Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bragalog (a.k.a. Olivia is Awesome)

Note: I originally wrote this as a post just to share on our private family blog.  Not because it's overly personal or because it's a secret, but because I sometimes feel really judged when people hear about some of the preschool stuff I do with Olivia and then say that I'm a dictator parent or that I don't let her play enough or something.  I don't believe that either of those things are true (Olivia just really loves this stuff), but I still don't enjoy hearing it.  It's hard to do something with your kid that you feel really passionate about and then be negatively judged for it.

Also, I was reluctant to post this here at first because I know there are a ton of awesome kids out there who aren't doing this stuff yet and they tend to have really nice and awesome parents who feel inadequate when they hear about some of the stuff Olivia can do.  I hate for people to feel that.  Especially since 99.9% of Olivia being able to do this stuff is just plain Olivia being her own little self.  She loves school stuff and would do it all day every day if I had the energy for it.  If she wasn't into preschool stuff, then we probably wouldn't do so much of it.  In other words, I have just as much admiration for kids who are awesome at playing outdoors, are really friendly, or who actually eat all the food on their plate without having to be reminded to eat ten million times a day.  (Err... sorry for the rant about eating.  It drives me crazy though.)

So I was reluctant to share this post with the general public at first.  But then I remembered that you guys are awesome and super supportive and I was probably overanalizing the whole thing.  And I thought you might enjoy hearing some fairly uncensored updates about what this kid of mine has accomplished lately.  (Believe it or not, she does more than model clothes I make for her.)  :)

So, I give you: the Bragalog (a.k.a. Olivia is Awesome).


I would now like to shamelessly brag about some things that Olivia can do/has done recently.

She counted all the way to 100 during our preschool time the other day.  

She can make it to about 30 or 39 (depending on how focused she is) before she needs help.  She can usually count most of the 1-9 numbers by herself (i.e. 41-49, 51-59, etc.) once I get her started, but a lot of times she still gets mixed up in the higher numbers.

Still, mostly I was so impressed with her that she didn't get distracted while we counted all the way to 100.  And then we counted to 100 again while we took the erasers off.

(Free 1-100 counting chart printable HERE.)

Apparently she knows about protective gear for outer space.

Bryan drew this picture of Olivia and a robot (because she really likes this book) and then a shark down in the water (probably just to scare Anna*, I don't know) in outer space.  (I don't know how you're supposed to know it's outer space except that that's what Olivia and Bryan told me when they showed me this picture later.)  Then Olivia added the "bubbles" around the robot's head, her own body, and the shark's head.  So thoughtful to make sure everyone (including the shark) can breath in outer space.

Also, I don't know how she knows that astronauts where bubble helmet things.

*Edit: A certain sister-in-law of mine is afraid of sharks.  And we may or may not try to tease her about it as often as possible.

She drinks SO MUCH WATER.

I feel like more and more I hear of moms saying that they can't get their kids to drink water, that all their kids want is juice or milk or whatever.  Well, Olivia would gladly drink juice and milk and stuff all the time if I let her, but I don't let her.  So, as a result, she drinks so much water everyday.  What a champ.  (And, yes, she has to pee a lot.)

She is so devout.

I got this little prayer chart when I went to Girls Camp one year as a teenager.  It's pretty self-explanatory.  You put on a sunshine after you say your morning prayers and a moon after you say your evening prayers.  I actually used it for years and loved it, but then it got stashed away in a box and I forgot about it for a long time.  But then last Saturday I was sorting through some things in the basement and when I found it Olivia claimed it for herself and enlisted Bryan to help her hang it up in her room.

For about a week or two leading up to this she had been kind of a stinker about saying prayers.  She would say things like, "I prayed lotsa lotsa times today," when we asked her to pray.  Or we would ask her to pray and she would just say, "No."

Enter the prayer chart...

Now she wants to pray all the time.  Even at meals and other random times!  Today I was getting after her to eat her lunch (someday I will have a bragalog about what a good eater Olivia is, but, sadly, today is not that day) and she got this sad look on her face and said, "No!  I need to pray first!"  I felt pretty bad after that and then she took it upon herself to say the prayer.

Also, yesterday afternoon (after she had already put the sunshine on after her morning prayer) we were up in her room and she wanted to pray, so we knelt down by her bed to pray.  As soon as she was done she popped up and went to go put a little square on her chart and she was pretty irritated with me when I told her that she had already put the sunshine thing on that morning.

