Yours, Mine, and Ours: The Top Three Lists

Y’all. I didn’t think I would have a problem. I thought I’d just march George in, turn him loose, and be on my merry way, Baby Girl on hip.

Whelp. Turns out I was wrong.

Last Thursday, we met George’s new teacher. We found his cubbie (personalized, of course) and discovered the bin of magnetic letters, which he immediately began to organize (Mama was hiding her gloat-face). I was in full be-my-new-best-friend mode with the other parents. Who knows? If (heaven forbid) my kid chews on their kid, I’ll need some brownie points banked!

Then it happened.

We read Natasha Wing’s The Night Before Preschool before bed (thanks, Aunt Becky, for making Mama even more emotional!).

I was innocently chatting with a fellow mom while trying to keep Olivia from shoving every block and Little People baby in her mouth. I looked up and saw my little blondie sitting in a tiny chair at a tiny table coloring a picture.

That’s all it took.

The tears filled my eyes and threatened to turn me into that don’t-mind-me-while-I-sob-uncontrollably blob. I knew the other mom would understand, but still! I even wore a freakin’ skirt to look easy and breezy (but, of course, I wore flats to not look TOO put together. I like to appear approachable), so I didn’t want the eyeliner to river down my cheeks. I took a deep breath and pulled it together.

Sweet boy is starting his very first day of pre-k tomorrow. Dear reader, it’s only two mornings a week for like 210 minutes (less if Mama is running late, which is likely). It’s not like he’s buying a mini-fridge and moving in with three other dudes.



OK, back to ah-mazing reviews for your viewing pleasure.

The Toddler’s Top Three:

I done her hairs good.

Psych! The top slot goes to my little chunk of baby love. Her début on our Top Three Lists!

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!: a touch, skritch, & tickle book by Sandra Boynton (Don’t you just love the word “skritch?”)

OK, parents and grandparents of littles, if you’ve never discovered Sandra Boynton, this is that glorious moment. She writes super-catchy little board books with a touch of sass and rhymes. I recommend buying a few and letting your babies chew them to pieces while you read them. It hurts my heart a little to say that, but baby gotta learn to love literature somehow, eh? My current problem is the library-book situation. When you pen love letters to libraries and librarians, you sometimes get the cream-of-the-crop, pristine copies that have yet to circulate (or I just happened to approach the desk at the right time). So now it’ll be incredibly obvious whose teeny chompers carved little paths down the cover when we return them…awkward.

fuzzyAnywho! Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy is a touch-and-feel book that encourages chubby baby hands to rub, pull, and potentially lick (but, uh, not the library’s copy, of course) the different textures. There’s even a wad of blue fur (?) coming out of a cow’s head on the cover, which totally entices Olivia to grasp and open the book for her literary perusal. I just love books that encourage kids to interact physically. I have to say, though, I despise how all touch-and-feel books have a sandpaper page. Nails on a chalkboard, people!

statesThe Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller

Admittedly, I decided to check out this book after we watched the animated version on a Scholastic DVD (educational television! It’s a thing!), but George has begun a recent obsession with the United States. I bought him a second-hand USA puzzle from a consignment shop thinking he needed something new, but probably would need a lot of help for awhile. Well, he now owns a second USA puzzle and begs constantly to watch this Fifty Nifty United States video, which I only showed him because I sang it in the fourth grade. (I’m more impressed with this video. Dude can doodle.)

The Scrambled States of America features a disgruntled Kansas who was not feeling happy at all.

I always read this with my grouchy-man voice. Ironically, that’s also how I greet my husband when he’s 15 minutes late coming home.

He and his best friend, Nebraska, get together to throw a get-to-know-ya party for all of the states. There’s music, dancing, unrequited love between Nevada and Mississippi (naturally), and the states decide to switch places. All goes awry when Florida, who swapped with Minnesota, freezes in the northern climate, and Arizona, who switched with South Carolina, is upset because the ocean waves ruin her hairdo.

Basically, it’s  book with too many side notes to keep a toddler interested, but hilarious for the parents. George is just happy to look at states (isn’t every 2-year-old? I kid.).


I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

If you’re genuinely terrified of spiders, you may want to avoid actually reading this sucker. Actually, I’m more scared of cockroaches (they crunch when squished. Shudder.) than spiders, so the spider part didn’t bug (ha!) me as much as the conclusion, but I’ll let you come to your own conclusion (ha ha!) on that.

