Friday, May 30, 2008

Life as seen from a four year old's camera Album 4

Friend and playmate who also enjoys taking pictures

Looking out the front door where I play and ride my bike

Our spring flowers next to the front door

Baby K on my bed being watched by my furry friends, Randy and Kingsley

Baby K sitting outside in the sunshine

Scheduling, Babywise and the Controversy

I am transitioning Baby K who is now 5 and half months old from a 3-hour schedule to a 4-hour schedule as she seems to be content to go longer. Due to the various appointments she had this week, we were on the go quite a bit, so her usual feeding times were in a constant state of rearrangement. Doing so well with these changes prompted me to make 6 oz. bottles this morning instead of the usual 5 oz ones. And then I bumped her feeding time ahead one hour and sure enough, she was hungry but not crying or upset. This coming Monday, I meet with a new OT who can help me decide when to start her on solids.
As the controversy rages over the supposed problems with Babywise and scheduling, I continue to remain convinced that my babies have thrived due to the consistent routine that a feeding schedules brings to my life. The children's hospital that provided care for Baby K's first three weeks relied heavily on feeding schedules. The other three babies that Baby K roomed with all had much more serious medical conditions than she yet they each were on a strict feeding schedule which was written up by the attending pediatrician and carried out by the nurses. I was astounded.
Three or four months ago I spent some time on the web trying to figure out what the Canadian Health organizations advised about feeding schedules since all the information I have ever seen against such scheduling practices were coming from American health organizations. It was a frustrating search as there was very little mention made of feeding schedules at all on Canadian health websites. And based on my own hospital experience, I knew that feeding schedules were standard fare in the treatment of newborns and infants.
Also, as far back as 1979, Canadian health manuals for parents promoted feeding, playing and napping babies on a schedule. So the questions for me remain. Why do the Canadian hospitals use a feeding method that the American health organizations say "puts babies at risk for poor weight gain and dehydration"? And why are there plenty of parents who like me have seen the positive effects of feeding schedules?
Parents who promote attachment-style parenting often express horror, sadness and anger over those who promote feeding schedules. I however, have been thankful for the sanity and simpleness it brings to baby care.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Life as seen from a four year old's camera Album 3

Albums 1 and 2

Snowfort built with Daddy with all the snow that kept coming.

Baby K's hospital crib

Baby K's hospital doctor.

Mommy and Baby K

My little sister at 2 weeks old.

Daddy in the hospital rocking chair.

Daddy holding Baby K's tiny foot.

Monkey visiting Baby K at the hospital.

Daddy being silly at the hospital

My nativity set and work table at home.

Our Christmas tree all lit up.

The Christmas train engine going round the track.

Nico hanging out under the chair.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

D.A. Carson's Dad

Back in May of 2004, my husband and I attended a Sola Scriptura conference in Moncton, New Brunswick where D.A.(Don) Carson was speaking. We really enjoyed his messages and I have listened to them several times since then. Moving to Ontario, we met an older couple who knew Tom Carson, Don Carson's father. They spoke highly of Mr. Carson and of his difficult pastoral work in Quebec. Don Carson has since written a book about his father's life entitled Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor that we plan on reading. A few months ago, Pastor John Piper wrote about his invitation to Carson to speak at their pastor's conference about his father's pastoral ministry amongst French-Canadians. Piper briefly explains:
I thought that he should come and make these lectures a part of his effort to honor his father.
Read the post in its entirety.
Some well written reviews of the book that I have read are
Carson's Moving Memoirs and Ordinary Pastor

Phonics resource review

I have previously mentioned that I am currently using a phonics resource to teach our now almost five-year old to read. Back in the day, when I was in teacher's college, reading instruction always seemed to center around the whole language approach with just a casual mention of phonics. This whole language approach usually means that words are taught within the context that they are encountered in. So a book selection is made and the words learned are those that are used within that book. Sight words and word walls become important parts of an elementary language arts program. When it came time to think about what reading resource or program I wanted to use at home with my own children, I found a suggestion in The Well Trained Mind(TWTM) co-authored by Jessie Wise and her daughter, Susan Wise Bauer. Both women are well known to the classical homeshcooling movement and have put together many helpful materials for homeschooling families.
The links I provide are for Peace Hill Press, their publishing site. I found the phonics resource that they originally suggested in a local bookstore and over the course of a year had several opportunities to check it out. I never committed to buying it as the format never seemed user-friendly. On a visit home last year I spent some time in a local Barnes & Noble Bookstore and in the Education section I found a copy of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I picked it up and was thrilled to find exactly the resource I had been hoping to find in the other suggested material.
Each lesson is simple, easy to follow and builds on previous lessons. The first 26 lessons are teaching the sounds of each letter of the alphabet. Lessons 1-5 teach the short vowel sounds of the five vowels. Then lessons 6-26 cover the consonant sounds. Reading the lesson to your child is as easy as reading the words written for the Instructor and using basic supplies that you probably already have at home. Some of the suggested supplies I simply replaced with my own and it works just as easily.
Another part of the lessons that I have enjoyed is what is taught in addition to letter sounds. For example, the concept that sometimes the letter "a" is printed in some books differently. Exposing children early to both forms helps them to recognize it no matter which font is used.
Also careful attention is given to learning the correct way to pronounce certain sounds, as in a voiced consonant and an unvoiced consonant. And since this is all written out for the parent-teacher in the Instructor's explanations, you do not have to go research these differences before teaching that sound. The work has been done for you.
By lesson 27, your child should have a good grasp of the letter sounds and an attempt can be made to start blending those sounds to make two and three-letter words. I say attempt because blending sounds into words does not always come easy the first time around. I tried for several weeks off and on to have my son blend "at". He just didn't get it. So I let it go for while. In the meantime on several occasions, he watched the Leapfrog Talking Words Factory at our neighbor's house. The next time I sat down with him, he was blending the letters with ease. So much for my bragging rights.
We are currently working on lesson 41 which is starting two-consonant blends.
Despite my lack of routine and consistent lesson times, my son has retained the sounding out skills learned in the early lessons.
We will be using this book for a long time as his level of reading increases.
The information for parent's in the last section of this book answers questions like:
  • How early can I start?
  • Why aren't there pictures in this book?
  • Do I teach reading, writing and spelling together?
  • How will I know if my child is dyslexic?
From my experience so far, I would highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Photo Flashback

