Sunday, January 6, 2013

If these Clothes Could Talk

In my last post I laid out a list of areas of improvement for Hannah. Well, I left one of them out. It doesn’t fit into the resolution category and there is little I can do about it, because, trust me, I have tried.

You see this sweet outfit?

I want to burn it.

Why, you might ask? Any mom would love to see their daughter in this Sierra Julien sample sale steal top and Gap polka dot skirt, right? Of course! And the first time Hannah put it on I thought she looked adorable. Same for the second time. But on the 20th day in a row I had had enough.

Yes, Hannah has chosen to enforce her control and decision making capabilities in her closet. Once known as the most stylish baby on the block with people flocking for her hand-me downs, she has been wearing this very same outfit (switching between purple and pink nylons) for about two months.

It first started as one of four outfits in her weekly rotation when I thought she may be a sensory sensitive child. She kept going for clothes that were soft, tag-free and had elastic waists. Jeans and sweaters have become a foreign concept in her world. But as Christmas vacation approached she became fixated on this ensemble. So much so that we had to invent the getting dressed fairy who left a small gift in her car seat if she got dressed in the morning with little fuss. The morning routine got drawn out and it was a constant yelling match if I hadn’t done laundry the night before.

So over the past two weeks I have given her exactly what she wants. Every night I wash the ensemble and in the morning she is overjoyed to wear it once again. A small victory for her, and the disappearance of a headache for me. But with school starting in just a few days, I’m wondering when exactly this is going to end?! At this point, I’m over the fact that she is far from the best-dressed girl in her class but more concerned about her warmth in the cold winter months and the unworn clothes slowly getting too small in her closet.

I’m actually thinking of “accidentally” leaving the outfit in the country when we go home this weekend but cannot quite imagine the recourse that may result. Or maybe I should take a pair of scissors to the beloved ensemble? Put it in the dryer on an insanely high heat level to shrink it? The options are endless but at the end of the day the only way she’ll get over this phase is on her own (I hope, fingers crossed!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Mother of all Resolutions

2013 has officially arrived!

While we enjoyed a night in with close friends, sipping on Moet while munching on sushi, we had two tiny entertainers who made it up until 11pm providing the night’s entertainment.

With a new year upon us comes the call for resolutions and taking a step back to see what we can improve on from the year before. While I have a short list of personal goals, I have also taken the time to deliberate how to make family life that much better.

And while it’s not so much of a resolution but a project to work on, the area in my parenting life that I feel needs the most improvement on is discipline. I coined a term from my cousin this past summer when he referred to Hannah, mid tantrum, as a terrorist.

Yes, children can definitely be terrorists. Their bombs are usually stored in their diapers but given the right environment they can also take over the show, pulling the reigns away from their parents. Alex hasn’t developed into full terrorist status yet. At just 15 months old, he really is a little sweetheart with a million dollar smile. His recently acquired pinching and biting skills have been met with stern no’s but at such a young age, this little terrorist still has some time to be managed.

The war in our house usually revolves around his almost four year old sister, Hannah. The first child syndrome got the best of us these past few years and while she is a shy, sweet, artistic little girl she’s got a very strong will, one that is often very difficult to reckon with.

I’ve been cracking the whip since school vacation started, making sure she cleans up after herself but there seems to be a laundry list of behaviour issues that need working on. And unlike a resolution of, say losing weight where there is an easy equation of eat less, move more, getting this four year old to cooperate and listen is surely not as clear cut. So please, feel free to add your insight, experiences and any advice that might make 2013 the year of the perfect little girl J

Issue #1: Sleep
Ah yes, sleep my old friend. Hannah was doing fantastically at bedtime. We had figured out the perfect bedtime scenario including a routine and appropriate hour. But late last summer she somehow ended up in our bed night after night. After a family vacation we managed to get her back in her room but with too much hand holding, literally. Some nights we spend an hour sitting next to her waiting for her to fall asleep. This winter holiday has been exceptional as with no nap during the day she crashes at night in minutes. But she still won’t fall asleep without one of us there. We tried to “sleep train” her about a month ago, moving closer to the door each night but after three nights of crying, screaming and lost nights (for us) we gave up.

Resolution #1: Give Hannah the confidence to fall asleep on her own.

Issue #2: Food
Peas, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, apples. That is Hannah’s repertoire in the fruit and vegetable department. She won’t try anything new. One night I even promised her Smarties if she just took a bite of an orange. She refused. I need to get this kid eating more fruits and vegetables. And while I can easily hide them in muffins, chicken burgers and other secret recipes, I want her to grab a handful of grapes out of the fridge instead of heading for the goldfish in the cupboard.

Resolution #2: Enforce stricter eating rules, get more creative in the kitchen

Issue #3: Stubbornness
In late September we headed to the ski shop to set Hannah up with a winter lease of a pair of skis and boots. We got there so early in the season she even got a pair of skis with pink birdies and hearts, perfect for any little girlie skier in training. But when winter officially arrived with last week’s insane storm Hannah was wearing a skirt and nylons (not even heavy tights) and refused to play outside. The reason why? She didn’t want to wear snow pants or gloves. When we arrived in the country I even tried to put her ski boots on with her skirt ensemble in the backyard to get her hyped about skiing but she refused. We’ve been looking forward to getting her off of the magic carpet and on to the chair lift all summer long, not to mention skating, toboganning and building snow forts. But it’s all been a no go thus far.

Resolution #3: I have no idea – how do you get a hard headed kid to realize she is missing out on so much fun?

