Archive for the ‘
Mommy Bloggers ’ Category
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Do you have an introverted kid? If so, absolutely do not miss the Q&A below with Christine Fonsaca, author of the new book, Quiet Kids: Help Your Introverted Child Succeed in an Extroverted World. She is full of tips and tricks for getting your child to come out of her shell–or for letting her stay safely and happily tucked right inside.
KK: How do you know if your child is introverted?
CF: Ask most parents for a definition of introversion and you typically get words like “shy” or “withdrawn.” Even as introversion is becoming more recognized as a temperament and not a negative behavioral trait, most parents still don’t know the underlying neurological differences in introversion and extroversion. In fact, introversion still tends to be linked with everything from social anxiety disorders to attention problems or autism, a fact that has little basis in truth.
So what is introversion really? One way to answer this is to know what it is not. Introversion is not narcissism or self-centeredness. It is not being shy or aloof. It has to do with how an individual uses energy. Extroverted people typically thrive on the frenetic energy created in socially charged situations, relying on the energy hit as a path toward renewal. Introverts, on the other hand, find such energy draining. Unlike their extroverted counterparts, they require solitude in order to renew, thriving when given ample opportunities to lose themselves in their own thoughts. The same is true for introverted children.
A few typical early signs that your child may be introverted include:
- Hesitation in new situations
- Appears to be “lost” inside of him or herself
- Gets grouchy when around people for too long
- Appears “shy”
- Becomes agitated with a lot of sensory input (lights, movement, noise, etc)
- Most comfortable alone or with 1-2 friends
- Needs “downtime” after school or after highly social activities
KK: What are some tips for parents of young introverted children?
Build downtime into the introvert’s day. Don’t wait until he or she melts down to provide periods of respite. Make it a normal part of every day.
Stop stressing over friendship. The number one thing parents ask me about is friendships. Somehow most of us got it into our head’s that children need many friends. This isn’t always true. One or two close friendships can provide the introverted child with the connections he or she needs in order to cultivate their emotional development.
Be open to differences in temperament. If you happen to be an extroverted parent, your introverted child will seem like a complete enigma. You may be compelled to “fix” the introversion, viewing his or her need for seclusion as an indicator of a larger problem. Resist the urge to characterize the behavior as pathological. Instead, watch your child closely. Does he or she appear happy? Does he or she have one or two friends? Does she appear comfortable at home? If the answer is yes to most of these, there is probably nothing more than temperament at play.
KK: What should parents do to prepare their introverted child for kindergarten?
CF: Transition to school can be challenging for many children, especially introverts. Building routines around school, visiting the campus ahead of time, and making certain your child is well rested are all ways to facilitate the transition. After kindergarten has started, parents should watch for performance difficulties. Sometimes these difficulties relate to temperament as opposed to content mastery. It is important for parents and teachers to work together should a problem arise in school.
KK: What if one of my children is extroverted and the other(s) are introverts? What are some tips for smoothing out the battles with a mixed-temperament household?
CF: Ah yes, the mixed temperament household. Given that introversion accounts for 25 to 30 percent of the population according to most researchers, a mixed temperament household is fairly common. Here are a couple of tips to smooth out some of the rough waters mixed temperament households may experience:
- When possible, allow the introvert to have her own room or her own space. This will give her a specific place where she can decompress after a socially-charged school day.
- Teach both the extroverts and introverts about temperament. Help them understand each other’s needs
- Be certain to provide both routines and times of calm for the introvert, as well as spontaneity and activity for the extrovert. Both can learn skills from each other, while having their own needs met
- Watch out for unfair expectations; the introvert is likely not going to have larger numbers of friends or go out to social venues often, and the extrovert is probably not going to hang out in their room, alone, quietly reading for long periods of time. It’s important to know your child and understand the influence of their natural temperament
KK: It seems like my daughter never has friends. Is this true of most introverts?
Add a Comment
CF: One of the common myths about introverts is that they do not have friends. In fact, they often develop close personal friendships with one or two people at a time. If it seems like your child does not have friends, I would listen closely to her recounts of the day. Does she mention anyone at school that she talks to? Does she seem happy socially? If she does, she is likely developing friendships the way most introverts do. There isn’t a social problem unless she has no friends at all and is demonstrating difficulties with peers.
Friday, September 20th, 2013
This morning at the bus stop, we parents actually cheered after our young kids got on and left. We called out: “It’s Friday! We made it! No one died this week!”
The six of us–a tightly knit group of moms and dads–would have poured ourselves several tall ones if we’d had time to grab the vodka bottle on the mad rush out the door. Sadly, we were sober. Thankfully, there’s always tonight! And Saturday night! And Sunday, Monday, Tuesday… Okay, okay.
