Archive for March, 2011


Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This week at Jack’s preschool marks their annual St. Jude Children’s Hospital fundraiser.  Three children who attended the preschool in the last decade have all received aid and care by this particular hospital.  This is a big occasion, the entire school participates in every year.  Parents are encouraged to help as much as possible.  I volunteered my time to help decorate a bulletin board, the classroom door and a wagon. The kids will be doing all kinds of activities and marching in a parade to raise money for the hospital.

The theme for Jack’s class this year is “Developing a Cure.”  We, as parents, came up with the idea of using photography tools to decorate (hence the word developing).  The wagon will be used to create a mini photo booth.  The kids are making cameras out of toilet paper roll holders and our bulletin board and classroom door is covered in film paper, negatives and other camera paraphernalia.  The children will each vote on their favorite classroom décor.

I am delighted Jack gets to learn about what this special hospital offers in order to help children who are faced with health troubles.  I explained to Jack some people get really sick and it takes them longer to improve. He asked many questions about what happens to people, why they get sick and where the hospital is located. Jack is learning how to volunteer his efforts by fundraising and participating in a great cause.  I hope he learns from this benefit about the importance of helping others and giving back to his community.

Life Support

Monday, March 28th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I was reading a childbirth book recently that described the postpartum period in many traditional cultures. For about 40 days, it is usual practice for the mother of a new baby to be more or less quarantined. (Not in a bad way!) Her female family members and other women in the community show her how to care for the infant and allow her to concentrate on her new role. These women also help out with the general duties of her household.

This is a far cry from what I have observed in modern America! I know a lot of women who have had their moms move in or sisters help out for the first few weeks of a baby’s life. But for the most part, it seems like the frazzled parents of a newborn are the ones doing it all. A “village” does not descend on the household, and often one or both parents return to work in the weeks following.

Although things are a little bit different here and now, we still find ways to cope, don’t we? I may not be pampered after my little one comes, but I will have a lot of help. Many of my friends do not live in New York as I do. Yet already, I am getting tons of calls and emails from them, asking if the baby has arrived, how I am feeling, etc. They may not be here to cook meals or walk the dog, but the emotional support they provide is priceless.

Then there’s my mom, who is so excited to become a grandmother. Being around her at the end of my pregnancy has been an interesting study for me. I have noticed that once you’re a mom, you’re always going to be instinctively driven to protect your kids. I thought my mom would be entirely focused on this growing baby. Though she is concerned about the new arrival, she is even more worried about me. I didn’t know it would be like that. I find it amazing that even the impending arrival of a grandchild can make a mother strengthen her love for her actual child.

We may be rushing through our lives at times, but the love we have for our family never goes away. And it manages to manifest just when you need it.

Love and Basketball?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I picked Andrew up from daycare yesterday, as I usually do. But this time, he looked up at me and said, “Mommy? What we gonna do?” Perhaps he saw the look on my face or the twinkle in my eye that I get when I ask him if he wants to go do something cool.

My firm was playing in a charity basketball game against local town counsel (actually, at the time, I thought we were playing the local cops, but we don’t play them til this afternoon). So I asked Andrew if he wanted to see some basketball. He got all excited and started running around telling everyone “I GO TO BASKETBALL GAME!”

It was pretty cute.

So we finally get to the game, after my lousy sense of direction had me questioning whether I was at the right high school, and then I couldn’t figure out how to get into the parking lot (DON’T ask! please!). Then I couldn’t figure out where the gym was, but we managed to follow someone else in – so that was good.

Andrew climbed right up the bleachers and sat next to my secretary. “HI Dee-anna,” he said, earning a huge smile from her. So I slid in next to him and he looks up to ask solemnly, “Who we rooting for?” I point out our team – sporting very stylish yellow shirts – and start reminding him of all the people he’s already met before, but never seen in anything other than a suit.

It didn’t take long for Andrew to get into the game. He would cheer for our team whenever we scored. “GO Yellow!” he’d yell (though it came out more like Yell-yo).

Hubby came and joined us after he got back into town after work, still in his suit. But during one of the breaks in the action Andrew noticed…Taylor.

