Author Archives: caseykins

Lost Books

I am in the middle of summer vacation right now. Three weeks from submitting final grades for all of my 11th-graders, who are going to be someone else’s 12th-graders next year. Which means I am turning to books, of course. Both ones to read (trying to figure out how Bell Hooks’ methods can be used in an online classroom), and to write (Easterbay, my latest novel).

I was dismayed to find that I had forwarded myself the wrong version of the book to edit on my new computer. Not a big deal, though, I reasoned. I would just find the more complete version on my old computer and resend the file. Except that it doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I have looked literally everywhere I can think of, including my email (in case I sent it), and my dropbox files. Nope. It’s nowhere.

I think what happened was that I input the whole thing into Scrivener and then didn’t hit “save.” Sigh.

A book that was fully edited and probably 75% away from beta reads is now about 50% of a rough draft that needs HEAVY editing. I’m slightly demoralized, but I will tell you… what exists is GOOD. Like, I forgot I wrote it and fell right in good. I’m motivated to do the rewrites because I’m excited about the story. If the unedited draft is like this, I have a feeling the edited stuff will be exponential in comparison.

Still, instead of hoping for a published book by the end of the summer, I am now only hoping for an edited book by the end of summer. If I am VERY lucky and motivated, I may get Brian to start alpha reads.

I don’t know what else to say except that this seems like an important moment in the life of this book. And getting back into the swing of things as a writer is an important moment for me. We may be a little less of what we were hoping, my book and I, but we’re also charging forward and feeling good about it.

Happy summer!

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Time and Sense

I think about time these days.  Not just how it passes for us, but also how mutable it seems.  When I was housewifing it and trying to be crafty, I found myself fascinated by the senses of things that are no longer familiar to us modern people: the pop of a canning lid sealing, knowing where people live by the smell of wood smoke, even the ring of the telephone to the newest generation.  Our sensory experiences are different, even while our emotional experiences are much the same across generations.  Inside of time, and yet outward from it.  And if you seek those sensory experiences, you can have them still. They’re just more esoteric.  Part of the reason I like studying history, is for those daily sensations.  What even were they?  I like finding out.  I like experiencing them.

These days I find myself going deeper into this question of then and now still – more specific.  I’m pondering the generational nature of having children.  I used to think sometimes in those early days, sleep deprived and half mad, that I was washing myself in the bath when I washed Asher, or some amalgamation of my sister and I, or even perhaps someone older but deeply related, an ancestor come back to be baby – the two of us existing outside of the linear, the cared for and the caring completely mixed up, unimportant except for the DNA.  While the nature of that waking dream has changed as I have more sleep, I still find that I am fascinated with the repeating.

“Are you spoofing me?” I ask him when he has told me something obviously silly.  “I think you are pulling my leg.” I see the white door with the diamond panes at my grandmother’s house, and hear the same words coming from her mouth as I try to convince her of something I’ve forgotten, but definitely a lie I was attempting to pass off.

Asher sings “Ring Around the Rosy,” and we all fall into the grass together.  I am falling with my cousins on the scrubby lawn outside my grandfather’s beach house in Maine. “Miss Mary Mack,” comes onto Asher’s Spotify playlist, and I remember learning the clapping game at a school fieldtrip to the Natural History Museum, practicing with my friend on the vast lawn as we waited in a line, the concentration it took to finally get the hand movements right. Both of those songs as old as the hills…

“Asherkins,” I say to get this kid’s attention.  And I know somewhere when I say it that I was Caseykins to my mother, and she was Kathykins to hers.   

“Take little bites, your mouth is young,” I tell Asher after he has tried to unhinge his jaw and put an entire quesadilla in his mouth at once.  And I see the gray and beige Formica of the breakfast bar where I eat with my grandfather, giggling over that statement coming from his mouth.  “Take big bites, your mouth is old!” I exclaim in response.  He and my grandmother laugh at me in a burst of surprise.

In the gray light of early morning, Asher throws the door to my room open.  He struggles to put his foot on the door frame, bottle hanging out of his mouth as he grasps for the covers and pulls himself up.  He snuggles into my pillow and then turns towards me.  I tuck my palm around most of his chest.  “Knock on the door,” he says.  “Peak in.  Lift the latch. Take a chair, sit right there, how do you do Mr. Chinny Chin Chin?” And as he knocks on my forehead, peers into my eyes, thumbs my nose up, pinches my cheeks, and tickles me under the chin I cannot remember the first time this was done to me.  My grandmother, my aunt… both used to when I was small.  How far back does that go?  I can only guess that it was my great grandmother who used to tickle my grandmother’s chin, who maybe learned it from my great, great grandmother.  “Peak in!” I say to Asher, trying to do it back.  He giggles and pulls his face away, then knocks on my forehead again instead.

