Terrible 2′s (and 3′s and 4′S ?)

toddler tantrumOf course I love every little bit of JP. He’s so yummy, I love to cuddle up with him and cover him in kisses. I love when he says “thank you mommy” in his sweet babyish voice. He’s a super sleeper and we are so thankful and well rested because of it.

Now here’s the but…JP can be a real handful at home. He screams, yells and swats at my husband and me instead of using his words. He likes to throw things across the room and then laugh.

At school, camp, with grandparents and at friends’ houses, JP is a shy perfectly compliant toddler. He smiles a lot and participates in group activities. He has amazing self control and is a good friend.

Sounds like the problem is me not JP, right? I’ve done a lot of reading and continue to learn ways to understand this toddler stage. The scary thing is that toddler behaviors can last until age 5 (and longer if they aren’t addressed). I’m frustrated and sometimes embarrassed when JP acts out in public. I have tried a few different tactics as well as ignoring the behaviors but I have not found anything that works. I’m worried that if these negative behaviors are not eliminated now, they will haunt me forever!

Anyone else here with me?

The Elimination of “Good job”

I’m sure you’ve heard the latest buzz, we shouldn’t be telling our kids “Good job” all the time. Actually Alfie Kohn has been saying this for at least the past 14 years. He says, “In short, “Good job!” doesn’t reassure children; ultimately, it makes them feel less secure. It may even create a vicious circle such that the more we slather on the praise, the more kids seem to need it, so we praise them some more. Sadly, some of these kids will grow into adults who continue to need someone else to pat them on the head and tell them whether what they did was OK.” JP climbing no praise

I get it. JP is so used to hearing us say “Good job” when he completes a task that he praises himself. He will put his spoon in the sink and then say “Good job.” Maybe he thinks it means “task complete?” That’s not good. I know I need to work on phasing this phrase out. Here are some suggested alternatives to saying “Good job.”

Say nothing.

Say what you saw. “You put on your shoes.” “You’re drawing circles.”

Talk less, ask more. “What colors did you use?” “How did you make that?”

Now that I’m aware of trying not to say “Good job” I realize how many other adults in JP’s world say it; teachers, camp counselors, other parents, grandparents. This is going to be a hard phrase to erase!

What do you think? Do you say “Good job” a lot?

Unsolicited Advice

I don’t appreciate unsolicited advice, especially regarding parenting. I doubt I’m alone on this. I’m all for constructive criticism, taking advice from other parents who’ve been there or have practical ideas. But calling out with your own personal parenting style is rude. Mittens

This past winter I was standing on my stoop with my toddler JP who refused to wear his mittens. I finally gave up after hearing the little voice in my head say “pick and choose your battles.” If JP was really cold, he would wear his mittens, right? Just as I made that decision I noticed a mom walking by with two school age girls. She called out to me and said JP should have mittens on. I told her he wouldn’t wear them (giving her a knowing look). Then she said “you better show him who’s boss.” Really? This stranger in front of my house thought she should tell me to choose this battle and make my toddler wear his mittens to show him I’m the one in charge. JP knows I’m in charge. His whole life is revolved around me being in charge. I resisted the urge to tell her what I thought of how her children were dressed.

Maybe a better way the stranger could have handled the situation (other than not saying anything at all) would have been to offer help instead of unsolicited advice. I’m all for community parenting and looking out for each other, but please keep your parenting style to yourself.

Has something like this ever happened to you? Leave a comment about it!

Home Depot: City Vs. Suburb

Ideally I’d like to do all of my shopping at locally owned businesses. But that isn’t always possible. Recently I wanted to buy a few hostas for our shade back garden. My local hardware store didn’t have any hostas and the next closest place didn’t have a parking spot nearby. So I drove down the street to my local Home Depot.

Why are city Home Depots so gross? The parking lot is a mess, there is no customer Hosta BK Home Depotservice at all and the cashier always seems like I’m inconveniencing her by buying something. I searched for the hostas hoping to run in and out with 4 new hostas plants. But all the plants were grown in Florida and then shipped up to NY and looked like this (see photo)!

So I added a trip to Home Depot onto my suburb errand list for the following week. Around the corner from the Tanger Outlets in Deer Park, Long Island, I found a clean well run Home Depot where the customer service was excellent and the employees were happy to sell me 4 hosta plants. I was happy too because not only were the hostas healthy looking, they were grown at a greenhouse right there on Long Island. Look at the difference! Hosta Deer Park Home Depot

Anyone have any ideas on why these two big box stores would be so different?


