What Daycare Teaches An Only Child

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When we made the decision to start a family, it never occurred to me that we might only have one child. In every day dream that I ever had there were always two children. I saw my husband carrying a little girl on his shoulders while I held a little boy’s hand. Of course they were perfect well behaved children & we were all full of smiles walking together hand in hand.  After our daughter was born, I woke up from that dream. After what seemed like endless sleepless nights & a colicky infant that cried constantly, we started to rethink baby #2.

Things eventually began to get easier, the cries slowed down, our baby began to sleep through the night & I began talking to my husband about baby #2. His mind had not changed. We went back and forth with it, named off the pros and cons and even asked for opinions here on my blog. It was a hard sell, but after a lot of convincing the day finally came and we began to try to get pregnant. We were not successful. With my advanced age and some medical issues, it seemed that my dreams for a second baby came to an end.

Even though my husband & I were perfectly happy with being parents to our one sweet little girl, there were some concerns about her being an only child. I worried about how it would affect her socially. Would she be spoiled from always being the center of attention? Would she learn how to share? These were definitely valid concerns as I already noticed that Mai had problems in dealing with organized events & classes she was in involving other children.

We recently started her in daycare a couple times a week. Even though it still pains me to send her off to day care, I know that it will be beneficial to her. Being an only child there is much that she can learn from this environment.

1. Sharing: Our daughter came home from daycare the other day and said to me “Mama the kids took my toys.” This made me sad for a moment and then as horrible as this sounds, it made me smile.  While the kids were not actually taking the toys out of her hands, she still thought they were taking them from her because in her mind all of the toys are hers. Other than the occasional play date, she has seldom had to share. She has free reign over a houseful of toys daily.

2. Patience: At home when our daughter wants something she is attended to right way or at least pretty quickly.  She is not accustomed to waiting. With several other children to attend to, her daycare provider is not always at her instant beck & call. At daycare she is not the center of the universe. She needs to wait until it is her turn.

3. Learned behaviors: This can be a good thing and a bad thing as she may also pick up bad behavior, but socializing with other child especially of an older age can be a great learning tool. For instance, my daughter has a difficult time sitting still in her seat & eating, but at daycare we get a report back each day that she sat & ate almost everything on her plate at each meal & snack. I was amazed. Our provider explained that at first she was resistant pushing her plate away as she often does at home, but when the other children continued to eat & talk, she joined in. Hopefully she can take some potty training cues.

4. Basic socialization: We talk with our child all the time, but it is not quite the same as interacting with her peers. After 2 1/2 years of mostly talking to mommy, daddy & nanna, she is now able to chat with children her own age. Today she told me all about her new friend Colton & how he really likes bears, but is still afraid of them too. Oh, the conversations they must have.

5. Dealing With Conflict: All of my friends that have multiple children have kids that fight like cats & dogs. They love each other. They hate each other.  They beat up on each other. Having only our daughter I feel that we shield her from far too much sometimes. After daycare the other day, our daughter told us, “Colton hurt me.” What happened? “Colton pushed me.” I checked with the provider to make sure that it was nothing serious. She assured me that nothing concerning happened, but then I learned that they also got into a verbal argument over a picture in a book. One was certain that the picture was of a boy, the other thought it was a girl. Neither backed down. Debates, conflict, differences of opinion are a part of life & something that should be introduced early. The longer you shield your children from these things the harder it will be for them to deal with at a later age.

I am enjoying listening to all of Mai’s new experiences. She is loving her days with her new friends & is learning a lot along the way.

 

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How It All Began…

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Sitting on the floor at my friend’s condo, I was watching as she rummaged through her closet trying to find the perfect outfit to wear to meet her new boyfriend’s friends for the first time. As I told her for the millionth time that she looked great in what she was already wearing, she tried to convince me to go to the Labor Day party with her. I didn’t want to go. It was out in the sticks & I didn’t know anybody. “You will be fine. I don’t want to go to a party.” She pleaded. I still resisted. She pleaded some more. I finally gave in. I am such a good friend.

