I Bribe My Kids And I’m Not Ashamed to Admit it

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I love being a mom of two crazy kids. You already know they’re my whole world. But having them 21 months apart is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that they can be the best of friends in the future and now they are on similar wavelengths and levels on so many things. The curse is all the: whining, fighting, complaining, competing, hitting, sleep avoidance, hunger strikes, “No”s … let me just stop here because the list could go on forever.

I’ve learned that as a mom we start doing things we say we’d never do. The anti-TV mom gives the kids screen-time all day. The strictly clean-eating mom gives fast food burgers more often than not…. you get the point.

My Never was that I would never have my kids running the show….

Can we say…FAIL!

These children know they have so much power. It’s ridiculous. They straight up play me. (Exhibit A) One part of parenting I always saw on TV but never thought would be a reality in my own life is: Bribery. I figured my kids would whine and fuss and I’d just find sly mommy ways to trick em into doing what I want them to….. Because I’m the grown up of course… I run the show right?

Nope.

#nothappening

I have to bribe those children sometimes….and I’m not even ashamed to admit it.

So now I find myself saying things like “If you do X you can do Y” and I don’t even blink an eye. I’m all about the end results… by any means necessary. So if I have to give you a few chocolate covered raisins for you to sit down, be quiet and eat… I’m going to do it.

Luckily… my kids are as quirky as their mama…. and I bribe them in the most odd ways.

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I have said…probably 8 to 10 times this week alone: “If you ____, I’ll let you go brush teeth!” to which I received loud “YAYs” and squeals of joy from my little nuggets….followed by impeccable behavior until tooth-brushing time.

I have no idea why they enjoy brushing their teeth so much, but I’m guessing it has something to do with Elmo and Thomas on their Orajel toothpaste tubes. (Which they insist on holding tightly in one fist while they brush with the other hand.) We also use light-up tooth brushes so that adds to the fun factor.

The kids also will really fall in line quickly for bribes including play doh, the outdoors and the library… but brushing their teeth, closely followed by some sort of chocolate treat are the top bribes.

John has jumped on the bribery bandwagon. His go to is little chocolate candies…and glowsticks. Just the other day I heard a very distinct “If you ___ then you get ___.”…and suddenly our bathroom was a disco.

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So bribery is now a family affair. I’m a little nervous that the kids are going to start acting out more often because they know a treat will come from it… so we may have to change our tactic eventually… but for now.. with my toddler and preschooler we’re going to keep the bribery alive. I just hope they continue to love brushing their teeth as a treat!

Do you bribe your kids?

I’m excited to partner with Orajel™ as a Smilehood ambassador for 2016. Orajel is one of the most trusted brands of pain relief and oral care solutions for babies and young children and we have used it exclusively for Rohan and Kaya from the teething tablets, to the finger toothbrush to the toothpastes they fight over. I’m joining forces with several moms to share about oral hygiene for out little ones as well as our experiences with the brand.

This post was sponsored by Orajel but you already know everything above is 100% me. Visit Orajel’s website to peep their extensive product line and get tips on keeping your children’s teeth healthy. (With or without bribery.)

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We’re Learning Spanish!

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So a couple months ago, I was having a really rough day with the kids. I had a migraine and it’s like Rohan was a shark smelling blood in the water. His behavior was so horrible. Bad language, hitting, defiance, destroying stuff… I wanted to punch him. Kai was no better. Whining, and instigating stuff with Ro… And the both of them were so loud and just little menaces.

Ugh.

In a last ditch effort to get them to be rapt for a minute while I got some coffee and hid from them…I turned on Daniel Tiger, which usually works.
Not this time.

They both were just on me. Wrapping around my legs, hitting and pushing each other, pulling at my clothes, whining in that annoying tone…you know the one tone that just slices your patience to shreds….

im gunna kill you

I snapped.

I don’t know where it came from.

