Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas 2011

Where to start? Basically, we had a simple, enjoyable Christmas. I kept reminding myself that what matters is spending time with family. Presents and attempting to create the picture perfect holiday can be a lot of fun but can also be incredibly stressful. When I am stressed out, frankly, it’s easy to become the bitchy wife/mama. So, for us, simple is better. Here are the highlights, in no particular order:

Grandma and I put up a 4’ Christmas tree for Ari. She has really looked forward to it the past two years.

Ari helped me with gift wrapping. In other words, I did all the cutting and wrapping and she was in charge of the tape and of placing wrapped presents under the tree. It took quite a while. I’m slow at these things, poor eye sight and all, and adding a cute little one to the process made it take even longer. But it was nice quality time and it was a lot easier than last year. This time I can sincerely say she was helpful.

I decided to try something different this year and went for silly when it came time to give our relatives presents. Examples: my sister got a mango in a tiny gift bag. My mother’s boyfriend, who is always grabbing my fruit, got a fruit basket wrapped in snowmen wrapping paper!

We had dinner with my family on Christmas Eve. The kids got to open presents. Many photos were taken. I was picked on incessantly for my new haircut. We’re long hair people and so me having chin-length hair is just weird for the girls in my family. I told them to go give theirs to Wigs for Kids too and to shut the hell up, because, really, it was getting old!

My mother gave Ari a cardboard castle, among other things, which Ari absolutely loves. She now eats and will even watch TV from her castle. Silly kid! She is enjoying painting her castle. I am wondering how long the castle will be around for!

On Christmas day, we drove down to see my in-laws. Ari got to exchange presents with her grandparents, and, most fun of all, she got to decorate ginger bread cookies with Nana.

Another highlight for Ari was staying at a hotel. We stayed at a hotel with an indoor swimming pool this time. Nana joined us for a morning swim on the 26th. Nana and Ari had a blast and daddy and I enjoy a pool every now and then. It’s relaxing.

Hotel funny: as we walk in, Ari is incredibly tired, resting her head on Daddy’s shoulder. Once we walk into the room, suddenly, she is wide awake, super excited, jumping from bed to bed for a good half an hour. The area between the two beds was the muddy mud pit, she reported. Silly child!

We got to see Daddy’s 82-year-old grandma on the 26th. She made his favorite Italian cookies, some Sinnamon thingies. No idea what they’re called. She also made a bunch other different types of cookies and Ari was in heaven. As if that wasn’t enough, Ari was sent home with another dozen cookies! Sadly, Ari is down to one cookie per day. Mean mom and dad!

Here are links to what we got Ari for Christmas.


The cool thing about magna-tyles is that the three of us love them! I’m talking we never get bored when she wants to build with us! Talk about an ideal present!

The GreenStart Under the Sea floor puzzle:

And the Green Start Number Hunt floor puzzle:

Oh and then there is that tiny, cheap present that, originally, was Daddy’s, but we all know it’s Ari’s and Daddy’s now: the iPad II. Actually, we’re calling it a family present. I don’t use it, but it buys me some time when I need it most. Ari plays educational games on it, watches Netflix, takes pictures of whatever she builds with the Magna-tyles, and she Skypes with Nana. We’re finding that the iPad is a great thing to have when we’re traveling or when we’re incredibly exhausted but she isn’t. And Daddy gets to do all sorts of grownup stuff on it, of course.

I hope your holidays were enjoyable and as low stress as possible!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

All about healthy carbs!

We're big fans of carbs over here! We love white flour, breads, cakes, pasta, you name it. But I am aware that less is better and that whole grains are the way to go, of course. So, here I am, trying new grains on all of us, seeing what we like, what our sometimes picky taste buds tolerate!

Here is what I have tried during the past few months:

We (as in Ari and I) have been eating whole wheat pasta for a long time now.

Ari and Daddy don't care for brown rice, so I don't make it often.

whole wheat and coconut flour buttermilk pancakes

oatmeal chocolate chip muffins (oats and whole wheat flour)

waffles (half of the flour whole wheat and half white flour)

zucchini bread (2/3 whole wheat flour, 1/3 white flour)

carrot cake (half whole wheat flour, half white flour)

chocolate cake (quinoa, no flour whatsoever)

What I've learned thus far:
We don't care for the taste of whole wheat flour. So I add extra vanilla/sugar to make it tolerable.

I am experimenting with coconut flour, but that is a whole other learning process. You can't use too much of it in a recipe. It absorbs a lot of fluid. You must add additional fluids. Let's just say that you can ruin a recipe very easily!

This has and continues to be quite the learning process. But I keep on trying because it is totally worth it. Next? Will probably try almond flour. Will continue to research/try different whole grain flours in the hopes that we can stay away from the yucky whole wheat flour taste! If you have any tips, please feel free to share!

Dentist Appointments and Dental X-rays

I debated when the right timing for the first dentist appointment would be. I waited until it seemed like Ari would feel comfortable. So many people get incredibly anxious about seeing a dentist. I figured let's try to have positive experiences so that when she is a grownup, hopefully, she will feel at ease and will take care of her health. We brush, floss, etc. and her teeth seemed fine, so I opted not to rush it.

Ari's first appointment was in June. At that appointment, she learned about brushing properly and she learned about some of the tools dentists use. The hygienist and the dentist took a peak at her teeth. She got to pick a toy at the end. That was it.

Six months later, last week, was Ari's first official dentist appointment. Her teeth were cleaned, polished, flossed, etc. The dentist did the 3-minute exam. Crunchy Mama, i.e., me, turned down the x-ray.

My after thoughts:

Ari was very comfortable throughout the entire appointment both times. She was very excited to go to the dentist, particularly the second time, as a matter of fact.

I'll insert a funny here. Daddy had to wake Ari up so we would get to the appointment ontime. It was a slow process. Once he reminded her about the dentist, she got up instantly and talked about how she would be getting a new tooth brush. Whatever works, kid! You'd think we never buy her new tooth brushes!

Back to timing, I like to think that us preparing her for it, talking about it in a casual manner the day before was helpful. Also, there is a DVD where Elmo goes to his pediatrician that Ari loves to watch every now and then. I remember the first time she watched it. It made her remember her ear infection last March. It raised some questions about her upcoming (at the time) 4-year-old checkup and vaccines. All in all, Elmo's trip to the pediatrician was a very positive addition to our family!

Going back to the dentist appointments, I think the way the first appointment was run, with very low expectations, was very crafty. I think the appointments ought to be closer together, as opposed to the six months they recommended. Little kids remember a lot of things. But, Ari didn't remember too much about it. If I was to do it again, I may request that the appointments are only a month apart or so.

My last thought has to do with x-rays. The dentist and the hygienist recommended an x-ray. It felt like the dentist was pushing it a fair bit. I asked about their reasoning for it. Their response was that the x-ray would let them see how her adult teeth are developing, if they're all there, etc. My thought: ok, then what? What are the odds that a tooth is not developing well or that a tooth is missing? Why expose my child? If a tooth was, indeed, not developing properly or missing, what could we or would we do about it now? I didn't get a convincing answer, so I said we would discuss it again next June.

What do you think? Have you been offered this x-ray for your children? Have you learned anything about these x-rays that made you think you really ought to consent to doing them? Any websites or articles you would like to share? I will be researching this, but, seeing as how the appointment is not until June, it's just not high priority right now. Ari is home and so computer time is limitted until next week!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ari Funnies

Seeing as how today is Thanksgiving, I'll start with that story. Monday morning Ari told me, for the first time this school year, that she did not want to go to school. I told her that this would be a very short week because of Thanksgiving. I explained what Thanksgiving and I told her that I am thankful for my family, our home, etc., etc. Her response: I am very thankful for my mommy! And I am very thankful for my mommy's boobies! I guess that is what happens when you do extended breastfeeding and/or child-led weaning! Don't worry; she knows these conversations only happen at home!

I am a fan of eating with my fingers. And I am not afraid to admit it! Same goes for my child! Daddy, on the other hand, often tells us that we are barbarians! The other day Ari was having pancakes for breakfast. Suddenly, she informed her dad that "I'm going to be a barbarian now because it's easier!" I was so proud! And Daddy rolled his eyes, I'm sure!

Lastly, we have a hair stylist and a trend-setter in the family! Arianna gave herself a haircut the other day. I will admit that I was quite mythed at the time. She has long, gorgeous hair and I love combing it every morning! But, whatever. Most children do this, even kids with very short hair. Those with short hair will find someone with long hair and help her/him do it! That is what my brother and sister did, anyways!

I need to take pictures and share them! She now has multiple lengths near her left ear!

What mischievous thing has your child done recently?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Work Share

Last Thursday was Work Share day for Ari's classroom. I got to spend the first half hour of the school day with her. Unfortunately, Daddy got to stay in the car to avoid sharing germs. The germs most likely came from the classroom, but never you mind that.

We got to work on two different activities. The first activity was described to me as "pressure cylinders." We worked on it on one of the typical Montessori floor rugs. There were about ten wooden cylinders, each one with a knob on it. She pushed down on each knob, would analyze and remember what type of pressure she sensed and would find the matching cylinder.

The second activity turned out to be many activities lumped into one. Ari got a small sheet of paper, a color pencil and a triangle inset. She used the inset to trace a perfect triangle. She then returned the inset and came back with the "push pin" activity.

The "push pin activity" was fascinating in various ways, I felt like. There was a tray. There was a thin sponge. There was a thumb tack in a tiny basket. Ari placed a paper on the sponge. She poked holes on the paper, following the lines of the triangle. Once she traced the entire triangle, she ripped it out. I found this activity to be particularly fascinating. It kept Ari engaged for quite a while. Stuff you could get at the dollar store! Who needs fancy toys when you're four?!

