Friday, April 30, 2010

On childrens freedoms

On Kids Freedoms in New York City

Many times I am asked at what age you let your kids outside on their own. I have to admit that Raising Six Children does let you have many perspectives on this question and on the practice of freedom to give your children.

I believe a bit in routines and the freedom and safety and comfort ability that comes with routines. For example, our family has been riding our bikes to school for four years now. This means that we take one route which involved travelling down one block to the very end and another avenue across.
That's it. Back and Forth, the same avenue across and the same block up over and over. You start to have a very good understanding about what to expect, which sidewalks are wide enough for people and bikes. Which sidewalks you have to be extra careful on. After Checking with the 19th precinct of Manhattan, children under the age of 12 are allowed to ride their bikes, their tricycles and their two wheelers on the sidewalk. The older children and I, we are in the street.

We are lucky to live in a community where both these blocks and avenues pass several schools along the way so we a community of people getting their children to school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. There are crossing guards who we are not connected with our school, but we remember them on holidays, as they remember and recognize us all year long.

The school.....the routine.....provides a certain level of safety, and thus allows for certain freedoms I might otherwise not give.

For example, the thirteen and the twelve year old leave for school first, and have complete freedom getting there….as the route! The ten and eight year old leave second and I follow with the kindergartener. They can leave ahead of me (the 10 and 8 year old) being that I am travelling right behind them.
EVERYONE MUST take the ROUTE, no exceptions if they want to bike to school.

Walking the dog creates the same routine and rituals which also teach safety because the children going up and down the block on their own or around the block can understand how long it takes to run back home, what things might look uncomfortable to them.

Both these freedoms I offer the children at these ages and I find are quite different then just letting them ......go out.

Freedom in New York is not a gift when it is given to someone not ready to handle it. If your child has been asking for certain freedoms try to practice offering them routines such as:

-Going to the local deli, grocery store for milk or bread on Sunday nights.
-Taking a taxi to the corner where you live and letting them walk home (you follow behind after a local errand)
-Let them Pick up the Pizza or Chinese Food from the local restaurant if it’s close enough (prepay it, its easier)

These are the types of freedoms you can ENPOWER your child who is READY.

Be safe and know at one point they will have these freedoms and you are only helping them to learn how
To feel confident with them!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Travel


When you tell people you have just returned from the Atlantis, you never know what kind of response you are going to get. Most people have heard of this destination, some have been there, some go back every year, some would never.

Heres how the accommodations work:

Royal Towers- A grand Hotel elevator Tower in the Center of the Atalntis Resort. Though it looks like its in the center of everything, to actually reach the elevator from the pools and beach is quite a walk. A stroller is a must for any children under 4! The beach tower is closest to the beach, but the absolute furthest from anything. The Cove and the Reef are the more deluxe accommodations and offer something unique. They offer a peaceful place to stay, beach and pool in a quiet bahamas setting, without the hussle and busle of the Atlantis next door.

I took the younger three children to the Atlantis
We didn’t miss any school, any Friday birthday parties or
Any activities . TWO DAYS was enough for us…
and here is how it looked:

Saturday Morning
4:30am Taxi to JFK airport for
6:00am Flight
8:45am Landed with one carry on bag** grabbed cab
9:30am We changed in the bathroom into our bathing suits- hit the beach
11:00am Buffet breakfast at the Cove Hotel
12:00n Went Swimming in the Baths Pools
1:30pm Went to the Aqua Adventure Center and Mayan Temple slides
3:00pm Went to the Lazy river Ride
4:00pm Went to see the Underwater Digs - Atlantis and Fish aquariums
5:30pm Dinner in Room via Room Service and Stuart Little to fall asleep

Sunday Morning
7:30am Breakfast Buffet at Mosaic
8:30am Ripples Kids Pool
9:30am Kids went to Kids Club Culinary Experience for one hour
where they all cook something fun while mom gets a one
hour break to visit the adult only pool and read a chapter
of her book
10:30am Swim with the Dolphins at Dolphin Cay at the Atlantis Hotel
12:00n Lunch and beach play feeding fish chex mix
3:00pm Taxi to airport
5:30pm Flight home

**Packed in the bag was PJ for three kids, one bathingsuit and bathing shirt and cover up
one shorts and shirt, one outfit for the plane home and a sweatshirt. THATS IT .Toilette Bag,flip flops THAT’S IT

We flew Jet blue direct from JFK and we returned on Delta through Atlanta or could have returned on Continenal thru Miami for a 7:30pm departure from Nassau !

Enjoy your weekend travels!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On allowances

On Allowances

People ask me all the time what I think about allowances. I understand that children need money. The simple fact is that I don’t believe in giving away money for no reason.

I created a transportation box where I keep singles inside. If someone needs to get to school early (like the thirteen year old or the twelve year old) and it’s raining and they can’t walk or ride their bike...they can take the transportation money and they have to leave a note of how much they took and their name.

If someone needs money for school supplies, Friday lunch because they are staying late, or such I am happy to help out! We are family! It’s what we do!

But if someone wants to buy a play station game, well that's money that they need to earn, and they earn that money by doing jobs which they earn points for. The point’s equal dollars and they can turn in their points for purchases whenever they want! (Actually now we hold some points back for those who have a tendency to break other people’s important and valuable items while not asking for permission to use them).

An allowance for no reason.....just doesn't sit right with me when earning money if a great opportunity to offer a child a chance to earn for themselves. To believe in themselves, to reach a goal for themselves, to value how hard they worked for their points and care more about how they are going to spend their money.

Knowing that every child is not motivated the same way, our family offers a lot of opportunities to earn points easily.....Points are offered up for kindness, my children traded points this week to bring pennies for peace to school, points that are offered in contests, points that are traded in for a EARTH DAY project and tree planting.

I am proud of my children as they earn points and make purchases!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On Birthday Gifts

On Party Gifts

It is truly amazing the number of birthday gifts we have fun purchasing yearly. The younger children are included in every birthday party and as they move through the grades, the number of invitations reduces naturally. Most schools ask that you either invite the entire class or 1/3.

