“Do I Look Fat?”

It happened today. A day I’ve dreaded since my little girl was a baby. We were getting ready to go swimming. Crowding around the bathroom sink with her little brother, the three of us busy dodging elbows and weaving through legs while searching for an opening to rinse and spit. Amid the chaos she stopped, looked me straight in the eyes and barely audible through her sad, embarrassed tone said, “Mommy, I feel like this bathing suit makes me look fat.” I froze as my heart broke. Thoughts like molasses, I sensed them trying to call an emergency meeting while unable to break free from the muck. The only clear ones I could make out were “How did this happen? My baby. She is only 6. What do I say?” Believe me when I say while I’m certainly not batting a thousand in the “saying the wrong thing in...

All’s fair in love and siblings

Our family's last visit to my mother-in-law's summer cottage ends in a story where one of my children throws the other under a proverbial bus.

An explosive start to summer

My children spend the early part of summer vacation inadvertently conducting a science experiment in their bedroom. But it's OK. It's all cleaned up now.

What do you smell like? Ask your kid.

One night at bedtime, my daughter offers to tell me how I smell. Yikes -- do I want to know?

Mama Drama: Toddler Tantrums and Clean Up Meltdowns

Dear Mama Drama: My three-year-old daughter is driving me crazy! I love her to death and she’s got so much spunk, but when I need her to get things done and she refuses or throws a tantrum and I am at a loss. She could care less about consequences and seems to enjoy all the attention she gets from lectures. I seem to be the only one frustrated in this situation. ~Going crazy / CC BY 2.0 Dear Going Crazy: Three can be a challenging age as children seek more independence and challenge expectations. They often run on their own time schedule and our demands can appear random and unreasonable to them. Creating a daily visual schedule can help your daughter to understand the routine of the day. If something needs to change for that day, you can change the pic...

Mama Drama: Brotherly Love and Playgroup Problems

Dear Mama Drama: I have three sons, ages 7, 4, and 2. Everyday after picking up my oldest son from school, within five minutes either the seven year old or four year old is crying. The struggles are often related to rude behavior and hitting. The oldest wants time to himself at this time of day and the younger brothers have been eagerly awaiting his return. The reconnection between the oldest and youngest is a love fest, but the middle and oldest set each other off. It seems like this should be a fun and exciting part of our day, but it quickly deteriorates into frustration for all of us. ~Hoping for a peaceful ride home Dear Hoping: Kids put out a ton of energy being at school all day and even though they may be running around, they are often exhausted emotionally and physically. Re-enter...

Mama Drama: Sibling Rivalry and Playtime Struggles

Dear Mama Drama, I recently took my 6 and 8 year old daughters to a pumpkin carving contest. It is a wonderful family event that focuses more on community than competition, but the pumpkins are judged and there are winners. My 6 year old won and my 8 year old did not.  At first, the 8 year old was very supportive of her sister, but then she started crying. When we finally got to the root of the problem, she was upset that she had given her sister ideas and that her sister had won and she didn’t. This sibling competition expresses itself frequently in negative ways in our family and I am unsure how to react or what to do about it.  Growing up most of my life as an only child, I really don’t understand and am not very sympathetic to sibling rivalry. How can I encourage my childre...

Mama Drama: Morning Routines and Evening Hysteria

Dear Mama Drama: Every morning we struggle with my five-year-old son to get him ready for school and out of the house on time. He needs lots of one on one support to complete even the most basic tasks such as getting dressed. He can’t remember what to do next and often stops to play with toys or sing the song on the radio. ~Tired of running late Dear Tired: Many children need extra support getting through their morning routine. When we stop to think about all the small steps involved, it can be quite daunting. As adults we have practiced these routines thousands of times throughout our lives. Our children are often still figuring out what each step is and how to keep track of it all. Creating a visual schedule for your child is a great place to start. You can use pictures of your son doing...