So here’s where I’m going with this: Best friend bloggers Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson completely understand how we were feeling–how every parent feels sometimes–so they wrote a book called Reasons Mommy Drinks that is based on their popular blog. It comes complete with cocktail recipes and o’h-I’ve-been-there’ kinds of stories. For your Friday reading pleasure, they’ve given me permission to excerpt one below:
Page 174: The After Eight
“1 ounce creme de cacao
1 ounce creme de menthe
splash of milk
Fill a glass with ice. Pour in all of the ingredients and stir. Enjoy after 8 p.m. but before 9 p.m. lest you turn into a sleep-deprived gremlin the next day.”
And according to the authors, you need this drink because:
“Nine o’clock used to be a dinner reservation. Now it’s a bedtime. By the time Mommy feeds you squash, washes squash off the wall, and gets you to bed, she has exactly 23 minutes to eat whatever you didn’t in front of The X Factor before she passes out with her hair encrusted in squash. Being up at 2 a.m. used to mean it was a good night. Now it’s a very, very bad night. It means Mommy will also be up at 3 a.m., up at 4 a.m., and up for good at 6 a.m. Those wee hours used to be for flirting with the bartender to keep the drinks flowing while sexting her backup plan for a booty call. Now she spends that time praying you will go back to sleep while texting her sleep-challenged Mommy friends and cursing the “bulletproof” No-Cry Sleep Solution and Daddy’s ability to sleep through anything. Sometimes, when Mommy’s in line for her fourth American Misto of the day, she’ll overhear a 20-something lament about being “soooo exhausted.” When Mommy was single, “exhaustion” referred to a state of ennui that came from being bored with skinny jeans and dating guys with ironic mustaches. Mommy misses that kind of tired.”
If you need a laugh along with some alcohol, pick up this little book. Or give it to your frazzled friend who is in even worse shape than you.
Add a Comment
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Popular writer, blogger and photographer Kelle Hampton first released her beautiful memoir called Bloom last year. Recently, it came out in paperback. It’s the story of her family, including two daughters (now she has a baby boy, too), Lainey and Nella. Nella was born with Down syndrome. Kelle emphasizes the importance of not only accepting the unexpected but also embracing it as a gift. Nella is truly an inspiration to anyone who’s met her or read about her online.
I caught up with Kelle and asked her how publishing Bloom has impacted her life. She’s touched many readers through her memoir and blog. Check out what she has to say:
KK: Tell me, in three sentences, what your book is about.
KH: Bloom is the story of the first year with our daughter Nella who was born with Down syndrome. Really it’s a story about perspective–how we survive, grow and become stronger when we allow unexpected circumstances to change us. And Bloom is a reminder that sometimes it takes the most challenging events in our life to truly appreciate our families, our friendships, our own strengths and to understand how our love for our children is the most unshakeable, grounding and motivating force.
KK: You’ve received some amazing feedback from your fans. How have your readers’ reactions impacted you?
KH: I think more than anything, I’ve been really moved by the sense of community that I’ve more deeply understood through hearing from readers. Whether it’s a mom who has, like me, welcomed a child with special needs; a woman who’s faced the unexpected with other challenges such as a divorce or losing a loved one; or simply a reader who’s stepped out to say “I read your story. I cried. I know what it’s like to love your child so much it hurts,” I am constantly inspired by the way women learn from each other and support each other. There are so many ways to connect these days. Challenges can feel far less lonely than they did back in our parents’ and grandparents’ era. We’re in this together.
KK: Since the publication of Bloom you’ve had a third child. How have the lessons you’ve learned from raising Nella changed your perspective on parenting?
KH: I’ve learned to let go of ideal expectations and redefine perfection, that’s for sure. I think as parents, we don’t even realize how much we expect of our kids and often those expectations are based on our own hopes and dreams. We want our little guys to be great football players, and we imagine Mini Me’s for daughters. You can’t help but begin imagining who your child will be the moment you find out you’re pregnant. But I am continually learning to let go, to let my children show me who they are and what they love. What makes each of my children unique is what makes them perfect.
KK: Have you read any parts of Bloom to your children? What do you hope that someday they will take out of your poignant memoir?
Add a Comment
KH: The girls have looked through the book and pointed at pictures. I’ve told them it’s a love story and that I will read it to them someday. Lainey knows the book is dedicated to her because of how beautifully she welcomed her sister, and that’s about it for now. I dream of the day I will read it to them though. I hope through the story, they will know how much I love them and how strong and capable they are as women to face challenges. And for Nella? That will be an incredibly cathartic experience–reading Bloom to her when she’s ready. But I know that she will understand just how much of a gift her life is–how she changed me.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Love reading? (You must if you’re checking out my blog!) Love your baby? Combine these two joys quickly and easily tonight. In today’s Part One of two stories, I asked the authors of Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos three questions about how to get started with your little one.
