Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The View From Finley's Room...

Last night I was folding laundry in the bedroom when I heard the following come from Finley's room:

Finley: Look, momma! It's a full moon!
Dana: That looks more like a rocket to me!

I thought about it for a second and then called out:

Me: Is he naked??
Dana: Yes.

I wonder what kinds of stories parents of little girls have that I'll never get to experience.

I've been sitting on a few other stories that happened recently, wondering if I should put them down for posterity or if maybe parents who only have girls are better off not knowing just what kind of fun they're missing.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Buying Gifts For Yourself...

Finley and I were in the play area at the mall while Dana shopped for some work clothes yesterday.

A little girl, who was too big for the play area and kept bothering Finley to play with her, came up to me and said, "WE'RE here at the mall because MY dad is going to buy ME some headphones."

I turned to her and asked, "Do you like to watch the movie Frozen when you are in the car?"

She grinned and nodded, "EVERY time we drive ANYwhere!"

I smiled sweetly and said, "Then the headphones are for your daddy, honey."

I looked up to smile at her dad, but he was too busy on his iPhone to notice her daughter talking to a complete stranger.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Kilted Woodworker - The Next Generation

The other day, Finley wanted to come down into the shop with me and make some boats.  

I cut off a nice piece of pine for a larger boat bottom and then cut up a bunch of smaller pieces of wood (pine, cherry, walnut, mahogany) for use as cabins and such. Then Finley dug through the wood trash box I keep by the door to the shop, which is where I put plane shavings and wood waste at the end of the day, and pulled out some scraps of wood he thought were cool.

I got a coping saw (now his coping saw) and showed him how it can be used to cut curves.  It has a nice old thick blade on it that resists snapping much better than the newer blades.  I might even touch up the teeth on it with a file to get it back to "very sharp" and just keep that blade on it, because I know he'll snap the newer blades in no time.

By the way, wearing the kilt was completely his idea. I picked out the London shirt, and then put on my own t-shirt that says "London" on it to wear with my kilt. He liked the continuity.

We cut the pine blank into the shape of a boat bottom and then I showed him how to use his block plane to smooth the cut.  I was the one doing the planing, because it was an unusual shape, but I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures of it! I was amazed at how well that old block plane works still. Those old blades take and hold an edge very well. 

Then we laid out the pieces where he wanted them and I helped him glue them up. For expediency's sake, we used a hot glue gun - they're just quick wooden toys, so I'm not worried about them lasting very long. When we build anything meant to last longer, we'll use Elmer's white glue (which is, incidentally, what I use in my box making - it works just as well as "wood" glue and costs much less. I wait until stores are having Back To School sales and buy it in little bottles, so I don't ever worry about it going bad.

I couldn't get him to not make a goofy face - he was just really excited to be in the shop, making stuff with dad. I can accept that...

Once Upon A Time...

Yesterday when we were driving home from work/school, Finley asked if I wanted to hear a song. I said of course I would and he started singing...

Finley: Once upon a time there was an engineer, drove a locomotive both far and near.  Umm... Ac... accom...
Me: Accompanied
Finley: Accompanied by a monkey who would sit on a stool, watching everything the engineer would do.
Me: *tear*
Finley: I don't know any more of it, though.  It's kind of a long song.
Me: Well, we can work on it, buddy.

So we listened to Grateful Dead all the way home.  And I watched him (in the rear view mirror) listen intently as the songs played, trying to memorize the lyrics.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sharing With Dadda

Finley: Here, Dadda, you can have some of my NutterButters!
Me: Aw, thanks, bud! Hey, wait a sec... 

Me: Did you lick off all the fake peanut butter and just give me the cookie part???
Finley: Ummm.. Maybe!

I still ate them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Captain Sideburns To The Rescue!

Finley: Dadda, Chase is Batman and Noah is Spiderman. What superhero could I be?
Me: You could be Wolverine - he has Adamantine claws and always heals his wounds.
Finley eyes me dubiously.
Me: He also has big sideburns like Dadda.
Finley: I want to be WOLVERINE, then!
Me: *tear*
Finley runs to his mom, shouting, "Momma, I have SIDEBURNS!"

