Stone Barns, snow days and one super healthy (delish) cookie recipe.

We’re waiting on spring here in NYC, or getting confused by the weather gods. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next snowing.

Here are a few sweet pics from last weekend that pretty much sum up the crazy weather.

princess picking flowers stone barn

Friday, we headed to our weekend house, making a pit stop at a favorite of ours, Stone Barns. It was a warm beautiful day, and Aria (ever the princess) decided to pick a few flowers…

until we realized they weren’t wild…(oops!)

spring flowers for oma

…but not before gating a sweet bouquet for Oma.

Fast forward to the very next day, where we woke up to SNOW covering the cars and deck…

snow

…and an anxious 4 year old ready to get out and enjoy it.

snow day kids

Ah…the parental joys of kids and snow gear.

The romp in the snow was short lived, so we moved on to a warmer activity.   I found this Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe online (always up for a healthy treat), and Aria and I baked them up. I’d cut the cinnamon down to 1/2 the amount called for, but really they were pretty stellar (and healthy!)

chocolate chip healthy oats cookies yum

So, here’s to making the most of any weather, and hoping spring finally arrives… for good.

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Ban Bossy Is A Campaign, Not Necessarily A Good Idea

ban bossySo Sheryl Sanberg’s latest campaign to ban the word bossy in order to promote leadership among young girls has gotten quite a bit of attention as of late. Twitter been flooded with #banbossy comments, and even mainstream media has lit up, giving Sandberg, and her partnership with The Girl Scouts, ample TV time on national networks. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that big names like Beyonce, Jennifer Garner and Condoleezza Rice have lent their faces to the campaign, but it’s also the controversy that these two little words have brought on that has gotten the press (and everyone) going.

As a media expert, I can say kudos to them for playing the controversy game and putting out a clever hook out to grab attention. It’s brought on attention to an issue that clearly needs to be talked about. As a mom though, I can’t believe that they’ve chosen to make the idea of banning a word the centerpiece of a campaign that deals with a serious issue, to which it is not at all a worthwhile solution.

The idea that banning a word (especially one as pedestrian as “bossy”) as the solution to girls not stepping up into leadership roles, is irresponsible (at best) and dangerous (at worst). Are we really going to start banning words to protect our little girl’s feelings? This is the solution that someone as brilliant as Sandberg has come up with? This is how we will prepare our future leaders to go out into a country where the freedom of speech is a founding principle? This is how we’re going to build them into better leaders and prepare them for the unforgiving place that the world can often be? By banning a word to protect their feelings? C’mon.

Yes, I’ve listened to the interviews and I’ve perused the Ban Bossy website. I’ve read the stats about girls being less likely to volunteer because they want to be liked (and not perceived as bossy), and all the other nonsense about how this one word is limiting our girls. However, the problem with our girls being called bossy and shutting down does not come from the calling of the word. When are we going to stop focusing on the surface problems and start focusing on the root causes? It’s not the external component (i.e. the word “bossy”) that we need to be concerned about at all. It’s the internal that needs to be addressed.

You see, we will never get anywhere if we keep worrying about all the miscellaneous stuff happening that we can’t control (like other people’s actions). We’ll never be able to ban enough words, or restrict enough behaviors to ensure all our kids have a clear path to success. The key to making our girls (and boys) better leaders, better citizens, and, most of all, better human beings, comes from focusing on the stuff on the inside. We need to stop reacting and start to refocus on investing our efforts in that which is truly worthwhile– those things that build confidence, integrity and help them develop a real sense of self– so that none of the rocks in life that are thrown their way (whether being called “bossy” or “fat” or “ugly” or the countless other criticisms and rejections they all inevitably will face) can penetrate them, muchness trip them up.

So instead of offering up limitation and restriction as a solution, why not focus on edification and inclusion? How about we give our kids great opportunities, teach them how to be their best and encourage them to become better through adversity? How about we instill in them the tools needed to deal with the hardships of life–packing them up with self esteem and confidence to the level that allows them to excel and leave behind the inevitable nay sayers? How about we bring on more positive opportunities like mentoring programs, yoga in school, and perhaps even think about teaching them emotional intelligence? How about we start addressing the real issues affecting our kids and stop focusing on silly short sighted solutions?

No, Ban Bossy is not  the answer. We will never see any significant resolution by only looking at things at face value. Let’s go a little deeper for once. Let’s invest in our girls in a meaningful way, one that truly builds character in them and sets them up for real success in life. The Girl Scouts is a wonderful organization, already doing amazing things. I just wish they didn’t get caught up in the ridiculous notion that Ban Bossy should be the centerpiece of their latest push.  It’s a clever media strategy, but not a real solution, and certainly not the message we should be sending to our little girls.

Dentists, Doctors and Big Purple Dinosaurs

Aria went for her first dentist appointment a few weeks back. She was not a fan.  We were actually about a year late since they say you should take them at age one. Aria had no teeth at one—or maybe one or two—so I decided to spare her. Here’s what the dentist told us after her first visit (at almost two).

