6 Fool-Proof Parenting Hacks – or How to Parent Like a Ninja.

Ninjas are awesome. They are fast and nimble and think on their toes; they’ll do flips in the air and cut ya (I think you can already see the parallels with parenting).

Ninja Parent

While you have been basking in your instagram parenting fantasies, or your grandmas’ apron nostalgia… it’s time to snap out of it. Once you have kids, it’s survival time. Your ninja skills have to come out if you are going to emerge from this whole journey in one piece. Trust me, with two kids to keep me sharp, I’ve got a few parenting hacks to share. Just like that ninja throwing star you keep in your pocket… here are 6 sharp points to get you through the baby and toddler years.

Parenting Hacks

  1. LAYER THE CRIB SHEETS. Your child is going to be sick. It’s going to happen more than once and usually in the middle of the night. This brilliant idea will save you time and most importantly sanity. Line the sheets of your kids bed with waterproof liner, fitted sheet and layer – waterproof liner, fitted sheet, waterproof liner, fitted sheet. This way at 3AM when your child is sick, all you have to do is pull off the first layer of fitted sheet and liner and you are good to go. Your sick kid doesn’t have to wait for sheets to be changed and you can all go back to sleep… until the next round.
  2. PAINT BATH. To give you a few moments of sanity when you have a toddler ruling you life. Pour some washable paint into your bathtub and let your child have at it! Kids will love the novelty of taking a paint bath and you will have a moment to breathe! When you are ready to clean them off, simply turn the water on and rinse off. Arts education and parenting hack! Who said Jackson Pollock never painted nudes!
  3. PREEMPTIVE PAJAMAS. Kids fall asleep in the car. So next time you are out for a late dinner, change the diaper and put the kids into their PJ’s before they get in the car. This way they can go straight up to bed without any disruptions when you get home.
  4. BACKPACK I. Use a backpack as a diaper bag. This is the most convenient hands free way to tote all your baby essentials without having to fumble around with a large tote.
  5. BACKPACK II. Once your babe can walk around let him carry his own gear. Give him a kiddie backpack with one diaper, wipes, snack and a toy. This gives him some independence and gives you free hands to wrangle your toddler.
  6. TEETHING TREATS. To help with teething pain, small frozen mango or pineapple bits are the perfect antidotes. Kids will love the sweet tasty treat while also numbing the teething pain.

Parenting Hacks 2

Alright Ninjas… we’ve got this parenting thing down!

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What’s your word for 2015?

I’ve given up on New Year’s Resolutions. They never work out, there’s too much pressure and I’m not one to jump on bandwagons.

But I do like to acknowledge the birth of a new year, a new season, a new everything and starting at 1.

I spent the last few days thinking about how to start off 2015. Not by promising myself something, but rather embracing something. Making something part of my everyday life and breathing it in.

I picked a word for the year…

// C R E A T E //

New Year 2015

This is my word for 2015.

This word speaks to all of my various selfs. I’ve complained too long about the loss my creative life, and this year I’m going to create something, or many somethings,  if even in  the smallest way.

I want to work on building and creating meaningful relationships with my friends and family members which will root themselves deep for the years ahead.

I want to create a life and environment where I can be inspired and bring some of that creative spark back to me being.

Lily and I talked about the meaning of this word as we gathered up our craft supplies and made a little reminder for ourselves.

She said she wants to ‘create’ a better world for others.

… i love this child.

Words have power and I think we chose the perfect word for us to focus on in the new year.

Happy 2015 everyone.

What is your word for 2015?

 

 

 

 

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5 survival tips for attending Disney on Ice: Frozen

Let me start by stating the obvious. Hockey arenas were not built for a thousand screaming Elsa’s who have to go pee N O W ! 

Standing in the Nassau Coliseum –  drowning in a sea of Elsa’s-  is pretty much how I felt,  when I spent 2 hours at the Disney on Ice: Frozen show. Don’t get me wrong… the show is spectacular. It’s magic. It’s on Ice. It’s Disney. 

But… while the kids LOOOVED it!

Make. It. Stop. 

Let. ME. Go.

 A few weeks ago when this whole house was sick, we watched frozen 4 times in one day. IN ONE DAY! Even the 23-month Moto is obsessed and sings the songs complete with ice queen castle building hand flares. You… dear parental unit… are quite possibly going to find yourself at a hockey arena with your very own Elsa, Anna or Snowman watching Disney on Ice: Frozen and I have some valuable tips to share with you. I, of course, learned all this the hard way. Field research… as they say.

