Westchester Family - August 2021

Page 1

August 2021


Tasheena Carmona

of Who Wore What Mini, on her stylish family and mixing it up when it comes to kids’ style and clothes

Welcome Back to IRL! An expert weighs in on navigating a new normal

5 Hotels in NYC

Perfect for an end-of-summer staycation

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“That’s Amore”: ITALY 2021–22 Co-Ed • Grades K-12 100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804 | www.td.edu | 914-632-8836 August 2021 | Westchester Family



August 2021


pg. 12

pg. 24 pg. 26

pg. 28

FEATURES 12 | Special Needs Wondering if your child has ADHD 22 | Health Expert tips on colic and recognizing the signs and steps to take for your baby — and your sanity 26 | Books End-of-summer reading list 28 | Tasheena Carmona of Who What Wear Mini On being a children’s wardrobe stylist, content creator while also juggling family and mixing high and low style for her kids and work


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Note 8 | Ask the Experts The New Normal, Expert advice on getting back to IRL in a changed world 24 | Travel 5 Hotels for a NYC Staycation 30 | Mom Stories What I Will Miss About Remote Life

Directories 16 | Education Listings

pg. 22

on the Cover Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Produced by: Donna Duarte-Ladd Production Asst: Courtney Ingalls

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Editor’s Note

President Victoria Schneps-Yunis CEO Joshua Schneps

Westchester Family WestchesterFamily.com Publisher Clifford Luster cluster@schnepsmedia.com Executive Editor Donna Duarte-Ladd edit@westchesterfamily.com Digital Editor Courtney Ingalls Contributing Editor Serena Norr ADVERTISING SALES Account Managers LynnMarie Hanley lynnmarie.hanley@westchesterfamily.com Nina Gallo Photography

Shifting Gears We hear so much about New York being back, and yes, in many ways, NYC is back at it — which frankly is A-MAZING. Yet, for countless of us parents, we never went anywhere. We, along with the kids, did our best at staying home and being remote. And we are so ready for some normalcy. If it feels a bit strange as you reconnect or even ride the subway, you’re not alone, which is why we chatted with an expert on The New Normal (page 8). What is more normal than being kept up all night with a new baby? If you are

wondering Is it Colic (page 22), we chatted with a pediatrician for helpful guidance. Lastly, Tasheena Carmona and her two daughters, Jagger and Fohr, of Who Wore What Mini (page 28), are this month’s cover. Tasheena shares with us about her tight-knit family, being a mom to four, and how she mixes hand-me-downs, thrift store finds with her favorite brands to create the gorgeous outfits she shares via her social media.

Nina Spiegelman nina.spiegelman@westchesterfamily.com Digital director Erik Bliss PRODUctION Art Director Leah Mitch production@schnepsmedia.com Production Staff Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION Roberto Palacios 718-260-4531

Please recycle this magazine.

xo, Donna and New York Family Media Westchester Family (ISSN 1043-6774) is published monthly by Queens Family Media LLC. Please note that the advertisements in this magazine are paid for by the advertisers, which allows this magazine to be free to the consumer. Limit of one free copy per reader. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products or services are endorsed by the Publisher. All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertising are available on an equal opportunity basis. Editorial submissions are welcome.

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The Safety of Our Patients Is More Important Than Ever

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We continue to be committed to your child’s health and safety. Here’s an example of some of the changes we’ve made to protect our patients and staff in this time of Covid 19: • Air purifiers placed throughout the office • Commercial grade fogger, affective in killing bacteria and viruses, including Covid 19 • UVC lights and sonic systems used to increase sterilization procedures • HEPA air filtration system connected to the HVAC system • Personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, masks, disposable gowns and face shields • As always, we use CDC and OSHA disinfection protocols August 2021 | Westchester Family


ask the expert

The New Normal Expert advice on getting back to IRL in a changed world By Donna Duarte-LaDD


any of us are in a bit of a recovery mode. The pandemic was uncharted territory for the entire family, and life did always feel steady. And as we work to get back to the “new normal,” it has maybe felt a bit challenging. I chatted with Jess Huddy, Chief Learning Officer of Cognition Builders. Cognition Builders (cognitionbuilders. com) is a global organization that employs a specialized team to resolve individuals’ and families’ behavioral, intellectual, social, emotional, cognitive, and academic needs. If you or your family are feeling a bit off, you’re not alone; we are coming off a historic and frankly weird time, and now is the moment to get guidance from the experts. From how to prevent conflict with your


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

partner to repeating mantras when in a challenging time, these helpful tips will help you get to your new normal. Many families are returning to work-life and school IRL next month. Kids will be resocializing full-time, and parents who have been with their children 24/7 will now be with their peers again. What advice (or tips) can you share with parents on dealing with the mixed bag of emotions some may be experiencing (I know I am!) going back to the new normal in the upcoming months? Change is a normal part of life. Pandemics are not. While we’ve all been (im) patiently waiting for the return to normal, now that it’s here, it’s hard to know how to feel. To get some control in these uncontrollable times, we can all start by

watching what we say — and think. Of course, we all like to vent. After a year of virtual learning, we all NEED to vent. But when pessimism becomes our first language, we start to see life as a series of problems and inconveniences. What we think determines how we feel. This doesn’t mean we should all sugarcoat our frustrations and pretend everything is amazing. Instead, the key is to speak and think about life’s challenges in a way that is reflective, not reactive. What does that even mean? Here’s an example: Let’s imagine you’re feeling rusty in your role on the first day back in the office. If you’re being reactive, you might tell yourself, “I can’t remember how to do anything. I’ve lost my talent.” This kind of self-talk is selfsabotage. But if you respond reflectively, you might think: “Today didn’t run smoothly. It will take some time to get the rhythm again.” Here, you’re acknowledging the problem, considering it objectively, and leaving room for a solution. Another good trick? Repeating encouraging mantras. It sounds cliché, but



