Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finger Crocheting

We did Finger Crocheting as our craft today and it went really well! We tried last year with the method and words in Amanda Soule's book but it was a little harder and I don't think Yoav was ready. I tried this method (Enki) about a month ago and just did it with Yoav watching and he tried once and that was it - he didn't want to do more. Today he got into it and did a bunch by himself - I did a few and held it toward him without asking if he wanted to do it and he tried, first with me holding the hole open and then he took it himself and held the yarn and did it alone. He did a bunch and even said it was fun! We used Briggs & Little Super 4ply yarn - recommended by Enki for finger knitting - it definitely is a good one for this. I need to get more colors! I also practiced last night and had the slip knot and first few stitches already done when I pulled it out to do with Yoav - I think that helped a lot too, because last time I was having trouble with it, so I think that made Yoav a bit reluctant to try himself :) The words are "I'll poke in the hole, And pull out a worm; Don't pull my tail, Or off he'll squirm." There is a story written by Beth that goes with the words that we also read to tie it all together.

I forget if I wrote this or not, so I'm going to possibly repeat - Yoav has totally mastered knotting. It's so funny b/c he didn't want to do the knotting with me when we did the Jingle Chains, but he seems to have learned from watching. After we did the finger crocheting, he came up with his own project, which was just to take a piece of yarn and tie a bunch of knots in it. Then we cut off the knots and he said they were snails :) The learning process can be so subtle at times - I love trusting him and not pushing and seeing what comes of it all.

Oh, and also, he knows the ordinal numbers (first, second, etc.) at least up to 10. Today he was going up a spiral ladder at the playground and each time he got to a new rung, he said, "I'm on the seventh/eighth/ninth/tenth level" (those were the ones I heard and I checked and he was even keeping count right!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quiet Time

We just had a great Quiet Time - I fell asleep with Elie and Yoav played in his playroom for almost an hour! I can't even remember my last nap (not counting days when I was sick)!

Also a random item - Yoav says "ja-minus" as a word to mean enormous - it's a combination of gigantic and enormous.

Yoav and Elie were having SO much fun tonight before bed. They were laughing it up together. At one point I looked over and they were both sitting in the bottom drawer of the dresser cracking up. They were playing in the closet too. Yoav said he didn't want to go to sleep because he was having so much fun playing with Elie. I reminded him that he has tomorrow and a zillion days after that. I hope he remembers tomorrow how much fun Elie is - I'm sure everything is more fun when you don't want to go to sleep. I can always bring them up to the bedroom to play if they run out of ideas in the living room or playroom - the bedroom seems to spark lots of fun play ideas.

I've made contact with two American-born moms in Israel via - so both AP / natural mamas. Both have said they want to meet up - one lives in Hod Hasharon and has a 4.5yo at the Democratic School here and the other lives in Kfar Sava and has only one child who is younger than Yoav, but she's interested in Enki. Maybe I can get a playdate set up while Jer is gone. I hate to go 10 days without contact with anyone other than our next-door neighbor.

Monthly Call with Beth Sutton

We had our monthly call with Beth Sutton, the founder of Enki, last night. It was so helpful, as it was also the month before! She is such an amazing resource. We get one group call per month plus a private session with the purchase of a curriculum. And for the group sessions, you can write in a question in advance. This month the call went for two hours because there were so many questions (since most of us just started a new year).

I had two questions. The first was a simple one about drawing - I asked if Yoav should have the block and/or stick crayons. She said both are fine but since he only has block so far, that's best at his age (before he starts Form Drawing in First Grade). She suggested I mostly just model drawing along the side of the block, filling up a page with color, rather than drawing forms (which I try to do anyway based on my Waldorf learning). Yoav colors with pens more than I'd like, but it just happened along the way - hard to live in a house with no pens ever lying around. And of course other people (including Jeremy!) have drawn specific things for Yoav upon request... So, that's where we are. With the watercolors at least Yoav is filling up the page and not really trying to draw anything specific - just experimenting with color.

