Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Suggestion: The Bilingual Edge

The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second Language by Kendall King and Alison Mackey, two Georgetown University professors, was an incredible introduction to raising a bilingual child. This thorough book offers resources and recommendations while dispelling popular myths about bilingual children. I imagine that I will be re-reading this book as our child grows.

After learning Italian in college and spending four years in Florence, Italy, as well as having Italian ancestry, it is important to me to share the language and culture with our child. While my husband has been learning some words and phrases, he doesn't speak the language. It has been daunting to think about being 100% responsible for the child's second language acquisition, especially since I'd heard that  bilingual children start speaking later and experience other kinds of delays.

The Bilingual Edge put me at peace as the authors explained that bilingual children do not experience speaking or other cognitive delays and, in fact, gain additional skills for life. The book also makes recommendations regarding ways that the non-second-language parent can participate in sharing the language with the infant and many resources available for and outside the home.

If you speak Italian and/or are interested in the language, culture or cuisine, you might be interested in my blog, Fare La Scarpetta. I recently blogged about an Italian lullaby and vocabulary words related to babies.

Browse inside the book through the publisher's website. Help support this blog and purchase your copy through our Amazon store today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Strangest Congratulations to Dad

An older man recently came up to my husband and exclaimed, "You're the one who did the deed!"

That was the strangest congratulations on the pregnancy that we've received yet. At first we couldn't figure out what he meant.

And then we realized he was talking about sex. Great. That's appropriate.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Helping a Choking Pregnant Woman

Do you know how to help a choking pregnant woman? My husband and I recently took a momease infant and CPR class at GW hospital and this question came up. The room went silent.

We learned that a pregnant woman cannot perform abdominal thrusts on herself nor can someone else perform it on her. Instead, someone else should perform contractions on her chest (as if she weren't breathing.)

Here's how the Mayo Clinic describes the procedure:

Clearing the airway of a pregnant woman or obese person:

Position your hands a little bit higher than with a normal Heimlich maneuver, at the base of the breastbone, just above the joining of the lowest ribs.
Proceed as with the Heimlich maneuver, pressing hard into the chest, with a quick thrust.
Repeat until the food or other blockage is dislodged or the person becomes unconscious.

Here's a video showing you what to do.

In our class, the instructor suggested having the pregnant woman's back against the wall, to keep her steady, with her fact turned away from you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cynthia Kane on Be Your Body - Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Thanks to Cynthia Kane for today's post. She is a freelance writer and development editor. Cynthia has written for national and international publications including: Bridal Guide Magazine, Yoga Journal, VegNews, The Jerusalem Post, inMadrid, Black Book City Guides, and more. Her most recent book, Take a Hike: The Best 50 Routes in the Community of Madrid was published by Ediciones la Librería in May 2011. Currently, she is a contributing writer to Everyday Feminism. For more on Cynthia check out her web page: and follow her on twitter @cynkane.

Be Your Body: Dance Like Nobody's Watching

I moved to D.C. not very long ago and I’ve been looking for things to do in the city where I could meet new people, explore new areas, and, well, have a grand ole time. Luckily, I was tipped off to Be Your Body: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.

Imagine a night out on the town, laughing, dancing with friends, all while supporting a great cause and this is exactly what happens walking into the Katzen Arts Center. From hip-hop to tango, pop and lock to Bollywood, the choreography moves fast enough to get your heartbeat pumping and your feet tackling odd combinations you may have never done or even seen before. What’s different though about this Zumba class is that while you’re clapping along, yelling out woo hoo’s, and sweating bullets, you’re also supporting the Women & Politics institute at American University. And while you’re taking a break after the routines, there’s a raffle where you can win cool stuff like a massage from Spa Room (one of the partners of the evening), social media training, 2 hour house cleaning, and more. I should also mention that not only have my previous Zumba classes not supported other organizations like this, but that I’ve never been to a Zumba class where the studio was dark and lit by pink, green, and blue stage lights, or where there were bottles of water laid out for everyone, or where men and women sported glow in the dark bracelets, rings, and earrings. Let’s just say, it was an event. And it was awesome!

