Adele D’Man

Contributing Writer

@awendy4

(Garrit Klein/Unsplash)

When I was little, I didn't realize Mother's Day was a happy holiday. Yes, I made my mom a pencil holder, homemade card, paper link bracelet...and so on. When she woke up, I made her happy by giving them to her along with hugs and kisses. And then the happy part was over. Every mother's day we would go to the very crowded cemetery in Brooklyn to "visit" my grandmother who I was named after, that I had never met. My father would get extremely emotional as I sat by her headstone which had my full name on it. Often we would buy her favorite purple flowers and the scent would linger on my fingers. My father was proud that someone had thought ahead and purchased a little bench with the family's last name carved in it. Once we returned home, we went along our day without much fanfare. 

 (Mother's Day 2015: My Daddy always brings me flowers...)

Everything would change years later - when I became a mother with my first born, my son Chase. I felt guilty no longer attending to our ritual and still had residue sadness. But it was two and a half years later when I gave birth a week before Mother's Day to my daughter, that things truly turned. I was draped in flowers from my husband, and now homemade gifts from my son. My parents came over with huge smiles on their face. I remember the unfamiliar feeling of this holiday coupled with pure joy. My mother and I held the little cherub and there we were, three generations of women.

 (Mother's Day 2009. Lexia (2) and Chase (4))

She was happy to surrender over this holiday to me. And though I showered her with love as well, I really couldn't fault her for it. We dressed my Lexia literally from head to toe and headed toward a beautiful brunch in Long Island. My mother spent the meal oohing and ahhing and taking turns holding her. When we got home we exchanged cards and I spent the day basking under her glow. There was just no question...this was what Mother's Day was...this was true bliss. And it was also my last mother's day with my mother. She passed away the following March. 

When I questioned in full sincerity if we should visit my mother on Mother's Day and the ones that followed, Peter, my husband, simply said that this was a way the children can say thank you to you. Let it be all about us celebrating you. I felt a bit guilty for a long time. And then as they got older I understood, their happiness was tied to mine. And I haven't looked back. Well, maybe a glance, but I have firmly decided that Mother's Day would go down as a happy memory in my home. The children wake me up with gifts and flowers (or as they get older, greet me after they have slept in a little). Presents have included original songs, dances, magic shows, and videos. And then we all celebrate it at a gorgeous spot for brunch.

 (Mother's Day 2016)

How do you celebrate Mother's Day? We would love to know. Please leave your comments below!

 

(Clarisse Meyer/Unsplash) 

Remember the day you left for school and forgot your lunch at home? There was no cell phone to call with and if you were anything like me, the last thing you wanted to do was drag your mom to school...So you suffered. Maybe you confided in your best friend and she gave you half of her hero sandwich. Or maybe you were hungry in silence. 

Today, this type of suffering is much less common. There are cell phones you can sneak an emergency call in. And even if you can't, it seems like children are less "uncomfortable." So I ask, what are you willing to do to make sure the bumps in the road are always smooth for your child? And is this really the direction we should be going in?

Take Sarah from the Upper East Side of New York, she explained that whenever her son forgets his gym clothes, she just has him buy another one. "I'm not going to have something as unimportant as gym affect his final grade." I asked her how often this occurs and she said, "...At least once every few months."

 (Peter Kasprzyk/Unsplash)

Or what about Carol from the Village who puts their child and sitter in an Uber for the school that's under ten blocks away. "Sometimes she walks," she explained. "But mostly it's just more practical. Plus she often finishes up her homework in the car."

"There's also Donna from New Jersey who admits she makes sure her middle schooler has a different outfit for every school day. "She's just more excited about school this way." Or Frank who boasts his son has 24 pairs of sneakers at the start of every school year. And Cicely from Brooklyn whose daughter has a publicist ready, plus hair and make-up crew on speed dial every weekend for her teen. "The best places are hard to get into so this just makes it easier."

Easy seems to be the theme here. As well as "comfort." We don't want to ruffle any feathers of these pre and post-pubescent children that already have cyberbullying, State Wide Tests, and peer pressure to deal with.

 (Jonathan Daniels/Unsplash)

I asked each of the parents what happens after...as in, real life when they move on to College or out on their own. And they unanimously agreed that by then the children will be more organized and responsible. 

But how will they get that way if they never fall down? If they are told they mustn't fall? If every possible misstep is calculated and fixed?

Some of my fondest childhood memories were sitting in my girlfriend's bedroom and doing each other's make-up. Borghese was the one with the outrageous colors. There was no Sephora. Make-up artists were for special occasions like Bat Mitzvahs and Sweet 16's.

