Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 40
May 21, 2002

Hello Magical People!
I just have a few minutes so I'm going to try to throw together all the stuff I've been working on for you.  Enjoy!


Kid-Bean Salad

Here's a fun way to get the kids to eat their beans!  I just made this up with the girls, adapted from a Betty Crocker cookbook recipe.  Feel free to improvise and adapt to fit your brood.


1 Can kidney beans
1 Can chick peas (garbanzo beans) or other white beans
1 Can green beans (not french cut)
1 Cup italian dressing or your child's favorite dressing
1 Tbsp sugar (omit if using a sweet dressing)
3 Green onion tops
1/4 cup parsley
1 or 2 large ziplock bags
Clean safety scissors


1.  Open the three cans of beans and have kids dump them into a colander.  Rinse well.  They can use their hands.  Dump the beans into a ziplock bag.

2.  Measure out the dressing and have kids dump that into the bag, along with the sugar.

3.  Put the green onions and parsley in the colander and wash well.  Show the kids how to use the safety scissors to snip the green onions into small pieces.  Have them snip the stems off of the parsley and then cut that into tiny pieces, too.  Add to bag.

4.  Seal bag (you may want to seal it and put it in another sealed bag if you're concerned about spills or have very enthusiastic kids).  Have the kids gently shake and turn the bag to coat the beans and mix the ingredients.

5.  Marinade in the fridge for an afternoon or overnight.  The longer it sits, the more it soaks up the flavors.  Let the kids sneak snacks of it as the day goes by though.  They feel like they're getting away with something eating beans.  What's not to love?  :)

Note:  We get our green onions and parsley from the back yard.  Both of these are really easy to grow.  You can even start cuttings of parsley and plant your own, and plant a few small onions to start harvesting the tops.  The kids love to eat goodies they picked from their own yards!


Easy toddler fun....

Two year-old Annalee loves to carry around a tiny notebook and pen or pencil.  She draws, doodles, makes o's, pretends to write letters and generally is happily occupied for quite a while.  I think the tiny size is what makes her so excited to use it.


"Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind."
~Dr. Seuss


Public Parenting

Last Sunday night I briefly ended up in a crowded Walmart & became positively growly at how many awful parents I encountered.  Mothers were barking at bored toddlers to sit in the cart, fathers were chasing little ones and angrily pulling them by their arms, babies were crying in car seats unconsoled, and nobody was being the least bit loving, fun or attentive to a single child.

Then we stopped at another store and I looked up in time to see a mother and her small child run, hand in hand, towards the store.  They were grinning and I was completely reassured about the state of the world again.

It made me think.

While there are times that I'm growly and irritable too, I tend to keep the loving stuff more private in public.  I think we're doing it backwards.

From now on, I'm going to try as much as possible to make a positive parenting statement every time I'm out with my kids.  Too often, if I'm doing something silly with them in the grocery cart I do it so softly that  nobody catches on.  But now I'm going to consider it a sort of public education that there are other ways to act as parents when we're in public.

Let's set a goofy, loving, good example of an alternative to the frazzled, nagging, yelling, threatening stereotype we see every day!  I'm willing to bet the kids will be a lot happier and better behaved too.

I've noticed that when strangers in stores catch me being silly with the girls, they almost always smile.  People have walked up to me and struck up conversations after they overheard me playing spelling games with the food labels and such.  It doesn't just keep me and my kids happier-- it seems to have a mood lifting effect on everybody we encounter.

Still, when I rounded corners I always stopped the silly singing or lowered my voice with a sheepish grin.  No more!

I hereby pledge to embarrass myself freely in an effort to set an alternative example of how parents should behave in grocery stores.  Join me?  :)

Here's some ways to be wacky, fun and loving and keep kids happy in public.  These are all things you probably already do.  Just try doing them more loudly!

~ Sing songs and nursery rhymes.  Change lines to silliness.

~ Have very young kids touch their toes, ears, elbows and tummies.

~ Tell stories, especially funny and suspenseful ones.

~ Take turns with older kids and ask interview questions (what type of tree would you be? what's something people envy about you?)

