Friday, 28 September 2012

Bringing up baby: First Art! 23 Jan 2012

First Art! (c) Atilla 2012
Medium: Fingers, paint, paper.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bringing up baby: art 26 Sep 2012

art 26 Sep 2012 (C) Atilla 2012
Medium: Brush, paint, paper.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Bringing up baby: the great escape

Atilla and his posse escaped from their allotment on Monday.

Rory’s mum came in the afternoon to collect her son. Some kids were in the big kids playground, with no adult supervision. This was out of the ordinary.

On closer inspection, one of them was her son!

The escapees were rounded up, and escorted back to the baby area.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Bringing up baby: 23 September 2012

Morning sleep-in 23 Sept 2012
(C) ^_^ 2012

I had a relapse with the seasonal illness today.

As much as I appreciated my sleep-in, I still felt physically rotten.

Waking up with jigsaw pieces, and a pair of baby moccasins, next to my head; playground fun with the family.

The first is as it implies. Atilla woke up before his parents, and entertained himself rearranging the rooms. He strode back and forth between his room and ours, carrying items he deemed significant. When he'd had enough of that, he explored Daddy's cluttered bedside table. This got an immediate reaction, and Daddy got out of bed to look after Atilla.

In the afternoon the good weather came back, so we walked to the playground. Daddy was convinced to come with us, and leave the cooking clean-up until later.

The swing was first. Then the swing with Daddy in the big swing too. Then Mummy in the big swing, swinging ever higher and worrying Daddy.

Then it was the yellow slide, Atilla clambering up the wooden steps all by himself, and Mummy at the bottom to greet him.

We mucked about for a bit, as I sat and basked in the late afternoon sun. Atilla explored the possibilities of the grassed and fenced area of the playground, and the bark covered ground. He found a piece of plastic, and didn't recognise it as 'bish.

I called to him that it was rubbish. He looked solemnly in my direction, then determinedly toddled to the side of the playground, climbed over and down the wooden edge, and to the rubbish bin. The edge of the bin was taller than he. Without a pause for self-doubt, he stretched up and managed to put the 'bish in the bin. Daddy and I cheered and clapped.

Then it was the lizard wall, with Daddy helping Atilla. And down the yellow slide. And up the lizard wall. And then...across the log-rope bridge and to the big blue slide! Mummy to catch/greet. I didn't do it well :(

As per Atilla's modus operandi, he starts sliding on his bum and then twists half-way down to slide on his front. The blue slide is wavy. Atilla hit his face on a wavy bit. He cried, and was comforted and I apologised.

He wanted to climb the lizard wall again. Once up, he preferred to stay in the toddler platform area looking through the kaleidoscope, and play with the steering wheel. I fooled about, hanging off the rope on the log-rope bridge. This seemed to inspire Atilla to go to the blue slide again. Daddy went down with him, and both ended safely.

The train crawl was his next activity. Through, under, and over. As Daddy was here this time to catch if he fell, 'Over' was a definite treat. On the roof of the train, Atilla tended to launch himself at Daddy.

Atilla finagled one more activity. The vertical rope climb.

He had seen the 4 1/2yo do it yesterday.

So today he wanted to do it. He insisted. I hadn't the heart to dissuade his ambitions, and plus it would wear him out quicker.

I loitered. He climbed onto the first level by himself. I was amazed. Daddy was amazed. As Atilla was on a roll, I decided helping him get to the second level was a worthy task. I guided his hands to the best hold, helped his legs reach the second level, and he climbed all by himself. Parental agogment.

Atilla was now at Daddy's level. Daddy helped. Atilla was now the highest of us all. Parental pride, and concern.

We called it a day. Atilla prolonged his freedom in myriad ways: wandering to the hillock, holding my hand and then releasing to wander on the grassy verge to admire the home owners' garden flowers. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bringing up baby: 22 September 2012

- Atilla said "Thank you" to me, both verbally and in sign. I had shared with him some/most of my toast at breakfast. This is the second time he's thanked me. The first time was last week, I think. It was over so quickly I almost missed it.

- Atilla helped out with cleaning up the dining area again. This is the third time he's done it. Once he finished, he was happy to go have a bath with Daddy.

Highlights today:
I spent the morning with Atilla. Breakfast, playground.

