Tag Archives: toddlers

Miles Storm’s First horse-riding lesson at 20 months of age

Today was a milestone for my 20 month old boy Miles Storm. Yes, he had his First of many horse-riding lessons. And, I am so excited for him. He really is a natural and so fearless (like most children)…. perfect perfect age to get him on a Pony! It is very important, to me, that My Son is around a variety of animals as much as possible. I mean, he has always had such a gift with animals that I really do not have to push him into it. When we both visited Australia (a few months back), at the local wildlife park he was able to walk free with kangaroos, emus and dingoes which he loved. I had to keep taking him back! However, unlike Australia, there really is not many ways to openly expose children to animals if you live in New York City… besides having the cliché pets like dogs or cats! Luckily for Miles Storm, where I horse-ride upstate NY at Welywyn Stable also offers classes for infants. The youngest student they ever had is a little girl who was 15 months when she started, and now, at 3 years she is already post-trotting (raising up and down while riding). Pretty amazing right? The benefits of riding horses are endless – less allergies (if any), keeping fit and active, learning about and how to respect other beings, learning how to follow directions, improving balance and coördination, developing confidence and exploring freedom! And, learning how to properly care and feed an animal prepares a child for caring for others. All around, it is just wonderful experience! Welywyn Stable is about 2 hours north of NYC straight down the Taconic State Parkway in Milan (close to Rhinebeck). Classes for infants are $35 for half an hour and are more experiential than instructional. My Son’s lesson involved him first learning how to sit properly on a horse.. to feel comfortable, and how to hold on to the reigns. He was then walked around the barn with his teacher for 15 minutes. The rest of the time involved him watching how to take a saddle off and brushing the horse down. Horses are such magnificent, beautiful creatures and I also see this as a pure positive way to explain to him why he does not eat animals, and why his Mummy does not eat animals either! I know that he would be horrified to know that most lollies (candy) in the United States have gelatin in them which includes horse bones (awful). Not many Children know that by the way! Anyway, I cannot wait to watch the way Miles Storm progresses with his riding. It gave me such joy to see him enjoying such a beautiful thing!

Miles Storm at his first horse-riding lesson at Welwyn Stables upstate NY

Let’s Chat about Elimination Communication!

When I was pregnant, a girlfriend used to tell me about her “hippie” friends in Mexico who had their babies out of nappies and potty trained  before they were a year old. This was my introduction to “Elimination Communication”, it sounded a bit far-fetched to me at first but now it seems exactly the opposite.

Elimination Communication (EC) is basically recognizing the signs of when your baby is going to the toilet and then immediately putting them on  the potty before they go in their nappy.

When Miles was around 7 months of age, I noticed that every morning around 10AM he started to pull a face that indicated he was doing poo-poo. I revisited the thoughts of my girlfriend and her stories and thought I would try it out. The experience was AMAZING. I ordered a potty online at Diapers.Com and the next day at 10AM when I saw my Son do his poo-poo face I ripped off his nappy and put him on the potty. And just like that he went. After that experience he did that every day for months and months on end. It was a great party trick, people were amazed at his skills. We even had a potty in the back of car so we could pull over if we saw him start to pull his tell-tale face.

But, somewhere around the 1 year mark (when he started walking) he stopped with Elimination Communication. As he was older he was not pulling the same faces or going at the same time so it was harder to work out.  And, as he could stand by himself, as soon as we put him on the potty he just cried and tried to get off. Honeymoon Over.

I have heard that over half of babies in the world (mainly in Asia in Africa) never wear nappies, and of that number half of them are potty trained by the time they are 1 year of age!  So why does our society depend on nappies so much, what has changed since the Stone Age when nappies did not exist? Are we lazy, or we just do not care, or is it just too easy the way it is these days. I am not sure, but I do know with this knowledge I feel really guilty that I am contributing to such waste when many parents in other parts of the world, prove day in and day out, that there is no need.

I have decided, as he is 19 months of age now, that I am really going to try with the EC again. I really want him out of nappies. Yes, it is time for me to start the dreaded potty training!

If anybody has any suggestions as to make the process smoother I am all ears!

Stopping on the side of the road for a Potty Stop.

Second Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change.

This year I was able to take part in the second annual “The Great Cloth Diaper Change” at the upstate NY Rhinebeck based “Waddle n Swaddle” maternity boutique where 81 Mummies and Babies got their cloth nappy on!

It happened like this – At 12.26PM all the babies were held in the air, at 12.28PM all the clean cloth nappies were held in the air, and at 12.30PM the nappies were all changed. It was very fast and all over red rover in about 8 minutes!

