Archive for May, 2014

Mr. Emotional

Friday, May 30th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We had Rory’s final parent-teacher conference of the year last week. He’s getting ready to transition into the younger toddler classroom at the end of July, and we signed up to meet with his current primary care giver to hear how he’s been doing since we last met back in November.

Rory has been doing very well from an overall development standpoint and is right on track in terms of his various fine motor, gross motor, social and other skills.  The one area his teacher pointed out as having room for improvement, however, is his tendency to have very intense emotional reactions. I wouldn’t call them temper tantrums, but periodically, Rory will go from zero to sixty on the emotional speedometer in a matter of mere moments. Our usual approach has been to let him work it out himself, but his teacher informed us that their approach is usually to try to talk through what is bothering Rory and get him to work through his problems more proactively, rather than retreating to the corner of the classroom in a tizzy.

We’ve been working on implementing this approach at home to try and calm Rory down more quickly when he looses his cool. The results have been mixed thus far. He’s still not very happy when we inform him that it’s time to come inside to play (even if we have given him fair warning that he only has five more minutes) nor when we tell him he can’t play inside the china cabinet. Generally speaking, however, the act of talking to him and helping him work through his emotions productively is at least training Rory to address his emotions in a more measured manner.

Expecting a toddler to have complete control of his emotions is asking far too much, but we hope this recent guidance will help us chart a course toward a more constructive way of dealing with such outbreaks in the future. And, even if it doesn’t, it at least gives us something to focus on during the next screaming, red-faced tantrum.

Birthday Week Celebrations

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The last week of May is fun, but busy for our family. My birthday and Jack’s birthday are this week. To celebrate, our family went to Atlanta for a fun filled weekend.

We loaded up the mini-van and drove to Atlanta and the boys immediately noticed the city skyline and big buildings. They loved the cars, trains and planes of the big city. I especially enjoyed being surrounded by the activity of the city.

The boys enjoyed exploring our hotel, but the aquarium was much more interesting. The Georgia Aquarium had all kinds of sea-life including, rays, sharks, penguins, whales, turtles, jellyfish and a dolphin show. The boys loved the sea otters, scuba divers and a HUGE Whale Shark. They were mesmerized by all the large tanks and colorful fish. Thankfully, we managed to see everything before the holiday crowds took over.

The next day was a rare chance to see our beloved Red Sox play at Turner Field versus the Atlanta Braves. After ten straight losses, we knew the Red Sox needed our help! After 6.5 hours and a rain delay we watched them comeback from a five run deficit to win 8 to 6. It was a LONG day but worth it. GO SOX!!!

This weekend is the finale of birthday week. Jack turns seven, and we are having a pool party with his close friends. All he wants is a pool, cupcakes and the company of friends. I am happy to oblige, but I can’t guarantee beautiful weather. My fingers are crossed for my birthday boy. Mother Nature, please cooperate!



Rockin’ Out

Monday, May 26th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I am a music lover. I’ve gotten a little less “into” my favorite bands and musicians as I’ve gotten older, and I can’t say I’m totally up to date on the latest pop. Who has the time? But I still enjoy it and try to stay somewhat aware of what’s new in the industry as a whole as well as some of my favorite genres in particular. Haley loves music, too. Unfortunately for my sanity, our tastes don’t always align.

Don’t get me wrong—I love the soundtrack to “Frozen” and a few hits from “The Fresh Beat Band” are really quite catchy. But hearing them over and over again can get a bit, well, repetitive.

Her latest album of choice? “A Kids Bop Christmas.”

Haley does not care what the calendar says. When we’re in the car, she demands “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and “Santa Claus is coming to town”—sung by tweens. If I dare to put a regular FM station on for a bit of a break she screams, “No big girl songs! Christmas! Christmas!”

However, it is really adorable to hear her sing along as best she can to the music. Her interpretation of what the lyrics are is often quite amusing. It’s neat to see her personality develop to the point where she so strongly knows what songs, movies and shows she really likes or dislikes. I think we’re just as the beginning of her confidently knowing what’s cool, and rolling her eyes at Mom’s terrible taste.

It Takes A Village

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We had a play date this past weekend with my new-mom’s group. Although we’ve all gotten the parenting thing down a bit better than we did when we first met with six month olds, we still enjoy getting together periodically and sharing the latest about our toddlers.

This was the first time many of us had seen one another in quite a while. Unfortunately, the impetus for the gathering was that one of my fellow moms had taken a terrible tumble while eating out recently and dislocated her shoulder. The rest of us got together and cooked a number of meals that she and her family could enjoy. We figured it was the least we could do.

