Smart tech use leads to world of exploration


The first time I embraced the benefits of letting kids use a mobile device was when my family flew to St. Thomas with our toddler and infant sons. I knew my nearly three-month-old wouldn’t be much of a challenge, rock him or give him the boob, and he would be good to go. My two-and-a-half-year-old, however, was probably going to have a hard time staying calm on a three-plus-hour flight. Fortunately, because of the awesome luck of my husband, we were the owners of a free iPad. I am not sure if we would have bought a tablet, otherwise, but I am glad we had one at the time.

I doubted how long the tablet would hold the interest of my toddler. Although we did allow him to watch television at home, he never stayed focused on any show for too long, often stopping to go play with his toys. Not so with the iPad. My son found certain apps, like puzzles or drawing games captivating, and easily maneuvered from one to the next. For someone with little prior experience with devices, his mastery of the tablet was impressive. Of course, that is no surprise to most parents today. We are raising digital natives. Continue reading

Forgiving myself for my son’s birth 


“Wow, you are so lucky!”

That’s usually the response I get when I talk about how fast my second child took to come out of my body. Thirty minutes. It took thirty minutes. Second labors areally generally faster, but there’s fast and then there’s, “wait did that just happen?” fast. My oldest son’s three-hour-entry now seems so slow in comparison.

So, other moms think I am lucky, because I never labored in the way most women do. I didn’t have the marathon of contractions and hours waiting for my baby to be born. The pain and discomfort childbirth I felt, while very real, was shortlived. I admit, it is hard to talk about the way I give birth, because I know it’s so much faster than everyone else.

But, I don’t feel lucky. At least not about the birth itself. I feel extremely lucky to have my son, which I will say more about later. As for the birth, mostly I feel guilty. Not as guilty as I did the day he was born. Not as guilty as I felt when we got to take him home. Not as guilty as I felt on his first birthday. But, I feel guilty. Continue reading

5 ways to build character using media and tech


The following is republished with permission from Common Sense Media

By Sierra Filucci Executive Editor, Parenting Content, Common Sense Media

As parents, we have many hopes for our kids. We want them to grow up to live happy, successful lives. We hope they’ll find love, maybe have kids of their own, and pursue their dreams. But at the bottom of all these wishes is the hope that our kid turns into a decent human being — someone who is kind, respectful, and honest.

How do you bolster these strengths as well as teach key skills such as teamwork, communication, and perseverance? For the most part, kids will learn these things by following your example and through experience gained at school and in their communities. But media is another entry point. Since movies, TV shows, books, video games, and social media are such a huge part of kids’ lives, it makes sense that kids can learn important lessons about character through media.

Here are some specific things you can do or say to reinforce character:

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Searching for ye olde Renaissance Faire bathroom


*Parts of this story were exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Anyone who has ever cared for a preschool-aged child knows the feeling of dread that comes over when said child needs to use the bathroom and there isn’t one in sight. Three-year-olds don’t understand the concept of waiting for anything, let alone a toilet, so you plan accordingly. You make sure they go before you leave the house. You bring extra clothes, just in case. You scout out the bathroom situation of every park, rec center and play space.

No matter how well you prepare, inevitably you will face potential potty pitfalls. Such was the situation I found myself in while attending the New York Renaissance Faire.

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Early bedtimes are not just about the kids

6:30 p.m. The late summer sun still glows brightly in the sky, nightfall is hours away, and I am ushering my kids to bed. The routine begins with a bath, followed by some quiet play time, stories, stretching and finally, sleep. The slow process finally concludes at 7:30 p.m. I tip toe down the stairs, fix my long-awaited dinner, and ease my tush into my couch for an evening of television that doesn’t star someone from the “Paw Patrol.”

I know many parents will shake their heads and laugh at the thought of their kids going to bed this early. You might even be reading this at 11 p.m. while your still wide-eyed toddler pretends the couch cushions are perfect for his version of “American Ninja Warrior.” I’m not here to judge. I have had those nights. Some nights, the kids are just not going to bed early no matter what you do.

I strive to make those nights few and far between. If both of my kids are asleep by 8:30, I consider that a good night, and earlier than that, even better. Continue reading

When did babywearing become a status symbol?

I practice babywearing for a variety of reasons. I love the convenience of being able to hold your child while still having your hands free to accomplish other tasks. Laundry, for example, is a chore I often perform with a little one strapped to my back. I love how babywearing helps ease the burden of schlepping a baby around town. If you ever got caught alone with a stroller on a NYC subway, you know just how much of a pain in the ass they can be. Most of all, I love the connection fostered between myself and my kids.

There is another reason to babywear that never occurred to me until I saw an article on my Facebook feed about the popularity of Tula carriers:


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Butternut squash mac ‘n cheese for the win


My son loves macaroni and cheese, or as he lovingly calls them, “yellow noodles.” Key word being, “yellow.” You try to serve him some fancy Fontina/Gruyere concoction, he will summon the depths of his rage and unleash his fury upon thee. Only noodles tinted with the yellow-orange hue of the sun will appease my picky eater.

Fortunately, there are several options in the organic/all-natural department. Amy’s brand frozen mac ‘n cheese is delicious, and tastes the most “home made.” My son loves it and could eat a package or two a day if I let him. While it is one of the “healthier” choices, it’s still a frozen meal, which tend to be higher in sodium, and they aren’t exactly cheap. At one Brooklyn supermarket, a single-serve box could cost as much as $6. I’m no mathematician, but even I know there are better ways to stretch a dollar.

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