Saturday, December 8, 2012

Amy's Favorite Children's Books

I have three books in my meager children's library that I especially love to read to my children, and they love to be read these stories.  Really, a list of children's books that deserve recognition would be infinite.  But there are three I wanted to spotlight.  Just because.

#1 - "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed" by Mo Willems

This book was a gift to my daughter, Maren, by her preschool teacher at the beginning of the school year.  Maren loves the way I read this to her, because I manage some kind of nasally voice to represent Wilbur, the mole rat in question, and some valley girl voice for the groupie mole rats who insist on remaining naked.  But I love the message in the book.  We're all different, but we aren't meant to base our value of others soley on our differences.  It's just a funny little tongue-in-cheek story.  Read it!

#2 - "The Way Mothers Are" by Miriam Schlein

This book was given to me by my own mother.  Twice.  I think she'd forgotten that she had already given it to me, but our fist copy had been loved too much so I really appreciated when she gave me the new copy.  Which is also on its way to being loved too much.  This book makes the distinction about a mother's love, that it doesn't flow freely when our children behave and it doesn't discontinue when they drive us up the wall. It's simply touching, and I think every mommy (or daddy or caregiver) needs to share this with their children.  Read it!

#3 - "The Dumb Bunnies' Easter" by Dav Pilkey

This book was given to my family by my sister (wow, I'm just noticing the pattern that these books were all gifts.  What's the significance of that?!  This'll keep me up all night.)  My sister is a special person for so many reasons.  But I love her special sense of humor.  Many things in life that she likes she likes because they go against the grain.  She told me once she liked Sponge Bob because he was an ugly cartoon--too many cartoons were too cute for her taste, I guess.  I think that's why she gave me this book.  Like the sticker says on the front:  This book is TOO DUMB to win an award.  The book is funny, imaginative, backwards, and dumb for the sake of being dumb.  I've taught my kids that when we read this book is the only time we use the word 'dumb' to label a person.  Because these bunnies are genuinely clueless.  And the play-on-words are great for developing kids' understanding of language.  Read this one, too!

Okay, that's it.  I'm glad I've done this, because for months whenever I've read one of these gems I've thought about sharing with the public at large.  Maybe I can't give each of you a copy of these books as generous people have given them to me (don't I wish I were that affluent!).   But at least this way if you haven't already discovered these stories, now you can go out and learn to love them yourself.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Thought (or two) on Love and Logic

If anyone who reads this knew me personally, you'll know that I gripe about my third-born child, a strong-willed hellion named Maren, on a frequent basis.  At least, I feel it used to be on a frequent basis.  I think things have greatly improved at home.  A friend had recommended "Parenting with Love and Logic" dozens of times, but I thought nothing would help things at home.  I guess you'd say I was hopeless about the frustration and conflicts and head-to-head battles that ensued every day.  Then finally I thought, why NOT look into these books??  Even if I think the method won't work, at least I could say I tried.  And trying was very important to me.  My four-year-old and I were in a dangerous habit of fighting and arguing.  When mommies lose their tempers, they lose control and do/say things they regret.  I didn't want to continue this strained relationship, and I didn't want her growing up believing I loved her less than the others.  I was afraid if this pattern continued, horrible long-term repercussions would be inevitable.  So, genuinely, what would I have to lose by trying this parenting technique?


I got two books from the library, but I focused on the one for early childhood, from birth to age six.  I will tell you, there's a reason they call it Love and Logic Magic.  My relationship with Maren has already transformed from toxic to blossoming.  I'm still learning, but I feel we're in a much healthier place.  I feel the biggest indicator of success so far has been how I feel at the end of the day.  The past few weeks I've been much less tense at bedtime!  I used to be so worn out from Maren's antics that after they were all in bed I'd take a few hours to wind down and let go of the anger.  And now bedtime goes smoother, as well as the whole day.  And now since Mommy's less likely to blow-up at any given moment, I feel my other children are benefiting from these changes at home, as well.  Even though my other three kids need less disciplinary interaction than Maren, the tricks I'm using with her have had a great impact on them.  My oldest daughter had an over-nighter with her grandparents recently, and when she came home I explained some of the rules that had been put in place while she was gone.  I was using the same tricks on her as her little sister, just a little differently for the different circumstances.  She came out of her room crying and asking why I had changed.  That showed me again how noticeable the Love and Logic structure was.

I'm not going to call this a full-on review, because I gleaned information as necessary for my understanding and for survival.  But I recommend the method!