Archives for October 2006

Pumpkin Patch

Last week our family visited a local pumpkin patch. We chose the smaller one closer to our house, and we had a great time. Hannah did not stop running from the time we got out of the car until we got back in. She was so excited by everything – just being outside, looking at the decorations, trying out the wheelbarrows, and picking out the pumpkins. Although this particular patch didn’t offer a petting zoo or hayrides, Hannah didn’t know the difference. She just loved every minute of it, and so did Jon and I. She even tried to push the massive wheelbarrow.

Pushing the wheelbarrow

Also, Hannah got a hold of one of my pens today while we were at the grocery store. She put some lovely, um, ‘decorations’ on her face.

Markers are fun!

Parroting

Hannah has started to parrot my speech patterns back to me. We hear a lot of ‘Okay!’ and ‘All right!’ around our house. It turns out that I use these two phrases all the time. Who knew? My 20-month-old toddler.

This turn of events has caused me to re-think the way I speak when I am with my daughter. Luckily, I’ve never really used a lot of profanity, so we haven’t heard those words yet. But I can tell, now, that Hannah is listening and absorbing pretty much everything I say. Talking about her with other people when she is within earshot has taken on a new colour. So has talking to Jon about going for a walk, or discussing what we’ll have for dinner.

This language explosion is a lot of fun, but it also presents new challenges. When a toddler can understand what you say, it becomes that much harder to keep them in the dark. 😉

Good Swinging!

I’ve spent a lot of time on the playground in the past 6 months. Over the spring and summer I’ve logged a lot of time chasing a toddler around climbing structures, pushing her on swings, and keeping her from eating (too much) dirt. As any parent knows, the playground is a sociological experiment in action, and an excellent window into modern parenting styles.

One thing that you can’t help but notice is the incessant praise that is offered to small children. “Good job, buddy! Good climbing! Good swinging! Good running! That was such a great slide that you did, that was the best slide ever!” On and on, ad nauseum. I’ve watched these children, and as far as I can tell they swing, slide, and play in the usual way. I don’t even know, actually, how you would define above-average swinging. If the kids are enjoying themselves, then no other metrics or superlatives are really material. How much do children actually benefit from hearing continual praise over every day activities? After a while it all becomes background noise, I think. Plus, wouldn’t it be better if they could be allowed to decide for themselves what is fun, and worthwhile, and ‘good’?

Hannah is one of the most exuberant kids I know. She squeals and laughs out loud with glee. She also screams and flails and contorts when she’s upset. She runs and climbs and is rarely quiet or still. We don’t offer her a lot of praise. Why would we? She takes such genuine enjoyment out of everything that our evaluations or judgments of her performance seem inconsequential. I hope that she can continue to explore and learn and have fun under her own steam, without somebody else telling her what’s of worth and what isn’t.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone is having a great Thanksgiving! We’re just coming off of two turkey dinners, so things are a little sluggish around our house. For those who are keeping score, Hannah likes cheesecake and pumpkin pie, but rejects stuffing without even giving it a try.

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