Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Look who her favorite student is...

I usually let Tania watch Talula while I make us breakfast. This is the scene that I saw when I went to check on them. Tania is teaching a class. She told me that Talula is her best student. She said that she's way ahead of the rest of the class. Well, I would hope that she's ahead of a pink dog, a bear, and a plastic baby!

Anyway, my parents are back in town now. My mom got to meet Talula for the first time. Moms can be very...interesting...when it comes to their grandchildren. They think they know everything. That's all I'll say.

We walked to the beach yesterday and Tania got a ton of much-needed attention. She has learned to share her mom, but she has not even considered that she might have to share her grandma.

Today, Tania is out with my mom shopping and having lunch. Talula and I are just hangin' out. She's smiling a lot more lately and is just getting to be a really happy little girl. When Tania gets back, we're going to get me a haircut. It will be my first since December. It's so ratty and gross. I can't wait to get something cute.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

She wants to be a Cheetah Girl

Tania had me put her hair up all pretty like this because one of the Cheetah Girls had her hair like this. We watched Cheetah Girls II last night on the Disney Channel. I swear, Tania is obsessed. I'm trying ever so hard to let her make her own T.V. decisions right now, but man oh man am I sick of it. In Oregon we won't buy a T.V., I keep telling myself.

And so it was sort of strange last night when I found myself watching a That's So Raven marathon and then the Cheetah Girls II movie. I could actually see what the fascination is. It's all about friendship and singing and dancing and being funny and silly. I just worry about Tania sitting and watching hours and hours and not living in real life.

Anyway...we also went to the park yesterday (Aikahi again), where I watched Tania get her heart broken by her best friend. We went to the park so that she could play with her friend, but the friend had one of her new friends there from her new school. Every time Tania would go over to play with them, they would run away somewhere else. She followed them around the playground like a little lost puppy. I wanted to cry. The friend's mom wanted to make her daughter play with Tania, but I'm not about that, so I decided that we would leave. Tania was in tears when we left.
I can't tell you what it's like to watch your baby get hurt like that. We saw the friend at Safeway later and she said she was sorry. Tania had sworn that she would never talk to her again, but she easily forgave her. Kids are so great like that. Later, when we were watching the Cheetah Girls, there was a scene where one of the best friends found a new friend and the other girl was hurt over it. Tania said, "Mom, that's how I felt today." It was really sad, but I'm really glad that she can talk to me. I kept a lot to myself when I was a kid.

I think Tania may be getting into photography. She has been taking my camera and taking pictures of Talula or her dolls or whatever. She has actually been successful getting Talula to smile for the camera. I'm not as successful. I haven't really showed her how to use the camera. She just sort of figured it out. I think she might be really good at photography because she's creative and focused. Anyway, she took this picture of Talula. Minus the flash effect, I think it's pretty good. I like the positioning. It's unique. Not that I'm a professional or anything.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tania's a newsanchor now

Tania has been obsessed with being a newsanchor for the past couple of days. In this picture, she's a weather person (geologist?) and she's put the fan there to make it seem really windy. Normally, she sits at that little desk behind her and reads the headlines.

Today's headline: "Evil Mom on the Loose." I kid you not. She says that the evil mom makes her kids taste the spinach before they can have their Soy Dream ice cream.

She writes out her headlines before she begins the newscast. She wrote out a headline yesterday about our dog, who I swear is autistic. (She started getting weird after being vaccinated. Now she barks incessantly any time anyone comes to our house and she will not stop crapping on this one rug.) So Tania wanted to know what the word was that I called our dog. She said, "Mom, what do you call Pua? Sarcastic?" Hee hee.

So you see what we have here? Today's lesson on writing, reading, oral communication, acting, spelling...? I think so.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Whoa...Talula's 2 months old already!

I can't believe it! She's two months old and weighs 14 pounds, 15 ounces. She's a serious chunker, all courtesy of my amazing boobs, thank you very much. Here's a picture of Talula sticking her tongue out. She's so adorable...

We've been trying to get out of the house everyday for Tania's sake. On Monday, we went to the zoo. We were looking at this animal encyclopedia that Tania has and it seemed like a good idea. Of course, in Hawaii all the kids are in school right now, so there were only little kids there. Tania said, "Mom, I need a friend." I felt so sad, but I think we'll be able to make more homeschooling friends when we get to Portland. It seems to be somewhat of a Mecca for homeschoolers.

On Tuesday, we went to go play at Tania's old school after everyone got out for the day. It was fun for her. She got to see a lot of her friends. We're going to go again today and tomorrow. But while we were there, I witnessed an afterschool leader totally verbally abusing his group of kids for about two hours straight. I have to talk to the principal about it, because it was absolutely ridiculous.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we went to the Children's Discovery Center. It's really cute there, but of course Tania just wants to run from place to place, not fully enjoying each station. It reminds me of Christmas, when kids open up a present and then throw it to the side and look for the next present. But what can you do?

