No one told me that there would be a downside to instilling a voracious appetite for books in my son. Now that he has one, he wants to keep reading. More specifically, he wants me to read to him … all the time! And the same books, over and over. Once in the morning, once when we get home, and before he goes to sleep.

His regular rotation (Elias’ version of the shuffle) includes Saggy-Baggy Elephant, Tawny-Scrawny Lion, Where the Wild Things are, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Magic Rabbit (a newer book). Maurice Sendak and Gustav Tenggren are his favorite illustrators, and Elias has begun repeating Max’s parts when we read Wild Things to him. (It helps that I made up songs for Wild Things and In the Night Kitchen.)

Dough Plane in the Night Kitchen

I lament, however, that there are no history books for fifteen-month olds. How hard could it be to put together a book from a few dozen sentences and a score of pictures? Harder than it seems. Elias, nonetheless, responds well to Alley Say‘s work. Home of the Brave, about the internment camp (interview of author), loses him half-way through, but he sits through El Chino, an oral history of a Japanese-American’s journey to becoming a Spanish matador.

Allen Say's El Chino

Anyway, despite my moments of exasperation and hoarseness, I love his little habit. Makes me think of a song:

Ikh hob a kleynem yingele,
A zunele gor fayn!
Ven ikh derzey im dakht zikh mir,
Di gantse velt iz mayn.

(I have a little boy, such a fine son! When I look at him, it seems to me that the whole world is mine.)


It’s rutting season, and Milli has been giving everyone longing looks. Too bad he won’t survive the month without getting fixed–we can’t take much more of his overexcitement.

Posting has been light for some simple reasons. First, I am sick of staring at my computer. Preparing for the baby has required a lot of extra time on the internet, comparing prices of products and examining safety records. It doesn’t take long before I crave fresh air and human contact. Luckily my wife has a good humor about things: she even hums the theme to Alfred Hitchcock Presents along with me.

Second, I am preparing a paper for the SFHS next month. Of course, it deals with regionalism in Alsace and Rhineland as a strategy for integration into the republic. Comparing the two, I hope to show that Germany’s tolerance of regional studies in Rhineland moderated regionalism, allowing it strengthen national sentiment, whereas French intolerance created mistrust that fragmented regionalism, creating weak moderate movements and strong radical autonomy. They’ll be other stuff too, about the nature of regionalism in the 1920s and 30s. The good news: all the stuff is coming from what I have already written. The bad news: it’s three chapters of material I must condense into a twenty minute talk. I can complain about giving myself too much work, but eventually I would have to give a talk of this scope anyone, so…