Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Creativity from a 5 year old

Lately Stan and I have been very impressed with the creativity that Chasadya has exibited, and it seems to not come from either of us.  We know that she loves to color, and draw, and in fact, seems to be thrilled to spend hours on crafts.  If it weren't for the mess that results, I would be a lot more excited for her to do it, but I have relaxed on that over the last while.  What has helped in this regard was cleaning out and sorting her craft box.  I threw out a lot of odds and ends that made things a mess, and was able to find a way of organizing things to my satisfaction, so although the box looks depleted, it has been good for everyone.

One of the things she's been incredibly creative about is taking foam stickers, the kind that come in shapes and letters, and making people out of them.  She arranges things to make faces, pants, dresses, legs and arms.  When she ran out of shapes, she started to cut up the letters to make the proper shapes necessary.  It occupies hours of her time.  I now have need to buy more to restock. 

The other thing she's done this week is write a story.  She found a notebook and decided that she wanted to write her own story.  As she doesn't know how to read or write words, we worked on it together.  She told me the sentence, I would tell her the letters that she needed to write, and she would write them down.  She doesn't have the spacing in the words yet, but she would often be able to sound out the letters needed to make a word.  Her story made sense, consisted of four sentences, and was very well put together.  We are so very proud of her.  We don't know where this creativity comes from, as Stan and I don't feel we have the same talents, but feel that we want to encourage her in both aspects of "art". 

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Dancer, A Gymnast

Its been so intriguing to Stan and I this summer to watch the differences in our children become more obvious.  Of course we know they are different, but when one copies the other a lot, its harder to see.  But this summer, we've taken note of it as it seems to happen more often.  Chasadya seems to be much more artistic, always wanting to color, draw, do crafts, or read.  She loves music, and last spring we enrolled her in dance classes, which included ballet and tap.  She loved it, and she's enrolled for the full year coming up.  She loves to put on her ballet clothes and slippers and dance around the house.  Stan recently brought home a plastic ballet bar from a co-worker, and she loves to stand there, practicing on one leg with pointed toes.  She often sings to herself, as she is right now as I'm typing this.  We feel like she's definitely going to be our creative, artistic child. 

Mikaela has done a lot of these things as well, as a copycat to her sister.  However, she gets bored of coloring long before her sister, and will dance with her sister, but it seems to be something she does because her sister is.  Invariably, while Chasadya is coloring, Mikaela is playing barbies, or more recently with the Polly Pockets given to the girls by their auntie.  She can sit for hours playing with the little dolls.  She also talks and sings while she plays, but again, it seems a learned behavior from her sister.  She does a high pitched voice when she plays that gets a bit annoying, but to her makes perfect sense.  Along with these noticeable differences comes the most obvious.

  She loves to climb on things.  And not just furniture, but play equipment.  In our backyard we have an old metal swing set, the kind with the seesaw swing, as well as a two-person bench swing.  It also has two sling-style swings.  Although some of the ideas of what to do on it came from her older cousin, Mikaela has learned that there is a lot more to the swing set than swinging.  Its actually a bit frightening.  She climbs onto the arms of the bench swing, grabs hold of the top support bar, and lifts her feet off the swing.  She then proceeds to do a number of different things.  Sometimes she just lets the swing go back and forth, putting her feet on the other side, other times we've caught her with her feet on the top bar beside her hands, with her head hanging upside down.  The first time I saw this I almost had a fit.  But she is completely comfortable.  She then often goes from one end of the swing set to the other, climbing on the other support bars.  We have come to the conclusion that rather than put her into dance like her sister, that she should probably be in gymnastics.  We desire to see our children doing things they enjoy, and do well at.  It would be easy to put Mikaela in the same things as her sister, because its simpler.  But we're thankful that God has given us two very different children, and that we have had opportunity to see this summer some of those differences.

Proverbs 22:6 says " Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Rather than seeing that as a promise that if I teach my child everything about God when she is young that she will not rebel( very nice thought, but not sure that's what God guarantees), we think that the verse means to teach them in their "bend".  Meaning, find out what their gifts are that God has given them, rather than impose on them our own ideals or dreams.  To let them explore their God-given talents.  I know I'm not saying it as clearly as I would like, but basically, what I think is that we can't pour all our children into the same mold and expect it to turn out perfectly.  They each have their own path, and its our duty as parents to find out what that is. 

