“I Wanted To Make It Special”

A while back, I wrote about Baby Girl’s tendency to draw on things that aren’t coloring sheets/blank paper. We never had that problem with Little Man. The girl, however, used many things in our house as her canvas. The wall, the floor, the door to her room, etc. were all used for her drawings. She also drew on the table and some of her toys.

And then there are the books.

As a former English major/English teacher/bibliophile, I’m all about the books. With the exception of LEGOs, we have more books than we have of any other item in our home. We have hundreds spread throughout the bookshelves in our house, plus I have a couple of totes full in storage that I don’t have room for inside. Once someone helping clean our house for a holiday party commented that I had too many books (after I had donated some), which wasn’t well-received.

Books are my weakness. I love going to thrift shops and looking for books. Once I found a book by one of my favorite authors — Chris Crutcher — and it was signed. Glorious day! Occasionally I’ll find books that are duplicates of books I already have, but I feel like I have to buy them anyway, because I don’t want them to be neglected and lonely on the shelf.

I completely understand how Frodo felt in “The Lord of the Rings.”

I may have a problem. Aside from making my house a tinderbox of sorts, it’s not the worst problem to have, though.

Kind of went off on a tangent there. Oops.

Our books were often used in Baby Girl’s art. She scribbled in her books, some of our regular books, and even parenting books. One of my discipline books has scribbles in it. (As annoying as her drawing in books was, that one was pretty hilarious.)

She’s four now, though, and aside from accidentally going off of her coloring pages, she had stopped drawing on things she wasn’t supposed to draw on.

Key word in that sentence: had.

Last Saturday, I was taking a nap when my husband came and woke me up. He had the girl in tow.

“She drew in your book,” he told me.

I sighed. “Okay.”

He’s waking me up for this? Ugh. I want sleep. I want to stay nestled in my warm blankets. Leave–

And then my train of complaint thoughts was interrupted.

“Wait — which book?”

My collectible books — including a few that are over 100 years old — are out of her reach, so I knew it couldn’t be those. That left only one book that would be worth waking me up over — my book. The one I’ve been mentioning for the past few months on this blog. My labor of…well, not love, because I didn’t exactly enjoy creating it after the 1000th hour, so just my labor.

Yep, my book.

He handed me the book. Baby Girl was smiling and couldn’t have looked more pleased with herself. Here’s what I found:

Something with blond hair and legs on one page and “Mom” written on the other. She quickly explained/bragged:

Dammit. How freaking sweet is that?

My frustration went away very quickly. She got a big hug for personalizing my book (as well as a warning not to personalize anymore of them, because I want to sell them). Considering that there is actually a story in the book about the little graffiti artist, that will make the book graffiti even funnier when she gets older.

What has warmed your heart lately? 


So, a couple of new book things–

First, I have released companion journals to Don’t Lick That! called Times the Kids Weren’t Little Heathens. You can use them to record funny stories and one-liners from your kids. The journal for parents of multiple kids can be found here and the journal for parents of only kids can be found here.

Second, if you have Amazon, you can download the eBook for FREE starting today through December 22. If you don’t have time to read it now — and I doubt many do, considering the season of chaos is upon us — you can download it to read later. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

(And if you already purchased the book and this doesn’t count as a gift for you, then email me your address and I’ll pull a Wet Bandits and rob your house send you a personalized dorky Christmas card if you want, glitter-free, because I’m cool like that.)

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Parenting Books I Need To Read

Raise your hand if you’ve ever purchased a parenting book. Keep your hand raised if you discovered the secret to successful parenting in the book’s 150 (or so) pages of print.

Don’t worry if your hand isn’t still up — mine isn’t, either. I imagine most of us are in the same boat. We’ve all purchased book after book, hoping to find parenting advice that will make everything click and help us rock the parenting gig. Ultimately, our hopes of finding the book that will make everything clear are dashed, and we’re back to facing the reality that our kids will end up in therapy in 20 years, complaining about where we went wrong.

There is a parenting book for just about every subject — potty training, dealing with temper tantrums, raising happy children. Most of these books — like the one where you successfully potty train a toddler in 72 hours or less — sound too good to be true, but it’s hard not to give it a try, right? Just like the multi-level marketing schemes where you’re promised to secure your financial future and drive a BMW by the end of the calendar year, the allure is there. It’s tough to pass up the opportunity to become a parenting rock star.

So we buy the books. We pour through the pages, read the mostly regurgitated content, and yet again come to terms with the fact that we’ll never be on top of our game. Our kids will be in diapers until they start first grade, we’ll never get our kids to listen without raising our voices, and getting them to sleep through the night in their own beds won’t happen until college.

It’s not all for nothing, though. The good thing about all of these parenting books is that they make fabulous paper weights. As evidenced by my toddler’s scribbles in a book about raising defiant children, they make for great coloring sheets. I imagine that they’d be useful as fire starters. And, if all else fails, you can toss them in your donate pile and get a twenty-five cent tax write-off. Someone else will get the opportunity to have their hopes raised — and ultimately dashed — for the price of a candy bar.

Recently the topic of parenting books came up in a discussion my husband and I were having with another relative. I pulled out a few of the books I’ve purchased over the years. I had books on positive parenting, parenting the whole-brain child, raising a strong-willed child, raising a gifted child, and parenting a defiant child. We had a laugh over the titles, as my toddler had done at least a dozen things during the past hour to show that the book on raising strong-willed children hadn’t helped.

And then my husband made the comment, “If they really wanted to help parents, they’d make a book called How Not To Kill Your Kids.”

My husband’s comment made me think a little bit about parenting books I wish I would’ve read. Maybe none of them would make me feel like I’m winning at parenting, but they would be a lot more helpful — and realistic — than something like Potty Training Your Toddler In 3 Easy Steps. Here are a few titles that might have made for better reading:

Maybe these titles wouldn’t help me win any parenting awards, but at least I would’ve been prepared for the horror that was my toddler picking up a piece of poop and tasting it.

(I’m totally gonna use Shut The Fudge Up when I write my bad mom parenting book.)

Bonus

I forgot to put the parenting books back on the shelf last week. Baby Girl ripped the page out of the book about positive discipline. Minutes after I corrected her, she used a crayon to scribble in the book about the defiant child.

What book title would you like to see? 

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