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August 2021 | Westchester Family


ask the expeRt

the research backs it. Some that might apply: • The changes ahead will be challenging, but bearable. • It will take time for new/old routines to feel right again, but they will. • My family and I can, and will, adjust. Equally as important as what you say: what you do. If you don’t prepare for the first day of in-person work/school, you’ll be left with a ton of dread. Be proactive in getting ready for all things IRL — and help your kids do the same. How? Make a shared family calendar and review the new schedules together. Create (or recreate) daily routines you’ll keep when school and work are back in-person: shift sleep schedules, pack backpacks at night, time your commutes. Make your day-today adjustments now, before the return to normal forces you to improvise. If you’re comfortable doing so, warm up to more social interaction, too. Start scheduling playdates regularly, get out of the house and in public more often; desensitize yourselves to socializing. There is firm data that mothers experience the ‘Motherhood Penalty’ during the pandemic lockdown. This is not to say that their partners did not step up, but statistically, women spent more time on childcare during the pandemic. One of your missions at Cognition Builders is to “eliminate the conflicts which crack the foundations of everyday life”. How can a marriage learn from this experience and be more unified? When the pandemic shut us in our homes for a year, family problems grew like weeds. Time-at-home was all-the-time: no school, no breaks, no boundaries. Lockdown took a magnifying glass to our worst habits and forced us to face their consequences. Mothers have long taken on the bulk of childcare, but COVID-19 sent this imbalance through the roof. Part of the problem — pre, during, and post-pandemic — is assumption. Most often, couples don’t ever actually discuss who will be responsible for what. Instead, each partner falls into their set of responsibilities — for mothers, that typically includes most of the childcare — and everyone autopilots. They go on like this until resentment boils over and forces the issue to a head. To prevent conflict, couples should sit down and intentionally discuss how childcare — and all other shared


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

“If you don’t prepare for the first day of in-person work/ school, you’ll be left with a ton of dread. Be proactive in getting ready for all things IRL — and help your kids do the same.” responsibilities — will be divided. During this conversation, it’s important to: Be specific. For example: Dad is doing bath time on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday; Mom is doing bath time on Wednesday and Thursday. Be honest. Share ideas, preferences, suggestions, and be open to discussing them. For those who like to appease: remember that confrontation is not conflict. Write down your thoughts before talking with your partner, so you know what you really want. Level the field (if needed). When one partner takes over on certain tasks, all that practice can make them faster and “better.” But when we tell our partners: “It’s just easier if I/you do_____,” we’re choosing longterm bitterness for the sake of short-term convenience. Instead, both partners should be equally equipped to handle the things that need to get done, even if that means doing a little learning upfront. Not get stuck on 50/50. What’s right looks different for every family. If partners agree that labor division is fair, realistic, and acceptable to everyone, then that’s a successful outcome. Follow through. A plan is only good if it’s used. Partners should hold each other accountable and be accountable to one another. Be flexible. What works now won’t always work. Things change, children grow, and we all need to reorganize responsibilities from time to time. Or, we may put the plan

in play and find it only worked on paper. Regroup! Start back at step one. My son is officially a tweenager. I thought I’d be the cool mom but the words and things that come out of my mouth at the heat of the moment are cringe-worthy. I worry that in this period of my son’s growth, we will never be close again. Help. Very few things are cool in the eyes of a tweenager… least of all their moms. Preteens love to dunk on us. The harder we try, the more they know we want it, the more satisfying the dunk. It is a vicious cycle, so free yourself of the need to be considered cool. It’ll come (much) later. You can’t earn your son’s favor — or respect — by pleasing him all the time. Parenting decisions shouldn’t be based on what our kids want in-the-moment, because it typically doesn’t overlap with what they need. If you don’t serve your son’s best interests now, then you really will run the risk of not being close in the future. As for the heat of the moment, you do want to make sure you’re setting the right example. A few, simple rules: • Don’t respond to insults (or any other inappropriate language). For example, if you ask your son to complete a chore and he calls you a name in response, resist the temptation to ask, “WHAT did you just say to me?!” Instead, ignore the comment outright and repeat your initial request. Then disengage. • Walk away when emotions are running high. If your son is yelling, for example, don’t try to reason with him. Instead, say: “We will continue this conversation when you’re feeling less angry.” Then walk away. • Hold the line. Don’t be derailed by requests for “five more minutes,” complaints, negotiation attempts, or any other clever method used to subvert the rules. Once you place a demand, make sure you get compliance and don’t backpedal. (If not, that’s what consequences are for). Jess Huddy (M.S., M.A., LAC) is the Chief Learning Officer of Cognition Builders. In this role, Huddy serves as Cognition Builders’ lead strategist on curricula and program development. Huddy holds two master’s degrees in psychology and clinical mental health counseling, respectively, and is a licensed associate counselor. In 2018, Huddy co-authored “Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter,” published by Andrews McMeel. She is a threetime published poet and, most importantly, proud mama to Emmeline.


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August 2021 | Westchester Family



Wondering if Your Child Has ADHD? BY EMILY LEVY


any children are fidgety at times, forget to turn in an occasional assignment, or misplace their favorite shirt. However, if you find these scenarios frequently occurring with your child or you notice that he is constantly distracted, forgetful, disorganized, or unfocused, your child may have ADHD. Here are some signs of ADHD in your child to look out for: Your child constantly loses belongings. Papers from school seem to disappear regularly, and she consistently misplaces her notebooks, lunch box, folders, tablet – you name it. One minute she has her belongings, and the next minute you are helping her frantically search your home for them, regularly.


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

Your child misses class instructions. You may have a brilliant child, but he constantly completes assignments incorrectly (and thus loses points) simply because he wasn’t listening to the instructions and didn’t follow the directions correctly. Your child is a daydreamer. His teacher notices that he frequently daydreams and loses focus at school, missing key information and notes from class. Your child has trouble waiting her turn. When playing a game or completing a group activity, your child tends to compulsively jump in and interrupt her peers rather than waiting her turn. This may frustrate her friends and others around her. Your child can’t sit still. When eating dinner, doing a homework assignment, or traveling on a plane, your child can’t sit still. He is constantly wiggling and squirming,

unable to stay in one place for a long stretch of time. Your child has trouble completing tasks. She starts one task and then impulsively moves onto the next one before completing the first one. This leads to a multitude of unfinished tasks, assignments, and projects. Your child has trouble keeping his emotions in check. He has regular outbursts, both in private and public places, and can’t seem to contain his emotions. Your child makes careless mistakes. She might be a rock star at math and can correctly answer complex long division and multi-digit multiplication problems, but answers 4+1 incorrectly, possibly even subtracting instead of adding, and rarely self-checks her work. He is completely disorganized. His room is a mess, and the inside of his backpack looks like a load of garbage. Loose papers,


