Archive for July, 2012

Morning Time

Monday, July 30th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley usually gets up between six and six-thirty these days. Since her dad’s time with her in the evenings is limited or some days, non-existent, he’s been the one to get up with her so they can get some hang out time. They usually get Haley into a new diaper and clothes for the day, walk outside to see our neighbor’s fishpond, start Haley on her morning milk sippy, and make the family coffee (Haley loves helping out with that). By the time I get up to catch up with them, she is full of energy and ready to get on with her day.

I’m glad that Haley and my husband get in their daily bonding time. But I’m much more excited for me! I always wake up when Haley does initially. But then I have my daily snooze. Sometimes, I don’t even sleep. I just stay still in bed and think about the day before or the day to come. Other times, I really need the extra rest. Although, it’s not so restful when you have a young toddler intermittently banging on your door screaming “Ma-ma! Ma-ma!” My husband does his best to limit those interruptions.

I think “alone time” is really crucial for a stay-at-home mom, or any parent. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I’m getting enough. I’m often overwhelmed or just super tired. You know it’s bad when you skip your daily shower because you’re just too beat. But as long as my husband is around, I get those precious morning minutes to breathe, meditate, and rest. It may be the only thing keeping me sane!

A finish… and a new start

Friday, July 27th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
As a quick follow up to last week’s post… Andrew did awesome in his race. He didn’t win (I swear they stuck a 8 or 9 year old in the race as a ringer), but he was okay with it. He was happy to show off his medal to anyone who would look at it and is already begging to be signed up for the next one. (I did pretty good too. Andrew ran the last straightaway with me. By “with me,” of course, I mean he started to jog along side me before tearing off, leaving me in the dust while my tired legs tried to pump hard enough for a strong finish)

Sometimes I forget that Andrew is only 4. I’m still not sure exactly what that means in terms of what he should or shouldn’t know. After my reading the same book to him no less than 10 times – IN A ROW – Andrew asked to hear it again. I said something to him like, “At this rate, you should be able to read this story to me!”

Yeah… That didn’t go over so well. Andrew literally started bawling. “I-I-I don’t know how to read,” he howled. It took about 15 minutes to calm him down. And the whole time, I felt like a first rate jerk because my innocent joke set him off so badly.

I didn’t expect him to be able to read the book to me!

But that got me thinking. When IS he supposed to be able to read? It’s got to be soon, since he’ll be 5 at the end of the year and but for missing the cut off for our school district, he would be starting kindergarten next year.

I still don’t have any answers or any great ideas on how to get him to read himself. But if YOU do, please share!

Goodbye, Pacifier!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last week at Tate’s two year check up his doctor asked if he used a pacifier.  I begrudgingly answered yes.  It’s been lingering in my mind that it’s time to give up the pacifier.  My goal was to be done with the pacifier at age two, and here we are a few weeks after his birthday.  It’s obvious it’s doing some harm to his teeth.  Also, I’m tired of sterilizing and keeping track of them. The hardest part is knowing it’s something that comforts and soothes Tate and I didn’t want to take that feeling away from him.

Three days ago I decided it was time to say goodbye to the pacifier.  I thought about clever ways to get rid of it.  I thought having a little “goodbye ceremony” would work best for Tate.  So, after we talked about how big of a boy Tate was now that he’s two it was time to throw each pacifier away and say goodbye forever.  I purposely had him toss the pacifiers into a grocery bag first and then into the trash just in case we needed to use them again at 3am.  To my amazement, Tate handled it like a big boy.  He proudly threw out the pacifiers and slammed the top of the trashcan shut.  I couldn’t believe this was happening and how well he conducted himself.  Shortly after our ceremony it was time for a nap.  I assured Tate that his Curious George stuffed animal would keep him safe and talking to George would help him feel better.  All of a sudden he started screaming for the pacifier.  Oh no! He quickly realized he didn’t have his pacifier.  I talked softly to him reminding him how we said goodbye to his “paci” and that George was going to make everything okay.  I laid him down and told him good night.  He cried for a few minutes and was out like a light.   I was so proud of myself that my plan worked and Tate cooperated.

