Liam’s Preschool Book

As Liam’s first day of preschool crept up closer and closer, I started to feel very anxious about this big change in his routine. I have left him home with our beloved nanny since he was 4 months old, so leaving him somewhere while I went to work wasn’t new for me. The difference though in leaving him at home, in a place where he is comfortable, and leaving him somewhere new with lots of other kids and teachers, seemed huge to me. My biggest worry was that he would feel lost in the afternoon, when he had to switch classrooms and teachers, as some kids go home  at noon and the school combines the remaining children into two groups, based on age.

I asked some other Bee mamas for advice about this transition and they were so helpful. Mrs. Stroller suggested talking to Liam about his new routine, going over the different parts of the day several times before he actually had to live the new routine. Mrs. Twine pointed me to something called Social Stories, where you create a personalized story for the child about his or her new routine. It is recommended to use real pictures of the child doing the things in the story, but since I didn’t have any, I just used clip art. If he has a problem with any particular part of his routine after he starts, I’ll ask his teachers to take some pictures of him in school and use those to create another story. For now, though, this has been working out great! Social Stories are designed to help kids with special needs, namely autism, adjust to new routines and expectations. However, as I’ve learned in my training and experience as a teacher, what works for kids with special needs is beneficial for all kids. Here is Liam’s story!

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Summer Theme Week: Superhero

At the end of Fairy Tale week, I let the kids decide what we would learn about next.  They agreed that the following week should be Superhero week. I was a little nervous at first. My creative side works best when I have a deep understanding of my topics. Superheroes are not exactly my forte, although now being a mother to three little guys I am becoming more familiar with all of them, but in most cases they now know more about the characters than I do. So I tried to keep it simple and go with what I knew of the characters.

Throughout this week I didn’t really have a long project like the alphabet book in our Fairy Tale week, but I wanted something to be cohesive that linked all the days together. I cut up strips of paper with a superhero and their power written on it.  Each morning they picked which super hero they would be for the day. James kept cheating to make sure he got Spiderman and Lilly wanted to be Wonder Woman, but Nick and Joe had fun pretending to be a different super hero every day.


-          I looked around for some printables for this week and I came across a Batman preschool  pack.  I used several of their pages. The first was Heroes vs. Villains which had a page of heroes and villains to cut out and than a spot to paste the pictures in the correct spot. It gave us a chance to talk about what a hero is and what type of behaviors make someone a villain.  The kids love to cut and paste so they had a really great time with these.  The second was a Bat symbol memory game.  The Batman Symbol was printed in various colors and there were also cards with the name of the color spelled out.

-          Batman paper doll. I found this printable and let the kids use water colors to make their Batmans. They are still  hanging up on our wall because Lilly wont let me take them down.

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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

The last-minute dessert is not something I usually enjoy preparing. I’m a planner; I like having time to read some recipes, drool over some pictures, and stock my pantry with all the right ingredients before diving in. I often plan to bake on a Friday, so I can spend all week dreaming about just the right combination of flavours.

And yet, when an occasion arises that calls for dessert, I just can’t say no. It doesn’t matter if my pantry is bare, it’s too hot to use the oven, or I only have ten minutes. If dessert is needed, dessert there will be.

This recipe is a result of one of those stolen half-hours during nap time. I always have peanut butter, cocoa powder, butter and chocolate chips on hand, and I also happened to have some chocolate cookie crumbs and a package of pudding. Rather than waste my valuable time searching for a recipe to use up these things, I did what any intrepid chocoholic might do….I experimented. This was the result:

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A Baby Reflux Story

About 2 weeks after she was born, Baby Carrot began to cry hysterically after eating and spit up a significant quantity of her formula back out. We first established that she wasn’t actually throwing up (which could indicate intestinal blockages and other serious conditions) but rather spitting up (which is normal for the most part – unless it causes baby pain, like it did Baby C). Then we took note of other things like her constant grunting and twisting while sleeping, her tight sleeping posture (kiddo refused swaddles but slept so curled up that she might as well have been swaddled) and coughing during feeding. We called her pediatrician and Baby C was diagnosed with reflux.

We were prescribed a baby dose of Zantac, the most common of reflux medicines, and a reflux-friendly formula that contained less milk than most. We also became religious about adjusting feeding and sleeping routines to help make Baby C more comfortable. While the Zantac and our new practices helped reduce some of Baby C’s discomfort, we still consulted with a well known pediatric gastroenterologist to learn about reflux in babies and how to manage it. I will forever credit this doctor with saving my sanity over our nearly 9 month struggle with reflux, and for all the invaluable knowledge we gained thanks to her. While I claim no medical expertise and encourage anyone who thinks their kiddo may have reflux to talk to a doctor, I wanted to share some tips, practices and items that we found incredibly helpful during this time.

