Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things We're Loving Now: Shoes, Toys, and Books

I read an interesting idea once for remembering some of the sweet details of raising children: every now and then, write down what things they are enjoying. I liked the idea, and since this blog is, among other things, where I write down things I want to remember about motherhood and raising my children, a very infrequent series of posts about things we're loving now was born. (Here is the one earlier entry, filed along with a few other posts under "stuff".) I suspect I'll write similar posts from time to time. They aren't sponsored- i.e., no one is paying me to write them. No one has ever paid me any actual money to write any post, and I suspect it will stay that way. However, the links are likely to be referral links, as are many of the links in other posts I write.

Anyway, here's what we're loving now here at Chez Cloud:

Petunia has resurrected a toy that I was ready to give away. She found the wooden sushi set that Pumpkin got for her 3rd birthday. I never really understood what the point of that set was, and Pumpkin only played with it a little bit. But Petunia knows what to do with it- she likes to cut the sushi apart. The pieces velcro together, and she takes the big wooden "knife" and chops them apart. I suppose it is helping develop fine motor control or something like that. Regardless, she loves playing with it.

She also loves to read to us. She'll go get one of her books, and go through the pages, narrating the story in her incomprehensible toddlerese. She does a really good job with her current favorite book, Each Peach Pear Plum. There is at least one word on each page that I can understand- usually the name of a character. Her rendition of Knuffle Bunny is really cute, too. I can't understand much at all until she gets to the last page and yells out "'Uffle Munny!"

She still lets us read to her from time to time, too. She has recently executed a complete about face on a book called Dogs Don't Do Ballet, by Anna Kemp. When we first got the book, she refused to let me read it to her. She'd push it away and emphatically tell me "No!" if I tried. Lately, I've been reading it twice a night. Luckily, it is a cute story.

Pumpkin is making her father proud with her Lego-building skills. We got her a basic multi-purpose house and car set for Christmas, and she was soon building the house from instructions without help. Then a friend of hers had a birthday, and one of the toys her mom said she liked was Lego Friends- the new "girl" Legos that have caused so much fuss. Pumpkin came with me to buy the gift. She was intrigued by the Friends sets and I was curious about them, so I bought her one. She picked the Inventor's Workshop set. I'll probably write a post about this later, but the short story is: it is a Lego set similar to many others, except there are pink and purple and turquoise blocks. Hubby doesn't like the set because it has specialized pieces and no base- but looking at the "boy" sets that Pumpkin also considered, I think that is not limited to the new Friends line. I think that perhaps this "issue" got blown out of proportion. Regardless, she is now wanting to build things that are bigger than her current collection of blocks, and we are debating whether or not to get her another set now or make her wait until her birthday in April.

Pumpkin is also loving books right now. She is reading really well now, and we are having a hard time keeping enough books of the right level around for her to read. When we read to her, she has been requesting stories from a book called Just One More, by Joy Crowley. It was a Christmas gift from New Zealand, and doesn't seem to be available in the US. That is a shame, because it is a fun book.

And what about the grown ups? I'm loving my new Wavemaster heavy bag, but that is also probably the subject of another post.

I am also ridiculously happy with these shoes:

Hubby is loving his Roku. We decided to get Amazon Prime, so he has lots of shows to watch. But I think he might love it most because he can show us YouTube things on the TV without getting a laptop out.

What about you? What are you and yours loving right now?


  1. Yes, the boy lego sets (of which we have MANY) have specialized pieces (down to cat woman's whip) and no base. DS is having fun mixing and matching across set genres. There are elaborate rules for when they change hats. Currently bat man is a storm trouper and the dinosaur hunter is wearing a bat hat.

    We have that house set-- that was a last year birthday present. He played with it and had fun with it, but didn't really go lego crazy until Heroica earlier this year.

    I vote get more legos. I am very pro- sweet sweet quiet time for mommy and daddy. If she has an allowance, it's a good thing to save up for. That's how DS got the third heroica set... which reminds me that he hasn't gotten his allowance yet this week.

    We hit up the library yesterday for books on babies. DS asked if we could get books that could tell him how to help with the baby. We didn't quite find those books, but he is now much more educated on things like umbilical chords. At night they're reading Miss Know It All, which sadly appears to be out of print. I'm glad my parents kept my copy!

    Is Pumpkin into Nate the Great yet?

  2. @Nicoleandmaggie- we haven't started an allowance yet. But I think it may soon be time to do so. She's interested in money. I'll have to discuss that with Hubby.

    Our favorite of the "you're going to have a little brother or sister soon" books was an old one, by Mr. Rogers. Yes, THE Mr. Rogers. The link is on my book list, along with the other books we used. Of course, Pumpkin was younger than your son is. I'll be he could read the Mr. Rogers book on his own, though.

  3. ooh, it is still in print!

    (unlike many recommended new baby books, but that's what libraries are for, eh?)

