Monthly Archives: December 2012

Talk About It. Don’t Skip It.

“I’m not a big fan of skipping passages while reading because you think your kids can’t handle it. If they can’t, don’t read the book.”

I posted this on Twitter this morning. I’d been reading a blog post about someone skipping parts of the Little House books because there were things she didn’t want to have to explain to her kids yet (this issue was violence related). I respect her right to do that – I know of others who have – but it’s not a choice I would make.

Likewise, I’ve read of people skipping/editing it because, let’s be honest here, there are some pretty racist parts. People always think of the parts where the Native Americans are featured, but there are other parts that bother me, too. Most of these are parts that bother me as an adult – I’m quite certain that, as a child, I didn’t understand what they were saying.

Recently, Kai and I listened to the audiobook version of “Little House in the Big Woods”. At one point, Pa is playing his fiddle and he sings a song about a “darkie”. I think I audibly gasped.

I know people who would have edited this part or wanted it edited out. I don’t. I don’t like that it’s there but these books were based on her life and that was “accurate” for the timeframe. They are part of the book and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be removed.

But they should definitely be talked about. These things aren’t exactly easy to talk about, but they SHOULD be talked about. I think it’s important for kids to know that this used to be common and why it’s wrong. I also think it’s worthwhile to talk to kids about the idea that this was not considered “wrong” or “mean” back then (at least not by white society) – but that it still WAS wrong. (And if this is really too uncomfortable to talk about, you could always start with Harry Potter – the terms “pureblood” and “mudblood” are excellent fictitious examples of racism. We’ve watched some of the Harry Potter movies with Kai and he’s listened to some of the audiobooks. When we hit the term “mudblood”, we stopped and had a talk about why that wasn’t nice and that people shouldn’t be discriminated upon based on their race or what family they were born into.)

If you can’t do this – if you can’t talk with your kid about the difficult subject matter in the book you’re reading – I honestly believe you shouldn’t be reading them that book. (With that said, I respect the right of others to choose differently for themselves – and, for the record, the post came from one of the blogs I love and read regularly and I think no less of the person who wrote it.)

I’m curious – do you edit out parts from books you read to your kids? If so, for what reason?


Children’s Music That Won’t Make You Want To Claw Your Ears Off: Elska

Elska does electronic-pop-transcendtalish-type music for kids. It’s pretty cute stuff. The music itself is the kind of music I like, and falls in my “Children’s Music That Won’t Make You Want To Claw Your Ears Off” list. This is definitely a CD I wouldn’t mind throwing on in the car while we’re doing something with Kai.

Elska has a fictional island, “The Island of Elska”, which her website says is a “newly formed volcanic island off the coast of Iceland.”

If you watch one video/listen to one song of hers, I suggest “Artic Fox”. The video is just downright adorable:

She does, however, have a couple other videos to watch:

You can get her CD at her website or purchase the album on iTunes. Her website Island of Elska is really adorable and I encourage you to check it out.

The Flood

This last week has been rather interesting.

On Thursday night, Kai was at his mother’s house and Joe and I were grocery shopping. I mentioned I’d gotten a voice mail from an unknown number – I didn’t hear my phone go off. Joe saw the same thing. So, we check voice mail. It’s the apartment maintenance guy.

Uh oh.

The master bathroom’s toilet had flooded. Spectacularly.

We left the store and came home, believing all the Christmas presents were possible destroyed as well as our bed, completely forgetting that, no, Kai’s room is the master bedroom. This is both a good and a bad thing.

The good news is that our bed is safe, no presents were destroyed.

The bad news – Kai lost a few things – books and toys but I think it was only five or six things total. Oh, and his room was completely unusable. Still is. That’s the Very Bad Thing.

It turns out that not only did it overflow, but the stopper wasn’t working at the same time. So it went over about 80% of the room because the water kept running and running and running. It went downstairs, too.

Here’s the downstairs.

Bathroom Flooding

Bathroom Flooding

Bathroom Flooding

Downstairs and around the corner, even.

Bathroom Flooding

The carpet in his room had to be pulled up. And, eventually, the stuff even had to come off of the walls from the humidity.

We had to pile everything in the living room. (Sorry for the blur – bad lighting.)

Bathroom Flooding

However, by the next morning, Joe had it looking fairly decent.

The next morning

They ran blow dryers for a few days and also have been running a de-humidifier, which has had to be emptied several times.

They’re hoping to have things fixed by Friday (and put in a new toilet over the weekend) – so that’ll be a little over a week. Over Christmas. It’s been… uh… cozy. Especially with the addition of Christmas gifts.

Today, we were told we could reassemble the litter robot and put it back in that bathroom, leaving the door open for the kitties. Their food and water can go back, too.

I can’t wait for the room to be fixed so we can have more space. Until then, things will be cozy.

The End of Clay Class: Little Red Riding Hood

Clay class ended this month. While I’m sad to see it go, we had a WONDERFUL time during the last class. Mr. Barry suggested we make things from “Little Red Riding Hood”. This shot was taken close to the end.


Elements from Little Red Riding Hood

The cup was used for scale… we tried to keep most things smaller than the cup. We made simple trees, a mountain, and each adult besides Mr. Barry (there were three of us, since Joe came with Kai and I for the last class) ended up making either “The Wolf”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, or “Bugs Bunny”.

Here’s Joe’s Bugs Bunny and a well.

Made by Joe in Clay Class

I made the basket in the back.

The kids had a BLAST doing this and I’m hoping to do something similar with Kai soon, where we make a scene from a story he likes a lot. I’m thinking maybe “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”, one of our favorites.

I really enjoyed the “experiential” activities that we did towards the end of clay class. I think it encouraged some new thinking. And Kai really enjoyed them.

What more can you ask for?