Tate slept for a couple hours and woke up happy. Usually he wakes up a bear and it takes him some time to settle down.  I started to worry about how bedtime that night was going to go with out the pacifier.  I didn’t want to go back to the newborn stage where I’m up every  two hours trying to console an unhappy baby.  Was I going to get any sleep, or better yet was Tate going to get any sleep?  I had positive thoughts and figured if his nap went well then hopefully the night will, too.  I let Tate stay up an extra thirty minutes to make sure he was really tired before he went to bed thinking that would help him fall asleep easier.  He said all his good nights to Daddy, Jack, his stuffed animals and Legos.  I laid him in his crib, kissed him goodnight and assured him George would be right by his side.  Again, he started screaming for the pacifier.  I let him know one last time that we said goodbye to the “paci” and George would be right next to him.  He whispered “OK, Mommy.. night, night.”  It was too cute I almost shed a tear, but I quickly left his room and crossed my fingers I wouldn’t hear any crying. Sure enough, he fell fast asleep.

Since the first day we got rid of the pacifier, Tate hasn’t asked for it once.  It’s only been three days so he may regress soon and ask for it, but so far NO pacifier requests.  I am happy and thankful how well Tate handled this big milestone.  He was very attached to his “paci” and I never thought the day would come to say goodbye to it.  I guess this means he is growing up.  Hopefully the way he handled this transition foreshadows how well he’ll handle potty training.  A mom can only hope, right?



Play Dates

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
A good friend of mine from the neighborhood recently had her second child. We met up recently at her parents’ house so I could visit with her new bundle of joy. It was a hot, sticky day, but the kids got into the pool and we had a nice time catching up.

I was a bit nervous because Haley hasn’t spent a ton of time around other kids—just here and there—and my friend has a two-year-old boy in addition to her newborn. Haley can be very feisty with adults, so my worst nightmare is that she would act like a “problem child” and wreak havoc on her play date. Luckily, she was a sweetie pie. She played nicely with the little boy, offering him toys, and gave the little baby kisses. It was really adorable.

The two year old, who has a lot more exposure to other kids than Haley does, did not play quite as nicely. He was really suspicious of Haley and would grab toys from her. Fortunately Haley didn’t seem to mind. You can’t actually blame the kid, though. My friend told me that where her son usually plays (busy NYC playgrounds), the other children are often ruthless. It is not unusual to get your toys stolen, get pushed or otherwise bullied. She had several interesting anecdotes about the crazy ways children—and even their parents—behave. Things are definitely different from when I was a kid. I can’t remember my parents ever getting involved in the few minor scrapes that took place.

I am glad that Haley’s natural inclination is to be nice in general. This play date woke up me to the fact that outside influences will emerge, and as a parent, it’s important to be cognizant of them. I never want to get overly involved in playground scuffles. But I do want to teach Haley to stand up for herself. I also want her to know that being mean to other kids will not be tolerated. I know that Haley is ready for increased socialization. The question is—am I?

Born to Run…

Friday, July 20th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Andrew is running in his second “kid race” tomorrow. (Mommy is running in her fifth 5k and still has hopes to upgrade to a 10k if she ever finds some extra time for, you know, RUNNING to prepare for the longer race…) I’m kind of apprehensive about this, given the massive meltdown at the first race.

But, this one does seem to be more kid-friendly than the last one. They have a guy playing music for the kids during the registration time and they have the kids races broken into different age groups. Hopefully only being with 4-5 year olds will be better for Andrew this time around. He was NOT HAPPY losing to 7 year olds who were bigger, faster and had longer legs. Though I must say, my little speed demon held his own, coming in within the top 10 out of all those kids.

Despite my apprehension about how he’ll do and whether he can manage not to freak out if he doesn’t come in first, it was also hard to refuse him asking to do this. He actually loves to run. It’s good for him to be outside and doing something healthy. How do you really say no to a kid who WANTS to exercise???

