Lies the Internet Tells You

The other day I saw someone on Facebook share a post called “10 Easy Things to Cook with Toddlers.”  Lately I’ve been feeling guilty about trying to be more involved with my toddler’s play time.  With our recent move, I have been so busy and stressed and in turn, have relied heavily on free babysitting media, i.e. Curious George via TV, iPad, and phone.  We’ve been working on learning colors, numbers, and the alphabet, and Ellis has just been a sponge soaking up and spilling back everything she’s learning.  I want her to have many new experiences to keep expanding her mind, so when I saw this post, I jumped on it.  The recipe for these Cheese Puffs seemed easy enough – puff pastry, egg wash, and cheese.  No way could we mess that up.

This isn’t my first disappointing toddler activity found on Pinterest fail.  But I just can’t stand the lies the Internet is putting out anymore, and someone needs to speak up about it, so it may as well be me.  Yes.  Cooking something simple with a toddler is both fun and engaging for the toddler.  No.  It’s not fun for the adult caregiver, and also, no way did your toddler help you make that snack.

It all started off hectic from the beginning.  I had a plan of action which I carefully mapped out while my daughter was eating oatmeal and cheese for lunch.  (Do not argue with a hungry, groggy toddler who just woke up from a nap and is still cranky.)  However, the moment I started to make a move on plans, Ellis decided she was no longer hungry, and she insisted we play upstairs.  No worries.  Kitchen was still dirty and more so after her lunch.  I had about 30 minutes for the puff pastries to thaw.  I could manage this.  30 minutes later, and Ellis still demanded my attention in her toy room.  But I found a great excuse – a two-day old cup of coffee left in the bathroom.  “Ooh, look Ellis.  Mommy has to take this cup to the kitchen.”

“No.”

“Okay, I’m going to the kitchen.  You can come with me if you’d like.”

“No.” In a tone that implied, if you go, you will regret it.  I took my chances and, with a nervous smile on my face, headed for the stairs.

The puff pastries were doughy and close to room temperature.  They had been thawing too long, so I had to grab some flour, and with Ellis’s help, roll out the dough.  (She had decided to follow me and wanted to be involved in the process entirely.)

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This picture may mislead you into thinking this little child knows how to use a rolling pin, but I assure you, she does not. Also, taking pictures during this entire process is not wise.

Working on a dirty counter top, we rolled out the dough and started cutting shapes.  Tip:  plastic cutters do not work well for this task.  They do, however, help to reinforce colors.  But only orange because that’s the only color Ellis successfully identifies with enthusiasm.  I threw the other wad of dough into the fridge knowing that this was already not going as planned, as I picked off a hairball from one of the shapes Ellis had just semi-cut out.

The next step was the egg wash.  Leaving a toddler to tend the dough while I grabbed eggs from the fridge was a bit cumbersome.  So much so that I cracked an egg and absentmindedly dropped it into the sink of dirty dishes instead of into the plastic bowl I had sitting right in front of me.  Back for a second egg.  Crack.  A little water.  A baby fork to whisk because I still don’t know where most of my kitchen utensils are, and then back to the toddler.

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Here’s where it gets tricky. Raw eggs on hands + Cheese + a Toddler who loves cheese = food poisoning? Let’s hope not.

She wanted full control over egg washing the pastry cut outs, so after unsuccessful negotiations, let her have at it.  Next, I grabbed the cheese and showed her how I sprinkled a bit on top of a cut out.  She relinquished the egg wash in exchange for the cheese, grabbed a handful out of the bag and dumped it on one cut out, and repeated the process, on the same cut out.

After Ellis got the bag of cheese, she was much more interested in eating it than finishing her work.  I threw our disaster joint effort into the oven and set to cleaning up what I could while she crawled on the dirt/egg/flour covered counter top and ate cheese in between sprinkling it everywhere.  IMG_8316

Reality Check
Exhibit A:
exhibit a

Photo credit: Childhood101.com – Cooking with Kids: Cheese Puffs

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Exhibit B:

 

exhibit b

Photo Credit: Childhood101.com – Cooking with Kids: Cheese Puffs

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Um, yeah, you try telling a toddler that’s enough cheese.