So anyway, countdown to Portland: Two weeks. I'm getting excited.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Boobs were not made to sell beer!!!

I've been meaning to post something about this for a while now. Recently, Babytalk magazine put out a cover that depicted a close-up of a baby breastfeeding. The photo captured the mother's breast as well. Much to my surprise (and others' I'm sure), many people were outraged by the sight of a breast on the cover of a family magazine. One woman said that she shredded up the magazine so that her son and husband wouldn't see it! A mother of a four-month-old baby said that she was sick of seeing a baby attached to a mother's boob!

Anyway, I'm really sick of all this hype about boobs. I just think it is so ironic that people in America have this Puritanical belief about boobs and fail to realize when boobs are being used for their intended purpose. Why is it so offensive to see a mother feeding her child the best possible food that the child could get? It makes me feel like we live in a culture where children are hated. Not fetuses, now --- everyone just looooooooooooves fetuses. But children --- not so much. We want to make them eat in bathrooms, we want the right to beat them, we want to control every aspect of their sad little lives.

Alright, that's my little rant, complete with a picture of my boob doing what it is supposed to do.

Geography Lessons?

So I guess you could say that this was our geography lesson over the past two days. It took some time, but we finally finished our 500-piece map of the world puzzle. Tania is really good at puzzles. I like that it sort of tricks her into learning about the continents and oceans. She might forever have this picture in her mind and be able to sort out where things are. There are also picture of different animals at different parts of the map to show from which area the animals originate. Joey suggested that we pull out Tania's coin collection and place them on their corresponding continents, but Tania didn't feel like it. She has a really cool coin collection that my dad gave her. He collected coins from all over the world back in his Navy days in the 60s and 70s.

The Kailua Library gives away free magazines, old issues that they have extras of. We always grab the National Geographics. Some of them are from the 80s, some are more recent, but they're all pretty priceless. We were looking at one that had an article about flamingos. We learned that they put their heads upside-down on the shore to sip water in. They actually eat spirulina, which is algae in the water. There's this spirulina drink that I get all the time, and I had no idea that flamingos ate the stuff.

That's pretty much it for the day. Tania watched too much T.V., as usual. I hope she gets over it. She actually turned it off after a while and I started singing, "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah." She thought it was funny. She just bought a Pippi Longstocking book for $2.00 at Bookends today, but has yet to crack it open. I'm having a hard time with control today. She said she didn't want to read the book because she wants to do something new. So she went to play with her dolls. Oh.

I'm taking deep breaths.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Starting to Realize the Beauty of Unschooling

Today, I started to realize the beauty of unschooling. It was such a normal, simple, uneventful day. But for some reason, I really saw that all these layers have been stripped away from Tania lately, and her true personality is really shining through. And it's a great personality.

Joey left yesterday. I miss him so much, but we have spoken on the phone about fifteen times since he left. He has had good news every time, so I hope it will stay that way. We have had a few minor setbacks, but nothing too disheartening. His most important task is to find us a place to live. He may have something, but I really do not want to jinx it, so mum's the word for now. He is loving Portland though, and he says that he knows I will love it there too.

Well, since I feel like an official unschooler now, I should probably give a little recap of our day. That's what unschoolers have to do to prove to people that their kids actually learn. Oh, I'm just kidding. We have also been trying "consensual living," which basically goes along with unschooling, since unschooling has to do with consent to be educated and about what to be educated. So there are no T.V. rules in our house right now.

We woke up around 8:30. Tania rushed to the T.V. I took care of Talula's boobie needs, then put her in the sling to make breakfast. Right after we ate our eggs and whole wheat English muffins, I checked my email. Then I got a phone call from Joey. I had to fax him something, so we had to rush to get ready and jump in the car to go to the printing center.

After that, we went to get smoothies at Lanikai Juice, which Oprah loves when she's in Kailua, by the way. Since Talula was asleep in her sling, we took advantage of the time and went to this really cute baby store nearby called Baby Showers, Hawaii. I bought a couple of outfits for Talula and a swimsuit for my friend's little girl. They're moving back to Hawaii in two weeks. (Good timing.) Tania got two finger puppets, a little man-pig and a little woman-pig. The lady who worked at the store also gave her two more finger puppets as gifts, since we told her we were moving. Then we went to this store called Mary's Toys (I think). They have wonderful toys there: wooden wonders, chemistry sets, craft kits, puppets. Tania put on a puppet show for me while we were there. We decided to buy two puzzles. One was a 100-piece picture of ballerinas and one was a 500-piece map of the world. We also bought a little kit that has bookmarks to paint and bedazzle.