The unnamed narrator is determined to love spiders. She wants to think of them as bug ninjas (love that metaphor), but every time a spider crawls across the page, she can’t help but smash it (or pet it, but they have the same result). Each time a “real” spider appears in the book, a little hand outline surrounds it, so your kiddo knows where to smack. This is, of course, an attraction for boys both big and small. You also learn fun spider facts. My favorite is how spiders spin their webs out of protein-packed spider silk they make themselves.

Due to my fabulous vacuuming regimen, I already have a house covered in hair, so pizza would be a nice addition.

Mama’s Top Three:

The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm

Adam and Eve are seen lounging by a pond and blowing kisses, so a little more risqué than your typical illustrations.

As with every child, George enforces an insane night-night routine before I’m allowed to assume that he may possibly stay in his bed and go to sleep. I don’t know how he sneaked so many freakin’ events onto his must-have list, but it lasts a solid 15 minutes with at least two post-routine visits to “go potty” or “hand me a booger.” Yes. He has woken me up at 2 a.m. to hand me a booger. Ah, the glories of motherhood.

Anyway, we always read one book (two to three if I’m feeling super generous and nostalgic about how he’ll only be little once, blah, blah) and a Bible story. We’ve read through The Beginner’s Bible at least three times, and, frankly, we’re both sick of it. I think I’m allowed to say that because it’s not the actual Bible. So, to keep George’s attention, I’ve been looking around. Fortunately, I stumbled across this bad boy.

I love, love, love the concept of teaching kids (and adults) how the Bible is a big, complete story about Jesus. It’s not simply about Noah and the animals or Moses and the 10 Commandments, then Jesus shows up a little later. Everything points to Jesus. The Jesus Storybook Bible also does a fantastic job of this, but it’s a little too wordy for George at the moment. The Big Picture Story Bible is kind of a wah-wah downer sometimes, but so is the history of humanity. Realism for toddlers. I dig it.

sheepBedtime Prayers and Promises by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

I’m on kind of a Christian kick tonight, but Jesus loved the little children and we love Jesus, so there you go.


This book was a gift from my mother-in-law to George when he was very small. She and my father-in-law had recorded themselves reading the poems, Bible verses, and prayers, leaving a few for my parents to record as well. When he was little, George just liked the novelty of a book reading to him. Now, he recognizes his grandparents’ voices and gets so excited. I love that we have this memento. All four grandparents are doing well, but it’s so special to know that we have their voices reading Scripture and godly encouragement to my kids.

bunnyWolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

Tale as old as time. A bunny family discovers a baby wolf and raises him as their own. The bunny older sister, Dot, is convinced that Wolfie is going to eat them, but the parents are infatuated with the new baby.

One line made this book for me. Toward the end, Wolfie, who is wearing a pink bunny suit to blend in, is picked up by a bear who roars, “Dinner!” Dot charges the bear shouting, “Let him go, or I’ll eat you all up!” The bear points out that she’s a tiny bunny and he’s a big, hungry bear. At this point, Dot yells, “I’ll start on your toes!” and the bear runs away screaming. I’ll. Start. On. Your. Toes. I hope I did a half-way decent job explaining that, because it just tickles my funny bone.

What Mama Reads:

avatarSo, Mama has taken an odd turn this week. I finished My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, and I really haven’t picked up anything substantial since.

When we got married, my husband introduced me to an anime-esque cartoon he and his sister loved as kids. Frankly, I loved Avatar: The Last Airbender (NOT to be confused with 1.) M. Night Shyamalan’s movie or 2.) Avatar: The movie with the tall, blue folks). The character development is fantastic, and the storyline is well-done. But, it’s a cartoon, and it’s not really cool or admirable to watch cartoons in many “mature, adult” circles. However, I promise it’s better than 80% of the garbage on TV.


When the series ended, a series of graphic novels (comic books) came out. They kind of continue the story and add details missed by the series. Well, I’m reading a few of these. Don’t worry, I won’t walk us down the review path of graphic novels, but I’m enjoying them. Plus, they’re super short, so I can polish one off while George does his USA puzzle.

On Mama’s To-Do List:

  • Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Anyone else heading back to school? Any tips for a brand-new school Mama?

Published by Christine Boatwright

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