Mom Review: Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma

Parenting [par·ent·ing]: the raising of a child by its parents (Merriam Webster). A simple enough definition, but a loaded word on its own. I don’t know about you, but I am an active consumer of the “parenting book.” What is the best way to raise my child? How should I discipline my child? Should I even discipline my child? These are all questions I ask myself daily.

I have been fortunate enough to have two kids who are innately good, but I can honestly say that my cherub babes have their “moments.” Like many parents understand, those occasional “toddler moments” often leave us wondering if we communicated appropriately and whether we could have diffused the situation in a healthier way.

When I got my hands on a copy of Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, I had no idea the world of difference it would make in my life. As a mom who is continuously growing as a parent while trying to raise two functioning (hopefully) human beings, this book serves as an excellent tool in my parenting artillery.

Co-authors, Heather Turgeon, MFT and Julie Wright, MFT, clearly understand the brain capacity of a parent with small children. Many parenting tip and technique books set an expectation that mom and dad can and should retain 50 + (give or take) steps on how mold the perfect child. Yeah, right! There is no way I can remember a laundry list of steps, let alone what I did five-minutes ago, but Turgeon and Wright make it easy with their three-step approach.

The ALP or the Attune, Limit Set, and Problem Solve approach, creates a space of kindness and accountability for both the parent and the child.

  1. Attune: watch, listen, and understand
  2. Limit set: state and hold reasonable limits or state a reality
  3. Problem solve: engage your child in creating solutions

I found this method to be immensely impactful with both my three-year-old and my one-year-old. Even though they are close in age, their ability to communicate is vastly different; however, this approach makes easy to connect with them, in their own way, at their level.

This book not only covers the ALP approach, it also provides proactive tools and application examples to ensure family balance. With a wide-range of presented real-life scenarios, I can tackle many a toddler mishap in a healthy and effective manner. Together my kids and I can find a way to resolve the situation.

If you’re a parent, parent-to-be, teacher, or anyone who works with kids, I strongly encourage you to absorb this insightful information. Within a week, the way my kids and I communicated completely transformed. Rather than feeling frustrated, we were able to walk through the situation(s) together. No more tears from either kid or parent. Just a mom, dad, and two toddlers laughing, smiling, and in complete harmony. Thank you, Turgeon and Wright; you are the true rock stars in my new scope of successful communication.

To learn more about this book and to get your copy of Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, go to Penguin Random House.

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Potty Training a Stubborn Toddler

My parents love to tell the story of when they were potty training me as a child. For an entire year, from age two to three, I flat out refused to use the toilet. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to, it was the fact that I was being instructed to go to the bathroom against my own will. I was, and I will admit, still am a control freak. The very day I turned three I made the proclamation I was going to start using the potty. All of the time my parents invested in potty training me for a year was resolved in a matter of moments when a control freak toddler decided that she was ready.

Mom and dad, I’m sorry…

Now, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, karma comes full circle. My oldest, my two and half year old, is a certified control freak like his mom. Using the potty is a control issue for him as well.

For a while my son would lose his mind when we would suggest the use of potty. You would have thought his dad and I, his teachers, my parents, etc. were trying to murder him. We collectively felt defeated in our efforts.

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You want me to do what?

After countless months working with my son, we had a breakthrough. We successfully broke my toddler of his control issues pertaining to using the bathroom! We used the process I like to call PIE to achieve our potty training goals.

P is for patience – This part is mostly for the trainer not the trainee. When you get frustrated and your little one chimes in on the frustration they start to feel discouraged and that my friends is the last thing you want to do. Patience will take you very far in the potty training game.

I is for incentives – This is a very polarized issue when it comes to potty training. Listen, my son knows what’s up; he’s no fool. We created a potty treat box that we placed on the counter in front of my son’s potty. The box contains small dinosaurs (his current obsession), stickers (dinosaurs of course), and Dum Dum lollipops (“pops” as they’ve been deemed by my son). He intensely stared at that box while going to the potty. The idea of getting a prize motivated him to use the restroom. After about a week of taking from the potty treat box, he became bored and no longer requires a treat to use the bathroom. He now goes with no demands.

