Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conference and the Easter Bunny

I had an 8:15 parent-teacher conference at Landon's daycare this morning. They schedule them every 6 months so the teacher can meet with the parents and fill them in on how their little darling is doing in class. I got to hear all about Landon's social, physical, and emotional development and, even more fun, look at artwork and pictures taken of him over the past 6 months. It's so fun to see him in his little environment outside of our house. He's very happy and comfortable in his classroom and he's become close friends with two of the kids in his class (both of whom will be moving up to "Early Preschool" with him this summer). I learned some of the songs they've been singing at circle time and suddenly the random hand motions he's been making had meaning- turns out he's been "driving that fire truck" and "climbing the ladder" as per the beloved "The Firetruck Song." We could not figure out why he was doing that any time we sang "Row Row Row Your Boat," but apparently the tunes are very similar.

Our little man still LOVES music and books- we sing and read and read and sing for most of the evening before bed. We finally got the toy box JP's parents ordered for his first birthday present, it's just beautiful (hand-made in Amish country and shipped down to us in a giant box of bubble wrap) and fits perfectly underneath the window in the play room. Landon spends a lot of time stacking and reading books on his special seat.

The Easter bunny is going to get him a (cheap, sturdy) boombox for the top of one of the bookcases in the play room and some kids CDs for us all to dance to. Any suggestions? I've already got Choo Choo Soul (recommended by a co-worker) and Wee Sing Silly Songs (recommended by my fond childhood memories) queued up on Amazon. Landon still refuses to acknowledge the TV so anything kids like solely because of the recognizable character voices is out, and he loves songs with hand motions and actions. I think the Easter Bunny is as excited as he's going to be- "Row Row Row Your Boat" and "If You're Happy and You Know It" are getting a bit old and I'm tired of risking the safety of my laptop to play him songs on iTunes (he's Very enthusiastic about the keys). I think we're set on books for a little while longer, but if you have any particular favorites, especially those slightly off the beaten path, I'd love to hear them. Landon's faves are: Eight Silly Monkeys, Ten Little Ladybugs, Ten Rubber Duckies (one of his first favorites), Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Is Your Mama a Llama. I've read each of those books at least once a day for the past few months and I don't hate them yet, I'd say that's a pretty strong endorsement. Now I need the same for music!


  1. I loved the Wee songs! I still have that book and tape somewhere.

  2. Me too! I'm wondering if it's worth copying the old version at my parent's house, according the Amazon review the new version isn't nearly as good (are they ever?).

  3. Definitely get some Laurie Berkner! We have "Whaddaya Think of That?" and I have to admit, on several occasions I have gotten into the car to go some where without Henry and discovered 10 minutes down the road that I am singing along with Laurie ;-)

  4. We love a local kid's band called Rocknoceros (http://www.rocknoceros.com/) The songs are imminently dance-able and have taught my kid to count, eat veggies, and wash his hands! We actually go to their concerts like groupies, too!

  5. When I taught younger grades, my kids LOVED the Red Grammar cds


    The Teaching Peace one is really good.

    I also loved the Raffi Rise and Shine CD (and all of his CDs) and the CJ cds (Move It, Farmdementals & Listen!)

  6. Oh great, thanks everyone! I'm already looking these up. I forgot to mention that we also have Raffi, he's another beloved childhood favorite of mine.

  7. I second Laurie Berkner!

  8. Charlotte Diamond's 10 Carrot Diamond CD is great. He'll probably be hearing (& loving) "I Am a Pizza" & "Octopus" (usually known as 'Slippery Fish') really soon. Also, my daughter loves the Charlie Bird Count to the Beat jazz book/cd. There's a whole line of books/cds (my daughter also loves Miles the Crocodile & Duck Ellington).

    And so you don't feel like you're totally in kid music, The Bare Naked Ladies put out a kids album which is pretty cool, and there's various rockin' lullaby cds - either by some of your favorite bands/artists or by people putting kid's songs to their tunes. Ask your at the daycare what CDs they play (a great source!) and also ask the children's librarian at your library, they usually have lists.

  9. I hate, HATE kid's music *shudder*

    But, I really, really love Laurie Berkner and David Weinstein. In fact, Anjali's favorite song is "Taxi" by Weinstein.

  10. My mom is a kindergarten teacher and I recently went to visit her and sat in on her classes. I would highly recommend Going On a Bear Hunt and Victor Vito (both complete with hand motions, sing along CD and book). The kids LOVE them and the tunes are catchy enough to get stuck in your head for days!

  11. They Might Be Giants have kids cds and they are great (Here come the ABCs, NO). :)

    For the Kids is adult and kid friendly. (http://www.musicforthekids.com/)

    Jack's Big Music Show is a tv show, but it is all about music. The Season 1 cd is great. Check out the music clips on YouTube or Noggin.

  12. I second They Might Be Giants. My kids and all I know love them, and if you ignore the words it doesn't really sound like kid music.

    For books, have you tried Sandra Boynton? (Belly Button Book is a favorite, Going to Bed Book still gets laughs from our 4 yr old)

  13. My favorite slightly random children's book is "Cat, What is That?" It has beautiful illustrations and a lovely cadence that's very soothing at bedtime. We also love "Caps for Sale."

    Music--"That Baby" by the Schneiderman Sisters is a nice one.

  14. Sandra Boynton! How could I have forgotten her?!

    Landon loves Moo, Baa, La La La and The Going to Bed Book. And The Belly Button Book. And Red Hat Blue Hat. And all of them really. Citations gave me a set of four for my babyshower gift and we've been hooked every since.

  15. Veggie Tales are always great. Another good one is Psalty cd's (kid's praise). I grew up on those (www.psalty.com). I also like the Kindermusik cd's. We are in a mommy & me Kinermusik class and Micah loves all of the music. You can also get instruments for pretty cheap on their website.

