It’s Not All Mary Poppins

That would be done how, exactly?

Another tale from the struggle for indepence. We are now home from our outing. All that gear we put on, as independently as possible, needs to come off. As independently as possible. All the children have been instructed to take off their own hats and mittens while I make the rounds helping to remove footwear. Any mittens not on idiot stringe are to be put inside their hats, after which I will tuck mittens-and-hat bundles into a sleeve of their jacket. All very efficient.

Zach complains that he can’t take his mittens off.

“Use your teeth, love, like this.” I demonstrate with my own. “Just grab the end of the mitten, bite hard, and pull.” Any dentists out there, save your comments for email, all right? I am not too concerned about their long-term dental health just now: I want to get everyone out of their gear in less than an hour.

We practice for a minute. Yes, it would have been faster today to have simply tugged them off, but I have a dream and a goal for tomorrow: independence. It’s all about independence. Zach yoinks one mitten off, to his great delight, where it dangles from its string. He accepts my round of applause then moves on to the next one, while I turn to remove Alice’s coat.

Darcy speaks from behind me. “I can pull it off with my teeth.”

I hang Alice’s coat, reach for Zach’s without turning. “That’s good, Darcy. You’re bigger than Zach, though. Do you need to use your teeth to pull your mittens off?” Not that I mind one way or the other, just asking. Darcy is glad I did, because he wants to share his accomplishment. In tones of great satisfaction, he explains.

“Not, not my mitten, Mary – my shoe!”

November 9, 2005 Posted by | individuality, outings, the things they say! | 9 Comments

Parenting Tip: Getting a Jacket on “The Magic Way”

It’s fall, rapidly devolving into winter. Hats, scarves, mittens, and jackets bulge from the coathooks in the front hall; outings have become several layers more complicated. In the interests of efficiency – and of the intellectual stimulation of the children, of course – the children are encouraged to manage as much of this as possible on their own.

We put on our jackets “the magic way”. Familiar with this? Children can manage this manoeuvre as soon as their arms are long enough: if your tot can touch his hands together over the top of his head, he can probably get his own coat on!

1. Lay the coat on the floor in front of the child. It is unzipped and open. The child stands facing the coat, at the collar end, so the coat is upside-down to him.

2. While the coat is on the floor, the child reaches down and inserts his hands into the sleeve openings.

3. This is the trickiest bit, and requires a bit of practice: With his hands inserted into the beginning of the sleeves, the child raises his hands above his head, and then lowers his arms to the sides. This motion forces the hands down through the sleeves. As the coat is falling (magically!) into place, the child will likely need to duck his head a bit to allow it to slip down where it belongs.

Done. The coat is now on.

November 9, 2005 Posted by | daycare, parenting | 10 Comments