Once again last night we saw the differences in our girls.  Chasadya started to dance for her daddy in the living room.  She twirled and twirled.  Soon Stan pointed out Mikaela.  She was standing on top of her wooden rocking horse with no hands, rocking back and forth.  We laughed together.  We most definitely  have both a dancer and a gymnast. 

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Pool crazy

A while back I talked about how the girls, especially Chasadya seemed to not be as comfortable in our pool as we thought she would be.  As I glanced back at that post, I realized that I need to update things, as it has changed a lot.  Because of the beautiful weather we've had this summer, we have been in the pool a lot.  Almost every afternoon that we are home we have spent at least an hour in it.  And that has dramatically changed how our girls play in it.  We've gone from being cautious, and careful to dunking, and floating like crazy.  Just the other night as Stan and I watched the girls, we said that our pool has done for our girls what several years of swimming lessons would have taken, and its only been one summer.  Chasadya has no problem dunking her head now, and can hold often hold it for at least three seconds.  She can float, with water wings, on her back and front, and allows us to throw her into the water and be submerged.  Mikaela is also putting her face in the water, and has relaxed enough to float by herself in a star shape( with a puddle jumper-kind of a cross between a life jacket and water wings) and constantly floats around while being pulled.  We recently bought another pool, as our other sprang a leak, and as we considered the cost, we realized that everything they teach in swimming lessons at $100 a session, we've been able to do for our kids for half that.  Once they need to learn more skills that a 2 foot pool can't offer, we'll put them back, but for now, when all they learn is to be comfortable in the water, we've achieved it at home.  The cost of the pool is minor when we see the pleasure and comfort the girls have had this summer.  Definitely worth the purchase. 
The other thing worth mentioning is that it has been something me and the girls have done together.  Often I don't take as much time to play with them as I should, but the pool has brought that out for us.  I seldom will sit out while they are swimming, so it is something that brings about great quality time for us.  Its been special for both me and the girls.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

"I can't do it"," yes, you can"

Lately we've been trying to teach Mikaela  that most times when she doesn't think she can do something, that she actually can.  Specifically, that she can go to the bathroom by herself without any help, and that she can pedal her trike by herself even when she's tired.  Often she tells us "I can't do it"  and our response has been "yes, you can".  Its become obvious to me that we have been saying it a lot, when I hear Chasadya from the other room tell her sister "you can do it, yes, you can".  Not having boys, I'm not completely sure if I'm right on this, but I believe that is Bob the Builder's motto.  "Can we do this?  Yes we can".  Kind of funny hearing it from my kids now, but I guess the words have been repeated enough.  Hopefully it sinks in.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Days of Sadness here, Gladness in Heaven

If you are on facebook you may have seen that we have had some sad days here lately.  My sister, who was two months ahead of me in her pregnancy has had a lot of stuff going on.  She had weeks of spotting, but doctors could not find anything too concerning.  She also lost some amniotic fluid, which again, seemed to have no reason behind it.  About a week ago her bleeding intensified a lot.  On Tuesday cramping also started.  Wednesday evening she gave birth to a little girl in her car en route to the hospital at 24 weeks.  Her husband then broke the sac, and gave CPR until the ambulances arrived.  Traumatic, to say the least.  Baby did not survive.  Obviously very difficult experience for them.  The sadness that I feel can not be measured.  She is my sister, and we were sharing a very special experience, and it is very difficult to be so far away from her right now.  So many thoughts go through my mind, one of which was that we were going to take pictures of our bellies about a month ago, but decided that we would wait until we were further along.  Now we don't have the chance.  And I will be a reminder to her every time she sees me of what she has lost, as well as my child when that time comes.  What once was a special thing will now be a sad thing. 
I think that it has also made me feel again what a blessin our children are. Although we've grieved the inability to get pregnant, Stan and I have never had a miscarriage or lost a child.  I'm thankful that we have not had that sort of grief.  As I go to the memorial for my little niece, I'm reminded of the other babies Stan's and my families have lost.  Noah, my brother's boy who died at birth, and 3 others we don't know, 2 lost by Stan's brother and sister-in-law and 1 lost by Stan's sister and her husband.
But I also know that what is sadness here, is gladness in heaven.  Although I don't know exactly how it is there, and probably not theoligically accurate,  I like to think that my grandma is holding  Miriam, and her cousin Noah is nearby.  And given the difficulties that she would have likely faced here, with brain damage and any number of other things, I think that once the grief can pass, we will see the blessing in it.  I think that God knows what we can bear, and as hard as this is for my sister, I think God knew she may not be able to handle what could have been. 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Camp, here we come

