Archive for the ‘Alden’ Category

Required Reading for a 3-Year-Old

I need some new books for Alden.

He’s never been a big fan of reading, much preferring his cars, swords, and “punch whacking” to anything stationary. Before I had him I’d have told you that would break my heart. Now, though, I enjoy his go-go energy and I get a lot of joy from whatever it is that pleases him. Although I really could do with less punch whacking.

I now know I can enjoy my little ruffian with no sense of loss for the nerdy reader. So maybe we’re demonstrating that if you “just relax” you’ll get what you want (Holla fellow infertiles!). Whatever it is, things have shifted lately. In addition to our nightly bedtime-stalling books Alden has started, occasionally, pulling out his little library at other times. You better believe I’ll let that spaghetti overcook if he wants another round of Goodnight Gorilla. So maybe I still care a little bit.

Since this is new to us I don’t have a great sense of what kid lit gems are out there.

His favorites right now are the aforementioned Goodnight Gorilla, When a Monster Is Born, Courderoy, Thomas and the Something Something Mine, Monster Night at Grandma’s House, and 101 Dalmations. For the Thomas book I skip as much as he’ll let me get away with, because it is B-O-R-I-N-G. For the last two I make up the story and we just look at the pictures.

Which leads me to an important point: Nothing scary. Alden got the real 101 Dalmations once and was HORRIFIED at Cruella’s puppy coat scheme. He does not like anything that threatens or even implies real harm. Not even to bad guys. I am happy to protect his tender version of reality for as long as he prefers it that way. Heck, I prefer it that way.

Fake harm, though, is our sweet spot. Slapstick. Characters falling into swimming pools, bushes, mud puddles or any other mischief are fantastic. Clifford broke the barn? Awesome! In general, animals (and monsters) are more interesting than people. Isn’t that the truth?

Winnie the Pooh is a no-brainer, and he’s already in my Amazon cart. So is Where the Wild Things Are. The Disney oeuvre in general is too scary. Alden is, after all, still asking “Why that mommy would put her baby in a tree?” after they learned some simple songs one day in preschool.

What else? What are the best books for a 3-year-old?

Parenting Tip: Lies and Trickery

Alden is recovering from bronchitis. Night after night he was coughing himself awake. He coughed until he barfed on the floor at Shoney’s. That situation cannot stand.

Alden won’t eat food. So medicine… unlikely. But I really needed him to take it. I heard myself say, “Alden if you don’t take this medicine I’m going to have to hold you down and force you.”

I think that when you’re threatening to pin your child down and choke the medicine into him, it might be a good time to reevaluate the plan.

I looked right into this innocent little face.

And I lied. I told him the medicine is full of ferocious little guys who are going to run through his body chasing down cough germs and spank their butts. (He’s awfully interested in butt spanking for a kid whose own tuchus is pristine.) I held up the bottle and pretended I could see them. Then he could see them too. He sucked down the syrup and we talked about how many butts were getting spanked RIGHT THAT MINUTE.

Lesson learned: The more ridiculous the lie, the more likely my three-year-old will believe it.

Bonus lesson: Extend that precious precious toddler nap by waiting until he falls asleep and then filling his bed with a million Hot Wheels. He’ll forget to bug you for at least 15 minutes after he wakes up.

Parenting Tip: Sing the Standards

I do not claim to provide real, functional parenting tips. But I do notice a few handy things along the way, and I’m happy to share.

Example: How I got my 3-year-old son to drink milk.
I put it in his coffee. Really.
Now, his coffee is 90% milk and 10% coffee. And that comes in a very tiny cup. (Defensive much?) But he goes to preschool with coffee breath. Because I am tired.

I don’t have an opinion on whether you should red shirt your kid or if you’re over-concerned about “Stranger Danger.” I do, however, know that if you have an under-five you need to put some effort into teaching him (or her) a few old-fashioned standard songs.

Every morning Alden and I drive along singing School Days.

Please imagine this kid:

Little Crooner

crooning “You were my queen in calico. I was your bashful barefoot beau. You wrote on my slate [high and soft]’I loooooove you so.’ When we were a couple of kids.”

You will die a thousand times. In a good way. I promise.


Like the Weather

I’ve been meaning to write about the delightful stage of three years old. I’ve composed the post in my mind a few times, just never near a keyboard. I want to remember this lovely, tractible boy who is still baby enough to be all innocence and light.

I was thumbing through Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy by Ames and Ilg. I first heard of this series of books from AskMoxie. Even though they are seventies-riffic (All mommies are at home. All daddies are the authority figures.), I’ve yet to read anything else that gives me as clear a window into what my kids are going through developmentally. I particularly appreciate that there aren’t varied and complicated recommendations. Often all I need to know is “why.” I definitely don’t need to feel like I’m doing it wrong. I kind of love that the thrust of the 3-year-old book seems to be that: Three is awesome. Three-and-a-half is kind of terrible. Definitely get a babysitter as much as possible for three-and-a-half. Have you tried preschool? Just get that kid out of your hair.

So maybe two weeks ago I was reading aloud to Damon the part where it says that it doesn’t even have much to say about the first half of three, as those kids are generally so agreeable and fun. We marveled. We appreciated that was the case, and we talked about what a pleasure our little Alden is.

I know you saw this coming. Boom! Before I could write about three, we hit the developmental phase of 3.5. I can only assume that’s what happened. Or Alden has just plain lost his mind. The “Don’t look at me!”s are flying. Even the slappy hands are flying occassionally, and we haven’t seen those in months. He likes to wake me up at 5am to be mad at me. Oh my god he is trying my patience. Face washing is an affront. Serving him dinner is an attack. You get the picture.

I remind myself of the wise advice I read somewhere or other, that children need your compassion the most when they seem to deserve it the least. Likely true of adults as well, but they’re on their own.


You wouldn’t believe that sweet little peanut could have lead poisoning, would you?

And yet…