My second question was about participation. Yoav tends to do his own thing when it comes to Circle, baking and crafting. Like I will be making challah and he will want a bowl and random spices and whatnot to make a concoction that he actually wants Jer and me to taste! With crafting, Yoav will sometimes do as I'm doing, and other times just see what I'm doing and then come up with his own, different but similar craft. Like the other day we were attempting to spin wool and he did it a little but then made his own spindle out of cardboard and tape and used that. I was relieved to hear Beth say that this is all great at Yoav's age. She said it sounds like he's not quite read for structure. He's still in the "messing about" stage and that he's still a little young for Kindy (in the world of Enki and Waldorf, maybe not in the mainstream world). She said one of the ways to know a child is ready for Kindy is if they need more parent-led focus *in order* to play in that sort of totally absorbed, integrated way that Yoav usually plays in, as that's how kids at this age learn the best. So Yoav is already there most of the time. He is very integrated and happy when he messes about and that's a very good thing, indeed! So I'm going to try to keep him there as best I can. I'm still going to continue with our rhythm as we have it, but I won't worry at all if he doesn't follow my lead. I actually noticed that since we did the Jingle Strings activity (that he didn't do, only watched), he's been doing a lot of knotting, which was the purpose of the activity. So he was still able to learn how to knot by watching and probably messing about a bit when I wasn't watching and now seems to be quite proficient with the knotting... Circle has turned into a full-on flop, so I think I might just have to do some research about which activities help develop the various senses and make sure he does some each day. (She mentioned that a bike or scooter is good for navel radiation. I think rolling down a hill is good for navel radiation also.) I think he needs particular help with vestibular (spinning). Not sure how to get him to do spinning - I'll have to see what else can meet that need. I'll put a list together and post in the next few days. Beth suggested that I focus on getting a consistent rhythm, make sure we do some physical activity early in the day like trampoline, walk or Circle and watch him over the next few months. She said I should review the Foundation Guides to make sure he doesn't need extra support in any particular area of physical development (as I mentioned above) and just wait until he seems to need more structure and add it as needed.

A few people had questions about aggressive play, which Beth addressed. She said it has more to do with the tone of the play than the content. We're always looking for integration - watching for happy, connected, grounded kids. She had a story about when she was a Waldorf teacher when her cat died - somehow the kids all knew and loved the cat - they had a formal ceremony and the kids were really sweet and threw flowers on the little grave; then they came inside and the kids all worked together to build a Killing Machine that was a catapult and they were catapulting things all over the room. She at first felt uncomfortable and freaked out by what she saw, but then realized that they were all working together in an integrated way to process what had happened - now they were the Power behind the killing...

Regarding talk of killing and gunplay, Beth said, "If there's an energy you're resisting or afraid of, they will manifest it!" That is SO true. I love the way she put it. She said to embrace the part of the child that is needed to push away (since the pushing away *is* resistance). She said there are a few movement verses that can be used for kids who are wanting to play with aggression/fierceness - she recommended Knights, Lazy Lion and Woodcutters and even said you could edit the words a bit to make it even fiercer to help draw a child in who is otherwise a bit apathetic to Circle. This was about a child who's mother is almost due with Baby#3, so Beth thought the child could be worried about the upcoming birth and changes about to come. She also said that in this case she recommends having a strong rhythm set so that when the baby comes, the rhythm will help anchor the children.

One woman had a situation when she was doing some serious exercise with her kids in the morning (climbing a hill, playing by a creek, 10 min walk home) and when the kids got home, the older boy was too tired to do Circle. Beth said to monitor the morning play to see if the child is getting all the sensory integration he needs. If so, great; if not, perhaps do a calmer exercise routine in the morning followed by Circle. She said the goal in the morning is to get the kids pink-cheeked, not panting so that they have enough energy for Circle.

Another woman asked some handwriting questions - about using a different font than the one taught by Enki. Beth looked at the font and said it would be fine, but had a few points:
* Said it's harder for kids to learn an italicized print first;
* Don't adjust what you are doing based on places where *you* are uncomfortable - places that are hard for us, we still have to activate our energies to teach it - ie, don't not teach cursive or just teach an italicized print instead of cursive because cursive was difficult for you;
* Difficulty with cursive *could* be due to problems with midline crossing.

Back to the killing talk, she said her grandson was talking some about killing and it made her feel uncomfortable. She said she didn't resist it and it let itself go in about six weeks. She said once she said to him, "I don't want to hear this; you can do it outside." (I wrote that down as her quote, but it might not be exact). She said that telling kids not to play with guns pushes them away (from us parents), which is exactly what we DON'T want! A few years ago when she asked her grandson what it means when you shoot someone, he said it means they fall down and laugh a lot. So it's also important to be aware that young children don't mean the same thing by killing that we know killing to mean. She gave an example of a school where kids weren't allowed to bring toy guns - she said one day kids in the cafeteria fashioned guns out of their sandwiches and started pretend killing eachother.

