Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

Friday, July 20, 2012

Knowonder we like it

          Phillip Chipping had a great idea of creating a magazine that would include one story for each day of the month.  Children would be encouraged to read and create. Then in September 2009 this wonderful magazine was featured in libraries across the nation.  Free to the public – for three months – and then it disappeared.
          But as with so many other businesses and personal lives, the economy robbed us of the funding that were needed to keep the magazine going.  And then in September of 2011 knowonder seemed to be reborn on the Internet.  A second chance.  Perhaps better access? 

Seemed to take another rest from its regular routine after December – oh, the stories continued – ones that we’re familiar with, ones that we grew up on – given in parts.  There used to be something to read for each day.  I can’t remember when it took another rest.

It’s back!  Format has changed a bit.  The stories aren’t dated (there used to be one for each day of the month) with some new additions – or perhaps it just seems more inviting – Fun Facts.  Introducing children to non-fiction and trivia in a very delightful way.  I’m impressed.

I do miss the cards though.  In the three initial catalogues from 2009 there were four cards inserted near the end – with these cards readers were encouraged to use their imagination and create stories using at least three of the four cards. 

Jenna absolutely LOVES these cards!  We’ve used these twelve as party starters. And we all chimed in while writing our own story (which was never published as it was submitted late November 2009 – the last published catalogue) I will have to dig further to find it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As Different as Mustard and Aqua Velva

         The refrigerator in Sunny and Patrick’s house is buried in photographs and wonderful thoughts.  Family is very important to them and they are on display at all times.
          Children’s art work decorates the walls above the dining room table and there are portraits upon the piano.  The house is decorated nicely, and the feel is one of warmth and love.  It is inviting.  It says that their children are important and family matters.  It is welcoming and full of joy and positive self-esteem.

          Grandma also keeps photographs and art work.  Her refrigerator is covered with magnets that hold up treasured memories.  There are pictures in every room showing off her grandkids, her children, their spouses, etc.  It says that her posterity is important and it is good for our self-esteem.

          Kayla and I both live in Cracker Box houses.  We both have more stuff than we do space.  And though we’ve had different family members over at different times, neither one of us is equipped for having the whole family over. It would be like trying to cram 15 of us in a walk in closet or as comfortable as eight people stuffed in a Volks Wagon bug for 25 miles.

          But still we have the comforts of our family in photographs – and display our posterity in a positive way.  Anna likes to move the magnets around on the refrigerator and Jenna likes to hang her art.  And I have scanned many of her drawings and crafts since she was three. 

          We’re a bit cluttered at times.  Actually more clutter than I would like.  It’s livable.  Our children know they’re important. 

          We have barbeques on occasion.  We have done other family activities as well.  We keep in contact through e-mail, through phone, in person.  We are a close knit family.  We are in my opinion.  But every family is different.

          Recently we visited with Roland’s family.  He has three sisters and a brother.  All three sisters are older.  His mom happens to live with the youngest of the three girls.
I had been to her house before.  Each time we’ve gone it seems to have been redecorated.  This year the display was showcased to perfection.  Tons of candles and pottery and decorative STUFF – nothing personal about it.  It was how you’d want your home to look to potential buyers.  It was how you would want it to look for the media.  It was sterile.
She used to have photographs upstairs and along the hall.  But they got moved – pushed back on some shelves in the corner.  You would have to literally move the desk and each picture in order to view them all.  No kids’ art.  NOTHING on the refrigerator.  Nothing seemed inviting – to me anyway.  It was all material.

They have five adults living under one roof (plus two children; and constant visits from their three grandchildren and their parents) and have five TVs (at least two of them are on 24-7 whether they are even being watched or not – usually not) and at least four or five computers (none of them updated however.  That’s a surprise – but then they really don’t spend that much time on it; I would guess the kids do more than anyone else)

And yet I know they love their family members.  (We’d gone to another state for mom’s surprise party – and our room and gas were all paid for before we had even arrived) and spend huge amounts of time together.  But there is no memorabilia.  Nothing that stands out to build self esteem.  And I wonder how much of a difference it would even make to them.

They love to dance.  They love to party.  They love to drink.  They don’t much care for religion.  If they want a message, they can watch the evangelists on TV. 
To say our families are as different as day and night would not only be clich̩ Рour families are more drastically different than I think night and day are.
They love and admire our boys.  Richard’s done well at bringing them up, they say.  Richard tries to explain that it’s not solely just himself but the values taught in the gospel.  They don’t want to hear it.

