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!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Selfish-Brat Mom

Generally I think we Moms can do a better job of supporting each other.

But there are some Moms who are beyond my comprehension: those Selfish-Brat Moms who think the world revolves around them (and maybe their kids).

I encountered such a mom this week while teaching with Tuney Tots. She was so incredibly self-centered, she spat curses at the librarian who was politely asking her to follow the library rules (no lollipops during class, for example). It started me thinking - maybe we can learn from such moms - learn how NOT to behave, in public or in private. Here are some tips:

Rules of the Selfish-Brat Mom: a brief introduction:

1. Remember that the world revolves around you. If you want something, that's the most important thing right now, immediately. This holds true also of your kids: if you need them to do something, you will coerce, manipulate, threaten, or punish in order to get your way - even if it's something ridiculous to expect (like your 2 year old putting himself to bed each night).

2. Assume your kids have done no wrong. Ever. If accused that your child hit another child, shrug it off and ask "can you prove it?"

3. Rules are made to be bent. School policies aren't so important, or carpool lanes. Modes of conduct will follow whatever you think *should* be, rather than what other parents have agreed are best for the community. For example: at the local synagogue or church, your child may eat whatever he wants, wander off wherever he wants, talk loudly during the services, etc.

4. Take breaks as often as possible. Hire nannies, send off to daycare, and coerce family into taking care of your kids as much as possible - weekdays, weekends, holidays, or whenEVER. You shouldn't have to work - you did enough just carrying the fetus for 9+ months, right?

5. Scheduling works around your needs, not your kids. This is true of any therapy services, school programs, nap times, etc. For example, if your child needs speech therapy, make sure it doesn't conflict with your weekly manicure, massage, and lunch out with the girls! (The therapist will have to work around all those things, after all). Your child will learn to sleep when its convenient for you, or just crash from exhaustion after being schlepped around. That's ok - quality sleep for kids is overrated.

6. Love can be bought. If your kid is acting needy, clingy, or whiney, buy her a new toy and tell her to go play, since her behavior is downright annoying. If you can't get to a toy quickly, a candy or ice cream should do the trick. Then, you can get back to your texting.

7. When in doubt, blame someone else. You can't possibly be at fault.

Sound familiar? Sadly, many moms fit the bill. Some moms allow their kids to terrorize others and don't care (it's *just too hard to discipline them or teach them appropriate behavior*). Some moms are checked-out on their phones and tablets all-the-time, leaving their kids to fend for themselves at much too-young an age. It's a sad state of affairs, my friends. Sad sad.

***Please share your anecdotes of interactions with Selfish-Brat Moms in my "Comments" section!***

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conversations with my Sister: Checklist Practicum

Generally my blog is about concepts, ideas, and a smattering of practical advice. My sister has brought to my attention that I need to *make it come alive* more.

So here's some thoughts about checklists. Beginning with: make them. Lots of them.

Start before the baby is born. Start with your hospital visit. What do you need in your bag? And does your husband know what to do if you forget something? What projects are you currently handling that may need someone else to take over while you recuperate: make a checklist of these projects, including contact names and numbers of important people who are involved.

And when you get home: you will have checklists for this stage, probably from your doctor, and probably involving the baby's sleeping, eating, and peeing/pooping cycles. Why do you need them? Because you will very possibly NOT NOTICE that your baby's cycle is off unless you keep the checklist! Believe it or not, your baby's basic needs require: a checklist. Your maternal instincts won't cut it. And neither will your memory or your multi-tasking talents. Get used to it.

Next checklists: daycare, babysitter, or other baby-care. What does the caretaker need to know? What products do you need to send with baby so s/he has everything s/he needs? Food? Clothing? Diapers? etc.

The checklists don't end there, oh no! When kids get to school there are after-school checklists (to stay on-target and not overlook important events, assignments, chores, etc.), getting-ready-in-the-morning checklists (did you forget your underwear? brush teeth?), homework checklists (usually provided by the teacher), and more. Some families have meal checklists, to make sure they have ingredients they need for the dinners they plan (ahead of time, if they are wise).

