Archive for January, 2012

What Does Your Baby Do?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I never thought that much about what Haley’s personality would be like when I was pregnant. My thoughts were more like, “Is the baby okay? Will the baby be healthy? Are there any problems? And also, how’s the baby doing?” I’m sure most mothers are that way. All I wanted to know is that the baby would be healthy and delivered safely. The rest would work itself out.

What I knew about babies’ personalities was mostly from my friends, books I’d read, and blogs about motherhood. As much as you hear that every baby is different, you also hear a lot about babies following particular patterns. Some are colicky for three months and then completely calm. Some nap twice a day until 18 months. Some babies love to take the bottle. Some like a little chunkiness to their purées. Some always roll over in their sleep. Even though it’s an accepted idea that each child is an individual, there is also an impulse to lump them into categories. Whenever I encounter another mom, I inevitably get asked something like, “So does she just love her jumper?” or “Is she crawling everywhere?” No matter what I say, it seems the person’s best friend or cousin or old college roommate had a baby who did exactly the same thing. But Haley, and I think most babies, defy these generalizations.

For example, I’m often asked if Haley sleeps through the night. The answer, currently, is yes. Haley sleeps from 7 PM to 7 AM, waking up once to eat briefly at 5 AM. This wasn’t always the case. Trips, teething, illnesses, and other disruptions have placed her sleeping habits in a constant state of flux. It’s like that with everything. She once adored avocados, now it’s a miss, or a hit. Depending on what, I don’t know. The phase of the moon? She used to nap reliably at 9 AM, now I’m rolling the dice whenever I try to put her down. Everything is always, always changing.

It leaves me amazed, then, when parents tell me about their kids’ tendencies as if they’re hard and fast rules. Perhaps it is like that for some families. Perhaps not, but pretending that it is helps the adults maintain some semblance of control. With Haley, I can count on almost nothing, except that I need to be prepared for anything.


Friday, January 27th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
We’re having Andrew’s “kid party” tomorrow. At Bounce U. With a ton of screaming, running, rambunctious 4 year-olds. (Wish us luck)

As he was talking to one of his friends and that kid’s dad about the party (and how they were about to buy Andrew’s present), my son decides to announce, “Aiden…If you’re GOOD, THEN you can play on MY inflatables. But if you’re NAUGHTY, you are NOT playing with ME.”

Oh, the attitude of a 4 year old…

Right now I’m downstairs listening to the sounds of him throwing a massive temper tantrum in his room. I think this one started because I told him to climb into bed.

Remember when everyone said “Oh, it’s just the terrible 2s” as your kid was throwing a fit for no apparent reason? That kind of talk leads you to believe that once you get past 2, it’s like a magic wand gets waived and suddenly you get your sweet, angelic child back.

But then, right around birthday time, you start to hear: “Oh, no. Three is MUCH worse than 2.” Wait a minute. Where have you been for the past year? You know, as I’ve been telling myself the attitude is eminently going to get better at Andrew’s 4th birthday.

So age 4 rolls around and at his party I’m told, “Nah, Jaime. Two was bad. Three was rough. FOUR? Nightmare.”

Really? At Andrew’s birthday party next year is someone going to say the same thing to me about age 5?

How do you deal with the attitudes and temper tantrums?

Hope you all have a great (tantrum free) weekend!

Music man

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate has a love for music.  Anytime he hears a beat he automatically starts dancing or moving a part of his body.  I remember he was very active in utero while I listened to music. Recently, I signed Tate up for a music class because I thought he would be stimulated by all the sounds.  Also, it would be a great one on one activity for the two of us.  Our class meets once a week for 45 minutes and lasts until mid May.  The program offers many different classes for different age groups and is held at a local church.  Our class met for the first time today.  Tate left quite an impression on the other children (and parents).

