Archive for May, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 30th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Today, my family is having a barbeque, as I’m sure many families around the country are. I’m can’t wait. Not only do I get to make some of my favorite recipes, but I also have several relatives coming over who have not yet spent much time with Haley. I just hope the weather cooperates!

First up, the salad course. I’m making mixed greens with goat cheese and grilled portabella mushrooms. I’m particularly excited about this because I didn’t partake in the soft cheeses while pregnant. Then we have some standard grilling staples like hot dogs and vegetable skewers. My favorite entrée will be the chicken with white sauce, a Southern classic made from a delicious recipe given to me by my mother-in-law. We’re finishing things up with a ridiculously great banana pudding. Here’s the recipe if you are interested. It’s the no-bake kind—just assemble and let it set in the fridge.

When we have outdoor parties, we always play games in the backyard. We love badminton, bocce ball, and just throwing around a football or kicking around a soccer ball. I love the competition and bonding with family members. Though I am famous for being obsessed with the couch, the television, and air conditioning, I have to admit it feels great to stretch some muscles and get active. And it’s inevitable that someone will do something hilarious we will laugh about for years to come. I’m so excited that Haley is now a part of these traditions. Certainly many cultures enjoy grilling their own delicacies, but I love how in America, cookout holidays always seems to correspond with days marking and celebrating our freedoms. It seems especially appropriate to be outdoors, enjoying this land and time with loved ones. Have a safe and happy day, and don’t forget to appreciate the fact that you can.

The first game

Friday, May 27th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Last Sunday, we took Andrew to his first baseball game at Yankee stadium. I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive.
The game was right in the middle of nap time and, although he’s pretty into the games on TV, who knew how he would do in person. So I packed my purse full of coloring books, crayons, cars, books, snacks and anything else I could fit in there, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best…

It’s always really cool to see someone’s first reaction to the Stadium. I remember this one game where a little kid walked in with his dad. I was walking in behind them and found myself tripping over the kid because he had stopped short, staring in amazement at the field. The dad immediately apologized, telling us it was his kid’s first game. I think the little guy stood there for a full 10 minutes, jaw dropped open in awe as he took in the sites, sounds, colors of Yankee Stadium.

It was kind of like that with Andrew. He rushed out to the rail and stared at the field, mouth hanging open. Then he looked back at us and demanded to know where all the Yankees were. He was running around, jumping up and down – totally psyched to see the Yankees play in person.

He actually did great throughout the day. He was into the game. He asked “what happened” after every play (and pitch and foul ball). He got on A-Rod’s case when he wasn’t hitting and started calling him a puppy dog (“not a cute one, mommy!”), which was hysterical.

Andrew got really tired and wanted to leave in the 7th inning (30 minutes after his nap should have ended)…just as the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs. “Please, mommy. We go home now?” he asked, yawning big.

He wasn’t so happy when I said absolutely not, but quickly changed his tune when the Yankees started scoring, tied the game and quickly surged ahead. He was jumping up and down on his seat cheering the team on. It was awesome…

In the end, the Yanks won. Andrew had a blast. And I had worried for nothing. A successful outing all around.

Have a great weekend everyone

Summer has arrived!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Today is the last day of school for Jack.  I can hardly believe the school year has come to an end.  On the first day of school I asked Jack what he was most excited about.  He replied, “Meeting new kids.”  This morning I asked Jack what was the most exciting part about his first year of school and he replied, “Meeting new kids”.  I think he is going to miss those kids, but we already have several play dates on our calendar for the summer.

Jack really impressed his father and me this last year.  He has come a long way in many areas, and I  give partial credit to his teacher, Mrs. Paula.   I am so happy Jack got to learn and share new ideas with his teacher and his friends.   Mrs. Paula helped Jack come a long way in social environments, creativity, and all the basics like letters, sounds, numbers, drawing and learning to write.  I kept a giant folder filled with every piece of work/art Jack brought home this year.  It’s amazing to see what he did the first month and what he could do the last month.

Next year is another year to look forward to.  Jack is already wondering who his teacher will be and who will be in his class.  A big surprise he will have come August.  I think Jack is ready for summer break.  He has all his favorite swim suits picked out and water toys filled up to squirt.  Happy summer, everyone!

Party Time?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
This weekend, I am attending the engagement party of a close family friend. I know that I am welcome to bring Haley to this event, the question is: Should I?

I would love to show off my new baby (around 7 weeks old) to all of my friends. My parents and husband will be there, so I will have plenty of help—it won’t just be me carrying her around non-stop. And I am starting to realize that with breastfeeding, it is always much easier to have her in close proximity to me, rather than coordinate the circus of timing feedings, my departure from and arrival back home, and pumping so that she will have the sufficient number of bottles. If Haley goes to the party, I will get to dress her up in something really cute, too!

