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whereBB has developed a new curiosity about where people are, he is especially curious when we get in the car. The following scene happens almost everyday now. I put BB in his car seat and begin to drive. He says, where’s mommy? I say, she is still at work. He says, where’s LTD, I say, we are going to pick him up from school. He says, where is daddy? I say, I’m right here. and he concludes with, where’s me? I end with, you are right there. This cycle repeats many many times as BB seeks to answer the eternal question of, not who we are, but where we are. Perhaps the best part of his singular curiosity is that he includes himself in this list of family members whose location must be discovered. I will admit that after the 5th go around. I get slightly uppity as he continues to inquire where I am  when he can clearly hear and see me.

Book Review – Dragon Fire

The Mommy and I are trying to teach the boys about the real world in a way that doesn’t freak them out as I’m sure most parents do. Books like Dragon Fire by Geert De Kockere & An Dom with drawings by Tineke Van Hemeldonck deals with cancer in a very interesting way. The book is primarily designed to help a family deal with a parent diagnosed with a terminal illness but the story walks the hard line between going far without going to far into freak out territory. One of the books strengths is that it allows the young reader the opportunity to figure out what is going on and ask questions up to their age level. The tale centers around a family of dragons that breathe fire as a way of celebrating life and bonding as a family. However, when the Mommy dragon gets sick she is unable to breathe fire anymore. Sadly, one of the books author’s An Dom passed away but her story lives on in the great dragon illustrations in the book. Ultimately, the story is sad without being depressing and I like that we read it together now as a way to prepare the ground for the hopefully far away date we get that phone call out of the blue. 


Make Up Your Mind

kT857LXTrBB is developing quite the personality. Now that he is well into his twos he has been doing a lot of things for himself. However, some of the things he does border between the silly and the violent. He doesn’t really hit in the sense that he has malice a fore thought or a desire to hurt, but he hits because he thinks it’s funny. So on occasion he will slap or give a tap on The Mommy or my head and we of course immediately, say, no hitting etc. and then he will reply with, ‘want hug’ and he will hug the victim. Sadly, the cute factor is somewhat dulled by the fact that he now hits and then instantly says and gives a hug like he has made up his own sick game. I know he is terribly twoing, but I really hope this trend doesn’t follow him into adulthood, I wouldn’t want him ending up on Jerry Springer.

Book Review – Curious Critters Marine

crittercAs the boys have been going to the Aquarium a lot, sea creatures are all the rage in our house. David FitzSimmons sensed this fact and added to his book collection with Curious Critters Marine. As you may recall for past reviews, Mr. FitzSimmons style features amazing detailed pictures of a single creature against a stark white backdrop. Their are some that will say the octopus is the coolest, but for my money and my Maine pride, the Blue Lobster is the best. The pictures are aided by some witty descriptions of the sea life in question, but BB usually doesn’t let us get that far as he keeps screaming fish over and over again. So many of the children’s books and toys are what I would call “busy” but as in the past, I really dig the clean look of the Critters series.



Go BB Go

i-love-meBB has a burst of vocabulary recently and his short little sentences are wicked cute. “I eat rice-beans.” or his favorite “I rip.” However, his greatest use of words is when he copies LTD singing a rock and roll song. When LTD announces he is going to sing rock and roll. He starts reading a book and after each line will add, yeah baby rock and roll. This in turn allows BB to run around screaming simply, “yeah baby rock-roll.” Finally, we drive past a Peruvian deli every day with with name Go Chicken Go giving us all an opportunity to scream Go Chicken Go. BB takes this one step further by screaming, Go LTD, Go Daddy, Go Mommy, Go Me. That’s right he says a whole bunch of stuff but won’t say his own name. He is simply Me.

Book Review – Power Down Little Robot

9781627791250As long time BTCS readers know well, LTD is a big fan of robots (BB is beginning to discover the joys that are robots since he shares a room with LTD). The new book Power Down, Little Robot by Anna Staniszewski with art by Tim Zeltner fits nicely in our bedtime routine. The plot is ripped from the headlines (if the headlines were something that happened every night in our house) and revolves around Little Robot not wanting to go to bed. Of course since he is more machine than man he activates his “stalling program.” However, his Mom Unit is quite familiar with all his tricks and has a quick answer. In keeping with BTCS tradition I won’t spoil the ending but I think you can guess that it doesn’t end with him staying up all night. The tale is clever in that it uses robotic terms for typical stalling actions, like getting oil instead of a glass of water. As you can imagine LTD is digging this book hardcore, while I need to figure out how to reprogram the Mom Unit in our house to always change BB’s diaper so I don’t have to.


Ups & Downs

stair3BB’s latest developmental milestone ties nicely in with his terrible twoing. Of course he wants to do everything himself. This behavior manifests itself mostly when he is being carried as he wants to walk. I battle him outside as I won’t let him walk in the cold snow as his gate is leisurely and it’s freezing out. However, he makes a valid point when indoors and now demands to go down the stairs by himself. I’m cool with that, but he won’t let me hold his other, non railing, hand. I figure no big deal he seems to have it. Yet, he also won’t let me stand anywhere near him so I have to go to the bottom of the staircase and play catch. I forgive him all the tsuris he causes me because he has yet to walk down the stairs without sporting an ear to ear grin filled with pride.

