Keep It Busy

This past month was great, but didn’t really feel like I had any down time, probably because, um, I didn’t.  The last weekend in August hit, and suddenly over Labor Day weekend, we had four non-stop days of parties, festivals, and social gatherings, and from there, we never really lost steam.  We had theatre tickets, apple-picking, bridal showers, game nights, social events, and while it was fun, it was also go, go, go, pretty much non-stop all September.

I find myself — as I’ve gotten older and grown more into my identity as an adult who is actually able to make their own plans — feeling like I need to fill every possible opportunity with activity, and I’ve found that’s become doubly so since having my son.  I can’t tell you exactly why that is – or, I guess, I don’t think I can narrow it down to one thing.  Part of it is that I lived a fairly sheltered and socially deprived life as a child and young adult, and I often feel like I need to “make up” for all the freedom I never got to have during my formative years.  Part of it is, when I have down time, it’s really down time; I wind up being almost entirely sedentary, and my ADHD keeps me from doing anything really constructive (even those things I want to do and enjoy doing).  Having a place to be or an activity to do that is externally scheduled and structured is one of the few ways to guarantee I get out and engage.

But part of it, more and more, is that I feel like I need to be proactive and conscientious about not saddling my son with the stagnant, asocial childhood I had.

I didn’t have anything resembling a social life for, well, most of my life.  There were never any sports teams, never any dance lessons, or swim lessons, or gymnastics.  No Girl Scouts.  A lot of it was because my parent’s didn’t have the money for so much of what makes up a busy, structured youth – our grammar schools were tiny and private (read: where all the money was going), and didn’t offer any extra-curriculars; dance and gymnastics were pricey; and my folks had neither the time, energy, nor inclination to have to put forth the effort for something like Girl Scouts.  Even trips out to eat or to the movies were few and far between.

And I get that.  Bear is an only child and loves to sing and dance, so I’ve sat and priced out a number of music and dance academies, and I can appreciate how my parents – who had three kids and were already also paying tuition for our private schooling – must have felt overwhelmed by the potential cost.

But there were also no bike riding lessons.  There were very few trips to the park, or to the pool.  There weren’t many festivals or fairs, very few events, activities, or parties.  Trips to the library were sporadic at best, and I ha only one friend whose house I was allowed to visit.  I didn’t go to a birthday party until I was thirteen, and I had to fight tooth and nail for that, years after most of my classmates had given up inviting me to parties I was never allowed to attend.  Hell, there was barely even any plying outside. We could get hurt on bikes and skateboards and everyone in our neighborhood was looking to do us in, if you were to believe my parents.  Our time even in our own yard was infrequent.

And I don’t want that for my son.  I don’t want my son to be the kid who is never allowed to go out, and never learns age-appropriate social skills; I don’t want to be the parent that turns around and uses the fact of their lack of social skills as reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to go out.  I don’t want my son to grow up and realize at thirty-six he has virtually no memories of his childhood because he basically didn’t have one, because had so few stand-out moments and formative experiences.

I feel like we’re doing an ok job.  My son’s goes to parks and fairs and parties, and at 3, has already been on a plane more times than I had by the time I was 30.  We go to restaurants and the library, and while I hesitate to spend $14 on a movie ticket when I’m sure he’ll spend most of the time climbing on the seats, he’s been to several free outdoor movie nights.  We’re doing ok.

We’ll see what opportunities October brings, and what memories we can make.

So Long Luvs: The Last Diaper

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Tonight, I put our last diaper on my son.

He’s been using the potty successfully for weeks now; since the end of May, more or less, though I’ve been hesitant to write about it because, hey, I don’t tempt fate – the second I get too cocky about it is the second he turns around and decides he actually kind of misses not having to get up to use the potty and missing the end of Peppa Pig, and boom, he’s made a liar out of me and we’re back to square one.

But it’s been long enough now that I feel confident saying it – our son is potty trained.  He can tell us he needs to use the potty, he can hold it a reasonable amount of time (should we be out and about, away from an immediately viable toilet), and he can wash and dry his hands more-or-less independently afterwards.

In fact, he recently started peeing “like a MAN!” (his words), which has been great, in that lifting him up and having to basically hold him on the toilet when were are anywhere other than home (and away from his Elmo potty adapter seat) has gotten increasingly difficult as he’s gotten increasingly bigger.  It’s also a disaster that has resulted in a lot of internal screaming as I watch him touch public toilet seats to steady himself mid-stream, and one bathroom at home that just, like, has a sheen of pee on it.  Just, a fine misting of pee, airbrushed on the walls.  You know, for a gloss effect.

