My 15 Minutes

I’ve been blurbed.

I’ve been reviewing for Library Journal for several years now, and, to my knowledge, this is the first time my review has found its way to the back of a book. I have to admit: I’m proud.

I’m particularly glad it was this book. I’m more than happy to put my name/words behind Desmond Morris’ Amazing Baby. It is a fascinating look at infanthood from the eyes of a zoologist. As you might imagine from the author of The Naked Ape, everything relates back to human evolution. This is a great book for science-minded parents. I currently have Morris’ newest book, Child, out from the library, and it looks every bit as beautiful and interesting as Amazing Baby.

Need a gift for the new or expectant mom in your life?

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
Nancy Tillman, author of On the Night You Were Born, has done it again. Her newest book is another super lovey-dovey picture book that will live forever as baby shower and holiday gifts for parents.

Moving and not having internet

I haven’t been online much lately.  We just moved into our new place, and we’ve decided to hold off on getting the Internet for a bit as we get settled.  Thank god for free wi-fi at the library.  :)
I’m here picking up a book for my daughter: Rosa’s Room.  I’ve been having trouble finding books about moving that fit our needs.  We didn’t move very far.  She didn’t change schools or lose friends.  She wasn’t at all reluctant to move, and most of the books dealing with kids moving are about losing friends, being the new kid at school, or reluctance.  I have yet to crack open Rosa’s Room, but I am hoping that the focus on decorating a new room will speak to my Ladybug.  We’ve been doing a lot of decorating lately, and I will definitely be posting about it.
In any case, we’ve been reading more about transitions in general with the hope that it will help with Ladybug’s transition to the new apartment.  One of her repeat requests is Sophie’s Big Bed.   It’s an adorable look at a toddler’s gradual decision to sleep in her new bed.  Ladybug likes to jump in with the repetitive phrases, and she seems quite triumphant at the end when Sophie chooses her new bed.  On the practical side, I like that the book is built with toddlers in mind.  We have a couple from this series, and both are small for lap sharing with thicker pages for toddlers ready to move on from board books but perhaps still a bit rough for regular books.
I’m off to check out Rosa’s Room.  Stay tuned for pictures of Ladybug’s room.

One week later, 3.1 miles still feels like a marathon

Last week at this time, I’d already ran a marathon.  Or that’s the way it felt.  Really, it was the Highland Fest 5k, and I ran/walked it in 43 minutes.  I was absolutely thrilled with my time.  It may have “only” been 3.1 miles, but it was a huge step for me to even attempt such a thing, much less finish in under an hour.

To be honest, it still seems unreal that I ran a race.  I’ve never been much of an athlete.  I love to take walks, but they are generally more of the leisurely stroll sort of walk.  Not the get-in-shape type.  As a result, I’m not exactly what you’d call “in shape.”  However, I turned thirty this year, and I’m a mom now.  That changes things.

I strongly want my daughter to grow up in an active household.  I want her to see me walking/running/moving and to know that I value those things.  Maybe in a few years, she’ll be running the 1k Kids Fun Run after my 5k.    For now, though, we play at parks and take lots of walks.  And, of course, we read books.  One of our favorite “active” reads is a classic: Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe.  It really is the perfect toddler book.  It’s repetitive, colorful, and energetic.  We love it!

There are more great opportunities to bounce, dance, hop, etc with the books on my working list of active picture books.  It’s a great start to our new active lifestyle.

*Amazon Affiliate. I receive a portion of purchases made from links on this blog.

Thrifty Family Fun

I know we could spend a lot of money on entertainment for our little one, but why?  In the past few months, we’ve hit up family days at the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  And last night we did community day at the Como Park Zoo and ComoTown.  We’ve been to the zoo dozens of times as it’s always an affordable option, but on Community Day all the rides at ComoTown were half off, which meant that Ladybug got to experience the thrill of an aumsement park, and we only put out $5.  That is so my price.

