E. is 5

Another year has gone and we celebrated E.’s 5th birthday last weekend. This year seemed faster than the others. With 2 kids, with many programmes the days are long but the year is short.

She has grown a lot, actually she’s grown out of all her clothes during wintertime. She’s grown not one but 2 sizes. Compared to her 4-year old self 3 sizes.

She got a “big girl” bike for her birthday. It’s size 16′.

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She’s quit taking naps in the afternoon, still she’s got quiet time for 1-2 hours, depending on Baby Sis’s nap. She reads in bed or plays with her water animals, then an hour later she sits at her table and draws (stories about Waterland, an imaginary place where fish and cetaceans live freely)

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A Mother’s Day present from E.

Likes:

  • water animals
  • reading books
  • lying in
  • talking
  • jumping on the sofa
  • games on the tablet
  • rain
  • going to the library
  • tomato soup and lentil dish
  • ice-cream

Dislikes:

  • having her fringe cut
  • being in a hurry
  • getting out of the bathtub early
  • shouting
  • Baby Sis touching her drawings
  • going to bed early
  • competitions and races
  • making her hand dirty
  • changes
  • trying unknown foods

Her main interest of this year has been water animals, mainly sharks and cetaceans – whales and dolphins. She’s been reading about them, drawing them, playing with them (made out of plush or on the tablet – Real Whales) , watching them on youtube or on TV (NatGeo).

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Real Whales game

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A book she designed on the basis on the game Real Whales (the red parts are buttons you can push and hear certain whale sounds
When she takes a break from her whales she listens to the Periodic Table Song (that she’s learnt by heart like the youtube star, 6-year old American girl Julia Barker. The only difference between her and Julia is that E. can sing it in real-time and not the slower version)

After or better to say next to chemistry, dinos returned in her life as well for a short while.

Due to health reasons she stopped going to kindergarten in November 2016. She had been ill for 6 months when we decided it was enough. After 2-3 DAYS in the kindergarten she had to stay at home for 2-3 WEEKS to recover and as soon as she returned everything started all over again.

Although she’s not in kindergarten she hasn’t missed kids’ company. We’ve regularly been meeting her old kindergarten mates either at the playground, at their birthdays, or  while going for a short excursion on Magaret-island nearby.

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We went to the Helen Doron Halloween party as well as their Carnival. Our friends’ children came to visit us before Christmas to have the usual Gingerbread Party or she’s had fun with her Godparents children.

 

We’re not buying books in Hungarian any longer as we signed up at the local library and she rather borrows books. On the other hand, I buy a lot of English books online. My best source has been Kadosarok on facebook. The books are second-hand and affordable, sometimes rreally cheep indeed.

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Quiet time scene
As for books, apart from the water animals, she enjoys reading and acting out Julia Donaldson stories. We’ve read and/or acted out Room on the broom, Gruffulo, The whale and the sail, What the ladybird heard, just to mention her (and my) favourite ones. I have hidden some more J.D. books for the near future to explore.

Apart from Julia Donaldson books she finds it fun to read Richard Scarry‘s books both in English and Hungarian.

As for her reading skills, she is absolutely fantastic. She reads fluently in Hungarian, only words with 6+ syllables can cause her trouble sometimes. In English she is a bit slower but one day I heard her reading one of her ocean encyclopedia without any problem. She’s amazing.

The love of chess has faded and slowly dissapeared this year, but taking photos is still in. Her favourite topics are nature (flowers and trees), toys, our dog (who’s passed away) and her baby sister.

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Unfortunately, I haven’t had time for many craft projects this year. With 2 kids at home, with the little one tearing, crumpling and destroying everything she touches it’s almost a mission impossible. On the other hand a lot of times E. wasn’t in the mood or wasn’t interested in what I prepared for her (like the paper plate heart activity she gave up after 2 minutes)

But here are 5 of the fun craft activities we managed to do and enjoyed a lot:

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Olympic medals and the 5 rings

Ocean picture with stickers

Painting a tree with a cork

Christmas wreath

Napkin storks

She watched only 2 animations this year: Finding Nemo (in English at home) and Deep (in Hungarian at the cinema). I looove going to the cinema but I find it too early for her to go regularly. She’s got millions of questions during the film so it’s quite disturbing for other viewers. We can stop the films and discuss whatever she’s interested in here at home.

E.’s relationship with her baby sister is getting better… quite slowly. They still cannot play together for more than 3-5 minutes. E. sometimes tries to show her books but L. gets bored within few minutes. They’ve been taking a bath together for quite a while, which is fun for both of them. E. developed a copy cat game. It starts at dinner time and she copies whatever L. is doing or saying. Baby Sis enjoys it a lot. There’s plenty of giggling and laughing in the evenings. However, there’s the other side of the coin. L. drinks from E.’s flask, crumple her drawing or scribble in her books, screams at her, pulls her hair or scratch her out of the blue. Understandably this makes E. angry.

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I feel as if her English has stagnated, although sometimes she has some utterances which I listen to agape:

“Tiger sharks are really fierce; the stronger baby sharks eat up the smaller brothers and sisters in their mommy and only the two strongest are born.”

She read this piece of information all by herself from this book:

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Our Canadian nanny has disappeared and to be honest I wasn’t pushing her coming as she had some other priorities in her life and became unreliable towards the end. So now MY priority is to find another native speaker who enthusiastically provides the native input in our language quest. I’m on it.

E. speaks English fluently at a near-native level, close to what a 5-year-old native would speak. Or I just guess as I don’t know any 5-year old native child personally. Her active vocabulary could be a little wider but as for her passive vocabulary, I think she understands everything even more academic language. I found a test online which approximated her vocabulary to more than 4000 words.

