Play Room September 2017

Getaway: Walla Walla

Among wine enthusiasts, south-central Washington’s Walla Walla has been an open secret for years. But the town’s also a gateway for exploring the quieter side of the Cascades, and a hip, family-friendly destination in its own right. School-aged kids (and fans of the Oregon Trail video game) will dig the Fort Walla Walla Museum and the Whitman Mission, which tell the stories of the region’s indigenous people and settlers. (Younger kids may prefer the seriously cool play structure on the grounds of Fort Walla Walla.) Pro tip: Go on the weekends, when local residents get into costume as characters in old-time Walla Walla, from missionaries to madams. Downtown, nab a spot at the viewing windows to watch the candy being made at Bright’s Candies, or browse the toys, books and games at Inland Octopus. And since you’re in wine country, stop off at Three Rivers Winery, where Portland-based band Cedar Teeth caps off a summer concert series on Friday, September 1. Spread out a blanket for just $5. (There later in the month? Knock around with the kids on the winery’s short, 3-hole golf course instead.) Locals recommend the wood-fired pizza at Walla Walla Bread Company, with crust made from grain grown on a local family-run farm. Book a room at the historic Marcus Whitman hotel in downtown Walla Walla and a lavish brekkie spread is included in the price. — Julia Silverman

Kid to Know: The Environmentalist

In these crazy times, somehow scientific reasoning has come under fire. But you’ll rest a little easier knowing curious, persistent and smart kids like Adam Nayak aren’t giving up on science any time soon. Last year, the current Cleveland High School senior won the Earth & Environmental Sciences top prize at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, a program of the Society for Science & the Public. His prize came with $5,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to present at the EPA’s Sustainable Design Expo. His winning science project demonstrated how an increase in paved surfaces can lead to urban flooding. “When I was little, I used to go down to the park near my house to play in Crystal Springs, a tributary of Johnson Creek in Southeast Portland,” says Nayak. “I always wondered why seeing salmon in the stream was so rare, and I decided to investigate this further. In middle school I began researching water quality in Johnson Creek in order to learn more about the science within freshwater ecosystems; since then, my passion for conservation science has only grown. I have worked for six years in the field of environmental sciences, researching water quality and its effects on freshwater ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest.” — Denise Castañon

Apps We Love: We are the World

Earlier this year, my children’s second grade teacher was searching for videos to show her class about kids their age who lived in other cultures around the world. Her research yielded few age-appropriate videos to show. I wish I’d found the One Globe Kids app to share with her then. Created by a New York City-based mom/photographer, this app features “day in my life” stories told by different kids from around the globe, from Indonesia to Africa to the Netherlands to New York City. Kids narrate short audio slideshows about their day, incorporating “choose your own adventure elements” (“Do you want to tour my room first, or have breakfast first? You choose!”) and teaching some basic words and counting in their native language. Your kids will love finding the parallels between their own lives and those of their new friends on-screen, and can even record themselves answering questions posed by the kids in the videos. (“I get to school by bike. How do you get to school?”). Along the way, kids will learn basic geographical, cultural and political facts about each country — and new stories and countries are routinely added, to keep things fresh. For iPad, iPhone and Android, the first two stories are free; the rest are available for purchase for $1.99 apiece. — J.S.

Bookmark This: Foodie Adventures

Judith Klein Rich has been doing the foodie blog thing for a decade, but when she got pregnant in 2015, she knew things would change. She wasn’t willing to give up trying out new restaurants entirely, though, but “I knew I had to be more strategic about it with a baby in tow.” So she started up her blog, Eaty Pie, a play on the name of her daughter Edith, with the goal of showing parents that “trying new, interesting restaurants doesn’t have to be saved for date night.” What sets her apart from the pack: restaurants are evaluated from the perspective of both a grown-up and a kiddo. So far, her picks for parents and littles alike include SE Portland’s French-influenced Coquine (her daughter’s all-time favorite are the rye pancakes and huckleberry compote), and Tusk on SE Burnside Street, the sophisticated Middle-Eastern focused spot from the folks behind Ava Gene’s, where the waitstaff plied Edith with fresh hummus and plenty of pita bread. She also suggests keeping kids occupied with quiet activities, instead of battery-operated, noisy toys, and hitting up appetizers or side dishes to find kid-friendly, more gently priced options if the restaurant doesn’t have a dedicated kids menu. Check it out: eatypie.com. — J.S.

Good Deeds: NICU Network

When Anna David’s daughter Miranda was born in 2013 after just 26 weeks and four days of gestation, she weighed only 1 pound, 2 ounces. Her first 80 days of life were spent at Randall Children’s Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit, which works with preemies and micro-preemies like Miranda. Today, thanks in no small part to that level of care, Miranda is thriving, and her mom went on to found NICU Families Northwest, a nonprofit that supports parents at four area hospitals. The group provides what bewildered, scared and exhausted NICU families need most: support and perspective from those who have been there, via a web-based, peer-to-peer network that’s available 24-7. They cover topics including how to bond with a baby who may be breathing through a tube, and the importance of taking care of yourself while watching over a NICU baby. The group also collects new children’s books to distribute for free to NICU families to promote early bonding, and puts together care packages for them, with snacks, hygiene products and notes of love and support from parents who have been through the NICU cycle themselves. Currently, they work with NICUs and families at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel and OHSU Doernbecher; they are working to expand into Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. You can help: visit nicufamiliesnw.org for more information. — J.S.

