Walkies Walkies!

Toddlers are terrific when they finally figure out how to walk.

Toddlers are not so terrific when they figure out how to run and they giggle at the gaggle of adults frantically running after them.

I used to think those leashes for toddlers were forms of cruel and unusual punishment, but one afternoon of sprinting after my little nephew in a huge store changed my mind.

My cousin’s little boy just took his first steps (yay!), and my cousin says they’re already thinking about the leash (smart!). Maybe one of these must-have backpack leashes?

Easily the cutest on the market.

Pssst! Go snuffle around the rest of that site, whether for you or for someone you know. Brilliant stuff there!


I’m extremely lousy at multi-tasking, and I remain thankful that there was no such thing as marching orchestra when I was growing up.

When I was growing up, if your school had a football team, your school had a marching band. Some band members always performed with the orchestra after football season was over, but none of us orchestra people ever played with the band.

Okay, so sometimes it seemed like band members had more fun (no! they didn’t!), but I definitely preferred the benefits of being in the orchestra. In the orchestra…

…we either stood up to play or we sat down to play.

…we remained quite content with the complexity of getting our bows to go in the same direction.

…we never had to practice steps in formation out on the football field. (Running with a double bass? Oh horrors.)

…we never needed to memorize music, unless it was for a solo.

…we never had to march in parades.

And we never grasped that bit about the conductor being so far away.

Happy coincidences:

1) A few days ago, Mike told me about Blast!. Blast? It’s marching band taken to a new level. It has all the precision of marching bands as you’d expect, and there’s the flag corps. But there’s so much more. And these guys have fun!

2) Last night I stayed up well past my bedtime to watch the whole DVD. The nearly 90-minute show fascinated audience members of all ages. If you don’t play an instrument yet, you’ll want to start learning after watching the first 36 seconds.

3) This morning on the train, I saw an ad for the Japan Tour 2008! Tickets are on sale now. Hey, Mike: can we go?


Boy oh boy do I miss the camaraderie.

Little Bears Make You Smile

The little panda cubs in China make you smile.

Flocke, the little German polar bear cub makes you smile.

But then, if we’re talking about polar bears, we just have to bring back one of my favorite giggle-inducing penguins.

No Eructating At The Dinner Table!

Word Nerd moment coming up.

Kids tune out parents after hearing the same lecture over and over.

It happens.

So start your usual lecturing, but then throw in a new-to-them word and watch everyone’s ears perk up.

From Frazz, one of my favorite comic strips.[Dead link. Sorry!]

Smile, point to the dictionary (try the old-fashioned book version), and continue whatever it was you were doing.


Helpful variation (because lecturing all the time is no fun way to learn new words):

Have a family member find a nifty new word in the dictionary. The goal for each person is to use that word in conversation as many times as possible throughout the day. Keep points, if you desire, and the winner at the end of the day gets a big hug and 5-minute head massage.

Baby Loves Disco – In Japan!

This is an update on an earlier post on Baby Loves Disco.

Baby Loves Disco is now in Japan!

The first event – the Japan Launch Party – is scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday 27 April (I know, that might conflict with nakizumo), and the second event is already planned for Sunday, 25 May. Look here for details and mark your calendar! Tell your friends!

If you can’t make it to Japan either of those weekends, look here for events based in the United States, Poland, the UK and Sweden.

(Ooooooh, Baby Loves Jazz? You must must must go snuffle around that site!) (Check out the link to Baby Loves HipHop, and there are plans for Baby Loves Salsa, Baby Loves Blues, and Baby Loves Reggae. Much much more at Baby Loves Music.)

Again, as I said in my first post about BLD, you can always set up your own disco with your own choice of music right in your own home. I’m all in favor of spontaneous random acts of dancing, and I hope you are, too.

Off you go!

Baby Crying Sumo

Put your baby in the arms of a stranger, preferably an enormous sumo wrestler.

Another baby will be in the arms of another sumo wrestler. If your baby cries first or the loudest, your baby wins, and you’ve got a healthy baby. The sumo wrestler tries to get the baby to cry, because powerful crying chases evil spirits away, ensuring a healthy future for the baby. This event is called nakizumo.


I first heard about this ritual last year, but I thought it was a late April Fool’s joke.

Baby or no baby, if you’re in Tokyo on the last Sunday in April (the 27th this year), get thee over to Sensouji Temple (浅草寺 – I know, in English it should just be Sensou Temple) in Asakusa to check it out. For details, call the temple: (03) 3842-0181.

Nakizumo is held in several locations in Japan, and it is also held in the autumn, so you can scoot around Japan to witness this event more than once, if you can’t get enough of it.


Sensouji, by the way, is Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple for ordinary people, according to this handy guide my mom picked up. The guide further explains that on the grounds of Sensouji

fairs and markets are open to sell various goods such as ground cherries and battledores to many visitors.

Selling battledores? The forerunners to badminton racquets? Or placentas?

Ground cherries look like this. Recipes, please.

Asakusa itself has gallons of events and nifty neighborhoods for hours and hours of snuffling. Here’s the helpful multilingual website for more information.

Off you go.

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