Archive for January, 2013

First lost tooth

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Three weeks ago our family was eating dinner, and out of the blue Jack announced he had a loose tooth.  I didn’t believe him at first, but he wiggled his tooth and proved he was right.  I will admit, I had a tear in my eye.  How is my son old enough to be losing his teeth already?  Several days went by and the tooth wiggled more and more.   I was hoping it would fall out before my husband and I went on our trip so I could be the tooth fairy.  Unfortunately, his tooth fell out while we were gone.  Grammy was sure to send me pictures and assured me she would play the role of the tooth fairy just fine.  After all, she had plenty of practice with three of her own daughters.

When we returned home from our trip, Jack reported to us how he put his tooth in a little keepsake chest and placed it under his pillow.  He woke up the next morning and was delighted to find a whole dollar bill the fairy left him.  He is very proud of that dollar and has already asked when his next tooth would fall out.  We assured him all of his baby teeth will fall out eventually, but he must be patient.  Good things come to those who wait, right?

Jack’s tooth is sitting in its little blue chest in my jewelry box.  Am i supposed to keep lost teeth?  I feel guilty throwing away such a little part of Jack.  That particular tooth was the first tooth that erupted through his little gums.  I specifically remember watching that same tooth come in over a period of a couple days leaving him with a sweet little grin.

Losing a tooth is a sure sign Jack is officially a big boy.  These years are passing too quickly… someone hit the pause button, please.


Under the Weather

Monday, January 28th, 2013

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
At the beginning of last weekend, Haley started randomly coughing. I did not know at the time if her coughs were “something” or “nothing.” The next day her nose was running and she was slightly feverish. People—we have a cold. Haley handled it pretty well. She was still a bundle of energy. What bothered her most was having her nose blown. Her poor little nose was red and irritated and we annoying adults kept on wiping it. I felt terrible that she wasn’t feeling well, and really relieved that the dreaded flu did not seem to be developing. Then on Sunday morning, I woke up sick. That was a game changer.

It’s one thing to be on top of Haley’s sickness and ensure that she has everything she needs. Doing so while ill is much more difficult. I don’t know if I was actually sicker than she or that as an adult, I let it get me down more. But I felt really tired and just crummy for days. Luckily, my parents bailed me out and cared for her while I was recuperating. I couldn’t believe how active Haley was while still fighting her cold. I would not have been able to handle her myself.

The timing was fortuitous, though, as it was incredibly cold last week. We didn’t really leave home. We stayed in our pajamas, played games, and did a lot of TV (listen, this is what it’s there for!). Now we are both on the mend. I’m hopeful that this week will be more temperate and we can finally get back out there. It would be nice if the next time Haley demanded, “Park?” I could say, “Yes, we’ll go the park later today” and actually be telling the truth.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Friday, January 25th, 2013

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
Andrew loves hockey. In fact, he is continually disappointed that he can’t play hockey with his beloved Devils. Forget that he can’t really ice skate and that most professional hockey teams don’t just let little kids cruise around with them on the ice…

One of Andrew’s friends from soccer started taking ice skating lessons at the local hockey arena. As a precursor to the inevitable day when Andrew starts playing ice hockey, we thought it would be a great idea to sign him up for lessons too.

All the little kids were “strongly encouraged” to wear helmets during their lessons. Andrew was totally psyched the first night to lace up his skates and strap on the helmet so he could get out on the ice. At first, the kids skated behind traffic cones to help them balance on the ice.

With the assistance of the cone, Andrew was able to quickly make his way from one side of the rink to the other. Without it? Well..that’s another story.

Andrew spent more time flat on his back on the ice than he did actually skating this week. Sure he got frustrated. He wanted to be faster, better, stronger at skating. The amazing thing, though, was that he kept getting up and kept trying.

I was so impressed at his determination and that he didn’t give up, even after falling flat on his face five consecutive times without being able to skate a single step without falling again. He’ll get there eventually. The difference between how he skates in the beginning of the lesson and by the end each week is noticeable. The important thing is that he’s having fun…and that he keeps trying.


Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
My husband and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary on a western Caribbean cruise last week.  It was a much needed vacation for both of us, and we really enjoyed our time alone together.  We slept in and were served cold beverages while lying in the warm sun. Even the crystal blue water felt induldgent.

My parents generously drove down to MS to keep the boys while we were away.  I’ve never left Tate for more than a weekend.  I was a little bit nervous to see how he would act for my parents.  Luckily, he was great (or so my parents tell me).  He was his spunky self, keeping them on their toes. He had no major breakdowns like he tends to have with me.  I had no worries about Jack, because he is a pretty responsible five year old.  He is a great helper and tries to keep Tate in line.

We returned home from a relaxing vacation and were thrilled to see the boys.  As much as I enjoyed the break, I sincerely missed them.  I feel refreshed and ready to get back into the routine.  I firmly believe every parent needs a break at some point.  Whether it’s a vacation or just a peaceful nap.  It’s amazing what a little time on your own can do to your well being.


Good Intentions

Monday, January 21st, 2013

I was pleased when I recently came across an article on a popular online news magazine called “The Early Education Racket”. The author asserts that “If you are reading this article, your kid probably doesn’t need preschool”. This topic is of specific interest to me since this is an issue I have been grappling with as Haley enters her Terrible Two’s. I have no plans to return to a traditional work environment next year, so I am lucky that I can continue to stay home with her. Yet many kids in our neighborhood start preschool at two years old. I think of the potential benefits—the socialization for her, the break for me, and you know—maybe she’ll learn something.

A reputable preschool is right across the street from us, so I thought that would be a good place to start my research. A major drawback to the preschool plan is that I am absurdly nervous about sending her anywhere without me, so I figured being so physically close would make the transition easier. Well, I wasn’t thrilled with the tuition to send a two year old to school for two mornings a week in this delightful enclave of New York. I’ll refrain from mentioning the specific amount because I’d hate for you to spit your coffee directly onto your computer screen. Let’s just say it’s a tad pricey. I’m not sure why that is. I pass by these kids during their school day all the time. While they appear happy, they don’t seem to be splitting the atom.

I will likely forgo the preschool application process this time around (and I’m sure I’ve missed their very early deadlines) and according to the article, that’s probably A-okay. The piece’s main contention is that if you are the kind of parent who is concerned about her children being successful and wonders if placing them in the right early education environment will bolster their future academic achievement—you are probably the kind of parent who is doing all of the right things to make that happen, anyway. School at that age is not a bad thing in any sense, but if you are an encouraging, loving, concerned parent to start with, a great preschool provides no discernible difference in terms of future success. The authors of the very popular Freakonomics made a similar contention. Reading all of the “baby books”, enrolling your toddler in special classes, etc. is not what is going to provide a positive foundation for your child—the fact that you are the kind of parent who is seeking those things out is. This is something that I wholeheartedly agree with. While it makes me feel relieved, in a way, it also brings up other issues for me.

These experts aren’t saying that things like parenting books are useless. In fact they are helpful—but would be most helpful to those who probably wouldn’t read them. Is this the point where we, as engaged parents, wipe our brows in relief that we’re getting it right? What about children who have parents who are less engaged? I will never believe that those parents don’t care. But those parents may be dealing with economic or social issues that make it difficult to spend time and money on these sorts of things. And I think that’s everyone’s problem to deal with.

Calling In Sick

Friday, January 18th, 2013

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I’ve been sick since I left work last Friday. Unlike half the world who has the flu, I had bronchitis and have been coughing up a lung all week. I haven’t been this sick in awhile and, quite frankly, have just been pathetic.

One of the hardest things about being sick is that you can’t stop being a parent just because you feel lousy… Really lousy… Or can’t keep your eyes open long enough to stumble upstairs to bed exhausted. I’ve had more of both of those moments than I’d care to count this week.

I’ve been very lucky that Hubby has been here, and healthy enough, to step up and take care of both of us. Tonight I tried to help him by picking up Andrew and letting him work late to get a big project wrapped up. I managed to lock myself out of the house because my keys weren’t in my purse where they belonged… My mom had to come rescue me to let me into my house so I could grab the keys and literally race over to daycare before it closed.