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1. Get to the arena early. There are a ton of vendors selling Olaf hats and mugs and Elsa wands and reindeer antler headbands and everything is blue and sparkly and cotton candy and you and your kids have to fight your way through this forest of souvenirs before you even get near your seat. So get there early and get ready for battle. 

2. Bring earplugs. Everyone is Elsa… some are Anna… but the Elsa’s rule the night. When “Let it Go’ is performed, get ready for the entire… and I mean ENTIRE arena to explode with each kid singing their own individual versions of the song. At the same time. Really loud. In your ear. Coming at you from all directions. You might want to tuck some earplugs under your own platinum blonde side-braid wig.

3. Go pee. Make sure your kid pees before the show and then don’t give them ANY liquids during the entire show. Do NOT… do NOT use the restrooms during intermission. You think a public gas station bathroom is gross… try a public bathroom where a gazillion Elsa’s have tried to hike up their poufy dresses to go pee… only to miss all over the place. * i have to say that the staff at the Nassau Coliseum did a stellar job tidying up after the princesses. You’ve got toddlers… what else can you expect!*

4. Beware getting clocked in the head by the many glowing, whirling magic wands. Instead of clapping, the kid behind you will like to wave hers around, treating your head to a thousand failed attempts at “turning you into a frog”.

5. Cinderella makes an appearance in the very beginning for all of 1 minute and the entire place is going to EXPLODE with a million squeals!!! I guess Elsa has competition! 

 

So there ya have it. The kids are going to love the show, It’s fun, funny, and has that Disney magic which cannot be duplicated. Disney on Ice: Frozen is a Holiday Season MUST! 

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My 9 Year Olds Homework is driving me crazy!

Every evening, there is a quiet unheard cry from parents who are losing their minds over their child’s homework.

I am one of them.

We, the media, discuss the hardships of having a baby, the challenges of life with a toddler, the troublesome teenage years but we sort of skip over these pre-tweens who are going through something pretty major on a daily basis and homework is only the smallest part of their struggle.photo (47)

Lily is a smart child, top of her class. Her homework is not an overload by any means. It’s exactly what I would expect. It’s a reinforcement of what was studied in class that day.

For my 9YO, her daily homework is my hell. Whether she is exhausted from the pressure of being in 4th grade, the social pressure of school, the pressure to study and learn at warp speed or just being a 9 Year Old with lots of changes going on… our daily homework routine is my hell!

The cries start almost immediately and won’t stop for about 3 hours. which is how long her 40 minutes of homework takes.

As a parent of a 9YO I want to tell all of you coming up the parenting pipeline. Get ready for it. If you thought homework was bad when YOU were a student… it’s HORRID when you are a parent.

After we try to soothe her cries, she finally settles into a rhythm and gets it done but the meltdown takes a good chunk of our evening. It’s stressful, it’s exhausting and it’s isolating.

Isolating because – no one talks about it. Maybe there is a ‘my child does homework better than your child’ check list, which I am not aware of. Or maybe parents don’t want to discuss their struggles with their pre tweens so openly. I don’t know. But would you people PLEASE talk about this because I feel like I am going through it all alone and my child is the only one having full meltdowns every. single. night.

Lily is an A student, her grades are A’s, she gets her stuff done but this homework is killing her. Her teacher is great and while she does lay down the law and makes sure her students all know what is expected of the curriculum… Lily is stressed and there is A LOT to learn this 4th grade year. The pressure is on!

My heart breaks seeing her cry like this. I don’t want to say she struggles through homework, but she is so stressed to get it done and get it done right that it’s almost too much for her little mind and body to take.

What do we do parents? How do you handle this? Do you have any tips you can share with me, because I am emotionally drained every single night.

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9 things I want to tell my 9 Year Old as she starts 4th grade.

This post has been sitting in draft since February… when Lily turned 9. Tomorrow this sweet-pea of mine starts 4th grade. While she is excited and has nervous energy and I am anxious and stressed and don’t want her to goooo! This is the part no one tells you… you just don’t want your kids to grow up! 

All of you parents who are off sending your kids to Kindergarten or Preschool for the first time this year… it doesn’t get easier. It just doesn’t . Each year is a reminder to how closer you are to losing your baby. Lily will always be my baby…I know i have to give her wings to fly and all those things…but my winged-flying-child will always be my baby!

As kids get older, they start to take on habits from other people who are around them. School friends, teachers, mentors, coaches… all play a very vital role in how your child responds to the world. And while it is great to have a variety of influences, I just want to slip some of my knowledge and thoughts to Lily this 4th grade year.

