Life Lessons for Mommy: #145:

Playroom for kids with Teepee and garlands

Playtime Tents!

My daughters been making forts and making tents these days. I don’t know what it is with forts and kids, but we all made them and gosh darnit they were good old fun! It’s always with blankets and pillows and using furniture to hold it all up. And then her little brother comes and godzilla’s it breaking her little heart.

She still didn’t ask for a tent just help with building one and making sure her little brother didn’t come and bulldoze it. I would help her make it, and it barely fit both of us and any slight movement always forced it down. She was getting frustrated.  And I felt bad. Like iI posted earlier, I did a major overhaul of her toys and now she’s forced to create a more imaginative play time, so I felt like she needed something to pull her space together.

I got the idea finally that I should just buy her a tent! A little space of her own that can’t be bulldozed down by a curious little brother. A cute little spot in her room where she can serve tea to her dolly and teddy bear. Or read books, or draw! It really was the perfect idea! When I told her about it, she was ecstatic!

So I went on the hunt for a cute little tent! And found out pretty fast that tents for kids are pretty pricey! Really cute one like this are like crazy expensive and didn’t have as much space as the picture looks.

Cute but crazy Pricey!!!

And even though I said it was for her, she wanted something my son could play inside too (such a big heart!). So it had to be somewhat gender neutral and big enough for 2 toddlers but also compact enough to fit in a small space. Since they’re kids, they’re going to be rough with it so honestly I didn’t focus on quality too much, just something sturdy and would last a few years.

I also found really easy to follow DIY on making a teepee – this one is crazy easy! I might still do this for my son!

I spent time like a crazy budget momma on the hunt for the best price for the right tent. The options were:

1) This awesome tent, that could fit multiple kids, but not tall enough and lets face it this tent is more outdoors not really for a bedroom.
2) This was perfect in size and thought for sure this was the one- but my daughter pointed out it didn’t look like a tent.

Finally, I found the right one for my daughter! It looked like a little teepee tent. It was the perfect size for both kids, and tall enough too! And the price was just right. Because come on, it’s a tent, and as much as I want to give her the best of the best, I don’t want to drop her school tuition for the future for a tent today- am I right!? It’s more of a teepee then a tent but it still fit ‘fort like’ theme she wanted. And with tons of options for girls or boys or neutral colours like white.

I purchased it and like 3 days it was here! And it’s not that hard to set up!

We decided not to buy play balls for it, and decided to keep her space tidy and free of a lot of clutter- she has troubles with clutter. I think the tent makes a nice addition to her room. Only downside is that it’s not foldable or portable, but I know myself, I’m not going to be taking tents to many places so no big deal.

I honestly bought the cheapest and best tent I could find on amazon, but you can go through and find the one that’s right for you. Keep in mind though, kids can get rough and it might break so don’t break the bank just for a kids tent.

Oh here’s a link to the one I got, it’s right here– it’s really pretty!

Neutral and cute for any room!
Neutral and cute for any room!

My daughter still does make forts- because lets face it, forts are fun! But with this little tent, its a cozy little spot to make imaginative play even more creative and fun!

Good Luck!

Life Lesson for Mommy #45:


Sesame oil your nose!

It’s the prime of winter, and stuffy noses will happen. Sesame oil has a pungent toasty smell that just opens the nasal passage and gets that clogged nose unclogged. It lubricates the inside of your nose so it doesn’t dry and can even help prevent nose bleeds from happening because it keeps your nose hydrated.

Take a small q-tip, dip into some sesame oil and then gently rub into your nostrils or your little one’s nostril. Now don’t go jamming this q-tip into your nose or your child’s nose. It doesn’t have to go far in, just even slightly in the nostril is fine, the smell enough is great for getting that snot rolling out.

It will smell like a Chinese restaurant everywhere you go for a little while, but this will toast up your nose and voilà, no more stuffy nose!

It’s a great natural alternative to sprays or vaseline for the entire family.

Good Luck!

Life Lesson for Mommy #38:


It’s Easier the 2nd Time

Other mom’s always told me that things are easier with the second child. Makes sense. Because you already know everything from the first. What kinds of poops are normal, when to worry about a fever, what foods to start feeding, how to nurse etc  With my daughter, I reacted to everything. She cried for a second, I’d respond a second later. I read tons of baby books, went online to research like a maniac about all the things I could do to give my daughter the best possible start. Breast fed as long as I could, organic homemade food, no sweets, taught her sign language, Mozart playing all the time, piano lessons, vacuumed everyday, organic clothes- the list freaking goes on. I did a lot so she would benefit. Took care of her so precisely because that’s usually what first time parents do- do things so meticulously for your precious first baby.

After hearing these mothers who said it was easier with the second, I relaxed a bit, thinking that it wasn’t going to be as hard, or emotionally and physically draining as the first, because I already know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. It wasn’t going to be a whole new learning process.

LIES! All lies!
It doesn’t get easier with the second- actually it gets harder. Because now you have a newborn who needs constant attention (boob feeding, diapers, skin time, more diapers, more boob feedings) but you also have the toddler- who is also in need of constant attention (love me, pay attention to me, look at me, let me hold the baby, is this a power socket?…) hahaha?

