Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every month at Parents.com!
The holiday season is upon us. And while the cheer is beginning to bubble over, so are the number of pesky colds our wee ones are coming home with.
Let’s face it; sickness can be a massive buzz-kill when we’d rather be jingling and jangling some reindeer bells, getting goodies for our loved ones, and generally being ridiculously festive all month long. But when it comes to the common cold, a wait-it-out approach is often recommended by pediatricians provided there is no fever or other tell-tale warning signs. This can be frustrating parents, since we want to do everything we can to help our child feel comfortable, pampered, and ready to get back into the holiday spirit as quickly as possible.
If your little one is feeling under the weather, try my go-to home remedies to help soothe a sniffly nose, scratchy throat, and the general aches and pains that come along with a cold:
- It can be stressful for your child to feel sick and not know when he’ll be better, so be sure to reassure him child that his cold will pass. Then, dole out as many hugs as you can in the meantime.
- Be diligent about hand washing to prevent a household outbreak. Explain to siblings how germs can spread and advise them to keep their space and be a little cautious for the next few days. Just don’t go overboard—there’s no need to create the next generation’s germaphobe!
- If your child is over the age of one, honey is a marvelous thing. Take a teaspoon of honey, and mix into some warm milk to soothe a sore throat quickly. Skip the dairy if your child is particularly congested, and try to get him to eat just the spoonful of plain honey.
- Since Vitamin C is so important for a strong immune system, find as many ways as possible to pack it into your kid’s diet during an illness. At my house, we make hydrating homemade lemonade using as many lemons as possible and some sugar, honey, or other fruits, like strawberries, for sweetness.
- Use fresh ginger, which is known to help ease nausea, in cooking or baking recipes this holiday season. You can also find ginger chews, lollipops, or other ginger-infused candies to give your child.
- Peppermint tea and peppermint extract are wonderful ways to calm headaches and digestive issues naturally. Mix peppermint tea with fruit juice to make it more palatable for kids. Or, for a sweeter approach, bake peppermint extract (one or two drops goes a long way!) into your little one’s favorite treat.
- Oftentimes, your child’s appetite can wane during illness. If your child is having difficulty eating, try starting with apple sauce. It’s a healthy choice, packed with Vitamin C, and easy to swallow—even with a sore throat.
- Rub a small amount of vapor rub onto the soles of your wee one’s feet, and cover them with socks. The strong smell will help relive a stuffy nose, but the protective sock will cover the salve so your child won’t get his hands messy—or worse, put it in his mouth.
- Transform your bathroom into a mini steam room. Sit on the bathroom floor together and read books or write messages on the foggy mirrors while the hot water helps clear your little one’s sinuses. Don’t forget to hydrate afterwards!
- To ease aches and pains, add Epsom salt to your child’s bath water and let him soak away the tension. Follow the bath with a good massage; the healing powers of touch are amazing. Watch the how-to video below.
How to Massage Your Baby
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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
It’s royal fever time again: Prince George’s christening is finally here, and it in William and Kate fashion, the event’s likely to break from tradition, but only in the classiest of ways, from a fashion photographer to changing the location.
First, let’s talk baby fashion. This is really going to be a tale of two dresses: Kate’s, and George’s (and probably the last time we’ll ever be talking about the prince’s dress!). No doubt Kate will wear one of her favorites from Jenny Packham, Alexander McQueen or Amelia Wickstead, my money being on the latter for her formal fitted coats that seem appropriate for a church setting.
However, if Kate’s post-baby body is what I imagine it to be, she may opt for a figure hugging McQueen. There is also the small chance that Kate will do something particularly modern, and even wear a nursing dress under a tailored coat.
As for little George, we expect he’ll be wearing the Spitalfields silk gown replica re-created by the Queen’s royal dresser and designer Angela Kelly. The original had been worn by 60 royals before George, including his father and grandfather, and is the epitome of traditional.
The surprise twist, however, is the photographer who will be capturing the occasion: Jason Bell. He’s a cutting-edge fashion photographer known more for his works in Vanity Fair and Vogue than for royal palace photos.
