Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy November!

After a magical October, we are ready to embrace the month of Thanksgiving! We're going to start making some of our Christmas presents this month, and of course Katie and I will be spending much time in the kitchen savoring autumn and winter flavors.

Katie has been loving her play kitchen this past week. We play together with it daily, and as far as imagination play goes, creating scenarios with her in the play kitchen fortunately comes a little more easily for me than some other forms of imagination play that we do. I most enjoy Katie's sense of humor with the play kitchen: she was microwaving a dwarf the other day and pretending to serve him in a bowl. Other times, we put the turkey to roast in her oven, and she prepares the potatoes for boiling on her stove. She loves her play measuring spoons, and she pretends to measure spices. I am seeing her act out many of the tasks we have done in our real kitchen, and so I can see that she has been truly learning with me and that makes me happy.

Katie boils something on the stove.

Time to sautee!

Katie puts something in the microwave.

My little cook!

Yesterday we had our Toddler Time class. I have been vascillating with respect to whether or not we should continue with two classes or just focus on our music class, but after watching Katie in class yesterday, I think I probably will continue with both.
During circle time, the teacher of our Toddler Time class always review shapes and colors with the children. Usually we all just say them aloud together as mommies as Mrs. Russo cues us. Yesterday, Mrs. Russo decided to give the students a pop quiz! She called on toddlers at random, from all around the circle. She would point to a color and say, "Isaac, what color is this?" Well, to my surprise Katie started answering for the other children when they paused. I mean, I have known that Katie has known her colors since 15 months or so. She knew "blue" and "green" as soon as she began talking, but she had all the main colors articulated by 15 months or so. But I didn't know that she would participate outloud in the quiz so much! Mrs. Russo gave Katie her own turn, with the color "orange" and Katie aced her first school quiz ever!
I told her repeatedly how proud I was of her for having the confidence to speak up in her class and the intelligence to know the answers. I have never pushed her to be extroverted in class: I have encouraged her to share what she knows (especially in music class), but I have never made a big deal of it when she has declined. I always just hug her and tell her that I know she knows what to do/how to hit the drum/the next line of the song/etc. I always say, "That's alright, maybe next time" and move on. A favorite teacher of mine once acknowledged that there are many kinds of participation in class. Some people prefer to participate in an extroverted way, and others like to listen and observe---and it doesn't mean necessarily that they know less. I have kept this in mind especially since Bill definitely falls into the category of being silent in class, and since we have had many discussions about what torture it can be for an introverted person to be put on the spot in public like that. And we all know how intelligent Bill is---he knows every answer. He would rather prove himself on a test than outloud. I, of course, am highly extroverted in academic settings. He and I are complete opposites in that respect---so who knows what Katie might prefer? I want her to know that I love her and am proud of her no matter how she learns... I have tried not to label her as "shy" or anything else and have tried to play up how proud I am of how well she listens in her classes.
At the same time, I know for a fact (and Bill would agree) that there are huge advantages to being an extrovert in class. Teachers tend to notice extroverts more and to develop relationships more quickly with them. We have seen it time and again at our high school campus: extroverts tend to garner more of the big awards than the introverts, even if those extroverts aren't necessarily more deserving (maybe equally so). Introverted students tend to be passed over for important things and may even have issues with rec letters for colleges. To biased people, intoversion can look like a lack of knowledge, or a lack of care about the course, even when it's not. Because I am sensitive to this issue through my husband, I tried to make it a point to make even the more introverted students feel valued in my class and not passed over. At the same time, I am a big believer in putting people on the spot in class---it keeps people engaged and gives the extroverts a break from doing all the oral participation. I used to make it a point to get as many different students to talk in a day as I could, but a couple of times there were some students who, I knew, would be so tortured by it that I worked out something different with them.
Anyway, I am pleased to see Katie participating orally in her class. I will never judge her if she prefers to keep her knowledge quiet, but I also know that this world favors extroversion to a large extent, whether or not that is "fair." So part of me wants to help her foster that side of her, because I know she will need it.
Before class, I like to treat her (and myself) to Starbucks! She loves to eat by the fountain.

Katie in the morning light by the fountain. She is ready for Toddler Time class!

Playing and ready for the day!

Katie opens her egg sandwich. I let her carry it out of Starbucks this time, and it was just the cutest thing...she held it like a dainty treasure. A gentleman opened the door for each of us, and she brought it right over the fountain and started opening it.

The white in the middle of the bodice of the dress is her initials, an "M" in the middle with a "K" and a "J" on either side.

After we finished our sandwich and scone, we came over to the chairs for awhile as I finished my coffee. We played one of our favorite "anywhere" games: "I See Something." I would describe something I saw, and then Katie would find it. It is a good way to emphasize descriptive language, and, being around storefronts, we could also emphasize number recall ("I see the number 3").

Speaking of fostering extroversion, I go to Toastmasters today. (In fact, maintaining my extroverted side is one reason I joined---I need to keep that part of me in practice, or it can diminish and then it might be harder later to develop it again). I am the designated "backup speaker" in case one of the other speakers doesn't show, so I don't know if I am giving a speech yet or not. I have one ready. I actually am excited about this speech, so I would kind of like to give it today if it works out that way. I am also the "humorist" today, so we'll see if the joke I am bringing is funny...
Have a good day, everyone!