Play Room. March 2015

App picks for potty training, the stats on C-sections and our fave places for kid haircuts, plus a SAHD blogger you should know.

Take Four: Yellow Scop
Getaway: Corvallis
Playlist: Kids being kids?
Apps We Love: Potty Time
Good Deeds: Giving the good stuff
Top 5: Best Places for a Kid’s Haircut
Bookmark This: Daddy does it
Gear Guide: Enviro Diapering
Chalkboard: Grading C-Sections
Ask Dr. Dena: Autism

Take Four: Yellow Scope

Play Room - Take 5 - YellowscopekoScientists, academics and local moms Marcie Colledge, Ph.D., and Kelly McCollum, B.S., M.P.H., met at their kids’ science fair. Both had a passion for science and ensuring girls have just as many opportunities as boys in tech and science careers. Together they switched from lab coats to entrepreneurial hats to create Yellow Scope science kits for girls.

Q: Why focus specifically on science kits for girls?

A: We know there is a scientist inside every girl. But sadly, by middle school, many girls begin to lose confidence in their scientific ability, and their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects wanes. This gender gap is largely due to social stereotypes that send the message to girls that science is not for them. We want to change this by hooking girls on science early, building their confidence, and showing them that science is fun!

Q: What drew you to the sciences as young girls?

A: Marcie — I always loved science, especially biology. I remember gathering bugs and flowers and soil samples to examine under my microscope. I also really liked the concrete nature of the answers in math and science. But as I continued in science, I learned how important creativity is in the sciences as well – in designing experiments and in coming up with new questions to explore.

Kelly — I’m curious, analytical and interested in making sense of the world. I first became really interested in science in my high school biology class. We dissected animals, conducted experiments, and used math to describe what we learned. Class was hands-on and felt relevant, interesting and engaging.

Q: Did you get feedback from your own kids when putting together the Yellow Scope kit?

A: Definitely! In fact, many of our ideas for the experiments in our kits have started out as our kids’ science fair experiments. Our girls are always our first “focus group.”

Q: What’s next for Yellow Scope?

A: We just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of December. We surpassed our goal of $25,000 by more than 30 percent. Not only did we raise the capital we needed to order supplies in volume, but we also got some market validation. We plan to start selling our kits in toy, craft and other boutique stores in Portland, as well as online. This year, we also plan to develop our second and third science kits .

— Denise Castañon

Getaway: Corvallis

Metro Parent Portland. Play Room. March 2015

The Firefighter Memorial Shelter at Peavy Arboretum in Corvallis, amid a field of camas that blooms every spring.

Batter up! March marks the official start of the baseball season, and in Oregon, no collegiate baseball team in recent years has had as much success as the Oregon State Beavers, two-time winners of the College World Series. Pack up the kids and head down Interstate 5 to catch a game at Goss Stadium, and while you’re there, check out the rest of what this fun-loving college town has to offer. President Obama sampled the wares at American Dream Pizza and Francesco’s Gelato during a campaign swing in Oregon; we also love New Morning Bakery for sandwiches that are perfect for a picnic. If it’s rainy while you’re in town, head to the Osborn Aquatic Center for family swim times or browse the Saturday morning-only Corvallis Indoor Winter Market for all manner of homegrown foods and crafts. On a sunny day, take the kids to explore the trails at Peavy Arboretum on the OSU campus (keep an eye out for clumps of blooming camas flowers in the spring). And on your way back to Portland, pull off in nearby Albany to check out the Brass Ring Historic Carousel & Museum, where a dedicated group of volunteers has spent over a decade meticulously building what promises to be the state’s finest carousel. The Holiday Inn Express in Corvallis has a not-too busy indoor pool and offers up popcorn, movies and cookies at bedtime for kid guests; or try to book the two-bedroom cottage at the Hanson Country Inn, with a full kitchen, front porch and gourmet breakfast.

— Julia Silverman


Kids being kids? Listen to these songs written by adult kids for their parents — proof that one day they’ll appreciate us.

courtesy of Wilco

Courtesy of Wilco

1. “I Bet My Life” by Imagine Dragons

2. “Candles” by Rufus Wainwright

3. “Dear Mama” by Tupac Shakur

4. “Box of Rain” by The Grateful Dead

5. “Factory” by Bruce Springsteen

6. “Loves Me Like a Rock” by Paul Simon

7. “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood

8. “On and On and On” by Wilco

9. “Chinese” by Lily Allen

Apps We Love: Potty Time

There are plenty of tried-and-true tricks for getting your toddler to use the potty, including M&Ms (try one for pee and two for poop), the classic Everybody Poops book by Japanese author Taro Gomi, and the promise of cool new big-kid undies with dump trucks on them. Add to that arsenal our top app picks for potty training, and you’ll be done with diapers in no time.

