Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bedside Manner

After every winter I write about someone being sick, it seems, and this time it was me. Two full separate weeks out of commission, a month apart.

It was ruthless ear, nose, throat, sinus  whole head issues that went on for days, relieved only briefly by a Hulk-Smash pancreatitis attack that made me forget all about my sore throat for a few hours. Misery, I tell you! (at least as far as run-of-the-mill illness goes, but I've been known to dramatize)

You've probably seen the memes about moms not getting "sick days"-- Mom shuffles around like death warmed over while kids hang off her arms. Luckily for me, I do get a for-real sick day. Hubs stays home to watch the kids while I lie in bed, wishing I was never born, in peace and quiet, save for the hourly "WHERE'S MAMA".

And then every so often they come visit me to see if I'm better yet.
"Don't bother your mom, she's sleeping", I hear. "Stay downstairs."
Wait for it. 
*door opens*
*stage whispers* "Hi Mama, you sick?"
"Guys! Where are you?"
"Mama! Are you going to sleep ALL DAY LONG?" *stretches eyelid*
*Hubs in the doorway* "Hey! Mom's sleeping. Come down."
"She's not sleeping, Dada."

Their bedside manner needs work, I think to myself. Their consideration for the gravely ill is often lacking.

But then, you know what, sometimes they surprise me and go all out to make sure I'm taken care of, whether I like it or not. Like this.

Now, lest you think it's a humblebrag about being suffocated by my children's loving gestures (what's a mother to do with all this love?), I should add that I have about five minutes after that before they're back to check to see if I'm better NOW. I mean, it is like forever for a kid. Days and days of no one being Mater. Spring is here now, though, so hopefully that's it for a while. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

The Nuts: Keep Rolling!

Eric Litwin fans: there's a new book out!---and, it has a dance contest and a "Health Nut" challenge!

I have the privilege of being on Litwin's list of "Groovy Bloggers" following my review of his performance at the Ottawa International Children's Festival last year (so much fun, BTW). Groovy Blogger privileges include getting advance copies of the newest additions to the series.

Litwin is the author of the first four Pete the Cat books as well as Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs. The latest installment is called The Nuts: Keep Rolling, starring the Nut Family found in Bedtime at the Nut House and Sing and Dance in your Polka-Dot Pants.

The interactive story follows the familiar formula of the characters' coming across challenges and demonstrating resilience and a positive attitude through song. As well as music, Litwin's books use elements such as repetition, rhyme, call-and-response, and sight words and phoenetics (which Litwin calls "Multi-Learning" books). The predictability makes it easy for kids to jump on board and participate in the reading right away in a way that works for them. It didn't take my kids long to get into this book, much like the others.

The stories all have online downloadable readings by Litwin (see, which I prefer to use to get the personality and full effect of the music, and because my singing voice is terrible (but I don't always let that stop me!). There are often accompanying dances, too.

For the latest book, in addition to the dance, there's also a dance contest. Children can submit their Keep Rolling dances for a chance to win various prizes, including a visit from Litwin (not in Canada, though).

Finally, the book can be a jumping-off point for taking on the accompanying "Be a Health Nut" challenge, which includes setting a fitness goal as a class or family and adding nuts to a printable tree poster as the goal is attained. Kids can get a "Certificate of Achievenut" at the end. We have our Health Nut tree in the living room.

Certainly not just your average "circle time" book!

My kids always enjoy and gravitate toward Litwin's books, and the latest is no exception. I'll find them stretched out on the floor, muttering "ohhh noooo" or singing "keep rolllll-ing!" to themselves.
On a recent car ride, Hubs was reading all the books one after another to entertain the kids. Wonder if the cars stopped at the light beside us could hear the four of us belting out about loving our Doggy Ice Cream. I'm sure we look cool cruising around East Ottawa.

So. If your kids/students like the other Litwin books, they'll enjoy this one, too. And if the videos found online of kids at festivals and school visits around North America are any indication, it's already a hit.

As former teachers, we both agree that reading should be kept as a fun and enjoyable activity. "You don't want to see students escaping to the bathroom to avoid reading," I said.
"No," Litwin agreed, "we want them bringing books TO the bathroom!"



PS: The Ottawa International Children's Festival is back again for 2017, May 10-14. My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed it the past two years, both the unique shows from around the world (see my review of Michel Lauziere from 2015) and the activities taking place on the grounds.

This year, we'll be checking out the Luminarium. I really wanted to see the show "Wanted", but it's past the kids' bedtime.