Most of us hadn’t heard the full detailed story about how she’d hurt herself until we got together on Sunday. And as she relayed her story, I couldn’t help but think about how truly fortunate we are to have such a strong support network of friends, that group included, to help out when life gets, well, even more complicated than usual.

Sure, I was up late cooking chicken chili the night before, and I may have muttered a few works under my breath wondering why I’d volunteered to do something like that with all my “free” time. But, at the end of the day, it was the least I could do. Being selfless and giving your time to help others in need is precisely the type of value I want to be sure to instill in Rory.

Sure, he was far more focused on his friends’ toys during our get together than the charitable purpose of the gathering. But I’m sure he’ll come to appreciate similar acts of kindness and generosity as he grows older.

Last Week of School

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This is the last week of the school year for Jack and Tate. They’re both over the moon thrilled about summer approaching and precisely keeping track of their countdown (2 more days.) Knowing summer is just around the corner, they’re finding it difficult to contain their excitement. The phrase bouncing off the walls doesn’t describe their hyperactivity in the least.

Like every year, the boys and I have been busy preparing for school programs, parties, teacher gifts, final assignments and other end of year miscellaneous tasks. It’s always a busy time of year, but a fun time nonetheless. I was one of several parents in charge of Tate’s class party held yesterday. It is a daunting task to host twenty-four preschoolers, but with a giant water inflatable, playground, pizza and cupcakes, the children were giggling with laughter and enjoying each other’s company outside of their classroom. It was fun to watch them play so well together. I also attended Jack’s class party earlier this week. It wasn’t quite as busy as Tate’s party, but fun for the students to get a little break in their day. This year his class studied fractured fairy tales. Jack and a few of his classmates surprised the parents who attended the party and put on a wonderful fairy tale play they made up all on their own. There were several characters from different fairy tales and a narrator. After their show, they received a very loud round of applause. It was nice to see Jack working with his classmates and creating something of their own.

My husband and I have been very happy with each of the boys’ progress this year. Their teachers’ support for their education is overwhelming. They’ve prepared them for next year and surrounded them with lots of knowledge for the future. With that said, we are all looking forward to some fun and relaxing summer days ahead.


Little Ballerina

Monday, May 19th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley recently started taking ballet class, and it’s just as cute as it sounds. She absolutely loves it. The first day we went to class, I dressed her in a ballet-themed tee shirt and tights and was ready to have her go barefoot—it’s called “Tiny Toes Ballet” after all. The handout we were given in class confirmed that children should wear comfortable clothes and bare feet or the appropriate dance shoes if desired. Too my surprise and slight annoyance, every single girl was dressed in a leotard, tutu, and ballet slippers. These kids are three and four years old. The wardrobe is not cheap and they will quickly grow out of it. I don’t see the point. It’s a fun class, but these ladies are not headed for The Bolshoi.

During the first class, Haley ran up to me and said, “I want my shoes.” She noticed that all of the other girls had slippers and wanted to wear her sparkly Stride Rite faux-ballet shoes she had worn into the class. I felt so bad telling her no, but I promised we’d get the right shoes soon. Luckily, she accepted that and ran back to the group. The next day I ordered her ballet attire, which she loves and I have to say, looks quite adorable in. I don’t really care if it’s actually a waste of money. For all Haley understands, the outfit is required and she just doesn’t get to have it for some reason. At some point in the future, I’ll worry about imparting the value of a dollar and truly necessary purchases, but I feel three years old is a little young for such a tough lesson.

Outfit aside, I’m so happy that the class is going so well. After the first session, it’s a drop-off class. I had never left Haley in a class before, relying only on the teacher to keep her and all of the other students in line. As far as I can tell, she’s doing great! She seems to be listening well. It’s so cute to see how excited she is when I come to pick her up. And she has mentioned a few ballet phrases and shown me some moves here and there, so I guess she’s actually learning something. Now I’m heartened to imagine that when she starts preschool in the fall, she might just be okay with me leaving her, have a good time, and learn a thing or two.

R-A-W-R !!

Friday, May 16th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory’s verbal development has been expanding by leaps and bounds over the last few weeks. As soon as he wakes up each morning, he begins an endless stream of babbles and chatter that continues the whole way to daycare. He seems to be speaking in complete sentences, though most of them make no sense at all. It is both comical and fascinating all at the same time.

