Saturday Open Thread: Toddler Entertainment Edition

It’s the weekend, y’all! And I’m thinking about entertainment.

About six months ago, I heard that Yo Gabba Gabba! Live was coming to Los Angeles. What’s Yo Gabba Gabba!, you ask? Well, let’s just say it’s a TV show aimed at toddlers and preschoolers. It is weird and repetitive and trippy and so nerdy it’s cool. And from what I gather, parents either love it madly or hate it with a passion.

I happen to fall into the “love it madly” camp. We attended this show two years ago, taking Maya as a special treat when I was pregnant with Alex, and we all had a blast. So I did some quick math, figured Alex would be almost 2 years old by the time the show rolled around, and bought some tickets. His attention span would improve, I figured. His wiggly, squirmy ways would dissipate somewhat, right?

It’s almost showtime and . . . he’s still squirmy. I fear either DH or I will end up spending a large chunk of the show in the lobby with Angry Toddler so as not to disturb those around us. DD was a different animal, happily sitting through movies and shows like Sesame Street Live from the time she was 2 years old. So . . . any tips for taming a testy little tyke?

Maya has also asked to go see Disney On Ice‘s Toy Story 3, which will be in Southern California from Dec. 14th through Jan. 8th. I looked up ticket prices and opening night seats can be had for as little as $12 each. I loved Toy Story 3 and cried like a baby at the end, so I am looking forward to going, but the question remains: to take the toddler, or not to take the toddler? Maybe the Yo Gabba Gabba! Live experience will provide a clear answer. Gulp.

WWMTD? When did you start taking your kids to movies and live performances? Any funny/cute stories to share about your experiences?

(BTW, if any of you SoCal mamas plan on seeing the show, you can buy tickets at Ticketmaster and use the promo code MOM for discounted tickets. Money-saving tips FTW!)

What else is on your mind today? What’s on tap for you and yours this weekend? Chat away!


Thursday Open Thread

It’s Thursday!

Thanks for all the sympathy and advice re: The Neverending Cold. It’s heartening (and also a little disturbing!) to know that I am far from alone in battling these pesky viruses. I have had a couple of decent days, save the late-night coughing fits, and my congestion is almost totally gone. So I am hoping I have turned a corner.

Feel-Bad Story Of The Day: Watching TV is now extra super bad for very young kids, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A new policy statement published today by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that not only do children under age two probably learn nothing from the television, but that watching too much can actually delay language development and cause attentional problems.

But, even in the age of iPads and smart phones, maybe the situation isn’t quite so dire:

Brown admits that it is impossible to be sure that TV itself is causing these problems—heavy television viewing may simply be an indicator of bad parenting in general. “Correlation does not mean causation, so we can’t say that television use and of itself makes the child have delayed language skills,” she says. “There is an assumption here that if the TV were off, then time would be better spent because the parent would be engaging with the child.” And in some cases, Brown admits, that might not be the case.

What say you?

And the Feel-Good Story Of The Day: Our President and the First Lady totally dig each other.

The President told single men in the audience, “The whole goal is to marry up. To try to improve your gene pool. And we’re lucky to have her as first lady of the United States, I think.” Later after praising MObama’s work with military families, he added, “She does all this and she looks cute.”

If you watch the video, he starts out by saying, “How lucky am I to be married to Michelle?” Aaaaaw :-) What do you think? Did you marry up, or did your significant other? I think I married up, but DH argues the same about marrying me. So… do two positives make a negative? Or are we just an extra awesome couple? 😉

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Nanette Fondas, who just penned a book called the Custom-Fit Workplace with MomsRising co-founder Joan Blades, wrote about that and the real culprit for an inflexible workplace at Ms.. ran an alarming story about girls starting puberty as early as 7 and 8.

I just watched the Hurt Locker, a Netflix movie embarrassingly hanging out on our living room entertainment center for weeks. So I am especially sensitive to stories such as this one by the Associated Press, in which 10 team members of a Christian charity were killed in Afghanistan. They were accused by the Taliban of converting Muslims, but it sounds like they were there for strictly humanitarian purposes as some of them were not religious. They were providing Afghans with medical and dental care, for example. I was saddened reading their biographies. My heart breaks for their families.

Watch your toddlers around dry pet food. There was a salmonella outbreak between 2006 and 2008 in the country due to children two years old and under touching a pet or his dirty bowl and then putting their hands in their mouth.

The teachers union in Milwaukee is fighting the school district to re-include Viagra in their insurance plans, according to the Chicago Tribune.

On the other end of the spectrum, rock legend Rod Stewart will be a father for the seventh time — at the age of 65, according to MSN Wonderwall.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Updated: Feral Baby, or the birth of Empathy (W/Poll)

How old do kids have to be before they become empathetic?  Or am I raising a demon monster?  

