Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Whatever the Weather

Although I am very grateful for Toronto's mild winter this year, I am hoping we can enjoy more than the two snow days we've had before it's through. The kids obviously love it. Oscar seems to enjoy enjoy it much more than I remember Aidas and Noah enjoying it when they were his age. Sometimes his mitten will fall off and he'll stick his hand in the snow. Most kids would scream at the pain this cold can cause. Oscar is made of tougher stuff and doesn't seem to notice. Instead, he screams when I put his nice warm mitten back on.

We made a snowman. It was very small, partly because there wasn't a lot of snow, but also because of the logistics of building a snowman with three 3-year-olds and a 1-year-old: the 3-year-olds have limited motor skills and attention spans, and the 1-year-old likes taking the snowman's head off. 

Actually, you'll notice Oscar inconspicuously 'guarding' Frosty's head in the upper left photo. 

We are already getting ready for Valentine's Day. I love that Valentine's Day is in the dead of winter. When the trees are drab and the days can sometimes look so dull, it's nice to be decorating and doing crafts in red, pink and purple. In the photo above, the kids are putting foam hearts, numbered 1-5, in order. Team work is a very worthwhile challenge for them at this age, and cooperative skills seem to be a much bigger priority than academic ones. (On second thought though, I guess cooperative skills really are the hardest at any age. Our world seems like it's overflowing with intellectual knowledge, and yet the skills to compromise and work together are much more scarce!)

Now here's a contrast to the above pictures of snowy play; puddle jumping! The problem with puddles on a cold day for Oscar is that he's not quite walking yet, so he crawls over and splashes his hands in it, getting his mittens all wet. We've had to cut a few outings short because of this. This day, however, was cut short not by Oscar, but by the older boys who, as boys often do, found trouble. I believe it was "Curious Aidas" who initially found the pond; a very big puddle in the middle of the grass. His friends quickly joined him and it seemed pretty harmless at first. Then I realized that the bottom was completely ice. With this combination, not only were they slipping and falling; they were falling into a pool of water. It's not quite swimming season yet. I managed to tear them away from this crazy fun with only one minor injury, and I am thankful for that!

Another Valentine's activity we enjoyed last week was making little "heart men" or "heart women" out of construction paper. As you can see in the photo above, Oscar is fighting for equal rights for 1-year-olds by demanding to participate.

We thought he made a strong argument, so he came up, joined the group and enjoyed a more age-appropriate Valentine's activity. I'm always hesitant to bring him up when it's not meal time because I think he might get confused and demand food. It seems though, that he is completely satisfied with just an activity, and I get no complaints from him when I bring him down without having given him food.

We have had some days recently that have been absolutely gorgeous and springlike. This was one of them. We were late with our daily schedule on this day because we just didn't want to come back inside. Sometimes I wish we could stay out for a much longer time, but other necessities like using the potty, having a diaper change, lunch and naps all beckon us back inside.

Aidas and B. are still crazy about sticks. I had to get a shot of B. lugging his sticks, or maybe branches is a better word, behind him. You can see that one branch is about 3 times as long as him, but what the picture can't convey is how thick and heavy the other one is. At one point during the walk, he requested that I carry this second branch for him because it was so heavy. When I declined and suggested he leave it on the grass and just carry one stick, he summoned up some more strength and trudged along, determined to keep both sticks. Such determination will surely prove to be a strong asset in later life!

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