Review: Little Pim

I took Spanish since grade school at both private and public schools and still wonder if I’m even pronouncing “queso” correctly (don’t worry — I am). Embarrassing, right? It would be fantastic if my children were given the tools to excel more than I did, especially living in an incredibly bilingual city. Since we’ll be doing the majority of our schooling at home and I’m an obviously lackluster example, I’ve been desperate to find a curriculum that is simple enough for me to use and engaging enough for the kids to learn from. I must have been whining loudly enough because Little Pim was like “check out our program and tell us what you think!” and I was all “okay!” and then we were best friends forever.

Little Pim is an award-winning language learning program for kids ages 0 to 6. You can read about their philosophy here. They offer ten languages but we chose Spanish because duh. I was surprised by how much of an immersion experience it was; not a word of English is spoken. Because of this, I wasn’t sure how Elliot (who is almost 2.5 for those of you who don’t stalk me) was going to react, but he really seemed to enjoy the two DVDs we watched. They show a mixture of live action and animated sequences of familiar objects and events that are broken up into 5 minute episodes to cater to a toddler’s attention span. I was worried that the consistent repetition was going to feel like a Dora the Explorer episode (and thusly cause me to punch a hole in the TV screen because we just cannot handle Dora in this household) but it only gives momentum to the lesson and never gets annoying. It’s a great tool if you’re prepared to do the hard work of incorporating the words and phrases being learned into your daily routine (think of labeling things in the bathroom or offering a manzana instead of an apple).

Overall, I would recommend this program to anyone, from homeschoolers to parents just wanting to encourage their young child to retain a second language.

Thanks, Little Pim!

SMB: IT TAKES A VILLAGE

I wrote about the importance of community on Scottsdale Moms Blog today. So be a good friend and give it a read.

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SCOTTSDALE MOMS BLOG.

My first post as a full contributor for Scottsdale Moms Blog is up.

Spoiler alert: I’m insensitive, incapable, AND judgmental! And you thought you knew me.

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DEAR ELLIOT.

Oh, Elliot.

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There was a time when I was so used to communicating with you through sign language and grunts and facial expressions that I couldn’t imagine that one day we would communicate with words. I knew just how close to sleep you were by how many circles you rubbed into your eyes with your fists. I knew that I only had 2.5 minutes to make your morning oatmeal before your rumbling belly got the best of you and triggered the tears of a hungry, grumpy baby. I knew to leave you alone when you ventured off for one of your crawling marathons; you’ve always been the independent one.

Now you are two and we communicate with words. You love your sleep and oftentimes you are the one reminding me that it is nap time, but I am the one that has to remind you that you’re hungry and that it’s time to eat. When you are done with a meal or a snack, you are done and must be retrieved from your high chair immediately in order to avoid a first-class meltdown, but if said meltdown does occur, in the middle of it, I ask you if you need a hug and it never fails to stop your crying and reconcile us to each other again. Your heart is so tender and your emotions are so big. My most earnest prayer these days is that I would have the greatest facility in helping you navigate them because I know what it’s like to have strong feelings shut down. I want you to feel all that you feel and feel it well.

You love movies. Our regular rotation lately is Toy Story 2, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Aristocats. I have spent plenty of time guilting myself about your “screen time,” but the Lord has shown me how these stories only fuel your imagination. You don’t zone out when you are watching them. You include me in the narration of what is happening and you mimic the characters’ reactions and five minutes later I find you in your room, reenacting with your plastic Buzz and Woody and it fills my heart to watch you create, still the independent one.

Most kids, especially toddlers, don’t know what to do with a guitar. You have held one properly since the moment you picked it up. You strum like a professional. You sing along. One day, you decided a guitar could be a violin too, and you used a drumstick as a bow while holding the end of the guitar up to your neck. Not long after that, you realized that if a guitar could be a violin, it certainly could be a cello, and you sat in a chair with the guitar between your knees, drumstick in hand. I think I might be raising a musical genius.

