Play Room. November 2015

Book picks for little foodies, teething advice and a small business mama-blogger you should get to know.

Take Five: Jillian Schoene
Bookshelf: Books that Cook.
Bookmark This: Pie in the Sky
Gear Guide: Mom-tested Mats
Chalkboard: Attention Grabber
Ask Dr. Katie:Teething Troubles
Good Deeds: PDX Diaper Bank

Take Five: Jillian Schoene


President Obama had his game face on. Schoene’s son, Coltrane? Not so much.

Name a Democratic politician in Oregon, and Jillian Schoene has probably worked for him or — more often — her, from Gov. Kate Brown to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. These days, she’s at the helm of Emerge Oregon, which offers training to progressive female candidates for political office. She lives in Portland with her husband and their smiley 17-month-old son, Coltrane.

Q: Can you tell us why you believe it’s good to have more women — and more mothers — involved in politics?

A: Families are increasingly feeling economically insecure, and right now, one in four children in Oregon live in poverty. We need workplace public policies that allow families to provide for their children if we want to break the cycle of poverty. Higher minimum wages, affordable childcare and paid family leave would help — and I believe we’d already be beyond these debates if we had more women and mothers at the table.

Q: More than 120 Oregon women have gone through the Emerge training program by now. Can you pick a few metro-area grads that our readers should keep an eye out for (and why)?

A: Picking just a few is hard!

Sheri Malstrom: She’s running for the state legislature, and is a public health nurse and single mom – two perspectives the legislature needs.

Irene Konev: A hero to women who have faced domestic violence and passionate about ensuring programs reach diverse communities.

Jennifer Lynch: I swear she could solve any problem put before her. She’s a venture capitalist, and takes on the powerful gun lobby as a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Violence.

Linda Roman: Giving her time and her voice to Latinos, she calls out systemic inequities to build a more inclusive Oregon that values the contributions of every family and individual.

Andrea Durbin: Already one of our state’s leading environmental advocates, and a personal dynamo. I hope our future is as bright as hers.

Q: What’s your message to women who’d like to get involved, but are busy with young kids at home?

A: I’m a mom of a 17-month old child, so I know that time is tight, and the last thing you want to do is spend more time away from your kids. But no one knows how to focus and juggle competing demands like a working mother. And your voice is not only needed in public policy and politics, it is essential to preserving our community and building an economy that works for everyone.

Q: What do you think is the next big issue for families to watch in Oregon?

A: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that earned sick leave passed the Oregon legislature in a year in which most of the leadership positions were held by women. Next up: paid family leave — for all parents — so that none of us have to choose between helping to provide for our household and connecting with a new member of the family during those precious first weeks.

Q: And finally, if your toddler had a political platform, what do you think it would be?

A: Self-changing diapers for a better future, ban on age-based bedtime discrimination, and most importantly, bananas on demand.

— Julia Silverman

Bookshelf: Books that Cook

Kim Tano and Richard Corbett, the children’s book buyers for Powell’s books, Portland’s favorite independent bookstore, spend their days digging through the best in kid lit. Here are their top picks for books about food and cooking. Find these selections at Powell’s Books, 1005 W Burnside St., or online at And don’t miss Saturday storytimes at 11 am.

Ages 0-2

Playroom_EatingtheAlphabet_Nov15Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

An oldie but a goodie. From apricots to zucchini and everything in between, fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes are pictured. The pictures are sumptuous, as tempting as any farmers’ market display. $6.95.

Playroom-Bookshelf-LadyPancakeLady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are the best of friends in the refrigerator – until they learn there is just one drop of syrup left. So off they go, racing each other in a hilarious rumpus of a food fight, both determined to be the one to have that sweet taste of victory. A great read aloud book that all can join in on. $14.95.

Ages 3-5

Playroom_Dessert_Nov15A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Award winning author Emily Jenkins and illustrator Sophie Blackall team up on this beautifully drawn story of four families in different eras sharing the same dessert. From Lyme, England in 1710, Charleston in 1810, Boston in 1910 and San Diego, California circa now, each family whips fresh cream and stirs it with plump blackberries, sweet sugar and fragrant vanilla into blackberry fool. After reading this book, you’ll want to have the ingredients on hand so you can whip up your own to satisfy the cravings. $17.99.

