Hugs and Kisses!

So, if your keeping up here, I recently posted some introductory thoughts about the book The Five Love Languages of Children. Today, I want to talk about love language #1, physical touch. For most parents, this language comes fairly easily when your children are young. It seems so instinctive to kiss and rock your baby. Playful wrestling or cuddling while reading to your toddler or preschooler is so natural. But as children get older, it can become an uncomfortable subject. Unfortunately, the times that we live in cause many people to worry that their touching might be misconstrued as inappropriately motivated. However, our children's need for physical touch does not diminsh with age. In fact, children who receive appropriate touch from their parents are less likely to be involved in sexual promiscuity as teenagers and are more confident than children who are not. It may be a simple pat on the back or a big KISS, but for children whose primary love language is physical touch, a kiss is worth a thousand words.

Summer FUN!

I have some great summer camps planned this year. I hope you are planning to join me for a summer of musical fun! You can view the camp schedule and get registered at my website.

Hooooz Howwsss?

Mike's House! Man, you gotta admire the tenacity of a four year old who braves a snowstorm just to make it to his weekly Public Library Picture Book Hour.

Julia Sauer (1891-1983) was a Children's Librarian at the Rochester, NY, Public Library from 1921 to 1958. She wrote this little tribute to the power of books and stories back in 1954, with illustrations by our man Don Freeman, he of Corduroy fame.

Now, you might think Mike is the kid trudging through the snow ... no, this little dude loves Virginia Lee Burton's Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel so much that he refers to the library as "Mike's House". This leads to confusion later in the story when Robert, during his snowy trek to the library, gets a little sidetracked and has to ask a cop for directions. After the policeman unsuccessfully tries to find a "Mike Mulligan" in the phone book, a waitress at the diner realizes Robert's talking about the Public Library. Hey, Robert may have missed this week's Picture Book Hour, but he's thrilled to the gills that he'll get to introduce Officer Jensen to Mike Mulligan!

Libraries rock, Preschoolers rock, and Preschoolers who love their library this much really rock!

Kidmusic @ Jalopy

Two things I took away from tonight's kidstock at Jalopy in Brooklyn:

One - I really, really, really, really hate going anywhere without my wife and baby.

Two - David Weinstone said (I'm paraphrasing here), "If yer in this business (children's music) to make money, write mediocre songs. If you write great kids' songs, yer not gonna do so well."

'Nuff said.

I Love You!

I've been reading a book called The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, MD. I love my children dearly, but what I have taken away from this book is that my children and I do not always speak the same "language" when it comes to expressing our feelings. I'll give you an example of what I mean. I asked my daughter the other night how she knew that I loved her. He response was that I take care of her and do a lot of things for her. Her love language is acts of service. I didn't necesarrily do those things for her, to say, "I love you." I did them, because I am her mom, and that's what mom's do. But now I realize that for her, it speaks more love when I fold her clothes and put them away for her, than if I tell her how beautiful she is today or give her a kiss. Think about your own life. What has someone close to you done that has made you feel loved or unloved, for that matter? It is likely a clue to your own love language. We tend to speak our own love language to those around us and wonder why they don't understand. It would be like living in France and speaking English only. They might get some of what I said, but not the full value. I am going to be posting more about this subject in the weeks to come, and I look forward to your insights as well.

Brain Power

In case there was any doubt in your mind about music and it's importance to your child's development, read this great article. I especially found the fact that it sharpenes hearing interesting, since I had already seen this effect in my Kindermusik classes. Listening and discrimination skills are crucial to school success.

Spring Break Fun

I hope you are all enjoying your Spring Break as much as we are! This morning the girls and I went to a local strawberry field to pick berries. It was great fun, but perhaps they should have weighed us before and after to see exactly how many berries we should pay for. It's a wonder anyone ate lunch after that. The above picture is from our afternoon trip with Daddy to the park. We rode bikes, and, as you can see, sufficiently explored all the pieces of exercise equipment on the trail! What has your family been doing during Spring Break?

***Randy Kaplan***

Straight outta Park Slope, Brooklyn, Randy Kaplan presents an eclectic collection of covers and originals on his newest CD, Five Cent Piece. Released on his own Yellow Thing Records & Books label, Five Cent Piece runs the musical gamut from Judy Garland to the Stones, from Woody Guthrie to Jonathan Richman. Now, remember, kids' albums aren't meant to be the only source of musical history, so the fact that Kaplan includes a song made famous by the Rev. Gary Davis, two songs by legendary lyricist Yip Harburg, and another from the Bye Bye Birdie soundtrack doesn't mean he meant for you to ONLY listen to his version. It's an invitation to explore, to find out more about music and it's history and sources.

