Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Trials of a Special Needs Mom- The Defiant 4 Year Old

My son is testing every single bone in my body. If I say do you want a drink...he throws the drink. If I say hold mommy's hand...he yanks it away. If I say time for bed...he throws a monster fit. And if I say walk with mommy...he runs the other way. "No" means "yes I will!" everytime. These days it seems like a no win situation for mom at every turn. But what makes this situation so unique is my son doesn't have any speech. For all toddlers, they reach a stage of independence that most people refer to as "terrible twos"-- a very normal developmental milestone. Children begin to understand they can object or even say "no" whenever they please. And to their little feels pretty good to get a "rise" out of mom or dad. My son, for example, thinks it's really funny. It's exciting on the one hand to know that my globally delayed child has reached a typical developmental milestone. But on the other's the most frustrating period of our existence together as mother and son.

Parents with typically developing children have the luxury of talking their toddlers off the edge. "Johnny if you continue to lay on the floor screaming the birthday party is off and we're going home." Or "Mary, if you throw your sippy cup one more time, I'm taking away your (favorite toy)." It requires some negotiation but it generally works or helps at a minimum. In my case, I don't have that luxury.

I can't say I've actually figured out this stage of my son's development. But I have stopped catering to the madness. I've stopped picking him up off the floor-- in Walmart. If he refuses to eat we just don't eat. If he wants to throw a toy-- it disappears. It may not be the best plan...but it's keeps me sane. I think every mother gets to a point where deep breathing and patience are about all you can rely on to get through a stage you pray won't last forever.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Trials of a Special Needs Mom- The Plane Ride

The plane ride is always a joy. Even though my four year old can be a loving but difficult child in an airport waiting area he's great on the plane. I don't know about other children but my child loves confinement. He loves small spaces and loves to be strapped in-- I think he feels safe. He won't swim in any pool but he loves our bathtub. He'll play in the bathtub all day if he could. We think it's because he can see all four walls and feels safe. He loves to ride in the car. He helps you strap him into his booster seat. Once it's snapped...he settles in with a smile. Even eating meals with a little strap in chair makes his experience and ours all the more fun...and enjoyable.

So once we boarded the plane and snapped him into his seat belt...he was as happy as a peach. We watched all the activity of the passing planes and trucks on the tarmac. We took off and quietly said, "Wee Wee" to make those initial bumps and altitude changes more fun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Trials of A Special Needs Mom- THE AIRPORT

I'm at the O'Hare airport this morning preparing to board a flight to Shreveport Louisiana to visit my husband's parents.
Although most people get excited to pack up the family and board a plane, I'm usually terrified. Not because I'm a afraid to fly...I'm afraid to wait. My son is mentally disabled and four. He has very little speech and even less patience. So the thought of being delayed for hours on a plane or spending the night in the airport with a special needs toddler- terrifies me.

It's not just the worst case scenerios that try your resolve and work your nerves. It's the everyday little things that no one thinks about. We just got through security only because a kind check in security guard realized my son, in tears and screaming, was over stimulated and freaking out by the lines, the people and the ropes that guide the passengers through the lines. When you're a special needs mom you have to worry about too much stimulation, too much noise, too many people and an anxious child.

As we moved through security people watched. As they always do. I'm a little used to it now but I still have to talk myself through it. It's embarrassing when my son is screaming and kicking and squirming and he's clearly too big to be in stroller. A special needs stroller for bigger children. Even as I write this hands are shaking because I'm just nervous.

I had a moment to write because my husband decided to walk my son through the airport until our flight boards. I must go because we're about to board our flight. I have to tell the gate attendants that although my child is large we need to board early. He kicks and hits on his way on a plane. Oh well. It's just another day at the airport.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Hip Hop, Baby! Wins an iParenting Media Award

It's Hip Hop, Baby! All Your Child's Favorites was awarded an iParenting Media Award for 2007!
This educational DVD for toddlers was selected for the video category.

iParenting Media Awards announces the winners of our Greatest Products of 2007 Call for Entry, during which we evaluated items ranging from classic games and high-tech toys, fun music and innovative baby gear items, helpful books and educational videos to organic foods and beverages. All of the items were thoroughly evaluated by experienced reviewers to determine which ones exceeded the standards to earn an award.

The iParenting Media Awards program is the only product review and awards program in the industry that has attained ISO 9001:2000 Certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO is the world's largest developer of standardization regulations, and ISO 9001:2000 is an internationally recognized standard of quality assurance. Only a fraction of the companies that attempt this certification achieve it.