It is so interesting to see how differently you interact with different people. When Papa is home, you literally jump on him and attack him with swords and pull at his beard and destroy the house by setting up obstacles and blasting through them with your toy vacuum. When it is just you and me, you insist that I draw letters for you so that you can identify them, or that I let you read me all the books, or you sit very close to me with your little hand on my leg while we talk to Oscar about how fun it’s going to be when he can wrestle with you. You are such a gracious big brother. You find ways to entertain yourself when Oscar is nursing because you understand that that is Mama + Baby time. You try to share your toys with him by opening his little fisted hands. When Oscar tries to talk to you, you put your hand on his head and say “oh, yeah?!” over and over. I am so glad that you came first, Elliot. I am so glad that you came at all.

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Inspired by your auntie + my best mama friend.

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BABY DIARIES & DEADLINES.

Click here for a good time.

Ha!

And here’s the one before that because for some reason I wasn’t 100% on my game and didn’t linky link to it when it came out last month. I would blame the new baby for my forgetfulness but it’s probably more accurate to blame Netflix for having all the seasons of Lost. I haven’t seen the sun in months.

Kidding.

In other news, Scottsdale Moms Blog has taken me on as a full contributor for 2013! I’m a real adult now. Let me tell you, I did not think I would be into this at first. Mommy bloggers are so White America — at least that’s what I thought. Silly me for giving into stereotypes. The ladies that write for this blog are really fantastic. We all come from different sides of the spectrum and everyone offers a different, encouraging perspective. When it comes down to it, we’re all just trying to be The World’s Best Mom, and that is a noble effort and incredibly important, no matter what you Facebook haters say. I always say (Of course I have a signature quote — I’m a famous writer! Obviously.) there would be better people in this world if there were better moms.

Here’s to deadlines and diapers and big, big dreams.

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REST YOUR ARMS, REST YOUR LEGS.

You guys. Both babies are napping and I just made myself a cup of coffee and I’m sitting down to write.

I don’t think you understand how unprecedented this is. For the past ten weeks, I’ve been running around like a chicken with its whatever-blah-blah or staring blankly at the floor because I’ve been either too exhausted to lift up mine eyes to the heavens or stubbornly ignoring my scolding self-concious that says “Get up! You don’t deserve to sit down! There are dishes to be done, crumbs to be swept, and these things can’t wait!”

They can wait, you big meanie.

I’ve been going through these highs and lows of ENERGY! and I NEED A NAP OR EVERYONE WILL SUFFER! like a clueless hormone monster. Brandon will get texts from me on Monday that say “I’ll be a waddling sack of lard forever!” and by Wednesday I’m back to “Skin and bones, I tell you! All I’ve eaten today is a piece of popcorn and I found it in the couch! I’ll never again have time to eat!” It’s a good thing that I married the most gracious man ever. He encourages me too much. But I need that, apparently.

What I also need is to slow downI need to eat when I’m hungry and eat well instead of going going going until both kids are asleep, then eating three potato chips because I’m too faint to stand up and make myself a meal. I need to take that nap when it’s there for the taking and, after waking up, stay in bed and just stare at the little life lying next to me. I need time to write. I need time to think. I need to leave the stroller in the car and teach my almost-two-year-old to stay near me while we’re in the store. How can I expect him to behave well if I don’t do the same?

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TWO UNDER TWO.

The thing about having two kids is that I spend most of my day just gawking at them. How is it that God saw it fit to entrust me with these two little lives, these specific lives? Who am I to have the privilege of raising two men?

The craziest thing is that Brandon and I had sex one time and A HUMAN WAS CREATED. Then, another time we had sex, and ANOTHER HUMAN WAS CREATED. Think about that and try to tell me that God isn’t real.

I want to give them everything they ever want. And usually, I do. I want to say “yes, yes!” so that my “no” actually means something.

Sometimes I look at the 4,000 toys strewn across our living room floor and I like the mess. I let it linger, for days even, and I wish others could see it, the evidence of life being lived.