I love to find birthday gifts that are those my children would like themselves to receive. So many times I run into a few very special items and I buy them in bulk or organize them in advance. This always doesn't work in my favor.......I went to a WAREHOUSE Frette Sale and purchased bathrobes for about the same price as a toys r us game would cost. Normally these would be $100.00 gifts. I thought, who would spend $100.00 for a children’s bathrobe anyway, but the quality was so nice, it was worth it to purchase enough. The reason they were on such super sale was they only has size 3 left. I bought 15 of them in September and was ready to give all them out as gifts to the 15 children that were in my son’s nursery school.

That year he only got invited to 5 birthday parties.....and I ended up with 10 extra size 3 Frette bathrobes!
I gave them away as gifts to the older child (which was usually 3) when a friend of mine had a new baby as an older child gift! I think I have one left today!

This summer while we were travelling we found a company that sold items that changed color in the sun! I purchased everything in bulk...A big hit. Purchased headbands, shirts, bathing suits and they were all gifted already everyone was thrilled!

There are also smaller items which I find, buy and save, and attach to the top of a gift with cellophane or use for goody bags when throwing small kids parties at my house.

I am proud of my friends who, like me, are always thinking of new ideas for gifts for children! Glimmer Rox in a unique belt, bracelet (cuff) and headband that can be personalized with initials or purchased in bulk for upcoming birthdays. My six year old daughter wears her bracelet/cuff all the time and ill be there purchasing 10 bracelets for $10.00 each as a bulk purchase to use in my eight year old Birthday Party goodie bags next month !

Friday, April 30th
9 AM – 2 PM
239 East 79th Street, Suite 6
New York City

Please comment back your favorite birthday item?

Monday, April 26, 2010

on Maturity

On maturity, On Nannies

Can you introduce Morality as a priority that your children need in order to reach maturity?

I find in day to day life with my kids, I am questioned on why I am doing something. For example, someone worked for our family for eight years, staying home while the babies slept while I ran around the city with the other children. Now in our house there are no more babies to stay home with, could I just fire this person?
I explained to the children over and over again how she dedicated so much of her life to us, that we need to see that she gets another job….We need to keep her employed until she does, because it’s the RIGHT thing to do, because she has done so much for us.

Here is a chance for your child to see another’s life.
Here is a chance for your child to manage destructive feelings as mthey might not like this person. I need to teach that his dislike for her doesn’t need to equal a wish for her demise!
Here is a chance for your child to change his assessment....

The prize here is his maturity……and the start of Morality Lessons which we can all teach!

What can you teach today?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

On Dogs

Living in New York City there is a lot of inconveniences of having a dog, but I don’t need to tell you that dogs are amazing animals. They are happy when we are happy, when we are sad, they come to console us. They are not only great friends, but can often serve to bring members of a family even closer together. We have all heard that dogs are man’s best friend; I would say they are CHILDRENS BEST FRIENDS!

One of the first communities I learned about when we got our first dog was the
‘Before 9:00am” community in Central Park. This is truly an amazing site for any eyes. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of dogs running freely across central park
Chasing each other, chasing birds, squirrels, it’s an UNBELIEVABLE site to see!

I always wondered what foreigners would think if:

*They arrived in Greenwich Village on Halloween Night
*Took A stroll in Central park before 9:00am when the dogs
Are allowed off their leashes

Friends always ask me, so what do you think about a dog! Well I think dogs are great for kids but you cannot have complete expectations that your children are going to make sure that the dog is clean, fed and walked as many times as you need to be done! Dogs needs to get out of their city apartments, houses, buildings...the bigger the dog, the more times out!

There is a ‘rites of passage’ that involved our dog which looks something like this:

Our eight year old can walk the dog up and down the block on his own
The ten year old can walk the dog around the block on his own.
The twelve year old and the thirteen year old can walk the dog for points
As a job .

Saturday, April 24, 2010

on Praise

On Praise
You are so wonderful, I love you so much, and you are amazing! Well they are, OUR CHILDREN, but does constant praise means constant assessment.

Are our words putting our children in a position where they are waiting for their praise for everything and anything that they do. And what about when they don’t do something so well, is it the constant praise that they are used to hearing, and not there…..cause to hear the pain and frustration in your silence that they are already feeling.

My oldest child, I believe he hears any praise as condesending at this stage of life. In the background he wants to know that you love him, and he is capable in your eyes.

Unconditional love

In the background he needs to hear the values you have, those he cannot push the limits outside of, but when we adheres to these as Rules, and you praise him for such, its condescending to him !

My youngest child says “I'm not going to give you any love unless……..” Now you might respond poorly to such a threat but this threat is all he has to offer up. Usually I say I was going to do that for you anyway and I hope that you don’t hold back your love for what I do and don’t do! I won’t hold back my love for you if you do or don’t do.

Sometimes my middle children roll their eyes as I praise something they are singing, their voices, how they know all the words, their memorizing…. I make sure they know I appreciate that I am different from them and I can never memorize all those words the right way they do. That’s why when I sing the songs the words are always all wrong. I am different from them, Others are different from them, and that’s good too!

Batch your praises for when they can build the most confidences!

Friday, April 23, 2010

on achievement

On Achievement

What decisions are you making on how important your Childs achievement is?
What are you saying and what are you doing to send this message. Are all your
Actions and words in line with each other.

I sign up my 10 year old for baseball, it’s the first time he has ever played for a baseball team, all five of his siblings go out for the first game to watch him play, and he bats 3 runs in and plays right field. He had a great day! So I hire a baseball coach to help him learn how to field, he can’t learn from mommy and I know just the right guy! Here I am trying to send the message that you need to spend some time learning how to play the game before you decide if you like it or not and I am going to support your efforts like I have supported your older brothers who also worked with this coach. Does he want to, NO! Why, because its gonna be hard work. Since it was completely quiet for 7 innings in right field and standing around out in the grassy outfield where no child could hit the ball past the inn field was cause enuogh to learn another position.
He worked with the coach and asked when he can work with him again!

