Posts Tagged ‘ motherhood ’

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 Parents.com! 

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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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Therapy Can Help Scared Moms Avoid C-Sections
Group therapy can help women avoid risky and costly cesarean sections, especially first-time mothers fearful of childbirth, according to a new study. (via NBC News)

Clues to Cause of Kids’ Brain Tumors
New research on a genetic condition that causes brain cancer is helping scientists better understand the most common type of brain tumor in children. (via ScienceDaily)

Bacteria on Binkies: A Recipe for Crankiness
The latest research suggests that instead of curing crankiness, pacifiers may actually cause babies to be more unruly. (via Time)

School Districts Brace for Cuts as Fiscal Crisis Looms
If the government is unable to resolve the looming debt crisis, federal education programs for elementary and high schools will lose a little over $2 billion starting next fall. (via New York Times)

Four Family Cultures of America Indentified
Four types of family cultures—the Faithful, the Engaged Progressives, the Detached and the American Dreamers—are molding the next generation of Americans, a new study finds. (via ScienceDaily)

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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 Parents.com! 

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 Parents.com! 

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: 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 Parents.com! 

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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Rosie to the Rescue: The Right Number of Choices to Give Toddlers

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Pope FamilyEvery week, Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” will be blogging for Parents.com! 

If there’s something I’m sure of after having three kids, it’s that as soon as I think I have something sorted out, things change, and I have to figure it out all over again! It’s amazing how these wee people can at times completely flummox us, especially when it comes to disciplining them and getting them to do something that they simply do not want to do. Like eating dinner.

For the most part, I pride myself on explaining to my children the importance of listening to me, and that I don’t ask them to eat their greens just because I feel like being mean! But I was having a particularly hard time with my eldest and food, and as I sat back to think about how to better handle the situation, I realized just how many choices I had been giving him, without realizing it. Do you want cheese on your pasta, or to the side? Do you want milk or water? Do you want to sit in this chair, or that one? Do you want the blue spoon or the red one? While I was trying to make things “just right” for my son to eat, I was overwhelming him with choices. So when the pasta was not exactly the right shape, at exactly the right temperature, on the exact right plate, let me just say it was not good!

Lying on my couch feeling defeated, worried, and very full (I kept eating large quantities of food to try and set a good example; let’s just say I was consuming far more than he was), I realized there’s a vital rule of toddler parenting that I needed to apply to this situation just as to any other:

Only ever give two choices. Yes, choices help children feel empowered, which is important. But presenting too many overwhelms toddlers. Children should be allowed to understand the difference between good choices and bad choices. The magic total number of decisions kids get to make, in our home, is two.

With that strategy, we were soon back to eating a peaceful dinner. And of course there’s one other thing that helps toddlers, and that’s never “too many:” your hugs and kisses!

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Rosie to the Rescue: Psst, I Wash My Hair Once a Week

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Rosie Pope's HairEvery week, Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” will be blogging for Parents.com! 

People sometimes ask me, “What do you do to pamper yourself?” But with three kids under 4, a husband, and a crazy work schedule, there really are no spa days in my world. And there certainly aren’t yoga retreats sprinkled with juice cleanses and some guy named Rodolpho (think male model) to massage my stressed limbs.

But I do believe in figuring out ways to make my life less stressful while also injecting a dose of glam (my version of pampering). So now, let me present to you… “The One-Wash Wonder.” That’s right: Unless I manage to fit in a workout, I only wash my hair once a week. Why? Because it takes forever to blow-dry, I’m not very good at it, and I would simply rather savor the taste of my coffee beans if I have any spare time in the morning, or get a few more minutes in bed than to be hurriedly running shampoo through my tresses. I have it down to a fine art and now after years of perfection, I will share my secret with you:

Sunday: Wash thoroughly with some high-quality shampoo and conditioner. You should splurge on these. Only using them once a week means they’ll last forever, so you can justify the cost! Put very little conditioner on the roots, but do use lots elsewhere. Blow-dry really well using your favorite products (but keep to a minimum) and stay away from waxes and hair sprays or other products that make your hair more greasy or prone to needing to be washed. Use curlers, and then leave in a loose bun on top of your head till morning.

Monday: Wear with illustrious pride: You are a walking hair model. Repeat bun at night.

