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Book Review – Busy People

astronauntBB has been talking a lot about what he wants to be when he grows up. The latest is a Knight (not sure how well that pays). In that regard he has been digging Author Lucy George and Artist Ando Twin new series Busy People. Each book focuses on Astronaut, Doctor, Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Teacher. As the title suggest each tale focuses on the daily life and work of the above busy people. The explanations are easy to follow with wide eyed characters. I particlurly like the section at the end of the books that shows associated busy people like the Forensic scientist and Flight controllers. There is also a cool part showing equipment and uniform details that have led to BB declaring each one to be this year’s Halloween costume. Thankfully the book on Astronaut’s features a Robot lest LTD declare the series to young for him.

 

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oralcancSoon I will take LTD to see his first “real” baseball game and that reminded me that it is now Oral Cancer Awareness Month. What is the connection, you are wondering. Chew or as they used to call it when I was in school, dip. Great Expressions offers some tips:

As baseball season gets underway and millions of impressionable children are exposed to chewing tobacco, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) seeks to help parents raise awareness of the dangers of dipping, while providing the following tips to help prevent a life-threatening disease, oral cancer:

  • Get moving: An active lifestyle is known to boost the immune system and help ward off cancer. Get moving with your children by taking nightly walks or playing games outdoors.
  • Brush and floss daily: Children learn by observing. By brushing and flossing your own teeth regularly, your children will learn how to keep up with their own dental hygiene. Pack a dental kit in their backpack for easy brushing after lunch at school.
  • Educate: Have an open conversation with your children about the dangers of tobacco products and excessive alcohol use. Spend time educating them while they are young, so they will be less likely to experiment as they get older, reducing the risk of cancer.
  • Study your family tree: Review your family’s history of head or neck cancer and be sure to note any history at your child’s next dentist visit. This will allow your dentist to discuss preventive measures and keep an eye on any changes.

Product Review – Fast Flip

fast flipLTD has long been into games and recently BB has joined him in theory if not in practice. Now that both kids enjoy Spot It. We have moved on to Fast Flip. The game is a little over BB’s pay grade but he plays in my lap and it is only slightly distracting. As with Spot It, Fast Flip wins me over for one simple reason, the games on last about 15 minutes (or less if BB dumps all the cards on the floor). Fundamentally a matching game Fast Flip features fruit and for obvious reasons fast flipping. For added difficulty you can also play with the included tiles. The compact nature of the game makes it super easy to travel with and store unlike Candy Land which is currently under my couch. The game is a bit of brain teaser so if you play with against a youngster you need to slow it down a bit and give yourself a handicap in order to not win every time.

 

I’m in Charge

i-tell-it-like-it-isBB is not only growing fast but his attitude is matching his new height. He has taken to bossing people around and demanding things instead of asking. However, the real issue is that he has been putting baby in the corner if I am baby in these scenarios. He doles out a lot of time outs in my direction and the other day, he said he was going to throw me out of the car into a hill and he would drive. Not cool. He also throws/drops numerous items on the floor while at the table and requests that I pick them up. Half the time these demands also include a whine and that’s where I draw the line. But most of the time he is cute enough that I allow him to be undercover boss or at least give him the appearances he is in charge.

Book Review – What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?

grown upsBoth my children ask a lot of questions, which shows they are curious and intelligent, however answering them can be as exhausting as a supreme court nomination hearing. That is why we gravitate towards books with a lot of facts but sometimes those types of books don’t make great bedtime tales. Virginie Morgand’s new book What Do Grown-ups Do All Day? solves a lot of my book requirements. First up the art really pops. The pictures have a retro printed feel and are wicked bright with a sense of fun. The tale is broken up by area like hospital, farm and school to show the different applicable occupations. For some reason, the boys are drawn to the section on action-packed jobs. LTD only focuses on the Secret Agent as he wants to be a spy when he grows up (I assume working a desk job at the CIA since he keeps telling people he is spy and thus blows his own cover). While BB digs the usual suspects of astronaut, firefighter and police officer. The section headings first explain the setting like the airport or university before discussing the jobs inside. For my money the Water Sports Instructor looks like a fun job based on the pictured surf board.

