Monday, January 9, 2012

More than mere baby-sitting

This is my challenge to myself: how do I ensure that 'ma-care' is more than 'baby-sitting'. If I were providing child-care for a just any child, I would want to ensure that there was a learning component. Learning that was balanced between the skills, learning that was cumulative rather than repetitive. Learning that was fun; that was bonding; that was cerebral. Just because the child is the child of my child, should impact diddly-squat on the equation.

I find it easy enough to set a programme that includes the physical, the emotional, as well as pre-reading, pre-number, our culture, music, and dance. The difficulty is making the programme cumulative. To enable the child to develop over time.

BTW, you need to know that in the first photograph, Alannah is saying the word 'two'.

So, what did today involve?

Sandpit: We played 'Patty cake Baker's Man' then smashed the cakes down. In between time, we had to fetch buckets of water to keep the sand sufficiently moist.

Water Table: We have two basins, and numerous colourful pouring containers, as well as two colourful watering cans. Alannah had to help me fill the containers, carry one back to the clamshell. Then pour directly or via a mug. The day reached 26C so there was a lot of water play.

Culture Studies: Alannah is learning to identify by sight and sound, vehicles which pass by: car, truck, bus and motor-cycle. She can correctly identify the sound of the last two. She is learning to say 'big blue bus' especially the 'b' sound.

Pre-reading: We read "The Very Busy Spider', 'Roadworks', 'Tough Trucks' and 'The Fire Engine Book'.

Music and dance: we listened to a CD of Scottish fiddle music called 'The Red House' and Alannah loves to dance, moving easily to this infectious beat.

Pre-number: We had sticks, buttons, stones and crayons and sorted them into plastic mugs. Sometimes she picked up many, but more often she picked them up one at a time. She sorted and put (new word to replace toss) buttons into an egg carton, one per slot. An engrossing and not easy task.

Pre-writing: crayons on large drawing sheets. Free style.

Singing: I sung nursery rhymes to her at sleep-time as she snuggled into my shoulder.

Physical: This is a very physical day, but just to top it off, we played chasies from room to room, changing direction to trick the other. She tried to trick me more than I her!

And then, there are the cats ... they are coping really well. They all stayed around today and somehow realised that her enthusiasm was not going to actually hurt them.


Joan Elizabeth said...

Julie!!! I entertained 100 people in my house today and I don't think that was near as exhausting as your Ma-care schedule. The photos are great.

Julie said...

T'other way 'round, m'dear. Entertainnig 100 people (did you do all the 'cooking', too?) would scare the pants off me. I would have a migraine for days beforehand, think I was saying and doing the wrong thing all function, and then live with regrets for days after.

Child-care is a doddle in comparison.

freefalling said...

Sounds like awesome fun!
I love playing.
My grandmothers weren't really "playing" kinds of grandmas.
Granma was a soft and cuddly and loving.
And Nana was very proper and interesting.
I loved them both dearly and miss them terribly.
I used to love to sit up at the kitchen bench and watch my Granma cook.
And from the time I was a child til I was 30 when she died - afternoon tea was a ritual at her house.
We would all sit up at the table, with the teapot, and sugar bowl and milk jug - china cups and saucers, tea strainer - pikelets and scones and fruit cake and cheese on SAO if you didn't like sweet. Roses from her garden in her electroplated silver vase on the lace tablecloth. And my uncle who was occasionally there used to work in the shearing sheds and consequently spoke at the top of his lungs, non-stop without drawing breath - we would go home feeling like we had been battered around the head.

freefalling said...

ps - did you know you have comment moderation on at hither and thither?

Ann said...

Wow, is all I can say.

diane b said...

Joan had a hundred people . I agree with you, baby sitting/learning is much more fun. She certainly has a head start in the learning stakes with a qualified Ma. You'll have to send me a programme for when I go to LA to baby sit in late April. How lucky you are to be a few suburbs away while I am half a world away. Payback time, we did it to Bill's parents.

Joan Elizabeth said...

It was a BYO food thing so all I had to do was provide venue, BBQ sausages and a few chickens plus child proof the home and garden. As for saying and doing the wrong thing all function I've decided that I am old enough to sing to my own tune these days. When I feel tired I just go sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet spot and ignore people. Our home is big enough to offer quiet spots even with a crowd like that in and nobody notices anyway.

The Blue Crane said...

I am definitely going to enjoy these posts.