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special needs

notebooks, and old assignments are piled inside of it, and he rarely (if ever) cleans it out. She has poor time management skills. She rarely turns in ‎assignments on time and underestimates how long it may take to get ready for a party, eat dinner, complete a homework assignment, or study for a test. This makes her, and possibly the rest of your household, constantly late or in a rush. He has trouble maintaining friendships. Your child may not always pick up on social cues, and you might find that his interruptions, lack of sharing and turntaking, and impulsive behaviors negatively affect social situations. Thus, your child might have difficulty making and keeping close friendships. So what should you do if your child exhibits some or all of these traits? First off, don’t panic! ADHD is more common than you may think, and it’s certainly not your fault. However, the sooner you can seek a diagnosis, the sooner you can identify a plan of action to help your child. Start by talking to your child’s teacher and see if he or she

The sooner you can seek a diagnosis, the sooner you can identify a plan of action to help your child. is noticing the traits above in class. Ask the teacher whether he or she notices your child having trouble sitting still, remaining focused on activities, listening to instructions, waiting his turn, and staying organized. If your child’s teacher notices these struggles, and if you are also noticing these challenges at home, you may want to consider having your child evaluated. An evaluation performed by your school district is free, or you can choose to have a neuropsychological evaluation done privately. The evaluation will help determine whether or not your child has ADHD (and/or other learning challenges). At that point, he or she may qualify for support services either through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan. You can also help your child at home by creating routines, limiting distractions, breaking down tasks into individual steps, and encouraging movement. The more proactive you can be at identifying your child’s ADHD

and seeking the right strategies and services to support him, the more successful and confident he will be as the demands of school progress. Dr. Emily Levy is the founder of EBL Coaching, a tutoring program that specializes in one-on-one home and on-site instruction for students in grades preK-12 in NYC, NJ, and Westchester. She is also the author of Strategies for Study Success, a study skills workbooks series emphasizing test taking, note taking, reading comprehension, writing, and executive functioning strategies, and the Flags and Stars Orton Gillingham student workbook series. These books are currently used at schools nationwide. Dr. Levy studied at Brown University and later received her Masters Degree in Special Education and her Doctorate Degree in Education. She has spoken nationwide on research-based methods for teaching students with and without learning disabilities. Dr. Levy is currently the Director of EBL Coaching’s learning centers.

Ardsley Community Nursery School 21 American Legion Drive • Ardsley

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WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021


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education Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

A Child’s Dream

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10 Mill Road, New Rochelle 914-633-4332 achildsdreamnursery.com A Child’s Dream celebrates 20 years of educating children! The school offers 2 year old, 3 year old and Pre K programs including Lunch Bunch and Enrichment programs. Their experienced and dedicated teachers will introduce concepts to the youngest learners through various activities using many mediums to spark their curiosity. Their students also enjoy outside play in our safe and enclosed playground or gym time in our huge basketball court daily. Located on a beautiful and private campus with ample parking. Now registering for 2022.

Ardsley Community Nursery School 21 American Legion Dr., Ardsley 914-693-4932 Acns.us The Ardsley Community Nursery School is proud of its caring staff and dynamic enrichment program. Creative and developmentally appropriate academic activities are based on weekly themes and geared toward recognizing the talents of each child. A lovely playground and local field trips enhance programming. Soccer, dance and yoga classes are included with tuition. Summer camp offers water activities and air conditioning. They will follow all COVID protocols for 2021/2022.

Cardinal Spellman High School 1 Cardinal Spellman Place, Bronx NY 718-881-8000 x 206 admissions@cardinalspellman. org Cardinal Spellman High School is the premier, co-educational, college preparatory Catholic high

school in the New York Metropolitan Area. Each student is prepared for personal success in college and life through various programs of studies and activities. Their graduates are awarded millions in college scholarships and go on to attend top-tier and Ivy League schools across the nation. In addition to their strong academic foundation, they also give the opportunity to develop strong social skills while receiving support in a nurturing environment. Visit cardinalspellman.org to fill out an inquiry and join them at their Fall Open House.

French-American School of New York Manor Campus (NurseryGrade 3) 111 Larchmont Avenue, Larchmont, 914-250-0469 Village Campus (Grades 4-8) 145 New Street, Mamaroneck, 914-250-0451 Harbor Campus (Grades 9-12) 320 East Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, 914-250-0477 fasny.org FASNY develops globally literate, multicultural lifelong learners through a unique program that integrates American, French, and international curricula. Students at FASNY are offered the opportunity to participate in either the French-American Program or the International Program, which begins in grade 1. Regardless of program choice, at FASNY, the innovative approach is the same, based on values of respect, empathy, and positivity, centered on learning, continuous progress, and the wellbeing of students. FASNY is accredited by New York State Association of Independent Schools, the International Baccalaureate Organization and the French Ministry of Education. No French required!



August 2021 | Westchester Family


education Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

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John Cardinal O’Connor School 16 North Broadway, Irvington, NY 10533 914-591-9330 johncardinaloconnorschool. org JCOS, a Catholic school located in Irvington, NY, is dedicated to providing the benefits of a faith-based education to children who learn differently. The school empowers children to thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially in their supportive school community. Children of all faiths are welcome. JCOS is dedicated to providing an affordable learning experience backed by a skilled teaching staff. Their commitment to well-rounded schooling for students with learning differences has made their private, Catholic school one of the foremost in Westchester County. They look forward to the opportunity to help your child acquire important life skills during these critical years. Please feel free to contact them with your questions and concerns.

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WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

220 Westchester Ave., West Harrison 914-607-7600 ktkorngold@cmteny.com montessorichildrensctr.com A year-round, full-time Montessori childcare facility, the Montessori Children’s Center (MCC) offers authentic Montessori programs for children 3 months to 6 years old, with 7 classrooms (2 infants, 3 toddler and 2 early childhood). Montessori certified head teachers and well-trained and supervised staff provide excellent care and the highest quality Montessori education. MCC has been a leader in Montessori education since our founding. Let your children experience the Montessori difference for a love of learning that lasts a lifetime! We will be

enrolling for the September 2022-August 2023 program year in January 2022.

