We went to Mexico last week, which I hope to write more about shortly. But for now, my favorite picture from our trip. I was sitting and reading, and when I looked up I saw this scene, grabbed my camera, and made a mad dash towards them to capture it. I got off one shot before Ollie stood up to walk towards the water.
I rarely get interview requests anymore, and usually when I do, it’s because people want to hear about Evan Williams. If you haven’t read this site since 1999, maybe you don’t know that he and I co-founded Blogger together, and that he went on to co-found Twitter. Anyway, last summer I talked to Bloomberg about Ev for a program called “Game Changers”. But there’s quite a bit about the early Blogger days in the show, including some old video footage of us in our offices (and me with short platinum blonde hair!) and some old photos. It was neat to see, and made me kinda sad. Bonus for viewing: you can hear me talk about Ev, kinda like those “Behind the Music” shows where some old band mate no one remembers talks about the guy who went on to become the huge star.
Yikes! I embedded the video and it’s auto-playing. So here’s the link to watch if you’re interested: Bloomberg Game Changers: Twitter.
A beautiful spring day in New York and after doing some errands, I let Minna out of the Ergo carrier. She walked all the way from Spring and Wooster to Prince, walked down Prince to West Broadway and made it halfway up the block to Houston St before was sat for this nice rest. She was so happy to be out walking the streets and every time she saw a dog she squealed and pointed and said, "Dog!!!" And of course every time someone passed her they smiled and waved and pointed at this tiny little person, holding my hand, wobbling along the streets of the city.
If there’s some way you read this site but you don’t read my husband’s, you should know that he’s launched a new web app called Stellar. The story is here on kottke.org if you’re interested. I’m totally addicted to the site these days and check it like five times a day. And that’s a lot for me, considering how little time I spend online. Also I have a few invites, so shoot me an email if you’d like one. Also also? I’m so proud of him! He’s been working very hard on it and I’m happy to see it open up to more people. Yay!
Update: All my invites are gone. If/when I get some more, I’ll let you know. And if you’re using the app I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Feel free to comment here or drop me an email. Thanks!
After dropping Ollie at school, Minna and I headed to the suburban-esque Whole Foods in Tribeca for groceries. Though she’s been in a shopping cart once or twice before, today she wouldn’t have it. She screamed “Nooooooo!!!!” and cried and did that back-arching thing so I could barely cram her in the carriage. Then she tried to climb out and continued to scream and cry so that after three minutes I had to remove her and put her back in her baby carrier. It made for difficult shopping.
It also made me think of this photo, which is one of my all-time favorites of Ollie and my grandmother. He’s nearly one and this was his first time in the cart. He clearly enjoyed it!
Awhile ago I read Tom Sawyer in large part because I wanted a window into how kids, and boys in particular, used to live. I know it’s a work of fiction, but I figured it would still provide insight into what was expected of kids more then a century ago, and what they were capable of. I loved it, and now don’t feel so badly about giving my kids a bath only once a week, if we’re lucky. Now as Ollie and I read together, I’m struck by the world children used to inhabit.
In 1962’s The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Peter wakes up to a snowy morning and goes outside to explore, all by himself.
At the end he goes home and tells his mother about his adventures outside, but the key thing is that he’s had them unaccompanied, all by himself. And he’s pretty young, because he’s not able to join the big boys in a snowball fight. Maybe the whole thing’s supposed to be a fantasy. Maybe when it was written young boys didn’t go outside alone for snowy adventures, but I don’t think so.
In the 1972 book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day clearly things are different. There are obvious technology differences, like going to school in a car with no booster seats (and the mom’s not wearing a seat belt and there’s a child in the front seat, no air bags!!), but also Alexander and his brothers are left all alone, out on the street.
By the looks of the picture, they’re even in in the street. I don’t need to tell you the plot point is not that their mom is irresponsible and the children should be taken away. At school, Alexander’s friends have sweets and candy (“a Hershey bar with almonds”!! NUTS!!) for dessert. Do you see what kids climb on during recess?
And have you read The Tale of Peter Rabbit? Their mother leaves all the children alone to go off to the baker, even though the very farmer who killed her husband and baked him in a pie is close by! While the daughters eat blackberries, Peter gets in all kinds of trouble by himself and is almost captured by the very same farmer.
I don’t read many contemporary children’s books, so I can’t tell you if they’re filled with helicopter parents shuttling kids to music lessons and soccer practice, or if they tell the story of kids trapped inside watching videos instead of dragging sticks through snow. But the more stories I hear of kids living without the opportunity to explore and play and be kids, the sadder I get. Every time I read one of these books to my kids, I want them to experience more than just a Very Bad Day, or a snow day, or a garden adventure. I want them to see what kids used to do and to know they still can.
I love giving books as presents and lately I’ve been really into older children’s books (more on this in another post) so I figured someone had a list on Amazon of all the Caldecott Medal Winners, right? Easy ordering for all your gift-giving needs! But I only found a Caldecott Winners Gallery 2010 to 1971. So I created a list of the rest: Caldecott Medal Winners 1938-1970.
Looking back at the covers was especially fun, as I had many of the winners from the seventies and had forgotten all about them! And the illustration/design time-travel scrolling through the covers is fascinating too.
Did you know you can follow this site on Twitter? I update the megnutcom Twitter account each time I publish here with the post title and a link to the post.
We don’t let Ollie watch any TV and his computer/iPad/iPhone screen time is regulated. But when he gets the iPad, one of his favorite things to do is watch YouTube videos, which he picks from ones I’ve favorited. At some point I favorited a video of a woman making a fire truck cake because it’s similar to the one I made for Ollie’s 2nd birthday. He’s watched this one, and many related cake-making videos, more than anything else. Often he mentions “Laurie Gaylin” when we’re in the kitchen, and I had to ask, “Who’s that?” Turns out she’s the woman making all the cakes in his videos. Here’s the fire truck cake:
So Sunday morning I was running around the house, trying to get stuff done before friends came over to watch the Super Bowl. Talking half to myself and half to Ollie, I said, “I’ve got to find my pastry bag!” because I wanted to pipe the deviled egg filling into the whites. (This may seem like overkill but it’s way easier and faster than trying to get that yolky glue off a spoon.)
Ollie casually says, “Or a freezer bag.”
“What?” I ask him, not understanding what he’s even talking about.
“Or a freezer bag,” he repeats to me. “Laurie Gaylin says you can use a pastry bag or a frosting bag or just a freezer bag.”
Fellow bakers, your mouth must have dropped when you read that sentence, as mine did when he said it. The kid is really learning something from all those videos.
(Turns out her name is Laurie Gelman, and she’s the host, not the baker. But who quibbles with a three year old?)