Deuce is 19 months and we spent the weekend growling at each other like RORRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.  That’s fun.  He also clenches his fists and stiffens his body and screams, which is funny to me and his Dad but not to him.  

He’s learning how to hear “NO” (yes, I think that’s a skill.)  And he doesn’t talk yet so it’s mostly him trying to physically control me– trying to get me to stand up, or bringing the bucket (he likes to be swung in a bucket which is so tiring) and shoving it on my lap or slamming himself against the fridge.  And I’m tired or he’s already had enough yogurt or whatever and I just tell him NO. Or NO you may not rummage about on the countertops or dining table (which doubles as DH’s work desk, yeah we have a small house).

So we get the screams of rage and the bright red face and he’s also picking up things and throwing them at me and I’m wondering is he just an irredeemable monster?  I mean, I know it’s terrible twos and this too shall pass but when I do a quick spank (a swat to the diaper when he does something for the THIRD time or whatever), instead of collapsing in tears like his older half brother he gets REALLY QUIET.  And turns his face away.  It’s almost scary.  

And he’s so sneaky!  He’ll very quietly climb up on the chair and rummage around on the table.  We were at my friend’s house on Saturday and he really really wanted her BEER!  He went for it a few times, even going so far as to wait until they were distracted and going after it.

My hindsight is rosy and I don’t remember the older one being anything a perfect little angel (HA, okay maybe not QUITE that) but this baby seems smart and devious and impervious to pain and ready to RUMBLE!

Should I worry?

Update: I gave him lots of tickle time last night and he was very quiet and snuggly for that last hour before sleep instead of roaming around pushing things over.  Might have been coincidence. But I felt better.  THANKS to everyone for your insight, I feel very grateful to be part of such a wise & friendly community!


Done with the crib, but not the nap: Updated

Squeeeee!  He stopped jumping out of his crib!

My son jumped out of his crib at nap time today.  Twice.  

I’ve been dreading this day, but I knew it would come.  While I do have an older child, her crib was destroyed in an accident, so her transition was a little more unusual.  By the time things settled down, it was pointless to try to reinstate her nap schedule.

However, I am reluctant to give up Milo’s naps.  We both need them badly.  As we speak, he is bounding off the walls, the house is falling apart, and lets just say I’m not at my best.  Until yesterday, I would put him in his crib, read him a story, and let him amuse himself while he fell asleep.  He might have griped a little, but no big trauma.  Still, there is no denying that the crib was his baby jail.  He’s not going to take this nap thing lying down.

Having always thought that toddler beds were the silliest invention in consumer history, naturally Simone has one we can give to Milo. We’ve been on the lookout for a proper bed for her anyway.  The trouble is, while I can imagine sitting by Milo’s bed and rubbing his back until he falls asleep, but I cannot imagine him submitting to this.

Another option would be a race car bed, which are plentiful on Craigslist.  It seems so silly and wasteful when we already have a bed, but if it would charm him into staying there, I would bite the bullet.  

Does anyone out there have any good advice on either naps without a crib or the seductive power (or lack thereof) of race car beds?


Toddler’s Hurt Feelings

Lucy is learning about feelings lately…naming them, expressing them, etc. It is both frustrating and wonderful to hear her say something like, “Mama! Daddy is making me sad right now because I don’t want to put my pajamas on!” Our parenting methods are being mirrored right back at us…

Lately she’s been getting her feelings hurt by other children and it just breaks my heart. Tonight we went to the park with some friends with a child her age who she usually really enjoys. She saw them coming and ran enthusiastically toward the other child (even falling down on her way and getting back up) and hugged her. The other girl pushed her away and cried. Then later, they were playing chase and my DD caught her and said “gotcha” and grabbed her shoulders. Again, the other girl cried. Now, the other child and Lucy usually get along fine, and she was just having a cranky night tonight. On the way home, Lucy said that her feelings were hurt and that the other girl had “turned her cranky.”

We tried to explain that she didn’t do anything wrong, but that sometimes other kids are feeling grouchy and or just don’t want a hug. “I was just trying to be excited,” she said, sadly. She was really subdued and kind of sad for much of the rest of the evening after the park visit.

The other night at dinner, she said, “so, Eloise didn’t want to hold hands today.” Again, I was so happy that it was something she wanted to share with us, but it made me sad. My DD is apparently a girl who wants more affection from other kids than they want to show. We’re trying to just reinforce that she is sweet to want to hug or hold hands, but that not everyone wants to do those things and it’s okay for them to say “no thank you.”

I know that she needs to learn to deal with hurt feelings.  And that I need to deal with her hurt feelings. But she’s not even 3 and it really sucks!! I guess I didn’t realize we’d be dealing with these kind of relational issues at her age and I’m not really prepared. I hate to put a damper on her spirit, but maybe this trial and error stuff is part of what we have to go through to learn about emotions and affection and friends.

How do you veterans help your children deal with hurt feelings and disappointment?


