April 29, 2016

Twin Toddler Obsessions Part 2: Where the Wild Things Are!

I read somewhere that the average parent has at least 5 picture books memorized by the time their kid is a year old. I'm up to eight at 21 months (these are affiliate links. I'm a book snob so they are all decent books, I promise):

Peekaboo Baby
Goodnight Moon
Touch and Feel Farm
Llama Llama, Red Pajama
One Love
That's Not My Owl
The Big Book of Happy 

and most recently, Where The Wild Things Are

This simple story, by Maurice Sendak, is 53 years old and has just over 300 words. It's a classic, topping tons of "best of" lists. It reads like a poem and the detailed images keep even the busiest kids entranced. And it is the first book that my toddlers have really fallen in love/become obsessed with. I'm proud.

That said, I have read WTWTA so many times now that I am actually dreaming about it. Weird, freaky dreams that don't end well for me - that's fun.

Getting ready to show me her terrible claws!
But they love it so much. I'm sure my dramatic readings (which are Oscar-worthy) have something to do with it, though they might be slowly driving CJ insane.

We no longer hear "SHOES!" in our house. In fact, we haven't watched a PTX video in weeks. I'm not gonna lie, I might have claimed YouTube went away for a little while. They'll be fine.

Now, Jules carries this large paperback book everywhere and just throws it at me and growls when she wants me to read it.

"I'll eat you up!" 

You can't read this book from a mom's perspective. Read it like you're Max. You're 8 years old and pissed because your mom won't play along with your fun and nobody really understands you and this is the only way you know how to express your love for and frustration with her. Keep up the rhythm of the words at the pace of a kid who's just making it all up as he goes along.

Get excited because you're on the adventure of a lifetime.

It's magical.

And then there are the messages woven into the story. Yeah, I've gotta put a boring adult spin on it and read way too much into the complexities of a made-up 8 year old's psyche, but there is so much that my girls could learn from this simple tale:

Love is complicated and can make you feel all sorts of crazy. Like you want to eat someone up. That's ok. In fact, it's awesome. You should embrace that and run with it. Just don't really eat them.

We all have different ways of expressing our frustrations and we need to be patient with each other. We should try to hear beyond people's words and listen to what they're feeling.

Imagination is a powerful tool. It has the ability to distract us from and help us process our struggles as well as help us heal.

"Be still." It's one of the best ways to feel calm and centered amidst chaos. 

Friends can come in all shapes and sizes; you should never judge someone based on their appearance.

Sometimes you just need to let loose and be wild in order to gain some perspective and feel better. Dancing in the moonlight is pretty much one of the best ways to do this.

Even when you have all you ever wanted, you'll still want to be "where someone loves you best of all." 

Because there really is no place like home. Wherever or whoever that happens to be.

Even when she makes mistakes, Mom will usually come through for you in the end. Be patient with her too.

Feed your kids.

Really, what an awesome first book to be obsessed with, right? Hell, even if it didn't give me all kinds of feelings, I'd happily read it all day every day just to hear those giggles and see those little claws come out.

But then, the unthinkable (not) happened.

After six straight weeks of 10 times a day readings (a shockingly long time for a paperback book to survive in the hands of twin toddlers), WTWTA finally suffered an unfortunate death by toddler. Jules' excitement got the better of her and she shredded it during nap time.

This threw Viv, who might suffer from some of her Dad's obsessive neat-freak tendencies, into a full-blown tizzy every time we tried to read what was left. She couldn't even look at the book without trying to "fix" the broken pages. They would battle it out until someone moved on or the book went away. It was a nightmare.

What was left of their beloved book had to "get lost" for a few days until I could order another. I did my best to tell the story without the pages and read all their other old favorites but it just wasn't the same.

Then last night, while picking out books for bedtime, Jules chose this huge one filled with 20 picture books. She opened it up and there they were, on the first page she flipped to, her wild things.

Her tiny face lit up as she pointed and shouted, "AHHH! Dis! Tis!? Rrrraaaa?!" It's the first time I've seen her truly excited for something other than my boobs or her Dad.

I still know it by heart so I played my part while she flipped through the pages with a fervor, zeroing in on her favorite images: the dog, the ocean and the dance in the moonlight. We roared and showed our claws and she squealed with glee.

They repeated the last word with me like they always do. "Hot!"

But then it was bedtime and she wanted to take this huge, gorgeous, expensive book to bed with her. I couldn't let her. Not after what she did to the one I got for a buck at a consignment store. We "found" old faithful and she happily traded. All was well! Good night!

Then her sister spotted it and lost her mind at the sight of those torn pages. I ended up basically ripping the book in half. Viv got the few pages that were whole and Jules got the torn ones. Half an hour and 3 more readings later they happily went to bed, each with their half in hand.  Peace - for now.

Needless to say I already ordered few more copies. Although, considering how fast the PTX obsession died they'll move on by the time my prime shipping gets them here. Either way, I'm definitely going to hold on to the shreds of the original to share with them one day. I think they'll get a kick out of it.

What was the first book your children fell in love with? Did it survive your obsessive toddlers?


1 comment :

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