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The Monkey

7

A Toddler and his iPhone

iPhone

My Monkey with his two favorite things - his iPhone and his monkey. A pic taken with my iPhone, of course.

My two year old has his own iPhone.

Now, before you think I am absolutely insane to buy an expensive phone for my toddler, let me assure you that I did not run out and drop $300 on a new phone for him. No way. However, being the ultimate tech-geek that he is, the Dude did run out a few months ago to get himself the new iPhone 4G. This meant that we had his old iPhone available to be donated to a good cause. We quickly realized that the best cause was our little Monkey.

The Monkey has been playing with our iPhones since around his 2nd birthday, nearly one year ago. When I discovered how toddler-friendly certain iPhone apps could be for him, I researched the most educational and creative apps and loaded them up on our iPhones. I was so impressed with certain apps, that I wrote a post back in April about my favorite iPhone apps for toddlers. With thousands of hits, that post quickly became my most popular blog post. Either there are a ton of other parents out there letting their toddlers play with their iPhone and iPads or people are simply curious to learn more about it.

It does seem that more and more people are discovering that it’s smart to let your kids play with smart phones. An iPhone or other smart phone can, with proper guidance and supervision, be used as a valuable teaching tool for children. The interactive content on an iPhone can help developing brains learn how to problem-solve and figure things out quickly and, when exposed to educational apps, a toddler’s learning process can actually be enhanced. Consider apps to be a valuable supplement to the teaching process already going on in your home or in preschool.

There are pros and cons to letting a toddler use an iPhone, so here are my helpful ideas on safe iPhone play: (continues…)

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6

Foodie Friday: Vroom-Vroom Juice

Put a little *vroom* in your juice

For my two year old Monkey, everything that makes a loud whirring sound is called a *vroom-vroom*. Which explains why whenever I break out the blender to make a smoothie, my toddler says it’s time for *vroom-vroom juice*.

There are a ton of different ways to make a smoothie and it seems like I’ve tried a hundred different varieties without nailing the perfect consistency. The smoothie either turns out too sweet, too bitter, too grainy, or has too many seeds.  This one, however, is my favorite smoothie recipe. And the Monkey loves it, too:

The Monkey’s Vroom-Vroom Juice

  • 2 cups organic Acai juice (I prefer Acai with pomegranate juice)
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat organic vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 small package of frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 frozen mango

Optional:

1 tablespoon of flaxseed

When you’re preparing to *vroom-vroom*, make sure to add the ingredients in the order I listed in order to help blend more smoothly and evenly. If the blender doesn’t seem to be working, you may have an air pocket. Safely and carefully, lift the lid and use a spoon to stir up the mixture before proceeding to blend again. You may have to blend for about 2-3 minutes before you get the right consistency.

For toddlers, the best cup I have found for smoothies is the Munchkin Mighty Grip Flip Straw Cups. They’re not the easiest sippy cup to clean and assemble, but toddlers find them very easy and fun to use.

The *vroom-vroom juice* smoothies also make great frozen fruit bars! My favorite mold is the Tovolo Shooting Stars.

Cheers!

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The Good Dad

The Good Dad

The best moments in life are not filled with words. Only love. The Dude and The Monkey, on vacation, in 2008.

Seven years ago, this week, I was introduced to the Dude by my sister.

Before I met him, there was a trend with most of the guys I dated. The more I got to know them, the less I liked them. The opposite was true with the Dude. After every e-mail, phone call, or date, I liked him even more. Within a month, I knew this guy had *The One* potential. But what really locked my heart up was something he said to me shortly after we started dating.

During one of our many conversations about life ambitions, goals, and dreams, the Dude mentioned that he could not wait to be a father. That really floored me, mostly because having kids was the last thing on my mind. I had too many other important things to do, like finish my graduate degree and get a promotion. But here was this highly ambitious and successful 26 year old man telling me that the most important thing he ever wanted to become was a good dad. In that same conversation, he questioned how he would be able to handle the task of working grueling hours at a law firm and being present for his future kids.  He wanted to be there for every milestone, every first day of school, every parent-teacher meeting, and every soccer game. In fact, he wanted to coach the soccer team.  He told me right then and there that he would quit his job if it meant he couldn’t be there for his kids. Despite not knowing him very well at the time, I believed him. Seven years and one kid later, I still believe him. Because it’s true. (continues…)

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6

Introducing Your Kids To Democracy

voteToday is a big day in California. It’s the Primary Election.

I walked over to the polling station down the street from me with my toddler in tow. I didn’t have to take him with me. Grandma is coming over later to babysit and I could have waited until then. I also could have gone later today when the Dude returned from work. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring my 2 year old with me because I want him to be a part of this day, even if he’s 16 years away from casting his first vote.

It’s not the Monkey’s first election. He was first introduced to the election process at 2 weeks old. I remember strolling him down the street to our local firehouse in downtown San Francisco. Sure, he slept through all of it but I was glad he was there with me while I performed my civic duty. I hope he is always with me on these important days. (continues…)

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Come To This Park Often?

While at my neighborhood park the other day, I started chatting with a mom while our boys played together on the playset. This isn’t unusual for me since I tend to strike up conversations with other parents at the park, especially if our kids are interacting together. I’ll exchange a few pleasantries, chat about the kids, and then go on my way. Maybe I’ll see them again, but often I don’t. It doesn’t matter much to me anyways.

But this time was different.

This mom was really cool and I liked her immediately.  We simply had one of those conversations that just *clicked.* Within a matter of minutes, we learned a great deal about each other and discovered we had quite a bit in common. I felt a connection and wanted to get know her more. I could tell she felt the same way, too. But, then the Dude arrived at the park to surprise the Monkey and, after an introduction and a few more minutes of chatting, she turned away to run after her boys and we started getting ready to head home. I didn’t quite know how to approach her after that, so I left without getting her digits.

I learned something that day. Picking up on other moms is hard to do.

It’s one thing to meet new mom (or dad) friends at playgroups, sports, lessons, or through school, but how do you ignite a friendship with someone you just met and connected with…but have no way of knowing if you’ll ever see them again? Is it weird to ask for a number or e-mail address (or offer your own) in a matter of minutes? I don’t have much, if any experience with this sort of thing. Nearly everyone I call a friend just somehow became a part of my world, mostly through regular interactions at places like work or school or through mutual friends. Between my real life friends, acquaintances,  and online community of blogging buddies, I don’t actively look to expand my social network.  But, just like when you’re looking for romance, friendships can often be found when you’re least expecting it.

I have a new appreciation for the men and women who are confident and brave enough to ask someone they just met for their information. I’m sure they fail at times, but I’m certain they ultimately succeed as well. And what’s the big deal if someone says no, right? At least they took a chance and asked.

I think I missed an opportunity to become friends with someone I thought was really cool. I hope I see her at the park again one day. And, if I do, I’ll make sure to take a chance.

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