Most of the words he has gotten a grasp of are fairly simple: dog, ball, duck, car, truck, up, out, no, hi, bye-bye, uh-oh, etc. He’s also repeated a handful of more complicated ones like yogurt, for example. It’s fun to help him sound out the words and see if he’s willing to echo them back. More often than not, he will lose interest and go back to playing with his toys. Occasionally, however, he will focus in and work on the new words, and excitedly shout it out.

His favorite new game, by far, is making animal noises. He’s just getting the hang of them, but he can moo like a cow, blow like an elephant, and roar like a ferocious lion. With a name like Rory, we’ve given him a handful of lion outfits and a few stuffed animals. Earlier this week, while wiggling away from his daddy’s efforts to put on his pajamas, he looked at a small plush lion and let out a giant “RAWR.”

His daddy and I both doubled over in laughter.

Rory proceeded to pick up the little lion and toddle about the upstairs roaring ferociously, laughing, hugging the lion, and roaring again. Pretty soon, he’ll be able to make the noises of a full menagerie!

Rock Star

Friday, May 16th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I have blogged about Tate’s love of music several times.  As you know, he loves to dance, play instruments and listen to music.  Sometimes, he walks around the house with his toy guitar pretending to be a rock star.

Tate’s latest musical interest is singing.  He has spent weeks practicing for today’s school music program. He won’t sing for me if I ask him to, he says it is a surprise. But I overhear him singing when he plays on his own in his room.

The other time I hear him singing is when we ride in the car. He loves to listen to the radio and has picked up on some pop songs on our rides to school.  I think it’s hysterical when he belts out the words with pretty good timing.  I try not to make a big deal about it because he gets embarrassed when I say something.  I sneak a peak in the rear view mirror and it cracks me up.

Our musically inclined child is always finding ways to incorporate a drum, dance or beat to any genre of music.  I hope he gets confident singing because I love to watch him put on a show. Whether it’s his school program, or just our living room, Tate loves to entertain us.


A True Mother’s Day

Monday, May 12th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We didn’t have any concrete plans for Mother’s Day, aside from relaxing and enjoying the nice weather we had here in the Northeast. That turned out to be a fortunate thing since my husband Joe came down with a stomach bug. From Haley’s 5:45 wake-up call onward, he was feeling sick and achy and could hardly get out of bed! If I were waiting for a Mother’s Day surprise, I would have been waiting for a long time. Joe was in no condition to execute fun activities, and Haley’s main agenda was to horde the Mother’s Day drawings she made for her grandmothers and refuse to part with them.

I often feel totally spent performing my duties as a mom, so you’d think it would be difficult to dig deep and run the show on a day that should have been “all about Mom.” On the contrary, fetching doses of Pepto Bimsol and Ginger Ale for Joe and chasing after Haley on her scooter felt incredibly appropriate. This is what it’s all about, after all.

It sounds like such a cliché, but I really am grateful to be Haley’s mom. There was something poignant about taking care of my family yesterday. It was a real feeling of, “this is not fun, glamorous, or easy—but I don’t mind.” What probably helps me take things in stride is the fact that I know that my husband and daughter appreciate me every day. Haley may not understand how much she demands from me, but Joe absolutely does and tries to make things easier in whatever ways he can. Even when I’m feeling particularly taxed, it’s not so much that I want an escape from the challenges I face as a mom. I just want to know that my family knows how committed I am to them. Luckily they really do—and not just on one day of the year.

First Haircut

Friday, May 9th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Last weekend, I finally decided that it was time to have Rory’s hair cut. His shaggy hair had started to hang over his ears, and the trimming I’d done on the rat-tail he was born with was no longer helping with the length in the back. Not to mention, he had school pictures this past Monday, so I thought it made sense to have him look a bit more clean-shaven.

We took him to a kids’ salon in the next town up that came highly recommended from one of the multiple websites I look into now and then. He sat in a little fire truck seat, watched Elmo on the little flat screen TV, and played with toys that I was handing him to keep him distracted.

The process took less than ten minutes and he really only squirmed at the end. And he emerged from that chair looking months older than he did when we’d arrived there. I didn’t get too teary eyed, but it was a transitional moment, for certain.

Our families laughed at us a little bit for going to a place that was so targeted towards children. I didn’t do a whole lot of comparison shopping other than to learn that this place received higher ratings than some of the other “name brand” children’s hair cutteries. Mostly, I recognized that the slight overpayment was worth the peace of mind when my little man had scissors in his face for the first time. And I was okay with that. I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll be happy to send him along to the barber with Daddy and will think nothing of it. For now, however, I’m okay with getting teased.