Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Summer

So, first of all, an apology to any of my readers who attempted to visit the blog and got a warning message about malware. My site was not infected, but, I had a link to another site at the bottom of my page. This linked-to site apparently was also not infected. However, it may have linked to a site that was infected. Anyway, I have removed the problem, and saved my dear blog. :)

Here are the kids fishing in their little ponds. What a great little activity for a hot day! Thanks, Dollarama.

This is my evidence that Riko does not cry all day. And I have come to believe that her crying is more of a habit than a real sadness. Sometimes, she could be crying, but smiling at the same time! Other times she will stop but start again when I ask her a question, or even make eye contact! But usually, she will cry for the first 40 minutes or so. Then she enjoys herself and plays with the kids. She is almost always happy when we go outside.

I really like Riko. She is not the only enigma. All the children are puzzling in their own ways. Aren't we all? This is why psychology intrigues me. It was my undergrad at U of T. Yet I know it is an imperfect science. You really can't peg all human behaviour, especially that of very young children. You just got to let them know you love them...that's all you can do.

The two bigger boys were at school and Leila was sleeping when these 3 decided to get cool.

I swear, I did not tell them to put the shades on their heads, but yes, I was ready to capture it when they did!

The above photo is my fave. Look at Riko's confidence! Look at Tom! Riley is adorable! These 3 should do ads!

So this is always the situation around noon time. Lots of snacks. It's like a buffet. I bring food. My helper brings food. And then they often come home and have more lunch! These kids eat very well, and non-stop around midday it seems. I guess they need the energy!

These 2 pictures I have of Noah, above, are of his last day of Junior Kindergarten. I am so proud! In the photo directly above, he is holding a wrapped gift from his teacher: a book (of course!). My favourite thing that was written in his report card was: he is considerate of others. Above all else, I want him to be kind. He is a beautiful, intelligent, almost 5-year-old! It's so crazy how fast time flies!

Here is Riko, riding in the swing with her toy "Jessie", from Toy Story. Actually, Riko is all about Disney. She knows all the music from various movies like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins and Aladdin. But she seems to especially love Toy Story.

So....I wasn't planning on letting Thomas up to the top area of the large playground structure at Lithuania Park. However, little miss Leila is constantly wanting to do this (yes, even though she cannot yet walk). So, because Leila was making me walk her around up here (she is very insistent and persuasive), I had to let Thomas have a turn too. The first day I let him up, he didn't want to come down. Look at him in the upper right picture. His whole expression says, " noticed. Yes, yes, I am indeed on the top level of the playground." I am glad it is losing some of it's overwhelming captivation, and that he is starting to rediscover other areas of the playground!

Riley and Riko are buddies. They kept going down the slide together, over an over. Similarly, at my place, they like to hold hands and run around the kitchen-living room loop, over and over. Riley is such a good friend to Riko. Even if Riko is speaking Japanese, Riley nods and tries to make Riko feel understood.

We used Noah's projector which reads along with Pooh Bear and Dora books. We had to do this activity in the kitchen this time, since Leila was having her morning nap, and no other area was dark enough! It's funny though, they are always too excited by this activity to actually listen to the story. What-ev's.

Yesterday was great for splashing in puddles. We brought toy frogs and snakes to put around our little 'ponds'.

Guess who came to play with us?! OSCAR!!! I know, you probably didn't recognize him because he's so grown up now! Actually, Oscar met us for a play date last week too, and we hope to enjoy a few more before the summer is through!

Oscar brought his new scooter to share. He loved riding it through the puddles.

How could this party get any better???  Ice Cream.

Yes, a little angel brought us homemade ice cream cones. This is what summer is all about! Friends from the building came to visit too. It was The. Coolest. Party. Ever.

Leila attempted to absorb a whole puddle in her diaper....WHILE eating an ice cream cone.

It was officially Riko's last day today. We are going to miss this sweet little girl! Thomas and Riley have grown especially fond of her, since they have spent the most time with her. I really hope she will be back to visit one day! Her mother tells me that she really did love the daycare, and all her friends here. We love you too, Riko!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Beatles Appreciation Time

I have a cd book packed full of children's cd's on top of my fridge. At particular times of the day (usually after snack in the morning, and before or after dinner in the afternoon) we pop in a cd. We are HUGE fans of Raffi. I don't think any singer can soothe children quite like Raffi can. He's practically magic. We listen to the other children's cd's in this cd book as well, for variety. But there is one cd that is not designed for children, yet I would rank it almost as high as Raffi: The Beatles. Children love The Beatles. Check out our newest member of the Beatles Fan Club.

A lot of their songs are so simple, and easy for children to understand (at least on their level). We play the album "1", which has mostly upbeat songs. Thomas's favourite is "Yellow Submarine". I think there should be mandatory Beatles endorsement in any ECE program. I bet there are some really great health benefits for kids and daycare providers alike!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Swing Kids

We have been hanging out at the larger playground after the big boys finish school, almost every day. Noah and B. enjoy playing with their classmates (since the playground is across from the school, and most of the kids drift over to it after class). Riley and Riko are quite skilled on the equipment, and Thomas is practising and getting better every day.

