Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wild Boys

We like to visit different playgrounds when we can. The other week, we took a trek up to Baird Playground. It was fun, but the best part of the whole trip was when we were about to leave. The boys wanted to try out the water fountain, because that is an oh-so-exciting thing to do when you are 3! Well, the drain was a little clogged, so there was water that had probably been sitting in the basin for some time. I wouldn't let them drink from the fountain because I didn't want them to get this old water on their mouths (and we always bring our own water, so they weren't dying of thirst).

They accepted that they were not allowed to drink the water....but nobody said they couldn't splash the water! Once they had splashed all the water out of the basin, B. filled it up with new water. He was the only one strong enough to push the button to get the water out; this was now his job and he accepted the responsibility with great pride.

An older lady who was walking by stopped to watch the rowdies; a look of horror on her face. She was itching to share some words with me, but I was too busy with the baby to listen to a scolding. Shame on us!

After getting completely soaked, the boys were permitted to take their shirts off for the walk home. What joy! They ran to each street corner (where they had to wait for Leila and I to catch up, in order to cross the road) excitedly, enjoying this extra sense of freedom. They often refer to themselves as "nude" if they have only their tops off, so I yelled out to them as they ran ahead of me, calling them "nude dudes", or "nuder duders". Or I would yell, "Hey dude! You're nude!" They thought this was hilarious.

The following day, Noah sat in a mud puddle at Lithuania Park and really wanted to take his wet shorts off. I had to explain to him that taking off the bottom half was very different than taking off the top half!

Aidas wanted to try on a baby carrier one day. We put in a teddy bear to represent his baby. What a sweet daddy he is! What?! What's wrong with wielding a hammer at the same time?

Leila has been enjoying the summer weather lying on a nice comfy blanket on the grass, watching the boys play. She is just sweetness personified. Enough said.

Here's a reading lesson I was giving outside, to anyone who would listen! We have been doing this at the table during snack, sometimes, as well. Won't be long before they're reading books to me while I sit back, relax, and eat my snack!

I would say that the most popular toys these days in the daycare are the couch cushions. The kids pretend they are in "gups" (? something they learned from watching "The Octonauts"). They also build forts on the couches, and then pretend that the couch is a boat. They then fight pirates, struggle through storms, etc. It is all about using their imagination, these days.

Here the kids are tracing letters. I don't want to force this formal type of activity on the kids (same with reading), since I think they'll have plenty of time to get into it more when they start school in September. I do, however, want to provide them with the opportunity to practise these skills, and I do encourage them to participate (or I try to trick them into participating). I think they will all have a strong base knowledge of letters and words when they start school (which obviously has a lot to do with literacy activities they enjoy at home, with their parents). The one thing I have always striven to instill in the kids, from day one in the daycare, is both excitement about and comfort with books. Again, this is something they also do at home with their families, but I feel that I have done my part in the daycare, in this first step of literacy.

Here is a puddle, created by the sprinklers being on that morning, that the kids stopped to enjoy. No one delighted in this more than Oscar though. He lingered on, playing in this puddle until there was no puddle left!

And here is the evidence!

 I just can't believe how much this kid has grown since he started in the daycare. Time flies! What a beautiful little toddler he has become!

Okay, so I'm not done talking about the lovely Leila. Noah has been amazing with his little sister since she arrived. Aidas and B. have been great too. And now that Leila is becoming more alert and aware, the kids are becoming more interested in her. They are learning to be gentler and more cautious than they ever have been at the daycare. And she absolutely LOVES all of them!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Three Amigos

I'm playing catch-up here. Indeed it is a little tricky to find time to write with a 2-month-old! Here the kids are, a few weeks ago, playing across the street. Noah likes to take me for rides on his pretend skate board, or his pretend boat. When he takes me for boat rides, he likes to sing "Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright" (or whatever that song is called!) by Bob Marley, since that's the song he heard when he was with his Daddy on the boat in St. Maarten.

These days, the kids are all about practising their balancing skills by walking along the edges of flower beds. They do this in front of people's houses too. I am just waiting for some home owner to yell at us about this, but so far no one seems able to deny these munchkins that simple pleasure.

It had been a while since they had gotten messy with finger paint, so they were all over this activity!

One nice spring day a few weeks ago when Dan was still on paternity leave, we all went to the High Park Zoo. This zoo was due to close down in June due to lack of funding, but Dan, who is on the board of directors to save the zoo, informs me that they have succeeded in raising enough funds to keep it open at least until the end of this year.

B. was so cute talking to the yaks pictured above. He introduced himself and Aidas to them. It was very sincere.

Afterwards we went to the Castle Playground. I wasn't sure how much would be accessible to them because of the fire that had ruined a good portion of it, but there was actually plenty for them to enjoy. And, the part that was ruined is scheduled to be rebuilt before the summer kicks off.

Here is daredevil B., attempting to climb up onto the playground through a tire. Noah and Aidas seem happy to let B. take the initiative at many physical feats. He is so skilled in this area that I think they figure, "If he can't do it, it definitely isn't worth it for us to even attempt it yet."

One day, B. and Aidas found a puddle in front of our building that was created not by the rain, but by the sprinklers running that morning. They've never met a puddle they didn't like! Noah was, as usual, singing.

Oscar came to the daycare one Friday. It was like he never left! He made himself right back at home. The big boys were all hanging around him, wanting to play with him. They must have missed him! Oscar was really interested in trying out the potties, like the big boys. You never know, maybe the big boys will inspire him to start early!

We have been broadening our horizons at Lithuania Park, by exploring other areas. The kids now enjoy climbing to the top of the huge hill and running down it, reminiscent of "Little House on the Prairie" (usually complete with the fall, by one of them).

We have also discovered sewer grates. They are captivated by the sound of rushing water underneath!

On the way to and from Lithuania Park, the kids like to climb the hill (which they call a mountain), while I walk with Leila on the sidewalk. Then they look down at me and say that I look so small, or that they are the kings of the castle. It is nice to see the excitement in their eyes as they enjoy more freedom here and there. They are very good at following my direction when we are out, so I can trust them more with safety issues.

I love the three amigos. I'll have more on our adventures in the next post, which hopefully won't take so long this time!