About me and my blog

viernes, 31 de agosto de 2012


It is a tradition in nearly every town in Catalonia to have giants and this summer M got acquainted with it. At the beginning she was all excited about the idea of giants but when we first went to see them in person she was terribly scared of them. She was afraid of the loud rhythms, the fireworks they make along the way, the noise, and whatnot. Any time they were in sight she would beg to go away, so after three attempts, we quitted the festival.
Nevertheless, she kept talking about giants, asking us to sing a typical giants' song, to draw giants, and so on.
A month afterward, we happened to be at another festival where there where giants and loud music and she wasn't so scared, just taken aback. After that, she was even more excited about giants and has kept it up for the whole summer.
Tomorrow is going to be our third time and I just can't wait to see her reaction. Will she be delighted? terrified again?

Is there anything that has captivated your children this summer? What is it? Do they have ambiguous feelings towards the thing they are attracted to? I'd love to know!

miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2012

Some corners of our home

For some months now M has had a cabinet of her own in the kitchen and another one in the toilet. There, we keep all the items she needs for toileting, eating, or cooking. Since she started to move around we've tried to make our house as child-friendly as possible and these corners were just a response to M's needs. In my view, they have proved to be excellent ways to promote autonomy, both in the toilet and kitchen. Among other things, these cabinets have helped her familiarize with kitchen utensils -I was lucky to find a wonderful kit of child-sized kitchen utensils-, facilitated her use of combs, brushes, face clothes, and the like.
Kitchen cabinet
As you can see, in the kitchen cabinet (L to R) we store some glasses and a pitcher, flatware, bowls, and a pot with a ladle, wooden spoons, slicer, rolling pin, and spatula.
Bathroom cabinet
This cabinet houses all M's toiletries and more. It is actually the lowest part of our bathroom cabinet and this makes it absolutely easy for M to open and close it. From top shelf down (L to R), it contains a cardboard tray with face clothes, another one with underwear, and some towels; a tray with M's toothbrush and cup, a tray with bob pins, hair ties, headbands, comb and so on, and a mirror. The lowest shelf treasures some books. M has two favorites she usually wants to read while in the toilet but this gives her more variety - and proves to be an excellent spot to keep books!!

Some other corners I would like to talk about are M's wardrobe, the hangers in the entrance hall, and her work table. Let's see if I can take some pictures soon.

jueves, 23 de agosto de 2012

Summing up 19 month practical life

My dear girl turned 20 months yesterday and I am amazed at how much we've experienced together. Since she is going to have her second birthday around the time her brother is born, I wanted to throw a 20 month party in her honor, so I'll better start planning it carefully.
Today I will share a summary of M's accomplishments during her 19th month.
 * Potty learning completed both during day and night time. Rare accidents can occur if she is distracted or there is too much excitement around.
* Getting her shoes, t-shirt, and pants on. I don't know why she finds dresses more difficult to put on.
* Setting her part of the table using her placemat.
* Pouring her own glass of water.
* Taking care of plants.
* Helping with some housework such as mopping the floors, washing windows, or doing dishes. In truth she helps any time she is asked but we don't really have a routine and sometimes don't ask her to join. We need to improve this.

In terms of language, she amazes me all the time. Some structures and turns she uses are surprising, and she even makes fun of the language sometimes. The other day when we were in the changing rooms of the community pool, she told me "like it no" to refer to the noise the hand-dryers make, and later on the same day she told me "no like it, lake it", when I asked her about a book we were reading. Another day she surprised us using a German expression she got from a German book her father reads to her when they are in the toilet. We were shown some cute puppies the neighbor's dog had delivered some days before and she exclaimed "wie süss" (how sweet!). She is also picking up some Spanish and she has amused us tonight when out of the blue she has half stood on her chair and said "Menina, por favor".

Regarding gross motor skills she has started to be interested in physical activities such as running, climbing, and shooting or throwing balls. On the other hand, in terms of fine motor skills, she is really into sorting pom-poms into ice trays.

Artistically speaking, her delight are "colors" and she often asks us to draw or paint something for her. For this reason, I've made some "kind of" rock crayons for her. I could not find rock crayons in Spain but don't worry 'cause I used some very old crayons -from my husband and his brother's childhood- to make brand-new round crayons. And although the result is far from perfect, M loves them.

