Hands-Off Parenting Worked… This Time

Vivien now wants to do everything by herself and we are in big trouble if we try to help. Getting dressed, putting on pull-ups or panties, getting in the car… these are all things that can make Sybil appear if we get in her way.

Hands-Off Parenting

We were having some battles but last night, instead of getting into it, I calmly said, “Here’s your pull-up. Let me know when you are ready for bed.” And I walked away. God, it was so much nicer than “Come here, get in your PJ’s, wait, don’t take off your pull-ups,” etc.  A few minutes later, sweet as can be, she said, “I’m ready for bed, Mommy.”

Really? Almost surprised when I’m not more ragged out.

Trolling For Mom Friends

Along with the miracle and wonder of children comes BOREDOM. Especially while they are nonverbal. Gosh, the pattern of your life can start to melt from one day to the next. So, that’s when I started to cast about for any kind of groups or classes. At 2 months we did Itsy Bitsy Yoga; basically a few socially starved moms were led through gentle exercises with their baby. We would roll our kids around, kiss their tummy, and do other stuff like that.The gym was walking distance from my house, which was a real bonus since my kid screamed her head off every time she was in the car. This did not end until we could turn her seat around.

Here I am at a My Gym, talking about this lonely mom thing.

Lollipop Tree

Here’s a mommy dilemma: when do you crash your kid’s sweet imagination, and when do you let it ride? Vivien has really enjoyed gardening with her dad. We have tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and lemons. When we planted the lemon trees, it gave Viv an idea of another kind of tree she wants.

I’m thinking of how to rig it…

Food Mistakes

It’s always humbling when you realize as a parent you’ve screwed up. Hopefully, it’s something small and not bailing your kid out of jail. Reading a recent issue of the health section of the NY Times told me what I kind of already knew (and my mom kept telling me): that I shouldn’t ride Viv about eating food – any kind of food.

In the video, I say I’m going to link to a study about how picky eaters still get enough calories. I remembered it from my days with Dr. Dean Edell Radio Show. I couldn’t find it, so I emailed him. He said he no longer had it either, but he wrote me this: “The bottom line is, if kids don’t eat lunch at all, they make up for it at dinner… the daily caloric intake is very stable in kids but meal-to-meal is unstable… does that help?”

Take a listen to the other do’s and don’ts.

A Sticky Subject? Results Are In!

Now this week’s Cool Mom Poll was something we deal with every day: the stickers on the car window. Putting up this poll really helped focus my thoughts on this issue. I was considering allowing the stickers to grow and flourish, in exchange for a little peace and quiet. But the “isn’t it enough my body will never look the same” contingent won out with you, and it won me over.

I peeled them off as best I could and Mark went out with soap and a rag and got the left-over sticker remains.

I must say I am impressed with the 13 percent of you who don’t even allow stickers in your universe. Gosh, how do you do that? It’s good to have some limits on what you can take.

Blended Family

Hey stepparents! Some of you have mentioned that you’d like me to address our delicate family position a bit more. Well, here’s something to gnaw on.

This is how one aspect of the blended family affects our own children. It is important also to note how Vivien is improving my new haircut.

Dr. Phil and Me

Okay, yesterday was a crazy day in TV. A few days ago, I was contacted by the Dr. Phil show regarding my video, Helicopter Moms. They wanted to use the piece as part of their show about “Free-Range” Moms” vs. Helicopter Moms. Apparently, they have way more OCD-inclined helicopter moms.

The standard-bearer for the free-range moms was NY-based mom Lenore, who started freerangekids.com after catching flack for allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway by himself. I told the Dr. Phil people that I try not to be a helicopter mom, that I think it’s better to be more relaxed, as that is how I was raised. They were like,”Um, yeah, maybe we will just use your vlog.”

Sensing my 15 seconds of syndicated-daytime-TV-fame slipping through my fingertips (although, I used to do some comedic commentary on Ricki Lake as the show’s token white girl – besides Ricki), I called back and said, “You know, I really want to back up the free-range mom.”

The only snag was their taping started immediately after the Fashion Team taping ended. My producers were cool: “Okay, you can miss a segment and leave 15 minutes early.” Great.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Dr. Phil people wanted photos of my family at home; I sent them about 9. They wanted home movies of Vivien, and I gave them that. They needed a release from my husband, so we did that, and then they CHANGED THE TIME. Now they wanted me there while the Fashion Team was still taping!

I shoot the Fashion Team (which airs Tuesday at 8 pm on the TV Guide channel – plug!) on Tuesday mornings. It’s only about 10 minutes from the Dr. Phil set. I had a knot in my stomach as I asked to leave earlier. Again, my producers were very understanding – Dr. Phil does get 10 to 20 times our audience – but I did need to shoot most of my segments.

So, on the day of the shoot, I’m all dolled up (great dress, right? I don’t even look pregnant!), thanks to the wardrobe department at TV Guide, which is one of the best parts of my job (as is the professional makeup). I am trying to be calm as the clock is ticking and our Fashion Team shoot is inching along. My co-host, Lawrence Zarian, is very sweet and says he is happy to a few segments without me. Our guest is the costume designer of “Mad Men” (AMC, Sundays at 10pm). She is new to the on-camera world and during our interview she stumbles over a word and starts to break to ask, “Can I do that again?” but before she can, Lawrence Zarian and I jump in. On the break, she says, “I thought we could stop.” I wanted to scream, “If you want to be here all day and blow my chance to be on Dr. Phil, go right ahead!” But instead I say, “It’s better to keep going since they have to stop to make each edit.” Which is true: it takes forever.

I race out to my car, texting the Dr. Phil show that I am on my way, as I was 15 minutes late already. They have a golf cart waiting for me at the studio gate. The show is ready to go, and the warm-up guy – one of the hardest and most unsung jobs in show biz – is vamping for time, making jokes and giving away Dr. Phil mugs and books. I am finally seated in the front row. The studio is so cold my teeth are chattering.

Lenore starts with the doctor telling her story. Then it goes to a super over-protective mom. I’m waiting… then there’s another over-protective mom across the aisle from me. Um, where are those pictures of my stepdaughter and Viv hand in hand? Finally Dr. Phil introduces me. He shows part of my vlog, I think it got a good response, but I am thinking, WHICH ONE OF MY MANY WITTY ANECDOTES WILL I SHARE WITH DR. PHIL? I am not sure how much give-and-take there will be. He addressed me and I blurt out in a nutshell that I came to think I needed to get over myself and be a calmer, more open mom. He asked, “Why?” So I told him why, then he turned to the A guests (those on stage) and explained the lesson I helped illustrate.

More segments, but no more of me. On a break, Dr. Phil looked down at me, smiled and nodded. I’m thinking, “Um, I have more to say, um, where’s my home movie?”

These kinds of talk shows are very well-produced, but maybe too well-produced. There’s no forum for give-and-take. But then I’m sure not everyone would be as television-savvy as I would be, and they may really blather on. Also the show became a parade of the disasters of the overly controlling mom. Though Dr. Phil did have good advice.

I don’t know when it will be on, but I will announce that here on Cool Mom, of course, when I know.

I hope I get my MiniDV back.

Divorcing Friends

Don’t get me wrong, some people should get divorced. When my dad moved out, my sadness was tinged with a great relief! But my knee-jerk reaction to hearing that people with children are divorcing is “DON’T!” I can get kind of Dr. Laura about it. So in this video are a couple of issues in regards to divorce that have hit me recently.