There are a couple of more remarkable things about this pending christening. One is the break from tradition in location. Kate and William have chosen to hold the christening at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace. This is significant: It’s not where William nor Royals before him were christened, but it is the place that Diana’s body was laid to rest before her funeral—a location filled with meaning for William and for Kate. This will also be the first time that the relatives will be all together! All grandparents will be in attendance, and the future Kings: Prince Charles, Prince William, and of course Prince George. The six godparents, however, still remain a mystery.
So congratulations, Prince George. I can’t wait to see you in your finest.
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Plus: Admire the royal parents? Find your own parenting style, see photos from Prince George’s birth, or see how to design your own royal-themed nursery.
Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Becoming a parent was the very first time I thought about my own mortality with any sort of meaning. Having children made me want to live until I was incredibly old. It was also about this time that my husband and I lost two friends to cancer. I realized that even the healthiest of us can be struck down by cancers that seem inexplicable. The powerlessness that comes with the fear of life-threatening disease can be overwhelming, especially when we stare into the eyes of our children and see all the things from kindergarten to college graduation and beyond that we want to be there for, by their side.
Over recent years I’ve wished that I could do something that would in some way help the many amazing organizations that help push for advancements in research, so that we get closer to finding the cures for the diseases that take our loved ones too soon. This is why I am very proud to share with you my partnership with Belly Bandit. In case you don’t know what this marvelous piece of equipment is for, it’s an ingenious way to tuck, tighten, and sculpt that post-partum belly. Fear not: This is no medieval-corset torture device, but instead a carefully structured band that wraps around your tummy and helps you to engage those oh-so-important muscles that we need to bring our possibly loose and flabby midsections (I know mine was!) back to what we had prebaby, or dreamed of in past years!
The amazing team at Belly Bandit is, like myself, passionate about helping women look good and feel good. This year we decided to go a little further and create an Organic Pink Belly Bandit that helps to support the Shades of Pink Foundation, while being green at the same time. The organization’s mission:
“Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have extra financial burdens placed on them during treatment and recovery. Common issues are insurance payments, food, transportation, childcare, and other essentials of daily life. Shades of Pink Foundation offers temporary financial assistance during their time in need.”
For both the Belly Bandit team and me, this is a very personal project. They would like to dedicate it to their beloved friend Suzanne Herman who lost her battle with breast cancer, and I would like to dedicate it to those still fighting.
So whether it’s our pink Belly Bandit or a charity walk, or a mammogram that you take part in, join us in taking a little control in the fight against breast cancer, and raise awareness for yourself, your family and your friends.
To purchase the Rosie Pope Pink Organic Belly Bandit:
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Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Now that the royal baby, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, is here, our curiosity is certainly not satiated. What type of parents will Prince William and Duchess Kate be? When will George’s mum resume official duties? Who will be the royal nanny?
And of course: What will the nursery look like?
I’m not sure when or whether we will ever get a glimpse into the royal nursery, but we can take some pretty good guesses about what it will look like, and how it might inspire the future nurseries of those wanting a royal theme. Not one adorned with crown motifs and royal crests, but a nursery in the classic, understated, elegant and always traditional style of Kate and William.
Royal nurseries of old, like one inhabited by Victoria’s children, were quiet, unimaginative, and resembled just another room in the palace, except with a crib and maybe a rocking horse. (This pretty much sums up the involvement of previous monarchs in their children’s young lives.) Others were sparse and a far cry from today’s baby-centric and baby-safe nurseries. The pictures we see of Prince Charles in his crib would certainly be frowned upon by today’s safety standards. And there was little thought of stimulating the baby growing in this formal and stiff room, nor of the comfort of his or her mother. So what can we surmise the prince’s nursery might look like for today’s royal family?
We know Kate was antiquing like crazy in the days towards the end of her pregnancy, and her dedication to high-low shopping is a philosophy I’m positive will carry over into baby-gear shopping. So I imagine there will be both precious gems and sustainable bargains mixed together in an understated but elegant room, reflecting their mission all along to put baby first.
So what will be in the nursery?
It’s traditional to see rocking horses and handmade doll houses in nurseries, despite the nursery’s occupant not being able to ride or play with either for some time.
