Back in February, my now-4-year-old son, Joshua, was pretty sick. He didn’t have the flu, but he might as well have, because he ran a high fever for about 5 days straight. He was REALLY puny. And so I let him lay on the couch and watch what he wanted. And what he wanted was – what else? – PAW PATROL.
He’s more than slightly obsessed. And if you’re anything like me, you find yourself wondering so much about the logistics of these kids’ shows.
My 5-year-old son, David, is obsessed with Star Wars. I mean, obsessed. Seen every movie, including number 7 on opening night (his birthday present). It’s basically all he talks about. He probably has more toys than is healthy and a Star Wars shirt for almost every day of the week. (When spring came, he was sad he didn’t have any short sleeve shirts. So we got this, this, this, and this from Amazon, because at the time they were all $3-5. Gotta love some Amazon.)
My greatest endeavor, however, was finding all the kid-appropriate Star Wars songs that I could. He and his 3-year-old brother ask to listen to this playlist constantly and have every song memorized. Since tomorrow is Star Wars Day (May 4th), I thought if you, too, were searching for this, I could help you out!
I think you can find these all under the “Star Wars Kids” list on Spotify under Jessica Weaver. But if you’re not a Spotify person, there are links to find the songs elsewhere, too.
“Why Is Dad So Mad?” – The Board of Education (Amazon / iTunes)
“When I Was a Boy” – Drew Worthley (Amazon / album on iTunes) – Not strictly a Star Wars song, but it has a verse about it and is generally just a sweet song.
“The Greatest Story Ever Told” – Good Clean Fun (Amazon) – This is a punk rock song, and I don’t think there is any foul language in this song … but I can’t find the lyrics anywhere. My kids think it’s hilarious, and the chorus is fun, but here is your warning.
Notice I did not title this MY favorite kids’ music. These are not necessarily the tunes I would choose, day in and day out. (I’m a big fan of The Rizers and Yancy, personally.) But these are the albums my kids ask me to play – especially in the car – over and over and OVVVEERR again.
Who loves it? All my kids, but especially Joshua (almost 3).
Their Favorite Song: Joshua likes “5 Little Ducks,” because of all the quacking
My favorite: “De Colores,” because I have listened to this album so much I can sing a whole song in Spanish, which I have never studied.
This album was released in 1989. For reference, I was 7 years old in 1989, the age my oldest daughter is now. Ha! And I remember some of these songs, like “Apples and Bananas” from my childhood. (And “Baby Beluga” from Full House.) Despite the fact that it’s 25 years old, the album doesn’t really seem dated, other than the names-around-the-world in the song “Like Me and You.”
I’m not sure whether Joshua just likes it because he can say “Raffi” (or “Ralphie,” usually), but he will always ask for this one.
Who loves it? It was Libbie and David’s favorite a few years ago.
Their favorite song? What they call “The Fish Song,” really “Five Little Fish.” They just call this whole album “The Fish Song.”
My favorite song? “Be the Best You Can Be.” Who can resist a song with a message?
Jack Hartmann composes and records songs from his role as a teacher. This album is from 1995, and while it teaches letter sounds, body parts, and more, it’s the album of his that seems most appropriate for the car and not the classroom. (Several of his others, like Math in Motion, have songs recorded with places for kids/teachers to fill in blanks, etc, if that makes sense.) This one is just music other than the last track, which is one of the songs in instrumental for performance. I credit Jack Hartmann with teaching David his letter sounds! Hartmann is kind of cheesy, but he knows what works, and we enjoy these songs a lot.
Their favorite song? Probably a tie between “I’m Thinking of an Animal” and “Rock Lobster”
My favorite song? “That Old American Flag” – it is a sweet song about patriotism and family.
My LEAST favorite song? I hate “Straw,” because it’s a bunch of nonsense lies and I am rule-follower. But oh well. Haha.
Billy Kelly is pretty much insane, which might be a prerequisite for being a children’s artist. This goofy album celebrates gardening, flags, pen pals, and nonsense; remakes a few songs, like “Coney Island Washboard” and “Rock Lobster”; and adds some total nonsense with “Straw.”
My favorite song? “Snooze Button Blues.” Because every morning.
In her standard Jewel style, The Merry Goes ‘Round is folksy, with some pop and blues built in. She remakes the classics “O Susannah,” “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain,” and several other old favorites, while adding peppy tunes like “Sammy the Spider” and “Supermarket Song.” The album is kind of weighted toward the beginning tracks, in my opinion, but overall it’s a fun listen and one my kids are starting to get into.
Who loves it? All of us, Mom included. We like many of her albums, but this one is a good compilation of the best tunes.
Their favorite song? Libbie – “Five Days Old”; David – “Buzz Buzz”; Joshua – “Boots”
My favorite song? “Victor Vito,” although they are all super catchy and you will find me singing “Moon Moon Moon” all the time.
According to Amazon, Laurie Berkner has nine albums for children. We listen to three of them on a regular basis, but this best-of compilation is really fun. My kids basically have every one of these songs memorized, and that includes the 2-year-old.
If we aren’t listening to Kids Place Live on the satellite radio, we are probably listening to one of these in the minivan. What are yours kids’ favorite tunes?
When I was in high school, I had to drive each day – once I was old enough to drive – through a toll booth. Back then, it was a straight-up 50 cents. (Our recent trip to Richmond revealed that it is now 70 cents – plus it didn’t take one of my first quarters, so we ended up tossing nearly a dollar at the thing. A travesty! Almost as bad as Ukrop’s being gone.)
