Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keeping Calm

One key element to being a good parent aka good role model is practicing calm. A major pitfall for parents is getting wrapped into the dramas of daily life and becoming tense, anxious, or depressed and pessimistic about their kids. The truth is that the calmer we keep ourselves, the more life will work itself out in our favor. It's just a fact.

There are some practical tips on how to keep calm. Below are some that can work, and I welcome other ideas:

-Chamomile and other herbal teas, warm in the winter, iced in the summer: taking a break to keep refreshed and well-watered is essential to maintaining your sense of balance, both physical and emotional. When you feel overwhelmed, put your child(ren) in a safe place and make some tea. If tea isn't your thing, at least drink some water or juice.

-Focusing on your breath: most of us cannot completely clear our minds from worry and angst, but we can at least replace negative thoughts with neutral ones. One of the most neutral, helpful thoughts are those that focus our minds on our bodies - our heartbeats, our breath, relaxing our limbs, etc. A further step is to take a moment to be thankful that our bodies are working the way they should - this can also bring calm and perspective.

-Counting: this one has never really worked for me, but it is highly recommended especially in magazines and books. Replacing negative thoughts with numbers or letters clears the mind.

-Stretching: a great way to shift our focus is to completely immerse ourselves in some healthy physical stretches. Sometimes this can even distract a tantrum-prone kid - when he sees you suddenly get down on the floor for stretches, he may be so surprised, he'll calm down along with you, maybe even stretch himself!

-Call a friend: if nothing else helps, sometimes just some support and perspective from a good friend is all we need.

Lastly, turning to your spouse to cover for you when you are particularly stressed is very helpful and also educational for your children. They learn that sometimes we need to solicit help in order to get back in control of our emotions. Clearly, help is not always around, but when it is, use it. Give yourself a break, put yourself in time-out, and let someone else deal with the mess the kids have made :) Don't feel guilty - you are teaching your children the importance of calm - a skill that will help them throughout their lives.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Strider Bike - the no-tears alternative!

Tried and true - I can officially announce that the strider bike REALLY WORKS. It really does teach young children how to balance on a bike without falling, without a lot of running behind-the-bike by the parents, without a lot of nervous parents and kids alike! My daughter transferred from the strider to a real pedal-pumping 2-wheeler in just 2 visits to the parking lot, and she didn't fall once!

Here's a link to the product - note that I can't vouch for them, but there are similar and a bit less-pricey models on the market.


For those who want information on childproofing your home, I found this link which is very helpful and informative. Chock full of good-to-reads and good-to-knows:


Monday, September 20, 2010


One thing that really frustrates me is children's vitamins. I don't mind giving my kids the extra boost - hey, they really are modern miracles to ward off all kinds of diseases. The extra Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin B's, Vitamin C's... not to mention minerals like Iron & Calcium. Children in many countries still suffer terrible malnourishment due to lack of certain vitamins and minerals in their diet, so I'm grateful to have these little super-pills available.

What upsets and confounds me about giving my kids vitamins is the added colors, preservatives, flavors, etc. I feel particularly sensitive to these carcinogens when it comes to vitamins. I mean, what a conflict: do I give my kids these vitamins when such awful colors & artificial flavors come along for the ride? Are these still super-pills to keep them healthy or yet more junk to fill their sensitive little bodies with pollutants?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a mom who is die-hard organic. I *prefer* natural, organic living, but I'm not up to fighting that fight to the bitter end. We have junky foods around, including food colors, and our hummus has preservatives so that it won't go bad within the week.

But there's something particularly sinister about giving vitamins with added colors, flavors, and preservatives. And I just can't get myself to feel comfortable doing so.

Luckily, I recently found some more natural alternatives at the health food store. Attached is a link to get it through Amazon (I LOVE this feature!) My kids love them, and I feel much better giving them these than the ones at CVS or Costco. Are they much more expensive? YOUBETCHA! But I can't help but feel that at least THIS should be a truly healthy boost for them in their days/diets.

Hope this is helpful and gets you thinking a little more about what we feed our kids...

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Year Scrambles

I had/have every intention of posting a new blog each day of the week.