Their understanding is that God knows them.  They’re not out killing anybody.  They are decent human beings.  They’ve got it made just fine without religion.
My family members are active and hold church callings and are dedicated – not just on Sunday, but every day.  Three hours is too long for Richard’s family – and to extend it to the entire week?  Uh –uh. 

They are good people.  Just an entire different comfort zone – for them.  But Not for me.  I like the photographs and the religious values and spending time with family without booze.  I’m certain that they would be just as uncomfortable in my world.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Humor from Children’s Programming

          There are several programs that we know our child has seen at least ten times just this month.  It’s true that many episodes get repeated.  But just as often, many programs just start sounding the same after a while.

          I love the laughable things that are said.  Jenna and I can laugh at the same program, but usually at different parts.  And usually whatever is funny to me makes her wonder exactly why I am laughing.

          There was one time (before Jenna had started going to preschool for four days a week) when she was in my bedroom watching Sesame Street.  I had just finished folding clothes and was going in and out of different rooms and putting the folded laundry away.  So I wasn’t watching Sesame Street, but was in the room long enough to hear this dialogue between Maria and Telly.

          First she praised Baby Bear for having guessed the last sound (I think a horse) correctly.  The next sound was a “vroom, vroom . . .” like that of a motorcycle. 
          Maria asks Telly if he can guess the sound.  He thinks about it before answering that “. . . it sounds like a bunch of lactose intolerant antelope ate a bunch of cottage cheese . . .”

          Jenna didn’t see any humor in it whatsoever and couldn’t figure out why I was laughing. That wasn’t the correct answer.

          Oswald is a unique cartoon that features three friends, Oswald, a purple octopus; Henry, an uptight persnickety penguin; and Daisy – well, a daisy.  They live in a city with some odd shaped buildings like a guitar and teepee.  Other characters include Steve, a tree; Egbert and Leo (egg brothers) Madam Butterfly and her baby caterpillar, Catrina and Johnny the snowman.     

          Oswald is the peacemaker of the show. Usually resolving issues among the different characters.  Usually between Henry and Daisy.  Henry says things that make me laugh – just because he’s so self-centered and persnickety.

          Peep is a cartoon narrated by Joan Cusack.  It involves three foul: Quack – a blue duck; Chirp, a red robin; and Peep, a fairly new yellow chick.  Chirp is the know-it-all who tries to put Quack in his place, and Quack never gets it.  His character reminds me a little bit of Oswald’s Henry – only younger.

          Martha’s voice (from Martha Speaks) alone is enough to make me laugh.  I don’t know what it is about the voice – but it’s not one that I personally could never hear and be able to take it seriously.

          But I think the program I laugh the most at is “Arthur”.  Though I am guilty of having watched Oswald and Peep,  I only hear pieces of Arthur.

          Arthur:        What makes feel so stressed is –

          Buster cuts him off:  a bear?

          A:                I was going to say a test

          B:       Why worry about a test?  I think I’d be much more worried
about a bear

          Even DW (I can’t stand that whiny character) made me laugh in one episode when Pal (the dog) is trying to eat her sandwich and DW says, “Hey, I don’t go around trying to eat your dog food, do I?”

          I suppose it depends on my frame of mind.  It’s nice to be able to laugh.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NOT the Brady Bunch

          Roland has six children – nine if you count the three that were never born – which he often does.  They’ve all been given names – though I doubt we’ll be raising the unborn in the hereafter.

          Biff is the oldest.  He has brown eyes and looks just like his paternal grandfather.  Spitting image – only taller – which is saying a lot as Biff’s biggest hang-up about life seems to have been with his small size.  He really is not that tall compared to your average guy – but he is taller than those on both Roland’s side and his mom’s side.

          Tony seems to get his looks from his mom’s side – though I haven’t really seen it.  The receding hairline is definitely from her side.  Though Tony towers over his mom’s small sized family (small individuals – the family itself is actually quite large in number) he seems to share the same skinny genes that his mom’s side seem to hold.

          Randy is sort of a mixture. Hazel eyes (as well as Tony) all American boy. Freckles. Tallest of the three. Dimples show when he smiles – which is often.

          Vincente – I don’t know if they actually knew the sex at the time or had an ultrasound as his twin brother was a surprise.  I’m thinking if they had known the sex they would have also known that there were two of them.

