Easier said than done as the saying goes. The OSOM Box is really a kid product for parents. As anyone alive on Earth knows, no matter how much we try to avoid it, people are constantly staring at our iPhones. Two Minnesota dads wanted to give parents a simple tool to allow us to put down our phones and actually make eye contact with one another. The concept could not be more simple yet there is an elegance in the clean lines of a box designed to save us from ourselves. The idea is to place your phone inside (don’t worry you can still charge it) and then enjoy some phone free time in front of the TV. I’m kidding of course but not only does the box create a safe no excuses place for you distraction device but in theory if you use it you won’t use lose your phone as that one person in your family who always exclaims, can you call my phone, I can’t find it. As in the beginning it is easier said than done, but a noble cause.
Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! and Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion are fun books featuring, and I think you might be able to guess, Anna Banana. The books are by Dominique Roques with pictures by Alexis Dormal. I always like books about bedtime as they are usual nice ways to force the issue at night. Anna Banana uses her imagination to bring her stuffed animals to life (I hope it is her imagination and not illegal gene manipulation) and they play together. However, they want to go to sleep and she keeps them up but in classic lesson learned style they turn it all around on her. One of the more interesting features of the story is that her stuffies all have clever names with the best being foxface. Anna’s second adventure involves the animals getting hungry with the resulting solution to the problem being the creation of a chocolate cake. However, as you will notice from the title things do not go so smoothly but a lesson on teamwork makes up for the kitchen destruction. Both books feature a lot of kinetic energy which suits BB just fine as that is his default mode. The art is bright and silly reflecting the fast movement of the story.
BB 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.
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.
BB 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.
As 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.
BB 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.
As 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.
BB’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.