Andrew did have some fun this week, despite my being a total mess. He started doing swim lessons again. He was very proud of himself and his ability to make it all the way across the pool and back with just a noodle. He also got to ice skate Tuesday night. He did awesome. Even though he kept falling, he still got back up – though sometimes slower than others. He improved so much from the beginning of the night to the end.

I’m going to crawl back into bed now. Enjoy your weekend, everyone…

Rainy days

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
It has been raining here for days. This entire month has been grey, damp and depressing. I’m pretty sure I get mild seasonal affective disorder in the winter months. As a mom, I get very frustrated when I can’t send my kids outside to play. Our yard is a complete swamp after a week of rain.

The television can be tempting. We have tons of educational programing options, but I really try to limit how much they use it. Even with PBS, I feel guilty using it for “play” time, but it has helped Tate learn his letters and sounds.  As I have previously discussed, my boys use iPhones and iPods better than most adults, so they can find entertainment, games and puzzles even with the TV off.

It takes energy to be a mom when the weather is great, but it takes exponentially more energy when the weather is bad. I try to give my best early in the day. The TV has an off button and I have a craft drawer, crayons and learning activity books for both of my boys. I understand that it is not my job to jump around and entertain my kids constantly, but I can get them started on projects and play that let them entertain themselves.

As they age, the boys are playing well together almost every day. Jack’s educational development is trickling down to his little brother. I love it when they play well together.  However, after being cooped up for days, the boys eventually need to be separated and have a break from each other.  They have their own rooms where there are plenty of toys they can independently play with.

Unfortunately, the latest forecast is calling for another 7 days of rain.  It looks like we’ll be playing more board games and Jack’s favorite, UNO.  I hope it’s bright and sunny where you are.

Grandparent Time

Monday, January 14th, 2013

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
This weekend, my parents came over for a visit. Haley loves seeing her “Gamma” and “Papa.” And I think I may love it more! It’s great to be able to take a break, even if it’s just to indulge in glamorous activities like folding laundry and cleaning the bathroom. After all, at least I can do what I need to do somewhat uninterrupted and simply focus on my own thoughts for a moment.

Haley enjoys showing off her room and her toys to her grandparents. It must be nice to be around adults who have more patience left in them for toddler playtime. My parents only stayed over for a night but they could have played with Haley for days. They enjoy it every bit as much as she does.

I thought Haley would pout when they left, but she seemed fine. She gave them big hugs and loved watching their car pull away out the window. It’s nice to know even though they are her favorite people, she’s happy with her life with her parents and business as usual. I’m sure soon enough a day will come when she would rather go off with them, but I’m glad Mommy and Daddy are still ultimately number one.

The best thing about the sleepover if that I was able to sleep in! Gamma and Papa took Haley as soon as she got up, changing her diaper, playing with her and making her pancakes. Of course Haley ran into our room to rouse us from our sleep a few times, but I’ll take extra sleep however I can get it, even if it’s disjointed.

I hope everyone has a great week, filled with plenty of replenishing breaks!

Happiest Place on Earth?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I remember growing up that my parents took us to Disney often.  We would usually go (like the rest of the world) over that week between Christmas and New Years while school was closed.  We’d pair it with a visit to see my grandma, spending part of the week with her and the rest of the week down in Orlando.  I loved it.

After the past couple days, I have a whole new appreciation for what my parents must have gone through taking me and my sister there…

We took Andrew to Disneyland for the first time this week.  He was so excited to see Mickey and Minnie.  To go somewhere new. To ride the rides.  To try and get selected for Jedi training.

We spent the first day over in the California Adventure, where Carsland resides.  It was cool.  Andrew loved it.  He managed to sit (mostly) still for a parade.  He cried because he couldn’t do the Radiator Springs Racers, but we promised there would be time to do what he wanted the next day.  To be honest, he held it together well that first day.

The second day, when we cruised around Disneyland’s main park, was a totally different story.  We got there when it opened at 10. We didn’t bring Andrew back to the hotel for a nap.  He insisted he didn’t need one.  We probably shouldn’t have listened to him.

