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The One Thing All Toddlers Have In Common

Feb 12, 2016

You know how they always say, one day you will laugh about it. Well, I'm still waiting...

Being that I have a very spirited, stubborn child, I have become well versed in meltdowns. I've begun to see a pattern in the different stages of tantrums. These stages, are very similar to the five stages of grief.

The only difference is, no one died.

Which, can be a hard sell to a child who's positive he's going to die if he doesn't get his way.

Without further ado, the one thing all toddlers have in common,  The five stages of a toddler meltdown.

1. Denial- Toddler tantrums most always start with denial of some form. Their face becomes flush with shock and disbelief. Tears of shattered dreams begin to pour down. They are positive there is just absolutely no freaking way you are being serious right now. 

2. Anger- When tears and a few half-assed tries to get their way ceases to work, ANGER sets in. This is the stage where a verbal assault is paired with launching toys across the room. When necessary, a dead drop to the ground is followed by flailing arms and legs, to convey just how pissed off he is.

3. Bargaining- things get interesting at the bargaining stage. Kids can get very creative at this stage. They might hand out options or empty promises to be good. Expect ANYTHING during this stage. Toddlers are crazy, and aren't afraid to show it.

4. Depression- Depression is the most annoying of the stages. Depression ushers in the hard-core fake tears, which can make you feel like the worst parent. Well, don't fall for it! This is their last fight. They are out of options. They know they are beat. That's what the rivers of tears are about. They are pissed they didn't get their way. This no longer has anything to do with the original cause of the meltdown.

Then, finally, when both of you are emotionally and physically worn out, the end is near, but not without a one last blast.

Acceptance- This stage is the most vindictive. Once a toddler realizes that he's not going to get his way, he fakes acceptance just to throw you off his trail. The fact is, he's a toddler and already on to his next evil plan. Even though you won this round, he's not going to give up his Independence that easily.

Not following us on social media yet? You're missing out on all of our behind the scenes nonsense, and trust me, it's complete and utter nonsense.

I Finally Did The One Thing I've Regretted For So Long

Feb 8, 2016

One thing is for sure about my family, we are not your average family. Between the Australian dad, the off-the-charts wild and brilliant kid, and me, the certifiable, outspoken and outgoing crazy mom from Miami, there's never dull moment. Never.

What's more, getting any one of us to sit still, listen and smile for more than a second is impossible. I know, I've tried. For this reason, I could never get professional photos taken of my family. Which, I have regretted for so long.

I absolutely love the professional newborn photos of sweet hands, toes and button nose, yet, never did it for my son.

I absolutely love those sweet family photos, taken in the park or on the beach, or in a studio with the ultra cute family wearing a matching tops, huddled together in a sweet embrace. Yet, never pressed the issue for my family.

Sure, I have thought about getting professional photos taken. I have looked at countless Living Social and Groupon deals for photographers. Then, I think about how the actual photo shoot would go.

FTD: Really?  I have to wear this stupid shirt and sit and smile for an hour?  This sucks.

Ollie: If you want me to wear that shirt, catch me. Oh, and good luck keeping it clean, because I plan to wreck it before we get into the car.

Me: Screw it.

Then, last weekend, while in Florida, a dear friend, who doubles as the best photographer in Orlando, Jessika Kazaros, says, Why don't we do a family photo shoot on the beach.

Immediately, I thought of all the false barriers I put up when I think of a, "family photo shoot". Still, this was a huge opportunity, and not one to pass up.

So, after much thought of what we will wear, the poses we should do, and the perfect backdrop of the beach, I decided the best thing to do would be, wing it. That morning, I let the boys pick out their clothes while I threw on a bathing suit and tossed my hair in a braid. I didn't even put on make-up.

Once we got to the beach, Jessika pulled out her camera, and told us to ignore her and have fun.

Which, we did.

Every once in a while she would ask us to pose in a fun, natural way or do something photo worthy as a family.

Three days later, the photos arrived in my inbox.

I cried.

I laughed.

I loved every single one. Even the ones where I looked like a blimp crashed on the beach. These were beautiful photos taken during an amazing family day. They were so good, it reaffirmed my belief that my family had no business posing in matching shirts. That's not us. Playing around and being silly on the beach, is.

Jessika, magically froze those moments in time, in the most beautiful way. I will forever be thankful for that day with my family.

I cannot recommend enough that you do this. Frolic, have fun and make memories as a family, all while having the moments frozen in time.

If you are going to Orlando, or already live there, and want to have Jessika Kazaros, the best family photographer in Orlando, capture your family on the beach, or wherever, check out her website, here. (More of our photos are on it!)

Oh, and tell her April sent you for 10% off your photo shoot!

Help Stop the Downfall of Family Time

Feb 7, 2016
Today, I'm turning over the blog to Michael Peggs for an incredibly important cause-Saving family time.

It’s harsh, but true. Quality family time has been dying a slow death over recent decades. In an age of high speed communications, globalization and gender parity, we’re constantly forced to perform better, work harder, handle more; because if we fail to do so, there’s always someone around waiting to step into our shoes. With the worst maternity leave on the planet along with Oman and Papua New Guinea, many American women are forced to go back to their jobs after just six weeks of bonding with their little ones.

Those who decide to stay at home may find that economic pressures or a need to put years of study and experience to proper use impulses to return to the labor force, where they will not be given flexibility for parent/teacher meetings, sick children or birthday parties. According to the BBC, family life is under growing strain, as parents are continually forced to put their work before their children.