5 Tips for Smooth Family Living

1. Amazon diaper delivery- Subscribe and Save through Amazon Prime is super convenient. I’ve been using this service for almost three years now (maybe for the last time now that JP is pretty much potty trained). The service was originally free but now there is an annual charge; it’s still worth it. I have Earth’s Best diapers delivered to my door every month and Earth’s Best wipes every 3 months. You set the amount and the delivery frequencies. Amazon sends you reminders before shipping just in case you need to change the diaper size or suspend your order. With the discounts you get for using Subscribe and Save it’s much cheaper than buying at a big box store. Plus you don’t have to carry the diapers home!

2. Flycleaners- This app has changed my life. Ok, in a small way. Instead of walking to icon2my local dry cleaner, I can simply tap the app and a delivery van picks up my dry cleaning within the hour. Delivery is anytime between 6am-midnight so pick a time that works for you. I usually hit the app right after I put JP to bed. Bonus-the prices are cheaper than my local dry cleaner and delivery is free!

3. Meal planning- We don’t do this consistently. But the summer we did it was amazing! No stress on the way home from work thinking about what’s for dinner or what needs to be picked up. All the meals are planned and shopped for before the week starts.

4. Weekends free- Ok this may be really hard, but try to do as much household stuff as you can during the week. If you work full time and have a nanny, outsource some errands to her. If you don’t have a nanny, do some errands on your lunch hour or go grocery shopping solo one weeknight after the kids go to sleep and your partner is home (there is something so satisfying about a date with myself on a Friday night at TJs or Fairway). Trust me, it’s worth it to have the weekends free to do what you really want to do.

5. Take a breather- get a babysitter or join a babysitting co-op and go out for a date Dave Chapelle date nightnight. If you can’t swing that, at least have each partner take a night off to do something for herself /himself (movie, massage, exercise, drink with a friend, book reading, etc)


Guest Post: Dr. Marcie on Behaviors of Toddlers

Behaviors of Toddlers By Dr. Marcie

Toddlers are exploring their world everyday! Learning how humans of all sizes interact, learning to move their bodies through space and learning to remember and organize all the information they are taking in. It is a big job, full of bumps and hiccups.

One behavior characteristic toddlers show is differentiation of people or places. Your toddler behaviorstoddler may have some big undesirable behaviors at home but not in school or in school and not at home. Similarly, big behaviors may occur with mom but not with dad or with mom but not with teachers. This differentiation makes is clear that the behaviors you are seeing are controllable by external circumstances. By examining the difference in these external circumstances, change can be created. Think about what may be happening in school and not at home or with some adults but not others. This will give you a key to identify changes you can make to improve the behavior of your toddler. My suggestions if you are seeing this pattern in challenging behavior of your toddler:

  • Get really clear with your language: mean what you say and say what you mean. This will help build dependability and trust.
  • Create routines to help your toddler learn about the world within a structured environment.

Another frequent toddler behavior is crying or hitting instead of using language. Language is a new skill for these little beings. They are just beginning to learn the importance of language. We need to teach them when and how to use words instead of their tears and hands. Remember, not so long ago, crying was your toddlers main form of communication.  Some helpful behavioral guidelines to teach them about language:

  • Use clear, direct and short sentences in these moments.
  • Be consistent. Don’t change a no answer to yes to stop the bad behavior.
  • Provide language or choices before crying or hitting starts. When you can.
  • Look for the first signs of frustration and use them as teaching moments, you may be able to avoid some longer tantrums this way. This will be more successful than punishing for bad behavior. Often, toddlers do not know how to do it differently in that moment. So, teach don’t punish.

While it can be frustrating and hard, be gentle with your toddler and yourself. Remember they do not track time in the same way we do. The tantrum from 2 hours ago is no longer part of their present moment.  See if you can learn from them and try not to hold onto the frustrating moments. Enjoy the positive and fun moments with your toddler!

For more behavioral insights check out Dr. Marcie’s blog. You can sign up there to get her weekly posts emailed directly to you!

Discount at Ella Luna Consignment Shop!

