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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Life Ala Tongginator

Gretchen at Lifenut recently shared a list she discovered entitled 100 things to do before kindergarten. The list is really, really long, but I want you to SUFFER I thought it might be nice to record my miserable failings as a momma where we are since the Tongginator begins kindergarten this fall. And I gulp attended kindergarten registration yesterday.

Oh yes, I did. My baby begins kindergarten in less than five months. Oh, my.

1. Go to the zoo -- Yes.

2. Visit a farm -- Yes. Once. And I learned the importance of appropriate footwear on that occasion. We also visited the Garrett County Fair, which is nearly the same as being at a farm. At least, the smells are the same.

3. Go on a hike -- Yes.

4. Play with kittens or puppies -- Yes.

5. Catch a frog -- Umm... no. And I feel no shame about this.

6. Make a gigantic mess -- Every. Blessed. Day.

7. Help clean up a gigantic mess -- Again: Every. Blessed. Day. Tonggu Momma is a Mean Momma.

8. Master the monkey-bars --Not yet. And I suspect not for a few years.

9. Swing high up into the sky all by themselves -- She's getting there. That whole leg pumping on the swing thing is a tough one. Motor planning for children with sensory issues? Yeah. Good luck with that.

10. Try ice-skating -- Are you kidding me? That sounds like a wonderful idea, but y'all know how much the Tongginator hates the cold. I doubt her sensory self could last ice skating.

11. Go sledding -- Yes. When she was too young to complain about the cold.

12. Make a snow-man -- Er... see #10. So no.

13. Blow bubbles -- Yes.

14. Plant seeds and watch them grow -- Yes.

15. Have a pillow fight -- Yes, although she loves her Tongginator sandwiches much more.

16. Jump on a big bed -- The husband and I know that the Tongginator accomplished this goal. We know because we still keep a video monitor in her bedroom, so we've seen evidence on a one-inch, black and white screen.

17. Jump on a trampoline or in a bounce house -- I'm particularly proud of this accomplishment, seeing as how it took 12 months of therapy, plus lots of encouragement from her best buds Cinnamon and Spice, to master this task.

18. Hang out in a tent -- Tonggu Momma does not believe in camping. This job falls to the husband. He has a couple of weeks before it gets too hot for this.

19. Spend days at the beach -- Yes.

20. Build sandcastles -- We tried to do this, but spent more time writing words in the sand.

21. Go fishing -- I guess that depends on your definition of fishing. If you refer to fishing in a lake, pond or some other large body of water, then yes - but only once. If instead you refer to a porcelain sculpture of some sort, then many, many times.

22. Go out on a boat -- Yes.

23. Play with blocks and puzzles -- I'm a former preschool and kindergarten teacher. Need I say more?

24. Read the classic picture books -- See above.

25. Read a classic chapter book -- Actually, we've kind of fallen down on the job in this area. We've tried to read Winnie The Pooh with her, but it failed miserably. Must. Do. Better.

26. Check out library books with their own library card -- She uses mine. Yet again, I prove that I'm a bad momma.

27. Get a passport -- The Tongginator still has her now non-usable Chinese passport. We have to get a US passport soon so that she can join us on our next adoption trip.

28. Carve a pumpkin -- Of course. Especially since we hold a pumpkin carving contest every year. Check out the winners from last year...

29. Hold a newborn baby (to see how much they've grown) -- She held her cousin Baby Ruth when Baby Ruth was less than two weeks old. And yes, I envisioned a dropped on the head moment. But of course I wouldn't yell at the Tongginator if it happened (it didn't). Why not? Because I once dropped the Tongginator on her head. When she was about 14 months old. Yep. I surely did.

30. Love a special doll or stuffed animal -- Doggy. Since she was 15 months old.

31. Bake cookies and cakes -- Yes.

32. Help plan their own birthday party -- Yes. Do I even need to mention the dreaded Butterfly theme?

33. Go to the circus -- Attempted. Aborted due to sensory reasons. The Tongginator couldn't handle the bright spotlights, roar of the crowd nor the animals smells.

34. Go to a museum on a quiet weekday -- Yes, but only because we went with our China-adoption travel group to the Dayton, Ohio Childrens Museum on a Thursday.

35. Play hide-and-seek -- Momma thinks perhaps too often.

36. Play a board game -- Her favorite is called "Kids On Stage." Why does this not surprise?

37. Do nothing whatsoever all day -- Absolutely. Unless you count whining as an activity.

38. Try a sport -- Not yet. But she does take a ballet/ tap combo class once a week.

39. Watch a sporting event -- Her cousin's basketball game, although we also had a highly unsuccessful trip to Camden Yards.

