Author Archive

Should I Get My Baby Into Modeling? He’s Really Cute

Friday, November 21st, 2014

* By Liz Krieger for American Baby magazine

Once in a while I see a kid so deliciously cute, I almost want to tell the parents that it’s their civic duty to share that baby’s beauty with the world. But it’s no easy feat to get your little guy into the pages of, well, this magazine.

An old coworker of mine, Stacy, found this out a few years ago while jostling her infant daughter in her arms at a casting call for a commercial. The hallway was teeming with other moms and babies, the whole thing was running late, and as naptime came and went—let’s just say it wasn’t the quietest of hallways. Later, during some test shots, she was shocked when a makeup artist dabbed a bit of rouge on her 4-month-old’s face.

And that’s the thing, says American Baby’s photo editor, Amber Venerable: “You’ll definitely need an open mind and a relatively open schedule if you’re serious about helping your kiddo make it big. But most important, you have to really consider if your baby has the right temperament for all that action,” she cautions. For instance, some kids won’t let strangers hold them or won’t smile for anyone but their mama. For baby modeling to work, your child has to come alive in front of others, smiling for a room full of strangers.

All that said, if you’ve got the time, and your babe’s got the good cheer, dial a local modeling agency (none that charge an upfront fee, please!) and get those headshots sent in.

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Shakira’s Son Influences Fisher-Price Toy Line

Friday, November 14th, 2014

*By Patty Adams Martinez

Shakira is parenting son Milan, who turns 2 in January, to the beat of her own drum.

You were born in Colombia but are raising Milan in the U.S. and Spain. Is your parenting style a blend of all three cultures?

Yes. In Spain, parents speak to their children as equals, which I like, and I feel that the children respond in turn. But in all three cultures, parents are attentive to their children. Gerard [Piqué, her soccer-pro boyfriend] and I both grew up in very close-knit families, and that has made us very openly affectionate parents.

How are you incorporating your heritage into Milan’s upbringing?

Milan got his Colombian passport, which was a very special moment for me. I want him to know and embrace that side of his culture, and I plan to bring him back as often as I can to make sure it’s something he feels a part of—from music to food to family.

How much of an influence was Milan on the line of baby gear and toys that you co-created with Fisher-Price [for sale exclusively at Amazon.com]?

He was a great influence—especially on the soccer ball in particular, since he loves to kick the ball around. I also wanted to include toys that I think are timeless. The blocks in the collection (seen in the picture above right) came from a vivid memory I had of playing with some in my own childhood.

You kept a diary the first year of Milan’s life—a tradition passed down from your own mom. What were some of your favorite moments captured?

His first steps! We were in London at a recording studio, a month and a half before his first birthday. Who knows? Maybe the music motivated him to get up and dance!

You’ve said you want to have enough kids for a soccer team! Is that still true?

(Laughs) Perhaps I was a bit ambitious when I said that! Two or three children would be nice. And I’d like to have a daughter.

How has being a mom helped you learn how to delegate?

I have a tendency to want to be involved in every facet of my career, and in the past my personal life often took a back burner. Becoming a mom forced me, in the best way possible, to re-prioritize and make room for the things that are most important, while recognizing that there are things that I can let go of and the world won’t crumble around me.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Unbored Games: Easy Ways to Have Fun as a Family

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

In a world of high-definition entertainment, sometimes it can be hard to get your kids enthusiastic about family game night. Thankfully, Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn offer loads of ideas to help entertain your kids in their new book Unbored Games: Serious Fun For Everyone. Larsen discusses the importance of family play and why people should take games seriously. 

Your book promotes kids playing not only among themselves, but also with their families. Why do you think that playing together as a family is so important?

Playing games together is great for a lot of reasons: It’s a way to connect and enjoy each other that doesn’t feel forced—it’s genuinely fun, and that’s truly important. I’ve interviewed a lot of child psychologists over the years and one thing they say is that kids are often stumped by the question: “What does your family do to have fun?” We want kids to grow up with memories of enjoying time together with the people they love. And that can get tough in a culture filled with homework and regularly scheduled extracurricular activities.

Along with indoor and outdoor games, your book talks about online games and mobile app games. Why is it so important for parents to be aware of their children’s online activities? 

We enjoy a lot of online games and apps and think there’s no reason kids should stay away from them if their parents have pre-screened them and if kids can show they can regulate their use and not become addicted.

The first page of the book lists the ten reasons why games are important. How do you think playing games positively affects a child’s development?

Where do I start? Games encourage kids, especially younger kids, to learn how to keep practicing until they figure out how to do a certain move or skill correctly. They also teach collaboration, problem-solving skills and, in the case of outdoor games, are an incredibly fun way to get exercise. We encourage kids to hack or modify a game if they don’t like the way it works, which is important when it comes to nurturing creativity.

