Katie desperately wants to start writing her highly elaborate stories. She has characters! Plots! Chapters! Only one problem…. She doesn’t know how to spell the words yet. Reading she has down cold. Basic sentence structure, sure. Spelling not so much.
So we’re spending hours with her asking me to spell words and then writing them down.
Bonus points: in Katie’s stories, science is awesome!
From somewhere, Katie acquired a copy of a Berenstein Bears book. She has lots of books. They come from everywhere. It ought to be pretty non-confrontational stuff — bears go to school, bears meet some bear conflict, bears resolve conflict through bear family unity.
When I read the book to Katie yesterday evening, one passage turned my vision red, boiled my blood, clenched my fists, and made me shake in the burning need to rant. For the bears had offended me and they must die. I am plotting their fuzzy death. Bears are a menace! You see:
Brother Bear, you see, is good at science and math, but is bad at language arts.
Sister Bear, on the other hand, is good at language arts but terrible at science and math.
Why? I thought. Why is Sister Bear good at spelling and reading and Brother Bear good at science and math, which presumably also needs spelling and reading? Because math is hard! We’re giving into gendered stereotypes! And Sister Bear is a girl.
I was coated in feminist rage. Why couldn’t Sister Bear be good at reading and science and math? Why does she have to suck at science and math? Is she not good enough? Is the teacher not giving her enough encouragement? And what does that mean, precisely? And why are you telling my daughter who is obsessed with how brains work and how much blood is in the human body* that Sister Bear sucks at math and science!
Sister Bear goes off to compete in a spelling bee, but in this book she decides to ditch the spelling bee progression right when she was winning because she would rather go play with her friends. Friends are awesome but hey, spelling bee! Father Bear, you see, gets guilt over pushing Sister Bear competitively to defeat her enemies with words and bathe in their spelling bee entrails. He decides he should back off instead. But would he get guilt over pushing Brother Bear? I bet not. No way, man.
Girl == go ditch out of succeeding, go play with your friends. Boy == KILL.
You suck, Berenstein Bears.
Grrr. I prefer stuff with Princesses. At least they get swords and stuff and have to go rescue the Prince from the evil witch. And hey! She would rather go see Despicable Me anyway because she wants a Minion. Not a stuffy. An actual yellow dude Minion.
* 10 gallons under extreme pressures. *SPRAY*
At Art Weekend 2010, I started working on the Knit Picks Critter Mitts T-Rex hand puppet. What better use for yarn is there but making awesome toys? Sure you can make socks and gloves and sweaters but you can also make hand puppets!
The first one came out well. He has a little ridge of spikes and big scary teeth and a big red mouth and little teeny tiny useless arms. He reminds me of T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics! (In fact, I may need to take more pictures and do a little photoshopping… he might be full of burgers! And atoms!)
I believe T-Rex needs a friend. One cannot just have T-Rex. The kit provides the yarn and instructions to make a triceratops. And he is orange so….
As you can see, Katie greatly appreciates T-Rex. She’s as scary as it is! RAR!
I have been fighting to get Katie interested in longer stories (books) for a year and a half now. This effort has been met with limited success: the world is full of too many interesting things to sit still for a story, even at night when winding down for bed. She is just too wiggly.
We have slowly been working through Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Katie had spurious interest in the story since it starts slowly. It takes almost 40 pages for Charlie to find the golden ticket in the second illicit candy bar in the store. But once the children started dying horribly*, Katie became intensely interested and then promptly pretended she was not interested at all.
This morning Katie was very very concerned that Charlie would be okay and not also meet some heinous fate and I told her we have to “read the book to find out what happens next.” And I cackled while she looked very put off that she would not get the answer. Yeah, we’ll finish this book as she pretends to hate the experience.
Other than my absolute favorites the Roald Dahl books, does anyone have any good recommendations of books about 150-175 pages in length for the 4-6 year olds? We have a bunch of the Disney fairy books but some of them are pretty badly written. I am still trying very hard to get Katie into the swing of a constant chunk of story/night and it’s amazing how important the writing is.
And I mean, hell, I have, what, 1500 books in the house? One does not get away with not reading books while living in a veritable library.
(As a complete aside, is Willy Wonka a gay character or the most gay character in children’s literature?)
* The children do not die horribly. They are merely rolled off-stage by Oompa-Loompas who come up with clever songs who mock their terrible and easily avoidable fates. But hey, Augustus Gloop goes off to a fudge folding machine. I’m sure that’s pleasant.
Over the years we’ve had a whole slew of very weird meltdowns but I have to say, Katie’s meltdown this evening over the silent k before n in words like “knack,” “knight,” and “knee.” She completely flipped out. Showing her the origins of the words (cniht for knight, cneow for knee) in the Old English dictionary just made it worse.
Sometimes living with Katie is like living with a David Foster Wallace character.
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Happy Birthday Katie Rose who is FIVE TODAY!!!!
Maybe someone on my friend’s list can answer this:
I have a four year old with a super active imagination, lots of dolls and stuffies. She is starting to get the hang of consistent rules and rulesets. What games — board games and rpg games — do you recommend for a little poo?
This weekend I got through…
- Vacuuming the house.
- Doing about seven hours of gardening. This included laying down 2 more bags of mulch, building an entire veggie garden (3×3 raised box), planting 36 vincas, 6 calibrochias, 1 overgrown lantana, 36 carrots, 3 cucumbers (which did not survive I don’t think), 2 tomatos, 2 jalapeno peppers, 2 basils, and 2 cilantro plants.
- Teaching myself enough of the basics of knitting to be truly dangerous.
- Knitting with a basic garter stitch, some boucle and some fun fur 4 feet of fuzzy, goofy scarf for Katie. I just can’t sit and watch a movie.
Meanwhile my parents came over and stripped 90% of the baby wallpaper off the walls in Katie’s room and put up chair rail in preparation of turning it from a nursery to a little girl’s room. This is sort of wimpy but the paper had to come down. Sooner or later, the bears and blocks must be upgraded to bright pink dancing fairies. (Sigh)
I am extremely sore.
Yesterday, Katie stole my brand new copy of Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies and flipped through it three times! She was very interested in the pictures.
She was very happy to see the game has:
- Pirates! Especially pirates.
She was very concerned the game did not have:
She was quite adamant that the game would only work with goblins. Other than that, she declared it “interesting” and then headed off to play with other things.