As a mom (and teacher), I strive everyday to engage, nurture, and expand the mind of my little one.
Here you will find the books, music, and activities most useful to me in my endeavors.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the Speks Giveaway - 3rd Chance to Win!

Here's your 3rd - very sweet - chance to win a copy

of this fantastic kids' music CD ...

If you haven't already read my review and listened to this fantastic music,
it's only a click away.

This one is simple and fun ... here's your chance to "taste the rainbow" ...
just leave a COMMENT telling me .... which flavor is your favorite?

Missed the 2nd Chance?
Click here.

Letter Recognition - Online - Part 1

I am constantly finding great resources online ... sometimes it's hard to stop ... it's like an obsession! Lately, I've been focusing on Letter Recognition with my toddler. I have dozens of resources bookmarked, but I decided to give them to you in bite-size pieces ... three at a time!

A Printable Activity: Alphabet Picture Pages
Simple, black-and-white images - one for each letter of the alphabet.
This is a pdf file that prints in seconds and is ready to use - love that!

  • Cut apart the cards, color them, and match with foam letters.
  • Leave as solid pages, attach to a magnetic surface, and place a magnetic letter in the matching square.
  • Make letter cards and use the sets as a Memory game.
  • Lots of possibilities for very little work :)

An Interactive Site: - ABCs, Getting Ready to Read

Starfall is a plethora of resources, but I focused on this one interactive component. This activity requires a lot of clicking, but I think it's well worth that effort.

  • Click one of the letter blocks and the upper case and lower case letter are presented visually and verbally.
  • Click again and you'll hear the phonetic sound the letter makes.
  • Click the arrow to see a picture whose name starts with that letter.
  • Click again and the word is presented at the bottom of the screen and spoken aloud.
  • Get it? Keep clicking ...

A Video from YouTube: ABC Song, Let's Start Smart

My toddler enjoyed it, and I like that it focuses on lower case letters.

the Speks Giveaway - 2nd Chance to Win!

Here's your 2nd chance to win your very own copy of a fantastic kids' music CD ...
by the Speks

Leave a COMMENT telling me what your TODDLER would find in the pot at the end of the rainbow ... it can't be gold ... because, really, what toddler would be interested in gold?

If you haven't already read my review and listened to this fantastic music, it's only a
click away.

Accidents Happen: Knocked Out Tooth

Baby teeth. We anxiously await their arrival. We document the milestone of when our babies get their "first tooth." We dread the sleepless nights, the drooling, the biting (especially if still nursing). We hate to see our babies in pain. We marvel at that little pearly white as it pokes through the gum.

But what happens when one of those cherished baby teeth gets knocked right out of your precious toddler's mouth? Well, that's exactly what happened to Owen, NHV's good buddy and son of my friend Tammy.

It happened when O was about 21 months old. He was running on the sidewalk in front of Safeco Field when he tripped and fell on his face. Now, O has been walking since he was 10 months old, so he's had plenty of practice bracing his falls. This time, however, he was not so successful. When he came up for air, his face was cut, his lips all bloody, and little white bits of teeth were floating around in his mouth.

Needless to say, we peeled out so fast our stroller left dust clouds in our wake! We set up an emergency visit with Owen's pediatric dentist, who, bless her heart, had to come in on a beautiful Saturday morning when she was just getting ready to spend the day at the park with her husband. After a lot of screaming and prying, we were able to take an x-ray of O's mouth. Both front teeth were badly chipped. The one on the left had chipped in half horizontally, in a crescent shape. The one on the right was not so lucky. Not only did it have a huge triangle chunk cut out of it, but it had a vertical fracture into the root.

Diagnosis? Extraction of the doomed tooth.

There was no other choice. I wanted to cry. What does this mean?? O will have one, albeit compromised, front tooth until his permanent ones come in. For the next 8 or 9 YEARS, he'll be known as the kid with one tooth! "Isn't there anything you can do?", I asked the dentist. "Baby dentures? Implants?" Unfortunately, no. They don't want to disturb or disrupt the growth of the permanent tooth. On top of that, Owen had to be sedated for the extraction process, unless we want him to be traumatized for the rest of his life, not to mention the fact that it'd probably take 2-3 large adults to hold him down for the removal if we choose to forgo the anesthesia ...

Click here to read the details of O's surgery.


As you saw in the photo above, ultimately, the decision was made to extract one of Owen's front teeth ... and clearly, having one less tooth hasn't slowed him down or made him any less adorable! But what a tough experience for parents to go through and clearly this is an accident that could happen to any toddler at any time! And any teenager, as my mom can attest to ... my 17 year old brother got his braces off and had his front tooth knocked out - playing tackle football without pads or a helmet - all within the same month! Talk about an expensive set of chompers!

As kiddos get older, this becomes an even more serious injury. According to, A dislodged baby tooth can't be replaced and does not need to be put back in. On the other hand, a permanent tooth, which is more sharply defined than a baby tooth, can often be saved if prompt action is taken and the tooth is handled carefully. A permanent tooth has the best chance of survival if replaced within 30 minutes.