This is where it gets super cute! Ari said that she was saving the triangle for Daddy, that it would be a special surprise, that she would give it to him when she came home. Why? Because when people are sick, giving them hugs and cards makes them feel a little better. She proceeded to draw on it for a while. She later gave it to her dad.

We love Work Share days! I get a glimpse of what is going on in the classroom, what she is currently drawn to. She gets to show us, often beaming, what she is currently working on, what her latest accomplishments are. For example, during one of the work share days in October, we got to see her do the "100 board." She is fascinated by numbers and counting at the moment.

Article: Myth: Punishments and Rewards Are Effective Ways of Reinforcing Desired Behaviors.

Just something to think about:

Since I'm sharing the idea that rewards don't work in the long-term, I better give you an article that tells you just what the hell to do instead, right?! I will, maybe next year, but I will!!!

Article: 40 Ways to Show Your Child Love

Some great ideas in this article. Check it out!

What do I do/what will I be doing today to show that cute kid our love?
Snuggle when she first wakes up

Make her the chocolate waffles she has been requesting

Hug/kiss her when I pick her up at school

Tell her that, yes, we have a few minutes and so she can play at the playground another five minutes

Play a game on the ride home

Remind myself to spend one-on-one time with her, perhaps doing artwork or making pizza out of playdough

get her involved when I'm preparing dinner.

Snuggle and read stories before bed

What sorts of things do you typically do with your kids? What do you hope to do today to show him/her you love him/her to pieces?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just a mama reflecting after a hard day...

Nothing like a hard day to get me to write…

The day has only been going downhill. All of us have been getting through a lovely chest cold. Usually my colds are mild; this one is making my asthma act up, something that, typically, only happens if I spend an hour at a house with cats.

Let me backtrack for a minute. I just got through a head cold. Ari had the head cold and a stomach bug. We were well for all of three-five days. Gotta love preschool classrooms!

Chest cold or not, laundry needs to get done, groceries need to be bought, the child needs to be picked up from school, etc., etc. My mother and I picked Ari up at school. We had been in the car for all of about five minutes when she said, in a whining tone, something like "grandma has had a long turn. I want a turn too." Ok, no big deal. I like time to reconnect with my child after school, too. But, wait, why the whining? And, wait, she was busy having her snack. She never communicated that she wanted to talk. I figured I'd give her some time. She is always hungry when I pick her up.

The minute the whining begins I find myself feeling fairly frustrated. It is probably a combination of the fact that I feel lousy, that I have a horrible headache and that Ari and Grandma aren't getting along and I can't figure out how to make it better. Ari doesn't want to talk to her. She is rude about it at times. Grandma's way of dealing with her is very different than mine. She either snaps and makes angry gestures or cries. There is no in between. Now, that happens. We're human. I'm having one of those moments right this second. But, for goodness' sakes, the kid is four and grandma is almost 50. Who is the grownup here? How about we spend some time reading/educating ourselves/trying a new strategy seeing as how the current one isn't working?

Moving on... I talk to Ari about being kind. But I do a pathetic job hiding my frustration. So, what does she say? "Mommy, you're yelling at me. You yell at me all the time."

Wait, what? What did she say? Did she really say that? Yes, she did. Mama is sick, tired and frustrated. Mama was so sad. Mama almost felt heartbroken. I am well aware that I am nowhere near perfect. But if there is something I work very hard at and something that I am very passionate about it is to treat that little girl right, with love, with respect, setting boundaries in a way that will not have a negative impact on our relationship. I think the last time I actually yelled at her she had just turned two. By "yell" she means that I sounded incredibly frustrated, snappy.

All this is no big deal, really. Tomorrow will be a new day. I will feel better. We will talk about whatever comes up and everything will be fine. But, for a while there I really did feel sad.

What to do about it? I gave myself time to feel angry. I gave myself time to feel sad. I realized that a few hours had gone by and I was still feeling that sense of disconnection. I decided to fake it until I felt it. I gave her a long hug. I do want to talk about it and I will, but I will wait until I don't have a splitting headache.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Children's Fair

Just got back from the children's fair at Ari's school a little while ago. I'm so tired I hurt! But the kids had so much fun! And it is always wonderful to run into parents I wish I got to see more often.

Let's see… What did Ari do? She is currently walking, I mean, running around with a shark on her face. She painted a pumpkin. She did a stamping activity, i.e. lots of ink on one sheet of paper! She made an alligator with Nana. She went on two pony rides. She spent a few minutes in the bounce house. She pet rabbits. She fed llamas. Her hair got licked by a llama!

Both grandmas and my nephew joined us. Daddy got to stay home and enjoy some quiet time. I got to see how all the hard work of about ten moms, including myself, paid off. What a wonderful event! Many families had a blast and the scholarship fund is a bit larger after today. Success!

What fun things have you done with your child(ren) recently? I'm hoping our next big thing will be a trip to Boston. Hint, hint, Yaminette! How is that calendar looking?!

Oh, I'm afraid to type it, but there is a rumor Daddy and I get to go on a date tonight! Ari wants to sleep at Grandma's because her cousin will be there. I know there is a great chance we'll be picking her up at 3:00 a.m. But I don't care! We haven't gone anywhere child free in so long. I can't even remember when the last time was!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ari's Fourth Birthday

I never posted about Ari's birthday party and it happened a month ago. Oops! Let's get that done before I start forgetting the details.

Where to start? We celebrated Ari's fourth birthday on Sunday, September 18, on our back yard. There were almost 40 people here! About 17 of them were little ones. I think about nine of them were age four. Yes, we had a preschool here for a few hours! It was nice to have several families from her classroom, the neighbors, the grandparents, and one of my closest friends spend the day with us celebrating.

We had pizza, fruit and juice for lunch. The kids played for about an hour on the yard. After that, they came inside to enjoy a puppet show courtesy of Nana. After the show, she helped each child make his/her own puppet using recycled materials. Bless her heart! She is an art teacher, she loves kids, Ari is the only grandchild and Nana only had boys. So she would do just about anything for our little girl! We lucked out in the mother-in-law/grandma department.

After the puppet madness, we went back outside for cake and the piñata. Picture this: 17 kids excited about cake and a piñata. It was loud, but a lot of fun!

All the kids went home happy because they got to make puppets and Ari was happy as can be about having her friends over and about her Hello Kitty party.

After everyone went home, we went to a nearby park and had dinner with our Boston friends.

The next day, Monday, we celebrated at school. The Montessori school Ari attends has a "celebration of life" for each child when his/her birthday comes up. It is very simple, but beautiful. I love it.

A sun is placed on the ground. The birthday child walks around it holding a globe. While the child walks, the parents talk about some of the highlights of each year. Ari got to walk around four times and we told the kids about how she loved eating beans when she was one, how she loved balloons when she was two, how she loved going to the water park when she was three, etc. After that, we shared grapes and crackers with the kids.

All in all, everyone had a great time. I am sure we will be doing it again next September!

Feeling nostalgic today...

Just came across Ari's ultrasound photo. If I remember correctly, I was about 17 weeks. Bittersweet. On the one hand, that was a wonderful time. She is here with us, happy and healthy. That makes me smile. I am incredibly grateful for my beautiful, happy, low-stress family of three.

All that being said, I am also feeling incredibly nostalgic. Will I ever get to experience that again? No idea whatsoever. We tried for months and it didn't happen. We think about it. We would like her to have a sibling. But there is a lot of ambivalence. So much ambivalence. It drives me nuts at times!

I think about adjusting all over again, about family dynamics. I think and wonder about what kind of mother and wife I will be if/when I become the mother of a school age child and an infant. It's no secret that being sleep deprived does crazy things to us. I think about Daddy. He is the bread winner. He works almost 50 hours every week. He always makes time for Ari in the mornings and in the evenings. What would it look like if he was working, making time for her, and making time for a new baby? I want my husband to be a happy, balanced man. I want him to still get some time to "boy out"!

I think about how we have fallen in love with the Montessori philosophy. We really believe in it and we see results. Our child is thriving. We can afford it. What about two tuitions? No way to know, I know. There is no way to know where we will be in four or five years when the potential new baby is ready for preschool.

My guess is that I'm feeling particularly aware of our financial situation because we're in the process of spending thousands of dollars in necessary home improvement projects. We own a duplex. Good news: having a tenant helps with the mortgage a great deal. Bad news: twice as much crap to fix! When you have to come up with close to $5,000 out of the blue, well, you feel a little stressed out!

Sometimes I wish we could just say let's do it, let's get pregnant, and things will come together. It will all work out somehow. But neither of us works that way.

Rant over. Thanks for hearing me out if you made it this far. If we ever make a final decision I will share. In the meantime, I continue to daydream about three potential scenarios: remaining a family of three, getting pregnant or adopting. Yes, I still think about adopting, but, let's face it. The only way we could adopt would be to adopt via DCF and that means a serious roller coaster ride for my entire family.

If you feel like sharing about family dynamics, either what you witness as a parent or your experiences as a sibling, I would be happy to hear about it. Email me if that would be your preference. Johannafsilva at gmail

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hey you, age four, you suck!

Oh, age four, how you're kicking my ass!!! Here I was thinking I was out of the woods because my child was the sweetest 2-year-old I've ever seen! Yeah, right! Life has a sense of humor!

