Friday, October 19, 2007

Mr. B's Book Reviews

It's tough to find books that hold the attention of a 13 month old. Now that he can crawl and climb, Mr. B barely stops moving until he's actually snoring. But these books always slow him down and help him settle in for bottle and bedtime. Pick them up for any infant you know. They'll be well-loved baby gifts.

Here are Mr. B's favorite right now:

Little Cricket's Song
Sweet, lilting rhymes tell the story of a little cricket that wants to learn to sing. The pictures are lovely and the end of line rhyme scheme gives the book a sing-song quality, but the highlight of this book is the clicking cricket. Push either the mommy or baby cricket's head for a baby-delighting "clicking" sound.

Ten Little Christmas Lights
Mr. B loves this one so much, we've been reading it since the spring. On ten wonderful pages, animal decorate thier homes with Christmas lights, and a new tiny little light glows on each page. The final page brings all the animals back for an encore with a Christmas tree full of lights. Luckily, the lights go off two or three times, so your baby will get to enjoy pushing the button a couple of times per reading.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Mr. B loves a gimmicky book right now. But this one charms by the force of word and sound alone. Eveytime I say "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Will there be enough room?" he giggles with delight.

Mr. B Blows!

I mean that quite literally. Yesterday, I made mac and cheese for lunch. It was still hot, but he was clamoring for it, so I brought the dish to him, let him touch it and said, "hot!" Clearly, this wasn't the first time I'd said that, because he started to blow. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but when I brought it to his lips, he blew on it before he opened up for the bite. While this might not seem amazing to everyone else, this "1+1=2" was pretty exciting for his mom. He did it again and again, and when I smiled and praised him, he clapped for himself, blowing all the while.

Then, later that afternoon, he crawled over to his sisters Crocs on the floor and tried to put them on his feet. Amazing! He used to only chew on them. Now he knows that they go on feet!

We're at the stage where he is growing and changing nearly every day and I'm trying really hard to savor every minute. I'm at my mothering worst during toddlerhood. The kiddos are just so go-go-go. They make a million messes a day and breeze through the house like tiny little Tasmanian Devils.

But at the end of the day, he's lovely and luscious, and when I sing the ABC song he curls up in my arms because he knows its time for bed. He surrenders all that frustration and toddler angst just to be my baby for a little while longer. And then, he lies his head down and goes to sleep, usually, exhausted and without a peep.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grab your earplugs everyone, we’ve got a screamer.

I know very clearly when it happened. It was Tuesday morning on the way to school. That’s when Mr. B discovered his voice. He’d made lots of sounds and possibly even said some words before. He’s been known to repeat "Ma! Ma! Ma!" while crying when he doesn’t want to nap. But this was something different. This was screaming.

In the back seat, the WG and Sammy Wammy asked me to turn the movie up so they could hear it… their headphones.

It’s a loud, screechy sort of sound. It’s not exactly a happy sound, but he’s not mad either. He’s clearly trying desperately to communicate. Often, he’s pointing at something, reaching for something or trying to do something. There’s just one thing that’s the same every time – it’s loud.

It’s everyone-in-the-restaurant-turn-around-why-doesn’t-she-do-something-about-that-screaming-baby loud.

I’ve never had a child like this, so I confess, that I have no idea what to do. I speed dialed friend # 1 – just wait it out was her advice. Friend #2 just laughed and said that Baby B is "no WG." Friend #3 said, "Do you hear that screaming in the background? Then why would you think I’ve found a solution."

So here it is, an open call for advice. I’ve tried to ignore it – no dice, especially in public. My constitution is incapable of stomaching that kind of noise without a response. I’ve tried a firm "no," which has gotten me a big nowhere. And I don’t really want to discipline him, after all, he’s just trying to talk to me. What I would like him to do is communicate more quietly.

For now, we’re working on sign language. I’ll let you all know how it goes. In the meantime, I’m open to any words of wisdom. And suggestions for the best possible earplugs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

How Can I Get More Zzzzzzzzzzs?

I can’t figure out how to get enough sleep.

Now that Baby B is nearly walking (and unloading all my Tupperware drawers, emptying the pantry, and getting into the toilet paper) I am busy every moment he’s awake. The WG’s school starts at 8am and I spend a couple hours each day doing the pick up and drop off routine. It seems that the only time I have to work lately, is well, late.

