I read this article today and thought it was really interesting. Courtney, Esther and I all had/have Bugaboos and I actually never thought about how much design, engineering and development goes into designing a push chair! So funny thinking that someone spent years coming up with a concept that I take for granted…
I also thought it was interesting that the Bugaboo was originally designed for men, which is such a clever approach to the buggy market. I will never forget buying our first buggy before Coco was born. We went to this baby section in a big department store in London. In all the sections the women were in charge: picking up breast pumps, outfits and furniture. All sections, apart from the buggy section. There, the dads suddenly came into their own and were testing wheels and suspensions and velocity of all of these buggies, as if they were cars. Hilarious!
Elizabeth from The Littlest blog (and our lovely LA-based contributor) has started up a wonderful new series on her blog called ‘As They Grow’ which features a different mother & baby duo to highlight the monthly stages of a baby’s development from birth up to 24 months. Each mother will describe how they engage with their baby – how they play with their baby, what songs they sing, what games they play, etc. She asked me to describe the third month in a baby’s development and Esther to describe the fourth month.
Take a peek at The Littlest blog to see our contributions and to see what other mums say about the different months. We’re excited to read about the coming months (months five, six, seven, eight, etc.) in anticipation of our own babies being at that stage. It’s always nice to hear ideas for how to engage and play with your baby at the different stages.
Right next to our front door there’s an ever present collection of sticks. Our 5-year-old son Pim is like a dog, seriously! Every time we go to the park, he will find a stick and insists on taking it home. Some of them are too big for him to carry alone, so he has to convince his big sister to help him.
Because I don’t allow them in our house, the sticks are displayed right next to the front door — which is the closest the sticks will get to his bed, because he would take them up there if he could, I am sure about it. My husband once threw away all the sticks, which was a mistake — Pim was inconsolable and I admit that even I was upset. Those sticks seriously meant so much to him!
Emilie sent me the link to this interesting article in the Guardian last week. Hannah Evans is a mother of three boys and her article did shed some light on my little boy and his stick obsession. I quote:
‘And thus, sticks. For I have learned that boys like, nay love, sticks. But a stick to a boy is far, far more than an inanimate object. A stick is a toy, a weapon, a friend and a foe. A stick is adventure, possibilities, destruction and danger. A stick is, in the right time and place – or even better, in the wrong – everything.’
‘”Stick significance” is part and parcel of being a boy. And so, “Will you put that bloomin’ stick down … it’s only a bit of wood!” is a bit like telling me that my coffee would taste just as good out of any old mug.’
And so they stay, the sticks, next to our front door. And the collection grows. Do you have a son (or daughter) who collects sticks too?
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Macarons — an exciting new innovation from Germany
• Custom dolls from Warm Sugar
A friend of mine recently referred to the way my 3-year-old daughter speaks as Creole. It a great way of describing it: she speaks an absolute mixture of French and English. Phrases like “Can you s’il te please tirer my culotte” (please pull up my undies) are very normal in our household and it is so cute I don’t want it to change! But it won’t last; she is quickly learning to differentiate her two languages.
In our household I try to only speak English at home and the children are exposed to French at school and with their friends. I myself grew up with a French mother, and an Irish father but spent my childhood in Germany, so I grew up speaking English, French and German. I actually now have a bit of an accent in every language I speak! As a child I really did not enjoy coming from a multi-lingual family as I felt I was different from my friends. My girls have the great advantage of going to an inner-city Paris school where a huge amount of the kids speak at least two languages, if not more.
So now that I am trying to bring up my kids bi-lingually myself, I have done a bit of research. I am not an expect in anyway, but here are some of the facts I thought were interesting:
- Being bi-lingual or tri-lingual has nothing to do with intelligence, people of different levels of intelligence are multi-lingual.
- Children start differentiating between languages around the ages of 2-3.
- Bi-lingual children do not usually learn to speak later because of learning different languages, as previously thought.
- One of the simplest approaches towards having bilingual children seems to be the one-parent/one-language approach. It is easier for a child to differentiate a language if one person speaks one language consistently to them.
Voila! I am really interested to hear if anyone else has tips and ideas on how to bring up kids with several languages!
A friend recently told me about this amazing feature of video blogs on Redbook called “The Truth About Trying“. I thought it was a fantastic way to personalize and put a face to the issues that many women silently face. Whether you have ten children, one child, or in the midst of trying for your first – the struggle to conceive is a difficult and emotionally taxing journey when it does not work out as planned. Thought I would pass along and give praise to Redbook for helping to bring light to an often closely guarded subject.