In this case, prevention is a tough one. With toddlers the advice is to make sure the child is supervised ... which is a no-brainer. But an exuberant runner and unbraced falls, well, those things just happen - whether you're watching or not! For older kids, it's extremely important that proper protection is worn while playing sports.

Read more about Tooth Injuries here.

Click here for a Knocked-out Tooth Instruction Sheet.

Disclaimer: Clearly the Accidents Happen series is meant to be informative but also from a mother's point-of-view. The information provided in these posts are medically accurate - to the best of our knowledge - but we are not licensed physicians. We are mothers sharing an experience.

You may also want to read my other Accidents Happen posts:
Nursemaid's Elbow
Object in Nose

Sunday, September 27, 2009


There once was a mom of a sweet little tot
Many a kid's music CD she has bought
When from across the sea
New tunes just for me
A love for Sing-Alongs I've certainly caught

I'm writing silly limericks. I am craving a big bowl of Lucky Charms! (And I don't think it's just some weird pregnancy craving!) I've met a troop of leprechauns Irishmen, and they are quite talented. I've danced a jig. I've laughed with my lassy. I've even spotted a rainbow or two ... and that pot of gold comes in the form of some really great kid-friendly music ... and this discovery wasn't made at my local library (as are most of my music-finds).

No, this CD found me from all the way across the sea - an island off Ireland to be more exact. I received a delightful email from a guy named Quince. He likened his music to "Riverdance for toddlers" and said his bandmates would be "like cows jumping over the moon with delight," if I would accept a copy of their debut CD! How could I possibly refuse an offer like that?

Sing-Along Songs from Glasses Island by the Speks

The CD is a collection of traditional songs - mainly nursery rhymes - with musical arrangement that is really unique and delightful. I am mesmerized, and a bit enamored, by the instrumentation - fiddle, banjo, flutes, and others I am sure I can't even name. The familiarity of the songs makes singing along, well, easy and fun for adults and kiddos. But it's the Irish flair that gets my toes tapping and my face smiling ... and occasionally a leprechaun accent used :) We've listened to these songs in the car and during dinner-making hour, a tough time of day for toddlers ... but I've found this music puts us both in a good mood!

The band's website is very, very well-done ... and I am kind of hard to please in that department. The design is clean and simple. The content is high-quality. That's about the best combination I can hope for in a website! Obviously, there's a link to listen to their songs - for free - called Our Jukebox. But what I am most impressed by is the Teaching Notes section. Talk about an unexpected little pot of gold at the end of an already wonderful rainbow! Each song is linked to an explanation of the arrangement, activity suggestions, and the lyrics. And as I told Quince, "As a mommy and a teacher, I certainly appreciate entertainment that is also educational."

Hey, Hey Did Someone Say Giveaway?

The Speks were so generous and sent me two copies of their debut album - one for me and one for Natalie ... however, this seems like the perfect opportunity to give my toddler some practice with the concept of sharing, I've decided to SHARE GIVE her copy to one of you!

Here's your first of many chances to win, win, win ... Natalie's your very own copy of ...
Sing-Along Songs from Glasses Island by the Speks

Giveaway - 1st Chance: Go visit their website - - and get to know these guys a little better: watch a video, listen to a few songs, or read a few of the Teaching Notes. Come back here and leave a FIRST IMPRESSION COMMENT.

All of the other CHANCES (5 in all) ask you a simple - Irish-related - question.
Click to go to the other posts.
Giveaway - 2nd Chance
Giveaway ends Sunday, October 4th at midnight PST. If you leave a comment, please make sure I have a way of contacting you.
Start with a limerick, end with a proverb, that's what I always say ...
“Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reasons to Count

I am constantly looking for excuses to have my toddler COUNT. Let's see if I can think of 10 things we count on an-almost-daily basis:

  1. Animals, objects, etc. in the pages of a book

  2. Steps as we are walking up/down

  3. Bath toys as we are putting them away

  4. Crackers on her tray at snacktime

  5. Fingers and Toes, Eyes and Nose

  6. Pieces of mail as I pull it from the box

  7. Dolls we can take with us on an outing (I set a number, otherwise we'd have a whole car full!)

  8. Blocks/cups we can stack before it tumbles

  9. Cabinets (or knobs) in the kitchen while I am trying to cook

  10. And most recently, Hide-n-Seek:

Okay, I admit it. This entire post was just an excuse to share a cute video :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Accidents Happen: Allergic Reaction

It's hard to imagine that something you feed your child - or something that your child finds in your house and ingests - could cause a very serious, life-threatening reaction. But that's exactly what can and does happen. In this situation, it is imperative that you act quickly.

