CONVERSATIONS · museum · picture books · slice of life

Early Morning Thoughts About Mo Willems #sol16

These are the Willems books Isabelle keeps by her bedside.
These are the Willems books Isabelle keeps by her bedside. She has a few more in other spots in our home. So, you can see why it’s going to be hard to choose just one.

“Mommy!” Isabelle called from the hallway at 6:45 a.m.

I couldn’t imagine what she wanted or needed before 7:00 a.m. (That’s when her OK to Wake Alarm Clock turns green, signaling it is okay to come into our room.)

“What’s up?” I asked when I came face-to-face with a wild-haired curly girl wearing pink bear pajamas.

“Well, can I bring my Trixie book to Mo Willams?”

Last night, right before bedtime, I informed Isabelle my parents would be taking her to see Mo Willems at the New York Historical Society this summer. I informed her she could select one book to have him sign. Apparently, this had been on her mind all night since she couldn’t decide which one to pick when I told her last night.

“Sure you can,” I said.

“So he writes the Trixie books?” she asked.

“Yeah, he writes all of the Knuffle Bunny books. And he writes the Elephant and Piggy books and the –”

Isabelle finished my sentence. “And the Pigeon books too!”

“That’s right. He writes three different series of books you know, plus a few others.”

“That’s a lot of books!” Isabelle chuckled.

“It sure is!” I responded.

“Oh,” she laughed as her curls bounced. “He might be busy that day!”

I laughed, delighted by her insight and thankful she might have an understanding of why there’s going to be a huge line she will have to wait in to get her book — whichever one she decides to bring — signed.
museum · OBSERVATIONS · raising strong girls · slice of life

Curiosity Connection

20140323-165112.jpgIsabelle and one of her oldest friends, Molly, got together (with their mommies) for brunch and a play date today. I watched the two of them play at the State Museum’s Curiosity Connection today. They gathered crops, rode on the school bus, and played in the kitchen of the house. They also built trucks, rode in the car, and crawled through the hollowed out play spaces. Watching them play made me thankful the Curiosity Connection doesn’t have “boy activities” or “girl activities” there. There are just things to do, to explore. It’s not like toy stores that segregate toys by gender.  (Read more about that here.)

I wrote a poem in my head about the two of them playing together with whatever toys their three year-old hearts desired. I should’ve pulled over and written it down since I can’t seem to get the words right at this moment. I didn’t. I’m hoping it comes back to me tonight. If it does, I’ll have a notebook ready to go so I can capture the words I thought of that remind me of how Isabelle and Molly redefine girly when they play.

Check out the other slice of life stories at
Check out the other slice of life stories at
museum · slice of life

Stepping into Art

Busy times at the table. (Isabelle is on the right.  The "server" is the girl walking around.)
Busy times at the table. (Isabelle is on the right. The “server” is the girl walking around.)

I’m always amazed at what catches Isabelle’s attention when we go to a children’s museum.  Sometimes it’s a slide.  Sometimes it’s a water table.  Sometimes it’s a vehicle.  Today it was a painting she was able to step into at Stepping Stones Museum’s traveling exhibit, “Framed: Step Into Art.”

We spent about 10 minutes exploring the stations inside of this exhibit.  Afterwards, we moved Isabelle along to one of the permanent exhibitions.  However, she wasn’t interested.  She pulled us back by hand to Dinner with Threshers, which is a Grant Wood painting that came to life.  The museum set up a second side to the table so the kids could sit down and “eat” along with the folks from the painting’s table.  The life-size version of the table came to life with lots of fake food, dishes, tea pots, and cups.

But what made it really special was a girl, about seven or eight years-old, who was acting like a waitress for all of the younger children.  She was clearing dishes, bringing out plates of food, delivering baskets of hard boiled eggs and refilling coffee.  Isabelle sat there for 15 minutes (as we observed and giggled from a nearby bench) being waited on by this girl.  She pretended to eat muffins and sipped coffee.  She was totally content, regardless of what the girl brought her or took away, she was delighted to be part of the art.

Finally, she got up and walked towards us, making the sign for eat.  I guess she was hungry from pretending to eat all of that fake food!


The table cleared out.  It was just Izzy on the left and the "waitress" on the right.
The table cleared out. It was just Izzy on the left and the “waitress” on the right.
museum · new york · picture books · read aloud

Four Groovy Buttons I Almost Missed!

How did I miss Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean, when it debuted in May?  The reason I missed it will forever remain unclear, but the reason I learned about it today is one for which I’m thankful!

CMOM has a life size Lite-Brite, which was a neat flashback to my own childhood — but better! (This photo has nothing to do with the read aloud, but I thought this “exhibit” was too cool not to share.)

One of my dearest college friends came to New York for a few days with her family.  Seeing as I haven’t seen her in three years, I made a special trip into the NY Metropolitan Area this week with Isabelle so we could spend some time with them.  Together, we have three kids between us so we opted to spend a couple of hours at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, or CMOM.  The kids loved CMOM, which has a special play space for kids under the age of four.  This was perfect since our daughters are nine months apart from each other in age.

At 11:30 a.m., two staff members gathered interested children and adults together in a part of the play space for circle time, which included some singing and read alouds. We sang the ABC Song, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Open and Shut Them.  Then, one of the CMOM staff members pulled out Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.  She read this book with gusto.  Her voice engaged the children as she sang Pete’s song as each button popped off of his shirt.  I found myself joining in since the book’s repetition lends itself to group participation.  Isabelle was engaged during the entire read aloud, looking at the pictures as still as a statue in my lap (which was shocking considering she was incredibly active both before and after the circle time).  By the time the staff member finished reading the book aloud in the way I bet the author intended for it to be read, I knew I had to order it so Isabelle and I can enjoy it again and again.  The upbeat message of the book, the inclusion of subtraction, and the neat little song makes this book a gem!