Quote of the Day

“I was in my own little reading world.”

That’s my 6-year-old daughter recalling her experience last night waiting for me to get home from her school’s kindergarten recruitment event. She’s doing a read-a-thon to support the school library and plans to read 2,000 pages by the end of the month. That amounts to most of our Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary collection. She told me that while reading in her room she found herself unaware of the time or day, not sure if it was morning or night, dissolved in her own little reading world.


Am I an evil father?

I was reading a book to my 2-year-old son on the couch a few minutes ago when my wife in the next room began singing the Bean Song, a favorite in some toddler song circles.

A typical stanza goes like this:

My dog Lima likes to roam.
One day Lima left his home.
He came back all nice and clean,
Where oh where had Lima been? (pronounced as bean)
Lima been.
Lima been.
Where, oh where, has Lima bean?

And then you repeat the stanza with a new dog name, frequently the name of a bean so as to be mildly amusing to the parents and keep them from going into a coma. So, there I am, listening to her sing:

Jelly been.
Jelly been.
Where, oh where, has Jelly been?

I alert my son.

“Hey, Momma has jelly beans. Jelly beans are candy. Go tell Momma you want jelly beans!”

He runs into the kitchen and you can guess the mild unrest that ensued.

Zach Wahls speaks about family

[Link via Mitch Trachtenberg]

See related:

  1. A parenting perspective from an American hero
  2. How to raise your children to be the type of adults you want them to be
  3. Don’t teach children tolerance for people who are different from you

Cesarian Sections Sexy Again, Oh Yeah!

Two photos of a tan cheetah print undie revealing a red pad underneath.

As my regular readers know, I’m all about c-sections. I can’t get enough of ‘em. Boy, how I love me a good c-section.

That’s why I’m buying Czela Bellies CesareanWear undies for that extra bit of comfort I need while nursing my latest Pfannenstiel incision.

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Pure Evil as Adorable Marketing Gimmick

This is a follow-up to my last post about a ride-in Dalek toy. Daleks are, of course, the British scifi TV equivalent of Hitler, the perfect ethnic-cleansing machine, genetically engineered hate. Oh, but great fun when made into a children’s toy.

I present to you the adorable American equivalent, Mini Darth Vader in a Volkswagen commercial.

[link via local-to-me blogger Redheaded Blackbelt]

Doctor Who Ride-in Dalek

While 0.1 percent of the people reading this will understand, umm. I want. I want. I want.

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Choosing home decor for its educational messages

Photo of a boy smiling while sitting in a box. Machinery wheels are visible in the background.

Boy in the Box: 1909. Unlike most old child labor photos, this kid is smiling. Who knows why he’s smiling, but I like to think it’s because he’s playing during his lunch break.

I’ve been giving some thought to how our home is decorated.

In my 6-year-old’s room, in the past couple years, I’ve planted a framed map of the US, a globe and a poster of world flags, which she has taken a liking to based on how we’ve raised her. Geography and awareness of people and events outside our borders are certainly teaching priorities for me. I’m trying to find a place to put a Dymaxion map, the type where the continent sizes aren’t distorted — Africa is big, Greenland is small, and Antarctica makes sense.

I’m now rethinking the walls in the rest of our home and have decided historical photos are a good solution. For one, I love them. And two, my wife and I disagree on virtually everything when it comes to style. So I’ve given her the challenge of generating a list of images she likes from Shorpy’s Blog.

Every day, Shorpy’s Blog presents a few high resolution historical images that have been raised into the public domain. Most can be purchased as prints.

It raises some interesting issues as to what photos we will both find interesting and yet still contain a message for our kids. But that message really only needs to provide a sense of history, of how things used to be and how much they have improved.

A city street scene can show life before cars, dirt roads, very wide wooden sidewalks in a society built around pedestrians, newspaper stands, formal conservative attire, etc. Just a beach scene reveals interesting ideas about old-time modesty.

Just last week, I showed my daughter a photo of a used bookstore we were going to visit, except it was a photo from 1913 when the bookstore was a bank. The expanded view reveals the amazing number of wires that utility poles used to carry, and shows a local movie theater in the process of being renovated for its grand opening (a bunch of debris sits out front). The theater is still in operation today.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:
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Happy Birthday World!