~ Be zany and unexpected.  Suddenly gasp and ask, "Did you see that chicken?" or "Oh no, there's a rhinoceros in the frozen food aisle!  Oh, I guess it's just the yogurt containers....."

~ Play letter games, like taking turns listing words that start with B (you have to use ones of 6 or more letters to even it out).

~ Teach them things, like how to count to ten in several languages.  Kids naturally love to learn.  Better yet, do a little research and find some funny things to translate into languages, like how to say "I like your ears" in German.

~ Tell knock-knock jokes.

~ Kiss, hug, pet, poke, tickle and otherwise physically give them attention and love.

~ Be silly (but safe) with the grocery cart or stroller.

~ Enlist their help-- checking off items on your list (you can spell it out for little ones and it helps them learn reading while making them feel important), looking for the margarine with the lady on the front, telling you which orange looks best, etc.

~ Smile and laugh a lot.  It's catching-- even for yourself.

Best of all, do it boldly, do it loudly, do it nearby grumpy parents.  Then give them all a genuine smile and sing another round of silliness.

If the worst things our kids can say about us is we embarrass them in grocery stores, then good grief are we doing something right!  ;)


(Snipped from the Magical Childhood e-list...)

I ordered this free preschoolers' Sesame Street Fire Safety Kit online about a week ago and I received it today. It is awesome! It comes with a teacher's activity book and an audio cassette of the
muppets singing fire safety songs. My son loves it already!

You can find it here:

Love and Light


Earlier this week, someone posing as a child left me e-mail that really raised some suspicions.  The sender said he thought I was 10, gave me his "real name" and age, and then asked for my real name.  Concerned that it was either someone trying to prey on children or someone trying to make contact with people interested in child pornography, I searched the web for someone to report it to.  I sent a copy to the sender's internet provider and also found out that Missing Kids, Inc. investigates suspicious e-mail and online child porn.  If you get any kind of spam or suspicious message, or if you accidentally find a web site that has child pornography, leave and report it here.  Even if it's innocent, better safe than sorry.....


Rules for Living:
Do not worry, eat three square meals a day, say your prayers, be courteous to your creditors, keep your digestion good, steer clear of biliousness, exercise, go slow and go easy. Maybe there are other things that your special case requires to make you happy, but, my friend, these, I reckon, will give you a good life.
(Abraham Lincoln)


Magical Mama Laurie sent in this delightful idea.....

I got up early one day and was taking the quiet time to myself to paint my toenails when it hit me, my three daughters (ages 3-7) love to have their nails painted too, but often they're so wiggly (and their toes so tiny) that it's messy and stressful.  So while my dear ones were asleep, I took it upon myself to give them each a pedicure :^).  They were delighted when they woke up to pink toenails, and I got some giggles out of claiming that the "toenail fairy" must have come in the night.  (They knew I was kidding but all thought it was fun anyway).


Does your baby have a bald spot from sleeping on her back?

I was like many parents and thought that this was normal but a friend of mine educated me about the subject and I wanted to pass it on.  This can actually be an early warning sign that baby may be spending too much time on her back and it may affect the shape of her head.

Doctors have been recommending for several years now that babies be put to sleep on their backs instead of tummies to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  It has worked-- SIDS deaths are down dramatically in the U.S.-- but there has been an unfortunate side effect.

Magical Mama Terrie shared this information about it:

Since the back to sleep program the incidence of plagiocephaly (misshapen heads due to one of two causes: either fontanels closing prematurely or prolonged pressure on the skull from back-lying) has increased dramatically.  The cause related to the back to sleep and using car seats as carriers, comes from pressure vs closing of the fontanels.  The local children's  hospital here in Seattle used to see about 1-2 cases/month for helmets, and now they are making 5-6 helmets a week!

My husband's profession (prosthetist/orthotist) makes the helmets, which not only can be expensive, but are horrid for a baby to have to wear 23 hours a day for months on end.  Additionally, the maker of the helmet is giving his best guess as to what the best shape for your baby's head would be!  There is no way for him or her to know what it would have been, and he is responsible for *sculpting* the best shaped head he can!

