Archive for August, 2012

Crank it Up!

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Andrew has always loved music. It doesn’t really matter what type. He’ll listen to anything from county and jazz to rock and rap. Loud music doesn’t particularly bother him either.

So last night when an extra ticket opened up to the Train concert, I brought him with me. He was totally into the idea. But the second the music started…”mommy, too loud! let’s go home”

My mom had the foresight to pick up a couple pairs of ear plugs before we got there. So we tried one pair that kinda made Andrew look a little Frankenstein-ish. That lasted half a song.

We tried the other pair. That held him for maybe a song and a half. But he was done.

We got as far as the exit before a very nice woman asked Andrew if he wanted to be her special helper at the door. He could hear the music downstairs where it was quieter and check out all the people, making sure that no one came in without a ticket. THAT he was totally into.

Finally, he looks at me and asked to go back to his seat. “I want to go back and see the concert! That is my decision.” With Andrew’s official decree, we went back up to the seats and he made it through almost the entire concert. (Yes, with ear plugs)

Overall, it was a good experience. He had fun, got to hear some great music and hang out with the family. But hopefully our next concert experience we get to see the whole thing 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone.

New Abode!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Being in the military, it’s normal to move every two or three years.  We have moved numerous times in our ten year military career, but this time we are moving by choice.  Right now we are renting a house and have been for the last three years.  There have been some “issues” with our landlord, so we feel it’s best to move and start a fresh chapter with our next set of orders here in the same town.

We’re moving about a mile away so we’ll still be in the same school district and close to all of our favorite parks and friends.  Our new landlord is a friend of ours, so we are sure to enjoy the new place and be free of any troubling issues.  However, this little disruption growing in the Gulf of Mexico might impact the move.  We’ll just have to hold on tight and hope Isaac blows far, far away.

My husband and I have talked to our kids about the move.  Jack went through one move and adjusted fine.  Now that he is older and understands a little better what moving entails, I’m hoping he’ll adjust well again this time.  So far he is happy about it.  There is a great play set right in our back yard and the street is much quieter.  He’s excited to ride his bike on our flat road and driveway where as before we had hills and more traffic on our street.  Both Jack and Tate picked out their bedrooms and are excited to set up all their toys and belongings.  Jack made me promise him one thing:  “Mommy, please make sure all my Legos make it to the new house.”  I assured Jack all of his Legos will make it to the new house just fine.

We have not moved in a while, but we are excited for the fresh start in a new house. We are trying to make this an adventure for the kids so they are excited. Hopefully we don’t get a hurricane for a housewarming present.


How Things Change

Monday, August 27th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
A few years ago, a couple we are friends with had a baby boy. We were excited for them and knew they would be great parents. A few months after their son arrived, my husband was passing through this young family’s city. He stopped by for dinner. When he got there, our friends said the boy was sleeping, so my husband didn’t get to meet him. This surprised me on several levels.

First, I wasn’t a parent yet myself so I had no idea how important bedtime was or how difficult it is to get a kid back to sleep. Also, these people are definitely the laid-back, free spirited kind. The wife is not the type about whom I’d ever say, “Oh, you know how she is!” upon hearing about a rigid schedule. If I’m being honest, part of my reaction was probably out of annoyance that they never acknowledged our baby present! But I digress…

I recently happened upon an online discussion with a similar theme. The topic was taking trips with friends, when said friends don’t have young children and you do—is it a good idea? On the one hand, I think vacations are a great way to spend quality time with close friends who you may not have as much time for after you become parents. However, even the nicest people can sometimes be clueless about the needs of children. Kids can be messy. They can be grouchy. They need to sleep at certain times under certain conditions. Ditto for eating meals. Children can’t be ignored or forced to entertain themselves because a group of adults wants to drink and talk!

I don’t know about vacationing with non-parents unless they exceedingly understanding people. I consider myself a sweet and empathetic gal, but before I had my Haley, I was clueless! I didn’t mean to be; it was just the ignorant bliss of being childless. You think you know what it means to be responsible and self-sacrificing, but you just don’t. I find myself apologizing to my close friend, asking if I ever behaved in a selfish or intolerant manner when she was raising her infant. She assures me I was fabulous, but I have my doubts. Well, when you know better, you do better. And now I know.

