Monday, September 29, 2008


I have gone back and forth on the issue of sending Joseph to preschool. Now it looks like he will be attending the Montessori school after all, at least he will if there is enough room. We visited the school again today, and I completed the application and surrendered the accompanying application fee, so I guess that makes it official that we are trying to send him there at least.

He really enjoyed being there today, and tonight he told me that he wants to go back tomorrow because he didn't do all the things that were there. I really like this school; it really feels like a school, and not just a place to keep them busy. What is great about this is that it is not a school in the academic sense, but in a worldly sense. What I mean is that it teaches children to experience the world though there senses, and also how to best learn and accomplish certain tasks. They have stations set up like water pouring, rice pouring, painting, and clay. They do also have academic things available, like math and language, but the child can engage in these when he chooses. This school is really very close to the original Montessori method, and I think it would be good for Joseph to experience that. They stress being orderly and calm and it would be very good for him to be in such and environment.

The last week or so he talks about how big he is, and he has said a few times "Look how big I am! I am big enough to go to school without you Memmy." He was so excited that he unhooked the gate on his own and got in the car so that we could go. I didn't know he was doing this, and so when I went looking for him, I got a real scare the at gate was unhooked. However, as we were getting in the car to go home after visiting the school, he said he was really to go to the school, but I have to stay. It was really kind of cute; I am sure he would be fine without me now though. He also seems like he is almost ready to give up his nap, and he is getting to be a little bit less dependent on me in general, so this is perfect timing in that sense. The last two weeks he stayed in the nursery during Mom's group of his own will, and he said that he really liked it and had fun playing with the other children. January is still quite aways away, so by then I am fairly sure that he will be ready.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fun with Haggling

The past couple of weeks I have been stopping at yard sales and experimenting with haggling. My mother used to haggle for our Christmas tree, and while I was never embarrassed I certainly never thought that I could do that. Well, that has all changed now. Recently I stopped at a yard sale and it just sort of happened. One afternoon I was driving around because after an errand both kids fell asleep in the car. I drove past a place that had a wooden highchair, and figured why not stop to see how much they are asking. I looked at it, and then walked around to see the other things because I thought it priced a little high. Then I saw a serger, which I have been wanting for a long time, but would never buy brand new. I sew enough to want a professional finish on my projects, but not enough that I want to pay full price for the machine. So I checked it out, and it was a good machine that the woman had just had serviced. Somehow I asked for a lower price on both items together, and the seller agreed. I guess what made the difference is that I didn't really need either, and I was willing to walk away. Then I went to another sale and saw a wicker settee. I really liked it, but I didn't want to get something like that without asking Jim first. I ended up going back the next day and asked them to lower the price. At first I was too low, and then we made a deal. Since then I am hooked. I don't really do it because of saving money, after all, these are yard sale items we are talking about (although saving money does help.) Really for me it is the social interaction, the guessing about what I should offer, and then the discussion that I like. Unfortunately most of the time the people here seem a bit surprised, think for a minute and then agree, so there isn't a whole lot of discussion. Either I don't go low enough, or they just don't know what to make of it. Too bad I don't live in the Mediterranean, 'cause there it is just par for the course.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Real Preschooler

Joseph is really a preschooler now, at least in terms of behaviour and likes if not in school attendance. Lately we have been playing games in the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights, and he just loves it. We have even made up our own game using some vehicle counters that I have. It is not too complicated but Joseph likes it. The game involves trading, which being the social one that he is, this is his favourite part. I decided to get some more complicated games because the ones that I have are too simple for him already (I have some matching games, simple counting games, etc.) He is always wanting to add rules to make the game more fun, but usually these 'rules' are really just an extension of his fantasy having to do with ambulances, firetrucks etc.

So anyway, I bought 'The Ladybug Game' and we just finished playing it this morning. It has a little story about how these ladybugs have to get back home to their rose garden after getting blown away by a storm. Along the way they meet a scary Praying Mantis, and some bossy ants who want the ladybug's aphids before passing. Joseph really enjoyed it, and so I guess this is his first real board game. I did have to help with reading the numbers, and I also made the rules simpler so that we never lost any turns or aphids. This will be fun for game nights and also snow days. Now I will have to try some other games. I Found lots of really neat Looking ones on amazon, so once in a while I will add one.

Another change showing that he is growing up is that he is really into listening to chapter books on tape lately. He listens to 'Socks' and 'The Mouse and the Motorcycle' by Beverly Cleary, and less often to 'Stuart Little' by E.B. White. His favourite is most certainly 'The Mouse and the Motorcycle' and he listens to it at least once a day. We also got the movie version from the library, and he also wants to watch that pretty often too. Where I can really tell that he is getting older is that during the scary parts in the movie, his eyes shine and he squeals with delight. The scary parts are like when Ralph, the main character, almost gets sucked up by a vacuum and once he gets chased by a cat. At first he wanted me to sit right next to him to watch these parts and he was totally on edge even though he knew the story from the book. Now these parts don't scare him so much but he still gets a thrill out of them.