Add these children’s titles to your home library!

I started collecting children’s books about 8 or 9 years ago when I was enrolled in a children’s literature course during my undergraduate career. I forgot about the purchased titles until I was pregnant with my son. I pulled these books and shelved them with the dozens we got at our baby shower and that I found at thrift stores. Some are major misses. Some we haven’t been able to enjoy because he isn’t there, yet. But others, are major hits in our house. Keep reading for our household favorites.

stripesA Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

This is one of the titles I bought for class. I didn’t think my son would enjoy this one because it isn’t about animals or trains – it’s about a girl who mysteriously wakes up covered in stripes on the first day of school. The recommended grade level for this title is K-3 but R has requested it multiple times and sits for the entire story (it’s 32 pages with a paragraph of text on each page). I have been using it to assist in reading comprehension for him (What do you think will happen to her? type questions).

brownbear   Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

This is read every. single. time we read in our house. I recommend the pictured copy, as it allows your children to slide and find the answer to the question; this is R’s favorite thing about the book. The book is wonderfully repetitive and great for teaching colors. You can typically always find this title (and edition) at Target. We got ours at Goodwill, though!

goodnight  Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman

R picked this out for one of his summer reading contests at the library and loves it! It centers around a zookeeper who says goodnight to all of the animals. Without knowing it, his gorilla frees all of the animals behind him who follow the zookeeper home. I love the repetition and R likes repeating the story and pointing out the animals.

LittleMouse1 The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

Okay, I’ll admit, this is my favorite children’s book! I first discovered it when I was a preschool teacher working with two-year olds. I have not met a child yet who dislikes The Little Mouse. They quickly learn the story and can recite it with you. R was no different. We would still read it at home had it not fallen apart (I swear I am going to  replace it… as soon as I buy all that other stuff in my “Save for Later” section of my Amazon cart).

monster The Monster at the end of this Book by Jon Stone

How many of you remember this title? It was originally published in 1971 and both my sister, who was born in ’79, and myself, born in ’87, remember loving this book as children. One day I saw it on Amazon Prime Now for $2.99 and scooped it up! Two hours later I was reading it to my son. It didn’t go over so well the first time (he was bored) but soon he began asking for the monster book. If you aren’t familiar with the title, fair warning, don’t read it at bedtime. Not because your child will get scared but because it may cause hyperactivity.

nodavid No, David by David Shannon

After reading a title so many times, your child will learn the words. No, David is that book for us. David is mischievous little boy who is constantly being told no, like when he runs out of the house without pants (R’s favorite part: “He got a naked booty!” he says). At first I was afraid that R might repeat some of the bad behavior illustrated but he is able to tell me that what David is doing is wrong. Lessons aside, the book is cute. Sometimes I replace David with my son’s name, making him laugh. Like The Little Mouse, this book is on my replacement list as it has been well loved.

pout The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

A colleague mentioned once that his son loved the Pout-Pout Fish. I kept confusing it with Rainbow Fish, which I dislike, and never bothered to check it out. After 2 solid months of reading No, David to my kid every night, I finally checked it out from work. We renewed it so many times that the Easter Bunny finally brought a copy last year. This is the most recent book R learned to recite, and it’s a tough one! R’s favorite part is at the end where I cover him in smooches as we read “Smoooch Smoooch Smooooch Smoooooch!”

seals The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort

If your child likes the song “The Wheels on the Bus,” s/he will love this title. I first checked it out on a whim from work not realizing it was an update to the classic song. R loves it when I make the animal sounds: The seals on the bus go arf arf arf arf arf arf… I renewed this book up to the limit, too. The summer after, he got it for completing Summer Reading at the library.

HungryCaterpillar The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I don’t think you are allowed to have a child and not have an Eric Carle book in the house. 😛 This is our favorite. It’s short, sweet, and easy to learn; plus it is great for science AND days of the week!

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_(book)_cover Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

If you don’t know this book you may have been living under a rock. I was never into it until I bought it for R a few months ago (I was on a “get the classics” kick) at Half Price Books. One night, while on the potty, I decided to read it to him. Upon finishing of the story, he had me read it again and again and AGAIN. He calls the wild things monkeys and tells me he will eat me up regularly. ❤

So that’s it! I am sure this list will grow in the coming years but as of now, these are the tried and true titles in our home.

parenting, potty training

On potty-training little boys

You want to know how I potty-trained my son before his 3rd birthday?

I didn’t!

Okay so I had some role but in all honestly, my son’s daycare did most of the work. They have these tiny human-sized toilets with tiny holes for their tiny butts. He even learned to stand up and pee. They estimated that within a few weeks of transitioning to the 3s room he would be potty-trained. They just want to be like their friends, they said. And they were right.