This post focuses on peanuts as an allergen, and with good reason, "Peanuts are among the most common allergy-causing foods. It's likely that more Americans are allergic to peanuts than any other food." Insect bites, other foods, and certain medications can also trigger anaphylaxis.

The following post was written by Terri, a very good friend of mine here in the NW. Recently, her little guy Gavin had a scary allergic reaction. My heart aches a little as I read her experience. I am so glad that G is okay! The insight that Terri provides is so honest and her tips could be quite possibly life-saving.

We found out the hard way about Gavin's peanut allergy. We had talked about having him try peanuts before we went on a European cruise, thinking that if he was allergic, we'd rather find out when we were 8 minutes from the ER, as opposed to 800 miles. He was 19 months old, so we figured getting close to the age he'd be ok. Neither of us have any food allergies in the family, so we were not expecting him to have one. We hadn't planned it, but Brian and I were eating peanut butter toast one day, and Gavin wanted to try it. He reached out for it, and took a bite. I didn't think much of it, until his face started getting a red rash. I panicked a little when it started going down his neck, and had Brian get the Benadryl. Gavin took some, and then he seemed fine. We decided to go to the park. At the park, Gavin started coughing (like he had something stuck in his throat) and a drink of water wouldn't help. His nose started running, and I knew a cold couldn't come on that fast. We went home, and tried to put him down for a nap, but he was very irritable. After a while of crying and labored breathing, I had Brian call the doctor, and when he was on the phone, I turned on the light to look at Gavin. Sure enough, his face was swelling, and he had hives all over. We asked the doctor (still on the phone) what to do.
  • Was he wheezing? Kind of... definitely breathing heavy.
  • Was he swelling? Yes.
  • How far away is the ER? less than 10 minutes.
  • Okay, take him there now.
We hopped in the car and drove off. On the way there, I sat in back with my baby while he continued to swell, had even more shallow breathing, runny nose, and he started drooling. He was staring off into space. To say I was scared is the understatement of the year. I wanted to scream at my husband to drive faster! I wanted to grab my baby and cradle him in my arms! I watched helplessly begging God to let us get there in time, and to keep my baby safe. I tried to hold back the tears so I wouldn't scare him, but I have never been so scared in my entire life. My whole being was afraid of losing this precious little baby.

We made it to the ER, raced in, and they got him an epinephrine shot and loaded him up with Benadryl right away. Eventually the swelling stopped and started to get better, and he finally slept. Once the doctor said he'd be okay, and began asking questions, I lost it. I couldn't move and just clutched my little boy that we could have lost. He had a full anaphylactic reaction but - thanks to treatment - would be okay. We were transferred to the hospital downtown for 24 hour observation, and he got better through the hours. It was a day I will never forget, and that has changed our life forever. I learned so many things, a few of which I'd like to pass on to every mom:
  • ALWAYS CALL 911 if you think there is an allergic reaction. We were told time and time again that we should have just called 911. It could mean life or death for your child. Even if you already have an epi pen, use it, then ALWAYS call 911 if there is a reaction.
  • Kids can have a food allergy even if no one in your family has one. If you have OTHER allergies (hayfever, eczema) that can make a child more prone.
  • Keep Childrens' Benedryl on hand even if you never use it. The doctors think that us giving it to him right away could have saved him from going into Anaphylactic Shock. (Always check with your pediatrician before you give any meds).
  • Potential signs of an allergic reaction: Hives, Itchy or Runny Nose, Swelling (lips, eyes, face is serious), Coughing (meaning they are having trouble breathing), Red Eyes -- typically a child won't be able to go to sleep with all this going on, according to the ER doc which is also a sign.
  • Allergies to peanuts (and other items) can vary in sensitivity (meaning amount of exposure needed to cause a reaction) and severity (what happens when a reaction occurs). Anaphylactic reactions mean that it starts to affect their breathing, Anaphylactic Shock means it also affects their circulatory/nervous system and is even more serious.
  • Over 1% of US kids have allergies to Peanuts. There are many theories as to why, which range from an increased amount of peanut products in our diets (US eats over 8 billion lbs of peanuts a year!), to how they are prepared here in the US, to us not exposing our kids to enough bacteria to build up their defenses.
  • Peanuts hide in all kinds of food. Specifically many types of Chinese foods, cookies, ice creams, candy (including plain M&M's), sauces, and more. READ LABELS. It becomes a habit. Remember if you have a peanut allergic child over - and you make PB&J for your kids, and dip a knife in peanut butter before the jelly - don't give them jelly from that same jar!
  • Always consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about any allergy or allergic reaction. Allergies to any foods can be very serious.
  • Be sensitive to others that have an allergic child. Understand that it can be extremely serious, and what should be done if a child you know has an allergic reaction when you are with them (using an epi pen is EASY!). Mom's with allergic kids will be so appreciative of your sensitivity, understanding, and knowledge, and feel more comfortable letting their kids come to play. All these kids want is to fit in, feel happy, and be safe!

