BB 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.
Both 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.
Normally, 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.
I’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.
LTD 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.
Like 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.
Whenever 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.
LTD is almost four years older than BB and so their choice of reading material greatly differs. However, BB will do and wants to do anything that his older brother does. In that regard, I recently hit pay dirt with Mo O’Hara’s series My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish. Most of the books are for those kids reading chapter books but she did something cool and made a version for the preschool set. The books feature Frankie the titular goldfish who suffers from being a zombie but on the up side can hypnotize using his eyes. A little backstory, “Frankie was a completely normal pet goldfish . . . until Tom’s evil-scientist big brother, Mark, tried to murder him with toxic gunge! Luckily Tom and his best friend Pradeep shocked Frankie back to life with a battery, and he’s been their zombie-fishy friend ever since.” BB’s book is called, The Fintastic Fishsitter features little sister Sami watching over Frankie and trying to stop Vampire kitten Fang from eating him. The cool thing is that when BB reads just like his big bro he reaches a pretty high level of excitement. And of course, I know what you’re thinking, yes the down side is that now they both want a pet goldfish.
Just now we told LTD he needed a bath and (un-ironically) he replied, I don’t need a bath, I took when a few weeks ago. In that regard, books that encourage bath time fun are always welcome. Bathtime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba follows the continuing adventures of her two boys (as she calls them). I know what you’re thinking, Theo is the dog. The book is heavy on the photos, but they are so vibrant and crisp they are almost hypnotic. As we use the book to try and get our boys to take a bath there is only one problem. The story immediately makes them want to get our own dog in the tub with them. However, my often said phrase, I got enough problems will attest, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.
As this huge storm blankets the east coast. LTD has stayed in his pj’s and used the iPad, read and colored. His brother however has chosen to make being stuck in the house as an experimental descent into madness. He is completely bonkers. We did manage to get him to take a nap (after he fell asleep eating lunch) but the nap only recharged his batteries to go more nuts. BB has channeled all his energy into not one activity but it would seem all possible actives. In theory this storm will end someday and we will be able to get him outside to drain his energy making a “snow baby” as he has been calling for, for some unknown reason.