Friday, November 28, 2008

open for business

I've just finished my first two days of being a family day home provider. It was both interesting and exhausting. I learnt a lot. For instance, kids will eat and enjoy anything placed before them on the table until someone says the 's' word. Smootch says, to a child with a mouth full of milk, 'that's soymilk,' which she says happily, firmly programmed to see soy analogues as superior to animal products. The child, however, sets down glass of milk and never, ever picks it up again. Same goes with soysauges.

Unfortunately for all of us, the government requires licensed dayhomes (me, me) to feed the four food groups per a meal to the children in our care. And has anyone checked out what the four food groups are lately? Fruit/vegetable, grain (no difference mentioned between processed grains and whole grains), meat and meat alternatives (beans, soy, analogues), and dairy (milk, cheese, or analogues). What that means to us is that we have to feed the kids beans or tofu or nuts or analogues twice a day, which is okay, but also analogue milk or soy cheese (which is not at all nutritionally related to cow milk made cheese and is quite a junky product, not to mention doesn't taste very good). We have to ignore that a serving of whole wheat spaghetti has more protein in it than a glass of milk, soy or otherwise. And that spinach has more iron by weight than a hamburger. Apparently we need 'meat', not protein and iron.

This is a barrier to good nutrition.

Anyhoo, that is a topic for another day. Me vs. the four food groups. Nothing new there.

On the other hand, a really fantastic part of this dayhome biz is that it seriously stretches my creativity muscles. Not just the kiddie crafts, which are completely fantastic, see the fairy puppets that did double duty comforting home sick children:
But every aspect, from structuring the environment to be exciting but not overwhelming, to finding things to talk about, to guiding behavior (from crazed excitment to calm enthusiam), to just finding the energy.

As I said, interesting and exhausting. If anyone has any online resources for me on this dayhome/daycare dealie, I would love to know. Other than that, we will plod along, seeing what we can discover as we good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

cookie party

la la la la la.

Hey, Booboo, this cookie making stuff is kinda fun, huh?

Yeah. I like to cut out the shapes. And what's this stuff your mom's got on the table? Sprinkles to decorate? I don't know, seems sorta weird, but I'll give it a go. I'm comfortable with my masculinity.
Oh, yeah, sprinkles are neat. Make sure you cover the entire cookie, you don't want to leave any brown stuff showing. Here, use the big spoon.
Poke them all down so they don't escape.
Wow, these sprinkles are pretty sticky. Hey, Booboo, have you tried these? They taste good. Kind of sweet and crunchy.
Yeah, you're right! Sprinkles are yummo. Try some more! Here, where's that big spoon again?
Wow, so good. Hey, did I ever tell you about the time that I was on the playground and this really funny lookin' kid came up to me and...
Huh, mom? Wha? Cookies? Oh, yeah cookies. Gotta put sprinkles on the cookies.
Smootch, you know what would be a really funny thing? How about if we use the tools to punch out the cookies? That seems like such a good idea right now!
One sprinkle for the cookie, one hundred sprinkles for me.
Dude, where have these sprinkles been all my life?

I know! They're, like, so good! I don't know why mom keeps them at the back of the cupboard.
Hey, check out this sprinkle container. I bet I could eat all the sprinkles in here all in one go.
No way! I dare ya! OMG, you totally did it! I want do one too!
Ha, ha, that last one (hic) totally made my throat (hic) burn.
Ha, ha! Okay, one more! Race ya!
Ah, no (hic) fair! There is no way you could of beat me. One more. I know I can suck them back (hic) way faster than you.
You wish, dude. I rule these sprinkles.
(20 minutes later)
I'm flying! Look at me, look at me, I'm flyinnnnnnngggggg!
Oh, no, dude, I've gone blind! I can't see! Somebody talk me down!
Mommy, why are you lying down? You know what you need? Sprinkles.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


3:30 am Smootch can't sleep - tossing, turning, moaning - her legs hurt.

4:00 am Smootch finally settles asleep

4:01 am Birdie wakes up

4:30 am Birdie back to sleep

5:30 am Mama back to sleep

6:00 am Birdie singing his morning song - time to wake up

6:30 am Smootch awake, moaning. She has a fever.

7:00 am Smootch throws up on Mama. Bath to wash vomit from both our hair.

9:30 am Mama goes back to bed for nap.

12:00 pm Mama has coughing fit that brings up something youdon'tevenwanttoknowwhat. Mama has fever.

4:00 pm Mama has developed a limp from some sort of weird, painful swelling on the bottom of her foot. What the?! Are there limph nodes down there or something?

6:00 pm Smootch pulls herself away from 'how it's made' videos and announces it's nap time.

