Friday, August 26, 2011

Practical Development

I sometimes wonder if I give the right bablance of supervision and freddom to JD & Toodles. JD just came to get me from the kitchen to show me what he and Toodles have been up to.

For the last 20 minutes or so, I have been putting away the groceries that we picked up. Carrots and celery were peeled and washed, respectively, cut into sticks, and put into a container with water and a touch of salt. Contact solution and new toothbrushes into the bathroom. Filled the flour jar. Dumped the bad buttermilk. Stared longingly at the cold beer in the fridge.

When I walked into the livingroom with JD, he said, "Daddy, look!" Toodles was wrapped to invisibilty within a tan fleece blanket. There was a small pile of toys on her.

"Hi Toodles," I said with a bit of apprehension regarding the scene. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, Daddy, I okay," sounding perfectly content. Back to the kitchen.

A few minutes later, JD appeared. "Daddy, come see."

The couch pillows were on top of the toys.

"Toodles, are you okay?"

"Yes, Daddy."

I told JD that, if she wanted to get up, that he had to help her immediately.

In the end, nothing bad happened. They were happy playing together. I was happy having a long while to get things done.

Sometimes I think that I use too much time to do these things. There certainly is a happy medium between free, self-directed play and structured play. Occasionnaly, I feel guilty that I've given too much time to chores, trying but failing to remember what structured activities we did together.

today, we were out of the house for over three hours, shopping at five different stores: Target, Costco, Aldi, Isaacson & Stein Fish, and Stanley's Produce. Since we've been home, I have spent the bulk of my time putting away groceries and other items, making lunch, and organizing the kitchen. So what could I have possibly taught them?

Over the course of the day, we talked about street smarts like looking out for cars; about keeping our fingers off of items that we aren't buying, about different kinds of produce, meat, fish, and shellfish; and about the things that we saw along the way like railroad tracks ("JD, did you know that Chicago was the railroad capital of the United States?") vehicles, and people.

The fact that we haven't sat at a table and worked on math, language, or science skills still bothers me a bit. One, the day isn't over. And, two, I did not neglect their overall development.


  1. You don't need to sit at a table and work on math for your children to learn math. When at the grocery store, show the kids the prices on each item, and introduce "more" and "less" as you find bargains. I have never sat down to teach my kids about nutrition, but my 8-year-old knows to read the nutritional label and choose the snack with less sugar. There are learning opportunities everywhere you go!!

  2. What a great idea! I do talk to them about the food we're buying at the grocery store, but never thought about showing them prices. I'll definitely start doing that.

    Just thought of something for reading - make copies of the grocery list and maybe they can cross off items as we buy them. If I was really organized and motivated, I could create a list with pictures and then have them cross off items. Food for thought. Ha! Get it? :)