Posts Tagged ‘ Mommy IQ ’

Rosie to the Rescue: Why I Won’t Tell My Kids About Sandy Hook

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

It’s hard to think of much else this week other than this terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I’ve struggled to make sense of it, and at the same time wondered how or what to tell my young children in these times, if indeed they should be told anything. I am torn between trying not to think about it, and then forcing myself to in some way pay respect to all who fell victim that terrible day. I am sure you are struggling with the same things.

I have not told my children about this tragedy. My oldest is only 4.

I remember as a child hearing of a plane crash and being terrified of flying. I asked my dad to promise me that the plane we were on would not crash. Even at that young age, part of me knew he could not truthfully promise such a thing, but as my dad, my protector, that didn’t matter. As long as I could hear him utter the words that it was safe to fly, I could believe in them. I still do.

A very wise woman, who I respect endlessly, told me, “Keep this tragedy from our young children. Do not carelessly leave newspapers lying around, do not leave the TV on, and tell all caregivers not to speak of this in front of them.” Our little ones, between ages two and five, need to know they are safe, even when we are not always sure ourselves how true that is. They do not need to know of this unspeakable act; their worlds need to be warm and fuzzy, full of love and comfort.

If my four-year-old hears about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, I will do the same thing my dad did. I will promise my son he has nothing to fear and that he is safe. That this terrible thing happened, but everyone is doing all that they can to make sure it never happens again, and he has nothing to fear.

Hold your children close to you, and let’s stand together to try and make sure a tragedy like this never does happen again. So we can be sure that when we talk to our children, there is no longer a reason to lie.

For information and resources on dealing with the tragedy, visit the following on

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Rosie to the Rescue: How I Solved My Son’s Food Fears

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

My three children eat very differently: One boy eats anything he can lay his hands on, the other: not so much. At one point he had pasta and butter with cheese on the side (on-the-side was very important) for almost every meal! And well, my youngest is just not that pleased that I am trying to feed her pureed fruits and veggies. She is much more of a milk girl, at least this week!

With all of them, though, I’ve followed the same philosophy of introducing good foods, wholesome and varied, making sure to give a rainbow assortment at each meal starting around their first birthday. But I’ve found that just like adults, children have different taste buds and are exercising boundaries at different times. What’s important to remember is that while food and children can sometimes be tricky, I don’t know a single adult who only drinks milk, or has never allowed anything other than buttered noodles to touch her lips! The key is patience, constantly trying new things (even if it doesn’t work), not making meal times stressful, and setting good food examples yourself (yes I am guilty of sneaking a little candy behind the cupboard door every now and then!).

I want to tell you a personal story when a few months ago my son started refusing to eat lunch at school. He was visibly upset and would cry when the teachers or I would encourage him to eat. We tried everything, even allowing him to choose things for lunch I could never in my wildest imagination have imagined giving to him. Frankly, I was desperate and just wanted him to eat something. And he still didn’t eat it. This was clearly not about food.

What worked for my son, who is 4, was to finally explain why we eat food, and what happens if we don’t. I didn’t sugarcoat it: I explained how sick we get when we don’t eat or drink fluids. That we end up in the hospital. And how fortunate we are to be able to have all the food and drink we need. To be so honest–and in a way, dark–was not easy, but it worked. It opened my son up to talk about what was really going on: He was afraid of the classroom in which they were eating lunch. But, he didn’t want to get sick. Bit by bit he started eating a little more. And week by week I swapped out the unspeakable lunch items that I had given him with much more wholesome options. I also gave him some control by saying, “If you eat your lunch and therefore have energy, you can stay up 30 minutes later at night. If you don’t, you must sleep earlier to get that energy.”

I’m not saying this will work for you as this was such a specific problem, or that the many ideas out there will work for everyone, from hiding foods in scrumptious recipes, to standing firm and only allowing your kids to eat what you eat. But what I am saying is if it seems your child is really trying to cut out so many foods and making so many demands–rather than simply not liking peas–maybe consider if something else is going on. And work with him. Food is often one of the few ways kids can assert control over adults, and they will begin to do it in a situation in which they might feel out of control (in my son’s case, the big new scary classroom, with new kids).

You know by now I am big on communication with your kids. They understand much more than we can ever imagine, and just as our environment affects our eating, so does theirs.

In a society so full of eating problems, I encourage you to set good examples for your children. Just because your child knows when you’ve tried to hide the broccoli in that muffin, don’t give up!

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Rosie to the Rescue: What Kind of Mom Will Kate Middleton Be?

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

With all the royal baby fever, I can hardly control myself. Or think about anything else, for that matter!

There are so many questions buzzing, from of course what Kate will wear, to what type of parents she and the dad-to-be will be to this child, girl or boy, who will be third in line to the throne after William.

Traditionally, the royal family has practiced a very hands-off parenting style. Attachment Parenting is certainly not what comes to mind! The Queen notoriously didn’t visit Prince Charles in hospital when he was admitted with appendicitis as a child. And there are countless other tales about the distance between the Queen and her children, not to mention her questionable involvement in choosing for Prince Charles his wife Diana, rather than validating his love for Camilla–prioritizing a union she thought was right for the crown, not the heart.

