Quiz a four year old

I’ve seen this on Facebook, and thought it might be fun.

No coaching them, just ask and write the response down:

  • What is your name? Zephy.
  • How old are you? 5 (his correct Korean age, though his western age is 4)
  • When is your birthday? This many (holds up 10 fingers). Its going to be a looong time. A very long time. 10 more days.
  • How old is mummy? This many. Holds up 6 fingers. Let me look how big you are mummy. How tall are you?
  • What is your favourite colour? Red. And orange.
  • What is your favourite food? Spagehtti. No. Noodles.
  • Who is your best friend? Ujin.
  • What is your favourite song? Um. Tars. Guitars. Maybe violinins.
  • What is your favourite animal? *Gasps* I know. Tigers. Lions. Lions are my favourite.
  • What makes you happy? Cheese. Smiles. Kisses and smiles.
  • Where is your favourite place to go? Suncheon Garden.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Um. Probably a diver. Who can dive into water.
  • What is mummy’s favourite thing to do? I dont know. Play? Cook? I think it’s cooking.
  • What is your favourite toy? Umm… trains.
  • What is mummy’s job? Take care. Of people.
  • Where do you like to go on holiday? What’s holiday. When you go to work?

I’d love to hear any cute answers you get if you do this.

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Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

Zeph watched this the other day. Actually, he watched it across two days as he gets a limited amount of screen time per day.

Today he was asking me about the names of the man and the dog who caught rabbits in the thing he watched. Then he announced that he was Gromit and Elly and I were rabbits.

He made a long carrot out of duplo squares and used his doctor’s scalpel to cut it up. Meanwhile Elly and I had to go in the hutch (under the table, with the chair laid down on it’s back so that the seat made a door). And stay there.

Zeph proceeded to put all his carrot slices on a chopping (duplo) board, and scrape them into the hutch for us to eat.

Then he told me, ‘What a mess you’ve made Mummy Rabbit!’

Without me

Two nights ago, Zeph decided it would be fun to sleep on the floor. He asked Daddy, and together, they made a blanket nest, where he fell asleep.

It’s the first time in a little over four years that he has gone to sleep without me.

We co-sleep. I didn’t intend to. In fact, I very much intended not to. We bought a small pre-loved cot for Zeph just before he was born and I very much meant to use it. No increasing the risk of cot death for us. And that first day, coming home from the hospital with him, he fell asleep breastfeeding in my arms. And every time I tried to put him down he woke and cried and wanted to drink milk again. So I made myself a nest in the corner between the bed and the wall where I could sit and study (I was part way through a part-time MSc at this point) and breastfeed. I slept here, and he slept on my chest. Until later he got too heavy and had to sleep next to me, cuddled in my arm.

We moved countries (South Korea to UK). We stayed with my parents-in-law who blessed us with a cot-bed. But Zeph stayed in bed with Mummy and Daddy. Until he started rolling. Then I worried about him falling during naps, so to nap he went into the cot-bed. And I went in with him.

We moved countries again (UK back to South Korea). Now Zeph could have his own room – we had two! So at bedtime I would go with him, lie with him until he slept, often fall asleep with him. He would fall asleep with his arms wrapped tightly around my neck, his face pressed into mine. But I also started getting up in the night, letting him be alone, until he woke and cried, and then I would go back. Sometime into my second pregnancy I decided enough was enough and we went back to full on co-sleeping. Now Zeph would sleep cuddling my belly and the new baby.

When Elly was born, we didn’t even think of him being anywhere but in with all of us. Zeph, Mummy, Elly, Daddy. Four of us on a queen sized mattress on the floor. It came with the house and has a horrible many-legged plastic stand that gathers dust and toys. Forget that. It’s small. We sleep sideways not long ways so we all fit in. Mummy and Daddy’s feet stick off the end. But it works.

More recently Zeph has been asking to go in the middle. Asking Daddy, ‘sleep next to me’. And now, two nights ago, Zeph lay down on the floor with Daddy and fell asleep.