1) Go slow and elevate. One of the biggest adjustments we had to make to Baby Carrot’s routine was to keep her upright after feeding for at least 20 minutes, pace her feeding, and let her sleep slightly elevated so that acid wouldn’t splash back while she slept. Baby C was always a fast and hungry drinker who would down a bottle in just a few minutes. This meant that she was swallowing a lot of air, which added to her discomfort, and she would cough and choke as her stomach reacted back to the food. We began giving her small doses, about an ounce at a time, and sat with her at least a half hour, with her sleeping upright on my or Mr. Carrot’s chest, before putting her down to sleep. This did make night feedings especially long, but it definitely made a difference. For sleep, we used a Rock n’ Play exclusively for the first 3 months, and when we moved Baby C to her crib, we used a thin pillow between the crib mattress and the crib frame to just slightly elevate her head.

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Preparing for a Sibling

For the last almost three years, Chloe has had our undivided attention, hasn’t really had to share (unless we’ve had play dates, and even then it’s hit or miss…), and has really gotten used to her routine. Next week, her entire world is going to be flipped-turned upside down.  (I hope you caught that reference!)  We’re going to be bringing home a crying newborn who is, no doubt, going to steal Chloe’s spotlight… at least for the first few days home!  How exactly do you prepare a toddler that they’re going to be a sibling?

We told her we were expecting…  right away!
Chloe loved to jump on us and that was something that definitely had to stop asap.  We told her we were having a baby and I let her feel my tummy. She was 26 months old at the time, and we were no where near ready to begin to explain where babies come from, but Chloe seemed satisfied knowing that there was a baby growing in mommy’s belly. I was about six weeks along when Chloe told me Baby Charlotte was in my belly, and don’t you know she was right! We still don’t know where she got this name but we fell in love with it, and are using it for little sis.

As my belly grew, we had to explain to Chloe that she needed to be a bit more gentle. And as I grew even more, we had to explain to her that mommy couldn’t carry her anymore.. but that’s okay, because she’s a big girl!

We made a huge deal about her being a Big Girl
I was so worried about there being so many changes at once:  potty training, a new bed, and a new baby.  We started letting her have some responsibility and allowed her to (kind of) make her own decisions.  Things like, “Do you want chicken or beef for dinner tonight?” or “Do you want to wear your Minnie undies or your Cinderella undies?”  We always emphasized that these are things only Big Girls can do, and she’s a Big Girl, so she can make some of her own decisions now!

Big Girls get to go to the potty, they get to catch lightening bugs, and they get to go on the big blue slide at the park.  Sometimes she surprises us and says, “I can do it myself! I’m a big girl now!” so our Big Girl pep talks must have sunk in.

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Bunny’s First Nursery

I need to get a move on and start showing you Bunny’s nursery(s) before things change and we make way for the new baby! So let me back up about two years when we were still living in Italy. Once we found out we had a little bundle on the way, we decided to swap our guest room for a nursery. We were in a tricky spot for creating a room for Bunny since we didn’t know when we were leaving Italy. When I got pregnant, we were under the assumption that we’d leave in May—a mere two months after she was born. The need for a crib and other stuff wasn’t necessary, but I was pregnant, hormonal, and had the urge to nest and decorate however I possibly could with the knowledge of an upcoming move.

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Buy Nothing Project

The Buy Nothing Project. Have you heard of it? It’s only a year old and but has quickly become a social movement, with over 25,000 members in over 150 groups, in 6 different countries. If you live in Washington state, you’re in luck, because that’s where it started and there are many, many neighborhoods that have embraced it. It uses Facebook to connect you with your neighbors (and their stuff).

It’s a place to share the three-pack of ketchup you bought from Costco, and veggies from your garden that your family couldn’t possibly eat before they spoiled. It’s a place to find an old pallet to make wall art. It’s a place to give a second purpose to packing peanuts. I even saw a Coach purse being given away. Everyone has things they need and things they can give away to make someone else’s day. There are even “gifts of self” – people offer piano lessons, resume reviews, the use of their truck for moving furniture. Most posts stay up for 24 hours so you don’t have to be glued to your phone to score what you need. People comment with their interest, and you can choose a recipient based on your fancy or whim, you can look to places like random.org, or you can literally draw names out of a hat.

I love the idea of using it to source items for helping the homeless like this local man does.

In my group we have “round robins” – totes filled with items you can add to and take from. Here’s a tote filled with 9-12 month clothes, and it had everything from Carter’s to Old Navy, to Gap, to Naartje (never heard of that brand until now, but I assumed it was uber trendy!). I was so blown away by the very first tote I picked up – not only was it literally bursting with clothes, everything was stain-free and like new, and some clothes still had the sale tags attached. There are round robins for craft supplies, books, and even old school nintendo games. There are “library” lists filled with things people are willing to loan out – everything from Kitchenaid attachments, to camping supplies, Cricut cartridges, to DVDs. There are friendships to be made in meeting the people in your community, but there is always the option of “porch pickups” so you can fit it into your day.

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