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Archive for January, 2011


Every parent has been there….found themselves in deep negotiation with their 2-year-old over whether he can wear his cookie monster shirt 5 days in a row? What parent has not, at one time or another, taken a “walk of shame” out of the grocery store when their child throws themselves to the floor with a tantrum? Toddlerhood is a hard time for many parents because this is the age at which children become more independent and discover themselves as little people that are independent. BUT – although they may be able to communicate well, many have limited ability to reason.

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Here are some secret tactics I gathered from various moms on how to discipline your toddler: 

1. Think Like a Toddler
Toddlers aren’t mini-adults. They have trouble understanding many of the things we take for granted, like how to follow directions and behave appropriately. Try to see the situation from your child’s perspective and help prevent a tantrum.

Giving choices also shows that you respect your toddler and recognize your child’s feelings. In a way, this can make your child feel as though he or she has some control over the situation while you remain in charge.

2.  Avoid Stressful Situations
By the time children reach the toddler stage, you’ve spent enough time with them to know what can set them off. The most common ones are:

  • Hunger
  • Being tired
  • Quick changes in location

With a little advance planning, you can avoid these potential “meltdown” scenarios and keep things relatively calm. If you can, try to make sure your child is home at naptimes, bedtimes, and mealtimes. If you are out, always keep food on hand in case of a sudden hunger attack.

3.  Try Distraction
Fight the urge to raise your voice at your child when he or she acts up, because your tone will either make your child distressed or curious. Instead, quickly and calmly get him interested in another activity. This is especially a good tactic for toddlers who fall down and get a “boo-boo.”

4.  Be Consistent
You and your spouse also need to be on the same page when it comes to family rules. Sending your child mixed messages about whether she’s allowed to get up from the table while everyone is eating or splash you in the bathtub will only confuse and frustrate a child.

Try to keep to the same schedule every day. That means having consistent nap times, mealtimes, and bedtimes, as well as times when your toddler is free to just run around and have fun.

5.  Keep It Positive
If you say the word “No!” to your child all the time, he may start to tune you out — or worse, begin using it himself when he doesn’t want to do something. “Save ‘No!’ for situations when safety is involved.

6. Praise Good Behavior
Sometimes, toddlers act out because they lack communication skills — and it’s a surefire way to get your attention. That’s why you should always let your child know you’re pleased whenever he does something that you like or remembers to follow one of your rules.

7. Know When to Give In
Certain things in a toddler’s life are nonnegotiable. A child has to bathe, eat, brush teeth, and ride in a car seat. Hitting and biting are never OK. Pick your battles.

8. Do the Best You Can
Finally, know that it’s OK to feel stressed out by your toddler sometimes and that you do the best you can. There are good days and bad days, but as long as you parent consistently, you are doing all you can.

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We were talking in the office about parenting tips when the conversation turned to things our parents always told us. Some are funny and most are true. I thought I’d share them with you. They may bring back some memories or give you new ammunition with your kids. Enjoy!

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I notice that many babies that are calm and relaxed, tend to have calm and relaxed parents…but is it inherited? I did a little research and here is the scoop! It is hard to tell which traits are genetically hardwired from parent habits, but it the age old question of “nature versus nurture” is what comes into play. I do know that there are thousands of genes in the chromosomes that we pass on to our children and stress is not just a simple “one-to-one”

During pregnancy any mom who claims she wasn’t stressed, even just a little, is completely lying! There is always a moment of worrying and anxiety. But, if your anxieties are high, there is a good chance of having a baby who could be just as nervous. Studies have shown that the more on “edge” a mom can be, the more negatively a baby reacts to these types of situations. According to Parents.com, “Experiencing lots of stress in pregnancy (the kind that comes from moving or fighting with your partner) can make it harder for baby to relax, even if you’re generally laid-back. Researchers suspect that Mom’s stress hormones actually affect her fetus’s central nervous system.”

I read a very interesting article that was an update to this topic: “Cathi Propper, a developmental psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her colleagues studied infants at several periods over their first year of life, inducing stress by separating them from their mothers. Using an electrocardiogram, the researchers determined the babies’ vagal tone, an indicator of how strongly the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to most organs in the body, is suppressing heart rate. During stress, vagal tone decreases, allowing the heart to speed up and the body to handle the stressor. But some of the babies did not show this normal decrease in vagal tone during distressing periods; the researchers found that these infants who lacked an effective response at ages three and six months shared a particular variant of the DRD2 gene.”

