Archive for September, 2010

And so it begins… again

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Last week I made a post about my favorite season arriving.. Fall. I love everything about it and all the change it brings. I forgot to mention one thing I really dislike about it. Along with change comes those yucky germs that make everyone’s lives miserable. This weekend Jack woke up with a terrible cold consisting of the usual runny nose, cough, no voice, fever and just plain miserable. We all know that when he gets sick it’s almost certain his brother will get sick, too. Two sick boys is not what I call a fun weekend.

Jack has never been in an organized school program or ever around a bunch of kids (and germs) daily. I knew when school started I was going to have to brace my germ-phobic self and get ready for a year of illness.

Unfortunately, these yucky viruses have started making their way around. We already got one notice sent home that a virus was going around to keep an eye out for symptoms. Luckily, we were away on vacation when that was present. I have pounded it into Jack’s head that he must constantly wash his hands before eating, after playing and as soon as we walk in the door. To my amazement, he has remembered on his own the last few days and I couldn’t be happier.

I am now stocked up on Children’s cold medicine, value packs of tissues, Lysol wipes, and chicken noodle soup. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long winter. My fingers are crossed for a mild cold/flu season this year!

Here’s a Ticket!

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Last month I noticed a major change in Brady’s behavior and attitude. My sweet little guy was talking back, kicking, hitting, and just overall not a joy to be around. I am not a big advocate of spanking, and let’s face it – timeouts are more for the adult when the kid is close to school age. I will send Brady to his room for a timeout when I can feel my own temper escalating, and yes, it is always related to his behaviors. So I researched my options, read a few articles, and thought about Brady’s personality overall. He is a “pleaser” type of kid. That is why his behavior in August was surprising. Now, he does have some drama in his life right now due to custody stuff. But overall he seems pretty well adjusted to all of that.

My final decision was to go to the store and buy a roll of tickets. Brady earns tickets and he looses tickets. I wanted to make it realistic, so even if he was having a TERRIBLE day, he still could have some success. So I made a list of “ticket earning” behaviors and a list of behaviors that would make him owe me a ticket. For example, going to bed without a fight earns a ticket (this has never been an issue, so I knew he would always get one ticket at the end of the day anyway).

Other ticket earning behaviors include proper manners, listening the first time, obeying the rules, staying in his room in the morning until mama comes to get him, and others. He owes me a ticket if he kicks, hits, throws anything in the car, talks back, or several other inappropriate behaviors. He then can use his tickets to purchase play dates with friends, eating a special treat such as ice cream or krimpets, going to drive a go-kart, or whatever he wishes. But if he doesn’t have enough tickets, we don’t do it.

The key here was to NOT make it a lot of items that would cost me a lot of money or time (both of which are difficult). So most items are freebies. One day he even paid to play at his train table, which he though it was fun to hand over the two tickets to “pay.”

So far the ticketing system has WORKED. Brady’s manners have returned – yeah! It is funny though because he will say “Excuse me mama, my I please have some butter for my toast? Hey – I think that earned me two tickets.” So, he is always thinking about his tickets. And my favorite part is I can alter them and use them as needed. So if he is having a difficult time sitting in circle time at cub scouts, I can tell him he will get a ticket each time he sits in circle time or lose a ticket each time he doesn’t sit. So it is a win-win system.

It does take a little work on my part to transfer tickets from his bag to my bag of tickets. But he enjoys it, I enjoy that my child is listening, and boy does it work! Man, when I tell him he lost a ticket…….. Let’s just say he runs to his room and closes the door quietly (he knows slamming a door would cost another ticket) and just lays there and sulks for a bit. It beats yelling at him, spanking him, or many other options. There is no fighting, just a simple “you lost a ticket.” And the best part is that his ticket earning potential is all within his own power, and I make sure he knows that and he knows that mama believes that he can earn a TON of tickets everyday.

Is it Really Fall?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

The calendar says it’s fall. But today it was 90 degrees and more humid than a lot of days this summer. So I’m not entirely convinced that we’ve somehow progressed to fall. But the kids are out at the bus stop and the stores are full of Halloween candy, so whether I’m ready for the seasons to change, I guess it’s going to happen anyway.

