Posts Tagged ‘Parents’

Lilah wearing a shirt and pants from the Le Top Horsin' Around collection

My daughter is sometimes mistaken for a boy by strangers. Occassionally it upsets me but to be honest, her outward appearance at-first-glance can be “boyish” because she loves wearing jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes (with Transformers, Cars or aliens on them), her curly hair is usually down and she is rarely ever in pink. Sometimes, she does wear clothes that are pink or with flowers or hearts, but they tend to be subtle and not scream “I’m a girl!”

These days it seems that gender roles are played upon heavily. All of the toys on television are really catered to either boys or girls. Rarely is a toy for children over the age of 2 gender-neutral. Girls should wear princess costumes and play with dolls, and boys should all want to be superheroes and play with trucks, right? Not true. Nothing is set these days. I say let kids be who they want to be. All of my daughter’s baby dolls have boy names. She doesn’t care if they are wearing bright pink with butterflies – that means nothing to her.  I tell her that people, kids and adults, can wear whatever makes them happy. Lilah loves being around boys, but she also loves to take care of a younger little girl at her school. It’s the reason she is excited to go. What does it all mean? It means she is who she is.

I’ve read articles suggesting that many girls act like tomboys because they have only older brothers or are the child of a single male parent. I’m sure that can be a factor. I am an only child and was at times a tomboy (still am). My dad taught me about power tools and yard work and my mom taught me how to sew and clean the house among other things. I hope to pass this all on to Lilah, and also hope that her daddy will pass on his gardening and cooking skills. Is that why? Maybe, but it could be simpler than that. My daughter is incredibly physical and active. When I ask her why she likes “boy things” she simply explains that boys have more fun, meaning they tend to run, jump, and climb which are all of her favorite things. She’s told me she doesn’t like dresses because it’s harder to do those things in them. The few times she has worn a dress to school, her friends that are boys give her positive compliments and tell her she looks beautiful. She certainly likes it, but she is not willing to wear dresses regularly for more compliments.

I just want my daughter to be confident, have a good sense of self, and not be afraid to show it. If that means she wants to play with a lightsaber and dress like Spiderman for Halloween then so be it – if not, I’m happy with a girly girl too. I just feel lucky to have this perfect, smart, funny and gorgeous child in my life.


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This post is dedicated to all the parents who have children who have “flown the nest.” So I get home about a week ago to California (I live in New York City) to help my family out with the launch of our new online boutique this past Monday, July 19th (http://www.letop-usa.com/)…As a child who works for her parents, one might think I would stay at a hotel – NOPE! I STILL stay at home, in my old room, with the old 80s soccer trophies, stuffed monkeys and funny childhood pictures I painted as a child.  It made me start thinking about all of the other parents who hang on to the doo-dads, artwork and any other fun projects their children work on.  Who knew that 30 years later, my parents would have my projects to this day in the living room next to a Richard Deibenkorn painting (a very fancy-schmancy modern artist from the 90s) – ooh-la-la! Below are funny items throughout our house that might make you (yes, you the parents who hang onto your child’s strange artwork that makes you smile)….smile! Enjoy this inside look to my home life.

The first one is a plaster of Paris ice cream sundae I made as a child. I thought it was funny to “trick” parents to try and drinks “my milkshake.” The true joke was on me in the fact that any adult obviously knew it wasn’t real.

The one on the right is a wood-fired/glazed lion I created in 5th grade where I was graded by my teacher on the anatomy of an animal and how well I could sculpt it.

This was a man I made in 6th grade out of clay and I was graded by my teacher on how well I understand the body form. Who is this man I sculpted. No clue. Ha!

Your first question might be, what the heck is that orange thing? My mom calls him “her little man”…I always thought he was a monster with tiger stripes. Hee-hee!

This was a soap stone sculpture I chipped away to make a seal that our housekeeper always turns upside down to look like a random rock.  Here is how it is always posed when I get home…

On the right is how the “seal” should be posed.

Here is a watercolor painting I created with a train in 5th grade where I was supposed to draw a train and I was graded on the specs of my train and straight lines. I find this picture pretty funny seeing as how I thought at that time BP oil was a “big gas company” with a pretty and happy sunset.  Who knew they would be destroying our earth now!

My final picture that will really have you laughing is this professional portrait of me as a child in the 1980s. SCCCCCARRRRY.  I was 5 years old at the time. One might call this photo “black mail.”

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AppleWe have all grown up hearing “An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor Away!”  Now, as a mom, I am focused on providing the right nutrition for my daughter so she can grow up strong and healthy.  I began by asking myself ‘What are the rules that we should be nutritionally living by?’  I know that healthy habits should start early, beginning with exercise, portion control and choosing the ‘right’ foods – these habits will set the stage for the rest of her life.  Children learn by observing their role models – mostly family – so I did some research to educate myself about the necessary nutrients needed to make our entire family healthy.  Here is a list I’ve complied – it is just what the doctor ordered!

Calcium is crucial for bone mass development, but a third of 4 to 8 year old children don’t get enough.  A bonus is that many high calcium foods are also high in Vitamin D – helpful for preventing Type 1 diabetes. Foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D include milk, cheese, yogurt (excellent but watch the sugar), fortified cereals, soy products and some juices.