What was clear while looking around at points during the routine was that everyone was having a blast. All I saw were people smiling and laughing. All different ages and skill levels were on the floor, it’s truly open to all, and everyone who helps run the night is extremely friendly and helpful.
I can’t tell you how great it felt to get out and move my body. So if you’re looking to let loose you should totally check out the next dance party on Thursday, March 21st, 7-8:30 p.m.  At The Studio Theater at American University’s Katzen Arts Center (4400 Massachusetts Ave) The cost is $15.

Double-Holiday Joy: Italian and American Holidays

Do we plan on celebrating two sets of holidays every year with our child: American and Italian? Yes! Why not? More fun, more treats, more joy and more language opportunities.

Yesterday was St. Joseph's Day and Father's Day in Italy. My husband and I went to The Italian Store in Arlington, Va., for the St. Joseph's pastries (see more low-calorie photos here.) We'll wait until next year to officially celebrate the Italian Father's Day, but we didn't wait to enjoy these creamy pastries.

I'm hoping to speak Italian to our child as much as possible. As I've been reading in The Bilingual Edge (more to come about that book), starting early is the best way to help ensure that your child becomes bilingual. The authors smartly recommend integrating cultural and fun activities with the language. Holidays are, of course, a great way to do that.

After spending four years in Florence, Italy, I speak Italian, although I didn't encounter a lot of words related to babies. I've started a list of relevant words here on my Italian language, culture and cuisine blog, Fare La Scarpetta

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crossover Post: Teeccino's Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee

I gave up coffee during the first trimester of this pregnancy. There are good reasons to avoid caffeine (in any form) during a pregnancy and especially in the first trimester. I started slowly and relied heavily on Teeccino's caffeine-free herbal coffee.

Read my thoughts about brewing this coffee in my Italian moka on my Italian language, cuisine and culture blog Fare La Scarpetta (since I was writing this early in the pregnancy, I didn't mention it...but now you can read between the lines.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shopping for Baby & Dad

Thanks, Diaper Dude. 

If I thought my husband were an idiot, would I really want to have a child with him?

No new parent, mother or father, knows exactly how parenthood will go. But do products for the "dude" in your baby's life really need lists in his diaper bag or arrows on a onesie telling him where the baby needs to be changed? I suppose if the father insists on a camouflage diaper bag then he's really trying to blend in (with what, I'm not sure.)

I haven't seen lists on any diaper bags targeting new mothers. I have, however, seen some plain black bags that look reasonable. Surely my husband and I can share something like that? Even if we don't end up sharing the same bag, that's the one I'd like to carry around.

Maybe a "dude"would be helpful in our sleepless fog. But maybe they could be for everyone.

Dad will only change a diaper if his kit is called a "toolbox"?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Bargains: The Textbook

Preparing for a new baby feels like a very materialistic, commercial affair. There are a million objects out there - many of which are crazy cute and tempting, not to mention unnecessary. (Why yes, I should buy this battery powered fan for my baby's SUV-sized stroller.)

While we've been keeping an eye on local listserves for some used items, there are some big ticket items we prefer buy new, like the stroller, crib and car seat. Baby Bargains has been recommended to us by countless friends and it has been helpful as we enter into the world of buy buy Baby and other stores with aisles and aisles of "necessary" objects. (What is the name of this store supposed to suggest? "Goodbye baby, I need to go shopping"?)

We decided we couldn't wait and bought the 2011 version. A new one will be released later this spring. Help support this blog by purchasing your copy through our Amazon store.

What items did you find most useful for the first year of your baby's life?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dance Like Nobody's Watching


It was a lot of fun to join the first evening of Be Your Body: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching at American University. It was the first of three events co-sponsored by the Spa Room and American University's Women & Politics Institute. Scroll down for more details and to purchase your tickets.

While I've been taking walks and following some pre-natal yoga DVDs, I haven't been dancing during the pregnancy. It was great fun to listen to the loud, fast world music and dance. Sure, I stood in the back and mostly only moved my arms since the doctor had told me to take it easy. But I still had a smile on my face and enjoyed the music and energy in the room. I counted at least three other pregnant women who were doing an amazing job with substantially more energy and umph than I showed. It was inspiring and a good reminder to have fun and keep moving (as much as the doctor allows.)

