On Netflix: Instant Family
We found this movie on Netflix last night, and totally intended to only watch part of it before bed. BUT it was so good that we watched the whole dang thing. Octavia Spencer’s role as Karen, foiled by Tig Notaro’s Sharon, are a hilarious social-worker duo helping a couple on their adoption journey that begins with them looking for a young child, and ends with fostering-to-adopt a teenager and her two younger siblings. It was fast paced, made me laugh, and it made me cry. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you want your parental heartstrings to get an emotional workout.
From the Library: Dinosaur Pirates
Ok, I don’t know if this counts as currently reading for me, or my toddler, but we randomly checked this book out of the library last week and I’ve had to read it to him several times a day since. It’s exactly what it sounds like: dinosaurs dressed up as pirates sailing around on their pirate ship looking for secret treasure. Rawr! I love how something that sounds kind of ridiculous to an adult is totally awesome to a kid. (I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere).
On Podcast: The Clearing
I’m five episodes into this podcast and am absolutely hooked. Hook, line, and sinker. As an adult, April Balascio’s memories of her childhood, and a sense that something was never quite right with her father, led her to late night Google sessions, and then to calling a police department in another state. Soon her father was convicted for murder, and evidence pointed to him being a serial killer. Along with host Josh, April explores her father’s story, and the possibility that he was responsible for many more unsolved murders. Edward Wayne Edwards will soon be a name you won’t forget.
I’ve been “treating my self” to a monthly audiobook subscription since 2014 or 2015, and for cross province driving and stroller walking/running, it is an absolute essential. Last month The Woo Woo, a memoir by Lindsay Wong, caught my attention because of the Canada Reads: 2019 Selection sticker on its digital cover. Wong’s writing about growing up just outside of “Hong-couver” is incredibly descriptive, and filled with what are perhaps a few too many metaphors and similes (when I start to notice them over & over again, it’s hard to concentrate on the story), but it’s also made me laugh out loud. When the narrator reads in the fresh-off-the-boat Chinese accent of Lindsey’s Dad telling her “We got you from garbage, ’cause you retarded. Like Mommy,” it’s hard not to laugh in a kind of twisted way. It’s also a book that makes my soul ache; intimately learning of Wong’s experience growing up with a severely mentally ill mother who refused to seek treatment due to her traditional Chinese beliefs personifies Hemingway’s famous advice to “write hard and clear about what hurts.”
From my ridiculously massive book collection: Kids These Days
I think most teachers in Alberta have heard Dr. Jody Carrington speak once or twice by this point, and while I’ve heard some people criticize her swearing, I love it, because my authentic self would probably talk like that too. I’ve never seen a speaker who can get up, tell stories better than a comedian, and teach an entire staff, convention, or town about the importance of connecting with kids like Jody Carrington. She makes the science and the research digestible. Her book discusses much of what I’ve already heard her speak about (& is filled with gems like remembering that you CANNOT, on a biological level, reason with a person who has a “flipped lid”) and it should be required reading for every parent, teacher, and person on the street. It is such a powerful reminder that kids don’t need fancy toys, tutors, or trips to Disney. They just want us to light up around them, actually listen to them, and see them for who they really are.