(Image from Redbook)
I just came across James Mollison’s photographic essay, Where Children Sleep, and I can’t stop staring at those touching photos. Mollison provides stories of diverse children around the world, told through portraits and pictures of their bedrooms. Some photos are simply heart wrenching, others totally fascinating. Isn’t it incredible how wide our world is and how differently people live? The book is written and presented for an audience of children 9-13 years old with the intention of showing kids the lives of other children around the world. Would you show your children? I will definitely show mine!
I must say, I am really liking that more and more information is starting to come to the forefront regarding the issues surrounding infertility. My mother pointed me towards this article entitled “My Fertility Crisis” which ran in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago and I thought it was a real eye-opener. All too often, when we DO actually hear about a woman’s struggle with conception, it is usually only discussed and disclosed only once “success” (aka a baby ) is achieved. Rarely do we hear about those who have been unsuccessful in the journey to motherhood and/or have been dealt multiple blows over the course of years and years. Infertility is still one of those closely guarded secrets that women keep to themselves, which is why I need to commend Holly Finn, the author of the article and of the new e-book “The Baby Chase” who bravely and honestly shares her experiences of IVF and the quest to have a child. While not the usual post you would find at a place like Babyccino Kids — I know that many of the moms out there can totally relate and I thought it was a good article to share.
If you aren’t already familiar with LMNOP Magazine (and their great website and blog!), then now is the perfect time to check it out. Their latest issue is devoted to the world of children’s books, a subject so many of us are passionate about. They’ve compiled a well-edited list of must-read books for children under five, as well as their top picks of new releases. I love their book-themed fashion section with children dressed as book characters! Find Iggy Peck (my son is going to flip when he sees that he can actually dress like Iggy!), Freckleface Strawberry, Eloise, and others… Also check out their ‘Paper Dahls’ section by artist, Jayme McGowan, with beautiful paper doll figures of some of Rhoald Dahl’s famous characters. So cool!
There’s a lot of noise around us. Messages are constantly delivered to us through never stopping newsfeeds, real time alerts and advertising on the thousands of LCD screens we surround ourselves with. It’s pretty busy out there!
It can be hard to find the signal in all the noise. We are turning more and more to people we trust, be it friends or relevant voices online, to help us filter the relevant from the irrelevant and shape our opinion.
SAY Media recognises this changing state in media, and put together a list of 100 ‘authentic, knowlegeable voices online that create engaging content, drive conversation and shape opinion’. The list is divided into 10 categories, each curated by an expert in that field — say Tina Roth Eisenberg (SwissMiss) for Design, Amanda Hesser for Food, Seth Godin for Business and former health & beauty director of Cookie magazine, Dana Wood (MomOver) for Parenting.
And why am I telling you all of this? Because we have been proudly chosen to be one of those voices! You can’t believe how flattered we are to find ourselves amongst some of our heroes like Heather Armstrong (Dooce), Gabrielle Blair (Design Mom), Irene Hoofs (Bloesem Living), Joy Deangdeelert Cho (Oh Joy!) and Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist). To see the whole list, look here, and this little video explains a little more about the SAY 100 list.
I love eating out and, of course, I love kids… but sometimes the two don’t mix. I do still get annoyed, even after having my own kids, when there are children in a restaurant creating havoc. For me, eating out is a moment to relax, talk and enjoy good food, and a screaming kid can completely spoil the mood. In France, most children are taught from the moment they are conceived to behave well in a restaurant. But even here, occasionally, you wonder why people don’t just pick up their child and take him outside until he calms down, to let the other guests have their meal in piece.
I just read a piece in the Guardian about an owner of a restaurant who has decreed that “Screaming children will not be tolerated”. I think that is the best restaurant rule I have ever heard of! I am obviously not talking about kid-friendly cafés which are basically interior playgrounds, but I do think that screaming kids in a grown-up cafe or restaurant should not have to be tolerated, whilst well behaved kids who are happily eating their food are a pleasure to see in any restaurant. What are your thoughts?
I just read this post on A Cup Of Jo and loved it — it’s a great, stylish and sensible list of must-have items for mothers with a newborn baby. I totally agree that easy, slip-on shoes and a wristwatch are essential. I also like the tip about the backpack — it has inspired me to get one, as I am sick of having a stiff back from carrying around a shoulder bag that weighs a ton. I love the retro feel of these backpacks, it reminds me of the backpack my dad had as a student in the ’60s.
I would add to this list a pashmina, as you can use it as a blanket, nursing cover and rain protection. I also am addicted to my baker boy cap as I have no free hand for an umbrella anymore. I wear it 24/7 in the cold and rainy climate I live in. What about you? Do you have any items you can recommend that make getting out and about with a newborn just a little bit easier?
