Last night, three-year-old Sylvie and her father were having a bit of a disagreement about her dinner. She didn't want what was on offer and was suggesting a list of other items she might deign to eat instead. (I tend to cater to their whims; David thinks they should eat what's been set in front of them.)
David (frustrated): You should've grown up in MY house!
Sylvie (in the same frustrated tone of voice): I AM in your house!
I've been feeling very busy and distracted lately and Not Now, Bernard has been on my mind a lot, sort of playing in the background as a warning. It's one of those children's books that seems to be more for the parents than the children, although both my kids get a kick out of this one. (Sylvie is definitely a bit concerned about the monster no one seems to notice, however.)
That's a whole subcategory of children's books, isn't it? Books that pretend they're for children but really they're for the parents. A teacher friend of mine always gets annoyed whenever Love You Forever is mentioned. She insists that it is only of mild interest to children, yet their parents are weeping and swooning away as it's read. I have to agree with her about the effect it has on parents -- it affects me that way -- and she's probably right about its general lack of appeal for kids. I don't think a child would ever pick it as a favourite. Guess How Much I Love You is a bit like that, too. Not that it's always a bad thing, for a picture book to appeal to the parents as much or more than the kids. It's just a bit of a trick. (A trick that often leads to enormous sales, as in the case of both Love You Forever and Guess How Much.) Can you think of any more?
This is the Dunkley Pramotor -- a motorized pram sold in 1923. "We should get that. That's what I'm thinking," says Sylvie as she looks over my shoulder.
Whenever I had to lug around one of those incrediblyawkward and heavy removable car seats with one of my babies in it -- say into the grocery store -- I liked to imagine that in the future, a podlike car seat would hover in the air beside the mother, trailing her wherever she went. Recently I tossed around the idea of a kind of remote control stroller that would follow a parent, so he or she could be hands free for shopping or holding the hands of bigger toddlers or whatever. Are these ideas as crazy as this stroller looks? Via I Cannot Go to Bed -- There is Epic Shit Happening on the Internet, which I found through Lizzie Skurnick.
Back when Luke was tiny, I came across these thudguard helmets online, designed for little kids just learning to walk. The first time Luke fell from a standing position, he absolutely smashed his head on the hardwood floor. He had yet to learn that you must protect your head by blocking yourself with your arms as you fall, or by holding your head upright as best you can. So I thought these helmets were a great idea. I never got as far as ordering one, though, because everyone I mentioned it to scoffed at the notion and told me I was an overprotective mother. (Which I was.)
Turns out, though, the idea isn't a new one. Witness the pudding cap:
According to Colonial Williamsburg, the pudding cap "protected the child's brain when it
fell and hit its head. There was a belief that if the head was hit it would be permanently soft, and
falling frequently could lead to the brain turning mushy like pudding. Toddlers were often and lovingly
referred to as "little pudding heads.'" (Which they are.)
I love this photo. Unfortunately, it's not real. Still lots of fun, though. I've included it on my pinterest board of GIANT Babies. Also, you really want to read "Hello Stranger on the Street, Could You Please Tell Me How to Take Care of My Baby?" I may be a stranger to you, but I know.
It's official. David is the best dad in the world. But don't worry, your favourite dad can be the official best dad in the world, too. After seeing a similar design for sale on a British site (at the scary, scary price of $41 plus shipping) I asked Lisa, the graphic designer who did Sylvie's birthday invitations, to make some up for me and she's now offering them to everyone at the bargain price of five bucks!
So Sylvie's having a vaguely Alice in Wonderland themed tea party for her third birthday this week, and I have been having a lot of fun planning it. Perhaps too much fun. One of the things I was most excited about was making (or ideally, having someone else make) this pink cake iced with roses (found here). I just showed Vivi the photo and she smiled and said she liked it but that she wanted a Barbie cake. Horrors. First of all just ugh and secondly I am not a big fan of Barbies. But it is her birthday, after all, not my own personal fantasy extravaganza tea party day. Do you think I could get away with cramming a Barbie doll into the top of that thing?