Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Know Stuff

The other night, I was reading with A-girl. She's been full of questions lately. Lots of them. We're on a body kick right now. Bones, blood, digestion, the brain, teeth (she has a few loose ones--her mouth is starting to resemble a shark as her new teeth can't wait for the old ones to fall out)--all that stuff is so new and fascinating to her. It's like she just realized that there is "stuff" inside her. She had no idea, apparently.

She has shared with me, several times, that there's a boy in her class that, "knows everything!" Most recently, she demonstrated a nugget of fact that he showed her, by putting both her fists together to show me how big her brain was. I knew exactly which little boy she was talking about. I've witnessed his skills first hand. He does know everything. He is a little information soaker. He soaks in the good stuff...steering clear of Spongebob, sticking to the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. I'm sure of it.

So, I'm reading to A-girl this book about the human body. It has all these cool pictures, explanations, and fun facts. There are fun little side panels you can pull out and with cartoon outlines of the skeleton, muscles, the heart, the intestines (Did you know that if you stretched out your intestines, they would be 26 ft. long?! As tall as a house!) and so on. I love the ones that look like transparent people, wearing t-shirts and baseball hats, walking around with their insides showing. Those are the best. We gravitate towards those.

Like I said, A-girl is amazed. She had no idea! As I'm reading to her, I'm commenting about things, giving her some wow's and that's cool's. I think I liked the intestine one the best, cuz I can't believe we have all of that crammed inside us. It freaks me out a little.

Then she said something that has stuck with me. After one of my little comments, she says to me, "Mommy, you should be a teacher, so you can learn stuff." Of course I had to laugh, cuz that's funny, but it reminded me how very much I'm going to relearn over the course of my girls' school career. I know this stuff. I've heard it at some point either from one of my own teachers, or one of my own little Know It All kid in kindergarten class. It's all stashed away in some corner (or would that be fold?) of my brain. But with my kids, it's like learning it over again--fresh-like.

Right now we're deep into multiplication. My second grader loathes it. I insist how fun it is. I sing the multiplication song to her, in true School House Rock fashion. She thinks I'm crazy. I love how all those nuggets, we've learned, ooze out from back in the day. No doubt to thoroughly confuse the kids today, because half the time, they aren't even learning it the same way we did. They are actually learning to understand the why of things. But why?!

I've been saying how I'll leave the math and science homework to the hubbs, cuz they weren't faves of mine, growing up. I had tutors. Miraculously in college the math and science sunk in and I really got it. I didn't love it, but I understood it, finally. I hope it doesn't take that long for my kiddos.

I think I'll choose to look at all this new stuff my kiddos are learning as a second chance (or would that be third chance?) for me to find a love for all that is academic, as I'm trying to get them excited about it. Mom's are supposed to know everything anyway. I've got to at least look like I do.

I think I might like for other kids to go home and tell their parents what my kids taught them (the good stuff, again, not the stuff from Spongebob). I would love for my kiddos to question things and yearn to discover the answers all their lives--to keep this kindergarten/second grade excitement for learning all along. I want them, at the tender age of 35, to still get excited and grossed out, all at the same time, to learn that their intestines are as tall as a house. I want them to be teachers too, so they can learn stuff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sparkly Submarines

I was reading one of those survey dealies on Facebook (you know the ones), where you ask your kiddos a bunch of questions about what they think about you, and answer in their words. I have yet to do it with mine, cuz I would only want them to say wonderful, rainbow, sparkly answers about the mother they adore and well...

I was reading one of my girlfriend's answers to that survey, and her kiddos were answering so very sweetly (and sparkly) and cute. It went a little something like this--

What was your mom like when she was little? A lollipop

How tall is your mom? High

What does your mom do when you're not around? Go to the doctor

I mean, how sweet (and sparkly) is that?! Oh, the mind of a child.

The other day, the hubbs and I picked up our own kiddos from a fun-filled afternoon at their auntie's house. They were on a "being with the cousins" high, and just totally and completely out of the blue the subject of operations came up. Like surgery. I don't know if they played Spongebob Operation or what over there, but they were all concerned if they would ever (ever) have to have an operation, and what that would be like. What do they do?

My kiddos can get worked up. They get big eyes. So we explain to them about how operations fix things, mostly inside your body and A-girl had all these questions about the inside part and how doctors get in there. So the hubbs and I go on to gently, and in a very kid-friendly way explain how that is done. They know that I had surgery as a child too, so I always try to make it sound fun--Look at my cool (and sparkly) scar! They know I had to have my heart fixed. They know and remember when their dad had his gall bladder removed. See, we're okay!

