Archive for the 'useful kid stuff' Category

potty training: not my first rodeo

dear world,

N is ready to pee on the potty. i remember before i had children and felt faintly embarrassed by discussions of potty training, peeing, pooping and all the ins and outs of making this type of transition. let’s just say i’ve moved beyond that.

sunday, we started. N would have sat on her potty for 8 hours if we let her. the novelty of having something she could do on her own and something that she really doesn’t have to share must have felt pretty good. today, i sent her to school in training pants. she only had 2 accidents! amazing.

(i should note that i packed a giant bag of extra training pants and back-up clothes for just in case which i proceeded to forget on the porch. that added about 15 minutes to my morning: drop off N, pick up clothes, drop off V, go back and drop off clothes.)

we’re rewarding with big smiles. we’re rewarding with m&m’s. we’re reading potty books together. it’s pretty much all we’re talking about right now. however, it’s working. our two favorite potty books have been a hit with both girls:

a potty for me, by karen katz

once upon a potty, by alona frankel

has anything in particular worked for you? V didn’t get rolling until at least 2 1/2. N is ready much earlier because she wants to be just like her big sister. everyone got cheers for peeing on the potty this morning.

almost done with diapers,



saturday morning at the zoo

dear world,

an old friend came to town this weekend with his 2 year old daughter whom we have never met. what better place to let the kids get to know each other than the zoo?

we got there a little after they opened and his daughter, also a V, very specifically wanted to see the elephants and rhinos. then the tigers and lions. then my girls pretty much directed traffic.

komodo dragon, columbus zoo

however, right around elephants N decided that the stroller was for the birds and she wanted to walk with the big kids. needless to say, this slowed our progress somewhat. we could have hit way more areas today, but the kids had a great time wandering about at their own pace. the problem was when it was time to go. no one wanted to walk then. 3 parents carrying 1 child each all the way from australia to the exit gate.

at least we got to see the komodo dragon. dragons were also apparently on the second V’s list and fortunately, the komodo dragon woke up just as we walked past its area. it’s giant tongue flickered and it walked back and forth across it’s floor, all the while ogling our lovely ladies.

here’s looking at you, kid.

fresh strawberries

dear world,

friday night, my deal with V to settle down without fussing allowed her to choose her reward: 1. go to the book store in the morning and pick a book or 2. go to the farmer’s market and pick a treat. she picked go to the farmer’s market. (and she settled down without fussing!)

saturday morning, she asked first thing after opening her eyes if she had good enough behavior to go to the farmer’s market. she did, so we made the plan. she had to wear pants with pockets because she was going to get to carry her own money with her to pick out her very own treat.

this is the first time my daughter has left the house in jeans. she’s more of a leggings/skirt/dress type of girl.

at the farmer’s market, we picked out peas and asparagus for dinner. then, we examined each selection of strawberries before making our choice. she paid with 2 $2 bills, gifts from her great-grandma ann. she was so proud. she ate one in the car on the way home. she ate them for snack. they are now all gone and it’s only sunday evening.

peaceful bedtime in exchange for a quart of strawberries – yes please. i’m so trying that again next week,


children’s book: piglet’s picnic

dear world,

i must admit, i am a big fan of well written children’s books. there are some terrible books out there for all ages, but a poorly written children’s book is such a shame. it makes me appreciate a good one even more.

piglet’s picnic, by jessica souhami is one of my favorites at the moment. we got it a long time ago, but every once in a while V will bring it out again. it has all the elements of a good story- animals going on an adventure, food, repetition. it’s super fun. and all the animals think the food the other animals bring is yucky so as you’re reading aloud, you get to say, “that’s just nasty!” how many books for children are honest like that? not many.

i don’t know if they have it at the library, but i know they have it at cover to cover. i would recommend it for any young person, even early readers. the language isn’t complicated, but it is clear and concise. there aren’t any extra words.

always looking to add to our library,


creative naming

dear world,

V felt under the weather this week. when i picked her up from school wednesday afternoon, her teacher told me she said that her throat hurt. while she didn’t mention it again, she clearly didn’t feel like her normal self. she didn’t want dinner. she went to bed without a fight. she fell asleep in 10 seconds.

after a serious round of negotiations which included MHM and me standing in the kitchen, each listing all the important things we had to do at our respective jobs the next day, i ended up being the parent to stay home with her. (i was only going to be a participant in all my stuff whereas MHM was actually leading something.)

at the doctor’s office, V wanted to bring her puppy in with her. usually, we leave puppy in the car, but since she wasn’t feeling well we made an exception. the doctor asks, what’s your puppy’s name?

