Archive for May, 2012

Birthday Boy

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tomorrow is Jack’s fifth birthday.  He couldn’t be more excited to celebrate his day.  He has a countdown in place and wakes me up every morning by letting me know how many days are left.  He has been waiting patiently to turn five.  Most of his friends are several months older than he.  He went to a bunch of birthday parties last fall for his classmates who then turned five.  He didn’t understand why he had to wait so long until he turned five.  I gave him my best explanation of why our birthdays fall when they do.  He was still a little unsure, but once I told him he was special since his birthday fell during summer, he was okay with it.  I guess not attending school on your birthday and the ability to have pool parties sounded pretty cool.

We threw Jack a birthday party just before school was out.  We had the party in his classroom over lunch time.  I brought food, drinks and cupcakes and the kids enjoyed having a yummy lunch at school.   It was fun for Jack and easy for me.  We are going to celebrate more tomorrow with a trip to the pool and dessert at a local yogurt shop.

The last five years have gone by quickly, for sure.  I can remember the day Jack was born and how excited/scared I was.  I had nephews and friends with little ones, but when it’s your own baby they’re the most special thing.  Jack has been a blessing to our family, and although at times he is a little stubborn, he makes it easy to get up and start my day, everyday.

Happy 5th Birthday, Jack!



Talk This Way

Monday, May 28th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Not too long ago, I was reading about the baby milestones I should expect to see Haley achieve in the next few months. This is exactly the kind of thing you tell yourself you’re not going to do. We all know that children develop at different rates and, aside from rare severe delays, it really doesn’t matter when they reach these markers. They will do so at their own paces. However, being a mom isn’t always about being rational. You worry about how you’re kid is doing and wonder if she is “normal”.

One of the milestones that struck me was about talking. Around this age, children say a couple of words and soon, they adopt “no” as their favorite. Haley will say “mama” and “dada”, babble, and make her needs known. But I never thought of her as very chatty. Since Haley seemed to be somewhat ahead of the curve in terms of physical ability, I expected that she’d be a little behind it verbally. It was hard for me to imagine her saying the word “no” a lot, like it was no big deal. All of that changed last week. In the last few days, I have heard her say “dow”(for down), “yeah”, “nah” for no, “myow” (when she sees a cat), and “Eh-mo” (meaning Elmo), in addition to her old standby— “du” for duck.

This is not to say that Haley has mastered the art of conversation—far from it. A few days ago, we attended a party at my friend’s house. Haley was so different from the crazy girl she usually is—she was mute and stared silently at everyone. She would not utter a word and would physically push away anyone who tried to touch her. It takes a while for her to warm up to people, and I didn’t do her any favors by taking her out to socialize right smack in the middle of naptime. I’m sure soon enough she will feel comfortable enough to speak to outsiders, too—faster than I might expect.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Devils, Yanks and Other Diversions…

Friday, May 25th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
The race for the Stanley Cup is still under way. The Devils and Rangers are playing each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. The last time they faced each other in that round, I was a Rangers fan… I realize to some it sounds like sacrilege, but this time around, I’m a Devils fan. In a nail biting third period, the Devils managed to score an extra couple of goals to pull off the win 5-3.

Andrew was so excited about their victory that he wore his Devils jersey to daycare yesterday morning. Apparently, as soon as he showed up, all the little boys ran over and they all started jabbering away excitedly about the Devils.

Hubby looked over at the teachers who just laughed. Apparently this is a daily ritual. All the boys sit down together at lunch and jabber away about the Devils. Then they turn to the Yankees. (Only one poor little boy likes the Mets). The discussion will return to the Devils, until they all dissolve into hysterical laughter when someone starts cracking bathroom jokes…

I have no idea what they’re actually talking about. I mean, what 4 year old knows hockey or baseball stats? Or knows enough about the sports to really carry on a daily lunchtime conversation about the sports? But it’s totally adorable.

The Yankees are away this weekend and it’s WAY too expensive to grab tickets to the final games of the conference finals… so maybe we’ll distract ourselves this weekend with a Patriots game. So what if it’s Atlantic League ball – the tickets are 10 bucks and it’s still fun…

Whatever we do, I can promise it will NOT involve driving south on the Parkway the first official weekend of “summer.” Too many people heading down to the shore…

Hope you all have a great long weekend!