 And there we are, existing outside of time together in those snippets, songs, and sayings in between the Rescue Bots, the Gerber Yogurt Melts, the TV without ads, and the toys that sing – the things that are so of our time – the unique.  It does not all overlap, certainly, but I find myself pondering:  how much of that overlap makes us, unites us across generations long passed, roots us to our genetics?  Are we more “take little bites,” or more “toys that make noise?”  Or can we even separate that out of ourselves, the glorious and terrible amalgamation that is generations and new and us and time all mushed together in a mutable, perishable case of bone and sinew?  I am inclined to believe it’s the later, but I will still probably ponder, trying to tease out the sensations that are lost from the sensations that are new to the ones that are shared.  And to repeat.  I will always repeat. 

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Banana Feelings

The grocery store is getting apocalyptic again.  There is a line of people standing outside, a masked employee in a Hawaiian shirt at the sliding door, beckoning people in slowly, marching us all forward in increments.  And when it is my turn, I see that there are unstocked shelves, places the freezers are bare, only two bags of my favorite popcorn available.  But they have what we require, what we usually get.

I turn the corner to the produce aisle and see the banana towers, like if tiered cake stands were person-height and bananas were artfully arranged on them.  There are two because there are two kinds of bananas – regular and organic.  Today the regular bananas are sparse and spotted, bruised, turning, good for banana bread, maybe.  They waft their sweet scent into the air.  The organic bananas are not impressed, they are immovably and bitterly green on their own tier.  Both are inedible as is.  And so I opt for the organic bananas, because I have a small tow-headed boy at home who definitely wants bananas and the green ones will eventually be eatable. 

When I get home with the groceries, he digs through the brown paper bags that I have set on the tile kitchen floor because he knows that bananas will be in there. 

“Can I have a banana break?” he asks. 

“Love, they’re green.  They won’t taste very good right now.”

“I want a banana,” he says. 

And so Dad chimes in, “The bananas are sad right now.  We will have to wait to eat them.”

“Mom,” this little boy says to me.


“The bananas are sad.  I will cheer them up.”

He goes to grab two toy planes, one for the bananas and one for himself.  He pushes the second plane to the fruit bowl.  He sings, he dances, he flashes his charming smile.  He is sad that he still cannot eat a banana.

“Oh honey, that’s not really… sometimes bananas can’t be cheered up.  Sometimes bananas will be sad for a few days.”

We talk with him about the qualities of sadness, and it becomes a banana life-lesson.  Sometimes the things you love are just sad.  Sometimes sad things can’t be cheered up.  Sometimes you have to wait and love bananas from afar, and check again in a few days to see if they feel better.  And if they don’t, you don’t have to stop loving bananas, you just have to wait again.  Waiting is hard, but eventually we won’t have to wait anymore. 

He takes it well. 

“Mom, we can’t cheer the bananas up,” he eventually says to me.  “They’re just sad.”

It is three days later when white supremacists attempt a coup on the government.  I hand the small boy a banana without thinking about it much.  They’re yellow at this point, or at least yellow enough for passing.

“Mom?” he says, his eyes lighting up.

I refocus.  My mind is not in Washington anymore.  It’s here, with this small boy who is asking me a question.


“Are the bananas happy again?”

“Yes, the bananas are happy, you can eat one.”

“The bananas are happy,” he sighs like all is right in the world.  “They cheered up.  I will eat them.”  He bites into one, holding the rest of the white crescent in his left hand.  The sweet smell of them rises up.

The world is on fire, but the bananas are happy.  And for two moments in time, that is enough. 

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A Nano Update

I don’t have anything pressing to write about, but I figured I should do a Nanowrimo update post, since we are just about 1/2 way through the month. Surprise, surprise: I am NOT half way through the book. I have almost 16,000 words, though, and that’s not nothing. I estimate that I’m about 4,000 words behind.

I have definitely been farther behind and still won.