While he’s actually been night-dry for longer than he’s been day-dry, last week saw a run of three or four night where he had nightmares, two of which resulted in a wet bed, so we decided, more to give our washer a rest than anything else, we’d put him in diapers at night.  I mean, we still had some left – not enough to be a viable gift or donation, but far too many to throw away – so we might as well use them.

And tonight I used the last one.

There was a long stretch of time where I was terrified I was never going to get Bear potty-trained- I was honestly afraid he’d be walking into first grade still in pull-ups.  And I felt like it was going to be my fault.

I have trouble regulating my own needs – I forget to eat, forget to shower, stay up way later than I should because I get sucked into these rabbit holes of Special Interests and General Bullcrap and totally lose track of time – and here I was reading articles about how to potty train your kids by literally taking sitting them on the potty every fifteen minutes essentially around the clock (with a scheduled night-time potty trip where I’d have to wake my child up, are you friggin kidding me??)

But even barring my neuro issues, and even barring the super intense three-day potty training regime, I didn’t know how I would ever be able to implement a regular enough schedule to successfully train him.  I work, as does my husband.  My mom, who watches my son while my husband and I work, wanted to support our potty training efforts, but she’s physically impaired, and also cares for between two and four other kids during the day.  She’s capable of caring for my son and keeping him safe, but there was no way she’d be able to devote the time needed to keep up whatever potty-training regime we conjured up.

But you know what we could do, and did do?  We made the potty accessible – it was in the corner of the kitchen when we started, so he could get to it himself, without having to alert us or try to open the bathroom door by himself.  We checked in with him every  20 or 30 or 45 minutes or so – we didn’t time it, just when it seemed to make sense – and offered him the potty.  And in the morning, every morning, we sat him on it.

And what do you know?  At some point it clicked.  At some point, he started telling us, albeit it generally as pee trickled down his leg, that he needed the potty.  I mean, there was a learning curve, but hey, it was progress.  He was getting somewhere.

And after that, it was almost like a switch flipped.  Suddenly, he was sick of sitting in wet, dirty diapers – he wanted to use the potty.  That’s something that was so, so key – he wanted to make this change, and when he wanted it, all we had to do was make it accessible for him and encourage and praise him for it.  Our actual, direct involvement, was quite minimal, honestly.

And so tonight we put him in our last diaper.  Probably the last great milestone of the pre-school years – he can already walk and talk, he can dress himself (more or less),  he grabs and totally unpeels his own Babybel cheeses, and he opens and inserts the straw into his own juice boxes.  My husband and I will soon be rendered obsolete.

It’s a sweet moment.  I spend so, so much time marveling how this amazing little person could possibly be the same tiny potato I brought home from the hospital less than four years ago who relied on me for literally everything  – everything – just to survive.

But right now, I’m mostly marveling at not having to scrape poop off a screaming pre-schooler’s butt anymore.  That’s pretty sweet, too.

Friday, Fri-yay: August 10th, 2018

& (1)So, while last week was technically our vacation – spent in Florida, with family and at a variety of parks – this is officially the wind-down (or as close to it as a parent ever gets).  Bear was well-behaved (for the most part) during the trip, but between wrangling him, losing my state ID, and the over-all stress of travel, I think we arrived back in Massachusetts more exhausted then when we left.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t all bad:

 

First, Florida.  Andy’s Aunt Becky was gracious enough to arrange to meet us at Magic Kingdom to sort of show us the ropes; she’s got an annual pass, and lives about ten minutes from the parks, and she gets her money’s worth.  We got a ton of professional photos done – many of which haven’t come in yet – and Bear got to meet a lot of his favorite characters:

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(I’m still waiting on Chip and Dale, Goofy, Merida, Aladdin and Jasmine, Daisy, and Donald.  But Bear really got around this week – the best ones will find their way to my Insta in fits and starts later this week).

Bear was thrilled to meet all the characters – he didn’t get super shy like I saw some of the other little kids getting, but he was definitely a little star-struck.  My favorite of his interactions was with Merida, in which he tried to convince her to shoot an arrow into her target, and then proceeded to show he a “new” way to shoot an arrow.  She spent a comparatively long time with him – we’ve got a total of 21 shots from that photo op, though I sadly don’t have access to them at the moment.  Definitely keep an eye on my Instagram over the next week or so if you want to see the best shots.