Let me fill you in. Ari turned four on September 18, less than three weeks ago. She is a very sweet, compassionate, helpful child. She is fairly self-centered at times, but what little kid isn't? We're working on that, explaining to her that she doesn't always get to go first, that we take turns, that all of us get to have choices. I refuse to let my child become the stereotypical only child. I believe that the way we raise our child will have a huge impact on who she will become. I believe in treating my child with love and respect, the same way I want to be treated. I believe in setting boundaries lovingly and with empathy. Hell, I'll just put it out there. I've moved away from the whole consequences thing. My beliefs have shifted and I now believe that communicating and remaining connected will do us all better than imposing a consequence that is just going to embarrass her or piss her off. I have a lot to share about that ongoing journey. I promise I will get to it some day. For now, I will share that I set firm boundaries, that when she cries, stumps or tells me that she is angry and that I hurt her feelings, I tell her that it is ok to cry, that I understand her feelings and that I am right here, ready to hug her when she is ready.

All that makes it sound like we live in a perfect, easy little world, I know. I'll share a story about today and you'll see how this is a work in progress for me.

You see, starting last Friday, my sweet, not-so-little child and I have been finding ourselves getting into power struggles usually once a day. Thus far, these lovely episodes last anywhere from one to twenty-five minutes. One time we spent just under ten minutes in a restaurant restroom because I insisted that she sit on the potty to prevent an accident. Let me take a minute to add that, of all the times I've insisted on her using the potty, there was exactly one time when only drops came out and not a big pee. Today we had an episode, for lack of a better word, that lasted almost half an hour because she wanted to have some chocolate. What is the big deal? Grandma had already given her some chocolate. Our rule is one treat after dinner. Also, given the fact she is giving me hell about eating a balanced diet, I want to make sure I don't overdo it when it comes to junk food.

Back to today's big event, she did not cry the whole time. She alternated between stumping, lying down on the floor, crying, temporarily calming down, and saying things like "I'm sad. I'm angry. You hurt my feelings. You're not doing what I want you to do."

When these power struggles began I was feeling quite drained when it was all said and done. Today I felt fine, despite the fact that this was by far the longest. I don't know if I'm growing up, if I got enough sleep or if I was just having a good day today. Little girl, don't try me next week. All bets are off, ask daddy!!! Just kidding, well, kind of!!!

At any rate, I guess the moral of the story is that parenting is a never-ending learning process, that certain behaviors are developmentally appropriate and so they will come up no matter what, and that, what matters in the end, is to get through it the best you know how so that at the end of it your family is still feeling connected and intact. Yes, there are times when we will lose it. We're human. Let's just make sure that we apologize when we have to, even if it means apologizing to a four-year-old. Lastly, let's try very hard to always end the day in a positive note. For us, this means "no, you can't watch Daddy play his game, but we can do a family hug."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Peace Day 2011

The Montessori school Ari attends celebrated Peace Day on September 21. Peace Day was established in 1981. It is my understanding that many Montessori schools around the world begun celebrating Peace Day after September 11th happened by gathering at 11:00 a.m. to sing "Light a Candle for Peace."

I missed the event last year. After seeing the video I was really kicking myself. It was absolutely beautiful. Many people I showed the video to felt that it was just silly hippy stuff. They got turned off by the many peace signs.

I have to say now that I have attended the event I love it even more. The entire school gathered outside, preschoolers, elementary school kids, teachers, staff, and a significant number of parents. Several of the older kids shared what peace means to them. The kids sang several songs about peace. They also sang several songs about different emotions, positive and negative, how to cope with them, how to approach their peers when they find themselves in a tense situation. Now, tell me that isn't brilliant? Tiny kids are practicing their developing social skills in the classroom and they get the reinforcement by singing about it. Us parents should learn the songs and sing them to ourselves and our children at home!

So, no, it's not "hippy shit"!

Check out this video:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yummy Pancakes

My child recently became obsessed with pancakes! I have tried a few recipes. Here is our favorite recipe thus far. As usual, I tweaked the recipe until it was both quite yummy and still healthy.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2.5 cups buttermilk
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil


1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and olive oil. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. We love adding whipped cream and strawberries! Ari likes the strawberries on the side. When Harry Met Sally, anyone?! No, I'm typically not into "chick flicks," but I did love that one when I was a teenager!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Birthday Present Ideas for a Four-Year-Old

I’m thinking birthday presents for Ari and I’m just not sure what to get her this time. Typically, I like to get her things that are fun for her, educational, age appropriate and that Daddy and I will not get terribly bored with. Quality and reasonably priced are also high on the list.

She likes when we read stories.

She loves anything art.

She likes puzzles.

She loves pretend games.

I’m considering this:

I am also thinking of getting a few new books. We are reading in Spanish every night now. The books don’t have to be in Spanish, though. I can translate on the fly very easily. Also, Spanish books would not be Daddy friendly, as funny as it would be to listen to him read in Spanish to her!

What is your four-year-old enjoying these days? What do you think about the snack shack on the link above? Have you come across a list of preschooler-friendly books?

My question of the week...

Couldn't figure out what a good title would be, sorry!

My big question at the moment: just why the hell is my child almost completely uninterested in spending time with me lately?

I’ll explain. We just got back from a seven-day vacation where Ari and daddy did tons of playing together. They went to pools. They pretended they were sharks, dolphins and octopuses. We went to the beach. Ari was in heaven because she had unlimited access to her dad, which is usually not the case. Someone has to go make money, right?

Ari and I did spend time together on our vacation, just not nearly as much as her and her dad did. He is a lot funnier and creative than me, I get it. And I am fine with that, honestly. Actually, I am very happy and grateful. They have a beautiful relationship.

All that being said, now that we’re home, pretty much nothing I do interests her. Let’s do laundry together. No thanks. Let’s play. No thanks. Let’s go get some chocolate. I’ll wait with daddy in the car. Let’s get you in the bath. A big, persistent no.

All day, all her and I have done together is have lunch and talk about her upcoming birthday party. Very unusual. I miss my baby and daddy is exhausted and craving quiet time.

We’ve talked to her about it and all we can get out of her is “I want to be with my daddy.”

I know this will pass. I know it’s not a big deal. I know it’s only a matter of days. I just wonder why it happens.

I keep reminding myself that this is nothing, but nearly weepy premenstrual me forgets sometimes. Damn hormones! They’re totally not working in my favor at the moment. They don’t want me getting pregnant and they make me want to cry. Freaking awesome.

I’m done whining, I promise!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Current Topics of Conversation at Our Home

What’s with talking about genitals, pee and poo?! I remember my nephew doing it a few months back. I saw my friend’s 4-year-old son doing it. Now it’s our turn to listen to our child talk about bums, boobies, etc. She will tell you who has what. She will point to you and say things like "that's your bum!" She finds ways to mention pee and poo in random conversations.

Developmentally appropriate, I get it. It will pass, I know that too. I'm just curious as to why kids do this. And I'm really hoping that she doesn't decide to talk or sing about it in a big place full of people, just like my sister did when she was three!

Picture this! All of us, a family of five, were at my mother's postpartum checkup after my little brother was born. Out of the blue, my sister started singing about how men have penuses! Yeah, that's what kids do!

I decided to not make a big deal out of it, but to address in a matter-of-fact way. I talked to Ari about it and said that we can talk about body parts at home. She got it. How do I know? Because today, while we were walking in downtown Amherst, she said "mommy, I need to tell you a secret. I love your boobies!"

Here is to hoping that our preschool age children can talk about bums at home!

Carseat Update

Short version: we ended up keeping the Graco Nautilus.

One complaint I have about this carseat, this model, anyways, is that it has the cover and a separate piece of fabric that serves as padding. It has holes to put the shoulder straps through, but only for shorter kids. So I took it off. Well, that is when Ari began saying it wasn't comfortable. I put it back on the car seat, but it is annoying because it is not attached to the seat in any way. It's not a big deal or anything. It's just an inconvenience when you are in a rush and you have to take an extra second to make sure the padding isn't bunched up.

One pro about the padding: if the child has an accident, you remove and wash only the pad. No need to remove the seat cover, which would be a pain because you would need to uninstall and reinstall the seat.

Other than my one complaint, I am happy with the seat. Now she is comfortable. The seat has excellent safety ratings. It has the infamous cup holder. It cost us only $150. And it was easy to install it. So the Graco Nautilus will be our child's seat until she is done with carseats, me thinks!

Bed time is the perfect time to reconnect with our cute kiddos!

I really shouldn’t be blogging right now. A big consulting project dropped on my lap a week ago. I have been working every day since then. We are going on vacation in three days. Nothing is ready! The house is a mess. Haven’t done laundry. Packing? I’ll do that on Friday night for a 7:10 a.m. flight on Saturday!

See why I shouldn’t be blogging? But I have to because I just read an awesome article that I felt was very moving and accurate. I felt the need to share it with you. I figure these articles have had a very positive impact on my family. If any of them help great things happen for your family also, then, this is definitely worth my time!

The article proposes that bedtime is moved up a bit so that there is time for the parent and the child to talk about the day. Why? What is the big deal? When we wine down and relax, it is easier to talk about what is in our minds, whether it is positive thoughts, a concern, a fear, frustration, etc.

Go read her article. It is beautifully written.

Ari and I usually spend the first 15 or 20 minutes of our day in bed together, snuggling and talking. I won’t tell you what she primarily talks about. Ok, I will. What the hell! She is obsessed with boobies! She loves them. She tells me that she loves them. Sometimes, she says she wants to hug them. I guess that is one of those things that kids who do extended breastfeeding do. Whatever.

