Otis is learning to control his movements. He is learning to touch plants without damaging them. I would often ask Otis not to touch plants as I knew he would pull at them. I needed to turn this behaviour around and give him the opportunity to be gentle.
"They (children) are continuously given the negative message not to move and not to touch anything. As a result they arrive at the logical conclusion that their movement is not good, since it is not accepted, and that everything they do is not good. Indeed, they are often openly told that they are "bad" because they want to be active." - Silvana Montanaro, Understanding the Human Being.
Caspar is learning resolve. The hermit crab tickles but he knows if he moves his hand he will startle the crab. Handling these little creatures is a good way to get to know them better. Slowly Caspar is taking more responsibility for their care.
Pets add a feeling of warmth to a home. For a minimalist like me that's important. Pets allow us to observe nature up close. We can learn anatomy, behaviour patterns, eating habits, oh so much.
I love these little critters. They have personality and are very active. They like digging, climbing, tumbling and eating.
To start I wasn't sure. They require upkeep. Their water and food needs to be replenished frequently. Their water needs to be dechlorinated and they need a salt bath. You have to monitor their temperature. It's too much for Caspar so his responsibility is checking on their welfare, "do they look happy?" and an occassional mist.
Normally it's not that crowded, today we tried offering some banana and grapes. It's hard to tell if they ate any but they climbed all over it.
It's important to us that they are accessible. First we had them on a small coffee table. But that was too easy for Otis to reach, he started banging on the glass. This table is perfect, it's so stable and Otis can see the crabs but he cannot reach them. It's nice that Caspar can still access the aquarium and it makes a nice place for him to sit and observe.
I'm still a novice. Seeking the advice of crab keepers near us and reading up, there is some great information on forums and even blogs on crabs. If you have any tips on keeping Hermit Crabs I'd be happy to hear. Our crabs currently don't have a hut but the branch does provide protection.
Grrr. I just read Hermit Crabs don't like misting. Who to believe?
The hardest day in my parenting life. I was up all night and morning comforting our dog. He didn't make it. We was old and had been with us for a very long time. He's family, like our first child. Caspar slept through it all. I didn't know how to tell him. How to talk about life, love and death with a four year old?
I sat next to him with Otis playing in a different room. I was calm and clear. I used real words and told the truth. Caspar seems rather clinical about it. Perhaps he'll feel differently in a couple of days. Today he was mostly concerned about me. He wanted to make me happy. I wept all day. I tried to control my grief but at the same time needed to share with Caspar the process of losing a loved one. My eyes are sore. I'm so tired. I loved that dog so much.
When I first walked into a Montessori toddler classroom it surprised me to see a fish tank located only inches off the floor. Were they crazy? Surely that's dangerous! I guess I had a lot to learn about Montessori.
Over time I witnessed many children putting their hands into the tank, many times the glass lid fell in and occasionally children would fight over who got to feed the fish. But what was learnt in the process? So, so much. The benefit of having such an accessible fish tank clearly outweighed any negatives.
While at home I loved the idea of keeping fish (and a mussel, and aquatic snails) I wasn't so keen for such a low fish tank. This is our compromise. The tank is still easily viewed by youngsters but they need to stand on a stool to reach the lid.