Hubby has been traveling these last three weeks and so I start dinner around 5:30. We eat dinner at 6:00, then it’s time for baths, dressing for bed, brushing two sets of teeth (one much tougher than the other) and reading three books each. I finish up around 7:30 and then it’s downstairs to clean the kitchen. By the time I’ve checked my home voice mail, my work voice mail, email, put in a load of wash and gotten the kitchen clean, it’s nearly nine. Then, it’s time to work on the details for the next magazine party, plan the photo shoots, or write articles. On average these days, I’m getting in bed a touch before midnight and I’m still so keyed up that I need to read or watch TV for half an hour before my head stops spinning.

I absolutely love my life. I have such a great mix of work and family. My kiddos are great and my job is terrific – I love what I do. But the one thing I would change is that I would get more sleep. If I had more childcare, I know I could get more done during the day and get more sleep at night, but I guess at least for right now, I’m willing to forgo sleep for time with the kiddos. I guess I can always sleep when they go to college.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Must Watch for Every Mom: Mom's Overture by Anita Renfroe

Three great things for Yummy Mummys

W’re moms, but we’re not dead. So why do we some times behave like we are? During my recent trips (getaway to scenic Greensboro, NC with hubby and overnight to NYC solo) I’ve started rediscovering Corey. Here are three of my new favorite things.

My new Oilily Bag
Extravagant, yes. But boy do I like it. It’s big, compared to most of my other bags, and makes a great impromptu carry all. Plus, it has lots and lots of yummy details. I never thought I’d carry something with leather and grommets, but baby, I’m rockin’ it!

Jo Malone
Showering in Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom shower gel is literally like showering in orange blossoms. The scent lingers on your body and in your bathroom all day! Plus, whenever I use the jasmine and lilac blossom perfume, people actually try to sniff me.

Bubbly by Colbie Caillat
If you believe our local Clear Channel DJ, her dad worked on some of Fleetwood Mac’s albums and helped his little girl with her debut. The song is a tiny bit sexy, a lot sweet and terrifically mellow. Who knew I could still like something that’s on mainstream radio? Check it out. Of course, if you haven't turned the sound down on my Slide, you're hearing it already.

My Favorite Parenting Book

At great risk of incoming email, I’m going to make a proclamation. If you only read one parenting book ever, it should be "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen so Kids Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

You should read it because it works. I had read parts of it previously, but I read it straight through on a recent trip to NYC. Before I’d even made it home, the book was always making a difference in my relationships. I was standing in line at McDonalds in the Laguardia Airport on Sunday morning. I wanted a Diet Coke more than anything (terrible, I know) and the man behind the counter was clearly upset. He was overseeing the staff in the back while trying to manage a growing line in the front. He moved to a new register and rather than saying, "May I help you," he said, "You can just stand there in one line or you can move over here and it will go a lot faster."

I could have written this off as a "typical New Yorker," but there was really much more going on. He was frustrated and overwhelmed. He was scowling at me, and I the opportunity to be rude right back, which he almost seemed to expect. But I’d been reading "How to Talk" and I decided to try one of my techniques out on him. "You seem very frustrated," I said. There was a long silence while he looked at me. His face softened, his tone changed and he said, "I am. Can I take your order?"

I was amazed. So, I tried some of the techniques with my daughter, WG. She and I are having recurring problems about messes in the playroom. She plays until its such a mess that she can’t clean it herself and the task is left to me. So, as the book advised, I asked her to sit down with me and together we brainstormed ideas for how to handle the problem. We wrote every idea down and at the end we chose a solution we felt could work for both of us – she’d clean up after bath every night. We have just two short nights under our belt, but each evening she’s eagerly reminded me, "Mommy, it’s time for me to pick up the playroom."

Even my one-year-old, Mr. B, seems to be responding. When he’s in a frustrated fury because he wants something that’s dangerous or otherwise not allowed, I look in his eyes and say gently, "You seem very frustrated. You want that toy." The tone of my voice and the acknowledgement seems to be all he needs, even at this young age, to move on to the next activity.