We spend a bit of time with Daddy in the morning too. Starting the day off like that is priceless. I don’t know if we will be able to keep doing that when school starts, but we will sure try. I am thinking I will move bedtime up a bit so we can get a bit of time to chat with our chatty child at night and a bit of time first thing in the morning too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Article: What if five minutes of play could change your life?

I know I've said this 30 times, but I have to say it again. This woman's articles are priceless.

Check this out:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Article: The Old Parenting Paradigm

Great read on discipline and parenting:

"We need to commit to our children and to ourselves. Resolve to enjoy the journey and not focus solely on the demands of the outside world. We must promise to be present for our children and to give them our full attention and not our total frustration."

Easier said than done, I know. But it is doable! We don't need to strive to be perfect. We just need to keep trying and to say "I made a mistake; I am sorry." when we lose our cool.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's all about the cup holder!

We got Ari’s new carseat, the Graco Nautilus, installed the other day.

Ari was looking forward to trying out her new carseat. But now she is saying it is uncomfortable. “My back and bum are not comfortable”!

I told her we would try it for a few more days and if it is still uncomfortable, we will get a different seat. I am thinking Britax Frontier:

I am not happy about this. We’re talking another $100! But I need to make sure she is comfortable because her little bum will be on that seat until she is 57 inches tall!

Back to Ari’s feelings on this whole ordeal. I showed her a photo of the Britax Frontier. Her response: does it have a cup holder?

The kid has had a cup holder for all of about 72 hours and she already can’t live without it?! Silly child!

Here is to hoping that that little bum gets used to the new carseat!

By the way, have I mentioned lately that having a kid that can talk and verbalize how she feels about things is so incredibly awesome?!

UV protecting clothes rock!

UV protecting clothes are clothes that protect you from UV rays. Duh! Why do I love them? Because it means we spend less time putting goopy stuff all over ourselves.

You will see that these stores carry ¾ and even long sleeve shirts. Don’t let that scare you off. It’s like wearing a swimsuit, but you don’t get a sunburn! No, you will not be hot or uncomfortable.

Here is my current go-to store:

I got a shirt and shorts for Ari and they are great. Excellent quality. Just got her outfit for next summer and a shirt and shorts for myself from the clearance section!

Yes, UV protecting clothes are pricy, but this is the case wherever you go. It is worth it to spend the money. Skin cancer sucks.

At UV Skinz, you can check out the clearance section, Deep End Discounts, and you may find what you are looking for. I just got Ari a shirt, shorts, and a sun hat for $29, for example. My shirt and shorts were $41. I could have spent that much on a swimsuit, but, this way, I won’t get a sunburn!

If you or your kids are in need of UV protecting clothes, check them out! Here is a code that will get you 20% off your order: EOS2011.

No, I am not getting paid to post about this or getting free clothes for my child! I just like to share anything I have found to be helpful.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Bit of Carseat Knowledge

Today we had Ari's new carseat installed by a professional.

Here is what I learned today:
Most cars' latch systems support a child up to 48 pounds. Once your child reaches 48 pounds, reinstall the carseat using a seatbelt. Or use the seatbelt the first time around if that is your preference.

We opted to use the latch system for as long as we can because people accidentally undo the seatbelt. It happened so many times with our infant seat! Reinstalling a carseat using the seatbelt is so much more time-consuming than using the latches!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our trip to Boston

Ari and I went on a little trip this weekend. She was very much looking forward to having a sleepover at her friend N’s place in Boston!

We took a bus to Boston yesterday. Crayons, paper, the Scribble and Write and DVD’s came with us, just in case. Turns out the crayons, paper, looking out the window and talking to mommy were enough!

I will take a minute here to share just how sweet and helpful my Amor Chiquito is. South Station in Boston, to me, is a bit of a maze and is quite dark. Given my very limited eyesight, it is hard for me to navigate. As soon as we got off the bus, Ari went to where the driver had piled up luggage and grabbed her car seat. She then started walking. I asked where she was going. “Walking to the door, mama.” Once we got inside I asked her if she saw any benches. She found us chairs. Once we were settled in, she went back to being her almost-4-year-old self, playing, spinning and all that fun stuff.

Traveling with Ari was more than a breeze. It was an opportunity to see the type of little person she is becoming. I am incredibly grateful for that silly and sweet child! The fact that she is, voluntarily, so helpful is very touching for me.

Back to our fun trip, we had a delicious lunch with my friend Yaminette and her not-so-little guy. Ari decided that she loves rice with mango curry sauce. How could you not?! It has been nice to see her try and like new, often spicy foods.

The kids got to play lots – trains, painting, the park, writing with chalk, you name it!

Today we went to the aquarium. Ari had not been before. She was very excited about seeing sharks and sea turtles! She told Daddy all about it on the ride home from the bus station, in fact.

She got to pick something at the store at the aquarium and she went for the pink octopus. I could have sworn she would go for the shark puppet given her many shark games, but she was all about the octopus today.

Thank you, Yaminette, for an awesome weekend! Ari is already wondering when we will have another sleepover. She was asking me five minutes after she got on the bus!

Oh, if you are wondering what went wrong I’d say that my personal, living alarm going off around 5:00 a.m. was it! "Mommy, I have energy. Look, it’s daytime!"

Friday, August 5, 2011

If your pitcher isn't full, there's no way you can fill your child's cup.

I know I have said it before and I'll say it again. This woman is amazing and very inspiring! Check out this article. It is not about parenting. It is about the importance of self care and how to squeeze it in.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 it is!

After doing some research last night and this morning, I decided on the Graco Nautilus. Here are some of the reasons why:

It has the highest rating on Consumer Reports in the convertible/booster seat category.

Ari can use the harness system until she is 52 inches tall or 65 pounds. Then she can use it as a booster seat until she is 57 inches tall or 100 pounds. In other words, this is our last car seat for her!

It is super easy to buckle and unbuckle. It does not seem to get stuck like the Evenflo in Abuela’s car does.

Possible cons:

It looks like adjusting the shoulder straps may be a bit time-consuming.

It is bulky and on the heavy side (20 pounds).

I decided to go ahead and get it because we won’t need to adjust the straps often. Also, we have one kid, maybe two, at most, some day! Even if we have another child, we can accommodate two seats in the Corolla easily. No room for the grandmas, but that is ok!

I lucked out! I went to a store to look at a few car seats. It turns out they were giving out 20% off coupons! Yay!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Let's talk car seats!

Parents of older toddlers/preschoolers, what car seat is your child in? Or what car seat are you thinking of getting when your child outgrows the one s/he is in at the moment? Tell me about the pros and cons, please!

Ari is, and has been for the past three years, in the Britax Roundabout 40. We love all about it. It has excellent safety ratings. It is easy to buckle and unbuckle, which is not always the case. The Evenflo I got for Abuela’s car often gets stuck, for example. The seat is not bulky. We drive a Corolla, so these things matter a bit! Lastly, Ari finds her car seat comfortable. She never complains about it.

My one and only complaint about the Britax Roundabout is the price tag, but what are you going to do?! We have been using it for three years and putting her in and out of it every day is always a breeze. That is worth something!

Oh, one more thing I would change about the Britax Roundabout 40… It would be nice if I did not need to uninstall the seat to adjust the shoulder straps when Ari grows a few inches. We’re pretty picky about car seat installation around here, so every time the car seat is uninstalled, it is reinstalled by a professional. In other words, schedule an appointment, wait a few days, a half an hour drive, wait and watch for about another half an hour, etc., etc. Not complaining at all, by the way. I am beyond grateful that local hospitals and police departments do this free of charge.

All in all, I am very happy with my choice way back when she was about 11 months old.

Anyways, I noticed today that when she sits down her head is taller than the car seat. Time to look at the booklet attached to the car seat to see what the maximum height is. 40 inches. Want to guess what my child’s height is? Yup, 40 inches!

It turns out that the guidelines are that either the child is up to 40 inches tall or the top of the child’s ears cannot be taller than the seat. There is a bit of head sticking out, but not the ears! Yay!

Technically, I have a few months. But I opted to begin my research sooner rather than later. This way I do not make a rushed decision and I can take my time bargain hunting. Some of the seats with the best safety ratings are close to $300, so you better believe I will be bargain hunting!

So far, after about 20 minutes of research, I am looking at Britax and Sunshine seats. Don’t know which seats, specifically, yet.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Article: Pre-empt Whining

Another awesome article from Dr. Laura Markham at

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread Recipe

Good news: we have been getting zucchini from the farm the past three or four weeks. I have come up with a zucchini bread recipe that is healthy, yummy, and that everyone loves.

Bad news: so many people want zucchini bread! All the time! And I hate grating! Should I start charging for it?!

Here is my recipe:


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
1 cup olive oil
3 cups grated zucchini


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder.

Beat eggs. Add and mix well sugar, vanilla, sour cream and oil. Add zucchini to egg mixture. Add dry ingredients, mixing well.

Pour into 9” x 13” pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

Try it out and tell me what you think!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some funny and sweet Ari remarks...

Just a few little moments I don’t want to forget…

The other day Ari and I were snuggling after a nap. By the way, naps are a big deal around here. She only naps once or twice a month these days. I don’t push it because if she naps she is up until 11 p.m. But it sure is nice to get a little break to nap or get some computer time in!

Back to the day she napped, Ari and I had the following conversation:

Me: Do you know what my favorite thing to do is?

Ari: What?

Me: Hugging you. I love hugging you!

Ari: I love my neighbors!

Me: Thinking to myself. Thanks! WTF! I know she loves the neighbors and that’s great, but…!