I just started buggin out, yelling at them… in Spanish. I walked over to the couch and slapped it with both hands and said Ninos sientate aqui! They legit looked at each other like…um…what the F is going on? and just kinda dawdled in the kitchen, so I shouted AHORRRAAAHHH!!!! and slapped the couch again and again like a crazy lady.

They both ran over and sat their little confused butts on the couch tho. And they were quiet. Stunned to silence no doubt. Eyes big as hell. So, for the rest of the day I just spoke to them in Spanish. I’d gesture to let them know what I was saying, and I’d make them repeat what I wanted them to say “por favor” “gracias” etc…

I’m not 100% fluent yet but I’m pretty good. Definitely understand way more than I can say, and that’s mostly confidence-based vs knowledge-based…KWIM?. I’ve learned a good amount from friends and family, school and Guatemala….and living in Washington Heights for years :). But I know enough to get by. Once I’m in a Spanish speaking place it’s like everything I know kinda rushes back into my accessible memory.




Anyway…

Later that day, I really needed a break so I turned on youtube on the TV and just said “learn spanish for kids” into the controller and something I’d never heard of (but now totally love) popped up. Little Pim. Do you know it? I put the kids back on the couch and they watched little pim and repeated the shapes and colors and numbers and whatever little words they were learning with the panda on the screen.  Well… Rohan did. Kaya just watched.

It was actually really amazing to observe Rohan during this. When I was talking to him in Spanish, he was looking in my eyes, at my body sooo intently. You could see him trying to get all the clues of what was going on so he could understand. His gears were totally turning and he was full engaged…it was beautiful.

By the end of the day Rohan was “speaking Spanish” to Kaya. It was gibberish….sounded like “esca dasca esca dasca” over and over with different intonation lol, but it works. He points and gestures while escadasaca-ing and she responds in English with what seems to be the right answer!

Next day, after breakfast I was playing with them as usual and Rohan was like “No mommy, talk spanish.” So I started doing Spanish mornings from there on. We’d be mostly spanish in the mornings until after their nap. I let them watch Little Pim, and we got some Spanish DVDs from the library.

I realized how limited my Spanish is from doing this little exercise with them. I have to look up vocab words a lot and I’m crap at talking in the past tense. I picked up Pimsleur from the library (but honestly haven’t played a single cd yet lol.)

Honestly, over the past month it has waned….I got lazy and eventually Rohan stopped reminding me. It wasn’t until I was planning for my Hispanicize trip that I got my renewed intention to improve my Spanish and teach the kids some more. John knows a little bit of Spanish from friends and his travels to Ecuador but he’s way worse than me so he needs to step his game up too.

So for the kids here’s my plan:

  • Watching: Plaza Sesamo, Little Pim, (and if I can find one of their fave shows in Spanish)
  • Reading: Spanish books from the library (we started this and both kids seem to love it!)
  • Speaking: Talking to them only in spanish at least part of the day (and making them repeat and try too)
  • Listening: I’m going to play spanish music throughout the day (will they love ricky martin too?!)

That’s it for now. I’m not going bucknuts with it. I have no idea how to teach kids Spanish other than letting them get immersed in it like they were with English. #unschool?

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I want it to be fun, but I want their ears to get used to Spanish as they memorize some basics. Ro knows his colors and numbers 1-10 in Spanish. Kai is just soaking it in for now.

(When I point to something blue and say Que color es? She’s like “Blue” So I respond “Dime en espanol Kaisy, tell me in Spanish”  She looks at me like I’m slow and says “BLUE” louder.  So…we’ll work on her slowly. lol)

For John and I, my plan is:

We have Rosetta Stone… but… I know myself…. I’m not going to use it right now. (I may let Ro try it instead)

So I figure we’ll listen to the Pimsleur CDs during the day and in the car at random. I’m going to find a telenovela to get sucked into also. And find a great movie in Spanish. (Y Tu Mama Tambien is one of my faves!) That helps me remember how much I actually know.

