Monday, September 27, 2010

Noah's 2nd Birthday Party

We packed quite a few people into our apartment for Noah's birthday party on Sunday; roughly 20 adults, and precisely 6 toddlers. I invited guests to come at 2:00, since most of the kids go for their nap around noon, including Noah. Noah went down for his nap before noon, and slept until shortly after 2. This meant we could do food prep uninterrupted (which I always seem to be doing up until the bitter end when I entertain). We were also able to put up the decorations at this time. Noah may not have gone so easily for his nap had we decorated the room with a Mickey Mouse theme beforehand!
The success of the party, however, really depended on our guest of honour, and his reaction upon waking to such an overwhelming scene. Well, he approved! I believe Mickey Mouse played a large part in this positive reaction. Not only was he happy, but he remained happy for the duration of the party! (I know - for a toddler to remain in one emotional state for 2 whole hours is inconceivable!) It was so fantastic that he could really enjoy his own party. This made it a complete success.
Older siblings Emily and Jacob in a moment of adoration for their little bro.

We served: egg salad, turkey and cheese sandwiches (some of which were cut into little shapes for the kiddies), macaroni salad, Greek salad, fruit salad, and some other hors d'oeuvres. I made sure I had sippy cups of water for the kids as well. We used Mickey Mouse paper plates, plastic cutlery and plastic cups to minimize the dish washing that would inevitably ensue.
The Noah's Ark cupcakes were made by a friend, who (with her friend) runs a cupcake business called "Yummy Mummy Cupcakes." Their Facebook Group can be found at: They also have a website: Take a look at some of the stuff they've done. It is absolutely incredible.
Noah's face lit up when we all sang Happy Birthday to him! And everyone loved the cupcakes!
I decided to make this a very unstructured party. Maybe next year, when Noah turns 3, the kids can play some games. At this age, they're not ready for that, and they don't need it. Many of the kids stuck by their mothers for most of the party anyways, exploring a little here and there. It was basically a big play date, and all the children seemed to have a great time. 
Noah's present opening was sporadic: some before the cake, some after. The lucky man got so many nice things! My only regret was being so busy with the food that I missed a lot of it. Next year I will either be more organized with the food, or better yet, I'll just leave the food alone and sit to see my little guy open his gifts! 
He took one of his new presents, Simba, to sleep with him that night. I hadn't seen him cuddle with stuffed animals until then. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our not so Average Week at Daycare

Noah turned 2 years old on Tuesday! Dan and I gave him all our presents in the morning, so he could play with them during the day with his friends.We gave him a couple of wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Those things are expensive! We also gave him Magneatos, some puzzles and some books.
We are having his birthday party this Sunday, but we still celebrated in a small way at the daycare. At morning snack, the kids enjoyed some cupcakes with chocolate frosting and M & M's on top. Noah just licked the chocolate off the top and left the vanilla cake untouched. That's my boy! A chocolate lover like his mother!
I put a few balloons up. I was not going to let the kids play with them, since I know Aidas's goal is usually to pop them right away. Unfortunately, one fell down, and L. had it. So....I had to get the others down for the rest of the gang. They did have a good time with them, before they inevitably popped.
That night, Dan, Emily, Noah and I went to Swiss Chalet. Noah thoroughly enjoyed his chicken, french fries, and ice cream for desert. He demanded to be let out of his high chair. Then, contented with his full belly, he proceeded to dance and scream (ahem - I mean "sing") for the other patrons. They were very understanding.
For the first time this fall, we attended the drop-in at the Early Literacy Centre at Indian Road Public School. The kids had so much fun! There was so much to do there: painting, purple water table, sand table, puzzles, playdough and toys. Aidas enjoyed painting, puzzles, and the car ramp. L. enjoyed painting, the sand table and the water table.
M. took advantage of the snack provided, and really enjoyed music circle. Noah was all about the puzzles.
This week, I introduced the colour-sorting vehicles to L. and M. We also read a book about colours, and collected toys from the room and grouped them according to colour. 
Before I go any further with the pictures, I must describe another event, besides the birthday celebration, that made this week...unusual. During a chaotic moment at lunchtime, and in mid-tantrum, Noah fell off his booster seat. He was more upset than he usually is after a fall, so I knew something was up. I couldn't figure out where he was hurt, though. He finally told me (and only once, so good thing I caught it) - "arm".  Dan took him to the doctor in the afternoon. The doctor said that he was fine, even after looking at the x-rays.