Farewell to Preschool

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

When we first moved to Meridian I searched and searched to find the perfect preschool for Jack.  I asked friends and neighbors their opinions and just about everyone told me the same one preschool was the best.  We moved here halfway through the year so I could only get Jack on a waiting list.

When it came time for registration we heard it was very competitive.  Oh, was it ever!  My husband and I (thanks to my parents being in town) camped out while waiting in line to register Jack starting at 4:30 in the morning.  It was a cold snowy morning in February that I will never forget.  I remember thinking to myself this is so crazy, it’s preschool, for Pete’s sake.  Well, it payed off because we got the last spot available.  Jack enrolled into the school’s summer program a few months later.  It was perfect.  It met two days a week, therefore a perfect transition period for the upcoming school year, which met five days a week.

Jack started the three year old class with a big smile on his face.  He loved his teacher, Mrs. Paula, and he made some great friends who are continuing on to Kindergarten with him.  He impressed me with his drawings, crafts and attempts at writing that came home in his folder everyday.  Before I knew it, Jack was starting his second year of preschool in the four year old class.  Mrs. Kara’s class was the oldest class in the school, and Jack felt pretty cool being one of the older students.   His development over the last two years has improved immensely.  The teachers at his school are so caring, and the curriculum is very beneficial in preparing the students for Kindergarten.  We were very happy with Jack’s preschool experience and hope to the say the same for Tate.

Jack’s last day of school was today.  He is excited about Kindergarten and meeting his new teacher.  Kip and I are looking forward to a new chapter in Jack’s life and what it has to hold.  We know he will do great and will help him along the way.  Happy Summer!

Daycare—From Disapproval to Jealousy to Acceptance

Monday, May 21st, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I hate to admit this, but not that long ago, I had kind of an unfavorable impression of daycare centers. Not that they were all horrible places unfit to care for a child, but that they weren’t ideal. I found it hard to understand why and how a mom could leave such a young child in the care of people she doesn’t know very well.

I’ve come a long way, baby.

Now that I am a mom, I can think of lots of reasons to utilize a day care. Not only is there nothing wrong with it, it has a ton of advantages. The people who work there have a great deal of experience with little ones, and likely received additional training. I try to be a good mom, but I’m flying by the seat of my pants over here! Not only can the teachers tell you what your child’s behavior is like, but they can probably give you some tips as to why they act the way they do, and how to handle many situations. You and your child may not know the teachers well at first, but over time they come to be additional trusted adult figures, which I think is great for a kid to have outside of his family.  I have friends who even use their daycare teachers as babysitters for date nights. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

I think it’s good for a child to see both of their parents contribute to the work force and provide for the family. After all, people who aren’t entirely convinced that women can do anything men can do probably haven’t had enough examples of it in their experience. Also, being a stay-at-home-parent is not easy, can be incredibly tedious, and not everyone has the right temperament for it. I applaud parents who can recognize that. Moms or dads shouldn’t miss out on the experience of working if they enjoy it and feel pride in it. Daycare kids also get a level of socialization that kids like Haley just don’t. And I don’t socialize much, either. I also miss my working wardrobe, which is much less full of mystery stains than what I wear these days.

This is all not to say that I regret staying home with Haley. I think I am well suited for it and I know it’s the best choice for our family. While I miss working sometimes, I feel accomplishment at the end of the day. It would be nice to have another salary coming in, but we appreciate what we have and it helps us focus on what’s important. My life is not glamorous, but it is meaningful.

Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to any decision you come to for your family. All we can do is try our best to do the right thing for ourselves, and respect those who have chosen differently.

Stop Bugging Me, Fly…

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Hubby always wanted a boy. He tried to say that he didn’t care, as long as our baby was healthy. But his preference was obvious.

I was terrified of having a boy. None of my friends had boys. Who was I going to ask all my silly “mommy of a boy” questions to? What did I know about cars, army men, and football? And I really, REALLY despise bugs… What was I going to do when my kid wanted to play with worms and bugs or (I still shudder at the thought) want to have a SNAKE that we would have to feed MICE!?!

Hubby tried to calm me from the beginning, assuring me that little boys don’t pop out fully programmed as experts in all things male. And he was right. Andrew and I have been learning all these things together.

