Moose’s Lodge

Raising a Moose

HungryHungry Hippo May 17, 2010

Filed under: Moose — valben @ 9:49 pm

Moose has added another category to his knowledge of the United States – he now knows all 50 state flags.  Raise your hand if you can identify all 50. . . don’t worry, I didn’t raise my hand either!

We saw our family over the weekend, and they asked, “Why state flags?!?”  It is really simple – he asked for it.  It started very innocently.  To keep Moose entertained in the car, we always play some version of “I Spy.”  Indiana is great for this game, because the roads are so long and straight.  A few months ago, Moose said, “I see blue rectangles.”  I looked around, sure enough, there were those little blue flags utility companies used to mark lines before digging.  I explained to him those were actually little blue flags.  A few minutes later, we passed by the big red, white and blue flag and I told him that was the United States of America flag.  That started it.  He would point out the American flag everywhere we went.  “That’s a big United States of America flag, that’s a little United States of America flag, how many United States of America flags are there?” 

One day we drove by Texas Roadhouse.  He said, “There is a United States of America flag, and. . and. . that is NOT a United States of America flag!”  I told him that was the Texas state flag.  At this point, he already knew all 50 states, so he started asking to see the flags at random times.  I was planning on teaching them to him at one point, but I wasn’t ready because I didn’t have any Bits made of US flags.  I took Moose to Barnes and Noble that very day and found this great little tidbit – The Nifty Fifty State Flags.  He literally ate these up.  He knew 10 flags within the first day, and knew all fifty states in less than a week.

Part of me didn’t want to buy this little kit, because I wanted to make pretty, state flag Bits, but then I remembered what so many other mothers from the Institutes told me – Bits don’t always have to be presented in the 11″x11″ format.  These 5″x7″ cards were the perfect size for him to see all the detail, and were big enough for me to easily handle.

One of my cousins asked how in the world he was able to learn and retain all this information.  I think of Moose’s brain like the game, Hungry Hungry Hippo.  The playing field is the world we see everyday, tons of different marbles of knowledge rolling by.  Sometimes, he will ask about something, so I will roll a particular marble his way and he will gobble it up.  Sometimes he sees or hears something himself and gobbles it up.  When I present information to him via the Doman method, its like taking that big world-sized playing field, shrinking it down to an 11″x11″ size (or 5″x7″ in the case of the flags!) and rolling sets of the same colored marbles toward my little hippo at one time.  With the smaller playing field, he is able to gobble up information faster and with more efficiency than if we just waited for information to roll by randomly.  It usually takes a few tries, but he eventually gets all the marbles I send his way 🙂


The Tao of Moose May 9, 2010

Filed under: Moose — valben @ 1:56 am

We recently took a little trip to St. John, the smallest of the USVI with some great friends of ours.  We are all pretty laid back, so there were no schedules to keep, no tours to take – heck, we didn’t even know what time it was 90% of the time!  Even with that, somehow we managed to have the kids bathed and asleep by 8 o’clock or so each night.  Again, we didn’t plan it, it just happened. 

Moose was his usual moosey, happy self.  As long as he spent a few hours in the water, pool or ocean, he was happy.  Even after he got a horrible sunburn, he was STILL happy.  Even after a 15 hour travel day, which involved 3 or 4 modes of transportation, he was good. 

I know you are thinking, okay, so he broke down after you settled back into the home routine?  Nope, not even then.  Not when he got sick Friday night, with a high fever and zero appetite.  Nor when he threw up all over me two mornings later.  Not even when Ben had to fly out Sunday night on a last minute work trip for 2 days.  Moose barely flinched.  He let me do his nighttime routine (which normally, he won’t let me do) and he was even in bed by 8 PM.

The one who finally broke down and was gloomy and sad was ME.  I never do well adjusting back to real life after vacation.  And having to readjust to real life and have Ben leave was just too depressing.  As much fun as I have with Moose, and as much as he makes me smile and laugh, I still have my moments, MY tantrums.  I have a long way to go to learn patience.  I am the one who tends to overreact to situations.  After he puked on me, it took all my will and power not to break down into tears.  That happened later on that night, after Moose was asleep and Ben was gone, when I found a swarm of ants on the puke puddle underneath the couch. 

I am often reminded that we should follow our children’s lead on many things, forgiveness and optimism being on the top of the list.  No matter how much of an asshole I am to Moose, he is always forgiving.  Even when he has his bad moments, within mere minutes, he lets it go and is back to being happy. 

I am doing my best to be more like my son.  For example, Friday Ben took an early day to come home and eat lunch with us.  He then went to play a quick round of golf, saying he would be home before he is normally home from work so we could start our family weekend together early.  When the game ran two hours later than expected, I followed Moose’s lead – I looked at that time as more special time for me and my baby boy, instead of missed family time.  And when Ben did eventually get home, he made it up to me with sushi, which I was able to enjoy since I decided not to indulge in being angry about something neither of us could control.  I was happy, Ben was happy, and of course, Moose was happy. 

I am prone to moodiness, so I am thankful I did not pass that trait on to my child!  I realize saying this about an almost 2 1/2 year old sounds crazy, especially since most of them are prone to tantrums, irrational behavior and the “terrible twos,” but my son is everything I strive to be:  loving, kind, forgiving, optimistic and constantly smiling.