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Watching them bake.

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Reality: THIS is what really happens when you bake with a toddler.

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The ones that got thrown away.

After she lost interest, I pulled out the second sheet of puff pastry and tried to create a more edible cheese puff as a reward for both our hard work.  They actually turned out tasty, if not a little burnt, because I got slightly distracted and didn’t pull them out on time.  Alas, the fruit of my efforts were thrown away by my husband after he got home and I was at the grocery store.  Because I put them on a plate, he didn’t think I wanted them.  Ellis’s batch, which were still on the baking sheet, he left alone though.

 

Big Things in 2015

I still haven’t finished writing about our trip to KC for Thanksgiving, let alone post about our trip to the mountains or Christmas, but it’s a new year, and I’d like reflect on 2014 and look ahead to a promising 2015.

In 2014,
  • Our baby turned into a toddler.
  • I finished my last course in my Masters program.  I’m putting off applying for graduation because I’m wavering between completing the School Media certification or not.  I’m kind of to the point that I just want to be done.  I don’t want to intern again, but it’s one of the requirements.
  • I became a certified group ex instructor and started teaching part time at the Y.
  • We visited Miami, KC, Iowa, Kansas, and Georgia.
  • My husband and I went through a rough patch and have been focusing on what we need from each other and our goals for a happy and satisfying life together.
  • I’ve been doing some internal examining of what I can do to better myself and live a happier life.

So, with that in mind, as empty and redundant as it sounds, I really want to make some big changes in 2015.  I hope to look back on this list next year and be able to say, “Yep, check.  Check.  Did it.  Done.”

For Ellis,
  • Get involved in “Mommy and Me” type activities again.  I plan on signing her up for gymnastics and possibly a music class.
  • Work on colors, numbers, shapes, and more body parts.  I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to be teaching her.  I guess I’ll look into that…
  • Enough with the nursing.  I’m over it.  She is not.
  • Hopefully, get her signed up for preschool beginning in the summer or fall.
  • Potty.  Training.
  • Swimming lessons
For my relationship with my husband,
  • better communication
  • make an effort to have at least one date a month
  • show more love and appreciation
  • laugh more
For me,
  • watch more tv/movies (Seriously.)
  • read more books
  • listen to music I like, even if no one else does
  • sing more
  • Eat less sugar.  Drink less wine.  Eat more veggies.
  • Stop wishing to move back to the Midwest.  It’s not going to happen.  Time to come to terms with it.stop-trying-to-make-fetch-happen
  • Find a real doctor.  Stop going to Solantic/CareSpot.
Bigger things that are (kind of) out of my control,
  • Get my name on the Brooks schedule, even if I share or team teach.
  • MOVE.  Out of this house.  Out of this neighborhood.  We’ve been here far longer than either of us like.
  • Baby #2.
  • Graduate from graduate school.  Seriously.

One and a Half.

NOTE:  This post is a few months old, so I’m going to pretend like I published it in a timely manner and back date it.

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You’re talking a lot lately.  Most of it is gibberish and impossible to understand, but there are a few phrases that you say at least ten-thousand times a day.  I figured I should document them before I forget or before you start speaking complex sentences and these are no longer impressive to me.

Counting.

Your favorite number is two.  We can ask you how many there are of something, and as long as the answer is two, you’re correct.

The Alphabet.

Your favorite letter is A.  Every time you see a letter or word, you say “A.”

Help, please.

We taught you to say “Help, please.”  Now you say it for everything and basically anytime I’m not paying attention to you.  Help, please  can mean “I want you to play with me” and also, “I need you to get something for me.”

Hand.

Another of your tricks to sucker me away from my phone, the dishes, getting ready, and other distractions that take my attention away from you.  You ask for my hand, reach out with yours, and lead me away.