The good news is that  many babies' heads will round out again on their own if the cases are not severe, with a little change of her routines and environment.  It is still important to put babies to sleep on their backs, but you can minimize risks by giving them "tummy time" when they're awake, not using car seats as baby holders when not in the car, and wearing them in slings or holding them as they sleep too.

My babies always insisted on sleeping with us or in our arms.  I complied because it made them happy and I love it anyway, but it's nice to know there's an added benefit.  For more on co-sleeping safely (and why the new warnings are slimy) see the new article on the Magical Childhood site.

For more information on Plagiocephaly, see these links:

Note: Different sources of information will give you very different answers about this condition.  Some organizations claim that it can lead to migraines and many other painful physical problems.  One study seems to have shown that untreated children performed worse in school.  Other people will tell you that it's usually purely cosmetic.  This is a relatively new condition (in these numbers) and there is not very much information yet about long term effects.  I'm passing on this information not to scare parents, but because knowledge is power.  The more new parents know, the less chance of babies developing plagiocephaly at all.


Words of Wisdom from a 4 year old....

Last week, Daryl was making some tags for some items he made for sale at a local historical site.  He asked Victoria if she wanted to make them and showed her how to punch holes on each one.

Victoria struggled to punch hard enough and ended up leaving little dents all over instead.  Daryl held the hole puncher and tried to punch for her, at which point Victoria started fussing at him.  Daryl told her, "I'm just trying to help you!".

Victoria, in a voice of utter exasperation, said, "Daddy!  You don't know what helping means!  You think helping is doing it for someone!".  Daryl and I both looked at each other and grinned.  She was right!

Victoria finished the tags all by herself.  They were pretty good too!


And some words of wisdom from a grown up....

To laugh often and much:
    To win the respect of intelligent people
    and the affection of children,
    to earn the appreciation of honest critics
    and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    to appreciate beauty,
    to find the best in others,
    to leave the world a bit better
    whether by a healthy child,
    a garden patch,
    or a redeemed social condition;
    to know even one life has breathed
    easier because you lived.
    This is to have succeeded.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Magical Mud Pies:  10 fun, free things to do outside today...

1.  Cut an old sheet into large wings, have the kids color it with markers, and pin or stitch it to an old shirt.  Have the kids run around as butterflies.

2.  Designate a corner of the yard as theirs and let them dig it up, hose it down and joyfully play in the dirt.

3.  Pick dandelions and make crowns, jewelry or collages on the grass.

4.  Give them an empty spice shaker to fill with sand or dirt, an old spoon and a container, and let them make up back yard recipes.  Other fun props are old plastic measuring spoons, measuring cups and oddly shaped pans.

5.  Help them plant a weed garden.  Excavate a little area that's out of the way and let them transplant weeds to it.  You get rid of weeds, they get to learn gardening skills with no risk.

6.  Go for a leisurely walk around town.  Let them lead.  If you like, bring a bag to collect treasures like pine cones and rocks.

7.  If you have any spent flowers, let them do flower magic by stripping the petals and throwing them up in the air.  They can make wishes or say prayers for people, or just have glorious fun.

8.  Gather up two long sticks or pieces of wood, a hat and an old shirt.  Let them make a scarecrow.  Wind some rope to fasten the sticks into a t shape, with the shorter piece used as the arms.  Stick it into the ground, top with a hat, shirt and pants or skirt.  Then give her or him a name.

9.  Use a permanent marker to draw faces on smooth rocks & let the kids make a rock band.  When they're finished playing with them, give them as a gift to someone who appreciates silliness.

10. Make mud pies, of course!  Gather up disposable pie tins or other shallow dishes and give the kids some dirt, a spoon or stick and a container of water.  Let them mix up mud and plunk it into the tins, then decorate with pebbles, grass, wildflowers or a sprinkling of brown sugar-- I mean sand.  <G>  Bake in the sun and serve to hungry dolls and bears.


And with that, my dears, I'm off!
Have a wonderful week and don't forget to take care of you!




A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2002, Alicia Bayer

A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something I throw together because I love children and those who love them.  To subscribe, send a message to  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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