Archive for March, 2014

Toddler Wardrobe

Monday, March 31st, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Kids grow up really fast, and you have to be on top of it as a parent. Growth spurts come from out of nowhere. Those four cozy, well-fitting pajamas you bought on sale last week may start to feel snug after just a few washes and wears. Other times you procure a few pieces that are working out great—only for the weather to change sharply, with no more need for garments that warm or cool. And sorry to tell you, folks—often, these clothes will not fit next year. Oh well…

The main strategy I’ve adopted to deal with the endless numbers of shirts, pants, skirts, shorts, jackets and sweaters that Haley needs at a given time is to buy them as cheaply as possible. I feel that I will spend more if I’m constantly seizing on the “huge markdowns” and “one day sales” featured in my inbox. Instead, I wait until Haley actually needs a bunch of things. Then, I’ll look through my email for the store offering the best deals at the moment, and buy various items from that one retailer. I think that shopping online is a huge timesaver, and shipping is always free when you’re buying a lot.

I also choose shops that are known to be inexpensive. Sure it’s nice to splurge on key pieces like a winter coat or a holiday dress once in a while, but I find that even the thrifty stores have a lot of cute garments to choose from. And while the quality might not be the best, I get enough use out of them that I’m pleased with my purchases. Rarely does something fall apart before Haley outgrows it, anyway.

With the seasons changing and Haley approaching the big three, it’s time for another shopping adventure soon. I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve seen her in shorts and sandals. I think she’ll be as excited to receive her new warm weather wardrobe as I am to purchase it.

Speaking Toddler

Friday, March 28th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory is in the early stages of learning to communicate. He is a typical toddler in that he has begun to express pretty strong preferences. In some ways, this is a very good thing. For example, he has started to shake his head no to tell us that he is done with his dinner. This is much better than his previous technique of saying “all done”… throwing everything remaining on his tray onto the floor. But it isn’t perfect.

So far, the majority of his communication has been pretty basic. On the downside, he has started to gesture pretty forcefully. As a result, we have to keep the counters fairly clear during dinner time—otherwise he’ll spend the majority of the meal asking to sample what ever is sitting on the counter, even if it isn’t edible. On more than one occasion, an unanswered gesture has given way to a complete meltdown.

Luckily, he has also started actually speaking a few words, as well. “Ball” was his first, but now he says “up,” “bye-bye,” “hi,” and “uh-oh,” and is working on some others like “all done” and “no.” His daddy swears he says mama when I leave the room, but I’ve only heard it on a few occasions (he says daddy all the time). His grandmother swears she heard him say “thank you” last weekend while they were visiting, but I am somewhat skeptical.

I find it fascinating to hear Rory develop his own little voice. More often than not his babbles carry the intonation of a full conversation but are completely incoherent. This babble is doubly entertaining when we drop him off at school and he begins chattering with his classmates. We’re continuing to read to him, working on teaching him bit by bit. But mostly we’re enjoying hearing the next thing to come out of his tiny little mouth. I know it won’t be long before he’s vocalizing his demands loudly, so I guess I should try to enjoy the silence as well.


Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Being a military wife can be tough, but I do love the support offered by our squadron spouses club.  The spouses lean on each other and help each other out whenever possible.  I do my absolute best to lend a hand because I know how much support I’ve received over the years.

I recently became a spouse club board member.  I accepted the hospitality position and am excited to help out my fellow spouses.  One of my duties includes organizing and scheduling meals for new moms.  Most of my fellow spouses live thousands of miles from their extended family.  Any help we can provide for each other really makes a difference.  I know because my husband and I received countless meals after each of our children were born.

This week, I made a meal for a family that just moved here with a new baby.  I wanted to involve Jack and Tate in the preparation. They both helped me cook a pot of white chicken chili along with some sides.  I emphasized to them how much I appreciated the extra effort and help we received when they were born. A simple gesture helping a friend can go a long way, which is something I want the boys to remember forever.  Jack and Tate were happy to deliver the meal with me and enjoyed meeting the baby’s big brother.