The old crayons just before going into the oven

lunes, 20 de agosto de 2012

A summer day in our life after our mini vacation

It is so hot around here these days that I find it extremely difficult to sit down and write a post, although there are many issues I want to write about, one of them being of course some activities we've been doing. I also want to show you around some corners of our home, especially M's cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, but for one reason or another I never like the pictures I take.
So I will start with the activities and outings we've done this last week so far. 
To start with, we went to visit some ducks.
We got a nice numbers ice tray and tried out an early math activity with appropriate sensorial material, the temperature being over 90 ºF/35ºC.
We've also been having some fun with water balloons: here is M sorting them. During the nap, I put them in the freezer and we played with frozen balls afterwards (I have no pics of that, I am afraid).
This morning we had two friends over for a messy play date. This is the shaving cream paint we made:
And this is how they enjoyed it:
During M's nap today I also gave old crayons a go. I really wanted rock crayons but I can't find them anywhere in Barcelona, so I've decided to make them myself. More about it, tomorrow!

sábado, 4 de agosto de 2012

Ocean life mat

I got the idea of the ocean life mat from here and had it in my to-do list for quite a while. The arrival of the summer felt like the ideal time to get it finally made. In fact, it was very easy to make; I used a small blue towel for the background, remnants of felt in light blue for the shore, pale orange for a patch of sand, green for some seaweeds, and dark brown for the bottom of the ocean. All those remnants were sewed into the towel. I decided not to stitch the upper part of the shore, so there could be a pocket to keep the animals. However, we have ended up using card figures, wooden animals, plastic figurines, and even a set of ocean animal rubbers I had from my childhood. All the items have been much played with and some even explored on the light table. As you can see here:
As a background for the ocean mat and the light table, we made M's corner into a real sea-corner pinning as many clippings of the sea as we could find unto the board that usually serves us as a background setting of the topic we are presently working on.
To give the whole topic a finishing touch, we set out to the sea in a sailboat!!
And this is what we saw when leaving the shore: 
I leave you guessing what city we were in...

viernes, 3 de agosto de 2012

Ocean small world play

We've been doing lots of water activities this summer but the one I enjoyed the most preparing, and M playing with, was the ocean in a plastic bathtub and child-size sailboat. Now that we see the pics I regret not having planned the making of the boat a bit ahead of time. Next time I make a boat or a little shed I will plan it so I don't feel ashamed when I see the shots. Anyway, the boat was a great hit and I was super happy to make it as a surprise during a short morning trip M and her daddy made. I had wanted to make the ocean small world for a long time but hadn't thought of the boat at all. Then, when I finished the first I felt inspired and spent the time I would have devoted to a nap -this pregnancy is making me feel very sleepy!- in making a small boat M could get easily into, but more or less flying by the seat of my pants.
Other activities we've done so far are an ocean mat, clipping pictures of the sea and ocean and pinning them on our board, exploring sea animals on the light table, and going on a sailboat. We are lucky to live so near the Mediterranean sea...

Here is what is inside:

* Sand
* Big and small shells
* Pebbles
* Bathtub plastic animals
* Bubbles and light blue water

miércoles, 1 de agosto de 2012

What's new: the toilet is my friend!

  I just come from the toilet, where for the hundredth time today we've spent quite a while, which ended in success. I am so happy M is already doing most of her pees and poops in the toilet. While doing the laundry today, I have realized I had less work than usually and that's because there are very few diapers to wash. Over a period of a month or so, M has gone from asking for the potty when she had already gone on her pants to asking for the toilet or potty depending on the moment to asking for the toilet even if we are outside, at other people's places and the like. It is true that we started EC when she was around 10 months (only a pity I had not read about it before, or followed my instinct), by changing diapers in the bathroom where there was always a potty and offering her the potty several times a day. It is also a fact that cloth diapers, used since M was a bit more than 1 months, have also  helped. Not less true is that our doing, quite reasonable according to Montessori and what she called "Sensitive period for toiletting", has not been seen as a normal thing to be done at M's age by some people around us. It happened to me for instance when shopping for a potty with M that the shop assistant self-assuredly stated "it is too early, this girl is very young". There seems to be this costume in Spain to keep toddlers diapered until it is -in my humble opinion- too late, just on time to enter kindergarten (between 2,5-3). I don't want to be rude, though, and in the same way I just smiled to the shop assistant and answered "I think I know my daughter and I try to follow her needs", not listening to her words at all, I can smile now at the fact that aged 19 months M is diaper free. As it happens with the witnessing of every other achievement, this makes me feel really happy.      

We have seen changes in other departments as of late. She asks for the things she is more into, like piano playing and coloring several times a day, she is more willing to scrub her table, put on a bob-pin or clean her face. Although we haven't been able to keep a good teeth brushing routine yet. She loves painting and colors, hence the several related activities we've been doing.
We also spend lots of time in the pool, where she has gone from being totally scared of the water to asking to jump in, do some "dancing, splashing" as she calls it, or simply walk on her own.