Last week, there were a couple of posts on Two Writing Teachers that inspired me as a parent. Betsy wrote about writing in pre-K and Beth crafted an open letter to parents about fostering a love of writing at home. Both posts made me realize I haven’t spent a lot of time developing Isabelle’s pre-writing skills. Sure she has a magna doodle and an easel. Sure she likes to scribble with crayons. Sure she likes to grab for a pen and make wild circles whenever possible. But I expend most of my literacy-related energy with her fostering a love of books and working on her oral language.
Therefore, yesterday afternoon I was brainstorming ways I can help her develop some pre-writing skills and two things came to mind:
- Tell more oral stories.
- Sit down and talk about our day. Perhaps we can retell the big points of the day. She can scribble and I can label her scibbles with one or two words. (Not sure on that front yet.)
Last night was a strange night since we were out later than normal at Hershey Gardens for Pumpkin Glow. While we had a great time, we didn’t get Isabelle into bed until 9:30 p.m., which is 90 minutes later than usual! As a result, she was pretty crabby. In order to calm her down I asked her if she wanted to hear a story about a time when she was a baby. She did so I told her how the two of us used to rock for hours, in the middle of the night, when she was a baby in the very same glider I was sitting with her in last night. The story soothed her instantly and within minutes I had her in her crib without a bit of protest.
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That thing about kids’ waking up earlier when they go to bed later is true! We heard Isabelle around 5:30 a.m. My husband went into her room and soothed her back to sleep, but that was short-lived. Therefore, I was in her room way before her usual 7:00 a.m. rising time.
I picked her up and sat her down in the chair next to me.
“Baby,” she said.
“Baby what?” I asked.
“Baby,” she said.
What could she mean? Then it hit me! “Do you want me to tell you stories of when you were a baby?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said, happy I understood.
“Okay, let’s see…” And so it began. I told her about her first summer going to the swimming pool, going in the ocean for the first time, playing in the sand for the first time (and how I didn’t think I’d ever get her clean again!), and more. After awhile she got tired of the stories, grabbed a picture book, and said, “Mama, here!”
I moved over so she could sit beside me. Eventually, my husband came in after 7 a.m., confused about where I was, where the baby monitor was, and why the lights were on. I told him what we had been doing (telling stories) and soon after that he took over so I could go back to bed for an hour.
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I came downstairs around 8:30 a.m. and found Marc and Isabelle snuggled on the couch with their legs under a blanket paging through some photo books. I was quiet as I approached. I overheard him telling her stories of when she was younger. She was listening intently. It was absolutely precious.