How about… this?

I didn’t realize this was something I said a lot, but you’ve picked it up and ran with it.  It’s all about choice for you.  When we go to the fridge, the snacks in the pantry, your drawer full of shoes, books on the shelf, etc. you give a drawn out “how about…,” and when you’ve found what you want, grab and say, “this?”

I lowu. (I love you.)

You say “I love you.”  I love that you say “I love you.”

C’mon, Alex.

You’ve been saying this for a while, too, but it’s so cute.  You are the great imitator and learned quickly how we got Alex to come to us.  It doesn’t quite work for you, but it’s adorable nonetheless.

Sorry.

I guess I apologize a lot.  You started saying sorry for things like bumping into me or me dropping a toy when trying to hand it to you.

 

 

Traveling Solo with a Toddler: I Did It and So Can You!

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I feared this day for the longest time, the day I would have to fly alone with a toddler.  I think after everything, I’ve come out stronger and am here to tell you that you can do it, too.

1.  Check everything.  Carry as little as possible.  Have an awesome stroller.

We spent $210 to check 3 bags because US Airlines are a**holes.  1 bag = $25, 2 bags = $60, 3 bags = wait, why did we decide to travel with a toddler again?  I didn’t realize how expensive checking luggage would be, so if you can pack less, do.  I didn’t carry a purse or diaper bag.  I used a backpack, and then I had Ellis’s small kitty cat bag that would make for easier access to things that I would need to pull out and put back the most.  Each backpack also had side pockets to carry water bottles, sippy cups, etc.  Our brand new UPPAbaby G-Luxe stroller had a cup holder, but that only lasted the first flight.  It was gone when we I retrieved it at the gate.  The stroller is great because it’s lightweight, easy to fold and unfold with one free hand, reclines, has a decent sized basket, AND my daughter likes sitting in it (as long as it is moving).

2.  Check the giant car seat, agonize over the guilt, and realize it is statistically still safer for a toddler to fly sans car seat than driving in a car with one.

Ellis was a lap baby on this flight, for the first time.  I really struggled with this at first, but in the end, it was a good decision.  There is no way I could have lugged around a car seat and a toddler, let alone smoosh it into an airplane seat while hanging on to her.  And on our previous flights, she hardly sat in her seat but wanted to be held by/sleep on me for the most part.  And really, it’s all about keeping the baby happy for the sake of the other passengers, no matter the means.  I did research, though, and besides the Car Seats for the Littles Blog who are adamantly against flying with a lap baby, the odds were on my side.  I think I read that there have been a reported 10 infants deaths in air since 2003, the majority of which were on long, international flights where the baby fell asleep and just didn’t wake up.  The other deaths were due to other complications, none involving turbulence or being unrestrained.  We did bubble wrap and double bag the car seat, and wrote a lovely “Handle with Care” note on the outside.  It arrived soundly each way.

3.  Keep the snacks and entertainment coming.

Seat belt

Seat belts were fun on the second flight. The window also provided minutes of entertainment for her.

Headphones

The headphones did not stay on very long.

I see you

Peek a boo with the unassuming passenger in the next row.

Feed the beast.

Snacks. Lots of snacks.

I downloaded an episode of Curious George onto my iPad, bought her some child-safe headphones (which she did not like wearing), and loaded up on the snacks, milk, and water.  When she was done tearing up the safety manual and Sky Mall magazine in the seat pocket, I pulled these out to distract her.

4.  Accept that she’s not going to sleep, and she WILL draw attention.

We walked up and down the aisle on the first flight until we encountered some turbulence.  She was hours past her nap by the time we landed at our layover, so I thought I could zoom her around in the stroller, and she would nap.  That didn’t happen.  She DID keep pointing at every man she saw and yelling, “Dada!”  And she was mostly a happy camper except for boarding and deboarding.  She doesn’t like lines or standing still, so she practiced her flop maneuver and her sad pleas to nurse during those times.  Overall, people are very nice and offer to help where they can.  Not that I was about to let the questionable lady stroll my daughter around so I could sit down.  Thanks anyway, ma’am!