This Saturday is was raining when we woke and having no car in the city; meant riding our bikes in the rain to Randall’s Island for the game and it was a grim way to start Saturday morning, so we missed the game.

What message am I sending when we missed the game? Certainly not one showing our obligation to the team….but I have to say honestly I felt the game would have been cancelled anyway (and I left my son with that feeling too) in order not to send this message intentionally!

My seventh grader is thinking about what High School he might be applying to next year. I make sure to let him know that the next school year will be completely encompassed by this process and that we should enjoy the hard work you are doing in the seventh grade. Lets stay in the seventh grade NOW to make sure that what everything you have to put on your applications you will be proud of.

Furthermore here our K-8 school has posted the emissions of all the existing eight grade students ….and I advise my son to scan over the list of schools the graduating class is attending…..and make sure he knows his family would be happy with any of those schools he chooses himself. There is no pressure for any achievements here! Actually I tell him about a performing arts public school which you have to test with an audition of sorts to get in. I tell him it’s so outside the box from who he is yet would be so good for him to stretch towards. Sending the message he can be who he wants to be and I will love him for it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Coping Strategies


How do you help your children deal with coping strategies? What is coping strategies? I say it’s when
Your child is feeling frustration, something is not being heard the way they want it to be heard or it is being heard the way he is saying it and it is not being received the way he wants it to be received.
"MOM, my brother hit me! " Sometimes I think the kids expect me to JUMP IN THE AIR as if I were prepared to fight a dragon and go out on the attack. The attack of the brother who hit him of course. First I say I am sorry you got hit and ask if my child is hurt! This usually throws them off, they need for me to take action , but i also am caring for them and intimately that is what they want from me.

Then I ask why you think your brother hit you so I can know how I am going to punish him and make sure the punishment fits the crime.

“I think he hit me because I pushed him away when he was trying to watch me play a game on my computer.”

I have another son who walks away every time there is adversity. He walks away, and I don’t follow him. (I used to but all we did was enter into a battle of silence and a battle of why are you walking away conversation). He walks away, copes within himself with the problem and returns back to normal spirits. I always try to comment that I know he walked away and I am happy he was able to return. I am happy he is learning internally how to cope with situations by walking away from them. (At this point). I later
Bring up the situations as if even though he walked away from the dealing with them that we can have a chance now to make sure things are settled and not busting inside.

I have another son who acts out in other ways as his way of coping with something that happened. When I see him act out for attention I immediately go to: What happened that is making you speak so loud?” Why are you teasing your younger sister so harshly, did someone tease you today? Do you want to talk about it?” Coping with something that is going on within you is better than creating a bad feeling amongst your brothers and sister as that is what you are doing now!”

Identification of Coping Skills needs to be pointed out for children to acquire them!

What are you doing today to help your children cope with tough situations?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

on efficiency

On efficiency

Raising Children in one thing! Being efficient and raising a family, caring for a house!
To me efficiency means doing the most amount of things with the least amount of money so that I am able to do more things !

I can hire someone to come to my house and fix my dryer. They will charge me about $250.00 or I can take a screwdryer and open a panel that will lead me to see that the large grey hose is blowing into the room, the room is sweaty ! I tape the grey ‘duct with duct tape’ reattach the hose to the obvious place it fell from and Tada! I don’t tell anyone I did this, I did it…because I DO IT and so can you.

Its really unbelievable the amout of things you can just DO!

I was on spring break, I went into a Target and there was a table of $1.00 red and blue shirts. My mind was swimming with all the ideas for all the ways I can use these shirts. My four year old has a sports team in the park every week, I can hand them out to every child, they could emblazon them with their names feel like a team when playing their sports. I have a picnic coming up, maybe the younger volunteers can write our school name of them and all wear them identifying them as helpers. I have a birthday party coming up. I can set up a decorate a shirt table,with bags and that can be their goodie bag gift !

Part of being efficient, is thinking about not just what you can do, or what you can save, but how you can give. That makes it must a bit more fun !

The other day I had $200.00 in my pocket and a list of various cleaning supplies and laundry supplies that needed to be replenished! I couldn’t even purchase them……with the $200.00 I had. I gave the
Money to someone who comes to my house to clean who lives near the 99 cents store. At this store all the cleaning supplies are 99 cents. The silver polishes, the countertop sprays. The Green Windex cleaner all the scrubs, all the shouts, the downies, the swifter refills. She took a taxi straight to my house with the packages, we all helped unload ! …. With the change I was so happy to help her get a new pair of sneakers and buy FLOWERS for my house.
Flowers….which I purchase at the local deli’s for a $10.00 bunch of flowers and I add another $10.00
Of greens which are purchased as $2.00 a bunch of greens times 5 green arrangements! They make a grand centerpiece when added to the $10.00 bunch of assorted cut flowers!

There are endless ways to be efficient, to spend money wisely, no matter how much you have !

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On organizing Medical Records

On Organizing Children’s Medical Records

Most people don’t think to start organizing an area of their family life because they haven’t already taken any preparatory steps. It’s amazing that once you start something how wonderfully it begins to fall in to place. For most of the portion of their lives , our children will have to organize: their backpacks, homework, folders, binders, books, rooms, drawers, clothes, and so the list continues. Now, how can they learn unless they see us organize aspects of our own lives?

Show your kids your new “Child Medical Record Book.” This starts with a simple, large loose-leaf binder for each of the children with their name on the front. I then fill each binder with sheet protectors and put them away on the shelf. Upi can go into your baby books if you have them and make copies of stuff, you can Photostat their birth certificates to start with !

If you take one of your children to the dentist to have a cavity filled, it is usual to be presented with both a receipt and form showing a picture of the child’s mouth, highlighting the tooth that had the filling. If you make a copy of this form (you may need the original for insurance purposes), and slip it into the relevant child’s binder, you now have a record of which teeth in your child’s mouth have fillings, which have been pulled, which are impacted, and so on. This binder will eventually become a complete collection of your child’s medical records.The camp forms that the doctor has to complete at this time of year make a perfect first entry!