Without me.

Flu-feeding

So Elly got flu at the end of last week, and simultaneously developed flu-feeding: he reverted to baby-style constant breastfeeding.

Which is great! And not so great.

It’s great because it’s the best thing he can be doing. He hasn’t been wanting to eat all that much, but breast milk (even at 19 months during extended breastfeeding) is packed full of all the nutrients he needs and is keeping him well hydrated. It’s also packed full of antibodies to support his immune system. And it ingeniously adapts itself to be even more perfect by recognising that he is sick and stuffing in even more good things.

But I also (aside from other life things to do) have an at-home 4 year old who is less than impressed at the amount of sitting around his brother currently wants to do, and even more unimpressed that it’s taking up lots of Mummy’s time too. Then there’s the way my body feels about it. Especially when flu-feeding goes something like this: sign ‘milk’ and start tugging on Mummy’s hand. Or leg. Or face, depending on which part is reachable during her current task. Cry a bit if she isn’t immediately available. Sit in Mummy’s lap and latch on. Chew for a bit. Run off and grab a big toy, or a book. Try to latch on again while standing holding said big toy or book, then try to twist into a sitting position without giving up the toy/book or the milk. Drink some milk, then chew, pull, twist and wriggle around a bit more. Start to fall asleep, still refusing to give up the milk and waking every time Mummy tries to make an escape. Hold on with teeth for extra grip. Finally let go of milk and sleep soundly for 10 minutes. Wake up. Repeat.

So this week I’ve been trying to get a balance between Elly getting enough rest and fluids, Zeph getting enough attention and excercise and me not going out of my mind.

Why messy, sensory, exploratory play

Now, I really don’t do a lot of letter or numeral or formal “educational” activities with my just-4 year old. Of course literacy and numeracy are important. And we do do lots of reading, storytelling and counting as well as exploring other basic math concepts such as shapes, categorizing, and graphs. But at just-4, as far as I am concerned, it is more important to be nurturing social, emotional and motor skills than worrying about whether my son perfectly knows all his letters (which he doesn’t, though he has a good idea of most and gets there with a little prompting) or can write his numbers (which he can’t).

I am honestly much more interested in learning through messy, sensory, exploratory play. In providing as many opportunities as possible for my kids to test their strength and their balance and their stamina. Opportunities to run and climb and crawl on the ground. To pick up sticks and stones and throw water around. To work together and cooperate with others. To grow logic and critical thinking, empathy and compassion.

And through play, through being kids, being human, taking slow days, they learn, and they develop the cognitive and physical abilities they need to sit and concentrate and make connections and ask questions in their formal education, when that happens.

Baby days

zephelly

Baby days.

These days.
My every one consumed
smothered
obliterated
By two small boys who make me the
center of their universe.

These back-breaking
soul-making days.
These exhausting tiresome menial days.
These on-a-loop glorious days.

These precious
fleeting
days.

Which will never come again.

What you might not know about going to the toilet

1. Going to the toilet alone is a privilege, not a right.

Your toddler will pursue you relentlessly to the very ends of the earth. Pursuing you to the toilet is child’s play. A closed door is no obstacle: hammering and tears should do the trick. As they get a little bigger, a locked door is no obstacle: if tears and hammering are asked very politely to ‘wait please’, then cunning application of a spoon to the outside of the lock will work.

2. Flushing the toilet is either unnecessary or a highly coveted honour.

Regardless of reminders, my firstborn would always neglect to flush the toilet. Until he noticed his little brother having fun doing the very same thing! Then tears and screams would ensue every time one or other of them attempted to reach the flush handle before the other.

3. If you are nearly four and your little brother wants to come into the bathroom with you, going to the toilet alone is NOT a privilege. It is a right.

My second born has been exceedingly distressed in the last few days to find that his brother pushes him out of the bathroom when he enters it citing a ‘need to be private!!!”