Archive for May, 2013


Friday, May 31st, 2013

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory and I had a major milestone this past weekend. My husband and I left him overnight with his grandmother on Saturday night so that we could attend our college reunion. It was the first time Rory had spent the night apart from both of his parents. In addition, it was my first night away from him… ever. And I am happy to report that we all survived splendidly.

I was pretty anxious about leaving Rory with my mother-in-law. Unlike my own mother, my mother-in-law has not spent much time in recent years around infants. That said, she did a marvelous job raising my husband, so I knew Rory would be in good hands.

At my mother-in-law’s request, I wrote up detailed instructions for just about everything she might need to know. How to warm Rory’s bottles, how to put him to bed, how to wake him in the morning, when to change his diapers, etc. I also used the night before as a dry-run to show her everything in person and to let her help each step of the way.

I was a little worried that Rory might not sleep all the way through the night. He had not slept as well at her house for some reason, and we worried that neither of them would get much sleep. I was also worried that he would do something unexpected that I hadn’t covered in the instructions. Luckily, although he did wake a couple times overnight, he did so at the predicted times, and his reaction was consistent with the instructions I had provided. And even better, he didn’t have any real surprises, which meant that I had actually managed to cover everything.

We arrived home mid morning Sunday to a happy, well-rested little guy. I knew as soon as I saw them both that everything had gone great.

Leaving Rory overnight was a big hurdle. I don’t know that I care to do it again too soon. However, it did make me feel as though I had a pretty good handle on the little guy when each of my predictions and instructions proved true. And that was a pretty good feeling.

Birthday Boy

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Friday is Jack’s 6th birthday.  He is so excited about his birthday, he tells everybody in sight.  He is one of the younger kids in his grade level, and he’s been ready to turn six for awhile.  Time is flying by, and Jack is growing up so quickly.  I remember watching him smash the little birthday cake I placed in front of him on his first birthday.  I loved his reaction to the taste of chocolate icing.  A taste he’ll never get tired of.

This year, Jack is having his birthday party at the rollerskating rink.  He’s been to several parties there and loved it.  After plenty of requests, I agreed we could party there and make fools of ourselves.  It’s a nice location and the price includes everything you need for the party.  We chose to make our own cupcakes, goodie bags and bring a few decorations.

The party theme this year is Legos because, Legos are all we hear about from Jack these days and he picked the theme.  I put together some goodie bags filled with Lego coloring pages, Lego shaped crayons and I even found block candy that looks and functions like Legos.  I haven’t put roller skates on since my elementary school parties.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for no broken bones.  I’m sure we’ll have fun and Jack will make some great memories from his sixth birthday party.


Rocking Robin

Monday, May 27th, 2013

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
It can be difficult to get a baby to sleep. There are those children who love sleep and never cause issues for their parents, but that seems rare. When you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital, you’ll usually need to do some rocking to get her asleep. This is fine because she probably weighs eight pounds. At some point, you need to stop because if you don’t, the child will start to rely on the rocking to fall back asleep at night, and then you’re up all night and a zombie during the day. We “sleep trained” Haley early on and broke her of that bad habit. However, regressions occur. Boy— do they ever. But you need to cut the cord at some point or else you’re the idiot rocking a 2 year old to bed. Do you know such a person? You do now. Nice to meet you!

To qualify, we don’t rock Haley all the way to sleep, but we use the rocking motion to get her sleepy. Supposedly, it’s this crucial thing to get a baby or toddler into the crib while their still technically awake. Since Haley’s sleep went wonky about 7 months ago, we’ve probably only put her to bed already asleep twice. Our vigilance on this has done little to curb her sleep problems. Rocking was cute when she was a wee thing, but a tall and strong two year old is a different ballgame. I’ve been so frustrated that I resolved to do more sleep training. I put Haley in her crib and told her I would sit in her room until she fell asleep but I would not pick her up. She cried and screamed. I ignored her. Until she launched herself out of the crib. I mitigated the fall somewhat, but it might have been bad if I hadn’t been there.

