The Play Room column from the November 2018 issue of PDX Parent

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TOP 5 Spots for Grilled Cheese

➊ If you haven’t taken your kindergartener to eat The Kindergartener sandwich on the converted school bus at The Grilled Cheese Grill, what are you waiting for? NE Alberta at 11th Ave.
➋ Olympia Provisions and Tillamook Cheese’s Melty & Meaty food truck at Pioneer Courthouse Square features a basic grilled cheese for your kiddo and more interesting combos for your grown-up palate.
➌ Try a fun spin on a plain old grilled cheese with a kids’ pizzadilla at etc …eatery in SW Portland. Bonus: Great play area!
➍ Sneak some extra protein into your toddler with a grilled ham and cheese at Clarks Bistro & Pub in Hillsboro. (Play area here, too!)
➎ Wait, a $3 grilled cheese? Yup, Brunch Box in downtown PDX has one, along with some monstrously messy sandwiches for parents. — Denise Castañon

Kids to Know:  Foodies for a Cause

Back when she was in sixth grade, 15-year-old Brooke Abbruzzese learned about the bushmeat trade (the illegal overhunting of wildlife in African forests and savannas) and how baby chimpanzees were left motherless by hunters, and knew she had to do something about it. She talked to her friends at Beverly Cleary K-8 in Northeast Portland and soon McKenzie Tell, McKenzie Caldicott, Matisse Nash, Talia Baskin, Hanna Stokes, Maeve Larco, Emma Francioch, Charlotte Stoeger, Ruby Cooper-Karl, Maya Rashid, Martha Bukeley and Willa Gagnon were working with her to compile a vegetarian cookbook that would raise funds for the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Sanctuary. The girls asked big names on the local and national food scene to contribute recipes. Portland chefs such as Jaco Smith of Lechon, and Alex Yoder of Olympia Provisions pitched in, alongside national food activists like Michael Pollan, Thomas Keller and even former First Lady Michelle Obama.

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The girls tested the recipes, gathering to cook and eat together. They also wrote the introduction and headnotes, and worked with a photographer on food styling and food photography. Three years later in December 2017, when the girls were freshmen in high school, their cookbook, Saving Pan, was published. Abbruzzese finds it hard to narrow it down to a single favorite recipe from the book. She says she makes the soba sensation, berry smoothie and lime tofu wraps most often. Since publishing the cookbook they’ve raised more than $10,000 for the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Sanctuary. Craving a copy? Find Saving Pan at A Children’s Place in Portland and online at savingpan.com

Get one of Brooke’s favorite recipes at pdxparent.com/soba-sensation

— D.C.

Good Deeds: Feed the Dogs

Portland’s a great town to raise kids, but it might be an even better town to raise dogs. (One metric to consider: the seemingly endless number of doggie hotels with punny names. Virginia Woof, anyone?) If you love dogs and kids, take the littles to one of the Pongo Fund’s upcoming Kibble with your Kids events. What’s the Pongo Fund? It’s like the Oregon Food Bank, only for (you guessed it) dogs. You and the kids will be repacking bulk bins of donated dry dog food to be redistributed to needy families with hungry pets. It couldn’t be more family-friendly — the dog lovers at the Pongo Fund promise coloring sheets and/or nap time for any volunteers who need a break during their shift, plus tours of their super-cool, state-of-the-art mobile veterinary hospital. Best of all, there are no age restrictions for volunteering — but events do fill up fast, so keep an eye on their Facebook page at facebook.com/ThePongoFund. Kid volunteering shifts are posted two to four weeks in advance, and take place at the organization’s food bank at 3632 SE 20th Ave. One note: Dogs can’t come along — after all, they might eat the merchandise. — Julia Silverman

Playlist: Tasty Tunes

Feeding kids — did we realize it’d be such a hot-button topic and all-consuming task before we became parents? Gunnar’s Madsen’s kooky new album I am Your Food brings a little levity to the subject. The album’s songs don’t just focus on favorites that go into your kids’ tummies, but also dive into the topic of food waste with the hip-hop tinged Shelf Life and The Doors-influenced Egg Salad in the Sun, which tickled my funny bone. I also appreciated the addition of Frances England’s ethereal guest vocals to City of Sardines. Play I Am Your Food for your kiddos and you may not need to bribe them with the promise of dessert to get them to just eat a few more bites. — D.C.

