Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reading

Kailey continues to be very interested in letters and numbers - wanting to know how to spell all variety of words. She knows her letters (upper and lowercase) and the sounds the letters make -- and has started to understand the concept of sounding words out, which is pretty cool. We were in Starbucks recently and she was pointing at a sign and trying to sound out the word "Frappuccino". She kept pointing at the letters and saying, "F"... "FFffff"... "R"... "RRrrr" ... "A"... "Aaahhhh"... Finally, after several minutes, she scrunched up her face and turned to me, confounded, and demanded, "Mama, what does that SAY?" I told her it said "Frappuccino" and she said, "WHAT?!" (I love when she yells "WHAT?!" -- it cracks me up. The way she says it is totally incredulous). I told her it was a made up word, which seemed to satisfy her (because, that crazy word couldn't be a REAL word).

Given her fascination with all things letters, I decided to check out a bunch of "Bob's books" from the library for her and also downloaded the app so that she could practice some new words. Kai can now read the first book in the series all by herself and identify those words in other contexts (bringing the list of words she can read and spell up to about a dozen: cat, hat, sat, mat, sam, and, the, Kailey, Mama, Dada, stop, sad... I think that's about it. She can also "read" construction signs that say "road work ahead", although, I bet she couldn't do that out of context (I haven't written the words down to find out).

But, as much as she loves letters and numbers, she also likes learning to read pretty much by herself and in her own way and she is frustrated by the fact that she doesn't know ALL the words already (as in all of them. Seriously). She doesn't like to not know a word, and she doesn't like to get help in learning it either. I think she believes she can just pick it all up through osmosis, or something. If I point to a word she knows, she is happy to yell out what the word is at the top of her lungs. But, if I point to a new word she doesn't know, she gets very grumpy about it and mutters, "I don't know". She hates not knowing.

And she hates to be wrong. Sometimes she will mix up a word or concept - and, if we point out her error - she will insist that she intended to say it incorrectly. "I was just KIDDING, Mama. Silly Mama," she will say to me (as though I am the one that misunderstood the joke). She reminds me a bit of her Aunt Katie in this regard (who will never live down the day that we asked her to just say the words "I'm wrong" out loud without any context -- just to say them and demonstrate that she could, in fact, speak the words -- and she wouldn't/couldn't do it... genes are weird.)

The combination of Kailey wanting to know everything without first admitting to not knowing something is a bit of a challenge. The iPad has been somewhat useful in this regard because she doesn't mind if the computer knows something that she doesn't. She just really doesn't like me to tell her something that she didn't previously know. It's like admitting weakness, or something. So stubborn... wherever did she get that from?

But with her stubbornness comes a dogged determination that I so love... and watching her master new skills - like reading - is just incredible.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cakes

Kai has been a bit obsessed with cake decorating videos for a couple of months now. She has them all memorized, and frequently decorates "cakes" at her play kitchen, announcing each step: "first, we cut off the dome," she'll declare. She talks about the different colors, about squeezing the pastry tubes from the bottom, and about the crumb coat.

So, this weekend we decided to tackle a real cake. Kai was so excited. The first time we mixed up the batter, we weren't able to actually bake the cakes (oven wouldn't work) so we tossed the batter and tried again the next day. The videos never provided any instruction about the actual baking of the cake -- so the previous day's efforts were quite instructive. Kai had paid close attention, and when we tried it again, she knew all the steps. She pulled out the measuring cups and the cake pan and told us, "this is for the oil, this is for the water, and this is for the eggs... I'LL crack the eggs! And I'LL do the mixing." We let her at it. She wanted to eat the batter as much as she wanted to mix it, and we had to keep reminding her to keep her hands out of her creation.



Waiting for the cakes to cool was realllllyyyyyy hard and Kai kept popping open the fridge to check on how her cakes were doing.

Finally, it was time to decorate. "FIRST, we cut off the dome." She told us. "Let me get my knife." Once the dome was off she said, "and we can snack on the dome... can I snack on it?" You sort of have to watch these videos to know how funny this all was -- she was literally quoting the videos nearly word for word (when the cake decorating helpfully let's us know that we can "go ahead and snack on the dome" of the cake after we cut it off). Kai snacked away.

Then we did our crumb coat. It was rather crumby... but, no worries. That's the whole point! Kai loved spreading the frosting and wanted us to help as little as possible.

And finally, we started the actual frosting and decorating. Kai was so proud of her creation, which we took to school today to share with all her friends:





Summer



Ack! I missed a whole month of posting. How did that happen? I think that's the first time since Kai was born that I haven't managed to get at least one post in during the month. So, a quick update on July -- we had a great month. Lots of visitors (Grammy and Amy) - and Kai had a great time with both visits. We also drove to Oregon to help out with the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) -- well, not the event itself. Just watching Leo and Soren. It was agreat weekend. Kai did fantastic during the long drive (12 hours in the car is no joke.. but downloading a new movie before we left home was our salvation. She did fantastic as she memorized all the lines to "A Bug's Life"!)

I'm so glad we went because it was really fun to watch Kai follow her big cousins around like some sort of star-struck groupie. And they were so amazing with her -- sharing all their toys, including her in all the activities. Particularly the wagon rides around campus at break-neck speed resulting in several spills. Kai's inclination when she gets cuts is to cry and yell, "I'm BLEEDING" with the upmost drama... but, with the twins, she did no such thing. She observed them bounce right back up, right the wagon, and jump back on and she followed suit. Although, the next time they approached a corner she yelled, "SLOW DOWN!"

The kids had a great time handing out popsicles and ice-cream to the conference-goers. Kai was a bit aggressive with her popsicles. She would thrust one at any person who walked by and, if they passed her by, she would pursue them... continuously jabbing the frozen treat at the person and saying, "POPSICLE". Luckily, she's three -- so, most found her adorable instead of objectionable. And, she loved doing "her job".


This month we are going camping with Amy, Dave, Leo, Soren, Doug, Sarah, Penny and Max -- it's going to be mayhem in the forest! Pictures to come!