Baby Books

I’ve passed the halfway mark of my pregnancy.  21 weeks down, only 19 to go!

As I get further along I keep thinking about things I did while pregnant with or shortly after giving birth to SweetPea that made things easier for me.  And while there are a lot of things I did, a few books keep popping up.  These are the books that I keep recommending to my pregnant friends and kept mentioning to husband/family/friends about how they saved my life/sanity/marriage.

I’m a pretty laid back mom, and I like to think that some of that relaxed attitude rubbed off on my daughter, because she too is pretty laid back.  But maybe I just got lucky…either way, hopefully I can maintain that attitude and infuse this next with some of that low key vibe.  But as laid back as I was, I still try to do my very best, and sometimes that involved the help of others.  Especially people with more experience with kids.  Such as the authors of these books.

So I have three books that I think are quite possibly the best books for new parents.  Seriously, the best.  So if you’re looking for some good advice, knowledge, or recipes…this is what I recommend.  Not that there aren’t other amazing books out there, these just happened to teach me exactly what I needed to know (at least at the time).  Without further ado…

1.  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.  This book helped my sanity so much.  There were so many things about babies and their sleep that I just didn’t know.  For example: I thought babies would just fall asleep when they were tired…I didn’t know that if you put them down to nap it might take a few minutes but that they would fall asleep.  And most importantly they needed that sleep.  Another example: babies/kids/adults who get overly tired will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.  So putting babies/kids/parents to bed earlier will enable them to sleep better throughout the night and to sleep longer into the morning.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Now maybe this book is full of hogwash.  All I’m saying is that my kid rarely fusses about going to nap or bed.  And she is happily in bed and asleep from 8pm until 7:30 or 8am (sometimes as late as 9am).  And I know how lucky I am.  I also think that this book helped us get on that sleep schedule, and for that I am eternally grateful.

2.  The second book I needed to read was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp.  This book was amazing.  The tricks we learned from this book worked more often than not.  They also helped us feel a little more empowered during the time when our entire existence seemed to be controlled by a 5 pound twerp.  This book gives several methods to calm a fussy and crying baby.  And as we all know, a fussy and crying baby leads to a fussy and crying mom (or was that only in my house), so having methods to minimize the fuss is priceless.

The Happiest Baby on the Block

When we were in the hospital after delivery we had to watch the dvd for this book.  I must admit, that dvd was even better than the book.  Actually seeing/hearing some of the methods was incredible.  The shushing is so much louder than what I imagined it while reading the book…it’s actually kind of harsh to my ears, but it was sweet music to my baby.  If you have the opportunity, you should watch this dvd.

3.  The last book is one you probably won’t need too much during that first year, but if you’re interested in cooking healthy foods that your toddler (and husband) will actually eat, this book might just be your ticket.  The book is Weelicious by Catherine McCord.  The recipes in it are very healthy.  They also are presented in different ways to keep kids interested in trying new flavors and textures.  Also, a lot of recipes make pretty big batches, so you can freeze a bunch and keep them on hand.  It’s pretty nice to have a stocked freezer ready to go for those days when I’m not so motivated to cook.

Weelicious

This book also has a website, called Weelicious.com (easy enough).  So if you want to check out some of the recipes I highly recommend you head over there.  There are lots of recipes not found in the cookbook on the website (and some in the cookbook that aren’t on the website).  It also has some videos going through recipes.  It’s a really good resource for toddler food.

I also mentioned a weelicious recipe in another post, you can read about that here.

So there you have it.  If you or someone you know is having a kid (or recently had a kid) here a couple pretty amazing resources.

Flash Fiction (21) – Faeries

I heard it too

Check out Quill Shiv to find other stories from this prompt.

Faeries

The girls sat at the table; their feet, unable to reach the floor, swung in rhythm.  They began telling their parents about the fairies they had met in the garden.  Mr and Mrs Freemont exchanged an exasperated glance; this was not a new tale.

“And then Mrs Piddleton.”

“She’s the blue faery,” Carol, the younger one chirped in.

“They already know she’s the blue faery.  Mrs. Piddleton, the blue fairy, told us that we were faeries too.  Only the faeries traded us when we were just wee babies.  They took your real kids and left us in their place.  And Mrs. Havershank,”

“She’s the red one,” another interruption.

Suzie kept going, “Mrs. Havershank, the red faery, said that if we wanted they would come and steal us away.  We could spend the rest of forever dancing in pretty dresses and drinking honey all day and talking to the birds and butterflies, but not the dragonflies because they’re ornery.”

“Then Anna came into the garden.”

“So Mr. Wembledon,” Suzie continued the story, “the green faery, tipped his hat at us and they all disappeared.  But first Mrs. Piddleton winked at us.  Anna wanted to know what we were doing, so we said we were playing cat’s cradle.”

“But you can only play with two people.”

“So she had to leave or someone would be left out and she didn’t want to go but if she had stayed the faeries wouldn’t have come back.  So we made her leave.”

Mrs Freemont interrupted the story right then, “You were mean to Anna?  Tomorrow you two will go straight over to her house and invite her to play.  And you are not to be mean to her again, especially for your pretend games.”

“But mamma, they’re not pretend.  Zecelia said, she’s the pink one and she’s in charge, and she came back after Anna left, and she said that they would come for us tonight, then she kissed our thumbs.  She said it was to mark us so the hobgobs…”

“Hobgoblins,” Suzie corrected her sister.

“What?”

“Hobgoblins, that’s what she called them.”

“Oh, she kissed us so the hob…”

“Goblins.”

“Would know who to grab.”

“Otherwise they might grab Anna instead!”

“And if you look at our thumbs there’s now a little tiny mark on them.”

“Right where she kissed us.”

“And it looks like a strawberry.”

