Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Activity: Mirror, Mirror

We have interacted with mirrors for months and months, starting with the bathroom mirror during bath time when Bugga was still using the baby bathtub. She had a great time making faces in the mirror.

Since we are in a new house, we have been decorating some of the rooms we didn't have before, and I keep finding new ways to entertain my toddler with things related to the new decor. Yesterday's was no different. We have two giant (and heavy, so they aren't going anywhere) mirrored stands in our front hall.

Bugga and I spent some time hanging out in front of them on accident during playtime, and she quickly discovered how much fun that kiddo is in the mirror. I'm not sure she truly realized that there are not two of us, since she kept looking around the corner for Mommy #2.

She had a blast sitting next to "Bugga #2" and talking to her, sharing her toys - and failing at trying to steal her playmate's toys (maybe this might teach a lesson??), and other fun. The two even had a dance party with some fast stepping moves.

I shared the fun with my husband and he was quick to suggest that Bugga give her new friend a high five, which she did - and this person NEVER misses on high five! Perfect!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Activity: Bubble Wrap

I am a closet "green" person hiding inside a parent's body. What I mean by that is before I became a mom, I cringed at the concept of waste and excess. However, since birthing my daughter I have at times let a lot of things go (we use a LOT of baby wipes in this house) and had to cope with the ridiculous amounts of product packaging that now enter our house wrapped children's goods.

I recently purchased a giant vase that the store wrapped in matching giant bubble wrap so I could get it home safely. Not the throw-in-your-recycling-bin kind that Crate & Barrel would give you (darn right I provided that link - they have great stuff and you can recycle ALL of their shipping materials), but the awful landfill-clogging kind.

So we were at least going to use it again after my vase safely made it to my house. Enter my toddler!!

Once she figured out where the crazy popping noise was coming from, she was hooked. Her little fingers and lack of upper body strength prevented her from being able to pop each bubble on her own, but that didn't stop her from trying. She was fascinated with touching each one as I popped it for her. And then she quickly ran away so she could bring back some of her little dishes, and before I knew it we were having a bubble wrap picnic. And her little heels and tailbone would surprise us here and there by popping bubbles on their own, which made her giggle. 

Anything to make my kid giggle!

Obviously, this is a supervised activity - but have fun with it if you have some bubble wrap crammed in a corner somewhere!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parenting Support #22

Could no one have been straight with me about how hard parenting is?

No one told you because they were all too tired to remember. Just remember, insane urges are totally normal, as long as you don't act on them! (I have wanted to bodily throw the cats down the stairs when they start crying JUST when I've got the baby down to sleep. But I don't. But it's a nice visual that calms me down...) Call me whenever you need a break! I'm happy to babysit for a few hours, or c'mon over for a drink.

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Parenting Support #23

Could no one have been straight with me about how hard parenting is?

I'm right there with you, and I know from experience it gets easier. Just not for another 2.5 yrs or so... ;) Joining a mom's group or playgroup was helpful for me just to talk to other moms with same aged kids. And don't feel bad, you are doing a great job I am sure! I am planning on working out at home this summer so I can use my daily 2 hrs of Y daycare to have fun at the pool with my older son, relax, and read. Yes I feel guilty about that, but not too much!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Your Child's Milestones

I am by no means a stickler for keeping up with the Joneses as far as what my children can or cannot do compared to the next kid. That being said - er, written - I still want to know when I can expect different abilities and personality traits to appear. This also helps me to know what I can help her to learn, since she might be developmentally ready.

As I read magazine articles and websites, or talk to other moms, I will collect what I learn in this post, so I can always have it as a reference for what fun stage will come next!

0-2 Months

  • Lifts head when lying on tummy (1 month)
  • Responds to sound (1 month)
  • Stares at faces (1 month)
  • Smiles and laughs (1 month)
  • Can see black & white colors very well (1 month)
  • Notices hands (2 months)
  • Gurgles and coos (1-2 months)
  • May roll over on their own (back to tummy) if baby is on the lower side of the scale, but will likely lose this ability until closer to 4 months. (2 months)