Children are more confident when they have an organized, predictable, peaceful household environment. This doesn't mean that spontaneity is forbidden, but when parents have already planned ahead and have their children's needs covered, they feel assured and loved. Yes: checklists convey love. They give the child a solid message of, "I planned ahead, because I care..." or better yet "WE plan ahead because WE care..." about each other, about the family, mutually-respecting and anticipating each other's needs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


We mommies have a tough time getting things done. Its not because we're completely incompetent – on the contrary, many of us have advanced degrees, many of us hold senior positions in companies large and small, and many of us have managed to multitask successfully in the past.

The challenge we face is due to the fact that, prioritize as we may, we are often interrupted tens or hundreds of times the day with a barrage of whines, screams, hugs, tickles, tears, tantrums, questions, and more. Each child demands *immediate* attention with *urgent* pleas. We then get off track, off balance, and quickly forget what we came upstairs to do or why we dialed our friend on the phone.

Having read the book The Checklist Manifesto, I've realized that we mommies are actually NOT crazy, frazzled, or otherwise unreliable. On the contrary, it appears that all humans overestimate our capacity to remember to-dos and necessary steps - and lives are lost as a result! Dr. Gawande invites all of us to maintain checklists and not rely on memory to take care of what we *think* we won't forget to do (but we actually will).

Phew. Relief.

I'm so glad that it's not really "mommy-brain" that's taken over, but rather a dose of reality that: yes, I'm human and yes, I forget. So I'll rely on checklists to keep myself and my family in-line... as long as I don't forget to put together the checklist in the first place, of course!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Conversations with my Sister: Snack Attack

My sister is encouraging me to write in my blog some of the advice I give her in our phone conversations, which she says are helpful and practical. Indeed, this blog is intended for all moms, especially those who may not have a sister, parent, or other relative or close friend to give her the myriad "tips so you don't tip" as a mother.

The story is familiar to all families: at some point, your kid needs to head to school/daycare/camp/activity with a snack. And many of us want that snack to be healthy, easy, and not too pricey. Here is my advice to her, mother of a 13-month old heading to daycare:

1) Smoothie Pouches. These are the worlds.greatest.invention.for.moms!!! You can get the original GoGoSqueeze brand of applesauce with or without a zip of cinnamon, strawberry, or other flavor, or you could opt for one of the new mixes coming out by new brands (seemingly daily!) - I recently bought an apple/mango/kale mix which was fantastic and filling (even for my husband on-the-go - shhhh don't tell anyone but they can be a quick-fix for adults too). If you shop around, you can find specials, sales, and jumbo packs to make them a bit more economical, since some of them run upwards of $2/pouch.

2) Cheese Puffs. Like Cheetos but much healthier without the artificial colors, flavors, etc. They've got lots of crunch, without the calories and artificial colors, flavors, etc.

3) Cheerios. Old Standard. Don't we wish they made single-use packs for those of us working-moms? Hmmm.... maybe I'm onto something here?! Meanwhile, you can quickly stuff a handful in a baggie or any reusable container (they aren't particularly messy, just a bit of wheat-dust to wipe down after use).

4) Fruit Leathers. Just like the fruit roll-ups which were so popular when I was growing up, fruit leathers are thicker and smaller, easier to manage as long as your kid is old enough to bite and chew well.

5) Cheese Crackers. There are lots of organic, multigrain, and otherwise healthier alternatives to cheezits nowadays. But if you go for the original brand, try the white cheddar flavor which at least doesn't contain the added food colorings.

6) Yogurt Tubes. Another great concept in packaging for kids... although they aren't so easy for little tots to manage, they are definitely less mess and smaller quantity than a cup of yogurt. And the organic brands all have their own flavors and packaging.

...of course, steamed veggie cubes or cut up fruit are great to throw into a container, but some days (and some moms) just won't be able to fit that into the schedule. So give yourself a break and head for some of the items I mentioned - your child will be eating full, balanced snacks/meals without a lot of work for you.