 

Toddler Activities

This morning my daughter watched two hours worth of Curious George, Sesame Street, and the Tiger-Neighborhood-one.  And, yeah, I let it happen.

There are days when it’s too cold or too wet to go outside.  There are days when I’ve used up Curious George on the mundane, like taking a shower or making breakfast.  We are no longer members of the local toddler gym because it doesn’t fit our schedule, and I haven’t really looked for anything new to enroll her in yet.  There are days (every day, but I’m trying to be poetic) that I have to find a way to keep my toddler entertained, engaged, and grow her mind.  I fail pretty much every day, too, because we end up dancing to the stereo, chasing the dog, and climbing the furniture.  All. the. furniture.  Up?  Up?

I’ve gone to those silly, Super Mom websites and read their fabulous ideas.  I get ideas sent straight to my inbox from subscriptions I’ve signed up for.  Let me break it down for you.  It takes at least twice as long to set up and clean up EACH than the length of time it holds my toddlers attention.  I’ve decided that for now, natural curiosity and exploration that happens organically (I hate anyone who uses that word), is probably just as effective, if not more, than all of these toddler activities that sound great in theory, but in reality never go the way you plan.  Take a look at some of my failed attempts.

1.  Let’s Color!
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In T-minus 2 seconds, I’m chucking these crayons in all directions.

Tape paper to the floor.  Pull out some crayons, and let your loved one’s inner artist emerge!

Reality:  First, you need a crumb-free floor to tape paper to.  No time for that, so just swipe those dried bits of food away from your work area.  Once your toddler sees the tape dispenser, she is going to be much more interested in it than coloring on paper.  And the tape you’ve added to the paper?  It’s a STICKER!!!  Toddlers LOVE stickers.  She’ll do her best to add tape to the paper, remove tape,  unroll more tape – – wait this tape is stuck to my finger, Mommy get it off!  Now there’re food bits stuck to the tape.  Mommy, get it off!  Actually, why is there paper on the floor?  I’ll help out by tearing it off.  Done.  Whew.  Okay, what’s next?

Same concept for finger painting, only it’s 1000 times messier, even when you’ve pulled out the giant, plastic tablecloth to work on.  Unless you’ve plasticked (Yeah, I made that a verb.) an entire room and all exits via Dexter, that paint is getting on your carpet.

2.  Dry Food, Kitchen Time Fun!IMG_5474

Anything safe to ingest + kitchen accessories, bowls, measuring cups, muffin tin, etc. Dump uncooked rice into a large bowl.  Let toddler explore.  Pour different types of cereal into muffin tin.  Let toddler experiment.

Reality:   Pouring, scooping, eating, dumping, tossing, and smashing are all involved.  Keep the vacuum handy or be prepared to step lightly through the minefield that is now your kitchen floor.

3.  SortingIMG_5435

Anything around the house:  colored blocks, pairs of socks.  Have toddler gleefully sort objects while you discuss with her about colors, textures, and size.

Reality:  No, Mommy, YOU want to sort; I want to be Godzilla and plow through your organized piles of boredom.  I will only pick up a “blue” block if I darn well feel like it, and right now I feel like chewing on a red one.

4.  Songs and Finger Play

This Little Piggy, Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus… Singing + hand motions = all day fun.

Reality:  Unless you’re tired of singing the same song for the 30th time in a row.  Or unless you haven’t even finished singing the first line, and your toddler is already vigorously shaking her head NO.  Plus side, no prep work involved in this one.  Unless you’re annoying and make finger puppets for your child.  Then you deserve the sheer disappointment of your toddler not caring.

5.  Obstacle Course

Pull the cushions off the furniture.  Grab the giant throw pillows of the beds.  Line them up and make steps onto the cushion-less couch and love seat.  Add a pop-up tunnel, and your toddler’s sure to have a rollicking good time in her new living room-indoor gym!