Bumps, Bruises and Boo-boos

Friday, August 24th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I lost count of the number of times my dad told me that scars give you character. Or the story about his high school coach who would always say “just spit on it!” when someone got hurt. I would either get mad at him when he said that or remind him that scars are cooler for boys than girls. (He couldn’t really come up with a good argument against that one)

I learned early on that I can’t get bent out of shape every time Andrew falls. Or hits his head. Or jumps off the couch and takes a flying leap right at the coffee table.

When we didn’t get all worked up over his spills, neither did he. That’s not to say we weren’t concerned. But we wouldn’t overreact. And any time we did, Andrew would inevitably cry. And scream. And howl.

So now Andrew barely is phased when he trips or runs into things. As long as he doesn’t draw blood, he’s pretty cool with the bumps and bruises.

Today after work, I came home to see Andrew with a bloody band-aid on his forehead. Apparently another kid ran into him on the playground and Maddy’s tooth went into his head. So after assuring myself that he was okay, I was okay with it too. But the more I thought about it, the more upset I got.

How could the people at daycare not CALL ME when my kid is bleeding from the head? They’ve called me when there was nothing really wrong, just Andrew acting a bit off but not having any kind of temperature. I’ve gotten calls before because Andrew was claiming his belly hurt when he didn’t want to do something the teachers wanted him to do. So it’s not like they don’t know how to pick up the phone and call, even for minor things.

To make matters worse, I’m looking at the incident report and it claims they notified the parents by phone. Did they think I wouldn’t notice this? That I wouldn’t check with Hubby to see if HE got the call when I didn’t?

Andrew is fine. And that’s really the important thing. But we’re going to need to have a very unpleasant conversation with the guys at daycare…

Tate creates!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Boys are fun.  Boys are messy.  Boys will be boys, right?  At this point I’ve learned that boys don’t care if they’re dirty.  I am a mom who has a love for art.  I love to do projects with my kids.  Whether it’s drawing, science or construction, we come up with some creative ideas and also use the help of popular websites.

However,  I’m apprehensive when it comes to painting with toddlers.  For some reason I can’t handle the mess, and I lack the patience for clean up. Tate and I have done some painting  – mainly with watercolors on his easel.  He doesn’t like to be cleaned up after meals, so interrupting his painting session for a quick wipe of his hands or face turns into a war – therefore making more of a mess.

When I was buying Tate supplies for school, one item on the list was an old T shirt of mom or dads.  I figured that was their version of an inexpensive art smock.  I was right.  Tate has been painting up a storm at school.  He’s made some awesome abstract art and I love it.  Not only is his “smock” covered in paint, the rest of his body is, too.  He enjoys it so much he describes in detail on the way home what his painting was all about.  His work is displayed in his classroom, so I make sure to take a peek everyday. I’m so happy he gets to experience the fun of painting and getting messy.  His teacher is so good with the children.  She manages ten kids armed with a paint brush.  She explains how to hold the paint brush, how to make strokes and drawing different shapes.  Tate is able to draw a circle so most of his drawings are made up of round strokes.  He also uses toilet paper rolls, vegetables, and his own fingers as other tools.

Tate asks to paint, draw and color all the time now.  I am braving the mess and letting both Jack and Tate explore the arts. Paints are washable and come out of everything so I have no excuse, right?

“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” ~ Pablo Picasso



Climb Every Mountain

Monday, August 20th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley has a new hobby—climbing! She climbs on everything—the coffee table, beds, couches, toys, bins—none of which are meant for climbing, and all of which involve varying levels of danger. I don’t know if I missed this in the mommy handbook, but I have no idea how to deal!