After we explained operations in a tidy way, reassuring them that LOTS of people go their entire life without having to have surgery, the hubbs and I were sitting pretty confident in the front seat, sure that we handled that well (we are good explainers), when from the back seat pipes A-girl--

So, they go in a submarine and take your heart out and fix it?

Um...yes. Yes, they pretty much do go in a submarine, babes. Isn't that fun?

Oh, the (sparkly) mind of a child. Love it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good & Ordinary

Two things.

I just don't get over here as much as I want to, and I hope you're not disappointed that when I finally do, I write about my dog and conversations with my 5-year-old. My life does has some thrilling moments, but what really inspires me is the ordinary.

There are things that I really wish for from time to time. And it's usually something small compared to other things I could wish for (world peace, tickets to Australia magically showing up in the mail one day...). What I wish for today is a dog that sleeps through the night.

We adopted our dog about a year ago. I like to say we found her. She's one of the sweetest dogs ever. The day we found her, we were at the shelter, the girls and I sitting on a couch in a waiting area, anticipating meeting our possible new dog. They brought her in and she immediately jumped up on the couch, laid down and stretched out across our legs. That was it...we took her home.

She attached to us quickly. But she was a Nervous Nelly, afraid of lots of things. We basically had to teach her how to be a dog. Everything was brand new and very curious to her--the car, the beach, going on walks and the fact that carpet is not grass.

She was pretty much potty trained, but we quickly realized how very tiny her bladder was and decided to crate train her, which she took to quite nicely. But she's a big dog and I don't like the idea of her being in a crate. My goal is to not have the crate. Besides being the sweetest dog ever, she has a job. She has to watch over the house and protect us. Which she is also good at. But she has to have free rein. She has to make her rounds. So we've been working on that. She doing great. It is finally sinking in that the carpet is officially not grass.

She's doing so great that I now have a whole new set of issues. She's become increasingly genius at telling us what she wants. She is a talker. I am working on teaching her how to say, "Momma". It can be done. She's trying hard. She can almost say, "cheese", I swear. But what she's really good at now is letting us know she needs to go. She's really good at telling me at 2:30 a.m. She sits by the side of the bed and has so much to say about it. You can't ignore it. She's consistent and persistent. Good dog.

She's also getting very good at her job. She is now officially my alarm clock too. Lately she's been waking me up, not to go out, but to actually get up. Like, for instance today--it's Saturday, blissfully 7:30 (in my world that is most definitely sleeping in) and she's just a talking away on the side of my bed. I get up thinking she needs to go out, and she proceeds to hop on the bed and stretch out. I can see her thinking, My turn...you get up now. Her job is over, my job is starting.

Now I should stop here, cuz this is long, but you know me--I won't.

Next up, a conversation with my 5-yr-old.

I took my girls out to dinner the other night to The Old Spaghetti Factory. Love that place. We're having a nice time out, talking about the day and all. My girls have lots to say, and if you are a parent, you've probably already figured out that everything is a possible teaching moment.

I notice that the restaurant has all of these old black and white pictures out, like from the 1800's. I point out to the girls how different everything looked in those days compared to today...the clothes, how the streets are made of dirt and there are not cars, but horse and carriages, etc...They are amazed, wishing we could park a horse in the garage, instead of the car.

Lately they've had all these questions about Heaven and what happens to us when we go to Heaven, what it's going to be like, what we are going to look like, etc...I love having these kinds of discussions. I love to see their little confused minds working. It's a lot to absorb. I'm still working on it.

The girls are asking me about these pictures and if the people in the pictures are in Heaven now. I'm telling them I hope they are, and that most likely a lot of them are. In our discussions of Heaven, one of the things we point out, is how in Heaven you will be new. There is no illness and no death. There is a lot of discussion on what we are going to look like.

I can see A-girl studying the photographs. Then she looks at me and says, "So, the people in the pictures won't be gray in Heaven anymore?" I look at the pictures, everyone looks about my age, there are children, lots of hats...no one has gray hair. Then I realize that she is referring to how the people in the pictures are actually gray, because the pictures are in black and white, not color. (There is a good pause here where I laugh, cuz you know, it's funny). Then I go on to explain how back then pictures did not come out in color. I can see she doesn't quite get it, but I do feel like she is reassured that Heaven will be "in color". And that our skin will not be gray. Good to know.