Thursday, May 28, 2009

Elie's Potty Training

I was just talking with Yoav in the kitchen and then we went looking for Elie, who had wandered away. We found him sitting on the little potty in the bathroom pooping :) Too funny. Yoav isn't even independent enough to go poop by himself LOL.

(written in afternoon) We were all in the bedroom just now (me reading to Yoav) and Elie playing with books and Elie left the room. Yoav and I followed him after a minute or two and found him on the potty in the playroom area. How cool is this! I'm so glad I did EC with him. Seems like as long as I leave potties around the house, he just takes care of himself now pottywise.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Park Avenue Armory

We went to the Park Avenue Armory today with friends (Jackie and Phoenix and Reina, Nikolas and Anika). There is a beautiful piece of installation art. The kids had so much fun running around, feeling the various textures, playing in the ball pit, etc. I think we spent about two hours in the ball pit! At one point, a woman started taking a few photos of Elie and then asked who's he was and said she'd send me a photo by email, which she did! A few people took pics of Elie in the ball pit - he was just too cute in his mostly nakedness wading around in the balls. He was either really calm lying down looking around at the art, or kicking the balls and smiling. Cute either way! Yoav had a lot of fun while we were there, but we had a lot of difficulty getting home - starting with his shirt getting wet at the water fountain, then wanting to wear a hat just like P's, then wanting to hold Jackie's hand from the Armory door after we'd already left, etc. Finally we got out of the subway in Brooklyn, he saw a dog, pet it, and his world was Right again. A lot to think about. Things definitely go a lot smoother with him when we're close to home. The subway, City, maybe it's all too much for him right now. Too tired to think now, but maybe more later on this...

Friday, May 22, 2009


Originally uploaded by jmilikow

This is what I love about unschooling (not Yoav's expression!) He was just making this little structure out of his crayons while we were eating lunch. I can just see a teacher forcing kids to do this to learn addition.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Learning / Craft Day

Yoav is so funny. He's sitting up on the craft table writing on a piece of paper. He just learned how to make 4s and he's really excited. He said to me, "Look, mom - I'm learning how to write! I just learned how to make a 4 because I saw one here (on my notes for the dental appointment I just made)".

Yoav just said, "Is two fives ten?"

Today I made Yoav spinach with lunch and when he saw I was making it he said, "Spinach?!?!? And I didn't even ask!!!" He was so excited! Life is good when your child is excited by spinach :) Make that children! Elie is desperately trying to get Yoav's spinach - Yoav is sharing some, but it's too yum and the kids can't get enough! I need to find a way to buy spinach w/out stems b/c Yoav doesn't eat pieces with stems.

Elie's new potty advancement is that when he poops in the Baby Bjorn with potty insert, he takes out the insert when he's done, dumps it into the toilet and puts it back :) He even has a hand sign for "dump", since he also carries the smaller potty to the bathroom when he's done to dump and for those he wants me to come with me, so he signs dump and we go (sometimes with him with him carrying the potty) off to dump ;)

We also have a tantrum advancement. I've developed a new method of helping Yoav work through his (many) tantrums. When he starts tantruming, I move him away from the source of the angst and hold him belly-to-belly and hold him tight and I breathe deeply and calmly. I think he feels the calm of my breathing and is able to regulate his breathing to match mine. It's MUCH more effective than reminding him to take a deep breath, to which he usually responds that he doesn't want to! I also say to him, "I'm loving you so much!" or something to that effect as it's going on and validate on a case-by-case basis. Not sure how I didn't figure this out years ago, but at least I have it now.

We did a fun craft project today - idea courtesy of "Earthways". We drew a picture of an ocean with fish (and Yoav added people going fishing on a "board" on the water) on heavy paper. Then I cut out a boat out of construction paper and glued it onto a craft stick and we cut a slice in the paper so the boat can move. And we glued another sheet of heavy paper on the back. Yoav came up with the idea to add the moving fish (out of felt per his request, which was actually much better than the construction paper boat since it can't tear).

