Thursday, April 27, 2017

Amazon Prime Has Movies for Kids Based on Classic Children's Books

Anyone who knows me well knows that I could not survive without Amazon Prime. Our poor mail lady brings packages to our door several times a week. Diapers, wipes, coffee, Clorox wipes, and more come directly to my doorstep whenever I need them. In just TWO days!

(I’ll pause here to admit my extreme jealousy of those who live in towns where they can get their Amazon Prime goods delivered in a matter of hours. We have an Amazon distribution plant here locally. Something is not right about this issue. It is very unfair. And the Spartanburg Prime Peasants are angry.)

But, in addition to shopping for products, I love Amazon Prime for television! There are tons of shows and movies that we like to watch, and several are exclusive to Amazon Prime. Plus, they have added premium channels like HBO that you can pay for monthly.

Now, we are too cheap for anything premium, but I have found the loophole. You know during the summer when everything is on reruns? Well, you can pay for one month of HBO, watch it that summer month, cancel it and then do it again the next summer (or during Christmas holidays when everything is on repeat). You can cancel and restart anytime.

Today’s post is not really about my love of Amazon Prime, but my litlovingmom love of Amazon Prime’s children’s movies based on classics. I am a big fan of using visuals alongside books. There is something special about seeing your favorite book characters and stories “come to life” on a screen. It is also a great way to introduce “reading and seeing” to young children. If they can see how the words on the page turn into grand adventures, they will be more interested in reading.

Amazon Prime’s collection keeps growing, but here are my five of my current favorites.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

We are huge fans of this series, and my children practically have them memorized. However, this movie has the same characters, but the plot does not follow the book. If your children are fans of the series, they will like “hearing” and “seeing” their favorite mouse on a new adventure.

Room on the Broom

If you have not read this fantastic picture book, you need to get it today! It is a wonderful, creative story about helping others. In this story, the witch is not scary. She uses her spells to help others. But, there is a frightening dragon the witch and her animal friends have to fight. The great thing about this movie is that it follows the book line by line. I can’t count the number of times we have watched this one.

The Snowy Day

Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day is a classic that everyone should have in the home library. Thankfully, Miss Dolly Parton sent us our copy through the fantastic Imagination Library program. Right at the holidays this year, Amazon Prime released this beautiful adaptation. It features Boyz II Men. Do I need to say anything more?

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

For those parents who are fans of onomatopoeia and repetition, this is the book and movie for you. We read this book all the time in our home – and act it out. So, we were thrilled when this movie joined the Amazon Prime collection.

Reading Rainbow

Parents who grew up in the 80’s will be thrilled to know the Reading Rainbow is on Amazon Prime. The first four seasons are available, so these cover many wonderful children’s books. I loved Reading Rainbow as a kid, so I love being able to share it with my children. LeVar Burton is just awesome. I can still sing the theme song – anyone else?

What Amazon Prime movies or shows based on children’s books should I add to our watchlist?

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Monday, April 24, 2017

My Son Has Genuine Night Terrors

I am one of those fortunate souls whose children are good sleepers – as in they slept through the night early and regularly. They took regular naps. My son slept long and hard from the time he started sleeping through the night.

Wait, wait. Before you click the X and leave this post feeling annoyed, you should know we still have major sleep problems. You see, my son has night terrors. True, genuine night terrors. The kind of night terrors that are terrifying for the parents and the child.

My son started talking in his sleep when he was two years old. At the time, we thought this was cute and funny. I remember laughing about him yelling in his sleep: “Wait! I need my sword! I need my sword!” He was apparently rushing off to join a pirate crew.

But, after he turned three, the talking in his sleep took a scarier turn. I still vividly remember hearing his terrifying screams one evening around 9:30pm. I ran upstairs to his room where I found him standing on his bed pulling the sleeves of his nightshirt up his arms over and over.

His eyes were wide open and he kept telling me there was something on his arms. He kept insisting that there was something on his arms even as I tried to calmly tell him there was nothing there. I pulled his little body into my lap and he just screamed and screamed.

I still have nightmares about that night.

Since then, we have learned the differences between normal nightmares and night terrors. When our son has a night terror, it means he looks awake, but he is not. It means you cannot wake him up. He has to get through the terror on his own. And, he will not remember anything about it the next day.

We also learned that night terrors generally occur around the same time of night depending on sleep cycles. They are also triggered. And they are hereditary. In our case, they skipped a generation.

We had a couple of rough weeks as we prepared to move. Apparently, even though we tried to calmly prepare our kids for the move, our son must have picked up on our stress because he had a night terror at the same time every evening for two weeks.

When you see your child in terror and his eyes are open, but he doesn’t see you or hear you, it is heartbreaking. I have cried many times listening to him. My husband has taken over trying to help him because I have a very difficult time handling it.

At this point, our son is 6 years old, and they happen less often. However, we still pay attention to certain triggers: sweets before bedtime, over-exhaustion, and travel. It helps if I can anticipate them before they start.

But, as his mom, I still worry. I worry about what is going on in his head and hate that I cannot protect him from this dream world. Just last night, I caught myself imagining him screaming when that wasn’t even the case. 

Most mornings I can laugh about the craziness of the prior evening, but sometimes I cry. So, as he heads to bed tonight, I will say a prayer that God protects him and guides him into sweet dreams. Sometimes that is all a mom can do.