So we’re off to get Haley a big girl bed! I don’t know what this is going to do to her already unpredictable sleep patterns. I have resolved, though, that the rocking ends now! Another sleep training technique popularized by the “Super Nanny” is the “silent return to sleep.” For the next few nights, whenever Haley gets up from her bed, I will wordlessly and without emotion put her back in. All I will say is, “It’s time to sleep.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Finding Balance

Friday, May 24th, 2013

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I return to work next week. I informed my colleagues of my official return date a few weeks ago. Since that time, I have been ticking items off my to-do list. I have finally opened Rory’s college savings account, begun preparing our wills, planted some flowers, hung some picture frames, and fit in a few visits with friends and family. Before next Thursday, I hope to finish writing up instructions for his summer nanny, make some initial childproofing changes around the house, and fit in a few quiet hours of one-on-one time with the little guy.

I had been hoping to have a few days of down time when I returned to the office. Unfortunately, I have already been asked to assist on two different matters that will require my immediate attention. While it is nice to know what I will be working on, it is also a little unnerving to know that I will be expected to be “on” so soon after my return. I am curious to see how long it will take for me to feel as though my brain is firing on all cylinders. After all, I have been focused on feeding, changing, and entertaining an infant for the past four and a half months. Legal analysis has been the last thing on my mind.

I am sure there will be good days and bad upon my return. I am already taking deep breaths and taking comfort in the fact that others’ desire to give me work means that my colleagues value my skill and experience. I am also rehearsing my new schedule and working on shoring up my confidence to leave the office earlier than I used to. I hope that using this opportunity to make a fresh start will help me achieve the work-life balance that I often lacked before Rory was born.

I know that my return to work will be an adjustment for everyone in our little family. My husband and I have talked a lot about how we plan to juggle mornings and evenings, including how we may need to trade off watching the monitor when we both go back to work after Rory’s bedtime. I take comfort in knowing that I have the strong support of not just my husband, but of friends and family who have returned to work after the birth of their children and made it through. And I also know that it will be much harder on me than it will on Rory.

As my husband is fond of saying, children have been growing up in spite of their parents for centuries—and I know that Rory will be just fine in this new phase of our lives.

End of the School Year

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This week marks the end of the school year for both Jack and Tate.  They both have learned so much over the last year. My husband and I couldn’t be happier.

I think back to Jack’s first day of school when tears filled my eyes.  We met his teacher, checked out his classroom and made sure he knew where to go.  It was an emotional day I’ll probably never forget.  I remember thinking “how in the world is my child in Kindergarten already?”  The day seemed so long and I wondered if he made new friends, if he was listening to his teachers and most of all, if he was enjoying school.  Three o’clock finally came and I was so excited to hear about his first day.  He jumped in the van all smiles and couldn’t stop telling me about learning centers, journal writing time, RECESS, friends he made at lunch and how nice his teacher was.  My worries subsided and I was relieved knowing he was going to do just fine.  Sure enough, Jack did a wonderful job in Kindergarten.  His report cards and behavior were excellent.

Thinking back to Tate’s first day of preschool brings back many memories, too.  He was a little scared at first, but quickly saw some toys and a friendly face to help him forget all about mommy.  I was experienced at dropping my children off at preschool before so I wasn’t quite as worried.  In fact, it was my first day in five or so years that I had the morning all to myself.   I knew the school, I knew most of the teachers, so I was confident Tate was in good hands.  Tate was happy to see me when I returned to pick him up.  He used his best words to describe his first day and from what I could understand he loved it.  Not everyday was as fun as others for Tate, but he made some great friends and learned many new things.  That was our goal and we achieved it.

All in all, we had a wonderful school year.  It’s crazy to think it’s ending already, but we are SUPER excited for our summer.  We’ll be visiting Pennsylvania, and soon enough I’ll be writing a post about going back to school in the fall.  Cheers to another successful school year and fun summer ahead.