This doesn’t mean my husband and I didn’t struggle. We totally did. There were months where R refused to poop at home, instead only agreeing to pee! To this day, I don’t know why. He would poop at daycare but when he got home he screamed bloody murder when I would ask him to sit on the toilet at try.

Like most first time parents, we bought an Elmo potty chair… that he sat on once. I tried turning him backward on the toilet seat. Nope. I tried every potty-training trick on Pinterest, like cutting a hole in his pull-up and putting him on the toilet, or putting him to bed naked. He finally began sitting on the porcelain throne when we added a toilet seat attachment but still no consistent poops.

We bribed… I used a sticker chart and promised him Schleich and Terra animals from Walmart/Target each time he pooped. Nothing seemed to work! Every night, about 5 minutes after laying him down he would run out of his room and scream with laughter, “I pooped!”  We were at our wit’s end; he knew how to poop in the potty but didn’t want to at home.

The turning point came after my grandmother passed away in January 2017. He and I took a 17-hour drive from Texas to Kentucky, stopping along the way for an overnight in Dallas. At the hotels and my grandmother’s house, with his potty seat attachment, he pooped every night before bed for a week straight.

When we returned home, he regressed a couple of times but I stopped fussing. I figured he would go when he was ready. Why stress it? And you know what? IT DID WONDERS. Now, two months later, he has barely had any accidents. Can I tell you how amazing it is to still be on the same box of bulk wipes from December and being down to 1 box of pull-ups ever 1-2 months? Of course I want baby #2 so let’s see how long we are actually saving money.

Even though I had the amazing assistance of his teachers in potty training, I still feel like we’ve earned potty-training badges for regaining our composure and encouraging him to poop. I love that he comes to me now and says, “I need to poop.” One day he will just do it on his own without the announcement.

Next step? Staying dry at night and wiping his own butt.



Getting Pregnant

Perpetual Two-Week Wait

I am a symptom spotter for sure. Anytime my husband’s penis comes near me, I automatically assume I am pregnant. When you got pregnant on the first try with your first one, it’s easy to think you are a Fertile Myrtle. So because of this, I feel like the two-week wait never ends. Also, I just really want a second baby.

I have been ready for another one since our son, R, was about 10 months old. I figured I had parenting down and it was time to give it ago! Husband thought otherwise. It’s only been six months or so that he has felt ready and saw how very badly R needs a sibling.

So now that we are both ready, I spend every two-week window between ovulation and the first day of my period (I don’t chart but I do use the app Clue to track my cycle) analyzing every feeling in my body.

Sore throat, cough, sore boobs, fatigue, cravings, increased saliva… I must be pregnant. Wrong. It all means nothing. In fact, looking back, my husband knew I was pregnant with R before I did. My only symptoms were unusual crying and a ravenous appetite. I was scouring the pantry for snacks and nothing was hitting the spot. I didn’t even realize I was late. I actually waited a few days before testing and was shocked when it came up positive.

So ladies, you are not alone in that two-week wait misery. I know that I am not pregnant but will continue believing so each month until that wicked red witch shows her face.

Introduction to Blog

Introducing Books & Babies

When I was pregnant with my first, I began blogging each week to keep family informed and then I feel off the wagon as I became immersed into motherhood and battled with postpartum depression. Three years later, I am almost finished with my graduate degree in Library and Information Science (that means I’ll be an official librarian) and will be moving to a still unknown place in February 2018. With school wrapping up and knowing I will likely have some adjusting to do once we relocate, I am ready to start another blog.

What about?

Books. And babies.

There is a common misconception that librarians get paid to read all day. Not quite. In the public library, I spent most of my time helping people learn how to print (for the umpteenth time) and placing holds on popular titles. Sometimes I held programming. In the academic library, I attend 3-4 meetings a week over various things, management a team of employees, and give reference help. When I get home, I have to make dinner, do homework, pay attention to a husband, and keep a high-energy three-year-old boy entertained and alive. There is no room for reading right now. But I am hoping that once my degree is behind me I can replace the homework with reading and use Books & Babies to share reviews and thoughts.

Now for the babies… my husband and I are ready for #2. Ideally, I would like to use the blog to document our journey as well as parenting a three-year-old. Fears, frustrations, happiness, appointments, advice… I want to include it all. Warning, I am a scientific mama who also lazy parents her toddler. I am not a helicopter parent. If you are, wonderful! I am a believer in doing what works for you and your family. I simply write this as a heads up for those who may not be interested in reading about the benefit of vaccines or are appalled that I won’t use a cart cover with my child. 😛

I am not sure how the two topics will flow. Maybe they won’t. It’s all a learning experience! Enjoy!