I was relieved at first, but became increasingly concerned. He would cry when trying to climb at the playground. He had trouble using both arms to get into a standing position. The doctor called back on Thursday and said she had gotten the reports from the radiologist back: his arm was broken. I was broken too. Heart-broken. I felt so bad for the little guy, and at least partially responsible. She said it was a "Buckle fracture", which are very common injuries in children. She suggested we take him to emergency at our earliest convenience to get a cast on it.

We took him to Sick Kids Hospital that night. I was delighted at how quick the process went, I guess because the waiting room was practically empty. Apparently, children's bones are soft and usually do not actually break. Instead, you get a "Buckle fracture", which is a dent in the bone. They said that Noah had a very small dent on his arm, and that it would heal on its own, but that a cast would help to protect it while it healed. They put what they call a "backslab"" on his arm. It is soft bandage wrapped around his arm with one strip of hard cast at the side. It's also called a "splint", or a "half-cast". He was such a trooper. He didn't cry, as one of the talented nurses distracted him with a toy.
Today he welcomed the cast to his world by smearing it with avocado, and later with egg. should smell delightful by the end of three weeks! I'm just glad to know he's now on the mend.

I just had the two boys today. They enjoyed playing with the dress-up bin, among other things . In the afternoon we went to Runnymede Library and Indigo, and made it home dry despite the threat of rain. As you can see, playing is exhausting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm a Little Teapot

I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT (An oldie but a goodie!)

I'm a little teapot
Short and Stout
Here is my handle (Place one hand on your hip)
Here is my spout (Bend other arm and extend hand to side, to look like spout)
When I get all steamed up
Hear me shout
Tip me over (Bend at the hips to the "spout" side)
And pour me out

Make a Circle

MAKE A CIRCLE (They do this song at a few drop-in centres we go to. It signals to the kids that it's music time. They often follow it with "Itsy Bitsy Bumble Bee", or "The Good Morning/Afternoon Train", to introduce some of the kids, and to make them feel welcome. You'll notice it's to the tune of "Frere Jacques".)

Make a circle
Make a circle
Big and round
Big and round
Come on everybody
Come on everybody
Let's sit down
Let's sit down

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How Long does it take a Toddler to Adjust to Daycare?

Since High Park Home Daycare has had some new children adjusting to the program over the past couple of weeks, I figured this was an appropriate topic to discuss.

It is always difficult to adjust to change even when the transition goes relatively smoothly.  For the child, it is not only a change of caregiver, but a change in environment, food (at least to some degree) and routines. Sometimes the culture and language at the daycare are also different than the home environment.

