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Dr. Mom Mondays: When Playdates Go Bad

14 Mar

I have an exciting announcement!

Mondays at The Little Hen House are now “Dr. Mom Mondays.”

Some of you may have heard me mention that my mother is a psychotherapist. Well, I’ve convinced her to host a weekly series here on The Little Hen House, in which she answers all your tough parenting/relationship questions. She’s pretty awesome at her job and I seem to have turned out relatively healthy and normal, at least that’s what my therapist tells me. So umm… yeah.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, my mom is going to be here every Monday for “Dr. Mom Mondays.” Now, the only way this will work if is if you all participate in my brilliant plan. I encourage you to email me with any parenting or relationship questions you have. I’ll be picking one of your questions to feature every week with a link back to your blog, or I can keep your identity a secret if that works better for you. Everyone needs a little confidentiality from time to time too.

My mom will personally respond to the weekly question here on my blog and then we can all chime in on the comments below. The idea behind Dr. Mom Mondays is to create a community for all of us to share our experiences and support each other during our adventures in motherhood. We will have our own Dr. Mom as the licensed therapist/voice of reason and the rest of us to lend a girlfriend’s point of view.

Are you ready for the first installment of Dr. Mom Mondays? Me too! Today’s question comes from yours truly, as this is what sparked the whole “Dr. Mom Mondays” idea. It’s a real-life problem that I am struggling with, and I know that many other mothers have the same issue.

Please email your Dr. Mom Mondays question to morgan(at)thelittlehenhouse(dot)com. Thanks guys!

Question:

My 4-year-old daughter has a good friend who can be aggressive at times, hitting and pushing and slapping my child when they have conflicts during play dates.  How should I handle this with my child, the little friend, and the other mom?

Dr.Mom:

Let’s start with making the best assumption — that the “aggressive” child needs a better way to handle her frustrations. The next time the girls are together, start out the play date with a practice session BEFORE ANY PROBLEM HAS COME UP.  Stay cheerful and positive, like a good coach – make this a bit of fun!

Tell the girls that you are going to teach them something that many kids don’t know — what to do and say if they get frustrated with one another.   First, have them practice saying out loud, “I am frustrated!” while they sit down at the same time.  It is very important that they sit down as soon as they say the sentence “I am frustrated!”  Be sure you join along in the practicing, getting up in between and sitting down again with the sentence.

Then have them practice saying, “How can I help you?” When they can say both sentences clearly, set up a practice session with you having a toy that they want.  They will sit down and say, “I am frustrated!” and you will say, “How can I help you?”  When they say, “Give me the toy,” you can model some negotiating (“Let’s set a timer and when it dings, it is your turn” or “Let’s dance to music instead of playing with toys” or “Let’s each get a toy we both like and trade every 5 minutes” and so on).

The day of the playdate have them tell you every time they make this work, and reward them!  If this doesn’t help, let me know and we will take the solution a step further.

Mary Quinn is a Marriage, Child, and Family Therapist with a private practice in San Diego. She is also a wife of 31 years, a mother of three, a step-mother of two, a grandmother of seven, a passionate gardener, and a writer. She has a Ph.D., survived a childhood with five brothers, and always wears red toenail polish.


Thanks Dr. Mom! Readers: what do you do when a playdate goes bad?


So, You Think You Can Potty Dance?

8 Mar

There’s nothing like potty training to motivate you to totally geek out for your kid. Case in point- The Potty Dance. In my house, The Potty Dance goes like this: Pick any children’s song, change the words to pertain to anything potty, and dance around like you’ve had 15 cups of coffee and 4 Diet Cokes. Doesn’t my life sound glamorous?

Before I go any further, I have to be 100% honest here: Pull Ups contacted me and asked if I wanted to write about their Potty Dance Party. Wait! You guys should know by now that I’m naturally wary of PR related blogs and I wouldn’t write about something unless I totally thought it was worth your while, so bear with me here. Plus, there’s some free stuff in it for you guys. See? Sometimes reading my blog really does pay off!

Well, I checked out the Potty Dance Party info at The Pull Ups website and there was some really great info on there. There are tons of free resources to help parents get their kids interested in using the potty. There is a free dowloadable potty progress chart, an iGo Potty app, and you can even request a free Big Kid potty training DVD. If there’s one thing I know: mom’s like free stuff- especially if it motivates our little guys to get that poo poo in the potty, and NOT on the floor like someone’s little girl did once. *cough*

You know what else I learned at the Pull Ups website? There is an official Potty Dance. Apparently, I have been doing it all wrong. They have a pretty sweet video of Ralph’s World performing the official Potty Dance, and while I’d like to think MY potty dance is in the spirit of “interpretive” dance, the Pull Ups Potty Dance has way more mainstream appeal. I mean, the kids on the video are crazy for it-even the parents are getting into it.

This is the best part:

I have to tell you about something else super cool. Pull Ups has a Facebook page, and you guys can go on there and ask for potty training tips. Dr. Gwenn, a pediatrician, mom, and Pull-Ups Potty training parter, is available to answer all your tough potty training questions. I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call where she answered a bunch of real-life potty training questions and she was amazing! I learned a ton of really interesting information like: constipation can lead to potty training issues because a backed up colon puts pressure on the bladder. Totally gross but equally fascinating, right? She’s very real and honest and she doesn’t shove a bunch of Pull Ups jargon down your throat. She actually answers questions with real responses. How refreshing!

