Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lovely Little Helper... Sometimes

Miss Mega is 19 Months Old

Recently I've been receiving a lot of "help" around the house.  Zilla, being 4 is pretty handy at a number of things.  Miss Mega has reached the age where she wants to try many things on her own and, as she watches Zilla do things, wants to help like he does.  Of course there are times where the "help" is less than helpful but for the most part if I have things arranged to her ability level she is able to lend a hand.  Here are a few examples:

Our dishes in the kitchen are in the low cupboard so the kids can help set the table, etc. on their own.  It also works well for snack time as they can get their own dishes out and put the dry ones away.  Keep in mind though that because we live in an earthquake prone location (and I hate broken dishes!) we use Corelle for our "good" dishes and the kids have a set of plastic dishes for snacks & play.  Our "glasses" are actually plastic too but look so much like glass that most visitors are surprised the first time they use them. :-)

 When I go to teach my Baby Signing Time classes Mega comes along to assist.  Since we travel by train to class she enjoys the walk to/from the station.  With Hopkins and a flashcard set in her backpack she is ready to go.
 We also have some outdoor chores such as sweeping up leaves in the street and passing on the neighborhood message folder.

The next two pictures were taken by my computer while I was trying to work one evening.  Sometimes I really need to get something done and for some reason I think I can focus while the kids are awake...
Have you ever tried typing with 2 kids hanging on you?

 How about with one climbing up while the other tries to snuggle in on the side...???
Now you can see why most of my blog posts are made in the evening, after the kids are in bed.  
Some of the other ways Mega has started "helping" include taking dirty clothes to the wash basket. getting out the pajamas at bedtime (we keep them in a basket where the kids can reach), cleaning up toys and books, taking things to the garbage can and clearing the table after meals.
Oh, and helping shovel snow... that is, if we ever get enough to shovel!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Curry By Zilla

Zilla has been asking to help out around the house more.  Not too long ago he convinced Emo to help him make curry rice for supper.
 When I saw him washing the veggies I was surprised to see how big he is! 
When we moved here he needed help to reach the sink.  Obviously that is no longer the case!

 With a bit of help he discovered a love of peeling.  Actually, anytime I make something with carrots in it now he volunteers to peel them for me.

 Here is the finished product.

Made by brother, tested by sister... and she approves!

Potty Training Corner & Books

Today we had the first Potty Time Workshop and I think it went rather well.  It was an interesting time of sharing ideas and stories.  One thing we talked about today is how to set up the potty area so all the things you need are within arm's reach.  Here is our little set-up:
The top pocket is where we keep the books to read while waiting.  There is also a pack of flushable wipes.  The second pocket has clean diapers and on the bottom liners for cloth diapers hang next to the paper towel for cleaning up accidents.

Here are some of our favorite books to haev on hand while potty training:

A Potty for Me!: A Lift-the-Flap Instruction Manual by Karen Katz
ISBN-13: 978-0689874239

Too Big for Diapers (Sesame Street)
ISBN-13: 978-0375810459

Potty by Leslie Patricelli
ISBN-13: 978-0763644765

Hopkins Uses the Potty
ISBN-13: 9781936859115

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Potty Time Workshop in Tokyo

This week I'll be leading two Potty Time workshops at Hana House in Suginami-ku, Tokyo.
今週杉並区にあるハナハウストイレトレーニング・ワークショップをやります。 Please join us!

Breakfast with the Planes

I'm about a month behind on posting here... so it is time to play a bit of catch-up!

When Emo (Daddy to the kids) had to flay away for a few days recently we accompanied him to Haneda Airport.  It was actually my first time to go there since the flights to where we need to go have always been from Narita Airport.  The new International Terminal at Haneda is very well done and makes a nice outing for kids.  The observation deck was the perfect place for a snack while watching the planes come and go.  We had so much fun looking at the different designs and trying to figure out where the various planes come from!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No matter how much your kids love you there are still times when they will listen better to someone else say the same thing you are saying.  On of my favorite sources for that "other voice" are the Sesame Street characters.

Did you know that there are a number of free Sesame Street TV specials you can download for free in iTunes? They are under the name "Learn Along with Sesame".

These special episodes address topics such as dealing with grief, sickness, preparing for emergencies and healthy living.  My kids watch random episodes from time and we will sit down to watch specific ones together when I need the extra "Sesame" reinforcement!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book + Stickers = New Activity

Have you ever received a children's book with additional stickers and thought "oh, no..."?  I have that thought almost every time.  Either the stickers end up stuck to inappropriate places or I have to deal with the kids constantly asking to use the stickers.

Today I finally found the solution!
Before the kids get their mits on the stickers you can turn them into "I spy..." or "Seek and Find..." cards.

Here are the stickers for our new B-Bears book "All Things Bright and Beautiful" put to a good use.  I took 3x5 index cards, (in Japan hagaki size would work well) cut them in half and put a stickers on each side of the card.  After writing on the name of the object in the picture, I laminated the cards and punched a hole so they can be strung together on a pipe cleaner.  If you have more than one book it is a good to make a title card with the name of the book.

While preparing the cards I noticed that I was paying more attention to the pictures in the book than I have before.  It is amazing how many of the small details I've missed even though we've been reading this book over and over again.  My kids are a lot more perceptive than I am which (in some ways) makes this activity easier for them than it is for me!

Perhaps tonight, after the kids are in bed, I'll go on a hunt for the other books with stickers!