Note on drinks: you can send your child with a sippy cup or a water bottle virtually anywhere these days, but you'd do well to clearly mark if the product needs to be refrigerated, and/or the contents inside. If you opt for drink boxes instead, you'd be wise to teach your child to hold it "by the wings" by pulling up the side corners of the box so that it doesn't spill when (always accidentally) squeezed for the first sip.

Note on clean up: I'm a firm believer that the chemicals in diaper wipes are NOT meant to wipe faces, mouths, or hands. In fact, they work great as stain-lifters on your clothes, so you gotta wonder if that's what you want your child wiping her mouth with for quick clean-ups at daycare or summer camp? I'm a big proponent of constant hand-washing with old-fashioned soap and water, instead. When sending your child away, find out what they use to clean hands and faces and make sure you are comfortable with the answer. If not, you can provide your own wipes of water with a little dish soap (easy to make with paper towels and a baggie) or go ahead and splurge on Sani-Hands for kids. It's worth the peace-of-mind.

As always, I welcome your thoughts/feedback - what else do you think is helpful advice for a mom & child on-the-go?!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Possibly the biggest problem facing modern families is that of raising our children with a sense of entitlement. Our children have well-beyond what they need and, by the time they enter the work force, have little sense of solid work-ethic and drive to excel. They have been raised in a world where life is easy and if you don't get exactly what you want, you get something at least pretty close.

Just read the latest court case in New Jersey and you should get a sense of what I mean *see link below*... so she may not go to college? how is that different from millions of people (especially women!) who cannot or have not gone to college, because they needed to (gasp!) work for a living to (gasp!) support the family?!

CNN article here! http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/living/nj-teen-sues-parents-for-college-education/

The problem is sinister in its subtlety - it starts with doting on your infant in a natural and healthy, caring way, but then evolves through taking care of your toddler's needs, to making sure you "make time for your kid's homework" and then protecting your teenager from any distractions (read: volunteer work, employment, or even household chores) from her academic pursuits or extracurricular activities. By the time such a child hits the job market after college, he has: a) never held a job, b) never had a boss, c) never considered those who have less than perfect lives and d) never considered he may fail in anything in life. He has been coddled and comforted to the point of absurdity. He has been stamped with entitlement.

What is there to do about this problem? Here are a few pointers to keep your children fresh with understanding life doesn't come on a silver platter:

1. Make sure they fail - Allow your children to be less-than-perfect. Embrace their weaknesses - don't cover them up or over-protect them from feeling the "burn" of failure. Let them sometimes lose. And cry. And then provide the band-aids as they learn to wipe themselves off and move on.

2. Make sure they work - From chores to public service, children need to move and work. They need to learn about achievement beyond their classrooms. They need to know that practice-makes-perfect and what it means to be satisfied by a job well done.

3. Make sure they unplug - With increasing technological advancement, children are receiving "devices" at younger and younger ages, which translates into a micro-world revolving around them. The more they are plugged in, the less they are attuned to the world at large. Get offline, focus on interacting with the real world around them.

4. Make sure they meet others - One of the most valuable life-lessons for a child is meeting someone who has life-challenges that they hadn't considered. Volunteer with the needy or take your child to visit someone with a chronic illness. Donating goods doesn't cut it - while there's value in the idea of the donation, the face-to-face meeting is what will speak to your child's heart and make the difference in his world.

Many theorists believe this Generation of Entitlement is what could lead to the downfall of America as a world leader. Help spread this blog post and make a difference!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Myths & Facts #4: Having it All

Myth: "Women today can have it all."

Fact: Something's gotta give.

