Monday, July 30, 2012

The biting, not the fighting...

A few weeks ago, we blogged about sibling rivalry. Not to sound smug, but my kids do really get on well about 95% of the time. I do have a problem with my little one that I'm almost ashamed to admit, but the 5% that they do argue, I find he randomly resorts to biting. Fortunately, he has reserved this painful repsonse for his sister rather than other nursery children, but still, I find it frustrating and don't know how to deal with it. The other odd thing is he will go for weeks without biting and then have two days where I'll catch him a few times in his attempts to chomp! 

I've had a lot of advice (after the surprised and horrified looks), none of which seem to work. He can speak really well for his age of 2 years and 3 months so the whole "can't communicate his frustration" doesn't really fly any more either. I thought I could share some of the things that I have been told or read, and maybe some brave soul can admit they had a biter too and what worked for them!

1) Bite them back.  Popular amongst a previous generation and the French. Don't know if I could do it though...

2) Time out. Both for punishment and for a little cooling off period.

3) "Be very clear with her that biting is not acceptable because it causes pain. Calmly but firmly say, "Please don't bite. It hurts, and I don't want you to hurt anyone." Try not to overreact, though — it may actually encourage the behavior, since it gives your child the attention she craves." - from  I may have to try this as I probably do overeact a bit...

4) It's just a phase and they will outgrow it so don't stress too much!

So what about you? Do you have a biter? If so, we'd love to hear what has worked or what hasn't. Or just leave a quick comment to let us know that we're not alone. Or better yet, did you have a child that bit in the past and now you want to share your wisdom on how to eliminate this behavior? Do share! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

To find out or not to find out...?

I was around a lot of conversation over the weekend revolving around whether or not to find out the gender of your baby before he or she is born. 

There are all the reasons NOT to find out: 
• Ultrasounds are not always right.
• Brings out the fortune teller in everyone and is a fun game.
• Keeps your baby's wardrobe from being all blue or all pink.
• A great distraction/motivator during labor and delivery.
• Life's last real mystery - enjoy it for as long as you can!

And then, of course, there are all the reason TO find out: 
• Only need to choose one name.
• Nursery can be decorated for a specific gender.
• May make you feel more connected to your baby.
• Mental preparation for life with a little boy or girl. 
• Curiosity - you are just too curious and can't bear another 5 months of not knowing!

So what did you do or what do you plan to do when the time comes? We would love to hear your take on finding out the gender — did it help you bond sooner to your in-utero baby? Did you feel at all disappointed once you found out? Did you feel less or more excited about the birth after you found out? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sowing Seeds to TargetCancer

We want to let you know about this opportunity to support TargetCancer and enjoy a really fun time on the Vineyard. TargetCancer is an amazing organization making advances in research for rare and lesser known cancers. All money raised through this event and all TargetCancer donations goes directly to fund research. 

Join Target Cancer and friends at Beetlebung Farm on the island of Martha's Vineyard for an evening of food and music to support research into rare cancers.

Featuring music by The David Wax Museum, food from the farm by Chris Fischer, and desserts from Cakes By Liz.

Proceeds from this event
are directly applied to TargetCancer's rare cancer research initiatives. A contribution will also be made to the Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group. 

Tickets are available at

Parking will be available at several locations near Beetlebung Farm, but please consider carpooling or taking MV transit- buses will be leaving from the Chilmark Community Center after the event.

Don't forget to bring a blanket and/or chairs!

For more information about TargetCancer and how you can help please visit

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sibling rivalry

Over the past few months, as my younger daughter’s personality is emerging more and more, I have noticed the fighting between the two of them is escalating. They seem to fight over just about anything and everything these days. One wants to hold hands, the other doesn’t, one wants to play in the tunnel, the other seems to think that is the time it just has to be put away. And if one or the other even thinks about picking up a toy, the other one instantly wants it and wants it NOW!