Playroom-Bookshelf-FromApplesToOregonApples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

In this celebration of apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries, a courageous farmer and his family decides to brave it all and trek from Iowa across the Oregon Trail, bringing along his beloved seedlings. Narrated by his feisty daughter, Delicious, the family encounters rising rivers, drought, early frost and hailstones. But they never lose hope and survive to plant the trees in fertile Oregon soil. $7.99.

Ages 6-10

Playroom-Bookshelf-GardentoTableGarden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing and Preparing Food by Katherine Hengel with Lisa Wagner

This excellent cookbook teaches children about where their food comes from, with simple instructions on seeds, stages of growth and harvesting tips. There are also delicious recipes with instructional photos for dishes like basil lemon cake, pickled carrot sticks and cheddar potato cakes, making them a fun family project. $15.95.

Playroom-Bookshelf-CookingClassCooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (And Eat) by Deanna F. Cook

Cooking Class features 57 recipes rated by difficulty by one to three spoons so children can grow from beginners to experts. Recipes range from mix-and-match Fruit Flower Garden to Crepes With Nutella and Bananas, making this a great pick to start your child’s own cookbook collection. Also included: helpful tips on one of the most important parts of cooking — cleaning up! $18.95.

Bookmark This: Pie in the Sky

Play_Room_-_Bookmark_ThisHungry for recipes, musings on motherhood and photos of pie that might make you drool a little Then check out, the blog of Portland mom Marica Natali Thompson, owner of the Paiku food cart. Not only is she a mother of three and pie baker extraordinaire, she illustrates children’s books, is a lover of all things handmade and has a new book project in the works. She regularly posts recipes and beautiful photos of her knitting projects. This Thanksgiving try her simple recipe for cranberry sauce with brandy and marmalade.

24 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
½ cup honey
½ cup brandy
¼ cup marmalade
¼ teaspoon orange extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Combine in a pot and simmer over medium heat until cranberries are soft, about 10-12 minutes.

— Denise Castañon

Gear Guide: Mom-tested Mats

I often write Metro Parent’s Family Supper column — that means lots of eating out with a 3-year old and a baby. I’ve found taking along a kid’s placemat makes the whole experience less stressful. And at home with babies new to the solid food game, a mat can save you some serious clean up time.

Play_Room_-_Gear_-_Modern-twist-2Modern-twist Kids Coloring Placemat

When my daughter colors happily on her Modern-twist food safe silicone placemat while we wait for our meals to arrive at a restaurant, parents seated near us always ask, “Where did you get that?” And once food arrives, there are no worries about the table getting messy. I always keep it rolled up in my diaper bag because it’s a genius product that makes eating out with young kids much easier. Modern-twist serves up mats in several cool coloring scenes, but I am partial to this oh so-Portland “Farm to Table” design. $25, with 4 markers. Available at Eco Baby Gear 10735 SE Stark St.

Play_Room_-_Gear_-_ezpz-1ezpz Happy Mat

This mealtime lifesaver was clearly designed by a parent. The durable, food safe silicone plate/mat sticks to the table, so your exuberant new eater (or testy toddler) can’t swipe his plate to the floor. When I tested it with my 7-month-old, it significantly cut the mess under his highchair. It was also easier for him to actually get the food in his chubby little fist because he didn’t have to chase it all over a larger tray. It holds up to 2 ¼ cups of food, so it can last through toddlerhood. The Happy Mat ($24.99) is a little bulky to take out to restaurants, but ezpz makes the smaller Happy Bowl ($19.99), that’s more portable. Bonus: Kids can draw on it with dry erase markers and it’s dishwasher safe. Available at the Bull and the Bee 1540 SE Bybee Blvd., Posh Baby 916 NW 10th Ave. and 12345 SW Horizon Blvd., Suite 53, Beaverton.

Play_room_-_gear_-_gerberGerber Platemat

This no frills food mat has quite a few things going for it, including a rim that keeps foods and liquids from spilling all over. Also it’s easy to roll up and take with you, and it’s dishwasher safe. Long after you need it at restaurants (or at home, because that raised edge is seriously helpful) it makes an awfully handy Play Dough mat. And the price can’t be beat. $5.99.