Fortunately, he hasn’t (yet) developed a love of bugs. This was never more apparent than Saturday night/very early Sunday morning. Andrew decided to leave the door open to the outside and let in the largest black fly I’ve ever seen. The thing was seriously massive. It buzzed around the house freaking me out most of the evening.

Andrew tried to forget about it, but as the fly landed on his sink while he was brushing his teeth, Andrew lost his cool. When I put him to sleep, he insisted that I close the door so the fly didn’t sneak into his room. Then he wanted me to prevail upon “Daddy the Bug Slayer” to try to rid the house of the fly. When I returned to his room, he was sobbing because I left him and the fly could have gotten him…

He didn’t think it was funny when I tried to jokingly tell him he could just tell the fly to stop bugging him. We tried explaining that the fly didn’t have teeth and wasn’t going to eat him. We attempted to convince Andrew that even though the fly buzzed like a bee, it didn’t have a stinger. He wouldn’t believe that the tiny fly couldn’t swallow him whole, despite their obvious difference in size. He wouldn’t fall asleep unless I promised to lie in bed with him and protect him from the fly…

By 12:30, Andrew was hysterically sobbing standing next to my bed. “Did Daddy get the fly?” He didn’t want to go back into his room, unless I promised to check everywhere for the fly first. Finally, I got him back into bed, tucked him in, and he eventually passed out… Until 1:30 rolled around.. and he was back.

Eyes pleading. Tears streaming down his face. “Please Mommy. Protect me from the bug”

And so began Mother’s Day… With Andrew sleeping in my bed. And ME sleeping in his bed among his nine zillion stuffed animals. Don’t worry, the day improved considerably after that. And yes, the fly eventually left the house without eating, biting or stinging any of us.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Years End

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The end of the school year is quickly approaching for both Jack and Tate.  Tate doesn’t really quite understand what that means yet, but Jack knows his last day of preschool is next week.  He’s a little upset knowing he may not see his friends over the summer, but excited to start Kindergarten in the fall.  Luckily, my husband’s new set of orders will keep us here in the same location, so Jack will be attending Kindergarten with most of his friends.

Jack’s preschool is performing their end of year program this evening along with a little “graduation” ceremony for the four-year-old classes.  How is it possible Jack is “graduating” preschool already?  I know it’s just pre-school, but this is a big deal to him.  He is now a “big boy” and to him that means he can ride on a school bus next year.  I’m still doing a little research on the bus schedules, so we’ll see if that is an option.

Today was Tate’s last music class.  After class we had a little snack party to celebrate everything we learned throughout the last 16 weeks.  Tate has come a long way from the first class.  He has learned many wonderful skills and it provided a great bonding experience for both of us.

Now if only the pacifier has come to an end I would be relieved.  I’d love to say goodbye to that… thing.  It’s been such a comfort to Tate, but all good things come to an end, right?

Culture Clash

Monday, May 14th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I feel lucky to have grown up with an interesting cultural experience. My parents are from India, so I was exposed to their languages (Hindi and Punjabi), religion (Hinduism), and food. This sort of situation can be difficult for many first generation American citizens, but I never really felt that it was a problem for me growing up. I’m from the New York City area, so people were already comfortable with the idea of diversity. Also, I lived in a town that had a decent bit of Indian immigrants (many of whom continue to be our dear friends!) so I didn’t ever feel alone in it. Sure, classmates sometimes asked about my background—I remember a friend asking what Indian “tribe” I belonged to—but they were mostly just curious. If anything, I delved more deeply into my roots and what it meant to me than I would have otherwise—not a bad thing.

Of course, the fact that I’m Indian means that Haley is too. She’s also of White European ancestry on her dad’s side. He grew up in the American South—another culture of its own. She’s certainly not alone. These days, you would need to be living under a rock to not know at least one child born to parents of different backgrounds. I’m fairly confident that her lineage won’t cause her any problems as she grows up—it is the 21st century, after all.

What’s really funny about the whole thing is that Haley doesn’t really look even partly Indian. Now, if someone told you she was, I think you’d believe it. She has medium brown hair and big light brown eyes. Mostly, she just looks like a white girl. I do not. I wonder how her experience will differ from mine in that regard. Will she feel less connected to her Indian roots? Will she feel the need to absorb Indian culture all the more? How will she feel about having us as parents, given that we have these differences? It will be interesting to see how it plays out.  I will certainly teach her about all of her personal history as best I can.