Printable Allergic Reaction Instructions ... from

Disclaimer: Clearly the Accidents Happen series is meant to be informative but also from a mother's point-of-view. The information provided in these posts are medically accurate - to the best of our knowledge - but we are not licensed physicians. We are mothers sharing an experience.


You may also want to read my other Accidents Happen posts:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Question(s) of the Day

As moms (and dads), we are suppose to have ALL the answers, right?! The big ones like the hows and whys. And the more mundane wheres - like my shoes? I tell ya, Alex Trebek's got nothing on the moms of the world!

It's a good thing we have each other to rely on. To share what works and what doesn't. To suggest a new approach. To tell about the latest and greatest and the oldies-but-goodies. To speak from experience. To learn from mistakes. To impart wisdom. To provide ah-ha moments :)

Allow me to pose a few toddler-related QUESTIONS for you to ponder. If you have some insight, please leave a comment ... start a dialogue ... let's build up our arsenal of ANSWERS.

1. How do you clean up your toddler after a meal?

I've tried using baby wipes but that just seemed wasteful. Mostly, I've been using infant wash clothes - a new one each day - that I wet with warm water and a little soap, wipe face and then hands, rinse it and hang it to dry by the sink. But I wonder if that's really "clean."

2. How many pairs of shoes does your toddler have at any one time (seasonally)?

This summer NHV had three pair: white sandals to wear with dresses, bright pink Crocs meant as pool shoes but she wore them all the time, and sneakers. I am gearing up for fall and wondering how many pairs of shoes she'll need. Perhaps this is more of a girl thing than a boy thing? I am seeing so many cute options ... sneakers, Mary Janes, boots, ... but I want to be rational because they outgrow those darn things so quickly!

  • Nothing too deep ... just looking for insight and input ... let me know your thoughts :)
  • If you have a question you'd like featured on a future Question of the Day post, please email me.
  • Also, I will have a great Accidents Happen post for you on Wednesday - just need another day to finalize it :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Toddler TV Time

inspired by All About MEme Monday @ MommyBrain

Allowing young children to watch television is a bit of a controversial subject, and there's been all kinds of research done to provide evidence of the TV's impact on toddler learning, social growth, and attention spans.

Some parents firmly believe that no television should be "consumed," while others leave the TV on morning-noon-and-night. Still others fall somewhere in between ... I fall "somewhere in between" but I also have the perspective that what my toddler watches should be valuable - as much as possible. It's not just about quantity; it's more so about quality.

I will also honestly tell you that sometimes a 20-minute DVD saves my sanity, and I could care less if she's learned something while watching it. How's that for a reality check? :)

Here are some of the toddler media I consider to be quality:

  1. Eebee's Adventures - one of the first shows NHV ever watched when she was about 9 months old. It features real babies/toddlers engaged in hands-on learning with things like balls and ramps, containers and scoops, and everyday objects. The philosophy behind this program is that learning is taking place every day and every waking moment. It reminds parents to capitalize on the "little things" that teach big ideas. The parent section of their website is one of the best I've seen.
  2. Super Why - there's a real-life problem that mirrors a storybook problem; the literacy components include displaying story text at the bottom of the screen, choosing a word from a list, looking for super letters, using context clues, and spelling. There's also a website for parents (and teachers) with additional literacy activities.
  3. Sid the Science Kid - this show is to science and thinking skills as Super Why is to literacy; a new science concept is first introduced in the home, and then carried to school; I most appreciate the questioning skills that are modeled. There's also a website for parents (and teachers) with activities to expand the episode's focus.

A few other thoughts on this topic - articles I found and read online:

What TV programs does your toddler watch/love/learn from?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fingerpaint - More than just Messy

Fingerpainting with a toddler certainly isn't a new or radical idea. Yes, it's messy, which may be a little stressful for some adults. But the benefits to toddlers are numerous and important.

Fingerpainting allows toddlers to

  • experiment with textures
  • express their own creativity emotional
  • experience sensory details, particularly visual and tactile
  • learn about colors before and after mixing
  • doodle shapes in the paint
  • make prints with hands, feet, elbows, ... appropriate body parts

To make the experience more enjoyable - and less messy - for you, try these suggestions:

Paint outside; you don't even need a table. Just spread newspaper on the sidewalk, pour some paint on a paper plate, and you're ready to go!

Use the highchair. It's a great alternative and keeps the kiddo contained.

Cover up or paint in the buff. There's nothing fun about adding to your laundry piles, so throw on a smock (I hear Ikea has them really cheap.) or one of daddy's t-shirts (My husband still has shirts from college; they are expendable as far as I am concerned!). Warm weather painting can be done in just a diaper - I am referring to your toddler here, not you :)

And remember, fingerpaint is washable, so don't get too bent out of shape about the (potential) mess. Have fun!