— D.C

Chalkboard: Attention Grabber


Real talk: All kids fidget. And wiggle. And sometimes need to run around the room to let off steam — that’s just part of childhood. But for some kids, there’s more going on than just the wiggles. They might not be able to concentrate on the task at hand, be consistently impatient or be unable to control their bodies. That could be a sign of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, one of the most common childhood mental disorders, and one that’s been on the rise in Oregon. For years, doctors have prescribed medication for ADHD kids, like Adderall and Ritalin, stimulants that don’t cure the disorder, but can help some kids calm down and pay attention in school (though there can also be significant side effects, and potential for overuse). But new schools of thought around treatment are emerging. At Oregon Health & Sciences University, Dr. Joel Nigg is leading a National Institutes of Health-funded study that’s tracking kids from more than 600 Portland-area families over many years, aiming to parse some of the different manifestations of ADHD. The aim? To hone in on clinical tools that can better treat the disorder. In Lake Oswego, a newly opened branch of the national Brain Balance program works with kids on a three-pronged approached: sensory motor training, cognitive and academic activity plans and a dietary regimen. “When you see things that ADHD kids struggle with — hyperactivity, impulsiveness, obsessive behaviors — these are all skills that are controlled by the right side of the brain,” said Dr. Robert Melillo, who founded the first Brain Balance center. “The thinking had been, oh, there is nothing you can do about this, but that goes against what we now know about neuroplasticity and how the brain can change.”

— J. S.

Ask Dr. Katie:Teething Troubles

Playroom-AskDrKatieQ: Every time my 3-month-old cries, my mother tells me she must be teething. Isn’t three months a little young for this? When do teeth really start to come in, and is there any way to know for sure that that’s what is bugging my baby?

A: Ahhh, yes, teething! Like most areas of child development, there are no firm answers for when a child will cut their first teeth, and how to know what to expect when they do … despite the multitude of theories and opinions every new parent gets an earful from well-meaning bystanders! However, most infants will cut their first tooth around 6 months of age, and the remainder will likely have that first snaggle tooth make an appearance anytime between 2 and 12 months of age. If your little one still does not have any teeth by approximately 18 months of age it is a good idea to have him or her checked by a pediatric dentist.

Another rule of thumb is that the first teeth to appear are usually the two bottom front teeth, or central incisors. They are usually followed by the four upper front teeth, approximately one to two months later. The bottom lateral incisors come in another month to round it all out.

As for all that drool, while children as young as 3 months certainly can go through fits and bursts of teething, drooling is a sign of your child’s improved coordination. As children reach 3 to 4 months of age they become more adept at accurately reaching for an object … and once they have that object in hand it goes right for the mouth — and the drooling begins!

Here are some tips to safely help your little one while teething:

  • Wipe your little one’s face often with a cloth to remove drool and prevent rashes from developing.
  • Give your baby something to chew on! (Though be sure that it is big enough so that it cannot be swallowed and that it cannot break into small pieces.)
  • Massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger.

It is important to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the use of topical teething gels containing lidocaine or benzocaine, the use of amber necklaces nor the use of homeopathic teething tablets. And teething biscuits or cold food are only okay if a child is already eating solids and being supervised by an adult.

While it can be easy to quickly pin any deviations in our little one’s behaviors on teething there is actually little evidence to support that teething is accompanied by a specific collection of symptoms. We know from our older patients that the eruption of permanent teeth (typically around 6 years of age) is not very painful, nor is it associated with the symptoms listed above. So, while teething may cause mild discomfort for some infants, if your baby has diarrhea, is vomiting, has a fever or is inconsolable, contact your medical provider.

Dr. Katie Oldread, a Harvard Medical School graduate, is a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente’s Gateway Medical Office. Last winter, she spent a few months providing emergency medical care in Sierra Leone. When she’s not at work, she’s hanging out with her daughters and their two silly dogs, Goofer and Huck.

Good Deeds: PDX Diaper Bank

Playroom-GoodDeedsHere’s the bottom line: Diapers are expensive. Newborns can go through as many as 12 diapers per day, and keeping them clean and dry adds up fast. And that’s a struggle for many low-income families. Federal food stamps don’t cover diapers, which can cost at least $80 a month. That leaves many babies who wear soiled diapers longer than they should in order to make supplies last, leading to skin rashes and infections. PDX Diaper Bank collects donated disposable and cloth diapers, plus wipes, then works with community nonprofits to make sure they get to families in need. They also provide “cloth diapering on a budget” classes. You can help by hosting a “diaper drive” at your school, church or community event. Want to know more? Search hashtag #DiaperNeed for updates in real time.

— J.S.

PDX Parent Staff
PDX Parent Staff

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