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E is for encouragement – We make sure our toddler feels proud of using the bathroom successfully. He really responds to praise. There are lots of high-fives passed around. It melts my heart when he runs into the room screaming with a smile on his face “I PEEEEEED!!!” When he has an accident (which are few and far between) we tell him it’s OK and that he’ll make it to the potty next time and to let mommy and daddy know when he needs to go. Encouragement is key!

I’m not claiming this is the answer to potty training your stubborn toddler, but I will say we found success by following these steps! What are your potty training recommendations?

Toddler Time – Monster Marshmallows

Growing up in a household with one parent in the medical field and one parent in the field of science, we were encouraged to do activities that expanded our minds and increased our curiosity. I never went to your “typical summer camp” where you lived in a bunk house and participated in kayaking and archery. My parents put me in marine biology, chemistry, and physic camps. It’s not what you would envision an elementary schooler participating in, but it was the best thing they could have done for me. My desire to learn more, I believe, encouraged me to participate in different courses and electives throughout my school career. I was excited about learning!

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I say this because it is never too early to get your kids excited about STEMS. When we got our hands on DK Publishing’s Maker Lab book of 28 kid-safe projects and crafts, it became the perfect introduction to the world of science for my toddler.

This wonderfully delightful book has step-by-step experiments, ranked from easy to hard, designed for 8 to 12 year olds. Even though this is designed for older kids, there are plenty of options for a mom and her toddler to get their science game on!

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I am constantly looking for ways to engage my son outside of his iPad on the weekends. When I came across the Monster Marshmallow experiment I knew I had found the perfect experiment for my two and half year old. What toddler doesn’t love delicious, gooey, and sticky marshmallows? I, myself, could go for a s’more right now!

All you need for this yummy experiment is a marshmallow(s), microwave safe plate, microwave, and an appetite.

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I had my son pick out his marshmallow and place it on the plate. Together we moved the plate with marshmallow to the microwave. I punched in 30 seconds and he hit the start button. About 15 seconds into the cook time, we saw our marshmallow expand and grow! He was in awe and learning about how “air heats up, and the pressure it exerts increases and the pockets grow bigger!”

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This wasn’t just a 30 seconds experiment for us, we did it over and over and over again. If you’re looking for a way to let your kids have fun and learn at the same time, DK Publishing’s Maker Lab is the book for you. I know we will be cracking this book open again very soon!

Get your copy of Makers Lab here >> https://www.dk.com/us/9781465451354-maker-lab/ << and let me know what experiments you try with your kids in the comments below.

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The Five Minute Rule – Parent Style

Have you ever been the middle of doing five million things at once? I’m constantly prepping for the next day, cooking dinner, answering work emails, and trying to stay sane – on any given day. This is my norm and I’m use to it, but I must add, in addition to all of these moving pieces, there is a small toddler standing behind me screaming at the top of his lungs “MOMMY!!!!”

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Listen, I love my little one, but he sounds like a broken record when he says my name.

Insert Family Guy meme of Stewie screaming Mummy on a continuous loop at Lois

I want to share every moment with my kids, but sometimes as parent, we have to get things done, so that we can have more time to play. To a two-year-old that means nothing. Your attention as a parent is demanded and expected to be given at the drop of a hat

I have learned since my oldest became a toddler and stepped into his role of “emotional tiny human” to use what I like to call the “five-minute rule.” When he demands my attention with pleas of “up mommy, peas,” “mommy more cwackers,” or “again, again!” I ask him to give me five minutes.

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Folks, it’s amazing! Giving my child a timestamp has turned into my personal sanity saver! Now, he doesn’t fully understand the concept of time, but does accept the fact that I will be there, present and accounted for, when I am able to complete my tasks at hand.