Now a sweet story. Ari really wanted to have oatmeal before bed. We usually do quick snacks, but I figured oatmeal is healthy, so why not? I made her oatmeal and I sat with her at the dining table. We try to eat together as often as possible and she is so used to it that she does not like to sit alone at the table.

Ari: I really love you sitting with me, mommy. I love it.

Very simple, but it made my day! I feel like we love our sweet and super silly child more and more every day! It really does get better and better, we feel like.

What sweet or funny remarks have your little ones made recently?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Latest Sleep Arrangements

I was working on a lengthy post about our latest sleep-related transition. But it’s just not happening! Here is the short version!

Last week Abuela came over with homemade curtains for Ari’s window. She talked to Ari about sleeping in her bedroom. Ari seemed interested. I was not the least bit convinced! That being said…

For a week now, Ari has been starting out in her bedroom every night. She has been happy about it. There was not one tear or power struggle.

She created her own new night ritual. Her new night ritual includes some cuddles, two stories and me rubbing her back. Notice: it does not include boobs!

So, my next point! Yes, it is true! Child led weaning really does happen! We are down to only one feeding per day. It is a super quick feeding first thing in the morning. Basically, it is part of our morning cuddle time. I am surprised by this. I was positive that the just before bed feeding would be the last one to go. Furthermore, I anticipated it would take a long time or that it would be really hard on her if I pushed it.

Back to sleep arrangements, Ari spends about five hours in her bedroom before I hear “mama” or “mooooommy”! At that point, I should probably walk her back to her bed and wait until she falls asleep. Instead, we usually snuggle on the twin size mattress and end up cosleeping for the rest of the night.

Her starting out in her bedroom and us finishing the night cosleeping on a twin size mattress in her bedroom feels like the best of both worlds. She can sleep by herself. Us grownups get alone time in our bedroom. I still get to cuddle with my baby girl! There is nothing like falling asleep with her leg on my tummy! Lastly, I can either deal with multiple wakings after three a.m. or I can embrace it and enjoy the time snuggling with her.

Why does she get up in the middle of the night and call for me, you ask? She said that she gets afraid. We explained that she is safe, that mom and dad are always here, that she can call and one of us will always come.

She need not be afraid. However, I cannot control that. What I do have control over is how I react to it and how I help her conquer her fears. As far as I am concerned, meeting the emotional needs of that precious child life blessed me with is my #1 job.

Moral of the story: see, different things work for different people at different times! Go with your gut and do whatever works best for you and your children.

12 Ways to Help Your Child Build Self-Confidence

Definitely worth reading!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Article: 10 Alternatives to "Consequences" and Punishment

Another wonderful article from I have to say her writing has been validating, wonderful and life changing for me. I almost don't dare say it, but parenting really is a pleasant part of life 95% of the time for me. I am aware that, in part, I am lucky because Ari is very laid back and easy going. That being said, there is wonderful stuff in this article, so please check it out!

10 Alternatives to "Consequences" and Punishment

by Dr. Laura from

"Just throw the word "consequence" entirely out of your vocabulary and replace it with the term "problem-solving." -- Becky Eanes

"My 3.5yr old was sitting on the couch after bath wearing her towel and said NO about 5x to get in her pj's. I was busy w/ the baby and I heard my husband say "OK fine - no books then" and this quote popped into my head and I said "Hey! We've got a problem - it's bedtime and you need to be in your PJ's - How do YOU think we should solve it?" And just like that - she got a big grin her face, suggested we all clap our hands and march our feet and we formed a line right into her room - happily! Same thing for teeth brushing and potty later! Each time I said "Hey, great problem solving skills! Thank you!" And her response? "You're welcome mama - no problem!" - Carrie

Most parenting experts suggest that when children "misbehave" the best response is "consequences." Parents are told that letting children experience the consequences of their poor choices will teach them lessons. Makes sense, right?

Well, no.

I love actual consequences as a teacher. We all have to learn that if we don't remember our lunch, we'll go hungry.

But when most parents use consequences for discipline, they aren't the natural result of the child’s actions (“I forgot my lunch today so I was hungry”). Instead, they have become for children the threats they hear through their parents’ clenched teeth: “If I have to stop this car and come back there, there will be CONSEQUENCES!!”

In other words, Consequences mean Punishment. Whether you're threatening the loss of a privilege or a timeout, that is punishment. And punishment has been proven repeatedly to backfire in child-raising. Quite simply, punishment is not effective parenting, and it sabotages your child's development.

Worried about what you'll do without the threat of Consequences to keep your child cooperating? Next time your child refuses your guidance and you find yourself about to blurt out a threat, try one of these responses instead.

1. Let your child solve it. "You haven't brushed your teeth yet and I want to be sure we have time for a story. What can we do?" Like Carrie's child, it's amazing how children step into responsibility when we offer it. They love to help, and to solve puzzles. Sometimes they just need a little respect.

2. Partner for Win/win solutions. If your child doesn't offer a solution that works for you, explain why and help her come up with one. "You think you should just skip brushing teeth tonight? Hmm...that doesn't work for me because your poor teeth would stay germy and they could get little holes in them. What else could we do to get your teeth brushed and time for a story? Want to put your pjs on, and then brush?" Once your child believes that you're serious about win/win solutions, she's much more likely to work with you to find a solution that works for everyone.

3. Invite cooperation with your phrasing. Consider the difference in these approaches:

"Go brush your teeth now." - Since no one likes to be told what to do, a direct order like this often invites resistance, either directly or in the form of stalling.

"Can you go brush your teeth now?" - Many kids will reflect on this and just say No. Don't phrase your request in the form of a yes or no question unless you're willing to accept No for an answer.

"Do you want to brush your teeth now, or after you put your PJs on?" - This strategy works because you’re extending your child the respect of giving him some control, at the same time that you retain the responsibility of making the decisions you need to as his parent. Only offer options you can live with, of course.

"You may brush your teeth now." - Almost sounds like a privilege, doesn't it? This is a command, but a respectful one. Works especially well with kids who are over-stimulated by bedtime and overwhelmed by choices.

4. Ask for a Do-over. "Oops. I told you to brush your teeth and you ignored me and then I started to yell. I'm sorry. Let's try a do-over." This is a great way to interrupt things when you're headed down a bad road. Get down on your child's level and make a warm connection. Look in her eyes. Touch her. "Ok, let's try this again, Sweetie. It's teeth brushing time! How can we work as a team here to get your teeth brushed?"

5. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Think about what usually triggers problems for your child and take pre-emptive action.
Give ample warning before transitions
Always leave extra time to get anything done.
Sidestep power struggles and give her as much control over her life as possible so she doesn't need to rebel.
6. When your child defies you, focus on the relationship, rather than on discipline. A good relationship is your foundation; guidance doesn't work without it because your child stops caring about pleasing you. A child who is rude is either very upset, or expressing her need for a better relationship with you. In either case, "consequences" will make the situation worse. I'm not suggesting you put up with rudeness, just that you see it as a red flag to do some repair work on the relationship.

7. Make sure your expectations are age-appropriate.

A one year old needs a baby-proofed house, not to learn by consequences how to leave the DVD player alone.
A four year old needs your help to get through the bedtime routine, not to lose reading time with you when he gets distracted and dawdles.
A ten year old needs your help to make the homework routine into a habit that works for him, not to lose his TV privileges. (Although letting kids watch TV during the week will almost certainly lower their grades. But that's a lifestyle choice, not a punishment.)
8. Get to the root of the problem. Sometimes when kids defy us, they are asking for help with their emotions. You'll know this is happening when your child seems unhappy and is making you unhappy; when whatever you try just doesn't work. At those times, your child is showing you that he has some big feelings he needs to express, and he needs your help. He may be angry, or afraid, or sad. He may need to rage, or shake, or cry. So if you set a limit and your child defies you, forget about punishment and consequences. This is a red flag that he needs your help. Move in close, restate your limit, and let him have his meltdown. (For more info on how to do help your child with his feelings, click here.) After your child gets a chance to dissovle that hard knot of unhappy emotion, you'll find him completely cooperative.

9. Engage the brain. When humans are upset, our brains don't work as well because "fight or flight" takes over and thinking stops. Start by taking a deep breath and calming your own emotions. Then connect warmly with your child to restore her ability to think. Finally, invite her brain to engage by helping her understand what's happening:

"You are so upset. You were having so much fun playing with Daddy. Then he told you to go brush your teeth. You were mad, right? ...... Then Daddy said No story tonight. Right? .... Now you are sad and mad.... I am right here. I love you. Daddy loves you. Daddy was upset, too, but now he is here to hug you. ... Let's find a way that we can all have a good evening and feel good when we tuck you in to bed. Maybe we all need a Do-Over?"

This builds emotional intelligence in your child--and in your partner. And even if it doesn't get you all on the same page, at least it gets you into the same book!

10. Use natural consequences. I'm not suggesting that you move heaven and earth to protect your child from the natural outcome of his choices. We all need to learn lessons, and if your child can do so without too much damage to his self-image, life is a great teacher. But you'll want to make sure these are actually "natural" consequences that your child doesn't perceive as punishment so they don't trigger all the negative effects of punishment. What's more, you'll want to be sure that your child is convinced that you aren't orchestrating the consequence and are firmly on his side, so you don't undermine your relationship with him. Consider the difference in these approaches:

"Of course I will bring your lunch to the school, Sweetie. I don't want you to be hungry. But try to remember it tomorrow. " - Child may or may not remember his lunch tomorrow. There is no harm in doing this once or even twice, if you can do it easily. We all have forgotten things like lunches, and it is not a sign that your child will be irresponsible for life. But it is a signal that you need to help your child with self-organization strategies so he learns to remember.