He had come into our bed during the night, bringing a couple of books[1]. When he woke up this morning, he was in an agreeable mood. He tried to get back to sleep, tossing and turning. He gave up. He had some water from his water bottle. He read his books several times - "That's not my Tiger" and "Baby Animals". He played with his coughing bowl[2] by turning it into a hat. First on his head. Then on my head. Then on Daddy's head.

This amused me so much, I gave up on a morning lie-in. Atilla helped me get dressed, and we went downstairs for Mum&Son weekend breakfast routine: milk bottle, tea for parents, breakfast for mum and son. As aforementioned, I shared most of my toast with Atilla. (Much afterwards, I had his rejected microwaved scrambled egg.)

It was such a lovely morning. It hadn't rained overnight, so I was fairly confident the playground wasn't soaked like it has been for the past 2 weeks. It only took 30mins to convince Atilla, and to get out of the house.

I attempted to teach road safety rules. It didn't take, but I'll persevere. Look both ways before crossing the road; the person looking after you walks on the outside.

At the playground I made a cursory inspection of the safe yellow slide - no puddle at the base so I must be right about no wet.

Atilla wanted the swing. He swung. He wanted down.

We climbed up the wooden steps to the yellow slide and slid down the slide. My bum feels wet and cold! I was wrong about no wet.

We meandered around the playground for a bit. It was Our Domain. No one else there. Keyboard, climbing ropes, lizard wall. Spinning thing.

Atilla became dizzy so we stopped. Being dizzy, he couldn't balance properly and fell over on the bark-strewn ground. He was fascinated by a stick and used it to make trenches in the barked ground. He looked so cute and pre-occupied, safe enough to have him solo-play, I thought.

I kept an eye on him, and sat on the big swing, and swung, thinking loving thoughts about how wonderful Atilla is.

Shortly afterwards Atilla started to look for me, and he decided he wanted the swing again. He sat in the baby swing, and was swung, and indicated he wanted Mummy to sit in the big swing. We swung companionably side by side for extended minutes. Three sessions, I call it, as I got off the swing three times.

We played Chase, and Hide and Seek. Then Atilla wanted morning tea. He was sad about having only the apple he had nibbled at breakfast, so we went to the corner bakery to buy toddler-friendly food. Sultana bun, and sausage in pastry roll.

We sat on the playground bench, and shared the bun. Like we used to do last year. He ate well. Part-way through, he wanted to sit on the other bench. So we did. He likes perching, I think. I did when I was a kid. Probably still do, but less opportunity.

Another family came to the playground: mum, daughter, son. Atilla was transfixed, bun forgotten in his hand.

The girl was rambunctious everywhere. She was fearless.

Atilla finished his food, and we returned to play. Of significance is he wanted to climb the lizard wall for real. So I helped him, giving instruction he should push himself up the wall with his legs. We made it up. Transversing the wobbly log-rope bridge is only if Daddy takes him. He was amenable. He slid down the yellow slide. We repeated climbing and sliding a few more times.

The family departed.

Atilla led the way for a meander through the small grassy area, under the trees, and sidewalk. He found a stick. I enjoyed the moment. We had all the time in the world.

When he became peckish again, we had to go home.

Once in our driveway, Dad was talking with our neighbour about water supply. That's another story.

[1] Ever since he had some independence in coming and going out of his bed at night, and self-possession, he brings in one or two books when he comes to our bed. The books are carefully chosen, not just any random books to hand. I hadn't realised his careful selection, until one night when I heard him wake up, get out of bed, and go to his book collection and rummaged through it. The books he brought in that night were previously at the bottom of the pile of books. 

[2] His coughing bowl is a small mixing bowl, a carryover from when he was ill and needed a spew bowl. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Bringing up baby: art 19 Sept 2012

Post post impressionism (c) Atilla 2012
Unknown painting sequence from day care.
Medium: Paint, brush, paper. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bringing up baby: Cone painting 7 March 2012

Cone painting 1 (c) Atilla 2012
Third creative work from Day Care.
Medium: Cone, paint, and paper.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bringing up baby: update 14 September 2012

Tonight Atilla managed to complete parts of his jigsaw all by himself! It was astounding. He enjoyed it so much, we repeated the game three times.
Sent from handheld