Besides raising awareness about reusable cloth nappies and raising money for charity, the event also aimed to break last year’s Guinness World Record of 5,026 babies simultaneously changed into cloth nappies. That is a lot of nappies right, it sure is, BUT still less than the total number of disposable nappies that the Real Diaper Association (RDA) estimates one child goes through before they turn 2 years of age!

Cloth nappies aren’t like they used to be when I was a baby being that they had to pre-folded and fastened with metal pins – Ouch! These days; cloth nappies are bright and colorful, better for the environment and a lot cheaper than the thousands of dollars you can spend on disposable nappies until your child is potty trained. They can also be reused with additional children.

The event this year was held in 16 countries compared to 5 countries last year so excitingly awareness is growing at speed!

There is still no official word as to how many nappies were changed on Saturday, although I am sure, with 11 more countries joining the movement it will be a lot higher than 5026!

The Great Cloth Diaper Change upstate NY at the Rhinebeck “Waddle n Swaddle” store

The Great Nappy debate!

Cloth Nappies or Disposable nappies, this is the question I am asking today! Did anybody else go what through what I went through trying to work out what was best for the Earth, my Son and me?

I did a lot of research before Miles Storm was born trying to figure it all out. It was very time-consuming. At the end of it all I was adamant that my little boy would wear Cloth nappies, mainly because of the environmental effect disposable nappies have on OUR Earth.

Mainstream disposable diapers are NOT biodegradable meaning that they sit in landfills forever and ever. The average little human uses 6,500+ nappies before they are potty trained!  A 2008 Time magazine article says “The Real Diaper Association, an advocacy group founded in 2004, estimates that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the U.S. (according to the EPA, that translates into more than 3.4 million tons of waste dumped into landfills)”.  This is beyond Crazy to me and this was in 2008! Fast forward four years… and this is the reason I never use standard nappies, not to mention most of them are bleached white – Can you imagine sitting in a bleached nappy 24/7 for 2-3 years of your life? Also, most disposable nappies have insane chemicals in them like dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Tributyl-tin (TBT), among other stuff. Sounds scary right? Yeah, well it is.

My husband has still not accepted my love of cloth nappies, we fought tooth and nail about it before our Son was born, he wanted to use disposable nappies end of story. I went ahead and secretly ordered from my-cloth-nappy-of-choice the Australian GroVia and hid them in the cupboard from him. When he found them he was not a happy camper that is for sure!

Anyway, what ended up happening when Miles Storm was born was that I was too tired and exhausted to use the cloth nappies. It was too much for me, I did not have the energy to clean his nappies by hand and then wash them in the washing machine and wait for them to dry. I also did not want to pay for a pick up service to take care of it for me. And, we live in a city apartment so we do not have a laundry sink to clean them off.

As a compromise; my husband and I came up with a hybrid plan where we started using Vermont based Seventh Generation “helping to protect human health and the environment” disposable nappies which are free of fragrances, latex and chlorine and are semi-biodegradable. I still use, occasionally, GroVia cloth nappies with their 100% biodegradable disposable bio-soaker inserts (when by husband is not around). My husband is so funny in that I can have a nice row of GroVia nappy outer-shells set up and the inserts right next to them and he will still say to me “Why don’t we have any diapers”? He is just a blank to the cloth nappy vibe. Oh well! He is beautiful in other ways.

Everybody is different and you have to do what is best for you. For me, this works for my peace of mind.

If you want to use Seventh Generation nappies/products Diapers.com deliver overnight – which is wonderful.

Upstate New York, (my second home), you can buy a whole range of cloth nappies at my favorite store Waddle n Swaddle who have two locations in Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck.

In the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area Caribou Baby is the only place that I know that you can walk in and buy Cloth nappies; they also have the ability to answer any question that you may have. Hopefully soon there is a store more into the “Willy B” that also offers the same, I have a feeling that might just happen!

Miles Storm in his one of his GroVia cloth nappies!

Little Duck Organics – Photo Shoot opportunity. Fun for the whole family!

Who loves Little Ducks Organics – me and Miles Storm do! Besides all of their products being 100% Organic, Kosher, no-sugar added, Gluten-Free & Non-GMO Verified (etc etc) – they have a really cool and fun vibe!

LDO is right up my alley being a holistic do-my-best for the Earth Mum. This is why I am very excited to announce to all the local Greenpoint/Williamsburg parents out there that they are looking for 5 local Little Ones to be photographed for all of their Summer 2012 marketing materials. It is a great opportunity!

If you have a little superstar at home who you want to put forward for consideration, please send hello@littleduckorganics.com a few RECENT photographs of your child, as well your child’s clothing size, their name/age and the best way to reach you. This is open for babies to children up to the age of 6 years of age.