Still, I'm pretty sure her prayers are genuine and come from the heart because lately she's usually been praying something along the lines of, "Dear Heavenly Father, we have fun.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

This kid is actually starting to be a real reader.

We've been doing reading lessons every day most days from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  We stared a few months ago and we're only into Lesson 17 because the book is meant to be used with 4-5 year-olds and, while Olivia is on par with a 4-5 year-old in her reading and alphabet skills, her attention span is still not quite that long.  So I split each lesson up over several days.  The downside is that this means it's going to be more like, "Teach Your Child to Read in 1000 Easy Lessons."  The upside is that she's only 2 and won't even be starting kindergarten for two more years, so I'm not really in any hurry.

Anyway, we had a bit of a rocky start with the lessons (because I was trying to do a whole lesson at a time), but now she is a rock star at it.  Case in point: yesterday she read the story above ("that rat is sad") ALL BY HERSELF!  I couldn't be more proud.  :)

Today I was ignoring her for a while while I worked on a post about a shirt I made for her letting her play independently and I overheard her sounding out the word "turtle" all by herself.  (It was on the back of a piece of scratch paper that she was coloring on.)  She sounded it out like this:

"tuuuurrrrt L E"

I was so proud!  Obviously she didn't read the entire word right, but mostly I was so charmed and delighted by the fact that she was choosing to sound out words and try and read by herself at all.  I've wondered since we started doing the reading lessons with her whether sounding words out was just something she was doing to humor me or if it was something she was really interested in.  Hearing her sounding out words all by herself was one of those super happy, gratifying moments in parenting.  "I'm doing something right!"  Ahh, so excellent.  But, uh, mostly, way to be a rock star Olivia.

Also, we've been reading scriptures with her every night, one verse at a time.  Bryan and I take turns reading the verse with her.  Basically we read one word at a time and have her repeat it--for the entire verse.  Tonight when I was helping her "read" (i.e. copy the words I was saying) I realized there were a handful of words in the verse that she could actually read herself, so I asked her to sound them out.  And she totally did!  If I remember right, I think she read "the," "it," ...uhh, and some other words I can't remember.  But it was impressive.

Olivia is getting good at writing.

We do some writing every day during our preschool time.  This is usually just a little journal entry of sorts where we write the date and then she tells me what she wants to write that day.  She holds the pencil and then I hold my hand over her hand while we write.  It's cute.  And it's really fun (and funny) to go back and see what she's written so far.  "I go poo poos in the potty and I get a toy!"  "I love Mommy and Daddy."  "I love doughnuts."  I read in my own journal last night that I started doing this hand-over-hand writing with her a year ago. (Though we didn't start doing it regularly until about a month ago.)

Also, at the end of each of her reading lessons, we practice writing some of the letters that she can read.  Usually we do this the same way (she holds the pen and I hold her hand and we write the letters together).  But today when my sister-in-law and I were talking on the phone she mentioned something about my niece's writing skills and I thought I'd see what Olivia could do.  So today when we did the writing after her reading lesson, I wrote the letters in blue and then had her trace them in black.

I give you: Olivia's awesome writing...

I wrote the letters in blue.

She traced them in black!

In the photo above we wrote the first 4 "s"s together, then she wrote the last 4 by herself (over the blue ones I had written.)  We wrote the first "e" together, but the rest she wrote (traced) all by herself.

She can also write the following letters all by herself (without tracing): O, L, I, A, M, C*

*She just started writing this randomly yesterday or something and she usually writes it backwards, but it totally looks like a C!

You may have noticed that she can write all of the letters in her name except a V.  She actually can write a V sometimes, but a while ago Bryan or I told her that "It's like writing a happy face," so now when she writes her name by herself she usually writes it, "O L I (happy face) I A."  You had better believe that I'm not about to correct that anytime soon.

Note the undies sticking up above her pants... with her shirt tucked into the undies.  :)

She wears undies 24/7 now!

Oh!  And one huge one that I didn't mention is that she is in undies 24-7 now.  So long super expensive diapers and pull-ups!  Hello undies!  It is pretty amazing.  Mostly I am amazed that she sleeps through the night without wetting the bed and actually wakes up and calls for us when she needs to go.  She is also a champ about telling me she needs to go when we're out and about and holding it when we can't get to a bathroom right away.

And, if you want, you can be impressed by all the cool stuff she has on her wall.  (The big brown piece of paper is a tracing we did of her during preschool last year.)