"I'm certainly not going to drop everything to bring you your lunch. I hope this will teach you a lesson." - Child will probably learn to remember his lunch. BUT he concludes that parent doesn't care about him, and becomes less cooperative at home.

"Ok, I will bring your lunch but this is absolutely the last time. You would forget your head if it weren't glued on and don't expect me to always drop everything to bail you out." - Child does not learn to remember lunch but does learn that he is a forgetful person who irritates his parent. In the future, he acts in accordance with this expectation.

"I'm so sorry you forgot your lunch, Sweetie, but I just can't bring it to you. I hope you won't starve and I will have a snack waiting when you get home." - Child learns to remember lunch AND feels cared about AND self image stays intact.

Retraining yourself can be tough. But as Becky says, just throw the word "consequences" out of your vocabulary and replace it with "problem-solving." You'll be amazed at the miracles you can make.

Article: Change Your Story, Change Your Life

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

by Dr. Laura from

"The way you talk about yourself and your life — your story — has a great deal to do with what shows up in your day-to-day experience. Your thoughts create filters through which you view your life. If you think of yourself as a victim, you filter all that happens to you through that lens ... and you find plenty of evidence to support that viewpoint. That’s why the orientation you adopt is so important: it exerts a powerful influence on your life direction." -- David Emerald

What's your story about your child? He wears you out? She's a drama queen? He'll never amount to anything, just like his father? She's strong-willed and always fighting with you? You have to yell at him just to get his attention? She's irresponsible?

You'll always find plenty of evidence to support your story. And trying to change your child's behavior directly usually reinforces both your the behavior and your story.

But you can create miracles when you change your story. Why? Because you see things differently. Thinking differently means you act differently toward your child.

Your new story is just as true: He's so curious and full of energy. She has big feelings. He has all his dad's good qualities, and better parenting to help them bloom. She's self-confident and sticks up for herself and for what she thinks is right. When I listen more deeply to him, he really pays attention to what I say. When I help her with routine and structure, she masters each new responsibility fairly quickly.

Today, make sure your story about your child has a happy ending. If you can't, now's the time to transform yourself into a fairy godmother.

(Is a happy ending too hard to imagine? Then you have some work to do, don't you? I'm betting you already know what that work is. If it feels too hard, just remember that even Fairy Godmothers and Godfathers get stuck sometimes and need to ask for help.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Red nails, being beautiful, and being a princess

Ari and I spent some time today at Grandma’s with my brother and his 4-year-old son, the infamous ‘primo,’ Spanish for cousin!

At one point it got quiet. You know what that means! It turns out Ari was in Grandma’s bedroom painting her nails with a red marker. When my mother told me, I decided to wait it out in part because I thought it was kind of funny that she was doing a unique original project, if you will. Also, I wanted to see how Ari was going to handle it when she got discovered.

Fast-forward a few minutes… Ari came out of the bedroom and showed me, without any prompting. I think I said something like “That’s silly. Next time, please write on paper.” She said something like “I paint my nails because I want to be a princess and be beautiful.” If you know me, you know it went downhill from there. I reminded myself to not take her words too seriously, but, frankly, they made me a bit sad. My child isn’t even four yet and she is already thinking about being a princess and being beautiful.

For me, this silly three-year-old episode went from being just that, a kid doing something impish, to me getting all sorts of thoughts about how girls are told, starting very early on, that they are princesses, that they need to dress to be beautiful, wear their hair a certain way, that they need to do their nails, makeup, you name it… Frankly, this really drives me nuts for many reasons.

I have written on here about how our child is exposed to both “girly” and “boy” things. She has fairy nightgowns but she also has Thomas and Friends pajamas. Her two birthday celebrations last year had Go Diego Go and Thomas and Friends themes because that is what she was into at the time. This year it looks like it will be Dora. Why me?! Another post for another day!

Back to my anti princess efforts! She dresses “girly” when she wants to. On other days, she leaves with nothing on her hair. She goes outside and checks out bugs, ants, and all that “boy” stuff. I try to give her opportunities to explore what she is interested in, regardless of whether the activity is stereotypically for boys or girls.

So, why am I so anti princess? I want my child to be herself, to do what she wants to do. I don’t want other girls, women or the media to heavily shape her self-worth and self-esteem. I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful because she just is, that she does not need tons of makeup, fancy nails or any of that stuff. No, I am not anti makeup or anti nails. When she is old enough, she can do all that if that is what she wants. I just feel very strongly that it is important for her to know that she does not need all that, that that is not what really matters in the end.

So, how do I get there? I tell her that she is beautiful. But I don’t want to say it constantly and, without meaning to, send the message that she is the prettiest girl ever. My instinct tells me to be low key about it, to tell her, occasionally, that she is beautiful, and not to overanalyze it. “Your hair is beautiful,” regardless of whether it is done up or if she just got out of bed.

My hope is that if we start thinking about these things when she is very young and letting her know, in different ways, that she is beautiful, regardless of what she does to her body and that there is no need to be princess-like, that she will not have the typical self-esteem struggles that teenage girls often have.

What do you think? Anything that your parents did when you were growing up that turned out to be very helpful? What do you tell your girls, if you have any? What would you tell your daughter, if you had one? Any suggestions?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Can't do it all, but that's ok!

The last day of school was last Friday, the 17th. I am getting a lot of time with Ari. I love it. But I would lie if I said having her home was not challenging. It’s not about her. It’s not that she makes my days difficult or unpleasant. She is a very pleasant child 90% of the time. It is that there is a lot I would like to do for her, for our family, and it feels like it is hard to fit it all in.

Here are some of my thoughts lately:

I love doing things with her, but I can’t keep up with the house. The kitchen is a mess!

I haven’t done anything for my business this week.

She had a delicious bowl of oatmeal and I cooked other healthy things. Spent a ton of time in the kitchen. All the pots are clean. But now I feel like I neglected her for hours. PBS parented her, not me.

Could she please nap? Or at least be quiet for 20 minutes so I can nap, please?! Could she not put up a fight about rest time?! It’s getting old! Daddy, I know you hate sleeping, but did you really have to pass on those damn genes?! Those are not the genes I was hoping she would get!

Sigh... So, what next?

I remind myself of what I often tell other moms: spend time with your kid. Enjoy your kid. Let her know, with your actions, that you are truly present. Do enough house work so that your house feels livable. But don’t focus all your energy on having a spotless house. Why? Because there are only so many hours in one day and something’s gotta give. What will it be?

I rather live in a semi-messy house and have a relatively messy kitchen because I am spending time making memories with my child. Sometimes, I get her involved in the cooking process. We do laundry together. She loves to sort clothes, to put clothes in the dryer, and she loves to deliver folded clothes to Daddy! One of her all-time favorite chores is to deliver her clean night diapers to Daddy so that he can put them in the diaper stacker. She has been enjoying doing this since before she turned two and she is almost four!

My hope and goal is that I can do a passable job at doing the stay-at-home mom boring crap, i.e., keeping up with the house, and that, when my baby is an adult, she will remember her time at home with mom as time where we did things together, not time where I was freaking out about the messy kitchen, the dirty floors, etc., etc.

When I start freaking out next week, feel free to remind me!

Oh, if your house is spotless and you get plenty of time to connect with your child, honestly, you are my hero. Feel free to send some of your energy my way!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Article: How to Be the Leader Your Child Needs

Another wonderful article from

"How do you help parents who struggle to be the leaders their children need them to be? And how do you help their children, who are less considerate/self-regulating and continually test the limits because of it?"

How can we be the leader our child needs, and deserves?

1. Remember that kids do need parents to "lead." They're new on the planet, and little, and we owe them the security of acting as the leaders in our family. Otherwise, kids keep pushing to make sure someone is "in charge" and will keep them safe.

2. Remember that leadership is about role modeling, guiding and protecting, not about dictating or punishing. (See What's Wrong with Strict Parenting?)

3. Remember that leadership includes setting empathic limits, which are essential to our child's emotional well-being. Most parents who have a hard time being leaders with their children don't understand that limits are actually good for our children -- but only if they're set with empathy. This process has nothing to do with punishment, or even discipline, as we think of it. (See What's Wrong with Permissive Parenting?)

4. Remember that children only accept our leadership because of the relationship we have with them. If they resist or defy us, it's a sign that we need to focus on connecting with them.

5. Take the time to process our own emotions about how we have experienced parents being "in charge." For instance, a parent whose own parents were authoritarian may feel strongly that she doesn't want to repeat that experience for her own children. Terrific! But this parent may get confused and think therefore she can't set limits at all. That doesn't help her children And most likely, she will end up yelling when things finally get out of hand. Kids without limits always push us to our limits.

If, instead, this parent can let herself feel all those childhood feelings of how alone she felt, how hurt, how sad .... they will no longer control her. They won't make her cringe when her child has big feelings. They won't burst out unexpectedly, in yelling. They won't keep her from empathizing with her child's point of view.

That frees her to see the value of clear limits to her children when necessary. She will calmly, empathically guide her child ("You are so mad...but I will not let you hurt me...I will keep everyone safe...") role modeling emotional regulation, without guilt and without feeling a need to punish. That's leadership.

Article: The 5 Habits You Need To Stay Connected To Your Child

I recently subscribed to this newsletter. It has quickly become one of my favorite parenting emails! I can't say it enough; it is wonderful. Check out Find her on Facebook.

I find her emails grounding. They are a constant reminder of what really matters when it comes to raising a child. It is so easy to worry about the tens of to-do's I have on any given day, to worry about whether or not Ari's clothes match, did her hair get done, etc., etc. I am learning a lot. I am learning about balance. I am constantly reminded that the sense of connection amongst our family is my #1 priority, that, if the sense of connection is not there, I have nothing. If there is no sense of connection, it feels like everything around me starts to fall apart.