6:30 pm Birdie falls asleep

7:00 pm Mama and Papa feel like deer in headlights - should be be happy the kids are both asleep early, or are the kids regrouping for another long night?

7:01 pm Birdie up

9:30 pm Birdie down

9:31 pm Mama in bath. Mama accidently knocks glass of water off the side of the tub where it shatters into two millions pointy shards of glass, which all run this way and that in the water. Mama gets out of bath to clean up, just as cats knock over new christmas tree in living room. Mama takes a tour to pick up tree and as she does the base falls off BANG on the floor. Smootch wakes up, comes out to find a bathroom filled with glass shards. Smootch HAS TO GO NOW. Mama lifts Smootch over glass to toliet and promptly imbeds glass shard in toe. Smootch, stranded on toliet, panicking about blood dripping on floor while Mama wrestles with bandaids that do not want to stick on wet foot when Birdie wakes up and begins to cry in next room.

Mama cries.

12:00 pm No one crying, no one bleeding, no one awake.

6:00 am Pappa wakes up with a scratchy throat. Pappa has fever...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

trashy talk

Yesterday walking to school, I noticed everything that Smootch was wearing was handmade. Made me feel good.

Another good thing: The Man has begun a blog to chronicle his dumpster diving, junk yard scavenging ways. You can find his adventures and thoughts over on Squanderism.

Smootch is tremendously proud of her father's work to upcycle junk. She tells her friend this morning, "My daddy went to the dump!" while holding up a little treasure The Man found on one of his forays.

Smootch drawing with found felt markers:I admit that at first I was a bit squemish about The Man bringing stuff home from the dump. Okay, there is a high percentage of furniture I brought into this union that actually came from dumpsters (try all of the furniture I owed 10 years ago, a significant amount we still use today). Still, I was thinking dumpster diving belonged to my poor past, and now that we are solidly middle class we could maybe get stuff from thrift stores rather than dumpsters. Thrift stores are my idea of la dee da high class now :)

But just a small glance at what is actually being thrown out I'm absolutely blown away. I had no idea. It's sad and sickening and bewildering. But I'll let The Man tell you all about it over on Squanderism. I might even be allowed to blog over there too one day ;)

Let's just say for now, all of y'alls holiday gifts are coming from the dump. That is our gift to the earth this year. But don't freak out. You are going to find that reclaimed, salvaged, and rescued makes for a good home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

montessori make over

Some changes around my house lately. When I say 'some', I mean the place has flipped upside down. I may as well confess now the main reason why I've been so lame as to getting things done sewing-wise is because I've been doing the massive amounts of paper work, course work and house work needed to be a family day home provider. I just signed the contract with a licensing agency on friday and I'm good to go. Now all I need are some people willing to trust me with their precious wee ones (every plan has a glitch, yes?)
So, some changes. One of the things I've done is give my home a Montessori make over. Which is to say that I've taken the Montessori method as a model for the environment in my dayhome. I chose Montessori for a few reasons. The biggest is that Smootch attends a Montessori preschool and the type of organization comes naturally to her. Since setting up I do not have to tell her to clean up her things anymore. That alone is worth the rearranging. Another reason is that Montessori environment is very friendly to groups of children of varying ages, which I will have in my dayhome. Also, the set up allows for the children to be very self sufficient. I am so on that - the more they can do for themselves (and I don't have to slump around getting things for them or cleaning up) the better.
Changes. Lots of hooks at child height, avaliability of kitchen linens, brushes, and rags. Small dishes and utensils, small jugs for pouring water and soy milk. I've also arranged Smootch's playthings and actitivites in a Montessori style, and added another shelf in the living room, to be used as a playroom for the dayhome.
That's my ugly shelf (one day I shall build it a cloth cozy). But you can see how the activities are divided up, readily accessible, neatly placed, and logically grouped. Not exactly how a Montessori school room would be arranged, but definitely a home friendly version.
I've also added some mats to be rolled out and played on. They are undyed cotton - I love them. Good for defining play space that can be respected by playee and those walking past.
Smootch playing a memory game she learnt for school. She has a song, "Something's missing from my tray, can you tell what I took away?" This is her favorite activity right now and, I hate to say this, but she is so bad at it!
Smootch has also been drawing up some playmats to play with the toys. This is her roads, and she has a dollhouse drawn on paper too (for the bratz dolls - please don't ask why she has them [but a grandma was involved, just so's you know]).
There are a lot of other changes but you'll have to wait for more pics. Now that the dayhome is approved, I've got a pattern to get out (which is way overdue) and, from a phone call I just received, a scoodie to make up for my young friend. (btw, I just got rid of the scoodie that went virual since I felt so weird wearing it around. Remind me not to post pictures of myself anymore.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

halloween pics

I know I sort of missed the boat with these, but here they are anyway :)

Walking to the school party. Smootch was a fairy godmother.