We were one of the first to arrive to the class room.  There were several egg shaped “maracas” sitting in a basket.  Tate decided he was going to shake them uncontrollably and hand them to each child that walked in the room.  I was so happy to see him share since we have been having some trouble with that.  As we sat in a circle the teacher introduced herself and each parent introduced themselves and their child.  We started singing a few songs, first fast and then slow.  We used several different instruments as well body movements.  Tate loved to shake the loud bells and bang the wooden sticks together.  He found it funny to show the class his hilarious dance moves during every song.  The other parents got a chuckle from Tate’s personality.  It was cute, but exhausting trying to keep him grounded during certain activities.

Tate and I had a great class together.  He really enjoyed the class as he was running, clapping, stomping, and dancing to every beat.  Although I was a little stressed out trying to  at least be near him while we did our activities, I quickly realized how much fun he was having and that’s all that matters.  I noticed Tate doing things that I had no idea he could do.  He was saying new words and repeating different sounds with an instrument back to the teacher.  I look forward to our time in music class together again next week as well as what new moves Tate has up his sleeve.

Don’t Stop

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We’ve got a walker. This is a tough stage. Haley is not yet confident enough to take off on her own, though with a little more patience and concentration, she could. She wants to go, go, go all the time, and you have to take her! Either she’ll “creep”—moving around by grabbing onto furniture, or she expects to use your hands for support. She’s not content to sit in her jumper or hang out in her playpen for very long. If I let her, I think she would keep moving all day with no breaks. She’s quite the explorer!

The last time Haley was weighed, I noticed that she had only gained four ounces in five weeks. This is the slowest growth since she’s had since she was born. According to my girlfriend, this is age-appropriate and the same was true for her kids, but I find it disconcerting. It seems nearly impossible for her to gain much weight given the current conditions. She eats decently well—three solids meals (purees and some “adult” food, too!) and has four to five nursings a day—but she is always burning up the calories! The mealtimes when she sits in her high chair are some of the few moments each day she’s not moving. Sometimes she even wanders around while taking a bite here and there! Energy in, energy out.

I look forward to Haley’s next check-up when I can see if she’s gained much more and ask the doctor about it all. And I am also anxious to reach a stage at which she’s a little more independent in her movements. How funny that I thought it was challenging when she was unable to move and was mostly just nursing and napping. At least then, I could sit with her, and maybe watch a little TV. The requirement to always be with her physically, yet constantly moving, is a whole new ballgame! I don’t know what the next chapter will hold, but hopefully it will be somewhat less physically exhausting.

Read to Me…

Friday, January 20th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I love to read. Even with all the time that I spend reading all day long, I still enjoy unwinding and relaxing with a good book where I can get lost in the story and characters. I love to write too, so the storytelling of other writers both fascinates and frustrates me (frustrating mostly when I catch typos that writers and editors both neglected to discover in the editing process)…

So I love that Andrew also seems to share my enthusiasm for reading. Right now he has memorized a handful of books and “reads” them to me. The other day, he told me to lay down in bed so he could read me to sleep. It was really cute, but also really cool that he would want to reverse our bedtime ritual so he could get in on the reading.

Andrew is currently obsessed with the Little Mister and Little Miss books we read when we were kids. It’s cool that he wants books instead of toys (occasionally – not always) as his presents from Bob the Bed Fairy. (Yes, Bob is still around. We haven’t kicked the crawling into our bed in the middle of the night habit yet).

Andrew likes to read the same books over and over again until he has them memorized and then tells US that we are reading the story wrong because he wants to tell the story HIS way. It’s hard to say no to reading to him, even when I can barely bring myself to re-read the same words one more time.

So, this brings me to the point of my post. I’m going to combine three things I love: writing, reading and my son. I’m going to write him some stories. Jaime originals. Yes, in all my free time. We’ll see how this goes – wish me luck!