On 12/09/2012, at 11:07 PM, Solo-adventure wrote:
This morning was so amazing. Atilla woke up at a reasonable time, and was a very agreeable chap. He was playful throughout the entire Get Ready for Daycare routine. He was charming during our drive, and even said 'Bye bye Daddee' at the appropriate moment. He walked up the ramp to the entrance of Daycare. He was so lovely to be with I didn't want to leave him.
But I had to, to be able to keep him. I have to work.
Sent from handheld

On 11/09/2012, at 2:10 AM, Solo-adventure wrote:
I adore how he talks to himself.
He says, "Yes? Yes!"
I'm glad he likes books. This makes car travel more bearable. He does quite well without distractions, but distractions are a good tool.
Our work day travel takes us past a billboard advertising a boat. This is one of the highlights of his day. I think. The prospect of the boat picture, and seeing Daddy, reconciles him to leaving the fun of daycare.
Sent from handheld

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bringing up baby: new filing system

Atilla's filing system for food-in-progress.
(c) ^_^ 2012

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bringing up baby: Where Biscuit?

Atilla: Where biscuit?
(c) ^_^ 2012

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bringing up baby: 9 September 2012

Atilla was great to be with today. I don't recall specifics. He was charming from the time he awoke. He looks much less like a baby now his front curls are gone. Sigh.

We all had breakfast out at Cafe Melba, and Atilla enjoyed his spiced fluffy very much. We frequented the Fairy Festival.

Then he slept. 

He awoke, had an outing with Aunty and Uncle - a good time was had by all. He was very good during the outing, and listened to Aunty's instructions. 

I think his great mood was a carryover from yesterday. We played the same games: Hide in the Hanging Laundry, Wii Resort, Pull Atilla on Trunkie, etc.

I still have this dreadful cough. 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bringing up baby: sweeper, and other things

Atilla is incredible. Tonight he decided he wanted to help clean up the kitchen before he had a bath. He did it Mummy's finicky way - amazing.

He got the adult-sized light weight microfibre-loop sweeper, and swept his self-designated area so cleaning. He got the adult-sized light weight plastic bristle broom, and swept the same area. And to top it all off, he got the dustpan and brush and swept up the remains!

I thanked him, Daddy thanked him, and Atilla went to his bath with nary a fuss. 
He is amazing. 

Earlier today (8 Sept 2012) we had a few errands at Sylvia Park. Most important was a haircut for Daddy and son.

By the time son got into the hairdressers' chair, he had lost patience with the whole outing. So we got a pair of hairdressing scissors for Mummy.

When we arrived home, Atilla was fast asleep upright in his car seat. 

The Grooming Fairy got into action, and snipped his front curls away. I miss his baby curls. The rest of his hair is straight. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Thoughts on: Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood 4

Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood - Bending the Rules, by Sue Dockett & Marilyn Fleer (1999)

This book is due back next week, so I'm rushing through these jottings. 

Section 1. Theories of Play.
Section 2. A New Look at Play?
Section 3. Analysing Play.

Section 4. Play in Action.
The Child’s Whole Play Experience, Organising for Play, Play at School. 

My take-away: Children Play all day, even if adults do not recognise it as such. They play when they wake, at mealtime, wearing clothes, in the car, in the bath, etc.

I quite like Table 12.1 on page 229. In summary: Aborigine support as needed vs Japanese interdependence vs Western promote autonomy.

Organising for Play variations. Of the five different styles or programmes, these are 3 the ones which resonate with me. 

  • Work then Play – it’s the approach I learned, and still practice.
  • Project Approach – Play is used to support adult-selected learning outcomes. Children control the content of the play.
  • Reggio Emilia – in this peer-control style, children have the control of their long-term projects and the adults support these for as long as the interest holds, e.g. displaying the children’s work, extend beyond their everyday experiences, facilitating the ‘shared wisdom’ of the group. I wish I could do this, but it reads like a lot of work for the adults. 

With regards to Play at School, this excerpt (p 276) is a good simile as to how it is in New Zealand these days I reckon. 

We Can’t Do That 

Amy and Eliza are both aged 8. They say, ‘We don’t do skipping, ‘cause we don’t have stuff we can use. And there’s no place you can go to do that. There’s no skipping and no elastics. Sometimes we’re allowed to keep out the big rope after fitness, and people get in the middle and we play with it. But then someone says there’re note going to play or they’re not their friend, and we can’t play.’ 

