Changing it up

Alex likes to challenge me in many ways. This I find extremely exhausting, yet a bit amusing. At least I can laugh about it now.

Me: Ok kids, it’s time to hit the gym. Alex go upstairs and put on some shorts and a shirt.

(I am working to get Anna’s shoes on and bag ready to go.)

Alex appears at the top of the steps wearing his swimsuit, holding his frog (who is forbidden outside his room) and sucking his thumb with a look of defiance in his eyes.

Me: What are you doing?
Alex: I put on my swimsuit.
Me: I see that. Why?
Alex: Because I like to wear it and I want to go to the pool.
Me: Well, we can go to the pool later, but right now we need to go to the gym so mommy can work out and try to not be fat.
Alex: Ok.

He disappears into his room and reappears wearing something equally inappropriate. Sweater in summer, mixed matched colors, patterns, etc. After at least 5-10 minutes of negotiating he returns wearing a short that I usually hate and we go.

Later in the day . . . .

Me: Ok, kids let’s get ready to go to the pool.
Alex: Woo hoo hoo, the pool. Alright.
Me: Go put on your swimsuit so we can go.
Alex: Mommy, can you help me find my blue swimsuit (the one that was put on earlier in the day before the gym. It’s likely hidden underneath a big pile of clothes.)
Me: Just get another one and let’s go. (He has 3 of them.)

Alex appears a the top of the steps in his giraffe costume . . .


No diapers, no wipes, no stroller . . . could it be?

This weekend, due to unfortunate circumstances, I traveled alone with my 3 ½ year old—leaving behind Andrew and my 2-year old daughter with a 103 fever. Last minute, the plans changed and bags were packed. For the first time in 3 years after 9 airline trips (2 of them overseas and back) I didn’t have a diaper bag. I didn’t have a stroller. I didn’t even a car seat to lug. I was crap free. We walked to the plane. He wore his own backpack. Alex handed the lady his boarding pass. He found his own seat. He watched a movie on the DVD player. I didn’t need people helping me. I didn’t have to wait for the stroller to be unloaded. I felt that I had finally arrived at that moment where I could truly say I might someday be able to take a family vacation. Next year when Anna is out of diapers and able to not poop out after walking 20 feet, perhaps will investigate a journey somewhere fun for everyone to enjoy. I think I see the light……….


Literary favorites gone bad

Reading is a very important activity in our household. More for my husband than for me. He reads at the speed of light. He’s read hundreds of thousands of books in his 31 years. His parents have floor to ceiling bookshelves full of classic literature. It is a reading family. So it’s no surprise that is encouraged for our children. Our kids love to read. My son, who is 3 ½ sits for books longer than I can sit sometimes. He will listen to the longer Dr. Seuss such as Bartholomew and the Oobleck or Horton Hatches an Egg. Many books that I hear the Barnes and Noble staff recommending for 8-year olds.

I was shocked when my son asked me to read him “St. George and the Dragon” from a children’s anthology book. It was called something like Children’s Favorites. Well, in the past 3 days, I have read this story at least 3 times each day. The thing my husband and I both liked is that there were very few pictures in the book and he seemed genuinely interested in story and not the drawings. Upon further inspection of the stories though, we discovered they were not only “dumbed down,” but incorrect from the “classic fairytale” versions. The dragon doesn’t die in St. George and the Dragon. Even my son asked, where the knight’s sword was in the picture. He said, “How can he fight the dragon with no sword?” I mean, come on. Even my kid is smart enough to realize it was a joke.

What’s happened to children’s literature where anyone can write a book these days. And bad books at that. I can’t believe some of the books we have on our shelves. In fact, Andrew has taken to throwing them out. I argue that we should donate them. His response, “No child should be subjected to bad literature.” Who gave someone permission to change Little Red Riding Hood. Why can’t the hunter kill the wolf? Is there something politically incorrect about that? Who said all stories have to be about getting along? What happened to the great stories about good vs. evil?

Recommendation: Don’t buy a book until you have read it yourself. If you roll your eyes about it during the first read, believe me after 100 more you’ll want to throw that book in the trash too.

Favorite we’re reading now:
Tikki Tikki Tembo
Boxes for Katje
Animals Do the Strangest Things
Danny and the Dinosaur
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Stone Soup
Curious George Books (all of the original ones)
Anno’s Counting Book
Busy, Busy Day


Rockin' with Rocknoceros

One of the benefits to being a stay at home mom, is on the days when we have no errands, no appointments or no school, I have the opportunity to treat everyone (including myself) to a fun-filled day. You’d think these days would pop up more often than they do, but they often don’t so we try to really get the most out of them when they do.

Today, we had about 3 choices for entertainment, the kids and I chose a concert at Jammin’ Java to see Rocknoceros. I love this band. They are a local DC-area band of 3 guys who sing some of the catchy tunes for younger preschool-age children. I am all about kid music. My son has learned all the words to most of the songs and will jump around in his room with the guitar pretending to be a rock star. I mean, hey, any band who can teach you about the metric system and laugh at the fact that we have to “use the other kind” can’t be anything but fabulous.

So my two monkeys and about 75 other children piled into the Vienna coffee house that holds daily children’s concerts. A good many had on their Rocknoceros T-shirts, some carried shakers and tambourines. I was waiting for the light sticks to start swaying. The minute the band started, the kids took to the floor jumping, dancing, screaming, singing and twirling. The band just came alive with the response. My two weren’t too sure about the three-year old mosh pit in the front row so they sat with me. But I couldn’t help think what makes grownups decide that a great career is singing for preschoolers about potty training, brushing your teeth and learning to count. The first time I saw the Wiggles performing, I thought to myself, “have you no shame?” But I watched the room just come alive, the kids, the moms, the band. Everyone seemed to be in the moment. The lead singer “Coach” spent most of the time cracking up at the incidents in the audience. He knew many of the children by name--obviously groupies. What does it feel like to be a rock star for kids? As far as my son is concerned, these guys are rock stars to him.

Moms were beaming as well. Perhaps it’s because they enjoy seeing their wee ones having a blast. Perhaps it’s because they enjoy the music as well with their Jammin’ Java coffee. Perhaps it’s because the lead singer is even a bit on the geeky cute side. (Even I will admit that Anthony from the Wiggles is good looking.)

At $5 a kid, the 45 minutes of entertainment for all three of us, was totally worth the price and drive—even if my son had a breakdown about the noise level. Following the concert, we stopped for lunch on the way home. I’m not sure if you can get any better than music and a meal for a morning out. Doesn’t it beat sitting in front of the TV watching Dora?