With the return of clover to our lawn, our wild rabbit has decided to visit us again. Althea greeted him with a big “Hello!” She does not discriminate between insects, plants, animals, humans or birds in this way nor would I ever discourage her by saying, “you don’t say hello to a plant.” Why should I? All are welcomed into our day who might enrich it.
It is one of the greatest shames of modern-day parenting that many of my contemporaries have stopped requiring their children to say hello to others. I believe this simple greeting is the first manner before please, thank you and excuse me. It is an inclusive word that invites others into our world even if for a moment and allows us to learn more about each other. So to you, our new readers, I say “Hello! Welcome. Please join our day.”
This week we developed our appreciation for the colour red. We ate red peppers, we bumped up and down in our imaginary little red wagon, we paid special attention to the cardinal at the feeder and we played the “check out the bunch of red things in this bag” game. Here we have found a red di from daddy’s dungeons and dragons collection. (Oh. And we learned more about the letter d this week too).
I thought I would try out the “Seguin method” for determining whether or not Althea was really getting an understanding about the colour. This method requires that you place two items of different colours in front of the child saying simply “this is red” and “this is purple.” Next, you ask the child to hand you the red item. We did this with many items off and on throughout the week but here you can see the wheels turning with the red feather just before she handed it to me! How proud was I in that moment! “Aha! We are not wasting our time here,” I thought.
The final step in the Seguin method is to have the child assign the name of the colour to the item. This is a difficult feat for a little one. I mean, “mom, it’s a feather” is the obvious answer here but you could see she was trying really hard. She would hand me red items throughout the day and say “blue!”, “purple!” and I would just go with it saying “red” every time but not making a big fuss of it. After all, it is just a colour. By the end of the week I was a bit dismayed that the final step of the Seguin method had not been accomplished. On friday night I randomly took out our “Clifford shares” book for bedtime reading and you cannot imagine the joy on my face (my guy would gladly describe it for you I’m sure) when all of a moment Althea pointed to Clifford and cried, “red!”
Yes. Red. Beautiful. Wonderful. Red.
Now that I’m at home with my two year old daughter, I’m building a daily liberal arts curriculum for her. The focus will be on literature, nature, visual arts and classical music. I want to fill our days with all the things that the cubicle has deprived me of for too many years. I want to learn about stories, composers, artists, plants, animals, and insects together. Why does this goal make me feel selfish?
I think it’s because unlike the homemakers of the 1950s, women are no longer really proud of the domestic life – which I believe is an art in and of itself. I’m trapped in this cultural and guilt-laden conundrum. I worry about my man who is working as we speak at a cubicle not unlike the one I left behind me in the dust.
But you know? Guilt has nothing to do with discovering a wet pine cone, listening to Bach concertos, and reading The Little Red Hen. I have this one time in my life with her and I’m going to start it with art.