There was also more talk about Form Drawing, but I didn't take good notes about those parts since we're not doing it yet and I don't quite understand what it's all about (it's for First Grade).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

October Block

Project: M - Painting; T - Baking; W - Craft; R - Nature Walk or Special Adventure; F - Shabbos Prep / Challah
Core story will be read M, T, R

Wake Up / Snuggle
Clean while children play indoors
Movement/Circle Time
Creative Play (indoors, while I prep lunch)
Quiet Time
Core Story on M,T,R - start with lighting a candle and chiming pentatonic xylophone
Project while Elie naps
Outdoor play (trampoline, slide, nature walks around our house, playground)
Settle together
Creative Play (indoors, while I prep dinner)
Bed Prep - make sure towels are in bathroom, little potty by bed, sippy with water in fridge to bring to bed after snack
Bed Routine - bath, brush teeth, snack, stories ("Time of Wonder")
Children Sleep
Clean, relax, prep for next day

TRANSITION SONGS (all are from Enki except the ones noted):
Wake Up / Snuggle - Morning Song
Get Dressed - I've Been Working on the Railroad
Wash Hands - hum only - Wash Hands, Wash Hands
Meals - Blessings on the Blossom
Clean Up - Earth Who Gives
Movement - Come Follow
Outdoor Play/Nature Walks - Golden in the Garden
Core Story - Ting-a-Ling
Nap (for Elie) - Swing Low
Quiet Time - Sing Me a Song
Baking: Sleeping Seeds
Craft: Wond'rous Hands
Painting: Painting Song (in Mary Schunemann's "This is the Way we Wash a Day")
Settle together - Lovely is the Evening
Bath - My Big Blue Boat (English Folksong - I'm singing the version as sung by Mary Schunemann in "Sing a Song with Baby")
Brush Teeth - Pigeon House
Heading upstairs to read/sleep - Gone to Bed

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY: This will be an Adventure Walk about horseback riding, since Yoav will be starting horseback riding lessons this month.
Calling Song: Come Follow
Me: "Let's head to the stables to see the horses! It's time for your riding lesson. Ah, here's your pony - it looks like he needs a new pair of shoes."
Midline crossing activity: My Little Pony
Me: "(looking around) Look at all the horses in the stable - small horses, big horses, brown horses, and black horses!"
Balance activity: Horses (balance)
Me: "What a beautiful day to go horseback riding! I love the way the wind feels on my face!"
Base sense sequence/s: Autumn Leaves (vestibular) and Fold (proprioceptive)
Closing: Owl

Week 1: Fill Up the House (Eastern Europe)
Week 2: Lion on the Path (African)
Week 3: Milk and Eggs (Eastern Europe)
Week 4: xxx

Week 1: Finger Crocheting
Week 2: Sachet Bag
Week 3: xxx
Week 4: xxx

Sick and Potty Training

So I've been sick for a week until yesterday. I'm not 100%, but I'm close enough that I'm up and about. Thank goodness, because Jeremy left last night for an 11-day trip to New York!

So far so good today. We put together our Autumn Nature Table today. I want to make a few nature people (we used one we made from last year that isn't in such great shape).

Also, on the potty training, Elie's been really consistent now about using his little potty during the day to pee without telling me. He's even started (again, since he was doing this a few months ago and got off-track after someone saw him and clapped and "good-jobed" him) taking the insert up to the bathroom when he's done to dump the pee :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Painting Day

Today our Circle didn't go so well. We played on the trampoline some and then came inside - both boys were ready to get off the trampoline and followed me like the Pied Piper when I sang Come Follow. We came in and I sang Come Follow again in our Circle and started. Yoav watched My Little Pony and partook a little in Horses and then lost interest and wandered away. I kept doing it in case anyone would join me, but I think that was it. I might have to change to the Adventure format. Not sure what will work for Yoav...

When Elie fell asleep for nap, we read our new story. Yoav is so excited when he gets a new story. I lit the candle and carried it slowly out to the living room singing the transition song. The routine now is that I bring out the candle while singing the song, put it down, Yoav blows it out and then I play a few notes on our pentatonic xylophone. Then we sit in our big chair together. Funny, the routine is already so established that one day last week Yoav sat to my left and he had to switch b/c he "always" sits on the other side. So he sits to my right and we cuddle up and read the story. When I brought out the candle today, Yoav got a big goofy grin as if I was bringing out a huge birthday cake for him ;) He was especially excited because he knew we were getting a new story today - he knows we do a new story on Painting Day. So today we read "The Straw Ox", which he really enjoyed.