40. Learn to swim -- Trying. But it's kinda hard when one refuses to place one's face in the water.

41. Be tickled in hysterics -- Yes, although we ALWAYS stop when the Tongginator says stop. We want her to learn that she controls who touches her body, when and how. This is VERY important to me.

42. Paint and draw as much as desired -- Yes.

43. Have the use of scissors and glue -- Yes.

44. Display artworks and other creations around the house -- Yes. And how about on the blog, too?

45. Learn to use a camera (and keep an album of the results!) -- Yes.

46. Play with clay -- Yes. Our Early Interventionist encouraged us to use clay rather than playdough. It helps much more with fine motor skills.

47. Pick flowers -- Do weeds like dandelions count? Then yes.

48. Climb a tree -- Not yet.

49. Gaze at the moon and stars -- Saved by the Moon Festival! Yes.

50. Toast marshmallows -- Yes.

51. Learn to eat an ice-cream cone -- Yes.

52. Watch a sunset -- Yes.

53. Learn to write her own name -- Yes.

54. Learn her address and telephone number -- Mostly. We're working on it.

55. Learn her parents' full names -- Yes. And our ages. Isn't that just wonderful (voice dripping with sarcasm)?

56. Set the table -- Yes.

57. Clear the table -- Yes.

58. Help wash the dishes -- Have I mentioned before that I am a Mean Momma?

59. Learn to say their pleases and thank yous and excuse mes -- Yes.

60. Watch fireworks -- Yes.

61. Go to the ballet or theater or a puppet show -- Yes. This past Christmas we saw a holiday play. And the Tongginator shouted out from the audience, "when can I dance up there?"

62. Put on a ballet or play or puppet show at home -- Momma thinks perhaps too often.

63. Face paint -- On her arms. She's a sensory gal.

64. Dress up in costumes at will -- Do I even need to answer this, y'all?

65. Learn rhymes and poems and songs by heart -- Yes.

66. Have a dance party -- Yes.

67. Enjoy friends at preschool and at the park -- Yes. To both.

68. Invite friends over to play -- Yes.

69. Get to know grandparents -- Yes. And yes, the Tongginator still prays for her Nannie almost every night, asking God to help her "not feel so sad because Grandpa went to live in heaven."

70. Play with cousins -- Yes.

71. Become attached to a wonderful preschool teacher and/or babysitter -- Yes.

72. Learn the name of our president -- Absolutely! Who doesn't know the name O'Rock Obama?

73. Know the name of their town, state and country -- Yes.

74. Be familiar with a map of the world -- Much more than the typical child her age, probably because of her unique life story and the stories of her many internationally adopted friends.

75. Listen to music from many different ages and genres -- Yes. She especially loves ballet music (classical) and Daddy's music (jazz).

76. Hear and learn words from a different language -- Lots of Mandarin, as well as some Spanish.

77. Learn the difference between trash and recycling -- Yes.

78. Grow their own vegetables -- Not yet.

79. Learn to ride a bike (or try!) -- She's trying! We're hoping the training wheels will come off this summer.

80. Take a road trip -- Yes.

81. Draw a self-portrait -- Yes.

82. Slurp alphabet soup -- Yes.

83. Learn to twirl spaghetti on a fork -- Absolutely not! The correct Chinese way is to simply slurp the noodles into your mouth. No twirling allowed!

84. Pick apples -- Yes.

85. Star in a home movie -- Three.

86. Learn a magic trick -- Not yet.

87. Try different hair-dos -- Yes. She sighs at my inability to do hair well.

88. Practice writing letters -- She's already writing words.

89. Practice counting to 100 -- Yes. Especially since she thinks Tonggu Grammy IS 100.

90. Make up stories -- Yes. Sometimes they are for amusement. And sometimes they are lies told to avoid Trouble.

91. Send a letter -- Yes.

92. Receive a letter -- Yes. From Cinnamon and Spice. From Peaches and Cream. And even from Director Guo at the Tonggu Orphanage.

93. Ride on a merry-go-round -- Too many times to count.

94. Give away toys and books to less fortunate children -- Yes.

95. Learn the value of coins and bills -- Not so much. Momma uses her debit card too often.

96. Keep a piggy bank -- Yes.

97. Try a musical instrument -- Yes. The Tongginator is especially good at the drums. Our neighbors once mistook her playing for the playing of a ten-year-old neighbor boy.

98. Have a heartfelt wish granted -- She now has a family.

99. Have a heartfelt wish denied -- She really, really, really wanted Miss Rosie to get better.

100. Receive a million (make that a billion) heartfelt kisses and hugs from their parents! -- Absolutely! XXOXXXXOOO

If you made it all the way to the end of this list, then YOU deserve a hug, too.


Andrea said...

I love that list. You are a great mom! Kindergarten is a big step in parenting - trust me! She will do fine and so will you. We like the children's museum in Dayton to0 - especially the tree house.

