What I’ve learned

. June 28, 2013.

What I’ve learned
Local parents share their baby wisdom

By Nan Bauer


Constance Colthorp, mom of Jed Amrine, 9, and Molly Amrine, 6
“Kids can learn to say please and thank you as early as one and a half with sign language, and it helps them later in life; people always respond to gratitude. Also, sometimes you remember things that you enjoyed as a kid—but you’re remembering from an older age than you realize. For instance, I thought that since I’d love “The Wizard of Oz,” my kids would love it, too. The problem is, I loved it when I was 8, and forgot until I watched it with my 5-year-old that it had some really scary parts that he wasn’t ready for!”



Tasneem Abdul-Basir, mom of Ayanna Mahrouf, 9, Zakariyah Mahrouf, 6, and Suhaylah Mahrouf, 5, Ypsilanti
“Trust your instincts. Everyone always has all kinds of different advice, but you’ll know best. One of the things you learn is that every child is different and has his or her own unique personality, so what may work for one won’t necessarily work for another. It’s also important to have discipline and a schedule for them to be on so they can get used to routine; if they have a routine as a kid, it’s easier for them to be organized when they grow up. Probably most important is to keep the lines of communication open, listen to your kids, and always show affection and love.”



Sara Schaff, mom of Iris Landry, 1, Ann Arbor
“Since becoming a mother, I’ve become less critical of other parents. It’s easy to judge, harder to understand what works for other families. I used to be skeptical of parents who were slaves to their babies’ schedules. And now—surprise!—I love having a schedule. I’ve also learned that time is more nuanced that I realized—both faster and slower. Our daughter’s first year flew by. But a minute can feel like an hour. In five minutes, I can accomplish more than I could in a morning before I had a kid. Give me ten free minutes, and I feel like I’m on vacation.”




Kimi Honzaki, mom of Aminah Al-Amin, 5, Ypsilanti
“I ‘wore’ Aminah [in a carrier], and it was wonderful because I could nurse her discreetly wherever I went. There are lots of different baby carriers, so go to one of the stores where they’ll help figure out the right one. We also used cloth diapers, and they were a huge savings: $800 for as long as your baby’s in diapers and you can reuse them with other children. Disposables are $1000 a year! And the cloth are so much better for your baby’s skin and the environment. I have decided that with my next child, I am definitely going to book an hour a day of me time; my husband and I have agreed on that.”


Becky Demarchi Marinaro, mom of Luna, 7, Bella, 4, and Enzo, 1, Ann Arbor
“I am good person, I do not swear like a sailor, and I am a really great mom. But, when the cat peed on the floor, my judgment lapsed and I called the cat a [blank] in front of my kid. The response: the most articulate phrase I have ever heard out of my 4–year-old darling. With furrowed brow, hands on hips, and more sass than a 7th grader, she retorted, ‘I’m NOT a [blank]!’ Gasp! Recovery. Go. ‘Sweetie, Mommy wasn’t calling you a [blank]. Mommy called the cat a [blank]. Oh, and it’s a bad word and I will never use it again, and you should never say it either. Okay?’  Lessons learned:

1. Try not to swear in front of your kids
2. If you do, recover quickly and be honest
3. Keep moving
4. Remember, you’re a good person, and good people can make mistakes.”