There was a great goodie bag with some coupons and samples (including Weleda creams) and some raffled items.

I think you'll enjoy the next two dance parties!

Be Your Body: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

The Spa Room is excited to be partnering with the Women & Politics Institute and local dance and movement instructors for a series of high-energy dance parties!  Come in workout clothes and be prepared to sweat!  In addition to dancing, each attendee will receive a swag bag and we’ll be raffling off 3 prizes each night, donated by some of our favorite local businesses!
The Studio Theater at American University’s Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave, Washington, DC, 20016
March 7 & 14
6:30 pm-8pm
March 21
Cost:$15 single class
$12.00 per class if registering for all three.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pregnant Book Tour: Reading from Unrest

Reading poems - with a baby bump - at Cornelia Street Cafe, New York City

My first poetry chapbook, Unrest, was published last month and I've been reading from the book and newer poems. And, of course, I'm pregnant. Quite the busy and exciting combination.

I love sharing the book and poems with friends and new friends. Since I know I'll be super busy once the baby comes, it feels good to be out and about sharing the work that's most important to me. It has been particularly heartwarming to see friends smiling in the audience. Don't give up on me friends, I won't be in baby-hibernation forever.

I've been a bit nervous reading pregnant. My body is, um, noisier (toots, burps) than usual. Luckily that hasn't happened during a reading. I also have to go to the bathroom just about constantly, so I've been worried about standing on stage or listening to other performers and having to rudely excuse myself. So far, so good. Not every venue has supplied a microphone, either. I've been a bit out of breath with the pregnancy and it is hard to speak for long periods of time, let alone project my voice.

I can feel the baby move while I'm reading and listening to other writers or musicians. Maybe the baby loves the sounds? Or, maybe the baby is annoyed by the change in the schedule (I'm usually in bed or lying down quite early in the evenings these days.) Hard to say. We'll know more about each other once we meet this summer.

There are three more readings on the tour. I'd love to see you at one of them:

Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA
551 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Finishing Line Press Poetry Reading with David Ebenbach, Alison Hicks, Chloe Yelena Miller, and Hila Ratzabi
Saturday, March 16th, 5 PM

Takoma Park’s Third Thursday Series, Takoma Park, MD
Poetry Reading with Four Poets
Takoma Park Community Center
7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Thursday, March 21, 7:30 PM)

Nora School Poetry Reading Series, Silver Spring, MD
Poetry reading with Rod Jellema, Chloe Yelena Miller and Marie Pavlicek-Wehrli
Thursday April 18, 2013; 7:30 PM

Monday, March 4, 2013

Be Your Body: Dance Like Nobody's Watching

D.C. area friends: Do you like to dance? My favorite place for prenatal massagesSpa Room, is partnering with American University's Women & Politics Institute to offer three nights of dancing. The Zumba classes are safe for pregnant women (although the Gyrokinesis are to be avoided.)

See you there?

Be Your Body: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

The Spa Room is excited to be partnering with the Women & Politics Institute and local dance and movement instructors for a series of high-energy dance parties!  Come in workout clothes and be prepared to sweat!  In addition to dancing, each attendee will receive a swag bag and we’ll be raffling off 3 prizes each night, donated by some of our favorite local businesses!
The Studio Theater at American University’s Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave, Washington, DC, 20016
March 7 & 14
6:30 pm-8pm
March 21
Cost:$15 single class
$12.00 per class if registering for all three.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Writing & Pregnancy

I have written about things that happened, or imaginary worlds, since my parents first bought me cloth covered journals every summer when I was a middle-schooler.

But I can't seem to write about this pregnancy. I'm exhausted and brimming with cliches. It isn't because of the old saying that it is hard to write about happy things. I'm just tired. My husband kindly says that I'm "creating" something/someone else, so there's nothing to worry about. Between working and preparing for the baby, there just isn't much energy left to write. I can think of terrible lines like, "I'm pregnant! Yay!' or "Morning sickness sucks!", but I have no lines, or even punctuation, that belong in a poem.

The good news is that I have been feeling more efficient, perhaps because of the limited time, and have been editing and submitting work with less angst.

I have to trust in the energy I have now and go with it.