For our latest Eizzy Parent feature, we sat down with Speech-Language Pathologist, founder, and mother, Alexis Bolivar M.A. CCC-SLP, to find out what inspires her journey through motherhood and to share her tips for successful parenting.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a mother of 4 amazing children - an 11 year-old girl, a 9 year-old boy, a 5 year-old boy and a 4 year-old boy, one of whom has special needs. I am a wife and a Speech-Language Pathologist, living in East Orange, NJ. I am the founder and owner of Don't Wait Communicate, Speech and Language Services, a home, daycare and private school-based speech therapy practice dedicated to helping children communicate effectively and confidently so that they may reach their fullest potential. I have been working with the early childhood age group for over a decade now. I love, love, LOVE children and others would say I am a cheerleader and advocate for the families I work with. In my downtime, I enjoy creating, designing, reading, and keeping busy.
2. Has motherhood changed your perspective on the world in any way?
Yes, most definitely. Before becoming a mother, I suppose I didn't think about the bigger picture as much as I do now. I wasn't really into politics, I wasn't overly active in my community, and I thought having a career that paid me well and made me happy was the most important thing achieved. Then I had kids...and that all changed! I am now more active and vocal in my community, I work to form connections with my neighbors and those around me. I took a job that paid me LESS just to have time to spend with my children, and eventually left my salaried job in education to start my own small practice for even more flexibility to support my family life. I also pay close attention to politics now, I participate in every possible election, big and the small, because they really matter!
3. What’s the best thing about being a mom?
The love, affection, and admiration. The way motherhood continues to encourage me to be the best version of myself. For example, I have slowly learned to let go of my perfectionism, which is nearly impossible to maintain with 4 children, and especially with 3 boys! The ability to shape young minds in the hope of raising them to change in the world in whatever small or grand ways they choose. And the ability to relive your youth again. If you allow it to, parenting can keep you youthful.
4. Who’s the cheekiest in your family?
Honestly, all of my kids are hams and love to make others laugh. But definitely my youngest one, Lexington is the cheekiest right now. He gets the entire house into side-splitting laughter. You can just see it in his smile. But in general, I think I have the funniest kids (though I know many parents would say that too). They are happy, silly, and witty and frequently share their fun-loving energy with those around them!
5. What are the most used items in your household?
My air fryer (and WiFi)! But I actively use my air fryer several times a week. I use it often to prepare veggies with salt and pepper, to warm up leftovers and give them oven-fresh warmth or to quickly whip up nuggets and fries during a rough week. In fact, I LOVE my air fryer so much, I now own two! Another heavily-used household item is our trampoline. It has gotten us through this entire quarantine. Thank goodness for the blessing of a backyard and space for my children to run and play. It's made this time of necessary isolation a bit easier and safer.
6. What are your favorite Eizzy Baby Products?
I think the assortment of printed bibs are divine! Eizzy Baby has the cutest color palette and range of designs. I also love the collapsible snack cups. I think this combination of neat solutions products encourage self-feeding and independence. So many parents are scared of allowing their children to get "messy" but it's a necessary part of development. The bibs make it so "eizzy" to allow them to do that. I love the little catch all pocket at the bottom of the bibs. The snack cups encourage exploration. I would use them to hide a new "secret" food. Children can be reluctant to try new things but it's so important they do! This can be a playful way to encourage it through a game.
As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I am a fan of the new collection of training cups. Eizzy Baby's versatile and colorful sippy cups can help parents transition their children from a bottle as early as nine months. Straw cup designs (rather than spout designs) can help support appropriate muscle development in their child’s mouth. I like that the training cup can be used, with and without the straw and lid top, depending on what your child's preference. It's the perfect transitional drink container for warm and cool beverage options!
7. How do our products make "mom life" eizzy-er?
Eizzy Baby's modern essentials are portable, easy to clean, and all feature a great variety of design and color options. I like that the collection encourages self-feeding and independence. At the toddler stage, children are really exploring their independence. Everything is "me" and "mine." Also, they love autonomy so with all the color options, why not have your toddler pick their favorite color themselves?
8. Would you rather have a self-cleaning house or 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep?
Definitely a self-cleaning house! I'm not the best sleeper, so I've gotten quite use to getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night. BUT, I would most definitely love a self-cleaning house. Four kids later and nearly 12 years of parenting, somehow I have not gotten used to disorganization, LOL. A little "magical " help would be great.
9. What's the best piece of best parenting advice you'd like to share with us?
- Prepare your child for transitions. Give them updates before you are about to change an activity or location. Time to leave the park? Say, "Ok, go down the slide 3 more times and then it's time to go."
- Offer choices throughout the day. Learn to think on the spot, what choice can you offer. For example, "We have to leave the park and go home now, which way should we go? This way or this way? Should we walk fast or slow? Should we sing or talk?
- Give clear, simple specific directions/expectations ahead of time. This makes it easier for children to follow and makes it clear what is expected. For example, "We're going to go into the store, you're going to walk by me. OK? Walking feet". The more you use the same kind of expectations the more they will learn them.
- Continue to build their language skills. Language skills are so important. Both their understanding (receptive language) and their ability to communicate their needs (expressive language). To do this, use simple repetitive language, talk about the things that are going on around them and talk about what you are doing. Use verbal routines (saying the same types of things, in the same way in the same activities). For example, when walking down the stairs you can count, or when getting dressed you can sing a song and label the clothing items. You can sing a song during diaper changes or meal time. Think about your regular routine activities and add the same language to it each time.
I am thrilled to be your inaugural Eizzy Expert, and can't wait to share my video with further parenting advice and tips before the end of the month!