Archive for the 'Sweet Stuff & Sunshine' Category


Sunshine Writes a Story – What I am Thankful For

Monday, November 20th, 2006

Sunshine wrote a story today.  Here it is:

What I am Thankful for… by Sunshine

I am thankful for my family - daddy, mommy, and Sweet Stuff

My dog and Grandma Carol.  I am also thankful for my house,

My Paw Paw, Paw Paw’s dog Jake, my curly straw,

And my friends, Mario and Madeleine.

I am thankful for our fish, Seimore and Flipper, my granddad, Ms. Christine,

My sister Sweet Stuff, our dog Bogey, and Nina.

The End

Just note that “I” am first after her immediate family and dog.  -)   – and BEFORE the curly straw!  I feel honored.

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“Thanksgiving Basket” shopping with the Grandgirls: There is a reason YOUNG woman are the ones who have babies!

Friday, November 17th, 2006

RT and I took Sweet Stuff and Sunshine shopping last night in order to fill a Thanksgiving basket for a family in need.  I left immediately after work to pick them up from daycare, and then we met RT at Chick Filet for dinner (the girls choice).  The food was horrible, and after “eating” (which I put in quotation marks because they really ate very little), the girls played in the indoor play area.  Big mistake.  For about fifteen minutes, they had a grand time.  Then Sweet Stuff hurt her elbow.  Of course she hurt her elbow when they were on the very top of the play area at that time – which (shame on Chick Filet!) is totally out of sight of anyone on the floor.  I couldn’t see her,and all ll I could hear was a pitiful voice crying, “I want my Grandma Carol.”

I MUST boast that I did START up to get her, but I quickly realized that the play equipment was not meant for 57-year old grandmothers.  The only way up was through a child-size labyrinth of ledges and tunnels – which I was not at all sure I could navigate.  I could envision the evening news filming a rescue crew as they worked to un-stick me.  Luckily, a junior high girl named Olivia came to the rescue and climbed up for me and helped Sweet Stuff down.  All was well quickly although Sweet Stuff declared she would NEVER play on the Chick Filet playground again.  Just as well, I don’t plan to ever eat there again.  Did I mention the food was terrible and part of the play equipment was not visible?

Then it was off to shop.  Oh.  My. Goodness.  There is a reason that young women are the ones who have babies.  Shopping with Sweet Stuff and Sunshine was fun, but tiring.   Three and five years old girls have strong opinions about exactly which products should go into a Thanksgiving basket, and each of them knew which products they wanted to add to the shopping cart.

RT and I were exhausted by the time we took them home an hour or so later.  We actually got to their house a little before their mama and daddy got home from eating out.  (Were we just a tad eager to say good night?)  So we waited in the car.  I mistakenly (as it turned out) told them they could get out of their car seats and climb up in the front seat with me as we waited in the parked card in the driveway.  As Sunshine climbed over the seat, she knocked over my diet coke which was safely (I thought) sitting in the cupholder next to me – spilling a full 16-ounce cup of diet coke onto the front leather seats where it collected nicely – ice and all.  Luckily I had a t-shirt in my gym bag in the trunk – and I used that to clean it up.

I have to admit, though, that  before thinking of the t-shirt and getting it cleaned up, I said a very un-grandmotherly word when I first saw the diet coke pooled on the seats and dripping onto the carpet.  I apologized profusely (which probably made them remember it even more), and I felt plenty of guilt for my fall from being a good role model. 

I just hope Sweet Stuff doesn’t imitate Grandma Carol the next time she gets upset about something at school.  As a teacher, I know how teachers can tsk tsk tsk and murmur “Where did that child learn such language?!” when students say such things at school.  And of course Sweet Stuff would tell them she learned that word from Grandma Carol who just happens to be a teacher in that same school system.  Ughhhhhhhhhhh!

So, our good deed shopping was done and I returned home – hit the bed and slept wonderfully until Jake  (here, here, here and here) started his uniquely multi-tonal, intermittent mid-night howling. 

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Guest Post – by Sweet Stuff

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

My name is Sweet Stuff.  I like Mrs. K.  I miss her.  Mrs. K is my kindergarten teacher.  She is nice.  She has blonde hair and a soft voice.  She tells me that I do a good job with my school work. These are words I can spell by myself:

 go

good

my

is

it

and

no

like

can

van

Dora

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Grandma Carol – That IS my name!

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Sweet Stuff and Sunshine went with us to Sunday School and church this morning.  Immediately after Sunday School, I took them to the ladies room where a friend of mine asked me, “What do the girls call you?  Grannie?  Grandma.”

