Toddler Art: Outdoor Painting Fall Fun

fallWe’ve had very bad weather for a few days now, so I couldn’t pass on going outside with the girls this afternoon when the sun came out! I also had painting in mind and thought: why not combine the two? Apron, cardbox, leaves, foam brushes and out the door we went. Victoire was able to watch us in a cozy blanket knitted by my mother and enjoyed it just as much as we did. Sixtine had so much fun! We added some grass, leaves and pretty flowers picked out by little Miss Six’ and painted them as well. We have now a fabulous fall table accent in our kitchen that we cannot wait to show Daddy when he comes home! It was also a great opportunity to work on color discrimination!

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10 Things About Her

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  • She loves Nature, animals, people.
  • She is fearless…almost.
  • She loves to run, climb, jump.
  • She is very affectionate, bubbly and social.
  • She is very independent.
  • She is a Daddy’s girl.
  • She is strong-willed.
  • She understands.
  • She loves water.
  • She is very smart.
  • She never ceases to amaze me.

Toddler Practical Life: Clothespins

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Sixtine had the opportunity to experience clothespins a few days ago. It is part of Practical Life in the Montessori curriculum and it helps develop pincer grip (which will later be helpful for writing). I used a small basket filled with clothespins and a plastic bowl. This activity wasn’t a success – Sixtine pinched her finger and was a little nervous at the thought of trying again. She quickly realized that the clothespins could stay on the edge of the bowl without pinching. And she seemed happy with herself. I tried to show her again the mechanism: squeeze, line up, relax grip in vain. She quickly showed lack of interest. I will try again another time but with a different bowl – I wonder if the edge was too thick and therefore, harder to work with?

Toddler Cooking: Healthy Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

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Ingredients + Recipe: 2 cups fresh strawberries.

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1/4 white grape juice concentrate (recipe calls for thawed frozen juice but mine wasn’t) + 2 tablespoon of sugar + 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice + 3 tablespoon of water (not shown on picture).

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Combine, process in a blender until smooth.

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Pour into individual popsicle molds (recipe makes 8 – I had some leftover).

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Looks promising, eh? Freeze until firm.

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Savor.

This would be a very easy recipe to make with young children. Just get the ingredients ready as shown on picture and let them pour into the blender. If they feel adventurous you could even let them press the button! This is just what we needed on a very hot summer day (36 degrees).

Toddler Years: Handling Tantrums

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Putting her blocks away without being prompted.

Sixtine is a very bright, wild, energetic and strong-willed little girl. She loves her newly found independence but still needs a lot of attention. I think the hardest part of being 20 months (for my baby anyway) is that she is torn between wanting to be her own individual and needing us – just as much as her 3 months old sister does, but differently.

She has gone through moving out of the country twice, being away from her father half her life in total, changing homes, language, entourage, routine and last but not least, a difficult pregnancy (modified bed rest, hospitalization) and a new baby in the family. Sprinkle with a typical 20-month old attitude and you have a clear picture of what we are going through right now.

She is craving for stability, routine and order which is why the Montessori approach works so well for us. Look at her putting her blocks away at the exact same place! She seems so concentrated and content. I was actually extremely surprised to see that she knew to empty her dirty clothes basket in her sister’s hamper.

One thing though, she is amazing with her baby sister. She kisses her, holds her hand, tells her not to cry, tell her “go” when she wants her to nurse, pour water on her head during bath time (gently – she means to help), shares her toys, will pull my hand when “Coco” is up so I can attend to her right the second ( I think she hears her better than I do ;)…and the list goes on!

However, I have been finding it really hard to keep my cool lately. She whines and cries a lot more than usual, and can be defiant as well. I am not as patient either and I suppose she can feel it too. What I usually do is I will explain to her that I am not happy with her behaviour and will have her sit on a cushion. She knows she has to stay on it until I go get her (usually a couple minutes) and I tell her to think about what happened. She usually gets very offended and cries, eventually, when I come back, I ask her if she is sorry and she will answer: “Yeah” and give me a big cuddle and kisses. It usually works – but for big tantrums, I am totally at lost.

I know I should ignore them but it is easier said than done – raising two young children alone, I have very little time for myself, I get frustrated and tired, I get to miss my husband (and I know Sixtine misses her Daddy so much it breaks my heart) who goes away for work, and at the end of the day, we are all very tensed.

She has also been fighting against wearing diapers but also won’t sit on the toilets. I guess she just wants to say: I want to make decision for myself. And she can make some decisions; I offer choices when possible but it isn’t always.

