The Honest Toddler, available for pre-order

The Honest Toddler book

Yes, that image is the book cover of the upcoming Honest Toddler book, which you can now pre-order on Amazon. So excited to read it.

By the way, if you click on the image or link above, Amazon gives Words on the Word a small commission, so feel free to use that link if you’re going to get it anyway. Speaking of WotW, this blog’s url has dropped the ending and is now just (Old posts automatically re-direct.)

Who is Honest Toddler? In the bio on the book’s Amazon page, we finally learn a few things about the writer behind HT:

The author was raised in the Bay Area. She started her first media company at age eighteen while attending Long Beach State University. Soon after, she launched and sold a social networking site geared toward moms and began a social media agency, working with Fortune 500 companies. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering, and, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics have often gone viral. In May 2012, she created Honest Toddler, a character based on her youngest child. She lives with her family outside of Montreal.

But it’s still by “Anonymous.”

Looking forward to more sage counsel from the most stress-relieving writer on parenting I’ve read.

Apocalyptic Dialogue with my 5-Year-Old Son

flaming plane

It went like this:

Me: These Duplos have eyes all over them. It’s like a creature from Revelation.

He: What’s Revelation?

Me: It’s a book in the Bible. There are all sorts of creatures in it. Dragons, too. It will be a great book for you to read sometime, maybe when you are older.

He: Why?

Me: It’s a little bit scary.

He: Is there a movie?

Well, yes, son, there is a movie. Quite a lot of them, in fact. But we’ll start with the book first.

He’s started on chapter books with us, though, so we’ve been able to begin tackling some fun stories, like this. Revelation, perhaps, later.

Traveling Mercies

K-J tree table
Thing 1 and Thing 2

The first thing I noticed when we got to my parents’ new home in South Carolina was the smell of the pines. The boys spent time outside there almost every day these last two weeks–the “cold” days there were high 40s, low 50s. It was truly good to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with beloved and loving family. I thought I’d miss “our” beach, but the woods made a fine substitute.

(Of course, as I watch the sun rise over the water and type back at home, I’m grateful for the living room ocean view.)

One cause for prayer before traveling to see family is traveling logistics. How will the kids do on the plane? In the car on the way to the airport? Will they skip naps due to travel, and will this mean utter mayhem later?

But on the way home yesterday, on the plane, this happened:

K-Js sleeping on plane
Thing 3 sleeps on Thing 2, who sleeps on me

Great logistics, great trip. I’m thankful for my family, and so glad we K-Js got to be with them these last two weeks.

Details on upcoming Honest Toddler book, due out in May

(Alex Motrenko/Thinkstock, via The Globe and Mail)

Honest Toddler has just announced a few details of his/her (?) upcoming book (!):

In other news, I’m writing a book (Scribner USA-Simon & Schuster imprint, HarperCollins Canada, and Orion UK); a parenting guide for those of you disappointing your toddlers on a regular basis.

You probably need it if:

  1. You’ve ever told someone you love to look with their eyes.
  2. You think Ferber is a great man. Actually, Dr. Richard Ferber is a recluse who lives in an abandoned barn. He never intended his ramblings to be published.
  3. You believe in salad even though all the research points to the contrary.
  4. You’d rather watch Game of Thrones and eat Wheat Thins than take your toddler to an indoor play center.

The book will come out in May and will be available at all the stores (real and online). It’ll cost six or seven quarters, I don’t know. If you don’t have that much money just rip out the pages that apply to you and and take them to the cash register for prorating. Don’t mention my name if you get arrested. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions.

I’ve posted plenty about HT before. So I’m excited to read this upcoming book, especially since I do believe (strongly) in salad.

