Posted in sqt

snippets of life

  1. We are now flooded with blackberries! I have made 4 jars of jam, a crisp, and the most wonderful simple sauce to pour over crepes filled with tangy whipped cream – not counting all the berries we’ve simply eaten straight off the bushes! And honestly this is just the beginning of the season; we probably have another few weeks of fruit.
  1. I’ve been texting my sister all about my blackberry goodness and I think she’s a bit jealous, as she lives in a place where blackberries ripen much later. It might even be one of those places where you can legitimately eat the last of the blackberry harvest on September 29th for Michaelmas (which just boggles my mind as that seems so late for berries). But her turn will come in a couple months and then she can make me wistfully recall these blackberry days.
  2. My other sister, who lives locally, made me a very nice cloth mask to wear when I need to go out! She’s actually been making a lot of them and donating them to one of the local grocery stores where she knows some of the employees, and she even offered to donate some to the security personnel where I work after they commented on mine and on their anxiety about not having enough (the man I spoke to was going to be on patrol on one of the floors scheduled for deep cleaning after a confirmed covid-19 diagnosis and didn’t have a mask, so there’s clearly a problem here for people’s state of mind at the very least, even though the masks aren’t as crucial as keeping your hands clean and off your face).
Sporting my mask! It’s like the opposite of one of those superhero masks that just go around their eyes.
  1. I also got to wear the mask down to Aubade’s dermatology follow-up this week. Of all the places I’ve been, they are definitely taking the virus most seriously. Two people wearing masks stood outside the waiting room to take our temperatures before letting us in; the chairs were mostly removed with just a few left in isolated locations; and everyone there was masked and gloved. And while Aubade’s eczema (about which we were following up) is well under control currently, it was still a useful visit with regards to the molluscum epidemic among the kids (a possible treatment at last! Hurrah!) as well as Aubade’s nevi spilus birthmark (which apparently slightly increases her risk of skin cancer over her lifetime and is something to watch as she grows). Also Aubade got to show a bunch of new people her sparkly light-up sneakers, and we got to chat just the two of us for the whole drive down and back, which is always nice.
  2. Limerick is still loving numbers over here. He really just needs a whiteboard and a marker and a new concept to sink his (figurative) teeth into and he is so happy! This week he spent quite a bit of time calculating powers of different numbers until they got to be 6-7 digits long; he made lists showing the conversions between fractions and decimals for 1 down to 1/12; I introduced him to long division; and we had a fun afternoon counting in different base systems. (It always seems like we aren’t doing enough school, but I think that’s actually a lot for one week now that I list it out like that).
We did base 10, 16, 2, and 3 together; then he did base 4 on his own and here he’s working on base 5. He ended up making lists for bases 6-9 as well, counting as high as he could fit on the whiteboard for each base.
  1. In general, Limerick has a good mind for solving problems of the quantitative sort. Paul’s been setting up the boys’ loft beds so that one of the ladders and the two railings lie across the space between (with Aubade’s mattress on the floor below) so that the kids can crawl across and hang and swing and jump off them. Well, they decided they didn’t want to wait for him to be done working, so Limerick and Rondel figured out how to do it together. It’s not easy! The ladder is heavy and difficult to position even for me, as is the mattress they have to drag in from the other room (through two doors and a narrow hallway). But Limerick has an eye for angles and positions and possibilities, and was able to figure out how they could set it up without the advantage of adult height. It was really awesome listening to him direct the whole project, with Rondel providing good input and feedback as they worked together.

And… that’s all I’ve got for quick takes this week! (Well, I suppose I could add that Rondel and I have almost finished The Horse and His Boy since last week’s takes. I’m not always sure just how much he understands, especially in places with lots of names and places, but he keeps wanting me to read more.) Visit the link-up at This Ain’t the Lyceum! I hope you all have an excellent week filled with unexpected pockets of joy 🙂

Posted in family life

problem solving as a preschooler

Rondel’s always been a bit more of an abstract thinker than Limerick. You can explain something to him in terms of concepts and principles and he’ll get it, whereas Limerick will simply stare at you blankly until you end up just telling him what you do and do not want him to do in this situation right now. (This has been a huge help in dealing with his sensitivities, since he has the capacity to discuss them rationally and reason out ways to cope with them.) As he gets older, he’s been able to use this framework of concepts in his mind to network facts and ideas together and come up with some pretty creative solutions to problems.

Lately, one of the problems that’s been on his mind is Limerick’s chair. Limerick has a booster seat buckled to a kitchen chair, and has a tendency to push it away from the table with his feet while sitting in it, as well as to stand up in it if he’s not strapped in. Both of these things make me really nervous that he’s going to tip over, and so we’ve been talking about some different options for our kitchen dining area. Rondel’s been listening to these discussions and adding his own thoughts to the mix.

First, he noted that his own chair won’t tip over because there is a wall right behind it. So, he said, if Limerick sat in his chair and he sat in Limerick’s chair, Limerick wouldn’t be able to fall over and hit his head. But then he, Rondel, might fall over and hit his head! (Gesturing with his hands on his head and a sad face to accompany this statement). So that wouldn’t be a good solution.

A day or so later, he brought up the subject and suggested that we simply build a wall behind Limerick’s chair so that he would be protected from falling over in the same way that Rondel is. He showed me where the wall should be, and presented the idea as a fully logical solution to the problem – which I suppose it is, to someone who has no concept of the time or expense that goes into building a wall, not to mention the spatial ridiculousness of a wall in that location! But I was impressed that he had made the connection and come up with an idea.

I was even more impressed a few days later, when, I suppose unable to understand why his parents hadn’t yet build said wall, he told me that he was going to build a wall, using blocks, because “Blocks are especially good for building!” And a few minutes later, there behind Limerick’s chair was a little wall, and a very proud big brother wanting to show me what he had made:


I asked him if I could take a picture of it and he got so excited! I love his initiative in doing something to solve this problem instead of waiting for the grown-ups to fix it, as well as his ingenuity in coming up with a solution and figuring out how he could implement it with the resources he had on hand.