Reality:  She doesn’t want to climb, so you’re going to have to pick her up and put her on the sofa-fort.  Also, the cushions are in the way.  She can’t run around with her stroller and chase the dog with all this stuff on the floor.  What is your deal?  Pick up the house, woman!

So, what does entertain a toddler?  All the things that break and can be ruined by, or ruin, a toddler:

  • A cup full of colorful pens.  (Keep the caps on, obvi.)
  • Christmas silverware and the cupboard with all the extra place mats, napkins, and napkin rings.
  • The glass centerpiece with the fake fall foliage and fake apples.
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    Pants are optional in this house.

    (There will forever be bite marks in every one of those fake apples.)  Let’s just all agree that fake fruit as decor is a stupid idea.

  • Sitting on all the chairs.  But she refuse to learn how to climb, so you must place her in a chair, and then she’ll point at the next chair, and then she’ll want to sit in the next chair, and then back to the first chair.  Keep.  Going.
  • Water.  But only if it’s from your cup.  The one without the lid.  The one that’s not spill-proof.  The one that she’s dumping all over her shirt right now.
  • Your really tall bed.  Bonus points if you can catch her before she lunges herself off the side.
  • Helping with laundry.  As in, you fold, and she puts it on her head, or her doll’s head, or the dog’s head.  Soon she’ll get impatient with how long it’s taking you to fold and refold all the clothes, so she’ll grab a pile, carry it to her bedroom and stuff it into her drawer. Done.  Moving on.  Just remember where to look when you are out of kitchen towels.IMG_5430
  • No supervision.  Go change the crib sheet on your toddler’s mattress.  See what blessings await you when you are through.  Do this when you have 10 minutes before you have to leave to go teach a class.  When is your husband going to be home, again?  (This one’s fun for everyone!)

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    Look, Mom! ALL the crackers! Surprise!

  • Snacks.  When in doubt, snacks.

One-Year-Old Speak, A Translation Guide

Much like BableFish, this translation guide will be only 75% accurate; however, if you think you might ever find yourself having a five minute or more conversation with my daughter in the near future (ahem, I’m talking to you, family we’re visiting for Thanksgiving), you might find this guide mildly helpful.

 

Sounds like… Could possibly mean…
/a/ (long a sound) airplane
ă (short a sound) apple, or Alex if she’s being lazy
ah-p “up,” or chair
high-pitched “nay!” horse, or reindeer, or any animal that slightly resembles a horse
baa sheep, or any animal that slightly or barely resembles a sheep
m-ow cat
moe more, milk (usually accompanied by sign for milk), or feed me something good, cow (sound a cow makes)
mmm sound a cow makes, sometimes she just says the mmm part without the ooh.
wah water
bay, or baaaaaay-be baby
nigh-nigh night-night
hi I see you.
bye-bye Go away.
no granola
nă (short a sound) snack (Yes, granola and snacks are two entirely different food categories.)
hm-hm (sing-songy, to match the cadence of “thank-you” Mommy told me to say thank you. (She hums sounds and words she doesn’t know how to say.)
Whoo! owl
eye/no/ee/beh eyes/nose/ears/belly, belly button, or button
uh-oh I purposely chucked (fill in the blank).
dog every time she hears the neighbors’ dogs bark, also “car” because why, I have no idea

 

 

October

October is my all time favorite month of the year, just as Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I love the fall:  cooler weather, crunchy leaves, pumpkin patches, decorations, scary movies, and yummy treats.  Of course, fall isn’t really fall in Florida, and the sun is blisteringly hot when you’re out picking pumpkins with zero shade.  But this last week hasn’t been too bad.  We’ve been able to open windows in the mornings and play outside a lot.  This month has been busy and has gone by so fast; I can’t believe it’s almost over.  What have we been up to in October 2014?IMG_4600

