Monthly Archives: November 2013

Saying Thank You And Meaning It

©istock.com/staceynewman

©istock.com/staceynewman

It’s very easy to say the words, “Thank You”.
“Thank You.”  See, I just said it.
But to say it and mean it are two different things, and can be difficult concepts to teach children.  In the spirit of celebrating Thanksgiving, the holidays and the New Year I decided this would be a good opportunity to lay down the groundwork for defining gratitude to my 4-year-old.  Here are some simple grown up concepts, which I have turned into kid-friendly tricks to teach my daughter how to be thankful, and really understand the significance behind them.

ABC’s To Donating
I’m not going to lie.  I love spoiling my daughter.  I love seeing the big smile that automatically appears on her face when I buy her a toy, craft or a princess dress she’s been dreaming about.  I am even guilty of purchasing unnecessary knick-knacks for her just because I can’t handle hearing the disappointment in her voice.  But when her school sent out a form about a clothing drive, I decided this was a great chance for me to explain and show her the importance of giving back and helping families in need. Instead of running solo to the store to pick up some pajamas and outerwear for the fundraiser, I hopped on the chance to turn this act of charity into a fun activity for both of us.  I explained to her the meaning of donating and put her in charge of selecting the pieces.  She was so excited to be given this big girl responsibility.  It took her less than two minutes to choose pink pjs for a girl and blue for a boy (we’ll work on her creativity next time around ☺).

Three Words That Begin With G…
It’s hard for toddlers to understand the real value of money.  When they ask for or receive a gift, the last thing they are thinking about is the price tag that comes with the present. But who can blame them, (I’m in my 30’s and sometimes get tripped up from this concept too).  I needed to find a clever way to explain that being handed a gift is a very nice gesture, but shouldn’t be expected.  I gave her a quick lesson about three important words that begin with G, giving, generosity and being gracious. I was pretty sure she got the gist and then she asked me for cookies and milk.

Mommy and Daddy Need To Do Their Homework Too
I overheard my husband telling our daughter that if she needs anything, she should just pick up the phone and call her grandparents.  Although, this was an obvious joke to both of us, I feared that she could take this statement as 100% true, potentially creating our own “Veruca Salt.”  No one can forget the infamous bratty character in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who expected to get everything by simply saying, “I want it now, daddy.” If you want to teach your kids how to be appreciative, then you have to practice what you preach.  My first step is not being disappointed for what I don’t have, but being thankful for what I already do have (including the simple pleasures in life like the delicious cup of coffee I just brewed for myself).

Wishing all of you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 

A Must-Have In Motherhood: “Wing” Mom

Mother Friends

©istock.com/kakigoristudio

I’m not sure what’s worse…the silent awkward moments women encounter on first dates or the ones they experience at social mommy meetings.  Finding a mommy buddy is no easy task.  Not only are you trying to make a good first impression on your future “soul mom,”  but you are also trying to help your children find potential play dates.  With that being said, you try really hard not to say anything offensive, insincere or craaaazzzzy (yes, for some of us that is very hard)! Your date ends and you hope she’ll ask for your number.  Maybe she’ll call you to grab a cup of coffee or even better she’ll invite you and your kids over for a fun afternoon.  But neither happens.  You go your separate ways and wonder if you just let the “one” get away.  You worry that you’ll never find your perfect match.  You love being a resident in mommy land, but wouldn’t it be easier to explore this unfamiliar and always evolving territory with a partner, teammate, “wing” mom?  A wing mom is the person who really gets you.  You can confide in her and she’ll always have your back.  More importantly, she’ll be able to tell you when to relax or if you really are being crazy.  It’s a bond that will develop over time, but a necessary one that can carry you through all the ups and downs of motherhood. 

Ladies, for those of you who have found your right hand mom, share this article to thank her for being your sanity savior.  If you are still desperately seeking, then don’t send this article to any prospects because that would just be creepy.

First Family Vacation To Disney: 4 Beginner Tips

photo(3)I’ve just returned from a journey like no other.  My family and I were even given a pin to reward our guts and glory.  The pin read,  “First Time Visitor To Disney World.”  Throughout my adult life, I’ve managed to navigate my way through NYC, explore
Las Ramblas in Barcelona and scour the racks at Loehmann’s, but when it came to visiting the Magic Kingdom, others didn’t need to notice my daughter’s pin to know we were Disney amateurs.  From planning and packing to boarding the plane to reaching our final destination, “Where dreams come true,” my vacation quickly went from calmness to chaos.  With a chance to reminisce after four days of non-stop action, a load of pictures and memorabilia I can honestly say, “I’ll be back,” but only with a new and improved traveling strategy.  Here’s a list of tips that can reduce family drama when doing Disney the first or in my case, second time around.

Pack A To-Go Tote
When we arrived at the hotel, our room wasn’t prepared and neither were we.  Our food was stuffed in one bag, kids clothes thrown in another, lotion and sunglasses hidden in my pocketbook.  It made me realize a bag needs to be pre-packed for the park and ready to go at a moments notice. The tote should be filled with lotion, snacks, water, wipes, diapers (if needed), sweatshirts and change of clothes.

Divide And Conquer
Most of our visit consisted of bursts of excitement or major meltdowns depending on the kid and time of day.  After two days of insanity my husband and I decided our love couldn’t conquer all.  We had to devise a plan that would keep the whole clan happy, but not always together.  Next time we will pair up, one child per one parent.  This will help create a smoother trip and give parents a chance to see Disney through their child’s eyes.

You Can’t Compete With Mickey and Friends
Never and I stress never, stand in your child’s way from getting their Disney idol’s autograph.  Although the character meet and greet may seem a little boring to an adult, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your little one.  If the line is running too long, try to stay flexible and rearrange some plans. You certainly don’t want to be remembered as the evil parent who made your child miss a high-five from Goofy or a hug from Sophia the First. 

Take a Minnie Break
From the time you first step into Disney, all the fairytale sights, parades, shows, and stores enchant you.  Your adventures turn into full day excursions and before you make it to dinner you’re exhausted and the kids are ready to crash.  Remember, to take a break and unwind from the excitement.   Schedule time to chill out in the room, pool or go for a spa service.  It gives parents time to rest and kids a chance to re-energize for the next voyage.

 

 

5 Signs Your Baby Is Judging You

One of my biggest fears as a mom is being judged.  Does my mother-in-law think her son is a better parent than me?  Do my relatives disagree with my infant’s nap routine?  Do my seemingly perfect new mommy friends doubt my disciplining decisions?  However, I never thought I would have to fear what my baby was thinking, until the day she took her morning bottle and gave me the proverbial “finger”!

Maybe she thought I was doing a crappy job OR maybe, she knew a laugh was exactly what I needed to relieve one of my stressful first-time mommy moments.  Want to impress people with your baby bonding skills?  Learn 5 things your sweet little bundle of joy may be telling you about your parenting style and more.

Sign 1:  He falls asleep on your shoulder.

Translation:  You are too boring for him.

Sign 2: Her head falls back when you go to kiss her.

Translation:  Hey mom, have you heard of a tic tac, certs, gum, anything?

Sign 3:  As she begins to dose off, your voice startles her causing her hands to fly up in the air.

Translation:  What the F!  I’m sleeping.

Sign 4: His eyes roll behind his head.

Translation:  You obviously don’t know what you are doing.

Sign 5:  He grabs your nose.

Translation:  Your schnoz is too big!