Montessori School of Pelham Manor 1415 Pelhamdale Avenue, Pelham, New York 914-738-1127 pelhammontessori@gmail. com montessorischoolpelhamny. com Upholding a “tradition of excellence” for over 35 years, this school firmly holds to the principles of child development devised by Dr. Maria Montessori. Children ages 3 to 5 work with apparatus in a prepared environment progressing at their own rate, developing the confidence and love of learning that is the hallmark of Montessori. Our small class sizes make it easy for our instructors to find out how to best cater to your child’s unique learning needs. Prepare your child for a lifetime of learning!

Liberty Montessori Schools 155 Beechmont Dr., New Rochelle 914-636-3461 631 W. Boston Post Road,Mamaroneck 914-777-1382 libertymontessorischools.com Offering programs up to Grade 3 a unique kindergarten enrichment curriculum that includes a special music program unique kindergarten enrichment curriculum that includes their special music program and the Challenger Program for advanced students. They also have special multilingual programs in Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. Call now to make an appointment, meet the school director and tour their facility and learn more about Liberty.


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August 2021 | Westchester Family


education Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Saint Barnabas High School 425 East 240th Street, Bronx NY 718-325-8800x20 Stbarnabashigh.com Saint Barnabas High School (SBHS) is an allgirls Catholic, college preparatory school in the northeast Bronx, offering academics for every learner from AP/Honors, College

Credits, Regents, and Support Services with a variety of extracurricular clubs and sports. SBHS develops confident, capable, young women from diverse backgrounds, helping them to reach their fullest potential. Brand new state-of-the-art STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Center. Accessible by car, bus,

Check out our new site! We’ve given our Westchester Family website a major makeover



100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle 914-632-8836 www.td.edu Thornton-Donovan, a boutique-like K - 12 school in a bucolic-like setting, continues to offer education in the old-fashioned way. It’s five homes, located on five acres, are all loaded with tech, and its small class size average of 10, makes it very much like home schooling. T-D is a K-12 120 year-old independent and international day school with a tuition of $23,500.00.





431 N. Ridge St., Rye Brook 11 North Brook Rd., Larchmont 2097 Palmer Ave., Larchmont 1144 North Ave., New Rochelle 1146 North Ave., New Rochelle 130 Flandreau Ave., New Rochelle 914- 632-6200 thenurtury-montessori.com The Nurtury is committed to promoting quality, full-time Montessori childcare for children ages six weeks to 6 years. The first six years of life are when intelligence and personality are formed. We significantly understand this concept, and as a

Thornton-Donovan School




The Nurtury Montessori Schools

result, The Nurtury has set the standard for full-time Montessori childcare. Contact bbnanny@gmail. com directly for more information.



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train, Metro North from all boroughs and Westchester. Contact Gina Nieves, Director of Admissions at 718-325-8800 x20 gnieves@stbarnabashigh. com. TACHS# 214. Open House: October 23, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Open House

Saturday, October 23rd, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

TACHS Code: 214 AP | Honors | Regents Portfolio Assessments | Internships & Mentoring | Clubs & Activities NEW state-of-the-art STREAM Center For more information, contact Gina Nieves, Admissions Director gnieves@stbarnabashigh.com or 718.325.8800 ext. 20 425 East 240th Street Bronx, NY 10470 | Phone: 718.325.8800 | Fax: 718.325.8820 | www.stbarnabashigh.com


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

OVER 50 YEARS OF EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE AND LOVING CARE Liberty Montessori Schools Pushpa Jagoda Ph.D “I wanted to create an ideal learning environment for all children as I did for my own.”

Toddler through Pre-K 155 Beechmont Drive New Rochelle, NY (914) 636-3461 Pre-K through Elementary 631 West Boston Post Road Mamaroneck, N.Y. 10543 (914) 777-1382 libertymontessorischools.com


With the vision to serve the needs of young children and their families, Pushpa Jagoda has fulfilled a lifelong dream as educator and mother. As director and founder of the Liberty Montessori Schools, she successfully owns and operates two preschool facilities that have become a “home away from home” for children 18 months through 3rd grade. “I wanted to create an ideal learning environment for all children as I did for my own,” explains Pushpa Jagoda, herself a Montessori graduate and mother of three. “My goal was to set up a nurturing environment where we understand and are sensitive to the overall needs of the contemporary child. Our open-door policy allows parents to observe classes and to participate in their activities. We encourage parent involvement and welcome feedback on how to best serve each child’s individual needs.” A busy mother, Dr. Jagoda’s centers are stateof-the-art facilities designed to accommodate yearround childcare. They offer a creative, personal approach to learning in the Montessori tradition with a loving, qualified staff that provide a safe, exciting place for children. “Our schools are wonderfully diverse,” says Dr. Jagoda. “We have bilingual teachers who teach languages such as French, German, Chinese, Spanish and Japanese as well as cultural awareness. We offer music, arts and crafts, math, reading, computer and science in an international setting.” The schools offer Kindergarten and Third Grade Montessori Enrichment Programs and unique Challenger Programs, designed to stimulate the intellectually advanced student who are already enrolled in the Montessori program and met all prerequisites. The fun-fi lled Liberty summer science camp, held during July and August, is designed to motivate the curious young scientist between the ages 18 months and 7 years. They welcome new families to visit or tour either location by appointment only. (Extended after hours for working parents.)

Registration is Open! From today until Sept 12th CALL TODAY (718)758 - 5901 1501 JEROME AVE (CORNER OF W 172ND ST) THE BRONX, NY, 10452


Enjoy some of our wonderful classes this fall!

August 2021 | Westchester Family



Is it ColiC?