As fate would have it, Princess Diana ended up changing the face of royal parenting with a very hands-on approach, which at that time surprised the nation, and exposed what we all came to love about Diana: her loving and nurturing nature.

I am sure Kate (and William) will be far more like Diana than the Queen in her parenting style. However, Kate will be a working mom, and will have to juggle the balance between motherhood, a life under the media’s glare, and a heavy workload of public service both in the United Kingdom and around the world. While I wouldn’t dream of comparing her support team to what most mothers have access to, I am hoping to see her develop into a role model for balance. So far William and Kate seem to have prioritized their relationship; with the addition of a little one, I’m sure they will continue to put their family first. But as with so many of us, the necessity to work, whether for financial reasons or duty, in or out of the home, makes balance that much trickier. I am hoping she will be open and honest about it, and continues to be an inspiration to us all.

A new people’s princess? Only time will tell.

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Rosie to the Rescue: Moms, Let’s Not Be Gossip Girls!

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

Whether you’ve become good friends with the parents of your child’s BFF, or you just make it work for the kids (you know what I’m talking about!), adult interactions during playdates can be tricky to navigate. While the kids are having fun, adult conversations can take an interesting turn, and we can forget that our children are potentially listening. (This doesn’t just happen on playdates, of course. Thanksgiving with extended family, anyone?)

I recently found myself at a playdate with a mom who shared her concerns about other kids our children play with. I noticed that my son was listening; we were, after all, talking about his friends. This got me thinking how often we potentially have inappropriate discussions around our kids, without even realizing it. It’s important to be more aware of what we say, as children can make assumptions or inferences that stay with them and can be damaging. I really want to encourage all of us to stamp out that alluring gossiping we can do when we get together during playdates, be active about the content of our discussions, and try and make them upbeat and not inappropriate. If you find yourself in a tricky situation just make a gesture to the kids, smile, and say “Let’s catch up about that later,” then swiftly change the topic. (“I love your shoes, by the way. Where did you get them?”)

After all, playdates and family gatherings should be fun for the kids, and you should never leave wondering whether little Joey heard you talking about his dad!

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Rosie to the Rescue: Making a Gingerbread House as Easy as 1-2-3

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Rosie Pope and FamilyCheck out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

As we start counting down the weeks before the holidays, a tradition in our household is to make a gingerbread house. The trick (and I am no Betty Crocker) is to let icing thoroughly dry before decorating every inch with candy. It’s not an easy feat to wait, I might add, as piling on the candy is without doubt the most fun part. The other trick is to support the gingerbread roof slabs with some homemade devices so they don’t slip. Ours usually involve empty yogurt pots, and some carefully placed Lego pieces!

Before you make the gingerbread house, draw one out on paper, and draw the different colors of candy on the house but make sure to do so in repetitive sequences. For example, red M+M, blue Skittle, green Nerd, and repeat. Do this all over the house and give this “blueprint” to your wee ones as a guide to follow. If they’re toddlers, picking out the right color will help with their vocabulary and grasp of color; if they’re of pre-school and kindergarten age, they can then carefully place the candy while learning about sequences. Make sure to let them create their own candy sequences also. If they’re a little older, let them design the gingerbread-house candy sequences themselves, and then implement them.

P.S. If you’d rather cut back on the candy, you can use dried and fresh cut-up fruits, which go nicely with the gingerbread flavor. You can also make your gingerbread houses from scratch, or buy a kit that comes with pre-made walls and roof. Either way, you get to combine tradition with candy (or fruit) and math! Simply perfect.

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Rosie to the Rescue: Get Your Baby to Sleep

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

Sleeping through the night: four magical words any parent wants to be able to say about her child. However, they’re four words that seem so hard to achieve.

I think I get asked more sleep-related questions than other type. Sleep is something that makes us parents extremely anxious, not only because we want our wee ones to get enough sleep to help their development, but also so that we get enough Z’s and can be at our most functional, too. (BTW, I write this as I take another gulp of coffee, as we have not yet sleep-trained Vivienne!) Let’s face it, after months of a few hours of sleep a night, none of us are the best parents that we can be.

Still, a lot of parents, including me, have a very hard time doing what’s necessary to get our children to sleep through the night as early as we’d like, and that means doing some form of sleep training. Of course, you don’t have to sleep train, and maybe you have a sleep prodigy (lucky you!). But in my experience, a child won’t start sleeping through the night on his own accord truly, and that means approximately 7pm to 7am, until he’s well into his second year of life, and maybe much later than that. Teaching good sleep habits and the ability to self-sooth so that your baby can put himself to sleep, and fall back asleep if he wakes up in the middle of the night, is extremely important. And while I do find sleep training difficult, I make sure to do it and I am much happier (and so are my kids) for it. You’ve probably heard of the following options, and it’s up to you to decide what’s right for you:

  • Gradual Parent Removal Method/Chair Method: The parent puts the child in the crib awake, and sits in a chair close to the crib until he falls asleep. Over seven nights, the chair is moved further back until it’s no longer in the room and the child can self-sooth. You cannot engage with him while in the room.
  • Dr. Ferber’s Graduated Extinction Approach/The Progressive Approach: This basically involves putting the child in the crib awake and checking on him in regular intervals until he falls asleep, increasing the intervals each night for seven nights.
  • Dr. Weissbluth’s Extinction Method: The child is put in the crib awake and the parents don’t return until morning. This method takes around two to three nights.

