C awoke ready to make breakfast. Of course he needed a recipe, so he drew each item, and then labelled them: bread, butter, cinnamon and raisins. The last two he copied from the packages, and as you can see in one of the images above, he’s beginning to adopt a traditional pen grip and trying to put all the letters in a line.
Then he helped prepare tonight’s dinner: beef stew. I did the chopping, and he added each item to the crockpot. He even tasted a new food: parsnips.
I headed back to my tiling project, and C stayed in his pyjamas, building Lego and singing songs. We called his parents via Facebook Messenger Kids, and he was able to walk around the house with my phone, sharing all of his favourite places. It is clear that they are missing each other, and so we committed to a daily conversation. This should help him with the conversation turn-taking, and support his strong connection with his family. We’ll also have to plan a few evening calls, so that he can see his little sister, who is at daycare during the day.
We had an adult conversation as well; hoping that the return to school date of February 10 might actually be real. We’d like his transition home and then back to school to go smoothly, so we’re thinking that he’ll head back at the end of next week, if all goes according to plan.
We shared a lunch of leftovers, and then I returned to my tiling while C took out his tablet to play games and watch some of his favourite shows. Then he asked to go back to his Chromebook, to visit the videos in his Virtual Classroom. He was disappointed that there were still only two videos, and two books, all four of which he had viewed. So, he ended up back with shows on YouTube (oh well….) He does seem to choose videos that connect either to books we have read, or toys he owns. He is certainly developing a strong sense of plot and of the various characters. His imaginative play also includes some sophisticated language from some of these shows. Among my favourites to view with him are the perennial Peppa Pig, and the impressive Chico BonBon: Monkey with a Toolbelt. I know that the latter is responsible for many new words that otherwise would not be part of C’s vocabulary for many years.
As C and I interact throughout the day, I try to engage him in puzzles, both word and number. One night in the hot tub we played with 6 pool rings. With the jets and bubbles on I would hold some of the rings above the water, and ask him how many were underwater. It was interesting that when I held up six, he said “no”, meaning “no rings”. We then substituted the words “none” and “zero”. It was a fun game, and he clearly understands all the ways to “make six”.
The next day began in a similar fashion, though C was hungry enough to want to make pancakes without a recipe. He has become very proficient at levelling dry ingredients, and breaking eggs. His variation on the recipe this time was to add cinnamon and raisins to the batter (are you sensing a theme here?).
His day was again one of parallel play; with me as I did some TA work online, then began to grout my bathroom, and with grandpa as he taped drywall. C is quite happy to play with Lego or blocks, or view videos, as long as we are nearby.
With the cold temperatures, we weren’t sure about outdoor play. But by 4:00 it was clear that he needed to get out of the house, so he and grandpa headed down the drive to the mailbox, out to the back with the kitchen compost, and then into the pond to play in the snow.
It is a gift to have all this time with C. After three weeks he is really missing his parents and sister, but he seems happy most of the time. At four years of age he is likely to remember this time together, and we will certainly not forget.
They are re-opening schools in the London and Ottawa areas, and so there is hope that the GTA schools will re-open as well, after the promise February 10 date. That means at least another week with us, and so I will be trying to think of unique activities that we can do here. We have lots of snow, plenty of building materials, and much more time than most parents!
And I have the benefit of suggestions via responses to this blog, Twitter posts, and conversations with friends and colleagues. I am learning a great deal, and appreciate all the support I have received. Thank you!