          Stephen -  Roland had picked out a name for one before his late wife passed.  And when he learned there were two jotted a name down for the other. 
He must have written Stephen’s name in a journal after Vincente

          Francis – Amazon build like her mother – but with facial features from Roland’s side – which I hadn’t noticed.  But then I haven’t yet met Roland’s entire family.

          Pamprin also has the Amazon bone structure and a face like her mom’s.  But she does have dimples like Randy.  And actually her behavior is pretty identical to his also.

          Tracy was only six weeks inside me.  I remember exactly when and where he/she was conceived.  At least one of Roland’s little swimmers wiggled its way up my right fallopian tube before the egg was ready to drop. And that’s where Tracy grew. 

But my tube burst and my belly filled with blood.  We didn’t even know Tracy was in there until an ultrasound was given and we heard his/her heartbeat.  I still cry when I think about it.  Tracy had to be aborted – along with what was left of my tube.  If we would have waited another hour I would be dead, too.

We picked the name Tracy as we have no sex identity.  But I don’t believe Tracy is ours to keep.  I believe the “receiving a body” is more than just a six weeks in the womb.  I believe that Tracy may have gone to another family – or had to wait a while to come to our family.

Jenna is our miracle baby.  Conceived in my early forties and on only one tube.  She looks like both of her parents.  I have seen some expressions that remind me of Francis, but I have also seen some that look like Pamprin.  In her I see a lot of personalities, mostly mine and Randy’s and Tony’s.  Though when she was inside me she was strong like Biff – as we could see her doing calisthenics through the ultrasound.

We have a few pictures of all six kids being silly – well, five of them were.  Jenna was only six months and didn’t demonstrate any behavior other than being happy.  We also have one taken with Roland and his six children – the last time we saw his oldest two girls – the last time when all our boys were together.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mr. Ruthless

          Everyday school crossing guards put their lives on the line – whether intentional or not. With the guard at Jenna’s school it is intentional.  Oh, sure,  there is more than one crossing guard, but Mr. Ruthless is stationed at the main street populated with cars and drivers with led feet.

          Drivers might not respect Mr. Ruthless, but I think as I parent I would feel honored to have him as Jenna’s crossing guard (if we were near enough to go on foot) but because my usual route is to drop her off behind the school,  my encounters with Mr. Ruthless have been brief.

          Mr. Ruthless is one who will intentionally put his life on the line.  I am floored whenever I see it happen.  And yet I can’t help feeling a sense of pride that he is seriously willing to lay down his life for our children.  He will walk out into the street and stop as he faces the oncoming traffic with a challenge to either slow down or be sent to prison for plowing him down. He also keeps a pad of paper handy to write down the license plates of anyone going over 20 mph.

          I don’t know if he lost somebody personally due to speed.  My guess is he has.  Or else he is a retired police officer who has just seen too much pain cause by drivers who may never slow down.  He is a good man to have on your team – so long as you are working with him.  But cross him and he becomes your deadly opponent – not in a physical way – but with a vengeance that almost makes you wish that you were.

          At the end of each year, the teachers are honored.  The PTA (or PTO) creates an environment to show respect and appreciation.  I don’t think they have a crossing guard day.  And not everybody has a need for the crossing guard.  But how extremely blessed we are to have crossing guards who will keep our children safe – especially the ones like Mr. Ruthless – who even though can swear provocatively as the speeding drivers and raise his fists and occasionally hit the moving cars with his fists or whatever.  It’s obvious that he knows his priorities and is watching out for our children’s welfare. 

Thank you Mr. Ruthless.  And thank you to all who keep our children safe.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why can't we all be as Forgiving as Children?

The other night Jenna got her feelings hurt when Roland scolded her for her bad behavior and sent her to her room.  On the way she let out with, "I am never ever ever going to talk to you again."
Last night Roland worked his late shift and Jenna kept on asking for him because she missed him.

Kind of reminds me of the time when Jenna had a play date with one of her classmates from school.  Normally Howard and Jenna played pretty well together - but I could sense that Howard was NOT in the mood for Jenna's playful taunting.  We had both told her to let it go - but the more we told her NOT to taunt - the more she tried to egg him on. 

