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Esther Garfield is the Founder and Editor of Buy Modern Baby. She has been a big help to us over the last little while and graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions. We are excited to introduce her to those of you who may not know her. We think she is awesome and are sure that you will too.

Describe your family in 3 words.

(I crowd sourced this on my personal Facebook page) Creative, fun, together

What is your favorite family activity and why?

Our favorite family activity is reading! Yes, it's a family activity at our house. Most nights before bed dad reads to one child and I read to the other. It's a great quiet time to just be together and relax without other distractions.

What is one kids related item that you just cannot live without and why?

We try to make to with as little as possible to keep from having too many kid-specific items around the house. At this point with kids 5 and 8 we've gotten rid of the stroller, travel beds, pacifiers, etc... but there is one thing in the house that only the kids use, and they use them every single day. The plastic cups from Ikea are just the right size, don't break, and are dishwasher safe. The kids have been using these for years. We keep them in an accessible drawer and whenever they need a drink, they grab their own cup and fill it with water from the fridge dispenser. I love the independence this has allowed them to have and the freedom I've had all these years from getting them drinks all the time.

Who do you idolize/wish you were more like as a mother and why?

I think mothers are always looking around and comparing themselves and their children with other mothers and parents around them-- who takes their kids to more activities, who spends more time outdoors, which kids spend too much time on their iPads? But you never know what struggles people are facing and what their lives are really like, so there's no use in wishing you could be more like what you believe someone is like on the surface. I wish I could be a mother with more patience, who cooks more and has more time to spend playing instead of cleaning up, but I'm pretty sure that's what we all wish and I'll just keep working on it!

Parenting is tough sometimes. Describe an experience or experiences where you thought "this is what makes it all worth it."

Kids may say "the darndest things" but my kids seriously say the most amazing things all the time. I love having conversations with them and hearing what they have to say and how they say it. Listening to them explain their thoughts and feelings to me and hearing how their minds are connecting things is incredible to me and makes it all worth it... especially when they try to explain to me how much they love me!

Now for the practical stuff:
I saw from your bio on Buy Modern Baby that you have two boys. I also have two (18 months and 4 months). any tips on keeping up with an energetic toddler?

Toddlers are tons of fun! They want to try EVERYTHING! My secret with toddlers was to have lots of short activities for them to do throughout the day. This keeps you and them more in the same mind frame. For example, a trip to the park with a toddler isn't just a couple hours at the park, it's really 5 minutes in the toddler area, 10 minutes on the slide, 5 minutes on the swings 5 minutes kicking around the dirt, a 10 minute trip to the bathroom etc... If you've prepared yourself to explore activities one after the other, you'll both be working at the same pace!

One of the biggest concerns we have coming up is how and when to potty train. Any advice for tackling this milestone?

Once you've decided the time is right and you're not pushing it, just go forth fearlessly! I've learned that it's not completely in your control when and how potty training will "click".

My two boys were two completely different experiences. The older one was stubborn and we just had to be just a little more stubborn. We stayed in the bathroom with him for an entire day one day (fortunately we have a large bathroom) and didn't let him use his diaper even though he cried and begged. That was all it took. It was his last day wearing a diaper and he never had a single accident.

His brother decided on his own one day that the diaper wasn't the way to go anymore. The only problem was that we happened to be on an airplane that was landing, the seatbelt sign was on and we couldn't take him to the bathroom. He cried until the plane landed and he waited for me to take him. The timing wasn't ideal but what can you do? He wasn't quite as consistent as his brother had been but he still met our goal of potty training before he started preschool.

Don't assume there's one way to do potty training "right". Some kids will just have an easier time and others will need more time. Roll with it! It won't last forever.

Written by — January 04, 2014

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