The “No” Word

IMG_3036It is no mystery why our children love the word “no” so much. From as early as they start crawling, they are hearing this word muttered constantly. “No! Don’t touch that.” “No, don’t hit the dog.” “No, you can’t have cake for breakfast!” No wonder the experts tell you not to use the “no” word to reprimand your child. As much as I try, it is instinctual the first word that comes out of my mouth when my daughter is about to do something that she shouldn’t.

So, “No” it is. It is the answer to every question or statement. It is the answer even when the answer is actually yes.

“Are you Mai?”

“NO!”

Huh? That is so weird. I could have sworn that you were my daughter Mai.
There are variations on this as well. “No, not yet.” & ” No, I fine.” are two other popular responses in our home. It is amazing that I can even elicit a “No” by simply looking at her.

“No!”

“But, Mommy didn’t say anything.”

I forgot to mention that my daughter can read minds.

Sometimes the no contradicts itself…

“Do you want to go to bed?”

“No”

“Do you want to stay awake?”

“No”

Is there an option between asleep & awake? Hmmm? Let me guess…   “NO!”

 

 

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“ABC Soup” Water Play

IMG_3958It makes me laugh to think that in a house full of fancy toys & play sets, it is always the simplest things that hold on to our children’s attention the most.

Our daughter loves to paint & draw, so we got her an easel. She prefers to draw at the kitchen counter. She loves building and stacking, so we got her building blocks & Legos. She still is piling up Play-Doh containers & paint bottles.

She loves to cook, so when her cousin gave her a beautiful play kitchen filled with fake food and pots & pans, we thought she would be ecstatic. Instead of cooking up plastic chicken drumsticks & Velcro vegetables, Mai was more interested in mixing up a pot of alphabet magnets.

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Here she is cooking up something delicious in our rice cooker.

After dinner last night, Mai was a little bit antsy & mommy was tired. I needed something to keep her occupied for a little while. I asked her if she wanted to play with some water. I already knew what the answer would be, because she loves water play. I filled up our ice bucket with some water & went to get her some measuring spoons and scoops to use with the water. When I came back she had poured all of her ABC magnets in the bucket & was whirling them around with her hand. We traded in our measuring spoon for a ladle & a handled sieve instead. Mai would use the ladle or sieve to fish out the letters. “I making soup.” Yes you are. It looks delicious.

We made a little game out of it.

“Mai, can you find me the “P””?

“Right there!”

“P is for penguin.”

“Yes it is. Great job.”

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Like I said, it really is the simple things. She played happily up until bath time, while I got a chance to sit down for a bit & just enjoy watching our happy little girl.

 

 

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Lessons From The Kitchen

LessonsFromTheKItchen.jpgI always found it humorous that children love doing the things that we as adults hate to do & vice versa. They fight naps & taking a baths while these are things that I dream about. Doing dishes & sweeping the floor are not my favorite activities in the world, but yet my daughter can’t wait to get her hands wet & pick up a broom. Children like to emulate what they see their parents doing. My daughter like many little girls has a play kitchen. She spends many hours a week cooking up delicious meals for mommy & daddy.

I used to find it difficult to prepare meals & clean up the kitchen with Mai running around. I realized the easiest way to get things done was just to involve my daughter. Cooking with my daughter is not only a fun bonding activity that we can share, but it also has a lot of learning opportunities as well.

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1. Measurements –  From as young as I can remember one of our daughter’s favorite toys has been our measuring cups & spoons. Now that she is older, she has learned that they are also used for other things. Show your child the different size cups & spoons & explain to them what each one is.  Let them scoop and measure. Assist them for accurate measurements. Let them pour the measured substance into the mixing bowl or dish.

2. Following Directions – Toddlers are not always the best at listening or following directions. Our daughter is no different, but when we are engaged in an activity such as cooking or baking, she is surprisingly attentive. Explain what needs to be done in each step & let them help with anything that she can do safely. Offer them encouraging pointers along the way.

3. Hand eye coordination – All of that pouring & measuring requires a little bit of dexterity. It may take some time, but with practice you will see their abilities grow. Our daughter has become great at pouring.

4. Counting – This is an especially fun side activity while you cook. If you are working with items such as chick peas, lentils, pasta or chocolate chips ask them to count out a small number of them for you. My daughter loves counting and separating.

6. Teamwork – A lot of toddlers wrestle with asserting their independence. This is a wonderful thing, but it also important for them not to lose sight of being able to work together as a team. Cooking and baking is also a great bonding moment for you & your child or your whole family.

7. Reading labels – Reading does not always have to be in just your children’s bedtime stories. Take every opportunity that you can to read to your toddler and point out new words. If you are following a recipe, read it aloud and point out the words and pictures.

8. Home Economics – Let’s not forget the main task at hand which is to cook or bake something fabulous. At an early age your child is learning basic principles in cooking. Hopefully this will encourage a love for cooking and maybe someday they will be fixing you gourmet dinners & desserts.

9. Responsibility – Making a mess in the kitchen is the fun part, the clean up after leaves something to be desired. Throwing away trash, wiping down the counters and doing the dishes are chores that I could do without, but like I said before our children seem to love this part. That sets a good foundation for chores in the future.