As Florida consumed most of the last week, the only other (non-Florida related thing I can think of to “yay” about is that, two years after hearing him debut the song on the Night Vale Live tour (and falling in love with it), Danny Schmidt finally released his song “Standard Deviation” as the Weather on the latest WTNV:

Oh, and I guess this counts, even though I definitely mentioned it in the Fri-yay post immediately after I bought the ticket, but FanExpo Boston is tomorrow, and my major goals are, 1.) get into the Jeff Goldblum Q & A, and 2.) get into the Steven Universe cast panel.  I’ll let you all know how that goes, but it should be a good time regardless.

How has your week been?  If you’ve got kiddos, are they still on summer vacay, or are they back at school?  I’m off until the 27th now, and my students will be back the 29th.

Until next time, guys.

A Little Boy’s Haircut

I’ve been procrastinating writing this post for a month because I wasn’t quite sure what direction I wanted it to take.  If it’s a mess, I apologize in advance (and also: welcome to my life, where most things are a mess).

When my husband came home from his last haircut a little less than a month ago, my son suddenly announced that he wanted a “daddy-sized” haircut.

My husband and I looked at each other.  My son’s crowning glory was his hair, the first things people always remarked on – dirty blonde, wild, curly, and beautiful.  Aside from trimming his bangs for safety reasons, he had never had his hair cut – we decided early on that, so long as health and safety wasn’t a concern, he would let him take the lead and make his own choices about his body, including his hair.  Until that moment, he’d never expressed interest in getting it cut.

But he was insistent.  We want to respect our son, but his also three, and his whims and wishes can change on a near-constant basis.  We compromised and told him that if he still felt that way in three days (which would be a Saturday), we would take him that morning to get his haircut.  He seemed cool with that.

So we waited.  And each day, we asked him if he still wanted to get his haircut, and the answer continued to be a resounding and increasingly enthusiastic “yes.”  So, that Saturday morning we gave his curls one last shampoo, loaded him into the car, and headed to the barber shop.

Now, I was already experiencing a sort of, let’s say, melange of emotions – excitement for Bear growing up and asserting his bodily autonomy, anticipation of what my little guy would look like with his newly shorn locks, and a little sadness and trepidation at this very concrete sign of my baby growing up.  I wouldn’t say I “got emotional” – I didn’t cry – but I felt things, you know?  Good things, proud things, bittersweet things.

Unfortunately, some less-than-positive feelings crept in once we got to the barber shop.

I probably should have expected it; maybe on some level I did.  I had a history with this place; I’d started going there a few years prior myself, because they gave a good haircut for significantly cheaper than the stylist who I went to for years, primarily out of a misplaced sense of obligation.  My stylist was a wonderful woman, and very talented, but she couldn’t seem to wrap her head around the severity of the cuts I would ask for.  I eventually figured that going someplace accustomed to giving primarily masculine cuts would be better suited to my needs.  I was right; they gave me exactly the cut I wanted.

But they asked my husband’s permission, first.  Like, checked in to see that it was okay.  And then, insisted that I had to be wrong when I told them I wanted a number 1 razor cut (1/8 of an inch, which is what I sport to this day), because “that’s really short.”  But, regardless – I got it.  They did it, to my liking, and it was cheap to boot.

And then they reassured me that it still looked “feminine.”  Which, first off, no it didn’t, and that was part of the point, but secondly – I sought out a severe razor cut at a barbershop.  Why do you think I need or want reassurance about looking “feminine?”  Say it looks good, say it suits me, but please, don’t feel the need to reassure my “femininity.”

The barber – who was new since our last visit, and whom we didn’t know – did a double-take when he saw my son – I’m pretty sure he thought Bear was a girl, and was having trouble wrapping his head around the cut we requested for him, which was an unpleasant case of deja vu from my own experiences.  The other barbers, who remember me and my son, expressed amused surprise that they were confused because “they thought I had a boy.”

They cajoled my husband – “I bet you’re happy to finally get this done!”  “Bet you’ve been waiting for this!” “You’ll have a son again!” – while we were left to just smile and continuously repeat, “It’s his body, so we left the choice up to him.” “His daddy had long hair for years.”  “We weren’t going to push him if he liked his hair long.”

