Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Potty Talk

June is Potty Training Awareness month according to @PullUpsBigKids. Who knew? Do we need a special month for that? Aren't we already aware of this eventuality, fingers crossed, every time we wipe our toddler's bottoms? Our strong willed and active younger daughter recently decided she was not going to wear diapers anymore. Her diapers were slowing her down and she loved running around the house naked. It took her a few days to figure out when it was time to go to the potty. There was a lot of "I'm peeing mommy" before she got the hang of it. However, this time I was determined she was going to go “cold turkey” and not use disposable training pants. My older daughter took almost a year before she finally would use the potty full time. I had always used cloth diapers but when it came time to potty train, I could not find training pants I liked (at that time, only giant marshmallow-like trainers were available). So I started using disposable trainers thinking it would only take a few weeks (that's what my mom said!) Ten months later, as the land fill was filling up, she finally gave up the pull-ups (mostly because the other kids at daycare were using the toilet). The problem with the disposable trainers is that there is no motivation to actually learn to use the potty all of the time. Sometimes she would go in the potty and sometimes she would just go in her diaper. The other thing about disposables is they have all sorts of gimmicks to make your toddler love them – princesses, cars, Dora, as well as disappearing or reappearing pictures when they pee. Do the makers of these disposable trainers really want you to potty train your child quickly? I like to blame the use of pull-ups on my older daughter’s prolonged learning but personality, readiness and the toddler’s will all contribute to the success of potty training. So my advice from the trenches would be to make sure they are on board and have some interest in learning, be very, very patient, roll up the rugs and go cold turkey! I have read many posts and books on potty training and the most important thing is toddler readiness. You can lead a toddler to the potty but you can't make him pee!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bye Bye Booby

I saw a women breastfeeding her toddler on the bus the other day and I couldn't help but chuckle. I was sitting behind her and could see her little one's feet kicking with an an occasional peek over mom's shoulder. It reminded me of my littlest girl who weaned herself a few months ago, just before her 2nd birthday. My first daughter weaned herself at 9 months so I was unprepared for the antics of a breastfeeding toddler. She would wake up early and would snuggle into bed with us for her morning nurse. This was the cuddly, quiet time I loved and now miss. The gymnastics she did while nursing before her nap I admit would get tiresome some days. And then there was her refusal to nurse from one breast (which left me lopsided for months!) Nursing was also something she did for security when she was in a unfamiliar situation. OK, so I admit it, when she first said 'booby' I thought it was cute. Later when she would yell 'booby' (and she is a loud little gal) and put her hand down my top in crowded places, not so much. All in all I feel so lucky to be able to have breastfed both my girls and will miss the closeness of it. Enjoy it while you can because as they say, those first few years sure do pass quickly.

If you need help breastfeeding or would like to get involved helping others:

La Leche League
BC Women's Hospital
Infact (Infant Feeding Action Coalition) Canada
UBC Breastfeeding Clinic
Quintessence Foundation

Friday, April 15, 2011

Green Easter Eggs

Since Easter weekend starts on the same day as Earth Day this year, I thought I'd talk about something my kids get really excited about - making Easter eggs. Last year we received the infamous Dora egg colouring kit from a well-meaning relative and the kids set to work colouring the eggs, table, fingers, clothes and anything else within a 2 m radius of the table. I became alarmed when days later those little fingers were still coloured purple. So this year the girls and I set out to make our own dyes. Being a former chemist, and yet an anti-FD&C kind of gal, I was almost as excited as my kids. This time we started with hard boiled eggs (duh...lesson learned from last year's tears, piles of egg shells and goo) ...that you can eat if things don't end well for the eggs. So here are the ones we tried: Onion skins for orange, beets for red-pink, frozen blueberries for pink-purple, tumeric for yellow and an unsuccessful attempt at green from frozen spinach. You could try any number of coloured fruits, veggies, bark & seeds. Experiment! I chopped up the fruits & veggies, covered them with water, added a splash of vinegar and simmered them for 1/2 hour. I then placed the eggs in a container of each dye and rolled them around for a while. The longer you keep them in there, the darker they will get. If you want to dazzle your preschoolers, add some baking soda to the blueberry dye and watch it turn colour. Now that's better living through chemistry!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Running with Kids

