The Graduate

{image via Dishbase}

I am proud to announce that yours truly has completed her Kindermusik training. All that really means is that I now carry a license to make frog and elephant sounds in a room full of 2-4 year olds. How does one celebrate such an accomplishment? I used to have a friend who would commemorate important dates by buying a new pair of pretty panties. I thought about doing that or perhaps changing my name to Maria and sewing play clothes out of ugly old curtains so that my kids can frolic the Austrian countryside while singing “Fa…. a long long way to run”. But what better way to celebrate both Fall and my new certification than with some crisp apple strudel… as in “cream colored ponies…. doorbells and sleigh bells…” you get the idea. It was either that or schnitzel with noodles which, let’s face it, who really knows what a “schnitzel is anyway? As we speak, my youngest is plundering the fruit bowl that Mommy left at eye-level and juggling red delicious apples under the dining room table. Best get to baking!

Thanks for your patience with me while I’ve been M.I.A. lately completing this course. It’s nice to be back in the blogosphere.

Kinder “Moose-Kick”

Today, I begin my Kindermusik teaching practicum and I am literally giddy like a little school girl. I get to spend the next 4 weeks with with 5 families of children age 2-4 singing, dancing, and making animal noises. What a trip! Last week while I was practicing with Mia and Salem {which he so adorably calls Kinder-“moose-kick”} we we’re squealing like pigs until he literally covered his ears and starting screaming. Apparently my pig noises frighten small children. However, we’ve made it past the terrifying stage enough to join our friends and neighbors today in what I hope to be the beginning of a fun musical learning experience for everyone. Wish me luck!

Naked Conversations

I picked up this title during our stay in Amelia Island last Christmas. The library options were limited so it was either this or 49 Ways to Improve Your Birdwatching by J.S. Bank. I suspect you would have chosen the same. First things first, a small disclaimer: this is not my usual blog post. Tune in next time for my commentary on Martha Stewart’s sewing crafts or DIY fabric stenciling.

I listened to a webinar this week as part of my Kindermusik training. It is called “Talking to Today’s Mom”. It highlighted the power of consumer reviews in influencing buyer decisions {particularly ours, ladies}. I may have started doodling a bit at this point in the lecture. Sales and marketing have never really been my thing. I’m an artist {insert dramatics here} for crying out load. But the social media stats {i.e. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc.} suddenly made my ears perk up, and it reminded me of what I read in Naked Conversations last winter. Try this on. Did you know that in 2010, Facebook reported over 400 million users?  4…0…0…,0…0…0…,0…0…0… {Yep…. that’s 8 zeros… just checking}. I ask you: what on EARTH did we do before Facebook?

My training requires listening and discussion so I’ll clue you in to part of my response.

“The stats regarding brand purchases and the psychology behind social media confirmed a theory I have questioned about my generation for some time. The pendulum has swung from my grandparent’s generation who was impressed by glossy slogans and well-manicured hands to a generation influenced primarily by word of mouth and more down-to-earth marketing approaches. My generation wants to keep it “real”. We get frustrated when we’re on the listening end of a pre-recorded message. We prefer a REAL person who breathes and sneezes on the other line, thank you. We might not give a second glance to a billboard sign with larger-than-life advertising phrases that include the words “top-rated” or “money-back guarantee”, but we’ll read a blog full of tpyos from top to bottom because REAL people can’t spell. REAL people write like they talk. REAL people are more likely to purchase something because their college roommate swears by it and not because it was featured on the Home Shopping Network. Commercials don’t influence buying power. We do! REAL stories. REAL spellers. REAL people!”

Thanks for indulging the social-science nerd in me for a moment. Have a great weekend keeping it “real”.

Nursery Duty

Happy Monday everyone! Its not even 10:30 and already I’ve already broken a glass, been passed up by a granny during my 5k training, and fixed the DVD player which was skipping on account of a piece of granola lodged into the loading tray.

I have been getting up at 5am {Heaven help me} for the past couple of weeks while I am undergoing my online Kindermusik certification. More to come about that. My assignment over the weekend was to observe a pre-school environment {other than Kindermusik} and compare my findings based on the Kindermusik philosophy. That doesn’t sound so bad. Yesterday, I observed the pre-school nursery at church. Half way through my written observations this morning, I figured I just had to include you in this conversation since  you’ve so graciously subjected yourself to my commentary on life thus far. I find it difficult to write without using irony based on true story.

Here are a few of my responses–

Q. Was the environment fun for the child?

A. “The toddler that threw a block at the face of another unsuspecting nursery attendee was no doubt having a rip-roaring good time, but as mama always used to say, “If everybody isn’t having fun, nobody is having fun.” Perhaps it is a blessing that children don’t remember all that much before the age of 2 or else the child-target now has something to tell his future therapist.”

Q. Did the environment encourage parent involvement?

A. “You better believe I got involved when the aforementioned block thrower took a swing at my 11-month-old.”

Q. Did the class provide quality materials?

A. “My two-and-a-half year old was assigned the task of holding the laminated number on a popsicle stick that corresponded with the days of Creation. He beamed. But I could see his wheels turning when he realized that the days of Creation ended with the number “7”. I’m pretty sure he was puzzled when the Bible story teller didn’t promptly produce a number “8” popsicle stick. Must remember to explain that one later.

I have a feeling when my husband reads this, he is going to think, “oh dear, what on Earth are they going to do with you, Salina?” To which I will reply, “If I am going to get up at 5am to watch a group sing-a-long video circa 1978, I am darn well going to have fun with it.”

Oh, and for all you church nursery workers, my hat’s off to you. That is no easy task. Extra jewels in your crown {or an extra drink during Sunday lunch.}