I really need to focus on a variety of grammar structures (e.g. complex conditional sentences, correlative constructions – the… the… ) as well as idioms and sayings (e.g. I’m all ears, an apple a day keeps the doctor away) I’m using more consciously as she picks them up extremely quickly and starts using them if I use them systematically and frequently. The phrases in brackets are the ones she has starteted or at least tried to use.

I cannot be any prouder of my beautiful, clever 5-year old daughter. She’s the best!

Many happy returns, Sweetie!

Trying new words

Baby L. is very talkative. I wish I could understand what she wants to say but most of the times I don’t. She’s babbling a lot with funny intonations. She often sounds as if she were complaining, explaining some academic topic or cheering her favourite soccer team on.

However, more and more words and expressions are coming out of her that we also understand.

The funniest is a new Hungarian phrase: “nemba(j)” i.e. no problem. (I think I use it quite a lot when she messes everything up while eating, throwing thing down on the floor, or dirtying herself at the playground etc.)

She’s trying to say the English version of it too “no-pro”

Here is what she’s been saying recently:

L. 15 months words (2)

There is one new word that is missing from the chart above: one and “egy” in Hungarian. When we ask her how old she is she says one. So sweet!

Peekaboo board

Touching, licking, putting her finger in or on something are L.’s favourite sensory activities at the moment. With E. we created this touchy-feely sensory board from materials we found around the house.

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I started to collect the Zewa moist toilet paper tops quite a while ago. Altogether I managed to collect 8.

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I used a cardboard piece that came as a parcel. We looked around and E. picked 8 different textures:

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  • a strip of white IKEA kitchen drawer mat (bumpy)
  • a yellow sponge wipe (squashy)
  • the blue side of a kitchen scrub sponge (rough)
  • a metallic scrub sponge (silver and shiny)
  • a torn orange plush onsie (velvety)
  • blue jeans
  • bubble wrap (bumpy)
  • shiny green and gold satin (soft)

But you can use whatever you find at home like mop head, sand paper, silk, etc.

We drew the lids around inside/outside on the cardboard…

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… then we marked and cut out the materials

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Finally I glued the materials on the cardboard then glued the white lids on.

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I let it dry for a few days just to make sure the glue won’t let go. (And I put some dictionaries on top of it for pressure.) As for the implementation, I could have been more precise and a little more careful with the glue.

At first sight Baby Sis enjoyed lifting up the lids and touching the different surfaces. But her interest didn’t last long.

Since the first try we’ve been looking at the touchy-feely board but after a glance she moves away. Anyways, E. loved helping make it and she sometimes plays away with it for a while.Baby Sis might be interested in the board a little more in a few months time.

Baby Sis turned 1

I can’t believe a year has gone! L. has turned 1.
We celebrated it in the circle of our extended family. I made a cake that she could eat (chestnut and cherry cake without an egg), but also ordered a raspberry mouse cake for the other family members. Both of them were appreciated, however, the chestnut cake was all gone by the next day , the mouse cake wasn’t.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A few words about our one year old:

She is still tiny. Size 74 is still a little too big. (she’s about 72 cms and 7.8 kg)

She is cute, cute and cute. She still smiles a lot, but when she’s bored, had enough or doesn’t like something she screams. She’s got a complaining tone of voice, which is very funny, occasionally annoying (mainly at dinner time).

She babbles a lot in a most varied way. She uses her hands to gesture and give emphasise to what she talks about.

No words, though. Sometimes we make fun of her when we can make some real words out of her babbling. But she’s trying. Words starting with ‘b’ are her favourite: book, boob, ball, bye. She calls them boooooo

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She says something similar to duck, dog, ball . But I can’t say these are clear words. I couldn’t make out Hungarian words yet.

Her intonation is fantastic. She can copy us perfectly.

She understands everything in both languages. (She waves when we say hello, or bye-bye, she shows certain signs like ‘finished’, ‘milk’ or ‘more’)

She loves music. Sometime she cruises to her old baby swing and turns the music on and starts shaking her little bum. She also loves it and calms down whenever we sing to her. She enjoys pushing the buttons on noisy books or hitting her tiny xylophone.

She and E. take a bath together and L. imitates blowing whenever she wants bubbles. She does the same when she sees a candle, though she can’t blow it away.

Flashcards are very popular with her. After having enough of eating she points at the cards. Her favourite categories are animals and baby objects.

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I’m really looking forward to this new year which, I hope, will have a lot of language development in store for us.

Squishy bag

Breakfast time is quite difficult with 2 kids. L. finishes with her breakfast quickly and gets bored in her high chair. E. is as slow as a snail so it’s hard to finish at the same time.

While E. is eating and I’m busy in the kitchen or clearing the table I always give L. something to play with. One morning this squishy bag.

I filled up an IKEA zip lock bag with a little water and added hair gel. I threw in some buttons and beads and gave it to her. Before closing it, I pushed out the air and then I put wide cello tape on the zip lock.

She was busy with the squishy bag only for 5 minutes. Better than nothing.

She poked the buttons gently. I love the careful and focused movement of her tiny fingers.

Next she needed to taste it just like everything else.

When she got bored she tossed it down and checked when it was on the floor, pointing at it. A few times I gave it back to her. And everything started all over again.

The problem was that E. was more interested and didn’t want to eat. *sigh* I don’t really know what to do with this…

Either L. might have made a hole on the bag with her 2 teeth or the hair gel was extremely bad quality as I could smell it 5 steps away from the high chair. After few days it ended in the rubbish bin.