Play Room. May 2016

The best sunnies for kiddos, would-be PDX mayors speak up on family issues, and dishing on play spots and diapers bags with a star of Grimm.

Take Five: Claire Coffee

PlayRoom-May16-Take_5Claire Coffee — who plays Adalind Schade on NBC’s Grimm — helped design the perfect diaper bag with local company Looptworks. The sustainably made Calvin bag (named after Coffee’s 1-year-old son) helps the environment and our community (10 percent of the bag’s sales goes to Girls, Inc. of the Pacific Northwest). Coffee, who lives in Arlington Heights, spoke with us about Grimm creatures and life in the Rose City with a little one.

Q: Your character on Grimm has been pregnant twice. Did either on-screen pregnancy coincide with your real-life pregnancy?

A: Yes! The second on-screen pregnancy was caused by my real-life pregnancy. Poor timing on my part, but it provided a great arc for the character.

Q: Do you live in Portland year-round, or just when filming?

A: Portland is now my home! We film nine months out of the year, so I relocated a few years ago and my husband and I bought a house near Washington Park last year. I love so many things about Portland: The weather, the coffee, the green, the people, the FOOD.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved with the Looptworks diaper bag project?

A: Their production model is game-changing, and such good design. It was such a pleasure and a privilege to work with Looptworks during our Power of the Purse partnership, and I want as many people as possible to know about the company and what they do.

Q: What are a few of your favorite kid-friendly spots in Portland?

A: I love the OMSI toddler area, the Rose Garden, and the Oregon Zoo. Cal isn’t too into the animals yet, but he loves watching the other kids and crawling all over the Elephant Lands lawn. My husband and I love going out to dinner, and have found Lincoln and Nostrana to be unexpectedly, but wonderfully, kid-friendly.

Q: Your character, Adalind Schade, is a hexenbiest, a witch-like creature with special powers. But if you personally could choose to be any type of Wesen creature, which would you choose to be and why?

A: Probably the genio innocuo [nonviolent, intelligent, tortoise-like creatures] for their brains and hard, protective shell.

— Denise Castañon

Gear Guide: Summer Shades

What’s that glowing ball of orange in the sky? Oh, wait. It’s just the sun! If your PNW kids get all squinty when the sun starts making an appearance, check out these cool kids’ sunglasses.

PlayRoom-May16-Gear_-JulboJulbo — Looped
Toddler insisting on doing things for herself? These are the perfect sunnies for her to wear – they’re reversible and can’t be put on upside down. The hinge-free design also prevents fingers from getting pinched. Julbo should call them the “Tantrum Disruptors.” The strap comes in handy when you’re partaking in outdoor adventures, but easily detaches when it’s not needed. Sizes from 0-12 months to 2-4 years. $35. At

PlayRoom-May16-Gear_-_Real_KidsReal Kids Shades — Surf
For a beachy vibe at an affordable price, check out Real Kids Shades in Surf. Soft frames that will twist, but not break and classic “wayfarer” styling are at home in the sandbox or the shore. Plus the lenses offer UVA/UVB protection and are shatterproof. Available in toddler to youth sizes. $12.95. At Polliwog, 234 NE 28th.

PlayRoom-May16-Babiators_glassesBabiators — Original
Your baby will be cooler than Tom Cruise in Top Gun with his Babiators on. The soft, flexible frames are easy to wear. And the lenses block 400 percent of UVA and UVB rays. The best part: Babiators will replace lost or broken glasses. Available in sizes for 0 months to 7 years. $20. At Alberta Eye Care, 2021 NE Alberta or Kazoodles, 13503 SE Mill Plain Blvd B-3 Vancouver.

— D.C.

Pay Attention:

Heads up, PDXers: Next month brings the first stage in the contest to become the next mayor of Oregon’s largest city. By May 17, prepare to vote in the (nonpartisan) primary to winnow down the field.

PDX Parent Editor Julia Silverman grilled two of the top candidates on a few issues that are of particular importance to local families. For expanded answers from the contenders, check out


Ted Wheeler: Oregon’s current state treasurer. Former chair of the Multnomah County Commission. He and his wife live in SW Portland with their 9-year-old daughter, who attends a private language immersion school in Portland.

Jules Kopel Bailey: Currently a Multnomah County Commissioner. Former Oregon state representative. He and his wife live in Multnomah Village and recently had a baby son, August, whom they plan to send to Capitol Hill Elementary someday.