If you don’t have any camp forms, - just begin with a School Admission/Admittance Medical Records Form. Enjoy your organizing and feel great about doing something good !

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Car Trips

On Car Trips

It is absolutely amazing raising six children in New York City and still having the chance to travel around America. Who knew we were in for the longest family trip of our lives when we signed up to try dog sledding during spring break? A 12-passenger car picked us up at 1:30pm. Now, a 12-passenger car is the size that I would normally use for just my family. But we picked up three more families (for a total of 15 people) for a 30-minute ride to the dogsledding run in the White River National Park.

It was a beautiful, snowy day and we were all excited to enjoy the day’s adventure. Alas, disaster struck: an accident on the one-lane road through the canyon and over the mountain had blocked off the easiest point of access to the run. The half-hour trip became a four-hour trip, with nine other people in the car, stuffed in together in their snowsuits and boots, like puffy sardines. The car was crawling along at one mile-an-hour, so I offered my kids the chance to get out of the car and run along beside us, to give them a bit of freedom and fresh air. The kids, moving faster than the cars on the road, and they enjoyed the offered for the time out of the car in the snow.

The trip could have turned into a disaster, but my kids were fantastic. They played with the other children, and when they weren’t beating the traffic in a running race they stayed in their seats, behaving themselves for hours on end. They were the most well behaved children, and I was so proud of them. It’s amazing to see all the values and life lessons you try to instill in your children finally manifesting themselves in their actions and behavior in these sorts of stressful, tedious situations. When it came to game day, my kids stepped up the plate. And they all hit home runs!

Still, perhaps it was also the fortuitous mix of people in the car that made them so able to handle the situation? I wonder, would it have been the same if it were just the kids and me in the car? Whatever the case, be positive! The time does come when your hard work pays off…

We didn’t have the bus drop us back home, but at the first hotel stop, where I treated my kids to a delicious dinner. Trust me, after that day they deserved to feel special !

Sunday, April 18, 2010

on Dinner

Dinner Time

What do they want to eat? It’s important to have the dinnertime routine all set out. We have the beautiful dinner table all set, we have games at the ready, the candles lit, and music playing. We also have a chart of what needs to be done at the table. And, most importantly, we are all sitting there together! Now it’s all about the food!

My children are used to a set menu (a home-cooked one, of course), which is usually breaded meat or fish, pan-seared and then put in the oven to bake after being lightly browned. At my house, we bake the meat for about 20 minutes at 400°F, and we cook enough to provide one full portion each for the four older kids and one more cut in to cubes for the younger two. For our fish dinners we use either salmon or breaded cod, or alternatively any white fish, and for the younger kids we introduce healthy minced fish sticks. A great choice for the younger ones!

When we serve rice, the choices are seemingly endless - from Rice-A-Roni to brown rice, Uncle Ben’s white to Mexican rice, or a mixture of two or more varieties. Sometimes, couscous makes a delicious and welcome alternative. Choices of pasta are equally multitudinous, which varieties of colors and shapes, as well as decisions about what sauce to serve and whether to use butter or oil in the cooking process. I’m a very lucky mom when it comes to the vegetable department – my kids love them all! Corn and broccoli are particularly popular choices in my home, as well as asparagus, string beans and snow peas. Cold veggies are also on the table every night, including carrots and celery. Just as important are carbohydrates, to help give those kids all that energy! Every night the table’s centerpiece is a basket of fresh bread rolls or croissants.

The children have other voiced their opinions that they think they need a change in the menu, that they are being served the same meal time and time again and they want something new and different. Ask (politely) and you shall receive! We went around the neighborhood and picked up about 20 menus in order to find some new ideas and diversify the variety of meals we serve in our home. I also am lucky enough to have some great friends who were happy to share some of their delicious yet easy-to-make culinary secrets, all of which I am very eager to try out. Unfortunately, so far, the kids have been less than welcoming to the new menu items that have been added to the routine of late.

Today’s foray into new cuisine took on a Spanish flavor, and consisted of pork ribs, dough balls filled with meat and potatoes, and pork rinds. Things were already a bit shaking at the dinner table, however it was my earnest introduction of blood sausage that saw me booed out of the room. The night before was an exploration of Greek cuisine with a do-it-yourself twist, with a make-your-own gyro station set up, complete with sliced lamb, salad, yogurt, sauce, and feta, as well as a side of potatoes and broccoli. Unfortunately like its Spanish counterpart, this meal plan was met with a resounding “boo!” by the kids. The day before this was of Indian fare: sliced chicken soaked in delicious broth with choices of dipping sauces from orange to tandoori to sour cream, covering as many bases as possible. I handed out marshmallow skewers for the dipping process. Once again, a ho-hum response was all I got. The night before this was American night, and I cooked a favorite chicken, rack of ribs and mashed potatoes, pita breads, and corn on the cob. Yet, even this homegrown hero of a meal failed to impress the discriminating palettes of my apparently soon-to-be-food-critic lot of children.

So, the question remains: why did all these diverse menus fail to tickle my children’s fancies? After all, the children asked for variety and that’s exactly what was offered.

Monday, I will try something new! I have met a fabulous girl who is studying culinary arts, comes from a large family and is excited to try out her meals on us. I have managed to calculate the amount of money I spend on a take in delivery vs someone to help me sort out the same fare and grocery bill. And at the same time I am helping someone who happens to live 5 blocks from my house and can use the extra money after work! Where did I find her? Craigs List!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

on Dogs

I used to have a Cavalier, I bought him for my third son when my Daughter was born! We knew
Cavaliers had shorter life spans due to their sensitive hearts, but we didnt know that the stairs in my house would cause a hyneria and be would not be able to have the operation due to his heart. So we gave him to the wonderful man that owns the framing store we use on Third Avenue.

We have always had Rufus, a muensterlander, a black and white bird and squirrel hunting dog.
The story is hyterical how when my husband brough home Rufus we also had a white canary. I dont think my husband liked the white canary too much....Hence the Bird Hunting dog !