Writing every night has been impossible, of course. But I have managed to carve out 3-4 nights a week for this endeavor, and that is definitely something. I haven’t hit the week 2 hates yet (they may still be coming). I have enjoyed just picking words with horribly wrong connotations and moving on. I’m sure I’ll hit those and laugh/cringe when I do the rewrite. If I ever do a rewrite, since this novel concept is pretty silly and I did it because I thought it would be fun fluff – no aspirations needed.

Anyway, I’m plugging onward. I’m determined to win. I’m determined to keep writing. That is all.

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A Hodgepodge

This is the sort of thing that would usually have me stymied and not writing a blog post… I have a lot to say and I’m not really sure how to focus it all. It feels like three different blog posts at once. So instead of just giving up on how to organize everything, I’m going to throw it all out there. And maybe they’re related after all? You can decide.

It’s been a while since I’ve read the Transcendentalists. Brian and I had a very Transcendental wedding, though. And part of the charm of Little Women when I was growing up was imagining myself a Louisa Alcott, hanging out at Emerson’s house, just down the road from Hawthorne and Thoreau. Ice skating at Christmas on Walden Pond. Lately I have been mostly reading romance novels for the escapism. But I am teaching the Transcendentalist the next several weeks, and so I am reading them again, and falling in love again. Things I had long forgotten about (Rappuccini’s Daughter; Self-Reliance, Song of Myself) are coming to the forefront.

There are two kinds of great writers for me. The first kind makes me despair of writing anything – they have already done it and it is more beautiful than I could ever make it. Why even try? The second make me feel the love of words and story coming through, and I long to join them, to participate in the art, to contribute. The Transcendentalists are the second kind for me.

This is good for two reasons. The first is that I’m participating in Nanowrimo this year with a new book, hoping to write 50,000 words. So any inspiration is needed. But the second is because I have been getting a lot of solace from these writers. I have been binging on Whitman the last few days, and his message that all people are united in the same song, whatever your personal tragedies, has been like a bandage for my soul. The song I hear America singing isn’t the same one Whitman heard, but it is still a song of sameness. I needed that, this election week. And his seasons, and his leaves spreading out with the wind.

With Transcendentalism at school this week have been some amazing conversations with students about the curriculum. Author’s Purpose was a big lesson for them, and one of my students wanted to talk about a poet’s purpose and why they may choose to write in certain forms or with certain rhymes. We talked through several reasons, but I could hear a lightbulb go off when it occurred to the student that it was also kinda fun to pick your form and see if you could stick to it. Like a challenge.

I used to write sonnets. Not good ones. That was the point: to write something so silly in such a revered artform. They were fun, and they made good gifts, but it has been probably eight years since I wrote the last one for my final in Creative Writing. We had run out of time for our poetry unit, and so the teacher let us know that if we wrote our final as a poem, she would give us extra credit. That was back when I was still getting my BA. It was silly, and comprised of whatever I could pull from the unit stories we read.

But here I was, thinking deeply about sonnets while reading Whitman and pondering our political situation (and our Covid situation, and our holiday situation…). And out came a sonnet this morning instead of the grocery list. I’ll take it. I’ll also put it below so you can take it, and hopefully it will do for you what the Transcendentalists always do for me – get you longing to join in the fun.

The garden dies I didn’t water it

Yet clinging still in corners is some green

They riot, spreading so they do not fit

Gold glob-ed heads of marigolds, they teem.

And though the time for thankfulness has come

I feel no joy this season looking on:

A year, some cold, but naught beyond my home.

And still to pass, some months before year’s dawn.

I wish that I could be a marigold

Alas, I feel my yellow growing old.

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Comfort Reads

I am feeling overwhelmed by the world right now. It feels to me like everything is slowly dismantling itself and there’s nothing I can do about it. I have been turning to comfort reads this entire pandemic, but it feels this week as if it’s all I want – familiar worlds and people with big problems that are solved in ways that might be complicated, but are always right and just. A happily ever after (or mostly so) on the horizon. I thought I’d share what those are with everyone just in case you’re looking for reading material. Or maybe want to know a little more about my psyche and what I find comforting. I have five for you:

  1. The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery – Valancy Sterling, meek old maid under the thumb of her large family, finds out that she has a terminal illness. She is determined to throw off their yoke and fully live whatever time she has left, and does so with gusto, hilarity, and consequences that change everything. Not only is it delightful, but I have done a read-along with two different Montgomery enthusiast groups. It seems to be a favorite right now.
  2. Chalice by Robin McKinley – Mirasol and her fellow Circle members lost their Master and the former Chalice in a horrible fire that weakened the land they hold together. Now they must accept a new Master who is part fire-demon, hope the land and the people will accept him, and hope they can play politics long enough for everything to work out. But seriously, this book is full of pastoral peacefulness and makes me want to move to a forest and keep bees with my lover. If only Brian weren’t deathly afraid of bees…
  3. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – While we’re on the subject of McKinley, you basically can’t go wrong with anything she’s written. This one has Harry Crewe stolen by hill people to lead an army against a foe that’s not quite human. Her road is hard, but her successes are rewarding. Most importantly, it carries the message that evil can be fought.
  4. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones – Another who you can’t go wrong with. Charmed Life is about two orphan children who end up living in the house of the nine-lived enchanter called Chrestomanci. Much magical hilarity ensues, and it’s wonderful.
  5. Thornyhold by Mary Steward – Young woman inherits the house of a great aunt, who was known as the local witch, and has to deal with a nosy neighbor who might also have a sort of magic she’s not very careful about. It’s a love story, though, and a pastoral settling into a home of one’s own.

Happy reading. Or happy something… whatever you can muster in the coming weeks amid chaos and viruses that isolate us.

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Easterbay Prologue

I have been extraordinarily bad at keeping to my resolutions so far, but that’s no reason to not at least do some of it, right? We team teach at my school, and this week it is my turn to do the lesson (I’ve done the last two weeks, too). Being overloaded with lesson plans is my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Pilgrims and revolutionaries, is my section. And I’m glad of it.

I have been working on Easterbay again, and changing it dramatically AGAIN. The ending has never worked – I think I may need the World Tree. But we’ll see how it goes this time around. We’re at the draft unknown stage, there have been so many of them. If I bring in the World Tree instead of the creepy skeleton mech with the bullet belt, then I have to cut my prologue. The prologue foreshadows the skeleton, and I’m quite fond of it. Therefore, I’m posting it here for posterity. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any of my fiction on the blog, so it seemed like time. Especially since America seems to be dismantling itself piecemeal and we all need a little escapism.

Easterbay Prologue (probably doomed to the guillotine):

I have had the dream all my life, but tonight it seems more vivid.  I can taste the musty earth lying in my mouth, feel it between the sockets of my eyes.  I don’t know why I’m not terrified by the sensation, but I only feel a sense of rightness.  I feel full with it in a way I haven’t since I’ve had a body to wrap around the bones that are all that is left of this dream me.  The weight of the bullets in the sash on my chest press heavy where my heart used to be.  The bones of my fingers clank against the bronze shield where the flesh used to grasp it.

There is magic in the air tonight.  My living body doesn’t believe in magic, but this skeleton thing that I am in my dream does.  Or perhaps not so much believes as tastes.  The molasses zip of electricity and ozone mingles with the dirt in my mouth and I can feel my purpose inside stirring.  I want to rise into the sun and fight.  I want it to be the day I was made for.  I lay in the dust, feeling the earth packing into my cavities, and I almost feel alive again. The magic courses through the loam I live in. 

I listen hard for the words, for the voice of the woman who will say them, who will let them travel on the ozone current to my brittle bones.  I will hear them clearly as they course through the land, even six feet down as I am.

The words never come. 

I have been dreaming as long as I can remember, and the words have never been spoken. Sometimes I think I wait for nothing.

The dream usually shifts now for the me who is alive and dreaming, becoming some other landscape until another night when I dream I am a skeleton, of the taste of magic again.  I wait for it. But tonight nothing changes.  I wait, anticipating, until I awake in my Boston apartment with the sun streaming in the window of the shade Elizabeth left open, the taste of magic still lingering in my mouth. 

I’m Gemini again, myself in a human body, and I wonder if I dreamed so vivid because the armistice was signed and we’re no longer at war with Germany, though that was days ago.  And then from the living room I hear the telephone buzz its tinny ring. I get up and put on a dressing gown, and then I go to answer it.

“Hello,” I say, holding the receiver to my ear, talking carefully into the bell on the box.

“May I speak to Gemini Byrd?” says a man’s voice on the other end.

“This is she.”

“Miss Byrd, I am a lawyer with Harney and Sons and I perhaps have sad news for you.  Your grandmother has passed away, and she has left you an inheritance.”