After a long drive to the middle of nowhere, we pulled down a long dirt driveway. Ugh! Here we go. As we neared the back yard filled with strangers, I began to feel uncomfortable. It is nerve-wracking walking into a group of friends when you are an outsider. We stepped onto the grass & were quickly approached by a man offering his hand. “Hi, I’m Chris.”, he introduced as we shook hands. That was 7 years ago.

Fast forward through one Labor Day party, a first date over sushi and beer, a volley of movie quotes, lots of I love yous, a beautiful wedding, a boat load of travels & one amazing little girl. That brings us to today. I feel truly blessed for the gifts that God has given me. I have a beautiful family that I am grateful for every day, even the days that they drive me crazy, but before the house & the dog and the adorable daughter it was just me & my sweetheart. Happy anniversary to my best friend & soul mate.

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Clay, Play & Painting

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One of the reasons that I love painting & drawing with my daughter is listening to her explain to me what she is creating. She wields such a wonderful story with each stroke of her paint brush or marker. I love watching her. I could just stare at her for hours & listen to what she has to say.

Here she asked mommy to draw a monster for her, but with a little instruction Mai was able to draw her own. It is a little faded, but it was a pretty good representation I thought. The baby monster was trying to find the mama monster & was running fast and it was so windy. The dots are the baby monster’s foot prints. Adorable!

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We do a lot of painting in our home. We use different mediums of paint. We dabble in water color, acrylics & even Cool Whip paints. Aside from experimenting with different paints we like to paint on different canvases as well. We have painted on cardboard & paper plates, wax paper & over the weekend we painted clay.

We used a simple clay recipe:

2 1/2 cup of flour

1 1/4 cup of water

1 cup of salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Use hands to knead the clay in the bowl until all flour and water is absorbed.

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We rolled out the clay with a rolling pin.

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Mai made hand prints in the clay & used cookie cutters to make a lovely piece of abstract clay artwork.

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We baked our clay projects at 250 degrees for 2 hours. This will vary depending on thickness.

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Our little Picasso went to work.

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Tonight we tried something a little different, tin foil painting.

Mai & I painted designs & pictures on a piece of foil & then pressed a piece of blank paper over the painting. We rubbed a hand over the paper & transferred the painting onto the blank paper.

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Mommy made a tree & then was asked to make a heart.

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From Foil…

To paper.

To paper.

Mai made a beautiful painting as well. This was a doggie. He was very tired & wanted to lay down. I do love that imagination.

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Fall Tissue Paper Crafts

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This has been a weird summer. I hate the heat so I am not complaining, but there haven’t been many hot days. We have had quite a few rainy ones lately.. Rainy days in our home mean books & crafting. With August winding down, I am getting ready for my favorite season, fall. Like I said, I am not a fan of the heat, but I love the cool fresh fall air. I love when the leaves change color, the apple cider & I love Halloween.

I bought a boat load of tissue paper a while back that has been sitting around our house for way to long. Today we finally decided to put some of it to good use with our fall themed projects.

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Fall Leaves

What you will need:

Tissue paper in greens, yellows, oranges & reds

Pipe cleaners

Cardboard

Glue

Directions:

Sketch out different leaf shapes on a piece of cardboard.

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Cut out the leaf shapes.

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Cut out pieces of tissue paper in each color. Try different shapes pieces.

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Brush the cardboard with glue.

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Lay the strips of tissue paper over the cut-outs overlapping until the cardboard is completely covered.

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Let dry & then flip over & cut the excess paper hanging over the edges.

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Glue a piece of pipe cleaner down the middle of your leaf to form the vein & stem of your leaf. Weigh down with something until dry.

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Tissue Paper Leaf Collage

What you will need:

Tissue paper in greens, yellows, oranges & reds

Pipe cleaners

Thick card stock like paper

Glue

Directions:

Draw out your leaves. We drew out 12 in all, 5 for one collage & 7 for the second one.

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Cut out more tissue paper same as above.

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You may cut out each leaf & layer the same as above or for a variation, flip over the paper & apply the tissue to the clean side, let dry & then flip back over & cut out the leaves.