Of late, I have fallen terribly behind, in part due to holiday shuffles, and in part due to a lot of new developments in my life: the Jewish new year, the scholastic new year, sadly some family tragedies, joyfully some family celebrations... and I'm definitely feeling the early pangs of my next baby's entry into this world, God willing within the next month.

I have a lot to share and a lot of ideas friends have requested, so I hope you will keep checking, even if I don't have the rate-of-blogs that I had intended.

Thanks for your understanding and wishing you a wonderful new year, new fall, new school year, and new challenges for tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I hope this will be one of many posts regarding children & spirituality.

I am a firm believer in teaching children about faith. Faith in good things ahead, faith in growth and change, and faith in their parents, their siblings, and their peers.

Faith is a key player in establishing a solid emotional base, so that children can grow up with an "I can" attitude - they should grow up having faith in themselves and faith in their world.

One way to ensure your child has a deep sense of faith is to work on your own. As a parent, you need to tell yourself that YOU are strong, YOU are capable, and YOU believe in great things to come. Don't let yourself get burdened with doubts and worries - work on maintaining a positive attitude, in the face of challenges and setbacks.

Another wonderful thing about faith is that it has a snowball effect: the more faith you have, the more faith you will build, and the more your child will join you in this path. You will find the signs that amazing and bright days are ahead, and you will be excited about building a better tomorrow.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. Pick up a book on faith today - read, pray, and develop this muscle. It can have a powerful effect on your entire life and that of your child(ren). Attached is one example of a great faith-building book. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

holidays & structure

We've just come from a major holiday in our calendar. Hence the pause in posting.

Holidays can be a beautiful break from the norm. A chance for parents and children to spend "quality time" together and catch up. Most of us lead busy lives, running from one task to the next. Holidays are an opportunity to slow down and share stories, ideas, food and fun together.

Holidays can also be stressful and overwhelming. The preparations, anticipation, and various activities can themselves keep us so busy we don't really get to relax and enjoy each other as much as we hope/plan. Having friends and family around us all day and evening can create stresses that don't always show up in our daily interactions.

By the end of the holiday, I'm often looking forward to getting back to my routine. The stability and predictability can be calming.

We mothers need to remember this principle. Some of us are keen on spontaneity and take our children out of their routines and assume they should be flexible, so we don't understand when they resist. Who wouldn't like to go to the beach instead of school? Why is the parade not a good idea, when the alternative was to go to our regularly-scheduled mommy-and-me? Some children act up when they are taken out of their routines. They may enjoy the activity for a short while, but then a tantrum or other breakdown may ensue.

The answer is the same as how we feel about holidays. It can be fun to take a break, but actually the routine is what keeps us going. Small breaks & holidays can help us appreciate the mundane, but too many "breaks" would be overwhelming and stressful. The same holds true for children with their systems and schedules. Sure, from time to time it's nice to do something different, but too much spontaneity can make children feel like their world and lives are chaotic and confusing.

You need to know your child and his/her threshold for sudden changes in activity. Be sensitive. Pause your sense of adventure and re-think if it will be wise to take him out of his predictable structure. Consider your audience and you both will benefit.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Veggie Ideas

I firmly believe that a key to raising healthy eaters is by choosing to fight the veggie battle. Some people feel it's not worth the constant argument, but in my opinion - it is. Children need to be comfortable eating vegetables. Period. Maybe a specific vegetable in a particular style isn't worth the fight, but the general idea of vegetables in his diet is. I'll blog a bit more on how I think it relates to obesity, but for now, here are some ideas on how to encourage your child(ren) to eat vegetables:

-have bite-sized cut veggies available at EVERY meal (i.e. even breakfast!) Some examples: cucumbers, grape-tomatoes, peppers (green, red, etc.), carrots, celery, radishes, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. NOTE: PREPARATION TAKES TIME. Vegetables are actually quite a bit of work to clean and cut, but it's worth it! Plan ahead - if you know you won't have time right before the meal, prepare the night or morning before and store in a container. If you only offer vegetables once or twice a week, children can easily pass, but if it's in constant view, then at some point in the meal (if not this one, then the next) his curiosity or hunger will take over and he'll try out some vegetables.

