I Stink!: the manliest children’s book ever

Ham (22 months) is so into this book right now.

The story is basically a New York City garbage truck telling you about all his (yes, definitely HIS) features and how he picks up trash every morning. There is also an A-is-for-Apple section that is like Oscar the Grouch’s version.

When Ham got this as a gift and I read it for the first time, I was quite turned off by it. To me, it was like the literary equivalent of a big, hairy dude wearing tighty-whities and holding a machine gun. And most women I know don’t relish exclaiming “I stink!” and having to name a bunch of car parts and gross, smelly items. But in time, I started getting into it. I got in touch with my inner garbage truck. There is no way to read this book in a girlie way. You gotta get guttural and snarl out the sentences. While reading this book, I mostly have this face on:


And the more I look like that, the more Ham looks at me like this:


So, how can I refuse to read it to him. But then, at certain parts, he gets all Bravehearty and “Argh! Yeah!” and I think, Geez, take it easy, dude.



Chicco Toys Smart Driver

Ham (19 mos) likes cars and loves pretending to drive, so we got him the Chicco Toys Smart Driver. It’s pretty cool. It’s got a steering wheel, of course, plus features mimicking a real car’s, plus some educational aspects.


1) LANGUAGE SELECTOR (Spanish or English)
2) DESTINATION BUTTON: names the place (school, supermarket, mechanic, playground, home) and plays a corresponding sound
6) GEAR SHIFT: counts 1 to 10
9) KEY AND IGNITION: when you put the key in and turn it, makes ignition and revving sounds
11) FUEL FILLER: cap opens to reveal a button, which when pressed makes “filling” sound
12) STEERING WHEEL: when you press the yellow button, it says something about the destination it’s pointing to; the green button is the horn; the red button plays music.


My favorite features are the turn signal and key/ignition. The movement and sounds are so realistic and satisfying. My least favorites are the brake and accelerator, because you have to push the buttons with your hands. Nica tries to put her feet on them, though. I have no idea how she knows that you use your foot to brake and accelerate. I guess she can see a lot more from the back seat than I thought!

Though we got this toy for Ham, it’s Nica who uses it more. Ham only wants to play with this when someone else is already playing with it. (I admit, sometimes that someone is me. Apparently, after a long day of driving the kids around, I like to relax by pretending to drive. What the hell?) Nica plays elaborate pretend games involving this driving toy. Not surprisingly, she likes to play mommy and pretend to drive Ham around. Sometimes Ham is her baby. Sometimes he’s… someone else.