V replies, “little puppy.” because that’s her name.

what? the doctor asks. “little puppy,” V replies again.

how on earth did her most favorite toy/lovey get the name “little puppy”? i mean, we could have at least called her spot or sparky or benji, but no, little puppy it is. we are certainly descriptive if nothing else.

at least we know which puppy is which in our house. there’s giant puppy (which is giant), miffy (who is pink), noodle (who flops like a noodle) and so on. we also have big white bunny (which, you guessed it, is big and white.)

the creativity around here is stifling sometimes,


dance class dilemma

dear world,

V is taking dance classes. just as the holidays were getting underway, V revealed that her favorite thing to do is dance. and that she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up. we pulled up some videos of the nutcracker on YouTube and she loved it. and dance along with the sugar plum fairy. it seemed to be a real interest.

we checked out a dance studio and let her try a class. (the first class is free!) she adored it. she went right in and didn’t look back. she followed her teacher. she interacted with the other little girls. so, for christmas, we asked for dance lessons from one of her grandparents and went ahead and enrolled her.

obviously, there was a break over the holidays. no dance on christmas eve. no dance on new year’s eve. but all that is over now and we’re back to normal.

sort of. this past saturday, she was thrilled to put her tutu dress back on. she wanted to bring a cereal bar in the car. there was no fussing about leaving the house. and when we got there, she wouldn’t go in. i mean seriously, she hid her face in her arm. she literally wouldn’t participate in the class. the studio is set up so the kids go into a separate room and parents can watch on a monitor outside the classroom and she’s never had a reservation about it before. this time, i even went into the room and sat with her for a couple of minutes, but she refused to join the class. she wouldn’t even walk over with her teacher. so we left. i didn’t want to sit there and disrupt the other kids.

here’s my dilemma: dance is not mandatory and i don’t want to make her do something she doesn’t want to do. but the other side of that is we are spending a lot of money on dance classes that she said she wanted. but she’s three. does she actually have any idea what she wants long term? i don’t know. i’m torn between wanting her to go to see it through, not wanting to make her do something she doesn’t want to do and wasting all that money on a class she’ll probably never attend again. (did i read the contract regarding cancellation before i signed? of course not.)

to V’s very great credit, she did not throw a fit. it was like she was actually scared. my child who never met a stranger suddenly couldn’t bring herself to be in a class without her mommy. sometimes, i forget that she’s still a little kid. she’s so stubborn and independent and strong willed that when she isn’t, i’m surprised.

not sure how to handle a change of behavior,


holiday gifts for great-grandparents

dear world,

our children are fortunate enough to still have several great-grandparents around. however, this leads to a challenge at holiday time. they don’t want stuff, but we still need to give them gifts. the level of thoughtfulness has been increased. this past year, i decided that we wouldn’t get any great-grandparent something that couldn’t be consumed in some fashion- food, stamps, notecards. only useful, usable gifts from now on.

last year, we gave each great-grandparent two wallet size photos of V and two pretty magnets to hang them on the fridge. this year, V decided she wanted to make treats for them. this is our inexpensive, pre-schooler friendly treat solution. it kept V engaged for a long time and she asked to make more the following day. (i should note that the fun is increased by listening to christmas music the whole time.)

HERSHEY'S KISSES Milk Chocolatesingredients: 1 bag of small pretzels, 1-2 large bags of hershey kisses (depending on how many you want to make), 1 large bag of red and green plain m&m’s


  1. pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. line cookie sheets with foil and spray with cooking spray. (i think the spray is probably optional, but we had it so we used it.)
  2. take the wrappers off of a bag of kisses. put the kisses in one bowl and the wrappers in another.
  3. arrange pretzels in a single layer on a cookie sheet. fit as many as you can on there.
  4. put 1 kiss in the center of each pretzel then put in the oven for about 6 minutes. (you want the kisses to just start to soften, but not get too melty or the pan to get too hot.)
  5. remove pan from the oven and put 1 m&m in the center of each kiss and squish it down.
  6. let cool completely and store in a bag until ready to transfer to festive holiday bags.

the one warning i have is that if you have a young person helping you, be sure to warn her that the pan gets hot. V and i each accidentally touched the pan a couple times. no one got burned, but it is certainly not cool to the touch. we looked pretty funny making these last weekend- i had baby N in the front pack carrier, V stood on her step stool as we took off wrapper after wrapper. we had a ball.

happy for edible holiday treats,