Thoughts on writing poetry about children

I have been thinking lately about the fact that people write poetry and songs about love and love lost, but not about having children and the everyday disasters/chaos they cause (though poetry and songs are often written for children).

My husband’s theory is that parents and caregivers lack the energy and/or time to write poetry. While I suspect that is partially true, the fact remains that children and their difficulties are not particularly poetic or romantic. Add in the fact that I believe my children’s stories are theirs to tell when they are older, not mine to tell nor to live through vicariously right now, and the fact that when I do get a chance to write, I want to write about something other than the awful morning I had, and I don’t write a whole lot of poetry about having children.

Writing is one of my adult spaces, a space where I don’t have to think about screaming children, naughty dogs that eat everything in sight, and disgusting things in the fridge that absolutely must be taken care of and then make an even worse mess in the middle of the morning chaos. Writing is a place to think thoughts about the world I live in, the world around me and the world far away, people I meet and people I only read about, and then take all that and turn it into something that makes people think. Perhaps I will write about these days full of children when these days are long past and I am feeling nostalgic.

Perhaps.

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What I’m Thinking About Today #homeless #children

I’m thinking about this article I read last month about homeless children in New York City. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read it the first time. The article is about a homeless family living in a public shelter in NYC, and mostly focuses on the oldest child of the family, Dasani.

I went back and read some of the comments today, and the thing that struck me was that almost all the comments talk about the parents, and their choices, and about Dasani, and no one really talks about the conditions of the shelter described in the article — broken pipes, holes in walls, non-working toilets, the list went on and on.

I am appalled at these conditions and that human beings are expected to live in them. I don’t understand how this building can fail inspection multiple times, and yet nothing is done. How can the people of New York City in good conscience allow this to go on?

It reminds me of an Ursula K. Le Guin story, about a city named Omelas. This city is perfect — the children are healthy, the climate is perfect, the adults all have fulfilling work to do, they have fun and colorful holidays where the parades are never rained on, they never argue, the houses are lovely and the pipes never break, in short it is the perfect place to live. How is this possible, you ask? Well, there is a catch. In a dank broom closet, a small child lives who never sees the light of day and never leaves the closet. He or she (it is not clear in the story) is fed just enough to stay alive, is not cleaned, and is left alone. Nothing can be done for this child, because if the child is fed and cleaned, then the perfection of Omelas will come to an end. The good of the many is weighed against the good of the one. The rite of passage to adulthood for the young people of Omelas is to be shown this child. All are horrified, some rant against the system, almost all go back into the sunshine to live their perfect lives. A few, a very few, walk out of Omelas, never to return. Are the homeless children of New York that poor child of Omelas?

Tuesday Treasure: Tassels for Kids

Back to school time is here! Get something special for your child’s backpack or coat this year: a bright colored tassel! These tassels are made entirely with child-safe materials, and will withstand everything your child can throw at them — they are child-tested and washing machine safe!

Cotton Children's Tassels

Children’s Tassels
{Click image to view Etsy listing}

 

Book Review: Annie’s Special Day

Note: Usually, I receive no compensation for my book reviews — the books come from the library or I purchase them. However, for this book review, I accepted a free review copy. This book review is part of a blog tour promoted by Lightning Book Promotions.

Read to the bottom of the post to enter to win a copy of Annie’s Special Day!

Annie’s Special Day, by Clara Bowman-Jahn, is a very special book. Sweetly illustrated, it follows Annie throughout her birthday, showing all the special things that happen to Annie, from her brother playing a birthday song to planting tulips with her mom, to her slumber party with her friends that night. A different clock is shown on each page, marking off the hours and helping kids learn to tell time.

I liked it very much, especially the different clocks. The little girl I read it to also liked it very much, asking for it to be read over and over.

Five out of five stars.

A note about the book & blog tour:

Everyone knows the importance of reading in a young child’s life. Clara understand this importance and that is why she has asked her publisher to donate one copy of Annie’s Special Day for every copy sold during Annie’s Special Day blog tour to Kids Need To Read at http://www.kidsneedtoread.org/. Help make a child’s life brighter with a book!
Let’s support kids and reading!
Last but not least, the Giveaway!
Click here to enter the giveaway for a copy of Annie’s Special Day.

Saturday Spectacular: Handmade Gifts to Tempt You

Since I didn’t get to my Friday Feature yesterday, I’m bringing you Saturday Spectacular: 7 amazing Etsy shops and pretty gifts from each one.

BebeSophie: Handmade clothes and shoes for the well-dressed baby girl.

Rose Print Girls Long Sleeve Dress: Bebe Sophie

Rose Print Girls Long Sleeve Dress: Bebe Sophie
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

Orange Soft Sole Infant Ballet Flats: Bebe Sophie

Orange Soft Sole Infant Ballet Flats: Bebe Sophie
{Click image for Etsy listing}

WowBaby: Baby quilts, hairbows, and more for the sweet baby.

Halloween Bat Hair Clip: Wow Baby

Halloween Bat Hair Clip: Wow Baby
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

KittyCrackHouse: Cat toys for the discriminating cat.

