Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Celebrate with Emmy and me the birthday of A. A. Milne!

Born in London on January 18, 1882, Milne is perhaps the greatest children's storyteller of all time. His most notable works are about a lovable bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Pooh was first introduced to the world in 1924 with the publication of a book of verses titled When We Were Very Young. The 38th verse in the book, "Teddy Bear," was Pooh's first appearance. Bringing this adorable bear to life through illustration was the very talented Ernest Shepard.

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about -
He's proud of being short and stout.

Following this first book of verses came Winnie the Pooh (1926), Now We Are Six (1927) and The House on Pooh Corner (1928).
A. A. Milne was inspired to write the Pooh stories after watching his son Christopher Robin playing with his stuffed animals. Milne's books continue to delight me and it is my hope that they will do the same for Emmy. She is already in love with all of the characters who live in The Hund
red Acre Wood and delights in their antics. She giggles at Pooh's tummy whenever it rumbles and that happens quite often! She can be heard announcing that "there is a rumbly in my tumbly!" whenever she is feeling like a little smackerel of something good to eat!

Continuing our love for poetry, Emmy and I have been reciting this poem quite often (from the
Tiddly Pom
(Tiddly Pom)
The more it goes
(Tiddly Pom)
The more it goes
(Tiddly Pom)
On snowing.

And nobody knows
(Tiddly Pom)
How cold my toes
(Tiddly Pom)
How cold my toes
(Tiddly Pom)
Are growing.

And we've been listening to the songs Return to Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins and Winnie the Pooh written by the Sherman Brothers.

I am bubbling with excitement about the upcoming Winnie the Pooh movie premiering in July of 2011. Having watched many episodes of My Friends Tigger and Pooh with Emmy, I am looking forward to seeing the characters once again portrayed as they were in the film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) through classic hand-drawn animation. The new film will feature the vocal talents of Jim Cummings as Pooh and Tigger, Peter Cullen as Eeyore, Tom Kenny as Rabbit, Craig Ferguson as Owl and John Cleese as the narrator. Here's a look at the trailer for the film (Emmy and I both love the featured song Somewhere Only We Know by Keane).

"Sometimes Winnie-the-Pooh likes a game of some sort when he comes downstairs, and sometimes he likes to sit quietly in front of the fire and listen to a story. This evening...
“What about a story?” said Christopher Robin.
“What about a
story?” I said.
“Could you very sweetly tell Winnie-the-Pooh one?”
“I suppose I could,” I said. “What sort of stories does he like?”
“About himself. Because he’s that sort of Bear.”

~Winnie the Pooh Chapter One: In Which~

Now off you go to enjoy your own story about Winnie-the-Pooh with your favorite little one!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The snow has finally arrived here on the North Shore of Massachusetts and Emmy is delighted! We've had a great time sledding, building snowmen, having snowball fights and stomping through the snow.

Here are a few of Emmy's observations about snow:
*Snow is freezing cold. It's like a freezer for the Earth.
*Look at the tiny crystals. The snow fairies must make those sparkly colors.
*Where do the trucks put all of the snow? Maybe they
take it to the North Pole.
*Somebody's shaking the clouds!
*It's so quiet. Is the snow sleeping?

There's no doubt that children love rhyme and Emmy is no exception. She frequently plays with words and can be heard going around the house saying, "cat-hat; yes, those rhyme" "cake-bake; yes, those rhyme." Adding poetry into our day is something that I am trying to be more mindful of. I love the rhythm and rhyme of poetry and the extraordinary pictures that are formed in your mind when poems are spoken aloud. Here is the latest poem that I have shared with Emmy. I hopeit has you "in stitches" as it does for Emmy and me.


I made myself a snow ball
as perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
and let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
and a pillow for it's head.
Then, last night it ran away.
But first -- it wet the bed.

In the book, Snow, Cynthia Rylant charms us once again with her poetic interpretation of a winter wonderland. Rylant makes the reader aware that there are different types of snow...soft, fat, a little, a lot, etc. and in her masterful way she creates images so vivid that you feel like part of the story. "The best snow is the snow that comes softly in the night, like a shy friend afraid to knock." Emmy enjoys the page where the snow falls so heavy it buries cars up to their noses. As we walk around town, Emmy will point out the cars covered with snow and just laugh and laugh. Adding to the glory of the words in this book are the illustrations by Lauren Stringer. They are filled with blue-white crystal creations showing snow flurries, snow drifts and snowflakes (no two alike).

Creating art with snow and representing snow through a variety of art materials allows Emmy to explore with all of her senses and bring about a deeper understanding of the magic of snow.

Building a baby snowman.
Working with "squirt" glue and cotton balls to create an indoor snowman.

