Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mira, Max, and Milo fight for lap space

All four grandchildren were visiting this week. Mira, (age 1 year 10 months) who so far has shown no desire to be near anyone but her mother, saw me sitting at my computer and proceeded to leave her mother's lap and toddle over to mine. She asked for letters so I started to play grandparent games with her. Her mother, in a state of shock seeing Mira happily on my lap, quietly left the room. Mira demanded more letters, going through them all and prompting me to show the ones I had left out.

After about a half hour of this, Max (age 3) walked by, and, knowing a good thing when he saw it, hopped onto my right leg and asked for trains. Minutes later Milo (age 5) came by. No lap being available he stood next to me and for ten minutes or so, I had 3 of my favorite people all huddled together wanting to play grandparent games. (Jonah (7 months) was somewhere else in the house.)

Eventually Mira had had it with the competition and uttered a few "mamas" and the party ended. But it was great while it lasted.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Milo sends e-mail

Milo has been typing on grandparent games so I suggested he send me an e-mail. Here is what he wrote:

i love you i am going to gabe's lidl brothrs brthday
love milo

I responded and then he wrote back:

the parte was good but there was no kake i had a good timei love miloi love youmilo to papa

I responded again and he wrote back again:

ther was pizza for lanch
love milo

Did I mention that Milo turned 5 last month? Love that kid.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Milo and Mira like the same game

Yesterday Milo called me on the phone and said in a very grown up voice that he would like to play grandparent games with me. When I saw him on Skype, Mira was there too. She yelled: "Papa. letters." But showing her the alphabet animations would have bored Milo. Milo said he wanted to type (because he is learning to read and spell.) It turned out this worked for both of them, since every time Milo typed a letter (of a message I suggested he write), Mira named the letter. Later they both agreed on seeing dinosaurs. I guess dinosaurs work for any age. Mira yelled "more dinosaurs." She is not yet two, but she knows what she wants.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaching Reading: From Milo to Max

It has been some time since I have written about playing grandparent games with my little kiddies. There are now four of them and I fell less compelled to write about each experience. But I have played with all of them, even Jonah who likes the little kid pictures and with Mira who is a fireball and, strangely, seems to also like trains.

In the last weeks I have tried reading with both Milo and Max and was reminded of how much kids can change between 3 and 5.

Milo, who will be 5 in a couple of weeks is now a little boy and no longer someone with whom it is difficult to communicate. And, he can read. I am sure that grandparent games interactions had something to do with that. We spent a lot of time reading the three letter words on ggames but I am sure he has had plenty of opportunity to read in other venues. What was most interesting in our last interaction was that he requested to do typing. I wasn't sure why. He had seen the video that I posted of him typing one letter over and over again and laughing and it was clear at first that he was hoping to relive that experience since he did more or less the same thing again. When I suggested that we type something real, he simply said "ok" which is not what he would have done even 6 months ago. Then he read the simple sentences that I typed and then typed sentences I asked him to type. He can't spell very well and seems to want to learn how to do it right. On the whole it was an interaction with a child who wants to learn. It was never like that before. He also wants to teach. When Mira appeared, he wanted to share with his favorite videos about dinosaurs and robots.

Max, on the other hand, who is weeks from 3, is just beginning to think about reading. He knows the names of the letters, but can't quite grasp the idea that put together they spell words. he can read MAX and not much else. He reminded me of Milo at the same age. Getting the idea that letters stand for sounds and are useful for reading is very difficult concept.

I guess this process takes about 2 years. Max is starting. Milo is simply practicing at harder words at this point.

Monday, April 12, 2010

milo relives his childhood

In one of my recent face to face interactions with milo, I showed him some video which included one of him playing grandparent games about two years ago. In that video he was screeching with laughter as I complained that he needed to type MILO and he kept typing the wrong letter. He thought the video was hilarious.

Then, in a couple of recent interactions on grandparent games after he returned home, he has asked, not for dinosaurs or trains so much as he wanted to type letters and draw again. The reason for this became clear soon enough. He was re-living the good old days. He wanted to scribble and to type the wrong letter just one more time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Max is a grandparent games addict

I visited Max last week. Every time he saw me he said one of two things. Either he said "Railroad Song" by which he meant that knew that the lyrics to "I've been working on the railroad" were about railroads and not about "the eyes of Texas" as I had been insisting or he said "grandparent games - space shot" by which he meant that he need to see the space shuttle launch immediately. This was followed by "elephant song" and a litany of his other favorite places on grandparent games. This is an improvement on his previous insistence on watching a five minute long Washington Metro ride.

In any case it is clear that my value to Max as a grandparent is in my willingness and ability to do this with him.