Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conversations with the Kidpants: The Wha? Edition

Conversation 1:

Mihret is sitting on the potty before heading into the bath. I am there, along with Kara.

Mihret: Go away, please, Mama.

Kara: (Assumes Mihret is starting to learn about privacy.) Okay, Mihret.

Mihret: You’ll never leave here, Dad.

Me: *blinks*

Mihret: (Starting to stand up, pointing a finger at me.) I’m gonna poke you in the eye!

Me: No sweetheart. That’s not nice, we don’t do that.

Kara: Well, that was creepy.

Conversation 2:

It is about 2 AM. Mihret, who has been having sleeping troubles, wakes up in her bedroom, calling out, “Daddy! Daddy!”

I get up, go into her room, and find her sitting up, blankets pushed aside, barely awake.

Me: What’s wrong, sweetie?

Mihret: My pants fell down!

Suppressing a laugh, I pick her up just a bit, and discover… that her pants are fine. I lay her back down, put a blanket over her, and she conks out a minute later.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Potty Penguin takes on important role

Post-Crescent column - Oct. 23, 2009
There's a new pet in the Patterson house, and its name is the Potty Penguin. My daughter Mihret, who turns 3 in January, is its proud owner.

The faux-feathered, winter-apparel-wearing friend — a gift for me and my husband, Josh, from a holiday long past — stores candy in its hollow belly. Press its head, and the Potty Penguin produces the treats.

Josh and I had hidden the Potty Penguin away in a closet but pulled it out a month or so ago when we realized it might have a practical purpose. It now sits high atop Mihret's bedroom cubby, so she can see it but can't reach it without help. It only performs one trick, but that trick's enough to keep Mihret encouraged as she practices the steps for using the potty and continues the countdown toward consistently keeping her Pull-Ups clean and dry.

When Mihret successfully uses the potty, the Potty Penguin dispenses an M&M. That's triple fun for her, because she loves to read the letter M — "M for Mihret" — and also likes to pick out a different color each time.

The Potty Penguin is a frequent topic of conversation when Mihret's around. She's also learning about sharing, so she's inclined to tell any visitor who excuses him or herself to the bathroom, "You can go potty and get an M&M." Most people respectfully decline.

We're hoping that soon, Mihret's friend the Potty Penguin will introduce her to another new pal — Hello Kitty underpants.

By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer/

Newly learned letter fits daughter to a T

Post-Crescent column - Sept. 9, 2009
Dear letter T, I'm writing you a thank-you note on behalf of Mihret, my 2½-year-old daughter, who's totally tickled pink to see you every day.

She's been telling me and her daddy every time she spies you out and about.

Your buddy, the letter M, is old hat where she's concerned. You're at the total center of her attention.

She first thought you were terrific after watching you twist and turn in a YouTube Sesame Street music video. Now, she can't take her eyes off of you.

You're at the Building for Kids, where Mihret plays almost every weekend, and you help remind families to watch their steps. Mihret can't move on without stopping to get down on her knees and trace you with her fingers.

It doesn't matter if you're high up on a street sign, and Mihret's in her car seat. She can spot you, especially on those big, red stop signs.

It's become a game between mother and daughter for me to get all excited about reading words with you in them when we're on the road, just to see Mihret's face light up and hear her giggle.

She can see you when you're big and when you're little. She hangs around our shelves so she can find you on the spines of our books.

At the end of the day, Mihret is still all atwitter over you. When she comes to give me a hug before bed, she points you out on my EAA AirVenture flight-themed nightshirt, in the to-do notes I've scribbled for myself, and on the pages of the National Geographic magazine I've put down to pull her up onto my lap.

Mihret's turning the next page on her learning and, letter T, you've happened along at just the right time.

Thanks again,


By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer/

Saturday, October 3, 2009

NAMIWalks 2009 Update

NAMIWalks 2009 update:
Our team raised $975 for NAMIWalks for the Minds of America, and specifically for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Fox Valley, our community's local affiliate of NAMI in Appleton. From our hearts, we thank all those who supported us financially, in spirit, prayerfully, in thought, etc.

We'll post a photo of our team later, as soon as Josh scans it in to our computer. (The volunteer Walk photographers took free photos of each team that were ready for the teams to take home after the event.)

Random Reasons NAMIWalks 2009 Rocks
-Our team exceeded its $500 goal by $475! We'll find out soon whether our affiliate hit or exceeded the overall $125,000 goal.
-The crisp fall weather was great for a 3.3 mile-or-so Walk.
-It didn't rain!
-There was a NAMI Knight... Fighting stigma, perhaps? I thought perhaps the Knight (a Walk-er dressed in blue-and-yellow cardboard armor with what looked like a huge cardboard sword and maybe a shield) was going to say "Ni!" to kick off the Walk. :)
-Some wonderful volunteer crafted NAMI bookmarks for any Walker to take.
-I had a breakfast of Fritos, fried donuts and candy. Only at the NAMI Walk do I have snacks like that before 10 a.m. ...
-There were wonderful conversations and catching up with dear friends. It's awesome to have an hour or so where you can't do anything _but_ talk with friends! Team, you rock.
-We celebrated the Walk with our traditional post-team brunch at a local diner (I had an omelet with veggies to compensate for the early morning candy.)
-I always love watching Mihret ride on her daddy's shoulders - now she's old enough that I don't worry so much about her falling off of them. She did great on the Walk, and Josh was a wonderful Mihret-carrier and Mihret-pusher throughout (When she was on his shoulders, I pushed the stroller, which actually gave my muscles an interesting workout of sorts in addition to Walking.)
-I narrowly avoided taking a pie in the face today... NAMI volunteers, staff and board members raised about $400 in an internal contest/fund-raiser to support the Walk. We all decorated money-collecting receptacles and waited for people to stop in the NAMI office and fill them up... the top two or three people with the most change etc. collected get to "pie" (put whipped cream in the face of) the two or three people with the least change etc. I'm on the docket to get "pied"... but organizers decided to do the "pie-ing" at a different NAMI function for some reason.
-It was awesome to literally feel the love from all the Walkers assembled there. The NAMI community is very special and the way to advocate, bust stigma and educate is to be visible! We all were very visible today. Team Serenity already is looking forward to next year.