Why I’m Open About My Son’s Speech Therapy

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At my son’s three year check-up, our pediatrician pointed to a picture in a book: “What color is this bird?”

“Boo,” my son, Wolfy, whispered. The bird was blue.

The doctor turned the page. “And what color is this bird?” he asked, pointing to a yellow bird.

“Leh-woe,” my son whispered. My son was speaking so softly that I’m not even sure the doctor knew he had answered the question. Continue reading “Why I’m Open About My Son’s Speech Therapy”

To the Woman Who Told My Son to Share

Perhaps you remember me and my son. I most certainly remember you. Remember how your son took something my kid was playing with and then you yelled at my kid that he needed to “share”?

Well, just in case, let me refresh your memory. Continue reading “To the Woman Who Told My Son to Share”

Surviving The Why Stage

Surviving the Why Stage(1)

My newly-four-year-old son is deeply entrenched in the “Why Stage”.

For the past six months he has been constantly asking, “Why why why?” and it’s driving me crazy! Seriously. I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point.

I thought I would be a better parent through this.

Ever since my son entered toddler-hood, I knew that something like this might be coming. Continue reading “Surviving The Why Stage”

Creating A Visual Snack Menu

Creating A Visual Snack Menu

I want my son to be fully prepared for school every morning.

My three year old boy recently started public preschool. He goes there every morning from 7:30-11:00am and they have a snack time in the middle. I’ve been so anxious about sending my son off to school. I’m excited, yes, but also a bit nervous too.

You might think that creating a visual menu for packing snack is overkill but if it makes getting ready for school easier, I’m all in.

Continue reading “Creating A Visual Snack Menu”

9 Amazing Children’s Holiday Books (that You’ve Probably Never Read and Definitely Should)

The holiday season is upon us. Shopping, parties, extended family, cookies, too much food. It’s cold outside and gets dark far too early. This is also the perfect time to cuddle up with a small person and a good book. I compiled this list with the aim of showcasing non-religious stories that still exemplify the values and morals of the holiday season. I tried to pick stories that focus on generosity, family, community, and kindness. Some books lean toward Christmas or Chanukah but most are meant to just speak to anyone that celebrates anything. Enjoy!

1. Night Tree by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ted Rand

This is a magical story about a family’s unusual holiday tradition. By moonlight in the quiet forest, a young boy and his family bring a picnic, sing songs, and decorate their favorite tree with popcorn, apples, tangerines, and sunflower-seed balls as a gift for the animals of the woods. Reading this book has inspired our family to create an outdoor tree as a way of saying thank you to the wild animals that share our homestead.

2. The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Jim LaMarche

From the author of Goodnight Moon and paired with incredible realistic illustrations. This tale recounts how a living pine tree is brought indoors each year and how it bears witness to the miraculous healing of a sick little boy (who in the 1950s, may have had polio). Every Christmas, the father digs up the little fir tree and takes it to decorate his son’s room where the boy’s friends gather to sing carols. Then the father replants the tree in the meadow. As Christmas Eve approaches years later, and no one comes to bring it to the house, the little fir is lonely and sad. But he hears singing, soon he sees the children he remembers, especially the little boy, coming close. He is now grown up and walking and bringing the holiday cheer with him and his friends, to the small tree that had brought him so much joy. Reading this story aloud seriously got me all choked up. Sixty years after it was first published, it’s still that good.

3. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

A girl and her father go looking for owls on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. Written with careful prose that read more like poetry, Yolen makes a simple walk into a magical adventure. Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge through snow “whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl”; here and there, hidden in ink-blue shadows, a fox, raccoon, field mouse, and deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl’s call once without answer, then again. Then, from out of the darkness “an echo/ came threading its way/ through the trees.” This story captivated the imagination of my two year old boy but also will enthrall much older children as well as adults.