This latest development has done a number on my stress levels. Once upon a time (two days ago), I could take my eyes off of Haley for a moment if she was playing with some toys in a relatively safe area of the house. Now all bets are off. Every piece of furniture, every object, every fixture is a summit she must reach. You have to respect her adventurous spirit.

This is another one of those times I need to remind myself to count my blessings. Haley is healthy, active, and curious. It’s a good thing. It’s just that I’m already so darn tired half the time. It takes a lot of mental energy and focus to care for a toddler—and the physical strain is no joke either! When people talk vaguely about how “hard” it is to be a stay-at-home-parent, this is precisely what they are talking about! These are the things that can be so grating and difficult—but you have to do what you have to do for your child.

Luckily, I know just who to blame. Haley’s FATHER is an avid climber who has been bouldering for years. I, on the other hand, would prefer to watch TV in bed or curl up with a nice book. I think these tendencies are simply in our nature. Her aggressive physicality is a genetic gift from her father. I’ll have to remember to thank him for that.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to hone my spotting skills and stick close to Haley. Hopefully it will not take too long for her to learn how to negotiate heights and realize that reaching the top of everything is not always a prudent idea. She already knows that I will be there to lend a helping hand, no matter what it takes.

Andrew’s choice…

Friday, August 17th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Andrew told me that today I should write about how he loves all his teachers. (Both at the new school and his old one) And he loves giving hugs and kisses. Apparently he thinks he’s going to get married to Maya, one of the little girls in his class.

She chases him around screaming “GIVE ME HUGGIES!” and when he gets tired of being chased, he turns around, lets her catch him and kisses her on the cheek. She screams and runs away in mock horror…

This kind of reminds me of when I was little and I would chase my dog around. I’d run around shrieking, chasing the dog. She’d tolerate it fairly well but when she got tired, she’d start licking me in the face. I’d scream and run away, then the dog would lie down and take a nap.

Yeah… I just compared my son’s “future wife” to a dog. Apologies to Maya’s parents. She’s adorable. And I enjoy that she’s the one doing the chasing of my son and not the other way around 🙂

Andrew also feels the need for everyone to know that he is all signed up for his first kiddie soccer camp. It starts next month. He’s totally psyched. He got his first pair of shin guards and asks every day if it’s time for him to play soccer. I feel a little dirty signing him up for soccer before baseball, but as long as he’s doing some kind of sport, I’m happy.

He’s been trying to grow a tomato plant all summer. The thing is huge – it’s seriously taller than he is at this point. Tonight he checked it out and was pleasantly surprised to find his first baby tomato growing! Now he’s all into watering it and taking care of the plant so he can see the tomato grow. (Not that he wants to EAT the tomato. They’re “squishy and gross”)

Have a great weekend everyone


Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last year my husband and I debated putting Tate in Preschool for the following year (this year).  I didn’t start Jack until he was three.  So I felt a little apprehensive letting my baby go earlier.  I spent a lot of one on one time with Jack when he was younger, and I wanted to share the same moments with Tate.  However, I also wanted Tate to be around other children and learn social skills.

When Jack was two, he attended a lot of playgroups.  He had a lot of socialization with other children even though he wasn’t in a school setting.   Where we live now, there aren’t a lot of play groups for Tate to get involved in.  Tate’s personality is very outgoing and he is a social butterfly, so my husband and I decided it would be great for Tate to attend preschool a few days a week to get the interaction and engagement he loves.

My husband’s military orders had almost expired when registration was going on earlier in the year and I wasn’t sure if we would still be living in the same town at the start of the new school year.  I refrained from signing Tate up for school at that time because I didn’t want to lose money or take someone else’ s spot  – especially since our chances were slim on staying.  Well, it turns out we ARE staying in town, and by the time I registered Tate the classes were full.  Tate’s name was put on a waiting list where he was number eleven in line.  I was a little bummed that he was that far down on the list, but still happy to know that Tate would join preschool when the time was right. I was sure we’d be spending a lot of time together and reached out to friends asking if there any fun children’s activities I wasn’t aware of.

