Friday, July 18, 2008


This week I got a surprise email from Mommy-K asking me to babysit for a few hours in the morning on Tuesday and Wednesday. I, of course, said yes. Boy was I in for lots of surprises when I arrived!

K is walking, no hands, and can get anywhere and reach anything. She also seems to be trying to string words together in sentences! For example, when she sees the family dog she say something with a t-sound in it then she says dog, then she says something with and s-sound in it, and finally she says woof-woof. So, I encourage her and reply "Yes, K. The dog says woof woof." or "The dog says woof woof. That's right, K!" I am not sure if repeating what I think she is trying to say first and then encouraging her is better than the reverse, so I vary it. K also wants to be doing everything her brother is doing be it monkey bars, climbing up the slide, swinging a bat or reading a book. She is imitating everything and wants to be a part of what everyone, especially her brother, is doing. New words: up, in, out. Current favorite words: eyes, fish, meow, cat, dog, woof woof.

Funny story. Well, funny to me anyway. I gave K some sliced up peach and sliced up pear for breakfast on Tuesday. They were incredibly juicy and she kept squeezing them in her hands and getting the juice ALL OVER herself in every crease and crevice of her little person. As icing on the cake, she lifted her arms above her head and squeezed the fruit juice into her hair squealing with laughter all the while. Needless to say, a bath was required.

C wants to be outside ALL THE TIME, I think he would sleep outside if given the chance. I have actually thought of buying him a tent. I have not found the perfect tent yet, but I did come across a very interesting article. The article is about different organic farms in the U.K. where one can take their family camping! The article:
I wish we had this in the U.S. and maybe we do, but I'll have to do further research. So far, all I am able to find is eco-friendly U.S. lodging, not camping. The article:

Back to C, he loves being outdoors. We play in the sandbox, swing, build and run obstacle courses, play t-ball, play kickball, etc. His "big boy bike" riding skills are steadily improving, though he isn't too fond of having to wear a helmet. He is also now able to reach the monkey bars and, with me as spotter and occasional weight support, navigate them. The monkey bars are a big deal because he was obsessed with them last year and I told him that when he could reach them he could use them. A year later, here we are. This week, he seemed to play better with Kate and even asked to include her in things. Just one example, we read books together and he told her the names of the animals in the illustrations. Honestly, though their parents report it, I have never really had a problem with C treating K unkindly. I wonder if this is because I try to naturally include both children in whatever activity we are doing so it is a "normal" thing when they are with me. If anything, I would say that sometimes C doesn't want to share a particular toy, but it has never gone beyond that. I also reprimand them equally so maybe C recognizes that fairness and impartiality.

Though I always do as the parents of my charges ask, there are occasional things that bother me or that I disagree with. One of those things has been on my mind lately. Every morning that I am there, Daddy-K arrives home with donuts for the children. 4 year-old C eats donuts, which I think is o.k. at that age if it is only an occasional treat, but it seems to be a regular practice. Most troubling to me, Mommy-K and Daddy-M allow one year old K to eat donuts. Though I do not have children of my own, I do not believe I would feed donuts to my one-year-old (or regularly to my 4-year-old) especially with the growing problem of childhood obesity that has become so prominent. Nutrition is so crucial to proper growth and if you want to give your child something sweet, there are many healthy alternatives. I also think that teaching and modeling healthy habits when children are young leads to them becoming health adults with healthy habits. What do you think?

9/8/08 - Note: I appreciate K1 teacher's comment. I also want to say that rereading this last paragraph I realize, though I didn't mean for it to, it may come off as a little harsh and judgmental. I want everyone to know that I have the utmost respect for the parents of C & K and that their children are well cared for, well fed, healthy, and, most importantly, loved incredibly well and incredibly deeply by their parents. So, no disrespect to Mommy K and Daddy M.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Watchfulness and Walking

Last Wednesday and Thursday I watched C & K.

Wednesday was a full day (6:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.). K was awake when I arrived, but C was still sleeping. Mommy K and Daddy M warned me that C had been a bit jealous of K lately partially due to all of the attention she is getting due to recently beginning to walk on her own, no hands!!! In addition, C was not taking kindly to K being able to walk around and reach toys of his that she had not had access to before. They asked that I be watchful of C when he and K were playing together so I could help C share with K and divert K's attention to her own toys if necessary. They also asked that I give C a little bit of extra-attention throughout the day to help with the jealousy issue. They left and I fed K breakfast, played with her, and watched her practice her walking. When C got up he was happy to see me and raring to go. He told me he wanted to clean the playroom, get dressed, and go outside to play. So, we did. During K's morning nap, C and I practiced riding his new "big boy" bike in the driveway, played t-ball in the backyard, and built sand castles in the sandbox. When K woke up we went inside and had lunch. The morning was gorgeous, but after lunch we had severe thunderstorms and switched to indoor activities. We played trains, read books together, watched a little bit of Noggin, and, while Kate had her afternoon nap, painted. All in all an excellent day.

On Thursday, K woke up shortly after I arrived and C woke up about an hour after that. We had breakfast, got dressed, and played on the swingset until Daddy M arrived home. Low key.

Some reflections and observations:
I thought that as K got older and more mobile everything would get easier, but in some ways it is more of a balancing act. I have two children to chase. I have to monitor both children more closely. They need help learning to play together. C has more adjusting to do as K gets older as well. I love every minute of it and I love being a part of their lives and helping them along the way, it is just interesting all of the things I am encountering that I never considered before.

As K is becoming more mobile and realizing she can do things on her own, she wants to do more things on her own. She likes to play by herself. Most messy, she insists on feeding herself. She also eats and loves anything and everything she is given and eats more at a sitting than before. The hotdog is one of her latest favorites and she can eat a whole banana in a sitting(!!!!). Her vocabulary is ever expanding. A few new words: fish, truck, cup.

C has much less anxiety when his parents leave and when he wakes up and finds me there instead of Mommy or Daddy. He is also a little more nonplussed when his parents return. He is much more vocal about what he would like to do and has more of an idea of time in that he "plans" his day. For the longest time he wanted me nearby when he went to the bathroom and always had me help him get dressed, but those needs are now a thing of the past.

Both of the children are gaining more independence, but in different ways.