Even More Toy Recalls…

By , September 30, 2007 7:54 pm

Be sure to check the CPSC Toy Recall page. There are more recalls, many due to lead paint. Here are the latest since my last post:

-Lan Enterprises Recalls Doll Strollers After Child’s Finger Tip was Severed; Product Also Poses an Entrapment Hazard to Young Children

-Guidecraft Inc. Recalls Children’s Puppet Theaters Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

-Children’s Toy Rakes Sold Exclusively at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores Recalled Due to Violation of Lead in Paint Standard

-RC2 Recalls Knights of the Sword Toys Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

-Target Recalls Children’s Toy Gardening Tools and Chairs Due to Violation of Lead Paint

-RC2 Corp. Recalls Additional Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway Toys Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

I have not linked individually to these, but if you think you might have any of these toys, please go to the CPSC Toy Recall Page for more in-depth links to the recalled toys.

How To Get by Without the Electronic Babysitting Box

By , September 29, 2007 8:26 pm

According to the study I wrote about in my September 26th post: How Much TV Do American Babies Really Watch, one of the main reasons that kids under age two watch TV is for “babysitting” purposes. People often ask me how I manage to get any cooking, laundry or other household chores done with three kids and no TV or video games.

The answer? I simply neglect my children. That is my secret! I more or less leave them to their own devices. I don’t believe that my job includes being their entertainment committee.

They have toys, games, and books, but mostly they just run around in or out of the house and play imaginary games. I am fortunate that I have two children relatively close in age to entertain each other. This does make occupying them easier. The downside is that, with more than one child, there can occasionally (OK, on some days – often) be discord. Then I am unfortunately interrupted in my work to become a referee (not my job either).

But I also have a 20 month-old and she is more demanding of my time and attention. Sometimes she runs around with the older two, but when they are at school, or engaged in a non baby-friendly game for example, she follows me around wanting attention.

Obviously I can’t let her wander too far off. Her silence is always a bad sign. Some of my best “Mom of the Year” moments have been when I have diverted my attention from her for just a minute or two (more on those particular True Confessions on a day when I feel more like making True Confessions).

Age 1 – 2 years is the most challenging one for entertainment I think. You can’t tell them to just “go play” or send them off to clean their rooms. They are developed enough to want to do something other than sit on a blanket and stare at their hands for example, but they are not yet very interested in toys, at least not for long. The attention span is so short. Plus, they can MOVE and that can mean definite trouble!

Here are some things I do to divert the baby’s attention from me in order to do all the necessary tasks (obviously I am right there next to her for these activities to avoid any other “Mom of the Year” moments):

1) Stand her at the little kitchen island sink with a trickle of water and a few plastic cups (not good if I need her clothes to stay dry however).

2) Give her a tray with measuring cups, plastic bowls, measuring spoons and some dried beans. Of course, watch very closely that none go in the mouth. If your child still puts lots of things in his mouth, maybe try this with larger containers and scoops and use those big Legos that are too big to be swallowed.

3) Let her play in the pots and pans cupboard.

4) Bring out our giant box of dull plastic cookie cutters (which have always been used for play more than for cookies).

5) Give her a box filled with an odd collection of objects that are too large to choke on. She likes to take them out and put them in again. If the box has a top, I make sure that it is easy enough for her to take off and put back on by herself. I have learned the hard way that I will be called upon every fifteen seconds or so to “help” if the lid is not easy enough, and frustration for both of us will quickly ensue.

6) A box of canning rings is entertaining. They can make noise, become bracelets, or simply be placed in and out of the box again and again.

Sometimes these tactics only buy me a few moments of peace, but a minute or two combined with fast working, usually lets me muddle by. If I have a really time-consuming project, then I try to plan it around her nap, or after bed.

What do/did you do to keep your 1 to 2 year-old occupied* when necessary?

*occupied – with your observation, but not your direct participation!

Frame Your Kids’ Art!

By , September 28, 2007 8:11 pm

Original art…


Original art…

And yet more original art!

All for free!!!!!

If you have children, don’t spend money on a lot of art. Some of your kids’ original masterpieces can look quite stunning when nicely framed, or even displayed clothespinned to some string or wire as in the last photo. Plus, the kids are pleased.

(The string/wire display is a nice substitute for the refrigerator if you have a non-magnetic stainless steel one as we do)

A Night Visitor

By , September 28, 2007 7:53 am

At midnight last night I had to let the dogs out to do their “business” and they immediately ran to the bird feeders going crazy! This little raccoon is why. They chased him up the tree where he remained until we had gone in.

Isn’t he cute?


By , September 26, 2007 10:14 pm

My second grade daughter came home from school the other day with her reading and writing homework. Part of the homework was to write three sentences about what she wants to do when she grows up…or if she doesn’t know what she personally wants to do, then what some other grownup that she knows does. Did the teacher REALLY CARE what she wrote about?? NO! Obviously, he just wanted to see three coherent sentences!!

Ah ha, but you must understand that my oldest daughter is a Drama Queen (DQ for short). And not just any kind of DQ, she is a Perfectionist DQ. She has inherited all my “best” traits.

According to family legend, this particular daughter has been sent down to curse me for the Oscar winning performance given by “moi” when I was probably about my daughter’s age and had just gotten my tonsils out. I put on quite the show of theatrics and emotion, refusing to eat or drink for days. Goodness, it was so great that even I remember it!

My one-child performance was finally brought to a grinding halt by my no-nonsense physician-father who threatened me with an IV if I didn’t start eating and drinking ASAP. And wouldn’t you know it, I was CURED. Immediately. Completely. Sore throat? What sore throat?

Anyhow, back to my daughter who is way worse than I ever was. By the way, I know that she really IS worse than me because this fact is unanimously agreed upon by all family members who were direct witnesses to my Oscar winning moment. So let’s return to her writing assignment.

She didn’t know what she wanted to be. (Sob, sob, sob) And she didn’t want to write about Daddy. (Sob sob, sob) Didn’t want to write about Auntie. (WAIL! WAIL! Sob, sob, sob) Didn’t want to write about Pop Pop. (Hand on the forehead, WAIL, WAIL, sob, sob, sob).

After a careful explanation about how her teacher was really not expecting a Pulitzer Prize-winning three sentence chef-d’oeuvre, I made the mistake of saying:

“Well, what about me? What do I do all day?”

My daughter stopped sobbing and looked at me with an expression that said that she was completely perplexed that I would ever ask such a question.

Her response:


Yes. I do NOTHING all day long. My 7 year-old daughter is finally on to me. I lie on the sofa and take naps. I take long, luxurious baths with expensive French bath salts. I drink very old Bordeaux while reclining in the sun on the back deck.

Yes. The laundry does itself. Groceries magically materialize in the fridge and the pantry. Meals make themselves. Beds make themselves. The pets feed themselves. The house tidies itself. The litter boxes scoop themselves. The car drives the children to and from school by itself. The garden weeds and waters itself. The bills pay themselves. Cat vomit magically flies off the carpet back into the cat. And of course the baby changes and disposes of her own dirty diapers (don’t all babies do that?).

Admittedly, none of what I do now is very exciting to a child, or to anyone for that matter. But I did have quite an adventurous life pre-momhood, and my daughter knows that! I had kind of thought she might want to write about having a Mom who can fly a plane for example.

But no. All that is forgotten. Mom is just the dreary boring old thing that drones on about picking up the toys and doing the homework. The automaton. The background noise. The “snow” on our no-channel TV. The Nothing.

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