So… wish him luck. (Me too)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Back to Life

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Our summer vacation came to an end earlier this week.  We had so much fun and stayed extremely busy. It seemed crazy that a month passed by so quickly. Jack’s swimming skills and wrestling moves quickly excelled over the few weeks during our visit. Tate’s vocabulary grew exponentially.  It feels as though we have new kids in the house.  It was sad to say goodbye to our family and friends, but we were ready to get back to our everyday life.

We dreaded making the fifteen hour drive back to MS.  The long day in the car and the thick humidity that lingers through early fall didn’t motivate us.  Luckily, we made it without any problems.  The boys were well behaved and even took a few naps.  We couldn’t have made it without the DVD player.  Thank goodness for that genius invention.  We also played road games and had a dance party. Tate pointed out every flag and Jack noticed every Target along the way.  By the time we pulled in our driveway all four of us were zombies, and our heads quickly hit the pillow.

After sifting through thirty days of mail, several loads of laundry, unpacking, and mowing the out- of- control yard, I think we finally have our life back together.  Our schedules and routines are falling into place.  Hopefully I can get a nap somewhere in the mix.  We have less than three weeks of summer left.  That’s right, Jack starts school in early August.  Until then, you can be sure to find us at the pool.

One Crazy Weekend

Monday, July 16th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I had what I thought was a pretty exciting Friday planned. It included a trip to the library, visiting Grandpa at his office, and stopping by Great-Grandma’s house. Little did I know, things were about to get a lot more intense. I was attempting to get Haley in the car seat (she had been resisting it all day) and feeling particularly frustrated when I got a call from my husband, Joe. He didn’t sound like himself. He said he thought he had food poisoning and he was taking an early train home. I told him that everything would be fine soon—we’ve all been there.

Luckily, we live with a doctor (my dad) who was able to examine Joe as soon as he got home. He advised Joe to rest and drink as many liquids as possible. It sounded easy enough. But through that night, Joe felt progressively worse. I felt his forehead, and he was obviously feverish. He had a fitful, restless night. In the morning, my dad saw that Joe didn’t look much better. He told us to head to the emergency room for a cat scan to identify the problem. We were nervous, but told ourselves it was probably still just a nasty case of food poisoning, or something. However, it ended up being just what we feared—his appendix was infected and had to come out.

We are very happy that the routine surgery went well and Joe is recovering just fine in the hospital. The last few days have certainly been an ordeal. It was the first time since I got pregnant that I was really obsessed and worried about something other than Haley. And it was the first time I truly appreciated how helpful it is to have close family at hand. My parents pitched in a ton to care for Haley, while I have practically been living in the hospital. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them. The whole experience would have been a lot more complicated. I feel for people who don’t have people they trust to be there in a pinch, or the resources to deal with emergency situations. Sometimes, parenting is a team sport with more than two players. Thank goodness for that.

You’re going WHERE? With a kid?

Friday, July 13th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Have you ever seen the movie “Sweet Home Alabama”? There was a scene in the movie where Reese Witherspoon is out drinking when she runs into an old friend. She gets this stunned expression on her face and says “Look at you. You have a baby. In a bar.”

I feel like people have been giving me the same kind of looks when they heard that I was bringing Andrew with me to New Orleans. Okay…so when you think of NOLA, you think of Bourbon Street. The bars. Mardi Gras. The strip clubs.

Having just been here in February, right before the start of Mardi Gras, I was a bit apprehensive about this too. But then I reminded myself that Andrew has been going to Vegas since he was 7 months old – and that doesn’t seem like an overly kid-friendly city at first glance either.

Last night we walked around the city. It was before dark, so before things good too loud and rowdy. We cruised down Bourbon Street with Andrew. He thought it was awesome seeing all the people, the ones dressed in crazy costumes, the beads, the impromptu parade that went by and especially the music. He was standing in the middle of the street shaking it, getting all into the really loud and only marginally okay band that was playing at the bar.

Today we went to the aquarium. We’ve taken him to some great restaurants and even my picky eater seems to be getting into the local fare. He’s not eating much of it, but he’s eagerly inspecting our plates and asking to try whatever looks appealing to him. (Don’t knock it. This is a major victory that my child asked to eat shrimp and pineapple. Not together. But still… It’s even a major victory that he was willing to eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch instead of his standbys – mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.)

