March 25, 2019

Motherhood: Trench Coats, Potty Training & Second Languages

Helena Glazer's outfit details: Trench: Boden Clothing (wearing a size 4) | Tank: L'Agence | Denim: L'Agence | Flats: Manolo | Sunglasses: Le Specs

On Nate: Full outfit is from Zara.

Motherhood on the blogOn me: Trench: Boden Clothing (wearing a size 4) | Tank: L’Agence | Denim: L’Agence | Flats: Manolo | Sunglasses: Le Specs | On Nate: Full outfit is from Zara. Trench is old, but a similar one here.

Before I dive into the two questions I get asked pretty often: “Is Nate potty trained?” and “Does Nate speak Russian?” I want to take a moment and mention how much I love trench coats on children. I mean, is it me or is it not the cutest thing in the world?

Before I had a child of my own, I remember seeing this photo of Emanuelle Alt and her daughter and saving it to my Pinterest board. I just loved both of their outfits so much. Then, a year later, I was in Paris and I was blown away at how many children were dressed. Rather than wearing “kiddie clothing,” they were dressed like mini adults, often resembling a kids version of what I would want to wear myself. I could not get enough and thought it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. Obviously, there’s a time and a place for it.

On days Nate goes to school, he is in sweat pants and very casual clothing. I cannot be bothered with putting too much thought into it. He’s there to play and be messy and I’ll just throw anything on him. But on the days that we’re going somewhere or hanging out as a family, I love to have a little fun with it. I know it’s just a matter of time where he’ll have his own dressing opinions, so I’m just riding the wave as long as he lets me.


Now that I got that out of the way, let’s dive into two questions I get asked quite often:

Is Nate Potty Trained? 

Not fully, but we’re almost here. I’m a little embarrassed that it’s taken me so long to do it. Quite frankly, I’ve been procrastinating, too busy or just too tired to put the work in. The truth of the matter is, I know he’s been ready. He’s an intelligent boy who is very easy to communicate with, so I take full responsibility for waiting to the last minute. I mean, he’s going to be three in a month! This past weekend, we went without diapers 80% of the time, with the exception of our car ride to my mothers house. He did have one accident an hour after we got there, (we took the diaper off), but I know accidents are to be expected.

Initially, our plan was to dive head first into the “Oh Crap!” method, which worked for so many of friends, but we kind of did things differently to start. Instead, he started insisting that he wants to go without diapers, but refused to be naked (which is part of the Oh Crap! method). So, we put him in underwear and pants and he started telling us “I have to go potty,” and he would! No accidents at home and he seemed to get it (almost) every single time. Today, he went to school with a diaper because I wasn’t 100% confident about where we were. This upcoming weekend, I’m going to try and convince him to be naked to follow the Oh Crap! method,  so we could drill it home and be done, once and for all.

Is Nate Bilingual? 

Nate understands Russian fluently, but does not speak as well as he understands. He’s able to speak, but as long as the conversation is kept fairly basic.

From the time that Nate was 8 months old, we hired a nanny who only spoke to him in Russian. This was very important to me and it has 100% been the main reason he’s able to communicate in both languages! Then, there are my parents who also speak to him in Russian. As far as our home goes, it’s hard. When it’s three of us at home, we’re only speaking in English (Keith does not speak Russian).

When it’s just Nate and I, I try my hardest, but speaking in full blown Russian does not come easy for me. It requires so much effort on my part, something I don’t always have the mental energy for. As much as I grew up with it, since it’s not a language I practice regularly, my own Russian has gotten a lot worse. I’ve thought about enrolling him in some Russian speaking classes to keep the momentum going. Luckily, Brooklyn is a melting pot of so many cultures. So it’s just a matter of finding the time and the right situation for all of us.

So, that’s where we are! Like I said, he’s going to be three in less than a month, which simply blows my mind.

photos by Keith Hodne



  • Ksenia

    I saw the story on Instagram where Nate was playing chess and repeating after his grandpa in Russian “Is it mine? Are these yours? Mine are white?” 🙂 I thought it was so cute! I also think you are doing great! Nate is not even three yet, but already understand two languages. It’s amazing!
    Friends of mine who are in a similar situation (she speaks Russian, he does not, but they try to teach their kids Russian) find it very difficult for exact same reasons as you do. Also, it seems like kids pick up on the language that parents communicate with each other, as a result, kids might perfectly understand the second language, but when you speak to them in Russian, they always reply in English.