So after much deliberation, many doubts, and finally peace, we have decided to head to our church's camp for a week.  We feel like we've been out of the camp scene since we were dating, and now I guess we're getting back in.  It was a difficult decision for us, probably mostly for selfish reasons, although there were a few legitimate concerns as well.   Its hard to give up a week of holidays to volunteer when we have many other things we could be doing with our girls. But no matter what we do, I need to remember that we're building memories for them, and really, if we can get them used to camp already, then it should be easier when they are older to go.  They'll know what to expect, and hopefully be excited about going.  As it is right now, they are excited.  They both don't know what's in store, but Chasadya's best friend is also going to be there with her parents, so I think it will be great on that front.  In fact, Stan and I don't know what to expect either.  We have never been to this camp, and although we met at a camp, to me this is very different.  The camp I attended growing up, and later counselling at didn't have a lake, but rather a pool.  It had a fabulous horsemanship program, which is where I learned to ride, as well as archery, crafts, sports,and a few other "skills".  We would be able to choose 4 for the week, and would get to do these each once a day.  As far as I know, there is a very different set up at this camp.  There are not that many campers to begin with(less than 50) and it sounds like they all do the same thing at the same time(I may be wrong about that, but that's how it sounded).  So what are we doing?  Stan is going to drive boat for water sports during the swim time, and we are both going to do sports together.  Not sure if this is my forte, but its something that needs to be done, and we want to be available.  So over the next few days, we'll be brainstorming for ideas on group games.  There are a few relay possibilities, as well as the classic "Capture the Flag" or "Prisoner's Base", but we also need to have a few rain day possibilities.  Any suggestions, let me know.
Although there is a little apprehension over this experience, mostly fear of the unknown, I also feel like we finally made the decision that God wanted us to make.  Why else did we never feel completely settled every time we said no?  Why did it keep coming up?  Why else were Stan's holidays at the right time?  I think it was because God knew we should be going.  Not only for the campers, the staff, and ourselves, but also for our girls.  We may not be able to go again for a few years, as we'll have a 6 month old next year, but if we don't go this year, when everything has worked out so well, when will we?  I've been told that the relationships built, the entire experience, is something that we will not regret doing.  If I can get past the packing, I just might end up agreeing with them.  But before we go to camp, we have a week with the girls doing the things that we planned to do over 2 weeks, which includes shopping(!) and of course the place where the train goes round and round. 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Water challenges

After a summer of no yard, we are completely enjoying having one this year.  We have grass, a sandbox, and our pool.  Thanks to God, we have had the weather to enjoy all of that.  Its been interesting to watch my girls become more and more comfortable with the water.  Two years ago, when we had the pool set up, we watched Mikaela learn to walk in the water.  She of course lost her balance, but the resistance of the water helped her realize that she could do it, and it didn't take long after that she was walking outside of the pool.  This year, the first little while of being in the pool was quite uncomfortable for them(it was pretty cold to start- now its so warm Stan does not find it refreshing-28 degrees), but aside from the temperature, they just didn't feel that comfortable.  I would have thought that we take them swimming enough to a big pool that it wouldn't be a big deal, but it seemed like this was different enough.  Our pool is only 2 feet deep, so they can very easily walk and run around in it.  Last week Chasadya had a pool party for her birthday, and I was amazed at how one of her friends had no fear of the water and repeatedly put her head under and all sorts.  She was wearing water wings for that reason.  But I couldn't help but think, wow, why doesn't Chasadya feel that comfortable.  But I realize that each child is different, and does things at their own pace. However, I think that seeing her friend be so at ease has helped her a bit this week.  Actually, both girls have become so much more comfortable this week, that I've been surprised.  It really helps that we are in the pool every day, yesterday three times.  And although Mikaela gets a bit worked up about her face going in the water, Chasadya has realized that she can stand up, and its no big deal.  She's working on blowing bubbles under water for 3 seconds, and although she's not there yet, I have no doubt that she will be by the end of the summer. 
I'm just thankful for the weather, but also that I can be at home with my girls to see them grow and push themselves.  Some of the memories we make now will last their lifetime, and I'm so privileged to be able to be such a part of it.