Monday, April 30, 2007

National Spank Out Day

Today is National Spank Out Day. EPOCH-USA and the Center for Effective Discipline works toward educating and legislating away physical abuse of children, a.k.a. spanking, corporal punishment, swatting, or whatever term makes easier for so many to justify hitting children. Their website has information about alternatives to hitting children, information related to various religious views, and statistics by state regarding the legality and incidence of hitting children in schools and even daycares. I have a list of links along the right side of my blog to other parenting resources that offer alternatives to hitting (and so much more). There is also a yahoo group/email list run by Pam Sorooshian for parents who want to discuss alternatives to hitting.

My husband could go to jail if he hit me, even if he had "tried everything else" and I "still wouldn't listen!" Why children are not afforded the same protection from abuse that full grown adults are given, why there is not shock and disgust and *rescue* when we encounter a child being hit, is completely beyond my comprehension. And yet...

We went to a children's museum yesterday. My daughter was playing at a water table when a woman came up and hit a toddler 2 or 3 times for climbing on the table (this was the third child I had seen hit in a time span of about 30 minutes). My daughter looked around at me like "Do something!" Do you know what I did? Nothing. I know that what that Mom did is so acceptable in our society that *I* would be the one perceived as stepping out of bounds to intervene; but, by choosing to look the other way, all I did was condone what happened. Here are two articles (that I will certainly be rereading and thinking about) by Jan Hunt of the Natural Child Project: Intervening on Behalf of a Child in a Public Place: Part 1 Is It Our Business, and Intervening on Behalf of a Child in a Public Place: Part 2 What Can We Do.

I do have a story that makes me smile and gives me hope. We have had the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss since Riley was a baby. Near the beginning of the book, there is a part where it says "Some are sad. And some are glad. And some are very, very bad." The illustration on the "very, very bad" page shows a big, angry-looking, red fish hitting at a surprised-looking smaller fish. I had always seen it as an adult fish punishing a "very, very bad" fish until my kids told me one time what they saw in the picture: a big, red, "very, very bad" fish hitting the little fish.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Beowulf followup

Riley lost interest in reading the full version of Beowulf after we got past the battle between Beowulf and Grendl (the part he was familiar with from a short story version). Still interested in the original language, we found a website that had audio of a reading from a passage from Beowulf in Old English (you just click on the capital letters at the beginning of each verse to listen -- you need RealAudio Player v3 ). We read a bit more online about the evolution of the English language; and, as we were reading about the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, we found this cartoonized version of the Bayeux Tapestry on You Tube. I'll post the video directly on the blog from YouTube if I can figure out how...

Overdue Easter pix and this weekend's TKD tournament

Here are pictures from Easter Sunday:

and some from this weekend's tae kwon do tournament in Elizabethtown, KY:

Riley doing his form

Waiting to do his breaking technique: a blindfolded wheel kick
Sparring with Julie, a friend he met at the tournament
Receiving a trophy

Riley's TKD master instructor, Master Kim, and the group from KMA who attended the tournament:

(side note: if you click on the KMA website, I just realized they have added the video from a local commercial filmed at last summer's open house -- at the beginning there is a quick shot of Riley jumping through a ring of fire)
Maya and her monkey ---------- Matt and Seth

Thursday, April 5, 2007

This Week

We had two days of beautiful weather early in the week before it turned really cold -- we even have had little snow flurries several days this week. Matt took one of the warm days off from work. We spent that afternoon at a nearby playground and skatepark. We spent the next afternoon at the park with friends. The rest of the week we spent indoors. The kids got interested in reading Shel Silverstein's Falling Up again, and I added one of his poems to the right side of this blog page. I also added a link to the blog Riley started called "my great life and all my adventures."

Ri got interested in Beowulf from a short story version we had borrowed from the library a few weeks ago, so this week he borrowed the full poem. The book we borrowed has the original Old English on one page with the corresponding translation on the facing page. That has spurred an interest for both of us in learning more about the progression of the English language through history; and we're planning to read more about that as well as about Scandinavian history, particularly during the time period Beowulf was written (between the 7th and 10th centuries).

Maya has been thinking about words a lot lately, too -- the modern English kind. She doesn't read on her own yet, but she spends a lot of time lately looking at words, sometimes asking what something spells but more often just quietly looking by herself. We were looking at some paint chips, and she was asking me the names of the colors on them, and one was called "madras." She said, "Oh, I thought it said 'drama'." I have no idea where she learned which letters make up the word "drama," but I thought it was cool that she saw it in "madras." It reminded me of how she has spelled her own name over the last few years -- sometimes it was "ayam," sometimes "yama," occasionally some other variation. A couple of times I mentioned about writing left to right, but she said she didn't care, so that was that. At some point, she started consistently spelling "Maya." At some point, she will crack more of the code and madras will be madras and drama will be drama. I'm glad she gets to enjoy the process in her own time and in her own way.

Pictures from this past week:

Riley making mosaics---------------Maya drawing

Maya and Seth making things with magic nuudles (cornstarch foamy things)

Maya building with Lego's----- A crane that Seth, Riley, and I are building
Maya playing with air flow at the vent
Seth playing with magnet shapes