The Robots

Dominic is finally starting to draw pictures that actually look like something. He works very hard on this every day and the other day, he brought me a drawing and told me that he’d drawn robots. And sure enough!

They might not be the most amazing robots ever, but they do look like something, as opposed to random scribbles.

Toddler Hunger Strikes and My Zoku Quick Pop Maker

zoku quick pop maker reviewEarly this year, a blog reader brought down an Amazon order for me and in this order was a Zoku Quick Pop Maker. I had been waffling on whether or not to get one for a couple of years since they are pretty expensive, but finally, I bit the bullet. We like popsicles here, but I don’t have a big freezer and so making a bunch is not really easy. This popsicle maker lets you make three at a time in about 10 minutes, so it’s really handy to have.

Basically, you freeze the base and just leave it in the freezer all the time. When you want to make a popsicle or three (they have three different sizes, I got the triple pop maker so none of the boys would have to wait), you take it out, put the sticks in and pour in the popsicle liquid. Then you wait ten minutes and use the special handle to pull the popsicles out. Voila! You can do fancy things with this pop maker, like this:

zoku popsicles

zoku quick pop maker review

Since it freezes so fast, you can do layers and even special cores. We LOVE to make orangesicles. You pour orange juice into the mold, then wait a couple of minutes for the outer bit to freeze, suck out the middle liquid and fill it with strawberry (or any flavor) yogurt. This is a big hit with the kids.

Now on to the title. It might seem weird that I’m talking about toddler hunger strikes when I just posted about hungry kids, but a couple of months ago, Dominic decided he didn’t want to eat anymore. As in, virtually NOTHING. I know the experts say to let kids choose their food and such, but since I’ve had one kid who ended up with malnutrition and some very drastic side effects from that, we don’t really like to leave it up to the kid. So . . . enter popsicles.

Dominic wouldn’t eat real food but he loves “eye peem!” So I made popsicles for him every day. These were often smoothies that I mixed in the blender, so I knew he was getting some nice healthy stuff in his tummy. Some of the combinations used:

– banana, cocoa, milk
– strawberry yogurt, banana, milk
– strawberry yogurt, milk, spinach
– banana, orange juice, spinach
– banana, spinach, cocoa, milk
– blackberries, orange juice

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to come up with a healthy combo. I don’t add sugar unless the juice is really sour (we squeeze our own). And sometimes, he got just orange juice pops. He would eat several popsicles a day and we could use them as a bribe to get him to eat a bit of lunch. “Eat your cheese and ham and you can have ice cream!” It worked and after a couple of weeks, he was back to his normal hungry self, having suffered no ill effects.

We still do popsicles at least once a day and all the boys love them. I even make Irving some diabetes friendly ones with papaya and pineapple or fudgsicles with milk, cocoa and stevia. While you’re not supposed to use sugar replacements in the pop maker, I haven’t had any issues with it.

Note: This isn’t a sponsored post, I genuinely LOVE my Zoku Quick Pop Maker, but I do make a few cents if you click on the links in this article and buy something on Amazon.

Discovery Bags

I’ve been trying to do at least one fun activity with the boys each day. So far, so good! Here’s another fun thing we did the other day. I thought it would be just for Dominic, but I did make two bags, just in case one of the big boys wanted to mush stuff around. Boy, was I wrong! They BOTH wanted discovery bags and were quite miffed that I didn’t make three. Ah well. Next time.

So, discovery bags are basically just bags with hair gel in them and a bunch of small items from around the house to fit a theme. We did ocean themed bags. Our hair gel is already blue (???) so there was no need to add food coloring, but you can do that if you want. About a quarter cup is all you need.

I used a variety of items, including some fish sequins I’ve been saving since forever, some sequin spirals, some foam fish that I cut out myself, plus some starfish, also from foam. I also put in a little of the silver raffia stuff I found in the paca the other day and some star and moon confetti sequins (“Hello, my name is Genesis and I’m a sequinaholic.”)

Make sure all the air is out of the bag or it will pop. Oh, who are we kidding, it’s going to pop anyway, if you have crazy kids like mine. :) The first bag lasted all of ten minutes, but the second one is still going strong. Seal the top with tape to remind little fingers not to open the bag. The gel is really cool, so on hot days, apparently, it’s fun to smoosh the bag over bare knees and feet.

All the blogs I’ve seen that have done this have taped the bag to a window. I didn’t do that because Dominic just broke the one window that is low enough for him to do this with. I did try putting them on the fridge, but they stayed put all of 2.4 seconds. Whatever. I told them to play outside and they did, so the gel was just hosed away later. No biggie.

Last, but not least, Dominic demonstrating the squishiness of the bag in a blog-safe manner. I seriously didn’t tell him to do this, he saw the camera, held the bag over his face (while grinning his photo grin behind it and waited for me to take the picture. Then he said, “Let’s see?” and ran to check out how photogenic his chubby little hands are.

Fun with Water Beads

Last night, I dumped 23 packets of water beads into the boys’ pool. I had this image of a pool full of water beads, but since our pool is 6 feet across, it would have been nearly impossible to fill. So I had to settle for about 2 gallons of fully grown water beads.

This morning, it looked like this:

Around 7:30, the kids wandered out to dip their fingers in the water, as they like to do each morning. The next thing I heard was … “WHAT the heck?! What the heck are these things?!” and then, “Dorian, there’s JELLO in the pool!”

Needless to say, it was a big hit! They jumped in even though the water was freezing.

And then, the big discovery. “There’s INVISIBLE ones, too!” Nearly half the beads were clear and they totally disappeared in the water. They spent about an hour dipping the beads out and seeking out all the invisible ones.