What is your favorite game to play with your family?

We love Anomia, which is a fast-paced word association game. But when all of my kids were in elementary school our absolute favorite was Apples to Apples. We’re a loud family who love to argue and persuade each other that each one of us is right. Playing that game is still a great way to get us laughing, even if we’ve all had bad days.

How is your latest book different from your previous book Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun?

The original Unbored is an all-encompassing activity book and resource for kids and their families that touches on all parts of a kid’s life. Unbored Games focuses exclusively on games—how to play them, how to make them, how to modify them to suit your needs.

The Best Toys of 2014!
The Best Toys of 2014!
The Best Toys of 2014!

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Teach Kids About Veterans

Friday, November 7th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

When the Penguins of Madagascar tell you to do something, you do it!

At least that is what your kids probably think.

First Lady Michelle Obama knows how influential those four show-stealing penguins are, and that is why she enlists their help with a top-secret mission in the video Operation Got Your 6. In the video, the penguins let everyone know how veterans better our communities. They also explain the military lingo Got Your Six, which means standing behind someone.

The campaign works to inform civilians about the importance of our service members, both those who have served and those who currently serve.

The video also promotes the “Take a Vet to School” program, which allows schools to welcome veterans into the classroom to share their stories with students.

Operation Got Your 6 is a cute, quirky way to teach your kids about the significance of our veterans and is a great way to observe Veterans Day. Click on the penguins to watch the video.

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Dear Mom: I Gave Your Brats Candy for Dinner

Friday, November 7th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

When I originally said I was free Saturday night, I figured it would be three hours of feeding and entertaining your kids—two boys who are very close in age—before they went to sleep and I continued my Mad Men Netflix binge.

I never imagined that I would be pinned to the ground against my will by one brother while the other taunted me by dangling my IPhone over the trash can filled with the dinner that they refused to eat.

“Give us candy for dinner instead,” the first brother yelled, “Or your phone swims with the fishes!”

Technically it would be swimming with macaroni and cheese, but I decided it was not the best time to be snarky with him. And yes, I could have just thrown the second brother off of me, but the risk of hurting him stopped me.

So, do you know what I did?

I gave them candy for dinner.

Not a lot, because I still respect your rules. But you have to understand that when one of your demon children is pinning me to the ground, and the other is looking to destroy my only connection to the outside world, desperate times call for desperate measures.

If it makes you feel any better, I put a vegetable on the table with the candy. You can probably guess where that vegetable ended up.

Babysitters work hard for our money, and only occasionally does the “I’m going to call your mom” threat actually work. Kids are resilient and barbaric.

I once had a kid trick me into thinking that he wanted to go outside, only to lock me out while he ran around the house threatening to call the police and say I was a burglar. This was all because I said, “Hey, we have played Just Dance for about an hour now. Why don’t we do something else?”

Parents, please be kind to your babysitters. Most of them follow the rules to the best of their abilities, but if your smartphone was dangling over three bowls’ worth of Kraft Easy Mac and a stranger’s son was sitting on your back, wouldn’t you just give in?

Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care

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Snapchat Nanny Shows the Truth

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

** By Dana Baardsen

I’m sure when my best friend was hired as a nanny,Social Media Babies, Social Media Children, Funny Baby Stories, Funny Kid Stories
her employers had no clue that their little tykes would be so consistently featured on her Snapchat. But she isn’t shy about revealing what it’s really like to take care of kids. While my other mommy friends on social media tend to glamorize what parenthood is like, my friend, Snapchat Nanny, lets me see the moments that aren’t so picture-perfect. A few of her gems:

Hurricane Hysterics One day my friend was trying to bring the kids out of the back seat of her car, and they didn’t feel quite ready to get out. I received a little clip of the tantrums that followed. Sweeping in and out, like a hurricane, the hysterics got harsh, then a calm would suddenly roll over the kids, and then just as relief seemed to set in, the red faces, tears, and screams started all over again. It’s too bad Snapchat Nanny never even experienced a calm before the storm.

Beach-Bag Syndrome I’ve seen lots of cute baby-at-the-beach photos, but Snapchat Nanny sent me a photo of the trunk of her car packed with a stroller, cooler, and several other bags. The cooler was filled with snacks and lunches, all planned out, and the bags were each stuffed with different types of little-life necessities. This behind-the-scenes glimpse into her routine revealed the battle-like planning that goes into one simple outing.

Land of Loop My friend sends me snaps of a kid watching the same thing repeatedly, as if the show or movie is programmed to a loop setting. It doesn’t matter how many sources of entertainment there are, kids want to hear or watch the same thing over and over again. They really need to just Let It Go.