Dragons of Walton Street has famously made cribs and nursery furniture painted with Beatrix Potter characters like Peter Rabbit and other traditional baby designs. Princess Diana used them to furnish William’s nursery, and many celebrities from Madonna to Gwenyth Paltrow are fans of the brand. It is possible that Kate will make some kind of nod to Princess Diana’s taste with some nostalgic furniture for William.
Kate may adorn the chairs with blankets hand knitted in Welsh wool as another subtle nod to Diana, Princess of Wales. Perhaps we’ll see a glimpse of the Welsh blankets on a stroll through Hyde Park with one of Kate’s lavish strollers!
While Kate has been said to have bought a blue Bugaboo, royals before her used the Silver Cross traditional prams for baby’s transport—perhaps she’ll have both. And Silver Cross recently collaborated with Aston Martin for a state-of-the-art stroller fit for a prince!
One of the cutest decor suggestions I’ve heard: a mobile replica of Prince William’s helicopter to keep the baby occupied while his diaper is being changed!
When it comes to fashion, again Kate will almost certainly adopt her high-low strategy that has made her aspirational yet so relatable to her loyal following. While Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen may be rumored to be making a christening gown, possibly with a Philip Treacy bonnet and Church’s royal-crest-embroidered slippers. Maybe a touch of Marie-Chantal, BonPoint and Jacadi will also adorn the Prince’s wardrobe, but I also expect to see labels like H&M and Zara and other high street brands.
All in all, both in wardrobe and interior design this baby will almost certainly be sure to have a healthy marriage between the traditional and the new and updated, which so aptly reflects these royal parents.
Celebrate the arrival of the royal baby with a look back at Kate’s pregnancy, marriage, and more!
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Thursday, July 11th, 2013
If you’re looking for a little portable entertainment for your child while traveling this summer or simply seeking a quiet activity out of the sun, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite apps for kids ages four and up. Moderation is my motto when it comes to screen time. But let’s face it: Sometimes it can be nice to keep your little one occupied for a bit while you enjoy some much-needed downtime. (After all, I enjoy a little screen time just as much as my little ones do.)
It can feel impossible navigating your way through the endless sea of apps to find ones that are entertaining, educational, and suitable for your wee ones. Plus, those 99¢ apps add up, and, before you know it, you’ve spent a whole lot of money on not very much value. Here’s my round-up of favorite apps for preschool-age kids:
1. More Pie by Maverick Software allows little ones to make 30 varieties of pies with over 45 choices of toppings. If your child enjoys this app, check out the others in the series, such as the cupcake making or BBQ grilling app. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
2. Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers by Nickelodeon is great for building math skills like counting and number identification. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
3. The Little Engine That Could by Once Upon an App is a fun starter app for any little train lover. Your child can choose to read the book by himself, or have the app read the story aloud to him. $4 for iPad and iPhone
4. Pip and Posy: Fun and Games by Nosy Crow features cute English accents as your child plays matching games and completes jigsaw puzzles with lovable characters. $3 for iPad and iPhone
5. What Does Not Belong by Brain-Go LLC builds vocabulary and classification skills which are essential for preparing your child for kindergarten. $2 for iPad and iPhone
6. Little Fox Music Box by Fox and Sheep is a fantastic interactive music app available in multiple languages for kids with over 100 interactive elements and sounds. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and Android
7. Koi Pond HD Lite by The Blimp Pilots is a calming, introductory app to get your wee ones used to using a touch screen. Enjoy seeing the water ripple and the Koi fish react as your child plays the game. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
8. Dr. Panda’s Hospital by TribePlay Ltd. is perfect for little ones who love to role-play. In this app, your child can fix broken bones, ease stomachaches, and measure the blood pressure of furry patients. $2 for iPad, iPhone, and Android
9. Snackerdoodle by Maverick Software is a fun drawing app that allows your kid to use fruits and veggies to create their own pictures. Plus, it’s a fun way to start talking about healthy food choices with your child. $1 for iPad and iPhone
10. Zoo Train by Busy Bee Studios combines puzzles, music, and spelling games into one app filled with five fun activities featuring two kid favorites—trains and animals. $1 for iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Windows 8, and Android
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Friday, June 28th, 2013
As the “royal baby fever” heats up, many of us have burning questions about how His or Her Royal Highness (HRH) will be raised, named, fed, clothed, schooled, and introduced to the Windsor and Middleton families—and of course us, the adoring public! So what do we know?
