"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Friday, March 30, 2012


I don't feel like I'm one to go all crazy on my blog (at least this one) about how fabulously awesome my kids are, but I'm a little astounded by this.  Little Guy can read.  He's four.  And no, he isn't memorizing the book, he's sounding out each word (or, he's memorized the sight words that can't be sounded out).  He's by no means an expert reader, but he's worked his way (with Jed) through the first half of the K12 Curriculum's phonics books for Kindergarten and a bunch of Bob books.

Here's the proof.  Keep in mind this was mid-December, so he was still three at the time.  And this was the first time he'd read this particular story, so he actually is struggling more than he normally does.  And asking more questions.  He's gotten better, I just don't have any new videos.  Add to my "to do" list, film Little Guy reading.  It's an 8 minute video, please don't feel the need to watch all (or any of it) unless you want to.


The other day at Target, he sounded out the word Ziploc while I was shopping.  And yesterday, he asked me where the Happy Birthday sign he'd colored the day before for his cousin went because he needed it to help write his new sign.  I'd thrown it away so I told him I could help him spell.  Then I asked what letters he'd already written (I was making dinner and he was at the table).  I figured he'd written H-A and maybe one P.  Nope, he'd written the entire word Happy.  The kid is a genius.  And the only letter he asked me how to make was a lower case T (he's recently become interested in lower case letters).  Now if only I could convince him to hold his pencil/crayon/marker correctly, we'd be set.

I give all the credit to his being the third kid with two older siblings that read and write, to Leapfrog Letter Factory dvds, and to Jed who sits down with him nearly every day to have him read to him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Left Way

     I'm currently reading (and enjoying) Your Left-handed Child by Lauren Milsom.  I'm trying to learn how to raise my left-handed child (Little Guy) when neither Jed nor myself are left-handed.  I even told Jed yesterday that I feel like we need to hire a left-handed tutor to help Little Guy learn how to hold his pencil and his paper, etc. because at times, it's hard for me to wrap my head around how to be left-handed.  I watched Little Guy circle his chair (using it as a table) in the waiting room at the dentist yesterday while he colored a Star Wars book.  Is that normal?  Is he compensating for his left-handedness?  Did my other kids color in this manner?  Do I need to correct this?

     So I'm very aware of left-handedness right now, and as a result of me telling Jed every interesting fact I read/learn, it's on his radar as well. Sunday in church the kids were learning a song about choosing the right. Which, according to Jed turned into a lesson on right vs. left rather than right vs. wrong.  Except right and right are two different things, and Little Guy doesn't need to associate left with wrong.  The teacher told all the kids to raise the hand they write with and that was their right hand. That way was the right. Except my poor little four year old is holding up his left hand.  This is something that I wouldn't have even noticed not that long ago, that I might have even said myself.  It's a strange thing when your eyes are opened to a new way of seeing things.

The book tells me,
"Left-handedness is a trait we are born with.  Because of many different cultural superstitions regarding left-handedness, this trait has historically had rather negative connotations.  In many cultures, left-handers have been treated with suspicion or even ostracized from society, with left-handed children forcibly made to conform to right-handed actions such as writing and eating.  Not surprisingly, such cruel practices only hindered left-handers' ability, making them appear awkward and clumsy thorugh undertaking everyday tasks with their weaker hand, but also created poor self-esteem and even psychological damage, which could last a lifetime.  We now understand how damaging such attitudes are, and thankfully they are dying out in most civilized cultures."
     I've heard the stories of teachers/parents forcing left-handed kids to use their right hand.  I'm glad that for the most part, that's died out and left-handedness is accepted, but I worry about how easily Little Guy's attitude can we swayed.  He's already the only lefty in our family.  I feel like I'm constantly congratulating him on his uniqueness so that he doesn't try to conform to fit in with us right-handers, let alone the rest of the world.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Negative Productivity

Got out my sewing stuff to repair some clothes with holes, etc.
Spent the next 30 minutes browsing sewing projects on Pinterest. 


Our poor lefty.  Jed and I are right-handed.  The two older kids are right-handed.  But, at four years old, it is pretty obvious that Little Guy is left hand dominant.  It turns out he's got a lefty great grandma, great uncle and my dad thinks that he was supposed to be left-handed but his elementary school teachers beat it out of him.  Jed and I keep hitting ourselves in the forehead for the dumb, right-handed things we do to him.

These are just from the past 6 months.
For instance, we realized a few weeks ago that we always put his cup on the right side of his plate, so the poor kid has to reach across his plate to get his cup with his left hand.  And the other night, he was dragging his left sleeve through ketchup as he reached across his plate to pick up a fish stick.  I quickly rotated his plate so it made more sense for a left-handed kid.

I read an article today about left-handed school supplies for kids. 
  • Scissors (yea, I finally ordered some for him a few weeks ago).  
  • Fancy pens that write more smoothly because a lefty is having to push, rather than pull their pencil/pen across the page.  
  • Spiral notebooks with the spiral on the right.  (An advantage of the fact that he's only four, and that he'll be homeschooled, is that if I don't want to, the kid never has to deal with a spiral notebook.  At least not for years and year to come.)
  • Pencil grips (but even righties need these).  

Now we just have to remember not to put his silverware, cup, pencil, etc. in front of his right hand. 
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