Book Mama: A Series for Boys

Interested in a series of beginning chapter books for your son?  Then check out the Roscoe Riley Rules books by Katherine Applegate. “Short chapters, simple dialogue with some big words thrown in (proboscis, epidermis) and a very few first grade … Continue reading

Boy Mama: Potty Training or Aim Practice?

Potty training sucks. I hate to say it, but I know you are all thinking it. Well, maybe some of you love it and are eagerly awaiting the day you begin while others are putting it off until the last possible moment. And still others, those who are “done,” are looking back at us all and laughing at our fear and anxieties. Well, maybe not laughing, but you get the idea.

Anyway, it is about “that time” with my youngest so I decided to do some reading about potty training boys being that I cannot remember a darn thing about how I did it with my first.  I have vague memories of the potty in the living room and a stack of books about fire engines, but that is about it. I wondered (and hoped) if there might be some fantastic, new discovery in the field of potty training– perhaps someone found the magical switch on your child that you flip from “diaper “to “toilet” or that some renowned pediatrician somewhere revealed the mathematical equation that computes the exact day and time to train your child successfully in one day or less. No such luck. Pretty much most of what I found out there is what was out there back then- you know, 3 years ago when I trained my eldest.  So I didn’t find anything new nor anything that made the prospect of potty training my son more desireable or exciting, but I continued reading anyway because, well, I still had hope….

Finally, after quite a bit of searching, I came across something useful. Something I could sink my teeth into. Something that could be helpful in my home.  It was an article about whether to train your son to pee standing or sitting.   I already know that there is no way in heck I am teaching my son to pee standing up.  He is going to learn the old-fashioned way of sitting!  But, what the article said next what got me and it was oh so relevant to my eldest.  It was a list of ways to teach your child to AIM. Ha! Ha!  That is what I need. Not information about when or how to train my youngest, but how to train my eldest to aim— at the toilet that is.  I am soooo tired of cleaning up pee around the toilet  and having it blamed on the dog.

So, sorry to disappoint those you who were looking for ideas about potty training boys. I apologize for not finding that magical technique or switch to make it all easier. But, what I did find may lessen your load as your son gets older and save you a little time when cleaning the bathroom!

Here it is! A list of things you can do to help your son learn to aim. Wonder if they work on the husband too… 🙂

  • Have him “sink the battle ship”; use toilet targets, toilet paper, cheerios, or even ice cubes colored with food coloring and have your child aim at the battle ship.
  • Change the color of the toilet water to blue by using cleaning tablets or food coloring. When he pees in it, he will see the color change to green.
  • Add a little shampoo to the water and it will create bubbles as he pees.
  • Let him pee outside – in the backyard, in the woods or even in the snow. Have him practice aiming at something or writing in the snow.
  • Let him and his brother or father have a peeing party.
“Tips on Peeing Standing” Up from Potty Training Concepts)

© 2012

Teacher Mama: What Boys Like to Read

I have been reading A LOT of the literature out there about what boys like to read.  Instead of posting a bunch of articles about the topic, I thought I would make things easy and create a brief summary of what boys like to read and share it with you all. Let me know what you think!

First, did you know that a lot of boys are having trouble reading?  (From Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm in Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacty in the Loves of Young Men (Heinemann, 2002))

  • Boys develop slower than girls.
  • Boys take longer to read than girls do.
  • Boys read less than girls.
  • Girls tend to comprehend narrative and expository texts better than boys.
  • Boys do not value reading as much as girls.
  • Boys have trouble relating to the feelings and emotions of a lot of fiction.
  • There is a lack of positive male role models in literacy.

So, what do boys want to read?

  • Boys are more inclined to read informational texts, magazines and newspaper articles.
  • Boys are more inclined to read graphic novels and comic books.
  • Boys tend to enjoy escapism and humor.
  • Boys enjoy science fiction and fantasy.
  • Boys like to read about hobbies, sports and they they like or would like to do.
  • Boys to read books in a series.
Did you know?
  • Boys  resist reading stories about girls (girls don’t mind reading about boys)
  • Boys read less fiction than girls.

Want some more information? Check out this article:

  • Why Johnny Won’t Read–Schools often dismiss what boys like. No wonder they are not wild about reading.

Boy Mama: Boys and Nature and the Nature of Boys

Sticks. Dirt. Dig. Dump. Dig. That is what it is about for my boys.  We spent hours each week in the park across the street digging in the dirt and playing with sticks.  We use our plastic construction trucks from Walgreens (these are the BEST by the way) digging holes, lifting a load, dumping that load into the dump truck over and over again.  And the sticks, who knew there were so many uses for them– digging, scraping, swatting, building, sweeping, writing, piling- you name it, we have done it with a stick.  I sit with them and try to see what they see.  There is a whole world going on. For my 2.5 year old, it is mostly the action of using the digger to pick up the dirt, to dump it into the truck and then to dump that load to the ground.  He does it in such a slow, methodical manner as if every millimeter he moves is vitally important.  My 5 year old, on the other hand, is telling a story. Whether it is an intricate story of the happenings at a construction site or a simple story of a digger doing its job, it completely becomes his world for that moment in time.  I do enjoy digging with them for a while. It is fun to get down into the dirt and to feel the earth in my hands. But my story is not the same as either of the boys’ stories. My story is simply being with my boys.

Book Mama: Truckery Rhymes

As you know from a previous post, I am a huge fan of Jon Scieszka’s books.  My boys are also huge fans, although they don’t know Scieszka’s books by his name, but instead by the stories he tells. The Trucktown series has been one of the best additions to our home library.  A whole series all about  some wacky trucks and their adventures in a place called Trucktown.  The stories include such characters as Dump Truck Dan, Rescue Rita, Monster Truck Max and Cement Mixer Melvin each of  which has his or her own personality.  The series includes picture books such as Smash! Crash! and Melvin Might as well as what they call, “Ready to Roll” books (beginning readers) such as Zoom! Boom! Bully and Snow Trucking. These books incorporate wonderful rhymes, simple, repetitive text, fantastic illustrations and lots of action.  All the things little boys love in books and, the things that make them want to read and keep reading. The series is growing and plans for more books are in the works.

But by far our favorite Trucktown book is called, Truckery Rhymes. This is a collection of traditional rhymes rewritten using the Trucktown characters and all things truck.  The whole book can be read in one sitting or read over time.  The rhymes are catchy and we find ourselves singing them throughout our day.  The colorful, cartoon-like pictures very detailed and great fun to look at.

This is one of our favorite rhymes in the book. It is sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Rumble, Rumble, Monster Max
Rumble, rumble, Monster Max.
Can you jump those junkyard stacks?
Up above the trash so high,
Like a rocket in the sky.
Rumble, rumble, Monster Max.
Yep, he  jumped those junkyard stacks

This version of Rock-a-Bye Baby has replaced the original nursery rhyme as a favorite for my youngest son at bedtime.

Rock-a-Bye Mixer
Rock-a-bye mixer at the stie top.
When the wind blows, the building will rock.
When the beam breaks, the mixer will fall.
And down will come Melvin–
           bricks, beams, and all.

So if you have little boys who love trucks as much as mine and, you want to keep them interested in books and inspire them to become readers- these books are a must for your home library!

Watch Jon Scieszka read his favorite Truckery Rhymes:

© 2012