"In an increasingly crowded marketplace, it is more and more difficult for families to know which products and media materials are the best. The iParenting Media Awards program cuts through the clutter by thoroughly reviewing products, recognizing only the best ones and sharing them with our audience," says Alvin All, Chief Executive Officer of iParenting Media. "During our Greatest Products Call for Entry, iParenting Media Awards reviewers evaluated many items, but only the ones that exceeded our high standards earned the iParenting Media Award."

It's Hip Hop, Baby! is an educational DVD features child-friendly dance routines that help your child develop listening skills and the ability to follow simple directions. Your toddler will experience the joys of learning their ABC's, animals, body parts, and numbers through fun-filled musical performances and interviews with the hip hop kids. It's Hip Hop, Baby! the DVD and CD are available at or

I am one TIRED mom!

I think the lesson about "being tired all the time" needs to go on the list of things your mother never told you before you gave birth. I don't know if my mother just made it look easy but I have to say growing up I never noticed that she was exhausted or running on few hours of sleep while she made meals, worked, ran us to all our activities, picked up my dad's dry cleaning and ran our house. She made it look effortless.

But me...I am exhausted. I average about 5 hours of sleep a night. After long hours at work, grocery shopping, reading through all the school papers, cooking, cleaning, laundry, doctor appointments and general house management...I'M TIRED! My husband always says...if you're so tired why do you want more children? Because I love children. I'd love a big family. You mean it doesn't make sense to him that I'd be happy being EXHAUSTED for the rest of my life to have a large loving family?

Hey...all my other friends with children and busy lives are tired too.

I think what's really interesting is that men don't seem to be tired at all. They have time to read the paper, magazines, and watch a Netflix every other night. I haven't read a book in months.

But when it all comes down to it...I wouldn't change a thing. Well maybe. My husband could take out the trash without me hounding him and step up to cook sometimes, but beside that-- I'll take tired over anything else. Because tired means I'm cooking for a family that loves me dearly. Tired means I'm running my son to the doctor and cuddling him after a painful shot. Tired means I'm working to earn a living that allows my family to rent a beach house for the summer. Tired means I'm staying up late to go through my son's school papers to make sure he learning with love.

So no...I didn't see it coming-- this mommy exhaustion and "to do" lists that never end.'s okay with me.


Needing a Nap

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Toddler Won't Have a Birthday Party With Friends

It's settled. We're not going to host a "kid" birthday party for my son who is turning three in November. We're are going to celebrate his birthday. He'll bring a store-bought (school policy) treat to pre-school on his birthday. We're going to have my husband's relatives over for dinner the evening of his birthday.

Why the change of heart? The following week, we're hosting 30 people for Thanksgiving dinner, which include two overnight guests for the weekend. It will also be our first time hosting Thanksgiving (YIKES). Don't worry. My dinner parties consist of some cooking, some catering, some potluck, and lots of wine.

The day after Thanksgiving, we're taking our son to "Sesame Street Live: Elmo grows up." He's going to have plenty of fun. Also, since he's only in preschool half days, I'm planning to do some thing special with him during the day (e.g. children's museum, zoo, or open gym). I need to wear him out so he'll take a nap and I can prepare for my husband's family to come over for dinner. Again, some cooking, some catering, and potluck.

Although I know we're making the right decision. I'm still a bit sad that we won't be having a kid party. I was looking forward to all the hype. However, a good friend made a good point, "until they're asking for party, just celebrate with family.

And so we shall.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

a little help here?

I just have to get this off my chest and then I'll be able to let it go- my husbands appalling lack of interactive parenting tonight just ticks me off. Not that I am looking for a massive song and dance every evening....but guess what buddy? We are all tired. Doesn't matter if you drove far today or not. And, the nerve to assume that your day is ALWAYS more difficult than my own makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs sometimes.
I suppose in a way I should be grateful, because I know he can be great- so when he is not, I am sad. I know (in fact, I often witness) there are husbands who don't do a thing- but it just really gets on my nerves when there is no consideration towards what kind of day I have had before he just lays out the negativity of his day on us.
All right. Better now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Are Ya Gonna Have Another?"

