Those Things Kids Do
by Jennifer Jordan, Children’s Librarian
As a new parent, I’m learning the things children do that are frustrating but also hilarious. Hearing the stories my mother had of what my brother and I did seemed ridiculous until I start noticing it with my son and the children that come into the library. When my mom would be prepping a meal, I would sneak the best way a 3-year-old could and steal raw vegetables off the cutting board. Anything and everything that was on the ground was edible. This included a dead spider my dad tracked in from outside that my mother had to pull out of my mouth. My mom’s hair? That’s a toy that is asking to be pulled and be tangled around my fingers. If my parents gave me a piece of paper and some colored pencils, I decided that the wall would be a better canvas. Whatever it was, they love talking about how ridiculous my brother and I were and how now, it’s hilarious.
Right now, my little guy is being very vocal but can’t say words yet. He just yells “ma ma ma” or “da da da” to hear his voice. Wondering which word would be his first, I brought home “You’re Baby’s First Word will be Dada” by Jimmy Fallon. In this book, Fallon made a simple read with illustrations of different animals. The parent animal keeps saying “dada” where the baby animal replies with the sound each animal makes. It’s very true to how me as a parent and other parents try to get their baby to repeat dada or mama back to them. Fallon has a follow-up, “Everything is Mama”. This book, illustrated in the same style, has the parent animal trying to get their child to say things like sun and waffle. Instead, the kid animals will say only one thing, mama.
A word that I dread my little one to learn is “no”. I want him to know the word and use it well but what I’ve heard is a toddler learning “no” pairs with the toddler’s opinions. They say no to vegetables, no to baths, no to diapers and the best is no to naps. “No More Naps!” by Chris Grabenstein is a read that will make parents laugh out loud. The toddler in the book is fed up with taking naps and refused to take one. The dad has an idea to try taking her on a stroll around the park to calm her and have her fall asleep. They meet many people who decide if she doesn’t want her nap, they will take it instead. This read pairs well with a book about an alien toddler who is a very picky eater. “Nerp!” by Sarah Lynne Reul has many hilarious words in it. Nerp, meaning no, is what the toddler says when their parents put a plate food in front of them. They will eat nothing the parents give them and when the parents are ready to give up, they hear slurping. He found the bowl of alien dog food on the ground and the dog is eating all the food the parents gave their child.
Kids eventually stop using the one worded sentence and move on to full statements and questions. They are just as curious and now have the voice and vocabulary to have conversations. “Are you Eating Candy Without Me?” by Draga Jenny Malesevic is a book where four children are wondering what their grownups do when they leave. Do they go to fancy parties? Do they eat cake and ice cream while riding ponies? The most important question, are they eating candy without them?
Any of these books would be great for a story before bed. The best book would be a bedtime story about a parent reading a bedtime story. “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein is a story about a little chicken and papa chicken that will make parents laugh out loud. Little chicken wants a story and papa chicken agree only if he doesn’t interrupt when he reads. Little chicken can’t help it and needs to stop the characters from making the mistakes they do in the story. Over and over papa chicken will start and must remind little chicken to let him read and finish the story.