Rufus, My Dog
Running as fast as a speeding car
Jumping fences high as a wall
Eyes as big and round as binoculars
Sniffing like a shark that smells blood
I love him!

Friday, April 16, 2010

On the Phanton Tuiton


It’s almost noon and I have been lucky enough to speak with about 7 wonderful Women this morning, three of whom spent most of their time sharing with me about “THE PHANTOM TUITION” for children. The “EXTRA” expense in order to educate your child in New York City.

Scenario Number one: A seventh grader, who doesn’t have the best handwriting. He is being tutored for $180.00 an hour by an approved private school therapist so that when he takes the ICCEES test next year for high school placement his handwriting will be up to par with the other kids they are testing

Scenario Number two: A Kindergarten student who has to cancel their after school sports so that they can begin gross motor skills therapy for $240.00 an hour in a studio where they throw a ball to them while on a swing, or play gross motor skills game with a specialist who can work on this issue.

Scenario Number Three: A nursery schooler has to be tested for multiple hours this week to make sure they still can receive their services for their son or else it would cost them $800.00 a week for therapies for them to get ready for Kindergarten.

Raising Six Children in New York City I have had my share of tutors, speech, and handwriting, gross and fine motor skills specialists. Some of them are amazing and it is important for a school/family partnership to support the schools efforts at home. This I understand.

My advice is that today in this market, the same tutors who are assistant teachers at the finest schools, or who are interviewing for these jobs are available to help your kids at a fraction of the hourly rates that most of us CAN NOT AFFORD ANYWAY!
Place an ad on crags list:
(Sample ad for scenario number one :)
*My thirteen year old son would like to work with a college graduate who is seeking employment in the education field in order to prepare for High School placement. Bonus: if you have any experience in handwriting. $25.00 per hour 4 days a week during homework time in our house!

Good Luck and use ALL your resources! Remember when you get 100 responses to your ad that you are only looking for one qualified person….stop looking when you find them!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

on Boating

It was 1995 and I was on a date (with the man I married), walking down the west side of New York City, grabbing a burger at the 79th Street Boat Basin. He told me the very romantic stories of when he lived in London and sailed the 'Isles of White' and all his sailing adventures.

As these stories were swimming in my head I fantasized about having a small boat in New York City. How nice it would be to meet after work and sail around Manhattan together, in the sunset…..
We put out names on the WAITLIST at the Department of Parks Basin. We were told it would be many years before the list cleared. These spots are quite precious because they are so few.
Since that date, we were engaged, married and six children later…I still always checked the waitlist before I changed my calendar every year.

We would travel and rent small boats often when we were away and I decided that it would be a good idea to sign up for the US BOATING SQUADRON OPERATORS CAPTAIN LICENSE which was a coarse offered at the local public school two nights a week for six weeks. Not only did I learn safety but also navigation.

When I was pregnant with my fifth child in July of 2003 I purchased a 10 year old, twenty one foot Donzi and rebuilt it every weekend that summer with Sunbrella fabric and a staple gun!
Thanks to the local Marina Strongs, the engine worked just fine! After that summer I donated the boat to the South Hampton College Marine Biology Research Department where it is still used today !

In March of 2006 we got a call that a slip came available and within 48 hours I managed to get a small used boat into that slip!


Today the boat is back in the water for the season!

Strange, we dont have a Car in New York City but we have a boat. Easy trips across the river to whole foods,or Liberty Island to Gas her up, visit the science center or a circle around the island after school with our friends....dinner at city island, visits to The Long Island Sound or CT shoreline, up the Hudson......

What did you always want to do? Nows the time to do it !

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Special Time

Special Time Days.....soon school will be out and will I have organized a Special Time Day with all my children ? These days are hard to plan, but coverage needs to be planned if I am to spend a saturday, a day, alone with one !

MAKE THE PLAN TODAY, to spend a special time day with your child.

and what is it we do?

My special time day with my 10 year old son went something like this:

*We hoped on the bike and went to my favorite cappucino place....Sat outside and
I drank and asked a lot of questions. I found out that my son had his YU GI OH cards
in his pocket. His intention was to teach me how to play....

*A bike ride to the boat house, and two croissants, two seats on the outside metal tables and YU GI OH we played. I was not so good with my atttacks and it seems my son always had another blue eyes white dragon coming from his deck.....

after I lost

*We rented a boat on the boat house and my 10 years old my son completely rowed me to where the turtles hid and back.
Now we captured a moment he will always remember
we would have never planned it so well
the day he rowed mom by himself around the lake

*It started to drizzle so we rode out of the park and passed a fancy chocolate store. Yes I will buy you a piece, of chocolate, your favorite, before lunch !

*Then home, and he wanted to watch the dvd of Glee episodes because tonight is the airing of the second season.....Well I can get caught of too so I can share this with them ! So Glee it was!

*Lunch in the kitchen and the offer for a board game.

and that was it. Special Time Day!

I took pictures :

-of our bikes infront of our house


-of my son rowing the boat

-of the turtles we found on the rocks

-of the blue bird perched on the tree

-of the mommy and daddy ducks we bumped into

-of the sign of the chocolateria

-and of us on the couch watching GLEE

I will download them to shutterfly today, make a 16 page SPECIAL TIME album using full page option and auto fill and wrap it up to give to him next week with a card that will say

"Thanks for sharing a day with me, your the best!"

Be a supermom today!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

on Bedtime

The hardest part of putting children to bed is in the age groups of the children you have.
The closer the age groups the harder it is because their bed times are so close together that before the younger ones are asleep (sometimes) the older ones wake them up when they go to sleep and so on!

The 4 and 6 year old go in their beds at 7:30pm. We try to make sure by this time we are
all bathed, brushed teeth, drinks upstairs, clothes laid out for the next day and night lights on for book time. Library books are on the sides of the bed and we begin to read and calm down.