I want to be fair – I want to be fair to them as people and as professionals without letting them off the hook.  There was not – in any way, or by any means – any trace of intended malice behind their words.  They were not sneering, they were not judging, they were not admonishing.  They were gentle and patient with my son.  They were understanding of my feelings as a mom, seeing her baby taking a significant step into older childhood.

That does not erase my discomfort.  That doesn’t change the fact that I spent the whole time hoping upon hope that my son wasn’t listening and internalizing the message that little boys can’t have long hair, or that little boys (or girls, or anyone above, beyond, or in-between) can’t present themselves in any damn way they please.  That it had to be mom, holding tenaciously to his long hair.  That dad must be rejoicing in finally “having his son back.”

My son, thankfully, seemed too entranced with is own changing reflection (and asking the barber literally a dozen questions a minute) to really take in the conversation going on around him.  That was a relief.  My son left the barber shop smiling, pleased as all get-out with his new haircut, and we went home.

Again, I’m not trying to paint these people as villains, or the experience as life-changingly traumatic – they are people or a certain age and a certain disposition, and I was at best annoyed and at worst uncomfortable – and my son didn’t notice at all.  But I also don’t want to let them off the hook.  People need to be aware of what they say around children.  People offering a service need to have some sort of awareness of their customers circumstance and be sensitive to it.  Gender is a complicated subject for me, I readily admit that, and I don’t necessarily expect people to realize that on an individual level.

But that’s just it – gender is a complicated subject.  Gender presentation (and personal presentation in general) is a complicated subject.  Discovering who you are and how you want to express yourself in the world is a complicated subject.  Be aware of that when you speak.  Especially in front of a child, whose joys and passions and pride in self can be so easily squashed be a few careless words from grown-ups telling them it’s not something they can/should like or do because of what they were born as.

(Oh, but also – consent is not complicated.  When I said it was my son’s choice, I meant it.  Please do not gloss that over and assume I must have been either pressuring him or holding him back.  He made a choice.  Don’t dismiss it).

Bear’s Weekly Book Haul: July 19th, 2018

Bear's book haulWe had several set backs involving Bear’s book-borrowing, the first of which is, the library we use asked us for updated information and we had to give them our current address – which is no longer in the same city as said library (we’ve moved to a neighboring city since the card was issued).  That’s not a big deal – we’re part of a consortium, and can borrow from any of the participating libraries on any card – but we do have to have a card issued by our hometown library.

This happened last Wednesday while we were choosing Bear’s books, and we were not allowed to check them out until we got our new card.  The librarian said she would hold the books for us until then.  It took Andy until this Wednesday before he had the time to get to the library and make the change, and by the time he made it to pick up the books, they had just (within the preceding half-hour, according to the librarian) released them.  Ugh.

No great tragedy though, since this allowed Andy to pick out some new books, a few of which were chosen specifically in anticipation of our Florida trip in less than two weeks.  Bear’s been on a plane before but he was 8 months old, and slept/nursed through most of it, so this will be the first flight he (may) be able to really remember.

Anyway, on to the haul!

Oh!  Before I forget: highlight of last haul was unequivocally Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur.  It was yet another participatory book, where the reader interacts with Crunch, and my son – who loves chatting people up, making noise, and dinosaurs – adored it.  He even brought it to bed with him and “read” it to himself more than once.

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Ok, now, this week for real!

Harriet Gets Carried Away, by Jessie Sima
GoodReads:  Harriet loves costumes. She wears them to the dentist, to the supermarket, and most importantly, to her super-special dress-up birthday party. Her dads have decorated everything for the party and Harriet has her most favorite costume all picked out for the big day. There’s just one thing missing—party hats!  But when Harriet dons her special penguin errand-running costume and sets out to find the perfect ones, she finds something else instead—real penguins! Harriet gets carried awaywith the flock. She may look like a penguin, but she’s not so sure she belongs in the arctic. Can Harriet manage her way back to her dads (and the party hats!) in time for her special day?

Prickly Hedgehogs! by Jane McGuinness
GoodReads:  When the sun has set, Hedgehog’s day has only just begun. She’s out and about, snuffling through layers of leaves and twigs as she searches for bugs and other things to eat. Young animal lovers will enjoy following Hedgehog and her little hoglets through towns and gardens, parks and woodland, as they sniff-sniff-sniff for food.

