Monday, August 31, 2009

Smart.. or smart alec?

Tomorrow is my little boys first half day at preschool. He is excited. I am nervous. It's such a big step. Of course he has been away from mommy before. Mimi Becky and Grandpa Bill, Ama Madeleine.. they have all watched Joseph from a few hours to a few days. Joseph has been absolutely fine and mommy and daddy have enjoyed the time together. There really is no reason to be nervous. Besides.. our little boy is pretty smart. He can count almost to twenty. He knows and recognizes the letters of the alphabet. And he is recently learning to say please. "Pweeee". Very endearing.

It is important to me that he learns certain things from a young age. Politeness in word and deed is what we are working on now. Of course a two year old doesn't automatically understand why he just can't wriggle up unto the seat of the cool fire truck in the museum and dislodge another child that way if it works and gets him the coveted seat behind the wheel. But he is learning and he starts to understand the phrases "wait' "wait your turn" and is slowly beginning to understand the concept of sharing.
One of the other things we have tried to teach him early is to be a good 'helper' to his mommy. Before he was a year and a half old Joseph 'helped' me with the laundry. Mommy pulled washed clothes out of the washing machine, gave them to Joseph and he helped by putting them in the dryer. When it is time to eat, Joseph takes out his own bowl and cutlery. And when he spills something he helps clean it up. He sometimes even helps mommy with cooking (he gets to stir when I bake a cake) or cleaning (with a little rag and a spray bottle of water). Of course mommy is very proud when he helps. She tells him he is a good mommy helper. She tells him that he is a big boy to help her like that. And tells him what a good boy he is when he helps and listens.

As you can see we have tried to instill certain words and values in him. Some days I think we have a long way to go. Some days I think I have thought him well. Some days I think I have thought him too well.
This evening, we were starting the before bed ritual. Joseph had had a bad, was in his jammies and about to watch sesame street when mommy noticed that all the blocks were still on the floor. Tidying up the blocks is something that Joseph will do, but mommy needs to remind him. So I told Joseph that he needed to put the "blocks in the box". Don't chores sound much more fun if they rhyme or are put on song?
Joseph however ignored mommy for Sesame Street that was about to begin. Mommy repeated the request. Joseph was still fascinated by the people who sponsor sesame street. Mommy was not about to be ignored though. So she cruelly pushed pause on the remote control and told Joseph once more to put the blocks in the box. This time I got the desired reaction. Joseph started to move and put the blocks away. Both mommy and daddy pronounced him a good boy. I watched him with tenderness as my not quite two year old diligently put blocks away.
Then he looked at me, utterly adorable and came to me with two blocks in his hands. He gently pushed them in my own, looked up and simply said "hep" (help), in the utter trust that now mommy would help him with HIS chores.

Bill and I laughed heartily and mommy did end up helping him as he put his blocks away. What can I say? He has.. people skills?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pre school orientation

Joseph is starting preschool on tuesday. He will only go two half days of course, but for his mommy it is an enormous step.
Last wednesday there was an orientation for parents. The invitation said from 6.30 to 8 pm to meet the teachers and see the rooms and see to last minute details etc. I will admit I was as nervous as if he was filling out college aplications. I wanted him and us to make a good impression.
First of all I wanted to be perfectly on time, so I picked my husband up early and we were on our way. Joseph looked so cute in his summery shirt, and shorts and sneakers.

And then, just when we were about five more minutes driving from the YMCA.. he threw up all over himself. Not sick for an entire day, but all of a sudden out of the blue.. gulp. Okay.. so we needed to drive home instead. We run into the house, get Joseph out of the carseat with a towel, to avoid getting stuff all over us and while my husband tries to clearn out the car seat I hose Joseph off in the bad.
We drive back to the YMCA, definitely late and in a smelly car, not certain if certain odours would not cling to us all by the time we arrived.

Luckily the meeting turned out to be a drop in. Joseph will belong to the doodelbugs group. And we received a folder with all the relevant information. What to bring.. what not to bring. And so on.
The teachers were very friendly and immediately impressed with Joseph's.... running capabilities. As usual, our little boy found standing or sitting still rather boring when there was this whole new building to explore. Mommy and daddy were tag teaming, and the teachers were jumping in as well to keep him out of places he should not be. He was very impressed with the window through which he could see the swimming pool and I wonder if he will like the swimming lessons he gets on tuesday.

