52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Raising Readers

My husband and I have been reading to our girls since they were born. They have their favorites and so do we. We know that the Dr. Seuss books are fun but long. We know the books that rhyme and the ones that don’t. We know which books require special voices or sound effects. And we know which books are sure to get a laugh. 

In that latter category of humorous books, my little one has been favoring “The Pigeon” books lately. Are you familiar with the Pigeon? OMG he’s hilarious. The author is Mo Willems and he used to write and animate for Sesame Street – which totally explains why I love his humor. Among her faves right now:



She laughs at just the right spots. And she can’t wait to turn the pages. She’s even memorized some of the words so far, which makes me beam with pride.

(As a side note, my husband and I have a standard baby gift. We always buy a Pigeon book and the accompanying stuffed animal. We had generous friends and family contribute books to our girls’ library and we want to pay it forward.)

My nine year old is also enamored with books. She most recently finished the memoir, “Behind the Secret Window” by Nelly S. Toll. It’s the story of a young Jewish girl’s experiences during World War II.

My daughter’s always been fascinated by Anne Frank, but I’ve spared her some of the horrid details until she gets older. This book so captivated her that she hasn’t stopped talking about it for weeks. As she was describing the book to me last week, she said how much she’d love the chance to meet this woman (who now probably in her 70s or 80s).

This might sound morbid, but I did some research to see if the woman was still alive. Turns out that until recently she was teaching at a college near where we live. There was no mention of a death date online so – onward! I continued researching and found what appeared to be a viable email address. I sent her a note.

No response yet.

But whoa. My daughter will completely freak if she gets the chance to meet this woman. I’ve met a few authors whose works I’ve loved and for me it was like meeting a rock star. I’m in awe of authors and how they can inform, educate, entertain, persuade, or frustrate me by the words they so carefully string together. I adore the fact that my daughter feels the same way.

I believe reading to kids and in front of kids is something really special. Oh sure there are lots of studies noting how it helps with the developmental and cognitive abilities of children…blah, blah, blah. That’s all true, but I read to my kids for different reasons. I want them to discover how books can transport you to another place and time. I want them to know that books can make you laugh and cry and leave you thinking about characters long after you’ve turned the last page. 

OK fine. It’s really because I can’t resist the extra cuddles I get when it’s storytime. 🙂

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Where Are The Dads’ Voices?

If you go to any bookstore, big or small, and visit the parenting section, notice how many books are written by and for women and moms. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but it kind of makes you wonder where all the dads are. Where are their voices? Where are their stories?

When I think about the parenting books I read when I was just starting out raising my girls, they were almost exclusively written by women (with the noted exception of Dr. Spock.) They were stories from moms who eagerly shared their experiences about breastfeeding, potty training or navigating the challenges of a child with special needs. Their stories were told with great candor infused with humor, as if they were your best girlfriend sitting in your kitchen.

But what about the dad’s perspective? Why are their voices all but absent from the conversation?

Certainly there was a point in time when it wasn’t considered masculine to be a hands-on dad or to be concerned about how well you were parenting. I’m happy to say things are changing.

A new book will be released this Father’s Day and it’s a beautiful compilation of some of the most heart-warming and heart-wrenching stories you’ll ever hear about parenthood. And they’re all written by dads.

The book is  called, “Dads Behaving Dadly: Real Stories of the New Fatherhood Culture” and is co-authored by author, speaker and life coach, Hogan Hilling, and Al Watts, President of the National At-Home Dads Network. The book is being released by Motivational Press and will feature more than 60 stories by fathers who share some of their most intimate and defining parenting moments.

I had the great pleasure of reading some of these stories in advance of the publication and they really touched my heart. The stories are real and moving and so very powerful. I think it’s incredibly brave for these fathers to be vulnerable in sharing with the world the tender moments they experience with their children.

Parenthood is a scary and uncertain time. You navigate each day as it comes. We like to think if we read all the books, manuals and how-to guidebooks that it will all make sense. But nothing could be further from the truth. What gets us through the day-to-day struggles is the connections we make with other parents. It’s in the sharing of our stories and discovering that we aren’t in this alone.

THAT is what these brave men are doing. They are showing fathers (and mothers) that parenthood is complicated and wonderful and frustrating and exhilarating (sometimes all in the same day), but it’s worth it. 

I love the idea of this book. I was told by the authors that they are still accepting stories. So if you know a father who would be willing to share his story of what fatherhood and being a dad means, please go to Dads Behaving Dadly for more information. You can also read some of the sample stories on their site.

I applaud Mr. Hilling and Mr. Watts for their vision. I can’t wait to read more of the stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Hogan Hilling
Author, Speaker & Life Coach
Twitter @TheDadGuru

52 Weeks of Sisterhood: My munchkins like munchkins

sisters

Chillin outside the local Dunkin Donuts

No doubt you’ve heard about (or experienced!) the snow-pocalypse or snowmaggeddon or whatever you want to call the huge amounts of snowfall we’ve had in the Northeast recently. It’s beautiful and pretty but for goodness sakes it’s February and my older daughter has missed too much school.

We had a reprieve a couple of weeks ago in between storms when it wasn’t completely freezing (around 39 or 40 degrees or so), and much of the snow had melted. So we bundled up and loaded the car with their scooters and headed to the local park. It was muddy in places and still snowy in places, but they got to run and climb and scoot so they were happy.

My little one has had her scooter since last Christmas. It’s pink and has three wheels and she drives it like a pro. We’re thinking about getting her a “big girl” scooter for her birthday which makes me both happy and sad. Happy that she’s mastered this first little vehicle. And sad because, well, she’s growing up.

My older daughter on the other hand has had a scooter for years. She loves riding it and her confidence has developed over the years. She’s not as in love with it as she was just last year, but that’s OK. She still loves riding her bike.

After we played at the park and went for a walk / scoot around the neighborhood, we headed toward Dunkin Donuts for a well-earned treat.

Munchkins for my munchkins.