Sweet Stuff looked at her with amazement and said, “We call her Grandma Carol.  THAT is her name!”

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Making Grandma Proud and Making Connections

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

I got an email from my daughter this morning that made this Grandma/Reading Specialist happy.

Just a funny story I thought you would enjoy.  We were reading with Sweet Stuff [5 years] and Sunshine [3 years] trying to apply what Mrs. K had said about asking the kids to retell the story and the characters and problem and solution.  Sweet Stuff did it perfectly – in fact I was impressed.  And Sunshine was also able to do it if she looked at the pictures.  I said, “Sweet Stuff, that was great!”  and she said, “Don’t you also want to know my text to self connection and my text to text connection about this book?”  She, of course, gave me one of each, but I thought it was really funny to hear her use those words.

And the reading teacher in Sweet Stuff’s Grandma Carol cheered!  We feel fortunate she got Mrs. K as her kindergarten teacher.

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Devilish Sunshine

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

I was talking to my daughter on the phone a few minutes ago.  In the background Sunshine (3 years old) was yelling about something. 

My daughter calmly said, “Sunshine, when you want something, do you ask nicely or scream?”

With a devilish smile, Sunshine replied, “Scream.”

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Sweet Stuff BUSTED Grandma Carol!

Monday, October 9th, 2006


I’m a reading specialist. That means that I give the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) to literally hundreds of elementary school children each year – kindergarten through fifth grade. Last year, I even gave it to my then 4-year old granddaughter. She was taking “Hooked on Phonics” at her preschool, and I was curious to see how HOP skills transferred to reading other texts. Since I had purchased my own DRA kit a couple years ago to use with children I tutored at home, I had everything I needed. I gave Sweet Stuff the Level A and the Level 1 tests. She did well, I gave the results to my daughter and I promptly forgot about it . . . until today.

Today I got an email from the reading specialist at Sweet Stuff’s school. She said that Sweet Stuff’s teacher had come to her with a problem. It seems that when the teacher started to administer the DRA to Sweet Stuff, Sweet Stuff quickly informed her that Grandma Carol had already read “those books” with her. The teacher didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t give the assessment with those texts because the results wouldn’t be valid. I was BUSTED!

The reading specialist explained in her email to me that she understood how kindergarteners are and that she took what Sweet Stuff said with a grain of salt. She obviously doesn’t know Sweet Stuff very well. The girl tells the truth at all times. No grain of salt needed. If she said Grandma Carol read those books with her, then that’s what happened.

Not to worry. I quickly emailed the teacher and reading specialist that yes, I had given Sweet Stuff the DRA, but that it shouldn’t be a problem since the teacher could use the DRA Alternative Text set with Sweet Stuff for the first couple levels (which, as her loyal grandma, I can affirm she is beyond anyway). Then they can go back to the standard kit starting with Level 2. I apologized for not letting them know before that I had already given the DRA to Sweet Stuff, and I thanked them profusely for the wonderful job they’re doing with Sweet Stuff since she adores school and adores her teacher.

Since I administer the DRA so frequently, I’m accustomed to using the Alternative Text Set quite often. However, I imagine a kindergarten teacher would rarely have a need for it. So I can understand the teacher being concerned about what to do.

I forwarded all the emails to my daughter, and we had a big chuckle over Sweet Stuff busting Grandma Carol. I can just hear that little voice telling Mrs. K, “My Grandma Carol has already read THOSE BOOKS with me.”

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Questioning – How Uncomfortable Does it Have to Be?

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Last week my oldest granddaughter started kindergarten. My daughter signed up to help the teacher. After the first day of helping in the classroom, my daughter called me.

“Mom, remember that story you told me about the woman who would ask a question and then just sit there until the kids finally came up with the answer?”

Well, she didn’t have it exactly right, but I knew what she was talking about. And I have to admit I was thrilled that she remembered something I’d mentioned to her almost two years ago. In 2004, I attended a seminar by Ellin Keene. During the seminar she worked with a group of third graders, modeling a class book discussion using the book Freedom on the Menu. During the discussion when she’d ask a question and the child would respond, “I don’t know,” she would reply, “I understand, but if you DID know, what would you say?” Then she would be quiet and wait. And wait. And wait.