Ready for more free stuff?

For all my Southern California friends: Pull Ups is having a Potty Dance Party at the San Diego Zoo on Wednesday, March 23rd from 10-11:30am. The event is totally free with San Diego Zoo admission. There will be a performance from Ralph’s World (awesome!) and more  The tent has a 500 person capacity; first come, first admitted. You know I’ll be there, so come hang out with me!

Once last chance for free stuff!

I’m giving away one Pull-Ups Potty Dance Party Pack. It’s full of fun potty training gear for your Big Kid plus coupons for Pull-Ups. Leave a comment below and consider yourself entered. The giveaway will end on Friday, March 11th 2011, so get those comments in!

“Pull-Ups® training pants provided product, incentives and a reader giveaway for me to attend the Potty Dance Party. However, my opinions on the product and The Potty Dance experience are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Pull-Ups® or their products.”

Disney Princess Characters Revealed!

7 Mar

Disney Princess fever has hit our house full-force. It’s all Princess all the time around here. Poor Hello Kitty has been cast aside for Emma’s new besties: Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, and Cinderella. The Disney Princess movies are on heavy rotation here at The Little Hen House and it’s Princess dress-up central 24/7.

We’ve  ditched the “Toddler Songs” CD in favor for “Disney Princesses: The Ultimate Song Collection.” I act like this is some huge aggravation, but internally? I am thrilled. I love singing along to all my childhood Disney favorites (I’m partial to Belle and Ariel), and it’s so cute to hear Emma singing along with me.

The Disney Princess revival happening in my life has got me wondering, “Who are the actors behind these animated characters?” Well my friends, I am about to reveal to you the faces behind some of the most famous Disney Princess characters of all time:

Cinderella played by Ilene Woods:

Aladdin played by Scott Weinger:

(Fun Fact: That’s DJ Tanner’s boyfriend from Full House!)

Belle played by Paige O’Hara:

Ariel played by Jodi Benson:

Aurora (aka: Sleeping Beauty) played by Mary Costa:

Gaston played by Richard White:

Jasmine sung by Lea Salonga :

Snow White played by Adriana Caselotti:

Tiana played by Anika Noni Rose:

Ursula the Sea Witch Pat Carroll:

Elmo played by Kevin Clash:

(Ok- I know that Elmo isn’t a Disney character, but OMG! That’s Elmo!)

Tell me: Were you surprised by any of these faces?

This post can also be seen here at Rated by Mom.

Five Finger Discount

3 Mar

Emma has developed a bit of a nasty habit. Some call it “stealing”, but I’d like to think of it more like “borrowing without ever returning.” Sounds nicer, no?

It started like this: Two weeks ago we were leaving a friend’s house after a fun-filled afternoon playdate. I strapped Emma into her car seat and started driving down the road, when Emma said, “Mommy- look.” She held out her open hand containing a small plastic toy that belonged to her friend. I said, “Emma! That’s not yours! You can’t just take someone else’s toy from their house. That’s called stealing.” She replied, “But Mommy, I love it.” She carried that toy in her hand for three days until I was finally able to pry it from her grasp and return it to its rightful owner. And by returning it, I mean sneaking into my friend’s house and placing the toy back in her daughter’s room without anyone noticing. What? It was my first time dealing with this, ok?

Last week, when I picked Emma up from school I noticed that she was wearing a new accessory- a light-up pink jelly ring. The thing was enormous. I asked her, “What is that?” She said, “It’s a ring. Look- it lights up!” And so it did. So then I asked, “Where did it come from?” She said, “It’s Natalie’s.” Natalie is not her real name btw- I have a reputation to protect-Emma’s of course. I gave up on mine years ago. Back to the story….

So then I said, “Did Natalie give that to you?” Emma replied, “No, she brought it for sharing. I found it.” What?! Not again! So I said, “Honey! You can’t take Natalie’s sharing! Imagine how sad she is right now. She brought that for sharing because it is special to her and now it’s gone!” So then Emma said, “But I found it.” I replied, “Yes, but the right thing to do would have been to return it to Natalie. Just because you found it, doesn’t mean it belongs to you. You are giving it back to Natalie the next time we see her.” That seemed to sink in, except Emma has since broken poor Natalie’s ring, so if you know of a place where I can get a pink light-up jelly ring in a pinch that would be great. *cough*

Why does my little kleptomaniac have such sticky fingers? I am mortified. I can assure you though, I am on it. I’m not sure exactly what being “on it” entails, but I’m going to figure something out. I the meantime, please consider this post a disclaimer.

To all potential future playdates: You lock away the silver and your jewelry, and I’ll give my daughter a full pat-down before we leave your house. Deal? (Please still invite me over for play dates I swear my daughter won’t steal your stuff well maybe she might but I swear that she’ll only take the crappy stuff but if it’s really nice stuff I promise to bring it back except if she breaks it and then I’ll do my best to replace whatever jelly light-up contraption it is because if I don’t have play dates scheduled I might lose my mind or what’s left of it and then the only thing I’ll have left to do is shop at Target and if one more toy from the dollar bin makes its way into my house I’m going to need to be committed.)

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