Mr. and Mrs. Freemont had heard quite enough of these fairies.  The girls had been talking nonstop about them for weeks.  They had blamed the fairies for any disobedience, this being mean to Anna was only the latest in a string of incidences where the girls had been rude, unthoughtful, mean, or sneaky.

After dinner and baths and quick goodnight kisses the girls were in bed and the parents were downstairs cleaning up dinner.

Mr. and Mrs. Freemont could hear the girls up in their room.  Between cracks of thunder their peals of giggles wound down the stairs and tickled the parents ears.

There was a particularly large clap of thunder and the neighborhood dogs started barking.  The dogs stopped barking, the storm instantly died, and the girls were utterly quiet.  Mrs. Freemont was the first to notice the complete silence.  She looked at her husband, his voice broke through the silence, “I hear it too.”

It was foolish, both Mr. and Mrs. Freemont knew their girls were upstairs, they probably fell silent because they fell asleep.  But the parents needed to see their baby girls just to release the foreboding feeling that pressed down on their chests.  They swiftly went up the stairs and quietly pushed the bedroom door open.

The girls’ beds were empty, the sheets tossed about the room.  The window was open and the curtains rippled in a soft breeze.  There were two tiny strawberries on the window sill.

Kids and Food

One of my biggest concerns for my daughter is food. There are very few women I know who have always had a healthy relationship with it. I hope that I can instill in her what I have struggled to have myself.

Reel Girl

This post is really about kids and food. I realize even girls and food is a digression from my main blog mission which is supposed to be to rate and recommend media and products on how empowering they are  to girls. But as I write and think about media and girls, the way I think about food and girls is so related. Besides, the whole point of a blog is you get to digress, right? So here I go.

I mentioned a few posts back I don’t want to forbid toys like Barbie because I think that gives her a charge that only makes kids want her more; I think candy, junk food, is the same way. I try to get really excited about things I think are good for my kids and give little attention to things that are not so good.

A main goal for me as the…

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Flash Fiction (10) Bones

Here goes another

bones and rocks

Prompted by Madison Woods.  Go check out her blog to read more stories inspired by this prompt.

Bones

“Looks like rocks to me.”

“No, they’re not.  Look at that one right there.  That’s a bone.  See?”

The kids backed away.

Curiosity got the best of them and they crept closer to look at the bones.  Mostly they were old, but there were a few that looked very fresh.

They giggled as they tried to scare one another, “those are other kids’ bones,” one whispered.

A twig cracked in the trees behind them.  They squealed in fear, their hearts began racing and their feet struggled to keep up.  As their house came into sight they slowed.

Their giggles returned.

Oh yeah, I’d love some constructive criticism.  I’m trying to improve my writing, so if you notice something that can be tweaked, changed, or improved please please please let me know!

Flash Fiction (5) Airless

Airless

She was always picked last.  Always.  It didn’t matter what game they were playing she was the last one picked.  And she was tired of it.

Two weeks ago she and her mom had watched The Sandlot.  And all she could think was that she needed the shoes, the shoes that would make her run faster and jump higher.  Then she would prove to everyone that she wasn’t the loser.

She begged.  She bargained.  She wheedled.  And finally her mom caved.  They went to the store and the man in a white and black striped shirt had promised that if any shoes were going to make her run faster or jump higher it was these, the Air Jordans.  Her mom couldn’t really afford that kind of money for sneakers, but sometimes parents could get caught up in the dreams of their kids.  So the too-expensive Air Jordans were bought and brought home.

The next day she lovingly put them on and laced them up.  She went to gym and was picked last, but she expected that.  Tomorrow she wouldn’t be picked last.  It was a close game and when the teacher yelled “One more minute!” The teams frantically moved the ball around trying to make the final winning basket.  Her teammate threw a hail mary pass and she leapt to catch it.  But the ball sailed over hands.  The class ended and her team lost.

The shoes had failed. She couldn’t run faster or jump higher.  The Air Jordans had left her airless.

The next day she waited to be picked for a team.  She was the last one.  Again.

Prompt from Inspiration Monday.  Go check it out to read more stories and find more prompts.

Flash Fiction (2) The Test

The Test

Beth could actually feel knowledge leak out of her brain.  Just last night her dad asked her to define enfranchise.  And she could.  And even better, she did.  And now all she could think about were franchises which made her think about fast food joints which made her think about hamburgers which made her hungry.

Great.  Now she was hungry.

She stared down at the bubble sheet in front of her.  If she squinted and tilted her head just so she could almost make out the pattern.  And if she could find the pattern, then she could finish the pattern, then she wouldn’t have to read the questions or figure out the answers.

Her eraser was crap.  It left pink smears across the page.

This wasn’t even the real test.  This was a stupid practice test.  And the only reason she was taking this PSAT class was Anna, her best friend.  But on the first day of class Anna had gotten a crush on some kid from another school.  All of a sudden Beth was the outsider.  She was the third wheel.  When the teacher had them practice in pairs it was Beth without a partner.

How much time was left anyway?

But Beth was going to show them all up.  She was going to figure out the pattern.  And once she did, she would ace the test.  Then Anna would want her help.  Then she wouldn’t be the odd-man-out, the leftover, the afterthought.

Ugh.

She read the words that were in front of her.  Then she reread them.  Something needed to make since.  She quit reading the questions.  She looked back at the bubble sheet and squinted her eyes and tilted her head.  But the pattern stayed just out of focus.

“Time’s up.”

Beth hadn’t figured out the pattern.  Nor had she even read all the questions.  She left to use the restroom and saw Anna holding hands and smiling at that boy.

I think this attempt is a little closer to flash fiction.  But I’m still struggling getting plot into something so short.  What do you think?  Any critiques (please critique)?