Good news? These genes are not destiny. The same researchers also evaluated parents who stick to calm and sensitive parenting. So does this tactic help despite the genes that cause stress? Yes and yes! By 12 months, these babies attended to consistently with calm mannerisms responded just as effectively.  So what does that mean? There is a poster in my apartment that sums it up, “Keep calm and carry on” – it helps keep the stress away! 🙂

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Photo by: Dave Allocca/Startraks

Daughter of The Apprentice start Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, 29, is preggers! Hubby Jared Kushner are very excited and announced via Ivanka’s Twitter account this past Friday. What to give the parents who possibly own everything? We think this Le Top Baby ‘Petit Duckling’ gown with mitten cuffs would be perfect to take home her baby from the hospital.

Le Top Petit Duckling gown - click on for link

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We at Le Top always get excited about another premier retailer joining our family of fabulous stores that carry our clothing. We had the privilege of interviewing store owner, Lisa Newberry, about her cool style and being a young mom with one of the hippest boutiques in Southern California. Read more about her store, her inspiration, and parenting advice.

1.    What was the inspiration behind the name Papillon?
Lisa: Papillon, means butterfly in French. This is very significant to me because when my Grandmother Lois passed away, whenever we’d see a white butterfly, we’d know that Grandmomie was there with us. When I first decided to open Papillon, I remember seeing a white butterfly floating around me for several days leading up to my signing on the dotted line. Since then, 4 years later, I still see the white butterfly and still feel her support, just as she supported me throughout my childhood.

Papillon is a wondrous insect that symbolizes new life.  They’re vibrant, brilliantly colored, carefree and very unique. This is how I would describe a child. This is how I would describe Papillon…a unique children’s boutique!

2.    Describe the neighborhood where your store is located. Did you grow up in the local area? Is it the same as it was growing up?
Lisa: Papillon is located in Marina del Rey, CA. Marina del Rey is an upscale beach city that borders on the areas of Venice, Santa Monica, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista. I grew up in Santa Clarita, California but since graduating from UCLA (a few years ago), I’ve moved around a bit, but always managed to make my way back to the Marina. It’s a beautiful community to raise a family, go for a walk, ride a bike, eat out and of course, shop.

3.    Spring break is coming up in the next few months – with Southern California always being on the warmer/sunnier side, what are 3 vacation essentials a parent should buy for their child’s wardrobe? For a boy or girl…
Lisa: Three vacation essentials a parent should buy for their child are:

  • a floppy hat
  • white linen or organic cotton pants or dress (with a light sweater for layering)
  • and flip flops or a neutral color tennis shoe.

Oh, and of course 2 -3 swimsuits. I’ve found that when we vacation, the most important thing on Sasha’s agenda is to be in the water; whether it’s a pool or the ocean. She could careless about what she wears any other time. As much as we want our kids to look fashionable at all times, it matters more that they are comfortable, fuss free, and can spill an ice cream sundae on whatever they’re wearing without us moms stressing out about it. Did I mention I’m a stress case/Virgo sometimes when it comes to being a mom? 🙂

4.     Let’s talk Southern California…where are your favorite family hangouts?
Lisa: My family and I live in Marina del Rey, so we have the luxury of biking down to Venice Beach or the Santa Monica Pier on a whim.  What we love most though, is to do family dinners and BBQ’s at the house with all of our cousins, parents, everybody! If we do go out, we love 26 Beach (huge burgers that Sasha LOVES), Cheesecake Factory (great outdoor seating on the Marina where kids can play in the sand & on the jungle gym), or the local bowling alley, where we all, as a family, can enjoy hours of silly fun. Of course that doesn’t mean I win, but we still have a blast!

Owner of Papillon, Lisa Newberry

5.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?” Please share!
Lisa: Before I became mommy to Sasha, almost 9 years ago, I swore I’d never make her wear something she didn’t want to wear.  When I was growing up, I hated wearing dresses. But I didn’t have a choice. Of course now, I love dressing up in fancy, hip, unique clothes, including a tutu that Sasha & I both love to rock sometimes when we go out. Sasha doesn’t particularly like to wear dresses, or pink, but if she can add her own little style & flair, then all is good.

6.    Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Cupids and all, would you dress your little girl or boy in for Valentine’s Day?
Lisa: I love all holidays…Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, birthdays, and the tooth fairy. Valentines Day is just another excuse to do something fun with my daughter (and of course my significant other). I’d dress Sasha in a red or pink tutu (well, since she hates pink, let’s go with red), leggings, converse and a rocker tee shirt. She’s a tomboy, I’m a musician, so this would be a nice compromise for both of us.

7.    With all of the celebrity pregnancies going on from Natalie Portman to Kate Hudson to Nicole Kidman’s surprise baby….which celebrity mommy would you want to meet and why?
Lisa: What’s funny is, just last weekend, I met a mommy-to-be that I’d been wanting to meet for a while – Denise Boutte. She plays Dr. Sasha Brown on “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns.” I always enjoy Denise’s acting and she has a style that is fierce that I’m sure she’ll carry on to her daughter, who is due to arrive in April. My daughter’s name is Sasha Brown. Denise said to us, “The real Sasha Brown.” What fun it was for Sasha and I to meet her. She was so pleasant and appreciates things that are unique and fabulous. I’m sure she’ll be a regular at Papillon and she’s going to love Le Top!