I talked one of the young lawyers groups I’m involved with into doing some family-friendly events. Most (if not all) of our events typically involve bars and lots of alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with that and I enjoyed those events immensely pre-Andrew.

But those gatherings are always on a Tuesday or Thursday night. So there has to be something REALLY worthwhile going on for me to take time away from my family and ask Hubby to leave work at 4:30 in order to pick Andrew up.

I considered it a major success that I talked us into some events that we could do on a weekend with our families. The first such event was last weekend. We went apple picking. And it was SO much fun.

It was the first weekend that the orchard had fresh, hot donuts. The really good kind topped with cinnamon sugar. And they served the kids apple cider in sippy cups shaped like apples.

After donuts and cider, we went out to the orchard to pick. They had at least eight different kinds of apples and Andrew raced up and down the rows of trees, finding all the ones which were on branches he could reach. He delighted in twisting the apples off the tree, swinging from branches like a monkey when he couldn’t reach any fruit.

We followed up the apple picking with a hay ride. And apple pie made with the apples we had picked. (I actually baked! How impressed are you? This is actually a monumental thing…)

Andrew keeps asking when we’re going to go again. He also keeps asking about “pink girl” – who is his new love interested. Her name is actually Bella (who was wearing a pink fleece). She’s blond. Older. A real cutie.

Apple picking was a huge success. Hubby and I had fun. Andrew had a great time. And really, what more can you ask for from the first fall weekend?

Now get out there and enjoy the fall. Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy Fall, Y’all

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Fall arrives tomorrow, and we are ready for it.  Unfortunately, the temps are still in the 90’s here in Mississippi, but hopefully soon we’ll feel the cooler weather and breezes blowing by.  It can’t come soon enough.

Fall is probably my favorite season.  I can remember when I was in school I looked forward to the changes of fall. I loved new sports, school clothes and supplies, especially a really cool new planner (which I still do to this day).  I loved smelling the crisp air and attending fall festivals.  When I think of fall I think of jumping in a pile of leaves, caramel apples, football games, and most of all Halloween!

I asked Jack what his favorite season was the other day.  He replied with “Um.. me like Fall, mommy.”  I asked him why and he said because that is when “Cat in the Hat” comes on.  I laughed and thought to myself wow, what a rough life a 3 year-old lives.  PBS is airing a new show, The Cat in the Hat.  He has been seeing the previews and they mention the show will premiere this fall.  Every day since the first time he saw this he asks if it’s fall yet.  Well, finally I can tell him that fall has arrived and his new show has started.  He squeals with excitement when it comes on and points out every character on the show that are in his books.

I hope you and your family enjoy the upcoming season.  I know we will look forward to spending time outside and enjoying the beautiful weather after a terribly hot summer.  So, as my neighbor’s yard flag states… “Happy Fall, Y’all!

Gift of Gab

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I think as parents, we all try to find things that our children are great at and try to help them excel. Well, we have tried a few sports – and as I have mentioned, they don’t seem to be his thing. Brady does want to try “outdoor soccer” at his preschool, which begins in a few days. Brady has really taken to swimming, and that is wonderful, especially since we have a pool out back. We recently tried roller-skating also. Let’s just say that he was on the ground more than standing. I hate to admit this, but it was absolutely adorable! And he didn’t want to hold hands at all, so I just reached out when I could see him falling. Thankfully, the roller rink had a separate “learn to skate” room on the side. I was SO proud of him for not giving up. He must have fallen at least 100 times, but he didn’t cry and stood up and tried again. I praised him for that, and told him how proud I was for his perseverance. My arms are still recovering from our many falls myself.

Last week as we entered church, I realized what Brady’s true gift was: the gift of Gab. As I signed him into his club program (similar to Cub Scouts), his teacher came running over and told Brady how everyone had been asking about him and was worried about where he was. He walked into the room and literally lit up. He had about 10 people come running over to him giving him high 5s, hugs, and greetings.