How better to explain New Year’s Day to a toddler than to say it’s the world’s birthday?

Photo of my son and daughter seated at a toddler table along with a plush snowman and a world globe donning a paper party hat. A chocolate cake with a single lit candle is in the middle of the table.

Yeah, I tried explaining the Gregorian calendar to my 2-year-old son, but he was having none of it.

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Happy New Year – 2011 Videos

If your kids are old enough to understand the new year, but can’t stay awake, show them celebrations from around the world. It’s one of the side benefits of living in North America — being among the last to ring in the new year.

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Books for Christmas redux

Last year, after filming their 3-year-old son showing disgust at receiving books for Christmas (and the parents laughing), and presumably after users of Youtube attached critical comments to the video and the parents turned off commenting on the video… the kid is back!Yesterday, the parents filmed their now 4-year-old son receiving books for Christmas. Ta-da!

My take is, based on the questioning of the parents, that the video was shot in response to Internet critics. I hope we’re seeing a genuine response from the boy, and not the result of coaching, but anyhow…

For our part, our daughter received two Mary Poppins books, The World of Little House (she’s re-reading the series for school now), and Ramona the Pest. She was most enthused about Ramona because I’ve been stalling her reading our softcover version for weeks because I’d picked up a large format hardcover edition (25 cents at a yard sale) and set it aside from Christmas.

The stockings were hung…

Photo of a decorated small potted Christmas tree next to a couple Christmas stockings filled with goodies. The stockings are attached to the side of a cardboard fort.

The stockings were hung by the cardboard fort with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

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Merry Christmas

More on awesome forts

For the folks visiting here after reading my fort-building advice blurb in the (January 2011?) Parents Magazine issue, here’s what else I’ve said on the subject:

  1. How to build a fun cardboard fort (6th birthday party)
  2. Fifth birthday fort prepartion
  3. Fifth birthday party report
  4. Sorry, no fort at the 4th birthday
  5. Part 1: Third birthday building a fort
  6. Part 2: Third birthday building a fort
  7. Part 2.5: Holding a glow-in-the-dark party during the day
  8. Part 3: Third birthday building a fort
  9. Secondary use of a cardboard fort (3rd birthday)
  10. Product review: Connectables
  11. Product review: Fortamajig

And if you haven’t seen the magazine: binder clips. They are your secret weapon for connecting blankets together in a blanket fort. When not building forts, they’re awesome for cinching closed kitchen bags. I have several dozen and use ‘em on everything from potato chip bags to frozen burrito bags.

Books for Christmas

They laugh in this video, but if it were my son, I’d be severely disappointed in him and myself.

[Link via Reddit /r/parenting]

The Winter Ogre is Coming to Town!

The Winter Ogre's view upon picking the lock to our front door. The socks overlap a sandblasted picture that normally hangs in our entryway.

The Winter Ogre's view upon picking the lock to our front door. The socks overlap a sandblasted picture that normally hangs in our entryway.

I joked about it last year. This year I’m bringing the magic, joy and wonder of the Winter Ogre to life!

A few days after December 21, the first day of winter, the ogre giant comes down from the forested hills to stock up for winter. Under cover of darkness, he breaks into homes in our town and steals the provisions he needs. Ogres are simple and child-like in some ways, and so he grabs toys and other shiny and pretty objects he finds, in addition to practical things such as food, water and blankets. Ogres are largely scavengers, after all.

That is why each December we hang two giant ogre socks just inside our front door for the ogre to see as soon as he arrives. (It’s a little known fact that ogres always enter through the front door, being excellent lock pickers with little patience for climbing or knocking down fences.)

Upon seeing the specially designed ogre-size socks, his cold heart melts at the warmness of our gesture… for what could the small-foots who dwell here do with such large socks? They must surely be a gift to the ogre.

And so it is that the ogre returns the gesture. He takes the socks and leaves our home untouched but for the addition of toys and other goodies he collected from other homes that night.
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