Oh, apparently you can Make-Your-Own Finger Paint (imagine that!)... with all the cornstarch you have left over from making Moon Sand :)

Finger Paint Recipe
4 cups cold water
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon tempera paint or food coloring
Mix water and cornstarch; cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add paint or food coloring, or divide the mixture into three parts and add three different colors.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Smithsonian Free Museum Day

Looking for a fun - perhaps different - way to spend a Saturday afternoon with your toddler?
Oh, and did you catch the fact that I said, FREE?
I love, love, love FREE toddler-friendly entertainment, especially when it's something that grown-ups enjoy, too!

Smithsonian Magazine is sponsoring a nationwide Museum Day, which allows you to enjoy free general admission to hundreds of museums and cultural venues on Saturday, September 26, 2009.

Click Here for more details.

Click Here to find a venue near you.

Click Here to download the required Admission Card.

It will be a tough decision for us here in the NW. Here is just a partial list of participating museums in the area:
  • Bellevue Arts Museum - Oh, an art museum near a Jimmy John's location ...
  • Experience Music Project - This is my personal 1st choice.
  • KidsQuest Children's Museum - We already have a membership.
  • Log House Museum - This one made me chuckle ... and think of my dad.
  • Seattle Art Museum - What's not to love about an art museum?
  • The Museum of Flight - Guessing this will be CPV's top choice.


Will you be enjoying a FREE trip to a museum on the 26th? If so, let me know which museum!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We have a winner ...

... or two.
Just found out that Kevin Skynner, the chicken catcher, won this season of America's Got Talent - a show I've been following (and crying through) all season.

And, more importantly, a dear friend and loyal commenter, Deann, won the What the Heck? Giveaway here at ToddlerBrain!

Other than winning, I don't think these two have anything in common ... well, Deann does make a delicious chicken and noodle soup :) She also happens to be an awesome mom, a supportive friend, and a talented photographer. Check out her blog here and her photography site here.

Anyway, here's the screen shot evidence of the judges' decision.

Just in time for baby number 2 - brushing up on all that newborn stuff while continuing to navigate the toddler waters - Deann has won a year's subscription to Parents magazine.

Thank you to my awesome commenters who racked up a totaly of 50 comments in about a week. I truly appreciate the support as I enjoy the outlet of writing and figure out where this blog thing is taking me :)

Today's Toddler Lunch

Been awhile since I did this ... and I always get ideas from your comments.

Today's lunch was an interesting combination.

Aside from the veggies, it was well received :)

Eating Right Kids - Whole Wheat Pasta Rings in tomato and cheese sauce
(a healthier version of Spaghetti-Os from our childhood)

Cottage Cheese, Green Beans, & Apple Slices


Your turn. Give me some ideas to expand my toddler's lunch repertoire.

What did your little ones eat for lunch today?

Moon Sand

This stuff is C-double O-L!

My toddler and I ventured to the local kid's museum today. Last week was Super Clean Week. This morning was an hour for members only. It was delightful.

Even more delightful, the new exhibits that were recently added - a giant Light Bright and a Moon Sand table. As soon as I saw it, I just had to put my hands in the Moon Sand. It looks like really soft beach sand, but it's different. It's pliable and moldable and not nearly as messy as regular sand. Clearly, NHV and the other kiddos loved it! And so I added "research Moon Sand" to the top of my To Do List, and here I am ... sharing what I've learned with you.

Here's the product summary from the manufacturer:

Moon Sand let's anyone bring home the beach and in colors too. This revolutionary new material feels and acts like wet sand and molds to any shape you can imagine. Squish it, shape it, mold it, Moon Sand never dries out and can be used over and over again for never ending fun. It's even water and liquid repellent. Bake your creation in a low oven and it becomes rock hard, even suitable for carving. Bake it again and it crumples back into its original shape to be used over again and still won't dry out. Clean up easily and won't stick or stain. Sand expands to twice its size out of the package.

I found this information on Amazon along with a 5lb bucket for under $10 + shipping. Looks like it's also available at Target, which would save you the shipping.

And leave it to all those clever bloggers out there. I also found a recipe for homemade Moon Sand. I can't recommend it - one way or another - because I haven't tried it YET, but I will ... and I'll let you know.


This makes 1 "batch" - probably enough to get your kiddo started and figure out if you like it or not. I will probably get all the supplies and then host a playdate where everyone makes some Moon Sand to take home with them. (resource)

  • 6 cups of play sand (I think you can get a big bag for like $5.)
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold water
  1. Mix the water and cornstarch together thoroughly, this will take a few minutes to get it nice and smooth.

  2. Gradually mix in the sand, one cup at a time. You'll need to really work it in with your fingers.

  3. Play with it!

  4. When you're all done, pop it in an airtight container.

  5. When you next play with it, you'll need to revive it with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Just sprinkle it over and work it in.

  6. If you want the Moon Sand to be colored, add a few drops of food coloring

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Accidents Happen: Object in Nose

At some point before they start picking their nose incessantly (don't get me started about boogers!), toddlers have been known to give nasal "input" a try. I'll admit it, even I have a personal (and I do mean, personal) story of nasal ingestion, but first read Chitown Momma's story of her toddler B and the wheel that almost got away!

