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Archive for the ‘Preschoolers’ Category

If you’d like more information about why Disney is evil, check out the documentary, Mickey Mouse Monopoly.

For more information on media awareness, look at the resources in the Unbranding section of this blog.

This is for all y’all who might think I’m a potential tinfoil hat society member for my thoughts on protecting my children from marketing ploys. According to this New York Times article, representatives of Disney’s new “DisneyBaby” line have been making the rounds at maternity wards. Here are some choice quotes and snippets:

“This is taking advantage of families at an extremely vulnerable time,” said Jeff McIntyre, director of national policy for the advocacy group Children Now.

“If ever there was an opportunity for a trusted brand to enter a market and provide a better product and experience, it’s this,” said Robert A. Iger, chief executive of Disney. “I’m extremely excited about it.”

How do you spell evil? I say I-G-E-R.

…the company gains access to the maternity hospitals through a company called Our365, a business that sells bedside baby pictures. Our365 pays hospitals for exclusive access, and companies like Disney pay Our365 to promote their own products. Our365 also has Fisher-Price and Procter & Gamble as clients. It is unclear whether mothers know of Our365’s financial ties to these companies.

No – they don’t – I know this for a fact because both times while I’ve been in hospital having babies, this junk has been passed off to me under the premise that it’s related to healthy baby raising.

A representative visits a new mother and offers a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a variation of the classic Onesie. In bedside demonstrations, the bilingual representatives extol the product’s bells and whistles — extra soft! durable! better sizing! — and ask mothers to sign up for e-mail alerts from DisneyBaby (link removed ~ Mamá Leche).

Apparel is only a beachhead,” said Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products. Also planned are bath items, strollers, baby food and an abundance of other products — all pushed with so much marketing muscle that Disney Baby may actually dent operating margins in Mr. Mooney’s division in the near term. But this is a long-term play, and it could have its greatest value far beyond the crib.

To get that mom thinking about her family’s first park experience before her baby is even born is a home run,” Mr. Mooney said, adding that a surprisingly large number of families do not become consumers of Disney products until their children reach preschool age, when they start to watch Disney Channel programs like “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.”

Really? A surprisingly large number? We are well into preschool age with our children and have seen hide nor hair of Disney in our house. Sadly, even Winnie the Pooh has been compromised. I really like that f-ing bear.

How do you spell evil? I also spell it M-O-O-N-E-Y.

Rachel Bernstein, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who is pregnant herself, said she was concerned about marketers using hospitals as customer hunting grounds. “But Disney is a nice company,” she said, “and I think my patients would actually be thrilled to get free Disney stuff.”

Can you say “Stockholm Syndrome?” Hello Patty Hearst! You are completely inculcated into the cult of Disney. The mass media assault works.

Elizabeth Carter gave birth to her daughter Olivia on Jan. 19 in Piedmont, Calif., and was given a Disney Cuddly Bodysuit as part of an Our365 photo package. “It surprised me that Disney was in there promoting something right as the baby was born, but we figured as new parents we weren’t in a position to turn free things down,” she said.

Mrs. Carter put the garment on her hours-old baby immediately. “And I have to say Olivia looked fabulous, much better than the rough, bulky thing the hospital had her wearing,” she said.

Piedmont, for those of you not in the know, is an extremely affluent area. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I equate affluence with education and education with awareness. Shame on the parent with no excuse to be so blind to this blight.

As for me, I’m happy to wear a tin foil hat, if that means keeping my family away from this stuff.

For more info, check out the section on Unbranding.

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Or, How to Stay Sane with a Super-talker

My daughter is a super-talker. By that I mean that she is a non-stop, incessant babble machine who enjoys little more than an in-depth interview of nearly limitless questions, only 4 of which she’ll listen to the answers of. My daughter is approaching 4 and, yes, I know this is the age of inquiry, but you know you’ve got a super-talker on your hands when your child’s preschool teacher pulls you aside and says, “I have never taught a child who asks so many questions. How do you handle it?”

So, here’s how I handle it (so far).

A) Full attention

I mentioned my daughter has a nigh-limitless set of questions. I have found that it’s tremendously effective to actually get down on her level, give her 100% attention and answer each question thoroughly. I have to remind her to not interrupt while I’m answering her question, but in giving full answers I am able to slow the rapid rate of inquiry. This, in turn, slows her mind and gets her to focus on qualitative questions and insights rather than blather. When I really hunker down and give full attention, the dynamic shifts from a non-stop pinball machine of verbal spewing to an actual conversation… a conversation that, after between 5 & 10 full questions… ends!!!!!!!!

B) The Quiet Game

This is an oldie and goodie and is very effective in the car. We usually play it during the last mile or two driving home and it gives my daughter a focal point – to see if she can make it all the way home without talking. Of course, even during the “Quiet Game” she is compelled to be the commentator. So, every 30-40 seconds she’ll peep out a “Mommy, I’m being so quiet, I’m going to win!” At least there’s a little gap between updates!