Dawn said...

Well, it's official... you can add my name to your list of faithful readers as I was already chuckling in anticipation to your responses to the questions. "Oh, I know what she'll say to this one!" (Just don't call me a stalker, okay?) Ha ha!

And the drums... I'm married to a drummer and my son is now one, too. Being a parent of a drumline student is lots of fun! (Seriously!) Keep encouraging her!!!


jen@odbt said...

Don't forget drawing family members :) This was a great list and made me smile. I'll have to save this for when my little guy gets ready for kindergarten.

happygeek said...

I really need to stop reading lists like this.
Spud has come so far, but there are many things on the list that are beyond where he is at. We give him many opportunities and he is working really hard, but it still doesn't stop the guilt when I see how much stuff he hasn't done yet.
I'm glad that T is on her way on a lot of this! I totally hear you on the motor planning. Spud has to script for himself how to do stuff. It's really cute to hear him talking himself through throwing a ball.

Jboo said...

Wow!! Great list -- though I don't think my girl had done all that before kindergarten! She still hasn't gone camping and I don't really see that happening. Does a Dora tent in the basement count? Have a great day!


mommy24treasures said...

what a WONDERFUL post!:)
I LOVE the swinging pic:)

The Source said...

Terrific list...and you've almost done them all! We didn't make the circus until our sensory fruitcake was almost 10 yrs old. And then? He LOVED IT!

The Wade's said...

Great list, and I love that you included so many Tonguu Momma links for us to go check out.

Apparently I need to get busy on this parenting gig...

Marla said...

Wow, that's some list! Can't say all of mine did all of that before Kindergarten, but hey, I've got one more to go, so maybe I'll redeem myself with him. :)

Buckeroomama said...

What a wonderful list... and you are a wonderful momma. Both you and the Tongginator are so blessed to have each other. :)

Veronica Mitchell said...

Great list. My oldest starts kindergarten in the fall, and it has given me all sorts of ideas.

Aunt LoLo said...

What a great list!!

On #83 - the slurping of the noodles must be done in the proper way. Lean over at the waist, with chopsticks in your right hand and chigang (Chinese spoon) in your left hand. Use the chopsticks to pile the noodles onto the spoon, then fill your mouth! Alternately, put a dallop of chili sauce or hoisin sauce in the spoon, dip your clump of noodles, and insert noodles in mouth using chopsticks.

There is a fine art! LOL

Patricia/NYC said...

Faitful reader, here, made it to the end! Where's my hug??!!! ;)

Loved this list!! Helpful for me too as we prepare Kiara for Kindergarten...before I got to reading the actual list, I thought, "uh-oh", I bet I haven't done alot...but, I was surprised by how much we have done! Minus the frog, farm & fishing...hey, we live in NYC!! How many kids can navigate the subway system on an almost daily basis??!! Frogs...HA, who need's 'em! (OK, not meaning to offend frog lovers!)

Rebecca said...

I love this list!! Sounds like the Tongginator is quite prepared for kindergarten. I can't believe she's going this fall!!! Your baby is growing up!

Love the pics too!


ps. "O'Rock Obama"... cracks me up. :)

Tonggu Grammy said...

She HAS attempted to catch a frog with her cousins in my garden. She was not successful but the boys were. Does that count?

Lula! said...

Aw...thanks for the hug--I made it all the way through the end of the list!

Um...our 3 year old knows our full names. But ages? Well, when last asked how old her mommy was, she replied, "64!"

Great. Thanks.
(I'm 34.)

Now I have to get passports for my girls.

M3 said...

Wow, I can't believe how many of those you have done! Kick-butt job!

Patty O. said...

There are a few on this list that we haven't done yet either and Danny will be in kindergarten in the Fall. Overall, though, I think we have gotten the important ones, and I think the ones you and I have avoided due to sensory issues are understandable.

A passport for my son? I don't even have a current one for me!! Mine expired a few years ago...

Sharie said...

WOW that is quite a list and I'm one proud mommy knowing how many of those things we've accomplished:) and we have a whole nother year to finish up - thanks to Amelia missing the Kindergarten cut off by 3 days:)

Tammy said...

Great! And whining is actually an activity...or at my house, at least.

And I have a friend whose son calls the Pres. O'Rock Obama! LOL!

Carla said...

GREAT list!!! adn GREAT job on accomplishing all of that. :)

Now...to see where I am with my 3 kiddos. ;)

RamblingMother said...

I haven't gottan through all 100 but 18. Hang out in a tent can be done inside with the twist small tents and inside butterfly tents (we have one of each, one at grammies and one in her room!) so go ahead and accomplish this one, heh. I may have to do this for us as G starts kindergarten in the fall too but I can't register her until May 4th.