Dinosoaring, by Deb Lund
GoodReads:
  But to get airborne, they need a plan. They dinoblow. They run, push, leap, flap-and take flight! The sky becomes their stage, as they join an air show. Zipping and zooming and dancing on wings, the dinos are soon upside down and dinosick! They decide to bail, hoping their dinochutes will work. They dino-do!

Planes Fly!, by George Ella Lyon
GoodReads:  Take to the skies with this fun, rhyming book about all that planes do! From jet planes to puddle jumpers, from the cockpit to the rudders, this book explores it all—and the bright, dynamic illustrations will keep even the youngest of readers engaged.

My First Airplane Ride, by Patricia Hubbell
GoodReads:  A first airplane ride can be very exciting! Watching planes take off and land, going through security, walking the jet way, finding the right seat, watching out the window as the plane taxis down the runway, and flying up high in the sky and then, at the other end, Grandma waiting with a hug!

The Town of Turtles, by Michelle Cuevas
GoodReads:  When a solitary turtle decides to make some renovations to his shell, he doesn’t have a blueprint, only a dream for a better life. He starts by building a deck—though he figures the deck could use a fireplace. And a fireplace needs wood, so naturally, he plants a garden. But it isn’t really a garden without a pond . . . Soon, Turtle can barely recognize his own shadow.  Finally satisfied with the intricate world upon his back, word begins to spread of the magical “Town of Turtle,” attracting newcomers from far and wide. All are welcome in Turtle’s town, where life is a little less lonely, if only you come out of your shell.

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 14th, 2018

onnie & CaroleYes, yes, I know – it’s Saturday again.  I keep doing this.  This week, my excuse is that my whole schedule has gotten flipped upside down.  I spent a week out of work, and then had to adjust to a weird schedule of working only Tuesday and Thursday; we spent our Wednesday as a family out and about (which made it feel more like a Saturday), and to top it all off, my husband was covering a co-worker’s vacation and was working 2pm to 11pm instead of his usual 8am to 5pm.  So my whole week – and concept of time – has been thrown out of whack.

Here is what’s kept me grounded:

First, Wednesday was spent at Kimball Farm, which was a blast.  I hadn’t been there in several years (we did a community outing there during one of the other ESY programs I worked), and it really has something for everyone.  Bear got his first taste of mini-golf, he got to see some animals (and pet an alligator!), and spent some time earning tickets in the arcade.  He ended the day with a huge scoop of Orange-Pineapple ice cream.  I have a couple of small pics on Insta here.

Second, my sister spent hours online last night messaging me eBay links to long forgotten tech toys we had as kidsThe Teach-Me Reader and The Videosmarts Learning System to name a couple – and ended the evening by announcing that her 1984 Whiz Kid Toy Computer would be arriving on Thursday.  Seriously?  I still can’t believe she actually bought it, but I’d be lying if I pretended I wasn’t going to play with it.  I had one prior to first grade, and I loved it.  We can learn to spell together!

Third, Andy ordered me laminating sheets and I’m going crazy thinking of things I need to laminate.  All my checklists from my previous post have already gotten the treatment, and I’m busy designing both additional checklists and organizers for me, but also piecing together a preschool curriculum for Bear that we can get started, hopefully on Monday.  He’s looking forward to it, and so am I.  I plan on spending a big chunk of time after he turns in tonight getting some of those tasks completed.

Finally, the GISH registration has been extended and my team is starting to take shape (yeah, kind of late this year).  If you don’t know what GISH is, click the link or Google search its previous incarnation, GISHWHES.  It’s a massive multimedia international scavenger hunt interested in subversive art and acts of kindness.  This year it runs July 28th through August 4th.  I’m thrilled to see it brought back – we thought last year was the end!  – and am participating for the seventh year in a row.

That’s it for this week!  What’s kept you going through the week?

Preschool Shows that Don’t Drive Me Crazy

Guys, sometimes, I just want to sit.  That’s it. I want to sit and not have to do anything for an hour.  And I don’t care what your attitude is toward screen time, but come one – those are the moments television was made for.  

With a pre-schooler, though, I have to be careful what I put on.  We do have a small repertoire of “adult” shows that we can watch around Bear (we are very conscious of on-screen content (violence, sex), but are more lenient on curse words – if you want to know my philosophy about kids and cursing, here’s a great article on Scary Mommy that sums it up pretty well), but more often than not, it’s just easier to turn on a show for Bear and just veg out.  But man, some of those shows will drive you up a wall. Like, I literally watched one episode of Word Party and swore – out loud – “Never again!”

