Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Inappropriate Attire

I really should look in the mirror before I leave the house to go to a place where adults are.

I just walked into the bathroom of Starbucks, where I’ve been camped out for a few hours “working” on all my volunteer projects, and realized my mom-do and snotty-finger-printed jeans and shirt were not proper attire for this hipster scene.

My 20 year old self is embarrassed. But reality is, if this were library story hour I’d look darn good. And that’s where I’m meant to be these days.

Love Rituals Are The Connections of Life

Love Rituals are the sweet ways in which we connect with our children, and this video brought me to tears. Moments and rituals like this build trust, confidence and self control in young children, and provide the feeling of safety and love we all need, no matter our age. And I love the idea that this also teaches children healthy, loving touch.

The Creative Playtime class I have done with both Associates (on their own, not together) has been such an amazing resource for me to learn more about my children’s personalities, behaviors and love languages. Associate A loves to squeeze, not just hug, when happy and scared. He needs to be held closely, firmly and he is gripping me back. Associate P loves to be scratched and rubbed while cuddling or before bed. I started doing that to him because I LOVED when my mom would “give me scratches,” which is how Associate P asks for them now. I had never thought of it in the full circle way before, but I bet if I asked my mom, she would say her mom did the same to her. And even without asking, I know my mom did it for her mother when she cared for her in her final years.

The video itself is from Conscious Discipline, which is also a great resource for the studious parent looking for useful advice on connecting with your children.


Do You Hear a Siren?

The CEO and I were finally relaxing after a long day at the office; he was reading a book and I was surfing the web.  The house was still and quiet for the first time all day.

We glanced at each other.  Do you hear a siren?

yup.  Associate P was curled up in bed with his iPad watching YouTube videos of Sweedish (maybe Norwegian?) firetrucks.  When I walked in the room, he was cute as could be, flashed a big smile and invited me to sit and watch with him.

All I can think of is how much more awkward this night will be when he is 16.  And maybe that it is time I research parental controls on YouTube.

Cost/Benefit Analysis of Eating Out With Kids

There is something every parent must do before committing to take their offspring out into a public place where other people are trying to eat: A thorough cost/benefit analysis  must be done, carefully weighing the risks of public embarrassment, stress and judgement with the need to get out of your house.

Parents must consider:

  • What time of day is it?  Parents must compare the amount of energy likely bottled up in their children with the potential for a crowded restaurant.  Would the children physically explode if it takes longer than 15 minutes to bring out the main dish?  Would an excess crowd creative wonderful distraction, or overstimulate your young pup and send him running in circles around your table like a dog chasing his own tail?
  • What type of restaurant is it? Obviously kid friendly places are the ideal and should be chosen 98% of the time, but we have all been in those situations when on vacation or when guests visit, that you are forced to consider taking your barbaric children to a fine dining establishment.   This is a big big gamble.  If planned right and the stars align, your experience could leave you beaming with pride for months as you retell your heroic triumph to everyone you meet, “My toddler just LOVES The Chart House.”   Or, if the experience plays out with utensils clanging and food flying, you just might end up blowing the bank on overtipping and buying the table next to you a glass (or two) of wine to compensate.
  • What type of food will be served, and will my kids see what other people are eating?  My kids have always been good eaters, so I don’t have the worry too much about finding something on any menu that they would eat. That is a huge problem for many parents and I feel for you.  Personally, I love taking the kids out to breakfast places for two reasons: 1) Breakfast food is easy to please any kiddo.  Pancakes, eggs, biscuits, fruit, and all-you-can-drink milk supply will make even the pickiest eater happy.   2) They will never see someone  at the next table scarfing down ice cream while I try to convince them to eat their meal.   Once a kid’s mind is set on ice cream, all bets are off.  The older, more experienced child may be on their best behavior to earn the ice cream.  However, the more likely response, especially for toddlers or those younger second children who learned the joys of ice cream long before they have any concept of delayed gratification, they will demand it immediately and fail to understand why they must wait and cannot just march over and eat poor Jane’s ice cream right now.
  • What is the status of my home life?  Has it been a rough day?  So bad that you are beyond caring what sort of judgmental looks may be thrown your way?  Did you clean while they were asleep and need it to stay clean for some reason?  Removing your children from the house is the only way to guarantee your family or friends’ shoes will not stick to your floor.  Have the wee-ones been on their best behavior all day and you are feeling lucky?  Did you fail to make it to the grocery store today, or even in the last week?