Liene said...

I just couldn't not comment. This is such a cool list. Mine has not done 11, 25, 27, 45, 61-63, 82-84, 86, 95.

Number 55...why oh why is this something they latch onto the quickest? DH has his birthday on Sunday and Eriks was quick to comment with, "Yeah, Daddy is 41! He's old!"

Number 30...kid has Moak/Moke - not sure how he would spell it but it's what you get when your 18 month old child names a stuffed kitty. Does not go to bed without him!

Working on the swimming too. He can swim a bit but not well enough to let him on his own. Loves music especially Buffett. He admits to being a Parrothead. Used to walk around pretending to be Miles Davis and John Coltrane (daddy music).
The bike riding must be a boy thing. Eriks took off on his last summer at about 4 1/2. I was just floored that we helped him a few times and then he was gone.

Tonggu Momma Husband said...

Hey Honey ....
You should know that just Saturday while T and I were gardening/planting the new flowers, T talked me into getting some seed packets. There are now cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and corn seeds hopefully growing fast near the herb garden. Oh ... and ... not to worry ... just a few of each kind, we won't have to find homes for an over abundance.

Erin @ Closing Time said...

Yes...I read the whole list. I loved it!

monica said...

I made it to the end (and with no trouble or effort at all)!!! Loved the list and BTW, Jasmine is wearing the same dress in her first easter egg hunt pics. What are the chances? And in only 7 months, we've actually done a lot on your list too. Thanks for checking in, it sure means a lot to me right now. Hugs, Monica

Myrnie said...

Isn't childhood grand?

Dita said...

Amazing.....that would be YOU. You are an awesome mother. I can't believe all T has accomplished in these few short years.

I see you people are serious overachievers! :)

Loved this list, TM...just fantastic.

Cheri said...

Great list and I too have a little one going off to kindergarten this fall!

I love the picture of Tongginator on the swing and the one of her snuggling her bear.

T said...

I'm loving the list... my M goes to Kgarten in 5 months as well... and believe it or not she came to me while reading and asked if we could go to the circus... one of the "misses" on my checklist!

My oldest had some sensory issues... still has a few I guess - but getting older has all but solved it!

LaLa said...

Ok...I still have a few to do...lucky for me Annslee misses the cut off by three weeks so she doesn't start Kindergarten until 2010! Hmmmm...I am NOT camping though!!

On the phone # thing I found out at our IEP meeting on Mon that I was doing our home and her teacher was doing my cell...ooops... guess she had 14 numbers floating around in there : )

Heather of the EO said...

Weird, we haven't done ANY of these...

KIDDING, of course.

I love this, I'm gonna keep it and cross stuff off. Oh how I love crossing stuff off.

Kiy said...

I too love this! I had to start my own post, will work on it then try to post it next week. Then, will update it. What a wonderful idea, thank you so much for sharing this!

Oh and the catch a frog thing? Right there with ya babe. The camping thing? Exactly my thoughts. The guys can take the girls, and the big girls can go to the Marriott for some pampering! ;)

Cheers, Kiy

Michelle said...

I made it!! #21 is my fav. ;)

Janet said...

Woo hoo! I get a hug! :-)

Sorry I haven't been commenting lately. It's been kinda crazy around here.....I'll be more normal next week. Ha! That's funny....normal.....hee hee.

a little leprechaun said...

Love the list!! It's hard to sign them up for kindergarten!! I couldn't believe how difficult it was. What do you think we will do on the first day of school??? ;-)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

RamblingMother said...


here is our post on G's achievements, heh.

Anonymous said...

I so have to start this list now...hmmm

Sarah said...

At the risk of sounding totally obvious, of couse she's been to the zoo, you live near the zoo. Which by the way, if I'm ever down there visiting friends, in the area not the zoo itself, we should get together. Maybe even go to the zoo!

CC said...

Fab post! this must have taken forever to do!!

We've done most of that.

I'm a little surprised that Tongginator doesn't have a passport. We were told to do this immediately after the adoption was finalized (which is about a year after coming home). And a certificate of citizenship. I know an adult Korean adoptee that found out as an ADULT that she had no proof of citizenship and that she actually wasn't a citizen! Aaack! Immigration even threatened to deport her. No joke.

Special K said...

Dayton, Ohio? Why didn't ya call me?

Funny that with all that info THIS is the only thing that stuck. LOL!

Colleen said...

Great list!!!!! You have done so much on this list...you are awesome!!!!

Alyson and Ford said...

I am stealing this list too! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

Do you let her have the knife to carve the pumpkin? Crazy!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Kayce said...

This list is just too awesome! I'm saving and using it! I'm gonna have to go back to the past and see how many of these things I did for Jacob before kinder. Cool. Love the dance party one! We should all have a dance party!!