I recently met with Kelli, the owner of Ella Luna consignment shop in Williamsburg. I’m so excited to tell you about her great store and to announce that all Mother Brooklyn readers will receive 25% off their first store purchase simply by saying Ella Luna consignment shop“Mother Brooklyn!”

The shop’s goal is to make it easier for Brooklyn parents to live their best possible life. They offer great clothes, jaw-dropping deals as well as the opportunity to trade in your kids old clothes for stylish new duds! They offer pick up of clothes that families wish to consign (depending on their location) or families can schedule an appointment to come in to consign and/or shop at literally any hour of the day.

In addition to consigning clothes from private families, Ella Luna also carries the overstock from other retail outlets around the country, which they sell at 50-80% off regular retail prices.

When you consign with Ella Luna, you will receive a store credit when your item sells for your portion of the sale price. Or you may opt to be paid via check or Paypal. Alternatively, you could have your cash donated to a charity or toward a fundraising event! Ella Luna store


Check out Ella Luna as soon as you can. I picked up these great like-new Merrell shoes for JP when I was there! merrell shoes

End of the School Year Gifting

Yes it’s true, teachers don’t want my homemade gifts, they want gift cards and cash to buy things they could really use. They have piles of mugs, stationary and picture frames from adoring students. I get it. So I’ll pick up generic gift cards for JP’s preschool teachers at my local pharmacy. But I still want to do something special for the preschool administrators who greet us at the door each day.

I couldn’t resist the challenge to make these bath salt jars. Of course I found the idea teacher gifton Pinterest. I have a collection of used glass jars, so I only needed to buy the epson salt, lavender oil and dried lavender. I was able to get the lavender oil at my local health food store, Karrot. The epson salt I got at Walgreens (where I’ll also pick up the gift cards) and I went to the Union Square Farmers’ Market and found some relatively cheap dried lavender.

Once I had all the ingredients it was super easy and fast to make the bath salt jars. I used my favorite labels from Lotta Jansdotter to decorate the jars and make the card. teacher gift bath salt

One more week of school left! I hope the administrators like these gifts and actually use them in the bathtub this summer.

Do you have a great teacher or support staff gift idea?


I’m giving away two Green Sprouts flip-top sippy cups (for babies ages 6-12 months), PVC and BPA free and a mOmma soft spoon (ages 6+ months) BPA free.

To enter the giveaway simply like/tweet/share Mother Brooklyn posts with friends. Then leave a comment by midnight on Sunday June 15th, sharing your favorite summer activity to do with kids. I’ll announce the winner next week.

Good luck!

To be eligible to win, leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday 12/14 sharing your favorite eco-kitchen tip – See more at: http://onehungrymama.com/2011/12/12-days-of-yum-mightynest-glass-food-storage-giveaway/#sthash.dcH7fEhT.dpuThanks!


Let’s Get Organized!

I’ve always been a neat freak. In elementary school I would suggest cleaning my friend’s bedroom as a playdate activity. The moms loved me, my friends were annoyed. After years of sharing a bedroom with one of my sisters and having various roommates well into my 20s (a downside of trying to make it in NYC) I’ve become a little less freakish and a little more realistic. While I know my house is always well kept (thanks also to an equally neat husband), my pantry was getting a little out of hand.

JP started to go inside the pantry and bring out various opened packages, usually pantry before 5 pantry before 2with contents spilling out onto the floor as he handed them to me. Inez couldn’t find the ingredients she needed for her various baking projects and then I heard the voice (squeal) of a small furry foe and decided it was time to revamp the pantry.

In came the p-touch. The p-touch is every organizer and organizer wannabe’s secret organized pantry 3tool. Once I got started labeling with the p-touch, it inspired me to go all the way. First my husband and I cleaned out the whole pantry. That didn’t take that long. Then I started organizing the food into various plastic bins that I bought at Target. I have to admit, this did take a few hours. I sorted the food and placed similar items in the same organized pantry 4bins (pasta, rice, crackers, snacks).

In the end I decided to p-touch (yes, I’m using it as a verb) a few bins for JP so that it would be easy for him to grab his own box and for me to have his lunchbox snacks in one place. I love how we can simply pull a bin down and look through it to find what we want. This is way easier than digging through a pile of bags on a shelf.

Inspired to get organized? Leave me a comment if you have any questions about how to get started!