I have read time and time again, how we should accentuate the positive in our children and lift them up. So that night on the way home I told Brady how proud I was of him and how social he was. He is the kid that always helps when another child is sad. He goes and talks to him or her. He listens to the teacher. He is a natural leader, but thankfully a positive role model. I told Brady how blessed he was that he is so easy to talk to that he has lots of friends, and how his personality and character just draws people into his world. Even adults (at restaurants, classes, etc..) love Brady’s charisma. So we talked about various jobs he could do with such social skills. His first choice was a teacher (which his teacher mama wasn’t complaining about). I told him he could be a preacher, speaker for anything, teacher, talk show host, anything he set his mind to be.

As parents, it seems that many times we notice the flaws in our child. But how special it is to notice the unique qualities within them that make them who they are. What an awesome feeling for a child to be told how amazing they are in a particular area, rather than telling them they should try harder or do better at one thing or another. I hope when Brady looks back to his childhood, he remembers a mama that supported him, believed in him, and had full faith that he was going to do amazing things with his life.

They Just Might Be Listening…

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I say a lot of things to Andrew. Half the time, he looks at me and says, “Mommy. What you talkin’ ’bout?” Other times, he nods his head wisely, like he’s totally drinking it in. And the rest of the time, I have no idea whether he’s paying attention or not.

But we still talk. About everything. About nothing. It doesn’t matter. From the time that Andrew was first born, we tried not to slip into just talking baby talk to him. My dad took him on tours of the house, pointing out every object. “This is the refrigerator. This is the stove.” We read to him. We sang. Who knows if he’ll ever remember any of it. But still we’ve always talked.

There are times where I’ll use an old “dad-ism” back to him. He always seems amazed when I do. Even when I was blowing him off and telling him I didn’t care what he was saying (that was only true part of the time), I was listening. And the dad-isms sunk in.

Last week, I was driving Andrew home from day care. He wanted a toy. I told him no. He kept trying to wheedle his way into the toy car. Finally, I looked back at him (we were stopped at a light – don’t worry) and said, “Honey. When you try to negotiate with someone, you have to have something that the other person wants.”

Okay… Yes, I’m a total lawyer. And I realize how ridiculous it is that I was having this conversation with a 2 year old.

But Andrew cocked his head to the side thoughtfully and said, “Okay, Mommy. What you want?”

Earlier this week, Andrew was trying to talk his way into a cookie. Throwing a temper tantrum didn’t work. So Mr. Andrew puts his little hands on his hips, looks up and me and says, “Mommy. I want a cookie. What you want?”

Are you laughing yet? Because I could barely keep a straight face and hubby went tearing into the other room so Andrew wouldn’t see him cracking up. But it just goes to show you, even when you don’t think they possibly are paying attention, they just might be listening…

Home Sweet Home

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Yesterday my family and I made it back safely to our home in MS.  We had two wonderful weeks visiting with our family and friends in PA.  It had been awhile since Jack saw his grandparents and cousins as well as his daddy, too.  As much fun as we had, I think we were all ready to sleep in our own beds.

Over the course of two weeks we packed in a lot of fun activities.  Jack learned to swim on his own, caught his own fish, had his first sleepover, and was able to finally enjoy and hopefully remember his airplane ride.  Tate was baptized and showed everyone some of his first smiles.  He is much more alert and playful.  It’s amazing what how much he developed in just two weeks.  Mommy and Daddy enjoyed time together too by enjoying a day at Hershey Park, attending a good friends’ wedding and eating a delicious dinner out by ourselves.

Today we are back to the daily grind.  Jack went back to school and came home with a million papers in his folder.  Luckily, he didn’t miss out on too much of the fun stuff since most of that starts this week.   Cowboy day and the dinosaur dig are coming up, and he is already talking my ear off about those activities.  Can’t wait to hear and see what they entail.

Thanks again to Grammy, Pappy, Candymum and Grandaddy (as well as a slew of aunts, uncles and cousins) for a wonderful visit and your hospitality.  We are grateful to have such loving families.  Although, we are happy to be home we look forward to our next visit… whenever that will be.

We Did It!

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Last week I was trying to decide if I should put Brady in the preK 4 or PreK 5 class. After 2 more calls from the director, I decided that I would go ahead and try the older class, I figured if he couldn’t keep up, it would be a lot easier to move him back to the class that he already had many friends. So I gave the teacher the green light to set the plans in motion.