4. The Animal’s Santa written and illustrated by Jan Brett

This is the latest book by an author of many amazing stories. When Big Snowshoe tells Little Snow that the animals’ Santa is coming with presents for everyone, Little Snow wants to know who he is. The animals say they have never seen him. Maybe he’s a badger, a moose, a polar bear, or a wolf, they tell him. But this spunky little rabbit thinks they are just fooling him. On Christmas Eve, Big Snowshoe finds a way to see the animals’ Santa when a Snowy Owl in a red cap swoops down with a pack full of presents. Never again will an excited Little Snow doubt that there is an animals’ Santa.
Also check out her other winter and holiday stories such as Trouble With Trolls, The Mitten, The Three Snow Bears, and The Wild Christmas Reindeer.

5. My Two Holidays by Danielle Novack, illustrated by Phyllis Harris

A young boy is preparing for the holidays, decorating his Christmas tree and polishing his Menorah. But at school, as child after child, shares their story about their holiday tradition, Sam becomes confused and embarrassed, because all the other children only have one holiday and he has two. That night he tells his mother what happened, and she explains all the positive reasons behind his family celebrating two traditions. The next day at school Sam shares about having two traditions and the other kids think that it is actually very cool. This is a nice story, written by a clinical psychologist, about accepting yourself and others.

6. Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

This is a goofy story that also tells about many of the traditions of Chanukah. A bear wakes to wonderful smells that leads him to the house of Bubba Brayna. Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, she doesn’t hear or see well. When the bear arrives at her door, she believes he is her rabbi. Bubba Brayna and the bear light the menorah, play the dreidel game, and eat all the latkes. When the mix-up is revealed, Bubba Brayna has a good laugh about it, and everyone works together to make more latkes.

7. Blizzard written and illustrated by John Rocco

This book was a Caldecott honoree for it’s amazing illustrations. It is based on author’s childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his small town in Rhode Island. Told with a brief text and dynamic illustrations, the book opens with a boy’s excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window. It ends with the neighborhood’s immense relief upon seeing the first snowplow break through on their street. In between the boy watches his familiar landscape transform into something alien, and readers watch him transform into a hero who puts the needs of others first.

8. Snowman’s Story illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

This is a wordless picture book that allows children or adults to make up their own story. The illustrations show that one wintry day, a hat lands on the head of a newly made snowman and brings him to life. Hiding inside the hat is a rabbit, who listens to the snowman read a story to some animal friends. When the snowman falls asleep, the rabbit hops away with the book. But the snowman isn’t about to let his story—or the mischievous rabbit—get away. The chase is on!

9. The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco

This story is based on a long-cherished childhood memory of the author. Trisha loves to celebrate Hanukkah, but the middle of her family’s preparation for the holiday, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha’s family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won’t be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, “But what can we decorate them with?” Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa’s carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.

9 Amazing Children’s Holiday Books

The holiday season is upon us. Shopping, parties, extended family, cookies, too much food. It’s cold outside and gets dark far too early. This is also the perfect time to cuddle up with a small person and a good book. I compiled this list with the aim of showcasing non-religious stories that still exemplify the values and morals of the holiday season. I tried to pick stories that focus on generosity, family, community, and kindness. Continue reading “9 Amazing Children’s Holiday Books”

Hide and Seek Letters

Hide and Seek Letters

Hunting for letters is perfect for acquiring and reinforcing early literacy skills; the rapidly-growing minds of toddlers, preschoolers, and even kindergarten-aged children can all benefit from it.

Continue reading “Hide and Seek Letters”

Teach Your Child to Identify Letters the Fun Way!

Hide and Seek Letters

Do you have a child who is learning to identify letters?

Hunting for letters is perfect for acquiring and reinforcing early literacy skills. The rapidly-growing minds of toddlers, preschoolers, and even kindergarten-aged children can all benefit from engaging activity. Hide-and-Seek Letters is a fun way to teach young children to identify letters or a great review for older kids.

Continue reading “Teach Your Child to Identify Letters the Fun Way!”