Children’s Book Review: Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep by Maureen Wright

Sleep Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright
This week, Rapunzel brought home a new book from the school library called Sleep, Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright.  I have to say this is probably the best book she’s brought home from school.

What’s even better is that, right now,  the kindergarten class is discussing what animals do in the winter.  In this book, the wind tries and tries and tries to tell Big Bear to go to sleep for the winter, but Big bear just doesn’t get it.

This book was not only well written, but it was a fun, imaginative story with fantastic illustrations by Will Hillenbrand.  This is one book that I would purchase to read over and over again.


Tinkerbell’s Top Picks for Show and Tell

If you have a preschooler like I do, you’re probably familiar with show & tell.  Your kid brings something in.  She shows it to the class.  She tells the class about it.

I often wonder how Tinkerbell describes her show & tell item.  At home, it’s more like this: “It’s my doll and I like to play with her.”

Well, today was show & tell day.  And pajama day.  Which we love.  But that’s a story for another day.

I’m starting forget already what we’ve already taken for show & tell.  But we still have half of a year left, so we’re going to have to come up with more ideas.  The trouble is getting Tinkerbell to pick something she hasn’t shown before.  Well, here are her top go-to items when show & tell rolls around:

  • Ty Beanie Babies: Cats one day, monkeys another day–this will last you quite a while
  • Dolls: Tinkerbell has taken in her LaLaLoopsy dolls already
  • Stuffed Animals: If you have a plethora of stuffed animals like we do, this will last you a while–but take notes, because you’ll forget which one you’ve taken in already
  • Pets: One little girl brought in her guinea pig, which was definitely a hit.  The important thing to remember about taking pets is to ask the teacher ahead of time.  There may be extreme fears of animals or allergies.  We don’t want that.
  • Special Keepsakes: We’ve only done this a couple of times, but each time we make sure we know what’s going to the school, and if it’s fragile we make sure we give it to the teacher and get it back from the teacher
  • Books: Favorite books are always a good show & tell go-to if you can’t think of anything else
  • Crafts: Some kids love arts and crafts and will love to show the class what they’ve done at home.  This morning we considered taking a craft that the kids did at church last night. Just keep in mind that if it’s not secure, it might fall apart during travel

Now that you have figured out what you’re going to take, you’ll probably want to apply a couple of rules for your child’s show & tell item.  We always tell our kids the following:

1. The item stays in your bookbag until show & tell.  Don’t play with it before show & tell, because it could get mixed up with other toys or we’ll forget about it entirely.

2. Take it out for show & tell only and put it right back in afterward.  Don’t take it out after show & tell.  We apply this rule for the same reasons as #1.

What are your favorite go-to show & tell items?

Book Review: “The Myth of the Perfect Mother” by Carla Barnhill

Cover of The Myth of the Perfect MotherSo, about 3 1/2 years or so ago…I started reading this book called The Myth of the Perfect Mother: Rethinking the Spirituality of Women by Carla Barnhill.  I finished it today, and I had such an opinion about it that I just had to share.  And maybe I’ll continue to share other opinions in the future.

So this book.  I got a few chapters into it and decided I hated it.  Actually, I read the first couple of pages and disagreed with her opinions but figured it might get better later.  And then a few chapters later…decided it wouldn’t rectify itself.  But I’m a reader.  And I’m not a quitter.  If I start a book, I have to finish it.  Prince Charming said I should just not finish it.  But I had to.

Okay, so first of all, as I stated before we believe in corporal punishment.  Disagreement #1: Barnhill does not.  No big deal, right?

Disagreement #2: Within the first couple of chapters, Barnhill implies that being a stay-at-home mom will never be a truly fulfilling job and that we can not truly devote ourselves to God’s work by fully devoting ourselves to our children.  When I started reading this book, I worked full time.  And I wanted so badly to be a stay-at-home mother.  That’s all I’ve ever felt that I was made to do.  I was made–I was built to be a stay-at-home mom.  I have no doubt in my mind that God’s purpose for me was to raise my children to be wonderful Christian adults.  Isn’t raising a child in the way (s)he should go doing God’s work?  Don’t tell me that my staying home is not fulfilling.  It is.

Barnhill goes on to imply that churches should not have “mom’s” groups–that they should have all-encompassing groups.  Yes, this is fine.  This is wonderful.  We had a women’s group at our church at one time–for single women, old women, young women, married women, mothers, etc.  But moms need that connection with other moms sometimes.  Mentorship.  A place to vent.  It’s not just a playdate.  Not just a gripe session.  I long for a mom’s group.

She continues by complaining that churches don’t involve women who are single or women who do not have children.  Or even women in general.  I don’t know what church she went to, but they weren’t truly doing God’s work.  At least three of our most dedicated members are widows.  Two of our regular members/volunteers are single–neither of them have children.  And we all are friends.  There are more active women in our church than men.

She also states that parents discipline their child only to gain control over them and not for the benefit of the child.

She says, “While much of what is written about Christian parenting is gilded in a coating of ‘this is what’s best for your children,’ it still seems clear to me that the emphasis on obedience (teach your children to obey so they will know how to obey God), authoritarian discipline (children need to behave in order to learn respect for God’s rules), and parental control (you are the parent, so what you say goes) is not really about children at all.”

It is this kind of viewpoint that has led the children of today to be obnoxious, disrespectful, and rude.  Children should be taught to obey.  How on earth will they survive the real world not knowing how to obey the rules?  Sometimes rules are made to protect the child.  Should the child not be made to obey them?

Rapunzel once told me she wanted to move out so that she could have her own rules.  I responded, “What about crossing the street?  Shouldn’t we have rules about crossing the street so you don’t get hurt?  What about washing your hands?  We have rules about washing your hands so you won’t get sick.”  She replied, “Yes, those rules are okay.”

In this case, even the child recognizes how rules protect her.  So how are other rules for safety and raising a polite, kind, and fine young adults unnecessary?  Yes, sometimes authoritarian discipline crosses the line.  I know a parent or two that smother their child’s growth with this parenting style.  But essentially, a relatively authoritarian parenting style is necessary.  I am the parent.  I have life experiences.  I have reasons why I want my child to obey. And my child should respect my decisions.  Can they disagree?  Sure.  But that won’t necessarily change my opinion.  Can they argue with me?  No.  I am the adult, and they need to respect my judgment.

And in some cases, compromise is okay.  For instance, today Tinkerbell didn’t want to wear shoes when we went out.  Well, it’s cold outside but we let her outside without her shoes.  Guess what?  Her poor little toes were cold.  I sure hope she learned some sort of lesson.  And if Rapunzel wants to wear some sort of strange and unmatching outfit to school, go for it (as long as it’s within school guidelines).  At least she can express herself.  The same goes for Cinderella’s hair.  If she wants to dye it blue, sure, go for it.  She’s expressing herself.  Now maybe she won’t do it again, because it kind of turned green and faded…but now she’s learned something new.

(As a side note, I wanted to come up with an example for Wendy, but couldn’t.  Cinderella commented: “Wendy’s the good one in the family.”)

So overall, I would definitely not recommend this book.  But at least I can say I finished it.  And now I can move on to the next one.