I know I live in France but sometimes it is nice to have some bread other than a baguette. I found this recipe for Foccacia the other day and it is great. It is by one of my favourite cooks and food writers, Nigel Slater, who has written some fabulous recipes for the Guardian. It is super easy to make and completely delicious. I even got my children and some of their friends to get involved and they loved slapping and prodding a piece of dough… great way of getting some dough kneaded.
The great thing about Foccacia is that you can garnish it with whatever you have handy in your kitchen: cherry tomatoes cut in half, cheese, olives, any kind of herb or just plain salt and olive oil. I do love this kind of recipe — it’s super simple and whatever you do with it, it always turns out great.
I just read this post about how to make girant bubbles on Bambino Goodies and I am hooked. Imagine making huge bubbles out of hula hoops and bent, metal coat hangers? I seriously cannot imagine anything more fun. I personally recommend adding in a couple spoonfuls of sugar. Who knows why… but it makes the bubbles even stronger. I am now off to my local pharmacy to pick up a bottle of glycerine and some non-eco washing up liquid to produce the perfect bubble!
There is no denying that motherhood is as amazing and enjoyable as it is difficult, stressful and monotonous, and while I would not trade it for anything in the entire world I do appreciate some of the honesty of this recent feature that ran this week in New York Magazine titled “I Love My Children. I Hate My Life”. It seems to be the modern problem — and especially for those women who had children later in life after a long stretch on independence. I can only speak for myself here but all too often I find myself in a never ending inner dialogue of “am I getting this right?”, “am I a failure because I feel stressed out about meal planning” and “am I a bad mom for taking a break from time to time?” Not to mention feeling discombobulated in general about my role OUTSIDE of being a mother. (more…)
I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and am bringing my kids up in a cosmopolitan, cultural and mentally stimulating environment. But physically — not so much. In contrast to my daughters, I grew up in a small village, walked to school on my own from the age of six and our kitchen door was never locked. We happily let ourselves in and out and would go play in the fields and woods. My parents did not care as long as we were back for dinner at 6pm sharp.
I do worry that my children are not being given the freedom we had and are missing out on an incredibly important lesson in life, namely being able to be responsible and independent in a safe environment. There is even a term for this now “Nature Deficit Disorder”, coined by American author Richard Louv. I just read this article in the UK Guardian and thought you might be interested. I am now obsessed with turning my little town dwellers into outside adventurers…
The photo, by the way, is of my daughter and Courtney’s son playing together this weekend in London and roaming around trees and fields — they had the best time.
So I went to see “New Moon” this weekend. I have been looking forward to it for months! And yes, I was one of the older people in the theater. And yes, I think Robert Patterson is hotter than hell! But in the final analysis I did not think the movie was as good as “Twilight”, a movie which reminded me that 1) vampires are actually much cooler and better dressed then I expected and 2) I needed to plan more “date nights.”
I really don’t like the term “date night.” I feel like there is so much pressure — like we are supposed to easily switch off our day-to-day roles and somehow slip back to the carefree days of our old selves…. days, say, when my husband did not openly pick his nose in front of me…. days when I could drink a bottle of wine and not be completely incapacitated the next day.
People talk about it a lot here but rarely stick to it and I totally get it. It’s just so hard to feel romantic and energized when you have young kids pulling at you all day long and what’s worse, a dinner out at a restaurant really just does not cut it.
But it is so important to do! To feel connected to your significant other as well as reclaim the side of yourself that exists outside of your daily role. (more…)
I just read this article by the former political editor of the Observer Magazine, Gaby Hinsliff, who recently gave up her career to bring up her son. I have been obsessed ever since my first daughter came along about how to “have it all”, and to be honest, I am still looking for the perfect solution, like a lot of us I’m sure…
I think Gaby Hinsliff touches on a lot of interesting points, namely how the recession might actually be an opportunity for us to redefine how we work and what is important to us.
I personally have now decided to go down the freelance option so that I can continue working but can also take long breaks. I earn less than I used to, but have decided that less expensive holidays and clothes are easy to give up for a few years at least. I would love to hear how other woman are coping. Has anyone found the “ideal” solution?
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Pink Lining
As you probably know, Italians are experts at family dinners, especially the ’special occasion’ meals. We’ll usually have three (or more) generations sitting, eating and chatting their time away. I love them, but real life is different.
In our home it seems that even two generations is one too many as it’s nearly impossible to enjoy a meal with the children. They are fussy eaters, they need total dedication, encouragement and a lot of effort. The older one never finishes his (ant-size) portions of food, and the little one cannot sit still for longer than 10 minutes. Every other minute a spoon falls on the floor, or somebody’s beaker needs refilling. Not too mention the cutting and the chopping.
Call me a bad mother, but I simply cannot enjoy my food and the company in such situations. (more…)
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xoxo, The Babyccino girls