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things my four year old says. (she colored in those houses too.)

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1. Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown 2. Mermaid Dreams by Mark Sperring 3. Waiting For The Biblioburro by Monica Brown 4. Pablo Neruda: Poet Of The People by Monica Brown

Our library got rid of the programs we attend for the summer, which means I don’t have to show up and change our books every week.  I finally finished reading The Trip To Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking (excellent! I want Olivia Laing to be my bff).  It was overdue because I read on mom time (usually the last half an hour of the day, before I fall asleep), and Foos was bored out of her tree, so to the library we went!

Children Make Terrible Pets is a really cute story that switches the whole human and pets narrative around.  In this case Lucy, a bear,  wants to keep a little boy she finds in her yard as her pet. But just as her mother warned, the relationship doesn’t go quite in the way she expects.  It reminded me a little of my favorite page in Marcel Et Hugo where the gorillas go to the zoo to see humans.  We really like Peter Brown, his illustrations are always really beautiful (Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, swoon!), and for Foos this was no exception.  And though this doesn’t really count because it’s a children’s book, for me, it was probably my least favorite of his stuff.  But ya know, I’m not four.

Mermaid Dreams was a suggestion from Stephanie, a librarian Foos is in love with. While we were at the library, Foos was pretending to be a mermaid. Mermaids are her new thing, and she was going on and on about being a mermaid named Pearl in the undersea. Mermaid Dreams may as well be a book about Foos.  Meriam the mermaid, like Foos, doesn’t like to get ready for bed, brushing her teeth, or combing her hair.  While combing Meriam’s hair, Meriam’s mother, much like I do, made inquiries about her day. Meriam’s answers make up most of the book.  I wish, for Foos’, sake, they turned Mermaid Dreams into a series (she loves it that much).

Waiting For The Biblioburro is based on the true story of Luis, a former teacher who uses his donkeys (burros) to bring books to towns in Colombia where children have little to no access to books/libraries.  I spotted it while looking for the Pablo Neruda book (they are both by Monica Brown). I remembered reading about the real Luis a couple of years back.  PBS even did a documentary about him.  Waiting For The Biblioburro was a great read for so many reasons!  It was a way to teach Foos about her own privilege; she has access to resources a lot of kids in the world do not, and she should not take them for granted.  The book is also sprinkled with spanish words; I am bilingual, and probably what I consider my biggest failing as a parent is being lazy about teaching Foos spanish.  The biblioburro encouraged Anna, the main character, and by extension Foos, to write her own stories, which I loved.

Pablo Neruda: Poet Of The People is the only book I went to the library wanting to get.  A friend showed me this article about a Frida Kahlo book (I want!) and included in a blurb at the bottom was this one about Pablo Neruda. Pablo Neruda: Poet Of The People was a great way to introduce Foos to a poet I love, and in a lot of ways this book is a poem itself.  The illustrations in this book are beautiful and fluid; they contain words in english and spanish Neruda used in his poetry, floating on the pages like rivers.  I wish a book like this existed for all of my favorite writers.

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One of the few things Foos asked to get for her birthday was a plant for her room.  This was easy, this I could grant a thousand times over. I wanted a plant I was sure could survive the harsh conditions of a toddler room, and a friend suggested mother in law’s tongue (sansevieria) because it does well with scant water/no attention.  Once that was figured out, I started sniffing around pinterest for toddler friendly planters, and came upon this tutorial for a super cute cat planter.  The tutorial called for spray painting half a soda bottle. I was worried the paint would bubble or scrape off the bottle once wet. I have no idea if this concern was based on fact, but it motivated me to go about creating a version of her kitty planter that would accommodate my parental paranoia.

kittyplanter

1.  The original tutorial uses a soda bottle, which is cuter because soda bottles mimic little kitty legs much better than lemonade ones.  For my purposes the lemonade one worked great, was easier to come by (we don’t really care for soda), and was bigger.  I just followed her initial instructions on cutting the bottle in a kitty shape.

2. Instead of spray paint, I used felt.  My planter was not going to have drainage holes, instead it was going to hold a planter with drainage holes in it. It wasn’t going to get wet, but even if it did get wet or gross, it’s machine washable, so I win either way.  I used two sheets of  8×11 white felt for the kitty head, and one sheet of pink felt for the ears and nose.  I used the original tutorial’s template for the kitty face, and a very basic embroidery split stitch (I suck at embroidery) to bring out the features.  I sewed on the pink triangles for the ears and nose using my sewing machine.

3. I cut the white pieces of felt to match in size and shape to the sides of the kitty shaped lemonade bottle. I then sewed them together using my sewing machine.  I embroidered the face sheet before I sewed it on to the side/bottom sheets.

4. I inserted the lemonade bottle into the kitty felt sleeve, and ta dah! kitty planter sans spray paint or sharpie.

This was super easy! I want to try my hand at making her all sorts of animal planters, maybe a fox, or a mouse.  Thank you Pinterest, for letting me ruin the ingenuity of others.

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Foos became a four year old recently.  Last year, we held her birthday party at a park and it was glorious.  The kids had a playground to play in, cleanup was a breeze, the ice cream drippings were left to the ants.  This year, I was an idiot and held the party at our apartment.   Just kidding! Though I had a lot cleaning up to do when the party was over, Foos, her cousins, and friends had a great time.   We ordered pizza, beat a piñata, ate a much too sweet cake, and celebrated the most magical little girl I have ever met.

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Photos: Seth