Wednesday, May 30, 2012

word of the month: splendiferous

we all know kids pick up on what we say. sometimes, we'd rather they didn't ("i'll get aggravated at you, mom"). other times, we feel that twinge of pride in our short-one's astute grasp of the English language when she correctly uses the word "mysterious" in a sentence (even if it did come out as "mysterio"). so here is a new monthly feature (ok, our first monthly feature) that focuses on building our kids' vocabulary with the finer if sillier words in life.
background from schnitzgeli1
splen·dif·er·ous adj \splen-ˈdi-f(ə-)rəs\
: extraordinarily or showily impressive
— splen·dif·er·ous·ly adverb
— splen·dif·er·ous·ness noun
splendor + -i- + -ferous
First Known Use: 1843
this is one of my favorite words, gleaned from a high school drama and English teacher. you could pull a Tinker Bell and preschool it up a bit by converting it to 'splendiferific!'

but don't bet on your savvy 4-year-old repeating it right away. like vegetables, good words have to be sneaked into a kid's diet.

splendiferous book tie-in: everybody's favorite fancy girl has a knack for fancy words (especially if they're French). haven't heard of Fancy Nancy yet? try the first in the series, Fancy Nancy (2005, HarperCollins).

fine print: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. learn more here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

this week's silly book recommendation: Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude

i have no boys. only princess-loving daughters. this book is a perfect way to show them how much of the other side of the gender line tends to think, and have a few laughs in the process.
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley and illustrated by Carol Heyer and Scott Goto (2005, Walker Childrens)

when ponies and motorcycles get together, it's a beautiful thing.

fine print: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. learn more here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

absolutely perfect

"Chrysanthemum did not think her name was absolutely perfect. She knew it!" — Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes (2007, Greenwillow Books)
background from schnitzgeli1
part of the fun of being a parent is giving your children nicknames. i used to think they were just ways to be silly. and they are that! but they're a bit more. having a nonsense name (or ten) for our child is one more way on a long list of ways that we savor "knowing" them – knowing them like no one else ever will or can. i always loved when my dad called me Peanut. you could feel the love in his voice, the love of familiarity – but also something more. father's day is coming up, and i'm reminded i'm still his Peanut. having kids of my own, i understand this feeling from the other side now.

the nonsense name i go to the most with both my girls is SweetPea. but depending on the occasion, there are many more. Bushel Britches. Pumpkin Britches. Cutey Pants. Poopy Drawers. (hm, i'm sensing a theme here.) Sunshine and Baby for daughter no. 2, and Big Girl and Sweet One for daughter no. 1.

yet if given names carry a momentous weight – "this is the name by which you will forever be known (probably) because we put it on your social security card, dangnabit!" – then nicknames are the less formal way of pulling rank. "your friends may call you Cady. but you'll always be Bushel Britches to us, and there's nothing you can do about it." there are echoes of parental authority here, smoothed over with goofiness. as moms and dads, we really can't help ourselves. when we look at our kid and get that feeling of "otherness" mixed with the longing to hold on, it's the act of naming we turn to. not so much to have a sense of control as to give a name to the overflowing love we feel for such a tiny human and to communicate in our clumsy way an emotion they won't understand until they are parents themselves.

or am i being too liberal arts-ish?

epilogue: came across this classroom discussion guide for Chrysanthemum. worthwhile questions for parents and children to extend the reading experience, too. anything by Kevin Henkes is worth a read, by the way. Owen is another familiar favorite of ours.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

we make it up as we go along

background from amoraleda
my husband and i have found ourselves recycling familiar tunes into everyday activities. each of our girls has 'their song' that sprouted up before they turned 1.

for the first, it was a revamp of "Santa, Baby" into "Cady, Baby."
Santa Baby

for the second, it was to replace the fine momma beverage in The Champs classic with "Geneva!".
Tequila, Short

for both, changing diapers became less of a struggle by adding words to the instrumental "A-Team" theme song. "diaper time! ba-da-BUM. di-a-per time! ba-ba-da-ba-BUM." (and, hey, why not imagine yourself a soldier of fortune with such a dirty job? extraction team, go!)
The A-Team Theme Song (Instrumental)

what about you? what's your baby's song?

this week's silly book recommendation: Pete the Cat

often, part of getting your silly on means using a silly voice. here's a chance to sound like a granola hippie beatnik through the persona of a "grooooooovy" cat. consider sunglasses. or at least a good air acoustic guitar.
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin (aka Mr. Eric) and illustrated by James Dean (2010, HarperCollins)

if you prefer, the publisher offers a free reading and singing of the book online as well as other Pete the Cat books. i like my own personal version of the tune. but that's the fun of reading any book yourself – a bit of creative license.

fine print: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. learn more here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

to get us started

in the world of kids' music, nobody does silly (that parents can tolerate) like caspar babypants (aka chris ballew of the presidents of the united states of america).

a teenage fan did this video tribute to "robin on a wire," proving that silly doesn't necessarily expire with zits.

about this blog

“Children have one kind of silliness, as you know, and grown-ups have another kind.” ― C.S. Lewis

or, if you prefer

“Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?” ― Graham Chapman, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

anyone with young children knows how much of a marathon it can be sometimes to stay emotionally afloat, especially during those frantic moments when you think, 'here we go, it's finally happening, i am going certifiably nuts.' doesn't matter if you're with them all day or for two hours in the evening, if you're a mom or a dad or a second-mom-grandma, in a hormonal whirlwind or simply tired, there comes a point where you see only a tempest of clatter rather than any soft glow of cuteness.

inevitably, some of the most poignant times – when we remember why parenting is a joy – are when we're all doubled over in giggles over something that would make our single friends look at us with a pitying 'you've gone nuts.' they have no idea that it's the sanest we've felt in a long harried time. remembering the carefree parts of being a child by celebrating them with our own keeps the crazy away.