That is the question that everyone seems to ask and I gotta tell ya. . . Its eating me up inside. For every single second of brain space I have left in my head this is what I think about. Should I have another kid. My decision making on this issue LITERALLY goes when the wind blows. I could be getting out of my car, walking into the grocery store elated that I have made my decision to have another kid. Then I pay for my groceries, walk back to the car and my decision has been swayed.. I'm then against it. and this goes on and on and on like this.. everyday, every week, every month. I cannot seem to stand on one side of this issue 100%. You know what the most frustrating part of it is? My husband is the same way. We are both totally and completely on the fence on this one. so what do we do about it? nothing. No protection when we have sex, yet I'm not getting pregnant. I just turned 37 years old and my husband will be 40 next year. no reason to not have another kid but also a reason to consider as well. I am confused like I have never been before. Help. but no one can help me. i cant even go to a therapist to talk about it because this is a decision that only I can make. not even my husband. Only me. i have a beautiful, smart and most of all healthy 2 1/2 year old girl. she is obviously the center of my being. is this enough? for me? for her? for my husband? i have to admit something: The vision of me being pregnant and being in the ultrasound when you can find out the sex of your baby and the technician telling us that its a boy brings tears to my eyes. because i KNOW in my heart of hearts that my husband would love a son. he wont admit it and maybe hes really telling the truth that he doesn't care what the sex is, but maybe its just me. I would love to give my husband a son. that is enough for me to have another child. having said that, my first pregnancy was pretty horrifying and I cannot imagine going through it again. especially while I'm taking care of a 3 year old. But I would love to give her a sibling. and the debate goes on and on and on and on. I guess we will just have to see what happens.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Momentary Lapse of Reason...

that is chronic and seems comparable to my adolescent years when my brain was full of hormones and pharmaceuticals. That's how I feel most days at 39 1/2 years old with 3 boys between the ages of 2 & 5, having joined this club I didn't know existed! Don't get me wrong--I wouldn't trade lives with ANYONE (and have even recently come to the conclusion that there is still one "soul" missing), but I am TIRED, at the end of my training for the Chicago Marathon in two weeks--my first, and looking forward to going back to yoga with my kids all occasionally in school! The point is, yesterday with all of the kids and the dog in the car, about a mile from my house, my middle son asks, "Mommy, why isn't [the baby]'s car seat buckled?". (Can you hear the screeeeeeeching sound made by the mini-van tires as I pulled over?!?) Anyway, in my former life I was an educator, I consider myself grounded and relatively intelligent, and yet I forgot the MOST important thing I had to do that morning. Although I am pretty opinionated, I try very hard not to be judgmental--as in the case of the woman who left her baby in the car all day--because we ALL make mistakes, some of us have just been luckier than others. My heavy heart goes out to her--she is living my worst nightmare.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Catch It's Hip Hop, Baby! in Ebony Magazine this month!

It's Hip Hip, Baby! is featured in Ebony Magazine this month. It's Hip Hop, Baby! is an educational DVD and CD for toddlers. Fun musical performances teach children the fundamentals they need to learn-- abc's, numbers, animals and colors. The CD features all of the music on the DVD in addition to two bonus tracks -- "Hip Hop Exercise" and "Fruit Song."

Visit our website at

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Birthday Party Dilemma

When my son was born, my husband and I swore we would never be one of those parents who threw lavish birthday parties for our son. Lo and behold we're two months from celebrating his third birthday and I'm in the process of calling around for suitable venues, entertainment options (will a clown be too scary?), and deliberating on menu options (Are peanuts really off-limits?). Involuntarily, I feel like I've been sucked into some sort of vortex of a "toddler rite of passage." While weighing the decision of whether or not to host a birthday party for my soon-to-be three year old, which will include other two and three year olds (YIKES), there's far more reasons to have a blow-out party.

First, in my son's short three years on earth, he's been through quite a bit. He experienced a severe arm injury at birth, had corrective arm surgery when he was 10 months, and was diagnosed with a significant speech delay at 18 months. He currently receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy. He's been a trooper through it all.

Second, he's been a rock star at potty training. That alone deserves a party.

Third, he's a great kid with a lot of friends and friends with parents whom I really enjoy (Not to mention we're constantly being invited to birthday parties. Reciprocity may be in order here).

Fourth, my son loves a great party. He loves to dance, sing, and run around. He enjoys socializing and playing games. It's going to be joyful just watching him with his friends.

Finally, I actually enjoy event planning. I'm having a blast checking out birthday party websites to get ideas for themes (Trucks, Trucks and more Trucks). I've been a savvy negotiator when it comes to the venue space. I've even decided, in lieu of gifts, we're going to have a box for "Toys for Tots." That will be optional of course.

I'm at peace with my decision and I'm actually looking forward to the birthday bash. I've resolved my dilemma and I'm ready "to send in the clowns"(just kidding). We're flying the Wiggles in from London (again, I'm kidding).