Some warm-up trick or treating in the afternoon:

The real deal later with some goof friends:

eta: the above is supposed to read, "good friends," but I think I like this version too, so it stays ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

birdie's gone crazy

Brodo has gone completely bonkers with teething issues. He finally FINALLY pushed out a sharp little tooth nub yesterday morning but tonight he is completely manic with biting and sucking and being horribly grumpy towards everyone. He has 3 more little buds in there, all bluey, purpley soreness. He just fell asleep after a couple of frantic hours of sucking on fingers (anyone's digits that came with in a foot of his face) and the end of a toothbrush. Oh, and me. But not just the usual part of me that you would think. Any bare skin will do. I think I may have a hickie on my neck, where he latched on when I put him up to burp and couldn't get him off again.

So I'm off to bed early because I'm sure this is going to be a long night. In the meanwhile, I'm soothing myself with a pic of Birdie taken while we were cleaning up leaves last week. He's looking much happier than he is right now. For those of you who haven't seen him in awhile, you'll be happy to know he is sitting up, babbling, and discovering how much fun it is to make other people laugh:
Sticking his tongue out and making this sorta weird, crinkly nose face is a couple of favorite tricks to get us all laughing. And I think watching us laugh is his most favorite game of all.
Birdie is growing so quickly. He's been moved to a 20+ lb car seat. Our poor little car is bursting since the full size seat has to be rear facing.

He's so full of wonder at everything right now. Big eyes taking in as much as they can. He just likes to look, you know. Wants to see everything. Places with high ceilings, like our library, are his favorite. He also like cars, practically giving himself whiplash everytime a car drives by while we are out walking. His other favorite thing to look at is his sister. He will just gaze at her sometimes. Completely fascinated by her. Of course she is smitten with him. I couldn't of planned it better. Watching the two of them laughing at each other and playing - I remember all the games my brother and I used to play, the dynamic and familiarity we had that simply could never be replicated with another person who had not been there since the earliest years. The kind of knowledge of each other that could be used for good or evil - knowing what buttons to push for maximum irritation, or how to make them belly laugh with only raising an eyebrow.
I hope Birdie's teeth let him sleep tonight. And me. But if not I will comfort myself with how gorgeous he is (even when he's screaming at me). That, and the apple pie The Man made today.
'Night all.

ode to my green space

I wish wish wish we lived someplace where I could take myself and my kids out our front door and be surrounded by trees, birds, animals, and all the heady nature we could handle. I would like to spend our days romping amoung the trees and bushes, much like parts of my own childhood was. When I was young, I was free range in fields, a farm, woodlands, and occasionally a lake. It hurts that I can not do the same for my own kids. We live in the middle of a city, on a busy road, surrounded by even busier roads. Sirens and diesel trucks roaring are more often the symphony we hear, not bird song, not the wind in the trees, not the busy sounds of millions of tiny creatures working, eating, and creating.
Which means that I am eternally grateful for the very rare, but very precious, square city block of green space just down the street from us. It's a rather tame little place - a few trees and a lot of grass. Mostly it's a place for people to let their dogs' relieve themselves. But to us it's a tiny corner of happy. It's good to walk on the green and fallen leaves rather than the pavement. It's good to be able to find enough natural material for a fairy home rather than resorting to using garbage blown around in empty lots. It scares me that this overcultivated bit of grass with a few trees represents 'nature' to my children. The natural hazards here are the occasional transient still crashed out in the trees when we walk through in the morning, broken glass, discarded drug paraphernalia, and dog doo doo. I'm glad we go camping to the mountains when we can, but, really, is this going to be it for my kids? Is the only way to reach nature going to be through driving several hours, using precious resources, creating an artifical home in a civilized campground?

I hope not.

In the meantime we make due. We love the heck out of a tiny stand of trees we can walk to. We play games and ooh and ahh the wasp's nest, the fallen leaves, the way the season's change familar plants.

Our new favorite game I lifted from Susan Usha Dermond's book (I think) is to blindfold Smootch and lead her to one of the trees, where she touches, smells, listens to, and even tastes the tree for a minute or two. Then I lead her away a bit, take off the blindfold, and she tries to identify which tree she was cozied up to. It's a good place for now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

once again, I'm glad I'm vegan

I just learnt a new term: anal electrocution.

Apparently, along with gassing, anal electrocution is a popular way to kill wild animals that have been penned for their fur.

Anal electrocution. Fur is glamourous, don't you think?