INSIDE PLAY

Alice has become an expert at sitting up. Good thing, too, since her hair gets so knotted up every time she lies down. With her crazy mane of hair, we've taken to teasingly calling her Frankie Avalon and Delta Burke (!). 

Everett is obsessed with books. His favorite is a Curious George book his Grandma gave him for his birthday, because it has everything a little boy could ever want : trains, trucks, a toy store, dirt! He makes sure he grabs his Curious George stuffed animal, points George's face at the interesting scenarios in the book and then faces him and punctuates it with dialogue like "oh, dirt!" or "oh, teepee! or just plain ol' "oh, nooooo!"

He still really loves his Babar book, Press Here with lots and lots of colorful dots he's happy to sit and count for hours, and one where Bailey the puppy visits the Museum of Natural History. At bedtime he insists on sleeping with a book, and if I don't manage to sneak it out from the covers when he's not looking while we're singing our bedtime song, in the morning we wake up to the sound of him "reading" it to his stuffed animals. It's the most adorable thing in the world. Then you walk into his room, and he's sitting up in his bed, book open on his lap, stuffed animals all around, heads pointed at the pages, and he looks up at you like "oh, hey," no big deal. 

The only thing he loves more than books are trucks. And cars. And trains.

This weekend, as we were driving around, he discovered construction cranes. In New York they're 70 feet tall and usually teetering atop the roof of a skyscraper, so they're hard to miss and almost always there's one in sight. He spent a good 30 minutes saying "Oh, crane! More crane?" over and over again.

How do you get a toddler to do what you need (want) them to do? Sing If You're Happy and You Know It! This works for anything! Some of my favorite refrains include "eat a piece of chicken" or "get in the tubby" or "put your shoes on" – you get the idea! It's not 100% foolproof, but it's a pretty reliable strategy. You can't be impatient, though. You have to be super sneaky to fool the conniving toddler brain, and exercise patience: start out with some fun commands first,

like fluff your hair, shout out loud and stick our your tongue.