In a nutshell, I like the book so much because it works. It gives parents a step-by-step guide to improving communication with their kids and thus their relationships. The book is predicated on the idea that our goal in raising children is to help them to become happy, successful adults who know how to make good choices, deal with adversity, communicate effectively, and handle both positive and negative feelings. Through specific examples and illustrations, the authors provide you with scenarios for practicing skills, role playing and putting their theories into action. Though I felt silly "filling in the blank" at the beginning of the book, I found myself jotting in the margins by the end. First published in the 1980’s and a best seller for years, I’m hardly the first person to say that this one is a "must read," but I hope that you’ll go out and by this one. You’ll be glad you did. Now, the only question for me is, will these strategies work on my husband?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Every now and then something happens that radically reshapes the way I think about parenting. The most recent change moment occur ed when my mom was talking about my brother, Jarrett. He's a teenager now and she was lamenting how frustrating it was to reteach the same old lessons - clothes off the floor, towels hung to dry, kitchen counters wiped down, etc. She shared that it helped her to think of him as an "adult in training." Rather than expecting him to already be good at everything, she found that she could cut him some slack if she thought about the day to day struggles as his learning process.

A light went off in my head. That's what the WG is too. Okay, she's only four and she's well behind Jarrett in her journey, but she's starting on the path. There was a time when my job was to comfort her, nourish her and meet her every need. But now were at a transition moment. My new job is to help her learn essential life skills. Still the foundation of comfort, love and caring must be there; but I also need to give her increasing responsibilities and guide her through these new lessons.

I'll give you an example. She's been in PreK for a few weeks now. This is at "big girl school" a PreK through grade 12 school, and she stays through lunch for the first time. She takes a lunch box each day. The first couple of weeks I packed her lunch every night, assembling various items, cutting her sandwiches into heart shapes, etc. But she's really capable of doing this herself. She can't put peanut butter on the bread, but she can assemble the lunch pail.

So I've set up a lunch box station in our fridge. She selects something from each of four boxes - one that's dairy/fiber, one protein, one fruit or vegetable, and one treat. She also chooses a napkin and packs a spoon if she needs it. It's been a wonderful experience for both of us.

First, she's learned to make choices in the morning and live with them in the afternoon. She's in charge - so there's no one to complain to when she decides she doesn't want that peanut butter and jelly sandwich today. Plus, she's gotten to learn how important a spoon is to applesauce, and she's getting some guided practice at balancing her meals. The best part - she's so pleased with herself! She really enjoys telling the teacher and other kids that she made her own lunch. It makes her feel like a big girl and gives her ownership over one aspect of her life. And she's ready for that bit of ownership.

There will be so many more lessons. So many more baby steps to get to that adult. And I am so enjoying getting to know her along the way. Maybe by the time she calls herself "adult," I'll be able to call myself "parent" rather than "parent-in-training."

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Enforcer

I feel like the biggest meanie sometimes.

The day started so well, and it ended so poorly.

WG had her first day of camp at DA. She absolutely loved it and I was ecstatic. There's nothing better than watching your kiddo have a really great time.

Then we came home and while Baby B napped, we read three books from her summer reading list.
  • Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding by Yumi Heo
    Great illustrations, an interesting and conversation provoking exploration of a little girl's conflicting emotions when her favorite uncle gets married. Perfect for five year old girl crowd.
  • Wolves by Emily Gravett
    An unusual and offbeat tale in which a rabbit checks out a library book about wolves. Blurs in line between the book we're reading and the book inside the book in interesting and creative ways. However, I found the ending a little scary. I didn't explain it to WG for fear of nightmares. Luckily, there's an alternate ending.
  • Best Best Friends by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
    A Caldacott winner, although I'm not sure why. It's interesting enough, and it did spawn a conversation about friends, jealousy and why its important to be nice. But its not the kind of book that we'd want to read again and again.)

We played our two new favorite games from Haba - The Sleepy Princess & The Pea & Animal Upon Animal. Both involve stacking and falling and both are lots of preschool fun!

