Archive for October, 2011

Decorating the Nursery

Monday, October 31st, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Over the weekend, we finally moved Haley into her own room. We’ve been meaning to do so for a long time, but life always got in the way. We needed to paint, do a good carpet cleaning, and even move our own bedroom to make it all work. It’s finally all done and it’s very exciting!

We painted her room a very light blue. Who says it’s just for boys?! I have had a painting for a long time that I felt would be the perfect focal point for a baby’s room. It has tons of bright colors and I thought the pale blue would be a perfect background, kind of like the sky. It looks great. Haley’s cherry wood furniture also matches nicely.

Now it’s time to get accessories and additional décor, and here’s where I am trying to not go too crazy.  But it’s not easy. There is so much cute stuff out there, and it’s all too readily available to me on the internet. I’m eyeing wooden letters to spell out her name (naturally), a little, soft, pink lounge chair (she hates sitting), and hot pink curtains (why not?). Never mind the fact that these items mean absolutely nothing to her. By the time she’s old enough to truly care about her room, we will have moved someplace else. But it makes me happy.

My parents helped me paint the room, and we talked about my dad painting my room pink right after I was born and still in the hospital. My brother, who was a toddler at the time, sat on a paint can and watched. I don’t remember my room being pink (the earliest I can recall, there was flowery wall paper), but I’ve heard the story a million times. Haley’s room may not mean much to her now, but one day, the care I put into it will.


Friday, October 28th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I was never a real big fan of the fall season. I like the warm weather and longer sunny days of summer. But with the colder weather, we get post-season baseball (apparently they start playing some other sports – though I won’t devote any space to them here), hay rides, apple picking and, of course, Halloween.

For the past couple weekends, we have gotten to take Andrew to do cool fall fun activities. One weekend we went apple picking. Andrew and another little boy ran all over the orchard pulling apples off the trees and probably caused a great deal of confusion to a poor gopher who found his gopher hole suddenly filled to the brim with apples that had fallen off the trees.

We took him out to a local farm that had a massive corn maze. He loved running through the maze, checking out the animals and playing in a big sandbox full of corn kernels. And, of course, there was the obligatory hay ride, in addition to some rubber duckie racing.

Last weekend Andrew picked out his own pumpkin and went on a hay ride. They decided that a pumpkin patch was a good place for a large inflatable bounce house – so Andrew got to do that too.

Andrew is very excited to tell anyone who will listen that he’s going to be Captain America for Halloween. I think he’s going to look absolutely adorable, though I question whether he’ll actually keep his mask on. Two of his friends at daycare are also going to be super heroes.

On Monday afternoon, they’re going to have their annual Halloween parade. I’m so happy I get to see Andrew and all his friends in their costumes. (Yes, this really was up in the air. I was supposed to start a trial on Monday but the case settled this afternoon)

I guess despite the cold weather, fall can be pretty cool… Have a great weekend everyone.

Tate wanna a cracker

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate’s language skills have started to develop more and more lately.  He has a lot to say, but he uses his own language. He says a few recognizable words and a lot of babble.  It’s funny to watch him speak.  We saw family last weekend, and Tate spoke with authority on many important topics. We had no idea what he was saying, but we could tell he felt very strongly about what he was trying to say.

Finally –  today – he spoke some new words loud and clear.  “Cra-ka”, “mor cra-ka”.  He stood next to the cupboard with all the snacks and murmured these words.  Jack and I both heard it and at the same time and clapped in excitement for Tate.  Jack really wants his little brother to talk so Tate can understand what he says when they play.

As a mother, language means that Tate can tell me what is upsetting him or making him happy. As he grows older, the nuances of communication carry more meaning for both of us. I am looking forward to a grown up conversation with Tate someday, but for today I’m just glad to know Tate wanted a cracker.

Indulging Children

Monday, October 24th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Different strokes for different folks—that’s what makes the world go ‘round, they say. Like anything else, there are many different parenting philosophies out there. It’s important that we as parents teach our children to respect other ways of thinking, and lead by example. Of course, that doesn’t mean we always have to agree with those alternative opinions.

I try to keep abreast of the popular parenting issues of the day. I often read one website which discusses etiquette issues. Parents discuss sticky situations they find themselves in and ask the moms and dad out in cyberspace how they would handle the same situations. I recently saw a post on that site that put my perspective on one particular concept into crystal clear focus.

One woman posted about an incident that happened on the playground. She brought her daughter and her daughter’s playmate to the swings, but there was only one available. Next to the empty swing, an adult man was swinging, presumably beside his son. The woman’s daughter said to him “May I please use that swing?” The man replied, “You can when I’m done.” The little girl and her friend ran along to play with other features. The woman said to the man, “You know the playground is for children.” The man then cursed her out!