Causes: Curious toddler given a toy to have in his crib during nap, apparently wants to see if the wheel from his Matchbox tank will fit in the facial crevice (otherwise known as the nose!) Now, this toy has been played with countless times, so this unsuspecting momma never gave it a thought. Fast forward through a delightful three hour nap…

Symptoms: Come in when I hear him fussing over the monitor, he says “Nose.” (my little guy is a man of few words, literally!) He typically has me wipe his nose, so no red flags just yet. He then says, “Dirt” while pointing to his nose…hmmm. Finally says, “Tickle,” in a not so much haha voice but rather a little pathetic, painful whimper (note to self: work on the meaning of tickle.) So I touch the outside of his nose and sure enough I can feel something hard up there.

My Response: Call pediatrician’s office, which of course it is right at closing time, and leave a message on the medical advice mailbox. Then call my husband. At this point I still didn’t know what it was. He tells me to get a flashlight and look up there (so smart!) I then see that it is green, army green, and make the connection. Find the tank in his crib and sure enough two of the wheels are missing. (I later broke off a third one just to see, and it required quite a bit of force). Hubby suggests trying to take it out with tweezers. I wasn’t so keen on the idea, but knew I needed to do something. However, holding down a toddler by yourself and working with tweezers is next to impossible. Luckily the dr.’s office called back.

Recommended medical treatment: Pinch the unobstructed nostril shut. Place your mouth over your child’s mouth forming a seal (envision administering mouth-to-mouth). Blow forcefully into your child’s mouth. It totally works. The object does not come flying out but it definitely gets pushed down to where you can get it without tweezers! However, this method does require 2 adults, as the little one does not enjoy this experience! This method only produced one of the two wheels, so we can only assume that the other was swallowed or had previously been broken off and I didn’t know. I had intentions of monitoring diapers to find it, but silly me served peas that night for dinner. I felt the danger had passed and did not feel the need to determine if each little green morsel was a pea or the MIA wheel!

Note: Prior to getting the phone call from the office, I emailed my Ped (love that she offers this!). She emailed me back saying to bring him in at 9 the next day. Now I don’t think I could have put B to bed knowing there was a wheel in his nose, but clearly the doc didn’t think it was an emergency. When I emailed her to say we got the one out we could see, but the other was MIA, she said there was no need to come in at all. Enough time had passed that there was no danger of choking.

Other likely culprits, according to BabyCenter:

  • Candies: Brightly colored and just the right size; need I say more? Jelly beans, M&M's, Nerds, Skittles,

  • Food: Because of easy access (hello, toddlers have to eat) probably the most common thing that a toddler will stick up his nose. Spaghetti noodles, French fries, beans, peas, Cheerios, ...

  • Small Toys: Guessing this is part of the reason there's a toy category known as three and older. Legos, crayons or pencils, marbles, small action figure or doll accessories, ... are you saying, "Ouch," right about now?

  • Household Items: So many small things around the house, so little time! Q-Tips, pet food, batteries, caps to bottles, beads, paperclips, ...

  • Mattress/Pillow stuffing: Small pieces of foam, fabric, batting can either come loose or be torn loose and then "stuffed" into the nose. I apparently did this when I was about two years old - without my parents realizing it. My mom claims that I had the worst breath she had ever smelled (nice, huh?) and my nose began running constantly with a bright green colored snot. At the doctor's office, it was found that the foam inside my nasal passage was rotting and causing an infection ... thus the bad breath and disgusting snot!

Other Symptoms: If a strange object has made its way into your toddler's nose, you may notice that just one nostril is runny, and the discharge could be stinky. (If the runny nose is due to a cold, both sides will probably be runny.) Your child may complain of a tickle, pain or discomfort, or he may get a nosebleed.

On a More Serious Note: A lodged object can cause infection and long-term damage. Some objects cause a bigger problem the longer you wait. (A bean can swell and become more difficult to remove, for example, and a small button battery can cause serious tissue damage.)

A final thought: Yes, my mommy (and daddy) friends, Accidents Happen, and sometimes odd objects find their way into tiny orifices (I've been itching to use that word!). All we can do is ensure toys are appropriate for our toddler and supervise him/her closely. When all else fails, it's important to rely on knowledge of symptoms and how to respond.

You may also want to read my other Accidents Happen posts:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Toy Organization, Part 2

I usually feature new music on Mondays, while this post isn't about songs, I am hoping it's music to your ears ... and eyes.

About a month ago, I featured a guest blogger, my friend at Rocky Mountain Baby. She's got a great toy organization system that is working for her. Now I am sharing my system - or at least part of my system - with you. You should know that I am a freak when it comes to organization. If it can be color-coded or labeled, I am just that much happier :)

I am extremely fortunate to have a seriously handy/talented husband. He built the majority of my storage downstairs - in the family room and living room. In addition to tons of shelf space for storing books and a few toys, I have four big bins - stashed away on shelves - in each room. I don't know what I would do without all my delightful bins. Those bins save my sanity on a daily basis.

