Of sugarplums

best fashions of the season.

Photographs by Raphaël Büchler shimmer and shine

Opposite page, left: Glittering gems make these frocks special. Silver pleated dress with jeweled neckline ($49; at Cymboree stores and gymboree.com). Right Dress-and-coat set. with a metallic-thread weave, rhlnestone buckle, and furry trim, by Youngland ($38; at Sears stores and sears.com)

to tie for Who can resist a baby boy in a bow tie... and pinstripes? (Shirt, $14.50, vest, $18.50, blazer, $24.50, pants, $16.50, tie, $7.50; crazy8.com) >

clecember/january 2010 parentlng.com sugarplums oh, w

Little gi

parentlng.com decernber/january

Velvet Heart Microfiber Tights

flight of fancy Unique details set her look apart. The satin blouse comes with a tie with a silver-studded heart ($16.50; The Children's Place). Frlda skirt m embroidered mocha velvet ($68; peekarent youcurlous.com). microfiber tights ($4.50; The Children's Place) >

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CHOICE Of PEDIATRICIANS IS AVAILABLE IN HE

CHOICE Of PEDIATRICIANS IS AVAILABLE IN HE

knit picks Let s face it, preschool boys just want holiday outfits to be cozy and comfy. Far left. Woven plaid button up shirt and argyle zip-up sweater ($16.50 and $19.50; The Children's Place), distressed jeans ($30; Cap-Kids), leather SmartFit dress shoes ($17.99: at Payless stores). Left Creendog mock turtleneck half-zip sweater ($34: at select Macv's stores, 800-343-0121), five-pocket cords ($39; garnethill com), Sperry Colton lace-up ihoes ($60; striderlte.com) >

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sugarplums

sugarplums take a spin

Tiny twirlers in tulle steal the show—and everyone's hearts.

dressed to frill Send Grandma swooning. Silk dress with sparkly button details and flouncy crinoline ($78; janieandjack .com), giimmery ballet flats with ruffle detailing {$16.50: at Old Navy stores)

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Life won't always gift your chi!d with exactly his heart's desire. But there are ways you can make sure that, underneath it ail, he learns to appreciate what he has.

By Potty Onderko Photographs by Antonis Achilleos was 7 years old when I received a tiny Christmas present-about the size of an eraser—awkwardly wrapped and covered in tape. My sister's boyfriend, Jeff, was visiting and had considerately brought gifts for his girlfriend's three younger siblings. Mine, though, was by far the smallest, I remember opening it up to reveal a miniature ceramic dog—a cold, hard nothing that fit in the palm of my hand—and thinking how unlucky I was. I gave Jeff my best cold shoulder the rest of the day.

And I've felt guilty about it ever since. Partly because, in hindsight, Jeff's gift was very thoughtful: I'd been obsessed with my dollhouse, and he had managed to find one accessory my dream home did not yet have—a pet. Still, I couldn't look past the size of the gift to be grateful for the amount of care that had gone into choosing it.

In this, experts say, I wasn't an unusual kid: For dis-tractible, still-developing children (and that's pretty much all of them), gratitude can be hard-won. While many can be trained to say "please" and "thank you" beginning at about 18 months, true appreciativeness and generosity take time to seed and blossom,

"There's a difference between encouraging thankfulness in your kids and actually expecting it," says Claire Lerner, a child-development specialist at Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the healthy development of kids and families. "Raising a grateful child is an ongoing process,"

Vicki Hoefle, director of Parenting on Track, a parent-education program based in East Middlebury, VT (and the mother of five teenagers), concurs: "As nice as it is to think about having a five-year-old who appreciates and shows gratitude for everything, the truth is, parents can feel successful if they raise a thirty-five-year-old who embodies that grateful spirit."

So, to Jeff Galvin I offer a long-overdue "Thank you." To everyone else, here's how to avoid getting derailed by five not-so-thankful-kid moments, both this holiday season and all year long:

Your toddler gobbles down the Teddy Crahctms that another parent at the playground gives him. But instead of Thank you," all he says is "More!"