Dear God, what the hell have I done. It’s like in these last 3 years since my daughter was born, my mind suddenly forgot the every hour breast feedings, the never ending epic diapers, the constant worry about if he’s breathing, if he’s okay when he’s gassy… NOW on top of that, picture a toddler bouncing around, trying to kiss the baby, hold him, anxious about getting the kind of attention she’s used to. To top it off, my anxiety of getting him circumcised, the lack of sleep, and of course that toddler bouncing around- ignoring what I ask her to do, testing the limits of discipline, pushing all the patient buttons I have. Argh, who are these people saying it’s easier the second time? What kind of children are these women popping out that they think this is easier the second time around? Because I’m not seeing it, it’s harder then when it was just my daughter. Dear God, so much harder. I feel like I’m stretched thin, so is my mind, body and nipples; all of it just wilting away wondering why is this not easier. Sometimes I find myself curled in the corner facing the wall saying to myself ‘they said it was easier, they said it was easier’….hahaha?

The truth is, it’s not easier when you have a second kid, it only gets harder, more complicated; and more stressful. I’m having to rely on my support system greatly. Things like home cook food for my daughter flew out the window because I’m so tired. Now if she skips dinner and wants a cupcake, after explaining to her why she needs to eat dinner; after she’s thrown a tantrum waking up her baby brother, I give her the damn cup cake. “Put away your toys” has become just please move the toys to a corner so I can walk. All the things I worked so hard to do with my first, literally went out the door. I imagine as my second child grows up, and he becomes a bit more independent it will get easier, but until they both get into school, this is going to be my life, a whole lot of crazy.

My vacuuming the floor every second day, turned into whenever possible. My home cooked meals became semi home cooked with things thrown into a pot and left to cook itself. My freshly folded laundry is now live out of the basket of clean clothes tossed in it. My me time has become play with my daughter while breast feeding my son time. I can’t tell you what’s happening to my mental well being because I haven’t had the time to think about if I’m mental or not. And this is only 22 days in since I gave birth….

So listen up second time preggo’s, it doesn’t get easier, it gets harder. REAL HARD. But somehow you will get through it, somehow you will keep your sanity. The moment your kids fall asleep, you will gaze upon them with loving eyes and realize that yes this is hard, real hard, super horribly hard, but wow; you made these wonderful little human beings. And they are a piece of you, the best piece of you.

So stay strong! And the next time you hear someone telling you it’s easier the second time around, shake that person and scream LIES!!!! But you’re ready for it. And one day, 3 or 4 years down the road, you will forget all the trouble of raising 2 kids, and stupidly think you want a 3rd or 4th….until that time, enjoy these moments now. As hard as it is, you’ll miss them when they grow up and no longer need your constant care.

And it’s not so bad, especially when my daughter cuddles me and tells me she loves mama; or when my son looks at me. I think to myself, nope, this isn’t too bad at all.
Good Luck!

Life Lesson For Mommey #35:

Parenting Techniques

There are several different types of parenting styles and techniques out there. And when I was searching for the type that would fit my daughter, I realized there are so many types, how do I know which one is right for me and my kid.

I like the “Western” style of parenting. Where the child is given loads of love, positive reinforcement and encouragement, no shaming, no hitting, no screaming. But is this really realistic. I mean especially during the time after my car accident, I was really struggling with pain and some emotional issues that I was having, it was a tough time dealing with myself. Add a angry toddler who was suddenly cut off from breastfeeding and no play time with me; it was even harder. It wasn’t her fault that she was misbehaving, and while my husband was great in dealing with both her and I, and a business; things just got out of hand many times.

I found myself, when she wasn’t listening, getting more and more frustrated. And eventually I would yell, or send her to a time out looking very angry myself. She could feel those feelings of mine, my anxiety, my anger towards her misbehaving and I felt horrible.

This isn’t the kind of parent I wanted to be. It only made me more mentally exhausted. I really had to learn some techniques to deal with my pain and my mental place. So the quest to find a parenting style that could work with our current situation began.

And I found it. Ethnic parenting. Combine with the ‘Western style” I found a good blend.

I needed her to understand where I was on certain things, and what I was willing to compromise on. I realized I was being too strict, but not setting a proper schedule for her also made her frustrated. Because our days were so different everyday with appointments and business, she didn’t have a ‘quiet time’ or a ‘reading time’. I even got her watching youtube programs and playing games on my phone- which I swore I would not do. And here I was doing it. It was out of circumstance and desperation, but learning different things from these 2 parenting styles I learned to create a balance that worked for me and her.

So for example, when she watched a program on my laptop, this was a good time for me to cuddle up to her, make funny voices talk along side the program engaging her without having to move around too much- which was perfect for my neck and hip! I was still spending time with her, not the ideal way, but at least still interacting and having fun. I would bring her stuffed animals to program time and ask questions as we watched. It actually ended up teaching her a lot about behaviors, the right things to do and the wrong things to do. It was actually very beneficial.