Again, Painting Day was AMAZING. You would never believe that the boy who is so calmly and peacefully painting is the same as the one who at other times screams or makes messes, etc. I had all the painting stuff ready (blue and yellow paint today) and laid it out on the table after the story as I sang our transition song. I sat down on the couch and just sat silently with my hands in my lap. Yoav picked up the brush and said, "Once upon a time there was a horse (and he began to draw a horse). I need pink. How can I make pink? It's ok (draws udders with green paint). This isn't a very Jewish story, is it? Because horse milk isn't kosher. And the blue sky (draws blue all over the top and to the sides) and the green grass grew all around all around (draws green grass) and the yellow sun (draws the sun)." When the whole painting was covered, he put down the brush and said, "Snip, snap, snout, our tale is told out." (We learned that in our Waldorf Mommy/Me two years ago and I say it when we finish special stories like the Enki Core stories and Yoav says it when he finishes a puppet show (or I guess a painting).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yoav Quotes

When Yoav had croup and was barely able to breathe, he said to us, "This is badder than bug bites."

Another day, he said to us, "I don't know if Elie is allergic to cake. Jer, is there any cinnamon in it or eggplant?"


Quick comment today - both kids are sick - Elie has croup and Yoav has a mild fever. Yoav was kind of lethargic today and wanted me to make a felt ball for him. Elie woke up from nap while I was making it and Yoav got upset that Elie was up and I had to take a break from the ball. He hit me and then went to his playroom. A little while later, I was nursing Elie and working on the ball and Yoav came downstairs and said to me, "Mommy I'm sorry that I hit you." This is his first apology that I am aware of and I love that the format of it is just as I learned to do from Aldort! Instead of just saying "I'm sorry", I'm always careful to include what I'm sorry for so that it's very clear that I'm not just saying sorry to patch things up and move on.

As Elie was falling asleep, the neighbors came home and we heard Avishag calling the dog. Elie heard and sat up in bed and said "Dag" (how he says Avishag). I think he wanted to go out to see her :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Leaf Bookmarks

Today was Craft Day again, my favorite day. We pressed some leaves last week and I took them out last night to use for today's project. For the Craft, I cut out watercolor paper in the shape of bookmarks and Yoav painted them with watercolors today, then he glued the pressed leaves and we did a final layer of glue. It was a great project - all him except the cutting of the paper and he enjoyed every step. He decided one would be for Avishag and he gave it to her when she got home. She was really sweet and said thanks (to which he responded with "bavakasha" (thank you in Hebrew)) and she ran in to put it away and then came back out to play with him. My only mistake was to make too many layers of leaves for the pressing - some I guess were slightly damp and got moldy and since I had several layers one on top of another with just a piece of paper in between, several layers of leaves/flowers were lost to mold. We actually pressed some more tonight and I did a book, layer of paper, leaves, paper, book then repeated for a few layers and then about a foot of heavy books on top of it all.

After we did the Craft, Yoav had such a cute conversation with my dad. It was something like, "Today is Craft Day so we're doing lots of crafts! We made bookmarks with leaves and I made a slide for my gnomes." I love how Yoav thinks all these things are normal - a Craft Day and especially gnomes. He talks about gnomes the way other kids talk about Dora. It love that he knows about gnomes but doesn't know who Dora is!

I have to add all the other crafts that Yoav did on his own today - he thinks that Craft Day means that you do crafts all day long :)
* he made a purple felt "chick" that he sewed up and stuff with wool that looks nothing at all like a chick;
* he made a cardstock slide for his gnomes equipped with a little ladder and a pad at the bottom so they don't go too fast and fall onto the ground with a hard bump;
* he made a flower in a flower pot - pot made out of paper and the flower is made out of a q-tip with pieces of felt sticking out and attached together with tape;
* he drew a few pictures of trucks - he just started drawing trucks now that an excavator has been excavating dirt from our neighbor's yard for the past few days;
* he drew a picture of a motorcycle he'd like to make out of wood in his "art book" - it's a book of projects that he makes up - he draws pictures of how it's supposed to look and "writes" instructions - so it's supposed to be like the format of my "Feltcraft" book.

