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Amazing Mom Inventors


Toddler Motivators


Jill Avery-Zuleeg, Saratoga, CA



Tanner, 6, and Autumn, 3



All By Myself children's video and DVD series

How it began: "Tanner wasn't quite three when one morning he dashed into my bedroom and said, 'Look, Mom, I got dressed all by myself!'" says Avery-Zuleeg. Never mind that the outfit was actually on backward -- it was one of those landmark moments for him and his mom.

Later, she browsed through a video store for a tape that would reinforce her son's emergence into big-kidhood, but she found nothing. So she wrote a script and, along with two fellow moms with whom she'd worked previously at Apple Computer, Michele Free and Carmela Zamora Robertson, decided to create a video series to promote self-motivation. One year later, All By Myself: Getting Dressed had been shot, edited, and released at a national trade show. Another video followed the next year, and three new ones are scheduled for this year and next.

Toughest moment: Avery-Zuleeg and her partners got a crash course in juggling childcare and work as the cameras rolled on their first video. "We brought our kids to the set -- one newborn, one four-month-old, and three toddlers. There we were, in between takes, hormonally whacked-out and sleep-deprived, trying to shoot a film -- which, like everything else in our company, we did on our own with no experience -- and chasing after our toddlers, who were running around the set wearing only their underwear." But that's what made it all worthwhile for the trio: "It's real, it's mom-made, and it's ours," says Avery-Zuleeg.

How to find it: Go to or call 866-408-KIDS.

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