  1. We should be brushing her teeth. We had let her do it herself which seemed to be working just fine, but apparently even though she still waiting for quite a few molars to come in, we should be getting back there for her.  Also, toddler toothpaste only (it has no fluoride and is safe to swallow). So far, so good. She’s cooperating on these.
  2.  She needs to give up the bottle and the pacifier. Granted, her teeth are perfect now but apparently if we don’t want them to get completely misaligned (and other issues), two of her favorite things have gotta go. So far, neither has been easy. I’m following up this post with a product that has helped, but going cold turkey on either just isn’t an option. Not yet at least.
  3. She’s due back in 6 months (really, a toddler needs to go to the dentist every 6 months??)

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 10.01.58 PM

Next, comes her 2 year old doctor appointment, which neither of us is looking forward to.  At her 18 month appointment she seemed to have put together that the doctor was not fun, and I felt like she was traumatized when they had to take blood for a lead test (for which I had to hold her down. Talk about mom-guilt, she cried and said “no more mommy…all done…all done,” over and over. Completely heart wrenching.)

I am not looking forward to shots this go-around. I am hoping that she’s a little bit more prepared for it this time, since a big purple dinosaur has been chatting her up about the doctor.  She’s a sucker for Barney and her go-to on Netflix lately has been  “Barney Goes To The Doctor” (over and over and over again.)  I’m hoping that the big purple guy has given her better understanding into it all.  Somehow she seems to think he is the king of all the universe and she’s a loyal follower. We’ll see.

A Play Day: No Devices Required

What was supposed to be a beach day for us, is starting out as a rainy morning. So, Aria and I are exploring play time. I’m encouraging INDEPENDENT play, which results in Aria seeing how many animals she can pile up on the play Ikea couch or simply sitting on it herself for a laugh (better than pulling all my credit cards out of my wallet- her usual game of choice).play day

I was chatting with a mom the other day who sends her kids to a Waldorf School which does not allow any student to watch TV (ever) in order to foster imagination, creativity and play. Since the first words out of Aria’s mouth each morning are “Barney” (we’re working on “good morning”), I’m not so sure this will work for us.

It is an issue worth exploring though. In the age of youtube, ipads and kindles with endless apps for little ones and the programming that goes far beyond sesame street, are we are actually taking away from our kids by exposing them to so much?

Aria’s dad sent me this article a while back. It’s worth reading.

Clouds are breaking… time for the beach, or at very least River Tots.

5 Must-Have Baby Products For NYC Living

Ok, I love NYC but there are some drawbacks and limited space tops the list. All of a sudden our small 2 bedroom seemed WAY too small for the two of us and one little baby (incredibly these little beings need a LOT of stuff), so I had to get going and find the smartest and most space saving products out there.  Here are my picks:

Rock and play fisher priceFisher Price Rock N Play: This has to be one of my all time favorite products for baby’s first year. As a newborn Aria spent most of her time in it. It’s the perfect seat/lounge for baby during the day, and Aria even slept in it her first few weeks (it’s the perfect height to fit right next to your bed). Babies seem to LOVE it (I always recommend to it to my new mom friends) as they can get a gentle rock by moving a bit, and it fold super slim for easy storage when not in use (but seriously, you will use it all the time). If I were to buy it again, I would but this one because it also has the infant insert for their first few weeks.

infantino matInfantino Twist & Fold Activity Mat:   An activity mat and tummy time are essential those first few months and this one provides plenty for the little one’s senses and also easily folds down for storing. We got two mats when Aria was born (this simple Infantino and one with tons of bells and whistles including walls that could be inserted– we never used them). I would choose this compact mat one any day.

joovy high chairJoovey High chair: It’s stylish, durable, has a nice big tray and is super compact when stored. In reviews you’ll read about the gap that may exist between baby and tray hence making for a messier meal (and there was one when Aria first started using it but no big deal), but the super compact slim fold of this seat makes it totally worth a dropped spoonful here and there. Also, the leatherette seat is super easy to wipe down and stylish. No gingham or monkey prints in my living room.

graco door jumperGraco Door Jumper: At the county house we have this massive Fisher Price Farm jumperoo, but there was no way I was having one of these take over my already crowded city living room.  A great alternative is the door jumper, and the Graco is sturdy and safe with the bumper (I tried the a different brand and it was terrible– flimsy and no bounce!). You also can hang fun little toys on the Graco for added stimulation and, of course, it stores super easy!

baby bjornBaby Bjorn Active: Sometimes it’s just easier to strap baby on then have to maneuver a stroller around (subway, walk up or double doors anyone?) I had a couple different carriers but loved this one because it was provides a ton of back support (this will really matter as they get bigger). Plus, it lets baby face in or out. Bjorn also makes a custom cover for cold winter days.