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As Lily starts 4th grade… I say these 9 things to my 9 year old change-maker!

  1. Be KIND. You don’t have to be nice … but you have to be kind…ALWAYS. There is a big difference between these two words. Nice: pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. Kind: considerate, helpful,humane.
  2. Mean Kids are sad kids. But can also be very scary kids. In life, there will always be mean people… you ignore them and be brave and strong. and ALWAYS tell me if you are being bullied.
  3. Ask questions. Always ask questions. Ask your teachers, your parents, your friends, yourself… always ask questions and don’t ever stop asking questions.  I love your questions and you have such an inquisitive nature. Keep asking questions in life. Keep researching things like you do and keep trying to find YOUR OWN answers.
  4. You hate me some days but I love you everyday. It’s true. Your 9YO hormones are wreaking havoc inside your small body and since you love me so much I am the one who gets the worst of it. I take that as a compliment and I love you even more because of it. I love you every single day no matter what!
  5. Be thankful. when you wake up in the morning… be thankful. when you eat. be thankful. when you go to school be thankful – because girls in most countries don’t get that chance. be thankfull for your freedom because people are trapped in their world and you are not.
  6. Keep jumping. You are such a monkey and I want you to never forget that. Keep moving and climbing and jumping through life. Your body is strong and is only going to strengthen your core and your being… so jump around and find your movement through life.
  7. Always hold my hand. I love when you hold my hand. Your sweet hand fits perfectly into mine and we match. Hold my hand always.
  8. No means NO. Right now this seems like nothing…but I want you to understand this phrase and let it sink into your being…NO mean NO always.
  9. I am your mother, which means.  I will always support you and only you no matter what.  I will always be on your team, I will always fight for you, I will always listen, I will always pick you up, I will always have macaroons waiting for you and I you will forever be my little egg.

Off you go Lil… jumping into 4th grade. You are a change-maker and are going to do amazing things in this world!

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Where Is My Village?

It Takes a Village to Raise A Child.

An african proverb + a book authored by Hillary Clinton + a mantra among parental units.

But where is MY village.

Now, before you get defensive, please remember that this post is solely MY point of view. It’s MY personal experience and I do not… as a parent to a baby and a tween … i DO NOT have the time to research all ends of this argument.

This is a crazy, pressure-paced world in 2014 and navigating all the madness of parenting is scary, exhausting, confusing and lonely.

So here goes… Where Is My Village?

The New York Mom

I was at our town pool recently. This is a hub of ‘mom with kids’ activity. I always end up “meeting” a mom at the pool. We have amazing conversations. we connect, we laugh, we tell stories, we share toys with our kids…and then we leave.

Back to our homes in the afternoon.

I always wonder… are other moms sitting at home in their primary-color-filled-playrooms, overflowing with toys… lonely?

Are you in your home with  your babe playing dollies or choo choo, following a daily routine, all alone?

I have NEVER in my life borrowed “sugar from a neighbor”.

Are those days over? I never experienced those days.

This village which people speak of, this village where I myself grew up..might be an urban legend because I have never come across this culture as a parent.

We have now lived in our new neighborhood for 2 years and I STILL don’t know my neighbors. It’s not from a lack of trying. I am always outside with the kids eager to hang on to any morsel of conversation that anyone is willing to throw my way. But nothing. One of our neighbors drops off yummy tomatoes and veggies from his garden, he even hands them to us over the fence. But last week I found out that he has been a grandfather for 15 months! Another neighbor has a daughter who is Lily’s best friend but we don’t know them – the parents – at all. Yet another neighbor has boys who are Lily’s age and are always playing outside but never takes the time to stop and say hello to me when I am outside with the kids. Our church family is great… but saved for  Sundays, not social otherwise.

I yearn for MY village! In an attempt to find my village I joined a mom group. I love it! It’s actually my lifeline most weeks. From the over 60+ members I have made ONE connection…after a whole year of being a part of the group.

When we first moved to our new community I was so hopeful. we had our local coffee shop, Tuesday music on the green, a gorgeous town park to walk through, town pool, soccer… all of it. But it seems like a short-lived mirage.

We live in a really old house which used to have a front porch. Probably a proud glorious friendly front porch which has now been enclosed and made into a light filled indoor space. The alternatives are back decks, with privacy which keep us inside our own world and not engaging with our neighbors.

Growing up in India and also in Florida – the village was there. In highschool i felt like everywhere I went, i had one of my moms friends there either working or coordinating or doing something at any given location. My school life was integrated with our neighborhood so neighbors picked up kids, borrowed sugar, had house parties, kept an eye on all the kids and built them self a village.

