Thursday, March 11, 2010

The blue of hot places

Its cold weather again. Blue skies but ice on the old mop water I left out on the deck. The chickens pecked through the ice to get to their water and the new leaves are looking a bit limp.

I told Wren on Sunday that a Big Chill was coming and he has been afraid to leave the house. He thinks a Big Chill is a storm with huge winds and ice. He keeps whimpering and asking "is this the Big Chill?" From time to time Frost tries to reassure him, saying "the big chill is not a frost giant, Wren. Its just cold weather."

This alludes to Wren ongoing obsession with D&D Miniatures. First thing in the morning and last at night he is arranging the "guys" in "setups". I wish I could find my pictures of Frost at this age doing a very similar thing with his guys - the Papo knights and dragons. Shall I blame this on Josh or is it something genetic that boys like to arrange frightful figures in aggregations that approximate a hoard or army?

In unrelated news, Wren has made up a game on his new bed. He climbs up the foot of the bed, balances precariously on the top rail and then leaps through the air onto the futon mattress. Each jump is named according to a sound effect or trick done during the jump. He does the crow jump (saying CAW), the dragon jump (saying RAARH), the leaping lemur jump (springing high) and the orca whale jump (going splash).

Now an unrelated QUESTION. How often do you clean the front of your kitchen cupboards. I looked at them while mopping today and found them plastered with dried cake batter, flour, paint and other unidentified solidified drips.

It was disgusting.

I feel I have omitted some essential housekeeping. Sure, I can't keep up with wet dusting but kitchen slime dried on my lovely cupboards?

In unrelated EXCITEMENT: We are hoping to go to a game reserve for a few nights while in South Africa this August. Ingrid emailed to ask which camp we would prefer. Here is an excerpt from Ingrid's email. It made me laugh a lot.


Josh looks on this whole game park thing with disinterested dismay. He thinks it is weird and dangerous. I told Ingrid that Hilltop sounded better (due to the risk of the Hyena's stealing Wren instead of just the meat or the monkey's being overboard with the kids) but our provisional reservation is for Mtwazi in Hluluwe (continguous with Imfolozi) which also looks nice (no pool - which will reassure Mum who fears for Wren's safety). Here is a US Blogger's entry about staying there. I include it because it puts things in a perspective I never consider and uses words that you yanks understand like "Safari" rather than "going to a game reserve". Just don't say we're going on safari or I will laugh and mock you to show I am still Seth Afriken.

Apparently we can't go on any of the ranger escorted walks [where you walk through the park with a guy with a gun] until the kids are over 14. However, adults can go on a walk without the kids! Joshua will not be keen but I am hopeful - everyone has to tell a story of having to climb a thorn tree to escape white rhino. The kids are allowed out of the car at waterholes to walk to the hide and can go on a game-watching bus ride.

I am still battling the preschool question for this fall. I have signed Wren up at a lovely Waldorf inspired preschool but have some lingering doubts because its the furthest preschool we considered and is relatively large. Also, I really like the early literacy and manipulatives they use at some of the more expensive local Montessori inspired programs. Finally, the more alternative community at my current favorite school worries me a bit with Wren's health. Fall is always a tough time for respiratory and viral illnesses and a lower level of vaccination and more kids in close proximity make me a bit anxious.

Josh has decided against Montessori although I still have a strong affection for The Materials and the ritualistic focus that one gets. I wanna be a kid in the primary montessori class. Perhaps I will ask Josh to view the class one morning. Josh?

Clarity please, clarity. Spirits speak to me. Tea leaves - write the name of a preschool.

Moving right on - planning to blow some eggs and make beeswax candles with the kids. All these preschool tours have filled me with parenting inspiration for lovely activities to do with the kids. Wren would be fine at any of these schools, right?

Mum: This is the tart dish I bought at the thrift store yesterday for $4. Is it like yours or Dad's? I am thinking of making a passionfruit and lemon tart with my last tin of passionfruit from Australia!


hschinske said...

I would think Waldorf might attract a relatively high percentage of non-vaccinated kids as well -- you might ask around.


Shannon said...

You are right but it remains such a hard decision. I would prefer a nice modern non-ideological, messy, preschool that focuses on play.

However, while co-op does that I can't find a good pay-for-play model that is not Waldorf.

Not to knock waldorf, its a gentle philosophy and one I admire. However, I don't find a natural fit with our digital lifestyle and abundance of text in Wren's room.

I spoke to our co-op teacher today. She is a very wise and clever person. She says that I should look for a play focused program rather than Montessori. There is time enough for formal learning later.

I agree.

Now, if I could just materialize a place that has learning without the formality, wisdom without fairies and a small (and relatively germ-conscious) environment for my virally challenged little guy.

Garrett said...

Tam here (not Garrett):
As always, I'm not in a position to comment about Seattle schools. I can toss in another Geneva anecdote, however..... Last fall, there was a measles epidemic in Switzerland. Yes, measles -- a young girl of about 12 even died from it. I read that about 36 of 40 children with confirmed cases of measles in the neighbouring canton (province) were associated with a particular Steiner school. Scary stuff.

On Montessori: as I said in a previous comment, we had a very good experience for a year at a bilingual Montessori school here. But Kenji has subsequently had a fantastic experience at the public school for pre-K and K. No, they don't use the same lovely Montessori materials (which I really do like, but maybe that's my adult bias!), but he's fortunate to have a wonderful teacher who has been providing just that combination of numeracy/literacy and play that you describe.

The bottom line -- Wren will be 3 when he starts whatever program you choose. Play is key; a vaccinated school population is essential. Find a place with enough of both, and Wren will work out the rest.

And no matter what happens, you will continue to provide him with more than enough literacy and numeracy exposure at home to keep him thinking.

Tam (posting from Garrett's account)