An Interesting Parenting Tip – Signaling?

When we are in the throes of manufacturing lollacups, I spend quite a bit of time in the car, driving to and from our factories.  One day, I was listening to a “marketplace” segment on NPR that was fascinating.  The discussion was about, “Why more athletes are choosing to sport eyewear.”  I really have no interest in this particular topic, but the whole discussion really spoke to me.

Apparently the NBA star, Lebron James, wears non-prescription eyeglasses, and Harvard economist Roland Fryer explains the reason as a ‘two-audience signaling mechanism.’  As Fryer puts it, “These guys are saying to one audience, ‘Hey I’m here, I’m an athlete.’ To the other one, ‘Look at my glasses, look at the way I’m dressed, look at the way I carry myself — I can promote your product.'”

This idea of a signaling mechanism intrigued me.  Prof. Roland Fryer went on to talk about one of his colleagues who admitted to dying his hair gray to be taken more seriously by his students.

I began to wonder if I have any signaling mechanisms?  By blow-drying my hair and putting on makeup before a playdate, am I signaling to other moms that I have my life together?  On the rare occasion that I’m dressed up and wearing heels and stop into Target to pick up a prescription with my 2 kids in tow, do people perceive that I am waltzing through parenthood and making time to primp?

The scenarios kept running through my head, until I realized that oftentimes, I do what I do because I truly do want to be “that person.”  When I walk into a business meeting, serious but smiling and dressed to the nines in 4-inch heels, I really do want those people to think I am fully capable of achieving and doing it well.

One thing I cannot live without is under-eye concealer.  I feel like it instantly makes me look and feel well-rested.  I am, by no means, well-rested, but I really do wish I were and for now, to signal to others that I have had a good night’s sleep is fine by me.  Maybe I’m not really understanding the gist of the radio segment I was so affected by, but perhaps “signaling mechanisms” are the best form of motivation.  Perhaps one day I will make sleep a priority.  To begin with, I will try “signaling” to my children that I am in full control of each and every situation, and perhaps, they will buy it!

Swim Season is Around the Corner

Before I went to bed last night, I was on latimes.com and read a headline about a six-year-old girl who drowned in her family’s swimming pool during Memorial Day festivities.  I googled it to get the whole scoop and found a brief article about the incident on ABC7.com.  Can you imagine the heartache and profound loss that family is experiencing right now?

The timing was uncanny, but my daughters started swim lessons today – not because I’m starting them young on a path to become olympians, but because we live in S. California and they are around swimming pools quite a bit.  My girls are 3 and 4, so by the end of the swim course, the instructor said they should be able to put their heads underwater, open their eyes, and “swim” to the nearest wall or step.  This is really all they need – survival skills.  Incidents like the one that happened in La Canada on Memorial Day should remind us all to be on hyper-alert when our children are remotely near bodies of water.  Remember to talk to your kids about water safety and always keep these important reminders from the Red Cross in mind.

  • Children should be supervised at all times in the water (this includes baths).
  • Your backyard pool should have a fence at least 5-feet high that self latches to keep children from entering without an adult present.
  • Keep a phone poolside to avoid leaving children unattended if you get a phone call.
  • Don’t use floatation devices as a substitute for supervision.
  • Remove toys from the pool that might that interest young children.

Another One of My Go-To Recipes – Pasta with Pancetta and Peas

I don’t know about you, but every afternoon I find myself thinking, “how is it already time to prepare dinner?”  I just gave the kids an afternoon snack and now I’m already worrying about dinner!  Well, I am a big fan of quick and tasty dinners, and this is one of my kids’ favorites.  I love that there are only a handful of ingredients, it’s quick and easy to prepare, and it makes my kids devour peas.  What more could you ask for in a meal?
  • 16 ounces of pasta (I prefer linguine)
  • 8 ounces pancetta, diced (I like these Pancetta cubes I get at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (I’ve made this without lemon juice and it’s fine, but the acidity gives it a nice little touch)
  1. Cook pasta in salted water (before you drain the pasta, be sure to save a cup of the pasta water for later – this is key!)
  2. Saute pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until golden and crisp.
  3. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. In the same pan, saute onions until soft and translucent.
  5. Add peas and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in Parmesan, pasta and pancetta.
  7. Moisten pasta with some of the reserved pasta water.
  8. Toss to incorporate, season with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve, sprinkled with lemon juice.

You can find the original/full recipe on foodnetwork.com.  Enjoy!

Bigger, Better, and Faster?

Recently, my daughter’s school had a “Bike Day,” when children could bring their bikes/scooters to school and ride freely in an empty parking lot.  I saw several kids with those balance bikes (bikes without pedals/training wheels).  I kid you not, some of these barely 4-year-olds were fully able to ride a 2-wheel bike because of these new bikes.  I was astounded.

I found myself jumping online to look for this particular bike that would help my 4-year-old learn to ride like a pro.  Then I stopped to think – am I becoming THAT mom, who is constantly pushing her children to learn everything sooner than they really need to?  When my kids were infants, I didn’t push them to do anything.  Instead, I celebrated and enjoyed each little milestone that was reached.  At 2-weeks-old I wasn’t forcing my little one to hold her head up high and at 2-months-old I wasn’t buying devices to help her to sit up – why do I find myself looking to do this now?