If your munchkin is chosen you will be notified by next Wednesday the 25th of April (you are going to have to sit tight till then). The shoot date is Tuesday May the 8th so your child + one carer must be available on this day in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Shoot times will be determined, and Little Duck will send you more information about that as it gets closer to the shoot date.

In appreciation, Parents (and models) will receive copies of the photographs, a wonderful goodie bag of treats, some clothing from the shoot, an amazingly fun day, and of course lots of love from Little Duck!

What more could you ask for?

LDO_Spring_2012_Photo_Shoot

TriBeCa Pediatrics – Dr Wittek is the Proof in the Pudding!

Is there any other Pediatrician to go to if you live in Williamsburg other than TriBeCa Pediatrics? If there is, I do not know about it, but considering they are only a few blocks from our apartment I cannot say that I’ve ever looked for another.

Tribeca Pediatrics has been at 212 Berry Street for about 4 years. They are also located on the Upper East Side, Chelsea, Park Slope, Harlem, Greenpoint, Long Island City and of course TriBeCa where they originated 10 years ago.

Personally, we have 2 pediatricians we use for Miles Storm. One is 31 year practicing Dr Joseph Malek who is Bambini Pediatrics upstate in Poughkeepsie – he is somewhat of a living legend in the modern-hippie Mum world up there and has a cult following (true story). His practice is holistic, does not necessarily push the immunizations and prefers natural remedies to cure problems.

And, locally we use the very traditional TriBeca Pediatrics.

We have a house upstate where we spend a lot of time, and being a holistic Mummy I wanted to have contrast and varying opinions so when I chose our upstate pediatrician I went with Dr Malek. You know, this way we hear the theories from both sides of the fence.

Since our Son was born, depending on the feedback from the varying trains of thought, sometimes we have leaned towards Bambini Pediatrics suggestions and other times Tribeca Pediatrics suggestions. For example, my Son has had all of his immunizations except his Chicken Pox and MMR – Bambini Pediatrics told us that if we do decide to immunize Miles Storm we could wait till he is 2 years old, where as Tribeca Pediatrics very much pushed for him to have it at 12 months; which we just couldn’t do! Are we going to immunize him against measles and chicken pox, we are still not sure? We go back and forwards about it all the time.

The hands-down best thing about Tribeca Pediatrics (beside the organic lollipops) is two-time-Mummy Dr Dominika Wittek. She was a God-Send for me when I went through troubling times not long after my Son was born. Being so far from my home, family and friends in Australia I truly do not know what I would have done without her support and advice. She called me on the phone to check in with me and was available to me via email. I cannot even put in to words what a beautiful and genuinely caring Doctor she is. I am one of her biggest fans, and I highly recommend her to any new local Mums out there looking for someone to watch over your Little One as they grow.

Tribeca Pediatrics also offer classes in CPR, Essential Baby Care, Breastfeeding Preparation and Preparation for Childbirth. You can find out more information about this at their webpage www.tribecapediatrics.com

Dr Wittek giving Miles Storm his 18 month check-up!

Brekkie at “Egg” on North 5th!

Me and my husband have tried to eat at Egg for about 4 years now, seriously! Every time we visited; they were too busy and the wait was too long. Not today though, we were there right on opening at 8AM and able to get a table! Amazing. Apparently others had the same idea as within the next 20 minutes the restaurant was full. There were another 3 families with Little Ones and thankfully there were enough high-chairs to go around.

I love Egg because they grow most of the food they sell at the restaurants themselves upstate NY on their very own space known as Goatfell Farm.  Goatfell Farm provides over 100 varieties of organic fruits and vegetables which is very impressive! I wish I had a farm and could live off the land…. one day! Otherwise, they  buy locally. There are not many restaurants that you can eat at and really feel comfortable knowing where the food has come from. I had the steamed kale and the organic braised tomatoes and it was so yummy. I felt so good eating such a healthy breakfast.

Miles Storm loved Egg because of the complimentary donuts and the crayons that are on every table. He was also flirting with one of the waitresses which was really cute. All the staff are friendly and helpful. He was in heaven. .. which means my husband and I were in heaven and could enjoy our Brekkie! It was a great vibe all around.

The restaurant is open Monday – Friday from 7AM to 6PM and Saturday – Sunday from 8AM to 6PM. It is also CASH only.

Miles Storm eating Brekkie at “Egg” on North 5th.

Baby Boot Camp. Let’s Get Physical.

Wow, was Miles Storm a terrorist or what today at Baby Boot Camp? All of a sudden he is super interactive with other babies…. pity all the other babies at class were younger than him and just not feeling his vibe!