I don’t know what to say.  I didn’t know I had a grandmother still, only that she and Mom had fought something fierce and never mended it.  The unsettling feeling I had in the dream lingers, but all I know is that I have to take it, whatever this inheritance is.  The magic I can still taste tells me this. I have to take it and hold it, the only one left of my family. 

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Some Goals

I feel like real life has hit again, after several years of things not being real.  Like, stay at home momming is GREAT.  I love it a lot.  But it’s hard to stay at home mom while getting a Master’s degree and supporting a husband who is getting a Master’s degree (and working full time).  It kind of ate our life.  And now that we’re out of school and in careers and stuff, life is feeling a little more real. 

Which is to say that I’ve been thinking a lot about the writing.  I’ve managed to shoehorn days in every once in a while, but I haven’t had a regular writing practice in over three years.  Not to mention, I really miss it.  I want a regular writing practice again.  I want books I wrote and introspection and words upon words that all mean something grand.  The question is… what does that look like in a new reality?  I still have a lot of obligations.  I still have a child who needs things, and a husband who is working two jobs.

I’m not sure, but I have some ideas.  I usually do a post around the new year with goals for myself, so I want to set up a few right now to stand in for my yearly goals.  Because let’s be honest, I need an experiment.  Will my usual 20 days of each month for writing work anymore?  No idea.  Can I manage a blog post a week?  Also unknown.  What about longer form writing like this novel I’ve been trying to get through for two years now?  Your guess is as good as mine. 

Here’s what I’m proposing:

  1. I will “be a writer” 20 days out of each month.  That includes posting to writerly social media accounts, drafting, submitting, and configuring books or other writings, or anything else that helps advance that career (you know, in addition to actually… writing).  
  2. I will post at least one blog a week.
  3. I will participate in (and try to win) NaNoWriMo.

So hopefully that means I’ll be on here a bit more, and we’ll do a recap in January to see how I did on these goals. See you soon!

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New Normal

Wrapping my mind around starting to blog again is a difficult thing.  I feel like I have so much to say, and so much has been left unsaid, and we’re all in this strange world where nothing is right and I’m White so how much should I really be saying anyway? 

But I find myself wanting to blog, so maybe the way to do that is to just go forward and leave the other stuff unaddressed. 

We are approaching six months of quarantine on September 13th.  In California it was March 13, a Friday, that the world shut down.  After living a life that was totally NOT normal in every way, we are finally carving out what is going to be our new normal for a while.  Brian is still working both his jobs from home.  I have co-opted the back bedroom to teach English via an online charter school.  Asher is back at his own school, on site, five days a week. 

This new normal is not a bad one.  I wake at the crack of dawn, make Asher’s lunch, attach a mask to his backpack, and start work before anyone else is up.  I listen to Brian and Asher being silly downstairs.  At some point, they leave for school.  Asher takes a different toy each day, and daycare staff are sure to check its temperature when they take Asher’s before letting him inside – at Asher’s request. 

In the afternoon, I pick Asher up.  They hand him off to me, and then I have to convince him that he does, in fact, want to go home.  “Can we stay?” he asks me most afternoons. 

“No, Love, Dad is waiting for us at home.”

“I’m not a Love, I’m Amber the Brave Ambulance,” he says.

We ride home, snuggle on the couch while watching Robo Car Poli, and eventually I make dinner.  Potty training goes well.  Asher climbs on Brian while he’s working, or watches Buster The Bus on Brian’s second monitor while he’s checking spreadsheets.  Or Asher makes a construction site in the Kinetic Sand, then asks me if he can mash the potatoes.  He blissfully refuses to eat dinner but will sit at the table with us.  After dinner is over, he steals an apple from the fruit basket. 

Most nights Brian goes up to the back bedroom to see clients and I put Asher to sleep, wrangling pajamas onto a body that’s jumping on the bed, negotiating exactly how many books we get to read (I can usually be convinced to read four… it’s at five that I draw the line).  He sleeps with his ceiling stars on.  I go downstairs and flake out on the couch with a peanut butter cup or maybe some Moscato.  We do it all again the next day.

There are brighter spots – meeting family in the park on the weekends; an impromptu dinner on the lawn at the University of Redlands; a trip to hike somewhere.  It’s not bad at all. 

Until I see the pictures that come up in my Timehop and remember how very together we all used to be back then, last year, a lifetime ago. 

It’s then that I know how much I’m looking forward to a newer normal.  I hope it gets here soon. 

