Sweet Boy Moment

Thinking aloud in the car today, I had mentioned I would like to give blood sometime. I explained to Din what that meant and how giving blood saves lives like a hero. Din replies very excitedly "After you give the blood, when do you get to turn into a Super Hero Mommy?!"

Learning Addition

The other day while at Barnes & Nobles Bookstore, I was looking for more ideas to teach my son about addition.  Disney makes this great line of books called Disney School Skills - Let's Learn Addition 
We started the book yesterday morning and it began using number stickers to fill in the missing numbers from 1 to 20.  On the next page, he then had to write in the missing numbers. Next he had to do number sets which included drawing in the correct number of items as requested on each question. 



The entire book has the Disney Pixar Cars theme so it's familiar and fun for Din. At the end of the book, there are two pages where it lists all the new things I can do.  Such as I can...  Count and sequence numbers to 20  and I can show different ways to make 4.  There are 24 of these "I Can" and once your child can do these things, he/she gets to put a trophy sticker.  I told Din, after he finishes the book and gets all 24 stickers, he could pick out a new Pixar Cars at the toy store.   He is very happy with this and even more excited to learn the different things he needs to, to be able to pick out his new car.

This morning, we worked on showing different ways to make 4, 5, 6 and 7.  For the first one, it shows the number 4 and then 4 uncolored cars.  The directions say to color the cars blue and yellow to show that you can make 4 in different ways.  The first activity was done in the book showing the first two cars colored in Blue and the next two cars colored in yellow.  Underneath the picture they wrote in 2 and 2 makes 4.  Din caught on quick.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting him to!  I asked him how else we could make 4 and he replied "1  + 3 makes 4".  And he colored one car yellow and three cars blue and wrote the numbers underneath.  The next couple of pages does this for the number 5, 6 and 7.  He got each one and loved it!

In fact, over lunch today I would say to him "Din can you name 3 ways to make the number 6?"  or "I bet you can't think of some ways to make the number 10!"  And he proved me wrong each time!  I was so surprised when he was just rattling off  what numbers added together make up 10.

First Ice Skating Lesson

Today my boy had his first ice skating lesson.  It was very heartbreaking to watch.  Din is the type of boy that wants to excel in everything and when he doesn't succeed at first, well it was difficult to watch.  On the way to the rink, I was trying to prep him and let him know that many of the kids, including him may be falling down. First the instructors had the kids practice sitting on the floor (off the ice) and practice standing up properly.  Next about thirty 3 and 4 year old kids were led to the door to enter the ice rink.  As soon as Din stepped on the ice with two feet, he fell on to his butt.  And that's when it started....for the next 30 minutes, every time he stood up or tried to, he would fall right down again.  I felt like a mommy turtle watching a baby turtle on its back trying to turn itself right from far away.  He was on the ice and I couldn't do a damn thing to help him since I couldn't go on the ice.  There was a dad there who occasionally yelled out to his kids on the ice and at first I was thinking 'Guy keep it down' but it actually then encouraged me because that was the only way I could maybe get some encouragement to Din. I started yelling out "Great job Din - You can do it!"  I don't know if he heard me but it certainly helped me better.  Even DH yelled out some encouragement to Din after I did.

I took some pictures and some video.  I was worried that he wouldn't want to try it again.  At times, he was laying on the ice, pounding it with his fist or skate; clearly frustration is what Din was feeling.  He was doing better towards the end of the lesson.  At first, he couldn't even stand up but by the end of the class, he was able to stand up and take two steps before falling again.  Din ended the class by having a complete meltdown to one of the instructors who did a great job trying to get him to try again and get focused.  He did try again but when it kept failing, he was done and the instructor carried him crying over to me.  Heartbreaking!

 DH and I told him how fantastic he did and how proud of him we are of all the trying he did. One of the problems we realized was that we put him in a pair of 2nd hand hockey skates and we should have put him in figure skates which has a straighter and longer back instead of the shorter, curvier skate of the hockey skate.  We brought his little teary eyed face over to the rental area and showed him the difference.  Promised him, we would try a pair of new skates next time.  I also showed him a video of him standing and skating for 30 seconds.  He was excited I had this video. He told me he thought he was just falling down and was so proud of himself when I showed him he can do it.  He was so cute too, told me he thought skating was going to be easy.  I'm so proud of him for all the trying he did today.

Addition

As long as I can remember Dylan has loved numbers and at age three he could do simple adding and subtracting if we visualized it for him.  I would say to him if you and N were at the McDonald's play area and Sally, Sue and Steve showed up, how many kids would be at the play area and he would think about it and spit out the correct answer.  DH and I were so excited, we started expanding the visualizing mathematics as well as doing subtraction.  Our excitement, caused much excitement in Dylan in learning.

Now that he is four years old and knows how write his numbers, I gave him a workbook with some math problems in it such as 2 + 1 =   and he writes in the number.  We just started this last week and he loves it.  I stumbled upon a website called Lake Shore Learning.  In their resource section, there are flash cards that you can make up your own addition or subtraction, print them, cut them and then fold and tape/glue them to use them.  They make a fantastic learning tool and great to use when standing in line or waiting for your food to arrive at a restaurant.  

Sweet Boy Moment

My boy is the sweetest and it's moments like these that I want to cherish and remember.  While Dylan was eating some Trader Joe's Peanut butter trail mix, he ran over to me in another room and said to me "Mommy, these are your favorite.  You can have this last peanut butter cup!"  And he proceeds to finger feed me this little peanut butter cup.  And as I type this, he runs out again and gave me the last raisin.  I'm so blessed.

Butternut Squash with Thyme

I love Butternut squash and finding creative ways to incorporate it into dinner.  Right now it's in season, which means you can find it locally and pretty inexpensive. One of the best ways I've been able to save money on meals is to buy it at my local farm stand. Last night, I made Butternut Squash Risotto for dinner and had some squash left over that I didn't want to go to waste.  I found a great recipe for Brown Butter Squash with Thyme on SimplyRecipes.com.  It only took about 20 minutes to cook up and went great with our salad for another meatless dinner which we are trying to do more of since it's healthier.

Mail Day!

On the whim of a 4 year old, we received a beautiful piece of art work with Din's name and his friend N's name.  It was put into an envelope by N's mom and mailed to us at home.  Din had awoken from his nap and we checked the mail box. Din was very excited to see a piece of mail with his name on it.  Din loved the picture N made for him with both their names on it.  It now hangs proudly on our refrigerator.  He quickly figured out that he would like to make N something and we got out our craft bin and away he went.  Drawing lines and cutting them out and making a card with their names on it.  He also glued on some squares and when I asked him what it was, he replied "It's called 'Mountain Desert'".  He then folded it up and stuck it in an envelope to mail to N.  This could definitely be the start of something good!

Scissor skills

Not only are scissors a fun and exciting activity for little ones but their little fingers get strengthened as well as gaining hand eye coordination.  Who doesn't love making snow flakes out of paper in the winter time or cutting out different shapes to glue onto a piece of paper?  Using scissors is a skill a child must learn.   Not sure where to start?  Check out Kumons First Book of Cutting for ages 3-4-5.    What I specially like about the Kumon workbooks are that the activities start easy and slowly as your child builds his/her confidence in doing things, the activites get more involved.  Cutting straight lines and then eventually to diagonal lines to wavy lines to circles.  Great confidence booster!