Thursday, September 27, 2007

Today is Thursday, that means I get to spend two uninterrupted hours with this beautiful girl all on our own. Our weekly Thursday date happened by accident. I signed Leo up for one morning and one afternoon per week at the halte garderie this Fall so I'd have some availability for appointments and to help out at Clara's school. The plan is working beautifully and it has the added bonus of Clara being at the receiving end of my undivided attention after school on Thursdays. Today I had a plan for our time alone, a few weeks ago I'd heard about a series of books called BOB Books that are for early readers. I decided to get a set and was excited when I found them at Indigo a few weeks ago.

I know Clara very well, and I know that one must choose ones opportunity very carefully when if comes to introducing a new concept like learning to read. We've been playing around with the alphabet for a long time already. I'd say at this point Clara recognizes all the uppercase letters of the alphabet, recognizes about 80% of the lower case letters, can write everything she recognizes and with reminders can write all the letters in both UC and LC, and knows the sounds of about 90% of the letters. Armed with this arsenal of pre-reading skills I introduced Book 1 titled Mat. And guess what??? She did it!!! Clara read the entire book. She sounded out the words and was ecstatic, thrilled, proud and more when she got to the end and I proclaimed (through teary eyes) "you just read a book!" She read the book two more times before dinner and had there been more quiet time she would have started on Book 2 for sure.

I can't even explain how proud I am of Clara B, we've been taking steps towards reading for so long and it is just so absolutely amazing to see her put together the information she has and be able to use it with such success. There is no doubt that she is motivated to continue. In fact, this evening she was desperate to read to Leo, unfortunately he was not interested in staying still but thankfully Papa came home and happily sat while Clara read to him instead.

Tiger Leo also made some huge strides this week, he's been spending more and more time in French environments (halte garderie, Carrefour des Petites Soleils, community lunches, etc) and on Tuesday afternoon, after spending time in Emmanuelle's class at the Carrefour Clara asked him if he spoke any french. His response: "Ummm... yeah... I say manger". How appropriate, the first word Leo says all on his own with no prompting in French is: eat!

When Clara and I picked Leo up at the halte garderie this afternoon the first thing he told us was this : "I didn't fy today, I didn't fy" which translates to "I didn't cry today, I didn't cry." In past weeks, Leo has felt it was his duty to cry before taking a nap, he seemed to think it was a point of pride to cry for about 30 seconds before accepting that it was quiet time. I guess today he finally gave in and didn't bother. His caregivers were full of wonderful things to say about my Leo boy - I get the feeling he's pretty much won their hearts, especially with all his big boy tendencies, apparently he loves to help with the babies and is quite a chatterbox.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Next time I'm going to be a bird."
-Leo, 2007

I have not a clue what he was talking about but just so you all know, next time he'll be flying somewhere I guess!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leo had his first dentist appointment yesterday. He completely exceeded my expectations, he was a perfect patient. He climbed up on the exam chair as soon as he saw it and smiled sweetly at the hygienist who offered him a toy from a bowl full of plastic rings and things. He didn't speak a word while we waited for the dentist, he just looked shy and gave bashful smiles, but as soon as she arrived and asked him how he was doing Leo just opened his mouth nice and wide and waited. Talk about aiming to please...

Leo did get very chatty after his exam was done and continued to talk with both the dentist and hygienist while I had my teeth cleaned. It seems like he didn't even need a bag full or toys or snacks to keep him occupied (which I'd completely forgotten about preparing before we'd left the house), he just needed a few books, some people to talk to and a set of plastic teeth and an oversized toothbrush :)

So, all in all it was a perfectly normal and smooth dental exam from the kid who won't let anyone near him to wash his face!?!?! I don't know how to explain it but I'll just say I'm grateful and leave it at that.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Can your SEE it?"

Big changes for Clara B. She lost her first tooth on Wednesday and then got a major haircut yesterday. The tooth came out at dinnertime, Papa T was even here to see her slightly panicked reaction. Once Clara had spit out the "hard thing" in her mouth and realised her tooth was no longer hanging on by a thread to her gum she was mighty proud of her little, tiny, pearly white treasure. At bedtime Clara put her tooth under her pillow and when she woke up in the morning she lifted the pillow with such enthusiasm that the envelope hiding under it went flying off her bed making clink, clink noises as it went down. We found it quickly and soon enough Clara was dancing around planning what she'd do with her change!

Fashion pose for Mom.

Friday, September 07, 2007

More going to school pictures. Can you tell the novelty has not worn off yet? I love watching Marc and Clara head off in the morning, they are chatty and smiley and it is lovely time of day - well... the time is not so great, but I hear it will be even earlier next year so for now 8:10am will do.

"Can you find the other strap Papa?"

"Bye Mama, have a good day too"

They're off!