I think tomorrow we’re going to hit the zoo and the insectarium. Oh yeah. You read that right. Me in a place full of bugs. And rumor has it there’s even a kitchen where they create all kinds of bug-filled recipes. Like meal worm salsa, cricket banana fritters and other truly lovely (scary) sounding delights. (I don’t think either one of us will be sampling the delicacies) I also promised my little guy a trip to the movies. Ice Age 3 comes out tomorrow.

Most cities have stuff you can do with kids that’s fun and age appropriate, even if at first glance it seems like they will be impossible to find. Just stay off Bourbon Street after dark with them 😉

Have a great weekend everyone.

Vermont Visit

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
My husband’s family is not centrally located.  His parents live in Pennsylvania and his grandmother lives in Vermont.  She is elderly and can no longer travel.  As a child, he saw her a couple times a year, but as an adult, he has only seen her once every two or three years.  In fact, she has never met our youngest son, Tate.

We decided it was time for our family to make a long overdue trip to Vermont. We wanted our children to see and experience a part of the country they’ve never seen and a relative they’ve never met.  We packed up the van and made the day’s drive.  Jack and Tate’s great grandmother eagerly anticipated our arrival.  We were greeted with beautiful weather and crisp New England air that was a relief after living in Mississippi for so long.

The years have slowed my husband’s grandmother physically, but she is mentally sharp and very smart. The boys took to her immediately and especially to her young puppy. We made several visits to see her over the course of our brief visit.  We made the most of our time together including, dinners out, the park, a stop at the confectionery and lots of puppy playtime.

The boys were surprisingly aware that we couldn’t run and be noisy everywhere due to the elderly folks all around.  It was sweet to see Jack hold doors open for his great grandmother.  The boys asked lots of questions about old pictures and learned some fun songs she used to teach their daddy when he was little. We took lots of pictures and will remember all the fun moments we shared together.



Before You Have Kids

Monday, July 9th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Everyone tells you how different life is when you have children. As a childless adult, you think to yourself, “Yeah, I get it. It’s really difficult. Tiring. A lot of work. They drive you crazy.” But you also think to yourself, “Gosh, babies look so cute in footie pajamas! Kids say the funniest things! I wonder what we’ll name our children!” Realistically, the things that are fun and cute and wonderful about having children don’t really help you deal with 3 AM feedings, temper tantrums, and destroyed furniture. And it’s not simply the difficulty of parenting that takes getting used to. Being a parent fundamentally changes who you are.

Before I had a kid, I was really interested in the world of parenthood and frequented many website such as this one. So if there’s anyone out there reading this who hasn’t yet joined the club, this is for you. It’s Monday Mom’s list of the ways life changes once you become a parent:

  1. You become consumed with schedules. Sleeping, Eating—even Pooping. You could never believe how important this becomes to you.
  2. I loved watching TV before I had Haley. I still do now, but I miss a lot of things. It took time to adjust, but after a while, it didn’t matter at all. Getting something on the television that will hold her attention for a few minutes is a priority. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself watching Sesame Street or The Fresh Beat Band even when your little one isn’t around!
  3. You can imagine the intense love you’d feel for your offspring. What’s harder to envision is the worry. You know life can be challenging, and you worry about all the ways your child will have to navigate it. It can be a heartbreaking feeling.
  4. Everything is planned out. My husband and I loved being spontaneous before we had Haley. Each weekend was a constant, jolly stream of “what should we do now?” With a kid, you’ve got to make sure they are well rested and fed and that every destination is kid-appropriate (many aren’t!). Oh, and some kids hate being in the car seat, too!
  5. The fatigue. You know that kids have trouble sleeping through the night sometimes. And you know that they are full of energy—but oh, my word. It all takes a lot out of you.

So childless friends, take that for what it’s worth and enjoy this time of adult debauchery. And for most of our readers, who do have children, do not despair. Less than 18 years to go!