Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When We Work Together

Today, I spent most of the morning with the toddlers. There were more than enough people in the infant room and the teacher in the toddler room really needed help. When I walked in, there were four kids crying and one lying on the couch by herself. I’m not sure what got all of them so upset. I’m guessing it was that some of them got to go for a walk outside and others didn’t. Some of them go on one day and the rest of the group goes on the next day. They even take a couple of the infants that are going to be in the toddler room in the next couple of months. Anyway, I helped calm them down. They walked around the room crying for a few minutes, but then I distracted a couple of them by pointing out the box of markers on the table. They quickly started dumping the markers and watching them role across the floor instead of drawing. The ones who were interested in drawing insisted on drawing on everyone else’s papers instead of their own. One girl kept telling a boy to draw on his own paper, but he wasn’t listening. Eventually, we picked up the markers and they moved on to other things around the room.

A group of them started playing with the big foam blocks. One boy remembered the bouncing game from a few weeks ago. A couple of the foam blocks are rectangle shaped and those work the best because they can sit on them and there’s enough room to bounce. Anyway, he told me he wanted to bounce so I held his hands. A girl came over and said it was her turn. I asked the boy if he heard his friend say it was her turn. He said it was still his turn so I let him bounce a few more times. Then the girl reminded him that she wanted a turn. He sat on the block for another few minutes while saying, “Mine and my turn.” I wasn’t sure how to let her have a turn without just taking the block away from him. Then I thought of a way they could work together. I suggested that he could hold her hands while she bounced and then when it was his turn, she could hold his hands. He hesitated, but I helped him stand up. She sat on the block and he grabbed her hands and they started laughing when one of them would bounce too hard and fall off. I had to remind them once in a while whose turn it was, but they figured out that its fun when they work together. Then another boy got involved and we had to add more turns, but he moved on to something else pretty quickly. The boy wanted his own block so he tried the squares, but he found that they were too small for bouncing, but we finally found another rectangular block. They enjoyed bouncing next to each other too. They also built a huge tower together and loved when someone else knocked it over. That meant that it was time to rebuild.

When the other toddlers came back from lunch, I saw D again. She was the girl who says, “Got you!” Her newest game is to sort of hide behind a chair. Of course, she can’t really get behind it because it’s an adult sized chair which is partially against the wall. I can still see her, but she says, “I got you” from there. Eventually, she’ll run out and across the room. She’s trying to talk a lot more. I don’t understand most of her words, but she is trying really hard. Most of the time, I know what she’s asking for though. She was asking for milk today which I could understand. She’s learning to use a regular paper cup, but she crumples it and the milk spills, but she’s trying. She’s grown so much since I met her in February.

In the infant room, I spent more time with Baby L and Baby C. We put them in the squishy seats again. They always reach for each other and like to look at each other’s toys. Baby C babbled a lot today and was excited to get in the jumper. There are keys on the jumper that you can press and they make musical notes. She loved hitting them and figuring out that they made different sounds. Baby L also discovered this earlier in the day. I was sitting with him and pressed the keys a few times to let him hear the sounds. He tried imitating me, but his hands aren’t strong enough to press the keys. Finally, he’d press his cheek against them and they’d make the sound. He spent a lot of time doing this. He also liked playing with a rattle that was hanging from the top of the jumper. I’d make it swing from side to side and he’d catch it. When it was just hanging there, he’d shake it and babble about what he was doing. At least that’s what I think he was babbling about. We also played with a ball. I’d give the ball to Baby C because she actually would grab it with both hands and would drop it. Of course, it’d role all over the place. Baby L would only push on it while it was in my hand and it would fall. Then he’d reach his hand out to touch the ball again. He also kept scratching it, but didn’t figure out that he could use both hands to hold it. He also showed interest in a big blue ball that they have for the older infants. The ball is at least twice his size, but he wanted to play with it so I’d gently role it over to him so he could touch it and he’d push it away, but then would try to reach for it again. It would get too far away from him though and he’s not strong enough to crawl after it. I have a feeling he’ll be crawling soon because he’s already showing interest in chasing after objects and will lean towards them while stretching his hands out. For now, we are enjoying the stage that Baby L is at because he loves to be held, but is just as happy to be playing by himself.

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