Have I abused the five-minute rule in the past? I wouldn’t say abuse per se, but I have extended the five minutes to ten from time to time. With this said, I am always ready to leap into mommy action whether it’s five or ten minutes later. I have never neglected my children’s needs. Time is going by too fast and I want to be there for everything, but sometimes I need a moment to gather my thoughts and finish my work, so I can be there, fully present for my kiddos.

Have you tried the five-minute rule? Do you think you’ll give it a try? Let me know if it works for you!

Storytime: A Toddler in Ikea

Am I the only one who fantasizes about living in an Ikea? I would float from room to room chowing down on Swedish meatballs and lingonberry spread without a care in the world. No. I’m the only one? OK, no problem!

As an adult, there is something truly magical about Ikea. The countless opportunities of different things you can do with your home is what dreams are made of. I work from home about 80% of the week, so having a workspace that is just mine and not that of my kitchen table, is extremely important. With this said, we went on a mission; a mission called “Project Get Hannah a Desk.”

I packed the diaper bag full of snacks, bottles, and juice. We loaded the ninos into the car and made the drive to the mega store also known as my future homestead.

PSA – Do not attempt to take two small children to Ikea by yourself. I am so lucky my husband was there to help.

When we arrived to Ikea, my toddler’s attitude changed right before my eyes. He went from a happy kid to that of an emotional mess. He lost his mind when we attempted to put him in the shopping cart. As he clung to my body, I made the decision to hold him throughout the store for as long as my arms could carry. As a parent, I have to pick my battles, and this was not a battle I was willing to take on.

Rorie at Ikea

About thirty minutes into the trek, he decided he was a big boy and would sit in the cart. The following 10 minutes were great and then he demanded his freedom from the metal entrapment. Listen, I don’t want to be that parent who let’s their kid run free throughout a store, so we kept him very close and of course, he hated it! What mother would I be if I didn’t frustrate my child at some point in his life?

So, we made it through the display floor of Ikea (applauds self), but it was the warehouse where everything really went South. My toddler sat on the furniture push cart as we maneuvered through the aisles grabbing the furniture we would take home to build.

Spacing on the cart was limited, and we had to take him off of the cart to load my new desk, but we were going to put him right back on. Well folks that’s when it happened – the meltdown to rule all meltdowns. He was inconsolable. The fact that we had put something on the chart threw him over the edge. We tried to reason with him, but the yells of frustration just got louder and louder, until finally I threw him over my shoulder and took him out to the car.

Every patron watched and stared as I marched out the front door into 95-degree weather, with a screaming toddler and sleeping baby in the stroller. You want to know something, I didn’t care. Of course this was a frustrating moment as a parent, but I did my best to remove us from the situation and tackle the problem while in the car. Of course, he calmed down once we got into the car and was sad he had to leave Ikea. We talked about why we had to leave and if he wanted to go back what he needed to do. He was as receptive as a two-and-a-half-year-old could be. I’ll take it as a small victory during the battle of tantrums.

Oh the mood swings of small child. You never know which way they are going to go! The lessons here folks are to first, reevaluate if you should take your small children to Ikea and two, keep you cool and help your kid process through all of the crazy emotions raging through their bodies.

Where were you the last time your toddler lost his/her mind? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below.

Miffy Takes Her Adventure to Walmart

As my children age, their demands to have toys of their favorite household characters increases tenfold. Now my two-year-old would be happy with a cardboard box, but it’s always heartwarming to see the joy on his face when he receives a figurine set or stuffed plush of the characters he loves so much.

When my oldest was introduced to the delightful little white bunny, Miffy, he was hooked. He developed tunnel vision for Miffy and her friends. Trying to separate him from his “shows” and bedtime stories is an act of congress (he sleeps with his Miffy books at night). So, when we learned Miffy would have her own line of toys at Walmart, we were ecstatic!

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Miffy’s adventures now penetrate beyond animation and illustrations on a page, she is now a physical character my son loves. The MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush and MIFFY Little Blue Car are carried from room-to-room. They are attached to his hip and are showcased in my son’s personal show and tell productions.