If I don’t take Haley, my husband will stay home with her. He’d prefer to watch sports on TV, frankly, so he wouldn’t mind missing the party in the least. However, he hasn’t yet been alone with her for an extended period of time, with all of the responsibility on him. Perhaps that’s all the more reason that he should do it. If I bring her to the party, she may be fussy and cry. It will probably be really hard to make sure no one touches her. People are dumb, and they can’t resist a baby, unfortunately. Many of these folks are older “family friends,” and they may be easily offended. (Not that I really care, but my mom might.)

Her pediatrician said the right time to first take a baby out around crowds is 6 to 8 weeks, so I know Haley is ready. But am I? So far, we have had the occasional outing to a store or two. For the most part, she has been closely guarded at home. I am not a person who thinks barricading children from potential germs is the best way to keep them from being sick. In fact, I strongly believe in the opposite effect. So what’s stopping me?

Whether Haley attends the party or not, there surely will be many more in her future. Sooner or later, she will get to dress up, visit with folks, and be the belle of the ball. Her social life will start whether I am ready for it or not. I guess now is as good of a time as any.

Moving up

Friday, May 20th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Andrew is one of the oldest kids in his classroom at day care. Almost all of the kids he came into the room with – all his best buds and girlfriends – have moved on to the angel fish room. But my guy’s still a turtle.

The defining moment which warrants your transition from turtle to angel is when you graduate from pullups to underwear. Andrew’s almost there…but not quite. Meanwhile, younger kids have moved up before him. They’re getting a different curriculum and interacting with a different group of teachers and kids…

I found out today that they want to transition the next group of kids into the angel fish room in July. I hope  Andrew will have the whole potty training thing down by then.

Does anyone else have these issues? How to do you convince, coerce, or otherwise finagle your son or daughter into putting down their toys and going to the potty when they know they need to go?

Parties, Programs and Pizza… OH MY!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The end of the school year is always a busy time.  I found myself doing more in the last week than I have in the last month.  I try hard to be as active as possible in Jack’s classroom.  He likes it when I pop in his class and help with story time or other events.  After a few hours of school a familiar face is always a nice treat.  Tonight is the school program, and tomorrow is the class party.  I thought it would be a great idea volunteering to help organize the three year olds class/group party.

I never thought there would be so much planning, scheduling, telephoning, driving and shopping involved in a preschool party.  It’s amazing how much one idea spawns 15 different ideas.  I love to help and plan parties, but for 36 kids, 36 parents and 10 teachers it can be a bit of a challenge. With a favorite playground, some water games, a craft and pizza I don’t think we can go wrong.  I’m not even going to mention Jack’s own birthday party we have planned this weekend (phew!)

The parties are going to be a fun way to end the hectic week.  All my hard work will pay off seeing all the children laugh and have fun.  I will be smiling when I can kick my feet up and relax!

Mom’s Night Out!

Monday, May 16th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Tomorrow night my husband and I are going out to a fancy dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It’s difficult to relate just how excited I am about this. It’s the first night I’m going out and leaving Haley behind (with my mom). I’m really nervous to leave her, but my eagerness for a cocktail and adult conversation trumps my anxiety at this point.

We’re going to a renowned French restaurant, known for its chic ambiance and sophisticated menu. Of course I’ve looked up the menu online around thirty times already and have changed my mind over and over about what to order—especially for dessert! Conveniently, the restaurant is a few blocks away from my best friend’s apartment, so we’re going to have a drink with her after dinner and meet her new beau for the first time. It’s the kind of night I took for granted just a few months ago.

I can’t wait to put on clothes that are actually clean and somewhat stylish; perhaps even some heels and a dress that is not conducive to breastfeeding! As I walk down the city streets to meet my husband after work, no one will even be able to tell that I’m a mom. I’ll just be an anonymous chick, doing her thing. When I meet up with my childless friends, I won’t feel the need to babble incoherently in their faces. We can talk politics! Religion! Reality TV!

It’s important for me to focus on all of the rarities to be indulged in and enjoyed tomorrow night. Because if I start thinking about my little girl home without me, however safe and happy she is in Grandma’s arms, I may not be able to leave the house. (Last week, I managed to get away for an hour to have coffee with an old friend who was in town. When I got back, I cuddled Haley like crazy. I felt like I had been gone for days!) But I am determined to have a good time.

As fun as it will be, I’m most looking forward to coming home at the end of the night and seeing that special little girl. Although such outings are rare, I know I’m not missing much. At home, I’m right where the action is.


Friday, May 13th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I had knee surgery last Friday. Can you believe I messed up my knee doing pull ups? (long story…one which falls into the “this could only happen to me” category) My mom was nice enough to drive down and pick Andrew up from day care, keeping him overnight so I wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to chase after Andrew or him accidentally hitting my knee. My parents were also nice enough to keep him again on Saturday so I could continue to do nothing but ice my knee and occasionally hobble across the room.

If there’s one thing I’m extremely bad at, it’s accepting that I can’t handle everything and sometimes will need help. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the past week through my family’s assistance taking care of both me and Andrew.