Expert tips on recognizing the signs and steps to take for your baby — and your sanity

By Donna Duarte-LaDD


hen home with a new baby while the time is joyous it also can be a bit of a fog. Tired parents who are adjusting to their new baby have a lot on their plate so when the baby starts to cry, like a lot, it may take a bit of time to know when it is colic. We asked Dr. Smita Malhotra of the Newborn Handbook, pediatrician and mindfulness expert about what is colic and tips on how parents can help with the fussiness and also support both baby and their mental health. In layman’s terms, what exactly is Colic? Colic is defined as frequent crying in a baby that is otherwise healthy. Babies with colic cry for three hours a day, for more than three days a week and this can last three weeks or more. As a parent whose child has also suffered from colic, I know first-hand that parents can often be seen crying alongside their babies as well! Colic can start in the first few weeks of life and while there is no established medical treatment for colic, it usually resolves by about 3-4 months of age. Colic is short-lived, but for parents, this can feel like a long time! Seasoned parents may know when their baby has Colic, but for a new parent, what are the signs and steps to take if you think your child has Colic? When you become a parent, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that “mind reader” was part of the job description. Essentially, that’s what we have to be when we’ve got a fussy baby on our hands. But here’s a little secret: Once you’ve ruled out hunger, a dirty diaper, and sleepiness, you’re left with three likely culprits: colic, gas, or tender gums. Here is a cheat sheet for figuring out what might be causing fussiness.


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

Is it Gas? Babies are full of toots and burps, thanks to a still-developing digestive system and their habit of gulping air while feeding and crying. If you notice your baby is squirming and pulling their legs up, she’s probably trying to relieve gas pains. You can help by doing this: Mimic baby’s moves: Help your baby pump their own gas out by laying them flat on their back and moving their legs in a bicycling motion. Try gas drops: Ask your pediatrician about trying gas drops containing simethicone, a baby-safe medication that breaks down gas bubbles, making them easier to pass. Look for a gentle formula, like Mommy’s Bliss Gas Relief Drops, which is 100% free of sugar, alcohol, and artificial flavors or colors. Feed differently: Tilt baby’s bottle at an angle so the entire nipple is filled with milk and not air bubbles. Make sure baby’s head is higher than their stomach. Using powdered formula? Let bubbles settle post-shake before feeding. Is it Tender Gums? With a new smile starting to emerge at about 6 months old, your baby may be dealing with swollen and sore gums and drool—like, a lot of drool. You can help by doing this: Massage baby’s mouth: With squeaky clean fingers, gently rub your baby’s gums. (The pressure eases the ouch.) For even more soothing action, add Mommy’s Bliss Organic Gum Massage Gel to the routine. It contains calming chamomile and vanilla, but no alcohol, parabens, or chemical numbing or cooling agents. Offer cold comfort: Gumming things can be soothing, so give your baby something healthy to chew on, like frozen fruit. Slide ice-cold berries or bananas into a mesh or silicone feeder to keep baby safe. Is It Colic? Babies with colic have regular fussy periods,

usually between 6:00 pm and midnight. What makes colic colic is that it’s exceedingly tough to calm your baby and the crying lasts and lasts. At its peak, crying can go on for three grueling hours. Yikes! You can help by doing this: Wear your baby: The gentle bump-bumpbump of being walked while nestled in a baby carrier can be a great soother. The combo of close contact and motion does the trick. Swaddle up: A safe, tight swaddle is comforting for newborns because it reminds them of the close quarters of the womb. Try an old-school approach: Parents have been using gripe water for colic since the wayway back of the 1800s. While the formulas of yesteryear featured alcohol (oops!), today’s are a mix of sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) and soothing baby-safe herbs like ginger, historically known to help relieve symptoms from colic. For instance, Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water is free of alcohol, added sugar, and artificial flavors and colors. Plus, it features organic ginger and fennel — both classic colic soothers. Mommy’s Bliss has a number of gripe water products including a Gripe Water Nighttime and a new Organic Gel Formula for easy administration. A fussy baby, a tired mom, it can be a rough time. How can a parent get through this period? I used to think that meditation was for selfrealized people who had it all together. And that was definitely not me. But it was during my long journey to becoming pregnant, when my doctor suggested that I try meditation. To be quite honest, I was skeptical at first. I felt like I just did not have the time to sit around and just think. But as I learned about meditation, I realized that I had understood it all wrong. Meditation is a practice that helps us to calm and focus our minds. For me, that practice takes on a variety of different forms during my day. And one of the most important parts of my practice of meditation

is consistency. So, how can we as busy parents work daily meditation into our days? Here are four ways: Wake up early in the mornings: With two young children, my mornings are full

of chaos. And as painful as it sometimes can be, one of the most important parts of my day is waking up before my family wakes up. This gives me quiet time to sit with my coffee and just breathe. Taking a few minutes in

deep breathing brings calm to my mind and body. It is my morning ritual that sets an intention for my day from the very beginning no matter what stressors come my way. Make use of the morning commute: Morning commutes can oftentimes be stressfulespecially if yours is long! But they don’t have to be. I used to arrive at work already feeling depleted after dealing with morning traffic until I realized that I could use that time sitting in the car listening to something positive. This is why I love podcasts. I believe that words, whether spoken or written are powerful. They can shape our beliefs and guide our behavior. Listening to a positive and inspiring podcast on my way to work has done wonders for my mental well-being. For me, this is also a form of meditation as it calms my mind even if the traffic around me is chaotic. Lunchtime walking meditation: It’s so easy to spend all of our time inside of an office or a building as we go through our workday. However, a study done in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports showed that a lunchtime walk can elevate our mood, help us to be relaxed and to be more enthusiastic about our work. As we walk and pay attention to our steps and our breath, we bring awareness to our body and our connectedness to the world around us. I have found that taking a walk in the middle of my day helps me to approach the rest of my day with as much energy as I had in the beginning. Have a nighttime routine, just like your children!: Whenever children are going through stressful times, I often recommend that parents keep a routine as much as possible. This is because routines serve as anchors of stability for both children and adults. They can help to bring calm into an active mind. So having a nighttime routine after my children have gone to bed is a meditative practice for me. Whether it is reading an inspiring book or practicing deep breaths, a nighttime routine helps to keep both my children and me grounded. Incorporating meditation into your day might be easier than you think! August 2021 | Westchester Family



5 Hotels for a NYC Staycation

Fun spots for a family getaway By Donna Duarte-LaDD & erik BLiss


ummer is winding down, okay we officially have until September 22nd, but parents know that summer is pretty much over the first day of school. And perhaps you went on a real vacation this break, the kind where you get on a plane and experience a different climate. Or maybe you decided to stay close and enjoy the East Coast. Regardless of the reason, you aren’t entirely done and are looking for a staycation in New York City. And let’s not forget millions of people flock here from all over the world because this city is pretty fabulous. And we have the best hotels, so whether your staycation is a solo self-care trip, a fun excursion with the family-we dare you to get out and explore the city! And we have the five hotels worth checking out.

