Savvy Southern Mama Q&A: Beth Howells


Welcome to another SouthernMamas Q&A with one of our savvy readers about parenting tips, troubles and triumphs. (If you know a SouthernMama you’d like to nominate for a profile, email Read past profiles by clicking here. )

Meet Beth Howells, English professor and Armstrong administrator.

Your family: husband, David Thompson, Nurse Anesthetist; daughter, Elsie (Elizabeth Locksley Thompson), 2 years old; pug, Oscar, 7 and aging quickly with Elsie around; cat, Baby, who has better things to do. We live in midtown Savannah.

How would you describe your parenting philosophy?

Wow! We don’t really have a philosophy since this is our first. We are kind of making it up as we go. I guess we try to encourage Elsie’s independence, we try to let her explore and experience the world, and we try to stay positive. Most of this is not premeditated, though, we just end up trying to react appropriately in the moment and later reflect on whether or not our reaction was correct.

What are your child’s favorite books and toys?

It seems there are new toys every day: new instruments, animals, puzzles, balls… She finds them, loses them, refinds them, and loves them. And of course, the toys she likes best aren’t toys at all: toothbrushes, hair products, shoes… Actually, her current favorite is the Dora umbrella her babysitter Elaine gave her for her birthday.

Elsie loves books, every book, really. She loves the Boynton books; Each, Peach, Pear, Plum; Knufflebunny; the Carl books, the Peggy Rathman books; and Good Night Moon, of course. We’ve moved from the touchy-feely books to those with words and stories and find she even likes longer ones like Amelia Bedelia or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble–though we might summarize a bit. Ultimately, at this point, it is more about her parents’ favorites, books we aren’t tired of or too tired to read!

What are your child’s favorite TV shows or movies?

Elsie likes the Wiggles, Hi Five, and the Doodlebops–oh and Thomas, she has a thing for Thomas the train. She adores the bonus DVD that came with catch-the-moon.jpgthe Lisa Loeb/Elizabeth Mitchell CD–it has two songs that she dances to over and over: “Catch the Moon” and “Stop Go.” As for movies, she likes parts of Charlotte’s Web best but watches bits of Nemo from time to time. Of course, we try not to do too much TV, and then again, we just broke down and got the car DVD player for long roadtrips.

What are your child’s favorite foods?

Guacamole and chips. Edamame. Cheese. And ice cream for special treats.

What one adjective would you choose to describe motherhood?


Describe your most humbling parenting moment:

The most humbling moments are probably yet to come with #2 on the way in January. When we find our hands full with one two year old and see those handling much more than that with such grace, we are incredibly humbled. And we’ll have two girls–I imagine the teenage years with two will be a daily lesson in humility.

Describe your most beautiful parenting moment:

Coming home from work every day and seeing her face lit up and having her run to me saying “Mommy… Mommy…. Hug.” If she is anything like I was, unfortunately, she won’t always have that reaction to her mother, so it is especially beautiful to me.

Favorite local kid-friendly eatery?


Favorite local kid-friendly spot/event?

We love all of the little parks and playgrounds in Ardsley. We walk and bike to them daily.

What resource for children does our area lack, one that you would like to see here?

I hear the Charleston Children’s museum has a kid’s size little grocery story. I think Elsie would love something like that.

Who is your pick for the area’s best pediatrician?

Dr. Dudley Stone

What is your pick for the area’s best preschool?

Montessori Academy of Savannah.

Most valuable baby gift you received that you couldn’t live without?

Our Mountain Buggy stroller.

If you had zillions of extra bucks to donate, what charity/cause would you select?:

Fighting Cancer.

What is the one phrase you hope your child will say to you when she’s all grown up?

Nothing’s better than “I love you,” though, I will miss the childish little lisp–“I lub you.”

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