Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You Know You're Old When...

you (or your husband, in this case) breaks out the TV Frogger game he got for Christmas and has to repeatedly tell the kids that this is Frogger, for God's sake, and NOT Zacky's Quest.

For those of you who are still here, I apologize for being such a lame Blogger in December. It gets busy, you know? I hope you all had a happy and festive holiday and that you got exactly what you wanted out of the season. To make up for my pitiful neglect, I'm contemplating posting a few of my December posts in January. It may extend the festivity of the season and who really likes January anyway? Besides, it's so true to form for me to be a day late and a dollar short. Why mess with tradition?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hannukah Readings

Happy Hannukah to all of you who celebrate it. So far ours has been good, with gelt, gifts and latkes, of course. More of all of those to come in the next few days, along with yummy donuts too.

Yesterday, I was asked to go to Ethan's preschool class to talk about the holiday to his class. I loved it! I read a book, showed them our Menorah and left them a bag of chocolate coins for snack time. They couldn't have been cuter. The best part is that at dinner, Ethan said he was thankful that his Mommy went to his class. It doesn't get any better than that!

Over the last few years, we've accumulated a nice collection of children's Hannukah books (anything to try to balance out that giant tree!). Reading a holiday book each night in December has become one of our family traditions. As I was thinking about the book I read to the preschoolers, I thought I'd share my favorites here in case any of you still need a few ideas for the kids on your Hannukah gift list. By the way, these would also make a great addition to classroom libraries. Unfortunately, most classes are woefully lacking in Hannukah materials. Be a mensch and help them out!

A Blue's Clues Chanukah:This is the book I read to Ethan's class. Despite it being written for preschoolers, it's quite comprehensive. It doesn't discuss the war and victory which led to the holiday, but it covers all of the rituals and traditions of Hannukah. Blue and his pals are invited to a Hannukah party at Orange Kitten's house. Since none of them have ever been to one, Orange Kitten explains everything that is going on. From Menorahs and latkes to the dreidel game, it's all covered. There are even a couple of simple songs at the end.

The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: This newest addition to our collection is by Lemony Snicket. So already you know it's going to be a little on the strange side. It's about a screaming latke who escapes the pan of hot oil and runs into different symbols of Christmas. Each time he has to explain why he has nothing to do with Christmas. The subtitle of this book: A Christmas Story, might lead you to think that it is about celebrating the two holidays in peace and harmony side by side. That is not the case. It's more about the fact that Hannukah seems to get swallowed up by Christmas and that so few people understand what the holiday is really about. It's a great depiction of what it feels like to be the only person celebrating Hanukah in a world covered with Christmas lights. Plus it's funny!

It's A Miracle: I love this book and have purchased several copies as gifts. Luckily, it's available in paperback this year. It is about six and half year old Owen, who this year has become his family's O.C.L. - Official Candle Lighter. Each night of Hanukah, Owen's grandmother tucks him in and tells him a different story. From Palominos to aliens, her stories are quite diverse. As it turns out, the stories tie Owen more closely to his own family. But the book also includes positive references to celebrating Christmas and acknowledges that in our country, celebrating Hanukah goes hand-in-hand with that other December holiday. What I love is the theme of family that runs throughout the book. Owen celebrates the holiday not just with his parents, but also grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles. The illustrations in this book are also great. Kids are going to love Owen and his grandma.

Light The Lights: We've had this book for a couple of years and my kids really enjoy it every year. It's about a little girl, Emma, whose family celebrates both Christmas and Hannukah (sound familiar?). It deals with the holidays respectfully and sweetly, and focuses on the commonality of Hannukah candles and Christmas lights. Emma's family honors both traditions and the result is a sweet but not preachy little book with pretty illustrations.

Thank you Aviruthia for the lovely Menorah picture.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Fun and Games with Ethan

Once again, we happen upon the adventures of young Ethan, who, although thankfully (seriously, I thank the Potty Gods daily) is now toilet trained, still needs an adult to wipe him. The other day he was upstairs in need of a hand so he yelled down at the top of his lungs (of course while his brother was napping) for me to go help.

I headed into the bathroom, noticed a Patrick toy and toothbrush from the sink and placed them on the counter (moms really do pick things up everywhere they go) and got down to business. After discussing the shapes of today's particular creations, I was washing my hands when the following conversation ensued:

E: Mom, you need to wash Patrick.

T: Why?

E: Because he fell in the toilet while I was pooping.

T: So you decided to throw him in the sink on top of your toothbrush?
E: What color is the toothbrush?

T: Blue.

E: That's not my toothbrush. That's Julia's.

And yes, he does accessorize his outfits himself.