Archive for August, 2010

Off to School

Monday, August 30th, 2010

One week from tomorrow my one and only baby will be going to preschool for the first time. Brady is going 4 days per week for 2.5 hours each day. We have our neighbor going and one of his best friends. So he will be comfortable, I think. “Pre-divorce” I had always planned to homeschool Brady, as I am certified K-8 and planned to do either private, public, or cyber school for grades 9-12. I figured by high school Brady could decide on his own what he wanted to do for schooling. Well, Brady’s father doesn’t want him homeschooled now. This may change, but a lot has changed, and I now need to work at least halftime hours, if not full-time. This would be nearly impossible with properly schooling Brady also. So I have decided to register for Brady for preschool with the intent to send him to kindergarten next year at the public school where I used to teach.

There is a part of me dreading September 7th and the first day of Brady’s formal education. This will be the first milestone of many for years and years to come. Yes, I will probably cry all afternoon and be more upset than Brady. But don’t worry, I will “pretend” to be as happy as possible for Brady! We have been reading “The kissing Hand” and talking about it. He is fine.

On the bright side, as a work-at home-mom, it will be nice having a good 10+ hours each week to work while Brady is at school. And Brady is a very social being and will enjoy meeting the new kids. He is one of those kids that when he walks into the room he has 5-6 kids run over and want to talk to him right away. So this makes me feel confident that he will do well socially. And this will help prepare him for kindergarten. So all in all – we are both ready for this change in our lives. I will update in a few weeks with how Brady (and I) are doing.

Sick and Tired…

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. It’s also one of the hardest.

At work, you get coffee breaks. Smoke breaks, if that’s your thing. Lunch breaks. And you get to leave the office at the end of the day and do your own thing.

There’s no similar “break” from being a parent. Whether you’re home or at work or even asleep, you’re still on call twenty-four hours a day. And when you have to be “on,” you actually have to be on. Little ones don’t have the same understanding and tolerance for “I’m sick” or “I’m exhausted” or “I had a really bad day at work.”

I’ve been sick for over a year now. I’m lucky that it’s nothing really serious or scary. For most of the year, no one could even tell me what was wrong. More than ten highly educated doctors (including one who probably doesn’t qualify as highly educated or a doctor) couldn’t tell me why one minute I’d feel great and the next, the room would be spinning. Sometimes I’d be dizzy for a couple minutes. Sometimes it would last for days.

At the end of the day, I’m frequently wiped out and ready for bed before Andrew. It’s frustrating to have felt so lousy and had no answers for so long. Even more depressing was being told that you can treat my symptoms but not “cure” me.

But what really gets to me is the way this has affected my family. I feel badly when I can’t play with Andrew because I’m too tired to keep my eyes open while he’s up. There are times I feel too sick to drive and have to ask hubby to pick up Andrew or drive me home.

I suppose I should consider myself lucky because, as much as this stinks, it could be so much worse. Every day, I do the best I can not to let it affect me – at work and especially at home. Some days I deal with it better than others. But man, am I sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

Okay. My pity party is over. I’ll be back next week, more rested and more upbeat…

Have a great weekend.

Headed Home

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

This weekend my family and I are heading back to PA for a much-needed vacation.  We plan to relax and visit with family and friends as well as baptize Tate.  Jack and I haven’t been home since last summer, my husband hasn’t been to his parents’ house during the summer since they have lived there (over 5 years), and Tate is going to meet his extended family for the first time.  We are very excited to say the least.

In the past, I always dreaded the airplane ride with a child.  Jack is not one to sit still longer than a second, especially in a confined space.  I’m hoping this year that he will actually enjoy the flight and want to learn all about the airplane.  Luckily, Daddy will be along for the ride. The past three summers he has been deployed and we are so happy to have him with us this year.  I hope we can time it right, so that Tate will sleep during the flight.

Now that we have two kiddos, traveling means twice as much stuff and double the duty.  We are now a little more experienced with things we need and things we don’t need.  I’m hoping not to pack the entire house, but I’m sure the luggage will be overstuffed just enough that we’ll meet the weight limit by an ounce.  Thank goodness Southwest doesn’t charge extra!

Stay tuned for fun stories about our trip home!

My Little Fish

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Brady took swim lessons last winter. We go to the pool at our local YMCA at least once per week year-round. And while he has always enjoyed the water park (which has zero depth entry), he was always a little unsure of the water when his feet couldn’t touch the ground (or his face got splashed a lot). We have a pool in our backyard also, and once that opened for the season… Brady changed.

It is nearing the end of the summer, and now rather than being a little unsure in the water – I have a fish! Brady does still wear his lifejacket most of the time, but he will also wear the “backpacks” and floaties instead. When Brady can reach the ground, he throws the diving sticks into the water and goes down and gets those sticks with his head fully under the water with no fear. He runs off of our deck and jumps into our pool (now I still get nervous during those jumps). So he seems to have really taken to the water.  So much so, that he has his first case of swimmer’s ear as I write this entry.