By 8:00pm they are settled quietly and have 30 minutes before the 8 and 10 year old are
to head into the bedroom next door. The 8 year old is to be in bed at 8:30 reading for 30 minutes and the 10 year old, who reads endlessly, at all times, must just be in bed at 9:00pm.

At 9:00pm I am in the room with them tucking them in, saying good night, asking about their plans for the next day;

At 9:30am the 12 and thirteen year old......stroll into the room and if they scent the 8 and 10 year old are not asleep, well then its PARTY TIME!

Its really hard to not inwardly enjoy the four brothers playing chipmonks and seeing three in one bed with their heads peeking up to see if I see them from the 4th bed!

Its really hard to force sleep, when these are the times they will remember, these are the times that will bond them together as brothers.

Some times I kiss them all and leave the room...trailing are my words...there is school tommorow not to late! They always wake up fine !

Tonight the 8 year old gets pulled out of his bed, and bangs his head and
I am forced to punished all of them for thier poor decision of play!

Sometimes I just stand outside the room door, and though I am not listening to the words, I am not intriduing, I am just in the mist of their moments of joy !

I am so happy they I am able to have four boys room together and I hope to keep things
this way as long as I can !

It is sometimes hard, but it is worth it !

Sunday, April 11, 2010

on The First Child-One Child

On “One CHILD”

Should I say One child, or the First child? Aren’t they the same? It doesn’t matter how many children you have, you will always have a FIRST CHILD.

All it takes is a glace over to my bookshelf and I see the record book of the every hour feedings I gave my newborn, is it a wonder why he would projectile throw up like an alien across the width of my one bedroom apartment!

As I write these blogs today, I am the same person, I still chart and record everything, I have just done it so many times, in so many areas, that I am trying to share now with other s MORE choices of what to chart and record and create!

Things were always really hard with with my first child, cause they were all new. I hope to share the benefits of doing it SIX times here and help to remind readers that THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR LIFE !

Be a Supermom Today !

On Helping and Charity

On Parenting

I want my children to earn money by doing helpful handyman things around the house. Not only will they earn money but of course they will also feel capable. He wants to be a helping member taking care of his home!
Now once eight years old rolls around they are motivated to earn money when they want things! That’s ok! Only the younger children are still excited for how many gold stars they have on their charts! Gold stars are also a path to an ice cream cone from Mr. Softie on their school block!
But you have to be a SUPERMOM when your ten year old is getting frustrated with HOW DO I DO IT?
We have a bubblegum Machine in the Playroom. It takes quarters and the job is to empty out the quarters, count them and put them in a zip lock bag to take to the bank. We are going to get a bank check made out to a food pantry.
I give my son the bubble gum machine key!
Of course I want him to explore the options, he wants to be shown, Of course I want him to figure out how to turn the key, figure out how it might open, figure out ways he can unclog it the stuck piece of gum.
Realize to be a SUPERMOM that this child is reaching out to become independent and understands that earning for work is something he CAN DO. Once he learns how to unclog the bubble gum machine and feels the satisfaction that it is not SO hard. He will do it again! This is a job he can do. (As well as other jobs that look like it). He feels the connection to the world by being able to be part of giving.....he will walk the check into the food pantry!

And then he can do it on his own one day!
Be a SUPERMOM today!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Be a Supermom Today

Good Morning

Its Saturday ….Three children woke up in my bed about 7:00am and for some reason
They did not wake me up…..Maybe they tried, I don’t actually remember.
As I sit here at my computer, all dressed and showered with the sounds of all my children echoing throughout the house.

I want to just run down and start the day, but what if I see my daughter pouring endless amount of chocolate into her milk, or what if I see my thirteen year old still wearing his shirt from school yesterday… what kind of day will I start?

So before I jump in…….I set my mind , (or intention) on what kind of mom I want to be today, how I want to be with my children, so no matter what my responses are they don’t mold my day or change based upon my children’s circumstances or action of the moment.

I am going to smile, kiss everyone, and make my coffee! I will make a comment to one at a time, making sure I make eye contact.


Friday, April 9, 2010

How to SPEND TIME with your child:

On Parenting
Tips on a good way to Connect...

When I am with all my children in the same room, I have to distinguish whether I am
Amongst them or with them.

Am I in their conversation? Am I enjoying their activity? Am I just sitting in the same vicinity?
As them…..texting.

When five children get home from school at 4:00pm and go into bedtime routine at 8:00pm
How can I make the most impact, connect with them everyday?

Well Bedtime routine totally includes a soft gentle time with mommy and daddy so that’s covered.

The word ROUTINE is the trick, kids who smoothly sail through their evening routines will get better sleep……keep trying!

The answer is simple, SEPARATE OUT ONE OF YOUR CHILDREN and FOCUS YOUR ATTENTIONS on that one just for a time. When you are sitting in a room with your children, start a side conversation with one. Single them out. It’s such as easy way to be next to both your children, but actually creating a connection with one. Ask specific questions about whatever you are doing, watching. Just throw in a tidbit sharing something about what you might have been doing while they were in science class. They care (I hear them repeating all my stories to their siblings as treasures of information they were privy to )

Some of the best of time are when you are amongst ALL your children and you have made a connection with one of the children. I make sure to refer to that connection at breakfast so that the look that passes between us further cements this memory and bring up good feelings in my stomach....(usually dont even have to eat !)

This is one way I spend time with my children!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

On parenting-RACHEL RAY SHOW

What a great opportunity for a great lesson to teach in life


How Exciting to be back stage at the Rachel Ray Show. Practicing riding the bicycle
on stage cue to where Rachel Ray would be sitting. How wonderful to have all my six year old daughters curls, curled up infront of a hugh mirror!

I was able to tell my daughter what an amazing job she was doing, how great it was she
was so capable of following instructions and how she would shine on the TV !

Today the filming did not take place ......because we had no control over the segment and
the time allowed for this filming. It will take place another day...and thats just OK too.

I happily thanked everyone on their kindness and showed my daughter that the benefits
of this special day included that when we come back things will be so familiar and there wont be any butterflied in the belly at all !