And just so I keep track of all my Enki stuff - for Circle today, Jer played on the trampoline for a bit with the boys until they were all tired and then we did Circle when they came inside, so it was more of the Formal Circle format. It went fairly ok. Yoav loved the Horses one and Little Pony - he participated in each of those and asked me to do them again (actually Elie also wanted them again!). The rest, he just watched. Maybe I'll see if I can switch any of the others out - maybe something else instead of Flamingo which he doesn't participate in and I don't hear him singing it during non-Circle times, like I do the others. We also read the story again today (The Magpie and the Milk).

We also made a chicken wire composter from the instructions in Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening book. Should be fun. I'm not doing my own garden here since we'll only be in our house for a year, but it'll reduce trash and get us started learning about how to make good compost for when we do have a garden next year.

Speaking of reducing trash, I've implemented some water saving procedures, since Israel is so starved for water. I have a plastic rubbermaid bucket in the kitchen sink that catches water. I let the dishes soak there so I use less water to rinse/wash them. Extra water goes to the garden. I also have stainless steel bowls in the bathrooms to catch hand-washing water which is then used to flush the toilets.

Oh, and Elie has croup :( But he's on his second night and he seems to be much better. Last night he had trouble breathing and, per Cindy's advice, we turned on the shower until hot water came out, then turned it off and sat in the shower until the steam was gone and the room was cooled. It helped IMMENSELY! We did it twice - once before he went to sleep and once during the night when he was having a particularly hard time breathing. This afternoon his temperature was up to 102, so I thought tonight would be worse than last night, but the coughing seems to be almost completely gone. Silly boy was even playing "Ring Around the Rosy" with us in bed. He can't help himself - if there's fun to be had, he wants to partake - healthy or not.

Yoav just threw all the clothes out of the hamper down the stairs. Jer saw and said, "What are you doing?!?!" Yoav said, "I was looking for something and then it was so much fun I just kept doing it." I love honesty in a trouble-making 4yo!!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Elie's first time without me

Jer just took Elie for the first time without me. Elie went with the big boys to get bread for breakfast. He said he wanted to go and gave me a hug and kiss good-bye and I saw/heard them talking about a cat they saw near the driveway as they were walking away. I'll post again later to say how it goes.

It went well with Elie out - Jeremy said he was having fun the whole time and he didn't seem overly excited to see me when he got back.. Yea, maybe this is the start to me getting more time alone! I see trips to the playground with Jer and the two boys in my future!!!

Our Circle went relatively well today! I had planned to go to the playground first, but when it came time for Circle, it was already getting a little sunny and I didn't want to risk being out at the playground in the heat with the kids not wanting to come home, so I did trampoline again. I tried to focus on Yoav as much as I could during that time - we played a few games that he made up and did some running around after eachother to tire ourselves out. After we finished the games he said he wanted to play, I sang Come Follow and the kids both did :) Actually they got off the trampoline before me. Sometimes these transition songs remind me of the Pied Piper! It's pretty incredible. I love seeing the kids make a quick switch from one activity in position for the next with just the magic of a song. Like after we did circle, I just started singing the food song ("Blessing on the Blossom") and they both just headed into the house! It doesn't work every time, but enough that I want to add a few more songs for other sticky parts of the day. I'm trying to think of one for getting dressed - I'd LOVE if it were even a tiny bit easier to get Elie dressed.

But I digress. So with the Circle, I sang Come Follow and we stood on the grass. Actually, Elie and Yoav both played on the slide and I started with Horses. After I finished once, Yoav came over and wanted to do it, so I did it all again and he followed with the movements as best he could. Later in the day I heard him singing parts of it! Then I did "My Little Pony", which he loved. I did it once while he watched and then we did it slowly together with him doing the movements. I think he just watched Flamingo. That's a hard one - standing on one leg - I don't think he did any of that. Then spin and frog, neither of which he did, but he continued to watch closely through the Owl close. This is a huge step forward from last time. Maybe he needed the open intake (last week) and then digestion (weekend) to be able to start participating!

We had a great painting session again. I love the painting days! I was so amazed by what was going on that I took some notes :) We used red and blue today (because he asked me last time how I made some purple). First he said he wanted yellow too and I just say we could do another painting afterwards with all the colors. He said he wanted to make a rainbow (because the song we do has the word rainbow in it), but then he just made a rainbow with red, blue, and purple. He commented on the purple color when he mixed the red and blue and also noticed that the water was purple. He then made a dog and a person and a red/purple setting sun and then filled in all the white with blue. When he went over the person with the blue, he said the person died. But then he said it was getting dark and it was nighttime and he said, "The person went home; the dog went home; the sun went down now." He kept painting until the whole page was purple and was very engrossed in the experience. (And he didn't have any desire/memory of wanting to use yellow when he was finished.)