It makes me very emotional just thinking of it – I love my baby so much and I wish things were smoother between the two of us…

I know that spending quality time together makes a difference – and I sincerely feel that I do that but maybe not as much as she would like – but I would really like to hear how you are going through the toddler stage or how you got through it.

ps: I need a serious plan for potty training. (I can’t let her run around naked anymore as we have mostly carpet in the house!)

Toddler Practical Life Activities

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Sixtine showed a lot of interest in all these activities this week. She absolutely loves playing with water but more importantly, she likes the independence they provided. She expressed so much happiness and excitement while doing them.

I love observing her as she concentrates to reach “perfection” and tries and tries again. I did not have to ask her to clean after herself. I simply made a cloth available for her and she naturally used it to sponge the water.

As you can see, I used various objects with their own particularities and challenges. She did unbelievably well with the black spoon. I felt that it may not be the best object as I thought it would probably be too difficult but she actually did great. We used styrofoam balls (they are great little floating machines 😉 and ice cubes (she loved them so much that she ate a couple – however, I felt that it proved a little challenging for her to scoop – they would slide off the spoon and she eventually had to use her hands.)

Inspiration: Books. Internet. Pinterest. Yoghurt container idea: Racheous. I am also an unconditional “fan” of howwemontessori.

I am always looking for new activities to try with her – so feel free to link any related blog post in your comment and I will be happy to check it out! Thank you.

Toddler Cooking: Easy Apple Crumble Recipe

Easy messy apple crisp recipe ingredients for 4-6 servings:

  • Topping: Half a cup of all purpose flour + 1/4 of granulated sugar + 1/4 cup of brown sugar + 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon + 1/8 tsp of salt + 6 tbsp of cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Filling: 3-4 apples peeled, cored and cut into chunks + 3tbsp of granulated sugar
  • Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C. Butter baking dish.
  • Mix topping with fingertips (Sixtine’s favorite!) until crumbly.
  • Lick + eat  + spill + drop + laugh + enjoy each other.
  • Toss apple chunks and sugar (you can add some lemon as well but we didn’t) in a bowl and transfer to baking dish.
  • Spread topping evenly over the apples.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Let it cool for about half hour. Chase after toddler.
  • Enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.

It was our first (real) time cooking together and Sixtine and I both enjoyed it a lot. I loved observing her as she was pouring and mixing ingredients. She was very studious and seemed so happy with herself.  De beaux souvenirs…(*beautiful memories) Oh and she is quite the cook too. It was delicious!

*make sure to enter this week’s giveaway!

Wanted: Potty Learning Tips

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Sixtine has been showing potty learning readiness for a bit now.

 Throw your tips at me!

Thank you 🙂

Sixtine And Her Terrible “Twos”

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This seemingly angelic little girl turned 18 months about a month ago, and she has well entered the terrible twos. I will say that the terrible twos are, rather than a set age, a state of mind. Sixtine says no a million times a day. And I, say no a million times a day. She says no when she means yes. She says no when she means no. I don’t think she realizes what she is saying no to – most times, she says no for the sake of it. I know it is her way of showing me/us that she has become her own person. And I am happy for her.  But I really hope that it will pass rather sooner than later.  I have been working on redirecting her positively – didn’t think it would be so hard to break the habit of saying no! (Ie: “Sixtine, don’t scream.” Instead “Sixtine, use your little voice.” ) but it definitely needs improving.Yes, I have to confess, sometimes, I react/ed childishly – trying to be the loudest. But a fault half confessed is half redressed, isn’t it? Reading on the subject has given me the opportunity to step back and realize that the most important thing was to keep calm (and have a cupcake)!

How did you get through the terrible twos? Aside from eating cupcakes? 

 

Starting Daycare For Socialization…and a bit of a break for Mama!

So it is official – although I am only meeting with the daycare’s manager next tuesday, Sixtine will be starting daycare on the fourth of December. It will only be for an hour at first, so we both get to know the educators, the children and the place and they get to know  more about little Miss Sissi, her sleeping habits, what she likes, doesn’t like, her personality…

I have to say that this is something that makes me overjoyed for two reasons:

  1. I know my daughter and I can tell she has been craving the interaction. She is a very outgoing little girl, and she loves people – strangers, friends, family, you name it. And she especially love being around other children. I think it will be a great way for her to socialize, be challenged and stimulated, have lots of fun, and progressively get more independent, as baby two comes in the picture in March.
  2. After 13 months of being with Mama 24/7, we are both going to have a break from each other. And that makes me happy.

When the lady told me that she would be starting early December, I was both excited and somehow emotional…As much as I have been wanting this time to arrive, it is going to be an adjustment to take her there and let her alone with people for hours not knowing what is going on. It almost feels like taking her to school for the first time – my baby is growing so fast!

But I know she will have a wonderful time. I can feel it.

Plus, I am exhausted and I NEED time for myself.