why my name is joe and 9 other things I blame on books

January 3, 2011

You know I love books. We read so many that they are a huge influence on Juliet and her perception of the world. While mostly a good influence, sometimes they create some humorous situations around our house. Here are a few things that I blame entirely on books.

The Fire Cat (I Can Read Book 1)
1. My name is Joe. 

Yes, you read that right. It's not Vanessa as you have been led to believe and as my mother has been telling me all these years--well, at least not if you ask Juliet. For the past 3 months, I have been Joe (the kindly fireman in The Fire Cat) and Juliet has been going by the name Pickles. If you try to address her by any other name, she simply will not acknowledge you. And if I happen to forget that I am Joe, well, let's just say I get a pretty agitated cat on my hands.
The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
2. My child often speaks in antiquated English.

This cannot be blamed on one particular book, but rather to the steady diet of vintage books I have read to her since she was old enough to sit still and listen to a story. If I had been reading Shakespeare to her for the past 4 years (I haven't, by the way), she'd be saying things like "hark", "alas", and "good morrow." Thankfully, phrases like "I'd be delighted!" jump out of her mouth when I ask her if she'd like to feed the cat. She describes herself as "angry and cross" when she's not getting her way, and very often uses the word "awfully" to describe her adjectives. (as in "That shirt is awfully blue, mommy!")

3. She thinks ZZZs appear above her head when she closes her eyes and pretends to sleep. 

No matter how many times I tell her that those ZZZs only appear above sleeping people in books or in cartoons, she still insists that I look at her ZZZs while she lays on her bed with her eyes closed. Then she  opens her eyes, looks around for the ZZZs and is visibly disappointed to not see them.
The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set (I Can Read Book 2)
4. She yells "Run for your lives!" whenever we walk through the grocery store parking lot. 

My husband loved the Frog and Toad books when he was a kid and has passed on his love of them to Juliet. She's picked up several phrases from Toad and one of them is this. Anytime a car is coming towards us, she screams, "Run for your lives!" at the top of her lungs. I grab her hand and we run as fast as we can into the store. What else can I do?
Mary Lefetea Russell Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater 16x20
5. She thinks wives are supposed to live inside pumpkins.

This one came to surface this fall when Ben and Juliet were deseeding a pumpkin. After they had cleaned it out, she said to him, "Okay. I'm just going to put my wife inside here for a little bit." It turns out she's not exactly clear on what a wife is. I would be worried that she would be trying to put me in it when she finally figures it out, but remember, I'm Fireman Joe. So, I'm safe.

6. She narrates her own actions. 

Sometimes I hear her say things like, "And she dashed into the room!" as she runs into her bedroom. She's a character in her own story! It always makes me smile.

7. She also narrates conversations her toys have with each other. 

Instead of just making them talk, she will add, "she said" after they say something. Writing a story will be a cinch when she finally starts school! She's been writing her own stories in her head since she started playing with toys.
Melissa & Doug Rainbow 6 Color Stamp Pad
8. She stamps her hands and feet every time she gets a hold of an inkpad and stamper.

Thanks to Bear, Your Manners Are Showing by Kathleen A. Meyer, a story in which a mama bear teaches her baby bear the importance of manners by stamping the words "please," "thank you," "you're welcome," and "I'm sorry" on his paws,  inkpads are no longer safe. Without fail, every time we get the inkpad down for a project, she immediately rips off her socks and begins furiously stamping "her manners" on her feet and hands. It doesn't seem to bother her that "her manners" are not actual words, but images of ducks, cows, and Tinkerbell, she still insists that they NEED to be there.

9. Her imagination is always on.

As well as always having to remember I am Joe (or Princess Jasmine depending on day), I often have to do a little thinking to figure out what she is talking about. A few months ago, I asked her where a certain toy was and she answered, "Oh. It's downstairs in a hollow tree." Turns out it was in a basket that was serving as a hollow tree, but somehow I wasn't aware of that. Good thing I wasn't looking for my keys.
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse
10. Our cat is not allowed to play with her own cat toys.

Thanks to the magic of Leo Lionni's Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, kitty's two large furry mice toys are now sleeping in Juliet's bed every night. Why, you ask? Because they are Alexander and Willy--the two lovable mice from the story.

I think I could probably go on and on with this list, but let's stop there. What about your kids? How have story books influenced their lives?

Linking to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda!


Ticia said...

I love your top 10, and how great that she speaks like that.

Jane said...

Oh, this is such a cute post. What a cute girl! I could make a long list too-- my boys are always incorporating their favorite stories into their play and interactions. Sometimes I'll scratch my head and be so confused by something they've done, and then realize later while reading a story, "oh! that's where they got the idea."

Minnie said...

These are all hilarious and great. My favorite is No. 6. Maybe you have an author in the making! At least a very creative and intelligent little girl. My oldest (five) is at the point of crafting makeshift little books, all on his own with very simple drawings and text. I just love how books really spurs kids' imagination.

Leah Claire said...

I love this list! I've always been a big fan of children's books but your daughter is walking proof of how much those books can really mean to a child. Thanks for making me smile today.

Jennifer said...

I've been a lurker for a while, and I have to admit, I rarely comment because I can't relate! I love reading to my children, but I'm just not nearly as creative as you when it comes to coming up with crafts. A successful craft project is one where none of the three actually eat any of the supplies...maybe if we spaced our children farther apart I wouldn't have that problem...

All that to say I loved this post! What a creative way to share ten books! I witnessed the influence of 'Where the Wild Things Are' today as my children were not only acting wild but dressing up like little kings and threatening to eat one another up! :)

Ben said...

Best post ever! I love it.

Leigh said...

I've told you about Elmo's 12 Days of Christmas... I blame many headaches on that book. I can also blame Dr. Seuss for many many rhyming sessions, and for my son working hard to read while he tries to get the words right on his fav Dr. Seuss books... ;)

ICStarz said...

I love this post. Super cute!

Ashley Pichea said...

I have to say that #2 is the best! I would *LOVE* if my daughter started speaking in antiquated English! I guess I'll have to start reading that style of books to her more often! :-D

Melissa said...

I love your site so much Vanessa, I have a little girl who just turned 3 in Sept, and we absolutely LOVE reading.

My daughter loves Peter Rabbit, and often speaks in Antiquated English as well, referring to herself as "cross, and angry" and often describes characters in books as "lovely or naughty".

Needless to say this post really spoke to me as my little one seems to be following in Juliet's footsteps!

Keep up the amazing work, Love your blog!

vanessa @ silly eagle books said...

Thanks for commenting, Jennifer! Not eating the craft supplies is something I will be worrying about with Lucia in the next several months when she starts moving around and trying to do everything her big sister does!

Leigh--you make me laugh! I love that headaches are blamed on Elmo and his book. I must find a copy of that!

Melissa--how wonderful that your daughter uses the word "naughty!" I'm waiting for that one to pop out of Juliet's mouth. :)

Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

Such a cute post! I loved #2. Your daughter sounds like such a treat :) We so need a vast library of books to read to our little one. But we may have to resort to making a few of our own books soon just for fun. She's only 2 years old so if the book doesn't have pictures she's bound to lose interest quickly lol

Regina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Regina @ Chalk In My Pocket said...

This really made me smile, especially the "run for your lives!" Heehee! I totally see the imagination of my daughter blossoming as a result of the books we read as well, isn't it fantastic?

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