The day before the preschool’s open house I received a call from the director asking if I still wanted the two year old spot that opened.  I was surprised a spot opened that quickly for Tate, and of course we accepted.  I ran out and bought his school supplies and prepared him (as best as I could) for school. He talked about going to school and wore his backpack around everywhere he went over the weekend.  Since Jack went to the same school, Tate was familiar with the different classrooms and faces of the teachers and students which was comforting to both of us.

Tate attended his first day earlier this week.  I dropped him off and immediately he was digging in the toy bins.  I felt confident he was going to have a great year.  I look forward to hearing his version of his days activities.  Some stories I understand and some are told in his is own language.  All of it sounds very interesting.

Although I miss both boys while they are at school, it’s pretty awesome I have a few hours to myself a week.  I look forward to getting the most out of my gym membership and volunteering in both Jack and Tate’s classrooms.

Having Children, Or Not

Monday, August 13th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
There is a movement that is somewhat popular on the Internet, and probably in real life too, known as “Childfree by Choice.” Of course, we all know people who chose not to have children and have no regrets about that decision. But the movement I mention is somewhat distinct in the sense that its members feel somehow marginalized or discriminated against because of their decision.

On some level I can understand those feelings. Most people do choose to have children, and many parents likely don’t understand another point of view. It seems like once you get to a certain age, everyone you know is getting married and subsequently “starting a family.” But we are quick to emphasize that families come in all different shapes and sizes. We know a family can have many different kinds of parents, but must a family have children? Of course not. Yet the idea that children complete a family remains pervasive in our culture.

Consequently, some childfree-by-choice folks—from what I have seem on the web— can become downright bitter and nasty when talking about children and those with children. It seems like not only do they themselves not want children; they don’t even want to deal with children. They’re annoyed to hear them and see them in public. What amazes me is that these people seem to forget that they once were children as well. Maybe their parents usually kept them out of public places (which is unlikely) or taught them to be seen and not heard—but that is not right, either.

We live in a country that should respect all kinds of minorities. I would hate it if the childfree felt they weren’t given the same treatment as parents. But it’s important to remember that kids are an integral part of our society, and they aren’t going anywhere. Of course, there are times parents exhibit bad judgment and bring a child out at an inappropriate time or to a grown-up venue. Those things happen, and they annoy parents and non-parents alike. It’s not a good idea to ban children from more and more places as some childfree advocate. It is your right not to have children, but if you are a part of everyday society, you will have to deal with them. And that’s not a bad thing. They are, quite literally—the future.

Video Games – good, bad or just a necessary evil?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I don’t like video games… Wait. Let’s be accurate. I hate them most of the time. Don’t worry – I’m not going to get on a soap box about the evils of video games or how they expose kids to violence at too young of an age.

One of the things I really don’t like about them is how kids (and this includes BIG KIDS like Hubby) get totally wrapped up in them. You could be talking to them, and they hardly acknowledge you because their head is so far into the game. They play with them at the table during dinner, which really should be a time for family interaction rather than electronics. (Ironically, my mother has to confiscate my cell phone during holiday meals – but still…)

The first time Hubby handed Andrew an iPad and let him play games on it while we were at dinner, I went a little nuts. I don’t want Andrew to think that’s an appropriate place for video games. However, it did do the trick, and he was able to sit through an entire meal without whining, complaining, or attempting to leave the table.

I’m still not thrilled with it, but I have accepted that it’s a very useful tool when we go out to eat. I decided the video games weren’t all bad when he started to get into games that actually had some redeeming educational value. At first, it was stuff like Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, which teaches kids colors and shapes. Then he got into Monkey Month. (Hey, I’m terrible at math and ANYTHING that will get my kid to be good at it, or at least not hate it, I am ALL in favor of).

These days, he still plays those games sometimes, but has also gotten into puzzle and memory games, reading apps, and games that involve spelling, sight recognition of words and basic additional and subtraction.

And I have to say, it’s really hard to say no to Andrew when he asks to play something that will help him to be better at math or spelling. I guess like most things, video games aren’t all good or all bad – but in all likelihood a necessary evil…