Mommy Myths

Monday, May 20th, 2013

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I understand that there are certain levels of expectation when it comes to parenting. Now everyone is connected on social media, and there’s pressure to keep your home life a little less private. One of my Facebook “friends” (who is someone I don’t actually know really well) posts constantly about her family. The truth is, she’s showing off. She’ll describe the perfect way her toddler behaves, share photos of the ingredients she’s using to make an elaborate meal, and preach to other moms about how they should be taking care of their little ones. It drives me crazy! We all know that nobody is perfect, so what is the point of pretending to be?

This sort of thing happens all the time—at least to me—in real life, too. I’m always telling my friends about Haley’s sleep issues and asking them how their kids are doing at night. Apparently everyone else’s kids are sleeping perfectly… without fail! That is what the mothers imply—until you do a little digging. If I mention something specific, like that Haley seems to get separation anxiety in the middle of the night, I’ll see a sudden flash of recognition and honesty when the mom says “My kid too actually.” This leaves me confused. I want to say, “I thought little Jaden slept all night without a peep!” But of course I don’t.

I wish we could all just be supportive of one another. I’m not perfect, but whatever gene it is that makes people want to appear flawless to others is dormant in my DNA. I assume other parents are doing the best they can, and I hope they think the same about my husband and me. I admit though I try not to care when I feel like others are judging, but there’s a certain sensitivity that comes along with parenting. The stakes are high, and you need to do a good job. But when our kids grow up, they won’t remember that dinner was cooked perfectly every night or that they made the cutest crafts from Pinterest. They’ll remember that their moms were there, and that they were loved.

Four-Month Check-Up

Friday, May 17th, 2013

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory had his four-month check-up this week. He is fairly average in height and weight, but his head circumference is rather large. Developmentally, he is generally on track. I have been keeping track of the “milestones” to be certain he was doing everything a four month old should be doing. I had a lengthy list of questions since this would be my last visit to the doctor with Rory before going back to work full-time. Overall, I was proud of the little guy and was figuring his appointment would go pretty smoothly.

The pediatrician did have a few things for Rory to work on, however. First, Rory’s upper-body strength is not quite where it should be. The doctor explained that a weak upper-body can lead to delays in gross motor development, such as rolling over and crawling. He was not overly concerned, but encouraged us to give Rory as much floor time and tummy time as possible to strengthen his shoulders and core.

Second, in response to my questions on how to eliminate early morning feedings, we discussed the importance of getting Rory to fall asleep on his own. We agreed to focus on that aspect of Rory’s sleep before worrying too much about the late night/early morning wakings. I polled our doctor for his views on progressive waiting—a method in which the parents wait for gradually increasing intervals before intervening in the baby’s attempts to fall asleep on their own. I had been considering using this approach for a while, but wanted to get his doctor’s okay before doing so. Luckily, the doctor was on board.

I left the doctor’s office feeling pretty good about Rory’s growth and progress. However, I couldn’t help but wonder whether there was something more I could have been doing over the past few months to help his strength and sleep habits. As a result, I felt a little more disappointed in myself than I had expected I might. I knew there was no reason to feel that way. I reminded myself that no parent gets everything completely “right” 100-percent of the time.

Rather than remain frustrated, I promised to do everything I could to work on helping Rory improve. We have had lots of tummy time each day this week. We are making a concerted effort at naptime and bedtime to get Rory to fall asleep on his own. We are making slow progress, but at least I can rest assured knowing we are doing everything in our power to set the little guy up for success.


Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I spent the last several months trying to get Tate interested in the potty.  Many weeks ago, I thought Tate was ready to use the potty since he talked about it and sat on it a few times.  I was mistaken in that assumption.  Weeks would pass and every now and then I would try again to see if he was interested.  I remember hearing boys are usually slower to learn than girls. However, I started getting a little frustrated, because most of the kids in Tate’s classroom were already trained or in the process of being trained.  It was eating me up inside and I couldn’t figure out why Tate feared the potty.  We did the usual motivational “tricks.”  We hung up a potty sticker chart and he was shown small rewards for each time he used the potty hoping they would provide encouragement.   We read books about the potty and Jack even showed Tate each step he takes to use the potty.  Unfortunately, Tate was unsuccessful.