On Paid Family Leave:

Supports paid family leave for both biological and adoptive new parents. Thumbs up for a Multnomah County program that gives all new-parent employees six weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of pay. As mayor, wants to work with small business owners to find ways to expand paid leave.

Took his six weeks of paid leave from Multnomah County when son August was born; says more men need to follow suit, since family leave is not just an issue for mothers. Wants to work with state lawmakers to pass a statewide paid leave program for all employers.

On Affordable Child Care:

Wants not only “publicly funded solutions” on child care, but also incentives for local businesses to provide “free or subsidized child care for workers.” Also wants job-training for city residents so they can make at least $25, to keep up with the cost of living, including child care.

Got on waiting lists for child care as soon they found out his wife was pregnant; when August was 3 months old, they finally got a spot, for $1500 a month — so this one’s personal. Would advocate in Salem to keep the always-imperiled, employment-related daycare tax credit, and work with local daycares on subsidized care for qualifying families.

On Public School Boundaries and Redistricting:

Says PDX will be home to “hundreds of thousands” of new residents in the next 20 years, and city leaders need to plan ahead now. Calls for improved connection between “the development of school infrastructure” and “growth planning.”

As mayor, would try to see how the city could support smaller class sizes, “one of the biggest determinants of student outcomes.” Wants to see Portlanders — and the mayor — lead a sustained campaign to restructure how Oregon pays for public schools.

*Editor’s Note: We also contacted candidate Sarah Iannarone, the owner of the Arleta Library Bakery Cafe, who also works at First Stop Portland, which coordinates city tours for world leaders. Iannarone, who lives with her daughter near the café in SE Portland, did not respond to repeated requests by presstime.

TOP 5…Kids’ Audio Books

Summertime means road trips — and that means a whole lot of “Are we there yet?” coming from the backseat. Pop these audio CDs into your car’s player or download them on your device of choice and the journey will become as much fun as the destination.

PlayRoom-May16-ListeningLibraryHow to Train Your Dragon, Books 1-12: Long and densely plotted, this is the story of the improbable hero, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and his dragon sidekick, Toothless — read by David Tennant of Dr. Who fame.
➋ Read by the divine British actress Glynis Johns, Bread and Jam for Frances is a must for picky eaters of all ages.
➌ Kids will identify with pesky but endearing Fudge Hatcher, the hero of Superfudge, narrated by author Judy Blume.
➍ It’s impossible not to get sucked in to the audio version of Danny the Champion of the World, one of Roald Dahl’s sweetest natured yarns.
➎ A true opus, the Harry Potter series is read by the amazing Jim Dale, who manages to make every character, from Hagrid to Hermione, sound unique.

— Julia Silverman.

Playlist:New Discoveries

PlayRoom-May16-Playlist_-_EnglandOn her fifth album for families, Explorer of the World, Frances England encourages kids and parents to open their eyes and explore everyday marvels. With England’s sublime vocal style — think one part Elizabeth Mitchell, one part Regina Spektor — you and your kids will happily join in the adventure. While the album is a love poem to the city of San Francisco, PDX city kids will enjoy grooving along to songs like All the Things I Found, City Don’t Sleep, Ballad for a Beatboxer and Street Life, which features noises England recorded while walking around the streets of San Francisco. Don’t miss her show May 15 at the Village Ballroom!

— D.C.

Bookshelf: Anchors Away

Booking a flight to faraway lands this summer — or just dreaming about it? Here are some great books about the world beyond Oregon to share with your kiddos, from Kim Tano and Richard Corbett, the children’s book buyers at Portland’s beloved independent bookstore, Powell’s Books.

PlayRoom-May16-Bookshelf-AtTheSameMomentAt the Same Moment Around the World, by Clotilde Perrin

Wake up with a Senegalese boy and his father, unloading fish from their boat in the barest light of dawn, and make your way to a child up in the still of night in Greenland, peeping at the Northern Lights. Different time zones in between spotlight children from around the world in this delicate book, originally published in France. $8.98

PlayRoom-May16-Bookshelf-50States50 States, by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sol Linero

A modern, stylish atlas that features an annotated map of every state — your kids will learn about the birthplaces of every president, and be able to pick out each state’s individual flag. Bonus: Powell’s features on the Oregon spread! $15.95.

PlayRoom-May16-Bookshelf-TheTravelBookLonely Planet Kids Travel Book: Mind Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World

A good pick for kids who are ready to move beyond a “my first” atlas, especially since the Lonely Planet crew is well-known for their matter-of-fact and comprehensive travel guides. Every country in the world is spotlighted, along with fun facts about food, festivals and folklore. $13.95.