He bawled when he didn’t get picked to do Jedi training. (I was disappointed too – the Jedi master chose every kid around him, except for Andrew.)  He stomped his feet and pouted when we told him he was running off too far ahead of us.  He growled at us when we didn’t do what he wanted to do the second he wanted to do it.  He threw a full blown temper tantrum because I didn’t want to carry a stuffed animal around the park all day, but promised to buy him something later in the day.  I have never seen this kid flip out so badly as when he managed to spit not one, but two, Starbursts out of his mouth and I wouldn’t let him have another one.

But as he was freaking out over nothing, I looked around at some of the other parents.  A guy waiting to take his kids on the Dumbo ride practically had to take a flying leap to catch his daughter before she fell off the wall she was walking on.  A mom got so pissed off at her kid that she stomped out of line and walked away from her daughter completely.  Kids on leashes were trying to attach their tethers to other kids.  Tears flowed freely.  Parents’ angers ran high while patience reached an all time low.

It made me feel a silent sense of camaraderie with the other parents, as well as overwhelming joy in the moments when MY kid was behaving well and other parents’ children weren’t.

There probably was a better way to do Disney.  Like with naps. Like planning it out better and doing what the books suggest – don’t hit the stuff closest to the gate the second you walk in.  Don’t jump on the rides with no wait times immediately – go to the stuff you need FastPasses for and hop on a line.  They’re just going to get worse as the day rolls on… Like asking when the characters go on break.  After Andrew lost it completely when he failed to be able to see Donald, Chip or Dale because “the line closed,” a very nice park worker told us when the characters took their breaks and that the lines to see them closed 10 minutes before break time.  That small, yet key, piece of knowledge, created a far better experience for all of us and landed Andrew some solid time with the characters!

Vacations with kids are tough.  Traveling can be difficult. Keeping them occupied on a long car ride, or flight, is challenging.  But tackling what is supposedly the happiest place on earth?  We all should get hazard pay for that one.

It’s almost enough to make you wonder why in the world you’d go back again after a day’s worth of tears, temper tantrums and failure to listen.  But when you look back on the trip, from the comfort of your couch after you’ve returned home and the blisters on your feet from walking around all day for several days in a row have started to heal, you remember the look on your son’s (or daughter’s) face the first time they saw Cinderella’s castle.  Or that expression of total awe as he looks up at Mickey Mouse.  Or how he grabbed your hand excitedly, trying to drag you to forward faster than his feet will really carry him, just so he can bring you on a favorite ride ONE MORE TIME before the park closes because he has to share the experience with you…

And thinking back on THOSE moments, you know you’re going to go again.  Because anything that makes him THAT happy…it has to be worth it, right?



“No nap, mommy”

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate has been challenging over the past few weeks. He has decided he doesn’t like to sleep. He wakes up extremely early and refuses to go to bed. Lack of sleep leads to a grouchy attitude and generally unpleasantness from both of us. Even the sweet moments can turn into tantrums. I battled Tate for weeks over his afternoon nap. Tate would repeat “no nap, mommy” over and over.  So… I decided to eliminate them in the hopes of an easier night time routine. If Tate sleeps longer over night then so does the rest of family.

We were spoiled by Jack. He has always been a great sleeper, even as a newborn.  Jack falls asleep no matter the noise; even at air shows and parades.  The only thing that wakes up Jack is his little brother. Jack was a product of routine and Tate’s routine is just a little different. Our kids are creatures of habit, habits that are hard to change. I have spent two weeks trying to adjust my son’s schedule and now he ends up falling asleep in his dinner plate.  I do my best to keep him awake and put him to bed a little earlier than usual.  There have been a few mornings he sleeps a bit longer, but he’s still mainly waking up at his usual time.

I feel I’m lucky in that I have more control over my children’s routines since I’m a stay at home mom.  I  hear from friends and my sisters that working and keeping your kids on a schedule is very hard.  I’m hoping this transitional time period is short lived and we can all sleep past 5:45am.  I bet in about twelve years I’ll look back at this post and laugh because I won’t be able to wake up my kids before 10am.  I know I could be dealing with much worse problems, but lack of sleep is killer for me.  Fingers crossed I get to wake up Tate tomorrow morning.