I am finding myself having more conversations with my child, giving her even more hugs, and spending even more time being on my knees so I can talk to her face to face about the things that trouble her, trivial or not. She is becoming more and more interested in snuggling, saying sweet things and letting us know she loves us in different ways. I am so loving it!

Here is the latest article from


"We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." -- Virginia Satir

We all want that closeness with our children that makes our hearts melt. But so much of what we consider normal parenting pushes our children away, and makes them more difficult.

It begins when we follow the well-meaning advice to turn away from our crying baby. This erodes our empathy for our child, because instead of following our instincts – which, naturally, tell us to respond to the needs of our little one – we harden our hearts. After that, it's much tougher to feel empathy for this struggling little person, to see things from his perspective. Our child reacts with neediness and defiance. We're exhausted with the demands of daily life, increasingly exasperated by our child's lack of cooperation. We nag, yell and punish, which just makes our child’s behavior worse. This escalates in the teenage years, when parents and children scream and fight; when children start looking for love in all the wrong places.

Like every parent in the world, we're just trying to raise good kids, and we can't even figure out where we went wrong. Over and over, I hear from parents that they wish they had understood how important it is to connect, not just correct.

Of course, parents are only human. There are days when all we can do is meet our children's most basic needs: Feed them, bathe them, keep an encouraging tone, hug them, and get them to sleep at a reasonable hour so we can do it all over again tomorrow. Given that parenting is the toughest job on earth -- and most of us do it in our spare time, after we work at another job all day -- the only way to keep a strong bond with our children is to build in daily habits of connection. What kinds of habits?

1. 12 hugs a day - Including a reconnecting hug after every separation.

2. Turn off technology when you interact with your child. - Really. Your child will remember for the rest of her life that she was important enough to her parents that they turned off their cell phones to listen to her.

3. Special time - Every day, 15 minutes with each child, separately. Alternate doing what your child wants and doing what you want, and on your days resist the urge to structure the time with activities. Instead, play therapeutic "games" to help your child with whatever issues are worrying him. (For ideas about such games, click here.)

4. Welcome emotion - Sure, it's inconvenient. But your child needs to express his emotions or they'll drive his behavior. So welcome the meltdowns, don't let the anger trigger you, and soothe the tears and fears that always hide behind the anger. Remember that you're the one he trusts enough to cry with, and breathe your way through it. Afterwards, he'll feel so much closer to you, and you'll see the difference in how he cooperates.

5. Empathy - The habit of seeing things from your child's perspective will ensure that you treat her with respect and look for win/win solutions. It will help you see the reasons for behavior that would otherwise drive you crazy. It will help you regulate your own emotions so when your buttons get pushed and you find yourself in "fight or flight," your child doesn't look so much like the enemy.

Maybe most important of all, the habit of empathy is what brings you those moments with your child that make your heart melt. We all need more of those.

May you be blessed with miracles today, large and small.
Dr. Laura

Monday, June 6, 2011

My little love is almost four, no doubt about it!

A few parents have told me that age four is very interesting and sometimes exhausting. You know what that means, right?! Developing children get smarter, become sometimes cute, sometimes not so cute, opinionated smart asses! And I say that with all the love in the world for all the soon-to-be four-year-olds in my life – mine, my friend's, my neighbor's and those of my blog readers!

I wondered what exactly these parents were talking about. Well, now I know! Ari will turn four in three months. We can tell! Most of the time I love what this transition is looking like. And then there are days…! Here is a story for you!

One night, about a month ago, I felt pretty clever! Amor Chiquito asked if she could watch an episode of Dora. I said that Dora was not a choice, but that she could watch something short, like a five-minute Youtube video. She chose this silliness:

Since that night, watching "something short" has become part of her night ritual. Saturday night, it was bedtime and she made the request. I said that we could not do it that night because Daddy needed to work on his computer and my laptop is not working. Poor Daddy has been working crazy hours. He is teaching two summer online courses and one starts today.

Pause that story. Let me vent for a minute! Ari has two weeks of school left. I don't think we can do any of the two week summer sessions this year. I am trying to launch our new business. And my eight-month-old laptop breaks. What the heck! Doesn't it know about its poor timing?!

Ok, done whining! Back to Ari!

"Mommy, we can use Daddy's little white computer."

Fair enough. Reasonable request. But his netbook takes forever to boot up. It was late. I was tired. So I said no. I said that we would sleep, get tons of energy, and watch something tomorrow. Wrong answer!

She lied down, but would not rest her head on her pillow.

She said I was not listening to her words. That Montessori stuff biting me in the butt again!

The best part! "Mommy, if you don't let me watch something short, I will stay awake. I will be sad and cry."

What? Excuse me?! I was both angry and about to burst out laughing! I could not believe my ears! Oh, by the way, she was out five minutes after that!

Now a sweet story. The other day, at bedtime, I told her that I love being her mommy. Her response: I love being your child. You are the best.

And moments like that one, readers, are the moments I treasure, the moments I try not to forget. Ari is a very sweet, loving child. We have many beautiful, memorable moments. But she is almost four and so she does have the ability to occasionally drive me batty!

Almost forgot... One cool thing about an almost-four-year-old. When her parents are distracted, she will say "you forgot to buckle me"! She rocks!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Farm Share: Week One

Anti-vegetables Puertorican me decided that I would love to get a farm share this year. Us Puertoricans are known for not eating vegetables, so this is big news for my entire family, including me! I have been working on eating healthier for years, but I have been inconsistent when it comes to veggies. I buy them. I feed them to Ari and Geeky Entrepreneur, but I always gave myself the tiniest portions!

It all changed about six weeks ago. I decided to follow the South Beach eating style. I want to be and feel healthier. I want to lose some weight. I am preparing for pregnancy. I want to model healthy habits for my little girl. I want eating healthy to be a natural thing for her.

So, all that being said, we have been eating salads for lunch almost every day. We always have veggies with dinner. We find ourselves eating very delicious meals at home or eating mostly Asian, veggie rich dishes when we eat out. I can’t believe how much I am loving it! I am finding that I have more energy. Sadly, I have noticed that when I “cheat” and eat lots of delicious foods made with refined grains I get super tired and a bit cranky. Good-bye, big white bread sandwiches!

Back to the farm share, I started noticing that I was spending a lot of time and money at the grocery store. Ari eating berries like there is no tomorrow and all of us eating tons of veggies… I was starting to feel like we would be broke soon! You have no idea how much money I spent on blueberries last month, for example!

I have noticed that, typically, organic produce tastes better to me. But a lot of the produce I like to get is not always available. I may find strawberries this week, but not next week. You get my drift.

I remembered that one of Ari’s classmates has a farm. Well, that is how Ari puts it! O has big big gardens, she says!

So, I figured what the heck… Let’s read up on it and see what happens! “O’s farm” has organic veggies, fruit and herbs. We will go get our share every Monday. It will cost us $24.77/week. Let’s do it and see how it goes!

And, so, here we are. Our first farm share!

We went for the first time last Monday. Ari and my nephew came along. They had a blast picking thyme, oregano and sage! Adorable! I forgot to take pictures. What is wrong with me?!

As for the veggies, here is what we got this week: romaine lettuce, baby arugula, baby bok choy, komatsuna, radishes, broccoli, and garlic scallions.

I hear this is the “boring” month. I can’t wait for whatever is coming next!

I feel like I will really be going up a learning curve. To be honest, some of the veggies, I didn’t even know what they were called! Never mind what to do with them! Salads, of course. But I know the possibilities are endless! So I just need to figure out what exactly the possibilities are!

Our two Boston friends have lots of experience with farm shares. You have both been very helpful. Thank you! Plenty of questions coming your way as we go forward with this new adventure!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bye bye, night diapers.

About three weeks ago we had a chat about giving up the night diaper. It was all her. She brought it up. I was not pushing for her to get rid of the night diaper. My thought has been that she is three years old. Why rush it? Why stress out about it? If she was almost five, then maybe I would feel differently.

As for Ari, she has been wanting to be done with night diapers for a while. She did not seem to be developmentally ready. She had had many night accidents. But she specifically talked about it a few weeks back. So I figured we would try. I told her that she has two choices: pee/try to pee before bed or wear a diaper. She sits on the potty every night. She pees 95% of the time. The first two weeks she only had one or two accidents. This past week has been a different story. Let’s just say that I am getting tired of washing peepee sheets! Three accidents the past five nights. One night she came to visit and I woke up soaked! That's right; my shirt was soaking wet with pee! One of those parenting things no one warns you about!

So, what is next?

Ari really wants to be done with diapers. I will honor that. I will give her more time. I will reassess in two weeks and go from there. If she is having a lot of accidents, I may talk to her about how, perhaps, her body is not ready yet, that is ok, and her body will be ready later.

The kid is really into being a big kid. Can you tell?! I wonder why we do that. I remember doing it when I was a kid. I always wanted to be older. I think I was done with that three days after I turned 18!

What do you think? What has the night diaper transition been like for your little one? Anything you might do differently next time around?

Where is the Reluctant Crunchy Mama?!

My poor blog has been so neglected! I really do mean to post two or three times a week. It just isn’t happening lately. In a way, my blog is like my baby scrapbook. So I need to get to it because Ari is doing and saying all sorts of ridiculously cute and fascinating things and I am not blogging about it.