How long it takes for a toddler to adjust to a daycare depends on the following factors:
  1. The Child's Personality/Temperament - All children are different. Some are so curious and excited to discover a new environment that they pay little attention to mom leaving. Some are scared and  uncomfortable with their new surroundings.
  2. The Degree of Change - Are the daycare routines drastically different than those at home? Is the child in an environment in which he does not understand the language? A bigger change could mean a longer adjustment period.
  3. Unfamiliarity with the Environment before the First Visit - Has the child visited the daycare before? Has she met the other children at the daycare? It may be harder to adjust to a brand new environment without the security of a well-known caregiver.
  4. Hours Spent at Daycare - A child who attends a new daycare every day for the full day will adjust quicker than a child who spends part of the day or every other day at the daycare.
I believe that the child's personality overrides factors 2, 3 and 4. I have cared for a child who was unfamiliar with the environment, spoke a different language and only attended the daycare occasionally. She was always happy to come, and, although she may have been slightly tentative at first, adjusted very quickly.
Just what is meant by "adjustment" anyway? Looking at the children who have come into my care, I have noticed two levels of adjustment. The first is when the child is no longer crying, clinging to me, or isolating herself from the group. She begins to play with toys, interact with the other children and eat a decent amount of the food provided. The second level of adjustment usually comes after a month or so of full-time care. The child begins to see the daycare as her place. She displays more confidence with her environment and is thus a happier kid. Often, the way I know a child has gotten to this second level is when she feels comfortable enough to be silly.

This blog post concerns the first level of adjustment. It is awful for the parent to see their child in distress. I imagine the feelings of worry and (possibly) guilt they must have as their child screams for them not to leave. Yet, it is temporary.
Aidas fixes a truck.            M. is a "sleeping bunny" under the parachute at circle time.

What can parents and caregivers do to make the transition easier?
  • Show a Positive Attitude "It is important not to react strongly to your child's anxiety by becoming impatient with him or her, or by showing that his or her behavior is upsetting you." "If you feel guilty or worried about leaving your child at school, he or she will probably sense that. The more calm and assured you are about your choice to send your child to preschool, the more confident your child will be." (
  • Visit the Daycare Beforehand This way, the child can familiarize himself with the environment and may feel more comfortable when his parent leaves.
  • Give a Brief, but Loving Good-bye "Always say a loving good-bye to your child, but once you do, you should leave promptly...a long farewell scene might only serve to reinforce a child's sense that preschool is a bad place." 
  • Bring a Familiar Toy The child's "blankie" or favourite teddy-bear can help bring a comforting reminder of home in the new surroundings.
You can also help transition the child by spending increasingly shorter periods of time with her at the daycare. This will provide the smoothest transition, but is often not feasible. Parents returning to work usually don't have this luxury. 
Do you know of other tips to help with a toddler's transition into daycare? I would love to hear your comments! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rain is Falling Down, Again

I made a video of "Rain is Falling Down" again, forgetting that I already had it on my list. But I just had to put this video up anyway. The first time I saw it, (okay, and the 2nd) it had me laughing so hard I was crying. It's just something about the way L. is vacuuming at the end. It's so random!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Bumble Bee

ITSY BITSY BUMBLE BEE (From OEYC - A good song to do at the beginning of circle time, to introduce children and to make them feel included - I sing both parts for my guys since they are currently just saying their names)

Itsy bitsy bumble bee
Won't you say your name for me? (point at child)
Tommy (child sings own name)
Tommy (everyone sings child's name)

Three Little Bluebirds

THREE LITTLE BLUEBIRDS (I can't do this song like the rock star at the OEYC can, but I try anyway!)

Three little Bluebirds (Hold up 3 fingers)
Sitting on a fence
Oooooh look! (One hand on forehead as if shielding sun - turn head to side)
Over there (Point in the direction to which you have just turned your head)
One little bluebird (Raise one finger)
Flew away (Wave your hands to pretend you are flapping your wings)
To..... (Hands on legs, show anticipation)
Take a trip around the world (speed up the tempo - slap your hands to your lap on "take", clap for "a", and repeat for each syllable)
Singin' hey bop she bop she bop she bop
Singin' hey bop she bop she bop she bop
Singin' hey, huh, I'm (Stop the clapping)
All shook up (shake your head from side to side - kids LOVE when you can make your cheeks flap for the "all")

Two little Bluebirds (Hold up two fingers)
Sitting on a fence
Oooooh look! 
Over there
One little bluebird 
Flew away
Take a trip around the world
Singin' hey bop she bop she bop she bop
Singin' hey bop she bop she bop she bop
Singin' hey, huh, I'm
All shook up

