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megOh boy, she is quite a girl. Megan will be 3 at the end of August. The last few weeks, it seems that she gets more opinionated by the day. A couple of weeks ago, she refused to wear anything but dresses, now it is a tee shirt with a cupcake on it. Some days she is content to wear a jumper or shorts, but others are full blown dress-ups or full blown tantrums. (Not that those aren’t happening pretty much everyday no matter what.) It is alternately adorable and frustrating. She says hilarious things like “Gotta be querkel.” (careful) and “I lalu (love you) too, see-heart” as well as the not so cute “I do it!” and “No, I go first!

This is definitely an age of extremes. I think that the little girl who had a little curl must have been two or three; that is exactly how I feel about my meg-a-roni. However, it is (at least mostly) with good cause. Some developmentalists call this the adolescence of childhood. Because, like preteens, preschoolers are trying to figure out who they are and assert their independence. So, I am trying to remember to take a deep breath and let her hold onto the milk too while I pour for her cereal. A few other things to do:

~Give her a choice when possible. However, don’t give too many choices. Asking if she wants to wear this outfit or that one is great. Letting her choose her clothes, what’s for breakfast, where to go afterward, etc. is overkill. She still needs routine and the security it provides.

~Ask for (and value) her help. Let her help sort socks or wipe off the table. Don’t forget to thank and praise her for her efforts. And don’t fix it after she has done the job. (That tells her that she can’t do it right.)

~Let her make a shopping list by pasting the labels of her favorite cereal, snacks, etc. on a piece of paper. When you get to the store, let he find the Cheerios and put them in the basket.

~LISTEN! It gets busy and her voice can become more white noise than a focal point during the day, but just like you, she has opinions and views that she really wants to be heard. You’ll be surprised at how smart she is when you listen to her and she will feel validated and important.

~For me, the biggest thing is just remembering that I am a mother, not a farmer. A farmer raises animals and crops meg by providing all of the things they need to exist: nourishment, a place to live, and such. Mothers do this too, but they also help to shape intellects, build values, and develop personality. I am constantly relearning that this takes time and attention (And sometimes forgoing the clean floor or to-do list. ;-P) It is worth it though; even though I have heard it a million times, I do believe that in a surprisingly short time I will miss these exasperating days.

Cloud Study

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Whispy clouds in a painting I’m working onA key aspect of being a good artist is being a good observer. The longer you practice in any type of medium, the more you begin to look closely at the world around you. One of my favorite things to look at, as well as to paint or draw is a  cloudy sky. Luckily, this is the perfect time of year to see some really spectacular clouds. Take a little time to lay in the grass and look up with your little artist. Play the time-honored game of finding animals (or whatever) in the clouds. Now, head inside and try making your own sky. I love hiding pictures in the clouds of my paintings. You will too.

Don’t try too hard. Keep it abstract, there is nothing wrong with a 3-legged giraffe or a head only portrait of a long, curly haired girl. Just have fun! Try a few pictures of just clouds…tell your child how important it is to artists to practice observing and portraying something (the art term is a study.)

Materials:rainy pic

Paper (I used black construction paper.)

Chalk or pastels, crayons will work great too

1. There aren’t many steps to this one…just give it a try! The more you experiment, the better you will get. Try letting the paper show through to create shadows.

2. Now throw some cloudy portraits into a scene. You’ll never look at the sky the same (or at least I hope so!)

Okay, I am still not on top of things (*sigh*)

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all of usSadly, it has taken me several days and attempts to get this silly post up. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but fear of being cursed has me just finishing it quickly with the promise of a project post no later than Monday. ;-P Bare with me… I am a work in progress!

Well, we made it back from Las Vegas. It was certainly a weekend full of excitement. We logged a lot of hours (and painful gas dollars) in the car. Actually, the girls did admirably well. I am sick again (oh brother!) but still trying to keep on top things. (I am sure you have noticed that this blog isn’t one of those things. ;-P ) My big sister graduated from UNLV this weekend. She is amazing! (However, as I know she reads this, I won’t embarrass her by illustrating all of the details.) For as long as I can remember, I have wanted tomeg and pam be just like her because she is so-well-cool. I can still vividly remember standing in front of her closet as a tween just looking at her clothes thinking of how I was going to be just like her in this way or that. The funny thing is that I still do it. She does something or has something and pretty soon (if I can afford to,) I usually follow suit. From silly little things like a flower pot to hold my kitchen sink stuff to jewelry trends; I will probably always be the admiring little sister. (That is probably pushing it for not gushing over her.) It was very fun to be there with her to celebrate this accomplishment. And to see her drool-inspiring new house. I just kept saying “wow.” as I looked around. It is so beautiful. I especially love their concrete floors.ready to swim

Mike is going to bed and I am SO tired, I want to follow. (Besides, Emily (who is sadly also sick) will probably be up in an hour or so again. Last night it took me a couple of hours to get her back to sleep-at least for a couple more hours.) I have really used a lot of parentheses–I think it is a sure sign that I should give up and go to bed. Good night!

Getting back on the mommy horse

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Well, I think we are finally getting over this rediculous cold. Really, who gets sick for weeks on end? Now, I am just trying to climb back up on the “mommy horse.” All I want to do is lay in bed, but when I look around, I can’t help but see the hundreds of ways that I have let things go. Oh well.

emilyEmily is crawling around a ton! She seems so please with her new skills. As expected, she is into everything she can get to. I think there is a strong sense of relief to be able to move out of the tornado(we like to call Megan)’s way. She certainly doesn’t relish all of Meg’s attention! I love to watch her little caboose shake back and forth as scoots along. She especially enjoys snacking on any papers that mom leaves lying around. She still has the full-body-all-out-sparkly grin. I love the way her whole face lights up, she literally radiates happiness!

Also, being the big 10 month old that she is, she thinks she is too big for baby food. I am trying to keep the menu creative, but I feel like we get a little stuck. Here’s what I have going: chicken nuggets, goldfish crackers, grapes, strawberries, cheerios, pasta, cheese, peas, corn, carrots, apples, and lots of bananas. A pretty good list, but not actually that much when you are making it 3-4 times a day. Any suggestions for new options would be appreciated! Meanwhile, I am going to go find another excuse to not clean out my sad, sad fridge…