Kitty Love Organic Catnip Filled Toys: KittyCrackHouse on Etsy

Kitty Love Organic Catnip Filled Toys: KittyCrackHouse on Etsy
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

TerriJeansAdornments: Scarves and jewelry for the hip and funky.

Fall Leaf Bracelet: Terri Jean's Adornments

Fall Leaf Bracelet: Terri Jean’s Adornments
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

Fall Leaves Hoop Earrings: Terri Jean's Adornments

Fall Leaves Hoop Earrings: Terri Jean’s Adornments
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

WhatsInGramasDrawers: Just like exploring your favorite Grandma’s dresser — what will you find next — painted slates & gourds, shiny earrings and necklaces, or something else entirely?

Copper Wire Curly Earrings: What's in Grama's Drawers

Copper Wire Curly Earrings: What’s in Grama’s Drawers

Bluebird Painted Slate: What's in Grama's Drawers

Bluebird Painted Slate: What’s in Grama’s Drawers
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

Forest Black: Nature photography from a surreal angle

Blue Hydragea Garden Photograph: Forest Black

Blue Hydragea Garden Photograph: Forest Black
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

Abstract Waves Postcard Set: Forest Black

Abstract Waves Postcard Set: Forest Black
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

JudysDesigns: Handmade eco-friendly jewelry.

Rainbow Earrings: Judy's Designs

Rainbow Earrings: Judy’s Designs
{Click image to see Etsy listing}

Statement copper spirals bracelet: Judy's Designs

Statement copper spirals bracelet: Judy’s Designs

Sunday Service: Patience and Persistence

The front cover of McElligot's Pool

Image via Wikipedia

I always loved the Dr. Seuss books when I was growing up, but my absolute favorite was McElligot’s Pool. The little boy in the story, instead of being discouraged by the farmer’s disbelief in his activities (fishing in McElligot’s Pool, the local dumping ground for junk) is instead inspired to new heights of imagination, patience, and persistence.

The more the little boy talks about the fish, the wilder his possible fish get. He starts out with thin fish and fat fish, but moves on to fish made of strawberry jelly, and ski-racing, chute-wearing fish. By the end of the book, he’s catching a thing-a-ma-jigger in his imagination.

Throughout the book is scattered nuggets of patience and persistence, validating that good things come to those who wait.

If I wait long enough, if I’m patient and cool,
Who knows what I’ll catch in McElligot’s Pool!

 

Sunday Service: Love

Have you ever heard a song for what you think is the first time, and then realize you somehow know the tune and all the words?

That happened to me last year when I heard “Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away” sung. It’s a Malvina Reynolds song. Do you know the rest? (Here’s a hint: It’s called The Magic Penny* but some people just call it Love is something).

I thought my parents used to sing it to me. I told lots of people that. And when I happened upon the words to Little Boxes in A Gospel Songbook from the 1960s, and I knew the tune, I was sure my parents had sung me Malvina Reynolds songs.

When they were visiting last fall, and suddenly broke out singing Malvina Reynolds songs, I was convinced. And they confirmed it when I asked them.

But then, I was researching this post, and I discovered that Malvina Reynolds used to guest star on Sesame Street in the 1980s, singing The Magic Penny. Guess what I watched every day in the mid-80s?

But really, I don’t think it matters where I first heard the songs. What really matters is the message.

Love. Couldn’t we all use a little bit more love in our lives?

*Lyrics to The Magic Penny Note: This seems to be the official Malvina Reynolds site, co-authored by her daughter.

Fire Drill

Fire alarm notification appliance

Image via Wikipedia

I was talking this evening with some other adults about the importance of fire drills for young children and making sure they (the children) know what to do in case of a fire — at home, at school, at church, wherever they might spend a lot of time.

Even if you don’t actually practice a fire drill at home, I know many parents don’t, it is still very important that children know what to do in case of fire. Do your children know where to go and what to do if there is a fire in your home?

Don’t forget smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.

You should have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your house and in each bedroom.

You should have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen and on each floor of your house.

You should have a working carbon monoxide detector on each floor and near all bedrooms. Make sure the carbon monoxide detector is installed according to manufacturer instructions, paying special attention to how far it is from carbon monoxide creating appliances (anything that burns natural gas or wood).

Are you prepared?

Now I am Six: by A.A. Milne

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six for ever and ever.

——————————————————————–

A.A. Milne wrote the original Winnie-the-Pooh books, along with other books for children, including Now We Are Six, from which this poem comes. This poem was recently shared with me by a friend. It is so sweet I thought I would share it with you.

Aristotle on Children

The name self-indulgence is applied also to childish faults; for they bear a certain resemblance to what we have been considering. Which is called after which, makes no difference to our present purpose; plainly, however, the later is called after the earlier. The transference of the name seems not a bad one; for that which desires what is base and which develops quickly ought to be kept in a chastened condition, and these characteristics belong above all to appetite and to the child, since children in fact live at the beck and call of appetite, and it is in them that the desire for what is pleasant is strongest. (bold mine)

Aristotle (from the Nicomachean Ethics, Written 350 B.C.E, Translated by W. D. Ross)

This is so true, the part I put in bold. Children are happy as long as life is going their way, and as soon as challenges and difficulties arise, they are unhappy.

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