Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beautiful Chaos

In anticipation of Maryam's 1st birthday, we baked cupcakes. In the photo above, Maryam has not yet arrived at the daycare for the day, but we do have a few extra kids than usual, due to a P.A. day: Riley and Aidas!

The other kids quickly got bored of making cupcakes....but not little Leila. She stayed at the table until the end. It was wise of her, too, since she got to lick the beater. (Thank goodness nobody else even noticed!)

We stopped to play at the upper part of Lithuania Park this time. It was completely iced over.

And this was perfect to skate around on (it wasn't quite as slippery as a real ice rink).

Also, we had brought a few hockey sticks and balls. It was great practise for Noah, who has just joined the ball-hockey house leagues at school.

I have to admit I was really into it. I used to play hockey in high school, and I love ball hockey too. A great perk of my job is getting to play! I mean, yeah, um, er, it's strictly for the kids. ;)

Aidas had an Angry Birds hat on, and seemed to be engaged in his own pretend it followed that we began to play "Angry Birds Hockey." This consisted of trying to shoot the ball at, and have the ball touch Aidas's legs. Whenever the ball touched Aidas's legs, he would collapse to the ground. I gave a commentary, as I was trying to figure out just what this game was all about. This had Noah in hysterics, and Aidas fully into his role as the angry bird.

Here's a cute pic of the angry bird trying to block my photo of three little munchkins behind him.

I finally succeeded. These guys had been on the sidelines with my helper, and were apparently playing "Frozen Hide and Seek." (As in the movie Frozen).

Angry birds get hungry for cheese rice cakes. Ahhh...I always love Alumni Day at the daycare. :)

Even though we weren't celebrating Maryam's birthday yet, the kids got to add icing and sprinkles to a cupcake; and then eat it of course! Riley and Aidas wouldn't be here for her actual birthday, so it hardly seemed fair that they shouldn't get a cupcake. Actually, funny little story: Aidas originally stated, earlier in the morning, that he was not going to eat a cupcake because "they are not healthy." How old is he?! I told him he still needs to live a little, that once in a while is okay. He later changed his mind.

I love the myriad of things going on in the photo below. Notice that Tom is in mid-flight. (It's not the first of such photos I've taken of him. That kid loves to jump!)

Picnic time again. :)

Here's a cute photo of Leila during circle time (music time). If you are very astute, you will be able to figure out the song we are singing.

And here is Maryam as we are singing to her, and presenting her with her cupcake. She looks a little concerned. Haha! What a cutie-pie.

Everyone approved of the cake.

Happy birthday, dear, sweet, Maryam! We are delighted (and SO lucky!) to have your lovely little spirit in the daycare. Have I mentioned that I am already in love with her?! It's amazing how fast the bonds grow. I adore her.

Okay, so I save the most exciting news for last. Get ready for it......Thomas is a BIG brother! And a VERY proud one!

Baby brother Drew was born on Sunday, healthy and beautiful as can be! I didn't even realize how excited and emotional I would feel about someone else's new baby, but I am overjoyed for this family! What a precious gift.

Thomas insisted that his parents bring over his little bro, on Tuesday, to meet everybody. Leila had been super excited to hold the baby too!

TWO days old!! He looks like a little doll, but I can assure you, he is real. How is it that we forget, every time, just how small they are when they are brand new? He is absolutely beautiful. (Yep, already in love with little Drew too.) I don't even know what to say about these pictures except, are you seeing this? Are you getting how wonderful this is?! Okay, I'll settle down now. :)

When he is much bigger, and stronger, I get the honour of caring for this little dude! I am truly looking forward to it.

We were sledding at Lithuania Park yesterday, and this lady walked by and offered to take our picture. Thomas didn't cooperate, but I can't say I blame him. He has the camera in his face enough of the time. Besides sledding, Thomas also did a lot of rolling down the hill, and rolling across the ground. Seriously, at one point I think he did about 30 rolls in a row. He even inspired me to roll down the hill, and I am alive to tell about it! We even taught Leila to roll. It was her first time. (She is more of the cautious sort). I love how everyone inspires, and also learns from, everyone else. It doesn't matter how old. Even little Maryam inspires us. And I can still remember B. inspiring Noah and I to really enjoy one of the coldest days of the year, last winter.

But back to baby Drew, and his awesome big brother. I had to finish the blog with this!

Oh, and if you're wondering about the title of this blog, it's just the term that often comes to my mind when I think about life as a mom, and life as a home daycare provider. (But I think any parent can appreciate this.) Here are some more words: crazy, busy, peaceful, quiet, messy, happy, screaming, laughing, boo-boos, tantrums, love, joy, learning, silliness. But most of all, there is beauty. To sum it up, it is beautiful chaos. :)

#homedaycare #unlicenseddaycare #ontariodaycare #daycare #beautifulchaos

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shaving: 101

We went to the library drop-in again this week. There was a big tub of shaving cream for the kids to muck around with. Only the brave Thomas ventured in (though I'm sure little miss Dea would have joined him if she was at the daycare). How fun is this?

Maryam loved the drop-in. Her favourite part by far was the parachute. No surprise there!