Now that I am taking the time to do this, I am blanking out, of course! Let’s see…

I will start by saying that something that has been taking up a lot of my time is that I decided to start my own business. Yes, antientrepreneurship me, the woman who hates uncertainty with a passion. How the hell did that happen? Here is the list of reasons.

Since I was about 12, I have been thinking that my career will have something to do with helping people somehow. I thought for years that I wanted to be a counselor. Fast-forward some years and I am so not signing up for a Master’s in Social Work. Simply put, hell no! No way I am going back to school right now! I am free and I want to stay that way!

So, what other things can I do to both help people and help feed my family? Last year I explored the possibility of working in the adoption field. That did not work out so well. There is only one local adoption agency. Next?

Mediation. I have been thinking about mediation on and off for years. I feel like I have been a family mediator unofficially for over a decade now!

Mediation, to me, is very rewarding. Successful mediation sessions can be life-changing.

Mediation is one of the few fields in MA that is not heavily regulated. No master’s degree in anything necessary. None of the “you are under/overqualified” stuff.

Also, I want and need flexibility. I am a mom. I am a family woman. That is my #1 job. That baby girl… I refuse to only see her one or two hours a day. I am incredibly lucky and feel so blessed to have that choice. Since I have the choice, I choose to stay home, to pick her up at school, to see her in that environment, to talk to her teachers, to play silly games at home, pretend I am a pony, to cook with her, to see her beaming when she is playing with her neighbors or putting fingerprints on her daddy’s glasses. It would be awesome to make more money, to not have to spend over $700/month on health insurance because we are both self-employed, to, perhaps, travel more. But this is priceless.

So, here I go. Here I am, hoping that something that I love will both change lives and help pay for that Montessori tuition!

A fellow mediation trainee and I are starting a business together. We will be teaching workshops for couples and we will be doing marital and family mediation.

What is mediation? You and your partner have a conflict and are unable to find a solution. Mediation provides a setting where a third person facilitates the conversation, asks open-ended questions, and guides you so that you can better understand each other’s needs and so that, hopefully, you find a solution.

Marital mediation is a relatively new field. It is very helpful to couples who have some differences and who would like to work them out so that they can remain married.
Typically, couples attend three to six two-hour sessions, based on their needs.

I am committed to helping families improve their lives and their relationships. I am trained, will continue to attend relevant workshops and seminars, and I have plenty of personal experience resolving family issues. So I know I can do this! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First year at a Montessori Children's House classroom... Almost done!

A lot to say. Lots to do. Not too much time to blog lately. I was going to type a very long post, but decided against that. Hmm, let's rephrase. This is a long post, but it is only about school. It would have been so much longer had I gone with my original idea!

Let’s talk school!

Ari’s first year at the Montessori school is coming to a close. About four weeks of school left. How she has changed… She has learned so much. She is thriving. She is getting to spend time with peers, interacting with them, becoming their friend, having opportunities to use the conflict resolution skills she has been learning about. Yes, now she talks about “listening to my words,” hurting his feelings,” among others. This is exactly what she was craving a year ago. I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, glad that I did not let comments from those who said she was too little to get to me, and so glad I listened to my mommy gut.

At this point, Ari traces many letters on a sand tray, writes a few of them, and is very interested in learning how to write her name. For now, she says that her signature is an A!

She is beginning to add.

She is counting in English and Spanish.

The other day she grabbed a globe during work sharing time (i.e., when parents visit with the kids for half an hour). She brought it over, proceeded to point each continent and told us that we live in North America!

She still loves doing artwork, of course! She could cut, glue and color or paint all day!

I have seen her do things like using a manual drill, sand sticks, help with the school garden, wash, peel and slice carrots, among others.

She participates in group sings.

She spends about half an hour at the playground twice a day.

The kid knows a handful of yoga poses! You should see when she comes home, does them so easily and then asks her dad and I to try. Funny stuff!

Every day she has lunch with a different, small group of kids. Picture two to four little kids sitting around a square table, eating and chatting, just like you and I would! So damn cute!

She rests every day, comfortably, no sadness or missing mommy. So glad that did not last long. So grateful for the teachers who spent time with her, talking her through it, validating her feelings, reminding her that mom would return later, rubbing her back, giving her a hug, etc.

I know she did and learned so much more than that. I am looking forward to the end of the year report!

I am feeling incredibly grateful. Life, some luck, and my hard-working husband made this possible. I very much hope she can continue to attend this school until they kick her out! (That would be sixth grade!) I very much wish this wonderful combination of experiences was available to more little ones.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Time for some Ari stories!

Some random Ari stories…

She can figure out what letter a word starts with. We have been playing that game for about two weeks now. It is currently one of her preferred car games. She gets confused with G’s, C’s and K’s because she cannot pronounce them properly yet. G’s come out as D’s and C’s and K’s come out as T’s.

Speaking of, the other day, we were at a restaurant and she needed to go to the bathroom. “I need to go to the bathroom, mommy. I need to pee. Pee starts with a P, mommy.” My child is not the loudest kid ever or anything, but she is her father’s child, so she is definitely up there! My guess is that a good ten people or so heard about how she needed to pee and how pee starts with a P!

Amor Chiquito is starting to communicate her needs and preferences very clearly, which I love because I want her to be comfortable, of course. Also, I don’t have to think and guess as much as I used to when she was younger.

Here are some examples of her talking about her needs and preferences.

On Tuesday, I gave her a quarter of a homemade waffle, about eight strawberries and some orange juice for lunch. Tuesday evening, when we were talking about her school day, she said that when she was resting she felt hungry. I asked her if the snack her school provides is out all day or if it is only out at certain times. She said it is out all day, but that rest time is quiet time. I told her that she can get something to eat after rest time. I asked her what else she thought we could do so that she would not be hungry. “I need more waffles and more fruit, mommy. Please put more food in my lunchbox. Blueberries, blueberries, more blueberries!”

Yesterday was pizza day at school. I asked if she liked her pizza, if she ate it all, etc. She said she only ate the crust. When I asked why, she said that the pizza was cold and that she does not like cold pizza. “I like the cheese to be warm, mommy. I only ate the trust (crust).”

Onto the cute stuff!

Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, right after our family hug, she said “I love my life.” To say that Daddy and I were shocked is an understatement!

When we crawled into bed, she said “I love you, mommy. I really really love you.”

What else could a mom ask for?! For the cute kid to go to sleep right away on the one night when mom wants to watch TV, that’s what!

Almost forgot… Two nights ago Ari was talking about how some kids call their moms mama, some mom and some mommy. She asked if she could call me mom. I said yes, so she said “I love you mom. Good night mom. Can you rub my back, mama?” Very cute!

At the end of the day, she decided to stick with mommy, for now, anyways. I like them all. She can call me whatever makes her happy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More protein, baby!

As I have mentioned before, Amor Chiquito is a self-proclaimed vegetarian! No idea where that came from. Her dad and I would never ever give up chicken for anything!

Amor Chiquito loves fruit, some vegetables, and some whole grains. I am trying to increase her protein intake. Here is how it is looking thus far:

Milk: She prefers chocolate milk. She has a small glass of chocolate milk before bed almost every night. I will be sending chocolate milk with her lunch instead of orange juice.

Yogurt: She wants to eat the sugary yogurts with kid characters on them. I am not such a big fan. I will be trying different yogurt options.

Cheese: She used to love American cheese, not so much lately. The only time I see her eating cheese is when she eats pizza. Come to think of it, she used to enjoy cream cheese. Perhaps I should try that again.

Eggs: Nope, no way. She loves to help Daddy make scrambled eggs, but she won’t try them.

Meats: The only time she eats any meat is at a Thai restaurant where she likes chicken satay (chicken on a stick!).

Nuts: Fortunately, we know that she is not allergic to any of them. Unfortunately, she is just not interested.

Nut butters: She absolutely hates peanut butter. I wish you could see her face! “That is so so yutty!”

Beans: She used to eat a bowl of just beans when she was about ten months! Now she won’t touch them. To be fair, perhaps, I should make beans more often so that she has more exposure.

She eats things like homemade waffles, which contain some whole wheat flour, eggs, milk and olive oil. But, as you can see, I am having a hard time getting proteins into her.

I would love any and all suggestions! What do you do? What has worked?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Article: Mistakes Parents Make When Feeding Their Kids

Good read. Great reminders.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Holy brain and language development batman!

Here are several interesting words and phrases that Amor Chiquito has been using as of late.


Just in case

If you change your mind…

She is using all of these correctly! Being a first-time mom, I had no idea when kids begin to use such phrases. I was shocked!

Some quotes:

“Mommy, tomorrow (she has not figured out past and future phrases), when I be grown up, I will have a baby and I will be a mommy and you will be a grandma and daddy will be a granddaddy and we will be a big family for the baby.”

“Daddy, you are my daddy and my cousin’s tio (uncle in Spanish). Tio (my brother) is my cousin’s dad and my tio.”

“Daddy, I was in my mommy’s tummy and you were in Nana’s tummy. Mommy was in grandma’s tummy.”

Let’s not forget:

“And you are not listening to me. I want to go to the park.”

Lastly, “I am done talking about grandma’s house. I want to go to the park.”

Holy brain and language development batman! That’s all I can say!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Touching Words from a Mom

No earthly idea where I found this or who wrote it. I found it online years ago. As I was going through old documents, I came across it, reread it, and I'm in tears, just like all the other times I've read it!


We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking.

"Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all.

I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell.

She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child.

That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, and not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.

"You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, andfor all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.


What do you think, parents? This is about moms, but there are some pretty squishy daddies out there too! I heard a cute daddy tell his baby girl he missed her today, for example!