 (Tyler Delgado/Unsplash)

It's easy to write about it, but living it is different in this day of catered services like Seamless and Fresh Direct that make our adult lives oh so much better. And just as I was writing this, I got a phone call from my eleven-year-old, her dance class had ended and she couldn't find her sock for Tennis. I'm right near stores that I can run and buy one at. Or I can tell her that life is full of days when we "lose our sock"...play without it.

What would you do? Please share your thoughts below.

 

(photo: Alena Ozerova)

You read about the "Prickly Pre-teens" and of course the Tumultuous Teen Years. You know there are drugs, cigarettes, candy-flavored vapors, suicide, depression, alienation, and bullying. So being a conscious parent, you start the conversation... And it goes something like this,

Mom: How was school today?

Child: Good (Also but not limited to: "Fine, Okay, Alright, Uhuh.")

Mom: What did you do today?

Child: Stuff (Also but not limited to: "I don't remember, I have a lot of homework, I'm hungry.")

Full on confrontation even when completely friendly is often not the best way to interact with these morphing young people. It makes them feel tested, and mostly just uncommunicative. I realized this a number of years ago. I would have a pre-picked time and place to catch up with them, but it quickly turned into an inquisition. 

Well, what's a well-meaning Mom to do? Because it doesn't work if you just wait for them to come to you. How many times in your house have you said, "Why didn't you tell me about so and so?" So I realized that the best time might actually be exactly the wrong time for a big discussion. Maybe they do this partly on purpose, or maybe I have just figured out the way to crack their code.

 (Sai De Silva/Unsplash)

I always sit on their bed at night and see what happens. Sometimes a little story about school rolls off their tongue. Other times an idea or adventure they would like to try comes out. Sure, time is ticking and bedtime is getting late, but what amazing discoveries are presented! It was at this time one of my children described in perfect detail a new ride they were designing. Another time, one of my children told me about an unpleasant experience at school. And even though I know I had asked at least twice how their day was, it didn't come out until they were tucked under their safe blankets. 

My daughter's "Mom come help me with my hair," at night has taken on a whole new meaning. This is our time for true Girl Talk, when I'm allowed entry into the glorious and often clumsy well-meaning world of female Tween Land. Nothing is off limits. I feel honored and make sure she gets my full attention. 

For my fourteen-year-old Son, this time usually begins with him sharing music or some fact he found on Disney Reddit. Then anything from college, to political, to hilarious commentary arises. This also occurs when we have dinner one on one. Then we break apart for homework with one of us saying to the other, "You are just too interesting to talk to..."

 (Olesya Kuznetsova/Unsplash)

Surprisingly, I now take the exact same walk home from school with my daughter that I did when she went to Nursery School. Rain, sleet, and shine, we stroll among the tree-lined streets. Sometimes we play silly games and other times I stay very attentive and quiet as my eleven year old's day rolls out in front of me. I am always so thankful for the plethora of gifts this bestows. I learn who her school best friends are, who thinks she's cute, who got the highest grade, what teacher made her laugh, who surprised her, and if I listen carefully...how she feels she fits in this world.

Sometimes during a busy week, I realize there is a little disconnect. So I allow Alexa to break up our formal dining room and turn it into a Rock Club. There we are, up from the table and showing off our favorite dance moves of the moment. Which usually concludes with, "Go Mommy, Go Mommy!"

I guess in conclusion, the best time to talk to your children is any time. But for true insight into their lives, it's got to be on their terms. So have that cup of tea later, jump on their bed with them and just listen. 

Please share when is the best time in your house to share in your children's lives. We would all love to hear it. 

 

 (Hal Gatewood/Unsplash)

When my children were babies, feeding them was a breeze. They enjoyed their breast milk and easily transitioned to those grain cereals. My mother fed baby Lexia her first solids and she literally, (with her eyes like saucers) took hold of the spoon in her Grandmother's hands and guided them into her mouth! Every time! My Son would do the excited kick in his high chair in anticipation. And not to brag, but I overheard the lactation consultant talking to another when I walked by saying, "Her son should be named Count Milkulah." I was so proud.

As toddlers, both of them ate whatever was served. Allergies? None. I made sure every food group was represented. Fish? Check! Vegetables? Check! I pitied those parents that had to hide the vegetables in order for their kids to eat them. Even pizza was made with whole wheat crust and spinach! Surely these parents with difficulty were giving too many choices or too few. They were either making eating too serious or too frivolous. I had this all figured out barely even trying.

