Lucien Lately

At the farm in WI with Grandma and Grandpa:
What a helper, washing and packing eggs, feeding the dog and cats and birds!
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What a fun birthday! Grandma came up with a new song at the dinner table. “Lucien is three today, Lucien is three today, everybody clap your hands, hip, hip horray!”
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What a fun party! We got to see family and friends! Lucien had one request for his party: “a pinata with treats and stickers and toys inside!” He chose the style of the pinata himself, and we delivered: mini play-doh containers, stickers, temporary tattoos, individual packs of dried fruit, balloons, silly bow ties and necklaces for dressing up.
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After about a month on the farm, we had to return to Hawaii. Lucien declared on the plane ride back that he was a “super flier!” I couldn’t agree more; I couldn’t have asked for a better, more cheerful, more patient travel partner. This is how we entertained ourselves on the plane: pouring bubble water, drawing faces on paper cups, telling stories, and singing songs.
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I also shamelessly used the glowing screen to entertain us for a couple of hours. Super Why teaches early literacy skills, so it is not that bad, right? The upside is that Lucien is now looking forward to his next plane ride, just because he will have a chance to watch Super Why again.
What Lucien has been into lately:
Organizing. More so than usual. I think it is his way of coping with all of the chaos and change in his life lately, visiting Grandma and Grandpa in WI for almost a month and then returning to Hawaii. Different people, places, sights, sounds, climates, time zones. So he has been arranging and rearranging K cups. I let him use my collection, and he takes them out of their boxes, lines them up in his cart and then pushes them around, puts them back in their boxes, arranges them on the floor in muffin liners. He has quite the vivid imagination, and a lot of pretend play happens here, too. He has pretended to be a shopkeeper and sell me the K cups; he has pretended that the K cups are eggs, and he is (just like Grandpa in WI) collecting them and selling them to the local co-op; he has pretended that they are tomatoes that he is planting in his garden (really on top of a brown blanket spread on the floor); and he has pretended that they are baby chicks.
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Usborne Illustrated – I found an edition of Usborne Illustrated Stories from Around the World at the library in Wisconsin, and Lucien absolutely loved it. We read all of the stories so many times. The rich and varied language and slightly more complex plot lines were just perfect for him. They hold his interest and stretch him just enough. For a belated birthday present I found a collection of several used books from the Usborne Illustrated collection, and I am giving them to him, one at a time. This week we just started the Illustrated Classics for Boys, he has asked to hear Robin Hood now four times in a row – at meals, at bed, whenever, it is his new favorite story. He seems fascinated with the idea of  a boy – Much Middleton – who rescues his father.
Folk tales – Lucien has also been fascinated with folk tales, especially Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel. A little frightening for a three-year-old it would seem to me, but they captured his attention. I read him the Zelinsky versions, which have rich language and beautiful, detailed illustrations, so that might have been some of the allure. I am now on the lookout for more Zelinsky books. Baba Yaga is another favorite folk tale, and I currently have holds placed on several Baba Yaga story books at the library here in Hawaii. I am planning to throw in some Russian language practice along with the culture!
Songs with motions – Lucien was never historically into doing songs with motions; I would attempt to engage him, and he would just look at me as if I were ridiculous. Lately though, he has been having a lot of fun singing and moving with me. Current favorites are The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Five Elephants, Two Little Blackbirds, We Are All Together, The Hokey Pokey, and Ring Around the Rosie. His current game with Ring Around the Rosie is to say it and run around as fast as he possibly can. The kid has some serious speed!
Ice cream – Since we stick to a nutrient-dense diet free from grains, industrial oils, and added sugars, ice cream is not something that we buy at the grocery store. The neighbor children, however, eat it all the time (especially in this hot weather), and I wondered if Lucien wasn’t feeling a bit left out. For his birthday I got him a set of ice cream molds. The base looks exactly like an ice cream cone, and we can pour our own homemade ice cream into the top of the mold and then freeze it. Lucien loves to help. Our new concoction involves banana, cocoa powder, nut butter, coconut milk, and grass-fed gelatin. I think it is delicious and Lucien agrees. “Another ice cream cone!” is now a frequent exclamation in our house.
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