Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letter of the Week: T

Tot School
~ Peeper is 33.5 months old ~

A Note To My Regular Readers: I may be repeating some photos or stories that I've already published, but I want to put all our learning activities in the one post that's part of the Tot School link-up.

Tot Schoolers: Welcome! If you enjoy this post, please feel free to stay for a while, and have a look around. I'll give you a fair warning that much of my blog is PG-13, but my Tot School link-up posts will always be G-Rated.

I was a little more on the ball this week, and actually got some things done before, oh, Thursday!

Our letter crafts for this week were T is for Tiger and t is for train track,

There is this little poem in Peeper's Zoobies book about tigers.
Pink nose
Orange face
Black stripes
All over the place!
One night, quite a while back, Shrike and I were in a silly mood and got stuck on it, reciting it back and forth to each other, at random times, for no apparent reason. (I guess you had to be there. Perhaps it was one of Peeper's no-sleepy nights.)

So then, of course, it's become a running joke at our house. We didn't realize that Peeper was paying attention (Of course she was paying attention!) until she started reciting it. So, of course, she and I had to say it a few times while we were making our tiger. (And I had to make sure he had a pink nose!)

The train track was a bit of a challenge. Originally I was thinking I'd use toothpicks for the ties and pipecleaners for the rails, but then I spotted the straws and decided they'd be easier to cut, and not poky. I probably should have gone with the toothpicks, because these were kind of a pain to get on there, and because the rails would have been a lot closer to the paper, and would have more surface area to adhere to.

I tried one pipecleaner and blew that off pretty quickly, in favor of strips of black paper. Amazingly, after drying overnight, it seemed to be pretty solid, and after a few days of hanging on the "art line" everything still seems to be there.

(Unlike poor e for elmo's nose, which we've probably replaced twenty times.)

This is about the only photo I got of the process. My hands are usually pretty busy trying to help her get all the parts in the right places.

Our ABC box was pretty full this week: T magnet, Tt book, Tt card, teddy bear, triceratops, tricycle, towel, timer, tall tower, tongs, Tigger, traffic reflector, turtle, telephone, taco, T-bone, toast, two, tambourine, tiger, tool, tail, trashcan, teether, train, truck book and tree.

Not pictured: The tampon we added later. Yes, Peeper knows all about them.

Also, ten tiny toddler toes.

Again, she wasn't super-interested in her Tot School Printable pages or cards (T is for Train, and transportation), nor did she do much with the Confessions of a Homeschooler T is for turtle T/t sorting, but oh boy, did she like this one.

I've not been printing the "cut and paste" pages from the COAH activities, mostly because I didn't want to deal with it, when we're already doing a lot of glueing for our letter crafts, and glue-time around here mostly involves me trying to keep Peeper from taking bites out of the gluestick or licks of the white glue, but when I saw the turtle one, it dawned on me that if I laminated and cut it, she could use it as a puzzle!

This may not be exactly how this little guy was intended to look, but she put him together all by herself, just having been handed the pieces and told to make a turtle!

Speaking of Zoobies poems (as I was at some point above), she also started reciting - completely unprompted - the little poem / fingerplay from the turtle book that we've not read in ages:

Turtle pokes his head out when he wants to eat (stick thumb out)
And he pulls it back in when he wants to sleep (tuck thumb in)

She can pretty much get the thumb part right now, but gets confused and says ". . . he wants to sleep" for both lines. But I was just amazed that she remembered it at all.

Last week, I ran into a good sale on this toy shelf I've been wanting for a while, so of course I bought it. I assembled it this week, with a lot of help (really) from Peeper.

Ages ago - before I owned a laminator or a functional color printer - I made Peeper an Apple Matching file folder game. As you can see, it wasn't very pretty. Also, Peeper wasn't very ready for it. She liked sorting the apples by color (Such as they are - that's supposed to be green, yellow, red, yellow across the top row.) but that was it. She was not at all getting the idea of looking at the pictures on the pockets and finding the same apples to put in them. So, I put it away for a while.

This week, on a whim, I brought it out, and she is now absolutely ready for it. I showed her the idea with one or two pockets, and she totally got it. She still had to hunt for them and think about it a bit, so it's not too easy for her - a perfect fit.

The only problem (other than how ugly and flimsy it is) is that, well, I guess this is part of the flimsy thing, but she was having a lot of trouble actually getting the cards into the pockets, which was really frustrating her.