In-the-moment fix It's easy7 to turn this "teachable moment" into a battle of wills—one where you're repeating "I didn't hear you say thank you!" to your tantrum-ing toddler while the person he's supposed to thank is backing away in discomfort. But, explains Lerner, the fact that your son doesn't always say the words likely just means they haven't become a habit for him yet. "And getting into power struggles actually impedes the process," she says. So while you should definitely remind your kids to give thanks, it's best not to make a big deal about it if it doesn't happen. long-term strategy Remind yourself to model grateful behavior. When your cookie-muncher goes silent, go ahead and say the necessary "Thank you so much!" for him. (At least until he gets older and can be counted on to follow your cues.) In your own everyday interactions, always offer warm thank-yous and praise to grocery store clerks, gas-station attendants, waiters, teachers—anyone who's helpful to you or him. You may think your child isn't paying attention to those small moments, but he actually is. >

parenting.com december/january 2010

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cauliflower the winter wonder veggie

The holiday harvest. Who says you can't get (rest) veggies in the middle of winter? It's cauliflower to the rescue! The peak of freshness is actually from December through March, which makes it your go to veggie this time of year. There's more good news: Besides being delicious, cauliflower is sweet on your budget — the price has actually gone down.

Health in bloom. Who knew ih.it so much good health was blossoming inside each little floret? They're packed with nutrients. Vitamin C helps boost your immune system. Vitamin K is good for bones. The amazing B9 reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and even depression. Cauliflower also nourishes you with large amounts of fiber and antioxidants.

Kids pick cauliflower. There are lots of ways to encourage kids to eat more of this superhealthy veggie. Creating cauliflower snowmen gets kids involved and is the perfect seasonal activity. Just-picked cauliflower dipped in Hidden Valley1 Ranch dressing is a delectable treat. Other irresistible recipes are available at hiddenvalley/veggiemonthly. (RffinqimMB com. Planting your own cauliflower will yield acres of w""®""™"""* good food and fun.

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long-term strategy Your weekends may be errand time, but try to avoid Spending all your family moments pushing a shopping cart. That way, your kids won't think acquiring stuff is the leisure-time norm. (Don't get us wrong, though: We know those flattering jeans are sometimes an absolute necessity.) You also don't want every rainy or "boring" day to land you at the local mall. Denver mom Beth Vagle says she and her two boys, ages 7 and 9, frequently head to the library, an indoor pool, or a rock-climbing gym instead. "We try to think of things we can do that don't involve hanging out in stores," she says. Prepare kids for these events the same way you would for gifts ("We're going to have a big, delicious meal with all of your favorite foods, and then we're going to play games!"). The idea you want to get across is that having experiences can be just as exciting as accumulating things (if not more so).

in DEFENSE of presents

S t's hard not to seem a little sanctimonious when talking I about gratitude and generosity, so let us be clear: We love presents, both the getting and the giving. And there's nothing wrong with that, In fact, gift-giving has a long history, beginning with the offerings ancient cultures made to their gods in hopes of bountiful harvests, fertility, and more.Today "gift-giving Is a social tradition," says Claire Lerner, a child-development specialist at the nonprofit organization Zero to Three, "and traditions are an important part of belonging to a community " When you give your child a present, Lerner says, "you're showing him that you know and understand his interests, his likes, and his dislikes. It's a gesture of love." Meanwhile, when your child chooses a gift for someone else, he thinks about that person's interests, likes, and dislikes for a change. And anything that gets our kids to think about others and feel good about themselves is all right by us.