  • We visited a local church pumpkin “patch.”  It’s at least a 45 min drive to get out to a real farm, and we haven’t gotten up the courage or energy for that kind of excursion yet.
  • We decorated pumpkins and our entryway.
  • We took family photos.
  • The Jaguars won a game, finally.
  • The KC Royals won the ALCS, and are currently leading 2-1 in the World Series.  What!?  #takethecrown #beroyal  *UPDATE: They made it to game 7, but the Giants won out in the end, 3-2 score.  Sad, but still proud of my home team.
  • I am an official, certified Sh’bam instructor and got my very own class on Tuesday mornings each week.
  • We just launched Sh’bam 17.  My first launch.IMG_4715
  • I got a sports therapy massage at the Ponte Vedra Spa.  It was delightful.
  • Ellis got sick for the second time in her life.  It’s most likely my fault for letting her eat her snacks that fell on the floor at the pediatrician’s office during her 15 mo well visit.
  • We bought our tickets to go home (KC) for Thanksgiving.  I. Cannot. Wait.
  • We drove an hour out to a farm in Hilliard to enjoy some fall activities that included multiple rides on a cow train, mooing at cows, a tractor ride, a giant slide, Travase pushing Ellis all over in a little hot wheels bike because she couldn’t reach the peddles and REALLY wanted to ride it. a lot., played a hay bales, pet some chickens, pigs, and horses, and a ton more.   We didn’t grab pumpkins because we had nabbed them the weekend before.
  • We went to the NAS Jacksonville airshow.  It was not the best thing to take a 1-year-old to.  It took an hour to park and enter.  There were lines for everything, including the ONE ATM because none of the credit card machines were working.  Ellis wanted to run around, but there wasn’t really a safe place to do so.  Or she wanted to just sit.  In the middle of the crowds of people walking up and down the airfield.  We skipped her morning nap so that we could go, and by the end of our visit, she had gotten quite psychotic.  Tired babies become violent babies.IMG_5005
  • Ellis started teething again and got a super wicked case of diaper rash, so she’s been running around with a naked booty, and I’ve been cleaning pee off of everything.
  • For Halloween, Ellis wore her puppy dog costume around the front yard and our street, but hated the giant tutu.  It scared her putting it on and taking off, so there was no chance I was getting it back on her for trick-or-treating.  She went as a piggy instead.  We met Travase at his office and headed to Avondale for an early dinner.  All the staff loved her, and one waitress remembered her from our last visit which had been some time ago.  Ellis started to get restless (it had been a long, tiresome, no nap day), so we headed out to walk the neighborhood.  We didn’t have her trick-or-treat because she doesn’t eat candy, but any house with a dog, she would stop and we’d ask if she could say hello and pet him or her.  The more tired Ellis gets, the crazier and less coordinated she gets.  She didn’t want to be held or sit in her stroller, so I let her walk.  She fell twice, scraping her leg on the asphalt and then soon after hitting her chin on a curb.  So, she was bleeding, scraped up, and bruised by the end of the night.  Way to go, Mom!

 

Halloween Krispies Treats

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I added the mini-mallows too soon, so they look like melty blobs.

I love Halloween.  I love Rice Krispies treats.  I make them every year come October.  This year, Oreo came out with a Halloween cookie that I just had to try, so I decided to play with my trusty ole’ back-o-the-box recipe to incorporate my second love, Oreo cookies.  Add in some mini marshmallows, and you have yourself a heavenly, devilishly delicious treat.  I may have eaten 90% of the pan all by myself.

Til next year, Krispie Treats.

Ingredients:

(I’m too lazy to look up measurements for this post.  I made these at the beginning of the month, so I’m just going from memory here.)

  • Butter
  • Marshmallows (one jumbo size bag, one bag of miniatures)
  • small package Halloween Oreo cookies (I went with a row of cookies but you can choose how many cookies you want to incorporate), semi crushed
  • box of Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:

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I ate half the pan and half the package of Oreos before I got around to taking a picture.