It's Friday now and I just remembered a really funny scene from yesterday. We went to the local coffee shop for juice and coffee (I'm trying not to drink coffee at home, but still get the urge for it some, so I've limited myself to eating it out of the house LOL). Anyway, so we went and I was in line and when I brought our drinks to the table, I saw that a 5yo girl was sitting with him. I just sat at the table next to them. Yoav saw a dog pass by which reminded him that we'll have use of a friend's horse in Israel. So Yoav said to the girl, "I'm getting a horse." She said something along the lines of, "For real or for pretend?" He said, "For real." She said with eyes opened wide, "Did you tell your mom?" Yoav just said no. I guess since he didn't tell me, I or Jeremy told him... He's not yet aware of the concern so many young kids have about telling their moms things or of their moms finding out about what they've done.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thurs - Craft Day

Tomorrow is Craft Day. I picked a project from Earthways - assuming Yoav goes along with it (he has hopes of making an animal for craft day - my back-up is to make the magnetic felt fish from purlbee but without the magnet part) - the plan is to draw a picture with the sea and fish, cut a swirvy line through it, then glue a construction paper boat to a craft stick and insert into the cut line so we can make the boat move along the paper... Cute and no prep which is key when I haven't prepared :)

So the schedule plan for tomorrow is:
THURS (Craft Day):
8:30 - Up - snack in bed, play in bedroom
9 - Breakfast
9:30-10:30 - Morning Walk or play in backyard if I can't get Elie dressed (Related song is from Joyful Movement - Spring is coming, Spring is coming, Flowers are coming too. Pansies, lilies, daffodilies, Now are coming through!)
11:00 - Snack
11:30 - Circle Time
12 - Play and Lunch prep
12:30 - Lunch and clean up
1 - Story (Masha and the Bear, from Spindrift)
1:30 - Craft project
2 - Outdoors
5 - Dinner Prep and play
7 - Dinner (spaghetti)
7:45 - Bath
8:15 - Stories
9 - Asleep

Wed - Playdate

Today we met friends in the Park. We all had fun. Was a bit difficult with Elie pulling me away and wanting to walk into a ballfield with a game of baseball going on, but will lots of friends (three other moms and kids), there was enough action to keep him close most of the time.

When we were in bed at night, Yoav started crying because we hadn't done any art today :) We actually did a little coloring, but I guess it didn't meet his need for "art" ;)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuesday Schedule

I'm going to just start using this as a place to organize my schedule along w regular blog stuff. That way I know I'll always be able to easily access. It's nice to be able to peek here during the day for the songs or anything I need...

Today didn't go *quite* as planned. We actually had a pretty awful morning. It started with Elie knocking over a cup of water in the bedroom on some of Yoav's clothes and a tantrum ensued. Since it was before either of us had eaten, it had a ripple affect on the morning. Ridiculously enough, there was a second water incident later in the day when Elie knocked over a cup of water on a drawing Yoav was doing :( So I learned two lessons today: 1) Have a snack in the bedroom so we can all munch a little before breakfast (I put a bag of dried mango on the dresser); 2) Don't leave cups of water sitting around - Elie seems to be a magnet to these lately. The afternoon was amazingly great, though. While Elie was napping, I did story time and then painting and they were both really bonding for me and Yoav and the painting was one of the best painting sessions ever. I painted my own painting and at one point, Yoav decided that mine looked like a dragon breathing fire and then he started painting a dragon breathing fire. We did a lot of color mixing. Yoav is finally getting good at mixing the colors ON the paper instead of in the bowls of paint. Jeepers - only took two years for him to finally catch on!!!

So the morning schedule was a mess today - we never did laundry and for the afternoon, we never went outside since the whole day was later than planned. Random tantrums and pottying take up so much time - it's hard to keep to any sort of schedule! Although we kept on track for the evening - we did play with Aba when Jer got home until dinner at maybe 7:15pm, then tub until 8:30, then horsing around in bed, then bedtime stories (Wild Child, Grandfather Twilight and The Tomten) and lights out and sleep at 9:30.

For tomorrow, I'm just going to drop off a bit of laundry b/c we're going to my in-laws this weekend for my FIL's 70th birthday, so I'll be able to do it all there.