I highly suggest this if you want to have some fun with your kiddos. We even used them for school after they dipped them out.

Dominic did color sorting:

And the big boys learned about weight.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Dominic!

Dominic turns two today. I cannot believe that time has gone by so very fast. There’s no more baby in this house! Our crib is gone and the baby toys have been passed on to infant cousins. The signs of babyhood are gone and little boy stuff is replacing it. It’s bittersweet.

It’s hard to believe that this:

Turned into a little guy who runs around like crazy, is partially potty trained, talks a blue streak and climbs on assorted things to reach the markers at the top of the fridge. He’s a busy, busy little man and he thinks he’s just as grown up as his brothers! He says things like “Oh, come ON!” if you kiss him and he scolds his brothers as if he were their older brother. He’s a lot of fun!

Dominic is currently obsessed with Bubble Guppies, so I made him a Bubble Guppy cake with the boy guppies on it, Goby and Nonny and Gil at the top.

I used the icing transfer technique to make the guppies, though it kind of failed me with poor Goby’s eyes! Still, Dominic was thrilled. He also got a set of wooden blocks that Irving made him, a Winnie the Pooh fishing set and I made him a Mr. Grouper pillow.

This is part of a set that isn’t finished yet. The other part is a reversible blanket with Bubble Guppies on it. Here’s Nonny so far.

While we did have some issues with a grumpy birthday boy who needed a short nap, it’s been a pretty good birthday. Apart from the fact that, you know, my baby is a kid now. Sniff.

Potty Training

A while back, Dominic was very interested in using the potty. Unfortunately, things were so hectic around here, I didn’t take full advantage of that and so we find ourselves now potty training a child who is quite vocal about what he wants. “No poop in potty! Poop in diaper!”

That being said, things have been going pretty well. We’re doing sessions of 2-4 hours, depending on the amount of time we have. I leave the tot pantless and have the potty within easy reach. He gets a sticker if he goes in it. Usually, I have him sit on the potty every 15-20 minutes and we’ve had no issues with that. However, this morning, I put him on, he peed and about 20 minutes later, I was about to go tell him to try again when I realized he was already ON the potty! Yup, he went all by himself. He was pretty proud of himself, too.

The thought of actually having no diapers in the house at some point in the near future is mindboggling. It could be pretty awesome!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 68

Dominic: “I so cute!”
Dante: listening to Dorian’s chest with a stethoscope “Your heart is still there, Dorian.”
Dominic: checking Dante’s ear with the thermometer which has a little happy face if your temp is normal and a sad face if you have a fever. “It’s happy! You fine.”
Dante: from outside “MOOOOOOOOM! Dorian’s bugging me!”
Dorian was sitting beside me, in the house, going through toys.
Dominic now sleeps on a low bed between Irving’s bed and mine, so in the wee hours of the morning, it’s not uncommon for him to climb into bed with one of us. Early one morning, he chose my bed.
Dominic: “Mama. Mama. Mama.”
Me: “What?”
Dominic: “So cold!”
I let him into the bed.
Dominic: “I saw cat!” pointing at the wall outside.
Me: trying to sleep. “Lovely.”
Dominic: Snuggling against me, “Poop. So much poop. Every day, poop.”
Me: “Are you so cute?”
Dominic: “Si.”
Dante: “Well, he’s not so cute when he hits me!”
Dorian: “Yeah, he’s not at all cute when he tries to hurt us.”
Dominic was playing somewhere outside and I was indoors.
Me: “Domi?”
Dominic: “Yeah?”
Me: “Just seeing what you were doing.”
Dominic: “Good. Doing good.”
Dante: “Do you need this flour, Mama?”
Me: “No, why? What do you need it for?”
Dante: “Potions, of course!”
Me: “Okay. Go for it.”
Dante: “Okay, my potions are setting up. Please don’t touch them.”
Me: “What are you expecting them to do?”
Dante: “Nothing yet. Later I’m going to put them together and there will be a big explosion.”
Me: “An explosion? What is going to make them explode?”
Dante: “Salt. It’s very explosive.”
Me: “Hmm, we’ll have to see how that works, huh?”
Dante: “Yeah. I’ll try it away from the house.”

The Naked Stage

Dominic has reached the stage of toddlerhood where he simply has no use for clothing. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or sunny, clothes should not be on his body. As soon as we put him in sleepers, he unzips them and peels them off. The diaper frequently follows. He can’t always get his shirt off, but anything that can come off, does. Except shoes. He loves his shoes.

I’d forgotten about this stage, to tell you the truth.

Dorian never went through it. I suspect he was so traumatized by his many surgeries and medical procedures that he figured he was safe if he had clothes on. It wasn’t until last year that he finally agreed to take his shirt off for short periods of time on very hot days or while painting. Most days you will find him with long sleeves or even in a button up shirt with every last button done up.

Dante, however, Dante went through this stage. I’d forgotten, but Dominic’s distaste for clothing has brought it all back.

You see, in Guatemala, a naked kid is nothing short of scandalous, particularly for my in-laws. I would dress Dante nicely in the morning and he would run off to play with his cousin. Between our house and theirs, he would lose every single last piece of clothing and show up buck naked on their doorstep. You can imagine the irate phone calls.

“Dante is here.”
“Yes, I know, he said he wanted to play with Zanelle.”
“He’s NAKED! Come and get him and bring some pants!”
“He had clothes when he left here!”
“Well, he’s naked now. Hurry!”

It took him a long time to outgrow that stage. I think he enjoyed the shrieks and overreactions to his state of undress. But I remind myself that this time I’m ready. This time, I have a gate so no naked toddler can escape my yard. This time, I know the stage comes to an end at some point.