LTD has long been into star voyagers and the study of planets and in that regard has influenced BB and on occasion they will don their astronaut suits and using a large box or the couch as a launch vehicle will head for the far reaches of the galaxy (or really the moon which always seems to be there destination. Speaking of destination Physics professor Dr. Christoph Englert has written a cool new book with the fore alluded to title of Destination: Space. The book with fun illustrations by Tom Clohosy Cole both guys are from the UK which is why I suspect the book has a cool British Invasion vibe. We have a ton of books about space but Englert’s book is perfect for both boys. LTD digs the non-dumbed down writing with sections like, “How do we know a black hole is there if we can’t see it?” and “The Sun is heated by nuclear fusion. Inside its core, hydrogen is continuously melted together to form helium.” The book does a great job of covering a lot of material without feeling like a text book. However, on the section on Sputnik and space travel I have to once again explain what happened to Laika the first dog in space (hint: it isn’t good). Destination: Space ends with the subject on life on other planets which makes for pretty good post reading entertainment as a mini discussion group forms between the two boys. They were not happy when I proposed that it is possible that The Mommy is an alien (She also was not happy),
One of the things that warms my heart is that LTD really enjoys playing board games. Of course we are still working on conflict resolution and breathing exercises when he loses. Some of the board games he chooses are insipid and I simply can not play them. He isn’t quite old enough for Risk and doesn’t really understand the goal of Monopoly as noted during a recent game in which he didn’t want to buy Boardwalk as it meant he would have to cash in his $500 bill and he liked the way it looked. Blue Orange Games consistently has creative games but the main attraction from my point of view is that the game play is incredibly fast and therefore when LTD loses we can quickly play again to avoid any drama. Top That! appeals to his love of magic and helps with his passion for hiding things (like my car keys). The stacking game features a challenge with three rules. “objects printed in color must be visible on the stack, objects printed in grey must be hidden INSIDE objects on the stack, and objects surrounded by stars must be kept empty.” At first he had a little confusion around the concept (and flying the stacking hats across the table) but now he is beating me (only when I’m holding BB as he is always on my team). And yes he has named the rabbits.
Click here to read despite not knowing what it is about.
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know well, BB is a lot more hands on then LTD was when he was three and half. That is why the series of books/activity kits featuring Rescue Vehicles, Construction Vehicles and Monster Trucks is totally in BB’s wheel house. The box comes with a set to build, poster, stickers, model and of course fact book. The kits are a little above BB’s pay grade but LTD is happy to help him set things up since he thinks they belong to him and not BB. However, the card stock set pieces also need The Mommy’s help for assembly as I don’t do well with delicate work. The fact book features more mature information that I like instead of a simple child-like explanation of sirens, hoses and bucket lifts. Of course no book will probably ever be able to get BB to say excavator instead of X-Vader, but I will always hold out hope.
Now that BB is three and half the mini tantrum is a staple of our daily lives. However, the full blown hyper ventilation meltdown is still basically rare. Mostly it manifests itself when being hauled off the playground or leaving a fun event. Inside the house he stores up the big guns for future use and doesn’t really swing for the fences over minor offenses or slights. When he does let loose it can not only be crazy loud but shocking as if you forgot what the last one was like. The other day he had one particularly loud flailing tantrum that went on so long he was forced to sadly admit, he “didn’t know how to stop” after doing some breathing exercises and counting to ten together the madness finally subsided, but it is unclear if the zen practices actually caused the situation to deescalate or if he just literally ran out of steam. Once my headache went away I was relieved to note that the full blown China syndrome meltdown is still relatively rare.
LTD gravitated towards less obvious interests when in preschool, but BB has no problem joining the things that move crew. Trains, race cars, buses and construction equipment delight him to no end. In that regard, Stephen Savage’s new book, The Mixed-Up Truck sits in the sweet spot between a story you can read at bedtime and a four discussion beginning with the question what is inside a car? The tale follows a cement mixer on his first day on the job. However, things don’t go quite as planned as he mixes up the cement with flour and then sugar. I won’t spoil the ending as usual, but while the title suggests a mix up, things work out in the end. The story is simple and short and therefore perfect for multiple readings at bedtime. The art is crisp and fun, but I dig that the story doesn’t have the usual bad guy just a few simple mistakes that get corrected, lesson implied.
As previously mentioned, the boys have recently begun enjoying board games (don’t worry folks they are still glued to the iPad). One new game they have been experimenting with is Dr. Eureka. BB has to play on my team for now and mostly runs away with the pieces. The game is basically a brain teaser and even allows solitary play. You choose a challenge card ant then using test tubes and balls complete the scientific formula or as LTD puts it the, mad scientist formula. You can’t use your hands to touch the balls so it is good practice for when one of the boys becomes a nuclear arms dealer, but I suggest you play on the carpet as the balls hit the wood floor pretty hard. Also be prepared for one of your kids to make Dr. Frankenstein laughter and the other kid to copy him.
BB has been getting into animals lately in fact he informed me just this morning that he wanted to “live on a farm.” Author Jane Yolen and Illustrator Bob Marstall have hit upon just the right balance of simple ready for bedtime story telling with amazing huge splash page art. BB is really digging the story of a bird laying an egg, watching it hatch and exploring the new world together. The rhymes work well to share the story for BB at his current age. Jane Yolen created the book (the first of a series) especially for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the leading authority on birds. PS: Ithaca is gorges. The splash pages really pop especially during the egg hatching segment but BB keeps making me show him the page where the newborn bird stretches its legs for the first time as it is “silly.”
As long time readers know well, BB is what they call a problem eater (not a picky eater) and in that regard he will not eat anything he has to bite like a sandwich or apple. So his diet consists mainly of mac and cheese and as he calls them ricebeans. The insulated food jar by Skip Hop is pretty cool because it comes with its own spork and keeps his mac and cheese warm all day. As we constantly try to expand BB’s horizons he has begun tentatively eating blueberries. The Zoo Lunch Kit has a special container that is the right size for such bite sized berries. By making the presentation special hopefully the trick will work to get him to chew. They are dishwasher safe and fit nicely in his Batman lunch box. Keep your fingers crossed that he will be enticed by the box to eat what is inside.
Whenever I see parents and they look relaxed like they have just enjoyed an evening out. I think, they have family nearby that took care of their kids for FREE. Donnie Cranfill’s new book, Camp Nana Papa with illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler celebrates the special bond between grandparents and grandkids. All that is great but my boys gravitated to the activities pages in the back of the book. The story centers around Nick and Sarah spending time with their Nana and Papa doing cool outdoor things like fishing and going to the zoo. My boys took time away from the actual story to interrupt with tales of things they have done with their grandparents so in a way the book serves more as a introduction to book club style conversations and tangents. Perhaps this summer we will be able to write our own chapter at Camp Daddy takes a nap while other people watch his kids.