TUES (Gardening Day):
8 - Up and Snack!
8:30 - Breakfast
9-10 - Walk and drop off laundry
10:30 - Snack
11 - Circle Time
11:30 - Play and Lunch prep
12 - Lunch and clean up
12:45 - Story (Masha and the Bear, from Spindrift)
1 - Coloring (related to story)
2 - Gardening and Outdoor Play
5 - Dinner Prep and play
7 - Dinner (Shnitzels)
7:45 - Bath
8:15 - Stories
9 - Asleep

For Circle Time, all the same but also add the Little Nest one on p 69 of Spindrift - it's a cutie that we were doing in the fall so Yoav will remember it. Elie loved the Foxes one today. I did it first holding him and then he got down and tried to do it with me. It's so cute to see him doing these movements already!

The order tomorrow will be (I'll do however much there's interest for):
I have built a little next (Spindrift, p69)
Two little dicky birds (JM, p77)
Open/close hands (JM, p80)
Five little mice (JM, p81)
Row, Row, Row the Boat (JM, p87)
Up I stretch (jm,p84)
The Foxes (jm p82)
I Know an Old Lady (JM, p 67)
Where are you going my little cat (JM, p 65)
Michael Finnegan (jm,p 69)
Closing Verse

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm seriously thinking about getting the Enki Kindergarten curriculum but am going to work a bit more with what I have first to help me decide if it's for me. I know I wouldn't follow it exactly, but the support might be worth the price. The Folk and Nature Stories books look great along with the Movement one (I use Donna Simmons' Joyful Movement).

Anyway, too late to write more, but I'm going to try a modified schedule this week. Something along the lines of:

MON (Laundry / Painting Day):
8 - Up
8:30 - Breakfast
9-10:30 - Morning Walk & Laundry (1 hr) (Related song is from Joyful Movement - Spring is coming, Spring is coming, Flowers are coming too. Pansies, lilies, daffodilies, Now are coming through!)
11 - Snack
11:30 - Circle Time
12 - Play and Lunch prep
12:30 - Lunch and clean up
1 - Story (Masha and the Bear, from Spindrift)
1:30 - Painting
2 - Outdoors
5 - Dinner Prep and play
7 - Dinner (spaghetti)
7:45 - Bath
8:15 - Stories
9 - Asleep

I'll see how it goes tomorrow and make up the following day's schedules once I see.

For Circle Time:
Opening Verse:
Good morning dear Earth
Good morning dear Sun
Good morning dear trees and flowers every one
Good morning dear beasts and birds in the tree
Good morning to you and good morning to me!

Row, Row, Row the Boat (JM, p87)
Up I stretch (jm,p84)
The Foxes (jm p82)
I Know an Old Lady (JM, p 67)
Where are you going my little cat (JM, p 65)
Michael Finnegan (jm,p 69)

Closing Verse:
Birds in the air
Stones on the land
Fishes in the water
I'm in G-d's hand

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I think Yoav Weaned

I'm going to go ahead and post that I think Yoav weaned. He hasn't nursed since Wednesday. Once since then he said he wanted to nurse but then said, "I don't really even do tzi-tzis (nurse) anymore, do I?" and decided not to. I think he was ready to wean and also lately has been aware that a few of his close girlfriends no longer nurse, so it kind of gave him the strength/interest in weaning.

It's been a long time coming - he nursed almost exclusively for two months after Elie was born, then reduced a bit, but then I started feeling really agitated by the nursing. In June or so of last year, I talked to Aldort about Yoav's nursing and she suggested letting him nurse as much as he wanted for a while to help him see that it was really fully available to him (so it wasn't a source of competition with the baby). I did this for about two months and couldn't take it anymore and somehow shifted him to doing 7 7s (I think I just suggested "Let's nurse for 7 seconds and he modified w the 7 7s - he's also asked for 7 7 7s, but I've luckily managed to keep him to the lower one!) His favorite number was 7 at the time, so he'd nurse 7 seconds 7 times. Since then, we've gone through a period of 4 4s and recently were doing 6 6s.

He seems pretty blase about it. He said he still likes how it tastes, but just doesn't "need" it anymore.

So it goes. I used to think if only he weren't nursing anymore, life would be so easy and perfect. There's definitely other problems that we encounter and stresses to my days, but I must say I am glad he's weaned (AND I'm glad that he did so on a timetable that was *mostly* his).