8.    Any special events or fun New Year traditions that you have planned at your store for the next few months?
Lisa: Every month at Papillon, we offer special events, such as book readings & signings, jewelry making parties, trunk shows, holiday bazaars, mom’s night out events, Monday Madness days and more.  Shopping at Papillon is always a fun and unique experience!

9.    Tell us your best parenting tip you know or would want to give to a new parent.
Lisa: As a parent of an 8 year old, I still feel like I’m learning…from my parents, my friends and my twin brother and sister-in -law who are parents of 5 children – 4 under the age of 12. BUT, I will say I have learned that parents should be patient with their children and realize that no matter how young they are, they are still individuals and have their own little mind about certain things like what they want to eat, decorating their room, how to fix their hair and of course, what to wear. As a storeowner, and a fashionista since I was a young girl, it can be a challenge at times, but realizing that Sasha has her own style and flair has made me appreciate fashion even more. It just makes things more fun having Papillon, and makes it more challenging for me to find unique lines (like Le Top) that she actually enjoys wearing.

10.    What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line or Rabbitmoon do you love from the Spring 2011 or Fall 2010 collection?
Lisa: Le Top Baby is a new line for Papillon.  When I first saw it in the showroom and online I just had to have it. It’s fabulous! We’re looking forward to launching it this Spring!

Papillon
4712 ½ Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
310.301.1711
papillonkids@verizon.net
http://www.papillonbaby.com/

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Many kids are afraid of the dark – whether it be from watching a movie, monster in the closet or a boogeyman under the bend…here are some tips on how to conquer those fears and why millions of kids feel that it is so real to be afraid of the dark.

Fears
Fear is a normal part of life for all of us, including our children. It tends to start when you try something new, something that you’ve never experienced before, something that is an unknown.

For small kids, especially toddlers, this happens almost every day, so fear has a lot of opportunity to pop up – especially at night. It tends to be that ‘the fear of the dark’ begins when children are old enough to have a sense of imagination and around 2 or 3-years-old. Kids at this age are old enough to imagine, but sometimes not able to decipher between real and pretend, which can then turn to “scary.” This fear suddenly becomes ‘real life’ when a shadow in the dark can get very scary!

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Why Fear of the Dark? Where does it come from?
Some of the worst offenders of ‘fear of the dark’ is the TV! Many parents don’t recognize how the TV affects their children, especially parents who tend to use the TV as a form of babysitting when they are busy. If you do not regulate what shows they watch or what time of day in the child’s sleep pattern, it can be very stimulating and expose your kid to things that might seem  scary. Another common reason is younger siblings watch TV with their older sibling and it might not be age-appropriate, such as a scary cartoon.

Another root to the fear can actually be books! Yes, the age old books. Images can be intimidating and provoke a child’s imaginations depending on the content. For example, a drawing of a monster in a fairy tale book or witches from a Halloween book.

Scene from Monsters Inc.

A last reason of these fears can come from older siblings or even parents where someone might say to your toddler, “You better brush your teeth or the boogeyman fairy might get you!” Although it is intended as a joke, these simple light-hearted phrases can be a reason by a nighttime fear or nightmare.

Dos and Don’ts

Do:

  • Communicate, be respectful, and show that you understand your child.  Don’t tell them their fear is silly, because not only does it not help and they’re still scared, but now they feel guilty and ashamed of their fear.
  • Ask your child what he or she feels when he or she is alone in the dark. Even if your kid’s apprehension seems ridiculous to you, reassure him/her with concrete information. For example, say, “You’re right that the house makes funny sounds at night. Let’s listen to them together, and I’ll tell you what each one is.”
  • Teach your child to calm himself by saying, “I’m safe in the dark; my mom and dad are nearby” or “That sound was just the heat coming on.”
  • Gradually decrease the light in the room, starting with a lower-watt bulb in his lamp, then leaving a light on only in the hallway. Offer praise each time he goes to sleep with less light.
  • Help your child avoid scary TV shows and movies, since nighttime fears can be greatly intensified by what a child is exposed to during the day.
  • Reassure your child that his fear of the dark is normal.
  • Arm your child with comfort items, whether it’s a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a night-light, to help her sleep soundly.

Don’t:

  • Do sleepovers. Although it may be tempting to let your little one crawl into bed with you, resist the urge.
  • Say to your child, ‘Let me make sure there aren’t any monsters under the bed.

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