I find the earliest possible time you can sleep train is at 4 months, if your baby weighs at least 14 pounds, and of course you have to first make sure that he’s eating enough during the day (24-32 oz milk) so that he doesn’t need milk during the night, which often means that sleep training occurs a little later.

I know people have mixed feeling about CIO but used in this setting for sleep, there really is no strong evidence that it harms our babies, and knowing that the “extinction” method only takes two to three nights, you could all be having sweet dreams sooner than you imagined. That being said, when we sleep train in our household, my husband has to sit on me, as it is not an easy thing to do.

Bottom line: Decide what is best for your family, and be consistent. Sweet dreams.

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Rosie to the Rescue: How Do You Explain a Hurricane to Kids?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Rosie Pope and FamilyCheck out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I’m left answering lots of questions from my 4-year-old. We live in New York City, and have a beach house on the Jersey shore. My husband and I went into the storm with optimism, minimizing the threat of a hurricane and the possible damage, because I simply didn’t want my big boy to worry. So while we talked a little about the winds and the waves, we focused more on the fact that we’d be able to stay home, play, and bake plenty of cookies. Still, with the nonstop reporting that we were all hooked to during the last few days, he witnessed a lot of the devastation on TV. We then received the news that we were going to lose our beach house, due to the water surge on the coast. So my son heard us talking extensively to neighbors, friends, and family.

Knowing how attached my son was to the house, I decided to address this disaster and use it as an opportunity to talk about what really matters. It’s so easy to focus on the disappearance of things and the overwhelming loss so many are feeling today, as they have lost their homes, and for some, so much more. My son’s focus was on what matters in his 4-year-old world: his favorite toys that he knew were washed away. So we talked (and talked) that while we were sad about losing these things, what is important, what truly matters, is that our friends and family are safe.

This opportunity reminded me not to underestimate the ability of a child to understand what’s going on around him, and to take on and feel the emotions that we’re going through, no matter how hard we try to hide them. I remembered it’s always better to talk to children so they understand what’s really happening, instead of letting their beautiful and wild imaginations fill in the blanks. This morning my son is a secure little boy knowing exactly what’s happened to our home and his toys, not worried about what he is seeing and hearing, because he understands what is truly important — and is back to playing search-and-rescue with his fireman figurines, which I’m sure is his way of working through his emotions about all that’s happened. So if I can share anything from my personal experience this week, it’s to protect your children, but be brave and answer their questions, empower them with the understanding of their environment, and most of all hold them close. If Sandy has brought any good, it’s to remind us what is really important.

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Rosie to the Rescue: Have a No-Stress Halloween

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at! 

Every year I find myself getting childishly excited about Halloween. I just finished decorating our home with cobwebs, goopy gunk, spiders, and skeleton balloons. As I tried to fall asleep last night, slightly freaked out by the skeleton shadows the balloons were creating on the wall, and anxiously wondering whether the costumes were going to arrive on time (and feeling a little guilty that I was not going to be hand-making them, as I would be in the fantasy I have of myself as a mother!), I started wondering why we insist on celebrating Halloween with young kids.

Halloween is fabulous fun for a lot of children, especially those who are a little older. But for toddlers and young kids, Halloween can often end up being rather stressful and full of tears. If it’s not the expensive costume you’ve bought that your kid doesn’t want to wear, then it’s the candy and arguing about how much can be consumed. But let’s be real: We’re not going to cancel Halloween for a few difficult years. So here are some of my Halloween-with-kids rules:

Thoroughly enjoy dressing up your babies in anything you like. They won’t know what they are, so there’s no issue with causing a complex. Also, they won’t put up a fight, and you can take as many pictures as you like! This phase won’t last very long. Bask in it!

Make sure your kids eat lots of wholesome things during the day, because battling about treats will only end in tears. Decide how much candy they can eat and when, and make sure it’s super-generous. They’ll be so shocked you said they could eat 20 pieces that they may not even get there, and certainly won’t try to bargain for more.

Stick to accessories if you know there are going to be costume problems. A good old Spiderman glove, a tiara, or even a soft sword can go a long way for a 4-year-old with costume anxiety.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just get out there and have fun with your kids regardless of what they end up wearing. And if there is that person who asks, “Well, what are you supposed to be?” and your child is soooo clearly not dressed up because she had a total meltdown, sweetly say “Wouldn’t you like to know?”, wink, take some candy and dash out of there.

Remember: It’s only one day. If all else fails, talk about the real underlying meaning of Halloween: to rid our worlds of bad spirits and welcome the good. Whatever meaning you personally want to give those spirits, it is a wonderful message of good and new beginning—even if the costume didn’t work, the skeletons freaked out your little one, and everyone ate too much candy!

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