What is the best way to handle all of the fighting? Do I step in? Do I ignore it and let them work it out on their own? They are 4 and 2 years old so sometimes I feel like I need to step in just to make sure everyone is safe. I know it’s normal for siblings to fight, but how much is too much and what can or should I do?

I found some great tips on how to get involved (when needed) without solving the problem for your kids:

·      Separate kids until they’re calm. Sometimes it’s best just to give them space for a little while and not immediately rehash the conflict.
·      Don’t put too much focus on figuring out which child is to blame. It takes two to fight. All involved in the conflict are responsible.
·      Try to set up a “win-win” situation so that each child gains something. When they both want the same toy, perhaps there is a game they could play together instead.

Remember, as kids cope with disputes, they also learn important skills that will serve them for life like how to value another person’s perspective, how to compromise, and how to control aggressive impulses.

I also found these proactive things you can do to help kids get along:
·       Set ground rules for acceptable behavior. Tell the kids that there's no swearing, no name-calling, no yelling, no door slamming. Solicit their input on the rules — as well as the consequences when they break them. This teaches kids that they're responsible for their own actions, regardless of the situation or how provoked they felt, and discourages any attempts to negotiate regarding who was "right" or "wrong."
·       Don't let kids make you think that everything always has to be "fair" and "equal" — sometimes one kid needs more than the other.
·       Be proactive in giving your kids one-on-one attention directed to their interests and needs. For example, if one likes to go outdoors, take a walk or go to the park. If another child likes to sit and read, make time for that too.
·       Make sure kids have their own space and time to do their own thing — to play with toys by themselves, to play with friends without a sibling tagging along, or to enjoy activities without having to share 50-50.
·       Have fun together as a family. Whether you're watching a movie, throwing a ball, or playing a board game, you're establishing a peaceful way for your kids to spend time together and relate to each other. This can help ease tensions between them and also keeps you involved. Since parental attention is something many kids fight over, fun family activities can help reduce conflict.
·       If your children frequently squabble over the same things (such as video games or the TV remote), post a schedule showing which child "owns" that item at what times during the week. (But if they keep fighting about it, take the "prize" away altogether.)
·       Recognize when kids just need time apart from each other and the family dynamics. Try arranging separate play dates or activities for each kid occasionally. And when one child is on a play date, you can spend one-on-one time with another.
·       Keep in mind that sometimes kids fight to get a parent's attention. In that case, consider taking a time-out of your own. When you leave, the incentive for fighting is gone. Also, when your own fuse is getting short, consider handing the reins over to the other parent, whose patience may be greater at that moment.

What about you? What do you do when your kids fight? Do you have a magic solution for those of us that are just trying to figure this sibling rivalry thing out? We would love to hear your advice!

Information above from the following sources: and

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just a spoonful of sugar

Chart from Tips & Pix

Along with my laziness this summer for meal planning and grocery shopping, I have kind of been slacking on the home cleaning and organizing front. It is just so difficult on hot days to feel motivated to clean the house. I'd rather be at the beach! But I do feel so much better about life in general when my house is not a disaster zone! 

A friend of mine posted this "Cleaning Schedule" on Pinterest the other day and I thought I'd give it a try. The basic idea is that you do just a few things every day. Simple things like make the bed, wipe down the bathroom sink, and unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher (I always procrastinate this one!). 

Then there is a "chore of the day" for things that need to be done on a weekly basis like scrubbing bathrooms and mopping floors (this second one might end up being bi-weekly for me). 

At the end of the day, you do just a few more daily things like load and run the dishwasher and quick sweep/wipe down the kitchen. 

I also love the pickup basket idea for de-cluttering. Simply place a basket in each area of the house. In the evening, throw everything that is out of place into the basket, then go around the house and put those things back where they belong. I found some great baskets with lids at Michaels so if I can't take the 10 minutes to put things back away one night, no problem. The house still looks somewhat presentable if an unexpected guest stops in! 

Week 1 and it is actually going pretty well. Hopefully I can keep it up at least thought the summer so I never get stuck cleaning all day!