I plan to foster this growth by continuing going to the pool twice each week. And I might even try to get him 1-1 lessons. I would feel a lot better (since we have a pool), if Brady were independent in the water and free from the lifejacket. It is amazing to see the progress that “little people” make in a quick 2 months. Can’t wait to see the progress next summer when he is swimming daily again!

No Stars

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I told myself that I wouldn’t devote a lot of web space to writing about potty training.  Yes, it’s something every parent struggles with. But when I started blogging about Andrew, I promised myself that I would try to avoid posts which would embarrass him to death later in life.

So I have tried to minimize the stories like this one: Andrew tried to get us up in the morning so he could use the bathroom.  Hubby didn’t hear him.  I didn’t make it to his door fast enough.  When I opened the door, Andrew was grinning like a Cheshire cat – his stuffed monkey in one hand, his diaper in the other.  Yeah…he had peeled it off and peed on the floor.

Sorry, Andrew!  I promise now that I’ve gotten this story out of my system, I won’t repeat it in front of your future girl friends, at your wedding or bar mitzvah.

But since I’m on the subject of potty training…

When you walk into Andrew’s classroom at day care, on the wall immediately in front of you is a chart with all the kids’ names.  It’s the potty training chart and for a lot of kids, it’s full of stars.  For a few of the boys, it has a couple.  Then there’s Andrew’s row…with no stars.  (There is one other little girl with no stars)

It’s not that Andrew’s never used the potty.  Just not at school.  And he steadfastly maintains that he doesn’t want to use the potty at school.

We asked Andrew what he wanted as a reward for using the bathroom.  At first, his response was “CUPCAKES!” Then he wanted cars.  Coloring books. Now he’s totally obsessed with characters from the Toy Story movies.

I’m not sure how to convince a stubborn 2 year old that he should be using the potty instead of just going in his diaper. Bribery isn’t working.  Neither is seeing all his other friends at school using the bathroom.  So I’m not really sure what to try next.

Who has any ideas for me?

Have a great weekend guys!

Back to School

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Driving around town and seeing the bright yellow school buses brings back fond memories of my childhood. I loved the bus stop. It is where I met most of my neighborhood friends and I loved sitting in the back bouncing all around. It also lets me know that school is back in session. The school districts in our town started two weeks ago which seems a bit early to me leaving not much of a summer to enjoy. Jack started the full time fall session of preschool last week. He was so excited and ready to take on the world.

I am excited for Jack to start school, too. It not only gives me a semi-break in the mornings, but will allow me to spend some quality time with baby Tate. Jack attended a summer session that was more of a mother’s morning out/play time. I wanted him to experience what school was about and get him used to what the next year would be like. The three year old classes go five days a week. I was a little apprehensive about sending him all five days since this is the first time he has ever been enrolled in any kind of organization. After speaking with friends, all of them said it is a good idea to send him every day. This would allow him more social interaction, learning and getting in the routine for Kindergarten. It hasn’t been quite a week since he started so I’m going to see how he adjusts. I think he’ll do just fine and amaze us every day.

I attended an open house the day before school started. The kids met their teachers and played while the parents went to a meeting to learn about all the information the school has to offer. I was a little overwhelmed with all the rules and regulations that both children and parents must obey. I am assuming every school has to be cautious in what they do. It is a very well liked school with a great curriculum and wonderful teachers. You may remember a post of mine back in February about how my husband and I waited in line for four hours starting at 4:30am to get our son registered. I hope this school lives up to our expectations.

Mama’s Athlete

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Every season, I have allowed Brady to choose a sport. We have tried soccer; I am sure you all recall how wonderfully that went. My son proceeded to ask the coach (very loudly) “What is the point of this? You run from one end of the field to the other end. There is one ball and a lot of kids. You kick the ball into a net and then do it all again.” The coach was speechless and just couldn’t stop laughing (along with all of the other parents). We have also taken swimming lessons and Gym classes at My Gym. I try to stick to one “extra” each season, since he will be in school in September and taking Rainbows (similar to Cub Scouts at our church), one extra activity is more than enough.

So as we were driving the other day, I asked him what sport he would like to try: baseball, soccer (again), karate, swimming, or maybe learn an instrument like the guitar, drums, or piano. There are many options this year. Brady said in a proud voice: “Mama, I would like to learn to ice skate.” I have no idea where that came from. But I am not one to discourage my son from trying something new. So the following day I called the local ice-skating rink and found out about skating lessons. Now, I did learn from his lack of interest in soccer that we should “try it before we buy it.” So I do intend to take him ice-skating one time and see if he likes it before I register him for 6 weeks of lessons. But I will keep you updated: I could have a future hockey player or figure skating Olympian – you never know.

The Balancing Act

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I love my job. Despite some of the gripes and grumblings I am sometimes known to make, I really do. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer and consider myself lucky to have a job doing what I always wanted to do.

