Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...

Tiny Tillia

Saturday, August 27, 2011

App of the Week: Project NOAH

We did a lot of berry picking this summer.  When Sam, "I hungy NOW", figured out edible things grew on trees and bushes she was stunned!  She ate so many her poop was lovely purplish, greenish technicolor for most of July.  That was fun.  

During our two weeks at summer camp, our cabin was surrounded by wild blueberry bushes and she got very used to picking her own snacks.  She was never far from my sight, but I worried quite a bit.  I knew that while she knew what was good to eat, she didn't yet have the capacity to distinguish what was not.  One evening she was quite occupied around the corner of the cabin, and we were quite occupied with other things.  After a few minutes I went to check on her and saw to my dismay that she was happily munching on blueberries.  And not blueberries.


We paid the camp nurses a visit, watched her closely, and finally gave poison control a call.  Luckily, according to poison control, a baby pre-molars won't chew berry seeds and that is where the toxins are.  So whatever it was...she'd be fine.


But I still didn't know what this plant was, and while reassured that Poison Control said it was fine, still really wondered if my kiddo had ingested toxins or not.  So we tried to figure out what it was.  We searched the internet and asked some of the camp staff that was known to know their plants.  To no avail.
Enter my new favorite app...Project Noah.


Project Noah is a citizen scientist app, working to build a huge inventory of cataloged nature photos that others can search through.  Also, you can upload a photo of something you would like identified and someone else out there will tell you what it is.  I took a picture of my mystery plant...and a few days later had my answer.  "Canada May Flower".  And no, not poisonous.

In addition to uploading your own wildlife spottings, you can undertake "Missions".  This fall when I am doing my unit on NH forests, I think we might join the "Project Red" mission and photograph all the red we find in the forest around us.

iTunes & App Store

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Potty Train Your Child in Less Than a Week Without Really Trying

Potty Training.  We mama's all must suffer through it.  I seem to have stumbled upon a rather easy method for potty training, and not being one to keep such important info to you go.  A fool-proof, stress-free, easy way to potty train your child in less than a week.  You hardly need to do thing!

Step 1:  Have a baby.  I am partial to girls as I have two of them, but I suppose a boy would be fine.

Step 2:  Read all literature regarding potty-training before your child learns to roll over.  Maybe even before giving birth.  It is always important to be ready when the time comes.

Step 3: Disregard anything you find on the diaper-less baby..."Elimination Communication".  Ewww.  There is a time and a place for diapers.

Step 4: At the very early end of when the "experts" (The What to Expect series) say, you should begin.  Around 18 months...although most hold off until at least 2.  Given that your baby is smarter than most, as mine was, start right away.

Step 5: Put a potty in every room.  Show your child how great the potty is.  Sing and dance around the potty!  Everything you do will create a positive association with the potty!

Step 6: Buy Pull-Ups.  They are twice as expensive as diapers but it doesn't really matter since your child is far above average and will be wearing them for less than a week.

Step 7: Don't worry when your child shows no interest in the potty or even resists all of this positive stuff you are doing.  All perfectly normal.  Try this for several weeks.  When it doesn't work, give up for a few months.  Maybe your kid isn't that far ahead on the learning curve.  Try again when your child turns 2. 

Step 8: Now is the time!  You are ready, they are ready!  Except by now your child is no longer a sweet, compliant baby.  Your child has turned into a strong willed, defiant child.  Try rewarding with M&Ms.  Try a sticker chart.  Try reverse psychology...then give up for a few more months. 

Step 9: At 2 and a half, start freaking out a little bit since they have to be potty trained to attend that top pre-school you have registered for and it begins in a few months.

Step 10: Get a book book that guarantees weekend potty training success and read it cover to cover.  Spend a weekend in hell doing everything the book says.  Give up again.  The pre-school can't be serious!

Step 11: Around age 3 try again.  Your child now understands the concept of actions having consequences.  Create a sticker chart or download a cool app.  At this point, your child should respond pretty quickly and be completely potty trained in a few months.  Congratulations!

What's that?  I promised in less than a week?  And without really trying?  Oh right!

Step 12: Have a second baby.  Preferably of the same sex.

Step 13: Completely forget about everything you tried the first time around since it was all silly and didn't work anyway.

Step 14: Be lucky and have your younger completely adore the older.  

Step 15: Always have the older leave the bathroom door open! Bribe them if you must. This is a very, very important step!

Step 16: At some point near the age of 2 your child will start trying to sit on the potty whenever their older sibling does.  At that point use your toddler-ese and come up with a short phrase to use when it is time to pee.  In our house it is "Sammy potty now!"

Step 17: Whenever your older child uses the potty, yell your equivalent of "Sammy potty now" and stick your younger kid on the potty as soon as the big kid is done.

Step 18:  When the little one sits, pees, poops, whatever...have the big kid cheer and shout.  You can join in too if you want.  In less than a week you can stick your kid in underwear.  

Congratulations!  You potty trained your kid in less than a week and hardly had to do a thing!

Hanna Andersson

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Relaxing is for Grandmothers!

Last summer it was difficult for me to relax outside because I had a 9 month old who put everything (everything!) in her mouth.  You name it, she ate it.  Rocks, bugs, sand, trash, ewwww!  I would put her down, she would start grazing.  We went camping, she lunched on dirt.  We tried the beach, she ate the sandcastle.  Needless to say, my "relaxing" days were spent carrying around a baby against her will.  Wow...I'm getting stressed out by the memories!

 We have largely gotten past the oral stage by now, so I was planning on catching up on some of my relaxing this summer.  My vision?  Long days spent at the lake sitting back in my beach chair.  Zoe adept enough in the water that she can swim and play on her own, Sam happily playing in the sand near me, occasionally splashing her toes in the water then quickly running back to the safety of the sand.  Ahhh...delusional me.

The reality?  It took Sam about 2 days at the beach to get comfortable in the water.  Really comfortable.  Too comfortable.  And wanting to do everything (everything!) that her swimming big sister is doing.  She runs in up to her neck, she jumps, she dives.  She climbs on top of floats and balances.  She does it all without a look back.  Or a thought about safety.  So my beach chair once again is the only one relaxing.  I'm spending my summer knee deep in water teaching the "float-back".

Although I may look at it longingly, I know that my chair isn't too lonely.  And I know that these are memories I will keep with me forever, unlike the plot of my latest supermarket best-seller.  I won't remember that next week.  I have a few more years to go before the beach chair and I bond again.  For now, I'll dive right in, get wet, get dirty, have fun.  Relaxing will just have to wait!