Mommy Mondays: On the Topic of Teeth…

I am hardly squeamish. I am a champion diaper changer and I can clean up cat yak with minimal gagging. I can move snails out of harm’s way and admire earth worms with the best of them. But for some reason, loose teeth permeate my tough-mom exterior. The sound they make when they wiggle turns my stomach. I find the hole they leave in the gum when they finally do come out totally revolting. I want no part of them. And for some reason, we’re on a run at my house – three out in one week.

The Tooth Fairy actually came back-to-back nights. (As an aside, our first tooth ever lost came out on Christmas Eve last year, so the Fairy and Santa passed in the hall…) I’m hoping this is it for awhile, for my own sake and for Emma’s, since I’m not sure how she’ll eat if she loses even one more – and I don’t think I’ll even want to!

Mommy Mondays: 15 Minutes

Why is it that no matter how early I wake up, how calm and peaceful I try to make the getting-ready process, the last 15 minutes before dropping my daughter off at school are always crazy?

This morning, for example, I woke up at 5:45 to work out, check emails, make lunches, and get myself ready before waking Emma up at 6:45 (clearly I don’t spend a lot of time on makeup). She woke up bright and cheery. We read a book in bed and then headed into the living room for a bit of coloring and a TV show before getting her dressed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, and fish fed. Sometimes we can even sneak in arts & crafts or a walk around the block before we head out!

And then all heck breaks loose. Somehow the 15 minutes I leave to get us to school, which is 3 minutes away door-to-door, is never enough. Grabbing purses, backpacks, homework (which needs to go into the backpack, which is already on the back), and lunches… getting out the door and into the car (why is this so hard? It’s like it happens in slow motion)… driving to school and parking… it’s a marathon exercise, always a scramble, and the ramifications of cutting it short a minute or two—not having any playground time before the bell rings—can turn my happy, cheery girl into a storm of pout and cling.  And so my memory of our calm, peaceful, together-time morning is replaced by the last, pitiful look I get as she walks into class, and this is what I take with me all day.

Yes, my head knows that she’s fine the minute she turns the corner into her classroom, but my heart can’t quite believe it. Has anyone cracked the morning code? Left the drop-off happy and satisfied? Tips are much appreciated.

Working Fine Motor Skills

Earlier we discussed gross motor skills, so it’s only fair that we talk about fine motor skills. So what are they? Fine motor skills refer to the small movements of the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips, and tongue.

During infancy, fine motor movements remain unconscious reflex actions. Baby’s grips are clumsy and everything they touch usually ends up in their mouths. It isn’t until they reach about 12 months that they begin to master the pincer grip, an important fine motor skill that develops the ability to hold objects between the thumb and index finger.

Fine motor skills are largely developed during toddlerhood and preschool. Toddlers begin to develop the abilities to twist dials, pull strings, turn pages, use crayons, and much more. By the time they reach preschool, they are challenged with more delicate tasks like tying shoelaces.

Unlike gross motor skills, which call for boundless energy, fine motor skills require patience, which is in shorter supply.  It’s crucial that you encourage the development of fine motor skills in your child’s life. Weakness in fine motor skills can affect their ability to eat, write legibly, turn pages in a book, or even dress and groom themselves.

Educational Insights has a few early skill development toys and games specifically designed to strengthen these crucial skills. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!™  is one in particular that helps children develop fine motor skills while learning to match colors and count. (Pictured above)

There are many ways to have fun with fine motor skills; it all just depends on how you and your child use your noggin!

 

Magic Moves Featured in Parents Magazine

Magic Moves Electronic Wand

Hooray! Magic Moves was awarded Parents Magazine’s Best Toy Award in the preschool category. Check it out!

http://www.parents.com/fun/best-preschool-toys-of-the-year/

Mommy Mondays: Benefit of the Doubt

I recently read a poll in a parenting magazine asking if parents pay attention to other parents’ “reviews” of teachers. It asked if parents would go so far as to try to have their children moved to other classes if they had heard negative things about the teachers their kids were assigned.

The readers’ responses varied. Some thought it negligent to ignore the negative feedback—why put their kids through a potentially bad experience if they could help it? Others gave the teacher the benefit of the doubt—some teaching styles work better for some kids, so why not give it a try first? If you’d asked me this question last year, when my daughter was heading into kindergarten, there’s no question what I would have said.

[My daughter, Emma. Her daddy is 6’3, with 6’ sisters and a 6’7 brother!]

Flash back…there we were…waiting to see the class list and meet Emma’s teacher. We’d heard such great things about both kindergarten teachers. We’d played for years on the kindergarten playground and peeked through the kindergarten windows at the adorable little chairs and tables. Even the in-class bathroom door was tiny!

What a surprise to learn that one of those two teachers had taken on the school’s new preppy-K class and my daughter was assigned to a new team-teaching pair. At first we were thrilled—two teachers in the classroom! Too good to be true! And it was. What it really meant was that two teachers would split the week. Really? Neither one could commit to a 22-hour work week? Then the other shoe dropped— neither teacher had ever taught kindergarten before. Oh, and that cute little classroom on the cute little playground? Nah, we were down the hall with the big kids. And the tiny bathroom door was replaced with the big girl’s bathroom—across a corridor open to the street.

I did what any good parent would do—I panicked. I tried the principal, to no avail. There would be no relocations; the classes were full. I wasn’t alone: we were all worried—two teachers, two sets of rules, two styles— and in this crucial year, no less! After a few sleepless nights and more conversations than my friends care to remember (oh, and a deposit at the private school down the road, which we really couldn’t afford and whose religious tenets we do not believe), I caved. I mean, what choice did I have?

Well, a year later, I am both thrilled and embarrassed to report that the year could not have gone any better. One teacher was nurturing and sweet. The other was stern, but conducted kitchen science lessons every Friday with edible treat results. I never heard any student or parent complain of trouble adjusting to different styles or routines. In fact, they may have come out more flexible for it. The highlight of my daughter’s year was winning the silent auction at the spring carnival. The prize? Lunch. At Burger King. With her teacher. The stern one.

I am not a go-with-the-flow person, but  man, lesson learned. So when the flurry of phone calls, texts, and emails started rolling in when this year’s class assignments were mailed, I’m happy to report that I closed my ears and went with the flow.

And I’m glad I did. Emma’s new teacher opened this year’s Open House by telling the parents how grateful she was to have a job that she loves so much. Teaching is probably the hardest job in the world (okay, tied with being a mom). Teachers wouldn’t do it if they didn’t love it. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I know I will!