 

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Sometimes Mommies Cry

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Motherhood is riddled with a wide range of emotions. From the day that your child is born, you are overcome with feelings like you have never felt before. You have never loved so much, laughed so much, feared so much or felt so happy. As much joy as your children bring into your life there are days that can bring you to tears.

 When our daughter was first born, I cried a lot. I cried from exhaustion, confusion & from the endlessly overwhelming feelings of uncertainty that I felt. I didn’t think that I was doing anything right. I could not get my daughter to sleep or stop crying. I was certain that I was going to be a failure at motherhood. Time went on and those tears dried up. Things got easier. As our daughter grew so did my love. Not that I didn’t love her before mind you, but watching her develop into a person with her own personality and mind was magnificent. It was nice getting to meet my daughter.

This week I found those tears again. This time is was not from the exhaustion or uncertainty is was from a wounded heart. It first began over the weekend. Mai reached for her toy guitar in one of her toy bins. She was having a difficult time pulling it out as it was stuck on the lip of the shelf. I walked over to her and asked…

“Do you need Mama’s help?”

“NO! Daddy do it!”

“Mai, Daddy is resting. Mama can get it for you.”

“NO! No Mama! It’s Daddy’s turn.”

When I pulled out the guitar to hand it to her, she threw herself on the ground sobbing and kept asking for Daddy.

This was just one of many incidents similar to this that occurred over the past few days. With every diaper change or bath or bedtime story, my daughter cried and said that she wanted Daddy to do it. I felt as if I was just picked last in gym class, dumped at the prom & lied to by best friend all in the same day. I felt a sad little pit planting itself into my stomach. I tried to tell myself that she was just going through a Daddy phase this week. Lord knows that she has done the same thing to my husband, but this did not bring me any comfort. Tonight after Daddy gave her a bath & got her ready for bed, he had to leave for work. I tucked her in to read her a bedtime story. She pleaded and sobbed & asked for Daddy. I opened the book and started reading through her protests. As I read, she cried. I could feel my own eyes filling up with tears. After a few sentences she finally calmed down, snuggled in and listened. She looked up at me and smiled and said “Mama, one more book.” Of course, my baby. After she fell asleep, I drowned my hurt feelings in a bowl of frozen yogurt. Looks like mama might have to grow some thicker skin before the teenage years hit. I better buy some more yogurt.

 

 

 

 

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Popsicle Stick Flower Craft

Add a pom pom or gemstone to the center of your flower.

Last week after a few gloomy days, I got ahead of myself. Mai and I made our first Fall themed crafts a few weeks early. This weekend was a pleasant reminder that the summer was still indeed here.

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Mai & I had a lot of time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather, but we did manage to squeeze in a craft or two. This time we stayed in theme with the season & made flower crafts.

Popsicle stick flower craft

What you will need:

Craft sticks

Cardboard

Pipe Cleaner

Bendy Straw

Paint

Glue

Pom Pom or Gemstone (Optional)

Directions:

Cut out two 1 1/2" circles out of card board for each flower that you are making.

Cut out two 1 1/2″ circles out of card board for each flower that you are making.

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Paint 12 craft sticks.

Paint 12 craft sticks & let dry.

Use a hole punch to punch holes in the middle of the cardboard circle.

Use a hole punch to punch holes in the middle of the cardboard circle.

Place & glue 8 of your craft sticks on top of one of the circles in a pattern like shown.

Place & glue 8 of your craft sticks on top of one of the circles in a pattern like shown.

Glue the second piece of cardboard on top, making sure to line up up the center wholes.

Glue the second piece of cardboard on top, making sure to line up up the center holes. Let dry.

Paint the top piece of cardboard. Let dry.

Paint the top piece of cardboard. Let dry.

Glue 2 sticks in a X pattern over the top of the circle.

Glue 2 sticks in a X pattern over the top of the circle.

Glue the remaining 2 in a similar pattern.

Glue the remaining 2 in a similar pattern & let glue dry.

Trim the short end of a bendy straw so that there is about a 1/2 inch left before the bendy part of the straw.

Trim the short end of a bendy straw so that there is about a 1/2 inch left before the bendy part of the straw.

Insert a green pipe cleaner into the straw to add sturdiness & color.

Insert a green pipe cleaner into the straw to add sturdiness & color.

Push the backside of the straw into the hole in the backside.

Push the bendy side of the straw into the hole in the backside.

Add a pom pom or gemstone to the center of your flower.

Add a pom pom or gemstone to the center of your flower.

Here is Mai's flower.

Here is Mai’s flower.

And Mommy's

And Mommy’s…They spin too.

Keeping with the flower theme we also did a hand & foot craft this weekend. Mai gets a kick out of the paint on her feet. She painted mommy’s feet & made me do a footprint as well. It only seems fair, right?

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Green feet for the leaves.

Mommy, I paint your feet too.

Mommy, I paint your feet too.

We did hand print too, but Mai got a little over jealous with this so we decided to trace hand after instead.

We did hand prints too, but Mai got a little over zealous with this, so we decided to trace hands instead.

That's better.

That’s better.

Of course this went straight to the refrigerator.

Displayed proudly on the refrigerator

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