When Orlando mom Kim Prunty gets home from work, she wants to spend time with her 9-month-old, Will -- but sometimes she just wants to crash. She's become an ace at entertaining her son while horizontal. Her repertoire includes:
Become a regular at a restaurant where the waitstaff loves to carry your newborn around while you eat dinner.
Make Friends at the PlaygroundDraw on your old dating experience by breaking the ice with a compliment, suggests Marisa Thalberg, founder and president of Executivemoms.com. Try, "That's the cutest diaper bag I've ever seen!" Or ask a question -- "Where did you get that great stroller?" "It's really not so different from meeting a guy in a bar, like you used to do before marriage," adds Thalberg. Then start talking about common ground. Ask about her children -- you'll have plenty to discuss. Make sure you get her number so you can meet up for coffee or a playdate.
Parents don't always say what they mean. Thanks to Metrodad.com, we scored a useful translation of some common parenting phrases.
Follow this smart advice from Parents manners columnist Peggy Post, etiquette expert at The Emily Post Institute, in Burlington, Vermont.
If you answer yes to either of these questions, you can feel confident that you're doing the right thing by telling the parent what you saw, says Washington, D.C., clinical social worker Jennifer Kogan. But remember, some people might not want you to butt into their private life no matter how good your intentions, so if you sense the mom really isn't interested in any details, move on. You've done what you can.
Thou Shalt Not:
All you can really do is make sure the child is okay, apologize to both the mother and her kid, and then leave, says Kevin Osborn, coauthor of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby. If you know the other parent well and can joke around, you might try saying:
Then you have to talk to your child seriously about the "no-biting rule." If he's old enough, a time-out is also in order. If you appear to take the situation too lightly, you and your child can end up with a bad rep.
"The best way to handle this one is to take a deep breath and not make a big deal out of it," says Kogan. In a calm voice (no hysterics, please) say, "We don't take our clothes off when we're playing with friends." Then help the kids get dressed and find something else for them to do. Later, have a brief conversation with your child about what is and is not appropriate. Teach the kids that they must always keep their privates (bathing-suit areas) covered. Tell the parents of any other children involved, and plan to keep an eye on the kids a little more closely during future playdates. "Don't panic," says Kogan. This is very normal behavior, especially for kids around 4 to 6. "It's important to remember that for the most part, kids don't have an adult understanding of sex and that they're just exploring."
The three symptoms that will nearly guarantee your child a spot on that day's roster, according to Lola Culwell, longtime manager of an Austin pediatrician's office, are: a high fever that doesn't go down with treatment, lots of vomiting, and inconsolable crying. (Insider tip: If you are pretty inconsolable when you call, that helps too.)
For more run-of-the-mill symptoms like an earache, a rash, or a cold that just won't go away, your best bet is to call the moment the office opens in the morning. As the day wears on, the nurses making appointments are a bit more discriminating about who gets in that day. You can always try just showing up, but then you'll have to wait behind everyone else who already has an appointment -- unless your child is spouting blood or has a broken bone. But in that case, you probably should've gone to an emergency room.
Buy grocery-store cupcakes, take them out of the plastic container, smooth out the tops a bit so it looks as if you've iced them yourself, and put them on a pretty plate or tray. Extra credit: Throw on a few sprinkles if you've got a jar in the cupboard.
Atlanta-area veterinarian Will Draper, DVM, tells us these pets don't shed or take up lots of room -- plus they're easy to find sitters for when you go out of town for the weekend.
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine.
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