Photo from A Child Grows in BrooklynKaren Connell didn't set out to write the most informative blog in Brooklyn for new parents, yet she's done just that. Constantly mentioned at the playground and on message boards, A Child Grows in Brooklyn has become the first stop once the plus sign appears on the stick for parents in the biggest borough. Initially an event and happenings site, ACGiB has expanded to bring parents the latest parenting news outside the BK, widening its appeal and relevance.
Connell took some time out of creating the ultimate blog and mothering her baby and pre-schooler to answer our same five questions:
What about you would surprise your readers?
I didn’t want to move to Brooklyn, initially. My husband and I were living in Manhattan and I was really a city girl; happy with anonymity and big apartment building living. We moved to Brooklyn while my husband was on his music tour for six weeks. To avoid loneliness, I sat on our brownstone stoop every day, just so I could see people. That’s where and how I got to know Brooklyn, and that’s where I still sit most nights.
What is your proudest parenting moment?
When I took my three-year-old son to school, he would complain the whole way, “I’m too tired, I don’t want to take the subway. Sniffle, sniffle, whine, whine”, dragging his feet the whole way there. It drove me crazy. We were late every day. One day a week, I would attempt to get some me time after drop-off; a beginning yoga class. Since we were always late to school, I was always late to the class. One day I said to him, “When we are late, I don’t get a spot to exercise in my yoga class.” He listened and made a point of walking fast to school that day. At pickup, the first thing he asked me was, “Did you get a spot in yoga?” “I did,” I said, “and I feel so good now.” I’m proud that he realized that his actions affected other people and that he chose to make them do so in a positive way. Now he walks to school without fussing, knowing it affects my day too.
What's your secret coping mechanism?
Empathy, empathy, empathy. Whenever I am annoyed, frustrated or tested to the limit, I try to remember who my children are: small beings who can’t always rationalize or control their behavior and emotion. They are trying out coping mechanisms of their own, and as the adult, I can teach them to find productive ones.
When your baby is old enough to Google, which blog post are you most afraid of her reading?
I don’t write too much about my kids. If they do Google my blog, they will find a lot of photos of themselves that I use to illustrate posts. I hope they will see the photos as a scrapbook of sorts and not some awful “expose” of them in mismatching duds and bad hairstyles.
What is the best piece of parenting advice you have?
One of the parent coaches on my blog, Alice Kaltman (Family Matters NY) wrote this piece of advice: Be a fair and wise chief executive, not a devious dictator.
She’s right. It’s okay to bend one of your rules now and then. You can still be in control. Let your kids negotiate for an exception to a rule -- that’s a good skill to learn. If you let them “win,” your kids know that you hear them and that you are a fair and flexible parent. Not to mention that it lets them have the illusion of power. (Ha ha!) And, that’s a good thing. No one wants to live in a dictatorship.
Read more of Karen's words at A Child Grows in Brooklyn.
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