I read a great remark, which I'll paraphrase here: Let the child be celebrated, not the party. This is what my husband and I plan to do. Hence, our dilemma is solved.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

We Should Have Sympathy for the Ohio Mom Who Left Her Child in the Car

This week I was horrified to read about the mother and assistant principal in Ohio who accidentally left her child in her car for 8 hours while she attended meetings at school. She says a stop for donuts threw her off her regular routine and she forget she hadn't dropped her child off at daycare.

I watched people on various news reports condemn this mother for split second mistake that resulted in a deadly consequence. People were angry that the prosecutor ruled it a mistake and refused to press charges. If she did get charged, arrested and sentenced-- I don't think any prison could compare to the prison she's living in now. I'm a mother. And I feel horrible when my child comes home with a bump on head or falls under my watch. Imagine the internal hell you'd be feeling if you made the fatal mistake that killed your child. I can't begin to understand how painful it must be for this mom and her family. I just hope more people will take the time to put themselves in her shoes before they pass judgment or publicly condemn her.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's Hip Hop, Baby! Gets Down at the Chicago Living and Giving Gift Show

It's Hip Hop, Baby! makes a splash at Chicago's premier gift show-- The Living and Giving Show at the Merchandise Mart.
Boutiques, Toy Stores, Hospital Gift Shops and Baby/Children stores are excited about this new educational DVD and CD for cool kids ages 2-6. On the showroom floor scenes from "It's Hip Hop, Baby!" the educational DVD entertain hundreds of buyers from the Great Lakes region as they pass buy in search of the perfect gift item for their stores.
Visit for store locations near you.
It's Hip Hop, Baby! where education and fun are wrapped up in one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


It's Hip Hop, Baby! an educational DVD for babies, toddlers and preschool aged children will be featured at the Baby Boutique Expo. Baby Boutique Expo is the place where cool moms and dads, preschool teachers, doctors, childcare providers and children go to have fun and check out the latest in products for baby and child. The Baby Boutique Expo has lots of activities for children including a Gymboree and Kohls Children's Museum play area, a mother daughter model search and so much more. Vendors from all over the city of Chicago will be selling the hottest baby clothing and trendy gift items. It's fun for entire family.

Come out Sunday July 15 from 10am to 4pm at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel in Northbrook (at Dundee and Skokie Blvd off the Edens Expressway).

It's Hip Hop, Baby!-- the ultimate educational experience your child will love-- is proud to be affiliated with the Baby Boutique Expo. We'll see you there!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

New Information about Childhood Obesity

We know childhood obesity is a problem that affects thousands of children in this country. "It's Hip Hop, Baby!"-- the educational DVD for babies and toddlers-- is one way children can start moving and staying active at an early age. Throughout this educational DVD children are asked to participate and dance along with the hip hop kids. It's not a passive learning experience-- it's an active one.

In "Hip Hop Simon Says" children are asked to jump, raise their hands, dip down to the ground and stomp their feet. Each verse has an active command for children to move their bodies with the hip hop kids.

Go to for more information on how your child can benefit from "It's Hip Hop, Baby!" the DVD. Action, educational and fun all wrapped up in one.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Don't Miss The Baby Boutique Expo in Chicago!

This weekend Chicago welcomes the Baby Boutique Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, IL. It's an expo filled with upscale products for the hip, trendy, cool mom. There's something for everyone at the Baby Boutique Expo. You'll find products for your baby or toddler ranging from baby wear, educational books, toys, and so much more.

"It's Hip Hop, Baby! gives the Baby Boutique Expo a thumbs up! "It's Hip Hop, Baby!" All Your Child's Favorites is an educational DVD for babies and toddlers. Moms, dads, daycare providers, doctors and even celebrities say "It's Hip Hop, Baby!" is education and fun all wrapped up in one. If you're looking for the next best thing in educational videos for your children go to

Please visit the Baby Boutique Expo at The Hard Rock Hotel 230 N. Michigan Avenue Sunday May 6th from 10am to 4pm.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our Prayers Go Out to Virginia Tech

Everyone here at "Its Hip Hop, Baby!" is deeply saddened by the events that took place at Virgina Tech. Our prayers go out to all of the grieving families and students.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Check out "It's Hip Hop, Baby!" in today's Wednesday Journal- Oak Park and River Forest, IL

