Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Emily Greene

This is undoubtedly Amelia's favorite story book. In fact, Tyler can recite the entire book because he has read it to her so many times. It's a poetic story about a little girl who is playing hide and seek with her father. Her father has some pretty silly ideas about where to look for her. This book is delightful to read. Even though I have read it to Amelia 100 times I still delight in the amusement Emily and her father find in each other. The ending is very tender and sweet. There are two things besides the obvious that I love about this book.

1. It is a story about a father and daughter (most books seem to be about mommy and child).

2. The father has red hair and the daughter has darker features. I don't know if the illustrator was trying to portray a child who joined her family via adoption but I like that the father and daughter do not look similarly. For those of us who are parenting transracially or have had biracial children, books like this are priceless gems.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Mommy Orphanage

This book was written by a mother and daughter, Cheryl Wilder Krass and Emily Krass and illustrated by Lauren Francis. I got my copy through amazon last week but it doesn't hit store shelves until tomorrow. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It's a personal conversation between the author and her daughter and they were gracious enough to share it with the world. Little Emily mixes things up and asks what if mommies were in orphanages and children got to pick the mommy that was right for them. The first time I read this story to my daughter, she wrapped her tiny little arms around me and said "mommy, I'd pick you too." Many families who have adopted children will tell you that somewhere overseas, a stranger matched them with the child that meant for them. In this story, Emily says it from her perspective, that she was matched with the mommy meant for her. I cannot wait for more books written by this mother and daughter duo! (hopefully there are more in the works)

Potty Training on speed

My daughter is very bright and catches onto things pretty quickly. Despite this, she absolutely detested the thought of potty training. After 6 months of trying I was desperate and bought this book at Barnes and Noble (it's also available at Amazon).

I had mixed feelings about the book while reading it and was pretty skeptical of the methods. The author gave great advice but often it was redudant. The book is 255 pages long and could probably be condensed into 150 pages. The back of the book lists lots of potty training resources. That makes it worth it's list price alone.

Here's a run down of our potty training party (the method of training the book recommends):

We spent Saturday morning reading potty training books. One was "No More Diapers for Ducky" by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams. and the other was "It's Potty Time" by Chris Sharp and Gary Currant.
This book has an annoying button that when pushed, sounds like a toilet flushing and a little girl giggling. We also watched Elmo's potty time. Amelia loved this. While we read the books and watching Elmo, I introduced Amelia to a baby doll that pees (baby alive - bought at Target). I showed Amelia how the baby used the potty chair to go pee pee which really grabbed her attention. Once the baby had an "accident" in her underwear and Amelia was not amused and insisted we change the baby at once.

I learned some things that I was doing wrong. When Amelia had potty training accidents in the past, I cleaned her up to make sure all traces of the accident were removed (I'm a germ phob). After reading the book, I learned that she had to be responsible for her accidents. She did not like it when she took of her urine soaked underwear and pee got all over her leg. I also learned that I needed to stop asking her if she had to go potty and focused my words instead to encourage DD to be more aware of her body. Instead I said things such as "how does your tummy feel?" or "do you feel like pee pee or poo poo is going to come out soon, etc." with the goal that DD would become more in tune with her body. That worked really well.

I also used to say "tell mommy if you need to go potty." Now I say "if you feel poo poo or pee pee coming, you need to sit on the potty." DD became aware of these feelings and her responsibility over the course of two days. I really think she made huge leaps and bounds in recognizing the feeling of needing to use the bathroom after I changed what I was saying to her.

The parties suggested in the book are a little extravagant for my tastes. My extended family loves Amelia like crazy but I wasn't going to send out invitations asking them to come to a party bearing gifts to celebrate her toilet training. I modified many things that were suggested in the book to better suit my daughter and me. I bought Amelia a little tent as a gift half way through the weekend. I told her that this tent is only for children who don't wear diapers. She added another rule - no boys are allowed - to keep her 13 year old big brother out of her special place. She really loves her tent and kept telling me that she was not going to get poop or pee on her new tent. It was a lot of work but I'm glad we did it!

At the end of our potty training boot camp, Amelia placed all of her left over diapers in a bag and chose which baby she was going to give them too. Overall the book was helpful, and it truely helped me organize my thoughts and develop a plan.

Book club for one

I've also wanted to join a book club, but have never been asked. Book clubs became popular about a decade ago. Since them the cliques have been formed and it seems like it would be easier to get into Fort Knox than asked to be a member of an established book club.

This being said, I decided to start my own book club and see where it leads. Right now I am going to play catch up while I finish the book I am reading and review some recent good reads. Hopefully, some of you have read the same books and we can share thoughts.

As you can tell, I am a mommy to two terrific children. My son is 13 years old and my daughter is almost 3. I have been married for just about 5 years. I know what you are thinking and yes, my son came before marriage. I had a crazy freshman year in college, things got a little out of hand and I ended up with my incredible son. My husband adopted him after we were married. After a hellish year of infertility treatments and another 17 months of paperwork, my husband, son and I made a miraculous journey to China where we met our baby girl. Many of my favorite books are adoption related.

Reading has always been my favorite way to relax and now that my baby girl is growing up, I finally am finding time to read again.

Please come back and visit often!