Playroom-AppsWeLove-PottyTimeWithElmoPotty Time With Elmo

Even if they don’t watch “Sesame Street,” most 2-year-olds can recognize Elmo (maybe it’s osmosis?). The app is the animated story of the lovable, furry red monster teaching his own favorite toy how to use the potty, plus a reward chart, stickers, puzzles and age-appropriate potty-themed songs (Think “I’ve Been Waiting on the Potty,” to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”) $2.99 for iPhone and iPad.

Playroom-AppsWeLove-OnceUponAPottyOnce Upon a Potty

The classic book, beloved by generations of parents for its matter-of-fact approach and anatomical correctness. Not many bells and whistles on this one, but it is customizable for either boys or girls, which is a nice touch. There are some handy lessons on human anatomy, too. $1.99 for iPhone and iPad.

PlayRoom-AppsWeLove-PottyTimePotty Training Time

This is your all-in-one choice, created as much for parents as it is for kids. It comes with a tracking system to allow you to chart your kids’ potty successes (and the inevitable accidents) on your mobile device; includes potty-themed books, videos and games; and even has a certificate you can print out and present to your kiddo when they’ve successfully mastered using the loo. Best of all, it’s free for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

– J.S.

Good Deeds: Giving the good stuff

Courtesy of OHSU Family Medicine — Gabriel Park and Northwest Mothers’ Milk Bank

Courtesy of OHSU Family Medicine — Gabriel Park and Northwest Mothers’ Milk Bank

As many new moms know, breastfeeding may not come as easily as expected. For moms of sick babies who are struggling to breastfeed, they may turn to formula. But if you’re a nursing mama with a plentiful supply, you can help out. The Northwest Mothers Milk Bank has teamed up with OHSU Family Medicine to open up a breast milk drop-off site at the OHSU Gabriel Park Clinic. Mothers who’d like to donate are screened and then given instructions on how to collect and store the milk. It’s then pasteurized and given to critically ill babies at local hospitals. Breast milk drop-off hours are Wednesdays 2-4 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

For more information, click here or stop by the OHSU Gabriel Park Clinic, 4411 SW Vermont St., or call 503-494-9992.

— D.C.

TOP 5…Best Places for a Kid’s Haircut

Lil’ Snippers, in Vancouver, Wash., will do intricate french braids and sprinkle glitter all over your little girl’s hair. ➋ Sit Still in West Linn has cars for kids to sit in and movies for them to watch while the stylist works. ➌ Kid’s Castle Cuts in the Woodstock neighborhood of Southeast Portland has a huge playroom of toys for kids to play with while they wait. ➍ Haircuts at Little Clippers in Lake Oswego end with a balloon, candy, stickers — or all three. ➎ Special-needs kids can sit in a parent’s lap during their cut at Pigtails & Crewcuts in Hillsboro, or come for a “quiet time” appointment.

— J.S.

Bookmark This: Daddy does it

Courtesy of James Rohl

Courtesy of James Rohl

Moms and Dads parent differently. Any kid can tell you that. And reading James Rohl’s blog,, backs that up. “I am the parent at home with the kids during the day, keeping them fed and making sure that all of their blood more or less stays inside their little bodies. I think there’s more to it than that, but right now those are the bullet points I’m focusing on, and from those metrics I’m pretty good,” writes Rohl, a North Portland dad of two boys looking forward to another one. And then there’s the post about letting the kids pee off the roof. (In his defense, he didn’t actually think they’d be able to get up there.)

But you’ve got to love Rohl’s assertion that there’s nothing more masculine than manning up and raising your kids — he’s PTA president and calls on other dads to take on a more active role at their kids’ schools. Other engaged fathers will find Stay at Home Dad PDX a resource. And some moms may be just a little jealous when they read his post about how he doesn’t take his wife, whom he refers to as “Beautiful,” for granted. Stay-at-home parents of either gender will bust out a big “Amen” to his post about sharing parenting responsibilities equally when both parents are home.

— D.C.

Gear Guide: Enviro diapering

In Portland we like to keep things green — so for many parents, reusable cloth diapers that stay out of landfills are the way to go. Finding the right fit for your baby and lifestyle may take some trial and error. Here are three popular options to get you started.