But sometimes, the job really gets in the way. Of my family. Of everything, really.

We have a major arbitration starting on Monday. All of our submissions were due to the arbitrator yesterday, so the Vegas trip came at a really bad time this year. As I hopped on the plane with my family, my thoughts immediately turned to whether I should actually be getting on the plane instead of heading back to the office to crank out all the briefs I had to work on. (Well, that and “PLEASE let Andrew get through this flight okay”)

We got back on Tuesday night after what can only be described as the worst airport experience I have ever had. Andrew screamed his way through the entire airport, down the jetway, through the plane and to our seat. (Which is exactly what I told at least 15 airport staff, including the pilot, would happen. Oh yes, I was questioned by a large number of people about whether or not I could control my child and threatened that if I couldn’t keep him quiet they’d throw us off the plane…Not that I’m still bitter or anything.) Wednesday and Thursday were a blur of briefs, motions, and prep. Late hours, little sleep, LOTS of caffeine. But through it all, I was still mom.

I had to leave my office at 6 to pick Andrew up, even though the other associate working this file was in the office until 10. I made dinner for Andrew, while freaking out about how much work I still had to accomplish. While only 10 pages deep into a brief that promised to be at least three times that long, Andrew started asking for me to put him to sleep. So I was lying on the couch with Andrew nodding off in my arms, while reading stacks of cases on fascinating topics like spoliation and marketability discounts.

But that’s the way it should be. Sometimes the balancing act is really hard, with the line between my personal and professional lives getting pretty blurred. Spending those moments with Andrew, despite the insanity of my day (and sometimes the craziness of my night), are too important to both of us.

Now that the weekend is almost here, I’m hoping to catch up on some sleep and some time with the little guy. The big one too, of course.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Today, Jack used the potty all by himself without any help from an adult! I never thought this day would come, but with great pride he/we have made yet another milestone.  This includes, pulling his pants down, going to the bathroom, pulling his pants up, flushing the toilet and washing his hands.  I can’t express enough how happy I am about this goal we have finally reached.  With school — where he has to be “fully” potty trained — starting in just four days, my nerves have calmed down. I have been a nervous wreck all summer about it.

I have written a few posts on this blog about Jack and his potty training updates.  I’m hoping this will be the last post I have to write.  It’s been months since we started this adventure, and it has slowly ended with success (as most training does).  All the bribing with candy, stickers and Thomas underwear really paid off. Let’s just hope I am not jinxing it as I write this.

There are dozens of ways to potty train your child. I have friends who used books, videos and methods from their friends. For us, putting him in underwear right away and letting him learn by accidents and accomplishments is what worked.  As a side note, Jack is still wearing a pull up at nap and bedtime. We are working on getting rid of the pull up all together.  Having another baby in diapers now isn’t easy on the bank account.

To everyone out there struggling with potty training: it WILL happen eventually.  I never believed it, but today I am boasting loudly that it’s finally my son’s turn!


Monday, August 9th, 2010

There seem to be various opinions on using technology (television, computers, DVD players, etc..) with young children. I have seen people in cars driving down Main Street with three DVD players showing different movies on the back of each seat. I have seen parents handing over their cell phones so their young child could watch a TV show online and be entertained while at a restaurant. You see the portable DVD players on airplanes and even in hair salons. Is this a bad thing?

As both an educator and a mother, I have to defend technology. Have I seen it misused? Yes. Have I seen young children learn from technology? Yes. In my opinion, the real issue is how you use the technology. In my own situation, Brady does watch television for an average of 30 minutes per day. I will be honest, as a work-at-home mom; there are times that I sit with him and use those 30 minutes to work. I do try to make the 30 minutes of TV time educational, but sometimes he just wants to watch Thomas (which does teach some good life skills on friendship, teamwork, and more). Now I have never handed over my Blackberry to Brady (and I doubt I ever will).

I don’t have a DVD player in my car. However, if we travel more than two hours in the car, I do take the portable DVD player along and some favorite DVDs. I have also used it during flights. (I am sure that the other passengers on the planes were thankful). And the web is FULL of resources for Brady to try independently or explore with me. We don’t spend nearly the amount of time that I would like exploring all of the amazing resources. If only the days were 30 hours, instead of 24 hours! We even have a computer program that hooks up to your computer and has kid-friendly CDs (like Scooby Doo) all that teach letters, numbers, beginning reading, math, and more. Now I will be honest, we don’t have that connected yet. But it is on “the list” for August. So, yes I do use technology.

We have all seen the parents who keep the television on all day as a babysitter. Is that child learning anything? Well…. maybe. Still, I feel we would be doing all of our children a disservice if we didn’t introduce them to various forms of technology at a young age. We live in a technological world, and our children often adapt to this world more quickly than we do. Let’s be honest, there are fourth grade students who are teaching their teachers how to use certain technologies. So as parents, it is important that we keep up with the changing times and prepare our children for the future, which will definitely include various forms of technology, most of which probably hasn’t even been invented yet.