I’m always on the lookout for good shows for Bear that won’t drive Andy and I up a wall.  Here are some we’ve found so far, and if you have a favorite or two, please share with me in the comments below!

Peppa_PigPeppa Pig:  I was shocked – shocked, I tell you! – when I learned that Peppa Pig was a divisive show.  Some people think it’s cute and charming, and some people seem to think that the show (or at least Peppa) is obnoxious.*  Personally, I love how simple and linear the stories are, how they’re just small, simplified, slices of life that are easy for even the littlest kids to appreciate and  relate to. The animation and character design is very reminiscent of the drawings of young children (lines are always just a little hastily drawn, done in bright primaries, and heads attach directly to bulbous middles, with stick figure arms and legs), and the stories are very, very small (in both scope and length) and self contained (and minimally narrated), so that even the youngest viewers can follow them.

*Honestly, I find Peppa to be probably one of the more honest portrayals of a pre-schooler I’ve ever seen.  She’s not especially twee, she’s not incredibly precocious, and she’s mostly well-behaved with a bit of a bossy streak (if anything, maybe too well-behaved).  You want an obnoxious children’s show character? Watch Callilou. Lord. I never understood the Callilou hatred until I had reason to watch the show. He is obnoxious, shrill, and unbearable.

39b4ae343e1bd7c525491c1a99efa07b--school-tv-pre-schoolSarah & Duck:  This is a show from the BBC that we stumbled upon on Netflix, and it’s wonderful.  Sarah is a little girl who seemingly lives alone with her duck companion, Duck, in a quirky, pastel-shaded world of magical realism:  ordinarily mundane things like a trip to the park, visiting a neighbor, or buying bread are livened up by charmingly odd characters and idiosyncratic storylines: objects spontaneously gain sentience, neighbors live in houses constructed of knitted wool, noisy pipes take to being conducted like an orchestra, etc.  The animation and characters designs and unique and dreamlike, and when we first discovered it, Andy and I watched this show long after Bear had gone to bed.

pegcatPeg + Cat:  This one is a lot more blatantly “edu-tainment,” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; honestly, Sesame Street is technically “edu-tainment,” and it’s a cultural touchstone.  Peg is a young girl who solves logic, math, and various mechanical problems using reasoning and trial and error, along with her pet cat, Cat, and an eclectic cast of characters (including Beethoven, Cleopatra, a pair of giants, and a opera-singing pig who loves triangles).  It’s quirky, has fun musical numbers, and can be surprisingly clever. I also love that Peg eschews feminine stereotypes (she enjoys and is good at math, etc.) and has moments of true gender-nonconformity (wear suits instead of dresses, etc). The show airs on PBS Kids and can be watched through their (free) app.

puffin-rockPuffin Rock:  Surprisingly educational and full of lovely Irish accents (including narration by Chris O’Dowd, who I have loved since The IT Crowd) and sweet stories, I love Puffin Rock for the same reason I like most of the shows on this list – it’s a nice break from the frantic, fast-paced media I feel like kids are confronted with all the time.  I mean, there’s a time and place for that stuff, I’m not “morally opposed” to it or anything, it’s just… nice to have a break from it. The stories are simple narratives with clear problems and solutions, and introduce and teach about a number of animals that are native to the region. The stories are about problem solving and friendship without being preachy or overly sentimental.  

truerainbowTrue and the Rainbow Kingdom:  This, I think, is also going to be divisive, but I think this show is a-freakin’-dorable.  The animation style is somewhere between Japanese “kawaii” design and an Emoji aesthetic, full of vibrant colors and cute creatures.  The show is a faster paced show and a lot more visually busy than many on the list, but it really is super, super cute, with fun songs and enjoyable characters.  True solves problems through the use of wishes, little creatures that serve very specific purposes according to her very specific needs, but really, she solves problems by taking a step back, clearing her mind, and talking through the problem at hand.  That’s nice. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the heros who charge ahead with no forethought and no plan, and I think it’s important that my son sees someone who makes it a point to center herself and reason through things before charging ahead.

What are your favorite shows to watch with your kids?  Old favorites, new finds?  Please let me know!