For starters the baby will be born in the Lindo Wing, the private wing of St. Mary’s hospital, which costs roughly 10,000 pounds. There, the royal couple will have access to postpartum and breastfeeding support, among other services. This is the same hospital wing that Prince William and Prince Harry were born in back in the 80′s. Prince Charles managed to sneak his way into the delivery room with Princess Diana, and William will be with Kate during her delivery, too. (The royals have modernized at least in some ways!) What is perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the delivery plans is that Kate is rumored to want both her mother, Carole, and her sister, Pippa, present with her in the delivery room—at least for the first part of labor. Add two esteemed doctors to the mix, and you have quite a crowd. In fact, critics have jested that it reminds them of the old, public, royal births when almost anyone could come by and view!
Proceedings after the birth will follow tradition with a 41 gun salute, a speech given by the Prime Minister in Parliament, and a poetic note displayed at the gates of Buckingham Palace announcing the royal birth. And amidst all the excitement outside, the royal couple will be presented with a comprehensive wine (and Champagne) list in the exclusive hospital wing should they wish to enjoy a toast to celebrate their new arrival!
Perhaps most interesting—and extremely significant in my opinion—is just how much Kate’s relationship with her mother differs from previous mother-daughter relationships in the royal family: The Queen’s parenting style has been notoriously distant, and she’s famous for “trying” to spend an hour a day with her kids; Diana and Fergie’s mothers both bolted from their fathers and took up refuge in far-off lands (the isolated Scottish Isles and Argentina, respectively); and Princess Diana’s tragic death came early in the princes’ lives. Kate, on the other hand, has a seemingly great relationship with her mother and plans to be a present and engaged mother herself. This baby is going to benefit enormously from the—dare I say it—more normal, affectionate, and hands-on parenting style of the Middletons. While this baby will be royal, HRH will be more Middleton in upbringing than Windsor!
In keeping with this close-knit family, a few short days after the birth of baby Albert, George, Charlotte, or Alexandra (all strong name contenders) will be whisked off not to the royal residences, but to the Middletons’ new manor house in the Berkshires (a very affluent country address). For the first six weeks of wee HRH’s life, he or she will be with grandma Carole and grandpa Michael. William and Kate’s snazzy residence at Kensington Palace is 300 years old and still undergoing massive renovations to remove asbestos and get it ready for the new royal family. But despite the renovations, I believe it was a deliberate decision of Kate and William’s to reside with the Middletons’ during the first weeks of the baby’s life, wanting the support that Kate’s family can provide.
Kate’s nursery decorating style will mirror that of her taste in fashion: elegant and classic with a modern twist. We certainly won’t be seeing any blinged-out, diamond-encrusted cribs in the royal nursery! Instead, Kate has invested in a Moses-style basket that will reside beside her bed for the first weeks, as Kate and William plan to have the baby sleep in their room at first. (Perhaps this is a nod to attachment parenting from Kate and William?) While Kate will of course have family help and the support of a staff, I have no doubt that she will be a hands-on mother as much as her position allows.
One of the most speculated aspects of the royal baby is HRH’s hair color. Many are wondering if HRH will have red hair, or be a “ginger” as we call it in England, just like his or her famous uncle! Geneticists have explained that the gene for red hair color is recessive, so the baby would have to receive the recessive gene from both Kate and William in order to be born a ginger—which apparently is a 50:50 chance!
So get your mini Union Jack ready, pour yourself some tea (or, if you prefer, some Pimm’s), and be prepared to be glued to the TV, because D-day is almost here!
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Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!
As parents, we try to be the very best that we can be. And it’s easy to fall into making comparisons: What is everyone else doing with their kids? What gear do they have? What parenting techniques are they practicing? The list of questions goes on and on.
