Tag Archive | kids

Singing Your Way Through Stress a New Parenting Tip

Puppet Show

Puppet Show

Today was the same as most days, I started off with lofty goals of no yelling, compliance with requests and at least one nap.  There were no total screaming moments on my part, but I couldn’t control what the kids did with their volume.  On a more worrying note my younger son, due to stress I believe, has begun to make sucking noises after he speaks.  The type of noise that comes from pressing the tip of the tongue to the soft palette and then sucking in breath, to punctuate his words.  Everyone in the family is growing weary of this action and its loud sound.  His other new tick is chewing on things; Legos, sheets, collar of his shirt – basically anything a five year old can stick in his mouth that may have germs on it.  These two habits join his already disturbing habit of rolling and chewing on his tongue which all add to my stress because they are signals of his stress. As my husband reminded me tonight on the phone, last time we made this awkward trip he started picking up odd idiosyncrasies, and they diminished once my husband was with us. My main concern is that with epilepsy these types of temporary self-stimulating stress relief techniques can become permanently wired pathways and truly long term habits.  This puts stress levels on high for me in a new way, a parent never wants to permanently mar their child in any way.

Our day proceeded on packed with driving and fun – and because this is a typed format I can’t tell if I mean that sarcastically. I know the first part of the day was not fun as I dealt with a teenager who is a really great guy who makes some poor choices at times.  For example, I asked him to accompany us down the elevator since I was pushing two strollers by myself and holding two cups of tea.  He instead went his own way then watched from inside the mall window as his sister spilled her tea on herself, I had to remove her from her stroller and make sure the other stroller wasn’t in the street – before getting in the elevator without us.  I thought of a way to handle this without much yelling and decided on a discussion of natural consequences that went down like so, “A natural consequence of not wanting to be a part of our family and help out means that you are on your own, so I guess you need to find a way to pay for your private lesson.” That didn’t go over well and  a more heated discussion of what had transpired ensued. The little ones and I went for a stroll before I watched his morning lesson. While I watched our skater the little ones watched Super Why next to me.  This is one of a few times when they really do share and act calm with each other, they take turns holding the phone, making sure the other one can see the screen and co-operatively determine which episode to watch – yes I know it is TV but a psychologist recently told me that the current TV viewing guidelines are unrealistic and must have been set by 60 year old psychologists who still believe in Freud and don’t have children (his words, seriously).  That being said, I do limit my children’s screen time as much as I can while preserving my sanity and I have found that less flashing shows (such as Super Why) don’t stimulate them in the same negative way as brightly, garish shows.  The best shows are realistic shows such as Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen.  The main concern with screen time of any type is my younger son.  He really loses all self-regulating capability when given screen time outside of these parameters. I digress, on to the rest of our day…

Shuttle Bus to the Museum Campus

Shuttle Bus to the Museum Campus

After the ice rink drop off the younger kids and I headed off to the Portland Children’s Museum again.  This time we split our time between the indoor grocery area and the outdoor adventure area.  My thesis paper for my

Outdoor Adventure

Outdoor Adventure

Montessori certification delved into the levels of parental engagement and developmental purposes of different play areas, including an observational study of play areas at the Children’s Museum – my findings were that realistic play areas create better engagement and have more developmental purpose / positive interaction outcomes so I always try to get them to at least one of these areas per visit.  Of course, I should temper that motivation with knowledge of whether or not we have extra clothing.  Suffice it to say, it was a soggy and oddly dressed ride back to the car on the shuttle with both of my kids wearing oversized, recently purchased museum t-shirts.  Getting them away from the Outdoor Adventure took a great deal of parenting wit to accomplish without screaming “Let’s go” so instead I relied on singing.  I sang a song about me leaving and sure enough they moved along – I was like the parenting piped piper.  I used it all the way to the shuttle to avoid having to carry anyone. To the tune of the “Ants Go Marching” I sang “my kids go marching” and they actually marched in line to the shuttle to the bemused smiles of other parents. Win for me!