Running is a great way to keep fit, relieve stress and clear your mind. My husband and I met at a running club over 10 years ago and we have managed to keep running together even after having two kids. We have a single running stroller for when there is just one to take out and then the double running stroller/bike trailer that we haul out once a week for our family run. Don't let those smiling faces fool you, running with kids isn't always so harmonious. Especially when two siblings are squished together in one stroller. I was in awe today when I saw my neighbour heading out for a run with her two kids and a dog. Here are some tips for keeping your kids relatively happy while you get a work out.
  • Naps - Timing your run for baby's nap is the best way to have a quiet run to yourself!
  • Snacks - If your child is awake, keep them busy with a snack and drink. Hungry kids have a low tolerance for anything.
  • Toys - Bring a small toy for them to hang on to but keep an eye on it or attach it to the stroller.
  • Sing - OK, you won't be doing intervals while singing but kids love to sing and it gets them involved in the run. 
  • Spot - Point out everything: dogs, cats, flowers colours - it's good for their language development & older kids can play I-spy. Distraction is the name of the game!
  • Keep the run less than 45 minutes unless they are sleeping or love to be out in the stroller.
  • Let them run - we let our kids out to run the first or last few minutes so they feel involved and hopefully will inspired to be a runner some day too. 
Green Bean Baby has started a team for the 2011 ChildRun, Sunday June 5, 2011 and will donate an extra $5 for each person that signs up for the Green Bean Baby team. Register Now and join us in the fight against childhood cancer. After reading and clicking "I agree" on the waiver form, click the "join an existing team" and select "Green Bean Baby". Our whole family will be there - we hope to see you there too. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Big Kid Bed

My 2 year old has successfully made the transition from crib to 'big kid bed', but not without a few 'wrinkles'!

When my older daughter was 2 1/2, we bought a twin bed from what was then a local (BC) manufacturer with the idea that if we did have another child, we could buy another and make bunk beds. Well 5 years later our younger girl turned 2, the room was getting crowded with the growing girls and it was time to make the move to bunk beds. With a roomful of partially constructed beds, we came to the realization the new and old beds do not fit together. Arrgh! We found out the beds are no longer made in BC but are now made in China so we ended up having to buy two new beds but that's another story.....

Both girls were excited about the bunk beds. My 5 1/2yo was excited and a bit nervous to be in the 'way up high' bed as the 2 yo calls it. Now she loves having a place where she can go and little sister cannot follow. My 2 yo said 'bunk bed' to everyone she met for a week.  The first night in her 'big girl bed', I found her under the bed on the duvet I laid on the floor in case she fell out (this bed did not have a guard rail but is not that high off the ground). When I asked what she was doing under there she replyed "I no know" - very cute. We got her back into bed and all was fine. She did fall out once since then which I think startled her more than anything. We had a cuddle and all was fine again. And believe or not, the little one has not tried to climb the ladder. It's been about 3 weeks now and no further troubles (knock on wood!). In the words of the almighty and annoying Dora "we did it!"  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Having trouble keeping those lofty resolutions so earnestly penned a few weeks ago? Why not try a small, easy, but make-a-difference eco-resolution? You will feel like you have made a positive change even if your original 'better you' resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Let's start with those paper cups. If Santa did not bring you a travel mug for your coffee or tea habit, it's time to invest in one! True confessions - I have a chai latte (latte-da, as my dad calls them), habit. I made the resolution last year that if I did not bring my own cup -no latte. It worked! I bring my fancy ceramic travel mug every time. Now imagine how many paper cups & plastic caps would be saved if everyone did that! Most people have given up their plastic shopping bag habit, now it's time to ditch those cups. It is much nicer to drink from ceramic or stainless steel cups than a plastic or wax lined paper cup anyway! It keeps your drink hotter longer too. Or better yet, order 'for here', sit down, relax & enjoy your favorite drink. Now there's a resolution!

Some other ideas are:
-rechargeable batteries
-cloth diapers - easier than you think! 
-cloth produce bags
-give used clothing to local charities
-post unwanted household items on Vancouver Reuses Exchange. This is also a great source if you are   looking for something. Why not get it for free or low cost?!
-keep a small towel in your bag for drying hands when you are out instead of using paper towels (but remember to wash it often!) 

If you have more small but make-a-difference eco-resolution ideas, I'd like to hear them, please share them on  
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The first 10 people to like us and share their ideas on Facebook will receive an organic cotton baby wash cloth. Perfect for drying hands, wiping noses or washing babies!