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Interview with <i>Real Housewives</i>' stars Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen: What Do They Know About Parenting?

You may wonder what sound parenting advice Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen may have for parents. What kind of tips could an extremely wealthy couple living in New York City have for the average American family? Their posh lifestyles aren't exactly typical, and on the Bravo series The Real Housewives of New York City, they've received flack for their children's moments of unruliness (remember when they were shrieking and eating food off of a guest's plate at a fancy dinner party?).

But that hasn't stopped them from making themselves heard -- they're working on a book together called The Urban Parent: Tales From a Real House in New York City. Alex and Simon are dedicated to their family, obsessed with their sons, and aren't reserved in talking about them. We grilled them about their sons, their parenting skills, and their luxurious and hectic New York City lifestyles. You be the judge -- will you buy their book?

Tell me about your book.
Alex McCord:
It's a collection of experiences, what we learned through traveling and exploring, and life in the city. When I was a mom of one, I started writing down funny things Francois would do. We've recently had a ton of emails from people wanting to know about raising bilingual kids, having two full-time- working parents, babysitters, how to travel with kids.
Simon Van Kempen: Also, the pitfalls. Like learning what to do on vacation, when a Saudi nurse feeds your baby all of the breast milk you've pumped at once, to the point he gets sick.

Wow, that does not sound hypothetical. What are your boys, Francois (5) and Johan (3) like?
We just had a parent/teacher conference and at the end, I said to the teachers, "C'mon, give me some negative things about them." And they said, "There aren't any!"
AM: They are growing at the speed of light. They change every week. Every day is an adventure with them. I love how we're just getting to that point now that the four of us can sit and have a conversation they both participate in. We play "I Spy" at dinner.
SV: But Johan hasn't quite grasped it. Every time he says "I spy something beginning with black! Mommy's car!" But he can't really see the car.

They're just super creative -- making you think outside the box.
Yes. Definitely creative. They're different from each other, too. They have wonderful imaginations and they're great story tellers. Some of their stories are completely off the wall.
SV: That's because of Alex. When Francois was three weeks old, she read stories to them, not just at night, but throughout the day.
AM: I always thought it was second nature, but the more I talked to other parents, the more I realized not everyone does that. You have to do that.
SV: Babe, it's a luxury we have. We can.