We Recommend:

If you missed last month’s Beverly Cleary birthday celebrations with Multnomah County library, don’t fret. Take your family on a self-guided tour of Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby’s neighborhood with the help of Walking with Ramona: Exploring Beverly Cleary’s Portland written by Laura O. Foster. Available on

Kid to Know: A girl with vision

PlayRoom-May16-KidElla Osborne, a 7-year-old from Cedar Mill, was born with congenital cataracts and amblyopia. She underwent patch treatment as a baby and started wearing glasses at 2. Both she and her mom, DeDe, are passionate about volunteering with nonprofits that help raise awareness about vision health. Ella volunteered nearly 40 hours with the Oregon Lions’ See To Read campaign, where she visited multiple health fairs and helped screen children’s eyes. About 20 percent of the children screened received a referral, which meant they needed to see an eye doctor for an official diagnosis. However many families never followed up with those referrals, due to lack of insurance or inability to pay out of pocket. “When I shared this with Ella, she said she wanted to help,” says DeDe. “She then remembered a time as a family we went to a ‘fun run’ fundraiser for a little girl in our community who had become very sick. She asked if that was something that she could do and I said, ‘Yes!'” Ella and her mom hooked up with the KEX Kids Fund, which has been providing students with free comprehensive eye exams, eyeglasses and/or hearing aids in Oregon for 20 years. And Ella’s Vision Fun Run was born. The first annual Vision Fun Run will take place on May 7 at Bonny Slope Elementary School. In addition to running around the track, family activities include a bounce house, face painting, raffle and snacks. The money raised through this event will be donated directly to the KEX Kids Fund. To sign up visit — D.C.

Ask Dr. Corey

Q: My children are vaccinated, but the neighbors’ kids aren’t. Is there a risk to letting them play together?

Playroom-Feb16-AskDr.Corey_koA: In recent years, the issue of vaccination and vaccine refusal has become a widely discussed and often polarizing topic. In my practice, I discuss vaccinations multiple times per day, every day I am in the office.

Generally speaking, most trained healthcare providers would consider vaccines safe, effective, and would wholeheartedly support the Centers for Disease Control vaccine schedule. There is general consensus that vaccines do not pose a risk of serious harm and that the benefits of vaccination vastly outweigh the risks.

Further, there is no question that vaccine refusal leads to a higher risk of vaccine-preventable illness. For example, study data suggests that unvaccinated kids are 22 to 33 times more likely to contract measles and approximately 6 times more likely to contract whooping cough than vaccinated children.

In Oregon, for the 2014-2015 school year, the rate of what we call “non-medical vaccine exemptions,” meaning at least one vaccine is refused due to a non-medical reason, was 5.8 percent statewide. Only Colorado, Vermont and Idaho had higher rates. Unfortunately the non-medical exemption rate for Multnomah County specifically was 8.2 percent for that same year.

As a pediatrician, these sorts of numbers make me uncomfortable at best. Most of us agree that if present trends continue, there will assuredly be outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illness, as we saw in California with the measles outbreak last year.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that parents, for better or for worse, are trying to do what they think is in the best interest of their child. I can certainly empathize with that! After all, the reason I chose to practice pediatrics in the first place was to help children and to advocate for their health and well-being.

Vaccines are the most effective tool we have in medicine to prevent serious injury or death. That said, we can all hope that luck will be on your neighbor’s side, and that their children will never come in contact with the diseases that vaccines protect against. If luck is with them, then they have no way of spreading diseases to others.

Generally, I would leave the choice of your young child’s playmate up to you as a parent. However, I would encourage you to have a thoughtful, reasoned and open discussion with your neighbor to help understand their reasons for vaccine refusal. Further, I would encourage you to refer your neighbor to a competent, educated healthcare professional that can help them understand the stakes and debunk common misperceptions about vaccines.

A great resource to which I commonly refer my patients can be found online at

Further, I would encourage all readers to consider the words of Roald Dahl, author of The BFG and James and the Giant Peach, whose eldest daughter died of measles at the age of 7.

Dr. Corey Fish, a Pacific Northwest native and graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, is a pediatrician at Sellwood Medical Clinic. When he is not at work, he likes backcountry skiing with his wife and their border collie/Australian shepherd mix, and playing his guitar. For more info: Got a question for Dr. Corey? Get in touch at editor(at) and we’ll pass it along.

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