I was happy to get to hold an infant and help out a family like ours. My boys are learning the value of volunteering and community. I am learning new recipes. It’s a win-win for everybody.



Monday, March 24th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We’ve had a few nice weather days. Spring still has a long way to go in this neck of the woods, but we’re appreciating the short spurts of temperateness. It’s been nice to walk down the street without tons of layers on and my chest hurting from the cold. The warmth makes me feel a bit more carefree and there’s a new spring in my step. Haley is enjoying it too.

The best part of balmy days? Trips to the park, of course! Haley and I had a play date with some friends at a nearby playground last week. Haley was so excited to be there she almost couldn’t believe it. She bounded out of her stroller as soon as I unlatched her. She climbed, she swung, she rode and she slid. She was basically telling the park, “I’m back!”

While Haley pranced around her thawed-out territory, I was observing parents at the park and how they interact with their kids. Very quickly, one thing became clear about my style versus my peers: I hover. I am not the type to let Haley wander off or get much more than an arm’s length away from me. This might be because last summer, she ran off at a large, crowded playground when my back was turned and it was the most excruciating ninety seconds of my life. But I think this would be my nature no matter what.

In my opinion, the speed at which you can lose a child is too close for comfort. Haley can climb on a structure that’s too tall for her or get pushed off of one by an older kid. I think it’s great that some parents have the ability to let go a bit and give their children some freedom, but I’ve also seen many kids not supervised nearly enough. I don’t feel like I can take chances with Haley. Plus, every time I’m there to guide her, I feel I’m teaching her how to better handle the world around her.

Others may say my approach is overkill. To each his own. I’m just glad it’s finally warm enough to play.

Not the Mommy

Friday, March 21st, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We’ve been going through some serious separation anxiety around here lately. When I have dropped Rory off at daycare the past few days, he has really cried a lot when I have tried to leave. On two separate occasions, I’ve had to sit down and read a book with him before being able to leave.

He has also been reacting similarly in the mornings when I leave him with his daddy briefly so that I can set up his stroller outside. Even when I give him a kiss and promise that I’ll be right back, I can hear the cries downstairs and out the door.

As with most things developmental, knowing that his anxiety is perfectly normal doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Even on the mornings when I am in my biggest hurry to get to the office, I still linger out of sight at his daycare to make certain he calms down before heading on my way. As “normal” as it is for him to be upset, it really doesn’t get any easier to hear your little man cry so hard to see you go.

The flip side, I suppose, is that I have been getting some pretty fantastic smiles upon my arrival home each evening. And, when I can pry him away from his toys, some pretty great hugs, as well. Although I hope the tears subside soon, as long as I can end the day with smiles, I guess I’ll take that trade any day.

Spring + Science

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack’s class started studying plants in Science class. Jack and his classmates are learning about how plants grow. They’ll be planting numerous seeds and bulbs in various soils.  The students will make predictions, observe changes and record their experiment results.  Jack is also learning all about parts of a flower and what makes them grow.

Over spring break, several flowers and trees started blooming.  Not only are the flowers pretty to look at while walking through the neighborhood, they are also a great visual learning tool.  Jack gave his little brother a lesson about the stem, petals and stamen.  We even saw a bumblebee feeding on nectar.  It was sweet to listen to their educational conversation.  Of course, by the end of our walk they were popping off flowers and making them “die.”  Boys will be boys. I ended up with a beautiful bouquet of what were essentially weeds, but they were picked with love.

I am excited to hear Jack describe his class’s project findings.  All this flower talk is inspiring me to plant some of our own flowers.  Lets hope tomorrow (spring) brings us all sunshine for weeks to come.



Dark Moments

Monday, March 17th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
My husband Joe was just off from work for two weeks. It was so nice getting in some serious family time. Haley was thrilled that Daddy never left for work and played with her all day long. Each of us is in such a great mood when the circle is complete. I find myself wondering how I ever got by on my own. I know that’s ridiculous– I have been an exclusive stay-at-home-parent for three years now. But as Haley gets older and we face new challenges, the strategies I employ to keep her happy, healthy, and entertained change as well. It takes a lot of creativity, stamina and patience on my part. To be honest, some days I just don’t feel up to it.