I look forward to being fluent and truly bilingual. I hope to do the same for my children.

Hablas Espanol?

Any tips, ideas or resources for us?!

#PledgetoPlay with Green Toys (#Giveaway!)

rohan pledgetoplay green toys okdani blog

Last year I went up to New York to speak at BlogHer and attend Blogger Bash. One of the very best events at Blogger Bash is Sweet Suite. It’s basically a huge toy show! You get to see what’s new from great brands, play with your old faves, meet new brands and just have a great time. I had a ball meeting the various companies and seeing what I wanted to get for Ro and Kai in the future.

green toys at sweet suite

One brand really stood out to me because their booth made such a strong impression. The rep had big ol’ mason jars of translucent white chips and asked us to touch it and guess what it was.  After a few wrong guesses on my part she told me it was recycled milk jug pieces…..from which all the toys in her booth were made.

I was like:

word

And she was like:

yes gif

I was immediately impressed. Then she went further and led the introduction to the toy  product line with the best words any mom of two messy toddlers could hear:

“…our toys are dishwasher safe”

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She may have said more after that…. she may have mentioned something about

  • no BPA
  • no phthalates
  • no PVC
  • recycled packaging
  • soy ink
  • made in USA

…. but honestly I tuned out after the dishwasher safe thing and was basically just like:

shutup take money

So, I’m happy to partner with Green Toys Inc for their #PledgetoPlay initiative. It’s an easy pledge to make. You just turn off your tech and gadgets for an hour a day and enjoy good old-fashioned playtime! As Green Toys calls it:

“100% play, no batteries necessary.”

You already know we are a playful family. We play most of the day, we learn through play, and although forced…I recently spent some gadget-free time with the kids lol. We have a lot of battery-free play time and I’m pumped to help other moms enjoy some quality play time with their kids, no matter what it looks like in their households!

The Pledge started on March 19th with Earth Hour and ends April 22nd, Earth Day! If you share pics on Facebook and/or Instagram of you playing with your kids, or your kids enjoying some 100% play, be sure to tag it with #PledgetoPlay to be eligible to win a Green Toys toy chest packed with $150 worth of goodies.

You can also win the Green Toys Rescue Boat & Helicopter (that Rohan has NOT put down since it arrived) by entering below.

rohan loves green toys pledgetoplay okdani blog

Remember, only OKDani.com subscribers are eligible to win (and I do check) so be sure to SUBSCRIBE HERE so you can win!

GOOD LUCK!!

Green Toys Giveaway

My Kids Are Always Dirty and I Like it That Way

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My kids are almost always dirty, and I don’t care one bit. In fact, I prefer it.

I love that my kids enjoy simple pleasures. Digging in dirt and running around trying to catch butterflies (and mosquitos, flies, moths, lightning bugs, lizards etc) provides hours of entertainment for them. My aunt gave the kids these nature explorer kits and they love them.

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(find it here)

Despite recently throwing away the kids toys, I kept all the outdoor stuff. They have their own little bucket and digging tools to “help” me in the garden. What garden? Yeah… the one I’ll eventually plant… because right now…my kids dig in a 5×5 plot of dirt that John just dug up behind the playground set for them in the back yard. They love it.

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Part of why we moved to Florida from NYC was so we could have a house on some land. We have about 1.25 acres with a pond that’s got some fishies and a random turtle who is now our pet, that Roey named Hashtag. The kids love feeding the fish, and just sitting next to the pond talking. I kind of find it amazing sometimes that they’re happy doing “nothing.” (I wonder how long this lasts)

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But digging in dirt is one of their favorite things to do. Fun fact: it used to be one of my favorite things as well. I wanted to be an archaeologist for a minute when I was a kid (until I learned exactly how much science was required lol). I remember digging up my gram’s yard and finding “treasures”….  I also remember getting in trouble for digging up her yard….and for being dirty from it. (girls were supposed to stay clean) I realize now it was just because it’s a PAIN to wash dirt/rocks/twigs/leaves/sand out of curly hair. (And Kai seems to just pour it all onto her little head)

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I won’t ever give my kids a hard time for being messy monsters. As long as they’re not maliciously throwing dirt and sand in each other’s faces…I let them go to town.