Have a great weekend everyone

Southern Cooking

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
As a military family, home is where the Navy sends us. As you know, at the moment home is Mississippi. We enjoy the slow pace of southern living and we have made great friends. Unfortunately, Mississippi is statistically the fattest state in the US.  Sadly, it has been for six years. Nearly 35% of the population is obese. My husband complains because there are more fast food options in our town than actual restaurants, and I complain because there is no reliable source for fresh produce. We shop at Super-Walmart because there is no Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, Albertsons, Publix or other options. Our family eats as well as we can with the ingredients we have. We really have to work to keep our family healthy.

I was not surprised to hear that Paula Deen had been diagnosed with type two diabetes. I am sure she does not exist solely on the rich comfort foods she prepares. We have even made some of her recipes occasionally. My husband even made a fried turkey on Christmas. My problem is not with Paula Deen. My problem is with the parents who send their elementary age child to our pool with an entire large pizza for lunch and a two liter bottle of Pepsi. I am amazed by the things parents feed their children around here. We try to moderate the amount of junk our kids eat, but some of Jack’s classmates seem to exist on sugar and processed foods. We are not crazy food nuts by any means, but the amount of childhood obesity here is disturbing.

The best thing we can do is expose our kids to healthy food options.  Also, making them aware of the effects that come with unhealthy eating habits will hopefully minimize their junk food consumption.  I must admit, Jack is a very picky eater, so it gets challenging.  We try our best to exercise as much as possible.  Running around the backyard or playing at the park is usually a daily activity.  I hope as parents we will make an impact on our children’s decision making.

Reading is FUNdamental!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I have been reading to Haley since she was fairly young. For a while, it seemed pointless. Then just frustrating. She didn’t seem to care about the activity, batting at the books and flinging them when given the opportunity. Over time, though, she has started to really enjoy story time. I read to her twice a day, before her naps. We have a routine going. I change her diaper, rub baby lotion on her legs, put her wearable sleep blanket on her, and show her which book we’re going to read. Her face always lights up!

Haley is really good at turning the pages and likes to stare at all of the pictures. We have one book called Baby’s Best Friend, which contains Anne Geddes-style photographs of babies with animals. Haley seems to stare at these pages the longest, and sometimes lets out a giggle. It’s really adorable. She also paws her hands over the appropriate areas of the touch-and-feel books. Earlier today, she was doing a sort of humming-thing while I was reading to her. She does that sometimes when I sing to her, as if she’s joining in. Maybe she’s starting to remember the rhythm of the sounds of the story and is trying to replicate it- how cool! Clearly, she is getting something out of it.

According to researchers at the University of Michigan, reading to an infant is an essential building block of phonemic awareness (being able to hear, identify and play with sounds in spoken words), phonics (connecting written language to verbal language), vocabulary and fluency. Hearing and seeing many different words helps them become better speakers. It’s a great way for babies to learn concepts like colors, shapes, numbers and letters. More generally, it’s important to instill in children a love of books so they are successful in their education.

It’s great to know that an activity that I enjoy for bonding and establishing a routine for Haley is having such a positive impact on her future. Once again, I’m seeing how my focus is shifting from simply ensuring she’s cared for to encouraging her to thrive and exceed her potential. Good thing, too. Helping her develop new skills is a lot more fun than disinfecting baby bottles.


Friday, January 13th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
So as an update to last week’s post, I’m sorry to say that Andrew was right. He got sick (all over me) Thursday night, had a really bad tummy ache Friday and was out of commission all weekend. Maybe we can add psychic to the list of his other talents?

As I was trying for the 10th time to put Andrew to sleep tonight, he asked me if I would sleep in his room. This isn’t an unusual thing for him to lobby for, but tonight he took it to new extremes.

First I told him I was tired and wanted to crawl into my bed. So he nodded thoughtfully and said, “That’s okay mommy. You can take the bed. I want to sleep in my tent tonight. I promise not to wake you up.”

Blocked on that front, I went to the fact that I had to wake up early for court in the morning and there’s no alarm clock in his room. This was quickly countered with, “How about you bring your alarm clock in HERE and then you can get up on time!”