Getaway: Foodies in Seattle

Yes, there are some big-ticket new(ish) attractions in Seattle that warrant a family road trip up Interstate 5, like the Seattle Great Wheel, the giant ferris wheel stretching out over Elliott Bay that is the Pacific NW’s answer to the London Eye, and the Living Computers Museum + Labs in the SoDo neighborhood, with interactive exhibits on everything from virtual reality and self-driving cars to throwback computers from the earliest days of home desktops. But aren’t fun excursions like these (or maybe even a visit to the jungly gardens inside the rad new Amazon Spheres, available by reservation only, every first and third Saturday of the month) really just a chance to work up an appetite?

Start your gastronomic tour of Seattle at Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City, where the melt-in-your-mouth French toast is locally, and justifiably, famous. After clambering over the fantastical new Artists at Play structure at the Seattle Center, catch the monorail to Pike Place Market for lunch at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, where kids will love seeing the cheese-makers at work. Prefer to stick closer to the Seattle Center because you want to check out the Marvel exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture? No problem — just walk a block or two to the supremely kiddo-friendly Skillet Counter, where the children’s menu features an upscale PB ‘n J on brioche with the crusts cut off.

If you’ve still got room at dinner, check out James Beard-winning chef Ethan Stowell’s new foray into Mexican food in the fam-friendly Fremont neighborhood, Super Bueno. (Try the chilled watermelon with pop rocks for starters and the jackfruit taco, too.) As for where to stay, the Silver Cloud Inn in the South Lake Union nabe is centrally located and has a heated indoor pool, handy for doing some laps to work off all that tasty grub. Oh, and on your way out of the town, have one last foodie fling at the Oberto Jerky Factory Outlet in Beacon Hill — fuel for the trip back home — J.S.

Bookshelf

Portland Book Festival Picks Kim Tano and Richard Corbett, the children’s book buyers at Powell’s Books, Portland’s iconic independent bookstore, are (big surprise) huge fans of the Portland Book Festival, set for November 10 at the Portland Art Museum and environs. Check out their recommendations from the headliners, then have these great kid-lit authors sign your family’s copy.

AGES 4 AND UP:

Cycle Citywritten and illustrated by Alison Farrell
Part picture book, part seek-and-find book, this adorable tale follows Ella the Elephant as she journeys through Cycle City on her way to see her grandmother. No surprise, part one — just about every creature she encounters is riding a bike. No surprise part two, the author lives in Portland and owns a tandem, a box bike, a longtail, a unicycle and a trail bike. $17.99.

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cottenwritten by Laura Veirs, illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
Portland-based folk musician Laura Veirs penned this beautiful biography of Elizabeth Cotten, one of the most celebrated folk musicians in America. Cotten was a self-taught musician who grew up in North Carolina and is best-known for the song Freight Train, which she wrote at the tender age of 11. $17.99.

AGES 6 AND UP

Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scarewritten by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Forget the Men in Black. The Princess in Black is back, and this time it’s mayhem at the Inter-
kingdom science fair. Sure, our fair heroine was just there to present her poster about seeds and plants. But when a surprise goo monster makes an appearance, the princess swings into action, aided by a few key scientific principles. $14.99.

Mac B Kid Spy: Mac Undercover, written by Mac Barnett
Before beloved kids’ book author Mac Barnett became a writer, he was undercover as a spy for no less than Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England. He’s tasked with finding her royal coronation spoon, and thwarting a bunch of Russian secret agents in the process. Great for graphic novel lovers! $12.99.

AGES 8 AND UP

Amulet: Supernova, written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi
Kids everywhere have been on pins and needles awaiting the next installment in the wildly popular Amulet series by Seattle-based author Kazu Kibuishi. In this eighth installment, central character Emily is under arrest, and has lost control of her amulet, while her brother embarks on a journey to space to meet with the resistance fighters who might be their last, best hope to save the planet. $12.99.