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The MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush is extremely affordable and wonderfully soft. She is the perfectly sized companion to join my son from his car seat to the living room and finally to his bed at night. My son gazes with much affection at the little white bunny and gives her hugs on the regular. Before going to bed at night, he takes Miffy around the house and has every member of the family gets a goodnight kiss from Miffy herself.

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Get your MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush >> HERE <<

We recently added a scenic roadway rug to our kid’s playroom, and my two-year-old likes to drive his plastic toy cars along the streets and paths. Miffy’s adventures, both big and small, take to the streets on my son’s playroom floor with the MIFFY Little Blue Car figurine set. “Vroom, vroom” (as my son would say) Miffy goes speeding by as my son drives her from the mountains to the coast. Miffy has become a world class travelerwith my kid behind the wheel.

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Get your MIFFY Little Blue Car >> HERE <<

This new, and exciting Miffy product launch is what this mom, and her son’s, dreams are made of. I am able to reduce his screen time, and give him more playtime with Miffy and her friends. Check out this wonderfully and affordably made toy line, now available at your local Walmart and online >> HERE <<

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Make every day an adventure, be it big or small!

Find Miffy here:
Instagram – @Miffy_Official_USA
Twitter – @MiffyOfficialUS
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Website – www.miffyfun.com

You Are A Good Parent

Today, more than ever, I need the reminder that I am a good parent. I came home from a workday where I started working at 6:00 AM and ended when I drove into the driveway at 7:00 PM. I was greeted by an emotional time bomb of a toddler.

After having his beloved blanket in my car all day, he grabbed it from me and started laughing like an overly exhausted, slightly deranged, cartoon character version of himself. It threw me off so much that I started to laugh like a crazed person myself.

Once we both chilled out, it was time for his bath, and well, lets just say that’s when things really escalated. I’m pretty sure my neighbors thought I was murdering my child, but really, I was just turning on the bath water. The multiple attempts of escaping the tub and the crocodile tears streaming down his face, forced me to cave and give him the quickest bath of his life.

After releasing him from his “prison,” I cradled him as he took deep, exasperated breaths, and tried my best not to cry. I’ll be honest with you, I felt defeated. I felt like a failure.

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I dressed him in his jammies, we read a few books, and I tucked him into bed. As I was turning off his light and looked back at him he said “night, night mommy. I love you!” All of the anxiety I felt just washed away. I looked at his sweet face and remembered that I am a good parent!

My kid is happy (99% of the time), he’s surrounded by a fantastic support system, he’s constantly laughing, he has lots of little friends, and he is loved more than he will ever know. Yes, he is combating all of the fun (she says sarcastically) emotions of being a two-year-old, and yes, I felt like crawling up into a ball to cry, but at the end of the day I know that I AM A GOOD PARENT.

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If you ever feel defeated just repeat this mantra: I AM A GOOD PARENT! I AM A GOOD PARENT!

My Vow to be a Present Parent

I am very fortunate to work in a profession that I love so much – nonprofits. I can go to bed every night and know that the work I put in for the day has made a true difference in the lives of those within my community. I love what I do, but I love being a mom more than anything.

Since I work Monday through Friday, and some weekends, I don’t get to be with my boys as much as I would like. In a perfect world, I would be a stay-at-home mom and make a salary at the same time, but that’s not the case.

When I’m not working and I’m with my boys, I try to make a conscious effort to be fully present. Now, I’m not perfect and I don’t take my own advice sometimes. It’s so easy to grab ahold of the phone when feeding the baby or sitting on the couch with my two-year-old and scroll through Instagram or Twitter.

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We’ve become so overwhelmed by the alluring nature of technology and social media, we often miss out on the most precious moments of life. What are you going to value most at the end of your time here on this planet, the last tweet you sent or the smile on kid’s face? The answer seems pretty simple to me.

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I am making a vow right here, right now, and I want you all to hold me accountable, that I will be ever present for every feeding, snuggle, and moment with my children. Let me tell you folks, time flies, and without the invention of a time machine, it’s just going to keep progressing.

I am going to be a present parent! Will you?

