Saturday, January 16, 2010

Adventures of Katie and Mommy (and Daddy the Mouse)

Snuggling together this morning, Katie and I decided to have an adventure to "Big Park" today. We like to give special names to all of the parks we frequent, and we even have a "Secret Park." Big Park is in the center of Paloma del Sol, and since we live in a different housing development, it is a bit of a trek to get there. All the pathways are delightful, though, and we pass a few different schools. We converse the whole time, and so the walk is pleasant and full of learning and language opportunities.

We spent a little over an hour at Big Park, playing and climbing and sliding, blowing bubbles, bouncing our ball, and playing with Katie's bag of figurines. She was so interested in all of the other children there, and we watched some of the bigger kids use their bikes. Katie has a tricycle waiting for her, and I suggested that it would be fun to try it at Big Park sometime. She loves climbing and is always so proud of herself. We also watched leaves blowing and spinning in the wind.

Katie suddenly began using figurative language today, specifically similes. When we were eating breakfast, we listened to Daddy taking his bath upstairs. The master bed and bath is right over the kitchen, so we can hear the pipes. Something made a high-pitched noise up there, and Katie stated, "He's squeaking like a little mouse."

Now, I am sure that she didn't use this expression knowing it was poetic or anything (although I praised her right away and told her about similes using "like/as" and that I really liked how she chose to express her thought). But I also thought it was really, really, really cool that she is thinking figuratively and using complicated language to express herself.

So that single sentence was awesome in itself, but then later we were dancing and, referencing the leaves we had watched at the park earlier, Katie described, "I am dancing like the leaf."

I do know this is technically less of a simile than the previous example. Since leaves don't inherently dance, she is actually assuming a personification of the leaf that isn't as intrinsic as a squeak is to a mouse. However, because of the implied personification, there is actually a figurative quality to this sentence as well. And anyway, I just really like imagining her as a swirling leaf. :-)

So I am pretty excited. And not just because I love English and literature and writing (which I do!!!!), but because she is showing higher order thought. Developing her higher order thought is one of the reasons we read to her constantly, and we have always had the approach that we would talk to her like an adult and not like a child. We try to make ideas accessible to her without diminishing the complexity of expression too much. When she asks questions about things, we try to give her as elevated and as complete an answer as possible for her processing. We also try to be as precise as we can in our word choice with her, no matter how big the word might be. Fortunately Amie and Boppa are of this philosophy as well, which is probably why it feels natural to me and of course they approach her in this way as well.

After we returned from the park, we made lunch and then read some books in our cozy chair and dozed off for a nap. I woke up and worked on Katie's Year 3 scrapbook while watching one of the X-Men (I love X-Men) movies. My mom gave me a bunch of scrapbooking materials again this year for Christmas/birthday, and I love them. It is now a January/February/March tradition to scrapbook and prepare the pages and mounts and accessories. I design all the pages before I start affixing pictures, so that all the mounts are ready throughout the rest of the year. Every year I have made it a goal to have Katie's scrapbook done by her birthday. So far, so good. I don't know what I will do after this year, though. Will I do a combo scrapbook of both children? Or continue to make them individual books? Hmmmm...

So we have had a lovely Saturday! Hope everyone's weekend is beautiful so far!

Oh, and there is some pistachio pudding in our near future... Better wrap this up!