We made a simple composter today - I used the instructions in "All New Square Foot Gardening". You just make a round of chicken wire - it's supposed to be between 3'x3'x3' and 4'x4'x4'. Mine is a yard high and about 3.5' diameter. I have to work a little more tomorrow on it's placement. I tied it to a tree on one side and on the other side I used a stake attached to a cement block that was lying around for some reason - so the cement block is inside the composter to keep it from blowing around. I'll get a photo tomorrow.

When we were reading at night, after I said a sentence with the word "no" in it, Yoav asked how you write no. It's the first time he's asked me what a word looks like.

Oh and the best news of all is that we got kosher organic chicken liver yesterday when we went to the Whole Foods of Israel (Eden Market) and I made it today and Yoav loved it!!! He had stopped eating it soon after Elie was back and I'm so glad he likes it again!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Felt Fish

We (I) made more felt fish today - colors were Yoav's choice, but he didn't do any of the sewing. He watched the whole process though and was happy to get some new toys ;) The pattern is from The Purl Bee.

We skipped Circle today. I have to think about how to make it work. I posted to my Enki group and got some good ideas already.
This is really random, but I'm drooling over this fabric tape. I might have to just get some assuming I'll eventually be able to put it to good use. It's really too cute not to have ;) I love looking at this shop - the woman who makes it all is so talented!.

I also made a knitted sheep from the Knitted Animals book, but it didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. I think the head/neck is too long for the body. Or maybe the yarn isn't quite right, or I didn't stuff it as well as the one in the book. I don't know. Oh and the one in the book has his head in a little box of hay, so the neck/head looks better than when it's just standing the way mine is. This is my issue with knitting - some things just can't be made perfect like fabric art where you can use a pattern and, to the extent that you can cut the pieces perfectly and sew correctly, it comes out looking exactly like it's supposed to... I'm sure Yoav will like the sheep though, and I guess that's all that matters. Although now I wish I'd cleaned the house instead ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Knitted Chick / Jingle Chain

I knitted a little chick for Yoav today from the book "Knitted Animals" by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff. It was really quick and easy, although I think I spent a few hours searching online for the perfect yarns - I bought a bunch of yarns a few months ago for projects in this book. This one is alpaca, so it's really soft, like a real chick :) Needless to say, Yoav loves him (and wants more). I made it during the morning creative play time - the Enki book says that's a good time for me to do quiet handwork or similar. Wasn't as zen as it sounds in the book, but it was a fun project and I'm glad I finally got to make something from this book - I want make a few more tonight with a hen so the kids wake up to a whole chick family :)

We made the Jingle Chain today. It's yarn chained together in loose knots with a pinecone and bell tied to the end and all the chains are tied to a stick. Seems like a great project, but Yoav didn't really participate. He did half a knot (a goal of the craft is to learn how to tie knots) and then did his own addition - he made a chain with his own yarn and tied the pinecone and bell with his own method of tying (which I think is just a random over/under -until-it-holds method). Maybe he's just not quite ready for it and I'll try again in a few months. He did enjoy playing with it afterwards though, although it kept twisting up from all his rattling into the second photo.

This afternoon Yoav played with Avishag for almost two hours! First Avishag came over to ask if Yoav wanted to help her feed the chickens. He did. As that was ending, I asked him if he wanted to play on the trampoline with her. He did (but he wanted me to do the asking). They played for quite a while on the trampoline and the slide. She is so incredibly sweet!!! They did a bunch of jumping and somersaulting on the trampoline. Then they played on the slide. At one point, he was rolling his truck down the slide and she was picking it up and bringing it to him. Then Avishag left and I thought that was it. But soon after, the doorbell rang and it was her asking if Yoav wanted to go with her to walk her dog. He did! I came out a few minutes later to go with them, but they were already gone. The playground is literally across the street, so I feel comfortable with them going alone together - Avishag is 8.5 years old (3rd grade). THEN, they came back and Avishag and her 12yo brother got on their bikes and Yoav got his bike to join them (they asked him if he wanted to come with them). Yoav is thus far quite poor on his bicycle, so I just went with him to the park to practice. A bit later Avishag met up with us and helped Yoav on his bike a little and then they played on the playground until it started to get dark and she headed home. When we pulled into the driveway, she waved out her window at us. Yoav waved and then said he wanted to wave to her from inside (he was yelling her name out the window to wave to her today around noon when she was in school LOL). So we went inside and he waved to her out the window just like in the movies :) What could be better than a sweet 8yo girl living next door?!?!?! Who seems happy to have an almost 5yo playmate!!! YEA!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Circle Time / The Crush

