Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Preschool Graduation

Beaver's preschool had a graduation party for him and the one other little girl that will be moving on to kindergarten next year.  

Here he is with his friend, Miguel. I mostly took this because I think Miguel is such a cutie, but it isn't the best picture of him.  He is from Brazil, and his dad plays professional soccer in Japan.  He's quite the little athlete.  The teacher told me that a few days ago, Beaver wanted her to play tag with him.  She didn't want to, so she suggested he ask Miguel to play.  Beaver said, "I don't want to ask Miguel, because he is faster than me!"  That is classic Beaver behavior for you.

He was not happy about wearing the graduation cap.

Beaver was supposed to give a "graduation speech", which meant simply that they had him stand up front and asked him to tell his favorite part of preschool.  He refused to speak, dropped his shoulders, and wiped all expression from his face, because that is what he does when he feels embarrassed.  After a bit of prodding, he spoke in a silly, high-pitched voice that he uses when embarrassed, and said that his favorite part of preschool was chasing everyone outside.  They also asked what he wants to be when he grows up, and he said a scientist that finds out why the dinosaurs died.

He also got an award for being the "most imaginative" student.  His teachers said that every day they are interested to find out what kind of animal he is pretending to be.  The head teacher told me that he is a different animal every day, and that a couple of weeks ago he announced that he couldn't do his writing practice because he was a dolphin and his flippers were too wet.   

It was a fun little party.  Even Bear, who was expecting to be bored, enjoyed it.  He was greatly amused by the antics of the little kids as the teachers attempted songs, dancing, and picture-taking.  Imagine a class of about 20 two to five-year-olds, and you know just what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Last Day of School

Bear won the spirit award for grade 4

With Mrs. Jones

Bring on Summer!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Reality Check

"Be a playful parent.  Jump in puddles, play pretend, make every moment count."
So says the author of a "learning and loving through messy play" blog.  This is the kind of parent I aspire to be.  Don't we all?  I'm trying hard to enjoy the remaining time I have with Beaver before he starts kindergarten in the fall.  I'm kind of dreading sending my baby off to school.  Once he goes, my days of mothering little ones are over, and while there are plenty of things to look forward to, I also know that I will miss it.  I really want to treasure the next few months.

Today we awoke to a beautiful morning with no schedule.  Beaver didn't have school and I had no pressing errands to do.  Since Beaver hates going anywhere, I decided, for his sake, to just stay home and enjoy the day playing.  We ate a leisurely breakfast of french toast with "honey syrup" (Lyle's golden syrup) - one of Beaver's favorites.  He finished before me and went to the living room to play with legos while he waited for me.  I joined him when I was done, thinking we could hang out in our pjs for awhile, but Beaver said he wanted to get dressed, so up the stairs we went.  As soon as he was dressed, Beaver asked, with a mischievous smile on his face, "Is it lunchtime?"  Stinker.  I usually let him watch a couple of shows on the TV after lunch, so even though we had just finished breakfast, he was hoping.

"No, it's not lunchtime, you silly!" I told him.  "I'm going to take a shower and then we'll play.
"Um, Mommy, can I watch a little TV while you take a shower?"
"No, you can play with your castle or your pirates or your trains.  I won't be very long."

So, he spent the 20 minutes while I was getting ready lounging on the chair in my room and sucking his thumb.

Once I was ready for the day, I went to work on my playful parent plan.  The aforementioned website had a list of science experiments for kids, so I looked through them to find one that looked interesting.  Our first experiment was to put food coloring in milk, and then add dishwashing soap, which sends the food coloring sailing to the edge of the dish, away from the dish soap.  Beaver was very excited as I set it up - running back forth from the counter to the computer to look at the steps and make sure I was doing it right.  I squirted some dish soap in, and sure enough, the colored milk went shooting and spinning around the edge of the dish.  "Okay, Mommy, what do we do next?" Beaver asked.  "That's it." I told him.  "That was the experiment."

"No, Mommy, what else do we need?" He ran to the computer to check.
"That's all it is.  Did you see the colors move?  Wasn't that cool?"
He was unimpressed.  "Yes, I saw them move, but I want to do something else."

Okay.  That didn't go so well.  On to the next attempt.  Mixing colored water and oil.  Since oil and water don't mix, you get these colored blobs in the water.  Kids are supposed to think it is awesome.  I poured oil in a pie plate and gave Beaver four bowls of colored water and some medicine droppers to squirt the water into the oil.  He did so for a few minutes without much comment.  Then he said, "I'm getting kind of tired of doing this.  Mommy, is it lunchtime now?"

Argh.  Okay, maybe he's not so into experiments.  How about a craft.

"Do you want to paint?"
"Do you want to color?"
"Do you want to do stickers?"
"Do you want to play in the sandbox?"
"Should we go play legos?"
"Yes, let's play legos."

Good.  Legos qualify for playing pretend.  That will be making the moment count.  That will make me a playful parent.  So we go to the living room.  Beaver tells me what he wants me to build, so I make an attempt, but however I make anything is wrong.  He takes it apart and does it his own way.  I try to join in his game of pretending with the lego guys, but everything I say is wrong.  After awhile I give up and go to the other room to play the piano.  Beaver plays by himself in the living room for awhile, and then comes to the piano.

"Mommy, stop playing the piano.  I want to tell you something."
"Yes, what is it?"
"Is it lunchtime yet?"

Maybe kindergarten won't be such a bad thing, after all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A few pictures...

Because I haven't blogged in a long time!

We went to the Kobe Arboretum on Saturday - one of our favorite places in Kobe.

This is me holding up Beaver's hand - forcing him to wave at the camera.

Beaver picked some flowers for me, so I put them in my hair.

If we understand it correctly, this tree was cut somewhere in Kobe.

Beaver Boy

Six and a half more days of school.  I'm as ready for it be over as Bear is.
The kids and I went to the pool after school for the first time today.  It wasn't warm enough for me or Beaver, but Bear swam for an hour.
Actually, Bear swam Saturday night at the summer welcome party, too.  He got quite cold.

Mr. Mike and Bear attended the father/son campout for cub scouts last weekend.  Bear was quite proud of this tiki torch that he made.

He also caught a crawdad.