Most people who gave their opinion on the exchange condemned the man’s reaction. Many also said that the woman was asking for it—what did she expect would happen? What struck me most about the discussion was how many people felt that children do not need to always be indulged; that it is ridiculous to think that a kid should not have to wait just because she is a kid and he is an adult. I could not disagree more.

I just finished a great classic book, Gone with the Wind. In that book, there is a main character that is always supremely kind to children. Actually, there are two that behave this way. They make a point to be kind, say flattering things, and help children. Of course, the little ones are delighted.

In my opinion, that is exactly what adults should do. It’s the job of parents to enforce discipline and raise well-behaved, respectful children. I don’t think that adults should put their desires above children, or feel it’s their place to teach others’ children lessons about how life can be unfair. Haley will grow up to be an unselfish and responsible individual—I’ll see to that. I hope she also grows up to discover that she can rely on the kindness of strangers.

Hello? Is anyone listening?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
The other day I was lying on the floor next to where Andrew was coloring. I was trying to edit a brief that we’re filing with the Supreme Court on Friday. Andrew decided that he didn’t want to use crayons when I had a perfectly good pen in my hand, so he reached over to grab it from me and wound up clocking me in the eye in the process.

It was an accident. But it hurt like crazy. I yelled – because I was surprised and in pain, not because I was mad at him… And he started bawling.

Later, I was trying to talk to Andrew about what happened. I was trying to explain that, even though it was an accident, he still needed to apologize when he hurts someone. He looked at me with his serious face. I though he was actually getting in, that he was really listening. Then he cocks his head to the side and says, “Mommy? Did you know you’re standing in front of the W?” (His name was on the wall behind where I was standing)

Okay… so maybe I was wrong about the whole listening thing.

Does he ever listen when I’m talking to him?

Probably not. He’s only three…

But the next morning, I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. I was still jet lagged, sick as a dog, and about to be late for court. While I’m struggling to wake up, I feel Andrew start rubbing my arm, then my shoulder. When I groan over the prospect of really having to rouse myself, I hear: “It’s okay, Mommy. I’m here.”

Maybe he really does listen sometimes…because that’s how I wake him up every morning (other than substituting the “mommy” bit with “baby”).

And now, I have to run. We have to locate the PERFECT thing for show and tell tomorrow… that starts with the letter “w.” (Quick! Anyone have any brilliant ideas?)

Have a great weekend everyone

Shower Power

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack has loved getting a bath ever since we brought him home from the hospital.  He loves to play with his toys, draw on the sides, pretend to swim, make waves, and now splash his brother.  Bathing the kids together makes for a much easier night time routine.  Jack has been having some jealousy issues with his little brother lately.  He doesn’t like having Tate in his space, and especially taking up all the room in the bath tub.

Over the weekend Jack had the brilliant idea of getting a shower instead of a bath.  He’s been getting showers with Daddy every now and then for some time, but he demands getting a shower on his own.  At first I was hesitant because i wanted to make sure he would actually get clean, and also for his own safety.  I gave in and let him try it out.  I stood outside and helped him of course, and to my amazement he did a great job. I know he is excited about his new achievement, but I also think there is some joy in knowing he doesn’t have to share his “bath time” with his little brother.  I like that he isn’t fussing about sharing his time and space.  He is trying something new to solve the issue.

So, my first born is giving himself showers and my youngest is starting to use a spoon and fork to feed himself.  Where is the time going?  I feel like just a week ago I was getting up three times during the night to feed them.  Every day is a learning experience for all of us and I love being there to witness it all.

The Simple Sweetness of Sweet Potatoes

Monday, October 17th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
This week I fed Haley sweet potatoes for the first time. They are a very common first food. She seems to really like them. I was relieved, because I never did, and you wonder to what extent certain preferences are genetic. Sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate and Calcium. I’m thrilled to have this healthy option for her dinnertime.

As I mentioned, I’ve not been a fan of sweet potatoes. That is, until I cooked and mashed them for Haley. Whenever I am preparing something for her, I always grab a few bites to make sure it tastes okay, and I also eat the parts that are too dense or fibrous for her. As I tasted the plain, baked, organic sweet potato that I had lovingly prepared, I appreciated the flavor for the first time. While chewing it, I considered how my daughter would perceive it. They have a sweet, earthy, tangy taste to them. Suddenly I understood what TV chefs are talking about, what motivates foodies.  Enjoying a meal is not the same thing as experiencing dishes and ingredients for what they are in an intrinsic sense.

