Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Free U: What's scaly, mom?

Yesterday morning, Fiona wanted the animals from her Little People Zoo. I got them down for her, opened the case and tried to return to emptying the dishwasher. She went into a full body hyperwhine and repeated the same incoherent phrase over and over. My head threatened to explode. Then I realized what she was saying.

"Have to play with me."

Yes, baby. Yes, of course, I do. (Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.)

So we played. And the dishes waited.

She matched the animals with the letters and pictures on the mat. She named several of the animals. And the ones she didn't know she called "Go outside." That's her go-to answer to every question lately. She's weird.

Then I began sorting the animals into groups and explained each group to Fiona. All the birds. All the animals with fur. All the animals that go in the water. All the animals with scaly or leathery skin.

Danny was in the other room watching TV. I told him TV time was over. He quietly turned the TV off. (I'm surprised he actually did this without squawking.)

He joined us and looked with interest on my little anal-retentively arranged menagerie. I explained what each pile was. He moved the penguin from the bird category to the water animal category. I began sorting them into subgroups. All the animals that live in Africa or Asia or South America. Danny has a puzzle of a world map with animals on it from every continent. He's learned the names of the continents and sometimes remembers the animals associated with each continent.

Then he asked "What's scaly, mom?" as he fingered the group which included an an alligator and an iguana, among other animals. Fiona perked up and was interested, too.

Well, let's see. How to explain this?

I whipped off my sock and let them feel my dry, hard, cracked heels. (It's been a long winter.)

"That's scaly," I said. "Want to touch it?"

They did. They thought it was hilarious. And weird.

So ... I saved $25 by not getting a pedicure and my kids spontaneously learned what scaly means.  They probably also picked up on sorting methods, animal names and where certain animals come from.

That's enough homeschool for one day, but the dishes can still wait.

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