Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How Children Learn.

I'm definitely not one of those parents that blare classical music to my internal organs while pregnant. I love classical music. I would love to have a little classical composer, I just don't have the time nor inclination. Lets face it. If Jr. wants to listen to classical, they'll get off their size three months butt, roll over to the radio and flip on Swan Lake.

Don't think I'm too lazy to help my child learn. I am always providing tools and information to that sponge of a brain. Why just this last Sunday, I watched her stop mid play, listen to the one line in a PG movie I didn't want her to hear, and then repeat with correct vehemence and intonation, "Oh, Shit."

I still need to finish watching that movie.

Sometimes the hands-on method works best. Cora has a color problem that is not due to Easter egg dies. She will fetch objects by color. "Get the blue juice." gets me the blue juice. Red socks, gets me red or pink socks. That is not the problem.

The problem is that, after she hands me the blue juice, if I ask her what color it is, she smiles and says "Black."

If children learned by trial and error or observation, she would know the difference. In an attempt to rectify this problem, Cora and I play Duplo, and call out colors of bricks. We've been at this for three days. She will say yellow when placing yellow bricks, red with red and green with green. Her favorite brick is a brown brick whose color she happily pronounces as "chocolate." Wanting to test progress, I wait till she places a brick (yellow) calling out the correct color. I ask her. "What color is that brick?"

She thinks about it. Puts a finger on her lips, stares at the brick. Touches the brick, and grins broadly. "Black."

Perhaps cora has learned two different lessons. First, she knows her colors. Second, she observed a marvelous way to keep Mom playing Duplo.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Adding Color to Our Lives

Children add color to our lives.

Before your house is overrun by small fry, the phrase sounds like a quaint way of emphasizing how their unpredictable behavior will have you giggling and celebrating their unique personalities. When you receive the first round of baby gifts, or you collect your first round of infant clothes and sheets, you think it has something to do with the increase in colored laundry.

When they have their first birthday, you conclude that it has to do with the large amount of brightly colored plastic they found under the Christmas paper, and discarded in favor of the boxes it came in. Birthday re-enforces this idea. Solid foods hint towards greater possibilities. Fortunately they are restricted to the kitchen and splatter effect of pureed carrots, peas and blueberries CAN be removed. Even craft time, what with the "just add waters" and washables available provides very little permanent tinting to your existence. Then comes Easter.

I wonder what other colorful traditions non-Christian children developed to traumatize their parents. Ours have Easter Eggs; a nightmare in violently shaded dyes. They are food safe (meaning non-toxic), but they are very hard to remove from skin and clothes. I would think hair too, but fortunately I don't have the experience to comment on that aspect.

In the (at most) ten minutes it took our daughter to color a dozen and a half easter eggs, I said "Don't drink it." ten times. She has no understanding of volume, resulting in eleven color overflows (yellow, purple and blue once, orange, red and green twice, Aqua three times). She took a sip of the denim blue, (purple lipstick) right at the beginning. I moved the non "fleshy" colors furthest away from her.

Regardless of the fact that parents outnumbered child, we removed her hand from at least five different cups of color, took one egg (shell and all, already dyed pink and still wet) out of her mouth, and let her "help" retrieve every egg, some of which got placed in more than one color. In ten minutes, she tried to cart off every single one of the nine mugs of dye as well. The furthest any color went was all over her shirt. Two year olds have incredible jerk motion "mine" reflex.

Her shirt is totaled. The kitchen rag is bright pink, the formerly white towel is multi-colored. My floor has a nice red spot and a smaller orange spot where the color will not remove from the linoleum. One of my hands is slightly blue, and one of her hands is much more orange than it should be. She definitely added color to our lives.

Next year maybe I'll adopt Henry Fords approach. I'll chose one color, and attach the cup to the table, so as to prevent drinking and lifting. Perhaps red...to match the linoleum.

Surprise! Its Easter!

Thursday evening forecast; 2-4 inches of snow for Friday night to Saturday. Friday morning forecast; 3-6 inches of snow from Friday afternoon to Saturday.

This being Michigan, and the weather being fairly warm this week, and my daffodils poking up by the front door, Cora and I dressed in spring clothes and drove up to GR to spend the day with Nanny on Friday morning.

By noon, it started to snow. By three PM, it was snowing voraciously, and Pete called to politely suggest that I spend the night at Nannys. By seven PM, there were three inches in GR. By ten, they had not plowed the Michigan highway in front of our house.

Total snowfall in our town (supposed to get 6 inches) was 14 inches. Saturday afternoon, it was 45 degrees outside. Happy easter... this years elected bunny must have been the arctic hare.