Book Review: Even Firefighters Go to the Potty

I came across the book Even Firefighters Go to the Potty: A Potty Training Lift-the-Flap Story while searching for some fun potty training books to help get LittleBrother over this last hump. Or, rather, we hope it’s the last hump. He’s close… ish. The book is by Wendy and Naomi Wax and was illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. It’s an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow and fabulously illustrated book that will likely keep the attention of the potty training age group.

The book itself is not all about firefighters. The front cover and first two-page-spread feature a firefighter. The rest of the book features other people that young children tend to think are cool: police officers, baseball players, construction workers, doctors, astronauts, waiters, pilots, train engineers and zoo keepers. Each page features a scene in which a character has gone missing because he needs to use the potty. The firefighter example finds the other firefighters scrambling to the truck to respond to an alarm but the firefighter who drives the truck is missing. Where could he have gone? Lift the flap… he’s using the potty because even firefighters go to the potty. Rinse repeat with all of the other characters.

Firefighter

LittleBrother thinks this book is hilarious. He loves lifting the flap, announcing where the character in question is and giggling at the absurdity of it all. That, of course, might be the problem. I really think he might believe the book is absurd, a fictional tale about adults going to the bathroom. Of course, that’s not the fault of the book. LittleBrother is just silly.

You might have noticed my heavy use of the masculine pronouns. The only female who uses the potty (shown washing her hands, which is another great point to teach with) is the doctor. Everyone else is male. I mean, I’m all for women being doctors but, really, they could have thrown in one more mail, don’t you think? That negative aside, the children and adults in the book have a variety of different skin tones which is something we always like to see in our books. Win some, lose some, I suppose.

One final and big bonus of this book for both parents and children: the strong, durable pages. They are glossy and have a coating that I would liken to plastic but, trust me, it’s not plastic. If you go to test the pages to find out if they can rip, trust me, they can. The good thing that is unless you’re actively trying to rip the page to write about it in a review, you’re unlikely to rip it. Even LittleBrother, zealously lifting the flap so that he can laugh at the silliness of it all, hasn’t yet ripped off a flap or torn it at all. That’s a big selling point for me when it comes to books like these!

So, yes, we’ve been reading a lot of Even Firefighters Go to the Potty around these parts. That and another funny book (How to Potty Train Your Monster) have become bathroom reading staples. And, really, anytime reading staples as of late. Hopefully they help LittleBrother decide that using the potty isn’t something just to laugh about and he makes the final journey into underwear. I think it’s soon. Or, rather, I hope it’s soon.

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[Disclosure: Links are through Amazon Associates.]

 

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Tragedy, The Internet and Honor

When the phone call came on that Sunday morning, I immediately called my husband who was at work. I asked him to come home from the fire station which is where he always is when we have an emergency of some sort. That’s how the fire life works. After I talked to him, I called my best friend back in Pennsylvania, near The Farm, and sobbed at her to contact my parents’ Pastor. She’s the only other person I could have called in that state of incoherency; the only person that could have understood me through my tears.

While waiting for my husband to arrive home, I sat down and both tweeted and posted on Facebook about my grandfather’s sudden death. While people have come under fire for tweeting at a time of tragedy, it was the only thing left that made sense for me to do at the time. I was two hours from my family, waiting for my biggest support person to arrive home and I was absolutely hysterical. I needed to reach out to someone, to anyone.

I’m so glad that I did.

The response that I got was overwhelming (in a good way). Soon the reply tweets, direct messages, Facebook replies, e-mails and phone calls started coming. I still haven’t managed to reply to every single message that came in during the course of a very, very long week of intense grieving. I plan to but it’s been slow going. I received messages from others who had endured similar losses in the recent past. I received sympathy cards. In my snail mailbox. I received a box of Valentine cards (Toy Story, of course) from a friend who wanted to help me “check something off my to-do list,” as her card read. And I received real, physical help from someone I met during another tragic Internet gathering who helped me fix an error with my grandfather’s obituary when it ran without the photo and then showed up at my grandfather’s calling hours on his lunch break. These people reached out to me in my time of need just like my “real life,” just-down-the-road friends who picked up my mail and bought me a coat. Do you know why?

These people on the Internet aren’t just strangers on the other side of a keyboard. They’re friends.

I get frustrated when people dismiss friendships or relationships that were formed via keyboard. The fact that some of these friends sent apology emails, feeling guilty for not being able to attend services, lets me know that we’re more than just anonymous people hiding behind screens. Over the years, through blogs and forums and, yes, even twitter, lasting friendships have been formed. People care about one another. In the midst of this sudden and excruciating loss, I have been comforted by the fact that so many people care about the well-being of my family. Online and off, my family has been touched this week by the outpouring of love. I should make a small aside to say that my friends who live both in Ohio and Pennsylvania were also equally amazing during this very difficult time. Again, I have been so touched and so amazed by the support offered by so many loving individuals.

I’m still not “okay” with this sudden loss. I am still mostly heartbroken, still prone to tears at random moments when he crosses my mind in a memory. I appreciate this space here on the Internet where I can talk about him as I need to, when I can tweet about missing him, and not be reproached for grieving improperly. I am thankful for those who continue to reach out, to ask after my grandmother and to offer support. My grandfather was a loyal man and the loyalty that has been shown to me by my friends, near and far, is something that honors his legacy.

Good job, Internet. Good job. And, mostly, thank you. So very much.