C) The Butterfly Song

I invented this one night while we were visiting my parents. Everyone was sitting around the table after dinner and, despite the rather loud hum of our general conversation, my daughter was still capable of dominating the room with her incessant chatter. She was overtired and the “second wind” switch had been flipped. Her prattling was not about conversation or real interaction with others, but just a way of burning off energy. The children had just gone to a butterfly museum with their grandparents the day before so, in a moment of desperation and divine inspiration, I proposed we all sing a rondo of “The Butterfly Song.”

This is how it’s done: Everyone gets quiet and one person starts the “song” by bobbing their head like they’re belting out a huge melody, but keeping their lips pursed tight. After a few bobs, they point to another person and that person picks up where the unheard tune left off. Round and round the rondo goes until it makes its way back to the starter…. Voila!!! At least a minute of blissful silence achieved AND the tenor of the moment has shifted to a more sedate energy.

My daughter now loves the Butterfly Song and will often propose we “sing” it in the car 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

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This is just a heads up, in case you have an as yet un-housebroken child meandering the halls of your house and didn’t know about this fascinating bit of child development already.

Your small child is not a freak if they finger paint with their poop. At least, they’re not necessarily a freak. They could still be seriously disturbed in the long run, but if you catch your kid schmearing poop on the side of their crib or their bedroom walls during the pre-or-mid-potty training phase, that’s not (necessarily) an indication you’ve got a future serial killer, Enron executive or parking space stealer on your hands. It just means your child is, well, interested in their poop. And that’s A-O.K.. Don’t just take my word for it – read some of the responses that show up from a Google search on the subject.


Some children… not all children, but some children (“some” as in “many”) get a little visit from the poop fairy when they’re starting to figure out their body functions. What this means is that the child, usually when left alone during nap time, pinches a loaf into their diapers and gets interested in seeing what’s stinking up their drawers. Since little children aren’t too good at thinking things through, they end up with poop on their hands which inevitably gets on everything else they touch.

Some children are absolutely mortified by this experience. That won’t necessarily stop them from repeating it in the future (again with that thinking things through bit), but at least they’re mighty contrite when you open the door to discover a freshly painted boudoir. Other children absolutely revel in playing with their poop and go out of their way to make a massive mess. Either way, this goes with the territory of toddler stripping that usually precedes and joins potty training.

I was at a friend’s house the other day whose eldest is younger than my daughter. This is a woman who will give full-fledged 3D descriptions of every moment of her labor to perfect strangers on an airplane, but it took over an hour of us chit chatting before she mentioned (sheepishly) why all the drapes were removed from her son’s room. The reason? He was a poop reveler and had just had his first experience with poop smearing the day before. My friend was so mortified and concerned, she could barely talk about it. I readily appeased her with stories of how totally normal it was for kids to play with poop (though 100% disgusting, I concur). I regaled her with the story of a friend for whom the idea of poop smearing was so normal that she’d posted an (unrelated) videotape of her two year old being goofy on Facebook… without ever explaining why he had duct tape wrapped around his diapers. I was lucky to get my Poop Fairy cherry broken when a mom friend’s son (three weeks older than my daughter) busted out his big move a month or so before my daughter gave it a try. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted had I not already known that this is a normal phase when I walked in on my daughter a few weeks later.


What To Do If the Poop Fairy Visits Your House

Calm Your Shit Down


That’s right, you heard me. Calm your shit down. The worst thing you can do is freak out over a poop painting fiesta. All that will do is make your child even more fascinated by the power of their poop. Even if, initially, the little one was a bashful poop partier, all he or she will need is a whopping reaction from Mom or Dad and – presto!- you’ve got an instant committed poop painting enthusiast on your hands.

So, when you enter the room and see little Susie’s gotten turdy during time out, force yourself to keep a deadpan look on your face. Calmly back out of the room, close the door, take a deep, deep breath, assess your clean-up plan and wordlessly re-enter the room. It’s probably best to just proceed with the whole clean-up attack without uttering a word. Your child will be awed by your level reaction and quickly bored into thinking poop fingerpainting is so much of a non-event it’s not worth the hassle.

How to Prevent Future Visits from the Poop Fairy

Lock Your Shit Down


Now that everything is nicely cleaned and cloroxed, it’s time to implement Phase Two of the Poop Harm Reduction plan. Namely, figure out how to keep your child from doing this again! When our daughter discovered poop surprises, we immediately started putting her footie jammies on her inside out (zipper on the inside). This really takes some technique! We took a huge sigh of relief after the first night passed incident free. We honestly thought the whole thing was licked… until three weeks later when she figured out how to undo her jammies, even with the zipper inside. Some folks will tell you the best technique is duct taping the diapers on, but that’s arduous to remove later and still not foolproof. Our 100% effective method was putting the footie pajamas on backwards (zipper in back). By the time my daughter houdini’d herself out of this tactic, she’d outgrown her fascination and was well on her way to productive potty usage.