3-4 Months

  • Visually tracks moving objects (3 months)
  • Recognizes your face and voice (2-3 months)
  • May be able to roll over from tummy to back (3 months)
  • Turns toward sounds (3 months)
  • Can bat at toys (3 months)
  • Can bear weight on legs (4 months)
  • May cut first tooth (4 months)
  • May imitate sounds (4 months)
  • Can grasp toys (4 months)
5-6 Months
  • Plays with hands and feet (5 months)
  • Recognizes their own name (5 months)
  • Can rollover both directions (6 months)
  • Can sit without support (6 months)
  • Ready for solid foods (6 months)
  • Turns toward sounds and voices (6 months)
  • Passes an object between hands (6 months)
  • May start crawling (6 months)
7-8 Months
  • Starts to exhibit stranger anxiety (7 months)
  • Can wave goodbye (7 months) 
  • Can stand while holding onto something (7 months)
  • Can pull to a stand (7 months)
  • Combines syllables or jabbers (7 months)
  • Understands object permanence (7 months)
  • Crawls (7 months)
  • Can say "mama" or "dada" but not necessarily to anyone in particular (8 months)
  • Points at objects (8 months)
  • Cruises around furniture (8 months)
  • Enjoys peek-a-boo (8 months)
9-10 Months
  • Can drink from a sippy cup (9 months)
  • Eats with fingers (9 months)
  • Says "mama" or "dada" to the correct parent (9 months)
  • Can pick things up with pincer grasp (10 months)
  • Crawls very well (10 months)
  • Gestures to communicate (10 months)
  • Can stand alone for several seconds (10 months)
  • Puts objects into containers (10 months)
10-12 Months
  • Some babies can take a few steps at this point (11 months)
  • Understands "no" (11 months)
  • Can squat from standing position (11 months)
  • May say another word besides "mama" or "dada" (11 months)
  • Imitates others (12 months)
  • Can say two words besides "mama" or "dada" and uses them well ("hi" or "bye") (12 months)
  • Capable of going up and down stairs by themself (12 months)
  • Can walk alone (12 months)
13-18 Months
  • Can bend over to pick something up (13 months)
  • Can hold out their arm when you are dressing them (13 months)
  • Loves looking at their reflection in the mirror (13 months)
  • Can roll a ball back and forth to you (13 months)
  • Starts to imitate other people (14 months)
  • Can point to one body part when asked (14 months)
  • Can respond to basic instructions (14 months)
  • Initiates games (14 months)
  • Uses 3 words on a regular basis (15 months)
  • Walks backward (15 months)
  • Able to scribble with a crayon (15 months)
  • Tries to "help" around the house (15 months)
  • Can put finger to mouth and say "shhhhh!" (15 months)
  • The "no"s begin! (15 months)
  • Can turn book pages (16 months)
  • Temper tantrums due to frustration begin (16 months)
  • Becomes attached to a soft toy/blanket (16 months)
  • Starts climbing on everything (16 months)
  • Can stack 3 blocks (16 months)
  • Starts to use a spoon/fork (16 months)
  • Has learned the right way to use objects (telephone, spoon, books) (16 months)
  • Can take off one piece of clothing without help (16 months)
  • Switches from 2 naps to 1 nap (16 months)
  • Uses 6 words regularly (17 months)
  • Has fun pretending (17 months)
  • Throws a ball underhand (17 months)
  • Can feed a doll (17 months)
  • Likes riding on toys (17 months)
  • Able to speak more clearly (17 months)
  • Sorts toys by shape, color, or size (17 months)
  • Able to kick a ball (17 months)
  • Dances to music (17 months)
  • Will sit down and "read" board books alone (18 months)
  • Can scribble with a crayon (18 months)
  • Can create two-word phrases (18 months)
  • Can stack 4 blocks (18 months)
  • Brushes teeth with assistance (18 months)
  • Throws a ball overhand (18 months)
  • Showing signs of toilet readiness (18 months)
  • Takes apart toys and puts them back together (18 months)
  • Able to understand simple instructions (though will need repetition) (18 months)
  • Understanding "I am my own person" - leads to running away when in public! (18 months)
19 Months - 2 years
  • Able to run well (19 months)
  • Understands up to 200 words (19 months)
  • Recognizes errors (when you say "up" but mean "down") (19 months)
  • Washes and dries hands with help (19 months)
  • Takes off own clothes (20 months)
  • Learns 10 or more words per day (20 months)
  • Can go up stairs standing up (20 months)
  • Can stack 6 blocks (21 months)
  • Can name pictures in a book (21 months)
  • Follows 2-step requests like "please pick up that toy and bring it to me" (22 months)
  • Can do simple puzzles (22 months)
  • Can draw a straight line (22 months)
  • Can name several body parts (22 months)
  • Can put on loose-styled clothing (22 months)
  • Might be ready to transition from a crib to a bed (22 months)
  • Understands opposites (22 months)
  • Uses 50-70 words (23 months)
  • Can open doors (23 months)
  • Can sing basic tunes (23 months)
  • Has interest in playing with other kids (23 months)
  • Asks "why?" (23 months)
  • Talks about self (likes/dislikes, wants/needs) (23 months)
  • Can name 6 body parts (24 months)
  • Can speak in 2-3 word phrases (24 months)
  • Can go down stairs standing up (24 months)
  • Can arrange items into categories (24 months)
  • Learns how to jump (24 months)
  • Understands gender differences (24 months)
2-3 Years

3-4 Years
  • Understand how to take turns, share, and follow directions (3-4 years)
4-5 Years
  • Schools expect children to recognize uppercase letters, rhyme, and describe a basic plot; (start of kindergarten)
  • Should know how to count to 20 and identify simple shapes (start of kindergarten)
5-6 Years
  • Learning to tell jokes, but not quite understanding the concept of a punch line (5-6 years)
  • Learning to use exaggeration ("school-age")
6-7 Years

7-8 Years
  • Understanding punch lines in jokes (7-8 years)
  • Start requesting privacy (7-8 years)
8-9 Years

9-10 Years

10+ Years

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Recipe: Toddler Crockpot Oatmeal

I have never tried steel cut oatmeal before and picked up a container at the Trader Joe's that just opened near us. Unfortunately when I got home and read the instructions, I was disappointed to see how long it takes to cook. 30 minutes?? Who has that kind of time to spend on breakfast?? Certainly not a mom. Then I found a bunch of recipes for cooking your oatmeal overnight in your slow cooker so it is ready to eat as soon as you are in the morning. Genius. 