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Mothering in a Time of Pandemic

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With the world in a tailspin, it’s been hard to do anything but tread water – hasn’t it?  Brian has recently started to try and give me a little time in the day, every day, to myself.  It feels like such a luxury.  It’s stirring my creativity again.  A creativity mixed with anxiety, but that’s probably to be expected.  I am working on an art journal to chronicle our Pandemic experience.  I have time to write a blog.

In some ways, our life has only changed for the better.  Brian is home more, and we actually get to see him.  I have time for a garden and for perfecting my Strawberry Shortcake recipe.  Asher and I have time for busy Montessori-style work and craft projects.  In some ways it’s better. Just some.

Still, it feels like a horrible slog through most days.  Asher doesn’t understand why Dad is in the house, but unavailable to him.  He keeps asking me if he can go to school, or to see Amma, or to the park.  It breaks my heart to tell him no.

“Remember, honey?  We need to keep the Coronavirus from traveling to see anybody.  Right?” I told him the other day.

“I WANT the Coronavirus to come.” he said with a classic pouty mouth and a stamp of his feet.

“You don’t really,” I said.  “Coronavirus makes everyone feel yucky.  We don’t want that.”

“Humpf,” was the reply.

We each have a Covid Freak Out Day (TM) about once a week.  I’ve tried to make them less traumatic by just accepting that it’s going to happen and preparing for it.  Still, it doesn’t make them feel any better when they do come around.  I’m starting to track what’s happening the day of and the day before freak outs to see if we can interrupt the cycle.  I’m pretty sure mine are triggered by watching Asher cry at the office door when Brian is in an important meeting and he can’t go in.  He won’t be moved or distracted. I’ve tried.  And then I hold him on the floor of the hallway while he sobs and I feel so powerless…

In the mean time, I’m running a small Montessori Home School over here with the help of Asher’s teachers.  As a teacher myself, stuck in a virtual system, I KNOW how hard his teacher is working to provide individualized lesson plans for all of the students.  And I know that teaching virtually is about three times as much work as teaching in a classroom.  But as a teacher, I also know that lesson planning is about 1/3 of the job.  Delivering the lesson and classroom management are HUGE parts of teaching that I am taking on with little help and no formal training (my training is for teens in English – not preschool Montessori).  I’m mostly doing well.  We’re a few days behind the schedule the school has given us, though, because sometimes I need to get materials for the activities.  This has necessitated absorbing some lesson planning duties on my part as well.

Living near the University of Redlands has been a huge boon for us, though, because when it all gets to be horrible and we all have been in the living room too long, we go through a drive-through and find a vacant lawn to have dinner on.  We smell the roses and listen to the birds.  Asher runs.  Everyone feels better.

I don’t have a point, really, except to say that this is hard.  My family is doing this, in some ways, under the BEST possible conditions.  And it still feels impossible but oh-so important.  We’re hanging in there.  We’re learning new skills.

I’m going to post some activities as a closer.  If you’re wondering what I’ve been doing with Asher, or maybe looking for ideas for your own toddler, here are some of the activities he’s loved:

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In the rainbow rice bin.  You can see his construction trucks around the edge.

Rainbow Rice! We used the method of pouring craft paint into the rice and mushing it around.  Asher helped mush the color with me, so it was a double activity.  Good things to put in the rice have included cups and funky spoons for pouring (ice cream scoop!), a hinged tea ball, and some small construction trucks.

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License plate in the mouth, putting flowers in the vase.

Flower Arranging.   I do it a little differently than the linked post.  Asher isn’t really strong enough to use scissors yet (he can’t get them back open after closing them), so I pre-cut the stems to size before he arranges the flowers.  Also, he arranges in a dry vase which I fill with water afterwards.

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Water pouring.  That look of concentration on his face is a huge aim of Montessori learning.

Water Pouring.  We use a small tea pot and a glass canning jar.

Asher stirred the batter and mashed the strawberries for my Mother’s Day breakfast.

Cooking and Baking: Asher does a lot of the prep work with me when I’m in the kitchen.  He stirs mixes, peels oranges and bananas, mushes strawberries with the potato masher, cuts soft things with his wavy chopper, and salts and peppers veggies to go in the oven.  He has even moved on to stirring hot pots on the stove (with plenty of supervision and a long spoon, of course).  We usually “take turns” with this stuff so it really gets done, since most of his efforts are brief and incomplete.  He’s only 2 1/2, so he gets a pass.




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