Then, in a fit of spontaneity, we headed for the pool. Mel knocked off a few minutes early (I'm sure he'll make up for it after the kids are in bed) and we all went to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine together. The pool was fairly quiet and several times I noticed WG shouting loudly. I asked her to lower her voice. Dad asked her to quiet down. And finally, I got out of the pool, walked over to where she and Dad were playing and told her that she was too loud, that this was her "one warning" and that if she screamed again, we would be going home. Not a breath later, she screamed. I hadn't even had time to take ten steps away. So, I got her out of the pool and sat her down on the side. We talked a bit, and then packed up and went home. I feel like an ogre. But on some level I know that I did the right thing.

On the way home, Mel and I talked about whether the punishment fit the crime. And we talked about presenting a united front to WG. And I don't think she was intentionally testing the limits. But I do know that if my consequences become idle threats on little things, that eventually she'll start pushing the limits on much larger things.

As we were walking out, I could feel all the eyes on me. The grandmas and grandpas in the crowd just couldn't believe I was taking this poor child home for letting loose squeals of glee and screams of delight.

But one day, when she's not driving drunk through our neighborhood, and she's not rude to the people that she passes on the street, hopefully then they'll see why I'm sweating the small stuff.

Boy, is this parenting stuff hard.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blueberries & Cherries

Yesterday, WG and I baked a blueberry pie. She's been begging to make one for weeks and I've had all the ingredients - but yesterday during Baby B's nap we made it a priority and headed for the kitchen. The combination of being four and her last year in Montessori school has transformed her into Miss I-Can-Do-It. She headed for the pantry and cabinets and wanted to bring everything back to the counter. She wanted to measure, pour and stir. And with every step came her now constant refrain, "Why?" "Why do we paint the crust with egg?" "Why does egg make it brown?" "Why are there holes in the top of the crust?" "Why don't pies have icing?" Every situation is a chance for her to learn and I try to embrace it - although after the 187th "Why" of the day sometimes I'm the one that needs a time out.

Meanwhile, Baby B awoke and we needed something to occupy him while we finished our lattice weave crust. So, I used a fresh fruit feeder and let him taste his first cherries. Whoever invented these feeder things is a genius! I absolutely love them. Munchkin makes them and you can get them at Target for about $5.00 (2 in a pack). You coarsely chop fresh fruit, snap it inside the mesh and then baby can suck on it, chew on it and otherwise amuse himself with fresh fruit flavor. Baby B just LOVES it. And he loves Bing cherries. He was a big rockin' mess afterwards, but it was worth it to watch him enjoy those cherries.

Sadly, the blueberry pie was a disappointment to the WG. While dad and I loved it, she didn't like the way it tasted. Probably too tart for her palate. Plus, there was no icing.

(Find the recipe for our Blueberry Pie at

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Learning to Play

Today my best friend Allison and I packed up the kids and took them to Planet Child in Cary. It doesn't sound like much, but it was a big undertaking for us.

First of all, there are five car seats to manage. Two booster seats (no problem, they're light and easy), one infant bucket (again, pretty simple) and two mammoth Britax car seats (I should be bench pressing to handle those). I think those things are safe in the same way that SUVs are safe - they're just bigger, heavier and tougher than everything else on the road. Of course, you'll likely sprain a wrist trying to move it from car to car.... I digress...

By 9:30 we had all five kids dressed, fed and strapped into the car. Hooray! Sadly, that meant that Allison wasn't yet dressed. She threw on some clothes and we were off.

Planet Child was terrific. If you haven't been there, it's definitely worth a trip to Cary. (It's a 45 minute drive for us and we'll definitely go back). The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. It was busy but not crowded at all - and the kids all quickly found sections that amused them. Charlie put on a pith helmet and climbed into a Land Rover in the safari section. WG found a buddy and headed to the kitchen/grocery area. Sam and his buddy played in the pirate ship - my personal favorite. And Baby B and Baby T were happy, happy in the baby area. We spent two hours there are scarcely a tear was shed - a near record for our crowd.

I played on the floor with Baby B for a wonderful, long time. We played peek a boo among the padded blocks. We spun the toddler bead toy, we giggled and we hugged the stuffed animals. It struck me that I really do love playing on the floor with him. But I do have a tough time doing it at home. At home it seems that there's always laundry to do, closets to straighten, out of season clothes to pack up, or emails to answer. I have such a hard time putting those things to the side to play. It's when he's frustrated or sad that I'll get on the floor with him and distract him. At the pool we splash about together. Even in the grocery store we sing and play. It's at home that I have a hard time playing.

