Book Review – Little Elliot Big City

LittleElliot high res cvrLately, LTD has been staying up wicked late and so I always enjoy reading him short stories and Little Elliot Big City fits the bill nicely. The story focuses on the elephant Little Elliot with the catch being that this particular elephant is, as his names suggests, little. The art is amazing and the tale features many wonderful splash pages that give the book a movie feel. Mike Curato’s work shows a love for New York of yesteryear and the images create a nice sense of nostalgia. As keeping with Beyond the Car Seat policy I won’t spoil the ending and will only add that Little Elliot’s size plays a “big” part. 

A Mydal Moment

bedSo in the crazy world of raising two boys things happen fast. This Saturday things happened really fast. We had previously removed bins from the boys room as BB was using them to get on to LTD’s bed. We didn’t really care that he was getting on the bed but it was concerning that he was going from the bed to the changing table/dresser. However, this Saturday we discovered that BB can get on to LTD’s bed without the aid of any bin or object. The Mommy and me thought we could just move the dresser away from the bed and this began a chain of events that in retrospect was predictable. We placed BB in his crib so we could move the furniture around and he quickly let us know that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Thankfully, we stopped him but he basically was prepared to re-enact The Great Escape as he put one leg over the crib wall. Throughout the day as The Mommy was researching options, he tried to summit the bookcases. To make a long story short, we made an emergency trip to Ikea and now the boys have bunk beds. 

Kids Say The Darndest Things BTCS Edition

71UVBOGArWL._SL1500_Yesterday, The Mommy noticed her shoe had a loose thread on it and so she grabbed a pair of scissors and began trimming it while wearing it. LTD spied her and the following exchange occurred. 

LTD: What are you doing?

Mommy: I’m cutting off this loose thread.

LTD: But you will cut your foot off.

Mommy: No, I won’t

LTD: Well, if you cut your foot off, that’s on you.

If You Build It…He Will Take It Apart

hotwheelsBB consistently says the word, car and very little else. So for that reason we give him a lot of cars to play with and when he isn’t throwing them at my head he seems to be enjoying them. The other day I saw that they sell race track pieces separately. BB is still a little young to do anything with a track piece besides whip it back and forth and use it as yet another object to try and hit in the head with. The real reason the individual track pieces caught my eye is that it is very cool to be able to custom your racing experience to your environment and it is the kind of thing that is so simple, I can’t believe they didn’t have it when I was a kid. Of course, they probably did but the only thing I used my matchbox cars for when I was young was to re-create episodes of Chips. I don’t know if BB will still be into cars when he is old enough to build his own track but if he I will be excited to see what cool thing he designs and hopefully his race track will not involve anything hitting me in the head. 

hotwheels (2)

Interview – Lisa London

BookWe all think our kid should be a star and in that regard I spoke with author and Casting Director Lisa London about her new book, From Start to Stardom.

1: If your child expresses an interest in performing, what are a few things on any parent’s “must” list?

I would first recommend that the parents get their child involved in acting class or a performing class (could be a singing class, an improvisation class or a scene study class). This is a good way to see if their child really likes it and will follow through with the commitments of a class.

If they do like it, and continue to be enthusiastic about acting, they can check out their local community theater and see if there are opportunities for their child in that arena. Then they could look into agents for kids in their area. We do not encourage families to pack up and move to LA in the beginning of their journey, just because their child keeps saying he wants to be on TV.

2: Is there a way to make a child understand the difference between art and fame?

This is certainly a challenging concept to get across to a young child. But it is so important for them to understand you can’t study to be famous. I think it is important to work on your talent first and foremost. Fame comes in time if that is what is meant to happen. You can only work hard and become the best actor you can be.

3: Is it possible for Hollywood insiders to tell when it is the parents who actually want the fame and not their child?

We discuss this in the interview with an agent. We strongly encourage parents to be sure the desire to pursue a career is their child’s goal and not a lost one of their own. Because sooner or later the child will come to resent their parent for pushing them to do something they don’t like and it will not turn out well for anyone.

I have experienced auditions with kids who really don’t want to be doing this and you can tell by their performance and what they say because they aren’t giving it their all.  They would rather be doing sports or something else besides acting.

4: What advice would you give parents on how their children can/should deal with rejection?

Parents should discuss this with their kids upfront before they go on auditions. Don’t take it personally!! What is most important is that your child does the best audition they can, because, as Casting Directors, we always remember a good audition even if they don’t get the role.

