank goodness) on the 3rd floor. Two of the elevators overlooked the pool and that proved to be a better distraction than the mirrors at the first hotel. By the time we checked out, Damien was okay with the elevator.

Reid’s camel had 2 humps – Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Reid riding a camel

Now you can look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Just the facts (not the details)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

We met LeeLee (aka Kailee) for supper on Saturday night. I’d spent lots of time trying unsuccessfully to think of a fun restaurant for dinner on Friday night and then it was easy as pie once I thought of LeeLee – Ethiopian it was. I had only to mention that we’d be eating with our hands for Reid to love the idea. The spiciness of the little piles of stew-like foods was also pleasing to her palate. Damien, who hadn’t been tempted by the other foods we offered, tried a few of the foods on the platter and especially liked the collard greens. Before supper came, LeeLee and Reid had the following conversation:

LeeLee: Where did you go today?
Reid: We went to a hotel.
LeeLee: Where did you go after the hotel?
Reid: To another hotel.
Me: Where did we go between the hotels?
Reid: The zoo.*
LeeLee: What did you see at the zoo?
Reid: Animals.
LeeLee: What kind of animals?
Reid: Zoo animals.

At this point LeeLee gave up, laughing. Reid is not usually taciturn. Ken – yes; Reid – definitely not

If ever you’re in Toronto, I’d recommend Lalibela at 869 Bloor Street West. The five of us shared two vegetarian platters, drank glasses of water and paid only $23.00 for supper. Kailee is going to take us to a Persian restaurant next time. I’m looking forward to it.

*I provided a few more details of our trip to the zoo.

What’s in a name

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Visiting the Toronto Zoo in March is a MUCH different experience than a July visit. The crowds were non-existent, rather than starting before we’d even got to the ticket booth and the weather tended more toward frostbite than heat stroke. Okay, it was 3 or 4 degrees Celsius and frostbite was an exaggeration even though Reid was “so freezing!” by hour 3 of the visit. (Heat stroke in July was entirely within the realm of possibility.) Some of the animals weren’t on display due to the temperature – we especially missed the giraffes – but most were out and about and we enjoyed the ones we saw. Lunch was a bit of a challenge. Rather than looking for shade and a breeze, we were delighted to find that a Harveys/Mr Sub indoor restaurant had opened near the Beavertails outlet. I decided that the purchase of a coffee and tea would cover the “rent” on a table long enough for us to defrost and eat a bit of the food we packed. Another difference of note, though not necessarily related to the weather, was that the camel available for riding was a two-humped camel rather than the usual one-humped one Dylan and Reid rode in July. Unfortunately, for Damien, this meant that he had no buddy for his debut camel ride and it wasn’t an adventure that he wanted to embark on solo. Fortunately, for me, the fellow at the ticket booth was willing to refund me the cost of Damien’s ticket.

Damien and Reid each had a bit of trouble with the name of an animal while we were at the zoo. Damien was enchanted by the 6 Zebarbaras that we saw. Aunt Karin used the proper name when speaking to him about them afterward but not me! Reid was excited by the “eagles” on the ground and flying around at the zoo entrance but it was my sad duty to explain that they were, in fact, seagulls. So close in sound, so different in appearance. On Friday, Reid had referred to some pigeons as “hawks” but I think that might have been because her dad has a not-so-pleasant nickname for them that contains a unintelligible first syllable and a clearer second one. We’ll have to put a visit to a wild bird aviary on our “places to visit” list for this year.

Aunt Karin saw some goats bumping heads and she told Reid to look at them “head butting” one another. Reid giggled and worked at wiggling her head and butt as she talked about what Aunt Karin had said. Potty humour is alive and well in our family.