I’ve picked up a few good hacks from Mimi Smartypants: the food that screams “don’t eat me!” and the underwear that shouts, “I need to be on your butt!” Of course I was personifying inanimate objects in my pre-Mimi days, but these two tips have proved particularly useful.
One new one around here is working pretty well. Eila has eight baby dolls: Andy, Charles, Cindy, Amanda, Baby Lou, Evan, Baby Headstand, and Bambi. She likes to do all kinds of things with them – kidnapping stories and such – but one thing she can be coaxed into easily is playing Baby School. Left to her own devices, this descends quickly into bring-your-pet-to-school day, recess, or pajama day, but I’ve recently realized that I can get her to write words on the white board as long as Andy gets them wrong first.
Me: How do you spell cow, Andy?
Me (in Andy’s voice): P-B-Q!
Me: Eila, could you show Andy how to spell cow on the white board?
Probably everyone does this, eh?, and it’s only me who’s taken this long to figure out that real lessons can be taught in the totally artificial environment. In fact I think I’ve been resisting it because it feels like cheating. But I’m going full steam now, and the kid’s phonics are improving day by day.
Meanwhile, I’ve ordered, from my local bookseller, Julia Lupton’s D.I.Y. Kids, which I’m expecting will contain fun crafts and the like. Lupton, a some time commenter on this blog, writes on Shakespeare and Freud. I was amazed to find she leads a double life as a master crafter, funny mummy, etc. Here’s her blog: http://www.design-your-life.org