Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Safety Lesson

We've wanted to talk to the kids about stranger danger for a while but wanted to wait until they were just a little older. With our up coming trip to Disney (at the second busiest time of the year) we thought we better take the bull by the horns! It's not an easy conversation to have. I wish we had done it earlier because Mickey didn't seem to take it as seriously as Mason, but she did take in the information we gave her. Here's what we're doing or what we talked about.

1) Through RoadID.com I ordered velcro bracelets for both kids. They are adjustable (but meant for adults). Mason can wear his on his wrist but Mickey will need to wear hers on her ankle. They have reflective tape on them and an engraved steel plate with their information on it. I was able to include the information I wanted; Names, City & Province, home number and both of our cell numbers.

A friend of mine gave me another great idea. Take luggage tags with their important information and attach them to their belt loops on their pants. Fantastic!

2) We taught them how to scream. Sounds nuts...I know. Many parents of abducted children wish that they had taught their kids this lesson and how to fight back. For many people, a scary situation can be paralyzing. Mason really didn't want to scream and felt very unsure about it. Mickey had no problem and really opened up her lungs. She loved practicing. I though the neighbours were going to call 911. We turned it into a game. Heinrich went down the hallway and Mason had to scream until Daddy could hear him. Each time Heinrich went further and further away. Mason really loosened up and became a lot more comfortable with screaming.

3) We talked about stranger danger and that if someone were to force them to go with them that they should yell, "this is NOT my Daddy", "this is NOT my Mommy", "Call POLICE." 

4) We also talked about where to go for help. Heinrich also stressed that when they ask an employee of Disney (let's say) for help, that they should not let that person take them anywhere. They should stay put.

5) We talked about fighting. Not a pleasant topic, but necessary. If someone were to grab their hand or pick them up they are to scream, hit, kick, bite, poke the eyes, etc... anything they can do to hurt that person.
6) Just as a precaution we are also filling out an Identification Kit provided by the RCMP. In it parents can include a photo, hair sample (taken from roots), and fingerprints. 
7) Every morning of our trip we will also be taking a digital photo of what our kids are wearing that day.

8) Lastly, a good thing for your kids to know is a family code. It could be a word or phrase. If someone were to tell your kids that their parents sent them to pick them up, your kids would ask for the family code. If it's not given then they know not to go.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just for future reference!

Oh my darling Mickey. The grief you will cause me over the years to come! Yesterday we had a new little friend over to play. They were taking a while to bond and were doing a lot of parallel play. I told the mom that she was welcome to leave her daughter while she ran some errands. They are currently in the middle of a move. Her daughter was very comfortable with this. Anyhow, I kept checking in and as time passed they eventually started bonding and playing together. I didn't want to interfere too much. Well, the dress up clothes were put on and they pulled out these toys (above). I back off a little. But then the silence hit. Hmmmm, better check on them. So, I go downstairs and I see them with the above evidence in their mouths. I quickly give them a friendly and not at all scary scolding for putting things in their mouths. Mickey gives me "THE LOOK". Oh no. I asked her if something had happened. She started crying and confessed that she had swallowed one! Unfortunately, Mickey is at this wonderful story telling (I won't use the "L" word) stage. I had no idea, how many, how big, etc... So needless to say when the mom showed up, I had to confess (and felt terrible) that this had happened and that I was now taking my daughter up to the hospital (more to comfort my hubby). Turns out that plastic cannot be x-rayed. Should have known this but wasn't thinking! And it also turns out that as long as the item doesn't go into the lungs or immediately chokes them that children can actually swallow fairly large objects! Felt a little silly. Now, it's just a waiting game..... I think the nurses and doctors were amused though!

Our seeds have been planted!

For the past few years we've always planted vegetable seeds and had moderate luck. This year I'm hoping to join a local CSA and won't need any vegetables. So we decided to try flower seeds. We're hoping to turn them into beautiful hanging baskets. We shall see! I may still be making a run to Belgian Nurseries!

Spring hike

We went for a hike to "our" spot last weekend. It was a spectacular day. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and 12 degrees. I was surprised to see so much snow on the ground. It turned out to be a good thing. Had it not still been there it would have been very mucky. I was determined to find some colour is a sea of white and brown. Not much luck. Soon though. I have high hopes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Now?

This is the reading curriculum we've been using for Mason and now Mickey. I've written about it before. I LOVE it. It's all packaged up nicely in one book! If the kids didn't enjoy it we wouldn't be using it, but they do. Mason has felt a great sense of accomplishment by doing the lessons. He's really noticed an improvement in his ability, lesson to lesson. Mickey asks to do more that one lesson at a sitting, so I know she likes it. This is not a daily exercise. We might do one lesson once or twice a week. Each lesson take 10-20 minutes.

Mason has completed the book and now the challenge is on. Finding other books that are suitable. This is the page of one of the last lessons read. The accompanying picture is on the other page (see below). Many children like to see the pictures for clues about the content. Mason is a little unusual. The pictures distract him. He asks to have them covered up. My take, is that he is seeing words as their own picture. He's a visual learner.

I had heard wonderful things about this book series (below) - the Early Reader Classics. Books such as Dr. Doolittle, Riki-Tiki-Tavi, etc... have been written at an early reader level. So after a bit of a wait they finally came into the library. They were covered in pictures. Above the print, below the print and beside the print. When given a page filled with text (at his level) Mason can read somewhat fluidly (while still sounding out some words). On these types of pages (with lots of images), he's in another world. Can't focus on the words at all. 

So this is our challenge now. Finding books at the appropriate reading level, with few pictures and pictures that can easily be covered up!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I was taught a fine lesson today. Never to assume anything about my children. You know what they say about assuming. Mason had been climbing before and Mickey wanted to try it. Honestly I didn't think she'd even get on the wall. We have a climbing wall at gymnastics and she doesn't go on it.

She became our little spider monkey. She did 8-10 climbs and reached the top on the last two. She definitely doesn't take after me. I have a very real fear of heights. Although now that all three climb I'm feeling the pressure to try. It looks fun. Maybe I can do it without looking down. Hmmm, don't know about that. We've been trying to teach the kids techniques for overcoming their fears. Now Mommy is going to have to walk the walk, and talk the talk! I'll let you know what happens when I finally get up the nerve.

Some cell and organ system projects

For term 2 we were studying the unit on Cells, cell systems and organ systems. Here are a couple of the projects.

Build-a-body. Must include all organs and organs must be colour coded by system.

Build a plant or animal cell. Some students made them out of clay and some made them out of found objects.

 Cells could even be made out of edible materials. Here's an example that could really be done with any age group.

Using a dixie cup, pour jello (your choice of colour) into the cup. When ready, peel the cup away. Cut the jello cell in half horizontally. Choose a variety of candy that can represent the different parts of the cell (nucleus, vacuole, chromosomes, etc,,). Using a knife or toothpicks, gently insert the candy. Eat and enjoy! You could also add the organelles - more pieces = more candy! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009