He's still not yet 2, so there's a "clumsiness factor" that makes me a little nervous about giving him too much space on the equipment. And the upper level of the playground is completely off-limits for him, but he seems okay with this arrangement!

Noah and B. did some sponge painting one day while the 4 little ones were sleeping (yes, in unison!). Speaking of which, the new arrangement of Riley sleeping on the toddler bed in Leila's room has worked out splendidly. I thought one would keep the other awake, but so far they both settle down fine. Leila always wakes first, but Riley is quite the heavy sleeper, and is not disturbed by this. Actually, I think that Leila is comforted by having Riley in her room, and tries to go back to sleep now, when she wakes and sees that Riley is still sleeping. I initially gave Riley the option of Noah's bed with the railing (which is in the room where Thomas naps) or the toddler bed in Leila's room, and she said "I wanna have a sleepover with Leila". :)

Okay, back to painting. The little guys did finger painting one morning while the big guys were at school, and while baby Leila was having her morning nap. (On the first few days of daycare, Riley requested that she also have a sleepover with Leila in the mornings. This kid is too darned cute!) The Superman paint smock is the coveted item, and if one gets it, the other one complains. However, Noah and B. have cleverly designated a particular Mickey Mouse smock as the "other superhero" smock. And so the art of saving face begins.

Riko just loves to paint! Here are photos of her back to her old happy self (like she was on her first couple of days of daycare). Unfortunately, shortly after this she caught Leila's cold, and started to run a fever. She stayed home with her mama for two days. When she came back, she was incredibly sad again. Poor kid. She has the regular adjustment any kid starting daycare would have, but she also has to adjust to a new culture and language. Never have I wished so much that I could understand the Japanese language! So far, all I have learned is that something sounding like "Yameh" means "no". *sigh*

Riley was reluctant to finger paint at first; a lot of kids are. But she had a blast once she got started, and produced a beautiful painting!

I just had to take a picture of this beautiful work of art. Can you tell that he was enjoying himself?!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Our Changing Gang

Riko is adjusting well to the daycare. She has this instinct to protect baby Leila, and it is just adorable. If Leila complains that I am not close enough, Riko will go and sit with her until I am able to pick her up. I love when the kids can naturally help each other out like that! (and, let's not kid ourselves - she's helping me out too!)

She was giving lots of hugs to Leila in the wagon. Leila didn't seem to mind one bit!

Speaking of hugs, this is one of the highlights of running a daycare. This makes other times of the day, when the kids are fussing or crying, all worthwhile!

Nothing in the world is better than hugs!!

You may have noticed a new face in the videos. That is Riley, the newest member of the daycare. She is an absolutely delightful 3 year old girl. So far, she has adjusted to our daycare so well that you'd think she'd been here since infancy! I shouldn't hold my breath though, seeing as Riko had a 'honeymoon period' the first few days too. It's okay, I fully expect all the kids to 'keep me guessing' every day. And I will literally keep you posted!  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Adventures in Daycareland

We have a new little girl at the daycare for the next few weeks! Her name is Riko and she is almost 3 years old. She has come all the way from Japan, with her mother. She speaks very little English, and so is quite the little warrior in a new land.

I have had kids come into the daycare who cry the first few days (most common), and I have had kids come into the daycare who didn't even seem at all bothered by their parents' departure. But I have never had a child come into the daycare who started off quite strong and happy, and became sad suddenly three days in. It did coincide with an epic meltdown and time-out that Noah was having, so perhaps this spooked her. Or perhaps it was the heat. Or exhaustion. Or a cold she may have caught (Leila was under the weather as well.)

Whatever the reason, Riko was then very sad for two days straight. I felt so bad for her. New country. New language. New people. The only thing we could do was hug her and give her as much love as possible, to show her that she could trust us.


She has really started to cheer up, as of late. Having a nap here and there, at the daycare, really helped matters as well.

She made a beautiful painting one day, at the easel. I later learned that this was her very first time painting. She was so proud to show her art work to her mommy!

Another morning (with Leila asleep, and older boys at school), we made pretend ice cream with Playdough.

This was the situation at the bottom of Lithuania Park one day, after some heavy rain. Thomas was well-equipped in his rain boots, but the other kids were not. Noah and B. had to take their shoes off to go into this little pond.

The batteries in my camera died out before I could catch the progression of this pond play. Thomas stayed pretty well in tact, since he spent most of his time in the playground area. But Noah and B....well, they ran through the pond (splashing everywhere), took their baseball caps off and scooped water into them, which they then hurled at each other, and eventually just SAT in the water! They did everything but roll in it. I will never forget watching them enjoy such this crazy day. They were so joyful. I had to give Noah and B. a really quick bath before I gave everyone lunch. It was a lot of work and not something I'd want to do every day, but once in a while, I think kids need a bit of crazy freedom.

This little princess decided to watch the action from the sidelines, and enjoy a snack with her baby!