So, I just redid the whole thing, using card stock (since the pockets aren't laminated), and my awesome $20 Craig's List color printer, and my nifty laminator.

How do you like them apples?

Just within the past two or three weeks, Peeper's started actually doing things with Playdoh herself, rather than just telling us what to make. She's a big fan of "worms" (as pictured below) and "turtles" which involves pulling off bits of Playdoh and smushing them all on top of each other.

Oh, and this huge blob of beautiful periwinkle Playdoh she's working with here? It used to be four smaller cans - light pink, dark pink, purple and blue. For a while it had a really cool tie-dye look to it. We've just had to give up on the concept of different colors.

According to Peeper, this arrangement of plastic food "wook wike a amimal," with eyes, a nose, a smile and a tongue. It started with just the cracker and cookie, and then she started adding things and telling me what they were.

While I was organizing our big drawer of school supplies and teaching material that we've bought along the way and don't need yet (flashcards, age 3+ workbooks, chemistry cheat sheet . . . ) Peeper was checking it all out, and I told her that, "These are some things you're not ready for yet, just let Mama put them away for now."

Then she a package of giant plastic US coins and said "I ready for dis." And I realized that she's reaight. She is very interested in coins, and asks which one is which. She's actually pretty trustworthy with them, in terms of the choking hazard issue, so I was actually going to blow these off, but I figured if she wants to play with them, what the heck. Besides, they are big enough to actually see what's on them.

Of course, right off, she asked "Who dat man?" "Oh, that's Thomas Jefferson. He was a president."

"Who dat man?" "That's George Washington . . . Abraham Lincoln . . . um, Eisenhower? hang on, let me Google that . . . Roosevelt! That's Franklin Roosevelt!"

A little while later, she was matching up the coins and said, "Dat a dime? Dat Rode-a-belt?"

I went to get a Sharpie to label the butterdish that I'd put them in, and when I came back, Peeper was in her Cozy Coupe, and I couldn't find the money.

"Where's your money?"

"It in da back." (of the car)

"Oh, where are you going with your money?"
"To da bank!"

The next day, Shrike was sitting on the other side of the room, and I was telling her about it and I said to Peeper, "Tell Mommy who these people are over here," meaning the presidents on the coins.

She said, "Mama and Peeper!"

She comes out with stuff like that all the time. I'm sure it's just the very literal mind of an almost-three-year-old, but I hope it's a sign that she will share our keen sense of smart-aleckness.

(Why yes, I did censor that last sentence a bit to stick to my promise of 100% G-Rated Tot School posts. You know what I meant.)

We did decide to foster her new-found interest in the US Presidents by buying a little "fact book" about them from the Target dollar aisle.

She keeps looking through it pointing to different ones, saying "Dat Obama? Dat Obama? Dat Obama?"

You'd think he'd be easier to pick out from the crowd. (I think she's got it now.)

I didn't actually do this until the following week, but since we're talking about the coins and presidents, I'll go ahead and tell about it: I opened the book to the first page, and matched up the quarter and nickel to Washington and Jefferson's pictures.

Then I found Lincoln's page and gave her the giant penny. After a bit of hinting "Hmm, does the guy on the money have whiskers?" she was able to find him.

Then we did Roosevelt, and she found him right off. That one seemed the hardest to me.
But the biggest thing that she learned / did / accomplished this week is this:

I've already blogged about her New Big Girl Bed extensively, so feel free to check out my past few posts, but the upshot is that after cosleeping her entire life, and having never been in her crib, she's now asleep in her was-a-crib-now-a-youth-bed for the third night in a row.

No pressure, she's welcome to do what she wants when she wants with it, but I've been (with warning) putting her in Her Big Girl Bed after she nurses to sleep in my lap, and she's stayed there a few hours.

She's not made it an entire night yet, nor do we expect her to for a long time (or want her to, really - we still love having her with us) but it's a huge step, which so far, has gone pretty smoothly.

Other than the part about having to wake up and go to her. That's no fun. I don't know how baby-in-their-own-room people do it.

This afternoon, I reminded her that when she wakes up, she can just get out of bed and come across the hall and get in what is now known as "the big bed." (Formerly "the bed.")

We practiced that a few times - I tucked her in and she pretended to sleep, while I went and pretended to sleep in our bed, and then she "woke up" and came in an "woke me up" and I lifted her into bed and snugged her up and nursed her.

It remains to be seen if she'll remember it in the middle of the night, but she sure had fun with it this afternoon.

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