KK: At what age is it important to start reading?
It’s never too soon to start and never too late to begin. You can show a tiny baby illustrations and contrasting images and read a cheerful rhyme, or prop books by the changing table, or tie them to the stroller. Share a book every chance you get.
KK: By they time they’re toddlers, how many minutes should we be reading to them?
Don’t stress about “how many minutes” you’re reading daily. If the books are around, and you’re seizing opportunities, you’re sharing good book time. There’s no magic number. What’s important is making reading something you both enjoy.
KK: How does starting a healthy reading habit when they’re young help them as they hit elementary and middle schools?
A child who starts reading early is a child who has never known life without books. This child develops a trust in the stories and information and adventures within a book. Expecting pleasure from reading makes so much of school easier. A fluent vocabulary—the kind that comes from sharing a wide variety of books—comes naturally to a reader. Continue reading with your child once she can read to herself. Bring out chapter books and old favorites and keep going as long as she’s listening. You’ll both be glad you did.
About the authors:
KJ Dell’Antonia is the lead writer and editor of the New York Times Motherlode parenting blog. Also as a children’s book reviewer and a mother of four children, she knows which books work best and why. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two young children.
Susan Straub founded the READ TO ME program more than 20 years ago, a national workshop encouraging young families to read to their babies that is still thriving. Ms. Straub’s work with READ TO ME has been celebrated on NY1 television and in Oprah’s O magazine. She lives in New York City.
Rachel Payne is the coordinator of early childhood services at the Brooklyn Public Library. She knows why some books are carried around, colored on, taken to meals, and slept with, while others are pushed away after a single
Add a Comment
KJ Dell’Antonia, Reading, Reading with Babies, Susan Straub, Toddlers and Twos | Categories:
Children's Books, Mom Must Read, Mommy Bloggers, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Picture Books, Popular Books, Q&A With Authors
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
I haven’t met anyone who isn’t fascinated with names. Whether you’re currently pregnant, have a 7-year-old or are 93 and living in a nursing home, I dare you not to get sucked into the delightfully detailed book called The Baby Name Wizard by expert Laura Wattenberg. It’s the carry-it-everywhere companion to her wildly addictive website also called The Baby Name Wizard.
You can look up your picks, your hates, and find out which ones are cool in different parts of the country. (Why are there so many Ezras in Brooklyn? Why do my friends from Indiana pick names like Kyren?) You can fall in love with your favorite monikers and make fun of the others. The opportunities for fun and procrastination are endless in this new, revised edition of this must-have baby-name tome. I asked Laura how this book is different from her previous installments, and she said, “I’ve aimed for a thorough revision and expansion with new features like regional name-style maps and prominent examples and associations for each name. I’ve added style categories, too, including video game names. Yes, parents are naming kids after video game characters!”
I devoured the whole book but particularly enjoyed Laura’s spirited introduction. Who knew there were rules to naming babies? She explains that Americans overwhelmingly look for unique names, and then we all choose the same ones anyway. This explains the proliferation of Peytons and Aubrees. Laura emphatically reminds readers that “parents are the ones who worry about a name standing out; kids are happy to fit in.”
She says to drop the idea of having three or four middle names–that’s not cool for the kid. She also says to go ahead and ask others for their opinions on your top choices. “Don’t let them bully you, but don’t completely ignore them either. As a group, they represent the society that’s going to be hearing, and judging, your child’s name for a lifetime.” Whoa! Her last bit of brilliant wisdom involved siblings and friends who have the same favorite names. (This always seems to happen, she explains.) Whoever has the kid first, gets the name–end of story.
Then there are the maps! OMG. Where I live in New Jersey, steady guy names like Jack, Thomas, Matthew and Adam are popular along with saintly classes such as Nicholas, Lucas, Joseph and Anthony. Meanwhile, in my homestate of Indiana, they prefer smooth gents such as Owen, Miles, Blake and Cole along with preppy cowboys like Dalton, Trenton, Brantley and Easton. See where I’m going with this? Once you start with Laura’s brilliant, curated collection, you just can’t stop.
The Baby Name Wizard includes well-researched and entertaining details on every single page. Laura truly goes above and beyond the call of baby name duty to give her readers the scoop. This book is like eating a delicious sack of potato chips except it won’t make you fat. Thanks to Laura, I know exactly what to buy for two upcoming baby showers.
P.S. Laura is fantastically cool–just check out our interview with her on In Name Only: The Ultimate Baby Names Blog.
Add a Comment