16 January 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Temperaments, math books and cutting caribou

Little Bear walked into the house when we got home last night, realized that he still had his boots on, and became very upset.
Little Bear: "Oh no! Oh no! Boots on!"
Mama (taking them off): "Why did you walk into the house with your boots on?"
Little Bear: "Boots on!"
Mama: "I know; I asked why."
Little Bear: ..."I said because."

He's actually listening when I think he's just asking "why" over and over again to drive me crazy.


My brother got a caribou on Wednesday—he's enjoying having an extra-long break between semesters this winter! Matt was disappointed that he couldn't join them on their hunt, but they went the day before the start of the new semester at the University of Alaska and no one in OIT was allowed to take leave. He and my dad were both very sure that I needed to learn to cut up a caribou for the future, though, so I ran over to my parents' house this morning to watch and help my mom cut and pack meat. Caribou are much smaller than moose; in Alaska we have the subspecies known as Grant's caribou or porcupine caribou (from their calving grounds near the Porcupine River), which average 150 lbs for males and 90 lbs for females. Our moose, in contrast, can be up to 1,000 lbs. A caribou carries very little fat, though, so the meat you do get from them is lean, easy to process, and delicious. Mom picked Little Bear up so he could watch me cutting this roast, telling him that Mama was cutting caribou. He excitedly replied, "Eat for supper!"


Quiet time and bedtime are working well. Matt told me to pick a date upon which Little Bear was no longer going to come into our bed, and I picked last Friday, deciding that I was finally far enough out of the first trimester that I had the energy to deal with any middle-of-the-night battles. That night we explained to Little Bear what was happening, put him to bed as usual, and he hasn't once tried to come get in bed with us since. And giving him "quiet time" in the afternoon instead of a nap most days has more often than not meant easy bedtimes like tonight, where we all say prayers, I read Little Bear two stories, then I turn the lights out and sing him one song and he's asleep before the end. Waiting until 2.5 to transition him to his own bed had the definite advantage of us being able to explain things to him, and have him understand what's happening. 

(And chances are the next kid will have a completely different temperament and the whole process will go differently, but that won't affect us for a while!)

Temperaments. I've been reading The Temperament God Gave Your Kids, by Art and Laraine Bennett, recently and have really appreciated their insight into the ways different temperaments manifest in children's behavior. Some of Little Bear's recent behavior, and the lack of effect discipline has had, has been frustrating us, and reading through their experiences with children of each temperament has helped me see that certain things he does that make me crazy because they just don't make sense to me are actually stemming from differences in our temperaments. Matt and I appreciated their perspective on how the characteristics we're seeing in him right now will develop to both benefit him and need particular types of guidance from us as he gets older. The Bennetts are definitely writing from a Catholic perspective, emphasizing that your temperament doesn't define who you are and the choices you'll make, but rather that understanding your (or your child's) temperament can help you be aware of what virtues do not come as easily for you and will take extra effort.

Little Bear, we're pretty confident, is sanguine with a liiiiiiitle bit of phlegmatic. Reading their descriptions of parenting as each of the temperaments, we're thinking that I'm choleric/melancholic and Matt is sanguine/melancholic. Now I really want to read another of the Bennett's books, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse!

This afternoon I was looking at the disaster that somehow befell my kitchen and trying to convince my sciatica to go away so I could clean (or possibly just convince myself to get off the couch and get started), when FedEx dropped off a small package. I didn't think we were expecting anything... I opened it to find my order from Norwex, microfiber cloths for cleaning without chemicals or wasting disposable paper towels. Talk about a not-so-subtle shove in the right direction! The house is pretty darn clean now, down to the freshly-scrubbed dining room floor. Which Little Bear promptly spilled his milk on at supper... Oh well. I really liked the Norwex cloths: we got two of their all-purpose microfiber "envirocloths," one for bathroom-cleaning and one for dusting; a kid-sized envirocloth for Little Bear to help dust; and a very fine-weave microfiber "window cloth," which I assume will work as well on windows as it did on mirrors. Little Bear initially assured me that his cloth was not for dusting, it was for sitting on, but as soon as I started dusting he ran over happily to help.

Matt started his long weekend a little bit early today, coming home sick in the middle of the day. Hopefully he is feeling better soon, and Little Bear and I don't get sick so we can all enjoy his mini-break together. We weren't expecting a long weekend—I don't remember him getting MLKJr Day off last year—so finding out on Thursday was a nice surprise.

And... I'm so tired, I can't think of a seventh. Anyone have experience with Right Start Mathematics, levels A and B? I've looked thorough the beginning of the B book, haven't seen A, but am wondering if A is actually worth getting. The first lesson in B only counts up to 3...  Little Bear is counting up to 29. What do they do in A? We're obviously not going to start doing daily schoolwork—he's only 2.5—but I want to start doing some super basic whenever-we-feel-like-it work with tally sticks and the abacus to encourage his interest in numbers right now.

Have a good weekend! For more Quick Takes, stop by This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. Caribou sounds healthy!
    I love all the temperament stuff - my husband is most definitely phlegmatic! I want to check out that book now!

    1. It is! Caribou is considered an excellent source of protein, iron, and vitamin A, and recent research has shown that the meat is particularly low in contaminants because are not as exposed to pollutants (and not at all to plants with pesticides on them).