Follow directions on back of cereal for making krispies treats.  I make them on the stove instead of using the microwave.  Melt butter and marshmallows.  Remove from heat and add the cereal, stir.  Yadda Yadda.

Then, add your crushed Oreos.  Stir.  Add about half a bag of miniature marshmallows.  Again, your call on the amount you want.  Just don’t add them too soon, or they will melt.

Spread into a greased pan and restrain yourself from eating them too soon.

Enjoy!

Friday Five – My 15 Month Old’s Favorite Apps

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Ellis loves her my iPhone and iPad.  I love that they can serve as a distraction when she starts to get cranky in the car or wants me to pick her when I’m trying to get dinner made, etc.  I think people who say children under 2 should not be exposed to media at all are bonkers.  I’m talking to you, American Pediatrics Association.  My daughter watches Sesame Street and/or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood almost everyday.  Often it’s in 5 or 10 minute blocks because she has the attention span of a 15 month old, and if they are not singing, she’s not interested.  Unless there are dogs, or animals that look like dogs.  She’ll watch dogs.  And the advertisements that come on before Sesame Street.  They are the same every time and get her excited.  Sesame Street is always brought to you buy Earth’s Best Organics for Kids and PNC.

The best apps for her age are those that have simple illustrations and basic steps (just like books).  If it requires more than one or two steps then it’s too advanced.  She’s working on her hand-coordination skills, learning how her hands and fingers manipulate the screen, and even better, her favorite button (the home button) will exit her out of her favorite app and might just call on Siri.  So, she’s also learning how to find her apps and open them.

#1.  Elmo Calls by Sesame StreetIMG_0029

I mean, do I even need to explain?  Elmo calls your child.  No, he doesn’t just call your child.  He FaceTimes with her.  Why didn’t this exist when I was a kid?

#2.  Peekaboo Barn by Night & Day Studios

This app is super cute and super simple.  There is an image of a barn, and the doors start to shake.  You tap on the doors, and it reveals an animal inside.  It makes the animal sound, says the name of animal in addition to revealing the name in print as well.  IMG_0027Once you go through all the animals, night time falls, and all the animals go to sleep.  Ellis hates this part.  Wake them up!  Let’s keep playing!  At least I think that’s what her whines mean.  She learned you either have to go through the motions or close the app and open it to start it all over again.

Similar to this, she also loves:  Peekaboo Vehicles by Touch & Learn (super loud and annoying, but she loves it!) and Peekaboo Trick or Treat with Ed Emberley by Night & Day Studios.  (Lately, she’s been playing these last two all the time.  I think she needed a break from Peekaboo Barn.  Surprisingly, she’s not really into the Peekaboo Sesame Street version.)

#3.  Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose

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Itsy Bitsy Spider hands

Itsy Bitsy Spider is one of her favorite songs.  So, it made sense to find an app that played the song over and over.  This app is so much fun for her, but so weird.  It mixes elements of realism and fantasy, so it’s not quite educational, but then when you click on certain objects like the sun or a fly, a child’s voice gives a scientific explanation that is far too advanced for a 15 month old, let alone a 3 year old.

#4.  Busy Shapes by Seven AcademyIMG_4274

If Peekaboo Barn is the digital version of that old school toy where you pull a string and a bored man’s voice says, “The cow goes moo!,” then this app is the digital version of the plastic ball with the different shaped holes that you have to fit plastic pieces into.  How in the world am I supposed to describe that? A shape-sorter ball toy thing.  Yeah, so this is the digital version of it.

#5.  Sago Mini Sound Box by Sago SagoIMG_0032

So, she’s kind of over this one already, but it was her favorite for so long that I had to include it.  It’s really pointless fun.  It’s colorful and makes a lot of sounds.  The more you touch the screen, the more colorful balls appear accompanied by various sounds depending on what theme you select.  You hold down on a ball and a surprise pops out like a fish, cat, or dog.