A child should have the attitude that it is a fun adventure to meet someone new and have a chance to show their talent…And then after the audition, it’s off to do something else! The last thing a parent wants to do is grill their child on the audition and have them go over and over why they didn’t get the callback or the role.

5: Are there certain steps that parents should take to keep their kids grounded to avoid the pitfalls that many child stars find themselves in?

If they are so fortunate to have such a talented child, it would mean the child has been getting parts and building their career for a while. This is when the work needs to be done. As they are becoming successful, it’s important to stay in very good communication with your child and the rest of the family, so you don’t get caught up in all the hype!

Being on a set, child actors are given lots of attention and special privileges. They have candy and junk food available to them all day. If a parent doesn’t run good control over what the kid can have, or keep their head on their shoulders, it can be disastrous. Putting in this discipline early will create an atmosphere of care and attention from the parent that will ensure them to be the voice of reason to their child and help keep them from making disastrous choices later in life.

About Lisa London:

Lisa London Blue shirt for WebDaughter of one of Hollywood’s most successful TV directors, Jerry London, Lisa London grew up on her father’s sets, experiencing the demands of directing and acting first-hand. She has worked with major studios and networks, including Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Happy Madison Productions, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, VH1 and many more.

Story Corps

storycorps_logo_10_yearsI always enjoy listening to Story Corps and today I heard one about a pretty cool dad. Here.


Hell No I Won’t Go

distraction-quoteBB has taken to the belief that the sixties still exist and the time to protest is now. He isn’t trying to stop a war or get the vote. He simply does not want to go in his car seat. He has taken a page out of the Gandhi playbook of using non-violent forms of protest. His signature move is to go rigid as a board requiring the use of not an insignificant amount of force to bend him. Another tactic is to grab on to the side and employ a jaws of life style grip on the arm of the car seat. Finally, he uses his sonic scream to try and drive off anyone who tries to simply take him anywhere via automobile. However, all of these methods eventually fail when any one of a 1000 simple counter measures are used. That’s right folks, I’m talking about distraction, the scourge of the toddle protest. I now never go near the car without a toy in my pocket or frankly anything in my pocket. The only draw back is that the same idea loses its power and can only be used a few times before it is taken out of rotation. I have the best luck with Matchbox cars but have used a bottle of sunscreen, house keys, empty iced tea bottle, receipt and a shoe. He puts up a good fight but in the end nothing can compete with something new, no matter how valueless to a grown up it is. Unfortunately, I still lose to his stubbornness one time out of 20 when I simply have nothing to distract him with having exhausted my usual rogues gallery of items. In those cases it is time to walk.  

The Listen in Bed Contest

solrelEnter Beyond the Car Seat’s Listen in Bed Contest. Winner will receive Sol Republic Relays. If you watch as much Netflix in bed as I do, than these will be perfect.

Sure you missed Father’s Day, but now is the perfect time to make it up to the dad in your life. He can drown out the children’s yells with nice headphones. The lightweight in ear buds are also sweat and water resistant (and yes that covers baby drool). Perhaps the best feature is that they don’t fall out like most of my gym headphones (which are really TV watching headphones, but the stupid movement of the cross trainer keeps pulling mine out while I’m watching the screen). However, if you are anything like me, the primary use will not be at the gym or jogging, but watching The Blacklist on my iphone in bed while the whole family sleeps (and snores).

Sol Republic can be found here, Facebook and @solrepublic.

The Fine Print

How to Enter:
Enter your information using the contact form. Please fill out all the information and don’t forget your email address. Winner will be chosen at random. Sol Republic graciously provided the prize. Any opinions I might have about the headphones remain my own and have not been influenced by Sol Republic.

Contestants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of entry and legal residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia. Void in Puerto Rico, and where prohibited by law or regulation. All entries become the property of

The Contest begins on June 19th, 2014 and ends on July 6th, 2014. Contestwinner will be announced on July 8th, 2014.

By entering into the Contest, each contestant agrees to grant and its owners/operators permission to copy and publish to any and all writings submitted by the contestant. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.

Product Review – LuminAID Light

LuminAID_Folded-1024x527Since LTD and BB share a room one of the challenges has been dealing with their different bedtimes. One way we have dealt with the situation is by letting LTD use a flashlight. But as long time BTCS readers know LTD loves anything that is even remotely close to being robotic. I blew it up and gave the little guy the LuminAID solar-powered, inflatable light. Sure the lightweight and waterproof light is designed for camping and disaster relief, but hell it also works awesome in a home-made sheet and pillow fort. The company has also sponsored and lit charitiy project all over the world so I don’t feel so bad using their light under a blanket instead of in Haiti. In short, any light that I inflate in front of LTD is worth the price of admission. 