-Just like adults, some children prefer if the veggies have some added flavor. Try dips and sauces, like ranch dressing, italian drizzle, sesame-ginger or a yogurt-dill dip. Be creative!

-If your child is already averse to vegetables, put out the dish of veggies FIRST, before the meal and give him a few minutes to sit and wait patiently for the rest of his meal. Do this every day for a few days, with different vegetable options, and one day he'll likely go for one or more of the vegetables, if he's truly hungry.

-just like adults, many children enjoy stir-fry. Make it flavorful with teriyaki or soy sauce, and know that it's always yummier with a base of fried onion & garlic.

-some children enjoy souffles and quiches or different veggie-breads & crackers. Again, be creative and plan ahead. It's worth the effort.

I'm not a big proponent of hidden vegetables, since I believe it's important for the child to be aware of eating healthy, but for those particularly challenging eaters:

-it's easy to "sneak" healthy veggies into popular dishes: macaroni & cheese with a bit of pureed carrot & cauliflower in the cheese sauce, scrambled eggs with spinach or zucchini puree,
hamburgers made with mushrooms and some greens inside (i.e. make-your-own burgers by mixing veggies in the chopped meat), and of course pasta with sauce can have all kinds of pureed vegetables hidden inside.

-for those particularly finicky kids, I highly recommend a puree wand to make it easier to sneak in the veggies. They are very easy to use and will be a big help. If the child cannot see to pick out the greens from the rest of the mix, s/he will be more likely to just dig in and eat.

Lastly, the most important principle in encouraging good veggie-eating: set a good example. Eat a lot of vegetables yourself. Do an inventory: how many vegetables do YOU eat each day? Does your child see YOU eating fresh greens and salads? If you have a very veggie-averse child, keep a log of your own eating habits and take a look in the mirror. It's quite possible you have not set as good an example as you should. Be objective. Be truthful. Children will follow your lead more than anyone else in the world, so do yourself a favor and make sure you are guiding him down the right path in terms of eating healthfully. It is possibly the greatest gift you can give him & a major factor in ensuring he lives a long and healthy life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Higher Authority

Some readers may not be religious. Fair enough. It seems to me most people are on a "spectrum of faith" with very few at either extreme: completely faithful according to a religion or completely atheist. So I'll address the part in each of us which believes.

You may believe in God or Karma or the Energy of the Universe - it doesn't matter, really. It's all the same, as it relates to parenting. It all points to deferring to a "higher" (or "other") authority. Whatever you believe in, beyond the physical and chemical scientific world we know, refers to power(s) beyond our control. And that, my friends, is the key: control.

Most pitfalls in parenting have to do with control: over-controlling, under-controlling, feeling out-of-control, or being controlled by your kids. There is a constant push-and-pull of control involved with parenting. And there is no perfect balance of control. Control works in moments: sometimes we are in control-harmony with our children, and sometimes we are not: they have the upper hand or we do.

But we are more likely to be in harmony with our children when we remind ourselves that it's not all up to us OR them. There is a more powerful energy/authority in the universe than either or both of us. And ultimately, faith in that energy/authority will help us and our children weather the storms. If we firmly believe, then we send a message of humility, honesty, and spiritual fortitude to our children. They, in turn, learn that life need not be perfect, but that the energy/authority in the universe can be a source of support and guidance to a place of emotional/spiritual harmony.

Deferring to a Higher Authority can be challenging, especially since we are programmed to be stuck in our own realities and sense of control over our environment. But the more we release that control and do our best to consider alternative realities and opportunities, the closer we get to inner peace, emotional harmony, and a calmer, healthier relationship to the idea of parenting.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This too shall pass

A sweet, simple blog of truth:

This too shall pass.

The good days will pass. The bad days will pass. So enjoy the good while it lasts. And when you face a challenge, remember that it WILL pass, so it's of little use worrying about "tomorrow," just get through this moment. Right now. Today.

Embrace the moment - because the next one will be different. Of this you can be sure.