At a certain moment, Joseph discovered a computer in the reception area. Ooohhh... he needed to explore that! The teacher allowed him to do so while sitting on her lap. Joseph was extatic. And rewarded her by showing off. He pushed buttons on the keyboard and as they appeared on the screen in the drawing program she had opened, he started to correctly name them, one by one. Then to conclude the performance, he sang the ABC song. Apparently he is well versed when it comes to the "Aabee's" as he likes to call it.

When mommy and daddy had filled out the last of the paperwork, his teacher asked cheerily if he would want to go back to mommy. Joseph however did not see the need. "No mommy". Clearly he felt perfectly comfortable where he was.
So comfortable even that when we went home, he tried to run back several times when we were walking to the car. And that same evening he went to the garage door at least twice telling us "pea school" "pea school"

We explained he needed to wait a few more days before he could return to pre school. I wonder if he will be AS happy on tuesday when he actually must manage for three whole hours without mommy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

They grow up so fast

It is never too early to talk with your children about serious matters. I remember Bill talked to Joseph when he was still inside mommy's tummy about the advantages of coming out sleeping through the night and potty trained. That one did not work out as we had hoped, but we are not the kind that easily gives up.
So, we regularly have serious talks with Joseph about Jesus, about the priesthood, about the fact that he will never have a computer in his bedroom, that books are the greatest thing on earth and that he will be as nerdy as mommy and daddy...

Today I had been watching a tv program about weddings and commitment. It ended with a marriage proposal and I thought it was time for another serious conversation. So I took our wedding picture from the shelf, showed it to him and told him this was mommy and this was daddy (the picture is shot from the back.) Then I told him that daddy asked mommy to marry him and she had said yes. I began to tell him that one day when he was much older and if he was not called to the priesthood, he might meet a girl. Joseph seemed to be listening with great attention. He looked at mommy with those big, brown eyes and said absolutely earnest: "pea school"

Aparently he is determined to meet his future wife in preschool in two weeks. I think I need to start arranging a marriage for that boy, now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The sweetest sound

I heard the two most wonderful phrases in the English language today for the first time:

"I love mommy"


"Yes, mommy"

Plus I received a compliment on the behaviour of my son today while we were out and about. Some days need to be hung on the wall in a frame to remember forever.

The picture is from two weeks ago when Joseph received his reading/ listening medal at the library.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Music to my ears.

I like music. I can enjoy it intensely and I sing a lot while doing things with my little boy. I have a self invented new diaper song on the music of la cucaracha. A self invented naptime song on the theme of a religious song I learned as a child, and I often invent ditties on the spot to help get clothes on or to tell my little boy that I love him.
Despite all that, my love for music is rather.. nonchalant. Oh, I can enjoy good music quite a bit. I have never met someone who said he absolutely did not care about music. But before I had a little boy to sing to, it was not uncommon for me to put a cd on and realize as I did so that it had literally been days since I had heard any music. I wasn't in the habit of putting the radio on at home, I went by public transport, and I rarely thought about taking an Ipod or something with me when I travelled.
When I was younger I was in a choir, but despite a great deal of enthousiasm, I have absolutely no musical talent. If I want to learn how to sing a song, I need to hammer it in by repeating it over and over and over again until I get it right and it is almost etched in my vocal chords.
It is therefor somewhat of a surprise to see that my little boy has much more of a musical inclination than I have. When visiting his grandmother, not only was he fascinated by the piano (that did not surprise me that much, it has keys after all that he could press) but he was much more delicate and dedicated in trying to get music out of it. He really seemed to listen to what he played. He loves to sing, and the parts of mass that are easiest for him to deal with are parts where the congregation or the choir sings. At less than two years old he sings enthousiastically along, probably getting the melody better than his poor mommy. He seems to pick up songs very easily and claps enthousiastically along when the radio is on in the car and a Prokowiev piece comes to an end.

I wonder if he has inherited the musical talent from my father (it skipped a generation since I obviously didn't have it) or from my wonderful husband who seemed to have been pretty decent at the piano once upon a time. We are wondering if there is a piano in our future. And if so, at what time we should introduce it....
One thing is for sure, that is one talent his mommy will not be able to help him develop. But that does not mean she can't encourage it.