Play it Forward Piano at the Entrance

Play it Forward Piano at the Entrance

We piled into our rental car super soggy and super sleepy -viola! one goal met, both children took a nap.  They were completely exhausted and we headed back to the rink to pick up our skater.  From the rink it was a short trip back to the hotel to jump in the pool; because sure enough those naps were short lived. I can still feel the effects of our pool visit – three kids hanging on me, jumping on me and requesting to be thrown into the air has taken its toll on my back and provided me with a really strenuous water resistance workout – I may never hit the fitness center here and I am okay with that.  Our pool jaunt reaffirmed my

Plumb Tuckered Out

Plumb Tuckered Out

belief that loud areas are not conducive to small children following instructions.  I think that the cacophony of the filters, the hot tub and the echo in the pool enclosure is way too over stimulating and of course this results in a failure to comply with requests which in turn escalates the requests in my world.  My younger son decided to throw a pool towel into the pool, the older one threw it back, this went on for five minutes during which time I used positive phrasing “pool towels are for drying ourselves, you may put the towel away” etc.  None of these worked, I yelled – and I kicked them out of the pool – again it started with a calm request “you may sit on a chair” and then after my requests went unanswered I yelled for them to get out of the pool. If you are keeping track I have a pitiful winning streak by this point in the day but ever a glutton for punishment (or feeling my own inadequacies as a parent) I proffered up a trip to Washington Square Mall to visit the puppies and the Lego store.  

The pet place, Hannah, always gives me a weird vibe having participated for many years in pet rescue and having worked as a vet tech.  They claim to be a pet society of some sort and set you up on a monthly payment plan, of more than $100,

Soft Play Area

Soft Play Area

for the lifetime of your pet which includes vet and food; however as our visits have been frequent, I get the distinct feeling it is nothing more than a dressed up pet shop and far less than a pet rescue.  They always have puppies and really hard sell – which is not what rescues normally do.  Not to mention today Michael F asked “are you looking to adopt a pet” while holding a tiny bundle my daughter wanted to pet – and before my no stopped resounding he had haughtily walked off to a corner of the “store” for no other reason than to make a point that pets were for petting by people who were interested in this scam. We left without a new pet, thankfully, because we are not ready for one which is sadly a thought I had for many of the people who were easily gaining quick access to “adoption”.

Angry,Contemplative? Who knows.

Angry,Contemplative? Who knows.

Never chagrined by others, my daughter gayly ran off to the soft play area for a bit. I didn’t fare much better at the next stop. The Lego store didn’t involve any yelling but it did involve a return before we left the store and a discussion with my older one who dropped a pouty face several times.  I’d like to say that I don’t understand him some days, but its more like every other hour I call into question my understanding of the world and human behavior, as well as facial cues. Being the parent of a teenager is pretty stressful at times which is why I am sure Montessori suggested Erdkinder and the idea that teens should live on the land away from family learning life skills.

Veggie Grill and Lego Building

Veggie Grill and Lego Building

The mall is just down the road from Veggie Grill, a place I know all of the kids will eat something and I can order off of their garlic-free menu with ease. Last time we were in I was sure to grab their app which allows you to snap photos of your receipt and earn points.  So far we received a free appetizer for signing up and have 300 points good for a soup or dessert – I’m accruing them for a free entree.  As usual the kids ate “wings” and mac n cheese.  I dined on the All Hail Kale, mashed cauli-potatoes and gave the new street corn a try – it was great.  Everyone finished their meals and we decided to walk over to New Seasons to pick up detergent for hotel laundry night. If you have every been to Meijer you know how easy it is to get sucked into general merchandise purchasing, or even little bits of things you don’t really want or need – well New Seasons takes this to a whole new level because everything looks adorable, handcrafted and high-end decorative.  That we have not left with tiny gurgling fish pitcher shot glasses on our last four trips is completely a feat of ultimate will power – everyone in our family wants one.  We walked back to the car singing once again a song about how everyone was walking – this is a favorite of my youngest, she adores any song about what she is doing. 

In retrospect my day was a huge win.  There were dozens, maybe hundreds of other interactions with my children when I was able to keep my cool during bouts of crying, screaming, stomping or all three.   



A Moving Hiatus for @FamilyCanBFit

We are in the process of moving our 3 kids 3200 miles from Naperville, IL (Chicagoland) to Portland, OR.  Thank goodness I am flying with the three kids instead of driving again. After our test drive out there for my older son to interview at ChildPeace Montessori I knew I had to work hard on my anxiety and panic attacks so I could fly.  I became very serious about my Svaroopa Yoga practice and took the Foundations training.  This made me a more peaceful parent, alleviated all my SI joint pain and as of right now put the cabash on the panic attacks.

This is just a note to let all of my readers, fans, friends, and past students know that we will be taking a small hiatus until we get situated in Portland. I will be posting photos on Instagram http://instagram.com/skyyogastudio , facebook http://www.facebook.com/skyyogastudio and pinterest http://pinterest.com/skyyogastudio/ . If you are interested in watching the 3200 mile trip unfold – my possible forthcoming insanity (I’ve never parented 3 alone) or some great photos from the road – be sure to keep in contact because the fun begins 9 am Wednesday July 3rd.

