Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dress up box

I was looking through winter garage sales for an old chest to store Miss C's dress up clothes. 
 She doesn't want a dress up chest.  Her reason: "I like the clothes in the middle of the floor so I can just see what I want to wear without having to open a box."


While I haven't found an appropriately sized box yet, I did find this in my in-box, from the wonderful Brian Andreas.  Maybe Miss C told them to send this one today to remind me not to inconvenience her dress-up by organizing it.    Because opening a box is highly interruptive to the creative process.


this is a dress-up box for the future...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Breaking it down

“It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.”
― David Foster Wallace


Here's a game Miss C and I sometimes play, to make maneuvering through the grocery store a little easier:


How do I feel when I see this?
What does this ad/display want me to feel?
Did it work?
What does the feeling make me want to do?


Most of the time it works. 
It makes me feel: I want. 
It makes me want: to buy now.


I don't know if playing the game helps her, but it helps me.  She reminds me, "We came here for blueberries, remember?"   And I put back the two utterly unnecessary things that are not blueberries.  Then promptly forget that I needed them as soon as I exit the store. 
We go home and eat blueberries and they are utterly delicious. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

More on the Majesty of Squirrels

"The most prestigious award in children’s literature was awarded this year to a book about a plucky girl and her sidekick, a superhero flying squirrel who can type poetry." 
-article by Husna Haq


Earlier this week I was recollectin' my cousin's affinity for squirrels
It's like I have ESPN or something.


Now I know what to get her next birthday:


Flora and Ulysses






Sunday, January 26, 2014

8 Picture Books That Make Us Wish We Were Kids Again

In honor of the 76th Caldecott Award to be given tomorrow, NPR took an informal poll of titles readers thought could receive that shiny circle.   The article, by Nicole Cohen, show lush illustrations that make me want to leap into the story.


Journey by Aaron Becker is being added to my library list stat.





As I was reading the article and drooling over the artwork, Miss C climbed on my lap and read the title. 
"Well, I don't wish I were a kid again.  I already am a kid."


So: 8 titles that make some of us wish we were a kid again. 
Or, 8 titles that make us feel like we're a kid again.
Or 8 books that will make you want to roll around in paint and paper and see what happens. 







Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Majesty that Surrounds

This morning while making breakfast, I watched squirrels spasmodically chasing each other up and down and around every tree.  I thought of my sister, who shudders at sight of the creatures, then I thought of my cousin who came to visit from Ireland for the first time in 12 years.  One morning she looked out the window to our back yard and observed the squirrel activity.


"They're just so...majestic," she'd breathed. 


Say who? 


"They're squirrels," I'd said. 
Same category as pigeons and sea gulls. 
No shortage of them, and no majesty either.


"No, they're just perfect," she sighed.   "I'd like to take them all home."


She also determined that flavored Oreos and root beer are majestic, but only the Oreos got through customs.   

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I.E.P. for dolls

Miss C received two new dolls over Christmas and has been very busy incorporating them into her already established classroom.  It's hard to get new students mid-year, especially when you've set the classroom up in the bathroom.  There are just so many interruptions, like showers.  Each time I want to take one, I find a new note taped to the door, "DO NOT ENTER EVER thank you."
And then when I want to empty my hamper, there are 14 Barbies sitting on top and the teacher is so pissed that I'm interrupting again.  How are these kids ever going to learn anything? 

Today, I cleared myself out of the bathroom for an hour and after she'd been up there stomping and banging (I think she uses corporal punishment), she left the classroom and asked me to help her move a large easel from the basement to the bathroom. 
"I have to work with Ayla during recess.  She's behind and needs to catch up."

I lifted the easel up the stairs, saying, "Sounds like Ayla needs some help."  As I'm noticing all the space in the basement that could serve as a perfect classroom.  But what do I know.

Miss C clarified, "It's not that Ayla has special needs.  She doesn't.  She's just very stubborn.  Not extremely stubborn, but very stubborn."

"Ah," I said.  "Very stubborn."  Grunting as I maneuvered the easel through the door, placing it---as directed---in front of the toilet. 

"Perfect.  Now," she said, turning toward Ayla, who as I studied her face, did seem to have a bit of an obstinate look to her. 
But I tarried too long.  Miss C took my arm, gently but with purpose, and led me out of the classroom. 

"Being very stubborn is not a special need," she  repeated, "But.  It can make learning hard.  Thank you for the easel." 
The door clicked closed and the dedicated teacher returned to her pupils with varied needs. 
I took leave to the janitorial closet, presuming I'd be called in again when one of them puked on the floor or a desk needed fixing. 

It takes a village to teach one doll.  And some extra help for those stubborn ones. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Laps, Not Apps



Every year, the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood gives an award for The Worst Toy of the Year.
Often the award is tongue-in-cheek, pointing out the insane marketing or terrible ideas some companies will use to sell a product that stretches the meaning of the word toy.

This year, they gave the award, then had to update it, because of this product:
the iPad bouncy seat.

If this "toy" strikes you as just one stroke past ridiculous, there is a great letter you can sign that takes 10 seconds.  It is a petition to let the creators of this product know that it's not educational for infants to be plugged so early, as backed up by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Here's the link to sign.  Sometimes a quick response from consumers can have a powerful impact.