She loved it of course.  We started her off pretty easy on a slow moving train where I could ride with her, but by the time we got to the spinning tea cups, you’d think she’d been riding rides her whole (short) life.  My little thrillseeker! :)

But then there are also the outings that backfire on me.  Like when we went to the MIA, and she had no interest in anything but the Family Center–a playroom with books and toys.  I admit, I was glad that I hadn’t spent a lot on that seeing as how we have books and toys at home.  But even writing that makes me feel so curmugeonly, and if there is something I am trying to avoid becoming, it is a curmugeon.  I’ll just leave it at that.  :)

Reading with a two-year-old

“Where is my moonlet? Where is my little one?” sang my toddler to herself as she fell asleep this evening.  With those words she once again proves that she cannot be predicted. At least when it comes to books.

Rock-a-Baby Band Llama Llama Red PajamaUsually Ladybug goes for fun stuff. Past favorites have included Rock-A-baby Band and Llama Llama Red Pajama.  Pretty obvious choices.  But she can surprise.  I wasn’t expecting Pigs Love Potatoes to be a favorite, but I’m pretty sure that I could recite that one from memory at this point after all the Pigs Love Potatoestimes we’ve read it.  And why not?  It has a fun rhythm, a predictable pattern, and she always seems to find something exciting in the illustrations.  Everything a toddler could want in a book. :)

The most recent favorite, though, is A Lot of Otters by Barbara Helen Berger–an unusual pick for her.  It is a dreamy, mythical story that begins with the questions my Ladybug likes to repeat: “Where is my moonlet? Where is my little one?”  We follow a lost toddler as he (or she–it’s too ambiguous to say for certain) floats calmly in the sea surrounded by playful otters who help him back to his mother.  There is a rhythm to the text, but it is more poetic than some of Ladybug’s previous choices.    I will definitely be adding it to my list of bedtime booksA Lot of OttersWe need more calm options to keep beside her bed.

One of my favorite blogs for toddler titles is Kids Lit.  Tasha reviews books for toddlers through teens, but she posts lots of picture book reviews for the preschool set.  Whenever I want to try something new and interesting, I check Kids Lit.

*Amazon Affiliate. I receive a portion of purchases made from links on this blog.

Eating, sleeping, and toddlers. Ugh.

Nutrition and sleep.

We could have asked questions all night, but we had a mere two hours to grill the pediatrician who spoke at the Parent Education Night at my daughter’s preschool tonight. Hands shot up as soon as she asked for questions. I found myself nodding as other moms and dads asked about dealing with night wakings, how to establish bedtime routines, healthy meals, and getting kids to eat them. The doctor’s answers were quite helpful, but, to be honest, the highlight of the evening for me was the knowledge that other parents have the same issues I have. We’re new to the preschool, and it feels so good to finally have a community of parents around us.

We spent the bulk of the conversation on sleep. The doctor spoke about the importance of routine, which wasn’t new to any of us. But she pointed out that the purpose of the bedtime routine, in part, is to help the kids wind down from activity to sleep gradually. She recommended gradually dimming the lights as it gets closer to bedtime as a visual cue. The more senses involved the better, she said.

Then we turned the conversation to food. We segued in to the new topic by discussing how what we eat affects our energy level and the quality of our sleep. “Don’t eat too close to bedtime” is pretty common knowledge, but with kids who go to bed at 7:30 or 8pm, that can be more of a challenge. She cautioned us to watch the kids’ sugar intake and to make sure they get enough protein. If our kids are craving starches, which, lets face it, most kids do, they likely aren’t getting enough protein.

We ran out of time before we could get much further in the discussion, but I suspect that many of the parents in the audience would appreciate Feeding Baby Green by Alan Greene. I reviewed it for Library Journal some time ago, and, in addition to the information on eco-friendly food, it also had some very helpful tips for engaging toddlers and preschoolers with healthy food. If that goes well, Annabel Karmel’s The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: Mom-Tested, Child-Approved Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler would be a great next step. I’ve made a few of the recipes in this book with excellent results. And if it doesn’t work, there’s always Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. I’ve yet to try any recipes from this one, but I have my eye on a recipe for sloppy joes that includes pureed squash. Sounds good to me!

Check out the list of parenting books on my wiki for more resources. The list isn’t comprehensive by any means. But it’s growing regularly as I read and review books.

*Amazon affiliate. I receive a percentage of the purchase price on any purchases made from links on this blog.