Here's the family room built-in. Lots of shelves up high for photos and my books and what-not, and everything in my toddler's reach is meant for her to play with ... how ideal is that?

View of the built-ins and baskets.

The contents of the bins in the family room.

The small animals make their way into most of our dance parties. The musical instruments (mostly homemade) serve as great accompaniment, too. The blocks and cars, if I am being honest, don't get much love from NHV, but many of her buddies like to play with them. Oh, and of course, I've designated one bin that's really for me ... diaper changing essentials.

The blank-and-white woven baskets came from Walmart Online. The top has a hard wire frame, but the rest is totally pliable. I looked to find a link for them, but I can't find them again. I was lucky to find them because I needed this exact size to fit the built-ins.

In the living room, there are more custom shelves ... but I bought the big, deep chocolate brown canvas bins before my husband started building. That saved me a major headache later. I think the bins came from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

All four are located at the very bottom - perfect for toddler scavenging. And just above them is a deep shelf for books, toys, and other goodies.

  • Bin 1: Pretending - Natalie's favorite! Hats, scarves, little bags, cell phones, bracelets, tutus, ... all the things a little girl needs to accessorize!
  • Bin 2: Stacking - cups, DiscoveryWorks pegboard and pegs (stored in Ikea bricks), super cool Wedgits, and plastic links (stored in hospital water bottles).
  • Bin 3: Learning - puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles (again, pieces stored in Ikea bricks)
  • Bin 4: Cuddling - baby dolls, blankets, bottles, onesies, ... all the things a little girl needs to take care of her babies!

I have a different system upstairs and another one for crafts and such. I'll share those with you another time. If you have a toy organization system that you'd like to share, let me know ... I would love to have a few guest bloggers share what works for them :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Score 2 for the Potty Team

Yes, that's right! Natalie did it again. And this time - more noteworthy - it was not only her second success, but it also was a number 2! Sorry if that's TMI, but really if you're reading a blog about toddlers, you should probably expect this type of news. (Click here to read about today's earlier potty breakthrough.)

Anyway, there was much fanfare and "poo-poo in the potty" dancing. After a glance in the potty - by all three of us, it's safe to say that the results were, in daddy's words, "substantial."

As for the photographic documentation, I did NOT go there ... and I won't. But I am beaming with pride and feeling like we are in the right place at the right time with potty training ... only tomorrow (and the next day and the next day) will tell :)

Also, be sure to enter my
"What the Heck?" Giveaway.
Just comment on ANY post and you're entered to win :)

Guess Who ...

... Just Made Pee-Pees on the Potty!

And here she is eating a celebratory breakfast of Pirate's Booty while watching a little Curious George ... because that's what she wanted ... and in all the excitement, I was willing to give her anything she wanted! I couldn't get her to sit on the potty long enough to grab the camera, so this is her post-pee-pee photo :)

I know we are a loooong way from being potty trained, but this is a breakthrough! Just when I thought I can't possible sit on this stool and read another book ... she did it! She knows what it feels like now! Step in the right direction for sure!

Most recently, I've been reading the No-Cry Potty Training Solution. Based on the readiness quiz, NHV is ready for this endeavor, which is giving me the confidence to forge ahead. I have a renewed interest in teaching my toddler this important life skill ... let's just hope it lasts through the many setbacks ahead :)
Also, be sure to enter my "What the Heck?" Giveaway.
Just comment on ANY post and you're entered to win :)

Smooth(ie) Operator

Are you ready for your weekly dose of Food & Fun here at ToddlerBrain? What's more fun than a bunch of fruit smoothie recipes? And they're food-like, too, right?

Not to jinx myself, but I am making some progress with getting my toddler to eat veggies. However, I continue to count on smoothies as a sure-fire way to increase her daily fruit intake. If I am being completely honest, my fruit intake and my tastebuds are thanking me, too :)

Berr-i-licious Smoothie
1 banana
1 handful of raspberries
1 handful of blueberries
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt (your favorite flavor)

Add the banana, raspberries, blueberries, milk and yogurt to the blender. Blend well. Enjoy.

Apple Smoothie Recipe
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 cup apple juice
1 carton apple yogurt or other flavor
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup ice cubes
Mix ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups orange juice
1 banana, cut in pieces
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
Add ingredients together in blender and blend until smooth.

Blueberry Fruit Smoothie
Carton of Blueberry yogurt
1 Cup of milk
1 Cup frozen or fresh blueberries, strawberries or peaches
½ cup ice cubes
Add all together in blender and blend until smooth.