Iron is essential – it helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells throughout the body, directly affecting brain development.  Studies show that up to 20 percent of kids are not getting enough Iron.  If this deficiency is left unchecked it can lead to learning and behavioral problems. Some of the best sources of Iron are lean meats including shrimp, beef, and chicken. If your child is a vegetarian or doesn’t care for the taste of meat try beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Although Iron from plant sources is not absorbed easily by the body, Vitamin C based foods can increase the absorption level.  Foods high in both Iron and Vitamin C are broccoli, Swiss chard, and other dark green leafy vegetables.

preschool lunchVitamin E:
What is important about Vitamin E? It is an antioxidant that protects our cells from damage. It is estimated that 80 percent of children under the age of 8, and more than half of preschoolers, are lacking sufficient amounts of the vitamin. To my surprise, eating fat free foods, since they generally lack essential oils, is part of the problem. Make sure your child’s diet includes small amounts of nuts (if no allergies,) avocado, tomato sauce, wheat germ or spinach.  Fortified cereals may have Vitamin E but all-natural cereals do not. 

This seems to be a buzzword for adults, but it keeps children regular, fills them up and may help protect them from other illnesses later in life. An easy way to establish a goal for grams of daily fiber is to add the number 5 to your child’s age.  It’s ideal to have at least one high-fiber food at every meal. Cereal can be a great way for your child to obtain fiber – just make sure it has 5 grams or more per serving. Other great sources of fiber are fruits, beans, lentils, chickpeas, whole-grain breads, oatmeal, nuts, sweet potatoes, popcorn and green beans. My daughter LOVES hummus and just 2 tablespoons has as much fiber as a half cup of brown rice.

Bananas…and last but not least, Potassium:
Potassium is the main contributor to maintaining healthy muscles that contract and maintaining beneficial fluid balances and blood pressure. Most kids are getting slightly more than half of the recommended dose needed. Remember getting a muscle cramp as a kid and hearing your mom say, “Eat a banana!?”  She was right!  Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, along with oranges, dried apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, sweet potatoes, fish, and tomatoes.

As the mom of a two year old girl I know it can be difficult to get all of these needed nutrients into your child!  Fortunately many of these suggested foods, like beans or nuts, can serve a dual purpose. If you have a finicky eater you may want to talk to your pediatrician about adding vitamin supplements, but IT IS possible to get all they need by eating the right foods.

I found something that was interesting and fun…the US government has a food pyramid and website just for kids with lots of helpful hints about their health – Check it out!

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Miranda Wearing Cute as a Button Rib Knit Shirt and Baby Wale Corduroy Skort Set

The long-awaited day has arrived. My daughter has been so excited! Alas, it is here…The First Day of Kindergarten.

The night before, we carefully selected what her first-day-of-school outfit will be. She wanted to wear a dress (to give her teacher a good first impression) but I wanted her to wear shorts or pants because sitting on the carpet will be more comfortable. So, we decided on le•top’s 2009 Fall collection Cute As A Button ensemble. The skirt has built-in shorts!!! (My favorite part—why didn’t they have those when I was growing up?) And it went so well with her new Back-to-School ‘do!

For the past month, I have been mentally preparing myself NOT to cry when I drop her off at school. All I could think of was that my baby is growing up, and from now on until she graduates from high school, she will be in school everyday, five days a week, with only a few weeks during the year when she can enjoy childhood. But on the flip side, I realized that I would now have mornings to devote to my 5-month old son who needs my attention now more than ever.

Today, as we drove to school, there was no time to cry. We were running late, the parking lot was full, cars were parked all along the neighboring streets, and the classroom was filled with paparazzi parents snapping cameras and videotaping this monumental day. It was hard to just get my daughter INSIDE her classroom, let alone me and my stroller. After 10 minutes of listening to the teacher take roll and the students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the teacher instructed the students: “Please look for your parent and wave goodbye so they can leave and we can start class.” Miranda found me, waved goodbye with a big smile, then sat down for Circle Time.

I exited the classroom then walked back to the car. A single tear rolled down my cheek. All I could think of was that my little girl is a BIG girl now.

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The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals (Paperback) by Missy Chase Lapine

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals (Paperback) by Missy Chase Lapine

I was always the picky eater in my family. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how my mom dealt! I never liked anything my parents put in front of me, especially vegetables (well, OK, I would eat Mac ‘n Cheese – but that was about it!). If I had it my way, it would have been cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
As I begin to think about having kids of my own, as well as watching friends and family raise their own picky eaters, I’m beginning to wonder how on earth I’m going to deal with a child who won’t eat what I put in front of them: Will I use the “3 bite” rule? Will I make them sit at the table until they finish (or at least try) what I’ve given them? I can’t imagine I’d just fix them something else? What will I do?!?
My friends don’t seem to be having much luck themselves, except, Sarah, who’s doing the hide-the-nutritional-stuff-in-their-food trick. There is actually a cook book out by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, on doing just this. How fantastic! The book is called “Deceptively Delicious” and has an array of kid-friendly recipes that hide the “good for you” in regular food, like Mac ‘n Cheese and Brownies! There is another book I’ve seen called “The Sneaky Chef” with the same idea. For some reason, though, Cauliflower Eggs doesn’t sound that appetizing…
What have been your tricks to get your picky eaters to gobble down your Chef-tastic meals? Have you tried any of these books, and do their recipes really help?! Let us know, and by all means, PLEASE share your Picky Eater Recipes!

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