I am sure there are many more considerations thoughtful parents weigh before embarking on a meal out.  After a serious cost-benefit analysis, we decided to take our associates out to dinner last night… at 430pm on a sunday to a kid friendly restaurant where no ice cream is served.   We were in and out in 45 minutes and a good time was had by all.

Embracing the risk and adventure of eating out with kids  helps me appreciate a date night even more.  There is something truly magical about spending 2+ hours at a white table cloth establishment, eating amazing food, drinking fantastic wine and enjoying the company of my husband, uninterrupted.


Our Poor Florida Boys. They think the <2ft slope at the park is a hill.

Elevation change of any kind pretty much blows their mind. We were out west this summer and saw mountains, we even rode a ski lift to the top of Mt. Bachelor. Associate P still talks about it.

There are so many benefits to living in Florida – like running around a park on a 65 degree January day – but I sure wish we had more hills.

Friday night, movie night!

And by movie I mean Youtube videos of garbage trucks until Associate P and I passed out.

Emergency Management Team Meeting Called Around the New Chimnea


Never Negotiate With Terrorist Toddlers

Excuse me – that should be ‘Terrorists OR Toddlers.’  I would never refer to my child as a terrorist… ahem.

I know, I know. I should offer two acceptable choices to let him feel some power. I read that book too.

But honestly, more often than not dinner has become a game of let’s make a deal. Sure, it bothers me. Dinnertime is often a low point in the day when negotiations break down and we both end up hungry, tired and crying wishing we could skip all this and just have a cookie.

But perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong. Maybe we are teaching him fabulous negotiating skills that could save us tens of thousands of dollars on a useless business degree someday.

For example, yesterday Associate P saw an opportunity and he maximized it. I had been praising him since he woke up from his nap and he decided to cash in the deal that I offered earlier, “If you nap, we can go to the Library when you wake up.” As we were getting ready to leave he heard me tell the CEO that we’d be back right at dinner time so would probably just do quesadillas.

Flash forward one hour to the drive home. We pass by Surfi’n Turtle Ice Cream Shop and Associate P casually mentions, “We haven’t had ice cream in a while.” I respond in the typical bribing way any good mother would, “Well if you eat all your dinner tonight, maybe we can have some!”

He screams excitedly “YOU’VE GOT A DEAL” This is an unusual response in our normal negotiations so I probe to see the extent with which I got worked.  “So are you hungry for dinner tonight?” “Yes mommy! I love quesadillas. They are my favorite. And ice cream too. I LOVE ice cream!”

yup. he knew what he was doing and the kid ate until his tummy hurt last tonight. He deserved it. Well played son.  Well played.

Why Are Carrots Orange?

Carrots are hard & orange because someone already squeezed the orange juice out of them.

Why Mommy? Why? Why? …. Why?

Me to Associate P: “It may not have been your first word, but if you keep it up WHY  just might be your last!”

Just in the last few weeks, Associate P has begun asking “Why?” All. The. Time.  I always thought people were exaggerating the extent to which kids ask “Why?” the way the exaggerate every other detail of their children’s lives….

“Johnny has THE BEST laugh”

“Susie is THE WORST eater”

“Bobby asks “Why?” ALL THE TIME”

See, it fits the hyperbole pattern parents use and abuse to describe their little ones. The problem is, this one isn’t hyperbole. when someone says their kid asks “Why?” after everything and repeats it on and on and on and on until the parent can no longer take it, they aren’t exaggerating!

So I suppose it is on us to figure out how to respond and make these truly teaching moments.  Currently, I’m dabbling with trying to give honest answers and turn it around to him to make it a discussion.  Sometimes I say “I don’t know” or ask him “Hmm, do you know?”   A few times one or both of us will say, “I didn’t know that!” to which the other replies, “Yea! We learned something today!”

And often, after the 20th or 100th “Why?” I find myself using distraction to divert him to anything else.

Lots of good ideas in the comments of this babycenter post, “Why Does My Toddler Constantly Ask Why?”

Post a comment if you have a great idea on how to respond to “Why, Mommy?”



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