Hotel Beacon - Upper West Side 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 212- 787-1100

Rich in New York City history, this upper westside hotel is upscale, making it perfect for families. Located in the heart of the Upper Westside, the 1, 2, and 3 trains are nearby, making it accessible to around. Nearby Central Park, you can plan a day alone at this park. The rooms are spacious and have a desk making for easy remote working, just in case you throw in some work in your staycation. The wifi is complimentary. The higher floor rooms have views of the Hudson River, Central Park, or city (midtown) skyline. Each room also has a Kitchenette (there are grocery stores nearby), which we all know that traveling with kids- a kitchen is enormous. The Kitchenette has a refrigerator, oven, and microwave; there are even dishes, so whether you feed the kid’s a quick breakfast or make dinner in you have everything you need.


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

Modernhaus Soho - Soho 27 Grand St, New York, NY 10013 212- 465-2000

Forward-thinking & stylish, Modernhaus SoHo checks all the boxes when looking for a staycation for the whole family (including the dog!). This pet-friendly hotel has 114 guest rooms which all feature panoramic city views and natural light, reminding you how beautiful NYC is. The kids will love the rooftop pool, which is surrounded by lounge chairs — make sure to get there early as they don’t take reservations, and seating is based on first-come-first-served. After fun at the pool, head on over to Color Factory New York (only 6 minutes from the hotel) for some participatory art installations for the whole family! For dinner, you must go to the hotel’s restaurant, Veranda, a signature restaurant from Michelin-starred chef George Mendes. Let the front desk know you’d like a reservation for dinner at check-in, and they will take care of everything! You will

be amazed by the greenhouse design, and the kids will love the fully retractable roof, a rarity in the city and perfect for open-air dining. Before check-out, make sure you stop at Jumpin Jacks on the second floor for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, the surrounding neighborhood is a must-explore, but if you wanted to just stay put, the hotel has everything you need! 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge - Brooklyn 60 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 347- 696-2500

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is truly an oasis that gives back within the city. The hotel is situated on Brooklyn Bridge Park and when you walk in the front doors of this hotel you immediately get luxurious treehouse vibes. The hotel’s mission is eco-friendly and equipped with energy efficient systems. They also have a rainwater reclamation system on the rooftop that sends water down to irrigate the waterfront park -- by far the most forward-

(Clockwise from top left) ModernHaus, Hotel Beacon, Williamsburg Hotel, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, William Vale. 718- 631-8400

thinking hotel you will ever visit! The kids will love the rooftop pool which looks out onto the East River and Manhattan skyline. Make sure you download the 1 Hotels App to book your family’s reservation at the pool! For dinner reservations we recommend checking out the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant, The Osprey. For something more low-key and delicious head around the corner to Juliana’a — a modern pizzeria with mouth watering coal-oven pizzas. On your way back to the hotel stop at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Your kids will be sure to say “this is the best ice cream I’ve ever had!”. Williamsburg Hotel - Brooklyn 96 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249 718- 362-8100

This pet-friendly boutique hotel is both warm

and chic. Starting with the lobby, guests will love the light that dances around the bar / lobby area and the gorgeous spiral staircase that takes you up to the elevators. Most rooms have a private balcony with stunning views. Custom design details of the rooms definitely have a Brooklyn vibe but not in an overly obnoxious way. The hotel is at the heart of Williamsburg, with all the food and fun culture that makes this spot popular. Kids will love the nearby East River Park; although under-going construction, there are still spots to enjoy as well as an awe-inspiring Manhattan view. For a day trip to the city, hop on the NYC Ferry for a family fun water trip to Manhattan. William Vale - Brooklyn 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

The William Vale has all the feels one wants when on a New York staycation. Located a quick subway ride from the city, this modern hotel is located right in the hub of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Rooms are bright and chic, with views of both Brooklyn and the city. Head out and visit Domino Park or check out the hotel’s second-floor garden level Vale Park. When there is no private function going on, this space is open to both hotel guests and the public. Enjoy city views, settle down for a fall picnic, or take some family pics for your next holiday card. For delicious food, you do not have to go far. You’ll want to stop by Leuca on the hotel’s first floor for a warm ambiance and Southern Italian eats such as wood-fired pizza and Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes. For an OMG view, you will want to venture up to the Westlight year-round rooftop bar on the 22nd floor. Featuring a terrace, you can dine on small plates a la tapas style and sip on their signature cocktails at one of the outside tables or cushions, or you can cozy up inside surrounded by floor-toceiling glass windows. The kids will enjoy the nearby bakeries and family-friendly restaurants for delish eats. The hotel’s popular The Williamsburg Restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, and dinner, which can be ordered in or eaten in the gorgeous restaurant or bar area. Check out their Summer Exclusive where you can enjoy 40% off guestrooms and suites with a $20 credit for in-room dining. August 2021 | Westchester Family



End of Summer

Reading List By Courtney Ingalls


s the Summer Break starts to wind down, there is still time for the kids to relax and enjoy a great book. Whether the kids are sitting at home, away at camp, or on the beach during vacation, a good book opens our kids to adventure, new worlds and broadens their world. If looking for a subscription service for the summer and beyond, we love ouraan. com, a well-curated book subscription where books are vetted, read, discussed by a team of experts before they are sent to your reader. In the world of books, there are many stories and genres that will appeal to kids of all ages and reading levels. We’ve come up with a list of reading books for each age group that will keep kids engaged the remaining summer and beyond! Early rEadErs Bye Bye Brain Bully: Knocking Out selfdoubt by Carin Bail & Carina Hale

Trying to tackle life is something that every child has to navigate while growing up. With the help of Captain Communicator and Believer Achiever, Kate tries to fight against the evil brain bully and to be able to use her voice and develop some courage within herself! Your kids will learn how to combat any mental struggles they have while growing up and how to be confident with themselves! Grades Preschool-3.

didn’t know you needed. Floaty is the perfect first book to show little ones how fun reading can be! Grades Preschool-3. Bo’s Magical New Friend (Unicorn diaries) by Rebecca Elliott

