Out and aboutAs a former class clown and tomboy, Wilmette mom and illustrator Jennifer Rapp Peterson has poured her off-beat humor into plush toys that eat each other and flat friends that don’t mind being laid on.
The toys, she thinks, are a nod to her past when her toys didn’t have to be super cute or pretty to be loved.
"I like creating a solid enough framework with the toys that there’s something there, but I don’t tell the whole story so a child can come to one of the toys and have his or her own story attached the doll," she says.
Food Chain Friends and The Tuckins began shipping to stores in August, just in time for holiday wish lists. The toys are available at FAO Schwarz. (Find other locations on her Web site, Teetersaw.com.)
How has being a mom to Ginny and Jacob changed you? "When the kids were born, they have a way of grounding you that I think is pretty cool. They never cease to amaze me. ... It gives your life new purpose and meaning. They become so important, you’d do anything for them."
Your best moment as a parent: "I don’t think it can be isolated. I love watching them so I have a lot of good moments. I love seeing them learn. ... I love the cuddles with kids. We just have a good time as a family."
Worst moment? "That also comes routinely, too." She laughs. "I don’t think those moments are so bad. Hey, as long as you keep a sense of humor."
How do you balance work and home? Both she and husband, Jon, (a software developer) work full-time in separate offices in their home. Their daily routine involves sharing breakfast with the kids and when their nanny arrives, heading off to their offices. She says she and Jon take frequent coffee breaks to hang out with the kids throughout the morning and have lunch as a family before naps. Then after naps there’s more together time. "We have a very full day together instead of having to commute and we spend a lot of the free time with the kids on the weekends."
Is there anything you would change? "Not a thing. I count my blessings daily, I really do."
One thing you want parents to know: "That it’s OK to have a sense of humor about things. And to give kids enough freedom of have an imagination, to create a framework for them to play instead of telling them how to play. Give them the space to do it."
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