Explanation: You can't have a successful career, be a completely devoted wife and mother, attend all PTA meetings, and also pay your bills on time. We all have 24 hours in our day and can fit only so much into those hours. Juggle too much and it will all come crashing down, repeatedly. Juggle a few, and you can keep up a nice balancing act which will feel natural over time. Start small when you have your first child and slowly gain your new sense of balance. Give it time and practice - don't expect a perfect fit overnight. And sometimes expect one of the balls to fall - that's ok.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Myths & Facts #3: Perfect Parents

Myth: "I never shout or lose my tempter. I make sure to always treat my child evenly and calmly."

Fact: We all lose our cool. It's just a matter of life.

Explanation: We are humans. Not angels. We are not meant to be perfect and be "always" anything, really. We constantly change and grow, just as our kids do. This means that even if we are usually calm and even-tempered, we sometimes will not be.

More importantly: imagine a child who has never heard shouting, a mistaken rebuke, or anything but calm, polite discourse. Such a child, in my estimation, would be ill-equipt to lead a balanced life when he hits elementary school, much less adulthood. We all face challenges and imperfect lives. We need to know how to deal with adversity, mistakes, and hardships. Perfect parents are a myth, and aren't we so glad that's the case?!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Myths & Facts #2: Clean Up Time

Myth: "My kids always clean up diligently after they play. I have a tidy, organized play space."

Fact: Most kids, like most adults, are less excited about clean-up than about mess-making. Diligent clean-up is a fairy-tale, unless there is a housekeeper involved.

...So what do we do? First of all: lower your expectations! The main point of teaching your child to clean up is just that: teaching. It's not about the results, but rather the process. Do not expect a cleared, organized space, but rather a child who understands the principles of responsibility and respect (for her space, other people's needs, etc.) This doesn't mean you should clean up for a minute and move on, of course. But it does mean that you need to remember that it's about your child's growth and education and not your well-kept home.

And the best way to teach him about clean-up? As Mary Poppins pointed out: "...find the fun and snap! the job's a game". There are many tips on how to bring out the fun involving clean up. Here are some ideas, but you need to embellish and see what works for you and your kids:

-Crank up the music. Make it into a hip-hoppin' dance party, where the toys are props that are tossed into their boxes to the beat.

-Find the hidden pennies. In big messes, you can hide pennies (or M&Ms, stickers, or other prizes) and create a challenge to see who can collect/find the most hidden treats while tidying.

-Get down with it. A great way to encourage your kid is to work alongside with him. Have a conversation, transfer clean-up time into an opportunity to chat about your day or tell a story.

-Sportscast the "game". Grab a spoon as the microphone and pretend to give a "play by play" account of the clean up, filled with jokes and silly commentary.

-Race. Keep tabs on how long it takes the child(ren) to clean a room and try to beat your own time OR race against Mommy to see who can clean up fastest/most etc.

-Create excitement. Make up a story of why it's "so important" to clean up "right away" - for example: "oh no, little bear wants to go to sleep! We'd better clean up the room so we can take him upstairs!"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Myths & Facts #1: PottyTraining

Myth: "My kid was potty trained in a week at age 13 months old! No hassle, no mess!"

Fact: Some kids will take *years* (no joke!) to finally go without accidents. And it won't matter much what age you introduce him to the wonderful poopy-swishing machine. (Especially if you include night shifts in the bargain).

Explanation: Kinda like childbirth, the truth is that this is less of a one-big-intense-moment and more like a long-drawn-out-haul. You can plan all kinds of perks and prizes to help encourage your tike to "do it, do it, do it on the toi-let!" but the truth is he will very likely sometimes do-it-right and sometimes do-it-whenever/wherever he wants, even after months of knowing where the toilet is and how to do-it.

...So be patient. Choose when you want to make the introduction, probably based on when your kid heads to school or daycare - either for your ease-of-mind or mandated by the age/class of the school. Go ahead and make it fun or amusing, but *take it easy* - don't sweat if your kid doesn't embrace the new system 100%. Plan ahead with lots of baking soda to throw into messy laundry (get comfortable with the "soak" cycle) and buy some thick underpants and extra plastic-mats at your local baby store to carry you through the nights. As with everything else in parenting: consider this a test of your endurance - go for the Gold!