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Books, other items provide happy memories

Teaching Your Child

Teaching Your Child

June 20, 2008|By LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

We are slowly purging our house, one corner at a time.

Now that school is over and there's no homework or projects, we can cast off toys that no longer have appeal, clothes that no longer fit and books that we no longer read.

Just as the organizational experts recommend, we're sorting our belongings into piles: throw away, give away, yard sale potentials and keep.

As with most things that occur in our family, the momentum has been fueled by a deadline.

Not only are we having overnight guests this week, but we've also rented a space at Saturday's Kids Stuff Yard Sale, a fundraiser for Washington County Hospital Perinatal Bereavement program and The Learning Center.

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While sorting items, I only occasionally hesitated on a certain toy or a particular piece of clothing.

My children think the sorting process would take half as long if they did it by themselves, but there are sweet memories I cannot let slide without sharing, much to my 13-year-old's chagrin: "Oh, you loved this Winnie the Pooh set. You used to suck on Tigger's paw."

He placed the set in the "keep" pile and picked up another item. "So, Mom, what do you want to do with this?" he asked, in a not-so-subtle attempt to change the subject.

Apart from Winnie the Pooh and his 100-acre-wood friends, the pace was fairly steady.

Then we started sorting books.

That's when the memories really began to flood the room.

My husband and I read to our children the first night we brought them home from the hospital and continued to do so every night until they could read on their own. We still sometimes receive requests to read a story out loud, and we gladly oblige.

Some of the books in our home have probably been read 100 times or more. Most of the titles aren't classics, just fun to read. We wanted our children to associate reading with pleasure from an early age. Some people can finish a line from a movie if a friend drops the first few words. We like to do that with lines from children's books.

Last week I was teasing my son that our dog was lonely and she wanted "her boy" to come out and play.

He smiled, looked outside and said, "Come boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches ..."

Recognizing the Shel Silverstein line, I added "and be happy."

Yes, we'll be keeping Silverstein's "The Giving Tree."

We decided that there are books that should never be sold.

My son recently finished Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities," but he still smiles if I quote a line from Baby Bop's "Where Are My Shoes?"

I'll be keeping that one, too.

Here are some of the other titles that landed on our "keep" pile. I'd recommend them for new parents or soon-to-be parents:

"Are You My Mommy?" a pop-up book by Carla Dijs. Baby chick has just hatched and is looking for her mommy among all the other barnyard animals.

"How Many Kisses Goodnight?" by Jean Monrad. As part of their bedtime ritual, a mother counts her daughter's toes, fingers, blankets and, of course, kisses goodnight.

"You're Just What I Need" by Ruth Krauss. Under a blanket, a child hides from his mother as she tries to guess what might be underneath. She concludes that even though the child wasn't any of the items she guessed, he is just what she needs. We gave this book to our son when his younger sister was born.

"I Don't Want to Take a Bath" by Julie Sykes. Little Tiger does not want to take a bath even though all the other animals in the forest tell him he needs one. When he sees his reflection in the river, he's astonished that he could be so dirty. He leans so far over that he falls in. He's surprised how much fun it is to splash around and how good it feels to be clean.

"Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney. A little bunny expresses his love to his father in a gentle query as to whose affection is greater - the parent's or the child's.

Every parent knows the answer to that challenge.

The Kids Stuff Yard Sale is Saturday, June 21, from 7 a.m. to noon, in the parking lot of Citicorp Credit Services, at 14700 Citicorp Drive, just north of Hagerstown off Interstate 81. The sale benefits and is co-sponsored by Washington County Hospital Perinatal Bereavement program and the Learning Center Parent Association. Vendors sell maternity and children's items.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com

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