Your daughter keeps a running—and growing—list of toys she has to have. She's up to number 23 this season.

in-the-moment fix "Emphasize that yon appreciate that there are many things she wants, but let her know that it will only be possible to get a few of them," says Brooks, That way, you won't make her feel greedy or foolish for compiling a lengthy list, but you will set her expectations. Another idea: Ask her to make a second list, equal in number to the things she wants to get, of things or actions she is willing to give, suggests Maureen Healy, author of365Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids. For example: I) Clean her room, 2) Help you find a charity that the family can donate to, 3) Pitch in when Dad starts wrapping presents, 4) Make a holiday card. Last, if you're in for belt-tightening this year, let her know. Be honest, but keep it simple and undramatic so you don't scare her. Instead of saying "Dad might lose his job, so we have to cut back"—which might make her sure you'll be losing the house next—say something like "Nothing major is going to change, but we'll have to wait until next year to go on vacation and we have to hold off on getting the train set you wanted," It's likely your kid will think "Okay, I can live with that," says Lerner. long-term strategy Help her understand that gifts are thoughtful gestures, not just a way for her to score materialistic gain, says Lerner, Anytime she receives a present, point out everything that the giver put into it. If a classmate makes her a friendship bracelet, for example, say "Oh, wow—Lucy remembered that you liked the one she was wearing. She picked out colors she knows you like, and it probably took her a whole hour to make. That is no nice." Do this enough times and, soon enough, she'll get the "quality, not quantity" idea.

When you say no to a DS that, according to your daughter, "everyone at school" has, she complains that all her BFFs get cooler stuff than she does.

in-the-mament fix Sympathize with her frustration, but remind your daughter that, actually, many people don't have as much as she does. How? Begin a tradition of charity work and donating. Start simple: As young as age 3, children can be encouraged to go through their belongings and pick out items to donate, says Lerner. Every year after that, they can get more involved. Last year, Gabrielle Melchionda of Yarmouth, ME, and her two sons, ages 5 and 9, volunteered to decorate low-income homes for Christmas. "It was so nice to see all of the kids, mine and those who lived there, on their bellies coloring together," she says. "Later, my kids asked things like "Was that the whole house?' It sparked conversation for months. It was an experience none of us will forget." long-term strategy Expose your daughter to people from all walks of life. "We often try to shield our children from those who are less fortunate, but it's important that kids know how lucky they are," says Dale McGowan, a father of three in Atlanta and coauthor of Parenting Beyond Belief. So the next time you see a homeless person, pass a shelter, or read a story in the news about a needy family, he suggests, ask questions—"Where do you think that man sleeps?" or "Can you imagine what it would be like not to have a home?"—that get your kids to put themselves in someone else's shoes. (At the same time, assure them that your family will always have a place to call home.) You'll be surprised— and pleased—at how often kids are moved to want to help. lJ1,

Patty Onderko is a Parenting contributing editor.

december/january 2010 parentlng.com

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Unique presents that'll wow everyone on your list—and a bunch are $10 or less!

Photographs by Spencer Jones

IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT It's a snap to assemble a Buiid-Your-Own plane: she can paint it. too—then fly to faraway lands! ($54; artebebe.com) 3 and up

RAIN CHECK So rad.yet so practica Kids will beg to wear their Scot Sneaker rain boots even when it's sunny. Also in black and pink/purple argyle. (S39; davrain.com) >

december/january 2010 parentlng.com

WILD THING The Gentle Giraffe plays four soothing sounds (waterfall, heartbeat. ) and can attach to the stroller or crib. ($28: cloudb.com) Birth arid up

_4 NOW, DASHER! NOW, DANCER! Just like that big rubber ball of yore, Hoppy Reindeer is the season's best bouncer. ($49; chaslng-firellles.com) 3 and up

J SEEING DOUBLE The handmade Peek-a-Boo cat puppet hides an owl under her skirt. Also comes as a fox/crow. ($39 for Parenting readers, use code PARI0; pokkadots.com) 2 and up

CLASSIC CHARMERS IDF slippers for your little bunny—perfect all winter long. ($24.99: runowayrabblt.com) 3 and up

CUTE AS A BUG The Caterpillar Toy's colorful rings are removable, for hours of teething and threading fun. ($30; roslehippo.com) 1 and up

Confident Kids

Confident Kids

Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.

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