Kaplan's performance and style could most easily be compared to Arlo Guthrie; and, coincidentally or no, he covers songs by Woody and by Arlo, plus his 10-minute "You Can't Always Get What You Want" resembles Arlo's album side-long "Alice's Restaurant". The bohemian bluegrass/dixieland played by Kaplan and his extremely cohesive and talented band tie together the varying song sources into a unified package, so that Jonathan Richman's "I'm a Little Dinosaur", Elizabeth Cotton's "Freight Train", and "We're In the Same Boat, Brother" (made popular by Leadbelly), all sound like they were performed at the same sitting. Plus, his rendition of "Over the Rainbow" has to be THE sweetest you'll ever hear.

His originals are wildly original, showcasing Kaplan's love of the narrated song: a shark interrupts bathtime with a request to "Shampoo Me", the "Mosquito Song" details a conversation with a certain bloodsucker, and the "Roaches" that occupy Kaplan's apartment are into Kafka's "The Metamorphosis". And kids'll get a big laff out of his original lyrics to "Donut Song".

Dig the packaging and layout: Kaplan's profile graces the giant nickel design on the CD itself, while several street signs and storefronts in the foldout will be recognizable to Brooklynites. Lots of time and effort by Kaplan and fellow musician Tom Johnson went into the cover, which almost always means great music waits inside.

A sort of East Coast companion piece to Mr. David's The Great Adventures of Mr. David, Kaplan's first kids' CD (hopefully not his last) after releasing five for grownups will no doubt be equally loved by tots and their adults. Take the F Train over to the Perch Cafe in Brooklyn and check out a performance by this unique artist. And tell him to keep up the good work.

Kindermusik coupon

I have created a 5 minute survey to help me better understand the needs of my existing and future customers. If you would be interested in completing this survey, click here. At the end of the survey is a coupon code for $5 off your next class. Be sure to write it down!

Got Water?

"Water comprises more of the brain (with estimates of 90%) than any other organ of the body, with muscles next at 75%, and then kidneys. Under normal conditions, it is recommended a person drink one third of an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day, with that amount doubled or tripled in times of stress." Let me do the math for you. A child who weighs 40 pounds should be drinking at least 14 ounces of water a day. That doesn't seem like a lot, but when I really think about it, I'm not sure my children drink that much water every day. Besides that, drinking or eating caffeine, salt, or sugar increases the amount of pure water required to stay properly hydrated. We don't consume much of either of these three substances at my house, but it has given me reason to re-think our routine. Thirst is not necessarily a good indicator. Your already behind by then, so I recommend keeping a glass of water handy throughout the day. Remind yourself and your child to take a drink of it often.

pg. 138 "Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head" By Carla Hannaford

Hee Haw!

My toddler class, Our Time, has been having some fun learning about different animals this semester. We just started playing with the donkey last week, and I thought everyone would enjoy meeting this one. He lives in a field next to Bradon Sports and Aquatics Center. He will come to the fence if you pull over to feed him a carrot or other special treat.

Family Watchdog

As a parent, I am always looking for ways to keep my children healthy and safe. I thought you might be interested in this webpage I found. It shows the home and work locations for sex offenders in your area. I even use the map to look up offenders in other areas that we frequent.

***Daniel Schorr***

What do you get when you cross Bob Dylan's vocals from Nashville Skyline with Ballad of Easy Rider-era Byrds music, and illustrate the whole thing with funky fresh Doug Allen drawings? Daniel Schorr's latest album, Every Word I Say is True, of course!

Brooklyn-based educator Schorr's second kids' CD on his Tee-Tot Records label is chock full of words, a veritable feast of lyrics, backed with one of the best rootsy country-rock soundtracks you'll ever hear on a children's album. Songs about a kid who never forgets anything, about the twelfth dimension, about dog-devoured homework, about brain appreciation; unbelieving adults, nagging parents (those durn grownups!), and snowball fights; tear-jerkers about bad luck and anthemic rockers detailing Santa's stab at musical superstardom.

This Owens/Haggard/Yoakum-influenced album brings the Bakersfield Sound hardcore, especially on "Elephant's Memory", "The Homework-Eating Dog Named Rover", and "If I Didn't Have a Teddy Bear", but two songs that break from the guitar twang are "I Was Lost, But Now I'm Found" and "The Emperor's Castle". The former, sung by Brian Dewan, is one of the best "oughta be on Broadway" tunes ever, and the latter, a synthesizer-driven socio-political statement, is reminiscent of The Monkees' "Zor and Zam".

So if'n yer littl'uns dig a weeping pedal steel and thick-string Strat solos, pick up Every Word I Say is True. Heck, go see Schorr play live if you're near Brooklyn and give him a big "yeehaw"!


Just wanted to invite you to join me at EGGStravanganza, a springtime celebration for Children's Week, at Kid City, The Children's Museum of Tampa. The event will be on March 31 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, and I will be providing some of the entertainment. There will also be a petting zoo, clowns, face painting, egg hunts and a hat parade. I hope to see you there!