I don’t have a village and it’s not from lack of trying. I have tried… I have tried for 2 years and it seems as if everyone around us has settled into a rhythm and routine over time and new people in the neighborhood like me have no room.

So I ask, Is there any sense of a village in the year 2014?

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Summer Don’t End!

The New York MomWe have 3 weeks before school starts again and this sweet pea of mine is heading off to the 4th grade. I love having her home for the summer. We schedule a blend of sleep away camp and family get aways with day trips and endless craft projects and I miss that when she is in school. This summer was our first with Thomas being active and running around and it was very different. He kept both of us on our toes with his ninja escaping methods but we caught him every time. Lily is such a gem with him. He asks her for candy all the time or asks her to ‘please’ turn on the choo-choo on the tv or computer. And there have been endless sing-alongs to “let it go”.

I’ve loved every single moment.

Summer don’t end!

 

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Understanding the 9 year old Dragon

I have enjoyed the most glorious few days with this little sweet pea of mine!! We’ve had the best adventures these past couple weeks and folks I am here to tell you… I might just have found a way to tame the 9YO hormonal dragon.

if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram then you know my woes re:  9YO hormonal meltdowns.

Lily has epic meltdowns frequently… these chemical messengers in the body are apparently normal, but they leave me emotionally wrecked!

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A few months ago her dragon-ness was just too much for me to take and she was telling little tiny fibs about everything… everything had some element of a lie and I was so stressed because I didn’t want her to get used to her lying ways –  and she is such an angel-  but she would tell these lies – and they were all surrounding CANDY!

The S U G A H had a hold on her and wasn’t letting go.

So on the way to work one morning I just did a simple google search.

my 9yo tells lies.

What I discovered was page after page, chat room after chat room about this very topic. You know they say… misery loves company. and I do. Apparently this is normal and so is the candy. It’s a sign of early puberty which is sorta scary because she was JUST running around in tutus and mispronouncing words…

But I’ll take it. It’s normal.

My reaction to her tantrums and meltdowns has changed since. I get it, I understand.

Honestly we have to keep reading about these kiddies and their ages and what to expect because the more ya know… the more you are ready for it.

So I’ve been reading more and more info about 9YO behaviors, patterns and what to expect. ( very national geographic sounding – like i’m studying some species of dragon tween creature)

Arming myself with the tools I need … as a parent.. to handle this dragon stage has really helped me understand Lily.

I always tell her “if  you just feel like crying then come over and sit with me and cry, you don’t have to have a reason for it”  and she does. She has no idea why she is crying but she will sit with me and wail and then it’s all good. ( sometimes)  she is still learning how to contain her out of control meltdowns.

The New York Mom

Ahhh don’t grow up!!!!

Do you have any advice on this 9YO age? Seems like their bodies go through so much at this age and we parents just want to hold on!

 

 

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on being EXTRAORDINARY

There seems to be immense pressure, in social norm, to be extraordinary.  With social media being an ever looming presence, there is no escaping the expectation to be extraordinary.

Almost as if  being “good” or “REALLY good” at something is no longer enough. We need to go “viral” we need to create buzz, we need to “prove” something… not to someone… rather everyone. People we don’t even know need to know of our extraordinary-ness.

How are we defining extraordinary? working in the online social space, i see it all. I know the work it takes to get one ‘viral’ shot, one dog and child behaving in harmony picture, one spoof video with your entire family in perfectly matching tees… i get it. It’s hard work and for anyone who thinks some of this stuff just happens… no it doesn’t. There is a ton of work that goes behind a ‘viral’ video or image. seo, slugs, tags, reddit, stumble, instagram, brown nosing… it’s a whole business. But that my readers is how you, me, we, judge extraordinary. Isn’t it? or is it? *there are exceptions who find an organic way to go viral but these are few*

It’s taken me years to get over the fact that my dance career at the ‘extraordinary‘ level is over. I don’t have any desire to get back to it anymore simply because too much time has passed and I’m not motivated to rebuild that sort of career. But just when I accept that, I find myself in this world of blogging where the business of being a mom has to be extraordinary!  It’s not enough to post a cute picture of your child… you have to now spend endless time making that go viral. A cute kid + dog + your ultra trendy outfit + on a beach in Bali + with yummy food that you cooked up while balancing 2 kids on your hip + lo-fi filter… i could go on.

I have to admit that I do get lulled into this extraordinary rat race. how could I not! I work in a competitive online space and being extraordinary is how this world measures success. Thankfully this family of mine snaps me out of my madness from time to time.