4/10/2007 10:00:00 PM
Mom takes the basics and gives them a beat

Oak Park toddler Emerson Clark doesn't like transitions. From crib to bathtub or high chair to diaper station, he disapproved. Strongly. But instead of making it a struggle, his mother turned it into a positive. "I knew Emerson liked music so I would sing a made-up song to put him in a good mood and look forward to the new activity," says Candi Carter.
The culmination of many such moments is It's Hip Hop, Baby! is a new preschool video created by Carter, an Oak Park resident.
"My son always loves it when I sing his favorite songs in the kitchen, tapping out rhythms and beats with spatulas and spoons," she says of how she got the idea to create her spirited junior jam session. Carter is an Emmy-award winning television producer for an internationally famous Chicago-based daytime talk show that you've no doubt heard of and has plenty of professional experience with entertainment. But she wasn't thrilled with what she found when looking for something for her son.
"I was looking for that new, cutting-edge toddler video that would appeal to my 3-year-old-and to me-but it didn't exist," she says.
It's Hip Hop, Baby! includes original songs such as beloved classics like the "ABCs," "If You're Happy And You Know It," and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," but all the songs have been tricked out with fresh beats and rhythms. "The songs encourage children to explore music, language and sounds," says Carter. "And the music can be enjoyed by the whole family."
The songs help kids learn body parts, animals and numbers, featuring real children and child-friendly movements. "Necessity is the mother of invention," as Benjamin Franklin put it, and after composing the music, this mother tested her inventive concept on friends and families-and they gave her a resounding thumbs up.
"The songs have a catchy beat and fun, positive messages," says Carter, who grew up in New Hampshire and always loved music. "I have an unusual experience because I am an African-American who grew up in a school where there were four other kids like me and one was my brother," she recalls. "People are surprised when I know all the lyrics to Foreigner and Pat Benatar, but that's what I grew up with. I mean, my parents had albums like The Ohio Players-but it wasn't like I was around R&B or hip-hop music because there were no soul stations there."
Carter attended Boston College on a track scholarship and, upon graduation, joined CNN in Atlanta. As is common in the TV industry, she moved a few years later to Milwaukee where she oversaw several children's television programs. "I produced a teen show once a week and also a show called "Street Smart Kids" that taught youth how to be safe-like, not to fall for the "lost puppy" trick." The series won Carter an Emmy. "It's actually at my mother's house. I should get that back!" she said, on second thought.
Carter moved to Chicago to accept her current producer position and has worked there for 11 years. "I am always making up songs and singing," she says. "My experience as a mother pushed me to want to make a video that other families with young children would think was cool as well as educational."
Her husband, a private banker, supported her idea to create It's Hip Hop, Baby!
"I created the video right here in Oak Park," says Carter. "I rounded up the neighbors, friends and it's a reflection of Oak Park that the video shows diversity. We shot around town at Ridgeland pool and at Barrie Park and then at a studio downtown." Her goal is to create an ongoing series of a couple dozen videos and CDs "focusing on different subjects like "fruits and vegetables" or "learning your numbers." Carter has a CD culled from It's Hip Hop Baby! coming out soon. "Three of my original songs-the Duck Dance, the Milk Song and the Hip Hop Hokey Pokey," she says.
"I am so happy with the response other parents give me. They say they like the songs as much as the kids do-and their kids listen to the video all the time!" Carter says she isn't sure if they're attracted by the real kids, the lively music or the lyrics, but it's proving to be a popular formula, and she's just happy her concept is working.
"Kids really pay attention when you take something they are familiar with-like the ABCs-and then add some." To prove her point, she launches into her hip hop rendition of "ABCs."
The video is available locally at Magic Tree Bookstore and also online at A visit to offers information about how to order the video and T-shirts, and includes parent reviews.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It's Hip Hop, Baby! Featured on NBC 5 Chicago

It's Hip Hop, Baby!, the exciting new DVD for babies and toddlers, was recently featured on WMAQ NBC 5 Chicago. Anchor Art Norman interviewed creator Candi Carter and pediatrician & host of Lifetime Television's "Health Corner," Dr. Lisa Thornton.

They discussed the childhood obesity epidemic and how It's Hip Hop, Baby! is doing something about it. When preschoolers and toddlers watch It's Hip Hop, Baby! they are encouraged to move and groove. This kidvid is not a passive experience. Boys and girls get involved and enjoy learning. Daycare providers, teachers, therapists, moms and dads all agree children learn with It's Hip Hop, Baby! and most importantly-- they're having fun.

Obesity in children is a serious issue we all face in this country. It's Hip Hop, Baby! is one way we can begin to start encouraging our children to be active at an early age.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hello Parents...

Welcome to It's Hip Hop, Baby! We're so happy you decided to visit our site today. Please watch the preview of the video on the "preview" page.

Have a great day!