Howard made a dramatic exit from our house.  I couldn't let a five year old walk home by himself.  I grabbed Jenna's coat and hand and we hurried after him - with huge gaps between us. 
When he arrived at the corner I yelled to him NOT to cross the street - as he darted out and crossed by himself anyway.  Jenna hurriedly passed me and caught up to him to egg him on some more.  That just encouraged him to go even faster while I ran breathlessly behind. 
Howard finally made it to the gate of his front yard, opened the gate, closed the gate and yelled at Jenna, "I don't want to ever see you again for a hundred years!"
And Jenna yelled back the same, "Oh, yea.  Well I don't want to see you again for a hundred years!"

On the way home the tears turned into anger.  She and Howard were no longer friends.  They would no longer be getting married as they had planned.  The world had ended.
As I suspected from Howard's behavior, he hadn't felt well.  He remained sick at home for an entire week.  Both he and Jenna went through withdrawal.  A hundred years was too long.  Heck.  A hundred minutes was entirely too long.  It was quite a long week for both of them. We finally had to break down and call Howard to find out how he was doing. 

They forgot about being mad.  They forgot about the hundred year wait.  They were friends again.  And the wedding was back on.
Children seem so much more forgiving than adults do.  They don't hold grudges.  They don't let the world get in their way.  They are great examples - not always for getting along - but at least for bouncing back.  I think that's great.

Ever read Robert Fulghum's All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?  Great book!  I would encourage everyone to read it.  And then apply it to your own lives.  I have a brother-in-law who seems to have applied this to his life.  He is truly one of the happiest people I know.  If we could all be more like children.  Childlike - but not childish.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

We do not Throw Books at our Friends!

          My church calling at this time is in the nursery.  Currently we live in a mostly geriatric ward, and thus our nursery is not really big.  Five children is the most we’ve ever had – and that was with visitors.

          Andrea is an only child. She is quiet.  Doesn’t do much interaction with the other children.  Mostly just stands back and observes.  Sometimes she cries for mommy and daddy – but not too often.  She is easy to watch.
          Aden – no relation to Andrea.  They just happen to have similar names. He was our oldest child in our nursery and has started sunbeams just this year.  He is the youngest of four children at home.  Also very quiet.  But than so is his mom.  Aden plays quietly – occasionally says a word or two, but not much verbally.
          For a while that is all that we had.  And then Mason’s family started coming regularly.  What a handful.  Spent most of the time crying – or else he would try bullying the other two.  And Andrea is the one who always got hurt – not on purpose necessarily.  She would just happen to be in the way.

          Mason came for a while and then started staying home with dad.  We see him on occasion, but not so much anymore.

          Faith’s family moved in mid September.  She is the youngest of six.  Just a wee bit spoiled – not so much by mom and dad but from at least four of the five sibs – most of all her brother, who adores her.  For a month Faith cried whenever mom or dad would leave.  We played music for her.  That seemed to calm her down.  She LOVES singing time. 

          After a month she got used to us.  She decided that she would push buttons of each child and leader.  She would decide (and still does) that she would want to play with the toy that Aden was playing with.  She would take it away and smile – not that she really actually wanted to play with it – she just wants power – and she wants everyone in nursery to KNOW that she has power.  She doesn’t.  She just thinks she does.     

          On the last week in November we were introduced to our new challenge – who was/is louder and bigger than Mason and Faith combined – a new challenge for Faith – but I really think with this new power struggle that is taking place HOPE is going to win.  Hope and Faith – can you believe it?  They are both two and thus far neither one seems to live up to her name. 

           I have told Faith NOT to push Hope’s buttons – Hope is twice her size and could sit on her and squash her.  Actually, out of all the children, Faith is the smallest and weighs practically nothing.  Mason and Hope are both solid – and become heavier when kicking and screaming.

          Hope is an only child – she has never had to share toys.  Sweet, innocent Andrea was riding on a horse and Hope shoved her off – though we have two other horses.  Poor Andrea.  Hope had hurt her intentionally – whereas the pain caused by Mason has always been unintentional.  And Hope is so big and strong that the leaders may get hurt if she continues to struggle.

          Hope and Mason have not met one another – though I doubt Hope would even notice.  I can just visualize the two of them pushing and punching each other and having to quickly move Andrea to the other side of the room – while Faith continues to smile in her mischievous way. 

          Look forward to watching their personalities develop. Hopefully we can help them to understand why friends are important. Heaven help ALL of us – especially Andrea – who’s really just an innocent by stander – literally.