  16. great ideas all! this is a great basic CD of old-school type songs (e.g. this old man, yankee doodle, etc):


  17. We LOVE Bare Naked Ladies" Snacktime" and They Might Be Giants "Here Come the 1,2,3's."

    Do you have any Mo Willems books? They're our favorites :)

  18. My little guy (same age as Landon) loves Sandra Boynton's CDs. Some are her books set to music, and others are new tunes sung by the likes of Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, Laura Linney, and others.

  19. I vote for old school folk music -- Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Paul and Mary. I know there was an Ask Moxie thread about kid music about 6 or so months ago, and there were about 3 pages of suggestions. Happy listening!

  20. I love the Banana Slugs String band. They are from northern California and their songs are all nature-based, environmental songs. They are soooo catchy, my nieces and nephews LOVE to sing them constantly, and the songs get stuck in my head too! They are silly while at the same time they have a great take-home message. The website is www.bananaslugstringband.com I think.

  21. My kids ADORE Laurie Berkner and Raffi. Our favorite Laurie Berkner CD is Under A Shady Tree.

    We love this Raffi set (Singable Songs Collection). It gets a TON of play at our house (and car):

    We also like this Lisa Loeb CD. The book is just so so, but the CD is very nice.

  22. Some of our favorites:
    They Might Be Giants, Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s
    Phil Rosenthal, Folk songs & bluegrass for children
    Sandra Boynton, Philadelphia Chickens
    Elizabeth Mitchell and Lisa Loeb, Catch the Moon

  23. Music:

    Baby Loves Hip Hop Presents the Dino-Five

    Princess Katie and Racer Steve Fast and Feisty


    Any of the Busy books by John Schindel. Have great language and use real photos of animals. My daughter currently loves Busy Doggies!

  24. I LOVE love love the Mo Willems books and so does my kid. Not so many words that it's overwhelming, funny, and cute. Love it.

  25. Putomayo Kids - my personal favourite is the "Reggae" one, then "American Folk" but they're all so good! I'll often have them on the car even when he's not with me. :-)

  26. Wow, you have a lot of suggestions! I don't know if you can still get this or not but once upon a time I picked up a cassette tape (yeah, that old) called Big Beautiful World. I don't remember the singer's name (it was a guy) but the tape was great, both the kids and I really enjoyed it.

    Another good one had a picture of Granny rocking in her rocking chair on the front and was called something like Songs From Grandma or something like that. Sorry, for being so vague, I remember the music but apparently I'm not so good at the titles.

  27. My kids (older than Landon) love Rocknoceros (available on Amazon). If you can get your hands on it, Sandra Boynton has a CD called Philadelphia Chickens that was sold as a fundraiser at Kohl's a year or two ago, and the songs and pictures in the book are adorable.

  28. he refuses to acknowledge the Tv? yay! you are spared from all those stupid/weird/acid tripping kid shows!!

  29. I'd totally put our old Wee Songs on a CD ... if there was no way Matt would find it and then scour the apartment, searching for other hidden baby items. :)

  30. Ooh! Books! I collect interesting children's books, even though I'm almost 30. My mom also buys them for me, always has, it's like a tradition with us.

    My favorites:

    "How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World" by Marjorie Priceman.

    "Owl Babies" by Martin Waddell (AWESOME workin' mama message)

    "The Quiltmaker's Gift" by Joanne Larsen Line (LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!)

    "Stellaluna" by Jannell Canon

    "The Paper Bag" Princess by Robert Munsch (perfect antidote to the Disney Princess onslaught, which I know doesn't really mean a whole lot for Landon, but maybe moms of girls might like it?)

    "Strega Nona" by Tomie dePaola

    "Walter the Farting Dog" by William Kotzwinkle

    "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn

    "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

    Another poster mentioned Mo Willems, but "Snufflebunny" in particular is quite sweet

    "The Twelve Gifts of Birth" by Charlene Costanza

    "Vanessa and the Angel" by Beatrice Rich

    The Paddington Books by Michael Bond

    And of course, my all-time favorite... "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams

  31. I have book suggestions for you:


    The Pout Pout Fish (this one has a fab rhythm)

  32. I can't believe no one mentioned the absolute adorable-ness of that tummy!! TOO CUTE!! He's truly a little man doll!!

  33. My brother in law made a CD of songs that kids like (but aren't kid songs)...a few of the gems on it:
    Presidents of the USA - Peaches
    Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
    G Love & Special Sause - Cold Beverage
    The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly
    Blind Melon - Three is a Magic Number
    Ramones - Let's Dance, Surfin' Bird
    Cake - Comanche
    Quincy Jones - Soul Bossa Nova
    They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
    De La Soul - The Magic Number
    The Beatles - Octopus' Garden
    The Oak Ridge Boys - Elvira
    The Beach Boys - Barbara Ann
    The Three Terrors - Tiny Bubbles
    The Beatles - Yellow Submarine
    Rosemary Clooney - Mambo Italiano
    Johnny Cash - Luther Played the Boogie
    Yo La Tengo - You Can Have it All
    Brian Wilson - Vega-Tables

    Let me know if you want a copy of the CD... it's kind of fun :)

  34. I am excited about all these suggestions. I am not such a fan of the kid music I've heard so far (we have this really awful electronica/kids yelling version of "10 Little Monkeys" I keep on forgetting to delete from the ipod) so I've tried to steer my 2-year old son to other kinds of music. His favorites are Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkle (over and over. And over), Oh Yoko by John Lennon, anything peppy and bluegrassy, like Turkey in the Straw or John Henry, and "The Steelers Polka" (though I'm pretty sure any polka would do if, say, your football sympathies lay elsewhere).