I have been looking for another exercise class to do in “Willy B” on the alternate days to which “Mighty Mamas” run on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a while now – exercising only 2 days a week is not enough for me. Thankfully, having started 6 months ago Baby Boot Camp  is executed at Caribou Baby and the Betz Method Gym in Greenpoint on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the week. Perfect compliment to “Mighty Mamas”.

I went to my first class last week and I am happy to report it was extremely challenging physically. Big points here because as if us Mums have time to dilly-dally. Let’s get our bodies back in minimal time with maximum effort!

Jody Camarra heads up the group in the WIlliamsburg/Greenpoint Chapter. Having recently had a beautiful daughter, and not wanting to go back to work she started Baby Boot Camp in September of 2011. I am so happy she did, and I know that a lot of other Mummies in our neighborhood are also grateful.

The class differs slightly to “Mighty Mamas” in that it is not encouraged that children are out of the pram, if possible. Miles Storm was a little confused about this at first…..

On Fridays the class is held at the Betz Method Gym and it is not entirely baby proof. I had to EVENTUALLY let my Little One out of his pram as it was too much for him to sit and watch us all run around the room. He threw a small fit – Fair Enough – he wanted to explore! To compromise, all the Mums and the instructor helped me to make sure he did not get into too much mischief. TEAM WORK!

The Wednesday class at Caribou Baby is a lot more relaxed if you have an older baby/toddler, and it is not so necessary that Little Ones are kept in their pram from a safety standpoint.

If you are interested in attending a Free Trial class  you can email Jody directly at jody.camarra@babybootcamp.com and she will happily send you more information.

Up and At ‘Em “WIlly B” – hopefully me and Miles Storm will see you in a class soon!

Miles Storm helping me out with my Plank position.

Revisiting Frolic Rock n Roll play space!

So happy to write that me and Miles Storm were able to revisit Frolic Play Space again for a second time today, and the experience was nothing short of perfect!

We were warmly greeted by co-founders Carey and Julia who started on their dream of opening a Children’s community-feel play space 2 years ago! That’s a long time waiting for the doors to finally open on January 9th just past. It is also so exciting for them, and for all the children in the “Willy B” area who are lucky enough to spend time Rocking out at their venue!

As soon as we walked in Miles Storm took off, at speed, to the Jumping Castle in the back room – he loved it. Not to mention the Ball Pit, the restored awesome VW bus, the Rolling Stone inspired slide and his favorite “Creature Symphony”.

What is Creature Symphony I hear you ask? It is a state-of-the-art custom video wall where animated creature movements are reflected by the children moving in front of the screen. The creatures all make different sounds so children can create their own music, if they so please. It is very cool and unique. I would love to have something like this in Miles Storm’s bedroom!

Frolic is a members only club. There are 2 different membership options available which are moving like hot cakes – ALL ACCESS (pay in full): $948 annually ($79 per month) or I’M WITH THE BAND (pay in full): $1,320 annually ($110 per month). There are different perks to each subscription which you can check out HERE.

A great time was had by all, and we are looking forward to many wonderful times at Frolic in the future.

Miles Storm tripping out at the Creature Symphony.

Open Play at “The Gym Park” – Gymnastics Inspired Play.

The Gym Park is another great find!

To think a few weeks ago I thought that there was nothing really for my Little One to do – boy was I wrong. There is so much to do in the Williamsburg Brooklyn area, I can barely keep up.

Head down to 8 Oak Street down in Greenpoint, on the East River, if you are ever stuck for an indoor activity, or you just want to let your Little One tire themselves out. There is plenty to do inside the Very Colorful 2,800 square foot facility including trampolines, swings, hula hoops, scarves, toys, balls, and lots of other children! Everything is Padded too, which is great. Miles fell over so many times running and jumping, and did not bat an eyelid, it was all part of the appeal for him.

The Gym Park has been open for around 2 years now, and has mixed reviews in the area – one thing I have learnt is that you cannot keep everybody happy!  I met Peter, who runs the venue and he was very helpful. Sure, he did seem a bit obsessive compulsive but I really did not take it to heart. There is nothing wrong with running a ship-shape and clean venue, right?

Open Play is from 10.30AM – 12.30PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well as 3PM – 5PM on Wednesday. The cost is $15 up front or $10 if you pay a $30 Open Play membership fee. There are also a ton of classes offered for babies all the way up to teenagers.

Additionally, The Gym Park offers a lot of other activities including Birthday Parties, Camps and special events like “Kids Night Out”. You can find more information on their web page at www.thegympark.com

I am going to try out a “Mommy and Me” class with Miles Storm the week after next, as they are closed for Presidents Week (like a lot of other places). I am very much looking forward to it and will let you know how it goes.