Taylor is my good friend’s daughter. She’s a cute little blonde, a little older than Andrew, and the two of them just love each other. The two of them ran over to each other and gave big hugs. Then they climbed up to the top of the bleachers (Taylor doesn’t climb, so this was huge for her), sat down next to each other and started having the most animated conversation you’ve ever seen. At some point, the two of them started inching closer to each other…

It was adorable.

We wound up going to dinner with my friend and her girls so that the kids could spend more time together. I feel a little bad for Taylor’s sister, Cali, because Andrew decided to dub her “the other Taylor.” Andrew and Taylor sat next to each other all through dinner, the talked, they ate food off each other’s plates, shared dessert and colored pictures for each other.

People at the game were floored watching Andrew and Taylor together. And some of them started predicting that in about 10 years, the two of them would get together… I guess time will tell on that one, but even Taylor’s mom and grandma tended to agree…

Have a great weekend everyone!

Green Thumbs

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Spring has sprung at our house.  Last weekend we rejuvenated our garden and planted vegetables.  Jack loves to help his daddy water them daily and of course play in the dirt.  This year we are growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots and a few herbs.  Last year we grew from seed.  This year we aren’t as patient, so hopefully the plants will take off in the next few weeks.  We love to make fresh salsa.

One problem that comes with Spring is the copious amounts of pollen.  Just about everything outside is green/yellow in color.  Jack helped plant flowers in pots, mowed the lawn and cut back a few “weeds.”  I’m pretty sure it was a blade of grass, but nonetheless he was a big helper.  Our yard, porch and deck all look revived, with pretty colors that shine through the pollen.  Hopefully we’ll be able to swing, ride bikes and eat outside without breathing the pollen.

Wherever you live, Spring has officially arrived.  Whether it’s warm, cold or in between, go outside and smell the fresh air.  I am enjoying every minute of it since our Summer here is intolerable.  Welcome Spring!

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Monday, March 21st, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I am full-term in my pregnancy. I am not quite at my due date yet. A few months ago, I fully prepared myself for being “over” due, as many first time moms are. Now that I’m here, some medical indications imply that I may go early. The baby is getting big. And my mom went very early both times she was pregnant. So I can’t help but think, “okay, let’s get this show on the road”.

At least that’s what I think sometimes. Other times I’m oddly comforted by the fact that Baby is not here yet, and I likely have a few more days, at least. I have heard from experienced moms that I should appreciate the time that the baby is still in my belly and sleep while I can. (As if sleep is something you can store? I have never understood that advice!)

It’s not that I’m nervous about all the hard work and sleeplessness it will take to care for the newborn, though I’m sure it’s no joke. It has more to do with the fact that everything is changing, and I wonder if I’m prepared. I am battling with several uncertainties. Not technically being a mother yet has not stopped me from experiencing mom guilt.

At the moment, our dog, Saint, is our only baby. Soon he won’t be. I worry all the time about how that will go. Will Baby be safe? Will Saint feel ignored? Sometimes I put those baby shows on the television so he can hear a baby cry: he kind of looks up, startled for a moment, annoyed, and goes right back to sleep. This should be interesting.

I also think a lot about the care I have provided my baby with during pregnancy. Wasn’t I supposed to play classical music every night? What about that blanket I meant to knit? What happened to the exercise regimen I was so devoted to six months ago? And I still haven’t finished reading Breastfeeding Made Simple! (How did any mother in the world manage to accomplish breastfeeding before the publication of that book? I just don’t know!) Have I already screwed this up?

Hopefully soon I will be re-reading this post and laughing at my pre-delivery worries. And maybe one day, my first-born will read this and laugh at all of the silly things that were going through mom’s head. By then, he or she will likely know how crazy I am, and know that it is all out of love.

One Track Mind…

Friday, March 18th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
When I picked Andrew up from school today, there were three little boys running around outside. I knew with absolute certainty that if they were still out there when I got outside with Andrew, he would join in the chase immediately. And he did.

The only way I could get Andrew into the car was to propose a race between him and his friend, Brady. Whoever got to their car and got strapped into their car seat first was the winner. They both tore off toward the cars eager to be the big winner.

As soon as we got into the car, “MOMMY! I WANT TO PLAY OUTSIDE!”

I was able to stall him for about 3 seconds by telling him that we were driving down the middle of a highway and we were not going to play in traffic.