Who says you can't have a picnic in the dead of winter? Thomas and Leila set up a feast of play food on a blanket, in the warm comfort of our living room. Not sure if they ever actually got to sit down to pretend to eat. Their focus was on getting as much food as possible onto that blanket. They are such work horses. ;)

I asked them to sit for a picture, and this is the best I could get. You might be wondering, "Is that a potty on the couch, in the background?" Why yes. Yes it is. Leila has started potty training, and it's not pretty, folks. Because of her initial fear, and continuing apprehension with potty training, I am simply trying to get her more comfortable with it by having her sit on it whenever possible. In the living room. Sometimes with food. I know. Gross. It is everything you probably shouldn't do. But I am pulling out all the stops here. I realized long ago that my daughter might just be more stubborn than me, so sometimes, as a parent, you just have to do what you can to survive. So go ahead, judge. I am too busy here in the trenches to worry about what's proper right now! :)

You might be wondering, "Does she use the potty on the couch though!!?" No. We're not that crazy here. (Even I would SO judge people for that! Geesh!) It's just that, even though I always clean it out after use, I still would prefer baby Maryam not to play with it. You see? We still have some standards.

Leila likes to pat Maryam's head as a sign of affection. Maryam loves this, as you can see.

....aaaaaand....she's off to indulge in the picnic.

Maryam really adores Thomas. He is the only one, so far, who has made her laugh. She loves the silly sounds he makes. Just as kids learn so much intellectually from older kids, I really believe that they also learn invaluable social skills from interacting with the younger ones. Caring and empathy are probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Also, I'm convinced this baby is a genius. She can copy almost any sound! AND I've heard her sing! She's not even 1 yet! But most important of all, she is a sweet, happy and engaged little girl, and we love her already.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Toronto Home Daycare Life

I got to play one-on-one with this handsome dude yesterday. (Leila and Noah had gone to the dentist, Maryam had not yet arrived, and Dea's on vacay!) He was incredibly sweet. At one point he said to me, "I like spending time with you." He also often says, "I love you." He really knows how to make my heart sing. :)

Later, Maryam organized my pots, pans, and tupperware for me. She is often in the kitchen with me when I clean up from meals, and of course, loves to explore! The blue straps you see hanging are so that I can lock two larger cupboards that are off limits. And I have had to lock these for Maryam. Even though I'm there with her, and try to keep those cupboards closed, she insists (as all babies do), and it's impossible to hold them closed while washing dishes! 

Babies (and older kids, if they wish) are allowed to go through the tupperware cupboard, and two bottom drawers. It's great to be able to say "yes" to some of this exploration. There are enough "no"'s in the kitchen area! Plus, I prefer to keep the wee ones closer to me during clean-up, if possible.

Daycare selfie! I was getting water for these two munchkins after nap time one afternoon, when they insisted on immediate hugs. So, we sat on the kitchen floor, cuddled, and looked at some pictures of them on my phone. Thomas wanted to take more pictures, so here you are. 

There is just enough snow for tobogganing at Lithuania Park. We have had limited days to enjoy it though, because of the extreme cold. Here are the kids on one of the 'warmer' days.

Maryam got a little sleigh ride around the park with her new friends. She so loves to be with the gang! I am truly amazed at how fast children bond.

Little angel. :)

These two are apparently having something to eat after driving to (using the little bike and little car) and shopping in, Walmart. Thomas has his wallet on his lap. Leila has her car keys, and a piece of play lettuce, of course.

We do not teach religion at the daycare. We did do Christmas and Hannukah crafts. Is this why it looks like Santa has converted to Orthodox Judaism? Has Thomas integrated the two? Ahhh...wouldn't it be great to integrate all religions? You are clearly ahead of your time, wise Thomas. Remember where you first saw it, folks. Never underestimate the dress-up bin. ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Baby Maryam's First Day at Daycare

So, she was only with us for half a day today, but baby Maryam is already quite comfortable joining our daycare family, and all of us are thrilled to welcome her!

After snack, I brought Maryam into the kitchen and gave her a basket of toys to look at, so I could keep an easy eye on her while I cleaned up the dishes. The other children quickly joined her. I love this sequence of photos, because Amadea had just noticed (or perhaps remembered) that she had a boo-boo on her hand. I could not see even a scratch, but she was very concerned about it.

I kissed it for her anyway, and she was finally able to resume playing, despite her wound. ;) She sometimes gets concerned over a loose piece of skin, so this was not abnormal behaviour for this little munchkin! (Oh the daycare dramas!)

But back to our newbie...isn't she beautiful and precious?! She is a very good crawler, and an even better talker! The kids love her already!

We did music circle together. Maryam sang and danced a little, but her focus was on exploration. In the bottom right picture, Leila is holding our Mr. Sun prop and gently touching Maryam's head for the verse "These little children are asking you..." It was very endearing.

At one point Thomas was making silly sounds and Maryam was having a good laugh! I tried to capture it on camera, though I didn't quite get the precise moment. I think Maryam is especially interested in Thomas. (But who isn't?!) She kept staring at him like he's a rock star. :) Anyway, here's a little clip of our music circle. What a beautiful little addition to our gang!