The family bedtime rules

BedrailNot long ago we began instituting “the bedtime rules” for our two boys. The idea was to have a sequence of rules (steps, really) for the boys to follow once in bed that would provide consistency and direction each night. They were:

1. Put your head on your pillow.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Go to sleep.

Our 5-year-old added a couple, so now they read:

1. Put your head on your pillow.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Put your arms and your legs down.

4. Close your mouth.

5. Go to sleep.

Some nights, by the time I’m done with bedtime, I think the bedtime rules really just sound like:

1. Please stop talking.

2. Stop talking.

3. Stop talking right now.

4. Stop talking or I’m not going to sing to you anymore tonight.

5. SHHHH!!!!!

They will put themselves to sleep on their own eventually, right?

Advent Wreath! Advent Wreath! Advent Wreath!

advent wreath

“Advent Wreath! Advent Wreath! Advent Wreath!”

This is the mantra my 2-year-old son repeats as soon as bedtime routines begin–and sometimes before that.

Each night since the beginning of Advent, our family has observed Advent together by praying, reading a Bible passage, lighting a candle, and singing a verse and the chorus of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” There is perhaps nothing more heart-warming than hearing our two young boys sincerely belt out, “REJOICE! REJOICE!” each night around the Advent wreath. This will be a family tradition for years to come.

We made the wreath together as a family at our church before Advent. We use it to mark the time as we eagerly anticipate the celebration on Christmas of Christ’s first coming to earth, even as we await and long for his second coming. The waiting and yearning themes of Advent have been particularly appropriate given that we have yet again recently seen the evil we humans are capable of.

For those of you who plan worship services, or like to think deeply about them, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has a helpful Advent and Christmas Resource Guide. A reflection from that site says:

In Advent we hear the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming as addressed to us—people who wait for the second coming. In Advent we heighten our anticipation for the ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament promises, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away.

There is something for me to learn from my two-year-old’s persistence as we gather each night. The anticipation with which he comes to our time of prayer (often clapping his hands) is what I want to offer God in this time of waiting.

My 5-year-old son reviews The Friendly Beasts

The Friendly Beasts

This book tells the story of the friendly beasts. The friendly beasts are a cow, donkey, dove, and lamb. I don’t see another animal. But there’s baby Jesus! And there’s a camel in there. The camel brought him a gift. The donkey carried Jesus’ mama.

Jesus was a baby. (I knew that before I even had this book.) He was born in a manger.

I liked the CD [AKJ: that comes with the book–four tracks, including “The Friendly Beasts” by Rebecca St. James], because it was about Jesus. I liked the book because of the animals.

This book is good for 8-year-olds and 6-year-olds and 1-year-olds and 5-year-olds. This book would make people feel good.

Thanks to Zondervan/Zonderkidz for the review copy for my 5-year-old son to review with his honest impressions. Click on the image above to find out more about the book.

Aslan’s Library: Best site for children’s books that communicate theological truth in a beautiful way

If you are a parent (and even if you’re not), Aslan’s Library will nourish your soul and the soul of the children in your life. I went to school with, and had the great privilege of serving in youth ministry alongside with, one of the blog’s co-authors. Here’s from the Library’s introductory post:

When we became parents and started thinking about how we wanted to raise our children, meaningful interaction with great literature was a top priority for each of us.  Wonderful children’s books are available in abundance, and we have delighted in exploring the world of kids lit.

However, when we began to search for Christian children’s books that were on the same par as our favorite nonreligious titles, we were disheartened.  More often than not, the Christian books we encountered were theologically sloppy or artistically mediocre – or both.  Since such books don’t do justice to the beauty and truth of Christianity, we were unwilling to share them with our young ones.

We believe that the literary and artistic qualities of all types of childrens’ books matter – and we believe that the quality of Christian books matters even more because those books attempt to reflect God to their young readers.  Children’s ideas about God’s character, his creation, and the story of redemption are important, so we care about how those stories unfold in literature.  The religious books our children read will deeply impact their spiritual imaginations: what could be more important?

Check out their children’s book list, which I especially appreciate for its focus on Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter. And let this recent post restore you–“When Advent is Neither Quiet Nor Still.”

There is much to explore at Aslan’s Library; it’s a site to refer to often.