Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What does a pigeon say?

I have no idea what the *real* answer to this question is, but in our house, it's "Not tired!"  This is due to one of Pooh's favorite books, "Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late" by Mo Willems.
I'm a big fan of the pigeon books, which i was introduced to by a dear friend in grad school, who had "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" - it was a great book!

Now, this one is one of Pooh's favorites too - if you haven't read it, suffice it to say that it's bedtime, and the pigeon is not ready to go to bed.  He tries to come up with all kinds of alternate activities, all the time insisting, "I'm not tired!" We happened to first read this book when Pooh was learning animal sounds - he's got a lot of cute ones, including "wibit" for a frog and an adorable fishface.  But the pigeon, well, it's just so darn cute that it's a landslide favorite.

But this leads to the real question I've been pondering:  what are some good, easily read books for young kids?  Like I said, I love the pigeon books, and I've been a fan of Mercer Mayer's Little Monster and Little Critter books for many many years, but I'm at a bit of a loss otherwise.  As a matter of fact, we've started a book recycling bin, in which we drop all the books that we think are probably not ones that we want to read all the time in the house.  Most of the time, books get dropped in because the writing is atrocious, but then there's the one called "We Help Daddy" that's all about the kids helping daddy with manly tasks while mommy cooks and cleans - we don't want Pooh thinking that's what a family really looks like, or he's gonna start questioning why mommy goes off to work everyday while daddy stays home...

I'll admit that it was hard for me to accept the idea of the book recycling bin because it's hard for me to throw books away, even bad ones, but now we are on a quest to find some cool project for the recycled books.  How about a library desk like this one?  We might have to start being much more selective of the books we keep if we want one of those!

Bla kiki peas mommy

So the other morning, I'm in the kitchen making Pooh his everyday lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwich while P-daddy makes the coffee, and in wanders Pooh.  He comes over, stands close, and says "Up, mommy."  Trained by now to stop whatever I'm doing and obey his smallest command Unable to resist cuddling up to him for a few short minutes, I pick him up and hold him close, at which he looks into my eyes and sincerely requests "bla kiki."  Now, brilliant linguist and master wordsmith that I am, I respond with the utterly inspiring "what?" while my brain races to figure out what he's asking for.  He's been trained well, and immediately adds please to his request:  "bla kiki peas mommy."

At this point, P-daddy joins in the fun, asking what Pooh wants.  He (Pooh, not P-daddy) wiggles down and runs toward the computer in the living room.  Since he's recently begun to ask for his favorite shows by name, such as "tummy" (you know, he's a tank engine) and 'bah-ney", we start to go through the things he likes to watch that could somehow be, in a 2-year-old's language, "bla kiki."  This goes on for 10-15 minutes, at which point my sister and her daughter, our father's helper, arrive and try to help us.  We stand around for another 5-10 minutes discussing the possibility, while Pooh becomes increasingly frustrated, alternately repeating "bla kiki" at escalating volume or frustrated whining.  It's no help, we are stumped.

Finally, my linguist brain kicks in. bilabial, plus "ah", followed by a word with two "ee" vowels.  "OMG, he's saying 'watch tv'!"  Pooh's response immediately makes it clear that I am brilliant I have hit the nail on the head.  He yells "yay" as loud as he can (and that's pretty loud!), then begins jumping up and down, clapping his hands and cheering with an excited "bla kiki" chant.  It was hilarious, and completely reminiscent of what we do when he does something well that he's been trying for a while.  He's obviously been watching and learning from us!

And that, let me tell you, is the scary part of the hilarious "bla kiki" story!  This kid is watching everything we say and do, and mimicking everything he can.  We've seen this with lots of things:  P-daddy says "Nice!" a lot when something gets done well, and now Pooh says it too.  I started saying "no poop" on the rare occasions when his diaper was only wet and not dirty, and now he proudly proclaims before a diaper change just whether or not we'll find anything interesting there (though not with any degree of accuracy).  He spits in the sink when he brushes his teeth, just because we do.  And there are many many more.  It really makes a person think:  am I setting an example that I want my kid to follow?  One that I can proudly say "oh, he got that from me" about?  Probably not, but we're learning as we go!