Not sure I need to add anything more to this.  Except to say that it constantly amazes me how much he understands and pays attention to everything around him. A little while after the above conversation, he asked me, "Dadda, if Wolverine can heal his wounds, can he get cancer?"

Even at three, he is obviously affected by experiences with cancer in our lives. When he was two, our next door neighbor passed away after fighting liver cancer through three remissions. And his grammy is now a breast cancer survivor, though the treatments have obviously left her physically changed. So when I told him Wolverine would never die from cancer, that bolstered his enthusiasm for being him when they play superheroes at school.

It sealed the deal when I started showing him pictures of the animal Wolverine was named after. He wanted to pet its fuzzy head.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Man vs. Grammar

I grew up with parents who were constantly correcting my grammar. It wasn't ever done in a bad way or to belittle or annoy me. They never used a condescending tone (though my dad's corrections occasionally carried a hint of impatience); they were just helping me build my grammatical toolbox, so to speak.

Yeah, I'll admit it - I got tired of hearing my mom question my use of "snuck" with, "How do you decline 'to sneak'? Sneak, Snack, Snuck?" And my dad STILL gets after me about my use of 'bring' and 'take' (because it apparently still eludes me).

But I don't fault them their efforts. In fact, looking back on it all with the wisdom of hindsight, I appreciate what they tried to do. I enjoy speaking properly. I'm obsessed with plays on words and obscure grammatical humor. Funny enough, Finley is, too. We spend entire car rides talking about sentence structure and rhyming words. This is probably why, at age three, he is already making puns and jokes that are, in my mind, brilliantly funny.

Because my parents were so successful (I think so, anyway) with teaching me how to speak properly, it should come as no surprise that Dana and I use similar techniques with Finley. We don't berate him for using the wrong word or incorrect grammar; instead, we gently suggest the right word when appropriate. Nine times out of ten, he picks up on it, repeating the phrase with the appropriate word. If he misses the cue, we don't press the point - not every moment is a good time for instruction. It is much easier to recognize that than get in a grammatical fight with a three year old. 

Turns out this is very much in-line with the Montessori method of teaching/correcting grammar, so we feel doubly justified in keeping this up.

One of the few times when we don't even bother correcting him is when Finely wants to get down from his chair after dinner. Once he started sitting in a chair without a booster seat, we began enforcing the rule that you have to excuse yourself from the table when you are done. During this first lesson, he kept getting "Can I" and "May I" mixed up and started asking, "Man I please be excused?"

He says it in such a cute, tiny voice and we smile every time. It's one of our reminders that he is still just a little boy and we've never had the heart to correct him. I guess every kid needs to have something little quirky phrase, right? That is his.

I suppose it could backfire on us. My brother had a similar situation with my niece. Her favorite color was yellow and she always said it with an "L" at the beginning, instead of a "Y". She didn't switch the letters with any other word starting with a "Y"; just "lellow". So nobody ever bothered correcting her.

At some point in her first week of kindergarten, she came home from school very angry and embarrassed and she let all of us have it! Apparently, when she asked for the lellow crayon during coloring time, someone told her she was saying the word wrong. She asked the teacher if the other child was correct and the teacher confirmed she was. She'd been saying it wrong for three years and nobody bothered to tell her. Twelve years later, we still hear about it every now and again.

This morning, I went into Finley's room to make sure he was doing OK getting ready for school. One of the cats was sitting on his bed. He was bent over her, rubbing his cheek in her fur (she's super soft) and making noises. I approached them to see what they were doing...

Finley: meow meow merow meow
Me: What was that?
Finley: I was speaking to Baby Teeters in Kitty.
Me: Oh, I see.
Finley: Now I'm speaking to you in Man.

I smiled. I kneeled down and gave him a big hug. I kissed him on his forehead. But I didn't correct his grammar. It was, I think, more important to just sit back and enjoy seeing how his little brain works on its own.

Maybe I'll correct it the next time.