All Girls School

February 29, 2008, 2:44 pm
Filed under: art, Bubba, craft

About a year ago, Bubba was interested in trying out embroidery. I had made a few things, gifts for friends and a quilt square for a family quilt, and she was intrigued. Unfortunately, her patience and dexterity were lacking and she quickly grew frustrated and uninterested. Since she’s been asking for more art projects lately, I thought it would be a good craft to try with her again. I showed her the basics of threading the needle, knotting the thread and how to stitch a line. I cut up a cleaning rag and drew a few shapes on it so that we can practice a few different stitches before moving on to an actual project. As I did the first two stitches myself and she watched, she immediately said, “Eh, that looks too hard.” So I handed it over to her and made her try a few stitches.

She loved it. The thread knotted a few times, she stitched around the hoop once and accidentally stitched through the extra fabric on the perimeter, but I showed her how to fix those things. By the end, I didn’t even have to stop the book I was reading to her, she was able to fix those little things on her own and re-thread her needle. Color me impressed. This was a far cry from the girl that threw down her previous embroidery project in a huff, declaring it dumb and vowing never to touch it again.

She really loved having something to do while I was reading to her. It occupied her hands and she was much less antsy¬† while we sat together. I chose this craft over others because she is having a difficult time with staying focused on projects lately, so I thought a simple craft with repetitive motions might be the best thing to hone her concentration and put her in a calmer state of mind. It’s only been the first day, but it has been a great success. After we finish the rough “sampler” that I made her, she wants to come up with a design and embroider her own pillowcase.


February 27, 2008, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Bubba

WordPress just ate my post. I am livid and it is too late for me to write another one. It also did not auto-save into my drafts.


Off to bed…

Strike Up The Band
February 26, 2008, 5:57 pm
Filed under: music

I don’t think I wrote about the demise of Bubba’s guitar lessons. It wasn’t a demise so much as an abrupt halt. Her teacher just stopped showing up for the lessons and wouldn’t answer my calls or return my messages. I think he became daunted at the prospect of how long it was going to take to teach her to really play well and he didn’t have the social skills to stand up and tell me that he was finished. I think he was also over scheduled and we were the lowest on his priority list. It was sad when he stopped. We had liked him a lot, especially Bubba. She was pretty devastated at first. I wanted to call him and tear into him for hurting her like that. I didn’t, though. He was a young college kid that probably wasn’t thinking past the freed up evening that had now entered his schedule. I still toy with the idea of calling him and leaving him a message telling him how much she liked him and how hurt she was when he ditched us without so much as a goodbye. The saddest part was that he had promised her a special reward if she had these four chords down pat by the next lesson. She practiced so hard that week, just to have him not show up.

Anyway, we’ve moved on. I didn’t pursue anything new at first because I wanted Bubba to have time to get over it so she wouldn’t associate any new teacher with her hurt feelings from the first. But recently we have been looking for a new teacher and it looks like we may have found one. The great thing is that it is a woman that Bubba is already somewhat familiar with and she is a very level-headed and stand-up lady. Plus she’s great with kids and really into music. So, we’re crossing our fingers that this goes well.

Mental Math
February 25, 2008, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bubba and I are watching her new favorite show, My Dad is Better Than Your Dad. There was some commercial for a tire or car store on, I wasn’t paying much attention to it. She looked up from it and asked me, “You don’t have to pay for that for 5 years?!?”

I told her that I didn’t know because I wasn’t listening. She told me that the commercial had said that they said the car was free for 60 months.

I asked her how she knew that 60 months was the same as five years. Did the commercial say that?

She told me that she added it up in her head. She told me that she knew that 12 plus 12 equals 24. Then she knew that 24 plus 24 equals two less than 50. Then that two more would make it 50, plus the last ten would take it straight to 60.

I was blown away. I knew that if she tried she could add 12+12+12+12+12. But listening to her thought process and how she intuitively found the shortest way to figure it out (without knowing multiplication or division beyond some very basic steps) just made me smile and shake my head. She is such a math-minded kid.

Dictionaries and Calulators
February 25, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Bubba, math

Today Bubba and I worked on some dictionary work. She had never used one before, but did understand what they are for. We had a worksheet with some words on it and she had to look them up and write a quick definition for them. While she understands alphabetical order and can apply it easily to a short list of words, the small print and vastness of the Webster’s dictionary slowed her down a bit. She came through, though. She was excited that she was able to accomplish something new and “grown up” like researching definitions.

We’ve been working on time trials with addition 0-9. It’s in the form of time tests. Yes, it’s pretty much repetitive memorization. Since it’s math, though, she doesn’t seem to notice. She loves doing these huge sheets full of numbers. She’s getting better. I think we’re going to bust out the flash cards as a supplement. I’m going to try to figure out a solitare version of around the world for her to play with them. That was always a fun way to work on the memorization of facts. She adds well, but is still figuring out the problem every time, so we’re going to keep working on this until it comes more naturally for her.

I think the only thing she’ll really remember about this school day, though, is that I showed her how to spell hello and boobs on a calculator. Oh well, we’ll file that one under life skills.

Sent Off
February 23, 2008, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This morning, in spite of my terrible illness and the freezing cold weather, we braved out to mail off Bubba’s book. (and to get donuts.) She ended up finishing all the illustrations as well as writing out all of the text on lined paper. She was very proud of finishing the whole thing and a little embarrassed at all of the dramatics we had to go through to finish it. I scanned all of the illustrations into the computer before we sent it off and I plan on making her a hardcover version of it to keep. She does have more realistic expectations about winning now, though. When we first started the project she would say things like, “When I win my laptop…”. I wanted to encourage her to go for first place, but I didn’t want to get her hopes up too high, either. I just kind of let her go with it and over time she gained a more realistic perspective on winning.

The title of the book was, “The Ladybug That Couldn’t Sleep”. She goes around asking her friends for advice and each gives her a trick that they use themselves. For example, the cricket tells her that soft music, like the kind he makes, would help her. The kitten tells her to drink some warm milk. So the ladybug goes home after talking to them and tries all of the suggestions and is able to fall asleep. It is a sweet, simple story. I wish she had spent more time on her illustrations, but they are clear and do illustrate what’s going on. I think next year she’ll have a better understanding on how to structure her time so that it doesn’t all fall to the last minute.

Here’s a sweet pic of Baby, just because she doesn’t usually look this angelic.

February 19, 2008, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Bubba, mimi, writing

The Reading Rainbow book needs to be submitted soon. She came up with the story very quickly, but took her time on the illustrations. It’s now crunch time, so she spent a lot of the day coloring in the black outlines that she had drawn previously. It’s been a good lesson in personal responsibility and keeping one’s end of a commitment. Over the last month, whenever we finished with our work for the day, I would remind her that she still had those pictures to finish. This was always met with a head nod and a non committal murmur. Today, when faced with the fact that I am sending the book in on Thursday and that none of the pages were colored in, she decided that it was too much work and that she wasn’t going to finish. I had a talk with her about accountability and keeping up with a commitment. She fought me hard about it, but I stood my ground and eventually, she stopped with all of the fighting and just started doing it. She finished about half of them today and will likely finish the rest tomorrow. I’m really proud of her for following through on this after the big drama she pulled trying to get out of it. Plus, I think she would eventually regret not finishing it because she has really been looking forward to the whole entry process.

The whole incident also led to an impromptu coloring session where Bubba began teaching Mimi about primary colors.

After all of the discord that’s been filling the house lately, I felt the best thing for the afternoon would be the park.