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Are You Ready to Potty?

“Boop? Boop?”

“Yup, BabyC. Mama’s pooping.”

BabyC watched me on the potty. Then she pointed to her diaper. She wanted to go, too. I helped her wiggle out of her shorts and unsnap her cloth diaper. She sat down on the potty and did a little butt scoot to get comfortable.

We sat in silence for two seconds. Then BabyC hopped up to check the contents of her potty. Nope, nothing yet. She sat back down.

I sang a little made-up potty song to the tune of Frere Jacques (my go-to for made up songs):

Poop, poop, poop, poop

Pee, pee, pee, pee

Poop, poop, poop! Poop, poop, poop!

Pee-ee, pee-ee, pee pee! Pee-ee, pee-ee, pee pee!

Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop.

(In an alternate version, I substitute “psss, psss” and fart noises (how on earth do you write those?) for pee and poop, respectively. It’s OK to be impressed with me right now.)

BabyC continued to hop up and down to check her progress on the potty, then to grab a magazine, then to trade it out for a better one. The hardest thing about learning to use the potty is the sitting still part.

She did poop eventually. “All done, BabyC?” I asked. (I had finished looooong ago.)

“Naa,” she said, nonchalantly.

And so we sat, for 20 more minutes, singing and reading. BabyC was right – she wasn’t done. She needed more time, and kudos to her for knowing it. Three poops later, she finally announced, “All done!”

It was epic, I tell you. What made it most impressive was that this was BabyC’s first time on the potty in a couple of months. Read more

Will Fluoridated Water Lower My Child’s IQ?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband sent me a link to a Reuters press release with the following title:

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ – Published in Federal Gov’t Journal

Husband and I have been interested in the fluoride controversy since we moved to Eugene, OR about a year ago. Our municipal water is not fluoridated, and natural levels are very low. Husband confirmed this when he called the water company to get their latest data on mineral composition in our city water. He makes his own beer, so these things matter to him on more than one level. Because our water is so low in fluoride and BabyC has a family history of tooth decay (me), we give her the pediatrician-recommended fluoride supplement. You can check the fluoride levels in your water supply using this CDC resource or contact your water company for what is likely a more up-to-date and accurate number.

Anyway, I keep seeing this story about fluoride and IQ posted on FB and other sites around the Internet, so I thought it was worth addressing in a blog post. Naturally, we parents worry about these things. Fluoride lowers children’s IQ? Yikes! What parents would knowingly give their child something that does that? And try to do a little research online about fluoride safety and you’ll find a range of “resources,” most of them with scary headlines like the one above.

Well, there are all sorts of problems with making decisions about your child’s health based on what you read on the Internet, and this story makes a very good case study. Let’s take a closer look. Read more

Toddler-Approved Veggies: Roasted Beet and Broccoli Slaw

We’ll complete BabyC’s series of veggie recipes (see kale and carrots for more) this week with my favorite – a roasted beet and broccoli slaw.

This recipe comes from Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food. Like the carrot salad, it features grated veggies, and this presentation seems to appeal to my toddler. We’ve been inundated with beets around here. This salad turned out to be my favorite beet recipe this season. It calls for broccoli stems, which is awesome since I occasionally throw away the stems in favor of the prettier florets. The truth is that the broccoli in this salad is totally overwhelmed by the beets in both color and taste. That’s not a bad thing if you’re feeding kids that are suspicious of green color and bitter taste. The broccoli does add a nice crunch, and of course, great nutritional value. Read more

Toddler-Approved Veggies: Grated Carrot Salad

As promised, I’m sharing a few of BabyC’s current favorite veggie recipes this week. We talked kale chips on Monday, and today we’re on to carrots.

Karen Le Billon, author of French Kids Eat Everything, posted a French version of this grated carrot salad recipe on her blog a couple of weeks ago. I still haven’t gotten around to reading more than the first chapter (which she’s giving away for free on her blog and which I thought was fabulous) of her book, but I follow her blog with interest. If there’s one area that French parents really are superior to American parents, it is in how they feed their kids.

Here’s the quick version of Karen’s carrot salad recipe, but check out her page for more details:


  • 8 large carrots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • One small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • Optional: a dash of Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Mix dressing by combining olive oil, juices, mustard, and salt.
  2. Grate carrots as finely as possible.
  3. Mince parsley.
  4. Mix carrots, dressing, and parsley. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

I did not pay close enough attention to Karen’s directions when I made this, and I just used the regular large grate side of my box grater for the carrots. Karen says that the salad is best when the carrots are grated very finely, so I will try a smaller grate next time around. Regardless, BabyC loved this salad and ate it by the handful.

I have also had good luck with grated carrots mixed with raisins, sunflower seeds, and whatever prepared vinaigrette I have in the fridge.

While we’re talking French food, I have learned a few other good tips from Karen’s blog: Read more

One Year and 100 Posts

I missed my one year blog birthday last week. Happy Birthday, Science of Mom!

Photo by Laura at

AND this little post here is my 100th post! I get nervous every time I press the “Publish” button, so I’m proud that I found the courage to do it 100 times in the last year.

One of the greatest things about writing regularly – whether in a journal, a baby book, or for a wider audience – is that it offers the chance to marvel at how much has changed over time. In the last year, BabyC has grown in ways that simply blow my mind. But that’s true of all children, and there are tangible milestones for evidence – physical size, motor skills, language, etc. Compare a couple of photos, and her growth is obvious:

BabyC at 9 months

At 21 months

My growth as a mother and as a writer has come more slowly and in more nuanced ways. Read more

Toddler Approved Veggies: Roasted Kale Chips

After months of great skepticism of vegetables, particularly those that are green, BabyC has recently started to be a little more adventurous at mealtime. I think there are a few things going on. For one, we’re getting lots of fresh-from-the-farm veggies from our CSA, and fresh veggies really do taste better. I also think that our no-pressure, child-led yet adult-structured attitude about toddler feeding is starting to pay off. Finally, BabyC may be going through a growth spurt, as she just seems more interested in food in general these days.

I try to be laid-back at mealtime and let BabyC decide what and how much to eat from the food on the table. Still, when she chooses veggies and eats them enthusiastically, it is hard to keep my heart from swelling with pride just a little. This week, I’m going to share 3 veggie recipes that BabyC has been eating with gusto, starting with the biggest hit of all:

Roasted Kale Chips

I know that kale chips have been all the rage of the food blogosphere for a few years now, but I had to include them here. This is pretty much the only way that I’ve seen BabyC eat dark leafy greens, and Husband and I love them, too. If you haven’t tried kale chips yet, now is the time.

Yes, that is my child crying out for kale chips. And yes, I love this photo.

I’ve tested a few kale chips recipes from around the Internet to come up with my own fool-proof method. Read more