The finished product.

Add a little bit of snow to your pancakes with powdered sugar dusted on with a sifter!
One of my all time favorite movies is White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. I am looking forward to sharing my love of "old" song and dance movies with Emmy and in the meantime will show her bits and pieces of my favorites like this scene highlighting Irving Berlin's song Snow.

Emmy and I hope you've enjoyed our celebration of snow! If you're looking for more books and poems on winter, take a look at these posts:

And for another gorgeous book by Cynthia Rylant, check out this post and look for the book In November.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pondering the Tooth Fairy

"Other than a dimple
in a cute little chin,
What's more adorable
than a toothless grin?"

Emmy lost two teeth!

With the first tooth, Emmy and I were both in shock. She kept telling me, "Mommy, I lost a tooth." and I know I nodded and said something not very enthusiastic like "Really?" and continued to fold and put away the laundry until I finally tuned in and realized that she was serious and in her hand was her teeny, tiny tooth. On the inside, I was completely freaking out (she's not yet five years old)! On the outside, I celebrated by taking her up in my arms and dancing the 'Lost First Tooth Dance' around the house.

Emmy's Daddy and I had not yet devised a plan for the whole Tooth Fairy thing, but we quickly got our acts together. Emmy placed her tooth in a little box and placed it carefully under her pillow. She awoke to find a spinning toothbrush that she could decorate with stickers, animal flossers, and money under her pillow!

Truth be told, I had a really hard time with the loss of this first tooth. I was just not prepared. There are so many milestones during the first two and a half years of life and then things just kind of level off. Now I am realizing how much Emmy has grown these past couple of years...she feeds herself, dresses herself, brushes and does her hair, brushes her teeth, plays independently, shares with others, draws detailed pictures, writes words, speaks clearly, uses a vast vocabulary, initiates conversations and so much more!!! Emmy is just so sure of herself. With the loss of the teeth and her upcoming fifth birthday, I am certainly not feeling very sure of myself, but all I have to do is look in her twinkling eyes to know that everything is right where it is supposed to be and happening at the exact right moment!

As with most things in parenting, the tooth fairy story was thought of on the spot. With a bit more research on customs pertaining to tooth loss, this story has been refined and continues to build as more and more questions are asked by Emmy.

"How does the tooth fairy get into the house?"
"What does she do with the teeth?"
"Why does she leave money?"
"How does she carry all of the teeth?"
"Can you see the Tooth Fairy?"
"Where does the Tooth Fairy live?"

Worldwide there is much folklore, interesting tales, stories, fables, myths, and legends about the customs and beliefs surrounding lost baby teeth. The ancient Egyptians believed the sun made teeth strong, so they threw lost teeth towards the sun. Centuries ago in Europe, parents ground children's teeth into a powder and ate it to protect their children from witches. And one of my favorites...In Mexico, the little Tooth Mouse would take baby teeth and leave a coin in payment. He would use the teeth to replace the ones he lost from chewing on tough stuff.

With another tooth wiggling its way out of Emmy's mouth, I shared with her that the Tooth Fairy spoke to Santa Claus about her lost tooth, as well as her wiggly one, so he left her an extra special gift under the Christmas tree - a tooth fairy pillow! Moments later, as Emmy bit into her chocolate Santa on a stick, out popped her second tooth! It was so wonderful to have a special place to put the tooth. The pillow was rushed upstairs and placed under her bed pillows. The next morning the tooth was replaced with a shiny coin, some dollars and a bit of fairy dust left behind (glitter).

I am still searching for a book to share with Emmy about the tooth fairy. There are quite a few out there, but the messages given are not the ones that I want to share with Emmy. For example, a tooth fairy that keeps the teeth to make a necklace or adorn her throne or build her castle doesn't follow my story. I've explained to her that the tooth fairy collects the teeth, polishes them and tucks them inside the gums of brand new babies. The tooth fairy leaves behind a bit of fairy dust where the baby tooth used to be to help the permanent tooth grow healthy and strong. This story has really helped Emmy with her daily brushing as she wants her teeth to be well cared for so that the new baby will have pretty white teeth. She has also decided that every time she brushes, the fairy dust is pushed into her gums to ensure a healthy new tooth will grow just for her.

As I continue to search for a "just right" book to share with Emmy and with you, as well as help to honor this important milestone, I'll leave you with this poem - Emmy's favorite at the moment.

In this pocket you will find
A teensy, tiny tooth of mine.
So while I sleep where
dreams are made,
Let's see if you
Can make a trade.

In this pocket
I will lay,
the little tooth I lost today.
Please, dear fairy,
tonight as I sleep
leave me a coin.
My tooth you can keep.