We went home and Tania immediately made two bookmarks. Then she put together her ballerina puzzle all by herself. Then she watched some T.V. Then, then, I turned my head to look at her for one second, and what did I see? Tania was turning off the T.V., opting to write in her diary and play with her finger puppets instead. Imagine my surprise and delight.

Later in the afternoon, it was getting ridiculously hot, so we decided to go to the beach. We drove to Waimanalo, since it's the best place to take a baby in the water. We had the best time! First, we all went in the water. Talula loves the water, as long as it's not too cold. Then we sat on the beach for a little while. Tania collected little trinkets and told me that she was a chef and that we were diners in her restaurant. She created elaborate meals out of leaves, broken pieces of plastic, water, sand, and anything that she could find. Then we walked down the beach to where there was a tire a swing and another swinging rope with a stick attached to the end. Tania spent about 45 minutes spinning around on that rope. She spent some time entertaining me with songs, dances, and impressions of people. Then she wanted to play a game in which I told her an animal to simulate and she pretended to be that animal. She pretended to be several different animals. The funniest one was a fish. She laid on the shore flopping around until a wave washed up and then she'd roll down with the wave. It was hilarious. Then she spotted some tiny crabs that she wanted to catch, so she spent some time chasing them around before giving up.

When we finally left the beach, we drove to Hawaii Kai. Tania said the cutest thing while we were driving. She said, "Mommy, Talula has such pretty eyes. They're blue with a brown firework in them." I thought that was the most adorable thing. We were going to Hawaii Kai because we wanted to go to Kale's Natural Foods (or something like that). It was our first time there. It's really small, but I like their vitamin and natural healing section. It's better than the ones at Umeke Market and Kokua Market. Unfortunately, Talula started screaming, so all I got out of the store with was peanut butter, taco filling, and yogurt-covered pretzels. I'll have to go back on a better day.

We drove home and I made dinner: whole-wheat pasta with butter and parmesan and asparagus. Tania said the asparagus was gross, because it was too crunchy, so she didn't eat it. (That's a frustrating thing about consensual living: you can't exert tyrannical control over your child's diet.) I guess she didn't eat any vegetables today, and the only fruit she ate was in her smoothie (a banana). Let it go, let it go.

We also watched So You Think You Can Dance. Benji's the big winner! I like him, but I liked Travis too. I knew it wouldn't be one of the girls.

Well, that was our day. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was such a nice day. I feel like I really enjoyed Tania today. The more freedom I give her, the happier she becomes and the more pleasant she becomes. I feel like I'm learning more about her every day, and learning more about myself, and life, and education too.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Here's What Mom Is Learning About

The Natural Pharmacy
edited by Alan R. Gaby, M.D.,
and the Healthnotes Medical Team

So I'm trying to learn about natural ways of healing, like using herbs and vitamin supplements. I got this book from the library, and it's really useful. I'm just starting to learn, so what do I know, but I would really recommend this book for someone who wants to learn about natural healing. It's designed to be a reference book and the layout is great. It's divided into three sections: Health Concerns, Nutritional Supplements, and Herbs. So if you have a specific health concern, say, a cold, you can look it up that way and see which remedies have be used, tested, or recommended. Or, if you have heard a lot of talk about a specific vitamin supplement or herb, you can look it up that way and see how it has been used. The book also has different diet and lifestyle changes that can be made to help heal certain ailments. It cites to specific studies that show how well or how poorly certain treatments worked, so it's not just telling you "do this" or "do that"; it tells you how the treatments have worked for others.

Now, I must slowly start building my aresenal.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Talula's First Time in the Ocean

Yesterday was Talula's first time going in the ocean. If you're into slings and you like to go in the ocean or pool a lot, you have to get a water sling. I got mine here. It's made out of mesh, which is the same sort of material that basketball jerseys are made out of. I have used it in the shower several times, but this was the first time going into the ocean. Talula is so happy being snuggled up with me that although she was sleeping when we went into the water, she didn't even wake up when she got wet. The waves were sort of rough, so I couldn't go in very far. I basically went in about thigh-deep and then crouched down to get her wet.

Tania and Joey played in the ocean while I sort of hung out near the chore with Talula. They like to toss a tennis ball back and forth. It's crazy that time goes by so quickly --- I remember when Tania couldn't catch a tennis ball; now she's a pro. Joey also likes to throw Tania into the air. He wishes that there were someone big enough to throw him too, but since he's 6'6", he'll have to get over it. He hopes that there's a heaven, because in his heaven there will be some bigger than him to throw him in the water and to crack his back.

Talula did not like the beachpark showers. She screamed at the top of her lungs when I took her into them. I don't blame her. It was freezing.