Thank you to everyone who contributed emotionally, financially and spiritually to my journey – without your support and kindness I would not be who I am and doing what I am today!

Make Dining Out Easier With Kids LiveWell

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Restaurant Association. I attended a live event and received a gift bag and promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.” www.momcentralconsulting.com

This past Monday marked a first for me.  For the first time in my blogging I went to an event as a blogger.  Sure, I get invited all the time to attend events; IMG_3134book signings, movie openers, fashion week in NYC, interviews with WWE stars but all were centered around my previous blog http://skyyogastudio.com.  Since I have shifted my focus from fitness studio owner to mom trying to attain a Masters degree in Montessori Education I have also shifted my blogging and so was born FamilyCanBFit. My family is very healthy, we rarely eat out these days (which is an achievement from our history of eating out at restaurants for dinners and 3 times a day on the weekends) and even when we do we do not patron the regular mainstream restaurants that most Americans clamor to.  We eat at small independent healthy geared joints, all have to be vegan or have vegan options on the menu.

Not being a naive mom I know this is not the case for everyone.  I also know that the average parent doesn’t have the decades of training and certifications in health, nutrition and exercise that I do – so eating out can really be a double minefield.  There is the stress of taking children out to eat (will they jump off the back of the booth) and the stress of finding a place they will enjoy eating. There is nothing I dislike more than wasting money on a child who refuses to eat a meal out so we have narrowed our restaurant choices and what our 3 kids are allowed to order (based on prior eating performances and I don’t use that word lightly, my kids provide dinner theatre when they don’t like a meal).

Spotlight stage left, enter Kids LiveWell!

Healthful kids’ meals are the No. 3 restaurant food trend in 2013 for both full-service and limited-service restaurants. Children’s nutrition and whole grain items for kids’ meals ranked in the top 10 of the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2013” chef survey for fullservice.

The first restaurants in the Kids LiveWell program offer a total of 342 healthful children’s menu items, including 390 servings of fruit and vegetables, 144 servings of lean protein, 70 servings of low-fat dairy and 48 servings of whole grain. To date, more than 120 restaurant brands representing nearly 40,000 locations nationwide participate in the program, and participants include independent operators and national chains from quick-service to casual and family dining concepts, and even a Children’s Museum and group of theme parks.

I’m not a fan of dairy, even before I was a vegan, and there is growing evidence in support of cutting this bovine beverage out of our primate diet:

Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health have labeled the milk recommendations a “step in the wrong direction.”  One the most prominent critics is Walter Willett, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and head of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. “One of the main arguments for USDA recommendations is that drinking milk or equivalent dairy products will reduce the risk of fractures. But in fact there’s very little evidence that milk consumption is associated with reduced fractures,” Willett tells WebMD.

There is also a hypothesized link between cow’s milk and type I Juvenille Diabetes. A study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, has shed light on a possible new mechanism behind this connection. This study highlights the problem associated with drinking the milk of another species. The protein composition within cow’s milk — particularly the beta-casein A1 molecule — is radically different than that found within human breast milk.

Why mention these facts? I believe it is each parent’s duty to raise their children to the best of their ability and to investigate what is healthiest.  While the KidsLiveWell App can make eating out healthier, and does force restaurants to take a look at what they are feeding our children, it doesn’t necessarily equate to the healthiest meal for your kids. Granted the program limits unhealthy fats and sugars but it doesn’t necessarily ban them.  High fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils never pass my kids lips for instance.  We also stay away from food dyes and any ingredient we can not pronounce, most of the restaurants we eat at serve organic produce as well.

Does that mean that a family like mine can not get use out of the Kids LiveWell App? We absolutely can. For starters Qdoba is a Kids LiveWell participant. I spoke with one of their people at the blogger event and was impressed to find that everything is made fresh in house. “Our beans come dried in a large sack, we don’t buy canned, we soak them in house.  Our pork is roasted in house, we don’t buy it from some guy down the road. This is one reason we have a lot of flavor. You can go on our website and see all of the ingredients.  I mean all of them, we don’t leave anything out, it’s all listed there.”IMG_3131

Qdoba is actually one restaurant chain that we have eaten at while traveling.  It is nice to know that a portion of their menu is vegan including their soup and made items are made with fresh ingredients. In the very short time I had to walk around the NRA floor I was able to spot a few signs for Kids LiveWell at other vendors’ booths.