Bookshelf: Work It

Ah, Labor Day. A respite for all the workers out there — and make no mistake about it, whether you’re at home with the kids, or at the office all day, you work. Read all about it with your kids, with these great picks from Kim Tano and Richard Corbett, the children’s book buyers at Portland’s iconic Powell’s Books.

Work: An Occupational ABC by Kellen Hatanaka
An alphabetical introduction to some of the world’s most unique occupations. This book’s sophisticated, minimalist design highlights some of the more offbeat ways to make a living (“Y is for Yogi,” anyone?). Don’t miss the “want ads” at the back, too. $16.95.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
Fresh, amusing and colorful, this one uses funny pea characters to illustrate various careers (“Voters, vets and volunteers!”) in a delightful rhyming text. $7.99.

Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?
Richard Scarry’s classic on all the occupants of Busytown never gets old! (Though it has been updated; the “mailman” became a “letter carrier,” for instance.) A wonderful book written and illustrated with so much care and detail; kids can spend ages seeing all there is to see on a single page. $15.99.

What Do Grown-Ups Do All Day? by Virginie Morgand
Fifteen busy scenes exploring over 100 jobs are featured in this wonderful modern classic. Each two-page spread introduces a different place; when the page is turned, you see all the employees, busy at their jobs. $22.99.

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code & Change the World by Reshma Saujani
The Girls Who Code organization, a nonprofit working hard to close the gender gap in technology, presents this title perfect for aspiring coders of both genders. Fun graphics and loads of encouragement make a sometimes complicated subject seem easy and fun. $17.99.

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
In print for over 50 years, this story is just as relevant now as it was when it was first published. Classic characters like Morris the Florist and Maxie Hammerman, the Pushcart King, stick together and lead the revolution. Just don’t be surprised when your kid tries to make a homemade pea shooter when you’re finished reading this one. $11.99.

Playlist: Queen of the Campfire

Generations of campers have gathered around the firepit and sung. Camp Songs by Ella Jenkins & Friends pulls together 25 of those timeless songs — from the quintessential Kumbaya, an African American spiritual, to the European folk song Vive La Compagnie to songs Jenkins learned from Jewish campers, Tumbalalaika and Shalom Chaverim. A Grammy lifetime achievement honoree, the 93-year-old Jenkins has been making music for children since 1957, and is joined on the album by the children, parents
and teachers from the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, and Kate and Tony Seeger. Other classic songs include This Land Is Your Land, Union Maid, Goodnight Irene and Sweetly Sings the Donkey (one of my 2-year-old son’s absolute favorite tunes). Available at folkways.si.edu. — D.C.

Pay Attention: Clocking Hours

It’s called “clopening,” the soul-sucking mash-up of closing down the counter at your fast food or hospitality industry job at, say, midnight, then being called back in to open things up again a scant five or six hours later. Now imagine trying to do that with little ones at home … and with minimal advance notice of what your work schedule will be. That’s been a reality for many parents who work in retail, food service and the hospitality industry — but thanks to a new, first-of-its-kind law in Oregon, things will be changing for the better. Starting in July of next year, retail, hospitality and food-service operations that employ more than 500 people in Oregon will need to give their employees at least seven days notice of their work schedules; that rises to 14 days notice by 2020. If they need to make a last-minute change, workers will need to be compensated accordingly, and employees are guaranteed at least 10 hours off between shifts. What’s more, workers can’t be fired or docked hours by requesting a specific schedule. The measure garnered support from both Republicans and Democrats, in a rare bipartisan collaboration in the Oregon Legislature this year; similar legislation is in place in some cities around the country, but Oregon is the first to tackle this on a statewide level. For working parents, that means less of a scramble to find last-minute care for their kids when they have to clock in around the clock. Good on you, Oregon. — J.S.

Ask Dr. Corey: So Long, Tonsils

Q: My 5-year-old daughter has a chronically stuffy nose and snores horribly. An ear, nose and throat surgeon has recommended we take out her tonsils and adenoids. Have anyone else’s kiddos had this done? What was the recovery like? Did it help?

A: Let me see if I can help you sniff out a good answer (pun completely intended).

Tonsillectomy (the process of removing the tonsils) and a similar procedure with the adenoids (which are similar to lymph nodes, but at the back of the nose instead of the throat) have a long history. These procedures were being done as early as 1000 BC. These days we do far fewer than we used to, but it’s still a procedure that is done for a handful of different reasons.

Typically, these reasons include sleep apnea, which is marked by pauses in breathing at night, behavior problems at the extreme for a given age group, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Other reasons typically involve repeated infections, like strep throat.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has guidelines on their website that discuss in detail the typical recovery from a procedure like this. Find it at: entnet.org/content/tonsillectomy-and-adenoids-postop.

Generally, a child goes home the same day as the procedure, though there are exceptions. Diet and energy level generally return over a period of a week or two, and drinking plenty of fluids after surgery is important.

As of mid-September, you can find Dr. Corey Fish at his new clinic, Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care, at NE 69th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard.

Got a question for Dr. Corey? Get in touch at editor@pdxparent.com and we’ll pass it along.