Again, I stalled him for about 10 seconds this time. I, of course, could not play outside in heels and a suit so I had to change. Andrew nodded like he understood before announcing at the top of his lungs. “CAN WE PLAY NOW?” (Of course, we’re still in the car)

He didn’t want to hear that he had to eat dinner first. Or that the grass might still be too wet from endless days of rain. Or any other excuse I could think of.

Because after about 5-10 seconds, it was back to “LET’S PLAY OUTSIDE!”

I tried to redirect him but that kid has a total one track mind.

It’s not that I didn’t want to let the kid run around outside or that I didn’t want to play with him. I just happen to have about 4 hours worth of work that I needed to get done tonight… (None of which has been accomplished as of the time I wrote this post).

The stubborn lawyer part of me wanted to dig my heels in after the 20th time he asked me the same question in 10 minutes. Of course, how can I refuse my little guy when he looks up at me with his big eyes and says, “Mommy? Can we please go outside and have a catch?”

Have a great weekend everyone.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The past three years and almost 10 months of Jack’s life have proven he is his daddy’s son.  He has been intrigued by computers, phones, movies and anything with buttons.  I can remember letting him use my iPhone at age two and watching him navigate right to an app for ABC flash cards.  I quickly learned that a lot of kids are becoming more and more exposed to such things and it’s now common.

This week is Spring Break at Jack’s school. I made a giant “to do” list of things that need to be cleaned and organized.  The first and most important one on the list are the heaping mounds of toys. Some days, I have anxiety attacks with the number of toys that swamp our house.  I try to pick them up throughout the day, but strangely more appear right before my eyes.  I started to go through bins, boxes, a toy chest and drawers.  I asked Jack what he was still interested in.  Of course, every toy I pulled out he HAD to play with that minute.

After a couple hours of organizing, I started to get a bit overwhelmed with where to place things, which child is currently playing with what toys, toys that must stay far, far away from Tate and toys that are too advanced for Tate, but as Jack would say, “Babyish” for him.  It was a losing battle in toy land.

Just when I thought I was at my wits end, Jack made a funny comment that gave me perspective.   My parents bought Jack a toy laptop for his 2nd birthday.  Lately, it’s been one of his favorite toys since he can play (and win) games on it and do some other educational lessons.  He picked up the laptop and sat on the chair.  He asked me, “Mommy, how do you make toys”?  Before I could give him an answer he said, “I’m gonna Google it.”  I broke down in laughter.  At first, I couldn’t believe he even knew what Google was, but quickly realized that his daddy and I often say that phrase. It was just the laugh I needed to calm my nerves.

Two lessons learned: One, kids repeat everything. Two, I think I’m going to have another computer connoisseur in the family.

Baby Gear Fear

Monday, March 14th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
My wonderfully talented predecessor, Melissa, has mentioned a phenomenon known throughout the parenting community as the “mommy wars.” This term refers to the never-ending competition between mothers in the ways they choose to raise their children. No topic is off-limits. Choose to have an amniocentesis in pregnancy? Are you co-sleeping? When are you starting pre-school? Still using pacifiers? Feel free to let us know! And then be judged for it.

Like Melissa, I’m fairly confident in the decisions I’ve made so far in my parenting role. Relating to pregnancy, an area in which other women are not afraid to voice their opinions is the topic of baby gear. A new mom is inclined to listen—the last thing you’d want to do is fail to obtain the very thing that will ensure your child’s healthy and productive childhood! (Or worse, buy a device that moms perceive as detrimental to development.)

My main goal for last week was to get a hold of my uncle’s Costco card (shhhh- don’t tell) so I could buy Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes, which every mom I know swears by. This endlessly amused my 22-year old male cousin. Unable to imagine the difference between brands of wipes, he asked me why it mattered. “I don’t know, okay?” I stammered back, “Something about the absorbency, or like, the wetness, or maybe the thickness? It just matters!” The truth is I’m not sure what makes the Kirkland Wipes a miracle product, but the endorsement from my friends and the online community was enough to get me on board.