LTD was asking for something the other day, which led to a discussion of how he could buy it with his own money, which led to a brief discussion of chores and allowance. He hasn’t brought it up again, but in case your kids do, Gregg Murset has some advice.

Gregg MursetLittle ones are liked crazed little monsters when it comes to toys, it seems that in just five short minutes they come crashing in and turn a living room into a mass destructed mini town. So when is the time that you get stop cleaning up and your two year old finally chills the heck out? How do you even tell a three year old to pick up? My Job Chart creator has created a list of tips that will help parents of young kids valuable tools about when it is time to teach these beasts a little housekeeping.


1. You Can Feel It … Most parents get “the feeling” when their children are capable of learning something new or taking on a task. It’s no different with picking up responsibilities around the house. Don’t ignore your gut and begin recognizing that your kids can be a get help to you.

2. Start Them Young … The basic rule is – if your children are old enough to take toys out to play, then they are old enough to put them away. The same goes with most other things around the house, even clothes, dishes, video games or items used out at the pool.

3, It’s Your Call … Don’t let so-called experts put an age range on particular jobs your kids could be doing. While it might not make sense to someone living in big city why a 10-year old would ever run lawnmower, in America’s heartland, it’s not uncommon for a 10-year old handling equipment on the farm. If you know they can complete harder chores safely, maybe you should let them try. It’s your call.


1. Understand Why It’s Important To Have Kids Do Chores & Receive Rewards … Using chores & rewards to teach our kids about responsibility, accountability and money has been around for decades. It’s easy, effective and can change as your child grows. Kids need structure and providing them with a daily routine or responsibilities, only help them later in life.

2. Be Consistent … When it comes to kids doing chores around the house, often there is only one thing stopping the kids – parents. Whether it’s because we get busy and forgot, get tried of nagging or just find it quicker to do it ourselves, parents are often the reason kids stop doing chores. Parents need to be consistent, demanding and set proper expectations when it comes to chores.

3. Be Fair … Kids understand right and wrong or fair and unfair. Separate the chores evenly or rotate them so the worst chores aren’t always with one child. If you are rewarding your children for jobs well done, don’t be afraid to compensate one child more than another if the chores they handle are more difficult or are less attractive.

4. Don’t Let Other Things Get In The Way … Dance practice, music lessons, football games, baseball practice and homework are just a few things your child has on their plate each day. As a parent, teach your child from an early age how to manage time and set priorities, by doing all these things plus the daily chores. There are life lessons in everything, don’t drop off things around the house because outside activities make life busy. We certainly can’t do that as adults, can we?

5. Stress Saving & Sharing … If you provide a reward for your kids, make sure to stress saving and sharing. Everyone knows how to spend … it’s like breathing … you just do it. Saving and sharing takes practice, a plan and often some research. In the long run, however, your kids will see the benefits and continue to do these things as adults. It’s like riding a bike – learn it early in life and you can always do it again later. Learn it later in life and it’s more difficult.

Gregg Murset, CFP® Founder and CEO

As the Chief Executive Officer of My Job Chart, Murset has committed the last four years to building the largest online community and fastest growing website teaching kids about work ethic and making smart money decisions.

MJC was born from real life experience. Murset is a father of six children (ages 6 to 16) and needed a way to teach them about earning, saving and spending money. With no system available for a family with a large range in ages, Murset came up with the idea to combine modern technology with the traditional allowance system to teach responsibility, accountability and the fundamentals of financial literacy.

Now with over 556,000 members, 19.3 millions chores completed by kids and an economic impact over $3 million, My Job Chart is leading the battle to reverse the culture of entitlement and credit addiction that plagues American families today.

My Job Chart ( brings together the latest technology and basic personal finance principles to help parents teach their children responsibility, accountability and how to manage money wisely. Over the past two years, more than 560,000 kids have completed over 19.5 million jobs and earned nearly $3 million. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, My Job Chart is a free, easy to use, online and mobile job chart and reward system designed to teach, organize and motivate kids to earn, save, share and spend responsibly. From washing the car to making a bed, and from doing the dishes to picking up clothes, kids can now earn an allowance and learn how to make financial decisions. My Job Chart can also be used through its Apple and Android mobile apps, allowing parents and kids the opportunity to save, share and spend from anywhere.  For more information, visit