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10 Least Annoying Children’s Books to Give New Parents

A pint-sized piece of literary gold is a wonderful gift to give parents to celebrate their new treasure. It’s more thoughtful than a stuffed giraffe and easier than bulky toys or monogrammed crib sheets. 


But let’s be honest: half the books written for babies are ticking time bombs for parents. How do you set the stage for this child’s intellectual future while taking mom and dad’s sanity into consideration? Here’s a list of the 10 best baby books that will help instill good values without driving parents mad by the 100th read:

The Pout Pout Fish” 

by Deborah Diesen, Illustrated by Dan Hanna

The Pout Pout Fish is a lovably illustrated, Eeyore-like character who goes around spreading “dreary-wearies all over the place.” The book is full of beautiful vocabulary, fun-to-read quips, and a helpful lesson about how to be in control of your emotions. And it might just remind the occasionally overwhelmed parents that dreary-wearies are not their destiny, either.

Tugga Tugga Tugboat” 

by Kevin Lewis, Illustrated by Daniel Kirk

This aquatic adventure has just the right amount of sing-songiness without the tiring repetition. The familiar melody will help make bath time soothing for babies and a splashing fun time for toddlers. It takes children on a toot-tootin tugboat’s journey as they learn that things are not always as they appear.

My Truck is Stuck!” 

by Kevin Lewis, Illustrated by Daniel Kirk

Another book by the author and illustrator of “Tugga Tugga Tugboat,” but impossible to leave off this list. A wonderfully written tale of a truck getting stuck in muck with adorable illustrations that show the helping hands who come along to try to free it. The writing is spunky enough to entertain the littlest ones and, as they grow, they will find the humor in the illustrated plot twists involving feisty gophers.

The Lorax

by Dr. Seuss

Even the beloved Dr. Seuss has some classics that will have parents cringing by the time their baby can crawl. “The Lorax” isn’t one of them. This refreshing tale about taking care of our world will have even the most hardened mom or dad taking a second look at their environment through the eyes of their own little next-generation. If parents can conjure up an awesome Lorax voice during story time (I prefer a thick Brooklyn accent) this story will likely become a lifetime favorite of their munchkin, as well.

Llama Llama Red Pajama” 

by Anna Dewdney

You really can’t go wrong with any of the books in the Llama Llama collection. “Red Pajama” is entertaining for parents to read as they get to imitate all of Baby Llama’s dramatic wailing and whining for mama at bedtime, while still reassuring their tot that mama will always be nearby.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, Illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Save this one for the rhythmically inclined parents. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” has a fast-paced, upbeat flow that babies love to listen to. This book will follow the child through toddler-dom as they go from loving the cadence to effortlessly learning their letters – big and small.

Jamberry” 

by Bruce Degan

Jam in Berryland! Poetic, silly, whimsical prose that really brings out the child in the adult reading it. This book translates across all ages and will end up being a tried and true in any household. Parents giggle along with their kids as they read rhymes that are fun to say, sing, read as fast as you can, dance and clap along to… the possibilities are endless. The value of this book is in the lighthearted, joyful simplicity of a boy, a bear, and a canoe full of blueberries.

Hippos Go Berserk

 by Sandra Boynton

There’s nothing like basic arithmetic to bore anyone over the age of 10. Sandra Boynton manages to make a numbers-focused book geared toward the youngest of readers that parents are certain to love as much as their child. One lonely hippo creates a chain of events that leads to a huge party full of hippos going berserk. What could be more entertaining?

The Giving Tree” 

by Shel Silverstein

This classic story about unconditional love is a foolproof gift that every parent will remember reading as a child themselves and take pride in reading to their own little one. With its simple language and heartbreaking sentiment, parents can’t help but appreciate this book’s value.

Go, Dog. Go!” 

by P.D. Eastman

Don’t write the simplicity of this book off as a snoozer for adults. Stop, Go. Over, Under. This book has enough quirks to keep grown-ups entertained as their little one discovers opposites, colors, sizes, and silly interactions for the first time. It also promises to be one of the first books a child reads on his or her own. What book could be less insanity-inducing than the one you don’t even have to read?

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent. Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, is more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued so the crisis can be averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

For me, the fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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