R’s Birth Story

If anyone knows anything about my son, they know that it was right in his character to be born on his due date.

I had an induction scheduled for the week after my due date, in case he did not show on his own. I had worked both Saturday and Sunday before and dreaded each day, just wanting to have the kid already. On the morning of February 10, a Monday, my husband and woke up in different moods. I was ready to take on the day. I had no more than a week left of being pregnant and felt, for once, I could do this. My husband, on the other hand, had no desire to work. He laid in bed and asked me, “Do you think you’ll have him today?” I laughed and mentioned how it doesn’t work that way. I rolled over to get out of bed and felt a pop between my legs. I looked down and there was a wet spot on the sheets we had just bought the night before.

I ran to the restroom, telling my husband that I thought my water broke. I don’t remember what he said as I sat on the toilet. I relieved myself a bit and came out and said, “I think it’s just pee. I just peed myself a bit.” He laughed and said, “No, I don’t think that’s pee,” and pointed to my crotch. I looked down and my gray leggings were getting wetter by the second. “This is it? This is it!” I told him. The next 15 minutes was a blur of grabbing our bags (my bag and the babies, that is because even this late in the game and he hadn’t packed his), calling his mother and sister and my sister, calling our jobs, and getting in the car.

On the 15 minute drive to the hospital, he asked if I wanted to stop for food. I told him no. He asked if I was sure. “I just want to get this started.” Was that ever a mistake.

We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am and made our way to L&D. We checked in with the desk. I told them my water broke and they laughed and said, “We’ll check that to be sure.” In my head I am thinking, I am still gushing amniotic fluid as we speak. Why would I pee myself continuously?

About 30 minutes later (and after being separated from my husband so the nurse could ask if I “feel safe at home” and checked that my water had indeed broken) my husband and I were in a small patient room, waiting for a bigger delivery room. The nurse periodically checked to see how dilated I was and eventually started the Pitocin. At some point, they moved us to a larger room.

At 4 cms the nurse asked if I wanted my epidural. I hesitated and then she explained that there were SEVEN inductions today and one other unexpected delivery. In other words, it was now or never. My contractions, which I hadn’t really begun to feel until about 9 or 10 am, were getting stronger so I told her, yes, go ahead and notify the anesthesiologist. I am so thankful she got real with me because it took the anesthesiologist over an hour to get to me and by that time, any fear I may have had about a giant needle going in my back had gone out the window – the pain was really kicking in. I remember my consciousness fading a bit at this point.

The relief was instantaneous but the contractions kept coming. The epidural did start to wear off on my right side around 8-9 cm. Those contractions were no joke!

At 6:30, I had reached 9 cm. I stayed at 9 cm until 9:00 when my doctor and nurses decided it was time to push. Pushing was incredibly difficult and I felt as though we weren’t getting anywhere. And we weren’t the little guy moved back up the birth canal. The nurses began to turn me every few minutes to attempt to make him move back down. They kept saying, “we need to get him to move.” I asked what would happen if he didn’t, knowing the answer, but the nurses would not tell me. They tried everything to no avail. Finally, at 9:30 my doctor told me what I was dreading to hear. Caesarean section. Basically, because R’s heart rate spiked and I had lost so much amniotic fluid – to the point that an infection may occur – I would need to have a c-section. Of course, he wasn’t budging either.

I cried so much that I threw up. I had this perfect plan for how I wanted labor to go and it wasn’t to be.

An hour later, I was being wheeled to the OR. Edwin would follow shortly. I had so much anesthesia that I felt heavy. I tried to get on the table myself but the nurses laughed and said that was their job. I was transferred from the bed to the table, where my arms were strapped down and the anesthesiologist began administering more medicine. I remember being very cold and scared. I prayed harder than I have ever prayed and just kept wishing for my husband. It seemed like hours before they brought him back (interestingly, he felt the same out in the waiting room with his friends). When he was finally back there, I told him I loved him and that I was so scared that I wouldn’t make it. He just held my hand.

I don’t remember them cutting me open. In fact, I was on so much medicine that I was fading in and out at this point. Suddenly, though, my husband said, “He’s here. Here’s our son.” My arms were strapped so I couldn’t hold him but my husband held him to me and I kissed him. He was incredibly beautiful. Absolutely perfect.

I remember noticing how big and angry he looked and that image was burned in my head until I saw him again – nearly three hours later!

Initially, I was very upset that  I didn’t get to hold my son until the wee morning hours after he was born. Today, I am okay. I had plenty of time to bond in the days and weeks that followed.



That scratch!