Playroom-GearGuide-BumGeniusThe pocket diaper is the most popular cloth choice. An insert (or two) goes into a soft, wicking pocket liner of a waterproof diaper. The Bum Genius 4.0 One Size Pocket diaper ($18) is available in snap or hook-and-loop closures and will fit a newborn up to a 35-pounder. It comes in a variety of splashy designs and colors. Available at Cotton Babies, 106 Grand Blvd., Vancouver. Check out their cloth diapering classes and new mom and dad meet-ups, too.

Metro Parent Portland. Play Room. March 2015All-in-One diapers are the closest thing to disposables in cloth. There’s no stuffing inserts. You put them on and go. The Thirsties One Size All-in-One diaper ($20) is an improvement over their old Duo All-in-One design. The absorbent pads are now attached at just one end for quicker drying, and an additional layer of microterry wicks even more moisture than before. Available in snap or hook-and-loop closures, and a variety of fun designs and colors. Available at Eco Baby Gear, 10735 SE Stark St.,

Metro Parent Portland. Play Room. March 2015Waterproof diaper covers can be used with flat, prefold or fitted diapers. You can launder at home or avoid the ick factor by hiring a diaper washing service such as Tidee Didee — it’s been a Portland institution since 1970 ( Bummis extra durable Super Whisper Wrap Cover ($13) comes in four sizes and uses hook-and-loop closures for the perfect fit. Available at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave.,

— D.C.

Chalkboard: Grading C-Sections

Metro Parent Portland. Play Room. March 2015

Twenty years ago, only about 20 percent of babies born in the United States were born after cesarean sections. Today, that number is about 32 percent, even though a C-section birth is more expensive, more likely to cause complications for the mother, and has a longer recovery time. True, there are some viable medical reasons for C-sections — when a baby is unusually large, or if an expectant mother has dangerously high blood pressure, for example. But some families have turned to planned C-sections to skirt those last few, exhausting weeks of pregnancy. Knowing in advance when your baby will be born is convenient — a mother-in-law from out-of-state can buy an airline ticket, a work project can be wrapped up. But study after study has shown that more time in the womb is better for a newborn’s health, given crucial lung, kidney and brain developments during those last weeks in utero. That’s why in Oregon, hospitals are actively working to reduce C-section births. The nine major birthing hospitals in the Portland metro area have all stopped scheduling C sections before an expectant mother hits 39 weeks, unless it is medically necessary to do so. OHSU proudly notes its strong success rate at V-BACS, or vaginal births after cesareans — about 80 percent of women who choose this option at the hospital are able to deliver without surgical intervention. The hospital will also work with mothers whose babies are breech to deliver vaginally, a practice that’s still not that common nationwide.

Sources: American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Oregon Office of Health Policy & Research, Consumer Reports, The Lund Report.

– J.S.

Ask Dr. Dena

Q: How early is too early to be diagnosed with autism? My friend said it can’t be diagnosed until age 3, but I’m concerned about my 1-year-old son who’s not babbling much or giving me big smiles.

Courtesy of Legacy Health

Courtesy of Legacy Health

A: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a hot topic these days.New rules were published in 2013, but there still isn’t any official age that is considered too young to be diagnosed. While it’s more challenging to diagnose a child under the age of 3 with ASD, it does happen. Even in infancy there are often signs that cause concern.

No blood test or brain scan can identify ASD; rather, a diagnosis is based on observations about a child’s behavior, communication and social skills. Therapies for ASD are designed to address the challenges of each individual child. A young child obsessed with certain activities, who doesn’t have shared language (for example, a child who doesn’t acknowledge the usual give and take with another person in a conversation) or who doesn’t display empathy (concern for or a sharing of feelings with someone else), or a 1-year-old who doesn’t babble or smile would certainly raise red flags. It is important to share your concerns with your pediatrician. She or he can ask you further questions and do focused screenings to gather more information. A highly coordinated team of well-trained specialists usually completes a full evaluation for autism. Unfortunately, there are often delays in getting access to these teams.

In the meantime, your pediatrician can help connect you with your state’s Early Intervention program. Every state has a program (sometimes it’s called Birth to Three). If your child qualifies, he may be able to start getting services right away to help him learn new skills and develop coping strategies, even if it takes months or years for him to get an official diagnosis. Your goal is to help your son reach his full potential. Appropriate early therapies can help you reach that goal.

Dr. Dena Ross is the medical director of Randall Children’s Pediatric Care-Emanuel, a clinic for children whose care teams include a pediatrician, nurse, medical assistant, social worker, counselor and clerical staff. The care team knows the health history of their patients, listens to their concerns and coordinates care with other specialists and health providers. Got a question for Dr. Dena? Tweet us at @Metro_Parent or find us on Facebook.

PDX Parent Staff
PDX Parent Staff

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