Tuesday: Oh yeah, still looking good. No need for a bun tonight; let hair hang loose and relax those roots.

Wednesday: Spruce up with a little dry shampoo (baby powder works, too). Do some curling-iron action if necessary, then brush out those curls for a more natural look. I’m a fan of the Mason Pearson hairbrush, made with boar bristles (put it on your Christmas list, because it’s expensive). Leap into the day with your curls, but keep your brush handy for spruce-ups throughout the day! Sweep back into that loose bun at night.

Thursday: Ponytail day! That’s right, ponies don’t look good just on teenagers. Make sure your tail’s not too high, but not too low either. Think sleek, and use water instead of spray to tame the wild frizzy bits up front. Wear as you wish at night. Always save a few strands to wrap around your hair tie for a more polished look.

Friday: Make a defined part in your hair, and wear your ponytail low and sleek.

Saturday: Sweep your tresses into a sleek bun. Go crazy today, hair spray and all. I like a high bun, others low. Choose what looks best for your head shape.

Sunday: Repeat that bun (high, low, however you like it) and relish in the fact that tonight is wash night and you’re actually looking forward to it. Voilà, glamour without the hours!

And next time you see me, maybe you’ll crack a smile, knowing exactly where I am in the weekly cycle of the one-wash wonder!

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Rosie to the Rescue: Travel With Kids

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Rosie Pope, Pregnant in HeelsEvery week, Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” will be blogging for Parents.com! 

I have officially begun my book tour for Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy and I am not in the least bit prepared, at least not in the usual way. I know most would have their outfits all laid out in advance, and at least some idea where on earth they were supposed to be at any given time. But not me, at least not on this particular adventure because I have decided to travel with one of my kids on each leg of the tour.

Firstly Vivienne. She is the greatest at the longest flights, not through any amazing skill of mine but because she is only 4 ½ months old and has no idea we are on a plane! So she is joining me cross-country to California. JR is coming to Dallas, Minneapolis, and Chicago, as he is by now a superstar travel companion since I’ve made him hit the road with his mama pretty much since the day he was born (maternity leave isn’t a luxury I have yet had). And Wellington is joining me in Atlanta, Bethesda, and Cherry Hill, NJ. Holy Moly is all I have to say! He is 19 months old and a total hurricane—a sweet one nonetheless.

What I am prepared for, however, is traveling with kids, as prepared as one can ever be! I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you some of the tricks I have picked up over the last few years as I try and juggle work and the great opportunities for adventure across America with my children. Hope these 10 points will help you, whether you are traveling by train, plane, or automobile:

1) Forget all your normal rules (if you have any, which I hope you have a few) like “no sugar!”

2) There is no such thing as “making good time” when you are with kids (that is directed mainly at you, dads!). Build in time for breaks!

3) I know this is a tough one, but you really shouldn’t feed your kids while the car is moving. Choking is a real danger, so make stopping to eat part of the adventure.

4) When faced with the question, “How much longer?” try and quantify time in terms of your kid’s favorite TV show, as it will make more sense and likely satisfy the question.

5) Buy mini gifts and wrap them well. Have your wee one open them throughout the trip. I love stickers, books, UNO cards (you can adapt the rules for many ages), lollipops, connect-the-dot mini books, and crayons.

6) Try to book flights during nap times and if there is ever the opportunity for a red-eye, take it! Get the kids in PJs before the flight and explain that it’s “lights out” as soon as you take off. Nothing like the hum of the engine to help kids sleep.

7) As well as packing extra clothes for your kids, remember kids can also vomit on you (oh yeah, I’ve been there), so always keep an extra shirt for yourself somewhere handy.

8) Take as much nutritionally rich food, but not messy, as possible. Luna bars are amazing as they are extremely tasty, seem like a treat, and not messy. There’s nothing worse than being at the whim of gas station or airport food!

9) You can take stuff to drink past airport security so you don’t have to spend so much money on water or juice. Just mention you have kids and security will run special tests on the liquids. I was one happy mommy when I figured this out!

10) Most of all, remember that the journey is part of the adventure and it can be just as full of anxiety and excitement for kids as it is for you. Take a little time to explain all the steps of the trip and then try and enjoy them, even if they don’t go according to plan. Just because you aren’t sunning yourself with a cocktail by the pool doesn’t mean you’re not on vacation!

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