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Kidlette is almost three and a half (eep! already!), and she is quite the independent little girl. She does very small but helpful chores and tracks her “paycheck” for them, she’s starting preschool this fall, and she is – finally, thankfully – almost completely out of training pants.

Next week will mark another milestone for her – she’ll be spending a week away from home without either parent being with her. (Engineer has to work as usual, I am going elsewhere in the Midwest to do some curriculum development with a colleague, and my parents haven’t seen us since Thanksgiving and are thrilled to get the chance.) I’m not really all that worried – I’m sure there will be a meltdown or five, because Kidlette’s just at that age – but I do want to make sure she has some “transition tools” to help her make it through the week.

One of those is making her some books on CD that she’ll take with her to my parents’ house. My parents and sisters will read to Kidlette non-stop, but no one else in the family speaks French. This will be the first time that she will be in an English-immersion environment 24-7, and she does get a little anxious if she doesn’t have some French to fall back on. So tonight, I had her pick her top five books that she wants to take with her on the trip. I’m recording each book in Audacity (a FREE recording program – that link will take you to its homepage), converting the file to an MP3, and burning them all onto a CD. Audacity is a little bit daunting if you’ve never used it, but if you download it and open it to play with it, take a deep breath. The important things are a) how good is your internal mic? and b) get to know the buttons at the top of the window. Record, play and stop are pretty much all you need to fuss with. (Also, there’s a slightly tricky maneuver in which you have to download a file that will convert Audacity files to MP3s, but it is also free – just follow the directions for the converter exactly as written. Really.)

Books on CD/tape will be completely new to Kidlette, and I think it’ll be a nice, soothing thing for her to “read along” with the audio. I’ll let you know how it turns out!