Waiting for the tear duct surgery...with his faithful friend, Monkey

Things to look foward to...

"Someday I'll get to clean the toilet like you, Mom!"

How thrilling.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Baby stuff

Baby K has had frequent and loose bowel movements for the past three weeks, but without being sick or in discomfort. I had planned on taking her to see our family doctor this past week but she picked up her brother's stuffy nose and I didn't want to expose her to more germs in the doctor's office. Plus we have held off on getting her shots and I know the doctor will feel compelled to speak about it. So I read up and decided to make a change in her formula to see if that had any effect. So this morning I opened up the new can and she has now had three feeds and so far, no bowel movement, which I take as an encouraging sign.
Apparently according to the dietitian, bacteria can sometimes be found in the powdered formula. Perhaps that is culprit. Of course as a mom, it makes me feel lousy for even using formula at all, but there it is.
I am hoping that her body resumes its normal consistency without any ill effects.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our Sixth Anniversary

Absolute Perfection

Baby K at five months sporting her new sunhat. I know I'm her mom, but isn't she the cutest?

True Story

Walking along the road on the way home from a trip to our local nursery, this is how some of the conversation went with my five year son.
Him: There goes the high school bus.
Me: Do you know what a high school is?
Him: Yep. It's where you sit on a really high chair for school. Oh, I don't know. Hey, that was a dinosaur track!
Me: (in my mind: a dinosaur what, where??) A high school is for older kids.
Him: That WAS a dinosaur track.

Seriously that was it.

Life lessons

Our son has entered the world of banking. His Dad borrowed five bucks from him.
So at 7am this morning, I have a little guy in his pajamas looking mournfully into his wallet, upset that Dad was taking his money that Nannie gave him. And despite my husband's reassurances that he would pay him back with "interest", my son preferred to pout. Not sure what this introductory lesson into finances has taught my son. Hopefully he doesn't buy into the idea of charging his parents interest.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Garbage day round-up

It's Thursday which for our almost five year old son is a cartoon morning. And for me, it's a chance to get my act together for the day. It also happens to be garbage day again and while my husband faithfully takes out the garbage and recycling, there is usually always more stuff that I know I want to put out. Today, I am parting with Thomas the train boxes that I have saved for several years through all our moves. Today is cardboard and I am going to flatten them and send them packing. It will give my basement storage closet more room and less opportunities for things to crash to the floor upon entry. I have been working very hard at eliminating the stuff in all my closets and have found much to discard which leaves some shelves spaciously empty.
The driving force behind my uncluttered living posts in recent weeks stems from only one thought and I hope to share that overarching thought in the next few days.

Oh how I can relate...

I love my children. I want to do the right thing. I want to do a good job for their sakes, not just for me and my ego. I want their forgiveness for when I mess up. I thought I could make it through motherhood with only a few minor scrapes. I thought I could do a good job, because if it was all about love, I’m all good. But life is complicated sometimes, and having good intentions doesn’t matter for some things. For times like these, I am glad that we teach our children a gospel of grace and forgiveness, not of works and self-righteousness. I hope the grace part sticks, because if it doesn’t, I have a feeling I’m not the only who is sunk.

--from when mom makes mistakes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photo Flashback

Our firstborn at seven months strung up by my tights in an effort to help him stay in a sitting position. Poor guy. The pediatrician did say later that he showed symptoms of mild hypotonia. More on that later.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Moms and Grandmoms

Happy Mother's Day to you both!
(BTW, neither of these ladies are MY grandmother just in case anyone was thinking that! My mother has the longer hair and my mother-in-law has the darker hair.)