I think I need to put playing on my to-do list. Every morning I start with a to-do list. It typically has 30-40 items on it, so I rarely get them all done in a day. But I am happy when I can cross off half. Then I roll the other items to the next day. Maybe if I put playing on the floor with Baby B, I'll remember to make it a priority - even when we're just at home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In Memorial

I just got back from a week in Auburn, Alabama, the town I grew up in. It was one of the most challenging weeks of my life. We were home for two funerals.

On Sunday, my grandfather passed away. Buster was a big man most of my life. He had coal black skin and long hair. He wore cowboy boots and a big cowboy hat. On summer afternoons he would load me, my siblings and cousins in the back of his customized pick up truck and take us to Krystal for hamburgers in the parking lot. He pinched our cheeks, laughed giant belly laughs and loved Jerry Springer. But on Sunday, he passed away as a result of complications from cancer.

My grandmother and aunt, together with his family, began making funeral arrangements, and then unexpectedly my grandmother had a massive heart attack and died early on Tuesday morning. She was standing at the stove in her home making an early morning breakfast and then she was gone. We were all so stunned.

My mom and I packed up the kids and got on the road early on Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday were full of people who were calling or stopping by to offer condolences – but many of them were stopping in to check on my grandmother. When they heard the news about her they were stunned and our family bore the full brunt of their shocked reactions. Seventy-year-old men crumbled into heaps of tears on her sofa. Large bodies and slight frail ones rocked with sobs in her chairs. Some could hardly speak and some had many words. Some just repeated – no, no, no.
Grandma's House

I think it will still take me a while to recover. I know that in many ways I haven’t yet begun to grieve their passing. I am still adjusting to the shock of their absence in the house that was so much a part of my youth. And I’m still working through my own feelings about those friends and family members that reacted so powerfully to the news.

In the end, I know that it won’t be this past week that I remember – although it’s made a powerful impression on me. It will be the way that Buster looked in that white suit and string tie, my grandmother’s infectious giggle and the way she referred to herself in the third person ("Grand-mama loves you"), and the steadfastness with which they loved each other and each of us.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Will work for food.

Today was a busy day, but good day. Baby B was up for the day around 5am, and my darling hubby got up with him and let me sleep another hour. It was a glorious hour.

Then it was showers, getting the kids dressed, and pack them into the car. I'd forgotten to get the snack for WG's preschool class, so it was off to the grocery to round up the last items I needed for this morning's photo shoot and getting the snacks that four year old's love. (Apparently the strawberries were a big hit).

Danielle Anthony and I spent the morning shooting the images for two articles that will run in this year's Premier Baby and Child. We were working with food and products this morning and it was great fun. I was styling apple sauce and yogurt, trying to create those lovely peaks you see in magazine photos.

Then, it was off to pick up the WG and we all headed home. I've been writing all afternoon and hope to be down to the last seven or eight articles before I hit the hay tonight. Mel is up at 4am for a flight tomorrow so it will be an early evening for us. And then tomorrow will be a big day.

The morning is mine all mine! It happens so infrequently that I plan to relish it. I have a sitter while WG is in school, so I'll be kidless. I plan to grocery shop, go to the bank, the post office and cleaners. But while I do it, I'll be listening loudly to the radio and I'll be going at 10 times my normal speed. It's going to be great.

After school WG has playdate with her favorite friend, a swim lesson with another buddy and we'll probably grab a salad and a pizza for dinner. Maybe we'll curl up and watch Aladdin together in the afternoon - she's been dying to do that. I'm looking forward to it.

Warm bodies.

What is it about kids that makes them so cute and cuddly? I don't think it's just because they're tiny. I think it's also that they are so warm. I'm sitting on the sofa next to the WG right now. She's watching TV and I'm working away on the laptop. And her little body is like a radiator. Her little arms and legs feel like a crackling fire on a winter day. Hmmmm.... Delightful.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Almost done!!!