I am so happy my daughter was able to roll forward and smile and ask

"MOM, where are we going for special time lunch!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Riding Bikes to school is absolutely Amazing !!! We can not do it all year round because of the weather but now that it is Spring, it is just the best.

Lined up on the sidewalk infront of our house are 5 bikes and one double bike. I ride the
four year old.

We have ONE ROUTE that we take, every day. We do not alter from this route at all. I like this because the older children can ride a bit ahead, but we know where they are !

There is no fussing in the car, we are not starting the morning squeezed in together into a cab. I am not stuck looking for another cab to get home !

Check out Mommy Wommy and her six year old tommorow on the RACHEL RAY SHOW
in the morning on a segment on Bikes !

On Constipation

Who do all my friends want me to write on constipation? Is the word just so funny that
They want to say it often, does it make us so uncomfortable?
Children have constipation, is it constantly around raising six children at the same time.

LISTEN MOMS, it goes away as the children grow and their diets and needs are becoming more balanced. My thirteen Year old has Fruit Loops and Fiber Bran Cereal almost every night with a glass of milk.
Because I do too !

I strongly believe diets are copies and presented to our children, we can not complain about this.
I know it’s so easy to just order chicken nuggets and French fries when you are out, or make the favorites there will be NO COMPLAINTS about when you are in.

Fiber in the diet….and you in the diet teaching the children about how to take care of their bodies and help themselves go to the bathroom.

My four year old that still drinks endless bottles of milk, REGULAR MILK he said, not parmalat! (That’s because I can’t keep enough in the house ever!) Do you think he is not constipated?

On the counter in my kitchen, is the FIBER CHOICE chewable tablets that taste like sweat tarts and are sold are DUANE READE, safe for kids.

When they know they have control over their bodies, they will understand this decision and make good choices understanding the control over their bodies that they have!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Dreams are made of

Just the other day, when four of my children were on their computers for four hours straight and the two younger ones were glued to the TV.

What was I doing?
I was feeling frustrated.

"What should we be doing? "They Said !

I told them the stories of me and their father, when we were young,what we used to do. I explained to them that when they win a game, reach a certain level, its ok to stop. Its ok to
enjoy their victory and let there be room for another activity to ENTER.

When you roam around a room with endless activities to create you create them. But you
dont get the chance if you are infront of a screen ! You cant see !

I also explained that unless they can better manage their computer,screen, video game usage I will have to manage it for them with a sign in chart and sign out chart ! I further told them I really dont want to do this. I dont want to be in that position.

THE NEXT MORNING..... had to be what dreams are made of;

It was the most beautiful day, and as I rode my double bike, with the 4 year old and his helmut on the back peddling, my six year old on her shiny training wheels, and the four older boys

They recruited other kids from the park, and some friends showed up to meet up and we spend the day with ice-cream, making bird nests and playing football on a great field !

I made sure to NOT MENTION anything about the computers, but to tell them how wonderful they were for everything they were doing...

"I forgot how amazing you ride your bike"
"I trust you so much in the city the way you stop infront of the curb"
"You are going to be an amazing adult able to get people involved in what you are doing ."
"You always do much a great job getting drinks for everyone."

Be a supermom today!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Getting Back Home

Returning from a Vacation

Even though I know I have six children to get settled back into their routines, I do not
focus on this

This will happen.

I feel if I focus on what will happen, I spend the time focusing
on WHAT WILL EVENTUALLY HAPPEN and miss out on the time I could spend on making
OTHER things happen.

Other things that make me feel excited. Make me feel good, Make me feel whole, Make me feel organized enough so the simple" getting the kids back into their routines," the details ALL THAT just gel into place........and instead I have room to SEE my children, LOVE my children and BE with my children.

You just are NOT going to miss the first day back at school, you are not going to forget lunch or
their after school sport. it just is not going to happen. Will you forget non-uniform day, maybe
but thats you the opportunity to give that job to your child if they care enough.
Calender and all marked and maybe showing the First Day of Summer Rolling around.!

I spend a day at my desk, organizing the new Fall Schedule, but while I am at that same desk
at that same time I am emailing groups of friends of mine scheduling couples dinners, girl dinner parties (that start at 6pm and end at 9pm)

My husband asks if I am planning a spring party, a game night and I ponder how to include everyone who is reading my blog! Because my intention is to share happiness !

I spend a day making lists of air conditioner companies to change filters, a bathroom broken faucet to repair......but once these lists are done, they are done. Once they are down they will get done!

We will start riding bikes to school this week. How wonderful to see all six children together
training wheels, bike seats, baskets....all riding in the rise of the daylight to their schools, I am beside them!

So while I am organizing, I am happy. Seeing the faces all my friends who play tennis who
are going to start to play tennis with me outside on top of a hospital in Harlem ! I see myself riding my bike to this Tennis center, through the second avenue subway construction, with my ipod on and headphones blarring......"Put your hands up, singin this song.....from my sons ipod
and there is nothing but joy !

Think about the way you are returning from vacation ......and enjoy these thoughts !

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Raising Six Children in New York City I take advantage of
the opportunities I have to show my children the summer
outside the City, but in AMERICA.
On a family vacation in Georgia, USA our oldest son was
headed to a sleep away camp for the first time in Arkansas.
We just completed all the paperwork for him to return for the third year
to the same camp for another two week session in the Arkansas Mountains.

My twelve year old goes to camp for two weeks in North Carolina.

My ten year old and eight year old attend camp in Georgia while we stay on property with my six year old and four year old doing family camp activities together ! Tennis, Starter Golf, Swimming, Sailing, Cookie Cutter classes, Ediquette for kids, childrens dances, squash, horsebackriding, watermellon shooting, shelling, biking, and boogie boarding ! All very southern activities !

Many people ask me about camps and I recommend them to look outside the New York Areas for their children to experience something completely different! Also the camps outside New York State are half the price.