So what makes it onto a Kids LiveWell menu? Items must meat these criteria:

Full Kids’ Meals (entrée, side option and beverage):

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤10% of calories from saturated fat
  • <0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups (see below)

Side Items:

  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤10% of calories from saturated fat
  • <0.5 grams artificial trans fat
  • ≤35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤250 mg of sodium
  • 100% fruit, vegetables or juice; and low fat (1%) and skim milks are permitted
  • 1 food group (see below)

Fruit, Vegetables, Whole Grains, Lean Protein and Low-Fat Dairy:
Full meals must include two sources, and a la carte sides must include one source of the following:
Fruit (includes 100% juice):
½ cup or more = 1 star
½ cup or more = 1 star
Whole Grains:
Contains whole grains = 1 star
Lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish, seafood, beef, pork, tofu, beans, eggs):
At least 2 ounces meat, 1 egg equivalent, 1 oz nuts/seeds/dry bean/peas = 1 star (lean as defined by FDA)
Lower-fat dairy (1% or skim milk and dairy): ½ cup or more = 1 star (while not considered low-fat, 2% milk is allowed if included in the meal and the meal still fits the full meal criteria)
                                     Deep fried items not permitted

Did this post whet your appetite for finding healthy kids meals? Well, here is where to find Kids LiveWell:

Fend Off the Summer Flu and alternaVites – CONTEST ENDED

imageNot familiar with the Summer flu or Summer colds? No-one wants to think about being sick when it is sunny out so we seldom hear about the Summer flu and colds that go around.  With all of the extra time in the sun and raised vitamin D production from sun exposure most of us do stay a bit healthier during the sun season. Ice cream cones, hot dogs and other fun sun foods don’t exactly provide the greatest vitamin content and when you add in Summer travel you may be forgetting about the folic acid or cut backing on the vitamin C.

Enter alternaVites, the on the go vitamin powder packet great for those who travel, who hate popping pills and everyone in between.

With the flu in high gear and colds spreading through offices and class rooms, many people are looking for natural ways to help boost their immunity.  alternaVites are vitamins that melt on your tongue – no water needed!  They are filled with the nutrients necessary to keep immune systems strong – Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and 23 essential vitamins in a flavored crystal powder. alternaVites provides all of the benefits of a multivitamin without the pill.

Travel friendly, they can be eaten on its own or sprinkled into yogurt, puddings or smoothies. Using a proprietary blend of ingredients, alternaVites are free of sugar, aspartame or high fructose syrup, artificial flavors and preservatives.  It has also been carefully formulated with ingredients that do not contain the major food allergens. For more information you can visit http://www.alternavites.com/

I received a few packets of the alternaVites Kids to review and instantly decided to share them with my pack of pint sized germ carriers. These kids are constantly putting everything in their mouths so I assumed that Raspberry Cotton Candy vitamins would be a sure thing. Not so. My older son who can swallow pills gave a little a try and spit it out sighting it was too bitter. My younger son who only takes his anti-epilepsy medication when hidden in a cookie wasn’t too fond of the taste, complained it was not in fact cotton candy, but did not actually feign illness.  I personally tried a little and was not a big fan.  I can’t take vitamins on an empty stomach or I become ill. I’m not a fan of the fake tastes used to cover the chalky bitterness of vitamins and that goes for any brand, any style.  I much prefer to swallow and not taste my vitamins.

Since we are vegans I did not try hiding this in yogurt but I bet it would work well or even better in a berry smoothie. I can definitely vouch for the value of a product such as this.  It is impossible to explain to a child why they have to take medicine, even more difficult to actually convince them to swallow a pill.  A convenient powder can make vitamins a lot easier.

You can purchase these directly from the manufacturer’s site in Strawberry Bubble Gum or Raspberry Cotton Candy for $15.95 for 30 packets.

alternaVites Kids® contains 17 essential vitamins and minerals specially formulated for children ages 4 and up.   Designed with both you and your children in mind, alternaVites Kids is remarkable not only for what it does contain, but also for what it doesn’t.

alternaVites Kids:

  • Melts in your mouth
  • Comes in 2 awesome flavors – strawberry bubblegum & raspberry cotton candy
  • One packet per day
  • Has 0 grams of sugar
  • Free of aspartame and high fructose corn syrup
  • Contains no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Has no animal products or by-products
  • Does not contain egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish or shellfish*
  • Certified kosher pareve

I was contacted to review this product, I received no compensation for this post or review and all opinions expressed are my own given freely.

You can win alternaVites and aternaVites Kids sample. It’s soooooo simple to win.

Do you love the Summer sun?? Leave a comment below with your favorite summer activity and I will pick on lucky winner at random from all comments on Friday April 12. Enter as many times as you like!

Thank You for all of your comments about great summer things to do from hanging in the hammock to getting around with the grandkids.  You can keep sharing your summer fun but our random contest winner was Jane!