Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Bugga wearing her backpack around the
house because she is "going to school to
eat pizza and read books".
Since my daughter is on the back end of the calendar as far as school start dates go (she was born in November), she gets "extra" time before she officially needs to be enrolled in school. As it is, she has been a sponge for months and months now, and I feel I really need to start teaching her some school skills since she loves what we've done so far. And maybe along the way she will use her parrot act to regurgitate some cool facts, versus just something I said when I didn't think she was listening. Oops.

As I posted recently, we started surrounding Bugga with All Things Alphabet and she loves it. I want to take advantage of this while I can, so I have been researching ways of creating age-appropriate lessons for her to learn more about what each letter looks and sounds like, and how they work with words. She's not quite ready to start using a writing device to draw the letters, but I have found a way to modify the concept to her abilities and still make it fun and educational.

My thought is to focus on one letter per week, and have 7-8 approaches to learning all about that letter. Each week we then choose 5 or so lessons to learn, allowing for a variety. After a month or two, when we have covered several letters, I hope to have lessons that focus on the combination of the previous letters learned to work on word construction.

By doing it this way, I am able to create a lot of the materials in advance so I can just print out what I need or whatever and run with it. Parenting doesn't give you a lot of time to prep, so I needed the tools for the lessons to be quick and easy. This is also useful for short attention spans - my 2-year-old will only watch me setup a project for so long before she no longer cares and would rather play with her Legos.

With regards to creating the materials, I have gathered ideas from many resources, and then ultimately I decided to create my own version so it fits the idea I have in my head. I plan to share these materials as free downloads wherever applicable, so hopefully they can be of some use to other back-of-the-calendar toddlers. 

I'll post the links to the post with the printables as soon as I get them uploaded!

Happy learning!

Sometimes We Don't Relate I Guess

I remember when Bugga was about 7 months old and I was struggling with her sleep regression, waking up with her every night at random times, for 100 different reasons - she was practicing standing, her pacifier fell out of the crib, she had a stuffed up nose...anything. It always seemed to be something. I remember sharing my woes with a friend of mine whose son is about a year older. Her response, "Hmmm, oh well we never had that problem so I can't help. Sorry!" said with an inappropriately cavalier attitude. Guess how much I see this friend since this stellar understanding moment? Yeah, not much.

Was her son always an awesome sleeper? The odds are against it, but sure it's possible. Is that really the point though? The point, at least from my perspective, was to be just the teensiest bit understanding about my situation. I mean, we're both moms right? We've likely read a lot of the same books about parenting and know relatively the same general information about all there is to know about the possibility that our children might have some trouble sleeping at some point. And I was likely mentioning my strife for 30 lousy seconds of commiseration. Commiseration I didn't get.

We just finished a weekend of the initial move to potty train my 2.5 year old daughter. It was a long weekend of never leaving the house, with highs and (really gross) lows but we did make it out the other side. I am happy to say she spent the entire day at preschool today with ZERO accidents - and this is just Day 4.

Anyway, I was reminded of the situation above when I left the house for a lousy hour this past weekend to run some quick errands that included picking up more Frozen and Minnie Mouse underwear that have been helping to motivate my daughter, as well as restocking our supply of several small prizes for her successes. While at the checkout of one of the stores, I get into a conversation with the cashier regarding what I was in the midst of at home (nope, that stash of sequined $1 princess crowns are not for a party actually, but instead are poop rewards - hey you asked), making it pretty obvious that it's been exhausting. No joke, she says, "Ah yes...with my daughter she just put on her underwear one day and that was it. It was great!" Ughhhhhh, seriously?

So what is with the knee-jerk lack of empathy between moms? Is this normal? Has it happened to anyone else?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alphabet Big AND Little

My older daughter is about 34 months old (we say 2 around here, don't worry, just perspective if you need it) and she is excellent at recognizing and naming her letters. Starting about a year ago we have been surrounding her with "all things alphabet" and she has just SOAKED it all up! Now that we are back in Houston we are spending a lot more time in the car with longer commutes, so we've started playing "find the letters" while we travel. From doing this, I noticed that while Bugga is EXCELLENT at recognizing her capital letters, not so much with the lower-case.

So I'm putting a lot more focus on the lower case now, simply by presenting the "little" letter next to the "big" version whenever we do things letter-related.

For example, recently we worked on a pre-writing skill by using both stickers and dot markers to make the big and small letters (this post coming soon).

I also made letter flash card packets that show pictures that start with a particular letter, presented with both big and little. These are also fantastic for our car rides - I just grab a letter each morning to bring with us. (this post coming soon too!)

I even updated Bug's room design to include the little letters. The way her room is positioned she can stare at her wall alphabet whenever she is awake in her bed (more often than I prefer, but so be it).

This is the "before" room when we still lived in Calgary.

This is the "after" in our Houston home - both letter sizes!

What have you done to help your toddler/preschooler associate both sizes of letters?