Books with Baby

Here are some books my daughter has enjoyed having me read to her — and that I’ve enjoyed reading right back.

Duck and Goose Colors by Tad Hill. A cute book with the Duck and Goose characters, comparing things that are the same color. “The tip of Goose’s beak is black, like ants.” I think she likes the shortness, and the bright colors.

Babies on the Farm. A lift-the-flap book where a couple of goat kids go around meeting the other baby animals. It’s a thick board book with thick board book flaps, so she can’t easily destroy this book, and the art is very cute.

Hello, Cape Cod! by Martha Zschock. A pair of seagulls show you all the things you can do on Cape Cod. The rhyming is fun and easy to read in an upbeat voice. I also love when the seagulls are obviously in Provincetown, and you see a book store, a candy shop, and an LGBT flag.

Llama Llama Trick or Treat by Anna Dewdney. She loves baby Llama and has no sense of when holidays take place, so this book is perfect.

God Bless You, and Good Night. This was a gift for my daughter from my mother-in-law after her baptism. Sweet-looking fuzzy animals going to bed. I love how the text reinforces how much the parent loves the baby.

I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak. Speaking of reinforcing how much I love my baby, the text declares love for all parts of the baby, both fun and difficult. “I love your happy side, your sad side, your silly side, your mad side.” Plus Church’s illustrations are very sweet, and my daughter has actually leaned forward to kiss the baby on the face while I’ve been reading. (And yes, I almost died because my insides melted from the raging fire of adorable.)

Those are some of my daughter’s favorites, this week at least. What do you read to your kids over, and over, and over again?

 

Busy with a Baby :: Writing Page by Page

Surprising news: it’s hard to write with a baby.

She has her bad days, where she cries and whines, and needs to be held and rocked and read to. Even on the good days she holds tight to your arm while PBS (or, let’s be honest, something on Netflix) plays on the TV, she finds today’s favorite book and wants you to read it again (and again and again) or grabs your hands because it’s time to practice walking again.

I’m not complaining (ok, maybe a little bit); I love to hold her and play with her and listen to her laugh. Still, all of this interaction leaves little time for writing during the day. I cram a few paragraphs in while she naps, and try to get some writing done when she’s down for the night, between spending time with my husband and getting some actual rest. While this helps me relax (going to long without writing makes me feel itchy) it always feels like too little. A page or two, a few days a week — how much am I really writing.

A decent amount, it looks like.

Proof of the writing I've done, page by page, word by word

I usually write by hand, a benefit of which is when I feel stalled up in the story, I can take a break from writing and type up the chapters, getting myself back into the story. I’ve hit my second snarl of this write-through, so I began flipping back through my notebook to find where I’d last started up my writing.

And flipping back and flipping back…

I can see by the way I’ve gone through my outline some of the progress I’ve been making as I sit at the desk, hunched over my notebook in the glow of the baby monitor. But seeing this chunk of pages is an actual measurement of what I’ve done, of how far I’ve gotten as I move forward inch by inch.

 


Bonus content: I’ve always had problems fitting in my writing, the baby is just the most recent excuse.

Babies have preferences — who knew?

Before my daughter was even born, I wondered: what kind of things would she like? What would be her favorite shows, the books she read again and again? I figured I had a while before these preferences set in.

Related imageThen around 10 months, I read Llama Llama Red Pajama, repeating the story every time she flailed her arms and grunted, “Unh!” (It was many times, over many nights.) One afternoon she hit the PBS Kids app on my phone and accidentally started an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, thus beginning an ongoing love of imaginary tigers singing infuriatingly catchy songs. And she has not yet had her fill of this bunny video…

Her personality set in so much faster than I realized it would. Every day she becomes more distinct, more herself, and watching this happen is so exciting.

 

Gone Too Long from Blogging

Well, that was a long hiatus.

I got pregnant, which isn’t much of an excuse because the baby wasn’t here yet, but that’s what happened. I let myself get distracted by new clothes, rearranged rooms, doctor appointments, the complicated, borderline torturous task of finding child care. There were family illnesses, family deaths. The holes were filled with writing, editing, critiquing, all with a constant film of worry over what kind of country I was bringing a kiddo into.

Then, the baby came. She became everything. A whole pink cooing farting world. Caring for her, and sleeping, were my only concerns.

And then they weren’t.

She didn’t become easier (I think she’s harder now) but we’ve grown used to each other. I started reading more, and I wrote my novels.

My blog was still untouched.

Now a year has gone by since everything changed — for the better, though sleeping past 8 is still a fervent dream. Even longer since I hit “post”on something more elaborate than an Instagram picture.

But as everything else eventually settled back into its place, maybe this is coming back to me, too.

Baby Toys.jpg
The varying things a toddler loves.

On Becoming a Writer Parent

Earlier this week, Austin Kleon wrote a post on one of my selfish worries, how being a parent will intersect with my being a writer.

In his post, “The Pram in the Hall”, he brings up his own point of view, along with the point of view of many other writers, that you don’t have to be a bad parent in order to be a good writer, or that focusing on your parenting necessarily takes away your ability to write.Read More »

All Those Selfish Worries

Oof, I haven’t written in a couple of months! But I do have an excuse. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in March, and as we crest the halfway point in the pregnancy, I keep finding things that take up a lot of thinking and researching time: day care, pediatricians, which cribs are actually safe…

Image result for steven universe baby sour cream
Here’s hoping my baby is this cool.

But while I stress over all these things that are technically for future baby girl, I’m also stressing over things that are a little more selfish. Namely, the things that I’m going to lose, or that I’m worried I’ll lose. Most of these are just me overly panicking, because I have to think about something when heartburn keeps me up at night, but they’re there, all the same.Read More »