Snapchat Screenshot, Social Media and Babies, Social Media and Children

Messy-Clean Life This came in a series of three snaps. First was the mess, then was the clean after-photo, and then came the “mess again” picture. Now I know that no matter how many times you clean and organize, a mess inevitably appears when little ones run around, dispensing toys around the room like it’s their job.

End-of-the-Day Selfie I’ll never forget this one from last summertime. My friend had just left the family’s home after a grueling day of chasing tots around a hot park. She was lying down on her bed, with a red face, sweaty pores, and smeared mascara, when she snapped a selfie and captioned the photo #NannyLife.

Of course as scary as these snaps are to me (childless for now!), I know that these little moments are tiny parts of a more meaningful whole. Despite everything, I must admit some of the sweetest snaps to ever hit my inbox are also from my Snapchat Nanny.

Here, Johanna Stein of mothereffed.com shares her own harrowing real-life mothering tale.

Mother Eff'ed
Mother Eff'ed
Mother Eff'ed

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I Survived a Diaper Disaster

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

By Alice Laussade for American Baby magazine

When our first child, Penny, was 4 months old, my husband and I took her with us to shop for a new dishwasher. Half of the dirty dishes in our house were Penny’s bottles, so I figured she should come along for the decision.

Once we hit the aisles, she got fussy, so I picked her up from the stroller and took her for a walk, leaving my husband behind to sort out our options. As we walked the store, I noticed folks checking us out. Yeah, she’s super cute, I thought. You should totally be jealous.

Then, I felt it. Something was dripping off of my arm. My little angel had pooped all over me. And I mean All. Over. Me. Turns out, people were horrified by us, not enamored.

We were light-years from the stroller at that point, so I ran to the bathroom. But without my diaper bag full of everything I could ever need, I was a wreck: No wipes?! What do I do? My baby cooed. A woman in a nearby stall gagged.

And then it clicked. I’m not sure how it happened, really, but there were paper towels involved, and in the end, my baby was sparkling clean and wearing her shirt as a diaper. I was a freaking ninja. Best mom ever.

I hugged my sweet girl close to me, and she immediately barfed down the front of my shirt. Welp.

I may have left my dignity at Home Depot that day, but I did learn a lesson: No matter how well you pack your diaper bag, you can never be prepared for everything. But you’ll get through it. And one day, when your baby becomes a high schooler, you’ll use your stories to embarrass her in front of friends. And that’s what parenthood’s all about, right?
___

Assuming you’re home and not improvising on the run, here’s the ideal way to change a diaper!

How to Change a Diaper
How to Change a Diaper
How to Change a Diaper

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Tags: , | Categories: Babies, GoodyBlog

15 Things That Surprised Me About Parenthood

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our December issue features a quote from Kelcey Kintner at Mama Bird Diaries. Read her full blog post below. 

girl sticking her tongue out1. That children will have a preference between veggie sticks with holes at the end and no holes at the end.  Whichever they like, I didn’t buy.

2. Wondering why someone just created the word’s fastest hot tub (like you can actually drive it) but no one has created a machine for children that applies sunscreen and removes lice at the same time.

3. That I will be forced to hold my pee for 3 hours (despite taking others to the bathroom) because it seems too overwhelming and exhausting to figure out how to put my baby down and pee too.

4. That I will deeply long for naps.

5. That I will be asked a lot of questions about how things are built. I finally had to explain to my kid that I am not an engineer. He now has a lot of questions about engineers.

6. That my child will ask if I am still pregnant. I’m not.

7. That my child will ask me why I am wearing pajamas at the grocery store. I will explain they are formal yoga pants. I will swear my kid just said, “If that’s what you want to tell yourself” under her breath but I can’t confirm this.

8. That my baby can cry all night long and in the morning I will rush him to the pediatrician’s office and the doctor will confirm that it is absolutely nothing. Probably a gas bubble. Maybe teething.

9. That I will pay for entire season of soccer and my daughter will not place one cleat on the field.

10. That I will pay for entire session of swimming and another daughter will not place one foot in the pool.

11. That siblings can argue about absolutely anything. Like who gets to go first, even though they can’t remember first for what.

12. That I will be willing to pay almost any amount of money for direct flights to avoid a layover with 5 children.

13. That Junie B. Jones would get herself into so much dang trouble.

14. That I will yell at my children to stop yelling.

15. That people will keep telling me that I will blink and my kids will be grown. I know this is true but I also have not yet developed my Stop Time Super Powers so I don’t know what they want me do about it.

Take our quiz to find out your parenting style.

Mom Confessions: Parenting Rules I Thought I'd Keep
Mom Confessions: Parenting Rules I Thought I'd Keep
Mom Confessions: Parenting Rules I Thought I'd Keep

Image via Shutterstock

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