Circle was almost a failure again today, but when it looked like Yoav wasn't going to participate, I decided to try the Adventure Circle idea in the Enki book. The idea is to sing the Opening song (Come Follow) to get the kids to come and then skip around and pretend to see different animals in the garden/woods and each time I stop and do a Movement activity. It worked better. So we did trampoline for a while and then that. I think there's hope for it. Especially once Yoav gets used to it. Today what happened is that when he saw I was doing things, he wanted to make up some songs/games for the trampoline. So we did a few of his games and then he was more ready for the Circle.

Jeremy read the Story today, at Yoav's request.

Oh and we pressed a bunch of leaves and petals for future projects.

Yoav is outside and yelled in to me a few minutes ago, "Mom, I just saw Avishag!" Then I peeked through the window by the door and I can see him and Elie both sitting on the front stoop. I heard Yoav say to Elie, "Let's sit and wait for Avishag to come back."

Another funny thing is that Yoav has started to say Jeremy with a Hebrew accent (rolling the r) - not every time, but particularly when he calls Jer.

I'm excited that I'm completely organized and ready for tomorrow's craft project - we're making Jingle Strings and I have the cut yarn, bells, pinecones and stick in a basket all ready to go! I love that using Enki helps me to be this organized! Rather than spending time trying to FIND a project, I'm able to spend my time prepping for them!

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Day of Enki / Yoav's New Crush

Today was our first semi-official day of Enki homeschooling. We at least followed the schedule and I did my best with the transition songs and Circle. I have a 3-ring binder with the schedule, all transition songs, all movement activities, all stories for this block and all crafts for this block. I leave it out on a table out of the way so for the transition songs, I just glance at the song before I need it as a reminder so those are pretty smooth. I haven't done the toothbrushing one because it's a hard song to remember - I might have to switch to something easier for my slow mommy brain.

The Circle didn't work so well - we played on the trampoline for a while to get our heart rates up, but then Yoav just wanted to keep playing on the trampoline and I couldn't figure out how to transition to the Circle stuff. I got off the trampoline and sang the calling song (Come Follow) and he came off and watched a little, but he really didn't partake in any of it. He was just waiting till I finished so we could play on the trampoline some more. So tomorrow I'll try playing longer on the trampoline - maybe eventually he'll be ready to get off...

We read "Tiddelick the Frog", which Yoav loved. He wanted to read more stories (from the same book, since he enjoyed this one and The Bojabi Tree so much), but I just said that there's only enough stories in the book for one new one a week and that was ok with him.

Next we did painting, which was the highlight of the day. Our painting session was almost a duplicate of the amazing little scene in the Enki video with Beth. When I was watching the video, I thought it was so beautiful and perfect and that maybe the boy was a robot programmed to do that for the sake of Enki sales :) Yoav was so calm and peaceful with the painting! It was the first time we've done all three colors - at the beginning I had red and yellow out and Yoav said he was thinking about the blue and wanted to use blue too - he said something funny like he couldn't paint because he kept thinking about blue. So I added that. He mixed them all in a few spots and got brown and seemed to be ready for all three colors since it didn't just turn into a brown mess. And amazingly he wanted to cover the entire page for the first time ever even though I've never told him to and he's never wanted to before! It was incredible. Oh, AND, I saved all three paint colors because they didn't get compromised at all! I put them in separate containers from the big jars just to be safe, but they looked pure. The success was probably a combination of so many things - me having organized it all in a basket the night before so I was able to calmly/quickly get it all out; doing a transition song; me sitting fully present but saying nothing during the painting session; more paint per water ratio than usual per the recent threads; a week or two of rhythm to keep DS a bit calmer in general; and also he just got a gift a few days ago that was wrapped with an 8yo Waldorf student's wet-on-wet painting, so he got to see a beautiful example.