Usually my co-pilot and I were armed with quarters or tokens, ready to throw the coins and get through quickly. But one day, I was alone for some reason. Maybe I wasn’t even going to school that day. I found myself approaching the toll booth and realized I had nothing but some loose changing floating around in the console of my Eagle Vision.
Quickly I gathered up as much as I could. And I remember vividly watching the numbers slide above the toll basket, praying that I could find enough to change to equal those 50 cents. I was tossing pennies by the fistful. And finally, breath escaped, I saw it click down to zero and the bar raise.
I don’t even know what happens if you don’t have those 50 cents. I bet it happens a lot more now than it did in 1998, although maybe EZ Pass-type things help.
I’ve felt a little bit of that same panic in these last weeks of summer.
School supplies were purchased, I’ve been stocking my freezer with items for school lunches, and Nana bought Libbie a new backpack. We’ve registered and before that vacationed and traveled and visited and swam and played to our hearts’ content.
And yet the day before Libbie started back to school, I still felt panicky. Unprepared. With first grade there wasn’t the same sense of preparation there was for kindergarten. There are no more phase-in days, no staying with her on the first day, nothing but a messy and loud thirty minutes of handing in paperwork and handing over school supplies to her teacher.
Did I forget something important? She’s armed with summer projects, a reading log, a poster timeline of her short life. It’s all there. We have the first-day picture with her printed-that-morning-off-the-Internet sign. David’s registered and ready for his preschool class.
Perhaps it’s that the whole summer I have felt confused. Apparently having three kids at home full time will do that to you. I just always felt like I had more to remember than I could keep in my brain. I forgot deadlines, to mail things, to call back. Embarrassing and a little wretched.
When I was pregnant with Libbie, one of my coworkers told me that after he and his wife had their first child, they just wanted to get back to normal. Then when they had their second, they wanted to get back to normal – the one-child normal they’d found. But with kids, normal is an ever-fluctuating concept.
Right now, I am looking forward to returning to normal, knowing that it will likely be a different normal than last school year. Even though the kids are at their same schools on the same schedules, they are a year older. Joshua is a maniacal two-year-old instead of a toddling, babbling guy. Things will be different.
But I’m hoping soon I will feel like I have two quarters instead of a handful of pennies.
(Coming from a family that knows child death, OF COURSE I want him to grow up. But you know what I mean.)
It’s probably just that he’s most likely our last child. But at 2 years and 3 months, I think he is quite likely the cutest thing that has ever happened to Planet Earth.
Don’t get me wrong: he is trouble and a half. I spend half my time trying to keep him from hurting himself. But it’s well worth it.
Because every morning when I get him from the crib, he makes some proud declaration like, “Nemo sleep my bed!” His curls go every which way and he smiles his trademark giant, goofy, toothy smile. Joshy has been giggles and grins since he was born and is almost always happy. (Except when he’s not. Like when I won’t give him “another one cup milk.”)
I know how much kids change between 2 and 3. I’ve been through it twice before. I know that soon he’ll start using more real grammar, he’ll stop running his silly gallop around the apartment, he won’t be so eager to give me “hug and a kah-iss.” I might have to cut the curly mop. He won’t fall asleep cuddled to my chest nearly as often.
Oh, there are so many sweet things about them growing up. I love the stage Libbie is in, where she still likes me but is old enough to do fun stuff with. But I’m scared. I’m scared of moving on past the baby-and-toddler stage we’ve been in for nearly seven years now.
Who will give me slobbery kisses? Whose sweet baby language will make me shake with laughter?
I usually share these inspiration photos on my Facebook page, but if you don’t see them (because FB stinks about that) or you aren’t on FB, I wanted to share them here, too! I have a fairly picky kindergartner, so these are my experiments in trying to get her to eat a variety of healthy-ish foods.
Homemade pizza pockets, Cutie clementine, Craisins, cheese stick, and one mini Oreo.
Wrap with ham and cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla, apple slices, Chobani “drink yogurt,” and Beet Cookie and Honey-Cinnamon Popcorn from the Weelicious cookbook. (I made the Beet Cookies in heart shapes and letters for David’s preschool snack – everyone had one R for the letter of that week and the first letter of their first name. It was a big hit!)
Turkey (I either buy Aldi’s nitrate-free or the Hormel Natural Choice lunchmeats), cheese stick, Honey Cinnamon Popcorn, strawberries, Pizza Poppers.
Bake-fried chicken thigh (leftover from dinner), strawberry smoothie with hidden spinach frozen in the silicone mold, pretzel twists, fruit snack, mandarin oranges, and a Yum Earth hard candy.
Inspired by 100 Days of Real Food, these are homemade pizza lunchables. I made pizza crust and cut it into rectangles, froze homemade pizza sauce in a silicone mini-muffin pan (then popped them into a big freezer bag), and added mozzarella and mini pepperonis in silicone muffin liners. Recipes for the pizza crust and sauce are in Weelicious Lunches, although I think you can find similar ones on the Weelicious site. (There’s also a Cutie along with the pizza.)
I realize these are certainly not jam-packed with vegetables or maybe even your idea of a balanced lunch. Or maybe you think I’m an insane mom. Whatever. We all do what works for us, right? I am totally in favor of staying sane. Packing lunch is one area where I like to be creative. Cleaning and organizing? TOTALLY not my thing, but I am glad if it’s yours!
I hope this helps you with some ideas for your picky eater’s lunchbox.