That first day was a bit nerve wracking (since I drive my neighbor who WAS in Brady’s preK 4 class). Well, Brady went in fine. I kissed both of his hands and told him to keep my kisses safe. He kissed mine. And just like that, my little baby who has never done any formal schooling walked into the classroom and started to dance around with the other kids doing the “Lets Shake It” dance.

I watched for a moment and then walked in to the waiting area. (The first day of school was only an hour). I wasn’t sure how separating from our neighbor would go, Brady was fine and thrived. The neighbor is still adjusting, but he will get there. Brady made it all week with no tears. Surprisingly, his mama didn’t have any either!

Brady has LOVED his first week of school so much that he has decided that he doesn’t need his regular 12 hours of sleep. After about 9 hours, I hear Brady yelling, “Mama, is it time for school yet? We can’t be late.” Now don’t get me wrong, “This teacher-mama” is glad that he is enjoying school. But I need to figure out a way that he understand his preschool is PM, so we can still sleep in a bit. Oh well, I am just going to count my blessings and be thankful that he is doing so well and adjusted so quickly to school and a new class. For what it is worth, I love the new class, teacher, curriculum, centers, schedule, and everything else. So far, I think this move has been great for Brady. I guess now we wait and see.

The New Addition

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Sorry to get your hopes up to any of my family who might be reading this. I am most definitely not talking about an expansion to OUR family.

Our good friends just had a baby. An almost 7 pound girl – Olivia (with no middle name, because they can’t agree on one yet). She was born at 7:34 in the morning on September 8. They’re bringing her home this morning.

One of my bosses had two pieces of advice for me when I told him I was pregnant with Andrew:

“Little boys are like fire hoses.” (I don’t need to elaborate on this do I? Good. It should be sufficient to know that I always kept a towel, other diaper or something handy in case of a “fire hose” incident.)

The other piece of advice was that no matter what you do, your kid is going to cry for like the first 24 hours when they get home from the hospital. They’re in a new environment. New smells. New sounds. New everything. It’s overwhelming to the little guy. Just know it’s not you. It’s normal. Get some earplugs and do the best you can. They’ll get over it.

So despite the fact that Jim warned me in advance, I was absolutely horrified when we got home and Andrew immediately started wailing. I couldn’t do anything to stop him. We changed him. We fed him. We held him. We rocked him. I sang to him until my voice gave out. Hubby tried to walk with him around the house (I could barely handle walking to the house from the car at that point). NOTHING WORKED.

After about 4 hours of this, both of us were at our wits end. Andrew was crying. I was crying. We were all dead tired. And around that time Hubby and I looked at each other, both thinking “WHAT did we get ourselves in to?”

Kids don’t come with an instruction manual. And while I still maintain they should, it’s one you have to write yourself. If anyone had told me that the only way to calm Andrew down and get him to sleep those first few nights was to lay him with his head against my heart and sing him (in this exact order) House on Pooh Corner, Frere Jacques and Time Well Wasted, I would have laughed at them. But that’s what it took…

Those days don’t seem all that far off, but they were an entire lifetime ago! I still have to sing Andrew House on Pooh Corner before he’ll go to sleep though. He doesn’t believe me that my dad sang me that song to put me to sleep too.

So, to our friends, good luck today – I hope you all have an easy transition home. And to the rest of you, have a great weekend

All Smiles

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Over the last two months, we have all been watching baby Tate grow and develop into his own little person.  Big Brother Jack has been such a big helper and continues to show his love for his little brother.  Since we have been in PA, Tate has started smiling and interacting with all the new faces he encounters.  It’s such a thrill to see him smile and hear his coos.

Ironically, as I am typing this my ears are being pained with loud screams from this “happy” baby.  He sure lets us know when he has a problem and it must be fixed ASAP.  The lack of sleep, the countless diaper changes, the spit up everywhere, and the stress of a newborn seem to fade when I see that gummy smile.  It really is quite a joy to watch your child (or grandchild) smile and let you know they are having the time of their life.

It is fun to see Tate’s “firsts,” but I know that once he starts crawling all over the house I will miss these simple days when we can set him down and he will remain there.  We’ll take it one day at a time, I guess.