Best Technique for Preventing Poop Parties: Backwards Footie Pajamas

Finally…

Remember this is a phase your child will outgrow… in fact, they’ll certainly move through it faster the more you help them to become independent with toileting. Try to view this as an opportunity – by the sheer virtue of the fact that your child has figured out there’s poop in his or her soggy bottoms, she’s telling you she’s ready to start figuring out potty training. If anything, a Poop Fairy visit could be regarded as a thing of joy. Behold! Your days of non-stop diapering are soon to be over! Help your child with potty training ASAP. You’ll soon discover that as they master the fine art of pooping in a potty or toilet, their previous fascination with holding their poop will be replaced with producing a poop in the right spot — one that can quickly be whisked or flushed away!

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As I noted in the previous post, my daughter is starting to develop a concept of money. She understands that you spend money to get things and that there are different amounts of money. She also understands that you need more money to pay for some things than others. As I’ve written, I’ve started developing a strategy for teaching her about spending habits – that you need to consider your purchase carefully and fully comprehend that once you buy something, you have less money to use to buy something else.

This weekend, a family friend gave our daughter a homemade wallet which was crafted out of duct tape. My daughter was thrilled! The first thing she said was that she needed a purse to put it into. The second thing she said was that she needed money to put in it. My husband gladly pulled a dollar out of his wallet and put it in hers. She immediately turned to me gleefully and said, “Mommy, can we go to the museum tomorrow so I can buy something else?” (the local children’s museum is where she made her first purchase).

I realized this, too, was a teachable moment. I responded, “Yes, sure, if you want to we can do that – we can go to the museum and spend your dollar, if you want.” “YAY!!!,” was her response. I continued, “However, if you want, you might consider putting your dollar into your piggy bank. If you put your dollar into the piggy bank, then every day it stays there, you’ll get a new penny.”

We had to review the logic of this several times. Up until this moment, I don’t think she was aware she had a piggy bank. I took the beautiful Eastern European clay painted pig down from a shelf in the living room and showed it to her. I explained that when we save our money in a bank, we get more money. After a review of the situation, she decided, at least for the night, to put her dollar in the piggy bank. I made a big deal of congratulating her on a great decision and showed her how to fold the dollar to fit in the slot.

The subject of the dollar has come up a few times and I’ve reminded her about the pennies. I put a penny in every day, but I usually do it at night. I don’t want her to think it’s like the tooth fairy or anything else magical, just that it’s not about money coming from Mommy and Daddy. I want her to understand that this is just what happens when you save your money – you get more.

Sometime down the road she’ll remember the dollar and decide she wants to buy something and I think that’s great. I just hope enough time will have gone by for there to be a meaningful amount of pennies in the bank so when we withdraw the dollar, she can see that her money has grown!

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The subject of money has recently come up for my daughter. A while back, she got a hold of a dollar bill. I think we were headed to a special event and I gave her the dollar so she could buy whatever treat she wanted, as long as she could afford it. Obviously she doesn’t understand the value of a dollar, but, as the day progressed, she forgot all about the dollar in her pocket and she never spent it.

Fast forward six months and she came across her dollar in her bedside table drawer. We were headed to a children’s museum and she decided she wanted to buy something. I thought it would be a great lesson for her. After we were done with the museum, we went into the gift shop and perused the aisles of small tchackis. She was tempted by many things, but almost all of them cost more than a dollar – $1.50 $1.25, etc. I just kept explaining to her that she didn’t have enough money and we kept looking for things that did cost a dollar. Finally we discovered a small rubber duck, some stickers and a miniature watercolor paint set. She carefully chose the paint set. I reminded her that once she paid for it, she would have the paint set, but wouldn’t have the dollar. Was she sure she wanted to do that?

After much thought, she determined that she wanted the paint set. I congratulated her on a great purchase and assured her she’d love painting with it (to keep the lesson simple, I paid for the tax). As soon as we got in the car she told me she wanted another dollar and I told her that wasn’t how it worked – she only got money on special occasions. A few times since this incident, she’s asked for money and asked me to buy unnecessary toys. I’ve reminded her that we don’t have the money for things like that right now, but when she has some money she can choose how to spend it.

I don’t mean to be draconian with her, but I want to inculcate her to an understanding of the seriousness of money early on. Soon enough she’ll be surrounded by peers with their own fluid grasps of how money works so, while I’ve got her mostly to myself I want to instill these values.

She loves her paint set and she’s quite proud of it.

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A while back, I wrote about being a one-trick lunch pony. We have quesadillas every day. Even though they’re delightfully tasty, they’re super fattening and I’m ready for a change.. I just wish my children were as keen on something else…

I’ve finally encountered a few new ideas for lunch, like grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches, noted on Wholesome Toddler Food.

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRILLED SANDWICH

This is super simple. Just butter one side of two slices of bread, slather some peanut butter on the other side (or sunbutter if there are allergies) and lay in some thinly sliced bananas. Set it in a pan and flip when the bread on the first side is toasty. When the second side is toasty, you’re done! Cut into quarters so there’s more finger-food to go around.

Also, Alli ‘n Son has these waffle sandwiches which looks really good as a breakfast, lunch or snack and so simple.

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