Elie's Potty Training

It's so odd - after I posted the previous post about Elie not being consistent for pee, he suddenly started using the potty consistently for pee! On Friday, I turned around at one point and saw him sitting on the potty peeing unassisted for the first time! Since then, he's been mostly peeing himself in the potty. He just walks over to it and tries to get on himself - sometimes he manages and sometimes I notice and help him. Even once he had all his clothes on (a wow in and of itself!) and Jeremy realized he wanted to pee and got him on the potty. Pretty cool - I think FINALLY even Jer might agree that EC is "working" (he's been pushing all along to get me to put diapers on Elie, saying it's not working!)

Friday, May 15, 2009


Again, I think Yoav might have weaned. He hasn't nursed in two days and yesterday he suddenly asked but then said, "I don't even really do tzi-tzis anymore, do I?" He asked if the tzi-tzis are lonely. Then he said they're not since Elie is nursing.

Elie's Potty Training

Elie is completely trained now to poop on the potty. Just now he came to me, held my hand and walked me to the little potty for help getting on. Sometimes he gets on himself or he'll put his leg near it to let me know he needs to go or he does the potty signal, often with both hands going instead of one, which is too cute! Plus after he poops, he directs me to dump it in the toilet, sometimes by carrying the potty to me :) I wish he were as consistent and clear about pee. I'm thinking it's because you can't really comfortably sit and poop (unless you've been diapered since birth), but pee for him doesn't bother him since it squirts away from his body LOL.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Craft Day - Felt Purse

We had a pretty good day today. Would have been great, but we had a few tantrums :( At least they're fewer and further between nowadays.

We did lots of art today. The planned project was to make a felt purse. Yoav picked out a piece of felt, we folded it so it was not quite in half, he sewed up the sides with running stitch and then he picked a button and I added that. It was his idea to make a shoulder strap for it, which was a great addition to the project, since we fingerknit wool yarn for that. I did most of the fingerknitting, but Yoav did some. We use the little poem from Amanda Soule's book to help remember and Yoav remembers the poem. It goes, "In the woods goes the hunter; Round the tree goes the dog; Out pops the rabbit; And off they run!"

Yoav made "walking sticks" out of construction paper and tape. He made them completely by himself. I'm not sure if they're supposed to be like canes or like crutches. I guess probably crutches since there's two of them.

Later he made band-aids out of construction paper and tape and a little container for the band-aids. He decorated them with various animals. The ones he put on me had butterflies and he put ones with ducks on Elie.

In the evening, we did Soule's awesome big paper drawing activity. It was GREAT! We rolled a big piece of paper over the kitchen table and took turns saying what to draw and we'd all draw it. Jer wasn't here so it was just me and Yoav drawing. Yoav said to draw a yellow jacket, butterfly and caterpillar; I chose tree. The tree was from the Oak Meadow curriculum I borrowed from Amy - it talks about drawing with the block crayons and shows an example of drawing a tree - using short strokes with the flat side of the block rather than lines, since the short strokes method is easier to modify and doesn't lock you into something, which actually happens to Yoav - he draws something imperfectly and gets upset. So this way, it kind of forms as you're drawing and because it's more sketchy, it's not a perfect look anyway. I have to learn more. I knew a little about it from my Christopherus drawing book, but the Oak Meadow actually explained it better. I was surprised to see that already within the hour that we were coloring, Yoav started drawing some with the short strokes method.

I'll post pics later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Doll Quilt for Jana

I finished my doll quilt for Jana (my niece). I must say that I love it :) The basic idea was from this I-Spy quilt. I couldn't deal with the randomness of a quilt like that, so I decided to make an organized I-Spy quilt with the "Hello My Friends" line of fabric from Cosmo Textiles. The front is Hello My Friends and a blue/white dot fabric (Caramel Town line from Lecien). All the fabric was from The back is a different Hello My Friends pattern, but with the same little characters. I used this tutorial for the binding, which was really clear and came out perfectly IMHO :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bare Books