You'd think that the last thing I'd want to do is write more. But I'm just so darn excited that I have to let you all know! I'm just 14 articles away from being finished with the 2007-2008 issue of Premier Baby and Child! Yeah! It's going to be a great issue. If I give too much away Robyn will kill me. But suffice it to say, it's chock full of gorgeous nurseries, amazing parties and really helpful medical and parenting advice. Wish me luck on the homestretch!

Multi-Tasking for a Cause

Right now, I am standing at the kitchen counter. I’m checking emails on my laptop, listening to the WG play in the family room, watching Baby B finger feed bananas and diced carrots and listening to the hum of the lawn mower outside. I’m also frying okra (WG’s favorite), making mashed potatoes, setting the table and boiling eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning. Oh yes, and I’m catching up on the day’s news on NPR, opening the mail and doing laundry.

It seems that many of my days end this way – multi-tasking and rushing way through the dinner hour. I wish that I could slow down and enjoy my husband, my kids and myself during this time of day, but it seems to be at odds with the very concepts of being a mother. And I hear from the moms I interview for the magazines that it only gets busier. As the kids get older, I know they’ll be homework to check and after school events to make life even more complicated.

As I look around, I realize that I am the only one multi-tasking. WG is marching around the living room playing the flute. Bennett is discovering spitting with squeals of delight. And Mel is enjoying taking care of his lawn.

I guess that’s what it means to be a mother. We take on the craziness – the hurry scurry of life – so that our families can enjoy the simple pleasures. It’s because I’ve had a million things going at once that they have a home cooked meal at our dinner table, the time for stories and cuddling and clean, fresh pajamas every night. And as I stand here, I’m happy to take on the chaos for my family if it means they enjoy the gift of an average evening at the Williams house.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rub a Dub Dub. Two Kids in the Tub.

As it turns out, putting your kids in the tub is a great way to get some work done. Right now, I'm taking a break from writing the nursery articles in the upcoming edition of Premier Baby and Child to blog, and my two little ones are splashing together in the tub. Baby B is in his little stability seat, and he's splashing and kicking in the water. He's finally managed to grab a rubber duck and he's pretty proud of himself. WG is playing with a family of ducks and singing to them. Her two ducks are currently embraced in a pretty heavy lip-lock. As usual, one of our Disney movies is being re-enacted.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't working through moments like this. That I could take more time to just sit and watch them. Because they sure are funny. But I'm grateful for the little moments just sitting beside them. That I get to sit cross-legged on the floor with my laptop, doing something that I really love, without missing the joy of a mid-morning weekday bath.

We'll see how I feel later today, though. Somehow, I need to fit in two interviews, five articles, a meeting, and my husband's reception from work. Did I mention that the WG is home (it's a teacher work day) and Baby B has an unexplained fever? Right now, there's wash humming away in the laundry room, the kids are happy, the words are flowing for me and I feel very much in control. We'll see what a few hours will bring....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hello World!

Hello, all! So, this is what blogging feels like? Hmmm...I'm not sure I feel any different. I thought my family, my friends and readers of our magazines - Charlotte Baby & Child and Premier Baby & Child might enjoy keeping up with my babyfied world. If not, then I can print these, save them for my kiddos, and they'll know what mom was thinking when they were tiny tots and I was the most interesting person in their world.

Which brings me to a thought that I've had recently. My daughter, WG, is four now. Four is an age that brings parents to questions of discipline that they've been previously able to avoid. My best friend (and parenting hero) Allison said something the other day that got me thinking. She said that every time she has to discipline her son, she tries to imagine her words coming from the most important person in her life. That really made me stop and think. Every time I say something to WG, I am saying it as this all-important being -- a mother figure that meets her every need and controls her universe. Wow. That means every time I make a comment about someone's behavior, the foods we should eat, or even the weather it's getting filed away in her tiny mind as incredibly important information.

Although I felt very connected to the importance of my role as a mother before I had children, I find it's very easy to loose that sense now. Buried in mountains of laundry and wrist deep in diaper cream, I find myself a bit numb from the blocking and tackling. But Allison's words were a wonderful reminder to stop and look at myself, my words and my behavior through my child's eyes. To her, I'm beautiful, funny, powerful and smart. At least until she's five.

(Me, reading to the WG before her fourth birthday party)