Feeling adventuresome? Feeling autumnal? Feeling a little Jack .. O'Lantern?
Give this one a try ... I double-dog dare you ... and be sure to tell me how you and your toddler liked it :)

Pumpkin Smoothie
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 ice cubes

Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.

Random Bit of F-U-N: A quick Google search for the title of my post, produced this delightful result ... a game that allows you to make (and name) virtual smoothies. More fun than you can shake a stick at, I tell ya!

Planet Science: Smoothie Operator


Also, be sure to enter my "What the Heck?" Giveaway. Just comment on ANY post and you're entered to win :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Book is a Hoot!

Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Jen Corace

My toddler has been on a bit of an owl kick for the past few months. Okay, that's an understatement; we've been whoo-who-ing all over the place. Good thing her auntie Heather bought Little Hoot for her during a recent visit to the NW.

This story not only feeds Natalie's owl obsession but it's also quite delightful ... which, really, is no surprise considering the author whoo-who has written several other wonderful clever and creative children's books. She has entire "little" series that show parent-kid role reversal in regards to things like eating vegetables, getting a good night's rest, and cleaning up messes. For the slightly older crowd, I imagine these stories inspire much silliness and giggles. That bigger message goes over my toddler's head - right now - but it certainly isn't lost on me ... plenty of giggles from this momma!

So Little Hoot is the story of a young owl (hopefully you got that already) who wants to go to bed but his parents insist that he stay up late; apparently, that's the only way to "grow up to be a wise owl." He keeps asking to go to bed to which his parents reply that he must stay up and play for another hour. Are you seeing the role reversal here? Hee, hee! There's even a two-page spread featuring 10 minutes of action, a great exercise in counting.

My favorite lines:
  • The first line of the books is, "Once, up on a branch, there was a fellow named Little Hoot."
  • In response to Little Hoot's complaints about staying up late, Father owl says, "And besides, I don't give a hoot what time your friends go to bed. In this family, we go to bed late. Rules of the roost."

Also, be sure to enter my "What the Heck?" Giveaway.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What the Heck? Giveaway

How cool is today's date? 9-9-09
I love things like that!

And what better reason for a giveaway?
I mean, really, do I need a better reason?

Any comment between today (9-9-09) and next Wednesday (9-16-09)
will earn you an entry into my little "what-the-heck" giveaway.

I know what you're dying to know ...
What do I win? What's in it for me?

Great question ...
the satisfaction of winning, perhaps?

No, just kidding! Actually, I am giving away a ...

Year Subscription to Parents magazine!

And it's costing me next to nothing, btw - which is a good thing ...
'cause this job only pays in love (and comments)!
But remember it's the thought that counts and all that jazz :)

In addition to new posts, this is a great time to dig into
my archives (and those fabulous links way up there) ...
you know, just in case you've missed anything insightful and delightful :)

To clarify ... you can comment anywhere - on ToddlerBrain - anytime -
all new comments are tracked right to my inbox so I won't miss any entries.
(Bring it on, Chitown Momma!)

Also, it would be super fabulous if you would tell all your friends about ToddlerBrain,
but it's not required for participation in the official "what-the-heck" giveaway ;)


A couple of quick questions for you ...

  • Do you like FREE?
  • Do you like an online tool that promotes literacy?
  • Do you like an online tool that's EASY even for the not-so-tech-savvy?
  • Most importantly, do you like FREE?

I think I've found something for you ...

to get excited about ...

get creative and give it a try ...

Did I mention that it's FREE? As in, no catch; it's FREE.
Here's how it works:
  1. Upload the photos you want to use (file size must be less than 2 MB)
  2. Select from the various templates - there are only 4 choices: ABC Book, Calendar, Greeting Card, and 123 Book.
  3. Create a cover and fill in the inside pages with images and text.
  • The text functions are very limited. You can control the color, and that's about it - no font choices, not size choices - all of that is preset. You'll either like that or you won't ... but it will keep you from spending extra time making a "font" decision.
  • I love that the ABC book template includes both upper case and lower case letters!
  • Image functions are also limited. Again, I think this is a good thing! You can resize using a scale slider and then reposition the photo in the designated area on the page; that's it - no cropping or editing of any kind.

When your masterpiece is finished, the site will create a PDF file (for FREE) that you can download to your computer to print right away ... or save and take to your local copy shop to have printed for you. It's so easy. It's so free. It has so many possibilities!

There's a whole gallery of examples on the website, but this is my favorite. Aren't the photos clever, especially the mirror?

Teacher Thoughts: This is a fantastic tool for helping toddlers learn letter (or number) recognition. The content can be geared specifically to your child's interests. What toddler doesn't love to see photos of him/herself? You could also gear it toward themes like animals, transportation, food, family, colors, ...

Best of all, you could put together one of these books in a matter of less than an hour - including photo-selection, the most time consuming part of it all. That's my goal - three 20-minute sessions of Curious George, and I'll have a one-of-a-kind ABC book for my toddler ... I think my theme will focus on becoming a big sister :)