    • Sel

      This was my own experience with my son, who is 21 now. I am a first generation Australian, my parents are Croatian as are my husband’s. We have a huge extended family that migrated to Australia from Croatia. My son is bi-lingual, fluent in reading, speaking and writing in Croatian. From the moment that he was born, I would speak to and with him in English and Croatian. Half of the day would be spent speaking to/with him in Croatian, the other half would be in English. This included reading and singing to him in both languages. (Our local library was a wonderful resource for borrowing Croatian books and DVDs) Young children pick up languages very quickly and my son was fluent in conversing in both by the time he was a toddler. However, when he was between the ages of 3 and 5 he would sometimes reply in the incorrect language. I had to tell his kindy teacher that sometimes he might reply in Croatian instead of English. It didn’t take long for him to figure out he had replied in the wrong language. Young children are very intelligent and sometimes as adults we do not give them credit for this. When he came home from school, my husband and I continued to spend around two hours speaking in Croatian with him. This continued all the way through high school – this ensured that neither my son nor my husband and I lost the Croatian language. My son is grateful that he can communicate with his grandparents and great uncles/aunts in Croatian.
      Also, I watched a documentary in which both parents were born deaf but had twins that could hear. Doctors were astounded that at 16 months of age, the twins were fluent in communicating via signage all of their needs, wants etc to their parents. Apparently, according to the doctors, children can learn to communicate at an early age via signage – it is easy for children to learn to do. Learning to verbally communicate is a more difficult task for children as it is a more complex process involving the brain and the internal structure of the mouth and throat. Children’s brains and abilities are truly remarkable.

  • Alicia MOORE

    I love to see children dressed in “regular” clothes too and I especially love a lot of what Zara has to offer. My son is just a month old but I love all of your motherhood posts.

    My husband and I love the idea of our son knowing another language. I sing to him in French and English. I wish I new another language better too (my French has gotten better since we LOVE traveling to Paris). I wish we could find a bilingual Nanny or perhaps when he is ready for headstart, they will have a language program.

    Keep up what you are doing all around!!

  • Ellie

    My pediatrician once told me she hardly knows of any child ( that is developing normally) that goes to kindergarten with a bottle or diaper! Lol., so do not worry, and kudos to you that you that you don’t dwell on it!
    As far as the second language goes, my husband and I both speak Greek pretty fluently, and it was so easy when I only had one to keep the language going, but with our second who is a boy it was sooooo hard! I will tell you one thing though, my daughter who is 16 loves that she can communicate in Greek with my parents,and loves that she can speak Greek! She thinks that is why it was so easy for her to learn another language in school., now my son hates that he doesn’t speak Greek so much, so we just recently hired a Greek tutor!!
    You have to do what is best for you, but I’m sure Nate will definitely love it when he is older!!!

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  • Jasmina

    Great to hear this. We basically do the same. But our journey just started as my son just started to say his first words. As I have lived my whole life in Austria (German), it is sometimes hard to speak my first language (Bosnian) without too much thinking. My husband only speaks German, but I kept speaking Bosnian to our son even when he was around. Now he himself learned so much Bosnian. It’s incredible. I am also fortunate to have grandparents, uncle and aunt who also care about keeping the roots alive. It’s great to hear similiar stories. It gives me a lot of motivation to keep going, even if it is hard sometimes as you said.

  • Cheryl

    I have been a preschool teacher for over 30 years. When you switch back and forth from a diaper to underwear it confuses the child. Accidents are expected. When your first potty training have him try to go every 15 to 20 minutes then increase the time as he gets used to the feeling of having to go.

  • Mireia

    Aww these shots are so lovely!

    Mireia from TGL

  • Jaqueline gracia

    Hi helena, songlad nate is almost done with potty training. If you let me, I wold line recomend to you not going back and forward with the diappers. Accordenly with your post, he seems to be ready and aware of his needs, if you are using the diappers for certain occasion you will probably confussing nate process, once you pullups off the diappers, you must to avoid their use again, Nate could be lost in when to ask for bathroom or not, he needs to understand if he doesnt go to the bathroom on time or if he doesnt hold on for a bit he will get dirty!, thats the breakpoint and he needs to understand that will be happend AlWAYS!

    • Ali Hassan

      Nice post thanks for sharing so wonderful post

  • Jessie

    Nate is absolutely the cutest…as far as toilet training – my boys were over three when they got the hang of it. I always felt terrible when friends would tell me their kids were 2 when they were trained. One thing I’d like to say is that, in my experience, they were a little older but they had fewer accidents when they went totally diaper free. We did switch back and forth from diaper to underwear and they were fine. You’re doing a great job, exactly what we did, and they will get the hang of it, don’t worry! I hear ya about the being too tired to deal with it…hang in there.

  • Nancy

    I think you both look very cool! And I wish that I could speak Russian. Spanje and Russian are my favorite languages.

  • Gary Melican

    Big fan of the matching trench coats!

    Gary |

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    Nate’s understanding of Russian is impressive! It is certainly much easier to learn a 2nd language while very young, Very sweet photos

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