After Elie woke up from his nap, we went out to the playground for a nature walk. Yoav definitely has a bit of a crush on the 8 year old girl next door (Avishag). When we first went out, she was riding her bike, so he wanted to ride his. Then she ran off with her dog without her bike and he quickly got off his bike and wanted to follow her ;) She was at the playground walking the dog and after we played a bit with her and the dogs (a few others were at the playground as well), she left but then came back on her bike sans dog. BTW, Elie says the dog's name (Nina) - it was one of his first words and it's so cute the way he says it because he pronounces it perfectly (only because it happens to be easy sounds for him - he has a very very limited vocabulary so far, but he suddenly seems to be adding pretty quickly, so I'm not worried). Anyway... So then Avishag was back and she and Yoav looked for pinecones for one of our upcoming projects. There were a lot of small pinecones and there are about a thousand (literally!) pinecones on the trees at the playground getting ready to drop! I'm happy about that because we have a lot of projects we need pinecones for, so I'm glad to have an easy source of them. I told Yoav that we can invite Avishag to do our pinecone project with us since she helped us collect them and he's very excited about that ;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Organizing the Playroom

There have been a few threads recently on my Enki Homeschooling board about organizing and toys and such. That plus general re-organization based on my readings have led to the current state of our playroom. I put up the ceiling playsilk today that I got from Dharma Trading. I want to dye it - probably with the sandalwood that we used for a recent playsilk - I like that color a lot, although Yoav prefers the grayish one ;) It was Yoav's idea to put the playstand as an entrance. I like it there since only kids can fit under it, so it makes for a somewhat magical entrance. And they can still play under there. I also reorganized Yoav's art supplies. Instead of keeping them in one big plastic container, we separated it all into three baskets - one for crayons, glue, scissors and tape; one for felt; one for needles in a little wooden case I got at A Child's Dream (one fat embroidery one and one regular sized one for use with felt) and embroidery thread and yarn.

After the reorganization today, Elie and Yoav played with the gnome home together for the first time. I think Yoav was excited to walk (and run) through the entrance with Elie and somehow once they were in there, they started playing. Until now, Elie hasn't been "allowed" to play with the gnome home. It seems to have been elevated to a very high status... hSo Elie being able to play with it hopefully represents a step forward in their relationship as playmates.

I was also somewhat busy today preparing for our house warming party we're having Saturday. We invited about 45 people, which is about 40 people more than I've hosted before LOL! I made the matbucha earlier in the week and then today I made babaganoosh and tahina, both of which came out really well. I've made a lot of progress on my eggplant roasting - Jeremy talked to an old woman who was buying eggplants at the store when he went last time and he asked her how to choose - she said to look for ones that are shiny (which I knew) and LIGHT. I think the light is the trick. The really dense ones take forever to really soften up on the inside when you roast them (or they never soften). I made some roasted eggplant since I've been here and the first time it came out great and the second time it wasn't and now I realize it was because the second batch of eggplants was denser. So I'm glad Jer went shopping that time ;)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Elie's Communication / Craft Day

Elie is so funny! He was just yapping at me and I wasn't paying attention. Then he came over to me with a cup and held onto my skirt and led me to the refrigerator. I asked him if he wanted water and he shook his head yes :) Then I went to tell Jer and when I got back, Elie was sitting at his spot at the table with his water and oatmeal - I guess he had run out of water :)

We did our first Enki craft today - we did the tissue paper flowers, which were really simple. I needed a simple one because we did a story and craft today since we don't have M or F this week b/c of other activities. It worked great and I liked doing the story in the afternoon during Elie's nap. For the project, I just cut out squares of tissue paper and then we held a few together, poked a finger into the center to create a flower, and then glued it onto a piece of brown paper (the dirt). At the end, Yoav "planted" them near his gnome home :) He wasn't really able to do it so well, but the great thing about it is that you can just do it semi-flower-like first, glue it down and can still play with the shape, so it was a 0 frustration project and then afterward he made a few tissue paper flowers with his own method using smaller pieces of tissue paper.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Core Story

I told the Core Story today for the first time. We did 'The Bojabi Tree". Yoav loved the story - the only problem was that we did it in the morning when Elie was awake and Elie started crying over something toward the end and I had to stop to calm him which ruined the mood. So I moved the Story to after Quiet Time. I think it'll work fine there since I'm doing it M, T, R so the only days it interferes with another activity is M when we have Painting, but Yoav can paint while Elie is awake and actually Elie can probably already do some simple painting (if he's even awake - most likely we'll be able to do story and painting while Elie's still sleeping). I transitioned to story time by singing the transition song (Ting-a-Ling), lighting a candle and bringing the candle next to the couch, then chiming our pentatonic xylophone. I blew out the candle before we sat down for the story so there's no safety issue. The kids were pretty mesmerized by the whole thing.