While it sounds rather depressing and you probably can’t do too much to change legislation or a competitive labor market, you can be aware of it and do your best to help stop the death of family time completely. Make sure that when you are together with your family, the time you spend is quality time. Put your smartphone away. Set limits for yourself regarding work and other distractions, and make sure you don’t lose contact with your kids, or let distant relatives slip out of touch completely.

Starting a project together is a great way to keep everyone connected. And what better project to start than one designed to unite the whole family, from far and near? You may be under a blizzard of paperwork or your days simply pass by in the blink of an eye, but take action and make sure that your children know who their relatives are and how important family is.

Create a family reunion website. In just a few minutes you can access a whole online portal and design it around you and your family to propose a family reunion. Invite all family members and get them to contribute to the page with photos and latest news. Choose a place to meet and make sure that everyone gets lots of advance notice so that they can accommodate their schedules.

It might sound like a lot of work, but if you share the task with all family members and you sit down with your kids while you work on choosing the best family reunion games and the prettiest decorations, you will be rewarded tenfold by the excitement you build up in everyone involved and the invaluable lesson you teach your children about the importance of family.

Even if you can’t physically bring people together because of distance, cost, or any other reason, family websites are still a great way to unite your family and spend quality time with your kids while sharing precious memories with the people you love.

Author Bio: Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.

This Is The Ultimate Way To Honor Your Baby

Feb 5, 2016
Two years ago, I received what would become a life-changing email. The email was from a PR agent asking if I would share an open call for letters for the upcoming book, A Letter To My Mom; the third book in the, "A Letter To...", series-- a collection of personally-crafted letters written by people from all walks of life, including celebrities, everyday people and kids.

Being that the book was going to honor amazing women, I was more than happy to share the opportunity with my community. I even wrote a letter to my mom and published it on the blog with the open call. 

I nearly died when I received the email a few weeks later that my letter was being considered for the book. After a few nail biting months, the email I'd been waiting for came, my letter was going to be published in the book. 

The greatest honor of my writing career, so far, also honored my mother. 


It was pure magic.

Letters from Melissa Rivers, Shania Twain, will.i.am, Christy Turlington, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sarah Duchess of York and many other celebrities are published in the book. I'm next to Dr. Phil! There's also letters from kids, and everyday people who poured out their love. That's what makes the book so beautiful, all demographics, cultures and relationships are documented.
Why am I telling you this?

Because, the opportunity has presented itself again, and this time, the open call is asking for, A Letter To My Baby!

So Exciting! DO THIS!!! I know I am. (I'll share my letter on the blog once I'm finished!)

Imagine, having a letter you wrote to your baby published in a book, that will most likely debut on the New York Times Best Seller List! What a way to honor your baby. It's like having your love etched in stone for the world to read. 

Here's How: Write a letter to your baby, then share your letter, along with any photos you would like published along side your letter, here. (Or click the banner below)

Time-Out To The Rescue

Feb 3, 2016
When my son turned two, to combat his typical stubborn defiant toddler behavior, we started 2-minute time-outs (TO). Since his Mother's day out program enforced time-outs as well, it worked pretty well. Most times, just the threat of a TO worked to deter naughty behavior.

Around three and a half, the little guy sort of turned a corner on being naughty. He was a delight more than not. Time-outs became less and less, until we ceased to have them. Instead, we would take a toy or tech-time away for a period of time.

Enter two weeks ago...

The kid turned the corner on craziness! He started to say, NO!, to everything, hit, kicked, ran away, or just, did it anyway--whatever 'it' was that I told him not to do or to stop doing. After a week of the over-the-top naughty behavior and stubborn assertion of his independence, I found myself exhausted and lost for a 'fix'. Taking away toys or his tablet stopped being effective. He basically laughs in my face about EVERYTHING!

It turns out, the reason you hear, 'Four is worse than three,' is because this new feeling of being a big kid takes over. Which, has clearly happened for my now four-year-old.

The truth is, I get it. After only two days of being four, the big guy walks around with a newfound proudness. He keeps announcing he is four, the proves it by doing something on his own, or telling me how he can do it on his own because he is four. He picks out his clothes for school, puts on his one shoes, helps make his breakfast, gets his own cup of water, and even picks up his toys without being asked.

He also, fights to cross the street without holding my hand, won't take a nap or have rest time with a fight, refuses to eat dinners that aren't what he wants, and won't stop doing something until he is ready, regardless of how many times he asked. Just today, when I said, No Way, to a request for candy, he found a way.

We keep his candy on the refrigerator. At least he's resourceful.

Completely drained by the crazy behavior, I called a girlfriend and said, I'm losing it over here, my awesome little guy has turned into a terror. HELP! 

That's when she said two magical words; Time Out.

I don't know why I did't think of that. I was just so shocked by the crazy behavior, I guess I thought it would go away as fast as it came. So much for that.

There is such an ebb and flow when it comes to littles. They really do need their independence to learn life skills and gain a sense of self and self-worth. Unfortunately, most of the time, it's at the expense of parent's sanity and/or patience.

Even though it's back to time-outs and battles of wits and endurance, I do see how the hard work pays off. He is such a great kid, most of the time, because I don't back down when times get tough. That's a big part of what parenting is. Taking the time to guide and nurture your child, even when it sucks.

Four, here we come.


We are FAR from childhood development professionals. We cannot and will not be held responsible if you take us seriously. Especially because we don't even take ourselves seriously.

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