Paintin’ With Puddin’.

November 30, 2009

Thing 2 attends an art/music “workshop” on Wednesdays and this past week had an activity that he really, REALLY got into. Man did he ever love it. All of the kids that participated in Paintin’ With Puddin’ were totally, totally entranced.

Behold! Vanilla pudding with food coloring! And some spiky balls!

Something about the thick texture of the pudding was much more appealing than any kind of normal paint. Perhaps the subtle vanilla scent also helped – but Thing 2 wasn’t one of the kids who figured out that the “paint” was also delicious. He just totally, totally loved the texture of the pudding and moving it around the paper with the little ball. He used his fingers a bit, but the ball was the main “brush.”

Here’s his final product:

Verdict: A++ WOULD PAINT AGAIN.

Go! Paint!

November 16, 2009

Here are some of the results from Thing 2’s experiments with the Go Paint markers. They’re a huge hit – he loves them, his parents love that he’s learning to write ON THE PAPER and his brother… covets them. We’ve explained that they’re “Learning Markers” and that Thing 1 doesn’t need to learn, he already knows how to color on the paper, which helps. There’s nothing that can be done about sibling rivalry or Thing 1’s urge to direct all parties as his assistants in art creation (even if it is not *his* art that is being created), but the actual markers are working really well and the rest of the process will continue to get the kinks worked out over time. As you can see, the process currently involves my demonstrating that the marker draws *on the paper* and Thing 2 picks up on his own pretty quickly.

In case you were wondering… yes. The markers *do* bleed through to the other side of the paper.

The two big downsides to the “Learning Marker” genre (this holds true of Crayola’s Color Wonder markers too): #1) You can’t mix colors. #2) The drawings smudge over time.  Here’s the same drawing a day later:

Jedi Nanny: Teething.

November 6, 2009

In desperation yesterday after a finished ice pop ended in more screaming, I stumbled upon my best idea perhaps ever: I gave Thing 2 an unopened Smooze Popsicle. (Link to a review of the Smooze which describes its actual food properties in a way consistent with my experience.)

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As you can see, the Smooze is wedge shaped, which is wicked fun to chew on. We had poor luck with these over the summer because the shape is absolutely not conducive to being pushed up through the end when opened. They are very stubborn and don’t move, and further, small hands have a super hard time with it. Mostly, he would suck/chew on the ends and get the melted popsicle all over himself. So, when I gave him the Smooze yesterday, I imagined he would just chew on it and that would be the end of it.

His teeth are strong enough that he was able to punch a few holes in it while chewing on it, and was able to suck the juice out of it that way. I wasn’t worried about him chewing on the packaging because, as I said, that was pretty the extent of his interaction with it even when I gave it to him as a snack and not a tooth soother. So, he sucked the juice out of it gradually and was totally content to just chew on it…

… FOR AN HOUR.

This provided both of us with an hour free of tooth related screaming. He was really, really happy to just have something cold in his mouth and was actually less frustrated with sucking the juice out than he had been with trying to push up the ice over the summer.

Very, very lucky accident. I had simply been looking in the freezer for anything cold he could chew on, and didn’t find any more ice pops or even a teething ring. Poor guy was having a really hard time and I’m glad that this random solution worked out. I’ll definitely try it again if he has another bad day with his burgeoning teeth.

Nanny Tested: Sippy Cups.

November 5, 2009

As someone who works with toddlers, I’ve used my fair share of Sippy Cups. The argument can be made that they’re not too much better than a bottle with a different kind of “nipple” and to learn how to properly use a cup at the table it’s better to simply have adult assistance with a regular cup, but for trips in the stroller, they’re indispensable. That is, if you have the right one. Behold, sippy cups I have known!

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Munchkin style cups

These cups are perfect if you want a sippy cup for table use. They’re simple to use, simple to clean, and cheap. I wouldn’t recommend putting them in the dishwasher as this is not the sturdiest plastic, but they wash very easily in the sink with just a regular sponge. They’re not good for stroller usage as there’s no way to keep them from leaking or potentially spilling in a diaper bag.

31WJ0WK40YL._SL500_AA200_Avent sippy cup

Avent bottles are extremely popular and user-friendly. Their sippy cup, however, is a nightmare. Too many parts to keep track of – that handle is totally unnecessary, but without it the top doesn’t screw on quite right. That top is nearly impossible to clean in the sink, but it’s not always the best idea to put the sippy cups through the dishwasher since they’re completely made of plastic. This is theoretically “leak proof,” but it’s very difficult for the child to actually get any liquid out of the cup without tipping it totally upside down (like a bottle) which doesn’t actually aid the child in learning how to transition from a bottle to a regular cup. No one I know who has used this cup would recommend it.

317tt36hLSL._SL500_AA265_Gerber graduates cup

The Cadillac of sippy cups. These are by far my favorite. The plastic on these is extremely sturdy and dishwasher safe. The top is constructed that liquid only comes out when the child is sucking, much like a sports bottle. And yet, it is not so finicky that the cup must be totally upside down like the Avent top. Totally spill proof in a diaper bag. A ++. Love this cup.

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Rubbermaid juice box

The non-sippy cup cup. The family I worked with in Boston loved these and swore by them for diaper bag usage. I hated them. The plastic doesn’t go through the dishwasher well, so all of the tiny little parts must be washed by hand. Tiny. Little. Parts. If you’re willing to scrub with a toothbrush, you can get the top *fairly* clean, but it’s near impossible to clean inside of the mouth bit, especially once the child has bitten it down a few times. I would recommend a pipe cleaner (as demonstrated by OhDeeDoh) to clean the straw. Time consuming to clean, to say the least. Also: in my experience, they smell funny if you leave water in them for >2hrs. Do not want.