I was rapidly running out of excuses, which is what ultimately led me to tell him that if he ate dinner without fighting us and actually listened with no talking back, I’d stay in his room tomorrow night. He looked at me suspiciously. “Tomorrow? That’s not today, but the next day?” (Yes, baby. That’s when tomorrow is) “So, if I listen and don’t back talk and eat my chicken nuggets or whatever I want for dinner, you stay?” (Yup, that’s the deal)

So he sticks out his hand and waits for me to shake on it. Then he smiled broadly and I knew in that moment I was stuck. I am SO going to be spending tomorrow night sleeping in his tent.

I know that I could somehow weasel out of this one. But the kid made a decent deal for himself and if he holds up his end of the bargain, I will too. Even if it’s something this trivial, I want him to know if I tell him I’m going to do something, I’m really going to do it…

But it’s scary how well this kid negotiates. I think I’m pretty good at it. I mean, it is an essential part of what I do for a living. But Andrew is, without a doubt, the product of two stubborn lawyers. Watch out world! If he’s this good now, just wait until he has a whole arsenal of vocabulary at his disposal…

Have a great weekend everyone.


Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack’s class went to see Little Red Riding Hood at our local community theater.  Jack had never seen a professional play until today.  Our community youth actors/actresses performed a great musical, including several of Jack’s friends who had small parts in the production. Jack came home from the show and was so excited to tell me all about it.  He tried to recite just about every line from the production. Apparently, everything the Wolf said was absolutely hysterical.  He was laughing so hard on the ride home that he could barely get out what he wanted to say.  He wants to go back and see it again with our family.

I think Jack was lucky to see an actual live play. Especially one geared for kids. I asked Jack what he learned from the musical.  His reply was “Don’t get near a wolf, they’re scary and really funny.”  I would say that pretty much sums up the gist of the tale.

After reciting a small line in his Christmas program and seeing the children perform on stage today, Jack announced he wants to “play on the stage.”  He wants to be the Big Bad Wolf.  I told him he could perform anytime he wants to at home, and maybe one day he’ll have a role in a movie.  From experience, I am certain he can act out many personalities.  We’ll see what the future holds in the acting industry.

Being an Advocate

Monday, January 9th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley’s doctor said that she only needs to come in for one “well” visit between her eight month and eleven month appointments. So she could come in at nine months or ten months, or some time in between. I opted to just skip a month and come in at ten months and resume the normal schedule.

Last week, Haley turned nine months old and I found myself wondering some things about what she can eat. Rather than wait another month to ask the doctor my questions and delay the introduction of those foods, I gave her a call and left a message. When she called back, she answered my questions (about whether Haley can have yogurt, eggs, and cheese: yes!), but she seemed kind of annoyed! Maybe I was being sensitive, or maybe she was annoyed about something else, or she was distracted in general. Whenever we’re in the office, she treats us great. Anyway, it did bother me. After all, patients should feel comfortable calling their doctors any time concerns arise! And this is my first time calling to ask a random question since Haley was a newborn.

The day after I spoke with the doctor, Haley developed a runny nose and a wet cough- her first cold! I knew I should take her to the doctor right away, but I hesitated, I hate to admit. I figured oh, she’s not doing too badly. Kids get colds. It will clear up. I had the cynical thought, “why bring her in and give them money when she’s fine!” By the following morning, the cold escalated and it was obvious I should bring her in. I did, and the visit went well. The doctor was very nice. She said Haley probably doesn’t have anything serious, but since she maybe heard a little “something” in her chest, better to be safe and take some antibiotics. I’m so glad I went ahead and brought her in!

And I have to admit I’m a little ashamed that I let the doctor’s attitude affect my decision, even a little. (I probably would have waited a day either way.) As adults we sometimes hesitate to do things because we don’t want to be uncomfortable or in an unpleasant situation. When it comes to our kids, it’s important do what’s best for them—and to heck with everything and everyone else! I will learn from this experience and hopefully, do better in the future.