There are days we do more TV than any kid should. There are days I practically give up on discipline because I’m just too tired to be consistent. There are days Haley eats less than fully balanced meals because I just don’t want to fight anymore. There are days I yell in a way I’m not proud of. There are days when I wish I could just crawl under the covers.
But I can’t! And that’s life. Everyone faces days that are hard– even parents. Even when you are doing the most rewarding job in the world, for the person you love more than any other, there are dark moments.  For most of us, ultimately the good will always outweigh the bad. Raising a child is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
I feel blessed that I have so many good times as Haley’s mom. There are days we do fun art projects we can’t wait to hang up around the house. There are days Haley helps me cook and is so proud of her achievements. There are days Haley listens well and cooperates like a big girl, just when I need her to. There are days when I love her so much I can’t stand it– actually, that’s every day.

Playing Nice

Friday, March 14th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I received my first “incident report” call from Rory’s daycare this week.  Apparently, while playing near the bookshelves on Monday afternoon, Rory got overly excited, reached out to one of his friends, and accidentally scratched that friend on the neck.  Luckily the injury was not particularly bad– he didn’t draw blood or otherwise seriously injure his classmate–but apparently the contact was enough to warrant a formal “report” in accordance with his center’s policy.

In addition to the call, we received a sheet which provided the particulars of the incident in writing and outlined additional suggestions for age-appropriate discipline, such as encouraging gentle play and redirection.  Because he is often playing solo at home, we haven’t had many opportunities throughout this week to emphasize the need for gentle play.  However, we’ve been sure to talk to Rory about the importance of being gentle when playing with us both before and after school.

We know he is awfully young to be too concerned, but we also know that it is never too early to reinforce good behavior.  So we’ll continue taking his teachers’ advice to heart and hope that we don’t end up with any more “incident reports” any time soon.

Spring Break

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This week is Spring Break and schools are closed.  We are enjoying the beautiful weather outside.  With all the cold snaps we’ve encountered this winter, the warmer weather is helping us enjoy our time off.   We are making the most of our week at home.

I didn’t plan anything significant for the week.  I did that on purpose. I’ve learned in the past, when ideas or plans are mentioned to the boys and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason it can cause quite a scene.  So, instead I’m giving the boys a few ideas each day and whatever interests them we’ll partake in.  They choose from parks, movie theatre, play dates, bike rides, mini golf, and museums. We’re also fitting in dental appointments, a trip or two to the grocery store, and my favorite, sleeping in.

The boys love the break from school.  I love the break from the hustle and bustle.  This week has been a breath of fresh air for all of us. We are looking forward  to summer days when we can relax and take it easy  – only 72 to go.

Southern Charm

Monday, March 10th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
As I mentioned in last week’s post, we are on a family vacation this week. It’s been really wonderful. We’re visiting my husband’s parents, who live in a charming community with a small town feeling. The weather is warm, the people are friendly, and the food is fried. Southern living at it’s best!

Haley has really thrived under these new conditions. It’s warm enough for her to play outside all day with only short breaks. She rides her tricycle, pops bubbles, writes in sidewalk chalk, and throws her ball around—all before 8 AM! Needless to say, she has been sleeping great. Her appetite has vastly improved and she chows down on foods she only recently rejected.

As a parent, it’s a great feeling to be able to expose your child to a world they don’t usually inhabit. Our city life is certainly an interesting one, but there’s a lot to be said for the wide-open spaces and fresh air of the country. It’s also been interesting for my husband and me to get a sense of what a different kind of a life would feel like. Who knows? Maybe something similar is in our future.

It’s obvious that one’s place of upbringing shapes who one becomes as a person. Who would I be if I weren’t from New York? Who will Haley become if we don’t stay? No one will ever know the answers to these questions. But as parents make decisions for the welfare of their families, they are shaping their children’s destinies in such a meaningful way. I don’t know that we’ll remove Haley away from the “urban girl” path she’s on. But I know she’ll be exposed to many ways of living, and I hope she can appreciate them all.