Mai loves playing with glue. I had to stop her from squeezing too much. “Glue & then tissue, Mai.”

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We made two different leaf collages. For one we used a single pipe cleaner as a stem with five leaves surrounding it glued down to another piece of card stock.

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For the second one we glued pipe cleaners through the middle of the leaves & bunched them together with a pipe cleaner bow & then left a couple of stray falling leaves.

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Tissue Paper Masquerade Mask

What you will need:

Tissue paper in the colors of your choice

Cardboard

Gems stones, sequins or glitter

Ribbon

1 bendy straw

Glue

Directions:

Draw out the shape of your mask.

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As with above, cut out your shape & your strips of tissue paper & glue the tissue paper until all the card board is covered. Let dry & trim the excess paper from the edge.

Add gems, sequins or glitter to the front of your mask for added embellishment.

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Trim 4 strips of ribbon.

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On the backside of your mask, glue the ribbon strands side by side at the very top edge (either side is fine.)

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Under your ribbons, glue the bendy straw. Tape in place for extra security.

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We can’t wait for the fall. Happy crafting!

 

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Reasoning With A Toddler

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Mai has gotten to an age where not only is she able to communicate with us better, she has a better grasp on what we are saying. It is wonderful being able to explain to her that she has to eat her dinner before she has an ice cream cone or that if she picks up all her toys we will go play outside. She gets it! She finally gets it,..well sort of. We try to offer praise & encouragement to our daughter as much as possible, from cleaning up her toys, to sharing with a friend, using good manners & for attempting to or learning something new. Every once in a while we offer a little extra incentive in the form of bribery, most notably with Skittles which are a favorite of our daughters.

We have used them as a learning tool in her geography lessons. She calls them her Skittles lessons.

“Where is the Skittle on India?”

“Right there!”

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She is getting pretty good with her continents & countries. Thanks Skittles!

We also use it as incentive to get her to sit on the potty. Potty training has been a slow going process, but the bribery has worked for us in making it a more desirable process. Today it back fired on me. We woke up this morning & the ritual is that when she wakes we go straight to the potty. This morning she did not want to do it, I will not force her to because I don’t want to put any pressure on her as I know if will happen in time, but I thought a little prize at the end might help.

“Mai Mai, if you sit on the potty for mama, you can have a Skittle.”

“Oooooookaaaay! I want to hold the bag.”

I did not think there was any harm in this. I left her on her potty and quickly grabbed the bag of Skittles. I ripped around the top of the bag to make it smaller & removed all but 3 Skittles. I put the remainder in a baggie for another day & brought her the small bag with the 3 Skittles in it. She looked in the bag & immediately looked up at me.

“I want a purple Skittle.”

Pheew! I knew there was one in the bag so I told her, “There is a purple Skittle in the bag.”

She look in it again. “I want the orange Skittle.”

Uh Oh! No such luck. “Sorry honey, there is no more orange, but look there is purple & red Skittles.”

“I want the green Skittle!”

Oh Geez. “Honey, these are the last Skittles.” (lying)

“I want the green one & the orange & the yellow.”

“That is all we have left.” (More lying)

I want mama’s bag of Skittles.”

“Mommy doesn’t have a bag, only Mai Mai has a bag.” (still lying)

“MOMMY HAS A BIG BAG OF SKITTLES!”

This was an extremely difficult conversation that went back & forth with me trying to explain that we did not have any more Skittles & her insisting that she needed a green, yellow & orange one. I tried to reason calmly with her with no success. I tried distracting her, this only seemed to make her more upset. I tried letting her be & tantrum it out. This did not work either. She simply followed me around & insisted that I produce the other colored Skittles.

It reminded me of a this funny clip that I saw a while ago.

I have to be honest with you. I cannot even remember how it finally ended because it seemed to last forever. Mind you, I could have went and gotten her the other colored Skittles, but I do not want to teach her that. She needs to learn that sometimes in life just like the song says, “You can’t always get what you want.” So maybe she doesn’t totally get it yet, but we will get there & hopefully mommy will get there someday too.

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