Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

We recently celebrated Emmy's fourth birthday! Four years seems so surreal. I waited so long to be a Mommy and now my baby girl is growing way too fast.

As we begin another year, we celebrate Emmy's wonder at the world, her insatiable curiosity, her kindness to others, her creative spirit, her tight embraces and her warm smile. I celebrate four years of becoming the best Mommy possible thanks to the support of my family and friends.

Speaking of becoming the best Mommy...I must share two pieces of parenting advice that have made my journey so much easier. The first is to take a thoughtful pause when bombarded with what seems like endless questions. Rather than a quick yes or no, a thoughtful pause gives you a second to make a decision that you feel good about. This statement is heard often in our household..."Hmm. Let me think about that." The second is to remember that when things are falling apart, ALWAYS go back to loving connection. (Thanks to Bethany Prescott for these wonderful tips.)

I mentioned in a previous post that a book is given to Emmy on each of her birthdays. For her four year old birthday, the book A Birthday Cake Is No Ordinary Cake by Debra Frasier was presented to Emmy. Ms. Frasier combines earth science and baking and creates a birthday book unlike any other. A wonderful connection is made between the celebration of a birthday and the progression of a calendar year. I LOVE the way the author portrays a birthday cake as a symbolic product of a physical year. Ms. Frasier's illustrations pop off the page with vibrant colors that create beautiful collages which capture the fanciful and factual concepts contained in this book. The idea for the story came after Debra celebrated her daughter's first birthday. Frasier wrote, "She's finished her first circle around the Sun, and now she's one."

This book is extremely special to Emmy and me as it reminds us of celebrating a Birthday Circle in our Montessori school. The birthday circle is a wonderful ritual and so meaningful to the child and her parents. The Birthday Circle may look a bit different depending on the teacher, but certain elements remain the same. The birthday child holds a globe and circles the sun symbolized by a candle or a yellow sphere. As she walks around the sun, once for each year of her life, the teacher or parent tells the story of the child's life through photographs and words. Debra's book A Birthday Cake Is No Ordinary Cake is a wonderful complement to the Birthday Circle.

"At last, your cake is done! Let's light a candle for each time
you've circled the sun. We'll sing. You'll wish.
Then...we'll cut the cake!"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Valentine Bears

It's looking a lot like Valentine's Day in our house and Emmy is DELIGHTED! When I brought out the box of Valentine decorations, Emmy got right to work finding places to display all of the red and pink treasures. She found several heart boxes and baskets and when I explained that I fill them up with surprises and place them on the table on Valentine's morning, she took it upon herself to fill each one up with...well, I'm not sure because it's a secret, and hid them around the house! I guess I'll be getting three new heart boxes to fill this year!

Our favorite Valentine's book is The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting with illustrations by Jan Brett. Such a sweet story that tells of two bears who wake up to celebrate Valentine's Day for the very first time. I cannot think of a better match for creating a children's book than Eve Bunting and Jan Brett both accomplished in the field of children's literature with hundreds of books published. Both Eve and Jan bring an undeniable sweetness to this Valentine's story. Emmy's favorite part of the book is when Mrs. Bear fills a bucket with cold water from the stream to splash on Mr. Bear in the hopes of waking him up for Valentine's Day. Surprise, surprise...Mr. Bear is awake and the cold water splashes on Mrs. Bear instead!

After reading this book, Emmy wanted to create her own large valentine heart just like the one Mrs. Bear made for Mr. Bear so we got out some materials and set to work.

Emmy has decided that this Valentine will be given to her friends in her classroom!

Jan Brett offers postcards to be sent via email and if you love The Valentine Bears as much as Emmy and I then you might want to send this one to a friend.

Happy Valentines Day from Emmy and me!