I would really just love to move to a beachy town and open up an art studio or a theatre, make dances, screen print shirts and letterpress all day. Wouldn’t that be just be the dream. I would make a difference in arts education while also making art!

But in today’s social media obsessed lifestyle, this would not be enough. I would have to have an art studio or theatre which is creating footage that goes viral because some 6 year old wonder kid living in the beach town community would be able to belt our a first soprano aria while still drinking from a sippy cup and cranking out 32 fuetes on point while her cat runs circles around her, or my screen tees  would build an obsessive following via instagram because some fashion mom indie blogger who lives on the upper west side would photograph their kid wearing my design or my letterpress stationary would make it to the oval office on some ‘small business’ support” initiative.

and then people would say – that’s extraordinary.

Truth is I am pretty satisfied being where I am, who I am and chugging along doing ordinary things with my extraordinary family. These babies of mine think I am pretty extraordinary when i do  things like

  • Let Lily stay up an extra hour
  • have ice cream for breakfast
  • go the beach
  • dance in the rain
  • have a movie night
  • read extra books at night
  • fall asleep with them
  • let them crawl in our bed in the morning
  • have dance parties
  • just give them snuggles
  • …and these everyday life moments

all extraordinary things… to my most important audience. and that’s all that matters in the end.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel this pressure in your  life…not just to be good but to be extraordinary!

 

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10 BlogHer tips for Brands and Bloggers

So in case you have been living under a rock … the mother of all momblogging conferences is going on right now.. this weekend. BlogHer!

This, my friends, is where the Who’s Who of the blogger community gather.  They host events, speak on panels, and party! Brands large and small flock to this conference to engage with bloggers.

While I am not attending this year, my dear friend Candice – of Mom Most Traveled – and I have decided to impart some honest to goodness bona-fide wisdom for those of you attending. You’ve heard a ton of advice so we’ve broken ours down to 5 essential tips…5 for bloggers, and 5 for brands. Maybe you won’t get these tips on other carefully written lists, but we want to give you the real truth about attending blogging conferences.

FOR BLOGGERS:

  1. Be gracious. Be conscious about NOT making other bloggers feel “less than”. The blogging world is full of introverts (we do, after all, do our best work when we are alone in our pajamas), and lots of people are out of their comfort zone. You can be a light, or you can be a sledge-hammer.
  2. This is business, not a sorority party, so slow down on the drinkies. It’s tacky, it’s embarrassing and you are perpetuating the ‘drunk blogger’ stereotype.
  3. DO branch out from “your tribe”. After all, that is kind of the point of BlogHer. Mix and mingle and play nicely in the sandbox.
  4. We realize that this might be the first time in months that you have been invited to a party for adults…but make sure you dress on the “professional” side of fancy. Brand parties are an excellent place to network, so now might not be the best time to bust out those plexiglass stilettos, or show off your fab cocktail dress at 10 in the morning. Ain’t nobody got time for stilettos.
  5. be YOU. be the nicest most bestest beautiful version of YOU because you are the best YOU. No one else is YOU and only YOU have that special something that the world is waiting for. YOU! brands want YOU… authentic, genuine YOU. so be original, be yourself and don’t hide your true beautiful self under a bushel.

FOR BRANDS:

  1. You are attending Blogher for a reason… to connect with bloggers. So do that.  Look up from your texting and your business emails. Set it to OOO auto responder and be present! 
  2. First I’d like you to note – Not every blogger is looking for swag, We are looking for contacts and a business relationship. That said —> Think about the quality of ‘swag’ you are handing out. You are at Blogher… the mecca of swag. Some brands go all out with swag so your brand key chain is not going to cut it. I once received a simple $5 gift card to Starbucks with the brand logo on it. that was the best swag!  Be creative and make a real personal connection. That is the most effective type of swag.
  3. Follow up via email the Tuesday after BlogHer! If you have a promising stack of business cards, don’t let them go to waste! Snooze? Lose.
  4. Be ready to do some bona-fide Speed Dating with bloggers! Connect with Bloggers on a personal level. Ask them about their kids, ask them about their blog, their interests…find out everything you can, so you can court them later with great campaigns!
  5. The MOST IMPORTANT thing brands can do to track their action during blogher is #ashtag!! Seize the moment brands! Have a hashtag, create a silly photo booth which will give bloggers a chance to relax + have fun = trending hashtag, you can also give away a ridic prize based on hashtag photo booth submissions.

And a bonus for the brands … free massages and John Stamos cover a multitude of sins. #justsayin

 

Have fun at BlogHer everyone!

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