We sat at a picnic table and had a beer before walking home. We just wanted to soak in Kailua, soak in Hawaii, before we leave. Joey leaves in 5 days. It's pretty sad, but we're excited too. Portland will be a new experience for us, and hopefully a good experience. I'm excited to be able to walk and catch the bus everywhere, and I'm excited to be able to afford an all-organic diet. There are some things in Hawaii that you just cannot afford. I'm also excited to not pay sales tax. My mom says that I should be excited to have 4 seasons. In Hawaii, we really only have two seasons --- warm and wet, and cool and wet.

Anyway, we stopped at Triangle Park on the way home where Tania played for a while. She was such a big girl. She rode her bike ahead of us and crossed a busy street all by herself. She just waited at the crosswalk, and then when both sides of traffic had stopped for her, we saw her run her bike across the street. I'm really proud of her that she can use her good sense to determine when it is safe to cross, and that she doesn't freeze up and get all scared when it's perfectly safe. Some of her friends would never be allowed to cross a street by themselves, but I think it's more important to teach your child how to do it than to make some blanket rule about at what age it is appropriate to learn.

Today, Tania has gone with her friend to Sea Life Park and to the beach in Waimanalo. She's a busy girl. I prefer to take her to do things that are free, but she has a friend who takes her to all these places that cost a million dollars, so I'm running with it. I just don't want her to need paid entertainment all the time.

I'll close this post with a totally unrelated topic. I want everyone to know that some states in the good old USA still permit corporal punishment in public schools. Most people I have talked to about this are shocked when I tell them this, but it's true. And it's not a thing where the law allows it, but it's not practiced. One Mississippi school board just passed a law allowing corporal punishment in its public schools. Check out this website to find out more information about corporal punishment in schools.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

We Went Camping!

We went camping this past weekend at Malaekahana State Park. It was so much fun. This was Talula's first time camping, and she held up like a champ.

Before I recap the whole camping trip, I should say that I have not been posting much because I have had my hands full with Talula and planning our move and all sorts of other things, mostly involving excessive paperwork.

We haven't been doing much, as far as schooly-stuff. Tania is just not having it. I try to gently ask her if she wants to do any math or grammar, and the answer is always, "No!" I think she needs some time to reconnect with herself. I think that traditional public school is very hard on a child. She's sort of gone back to being more childlike since we quit "The Plan." So anyway, the only planned activities that we have really been doing lately are bike rides, beach trips, library visits, and farmer's market night. Other than that, we've just been lounging, cleaning, and relaxing.

But back to camping...

We spent all day Friday packing and prepping to go out there. We were using a tent that we found in my parents' garage, so we had to set it up to make sure it actually worked. We finally started driving out around 4:00 p.m. About 30 minutes into the trip, when we had reached Kualoa, Talula started screaming, so we pulled over. I had put a disposable diaper on her and planned to use disposables the whole trip, because I didn't really want to lug 25-or-so dirty diapers home with me. But they weren't exactly holding up --- she had poop coming up the front of the diaper. So I changed her, boobed her, and we were off. We had to pull over again because Talula started screaming again about 5 minutes later. I boobed her and then stayed in the back seat with her. She finally went to sleep. We got to Malaekahana at around 5:30 p.m.

Joey started to set up the tent. It took a couple of hours, a lot of rope, and half a roll of duct tape, but he got the job done. It basically looked like a homeless tent with a big tarp over it.

The first night was great. We barbecued steak, chicken, corn, zucchini, and asparagus, and drank beer. We roasted marshmallows and made smores. It rained while we slept, but we didn't get wet. Talula slept like a little angel, waking up once to boob and then passing back out. Tania and her friend Bella had their own little tent.

In the morning, we ate fruit, eggs, and turkey bacon.
It was a sunny day and we played at the beach. Right before we had left to go camping, I got my new favorite thing in the mail --- my water sling. Since we were having a diaper crisis, I just let Talula go naked in the water sling all day long and used the cloth diapers at nighttime. Every time she would poop, we'd go shower off. The campsite has a solar-powered shower. I just wore my swimsuit all day.

There were man-o-war washing in with the waves, so I couldn't take Talula in the ocean. Tania went swimming though. She's brave. We saw these weird little blue creatures that washed up on the beach. They sort of looked like dragonfish, but they were blue and about a half-inch in size. When they washed up on the beach, they just looked like little blue globs of goo, but if you put them in a bucket of water, they fluttered and swam around. I tried to find a picture of them on the internet, or even find out what they are, but I haven't had any luck.

The rest of the trip was awesome, except for the last night. It freaking poured rain and the winds were a million miles per hour. It was ridiculous, and our tent could not handle. Talula and I went to sleep with Tania. We left as soon as we could after the sun came up.

Since we've been home, Talula has been totally cranky. I think she really likes being outside all day. She calms down when we go outside. She gets sort of pissed and cranky if we don't go anywhere during the day. When we go outside, she has this incredulous look on her face. She stares at everything for awhile and then passes out.