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.
One of the joys of parenting is getting to re-create childhood memories with your own children. Of course this rarely goes well as they either don’t care or can never appreciate things the way you did (since they are different people no matter how much we try and make our own clones). However, one thing that I loved from summer camp was making and launching model rockets. The boys are now able to enjoy this as much as I did because, come on, they are rockets. Estes makes a full line of rockets for all skill levels. Most model rockets use the engines that are flammable and use an igniter etc. My boys aren’t quite ready for that level of NASA just yet. Thankfully, they make a line of air rockets that don’t involve me having to explain to The Mommy why I burnt everyone’s eyebrows off. I have started a tradition of having a full launch countdown as each department gives us a go/no go for launch a and then these babies really soar. Soon LTD will be ready for the engine rockets but for now he is content to pound the Sonic Boom which is so hardcore that it goes up to 150 feet. It makes the Stomp Rocket look like home made inventor trying to turn the washing machine into the ship from Interstellar. One added bonus is that when these bad boys lands a mile away I make the kids run and get them so by the time we get home they are ready for naps.
BB has been in full Three-nager mode lately and never is this more pronounced then at bedtime. His whining is particularly brutal when we just want him to go to sleep so we can watch The Blacklist. No matter how late we let him stay up with condition that if he stays up he won’t get a bed time story he of course still demands one. He also requests to go in our bed as another arrow in his quiver of delay tricks. However, lately he has picked a real doozy. He now objects to the ceiling fan being on. It is on the slowest speed and is perfect for when we don’t need the ac but it is a little warm upstairs. So in full whine he insists it be shut off in his room but of course it goes back on when he is asleep. The very latest was last night as LTD finally lost another tooth that had been stubbornly hanging on for months and the tooth fairy was to visit. BB spent many minutes whining about how he didn’t want the tooth fairy to come and so we had to make a devils bargain with LTD telling him the tooth fairy would not come at the same time winking and quietly telling LTD that of course she was coming. While part of me doesn’t want him to grow out of this innocent phase I really could do without the constant whining.
LTD has long been a slave to the iPad and now BB is getting in on the action. They only stop using it when the battery dies but now we are trying something different. The device that looks nothing like a Koala but is called KoalaSafe plugs into the wall and then goes all Big Brother on the screens. You can set time limits that shut off the internet and also block sites and apps plus enforce safe search on different engines. Another feature that we haven’t used to much since the boys are still pretty young is what I call the NSA feature. You can see how your household usage compares to other families and monitors if there is a jump in your own site use. Of course in an ironic twist you monitor everything from the app on your phone (do as I say not as I do). Now let’s hope The Mommy doesn’t get any ideas about blocking certain sites I frequent.
In a sea of endless children’s books I’m still always impressed when I find one that is elegant and dare I say beautiful. Lane Smith uses sponge-paint art to make There is a Tribe of Kids pop. The tale follows boy on an epic journey through our natural world. Each setting he encounters whether it be elephants, butterflies or the ocean he learns about different “tribes” but continues searching. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I think you can guess what he finds at the end (hint: see book title). The story is easy to follow and the art captures the beauty of nature in almost magical fashion. All of which is to say none of that matters to BB who just likes the whales.