Randi Shade Running for Austin City Council
Apr 2 2008

Randi Shade, a long time friend of mine, is running for Austin City Council.  Check out the UT Alumni profile my writing partner and I did on her.  She started a tech company around the same time I started my first tech company and now she’s running for Austin City Council.  Randi has done some amazing things in her career from founding AmeriCorps in Texas to starting a company called Charity Gift, that let people give gifts that others could then use to donate to their favorite charity.  She is also a mother! 

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She’s hosting a high-tech happy hour to inform the Austin technology community about her vision and reasons for running against an incumbent for Austin City Council.  If you live in Austin and want to hear her tech related thoughts, stop by!  I’m one of the hosts along with several others, including Thom Singer who did a very popular Networking and the Stay At Home Parent guest post on my blog a few weeks ago. 

Check out the page HERE and send your RSVP to HighTech@RandiShade.com.  I hope to see you there!

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5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
Mar 20 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category.

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Note: We didn’t use the above potty training contraption available from Amazon.  I just thought it was a cute picture, and I might have tried it out if I had known about it. :-)

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My kids are now 5 ½ and 3 years old and fortunately the potty training gods smiled on us because both were day-time trained around 2 ½ years of age.  Thankfully, our oldest (a boy) was trained about 2 months before our daughter was born.  He wore Pull-Ups at night until he was 4 but our daughter quit wearing pull ups when she was about 2 years and 9 months old.  Ah, it’s so nice not to have buy diapers or Pull-Ups anymore!

They each had a couple of night time accidents and we had a few more sheet changes with our son, but overall a less traumatic experience that I was bracing myself for.   We did the following with our kids.  Try these tips out and hopefully they’ll work for you.

1. Observe the signs. If your child is waking up dry from nap or night for at least a couple of weeks that is a big clue to start potty training. There are so many reasons to ‘ignore’ or not want to ‘see’ the signs that having your spouse, close friend or in our case a pre-school teacher throw some cold water in your face can really help. I was 8 months pregnant when our son’s pre-school teacher said you MUST potty train now. I was thinking to myself “are you crazy woman?! I can barely pick myself up let alone a toddler onto a potty.” I figured I’d wait until after the baby was born. I had been picking him up from pre-school and putting on a diaper/pull-up because I didn’t want to be unnecessarily cleaning a car seat. After being sternly warned by the teacher not to do that, I ended up putting a towel down on his car seat just in case.

2. Be consistent. When you are potty training make sure to take your toddler to the potty at least every 2 to 3 hours during the day. After a few weeks you’ll start to see the time between potty visits diminish. We observed that most accidents happened if we had forgotten to take them to the potty or were afraid to take them to the potty when they were in the middle of doing fun stuff for fear of the inevitable kicking and screaming.

3. Morning and Night. As soon as they wake up (even if it’s the crack of dawn and you’d much rather scream out loud than take them to the potty) put them on the potty. Even if they refuse to go, this will get them associating morning time with potty time and show them it’s OK to get up to go to the potty than to wet the bed. The same goes for night time. Put them on the potty right before going to bed so they create the same night time association as well.

4. Read a designated potty book. One of the things that worked really well for us with our son was identifying a potty book. I actually got this tip from Keys to Toilet Training by Meg Zwieback. Every night when we put him on the potty, we would read the same book to him. Since he was (and still is) so active, getting him to sit on the potty for any length of time was challenging. He liked reading the ‘potty book’ and because he sat longer he more often than not used the potty! This technique didn’t work so well with our daughter because she was fairly quick in going so she didn’t need to be entertained for long. Must be a girl thing (i.e., we’re less inclined to read newspapers and magazines while sitting on the toilet than guys are!)

5. Encourage and Reward. It is so important that you encourage and reward your toddler for going to the potty. You can do this with hugs, creating a chart, treats, activities, toys, etc. With our kids we used a chart that we would put smiley faces on when they went to the potty and sad faces if they had an accident. The chart gave them a visual to see how they were progressing and the act of us drawing a smiley face would make them so proud and happy! We also hugged them, gave them high 5′s, clapped, and sometimes gave them a Gerber fruit snack treat. When they went several days in a row without an accident, they would get to do something fun, get a treat, or better yet chose their own Spiderman or Dora the Explorer underwear!

Every child is different so try these tips and come up with your own that fit your unique situation.  We used these tips and achieved pretty good potty-training results.  Now, don’t go asking me about baby sleep tips because I’m still trying to figure out which ones worked and which ones didn’t!

The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them with breastfeeding support bottle feedings, mom’s pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby’s first year photo album.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols of DadLabs

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

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Success To Me – Jim Nolen
Feb 13 2008

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Jim Nolen.  Jim  is a UT Distinguised Senior Lecturer of Finance and President of CFO Services.  He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  One of the key things he said that resonated with me was:

“Thomas Edison said ‘I’ve never had a failure — I’ve found 10,000 things that didn’t work.’  It’s that mental attitude that really translates into success in the end — never thinking about failure, but saying instead, ‘I’m going to be successful.  I may take a lot of detours, but I don’t have a problem with that.’” 

It’s all in how we frame it, isn’t it?  Life is one big university where we continue to learn and grow!

The editor has since asked us to focus on entrepreneurs for future articles and of course I am thrilled since I love meeting and talking with entrepreneurs!  So after the next one, the series will be called Self Starter and we will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ‘em Horns!

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