This book is aimed at newly independent readers and includes easy-to-read text in order to boost reading confidence! Bo Tinseltail is one of the many unicorns that attend Sparklegrove School and has the cool power of granting wishes. Something that Bo wants more than anything is to find a best friend. A new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry comes to the forest, and we are left wondering if Sunny will be the best friend Bo has been looking for. With this highinterest content and colorful illustrations, kids will not want to put this book down! Grades K-2.

a Crooked Kind of perfect by Linda Urban

summer Camp Critter Jitters by Jory John

Jude Banks, superhero by Ann Hood

At this summer camp, all of the animals are nervous about going! The duck is nervous about the other campers finding out he can’t swim, and the sloth is worried that he will have to catch his own lunch. This hilarious book shows how each animal prepares for camp and brings up the question of if the animals will ever get over their nerves and make new friends. Grades Preschool-3. UppEr-lEvEl BOOKs Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart

Floaty by John Himmelman

Mr. Raisin lives alone in a little house, and that is the way he prefers it. One day he comes across a basket on his front step. When he opens the basket, he doesn’t see anything inside until he looks up to find a floating dog! This funny story focuses on embracing the unexpected and finding friendships that you


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

reality! Hart shows through this book that if you have a dream you want to come true, you have to work hard in order to achieve it, which is something that all kids should learn. Grades 3-7.

Marcus is stuck in a film class he has no interest in being in but realizes he can use it as an opportunity to make the cartoon superhero he has been drawing into a movie! This book, written by comedian Kevin Hart, follows Marcus’ journey through his film endeavors and how he and some helpful friends make his imagination become a

Ten-year-old Zoe has always dreamed of becoming a great piano player and is waiting to get her first piano in order to start her lessons. When her dad ends up buying her an organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s hopes and dreams seem farther away than ever. However, when Zoe enters an annual organ competition, she realizes that life hands you some unexpected surprises. This book shows kids that even though we might strive for perfection, sometimes it’s better to be a little off-center. Grades 5-7.

This book is written by New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood and tackles the hard topics of loss, resilience, and how families start to heal. Jude’s sister Katie was his favorite person in the world. She was the one who always called him “Jude Banks, Superhero” and made him feel special. When his sister unexpectedly passed away, Jude didn’t feel like the superhero he was told he was. While trying to figure out how life will be without Katie, Jude meets a new friend with similar struggles and they decide that they will try to tackle their tragedies together. Grades 3-7. Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Middle school can be rough, and as kids will be returning to school full time the next school year- this coming sweet book is a must summer read for Tweens and even adults. The story is about Will Levine and how the


As an instant New York Times bestseller, Firekeepers Daughter has become a mustread for young adults this summer! The book follows Daunis Fontaine, a teenager who lives on the Ojibwe reservation, who put her dreams of getting out of her hometown on hold after a family tragedy struck. After witnessing a shocking murder, Fontaine gets involved with an FBI investigation and finds out that finding the truth behind these crimes is harder than she expected. If your kids love crime and mystery books, this will be one your kids will not want to put down this summer. Young Adult. Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

This book is based on a true story and is the perfect combination of funny and informative. Readers will be focusing on author and main character Sara Saedi as she tackles the struggles of being an undocumented immigrant in America.On top of the steady progression towards getting her green card, Saedi is also worried about normal teenage things such as whether or not she will be able to get a prom date or if she will ever be able to properly maintain her unibrow. Saedi’s memoir is relatable and is a necessary book to read during today’s climate. Young Adult. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

lola: A Ghost Story by J. Torres

most of the family, she had visions and was able to see ghosts. Jesse shares this secret power, and while in the Philipines for Lola’s funeral, Jesse sees ghosts and realizes he must face his demons. The book shares Filipino culture and mythology. While this story is beautiful with many visuals, it does have a bit of darkness- like the grandmother trying to drown Jesse as a baby (it was not what it seems, as you will find out later) and a drunk adult. This is why we recommend the recommended age group read this book. Young Adult.

Lola is the Tagalog word for a grandmother who Jesse barely knew but was aware, like

Firekeepers daughter by Angeline

seventh grade is not going so great. With a considerable part of this from being bullied due to his funny-looking chin. His friendship with the ill older boy RJ changes Will’s life as a friendship is bonded through turtles and RJ’s guidance and bucket list. This book is a heartfelt coming of age story perfect for a summer read for this age group to learn about being brave and getting out of your shell. Grades 5-6. GRAde 8th & YOunG Adult

This book is the start of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and takes you on an adventure with magical spells and monsters. Alina Starkov is a soldier who has embarked on her first trek into the Shadow Fold. When she and the other soldiers get ambushed, Alina unleashes powerful magic that she didn’t know she had. Now Alina is training with her country’s magical military elite and is uncovering secrets in her past that can put her family and country in danger. Grades 8- Young Adults. Rule Of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

If Shadow and Bones seems like a book your kids would enjoy, pick up this other magical story written as part of Bardugo’s King of Scars Duology. This book is the second of the duology and follows three people, the demon king preparing for an invasion, the stormwitch who is embracing her powers for her country, and the spy that is going undercover to seek revenge. Together, these three are working to fight off the darkness that is taking over their country before it is too late. Young Adults. August 2021 | Westchester Family


Tasheena Carmona of Who Wore What Mini

On being a children’s wardrobe stylist, content creator while juggling family and mixing high and low style for her kids and work By Donna Duarte-LaDD


ew York-style is reemerging. After being indoors for so long, some of us have felt a bit lost since having to get dressed again. Sure, during quarantine, many of us were behind a desk at home in our sweats, and frankly, it felt pretty darn good and comfortable. But now, with New York safely and cautiously getting back to some normalcy, fashion is looking extra. This is why we looked to Tasheena Carmona and her children for style inspiration and guidance for our August cover. I admire Tasheena; besides her easygoing nature (we prepped for our shoot on the corner of Soho at a Starbucks), she is undoubtedly a fashion expert; yet she has fun with clothes. All one has to do is look at this mother’s (of 4!) popular IG, Who Wore What Mini, and not only admire her family’s insane style but appreciate that she does most of it by mixing thrift and vintage finds with store brands to match each of her kid’s personalities. Married to her high school sweetheart, this mom focuses on work, kids, and maintaining a solid family unit. And with four kids that range from ages 4 to 15, she is busy. She also possesses a wealth of tips and knowledge on why shopping for kids for Back To School doesn’t have to break the bank. You have four kids(!), and you seem to be organized, with pretty cool and intelligent children; how do you do it? Prayer, meditation, and yoga! All three play a big part in my life. It’s very important to me. It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day, so this helps. At times my husband and I sit back in disbelief that we have four kids. It seems like