One little Bluebird (Hold up one finger)
Sitting on a fence
Oooooh look! 
Over there
One little bluebird 
Flew away
Take a trip around the world
Singin' hey bop she bop she bop she bop
Singin' hey bop she bop she bop she bop
Singin' hey, huh, I'm
All shook up

*2nd and 3rd verse actions same as 1st

Friday, September 10, 2010


Kids, kids, and more kids! A sweet 20-month-old little boy joined our daycare on a part-time basis last Friday. So far, he is missing his mommy very much. It is especially tough for him since his first language is not English. We know that eventually he will adjust, but it will take a little longer since he is not here as often. Poor little guy! Oh - and I should mention that you will not see this little guy in pictures. No paparazzi for him. But he really does exist! Honest!
We also now have delightful 20-month-old twins in the daycare full-time. (I will call the girl M. and the boy L. in future posts.) Their mother has been staying with them for a few mornings, to help them transition, and then leaving them for the afternoons. They seem to be very comfortable so far, and Noah and Aidas have also been adjusting well to the change. It's nice having 4 kids in the daycare full-time again! 
And here we go, packing 4 in a wagon again! I call this their hummer. It's actually the Little Tikes Explorer wagon (the larger version) and I highly recommend it if you need to transport up to 4 younger children (I started using it when they were just over 1 year old.) I used it all last winter in the snow, so it has survived a lot of wear-and-tear. Although, now that Noah and Aidas are bigger, I'm wondering if they'll all fit okay in their snowsuits this winter. At least we have the option of taking one of the sides off, so they can sit with their backs to one side with their feet dangling over. OR Noah can walk and hold my hand. Anyway, if you are interested in this wagon, go to:

Earlier in the week, when the twins weren't with us, we went to High Park playground. No, we did not dig this hole in the sandbox. We found it this way! How fun is that?!
I have decided to start a bin of dress-up clothes. So far, the collection is meager: a king hat, a fireman hat, some kids' sunglasses and some backpacks. Still, they are enjoying what we do have, and in time our collection will grow. Aidas is just loving the fireman hat!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Horray for (name)

Hurray for (name) (This is a name song we do at the Early Years Centre. It is good for introducing children to one another or just to make kids feel special.)

Hurray for _____________
Hurray for _____________
Everyone in the crowd is shouting
Hurray for _____________
1, 2, 3, 4
Who are we for?
___________ - that's who!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Other Highlights of Our Week

We have been watching the ice cream truck come to Lithuania Park practically every day for the entire summer. We usually hear the music from the truck first. Yes, the music, which oddly is often the tune of "Lambada". Is it just me who finds that.....inappropriate and weird? Anyway, at this point, all the children in the entire park (playground, wading pool and soccer field) yell "Ice Cream Truck!!!" Some of the lucky youngsters get a cool treat. Not these guys. Why? I opted against the expectation this would create every subsequent day of the summer, and the complete meltdown that would occur each time this expectation was unmet, and finally, the torture that all of us would have to endure.
But, on this very day at summer's end, it was finally time! What I should have taken a picture of was their faces as I pulled the wagon toward the ice cream truck. They both had a complete look of awe on their faces. What I also should have taken a picture of was the aftermath. Actually, Noah gave up on his ice cream quite early, but Aidas stuck with it to the bitter end. With his thumb impaling the cone, and the ice cream melting all over the place, he continued to slowly lick it. I kept wincing and asking "Are you all done, Aidas?" to which he replied "No way!" every time!

In other news, Aidas has resumed his old hobby of climbing into the toy box again. He can get in, but not out, and yells "Help me!" until I rescue him.

Aidas really enjoys colouring. Noah enjoys taking the caps off the markers and putting them back on.
We finished off our week with a trip to Indigo. The boys had fun playing at the Thomas the Tank Engine table. They also enjoyed playing with the puppets, and looking at books.