So that’s where 2013 starts for me. This laundry list makes me think that everyday going forward is going to be a battle but if you don’t push hard you’ll never see results right?
Hopefully in a few months I’ll have a produce-loving, winter sport-fan who plops into her bed and whisks herself off to sweet dreams on her own. And I can finally declare victory over the little terrorist in my home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beware: Mont Royal not such a safe place for families

If you haven't seen it yet this video has been getting a lot of local buzz on YouTube. An eagle literally snatches a baby up in the air at Mont Royal park.

Not sure when this was shot but after this week's events in Newton, CT makes you wonder where exactly our kids are safe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Public vs. Private, Sleep is Precious

Life has shifted in the past month. With both kids now in daycare and a full time (yet flexible) writing gig at the Kid Scoop, more freelance writing, marketing projects and a soon-to-be launched marketing communications agency, October and November were a bit of a blur.

The hours between 9am and 3pm seem to vanish within moments and post bedtime, the evenings are spent behind the laptop, but I am trying to get back on the blogging track.

So aside from working away and spending precious moments with my clan, what's been taking up a ton of time are elementary school open houses.

This seems to be the topic of conversation these days among the nursery set. While kindergarden is still a year and a half away, we have already visited four open houses and had numerous discussions (some arguments) about where to send Hannah in 2014. The issue isn't so much public vs. private but rather secular vs. Jewish. Our most recent open house was today and we just may be one step closer to making a decision. But chances are the discussion will continue for weeks to come.

On another note, night time work hasn't been starting till post 9pm. The reason? Late in the summer months Hannah started having sleep issues and ended up in our bed every night. We were able to quell the co-sleeping by the start of the new school year but in its place needed to stay by her side until she fell asleep. Not fun when the process takes over an hour.

So last night we began the process of sleep training our 3.5 year old. Crazy, right? The past two nights she has fallen asleep (one and one and a half hours respectively after we began) with my husband standing outside her door. Progress, but here's to hoping that night 3 is the magic number.

That's an update of where I've been. What's new with you?

I promise there will be more to come, more frequently.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Big Scoop: I'm at The Kid Scoop

I am so happy to announce that as of just a few weeks ago I am the new assistant editor at The Kid Scoop. As some of you may now, this is the go-to resource for Montreal parents to find out what activities are happening all week long for children of all ages.

The Kid Scoop may be best known as a directory of events but things they are a changing. While my Sweetmama days ended abruptly in May, I still know that so many of you moms out there are looking for the latest, greatest and coolest gear and hotspots for yourselves and your kids. So I'm happy to announce that you'll now be getting a weekly dose of cool thanks to The Kid Scoop. So, if you haven't already signed up for their newsletter and website now is the time to do it!

And don't fret if you don't live in the 514. The Kid Scoop has recently launched editions in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver so Canadians from East Coast to West Coast came pick up the scoop!

I'd love to hear your comments about what you love or think needs improvement at The Kid Scoop. Always feel free to drop me a line at

Looking forward to sharing the scoop!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Music for All

There are often days when my kids have been at daycare for a few good hours and I realize that I am still listening to their music in the car. I know all of the songs by heart by now but still find many of them quite annoying. Nursery rhymes, classic kids' artists and Jewish favourites can only go round and round so many times before I need some grown up inspiration.

But there is one exception to the rule. The songs of Jennifer Gasoi.

This homegrown artist is one part children's entertainer, one part jazz singer. We've been following her for two years now, through various special events and Mummies List Music in the Park summer afternoons. We love music from her Songs for You album including Monsieur Glouton, L-l-lemons and Butterfly. And we are so so happy to have just received an advance copy of her newest CD Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well. Filled with more fun songs for the whole family, new hits like I'm a Bubble and Little Blue Car are already filling our car daily.
This weekend Jennifer is hosting a huge launch party for the new CD that we will be attending. And you can too! Here are all of the details. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sunny Days at Sesame Place

Fall may be in full swing but at our house we're still re-living the memories from our recent summer holiday. We packed up our bags along with two other families and headed south to Lake George.

What was intended as a pitstop on a longer drive (with just one of the families) to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA turned out to be too long of a stop. Call me a bit of a snob but I'm one for ocean beaches and non-chain restaurants so the small lake beach and less-than-healthy food options will likely keep us from returning to this Adirondack town.

So after three days in Lake George, we re-packed the car and made the long drive to Sesame Place. We arrived at the Sheraton Bucks County, a lovely hotel just across the street from the park. As it turns out Langhorne does not have any sidewalks so while we were in close walking distance to Sesame Place we had to rely on the hotel's shuttle to get us to and from the park. Considering that the shuttle made trips every half hour this was actually quite convenient.

So, what is Sesame Place all about? It's a theme park for the younger set, essentially. Rides that smaller kids can go on, a huge water park, a variety of shows performed throughout the day and parades twice daily. Best of all, it is entirely walkable in one day. Unlike other Florida theme parks that completely exhaust you with the walking alone, Sesame Place is manageable. And with restrooms, restaurants (with themed free tableware) and snack shops everywhere you don't have to walk too far to get anywhere.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos we snapped during our two days at Sesame Place. They speak for themselves about how much fun a family can have at one of the friendliest neighborhoods around.

Entering the gates at Sesame Place 

 A photo opp with Elmo during our Breakfast with Elmo & Friends

 Hannah going for a spin on the Sunny Day Carousel

Alex playing around in the soft pit, perfect for the younger set 

Our favourite characters on stage for the Elmo Rocks! show 

 Trash talk with Oscar the Grouch in Sesame Neighborhood

The iconic street 

 Big bird walking in the Neighborhood Street Party Parade