    I bet one doesn't have to be worried about explicit pictures from Mr. Rogers either. Most of the books that were going to have that info had it right up front (obviously for older kids), but one of them, narrated by a little girl, snuck it in the middle of the book! (I'm like... you don't need to read this page... OR this page either...)

  4. Definitely no explicit pictures in the Mr. Rogers book! Just some 70s pictures of families. It is mostly about the emotional impact of having a new baby in the house, but there is a little bit about the older kid helping, too.

  5. Thread highjack but how detailed are you guys being with the birds and bees talk? I don't know who Tate knows that is pregnant, perhaps a mom of a school mate, but he asks frequently about babies and stomachs and his last question was how does the baby get out. His idea is that it comes out the throat "but that can't work because only small pieces of food fit". I just said look at that big truck and moved on. Part of me wants to be matter of fact and tell him exactly and part of me wants to say the stork brings it and I can't seem to find a comfortable middle ground. Advice?

  6. paola5:55 AM

    Well, we have just had 2 birthdays recently and with christmas just gone too, we have had an influx of toys, most of which have remained untouched since being unwrapped.

    Both kids love their cameras, but the feature they love the most is the video game. Had I known it was on the camera, I would not have asked Santa to get one for them.

    Noah loves his birthday present of a Rocket Laucher Lego. Problem is that Zoe also loves it, and they have been fighting endlessly over it. I suspectthat if Noah actually let Zoe use it she would get sick of it in a flash, but he isn't ready to share it with her yet.

    I'm loving ' the end of mr y' by Scarlet Young.


    Once when Noah was around 5, he asked me where babies came out. I told him from a woman's vagina. He thought about it a moment and then asked if it hurt when a baby came out. I told him it did. He then asked me if it hurt going in! It was almost impossible to keep a straight face but somehow I managed, and told him, it usually didn't. That must have been enough 'cause he quickly changed the subject and went back to talking about dinosaurs.

    I'd say, just answer the questions. Keep in simple. They lose interst real quick.

  7. We recently had the "how does it get out" thing and he brought up that girls don't have penises. (This is an extension of something like a 3 year conversation on how girls pee without penises.) I explained that instead of a penis there's a hole that can stretch to let the baby out. Then one of the Joanna Cole books we'd checked out had a nice drawn diagram of how the baby comes out.

    He's also gotten from the books that half the baby's first cell comes from mommy and half comes from daddy. He hasn't asked how daddy's half gets to mommy's half and I think we're going to be cagey on that if he does ask.

    The somewhat explicit book that I accidentally checked out had a girl explaining how her mommy and daddy had private parts and sex, complete with drawings of the parts and the act, which was just a little too wrong for me. Sure, when he's older (close to puberty himself) there won't be any problem with him reading books that go into graphic detail... but not from a girl talking about her own parents!

  8. @mom2boy- so far, we've only had to explain that the baby comes out from the region my husband decided we should call "lady bits". (I know. I figure I'll teach her the real words when she starts asking more detailed questions.)

    I agree with @paola- answer the questions in sanitized terms, don't go into more detail than you have to, and he'll probably stop asking for more info before things get too dicey.

  9. @mom2boy - "It's Not The Stork" by Robie H. Harris is a fantastic book for 4+yr-olds.

    This week my kids are loving their ceramic teaset, the 4 Shrek movies (I make them watch in Spanish), and playing songs from my iPod: "A Horse With No Name" is DS's current favorite song; "Firework" by Katy Perry is DD's.

  10. Nice topic. My daughter (almost 6) loves her unicycle, even though she cannot ride it on her own yet and still holds on to my hand. Inside, she likes boardgames (biggest favorites are Qwirkle and Set) and to draw and craft. Other toys (Lego, Playmobiel, dolls, Barbies) no interest whatsoever. My son (just 3) also discovered boardgames in the last months (the rolling of the dice!, the counting!, the moving!, the WINNING!). He also loves a CD with animal songs. Together we enjoy the WII fit and I am very fond of my kindle and 'The Prague Cemetery' by Umberto Eco, that I am currently reading on it...

    On a side note, just recently I made the mental calculation to find the most effective presents as in (cost of toy) / (hours played with it). For my daughter this is the Hoola Hoop she got for about $3 last spring. For my son it is a tie between a $7 Cars board game and a cheap plastic marble circuit. The big loser is the Playmobiel hospital that we got my daughter for her 5th birthday. Total playing time: about 10 min, before she declared: "I thought this would be less boring" and never went near it again.

  11. @ all - thank you, great suggestions!

  12. @hush- Pumpkin LOVES Firework, too. She heard it at day care.

    What's cracking me up right now, though, is her singing the "la la ooh la la" part from Bad Romance. She's never heard the song, but another kid at day care has and sings that part.

    @UD, "I thought this would be less boring"- that's classic! I think that was Pumpkin's initial reaction to the Barbie Disney princesses someone got her for Christmas- which she had wanted soooo badly. But she's figured out how to play with them now, so all is OK.


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