I was among the ones in the group who cringed at the thought of how uncomfortable the kids were to be put on the spot like that. The kids would stammer and stumble over their words for a few seconds, but then without exception, they’d come up with an insightful answer. I left there awed. I had always used “pause time” whenever I asked questions in class. However, if a child indicated he/she didn’t know the answer, I would move on to someone else. I didn’t want to put a child on the spot – didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Back to the conversation with my daughter. She continued:

At L’s school today, her teacher did the same thing! She had one of their names with the letters scrambled, and the kids were figuring out whose name it was. She asked them how they knew that the “C” was the first letter in the child’s name. The kids just sat there and squirmed. It was obvious no one knew why. After all, it’s just the first week of kindergarten! But Mrs. K kept waiting. Seconds passed. The silence and the uncomfortable atmosphere were driving me nuts.

I felt like screaming, “For God’s sake, they don’t know! Tell them the answer! They’ll all go home traumatized from all this pressure!” But I didn’t, and after a few seconds, several kids raised their hands: “Because it’s a capital letter, and names should start with a capital letter.” They’d figured it out with no prompting from Mrs. K! And you could see the pride and confidence in their faces afterwards. They had thought their way through confusion to understanding.”

What a good reminder for me that too often I don’t give my students the opportunity of being uncomfortable enough to think beyond the obvious! Being intellectually uncomfortable is not a bad thing.

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Sweet Stuff Tells on Mommy

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

RT and I are babysitting Sunshine and Sweet Stuff this weekend.  I’m very tired right now.  However, that’s not the topic of this post.

The other day I wrote about an email my daughter sent me telling me about a bedtime battle she had with Sweet Stuff.  Sweet Stuff wanted to sleep in the play room, and my daughter was determined to stick to the rules that the girls sleep in their own rooms on school nights. 

Last night Sweet Stuff decided it was time to spill the beans and tell on her mommy.

We (RT, me, Sweet Stuff and Sunshine) had just started home from Kroger, and her little voice came from the back seat, “Grandma Carol, your baby was mean to me.”

“My baby?”  I asked.  I had no babies that I knew of.

“Yes.  Your child – your daughter – my mommy.”

“Your mommy was mean to you?”

“Yes!  She made me very angry.  She hurt my feelings.”

Sweet Stuff went on to “tell on” her mommy – giving me exactly the same story I had received in the email.  Her feelings were hurt because she didn’t get her way.  It was obvious that she wanted me and RT to do something about this grave injustice.  How should I handle this ?

“Sweet Stuff, you know your mommy loves you very much and she just wanted you to get a good night’s sleep.”

“I could sleep good in the play room,” she replied.

“Well, if your mommy made you angry and hurt your feelings, you need to talk to her about it.  She’ll understand and she’ll talk with you about it,” I said.

“Oh!”  Long pause as she thought that over for a few minutes, and then she started telling me about how her friend, Connor, at school had hurt her feelings (Can you tell she’s five years old when “hurt feelings” are the main topic of converstion – for girls anyway?)  Then she stopped and said, “But I will talk to him about that.”

Now if ONLY she can remember that lesson and talk to people when she feels wronged and express her feelings.  Wow!  Here I am at 56 and I’m still working on that skill.

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An Email From My Daughter

Friday, July 28th, 2006

My two granddaughters will be spending the weekend with RT (no more PawPaw – I’ll call him RT) and me.  It’ll be exhausting, but we’re looking forward to it.  My daughter and her husband are taking off for a much-needed weekend of being together with no friends and no children.

Last night I got an email from my daughter.  Here it is:

Hi Mom,

You will get a kick out of this.  Sweet Stuff was really mad at me earlier because I wouldn’t let them sleep in the playroom.   The rule is on a school night they can’t because they have to get up early.   Anyway she was going on and on and on about it.   At one point I said, “Sweet Stuff, it is my job to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep and aren’t tired the next day – and you will get a better night’s sleep in your room. ”

Sweet Stuff says,  “No! Your job is to make me happy.” 

I said, “No, my job is to make sure you are healthy and you grow up into a responsible adult.  Part of that is knowing that when someone tells you “No” you don’t keep on and on.”  Probably a little deep but hey.

Then she says, “I can’t wait till tomorrow when Pa Pa and Grandma Carol are the boss of me and you aren’t!  Because they LOVE to make me happy!” 

Mind you after another 30 minutes or so of “you’re so mean to me”  “You don’t ever want me to be happy” “you make me so sad” and even “I’m so over you right now”  (don’t know where she got that one, but it was a little funny).

Anyway, she cried in her room for 30 minutes or so and then emerged wanting me.  Steve was upset because she wouldn’t even talk with him.  He kept saying, “How is it you make her mad and then she still wants you”.  Needless to say she was exhausted and is now asleep in HER Room. 

He he!  She sure has MY number, doesn’t she? 

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