Ben Brunetti is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker/writer/illustrator in the process of writing a series of children’s books and developing preschool TV shows. His first children's book, Please Share, is a story to help teach toddlers (and his own kids) about sharing and is currently on Kickstarter.
We thank him for sharing his Bay Area parenting faves with us today.
Who is in your family?
I have an awesome wife (Jaime), two great kids — daughter, Isadora (Isa) is about 2 years old and my son, Boden (Bodi) is 5 months old. I enjoy being a big kid myself who loves Shel Silverstein, Game of Thrones, and biking around town.
Where are you from?
I'm one of those rare Bay Area natives. Originally born in Oakland and raised in Berkeley, I spent a number of years in Seattle, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I came back home to the Bay, because there's no better place to be.
I currently live in North Oakland/Temescal, which is known for it's gourmet revival of Dona Tomas, Pizzaiolo, Bakesale Betty's, and for it's roving bands of hipsters.
What do you love about being a dad in the East Bay?
I enjoy the great weather (sorry SF, you're too foggy and SJ, you're too hot). We bike everywhere: to the store, gym, to work. There's tasty food everywhere, farmers markets, lots of green space and parks for us to picnic on and hike around. I love the diversity of people here in the East Bay, the combination of urban space and tech, and the culture that spawned Art Murmur and other creative projects.
My favorite Saturday morning ritual is to wake up, drink coffee, and hang out in our PJs until we get hungry enough to stroll to Aunt Mary's cafe.
Do you and Jaime have a favorite date night?
Our newest go-to date night is Commis. We just went there for our anniversary and the food there makes any visit an EVENT. It's so beautifully prepared with tweezers and colorful ingredients and the flavors are off the chart. Plus the sommelier knows his stuff.
What's the best birthday party that you've been to?
My favorite kids party place is Pump It Up. The kids have so much fun. I wish they allowed parents to bounce off of the inflatable structures too! [Heather's note: They do! Get in there, Ben!]
What is a great kid-friendly feature of your neighborhood?
Definitely the Temescal Creek park. It was just rebuilt at the end of last year and is a great place for toddlers. It's got little mushrooms to climb on, logs to run through and clean new playground equipment.
Has your daughter taken any classes that you just love?
The Berkeley YMCA has the best kids swim classes. We started my daughter when she was 6 months old and it's really helped her learn to swim (still learning) and develop a love for swimming. They have a little tots pool that is kept at the perfect temp and the instructors are lively and engaging.
Ben explains the inspiration behind this book project on kickstarter.com.
As a father of two little ones I deal with emotional outbursts from my own kids everyday. Ranging from being selfish and not sharing, to biting and pinching other kids. As toddlers they’re in this stage of life where they are overwhelmed by their emotions and can’t always communicate clearly what they want or need. Usually when I try to talk to my kids about sharing, it ends up with them crying and screaming on the ground. I’ve found the most effective (and fun!) way to teach my toddlers is through story. So I’m telling Please Share to help encourage positive behavior and introduce ways to cope with selfish emotions.
Learn more about Please Share on www.benbrunetti.com!
[Images and photos provided by Ben Brunetti, all rights reserved]