Terry (aged 8) reports: ‘We can’t play football, ‘cause there’s no grass. And we can’t play on the asphalt ‘cause it’s hard and we might fall over. We can’t play marbles ‘cause there’s nowhere flat. [At my last school] we used to play it where there was just a little hole and little bit [of ground] where we could play marbles.’ 
(Dockett, 1997)

With regards to bullying at school:

Sam (aged 9):
This kid came and punched Brett up a bit, but said Brett had started it. But this other kid was heaps bigger than Brett, he was just huge! All night he [the other child] was punching himself so he had a big bruise and so he could say Brett punched him first.
(Dockett, 1997)

Friends are incredibly important. Friendship interactions helps the ability to read a social situation, and develop a representational theory of mind and the ability to consider the perspectives of others. 

“Having friends enables the practice and refinement of social skills such as group entry and negotiation.” (p282)

  • Dockett, S. 1997. Interviews on school play. Unpublished manuscript.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Thoughts on: Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood 3

Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood - Bending the Rules, by Sue Dockett & Marilyn Fleer (1999)

This book is due back next week, so I'm rushing through these jottings. 

Section 1. Theories of Play.
Section 2. A New Look at Play?
Section 3. Analysing Play.
Section 4. Play in Action.

My take-away:  This is the most interesting to me. It covers some of my concerns – Cultural Play, Power & Play, Technology & Play, Adults in Play, Individual Differences in Play.

Since having read this section, I have stopped worrying about Atilla’s playing. I am now more observant, supportive, encourage his style of play, and participate in his play more. 

I am more relaxed about including technology in his Play – Wii machine, iPad, television (dvd).

Power/Control in Play is a provoking thought. 

The Aborigine kids are supported to be autonomous in their eating, sleeping, and walks. They eat when and what they want to eat, they sleep when they choose to sleep, and walk as far as they want to walk.

In the Western world, there is the concept of Friend, nor Not Friend – an In Group and Out Group which can develop between 2-5yo. This freaks me out. What if my kid continues this discrimination? Worse, what if he is in the Out Group? 

Gender is another aspect. Girls tend to home-making play, because they identify with the Mum who has most power at Home. Boys tend not to identify with home-making play because often the girls delegate them to non-power roles. Boys tend towards violence and Super Hero Play, however they can be guided towards Support Role Play (e.g. Super Heros need to eat, have clothes, etc).

Therapy Play is not a new thing. However the interpretation of the Play requires lots of context.
Atilla enjoys putting Caillou to bed. Caillou gets covered with a blanket, and patted quite hard on the chest. When I first saw this (3 weeks ago) I interpreted this as Rough Play. Last night Atilla and I replicated putting Caillou to bed, but with Atilla as ‘Caillou’. Atilla indicated he likes being patted quite hard – Mummy was patting too gently for his liking. So now I know.

Adults in Play organise the Space, materials, time, and support to allow the Play to occur. I love this description so much.

The program on mapping emerged from the [4-5yo] children’s keen interest in China…

Having just finished a unit on Chinese New Year, the children had become very adept at pointing out China and Australia on a globe. Towards the end of the Chinese New Year unit, one of the children suggested that we should visit China. This began a discussion on how to get there, during which we referred to the globe to look at water and land. 

These were quite difficult concepts for the children to master. However, we finally determined that it would take too long to go to China in one day so it wasn’t really a feasible excursion. 

From ‘Hush! It’s Grandma Poss and Burra mapping out some possum magic’ (Fleer, 1997, p22). 

Individual Differences in Play – children play at their own pace, in their own way, at their own time. Not allowing them to do that means it’s not play. 

Atilla has a Play at the Brush Teeth routine. We’re in the bathroom. There’s some shampoo bottles and a brush for cleaning the shower glass with. He likes to re-arrange these. He takes them individually and puts it on the covered toilet seat. He takes them individually and places them outside the bathroom. He takes them individually and reaches high up to put it into the bathroom sink. (All while I’m brushing my teeth or flossing.) He takes them individually and puts them back in the approximate places he first found them. This Play developed over 2 weeks. He started with just putting the items outside the bathroom.

  • Fleer, M. 1997. Play interviews. Unpublished transcripts.