The importance of a balanced diet… (oh, and potty training)

We all know it is important for children to have a healthy, balanced diet for them to reach their full potential, physically & mentally.  Vitamins, minerals, proteins, blah, blah, blah…

I have a skinny kid.  You never would have guessed it when he was a baby.  Br was a “triangle” shaped baby (the pin-head didn’t help…) Once he got mobile, eating fell way down on his priority list.  Personally, we’ve often had to catch ourselves when Br is acting up and consider “when was the last time this little monster kid ate?”  When Br started preschool, we gave them a heads up to watch for that, and remind him to have snack…

With this in mind, Br was having a tough time about when dinner was ready last night.  We’d had a busy day (see the “Plumbing” activity, and some other stuff I haven’t blogged yet), plus I was trying a new tactic on the potty training front.

Potty Training aside:

Br has been great for #1 for probably close to a year, but still struggles for #2.  I’d read the suggestion if the child has an “accident”, to have them clean themselves up & then have them “practice” what they would do if they feel the urge to “go potty” 10 times.  The theory is you provide muscle memory so they are quickly able to respond correctly next time, and, probably most importantly, you make having an “accident” laborious enough they’d rather just go in the potty in the first place.  He found the first 3 times amusing (especially as we tried from a different place in the house or outside each time). After that, he kept suggesting we should only need to do “2 more?” (I guess we do a lot of “2 mores”?).  Turns out it was a prime opportunity to work on counting backwards & subtraction: “Not 2 more. You’ve practiced 3 times, so we have 7 practices left!”, etc.  And we got to do it twice yesterday…

BTW, I think the saddest voice I have ever heard my husband use was when potty training came up when we were out somewhere. He voiced the most pathetic ” I HATE potty training. *sigh*”

So, dinner time:  Br wouldn’t eat much.  We offered “dip” (ketchup).  He tried cajoling, reasoning, veiled threats… nothing was working.  Finally, Br randomly perked up and said he “needed chopsticks”.  I’d assumed eating was a lost cause at this point, so didn’t bother to protest when he ran to the silverware drawer.  Now, we have a number of chopsticks laying around as I am a firm believer if I am eating Chinese food, I must be “authentic” and eat it with chopsticks. ( My husband only eats “Lemon Chicken”, which isn’t authentic at all, and feels no such compulsion.)  Br has tried chopsticks on a few occasions after watching me, with little success.

Br returned to his seat, and my husband tried to get him to spear his chicken with the end of one chopstick. That didn’t work. But then Br tried to use the chopsticks…as chopsticks! And succeeded (mostly…we reloaded the plate from his seat a few times)!

He ate the rest of the chicken on his plate, plus I managed to sneak in a few more green beans by exclaiming over how “I bet those would be tricky! Let’s try that!”, followed by the “wow, can you do it again? Oh, I don’t think Daddy saw.. could you show Daddy how you did that?”

Parental unearned success I am claiming anyways: my kid ate a good, well-balanced (literally!) dinner, and got some fine motor practice in as a bonus.

Once again the power of novelty wins the game….

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the new “activity shelf”

We found a lovely Montessori preschool for Br to attend the days I am working outside of the house, and my husband is trading building classroom furniture for schooling.  My husband built a “prototype” shelf (& small table) out of scrap wood, so I absconded it last night to set up some of the activities for the kids.  (“Yay, hobby woodworker husband!”)

new activity shelf
The new activity shelf

Br hadn’t really noticed it until Bl came out and pulled one of the activity trays off.  Bl had grabbed the 1-to-1 correspondence tray. I’d set it up with tongs, figuring Br would be using it.  Bl doesn’t have the fine motor skill yet to operate the tongs, so I gave him a spoon.  He wasn’t quite getting the concept, but he was amused with moving the pompoms around with the spoon.


Blake using the 1-to-1 tray
Blake "using" the 1-to-1 tray

Br had turned around on the couch and noticed the touch-matching game. As he was out of reach of Bl, he was actually able to try it a bit! He did initially match a popcorn kernel bag to a lentil bag, but I checked it and then offered him the two (popcorn & lentil) in the opposite color so he could self correct.


Br trying the touch-matching game
Br trying the touch-matching game

Br came around to try the 1-to-1 correspondence tray after Bl had wandered off, and tried out the prototype table. I had put the spoon away when I gave it to Br (leaving the tongs), but Br complained “I wanted the one with the spoon!” Unfortunately, by this point Bl had wandered back.  I’ll need to figure out a way to set things up so Bl isn’t always interfering with Br trying activities.  Let me know if you have any suggestions….

Br doing 1-to-1 correspondence activity
Br doing 1-to-1 correspondence activity, with Bl's "help"

Bl enjoyed having a turn after Br was done:

Bl's turn!
Bl's turn!

With the touch-matching game as well:

Bl touch-matching game 1Bl touch-matching game 2Bl touch-matching game 3

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1-to-1 correspondence

1-to-1 correspondence activityThis is a quick-to-set-up activity to help develop 1-to-1 correspondence, with a million variations.  “What is 1-to-1 correspondence, and why do I care about developing it?,” you might ask.  Here is a very nice explanation I found on 1-to-1 correspondence by Love and Lollipops.


-something with multiple “holes” (ice cube tray, deviled egg tray, paint palette, divided veggie tray,etc.)

-some things to put in the holes (amount corresponding to the # of holes)

-a container to put the things in while they are waiting to be put in the holes

-*optional* (for the more advanced): something to use to move the things into the holes (tongs, spoon/ladle, chopsticks- will help with fine-motor development)

The example here shows a tray with a small pyrex bowl filled with pompoms (15, 3 of each of 5 colors.  “why?,” you may ask.  “Um, because those were the pompoms I had. Uh, they looked summery on a cold June day?” ), some tongs, and a 15 “hole” silicone ice cube tray.
The goal is to have the child fill each “hole” with one of each item, ideally from left to right and top to bottom.  “Why left to right & top to bottom?” Because that is the way we read! Sneaky way to fit in some indirect preparation for reading…

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