My husband assured me Tate would eventually learn to use the potty.  I backed off asking Tate repeatedly if he was ready.  I gave him some space and let him do what he was comfortable doing.  I reminded myself he wasn’t even three years old yet and he would learn at his own pace.

Then, out of the blue, Tate informed me he wasn’t a baby anymore and he wanted to wear big boy pants.  I was caught off guard and thrilled!  I asked if he was ready to wear big boy underwear and use the potty.  He answered “YES” with a big smile.  We put on a new pair of underwear and over several days quickly filled up the slots on his potty sticker chart.  He had a few accidents the first several days, but he is going on a couple weeks accident free (daytime.)  His eyes light up and he tells everyone when he uses the potty.  His teacher lets me know how well he is doing at school, too.

So, I’m a firm believer that until your child is ready to use the potty, there is no reason to force the issue if they aren’t quite ready to move forward.  My friends told me this, but I was feeling a little pressured for some reason.  I’m very proud of Tate for taking this huge step and becoming a big boy.  Also, I’m elated to say after six years we can finally eliminate diapers from our monthly budget.  Woo-hoo!

No Days Off

Monday, May 13th, 2013

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I saw the funniest cartoon on Facebook the other day. You may have seen it, too. It featured two professional women sitting across from each other at a desk at “Motherhood, Inc. Human Resources.” One incredulously says to the other, “One vacation day a year? That’s all I get?” The other responds “We call it Mother’s Day. But technically you still have to work.” I love the joke! To me, it sums up the holiday very well. And it sums up the career of motherhood even better.

When you’re a mom, there are no days off. Sure, it’s what you signed up for. But I don’t think anyone can be prepared for the loss of autonomy you feel as a mother. Time to yourself—what’s that? Even if you did sneak a moment, you’d probably use it to sleep. Mother’s Day is nice because it’s good to hear other people acknowledge how hard you work. I don’t know what the deal is for other moms, but I know I don’t get a day “off”!

We spent our Mother’s Day the same way we always do. We went to my grandmother’s house and met up with our extended family. It’s so nice to have Haley be a part of these get-togethers. It had been so long since we had a little one around; children seem to remind us why we keep these traditions alive and take the time to see each other.

I hope all of the moms out there had a great holiday. Even though we have 364 more days to go until our “special day,” we know how special it is to be a mom every day. Maybe it takes the greeting card industry’s marketing for some people to stop and think about all we do and all the sacrifices we make. But all of us who work for “Motherhood, Inc.” realize it, and we support each other and understand each other. It helps make this difficult and unrelenting (though wonderful) job that much more bearable.

First Mother’s Day

Friday, May 10th, 2013

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Like Wednesday Mom, I am musing about Mother’s Day this week. As I prepare to celebrate my first Mother’s Day as a mom, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for my own mother and the awe I have for all she did to nurture and support me throughout my childhood and beyond. After all, a mother’s love is the kind of unconditional, never-ending love that one can only truly appreciate once you become a mother yourself.

I have only been a mother for four short months. In that time, I have come to realize how much my own parenting style—as with so many other things in life—is a product of my own experience. For many young parents, the quest to determine how we will be as mothers (or fathers) and how we will determine our parenting philosophy begins with reflection on our own upbringing. What boundaries did our own parents set? What were the core values our mothers/fathers/stepparents/grandparents instilled upon us? How did they go about doing so? What chores were we responsible for as children? How much television were we allowed to watch? What other limits did our mothers and fathers put in place? How did they do so?

Now that I am a mother, I realize how much thought and deliberation can go into these decisions. And I am in awe of my own mother’s ability to make those decisions (with help from my father, of course) in what always seemed like a fairly effortless manner. I cannot say with any certainty how often my parents paused to deliberately think about the answers to each of these questions, but I know these were not choices my mother took lightly. And, more importantly, I know that her unwavering commitment to her children and her family instilled in me (and my brother) a deep appreciation of family that my husband and I fully intend to pass along to our son. And I hope that he is able to look back upon his own childhood as fondly thirty (or so) years from now when we embarks upon his own parenting journey.

Happy Mother’s Day, All!