Then when she was four and he was six, the tide turned.

We were away in paradise at a Japanese Restaurant. Surely, she would be excited to eat the fresh food that would be prepared in front of her. On this particular night, Lexia was suffering from an allergic reaction and was sleepy on meds. We were having dinner off schedule, about 90 minutes later than usual. As soon as we sat down and she heard what was being served, she started sobbing. The waiter then whispered something to her and disappeared. When our food was ready and being sliced and served, hands appeared and were seen lowering spaghetti. There was no longer a peep as she ate forkful after forkful. We were thankful for this peaceful meal, but we knew this was foreshadowing the future...

And then she turned six. Like an inner alarm had gone off... she had officially become a "picky eater."

My son had become picky as well. Now at fourteen, he has expanded his palette. But certain countries are sadly still off the table. Though his father is happy he can now occasionally have someone to share a burger or a steak with.

My daughter at 11 1/2 has limited herself to only five food options for dinner. And on Saturdays, "Gummy Candy" becomes a food group. But if you analyze her choices (which I have painstakingly done hundreds of times), you would be surprised to find that each food group is actually covered. Although eating out and on vacation has its limits with her, she has a great appetite. And has plenty of fuel to do hours of extracurricular activities. So when their eating habits are an inconvenience for us, does that make it wrong?

Since all her food groups are covered, I have over the years stopped privately and publicly obsessing over her lack of choices. I still offer her what everyone else is eating but without panic in my voice. We have an understanding that she at times must come up with compromises at restaurants in order to dine as a family. And that may mean a repeat of last night's dinner. This "freedom" has made her very independent. Often she makes her own healthy smoothie in the blender and puts together her own dinner. If I had forced her to stay at the table, or the reverse, put her to bed without any supper, perhaps she wouldn't have developed these life skills.

What do you do with your picky eater? We would love to know. Please leave your comments below. 

 

 

I look forward to Spring for the general feeling of re-birth. There is something about the first sight of colored flowers, lighter jackets, and long walks that can't help but make you smile. I learned years ago that even just a fresh new lipstick or shade of nail polish can make my winter style feel revamped. Well, it's the same for kids. What mom isn't tired of their child's down coat now dingy with Winter's breath? So whether you want to add one new item to their wardrobe, or multiple, we got you.

Here is a list of my favorite brands/stores and items. All of these brands can be found inside my tween daughter's closet...Child approved.

Jakandpeppar.com 

Think bohemian plaids and florals. The clothes are unique, soft, and oh so stylish. A few of the standouts for me:

I love the Coronado Skirt in floral.

 

Maggie Tunic in multi

 

 Chloe romper in stone.

 

Abercrombie.com

My sporty girl loves Abercrombie. Some standouts include:

 Strappy tie jumpsuits in florals and stripes.

 

 Velour ZIP Hoodie

 

 Camo Denim Skirt

 

 Tie front romper

 

For Boys:

 Checkerboard Patched Denim Shorts

 

 Twill Camo Shorts

 

 Ripped Taper Jeans

 

Zara.com

This brand never disappoints. Vibrant colors and eclectic collections. 

 Loving the Pastel Denim Jacket.

 

 Twin Set Knit Top

 

 White dress with Embroidery

 

 Woven basket bag with Bamboo Handles

 

 Pleated Jumpsuit with ties

 

For Boys:

 Plush Gray Cargo Pants

 

 Gray Washed Bucket Hat

 

 Red Sock-Style Stretch High Top

 

Nordstrom.com

They have many great brands and a good shoe department.

Girls:

 Wide Leg Jeans by TRACTR

 

 Walking on Sunshine pink tie dress

 

 Adriano Goldschmied kids Brezlyn Denim Shorts (Big Girls)

 

 Ten Sixty Sherman Stripe Dress (Big Girls)

 

Boys:

 Joe's Brixton Straight Leg Stretch Jeans (Big Boys)

 

 Vans Torrey Water Resistant Jacket (Big Boys) green

 

 Vineyard Plaid Boys Button Down

 

Milly.com

For the slightly over the top occasion, you may want to check out our fave, Milly Minis located at milly.com. Where do we begin is the question, because I love all of it!

The Luna Dress is bright and happy and seems easy to wear.

 

Milly Minis Je Taime Coco Dress is just perfection

 

Vertical Textured Flare Dress fits amazingly well

 

I would love to know your special finds this season, feel free to leave them in the comments.

"'Is the Spring coming?' he said. 'What is it like?'... 'It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...'" - Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden