Disclosure: Diary of a First Time Mom is proud to be a member of the Netflix Stream Team! Each month, we’ll share our stories about the shows we’re watching and how we’re making memories.

Dear Diary,

The other day, Caitlynn announced that she wanted to be a scary monster for Halloween. I know, Halloween isn’t until October, and it’s only April. But a three-year-old doesn’t have the same sense of time as an adult. Half the year, she’s telling me what she wants for her birthday that’s not until July, and in the other remaining months, she’s sharing what Santa should put under the tree. So this week, she talked about trick-or-treating. At first, I wanted her to request something else–something society sees as girly. Maybe a princess or even a butterfly. Last year, she was a pig–a cute pink pig I picked out. Her (boy) friend was a monster.


Then, I stopped myself from stopping her from being who she wants to be–and today, it’s a scary monster. Well, I did coax her a bit and suggested being a silly monster. She was fine with that. Then a monster she shall be!

I told her about one of my favorite silly monsters–The Gruffalo. The first met the fierce and fictitious character in a book published back in 1999 when I tutored high-need students at an elementary school near Michigan State. The beautifully illustrated story was a delightful break from textbooks. But back in college, I never imagined sharing the tale with a child of my own! So imagine my excitement when the book came to life on Netflix. The cartoon is only 30 minutes, so it’s short enough to keep Caitlynn’s attention. Other than Frozen, we don’t generally make it to the credits. But even though The Gruffalo isn’t a movie, we still popped popcorn.

The Gruffalo 2

The Gruffalo is also helping me teach Caitlynn about the difference between a truth and a lie. She doesn’t really get that you have to say just joking when you spin a tale and makes up stories. But the squeak mouse is demonstrating dishonesty. She remained glued to the screen and then  hid under our fuzzy cover–we use it to hide from bears. We live near a zoo, so sometimes the animals escape (at least into our imaginations). So we hide under the blanket when we thought The Gruffalo stomped into our living room.

In the end, we got away without a scratch and learned a lesson a  little lesson about little white lies. And we even came up with a silly saying. I don’t like calling someone a liar, so know we know have a name to call someone who’s a…Gruffalo! I think that’s who spilled popcorn all over the hardwood floor!



About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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