This is healthy for me, AND my still-picky 14-month-old easily took 10 bites of this, which is a lot for her. 

Here is my take on the recipe!

Toddler Crockpot Oatmeal

Servings: 8

2 cups organic steel cut oats
6 cups of water
3 tablespoons of organic brown sugar
2 tablespoons of organic butter
1 teaspoon of organic cinnamon
2 teaspoons of organic vanilla
2 mashed organic bananas (optional)
organic cooking spray

*This recipe was really easy to find organic items for everything I used, but if you don't have it in your area, the conventional version works the same as far as directions go.

  1. Spray your crockpot with the cooking spray.
  2. Combine all the ingredients and mix together.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours overnight to be ready for breakfast in the morning. Yep, that's it.
  4. For freezing, portion into serving-size containers and put in freezer. To reheat, put in the microwave for 2.5 minutes at high.
I used a decent-size crockpot since that is the only one I have, and we had enough left over for half of it to freeze for upcoming breakfasts, and another 2 servings (after we gobbled up this morning's bowls) for breakfast tomorrow on what is sure to be a busy Monday morning. Obviously you can use a smaller 2-qt or whatever, but just reduce the ingredients accordingly.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Recipe: Toddler Power Pancakes

Do you have a picky toddler? Apparently we all do. And since I dread most mealtimes right now, fearing the defiant refusal of all things edible, I'm constantly trying to find things that Bugga will eat. And it isn't much. Fortunately she does have some favorites. And luckily they go well in pancakes.

The wonderful thing about feeding your toddler pancakes is that you can pretty much sneak in the pureed version of anything healthy, and as long as there is something they like in there too that dominates the flavor, you should get lucky. Below is the recipe I used this morning, and my kiddo scarfed down two of these bad boys. And I made enough to freeze and use whenever I run out of berries or need a quick snack or meal.

Toddler Power Pancakes


1 cup of organic whole-wheat pancake mix**
1 organic egg
2/3 cup of organic whole milk
1 mashed organic banana (optional)
1 cup of organic blueberries (optional)
3 tablespoons of organic cottage cheese (optional)

*This recipe was really easy to find organic items for everything I used, but if you don't have it in your area, the conventional version works the same as far as directions go.
**Yep, I could have really gone with flour, sugar, etc. instead of a ready mix but today is more about the add-ins.

  1. Mix pancake mix with 1/2 cup of milk and the egg. 
  2. Add optional items and continue mixing until evenly distributed.
  3. Add additional milk as needed to get a slightly-runny consistency.
  4. Heat griddle or skillet on medium heat.
  5. Use cooking spray to ensure pancakes won't stick to your griddle.
  6. Add batter to griddle. Once sides start to harden or bubble, flip pancakes to other side.
  7. Once pancakes can be lifted easily from griddle using spatula, they are done.
  8. Enjoy!
I thought about going all creative and pulling out the pancake shape tools, but honestly, I am still cutting Bugga's food into bite-size pieces so the shapes would be lost on her at this age. Maybe by the end of the year!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Parenting Support #21

Could no one have been straight with me about how hard parenting is?

Just wait until potty training!! Worst part of parenting to date...I could write a book on what NOT to do! ;) Hang in there!! We ALL have days and moments of utter frustration, but even if we told you, you wouldn't believe it until you live it. Part of being a mom and you are doing great! I would worry more if you didn't feel that way!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Activity: Stacking Cups

My 14-month-old daughter is currently fascinated with containers, and things that she can put in them, while just as fast taking them right out. So we found a great way to make more fun with this.

Of course I spend a lot of my day in the kitchen, whether cooking and prepping meals, cleaning up the results, or racking my brain (seriously just had to look up whether 'racking' or 'wracking' is appropriate here and apparently the jury is still out) trying to come up with some food ideas my picky-ish toddler will tolerate. So Bugga spends a lot of time at my feet, and I wanted her to be entertained so I could still be productive.

I designated two lower cabinets to my less-valuable storage containers, all plastic. All other cabinets are of course locked (and she is fascinated by the locks, by the way, but anyway...), but these two contain two large blue tubs of fun. Though it's no Tupperware, the little plastic bowls you get with your Chinese takeout have made for the most fun. I somehow have an assortment of sizes and they all fit perfectly inside each other in any order.

Bugga loves to take these containers, fill them with her little toys, and then stack them up. Then she takes them apart, drags them to the living room, stacks them up again, and puts more toys in them. Then back to the kitchen for the game to begin again. She loves it, and I'm glad that she gets to practice her dexterity, her spacial reasoning, and will even listen to directions if I ask her to "please put that bowl back in the blue bin" or whatever.

I can't wait until she's big enough to help me mix ingredients!