Other times, I catch Elliot reading books to Oscar and I’m glad that no one else can see what I see in that moment because I get to scoop it up and add it to  all the other little things that I hide in my heart.

I wonder how they’ll be different, how they’ll be alike. I wonder if they’ll have that typical older-brother-younger-brother relationship that you see in the movies. I wonder if they’ll grow up and apart like so many brothers do.

I hope Elliot teaches Oscar. I hope Oscar looks out for Elliot. I hope they have the kind of closeness shared not by blood but by choice.

I will always choose them.

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BELLY DIARIES TURNED BABY DIARIES.

I’m back at it on Scottsdale Moms Blog today. Ch-ch-check it out.

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LOOK UP.

Someday, you may have a kid, and then you may have another kid. Three weeks after this other kid is born, you may wiggle your head and marvel at how three weeks can simultaneously feel like three days and three months. You may feel physically incredible, not unlike one of those miracle healings, considering you just squeezed a small person through your pelvic bones. So incredible, in fact, that you purposely try to find something negative because this is supposed to be a rough time and women are starting to look at you sideways when you tell them how great you feel. You walk past a mirror and there it is — negativity’s best friend, your body. You can’t help but smirk a little, the same smirk you’d find on the face of someone who had just spotted an old fling. It may be negative but it’s familiar. Your eyes narrow toward where your shirt pulls in places it didn’t used to, but when you say “pulls,” you’re really grasping here because the reality is that out of the thirty pounds you gained for this pregnancy, you maybe, maybe have ten left to lose and it’s only been three weeks.

“But it’s a floppy ten pounds,” you say to yourself.

In a search for something negative, you can always count on your trusty body. Just look down and it’s there. Look down at the way your thighs spread a little wider on the couch, at the way you can’t quite button your hot pants yet. Yes, look down and find something to bitch about. Forget about the fact that your son came on his own and your labor didn’t have to be induced. Forget about the four short hours of labor that made you feel like Warrior Woman and the five minutes of pushing with only one tear that healed in a week. Forget about how your newborn regularly sleeps for six straight hours at night, a feat that enables you to enthusiastically engage and love your toddler during the day. Forget about how your fridge has been full for weeks because of the generosity that overflows from your community. Forget about the two paid weeks your husband was able to take off of work so the four of you could really get used to being just that — the four of you.

Forget all the good stuff, then walk by that mirror again and focus only on yourself because that is much easier to do than to live your life in gratitude for the four hundred blessings you’ve just received.

Or.

You could snap out of it. You could lift up your eyes and look around at your beautiful life. You could recognize that, even if it’s always at the last minute, He always comes through for you. You don’t deserve any of this. None of it has been gained of your own accord. If it were up to you, you would revel in your own pathetic depravity because you know you don’t deserve any of this. But you’ve been adopted and with that adoption comes the most magnificent inheritance and abounding grace in the form of health and babies and food and love. Stop looking at your body because your body does not matter but this grace and these people are forever.

Look up.

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RECAP.

So, remember when I had a baby three weeks ago and sort of fell off the face of the internet?

This is my attempt to catch you up on my new life because you think I am so very interesting.

Elliot is a regular big brother. He has taken to Oscar as if there’s always been a baby in the house. Instead of outbursts of jealousy or violence, I catch them cuddling, which can sometimes be mistaken for suffocating, but it’s cute nonetheless.

Elliot is also quite proud of the fact that he has learned to count to two and will demonstrate this skill to strangers by poking and counting his eyes, his knees, and my boobs. Hey, whatever works.

We threw a Sip & See when we brought Oscar home. Our apartment was full and so was my heart. We are blessed to be surrounded by the most wonderful friends-turned-family.

Brandon took two weeks off of work to hold my hand and lead me around in my sleep deprivation. Oh, I guess he hung out with the kids, too. But now I’m back to getting a full night’s sleep all night every night.

Just joking! Ha! You should have seen your face!

This time really is so different from the first time in all the best ways. I think I’ll have 100 more kids.

Also, remember when I had nappy long hair?

That was silly.

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