With all this looking outward for answers, we have the tendency to turn these thoughts inward in an anxious, “I’m not doing enough” kind of way: Am I playing with my kids as much as I should? Do I encourage creativity? Do I make time for my partner? Just think of the many questions we ask ourselves in, I suppose, some desire to be perfect. Quite frankly, its exhausting! And it’s no wonder that by the end of the day we don’t feel good enough about ourselves and our contributions to our families. Instead we feel overwhelmed, irritated, and ready to dive into a random box of cookies! Your day’s good intentions are shot. Forget going to the gym—it’s just not worth it since I won’t be running as fast or as long as that person on the treadmill next to me. After satisfactorily feeding our frustrations, we then vow to make tomorrow a new day! As much as you hate to admit it, you’ve probably gone through this same roller coaster of emotions at one point or another… maybe even last night.
Well, my lovelies, I have decided that being perfect is no fun and the endless journey to achieve it certainly isn’t either! If everything’s perfect, what can we laugh at? Perfect hair and perfect pancakes in a perfect house simply isn’t that amusing! And laughing, after all, is one of the greatest joys we can share with each other and especially our children.
I’m starting to learn that owning up to imperfections and letting our children see us embracing and dealing with them is what can teach them more than anything else. If they see us being happy and confident in the face of imperfection, focusing on our strengths and not swamped by our weaknesses, they, too, will do the same. Being perfect after all (or at least trying to be) doesn’t really teach them a great deal—other than sending the message that you are totally distracted, not relatable, ridiculously unapproachable, and absorbed in reaching some standard. Our kids don’t need us to be perfect; they need us to teach them how to deal with real life.
When we are constantly trying to be the best moms we can be, so many of us ignore perhaps our greatest gift to our children—ourselves, faults and all. However, I see it every day with the moms I meet: the insecurity. They have nothing to feel inferior about; they are doing a fantastic job, but somehow they are not able to see themselves as the great mothers they are. If you feel insecure about yourself and your contributions to your family, your anxiety will take hold. You won’t be able to be yourself and that is when things can go wrong as a parent. I am convinced that if you can let go of all the self-criticism and comparisons, you will find the confidence to just be the real, no-walls-up you. And that is one of the greatest gifts you can give your little ones as a parent.
So maybe I drank some wine on a Monday night, and maybe I slept in this morning and didn’t go running, but you know what I did do? I played a darn good game of “Mommy is a horsey,” and I’m feeling pretty fab about it!
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Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!
After having my third baby, our apartment in the city officially moved into the “way too small” category. A bathroom became a closet, the main hallway became a putting green, the living room transformed into a makeshift castle fort, and my closet obviously was repurposed as the “dress up adventure/let’s open all of mommy’s shoe boxes because we’ve run out of places to play” area. So we have moved to the ‘burbs.
To my great surprise, it has not been the longer commute, nor the friendly neighbors delivering ample cupcakes, nor the increased amount of storage space that has been the greatest change for me. Instead, it has been the way in which I parent. In my apartment, my kids could roam freely and I would pretty much feel secure knowing where they were and what they were doing. After all, I could see into every room, nook, and cranny from the living room, there were no stairs, only one way into and out of the house, and window guards—so basically a New York City fortress. Because of this, I could juggle multiple things at once while the kids ran around and did their own thing. Perhaps that’s why having three kids hasn’t felt too difficult, despite the gasps I always receive when pushing around my triple train of a stroller!
But now in our new house, if the children go into a different room or up the staircase, I have no idea what they are doing. And once I chase after them to take a peek, it turns out they have usually found the most dangerous thing possible to explore. (You know, the usual investigating circuitry or touching some bug not known to us in the far-off lands of NYC!) Ever since the move, we’ve had to work more as a team so we can stick together as we travel around the house. Whether it’s cooking, getting dressed, or exploring the garden together, my little ones are having to be patient with each other instead of wandering off and not waiting for their siblings.
The move has also helped my children learn about independence. I simply can’t keep my eyes on them at all times as I did in the city, so my rules are more strict and their responsibility is greater. There is a sense of freedom, yet there is more order all at the same time. To be completely honest, I’ve been a total neurotic basket-case as I’m learning to let them explore. (Meanwhile, I’m still learning how to make a good cup of coffee for myself because apparently Starbucks doesn’t deliver!) However, even without my regular dose of caffeine, last night as I watched them dig into dinner, truly hungry and tired from a day of fun outdoors, I could see the happiness over every inch of their bodies and knew this was the right move for us…. Even if this mama is going to have to learn a new style of parenting!
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