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'Leadbelly Sings for Children'

This is a collection (Smithsonian Folkways) of 28 recordings from the mid-1940s by Leadbelly, born Huddie Ledbetter in 1888 in Mooringsport, LA. In addition to clever word-game songs for the kids, it also features some deep devotional material, as well as a few of Leadbelly's best-known numbers.

            A consummate bluesman, said to have gathered over 500 songs in his time, Ledbetter in his earlier days assisted Blind Lemon Jefferson (the first real bluesman of renown). He was in and out of prison, and later drove John and Alan Lomax all across the South, recording the blues in prisons and remote locations (recordings made on a lathe recorder).

            Babies aren't born with the blues, and Leadbelly made it clear here that he was aware of this fact. This disc is paced nicely, with numbers where the feeling of the blues is explained to the young audience without being too specific; he applies a light touch. In fact, one of the numbers is sung entirely in pig Latin.

            By the end of the '40s, Leadbelly was gone. But his stylistic influence continued on for decades in blues, folk, country, and rock acts like Johnny Cash, The Weavers, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

--- Dave Cross

This week for families:

Barnes & Noble Greece Storytimes Every Wed, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., every Fri 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. 330 Greece Ridge Center Dr, 227-4020

Barnes & Noble Pittsford Storytimes stories every Wed 9:30 and 11 a.m., every Fri 7 p.m. 3349 Monroe Ave. 586-6020

Borders Storytimes Every Wed, 11 a.m. 30 Square Dr, Victor, 11 a.m. 421-9230 | Every Wed and Sat, 11 a.m., 1000 Hylan Dr. 292-5900

Brighton Memorial Library Storytimes Every Mon 10:30 a.m., toddlers; every Mon 11:30 a.m., preschoolers; every Tues 7 p.m., all ages; every Wed 3:30 p.m., ages 5-7; Every Thurs 7 p.m., families; Every Fri 10:30 a.m., ages 2-4. | 2300 Elmwood Ave, 784-5300

Car Seat Checks Sat, Apr 24. Doan Buick, 3800 W Ridge Rd, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. 227-3800

College Night on the Mall Mon-Tues, Apr 26-27. Reps from colleges, career institutions, military, for high school students. Mon: Marketplace Mall; Tues: Mall at Greece Ridge Center; 7-9 p.m. Free. 352-5561

Hispanic Prevention and Education Program Fri-Sun, Apr 23-25. Youth conference, Light of the World Church, 200 Child St. Free. 325-7987 ext 27.

How Did They Do That? Sat, Apr 24. Candlemaking workshop, for ages 5-7, Holland Land Office Museum, 131 W Main St, Batavia, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Tix: $3. 343-4724

Our Local Authors and Illustrators Sun, Apr 25. Children's books signing, South Bristol Cultural Center, 5323 Seneca Point Rd, Canandaigua, 2-4 p.m. Free. 396-5950

Phillis Wheatley Community Library Storytimes Every Thurs. For preschoolers, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, 10:30 a.m. | Wed, Apr 21, Tiny Glover and stories from around the world, 3:45-4:30 p.m. | 428-8212

Preschool Family Workshop Thurs, Apr 22. For ages 2.5-5, art project, story, tour, Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Tix: $15. 473-7720 ext 3056

Prom 2004 Countdown Wed and Sun, Apr 21 and 25. Hair and makeup clinic, Wed: Shear Ego, 2833 W Ridge Rd, 6-9 p.m.; Sun: Shear Ego, 3349 Monroe Ave, 2-5 p.m. Free. 586-1781

Save Our Sisters Sat-Sun, Apr 24-25. Workshops and activities for girls ages 13-18, Sat: James Madison School, 200 Genesee St; Sun: Memorial AME Zion Church, 549 Clarissa St. 546-5997

Seneca Park Zoo Little Ducks, Fri, Apr 23, for 2 year olds, 10:15 a.m. Tix: $18. | Sat, Apr 24, Earth Day activities, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | 2222 St. Paul St. Tix: $5. 467-9453

Sheep Shearing Festival Sat, Apr 24. Demonstrations, hair cuts for kids, crafts, wagon rides, Springdale Farm, 696 Colby St, Spencerport, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tix: $5. 352-5320, www.springdalefarm.org.

Spring Children's Boutique Sale and Art Auction Tues-Wed, Apr 27-28. Children's clothing and artwork, Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Ave, Tues 7-9 p.m., Wed 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 461-2000 ext 506

Strong Museum Big Honey Hunt, Sat-Sun, Apr 24-25, Berenstein Bears appearances, 12-5 p.m. | Monday Kicks For Ages Two to Six, Mon, Apr 26, Learn Through Nature, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Old Time Tunes of the Genesee Valley, Wed, Apr 28, Mitzie Collins and Company, Making American Music Series, 7:30 p.m. Tix: $12. | Wednesdays for Tots, Wed, Apr 28, ages 2-5, 9:30 a.m. | One Manhattan Square, 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org.

Information on museum exhibits can be found in the calendar's Museum section.

Toddlers and Toileting

There is no such thing as toilet training. Nobody has ever trained a toilet. Toddlers are trainable, but just barely. Regrettably, they are not equipped with flusher handles so we cannot conveniently control their urination or defecation.

            Every time we fail to make them use the toilet (and we always do), they happily prove that they alone dictate when and where they pee and poop. Our controlling efforts only and always delay their inevitable, independent toileting. When we get out of their way, they do beautifully.

            After many years of careful instruction by wise and willful toddlers, this is what I have learned to advise parents. When your child resists diaper changes and wants privacy, around 18 to 24 months, buy a toilet seat or chair for her, and then ignore it. Always change diapers in the bathroom (where the toilet lives) without talking or eye contact. Be boring and considerate. Have no initiative, ever. Never suggest she sit on the toilet.

            When she asks for help with the toilet, act stupid and ask for instructions, every time. This must be all her idea. Enforce privacy. Request "privacy, please," when you use the bathroom. She will want the same. Finally, offer no praise or bribes. Instead, ask, "Are you proud of yourself?" or "Is that what you wanted to do?" This is her success.

            That's it: a respectful, child-directed approach. Our children run this project and we want them to. We need to save our energy for more important parenting issues... like their driving.

--- Laurence I. Sugarman, MD