Its truly amazing and charming when my children come home singing the anthems from all the southern schools! They meet new friends and enjoy different rituals they might have never experienced. No one knows them and as they are developing their new personalities its great to let them try out these personalities in a safe CAMP space.....

(set to THE PRINCE OF BEL -AIR" theme song:)

I was
up in
Just Hanging
when my mom
told me bout
this camp
that she found
Then I checked it out
it wasnt so lame
so I packed up my stuff
and got on a plane
When I started to feel
some minor back pain
I turned around
with a bit of

and was told by a kid just
your alright
But when I got off the plane I was
pretty alright
I said I would hang here
I just
might !
-Written by my son

Saturday, April 3, 2010


We live in a world where our children are exposed to MARKETING of products, holidays, and the latest hotest item. At every checkout counter is something our children can reach and want.

Raising Six Children in New York City, the schools welcome divisity and therefore expose our children to all sorts of holidays that are being celebrated, parents are invited in their classrooms to share traditions. So when marketing of holidays reaches our kids, they already have been exposed to most of the meanings.

When we travel, its hard not to notice the latest holiday in the WALMARTS and Targets and all the SuperFood Stores we visit.

There are some holidays which children may not celebrate in a religious way, but the marketing and materials that are available make it a fun opportunity to take part in doing something fun.

When else can you buy hundred of plastic easter eggs that open and egg stuffers for under $20.00 ? In order to
create either an EASTER EGG HUNT OR A


We buy about 200 plastic colored eggs (about 33 per child ) and we put tickets inside the eggs. Some eggs have one ticket and some eggs have 5 tickets. We spread the eggs out in a designated area, Your apartment, the park in the woods, a snow trail everyone can ski along the side of. We were able to puchase 10 giant carrots (they were being sold as carrot baseball bats with green balls for a dollar each). We will use these carrots to designate the square area where the eggs will be hidden outside .

For another dollar each I purchased plastic baskets which the younger children are decorating while waiting for the hunt !

Its not how many eggs the children find to win the egg hunt, but the total number of tickets inside the eggs, Someone might find 10 eggs with 5 tickets in each, someone else might find 20 eggs with one ticket in each.

There is something wrapped, which is a small universal gift, food item,a chocolate egg.....we have a giant
bunny this year ! (actually every year )

Some of the plastic eggs have small packaged jelly beans, tootie rolls, and natural fruit snacks and no tickets !

FACT 90 Million Chocolate Eggs were sold last March

FACT Peeps have a shelf life of two (2) years

This game is PLAYFUL. It shows that I care to not just bring them, and drive them, but create something playful........something that, one day, they will create for their children! This is a family tradition for us. No matter where we are, this is what we do. The children know it, and it is part of who they are, where they a family who does EGG HUNTS !

Start your traditions today !

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The weather changes here as fast as my kids moods. You wonder how you can be a super great parent when the children you are parenting are growing and changing and testing and exploring their limits all day long.

Raising Successful childen does not happen by accident. Most parenting decisions are made on the spur of the moment and motivated by emotional extremes.Trial and Error Parenting.......CHAOS !!! Reading this blog, a good approach !

Establishing boundaries:

"A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone"....Billy Graham.

"Think about it Rules to children are like weights to a lifter or distance to a runner. They MUST BE HARD for the kids in order to have utility and build strength . Now that doesn't mean draconian as you have shown its simply that depending on the kids personality even the simplest rules like "brush your teeth" can face constant rebellion"... Family Friend Frank Marcado

"Model for your children how to take control of personal boundaries. "I am going to read a book for an hour, need anything before I start?" A good statement to model personal boundaries ! Teach them to model for themselves.

"I see your on your _______(electronic game,computer,gaming system)? What are you playing?( Show interest?) (When will you be off?) Show that there isnt endless hours that can do by. There is a start and a finish !

REMEMBER to ask your child how they did before that time period is up. Try to know the game they are playing.

Just like I give a 10 minute reminder when we are about to leave the house, I give a SAVE reminder when its the designated time they stated they would stop playing. I remind them STRONGLY.

I remind them by enpowering them that THEY stated they would be playing for an hour, the hour is almost over and we have been waiting to....... or if there is nothing waiting you can just say that you recognize how nicely they are managing their electronics time and as long as they continue to set their own successful boundaries, you certainly wont have to do it for them

Be a supermom and continue by adding you appreciate how this is going to be a trait that you see them being very successful as adults, managing their time.

In our house, there is an 8pm rule. no electronics before 8am or after 8pm. This rule is fought nightly:

"We are on vacation"
"I have been out all day and havent played at all"
"Let me show you something....I want to share with you somethin funny on utube!"

We are wooed every which way to alter this rule, but we DO NOT ! I have even chosen to be off the computer after 8pm (until they are alseep) in order to model.

I find that as the children get older and want to be viewed as THEIR OWN individuals we break down the relationship by announcing IM THE PARENT. Thats why I can be on the computer after 8pm. Doesnt work !

Trust me, this approach may work with your 4 and 5 and 8 year old, but it does not build relationships that you want to move forward in with your older children !

So whether your kids have their own computers, gameboys, playstations, or you are getting ready to enter that arena, Setting Boundaries, Having respect for them, and allowing them to manage their time are all important lessons that can be learned here !

on Choices

"We are both burdened and blessed by
the great responsibility of free will--
the power of choice.
Our future is determined, in large part,
by the choices we make now.
We cannot always control our circumstances,
but we can and do choose
our response to whatever arises.
Reclaiming the power of choice,
we find the courage
to live fully in the world" Dan Millman

It is important to make choices on parenting based upon our childs individual needs.
One of the reason I read so many parenting books is because I have so many children. There is not one right way, though as you read so many books you notice there are a few very important ingredients that lead to successful children.

*A healthy Home, a haven with rules and conscequences
that are clear and understood

*Unconditional Love....."No matter what you do, I will love you"

*Special Time....I will spend time with you, alone, and I will listen
to what you say. I will ask questions and bring your responses up
at a later time to let you know I have heard you, I care about who you
are and what you are saying !

Make good chocies today !!!