Sunday, November 06, 2011

What is Love....voice of the very young

What Love means to a 4-8 year old...
Touching words from the mouth of babes..

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?'

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

'When my grandmother got arthritis , she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore..So my grandfather does it for her all the time , even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you , the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'
Terri - age 4

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'
Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing , you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss'
Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

'If you want to learn to love better , you should start with a friend who you hate.'
Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt , then he wears it everyday..'
Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital , I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford .'
Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'
Mary Ann - age 4

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'
Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody , your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)
Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross..'
Mark - age 6

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it , you should say it a lot. People forget.'
Jessica - age 8

And the final one
The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap,
and just sat there.. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.'

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I have a's been growing for 2-months now and, not only is it hard to ignore, but the selection of pants in Alessandro's drawer is getting leaner and leaner. It's finally time.
Much to my chagrin, I am doing the very same thing to my kids that my mom did to me. It embarrassed me to no end to wear clothes to school that had them, but, probably much like my own mother in this situation 35+ year ago, I seriously see no choice in the matter.
With a giant sigh, I take out the iron-on patch material - actually the same kits from my mother's collection in her sewing basket - and try to best match the fabric with the layers of pairs of pants. It takes two days, but at least now, Alessandro has something to wear, in which he can play and play hard. At some point, he will be more balanced in his sense of fun and fashion. Thankfully for me, and for the pile of patches waiting to be tediously sewn on, we're more in the camp of fun right now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Girls' Thoughts On Japan

The events in Japan have been overwhelmingly tragic. There have been so many videos of the "black tide," the bold and relentless loyalty shown by a pair of stranded dogs, stories of hope with the discovery of a 4-month baby girl, who was swept out of her parents' arms during the tsunami, being safely found 3-days later under a pile of rubble and so many more. There is much for kids over here to learn from this event. We have talked about the importance of preparation, how empathy and charity works to improve spirits, and we've even reached into our "donate" sections of our piggy banks. Some of these lessons have been reverberated through lessons and fund raising at school. Here is the result of the girls' class and their thoughts and wishes for Japan....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ava's Apology

Ava's picture reads: "I'm sorry for taking something from your store. I just wanted it. That was wrong. I won't do that again. Sorry."
Well, Ava did a "no-no." A big "no-no." She asked for something while at the store and Mom said no. The little plastic cell phone that really held 4 kinds of lip gloss went back into the cubby by the register. I thought that was the end of it, but a day later, while at home, Bettina pointed out that it was in the house anyway. She said she found it in Ava's "secret pocket." So, I approached Ava. She spend some awkward time trying to think of a good reason why it was in the house and not the store, and then she quickly says she found it "on the floor." Interrupting, I finally cut to the chase. "Ava, you know why I'm disappointed right now, don't you." She nods, eyes now pointing downward and unable to meet my gaze. "Tell me why," I lead, and she spills her guts. Instead of putting the cool lip gloss into the cubby, she put it into her pocket while I was at the check out counter. I tell her about what will happen next: a trip to the store where she will ask for the manager who may, if they wish, call the police. She will also return the item as well as offer to pay for it (even though she didn't open the wrapper). She agrees, goes to her piggy bank and pulls out the $3.37 within. It's $1.58 short of the value. I ask her what we should do. She offers to work it off over the weekend. We make a list: "make my bed everyday, clean to toys downstairs even if they're not my mess, help mom clean the walls and moldings with a rag, collect the chicken eggs even if it's raining (which it will - a lot - this weekend), and write a note with an apology to bring to the store." Although I'm disappointed that she boldly stole something from a store, I'm impressed with how bravely and cooperatively she deals with the consequences.
Perhaps we all have a story like Ava's. I remember having to go to the Thrifty store in my hometown and come clean to someone there. I don't remember the thing I took, but I remember the face of the man that had to listen to me. I'm sure my mother remembers what it was that I took. I also remember how horrified I was about having to go to my great-grandmother and tell her that I lifted some small little ornament I admired from her house. I really didn't want to disappoint her. My mother would probably remember what I took from her house, too.
I'm hoping that this exercise will do the same thing for Ava: she may not remember years from now what the item was that was so tempting that she had to take it right then and there, however, I'm hoping that she will remember the face of the manager she must face tomorrow and will adjust her need for immediate satisfaction in the future.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Pre-School Shouldn't Be School

This article, "Preschool Lessons" by Slate Magazine, explains to a tee exactly why I love Reggio Emilia-based schools, especially for preschool. A series of studies finds that kids learn early exactly what a teacher is for: to show them the "right" answer. She's the teacher, they reason. If there was more to learn from this activity, she would have shown us. In direct teaching activities, kids lose their natural and innate curiosity and imagination, leaving them handicapped in finding creative problem-solving solutions.

Kids, especially before they start school, need to first learn how to be curious and how to discover information. We need to encourage them to explore and create solutions and invent new purposes. What better way to do this than through play-based activities and student-driven curriculum?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve Reflections....

After Alessandro nearly burnt the house down by throwing a down pillow onto the fireplace, splattered cracked crab all over Grandma's dining room, thrust his hand into the stick of butter, his fingers through every slice of bread and chocolate mousse all over his white oxford, he is now asleep....and it's finally a Silent Night! ♥

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Christmas Pageant

waiting for the play to start - sneaking a peak through the crack in the sanctuary doors.

My Uncle sent me an email last week that I finally had time to read today. I couldn't believe the uncanny timing and similarity to the day I had today with the kids at today's Christmas Pageant where they were angels and a sheep. The girls were pretty good, but Alessandro writhed from the pain of waiting in the back of the church for 50-minutes, refused to wear his hat (the one that gave him the sheep ears) and then continued to run back and forth down the aisle multiple times during the play and then again during the sermon. After church, I had 3 or 4 comments about what an active and quick runner my sheep is. Here is the emailed story sent to me by my uncle:

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby.

I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide. God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old.

I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella." I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start.God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children. While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close... I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife." My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant.

My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes." My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly." A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost. I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary
dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, "Mama-mama," and it bounced down the aisle crying. Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur." The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation. "I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of common sense and fur."

"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.