The Poet X, written by Elizabeth Acevedo
This novel written in free verse tells the passionate story of a young teenager who discovers slam
poetry. As she tries to find a way to express her thoughts, she chafes under her strict mother’s religious beliefs. $17.99.

Pay Attention: Culture Wars

The culture wars come to Oregon this month, with hot-button ballot measures focused on two of the country’s most divisive issues: immigration and abortion. First off, backed by a conservative local group that wants much tighter restrictions on immigration comes Measure 105, which would repeal Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state. Oregon has had that status since 1987, limiting the financial cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration officials. The state is not alone, either — other such “sanctuary states” include California, Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Mexico. Opponents of the proposal say it could lead to more racial profiling on the streets, with officials able to demand documentation from anyone at any time. Proponents say it would simply bring Oregon in line with federal expectations.

Also on your ballot, Measure 106, which would ban the use of public funds for abortion. The measure includes an exemption for medical necessities, or to comply with federal requirements. Groups campaigning in favor of the measure are taking pains to point out that it is not an outright ban on abortion in Oregon, just a change in funding. But opponents, including Planned Parenthood of Oregon and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said the measure would unfairly eliminate the rights of public employees and Medicaid recipients to get the care they choose. That’s about 350,000 women, or one-third of all women of child-bearing age in the state. — J.S.

Ask Dr. Doug

Q: My 9-month-old baby has pretty bad eczema. Is it painful? She seems to be scratching all the time, even at night when she’s trying to fall asleep. Is there anything I can do to make this better? 

A: A dermatologist friend of mine likes to call eczema “the itch that rashes” and I agree. Babies and children with eczema can be pretty miserable, and it absolutely can impact sleep, mood, and even attention spans in older kids. This time of year, with the cold, dry air, it often gets worse. The good news is with consistent skin care, eczema can be a manageable condition.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is very common, affecting around 15 percent of children. It can be as mild as a few itchy patches on the hands and elbows in the winter, or as serious as an inflamed, scaly, oozy rash on the face and body that flares up year-round. It usually shows up by 6 months of age, and tends to get better as kids get older. The exact cause isn’t known, but genetics play a role. Eczema often goes along with other allergic issues like asthma, seasonal allergies and food allergies.

Those who suffer from eczema have skin that doesn’t keep water in and bacteria and irritants out as well as it should, causing inflammation and itching. Scratching only makes the inflammation worse.

So how to make it better? I break it down into two parts: hydrating the skin, and controlling the inflammation. Plain water baths and moisturizers are the first line of defense. The frequency of bathing probably doesn’t matter, as long you use plain water and a non-soap cleanser on just the dirty bits at the end of the bath. Soap is not your friend. After the bath, pat dry and within a few minutes apply any prescribed ointments, followed by sealing them in with a thick layer of moisturizer. The thicker the better — I like Vanicream, Cerave, Eucerin, Aquaphor or Vaseline. Coconut oil will make your baby smell delicious, but is not thick enough to be a good moisturizer for most cases of eczema.

The best medications to control inflammation are steroid ointments like hydrocortisone. I tell parents to use these twice a day until the skin is smooth. When used as prescribed these are safe and they work — it’s like putting out a fire. Once the skin is smooth, keep moisturizing, twice a day, every day. Antihistamines can also help with itching and sleep. In some cases, food can be a trigger for a flare up, but getting overzealous with elimination diets can cause more harm than good without a clear history. As always, make sure you talk to your pediatrician about recommendations unique to your little one. And enjoy some moisturizer massage time with your baby!

Dr. Doug Lincoln practices general pediatrics at Metropolitan Pediatrics in Happy Valley. He is board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine, with special interests in helping parents meet their breastfeeding goals, caring for neurodiverse children with behavioral health needs, and advocating for children via teaching and policy. As a dad of two boys, he understands the joy and hard work that comes with parenting. Find out more about Dr. Doug and Metropolitan Pediatrics at metropediatrics.com.

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