Baby R – One Year Later (yes, already!)

My daughter Rebecca, 26 months old today, has been home for one year. She has lived exactly half of her life in Guatemala and half in the US. She weighed about 20 pounds when she came home. She is right at 25 pounds, now.

I wish I had a new photo to show you but I am one lax mama in that department.

Developmentally, Rebecca’s gallivanting along. She puts her own shirt, pants, pajamas, and shoes. She taught herself how to zipper her coat. She does not like help. This evening she thought it was a good idea to do a forward roll on the changing table. She likes to stand up during diaper changes. I think she might be ready for the potty — but then again, she might just be bored with lying down.

The “twos” announced themselves around our house some months ago now. Spontaneous combustion if she doesn’t get her way. Refusal to lie flat on the changing table for 3 seconds, take my hand before we cross a street, take off her jacket….you get the idea.

In just a short year, she has become an essential part of our family. She is more relaxed at home and at day care. She gives spontaneous kisses and hugs and deep laughs now — in addition to the head shakes, frowns and foot stomping. My son is so happy to be a big brother — despite the loss of being the sole object of my mothering attention. He loves being able to play with her, tickle her, tease her, and hold her hand. And, I am constantly amazed at how different she is from her brother. I now marvel at how she is becoming more herself, letting more of her guard down, smiling and chuckling and laughing and hugging — along with the tears and sadness that peaks through now and then.


Latest Study on TV Viewing and Toddlers

A study cited by Reuters showed neither benefits nor harm to allowing children younger than 2 to watch television.

The study of 872 children found no correlation between the amount of time they had spent viewing television before they reached 2 years of age and their progress at age 3.

On average, the children had watched nearly one hour of television per day at the age of 6 months and 1.4 hours a day by age 2, according to the report published in Pediatrics.

Surveys show 68 percent of babies under 2 view some screen media such as television or a computer on a typical day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children younger than 2 never watch screen media, while some video makers promote their wares as educational.

In the study, children living in homes with lower household income or whose mothers had less education were more likely to watch more TV. Non-white children also watched more.

The children were given vocabulary, drawing, object matching and pegboard tests to evaluate their verbal and motor skills at age 6 months and again at 3.

Those who had watched more television as infants performed less well on tests at age 3, but the effect disappeared after adjusting for the mother’s education, vocabulary, household income and other socioeconomic factors.

I used to freak out when I read such studies as we are a family of TV junkies. But I no longer worry as we also read a lot of books. Everything in moderation, right?


OMG – the Republicans were totally right about voter fraud.

And I have the shocking photographic evidence. Underage voting appears to be taking place.

Shocking evidence of voter fraud

OK, it’s not totally true that the poll workers had no reaction. The lady handing out “I voted” stickers said, “As long as she doesn’t eat the sticker…”

Happy Election Day, everyone! Hopefully the news will be good….


Monkey See, Monkey Do

Ah, the joys of toddlerhood. There is always something to keep the adventure interesting. DS has started to imitate everything that he sees. Cute? Sometimes. Inappropriate? Almost always. Part of this stems from the fact that he loves big kids. He’s 2 and anyone older than him is way cool in his eyes. At the park I’m the mom saying, ” No honey, we use the stairs to get up to the slide” as he is trying to climb up it or “No honey, you can’t climb up to the top of the jungle gym and jump off” as he has just witnessed John Q Big Kid doing. The other day at our condo pool some teens were horsing around and he saw them pushing and shoving each other to which he commented, “Nice Job!” and laughed. I reminded him that it’s not nice to push or hit our friends. Then I got a few dirty looks from teens. I know. I am so uncool and a total wet blanket. They were right next to where we were swimming and I told them that we’ve had trouble with DS pushing/hitting lately and that he doesn’t understand that they were just messing around. (Or maybe he does and that is why he was laughing…)

He’s a rough and tumble kid. All of our friends know that, but when I noticed that he kept trying to tackle everyone I knew that something was going on. Horrified, I asked him if he was tackling his friends like on Daddy’s play station game. He said yes. Oh no. We hadn’t thought of that when DH and I allowed him to play DH’s NCAA football game. So we talked to him about how he only plays that game with daddy. He still tries to tackle his buddies so I’m still trying to work with him on that. Sigh. So we are very careful able what he watches on TV and the games that he plays. When his buddy from school was going to see Kung Fu Panda, we skipped it. I didn’t want a Kung Fu Jack Jack on my hands.

And yes its funny when someone farts, but I want to teach him there is a time and a place and at the dinner table isn’t it. DH was egging DS on as they were taking turns passing gas at the table. DS thought it was hysterical. I shot DH a disapproving look and added that we say excuse me.  

I have also started doling out praise when I see him imitating good behavior. “Wow you really sat nicely on your chair at dinner like a big boy!” I’m hoping that catching him being good will help. So MTers, any advice on how to handle my little copycat?