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Book list for the vacationing toddler

GAYS MILLS - As the days pass, we inch closer to going on our grand family vacation. 

This is the first time that we will go on a real adventure as a family of four. When we were still a family of three, we took a short adventure with Baby T up to the Upper Penninsula. However, since Waylee Bopper–AKA bop, blop, plop, waywon and the MISTER baby (poor kid probably doesn't know his name is Waylon…) has come on the scene we haven’t went far from home. 

However, we are making a break for the border and heading to sunny, beautiful Mexico. We are actually heading out to the same gorgeous island that my fellow columnist Jane Schmidt visits–Isla Mujeres. 

After reading her column about the things she does before she goes on vacation, I was inspired to add buy a new swimsuit and get a pedicure to my list. I’m still toting around my baby weight from Thatcher and now Waylon, so buying a swimsuit wasn't super exciting. However, I decided just to go with it–standards of beauty be damned. I have however been working on the diet and healthy choice thing, so sensibility toward good, healthy food not be damned. I chugged out into the world and bought the first suit I saw on the rack at Target. And it looks great, at least to me. 

But after having two kids and sinking ever so deep into the Mom-Zone, I realized that what I pack really isn’t what matters. For now, it is all about what the little people need. We are determined to stick to the restrictions of our one checked bag. So far, so good–we figured out after two trips that we don't need much. However, my mom brain keeps telling me all of these things I need for kids. FOUR different kinds of pain/fever reducer (mama bears, daddy bears, baby bears and waylee bears), antihistamines for adult and child, carbon monoxide detector just to name a few. 

The real thing that we’ve been agonizing over however is books and creatures. Luckily, Waylon is only three months old and as long as he’s fed, diapered and occasionally makea eye contact, he’s happy. however, when you’re almost three and you’re leaving your house for ANY period of time, the correct amount of dinos, stingrays, sharks (big and small), snakes, dogs, pigs and the occasional truck is a really hard number to measure. 

Books as well are something Thatcher feels the urge to over pack. This is the segment of my column where I am inspired by my other fellow columnist to tell you about our favorite books of late-the kids’ edition.

‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ by Brothers Grimm- our version of this is a ragged Little Golden Book that has been handed down. The story is about a kind shoemaker and his wife, who were apparently great people­–but poor. They have but a scrap of leather left for their shoemaking. They leave it out overnight only to find tiny little (apparently naked, or very underdressed) elves have come to finish them. They are mighty fine shoes that fetch a pretty penny-so to reward them. the shoemaker’s wife makes them adorable little outfits, which bring them great joy. They do a little dance, and never come back to make awesome shoes again. 

‘Frog and Toad All Year’ by Arnold Lobel-another great classic that profiles all of the best parts of friendship, through the seasons.  My personal favorite excerpt from the book reminds me of my own friend Stephanie. Frog comes over to peel Toad out from his warm blanket and make him go outside for some winter fun. At one point Toad exclaims “BLAH! HELP! My friend is trying to KILL ME!” In the end though Toad goes outside and has a grand old time with Frog building a snowman.

Keeping with a seasonal theme we’ve also been reading ‘The Mitten’ by Jan Brett. ‘The Mitten’ is about a little boy who has a good old-fashioned grannie who likes to knit. One day when he’s out playing, he loses his lovely red mitten. Whatever his grandma knits with is some pretty amazing stuff because a bear, a fox, a rabbit and some other animals all jam in. It isn’t until a tiny mouse wiggles in, does the mitten explode in a blast of glorious red fibers. The author reminds us though that the boy’s Grannie loves him very much and she’ll knit him a new one. Thatcher also reminds me that one day, his grannie will knit him a mitten he can fill with animals also. Nudge, nudge Janey. 

I tried contacting Thatcher via phone this afternoon for his personal review of those three books. Unfortunately, he had just woke up so his primary response was “I dunnnooo mom-a-dee, I just don't know…YAWN!” But stand by; his list of what we read on vacation will probably change, because variety is the spice of life!