I had a similar experience with the butternut squash. When folks talk about making homemade baby food, they often say, “It’s not that hard. It doesn’t take that much longer.” It may take a few more steps than pulling out a Gerber jar, but I’m truly savoring the experience of making food and feeding it to my baby. A little more work for a lot more reward.


Friday, October 14th, 2011

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Tonight I picked up Andrew from daycare. We went out and got ice cream. Yes, before dinner. No, I don’t feel bad about that. Sometimes dessert can come before dinner.

Then we went to the bookstore. I told him he could have one book. He somehow finagled his way into no books, three stuffed animals and 2 black and white cookies from the Starbucks connected to the bookstore.

We came home and he roped me into watching some of his favorite movies. You know, the ones I’m TOTALLY sick to death of? Like “Springtime With Roo” – though I suppose I should be thankful for small favors. It could have been Phineas and Ferb Across the Second Dimension…

And to top it all off, the little guy fell asleep in my bed tonight.

Gee… Think I’m feeling a little guilty about my upcoming trip to Seattle????

As you read this, I’m out in Washington, missing my boys. I’m out here for a conference and because my national editorial position requires it. But I’d kind of like to be back in Jersey arguing my motion right now. It’s a big deal. I’d like to win it myself. (But more likely, whoever is arguing it is going down in flames. If that’s you, hubby, sorry – but you know it’s true!)

I’ll be back tomorrow and I can’t wait to see my guys. But for now, I should get back to work. Have a great weekend everyone!

Deep breaths…

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle
Ever have a moment when you think for once life is on track, things are getting crossed off the to-do list, kids are happy, and there isn’t a load of laundry that needs to be folded? Then BAM –  life gets flipped upside down?  Well, that was the case in our household this weekend.

Saturday started out to be a great day.  Finally some cooler weather arrived to make Jack’s soccer game bearable.  Also, a trip to the Pumpkin patch after the game excited the boys.  It was a busy afternoon, but fun for all.  Tate had a few symptoms of a cold, but nothing out of the ordinary.  My husband, Jack and I all had some sniffles earlier in the week, but it didn’t amount to much.  Later that night Tate started wheezing, and it rapidly got worse.  My husband and I thought it was best to take him to the ER.  These problems seem to only occur on weekend nights when there are no Doctor offices open, right?  We were hoping for him to get some type of medicine and return home.  Unfortunately, he was admitted to the hospital for at least a 24-hour monitoring session and possibly longer.

My husband and I quickly scrambled to find someone to watch Jack.  Being so far from family makes these scenarios even rougher.  We worked out the logistics and were able to be there for Tate at the hospital.  He received numerous breathing treatments, antibiotics and lots of love.  He turned the corner and was feeling much better.  We ended up leaving the hospital 36 hours later.  Phew, what a whirlwind.  Tate has been home from the hospital for a day now and is doing much better, thankfully.  My husband and I are trying to learn the best way to give breathing treatments and antibiotics with out making it a challenge every time.  Deep breaths and a lot of patience are the key.  Tate is a good sport and won’t let a breathing problem get in his way.

Life is getting back to normal, and our routine is slowly coming along.  My heart goes out to those families with life-threatening illnesses and the strength they have to get through each day.


Monday, October 10th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika
Who doesn’t love a nap? I know if someone came to me in the middle of day and said, “Why don’t you stop whatever it is you’re doing, lie down, and rest for a while?” I would certainly accept the offer. Babies tend to disagree! There is just too much fun stuff going on and they don’t want to miss it.

As I type this, I am standing at my laptop, which is on our bar. I’m wearing the baby carrier, and Haley is snoozing soundly as I make a constant “shushing” sound. Luckily this brand of carrier (Ergo) is not that rough on my back, but ultimately I will grow tired. “Nap when the baby naps”? I don’t think so!

After a major sleep regression followed by sleep training (extinction), Haley sleeps really well at night. I had read that two different parts of the brain control daytime sleep and nighttime sleep, and I now believe that is very much the case. Haley really has the ability to “put herself back to sleep” at night whenever she stirs. During the day, she startles and is soon wide-awake if I try to put her in the crib. Many of my fellow mamas tell me they also use the baby carrier, car seat or their arms to get baby to nap. There is simply no other way, they say. But I am determined to get this baby napping in a crib!

I don’t want to push things, though, since night sleeping is going so well. My pediatrician even implied that Haley might not sleep as well at night if she gets better, more restful sleep during the day. Well, Haley is going on 7 months now, so who knows. Maybe I will get lucky and naps will be one of those issues that figures itself out.