To My Husband on Father’s Day

With Father’s Day this weekend, I wanted to take a few moments and gush over my husband. I am beyond fortunate to have found my person when I was 14-years-old. Not many people can say they found their soulmate in high school, but I can!

Douglas and Hannah High School

Wow! Throwback!

When we started dating, I knew in the depths of my soul we were going to be together forever (dun dun dun!). The idea of getting married and having kids with him was more than a dream, I knew it was going to be my reality.

This man is not only a phenomenal husband and best friend, but he is also a stellar father to my boys. When we found out we were having our first son, we were overjoyed. I remember looking over to my husband when the ultrasound tech gave us the news, and the look on his face was priceless. His eyes filled with tears of joys and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly.

Rorie and Douglas

Photo courtesy of Hillary Carpio Photography

I looked at the monitor where the first image of my baby boy was proudly displayed and thought of how fortunate this baby was to have him as not only a father, but as a role model. My husband is hardworking, committed to his family, loving, and a true gentleman.

He does everything in his power to make sure my kids know how much they are loved. The words “I love you” are said nonstop in our household. He also expresses his love for me in a way that sets the perfect example for how they should love others.

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Even during the rage of a toddler tantrum, my husband is beyond encouraging. He helps my son work through all of those baby hulk emotions. When my son can’t decide what snack he wants and bounces from crackers to goldfish to yogurt, he shows an immense amount of patience (honestly it can be a 30-minute decision-making process).

In a world full of corruption, I know my sons will make a difference. They will be loving, kind, nonjudgmental, supportive, and advocates in their community. The positive impact they make will be because they have two parents who do their best in raising them, but more importantly they have an outstanding dad!

When I see the love of my life with my baby boys, my heart just melts and I see all of my dreams coming true! Thank you sweetheart for loving me and blessing me with the two best kids around. We love you!

Summer 2017 Family Music Playlist

It’s a rare day if my family is not playing some sort of music or dancing around the house. I do my best to change up the music we listen to, but it’s often easy to default to our “go-to” playlist.

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Since we are now officially into the summer season, I wanted to spice up our jams. Here are our go-to songs/albums for the next few months (or longer, which is extremely likely)!

Trolls (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack): We were just introduced to Trolls via Netflix and let’s just say, WE LOVE IT! I’m so sad we haven’t been watching this for months. One of the main reasons we truly enjoy this flick is because of the music. The soundtrack, all of it, is just wonderful, cheery, and upbeat, just like any successful summer vacation should be.

Harry Styles – Carolina: I was never one to listen to One Direction, but now I’m sad I didn’t, because Harry Styles’ voice is that of an angel. As a Carolina girl, of course I love the song, but my toddler loves to bob his head and tap his foot to this uniquely upbeat song. “Oh yeah!”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2: We loved the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and still play it all of the time, so to say we were excited to get our hands on the Vol. 2 is an understatement. There is something about blasting “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra that pumps up the entire the family. SPOILER ALERT – we are dancing around the living room like toddler Groot in the opening scene. Watching my two-year-old dance to this song just confirms that he would be the perfect little Groot for Halloween (now that’s an idea!).

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You: I know what you’re thinking, “that’s a strange selection Hannah.” You could be right, but this is the first song our 2-month old heard on the way home from the hospital, so it holds a special place in my heart. Ed was the first artist both of my boys heard when they entered this world. His soulful sound usually lulls my babies to sleep, but this song is so catchy, all we want to do is dance!

Dwayne Johnson – You’re Welcome (from Moana): I often listen to Disney playlists, because I love to belt out a princess tune from time to time, and recently I came across the Moana soundtrack. We haven’t seen Moana yet, because the toddler was too little to go to the theatre, but we are looking forward to the day it becomes available on Netflix. While we wait to watch it, we love listening to soundtrack, in particular Mr. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s song “You’re Welcome.” Who would have thought a WWE Champ would steal our hearts with his musical stylings?

Talking about these great songs/albums has me wanting to bust a move!

What’s on your family’s summer playlist?