Because of all the outsideness, my kids are always filthy. Always. Under their nails, in their hair… I find dirt under Rohan’s shirt collar, and even in the back of Kai’s diaper sometimes. They’re covered in it, and I don’t even care. I like it. Love it.

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It makes more work for me. I have to bathe them before naptime, then again at night before bed. It’s annoying…but to me it signals a well-spent day. If my kids are not sweaty, smelling like rusty metal, and covered in at least a fine mist of sand by lunchtime it means we’ve spent the entire morning inside, and they’ve probably consumed way more TV than I want them to. (It also probably means that I was kinda productive with some task or another…but…whatevs).

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When they’re sour, crusty and in need of a good washing before nap I know we’ve had an outdoorsy, active, fun morning. I know they got a hearty dose of vitamin D and played together without drama. (There’s something about outside activity that makes them get along better than inside the house ::shrug::)

Our favorite outdoor toys (besides the bikes, trampoline, playground and ride ons):

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(find them here)

Simple. Yet provides hours of fun out back.

Are your kids lil dirt monsters too?

 

Kaya is 2!! Happy Birthday KaiKai

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Kayabelle,

Happy birthday baby girl. You had your party yesterday, but your real birthday is today. You’re two! It’s amazing how fast this past year has gone. You’ve made such big strides and it’s awesome to watch you grow. You are speaking so much and so clearly now. It’s amazing to me what a vocabulary you have.

Your little personality is developing like crazy. You seem to be kinda shy. I don’t know where you get it from, but it’s interesting to see. Despite your shyness, you’re adventurous and fiery though. So I’m sure the shyness around others will be balanced out well. You love being outside and being active running around, jumping on the trampoline, swinging. You ask to go out and dig in the dirt every hour on the hour it seems like. You’re into exercising and yoga which secretly makes mommy very happy. You love to sing songs all day and love music and dancing. Always have.

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Your favorite toys right now are your stuffed bunny (bunnybunny) and talking doc Mcstuffins (doca miss muffin). You play with the blocks and read a lot too. You can be so gentle one minute, delicately picking flowers as you pass them in the yard… and then be a complete savage the next, stomping on and hammering whatever is closest. ::shrug::  Minnie mouse and Hello Kitty (kittykitty) are your favorite characters in your books.

You’re a good eater, and a great sleeper. Thank goodness for that. You go down at 8 and wake up between 8:30-10am You eat almost anything, even though whenever I ask you what you want to eat you tell me “noodle soup” no matter what time of day it is. You love bananas and other fruits, soups, shakes/smoothies, and any pasta.

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You take a lot of drive by abuse from your brother, but have recently started fighting back. This both makes me proud and terrifies me. I don’t want you two fighting, but I don’t want you to be a mark either. Daddy and I break it up and want you and Ro to get along well together. You’re a good little sister, playing with your brother you share so very well.

You’re a snugglebunny for sure, which makes mommy so happy. You like to force yourself into snuggle positions and love to be held and cuddled and carried. I love it. So does daddy. He loves telling the stories of how you squeeze your way into his lap when he’s fixing things so you can “help.”

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You’re in 3T clothing now and like to pick your own items out. You’re getting better at getting clothes on by yourself but mommy helps. You’re also getting better at telling me you have to potty before you actually do it! I think you’ll be potty trained fairly soon. You’re such a big girl!

We just love you so much Kaya. It’s such a treat spending the days with you, watching you progress. You surprise me every. single. day. Your daddy and I are so proud of you. Happy birthday baby girl!!

Hugs and kisses for my misses!

Love,

Mommy

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