Our Children Marched Today Because…

Today our family marched with thousands upon thousands of other concerned citizens in New York City to protest against police brutality. We saw other parents walking with their children but by and large it was rare to see young children at the event… which is understandable. During the march, we received accolades and quite a bit of attention for having our children with us. Bringing a five year old and 20 month old to a protest march is an interesting decision…

Here is why we did it:
– we wanted them to experience history while it occurred 
– we wanted to reinforce what Lady C (our five year old) learned about civil rights and civil disobedience in school
– Lady C learns a lot about justice but it is equally important that she learns about INJUSTICE

This was a learning moment and teaching opportunity. For weeks now, we have been trying to think of a way to discuss what is happening in the country and have been at a loss. We’ve read blogs and articles and gathered children’s books that discuss race and civil disobedience. In reality, we were over-thinking it. Once we decided to attend the march we had to confront the issue of discussion. And just spoke from the heart.

We asked Lady C to tell us about what she learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. She said they wanted people to sit wherever they wanted on a bus. We told her that one of the ways they made their opinions known was by marching with other people who shared their opinions. We told her we wanted to do the same to let the world know that we do not agree with people being treated unfairly. We decided not to delve too much into the particulars of the most recent cases and kept it very general.

We prepped by packing snacks, loading up on clothes to stay warm and Lady C made a sign for the event and sounded out all the words to create the sign.

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Lady C and Lady H even marched through the house to rehearse. And… We made sure everyone had an empty bladder before we left the house… Very very important.

When we arrived, Lady C was amazed by the crowd and we asked her how it felt to see so many people gathered to express how they feel. Her response: “happy”.

She joined the chants, held her sign with pride, asked questions and generally was a great sport.

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We left the march early and on the way home she continued to chant.

We hope this experience teaches Lady C about social action, using your voice and opens her eyes to the power people have when they come together for a united purpose.

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Two Right Handed Parents, One Left Handed Kid

When Lady C was 2 and half years old she started reading independently. At first we thought she was just memorizing books so color us shocked when she started reading book after book without having it read to her first. She is now 5 and can read pretty much anything she puts her hands on and is enjoying chapter books. We don’t say this to impress you because all kids have SOME special skill where they accelerate and then lack in some other area. Our kid is an early reader and our kid’s area of concern is HANDWRITING!

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CAUGHT ‘EM! They put themselves in this position…

So while Lady is reading books left and right (pun intended) including reading to her sister, we noticed that she was not holding writing utensils well… we noticed that she was holding them in her left hand. Neither of us are left handed and it proved to be difficult to show her or teach her the proper grip. Couple that with over use of tablet devices and by the time she was in Pre-K her teacher referred her to the in-school Occupational Therapist. She was assessed and sure enough, the report came back that her hold is weak as compared to her fellow students. I know I know — some of you are probably out there thinking, she’s 5! What’s the big deal? And… that’s what we thought when she was 3 and when she was 4 but we started to get more concerned as the year passed particularly because she did not LIKE writing and drawing.

After hearing that report we have focused more on encouraging her to draw and write as much as possible and found ways to make it fun! Practice makes perfect and handwriting would only improve with practice.

Here are some of the things we are doing:

1) We have Lady C write birthday cards for all of her friend’s birthday parties. ALL. She LOVES this and now she looks forward to drawing and is a pro and writing her “To: and From:” greetings. We (un)fortunately go to a lot of kid parties so this happens often. We also encourage her to write and draw stories because her imagination is wild and she always has a good story in her.

2) We encourage her to write on an easel. Holding a writing instrument upright forces a better grip because of the position of the arm.

3) We actually went back to cursed electronic device and got an App called Wet.Dry.Try but we have her use a stylus instead of her fingers. The app provides a progress report and makes writing fun and a game for kids.

4) And this summer we went a step further, we enrolled her in an occupational therapy gym called SPOTS in Brooklyn. We realized that we were holding her back because of our tough time trying to teach her how to write and in 6 weeks of attending she has come around sooooo much. We are so grateful to her Occupational Therapist, Barbara and we made Barbara a card to thank her as well. Lady C looks forward to occupational therapy and is sad that she will be leaving soon.

So – that’s our story. Our kid is not perfect (ha!). Two right handed parents… one left handed kid!

Any other righties raising lefties??? Any lefties raised by righties???

Let us know some tools you have used to improve handwriting!

Reader’s Choice Topic: Open Letter to Your Child’s Teacher

From time to time we will post a discussion topic that has been requested in our online Facebook community. This is the first edition of our “Reader’s Choice” topics and it’s a heavy one, not an easy one… but a topic that is always at the forefront for caregivers of children: PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION.

One of our readers is a primary school teacher. She most recently taught kindergarten in the New York City public school system and will be teaching first grade in the fall. She has been a teacher since 2002 and is very passionate about providing the best education for her students. She became a teacher through the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. This reader happens to also be a very important person in our lives and someone who we rely on to provide us with educational tools for our children. She had a few discussion points centered around primary grades (pre-K to 2nd grade) but we are going to narrow it down to one particular discussion:

FOR GRADES PRE-K TO 2ND GRADE – WHAT ARE THE KEY THINGS THAT YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER?

In thinking about this discussion enjoy THIS “Open Letter” written by a parent to his son’s kindergarten teacher.

If you prepared your own Open Letter to your child’s teacher what would it say? 

We look forward to hearing from you!