“Quiet Time” was what I gave her when she was just too out of hand from being tired but not wanting to sleep. She stopped taking naps basically after my car accident because we simply couldn’t invest the time to get her to take a nap. So another bad habit started from it. But I discovered quiet time.

It was great! Instead of giving her time out or threatening her with a time out, which just made her more angry and led to a stressful tantrum; which was hard on my neck, Quiet time was great. She would sit down with a few books, and we would cuddle together and read them. Like with the programs, I’d ask her about the pictures, to count the different things like flowers etc It calmed her down and made it a lot easier for me to sit with her on the couch then wrestle her on the floor taking her to time out.

You’re probably wondering where does the ethnic part come in? Well it comes in here. Being stern. I let Omera get away with a lot. In order for me to establish things like quiet time, and for her to understand there were certain things I would not compromise with; I had to get ethnic on her.

When I say put away all your toys, it has to mean put away all your toys. No compromise and no clapping and cheering her on for every little toy she put away. I thought I was being positive and encouraging her, what I was doing was creating a self entitled kid. That all she had to do was put in little effort in doing something  (what she was supposed to do anyway), and get praised for it.

So I had to stop. The ethnic way is clear, I tell her a couple of times, if she drags her feet or doesn’t do it, then I take her for a time out. Or I tell her that if I pick up her toys, I take them away. That usually did the job. She learned very quickly that I was serious and that I was not going to keep telling her over and over again, giving her multiple chances, and in the end accept her apology but no change would happen. I knew, that I had to take control of the parenting here. I’m not her friend, I’m her mother. And if I want to raise a decent person, then I really need to teach her that when I say something, she should listen.

Unlike the Western style, I didn’t feel bad about raising my voice a couple of notches. I felt more in control of the situation especially when she refused to take me seriously. I wasn’t yelling but I wasn’t using the ‘calm voice’. My voice is projected clear and assertive so Omera understood the difference in when a person is upset and when they are not. Some people might not agree with that, but it’s what worked for me, and it didn’t change her emotionally; she just learned to respect me a bit better and learned that I was in charge.

Ethnic part of this is being in charge and owning the situation and teaching her to own it as well. Not over glorifying every small thing she does, not making an issue out of every small achievement. I learned to give her positive reinforcement with just a simple, good job. Instead of changing my voice to something like a high pitched squeal, I just pet her head now and say good job.

The ethnic technique really helped when my husband took her to our place of prayer during friday prayers. In a mosque with so many other people worshiping she still would wonder around and try to climb my husband and made noise. It was disturbing other people. Despite what other people were saying, and that was to talk to her after the prayer was done, or to stop taking her; I implemented our ‘new blended’ technique. We would interrupt our prayer at the mosque or at home, and make her sit down quietly or follow our actions, or walk her to a time out without making a peep. The reason I didn’t talk to her, nor did my husband as we walked her to the time out or when we stopped to make her sit down; is because she already knew from the countless times we told her that she was wrong; but was pressing her luck. Kids do that, they like to test. And she was used to us just lecturing her, but this time we simply would take her hand, or gently make her sit down.

She actually responded to this really well. While others in the mosque would tell my husband to not interrupt his prayers to do this, I insisted he do it. And voila! In 1 week, from being consistent at home and at the mosque, she stop making noise, followed the prayer along well; and didn’t even try moving away from the prayer mat.

I applied this to eating out. But unlike the mosque where it’s supposed to be a quiet place so I stayed quiet even when teaching her, the restaurant is different. I could talk to her and tell her what was going to happen. If she sat down properly like a big girl, she could have her programs to watch, if she didn’t; then her father would take her back into the car and she can sit there until she is ready to come back in. And we can do that as many times as she needed. Eventually she realized this wasn’t fun, it’s more fun to sit and watch her program and eat her dinner. She picked this up fast.

There are other parts of this, but I think you get the hint.

Be calm, but be a parent, you’re there to teach her to be a good person; not just a good child. You’re there to hold her hand, but let her learn on her own. If you guide her every move, you’re actually hindering them. To raise a moral well behaved child, means being assertive when you need to, making the proper exceptions instead of being inflexible. Teaching her what good behavior could mean for her, not physical awards like I was handing out, but a hug, a kiss, praise that’s worthy of the effort she put in. Sometimes we over-glorify their achievements too much because of the “Western Technique”  creates a spoiled kid who thinks that they should get praise for every thing they do right. And that’s not what you want to create.

So mix up some different styles, and be balanced and consistent.

Good Luck

Life Lesson for Mommy #27:


Sunscreen your kids

Summer’s here!  It’s the only time of year that parents remember to put on Sun Screen. You should be using Sun Screen all year around because it’s not hot during the fall and winter months.
But alas, the sun’s still there, and it’s full on blasting that baby skin with UVA and UVB rays. The concentration might be a little less, but it’s still there.

So now that it’s summer, slather on baby or kids sunscreen (at least 45+ for lighter skins, and 60 for darker skin tons) on any exposed skin on your child during the day, on top of their baby lotion. Even if you wipe their face or they get wet, make sure to reapply.

And remember to put some on too (adult sunscreen of course).


PS: remember those hats!

Good Luck!