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Friday, February 25, 2011

To Tell or Not to Tell...

I was having a conversation with my son the other day about friends and such. He's sixteen now and getting information from him is worse than pulling teeth with no pain killers. This particular day, though, I must have asked the right questions.

I asked him if any of his friends drink alcohol. His response was to tell me that he was smart enough not to tell me if they were. Okay - fair enough. I guess I can see his point.

Then I asked him if any of his friends do illegal drugs. His response was to tell me that if they were, they were smart enough not to tell him.

I must be doing something right...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Got Toys?

I was visiting my sister the other day when her step-daughter dropped off the granddaughter for a weekend visit. The little girl is about 18 months old, and my sister mentioned that she had to spend most of her time following the child around to keep her out of trouble. I suggested that she give the girl some toys, but my sister pointed out to me that she didn't have any toys to give the child. Apparently all the toys that she buys for her granddaughter, the toys find their way home with the child instead of remaining to be played with another day.

After about ten minutes of watching my sister chase the toddler around the house - taking away every possibility of getting into just about anything - I took pity on them. Yes - BOTH of them. The child just wanted to play and explore. That is, after all, the job of any proper toddler. Get into EVERYTHING and explore the world.

Without a word, I attacked my sister's kitchen. She was slightly horrified until she realized that I did have a purpose and was not just randomly yanking everything out of her (slightly cluttered) cabinets and drawers. Out came the plastic bowls. Over there was a drawer filled with plastic spoons and measuring cups. Under that sink was muffin tins and a whole stack of plastic take-out cups from Wendy's. (I managed to avoid asking just why in the world my sister felt the need to keep all those take out cups... and just quietly thanked the heavens that she had.) I pulled out a treasure trove of goodies and placed them all on the kitchen floor - within easy reach of the very interested little girl. Within minutes, her granddaughter was joined by Kira and Marisa in the melee of cutlery and containers.

I also suggested the possibility of pouring some Cheerios into one of the bowls and letting the baby  experiment with transferring cereal from one bowl to the other. (Mind you - I didn't intend for her to pour the ENTIRE BOX of Honey Nut Cheerios into the bowl... Really - I didn't.) It didn't take long for all three girls to be happily munching on Cheerios, moving them from bowl to bowl, and shaking the sticky bits of cereal off their hands and pants. In fact, it didn't take very long at all for the entire house to be covered in trails of Cheerios. It was very easy to find any one of those girls.... JUST FOLLOW THE TRAIL.

My sister sat on the couch and laughed herself into tears as her little granddaughter shook her hands in the air trying to remove crunchy little circles from her hands. When I left that day, I couldn't help but gloat just a little bit. I had taught my sister (my older sister - at that) a very valuable lesson in toddler play. But there was a much greater reason to gloat as I was leaving that day.

... the mess was in HER house and not mine, so I didn't have to worry about cleaning up all those random bits of cereal. Ha ha ha....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Animal Shelter

Yay - oh yay - oh yay!!!

I contacted our local animal shelter today to find out about their volunteer program. As part of our school studies, Kira and Marisa will begin volunteering at the shelter next week. They will get to play with dogs and cats to their little hearts' content. The volunteer program allows for children of any age as long as they are accompanied by an adult. We can walk dogs in the dog run, play with kittens and cats to help socialize them, and maybe even do some grooming of the animals.

I'm very excited about this because I think volunteer work is very useful to a child's education. Also, I don't have to pay for access to this type of educational adventure. As home schoolers, we use the resources within our own community to enhance their learning, and I believe that it is very important for children to understand that they can impact the community by doing things to make life better for others.

So starting next Tuesday - Kira and Marisa go to work at their new job! Yippee...