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

yesterday I was giving birth to my firstborn, my son Jacob. Now fast forward 15 years, and here we are with four children Jacob 15, Bella, 12; Jagger, 7; and Fohr, age 4. Love our party of six. My two oldest take after my husband. Very cool and chill about everything. The two youngest are a whole different story. They take after me, sassy pants, true Leos! I’ll leave that there. We’re blessed beyond words to have such cool, intelligent, loving, and compassionate kids. I seriously pinch myself daily. Things do get a little hectic at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You married your high school sweetheart. You have a tight-knit family that spends a lot of time together. With four kids, how do you juggle time together as well as everyone’s schedule? I met my husband in high school. We had mutual friends, so we would see each other and started dating my junior year, and we’ve been together ever since. After dating for 11 years, he decided to pop the question. Fast forward 22 years, I can’t see life without him—the best dad to our children. When we got married, we didn’t have kids. Since becoming a parent, I’ve always dreamed of having a ceremony on the beach just for the kids and us. We’re planning to renew our vows with them next year. Our youngest Fohr is obsessed with sharing our vows again; it is important for them to feel and see our love. As far as scheduling, the struggle is real when it comes down to juggling everyone’s schedule. I usually handle all the school stuff, appointments, etc., and then my husband and I usually split up the extracurricular activities. I don’t know what I would do without him.

You have a strong background in fashion and focus on styling kids; what is it about styling children you love? I never considered children’s fashion until I had my kids. The agency that I was working for as an assistant, the stylists were not styling children. While out on maternity leave, I knew coming back I wanted more- I would buy all the major children’s fashion magazines. I would do test shoots with my son. He let me do my thing until the age of 10. Now he knows it all, lol. Children’s styling is so much fun, and I meet so many amazing, smart, cool kids. When styling a client, I love to feed off their energy. I make it easy and fun. That’s what fashion for kids should be. I was always heavy on sustainable fashion and knew I wanted to incorporate it into everything. Growing up, every weekend, my grandmother would take me to the local flea markets. We’d drive around to the rich neighborhoods searching for yard sales. She taught me how to look for timeless pieces. I’m happy I get to continue this tradition with my kids. The whole family has a passion for vintage, and I love it. You love mixing high and low when it comes to shopping for kids’ clothes. You are also a big thrifter. How do you shop for four kids, and what tips can you share on saving money, especially with back-to-school around the corner? My family wears 90 Percent sustainable clothing—I thrift maybe four times a week. I always bring the kids along. It’s important that they love what they wear. It’s so easy to become a hoarder, so I try to buy only what we need! Denim is always something you could save on with multiple kids. You could do so much. I saved all my denim, oxfords,

Yumi Matsuo

polos, blazers, and jackets from my son for my girls. I made shorts for the summer; some pairs are great for the baggy boyfriend jeans look. Oversized Oxford shirts are always good. Great for beach cover-ups as well as smocks for painting. I highly recommend going through what you have before you buy anything. I spend the most money on footwear. It’s something they wear the most. Comfort and style are key for my kids.

Your girls are sweet and kind; I grew up with sisters, so of course, I know there is real life, but how do you spend time with each one individually while keeping them united? Each girl has different interests. My oldest Bella and I share a love for the ocean- we love sunset and sunrise. Mommy and me dates at the beach. Collecting seashells and meditation by the water is our thing. Jagger is my art child. The perfect date for her is when

we set up our easels in the yard. We capture the blooming flowers. Fohr, my baby- she hit the ground running since birth. She’s such a girly girl and donut lover with a big heart. The funny thing is when I take each one out on solo dates; they always want to bring something back for the siblings. They all love when the family is all together. My husband is always working; our family time is everything to us. August 2021 | Westchester Family


mom stories

What I Will Miss About Remote Life By Donna Duarte-LaDD


e will all be heading back to some form of normal soon. If you had told me sixteen months ago that the world would be in lockdown due to a dangerous virus crippling cities and countries, throwing us into virtual remote life, I, like many, would have thought you were describing a zombie or horror movie. Alas, we all know this has been real life. The pandemic has been scary, and none of us had a handbook or even Cliff Notes when it all


WestchesterFamily.com | August 2021

began. So we went through each day without a compass. Most of the time, we were winging it — sometimes with success while other days not so much. And next year, here in New York, kids will be back at school full time. But how will everyday life be after this historic time? I’ve changed. I admit I have always have been on the go and hurried, and the last thing I needed was to become a remote teacher, short-order cooked, school nurse, and so on. But it happen, and it was rough. Yet as time passed, I found myself embracing the moments. Of course, the indignities that can surface during a rough patch of life, well, they piled up. And life got sticky and challenging AF. What I do know now, as more calm streams into the day, not just to tease but to stay longer than the day before, is that I am lucky. Crazy as remote life with kids 24/7 has been, and I do not wish to experience something like this again — I appreciate the opportunity to be with my family. And now know that hunkering down

and focusing on living can be done. It won’t be perfect nor ideal, but it will be okay. It took a while after mentally losing it a few times, but I got to a place of gratitude. And the pandemic is not over. COVID is still an issue and may remain one for years to come, but in the spirit of being grateful for what I do have and not what could’ve been, here is what I will miss: spontaneous hugs while on a Zoom, random sloppy kisses, also while on a Zoom, being slapped by a young child while I worked (it is funny now), realizing I still suck at math, that history class is still my jam, finding my boys cuddling on their lunch break, an empty park where the squirrels and birds are the only company, a traffic-free BQE, picking my youngest son up at the bus drop-off, an empty (and clean!) subway, sharing meals with my neighbors. And so much more. While life, as we knew it, pre-COVID will sneak back in, and there will be plenty I won’t miss from this time, the good stuff will be imprinted forever.

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