I had another fun weekend babysitting for my niece and nephew (heretofore known as Glamour Girl and Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy. My brother-in-law was having minor surgery, so I don't think it was all that much fun for him, but he is recovering nicely and I've had another, "Wow - kids ARE harder to raise than dogs..." epiphany that will keep me from mentioning crate training the next time one of my parent friends mentions the challenges of teaching a toddler to use the potty.
My major contribution to my niece and nephew's development this weekend was in the unexpected area of reptile management. Did you know that one of the popular cartoons for kids today features a character who keeps a pet anaconda??? Saturday's episode offered an important message about how when our friends need help, we need to do everything we can to assist them. For example, if you see an anaconda, and it looks like it might be lost, the best thing do do is poor water over it to prevent dehydration, then wrap it around your neck and take it home.
Now I don't mean to be a stickler for details here, but if I'm teaching kids about snakes, and anacondas in particular, the take-home point of my message is: Leave them alone, they might eat you. This is a usable piece of knowledge young children can work with. Granted, my little charges are unlikely to encounter an anaconda up in Maine. They're equally unlikely to encounter a lion or a tiger, yet they're fully aware that they look like tasty little appetizers to most large members of the wild kingdom.
I was delighted to see that my explanation prompted a wide-eyed level of respect in both Glamour Girl and Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy, with many questions about how an anaconda would eat you and exactly how long that might take. My excitement was tempered somewhat, however by the new game my lesson inspired, where they slithered around the house pretending to BE anacondas. When they started squeezing the poor dog, I had to intervene. All I could think of was to tell them I was a hippopotamus (I've been on a bit of a hippo kick lately, as you might have noticed) All I heard for the rest of the day was, "Be a Hippo, Aunt Trish! Be a Hippo!"
So now I'm back in Massachusetts, with my half-bald dog and a new appreciation of what it takes to raise the next generation :)
Here in blogger world, your call for candid (albeit kind) reviews is duly noted. I will have some new books - some good, some not-so-spiffy - up on my website by the end of the week, by which time I hope to figure out the intricacies of using blogger on a Mac. Can anyone tell me why I have no options now? I can't create links or use bold/italics - anyone know how to make this work?