Whether we like it or not it’s human nature to compare and feel pressure from outside influences.  Take potty training, for instance.  Many of us feel so much pressure to potty train – and quick, but do you know any tweens still in diapers?  My older daughter wasn’t fully potty-trained till she was almost four.  This made my mother and mother-in-law crazy.  They became obsessed with the fact that other 2-year-olds were potty-trained and mine wasn’t.  They would even try to accomplish the feat while they were babysitting.  For what?

Recently, I was talking to a friend who chose to start her son in kindergarten at 6 instead of 5 (which so many parents do), so he could have another year to mature and develop.  She was telling me about the ridiculous comments she got from others accusing her of trying to give her son an advantage in sports.  Are you kidding me?

I understand that we live in a competitive world, but these are our babies!  Whether you choose to breastfeed yours till he’s 12, start them on “your baby can read” at age 2, or keep her in diapers till 5, do you what you want to do when you think it’s right for your child.  Today’s post serves as a little reminder to myself to slow down and let my kids be kids at their own pace, because the incredible freedom that IS childhood does not last long.

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. – Meryl Streep

Today my older daughter brought over an old mermaid costume that had been sitting, untouched, in her “dress-up” drawer for months.  It was torn to pieces, and she asked me to fix it, so she could wear it again.  I looked at her in silence for several reasons:

1. She could not have chosen a worse time to ask me to find the sewing machine, recall how to use it, and repair her costume.

2. I know the basics of using a sewing machine, but I’ve never attempted to repair a polyester costume that is virtually torn to shreds.

A mother-daughter moment captured by the talented photographer, Caroline Tran

For some reason, this very short exchange led me to think about all the things my grandmother and mother are able to do, and I am not.  What happened along the way?  Can you imagine if we were able to retain all the skills our parents had and couple that with our current education level and tech savvy – we’d be super-parents.  I’m picturing myself cooking up some old family recipe after sewing matching outfits for my girls, and facebooking and tweeting photos along the way.

Since Mother’s Day is fast-approaching, I keep thinking of all the things I wish I could do like my mom.  Yes, there are many things I try my best to do differently, but there are those general skills,  recipes, and nuggets of know-how, that I hope to someday learn/acquire and be able to pass on to my own daughters.  For now, as I try and develop this elusive skill-set, thank goodness for Google, DIY blogs, and YouTube!  I just had to quote Meryl Streep, because every day is really about the essentials.

Late Night Ramblings – Post Shark Tank

We were ecstatic when we got our first online order, we felt a glimmer of hope when we opened our first retail account, we literally hurt when we got our first customer complaint, and smiled for days when we received our first glowing review.  I say all this, because running a business is such a roller-coaster.  Being on Shark Tank was like that signature, breathtaking drop –  we are laughing, screaming, and just holding on tight.  I remember pulling all-nighters in college, feeling like I couldn’t type one more letter, but looking back, that must’ve been training for this very moment.  Sleep is an afterthought and that’s okay.  The one thing that pains me is not being there for my girls as much as I had hoped.

A snapshot of our living room right now.

I came across an article in entreprenuer.com that said the following, “If you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to love your business more than anything else–even your family.”  WOW.  When I read this, I felt like someone punched me in the gut.  I’m determined to be successful, but I refuse to believe this.  I have a company and product, because of my family.  I have the most amazing partner who is my family, and family is helping us survive this ride.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this blog post, but I just had to take a minute away from work and think big picture.  Thanks for listening.  Anyone agree/disagree?  How do you all juggle work and family?

One of My Go-To Healthy (and Easy) Kids’ Meals

My older daughter is a bit of a gourmand.  She is open to trying anything, and loves to eat. My younger daughter, on the other hand, eats a lot, but prefers carbs and fruit over protein and veggies.  She’s also quite picky.  If she finds a sliver of a scallion on her chicken, she will spend an eternity picking it off.  She literally hates the color green.

I do know that the girl loves to dip and enjoys soups, so in my effort to get some vegetables in her, I’ve amassed an arsenal of vegetable-based soups.

Cauliflower soup is one of her favorite, so I thought I’d share the recipe with all of you.  I love it’s simplicity, and it’s so nice to watch this little girl devour a healthy meal.  Since everything’s blended together, she can’t pick at the pieces.  One of her favorite dinners consists of pita chips or crackers to dip in her large bowl of cauliflower soup.  Bon Appetit!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whipping cream/milk/rice milk/soy milk/etc.
  • salt (I like Kosher salt)
  • white pepper to maintain the color of the soup, but black pepper will do as well

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, broth, and cream. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer gently until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree soup in small batches in blender/food processor until smooth. Return to same saucepan. Season soup with kosher salt and white pepper.

* This recipe is very forgiving.  My daughters have a dairy allergy, so I use rice milk or sometimes just 4 cups of chicken broth.  It still tastes great!
.