We had a busy day filled with Bare Books! Yoav made three full books (two of which included multiple stories) and two puzzles! I did two books with him and then he did one with Jeremy when he got home. They're all Curious George stories. He drew the pictures and told the adult what to write. The stories he wrote are:
"Curious George Goes to Africa"
"Curious George Goes to Shul"
"Curious George Goes to the Gym"
"Curious George Goes to Work"
"Curious George Gets Lost on a Dog's Back"
"Curious George Goes to the Zoo"
It was a fun project. Yoav learned about periods from it. He asked what the "little ball" is. Funny he'd never noticed a period until we were writing a book and he was really thinking about the words and sentence structure. A few times he corrected tense as well, trying to get the sentences to be correct.

It was fun to have a really busy fun-filled day. I also made a delicious stew that I learned from Amy yesterday. The recipe is:
* about a cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled for a few hours until soft
* 1 medium onion
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 1 32oz can diced tomatoes
* smallish butternut squash, diced
* 3 carrots, diced
* 1/2 cup peas
* bit of spinach
* Thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, to taste

Sautee onion, then add garlic and sautee. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for about two hours until everything is soft. Serve over couscous. We both loved it. It would probably be yummy over quinoa as another option. And really almost any veggies would be tasty in it. So it's a good one for using up random vegetables...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First Kiss

Yoav got his first kiss on the lips today ;) We went to Amy/Abby/Vera's house after the Brooklyn AP meeting. Abby and Yoav were playing in a little indoor tent - they were pretending to be camping and all of a sudden Yoav announced that he'd gotten a kiss on the lips. He was quite excited :)

We had a great time with them. For me it was SO much better than the last two days at home. Monday was really hard for us and yesterday was average. Yoav was so happy with Abby. He just follows her around and does whatever she tells him to do. He had told me that they were playing school and Abby was the teacher and he was the student. On the way home, he said, "I know how to make a 'B'. It's really easy (then drew a B in the air)." I asked if he learned that when they were playing school and he said yes. What else? They also got married. It was a quick ceremony orchestrated by Amy. She discussed first with them who would do various household tasks. We also asked them how many kids they wanted to be sure they agreed on that - Abby said 2 but Yoav said 12. Abby agreed to the 12. Yoav asked Abby if she'd "change to be Jewish", though, and she said no. He asked me later if I thought she'd change so they could get married when they're older ;)

Oh and a cute thing happened - Elie wanted to come into the tent and Abby said he couldn't come in and Yoav said, "He can come in." At home, Yoav often doesn't want Elie to come near the things he's playing with (not always, but often - esp if it's set up in a particular way that Elie might mess up), so it was very reassuring for me to see the brotherly love!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother's Day Prep / First Quilt

Originally uploaded by jmilikow

We got our Mother's Day gifts for Grandma and Safta in the mail today. We had made one bookmark a while ago and I just made the second one a week or so ago using the same drawing. The pattern is here by Amanda Soule. We used the watercolor drawings we made yesterday for the cards.

We also made these cute paper boxes. I got the idea from a Waldorf art book I got recently.

My big news is that I finished my first mini quilt. I've already started on Jana's quilt, but Yoav decided that he wanted a little bed for the doll we're supposedly making. I had given him some squares from a charm pack and he chose some and arranged them for this quilt. I chose the backing. I quilted it using the quilt-in-the-ditch method - just sewing along the seam line about 1/32" away. It was very quick and a great project for me to learn the basic quilting, especially the binding which had seemed like somewhat of a mystery before. Jana's quilt is all cut out and the top is sewed together - I still have to sandwich it, quilt it and do the border.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Yoav today held the door for a man coming in after him at the restaurant we went to for breakfast!

Yoav has decided he wants to make one of these dolls. Ugh! It looks like a huge project for one experienced sewer to do and he's SERIOUS about making one! He's right now picking out felt and buttons to use and thinks I'm somehow going to help him make it. i have no idea how to begin. Maybe I'll help him make a really simple felt doll. Hopefully, though, he won't be disappointed that it looks different in the end.

I started sewing up the doll quilt for my niece. So far I love it! I hope I can get it all sewn up well. I really like the pattern.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Multiplication

Yoav just said, "What's two sixes? 12?"