Despite having a great time at Nana and Papa’s house, Andrew did his fair share of punishing me for being away. The first thing the kid said to me was “Oh. Hi mommy. Can I still live with Nana and Papa?” (Talk about breaking my heart) But I seem to be forgiven now…

I was more than a little nervous about today, my first day without anyone’s help.  I hadn’t driven my car since before the surgery.  Although I’m off crutches and my stitches are out, I’m far from being highly mobile.  And I have a kid who loves nothing more than running around and hitting the playground for hours after he gets home from daycare.

What if my knee really starts hurting and I can’t get around like I need to in order to take care of Andrew?  What if…. well, let’s just say that I’ve imagined a whole bunch of  scenarios involving situations where I might not be able to take care of my kid as well as I want or he might need because I’m only 6 days out from having my knee sliced and diced.

It reminds me of the first time that hubby when back to work after Andrew was born.  I was very lucky that he was with me for 2 weeks after we came home from the hospital. But that first day he went back to work? I was so scared of being alone with Andrew.  I still wasn’t all that mobile after the surgery and couldn’t do a lot of things well – like lifting Andrew up onto the changing table.  Plus I had absolutely no clue what I was doing…

I got through those first few days without help.  And I know I’ll get through this too. (Hopefully without another incident of Andrew accidentally knocking into my leg and reducing me to tears from the pain)  Sometimes it’s nice to have the extra assistance, but it’s always important to remember that you’re still going to be a great mom without it.

Have a great weekend everyone.  The Red Sox are in town and, if I’m crazy enough, I may actually get to take in a game at the Stadium 🙂

On Demand(ing) Child

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Disclaimer 1: There are many opinions regarding children and audio/visual content’s risks and benefits. The purpose of this blog is not to discuss what my kids watch or how often they watch it. This is my observation of HOW my son consumes content in our house and how it is dramatically different than even a few years ago.

Disclaimer 2: My husband helped me this week. This blog is from a conversation we had about our kids.

We are a tech savvy household. We have a broad taste for movies, TV and music. My husband has a wide collection of electronics including DIRECTV, Netflix, XM/Sirius Radio, Blu-Ray, DVD, DVR, WIFI, LCD(s), Laptops, Xbox360, iPhone and Apple TV.  It sounds excessive, and my husband could explain how it all works, but that is for another blog.  What’s interesting is how our children interact with all this technology. Jack doesn’t understand the difference between regular television, internet and web content. He knows he likes PBS Kids programming. He knows what “shows” he likes but he doesn’t care if he gets that show over the air, DVR or streaming from Netflix. More importantly, he doesn’t care if he watches it on the TV, the computer or my phone.  In his mind there is no reason to wait until a show is on.  With the tap of a finger or click of a mouse he can watch, interact or play immediately.

It is convenient to have children’s programming at your fingertips, but it can make for a very aggravating four year old. Jack has instant media gratification. For example, he plays with Thomas toys in his room and then wants to watch a Thomas program.  He will grab my phone and find the Netflix App and watch one of Thomas movies instantly. A few years ago he might have reached for one of his DVDs. Now he can get almost any children’s show ever made. This did not happen in my household growing up. We waited for a week to see our favorite show.  Therefore, we learned to wait for things.

The real risk we see as parents is Jack might think that all wants and desires can be instantly satisfied. If Jack wants lunch it takes patience to wait for me to make a PB&J sandwich. We have to remind him that things take time. Most of the world doesn’t offer instant gratification.  The good news is that every gadget and device has a common feature; the off button.

Miracle of Miracles

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Something truly profound has happened to me since I became a parent. I have changed in a way that truly surprised me. Attained a personal realization that I thought was impossible. For the first time in my adult life, my arms are toned. And it’s no wonder. The best kind of exercise is the stuff you don’t even realize you are doing. Picking up the baby, rocking her, negotiating various baby devices—the last thing on my mind when I was performing these tasks was the physical strain it took to accomplish them. I didn’t even notice my arms changed until my husband pointed it out.

And yes, there are other ways I have changed since having Haley that are considerably less superficial. Having a child is a rude awakening for a Type A personality like me. But I am very grateful for that. You don’t know what’s going to happen in life; it’s delusional to believe you do. When you have a baby, every day there is a new adventure that challenges you. It really keeps you on your toes! You have to stay calm, be logical, and be decisive. There’s not really any room for extraneous drama. You need to do what’s best for your kid—end of story. If your child gets colic, or refuses to eat, or fights with other kids, it is what it is. There’s no whining about how you weren’t expecting this or how unfair it is that you have to deal with it. Life is not fair, and neither is parenthood.

I think in terms of personal development, this is a good thing. I have always thought about how my life experiences might have contributed to my ability to parent. Rarely have I considered how being a parent may help me better negotiate life. Of all of the gifts my daughter has given me, this may be the most profound.