Anyway, I'm super proud of our girl.  I try not to say too much about it in general since I know she's kind of advanced for her age and I don't want people to feel like they're not doing enough with their own kids or something.  I attribute a teeny tiny bit of her accomplishments to stuff Bryan and I do with her and a lot a lot a lot of it to her own initiative and profound interest in all things scholastic.

Today she played that she was going to school for about an hour.  She kept telling me, "I be five!  I go to school!  Bye Mommy!" and off she'd go in the cozy coupe to "school" (i.e. the other side of the room).  She even took care to pack a bag for herself.  How does she know how to play school already?  This kid blows my mind.

And, to be completely honest, sometimes I wonder what on earth I'm going to do with her for the next two years before she really can start kindergarten.  We've enrolled her in Headstart which starts next month, but we won't know whether or not she gets in until the end of this month.  If she doesn't get in I'll just keep doing all this preschool stuff with her at home and we'll probably enroll her in a fun little community ed class or two (like dance or soccer or something) so she can have some fun things to look forward to during the week.

Anyway, thanks for letting me brag about Olivia for a bit.  She's doing so many things that amaze and impress me these days.  You know, I mean, aside from just being a really fun, sweet, nice little kid.  :)


Kathy Haynie said...

I think I'd better send this girl some smartie candies! Way to go, Lala!!

Emily said...

I love this post. I really did enjoy reading through it and reading all about Olivia's big accomplishments! She is something else! And she looks so cute doing all of these things too! I'm super impressed with her kindergarten readiness skills already. I love that she played school for an hour! How cute and exciting! She will be the best little kindergartener someday. Maybe we'll move to Ohio and I can be her teacher!

Dagny said...

My son is just a few months younger than Olivia and he's pretty bright like this too. He loves learning new things. I need to start some serious mommy schooling with him. I know just how you feel about being so proud of your bright little one, but not wanting others to think you're bragging. Her fine motor skills for writing/tracing her letters is awesome. Keep it up, Katie. You're doing an excellent job with Olivia.

Lisa Lou said...

Man, Calvin is such a slacker! I guess I better eat some more chocolates or something so he can get all the antioxidants... er...

I have THE cutest nieces EVER! And smartest, bravest, cleanest, fastest, etc

Lauren said...

Brag away! That is so great. I think we should all be able to brag about our kids and appreciate their differences without feeling like a failure or insecure. I got some great ideas from this. Prayer chart here we go...

Kristie said...

Wow. She is awesome. You might be skipping Kindergarten and going straight for first grade.
When I read posts like this it gives me motivation that I can do simple little things with my kiddos to help get them started on the right track. You make everything look so simple and easy to do. Thanks!

BeccaMarie said...

I loved this post when I read it the other day. I didn't feel like you were bragging! It sounded like a super loving mother who is super happy discovering how clever and astounding children can be. Also, I love all of the 'teaching' posts you write. They are so encouraging. Thank you!

Heaths said...

i've been secretly reading for a while (i'm one of sarah moeck's friends) but i wanted to come out of hiding to comment on this one.

you and olivia have inspired me! a year or so ago when you posted about doing starfall with olivia, it made me think, "i wonder if tesla (my older son, i think he's just a few months younger than olivia) could do that?" so i started working with him on his letters (starfall was a big help, he loved it). somewhere around age 2, he knew all of his letters and sounds and could identify them almost anywhere.

your preschool routine inspired me, so i started doing preschool with my boys and they LOVE it. i did the montessori ice cube tray sorting and it was a huge hit.


thanks for inspiring us!

oh, did you teach olivia to use a proper writing grip? i can't tell exactly but it looks like she's holding the marker correctly in the picture. is that something you showed her from the beginning or did she just imitate you? i actually don't use proper grip myself (i brace the pen on my ring finger instead of my middle) but i want to teach the boys. i thought it might be too early to start but i saw olivia doing it and so i thought maybe now's the time?

AmberLee said...

first of all, what a darling you have! and she's potty trained! hooray. so sweet she is wanting to pray on her own. amazing.

and good for you for enjoying your time and passion together of learning and being curious and accomplishing new things. there's just nothing like watching that happen at this age. and I am totally with you!! i often give my kiddos extra lessons after school because we love it.

and we LOVE teach your child to read in 100!! I am getting ready to start my 3-yr-old too!

Sarah said...

Always share your happiness, dear Katie! It's fun to celebrate in the successes of others... and it looks like your friends think the same!
Way to go, Olivia and Katie!
Oh and Bry-Bry too =)... although I don't think he's probably called that anymore.