Other products I’m more skeptical about. Speaking of wipes, the “wipe warmer” is something I just can’t sign on to. A good friend of mine said she knows it sounds ridiculous, but it eliminates a lot of screaming in the middle of the night. Clearly I don’t want my baby to suffer. Yet I don’t feel I can justify spending money on a device solely designed to ensure baby’s bottom stays cozy and warm through early morning diaper changes. I think a small amount of stress may be a good thing for a baby, physiologically speaking. But ask me again after the little one arrives. It may be the first gadget I buy—if not to soothe the baby, then to maintain my own sanity.

What’s funny about the wipe warmer issue is that in the mommy wars, I somehow believe that I am above the fray. Yet here I am, rolling my proverbial eyes at all of the moms who choose to use the product. It’s easy to get sucked in. I think that’s the nature of raising a child— from baby gear through college applications—you can’t help but compare notes.

Now you’ll have to excuse me—Babies R Us just emailed me about another Recalled Item. Better remove it from my registry before the other moms find out!

Something New…

Friday, March 11th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
We want to do lots of stuff with Andrew. Take him to Yankee games. Take him to the circus. Bring him to different restaurants.

But the nagging question is always in the back of our minds: How’s he going to do with this?

We know that if we bring Andrew to dinner at Chili’s and he melts down, the place is loud enough and there are enough families there that no one is going to care. Similarly, if we bring him to open bounce time at Pump It Up (the place with all the cool inflatables) and he freaks out when it’s time to leave, so do all the other kids.

One of the young lawyer groups that I’m a part of decided to have “family fun night” at the Devil’s game on Friday. I’m the one who really encouraged these family-friendly activities, so I felt compelled to go – with or without the rest of the family. But I called Hubby and asked if he wanted to take a chance on bringing Andrew to the game. He said let’s do it.

So we did…

He apparently spent all day on Friday at school telling EVERYONE he was going to the hockey game after school. He also pouted over the fact that he couldn’t play on the ice, but that the players needed to be careful so they didn’t fall and get bad boo-boos, which would require a doctor. (I bit my tongue and refrained by telling him that the hard checks and fights were a major part of the entertainment that is hockey)

We got to the Prudential Center as the game was starting and eventually managed to find the will call window. (They really need better signage for that) We made our way to the seats which somehow were the only ones separated from the rest of the young lawyer’s group. But we got Andrew settled and hoped for the best.

He LOVED it! He was totally into the game. He was asking questions about what was going on. He couldn’t quite understand the whole intermission thing. Andrew kept asking “Mommy, where’d all the hockeys go? Why they not playing?”

He was into the music, especially “Enter Sandman,” which means he’s already primed to be a great Yankee and Rivera fan. The noise didn’t bother him (too much). And when he decided it was time for bed (2 minutes into overtime), he asked if we could go home. That was followed quickly by “Mommy? Daddy? Maybe we can do this again?”

Andrew fell asleep still talking about how the Devils were the winners and how they beat the Penguins 2-1. He asked if I was upset the Penguins lost because he knows how much I like them (the animal, not the team).

We had a great night out. I didn’t even care I was separated from all my friends because I had an amazing night with my family. Andrew must have thought it was pretty cool too because as soon as his eyes popped open the next morning, the first thing he said was “CAN WE GO TO A HOCKEY GAME TODAY?”

This weekend we’re going to try another new thing…the circus.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Mini-van Momma

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:

They say life changes when you have kids, and boy, has it ever.

After weeks of online shopping, research, comparing, test driving and number crunching, my husband and I took the plunge and bought a mini-van.  I swore up and down before we had kids that I would never own one of those “things.”  Well, here I am two kids later, and driving that so called “thing.”

My parents owned a minivan back in the early 90’s.  At first I thought it was cool, but then it quickly became an embarrassment when my mom or dad dropped me off at school/ sporting events and all the other kids parents had newer/cooler cars.  Currently, this type of vehicle is very popular among my friends and their friends.  We couldn’t pass up all the space, gadgets and gizmos the van has to offer.

Jack’s reaction was typical.  He thought it was great and when he saw the DVD screen slowly descend his eyes lit up.  Of course, he had to see one of his movies and push all the buttons.  He is aware that we will NOT be using the DVD system every time we ride in the car.  I’m all for keeping children entertained, but seeing movies being played in the drop off line at preschool is a little much in my opinion.

I’m really happy we made the decision of buying this mini-van.  The smell of a new car is thrilling, even if it is a mini-van.