Book Review – Gator Dad

gatorNormally, I would be jealous of Dad authors but since I can’t draw I’ll give it to Brian Lies for his new book, Gator Dad.The tale meets all of my bedtime requirements. Not a ton of text and amazing art. The central theme of the story seeks to debunk the myth of the bumbling useless dad as seen in popular media culture. We follow the titular hero Gator Dad as he sucks the marrow out of a full day with his three kids. The book is filled with splash pages and is spot on with the depictions of activities including grocery shopping and building a fort out of the living room. Unfortunately, the page showing Gator Dad teaching the kids the sounds that their toys should make has resulted in my voice giving out as my non-alligator children request I follow the lessons of the book. Lastly, the book is sweet without being too sugary. A proud dad indeed.

Book Review – WHERE’S THE PARTY?

wherepartyI’m not much of cat person, which is to say I don’t like cats at all. However the lead character in Ruth Chan’s new book, Where’s the Party? is a cat. Not a problem since the cat in question is confined to the pages of the book and not clawing my eyes out. The story focuses on Georgie who instead of lasagna loves to throw parties especially for his friends. The central issue of the tale is that Georgie has thrown a spur of the moment party and everyone is too busy to come. In keeping with Beyond the Car Seat rules I won’t spoil the ending but I think it is safe to say that just as in Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come. The real treat of the books is the layout and singular story focus. Lately, BB has been picking long books at bedtime and I simply cannot handle that. Where’s the Party? is the perfect length.

Friendship

Friends season 10LTD who turns 7 in two days occasionally has his buddy over to hang out. He is pretty good about understanding that the guest has a say in what activity they engage in and doesn’t need to be “told what to do” Of course, LTD wants to watch a movie and his friend doesn’t or he wants to play a game etc and his friend does not. For the most part they play well together and it would be great for me if they would enjoy one activity for more than 10 seconds before switching to another one. (The grass is always greener syndrome that kids suffer with). However, the real challenge is for BB he is 3 and doesn’t not understand that LTD’s friend is over to hang with LTD and not the preschooler. To hear BB tell it he is one of the gang and should enjoy all the rights and privileges of his status as official younger brother. No matter what is going on having a friend over is great for socializing but not so great for me being able to relax. Especially, if LTD’s friend takes the time to talk to BB and treat him like a human, nothing makes LTD more pouty than his playdate being stolen.

Book Review – 1-2-3 Magic

123magicLike most parenting concepts follow through and consistency are key. These are never more true than when dealing with matters of discipline. The Mommy and I have used 123 Magic in the past but due to factors such as stress, busyness and laziness we have not always held true to the core mission and techniques. LTD is about to turn 7 and is acting like a teenager and BB is now 3 and is deep into his Three-nager phase as well. It was time to return to the manual. The popular 1-2-3 Magic books and accompanying industry are valuable for their simplicity. The real work comes in changing and learning new habits.There are so many many many many books about raising children and heaven help you if you google anything, but you do need a guiding principle to fall back on if you can actually remember to use it. The book deals with start behaior and stop behavior in a clear way as any parent reading will easily recognize the examples. Now in the sixth edition we turned back to it as a reminder that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We were also reminded that following a discipline pattern is hard work that requires constant upkeep. I hope that the second time through will be the charm and I expect the boys to be perfect angels from now on.

Book Review – The Unpopular Ones

unpopularWhenever I mention a historical figure or frankly anyone in the news LTD always asks me if they are alive. For a long time I thought it was part of his usual obsession over death, but it turns out he asks because he wants to be able to write them a letter. In that regard, Jules Archer’s new book, The Unpopular Ones: Fifteen American Men and Women Who Stood Up for What They Believed In, feeds his curiosity. The book features well known Americans like Thomas Paine and Woodrow Wilson, but brings to light lesser known subjects like Bethenia Owens and Jonathan Walker. I know what you are thinking, who are those last two? No spoilers. Some of the book is a little above LTD’s pay grade but it does make for interesting conversations. At the core is the concept of standing up for what you believe in. As an added bonus you get to explain to the kids what a “hussy” is during the chapter on  Amelia Bloomer.