I hope that Haley’s diverse background will contribute to making her an open and empathetic person. I hope she enjoys all of the facets of her upbringing, and can also learn from friends whose families are from other places as well. I think the main thing Haley will learn from all of the differences in our family is that we’re really all the same.

Magic Words

Friday, May 11th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I was in court yesterday doing a marathon morning of mediation sessions. During a break, I was speaking to one of the housing counselors. He’s a good guy, one of the best that we deal with, and he was telling me about how he had gone out of his way to help a client. He really had gone above and beyond, but the woman decided to make him the object of her frustration and used some “magic words” on him. And, while he’ll help anyone, once you say those “magic words” to him, he’s done trying to help you… It cracked me up and shows that we all have our limits, even people who are known for helping everyone.

This post, of course, is about a different variety of magic words.

We try to get Andrew to always say “please” and “thank you.” He’ll ask for stuff and we say no until he remembers that magic please. If he really wants something, he knows that I absolutely cannot resist when he breaks out the “Oh please! P-p-p-p-lease!” But still, he knows how to ask correctly.

Today I walked in to daycare to pick him and all the kids were sitting at a long table coloring. One of the little girls, Maya, looked up and got all excited to see me. “ANDREW’S MOM! Can you draw me hearts?”

I gave her the look. The one I give Andrew when he doesn’t say please and I’m waiting for him to ask me correctly. SHE gave me the look back. The “WELL? AREN’T YOU GOING TO DO THIS FOR ME????” look.

If she were my kid, I would have stood there, hands on my hips, waiting for her to ask me right. But she wasn’t my child… And I caved. I had to draw SEVEN hearts for her. First pink. Then red. Then blue. Then purple…

Then another little girl came over, flung her paper in my face and asked me to draw HER hearts. And a third girl came over. “NO! Draw ME hearts!” Then a fourth. “Is it MY TURN yet?” Maya wanted more hearts for herself.

Finally, Andrew looked up from the pig he was intently coloring, walked to my side and threw his hands up. “EVERYONE! SLOW DOWN! WAIT A MINUTE! Mommy can’t draw hearts for everyone at the same time!”

So they formed a line with their paper and crayons, each little girl asking me to draw different colored hearts for them to color in. And not one of them used the words please or thank you. (Yes, I’m a sucker)

I don’t mind playing with the other kids when I pick up Andrew. I let them tackle me if I’m in the mood. I spin them around. We color together. But still… If you want me to spend 10 minutes sitting there drawing things for you to color in, can’t I get a please or thank you?


Anyway, happy mother’s day to all you moms out there. And have a great weekend!

Disney Intermission

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
We have been at Disney World for several days now, and we are having a fantastic time. We had never been to Disney World before, and we relied on our more experienced friends for advice.  We spent the first several days at Magic Kingdom, another at Legoland, and today we went to Seaworld.   We had breakfast with Mickey, rode the rides, saw the shows, and stayed up late to see the fireworks and parades, all in unseasonable heat.  The sharks and polar bears are “totally awesome” and both boys loved the Shamu show.  Jack was mesmerized with all the life sized Lego creations.  We quickly learned that the monorail home is the best ride of the day.

We have been impressed by the quality of the parks, cast members, and overall experience. It is not a “relax by the pool” vacation, but we knew that when we bought our tickets. We have been getting physical and mental parenting workouts every day. Tate is prone to fits, and Jack likes gift shops, but they have both been pretty great, especially considering how long the days are and how few the naps have been.  They both light up when they see the characters and Jack is first to ask for an autograph.

We are going to another park tomorrow. We downloaded a helpful Disney Parks app that lets us know every attraction, character, map and wait time for each ride in each park.  It even lets you know where to find the nearest bathroom. We have a double stroller filled with two kids, three iPhones, a large camera, water bottles, snacks, hand sanitizer, wipes, sunscreen and enough diapers to tackle any emergency. Tomorrow morning, we will try to fit all that on a shuttle bus. It is the price we pay to make memories. I just hope it’s working on the kids as well as it is on mommy and daddy.