You Can Even Sleep In There If You Want

bedtoysLTD goes through phases where he is into certain projects and then as quickly as they arrive they disappear. Once you add the projects to his daily use items, his special non-pj comfort clothes and books his bed has taken on a very Hoarders vibe. Of course since he is on the top bunk, I get a hernia just trying to clean it out which probably explains the volume of items. How about reading one book at a time? Why, when I can have every book every published at my fingertips in the place where I’m suppose to sleep. The only good news in all the mess is that when he does find a spot to sleep in, the different toys and Legos don’t seem to wake him up. I guess if it works for him I won’t stress too much, but it is too bad we will never find anything like diamonds or gold in all that stuff. Unless you count 14 flashlights in the same category as precious gems.

4 Reasons to Resolve to Make Your Child’s Sleep a Priority in 2015

toddler soeep
Certified Pediatric Sleep Expert Amy Lage of Well Rested Baby, shares 4 concrete reasons why your New Years’ resolution should be improving your child’s sleep, which will in turn improve yours.
1. Babies and Toddlers Need Quality Sleep for Healthy Body and Brain Growth and Development

Gazing at your beautiful baby as he sleeps you wouldn’t guess that internally his body is anything but at rest. While your baby sleeps his reduced physical activity enables his brain to carry out vital jobs that cannot be as efficiently accomplished during wakefulness. Sleep gives his brain a chance to turn its attention to the important job of consolidating memory and learning. Making sure your child gets good, sound sleep ensures he or she will have a sound foundation for proper mind and body development. The American Academy of Pediatrics has linked babies’ insufficient sleep to everything from future obesity to behavior problems in kids. As Marc Weissbluth, MD, the author of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child,” explains, children who don’t get enough consolidated REM sleep have shorter attention spans, so they don’t learn as well. These babies also release more of the stress hormone cortisol, setting them up for frequent night wakings and stunted naps. In short, sleep = brain power and nourishment for the body.

2. Children Who Get the Sleep they Need, Behave Better and are Generally More Enjoyable

This statement is true for children of all ages and is one that most of us have observed. A baby who has skipped a nap is usually quite fussy and unpleasant. And imagine the toddler who has not gotten in his needed sleep for the day – phew tantrums ensue, watch out! This is because when we don’t get the sleep we need, our body and brain are stressed and for a child it is easy to see how that can lead to poor behavior. While this relationship between lack of sleep and crankiness is generally accepted as true, there have recently been many studies on the topic that offer further proof. For example, this study from the University of Colorado Boulder measured the sleep patterns of toddlers aged two to three and found that for toddlers “missing even a single nap causes them to be less positive, more negative and have decreased cognitive engagement.” I think this quote from the study’s author Professor Monique LeBourgeois sums it all up: “Just like good nutrition, adequate sleep is a basic need that gives children the best chance of getting what is most important from the people and things they experience each day.” Another recent study published in the journal of Pediatrics (authored by Reut Gruber, director of the attention behavior and sleep lab at the Douglas Institute at McGill University, in Quebec) looked at children ages 7-11. One group of children went to bed earlier and got about 27 extra minutes of sleep a night while the other group stayed up later than their bedtime and lost about 54 minutes of sleep each night. “Students who were sleep-deprived not only seemed overly tired, but were more impulsive and irritable than their well-rested classmates. They were quick to cry, lose their tempers or get frustrated.” Yet another study, (this one from researchers in the United Kingdom) discusses the importance of regular bedtimes in ensuring our kids are emotionally at their best. “While all of us are crankier and less pleasant when we don’t get enough sleep, this has a particular importance for children, because experts believe that sleep is important for the development of parts of the brain that regulate behavior” explains Dr. Claire McCarthy. But the really exciting part of this study: this is reversible!  Children who started having set bedtime routines caught up and behavioral issues improved.

3. Sleep = Brain Power

Did you know that the higher ones IQ is the more they sleep? Definitely an interesting fact, and one that points out the importance of sleep in intelligence and academic achievement. While the amount of sleep your child gets does not automatically predict their IQ, it is certainly important for them to preform at their best. Dr. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University, conducted a study where at random a group of 4th-6th graders were instructed to sleep either more or less. The results were astonishing. “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development,” Sadeh explains. This is like a 6th grader performing at a 4th graders level after just three nights of poor sleep! Further, studies have shown that lack of sleep cannot allow a child to concentrate in class and therefore they often miss out on new material. If this happens day after day a child can certainly fall behind. Sleep has even been correlated to academic success for the littlest of students. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that naptime for preschoolers allows them to better process and remember the information they learn in school. One group of students napped after a memory game while the other group was kept awake following the game. The children who slept approximately 77 minutes were able to remember 75% of what they learned – a full 10% more than the children who did not nap. So it appears, sleep is critical to learning no matter your age.

4. YOU!

If the information above isn’t enough to convince you to make your child’s sleep a priority, then what about your well being! To be a healthy well functioning adult, you need to get plenty of consolidated sleep. Remember that plan to exercise more this year to improve your health? Well adults who are not getting enough sleep have a much harder time motivating themselves to stick with a regular exercise regimen. Recent studies have linked poor quality sleep in older adults to a faster decline in the size of the frontal, temporal and parietal areas of the brain – the areas of the brain that are used in decision making and learning. What’s scarier? Too little sleep can lead to and speed up dementia in adult men. Wow, a good night sleep is more important that one may think! If your child is sleeping well, then chances are you will be too!

The Tip Take-Away: Make sleep a top priority and you will likely have a happier, self-assured, less demanding, and more sociable child. In turn, you will likely get some more sleep yourself enabling you to be a healthier adult and a better parent. It’s a win, win for all!

Just Picture It

shouphI love the thought of this straight laced guy doing what he did. Enjoy the holidays, click here.