Archive for July, 2014

Pushing my Buttons

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom: Janelle
This summer I have spent a lot of time with my two boys. Most days they are wonderful, but some days they can really test my patience. After a long day of parenting, my younger likes to test the limits. By late afternoon, he gets tired and his sweet personality can give way to a more demanding kid. He is smart, and he knows how to push my buttons to get the snack or movie he wants. I love him to death, but sometimes I can’t handle the incessant whining – especially when I am tired, too.

This weekend my husband and I went to a wedding and we left the boys with my parents. We spent some well-needed time alone and my kids got to spend time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The wedding was wonderful, but I was also curious to hear how our kids behaved under the care of their extended family.

I was a little worried that Tate would show his dark side and overburden my already busy parents. When we got home I asked for an honest assessment of his behavior from my mom and sisters. They acknowledged that they disciplined Tate for his behavior a couple times, but nothing too severe. My mom assured me that all six of her grandsons had been particularly rowdy, but understood that six boys playing together is guaranteed to cause some raucous. Although Tate had a few behavior episodes, he managed to demonstrate some good manners and help around the house.  I’d say that is a good balance for his actions.

I’m glad my husband and I got some time to ourselves last weekend, but I am happier that our kids got to spend some quality time with their family, without pushing anyone else’s buttons.

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Monday, July 28th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Last week, my darling child made an important announcement. She said, “Mom, you’re a butt.” I didn’t know what to make of this development, so I responded with a casual but firm, “That’s not a nice thing to say.” Haley seemed pensive for a second and then replied, “Well, you’re the best butt.” I had do idea what to say to that one, so I let it go. A compliment is a compliment, after all.

I’m one of those moms who actually find it charming when her little one says crazy things that are precocious or downright insane. I know laughing will encourage her, so if she uses words that are inappropriate for a preschooler, I attempt to shut it down. But really, I think this sort of behavior is just another part of growing up and understanding the world as well as how to use language. I don’t think Haley will go off to college thinking that it’s okay to call people butts or that that even makes sense, so I may as well enjoy it! Which is not to say I egg her on—the last thing I need is her sharing these bold statements with playmates followed by their parents complaining to and/or judging me.

Another thing that’s funny about her saying this stuff is that she comes up with it on her own. I closely monitor the TV she watches and while she sometimes repeats lines, none of it is bad. We use the word butt in our house when we discuss potty business—and at age three this is often a topic of conversation, I’m sorry to say. I find it interesting that Haley has taken the leap from knowing about butts and for some reason, finding them hilarious, to deciding it’s a comical word to call someone. It’s actually kind of fascinating. I just hope it’s not something she thinks she can call her teacher! But— we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Moving Day

Friday, July 25th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
By the time this post goes live, we will be directing movers around our tiny house and loading up a twenty-five foot truck to move three miles away. We bought a bigger house for a number of reasons. First, so that Rory could have more room to play and his future siblings would have space as well. We also wanted a place where visiting guests could have a room of their own and be more comfortable for longer stays with us. Finally, we wanted a house in a better school district that would eliminate the potential need to send our children to private schools. Fortunately, we found precisely such a place after a couple months of looking. And, although we weren’t entirely certain when we started the process whether we’d move this year or next, we decided to jump in with both feet and see how it all worked out.

This week has been chaotic to say the least. We arrived home from vacation late in the day on Saturday and then spent the majority of the day on Sunday at the new house painting Rory’s new bedroom. It was very important to us to have his room set up as quickly as possible after moving in so that it would feel like home to him quickly. Sure, we probably won’t have everything perfectly set up by the end of the day today, but at least the color will be the same, and all of his toys will be there, as well (or at least the ones we manage to get unpacked before he comes home from daycare).

We’ve been doubly nervous given the fact that Rory has been undergoing transitions at daycare, as well. Fortunately, he seems to have really turned a corner at daycare this week and is finally starting to feel at home in his new classroom. I’m tremendously glad to see it, because I feel like turning his world upside down and moving to a new house would be even harder if he weren’t comfortable at school, either.

It is sad to think that Rory may not really remember the tiny house we are leaving, where we brought him home from the hospital and where we truly became a family. We’re planning to bring him back before we turn over the keys to the old house so that we can all say a proper farewell. At the same time, it’s fun to think about this new house as the place where Rory will likely have his earliest memories. It’s those kinds of thoughts that make the craziness of the past 72 hours so much more worthwhile.


Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
We are in Pennsylvania this week visiting family. When we are on vacation we like to take the boys to new places and share new experiences. This year, the boys decided they wanted to tour a local cave. My nephews have toured the same cave on school field trips. My nephews really enjoyed the experience and recommended the cave as a fun activity for their cousins.

Jack and Tate decided to be spelunkers for the morning. The entrance to the cave was eighty steps down the face of a creek side cliff. The cave trail was a cool, damp 52 degrees. We learned all about stalagmites, stalactites, rock layers, columns, flow rock and the history of the cave itself. At one point we were 110 feet underground. The kids loved the rock formations and two hundred year history of cave exploration. They also liked looking at the strange shapes of the stalagmites and stalactites to find “trolls, dragons and elephants” shapes in the rock. Mommy and Daddy were also impressed with the sights and stories the tour guide told.

My husband and I love giving our kids the chance to explore the world they live in. Since our town doesn’t offer a whole lot, we like to travel. The boys left the cave with new knowledge about the world beneath the earth’s surface. It was a new learning experience for all of us.

The Second Time Around

Monday, July 21st, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I have two and a half months to go in my pregnancy. I have to say, things are getting a little dicey. Don’t get me wrong  – I don’t have any major medical concerns, and I’m very grateful for that. However, I am big. I am tired. I get nauseated. I get leg cramps. Also, I am big! It can’t be overstated. I am the same size now that I was at the end of my first pregnancy. My midwife told me that this is very normal, something that many women experience with their second pregnancy. She admitted that it’s not much fun, but said to make up for it I’ll probably have an easy labor and delivery. I’m holding her to that!

I feel terrible that I can’t do as much with Haley as I would like. Since we just wrapped up a spate of travel, I didn’t sign her up for any classes or activities this term. We’re just waiting for school to start in September. We’re on our own. I wish I had more energy to take frequent trips to the playground, the library, and even the grocery store, but sometimes we stay in for hours at a time. I know this phase is short-lived but I can’t help feeling Haley is getting the short end of the stick.

We certainly make up for it when Haley’s dad is home, with trips to the pool, local restaurants, and this coming weekend—the beach! But it’s frustrating to feel so physically limited. I can’t chase after her at the bookstore. I can’t pick her up to soothe her when she has a fit. Even pushing her on the swings can be exhausting!

Hopefully I will bounce back quickly after the baby arrives. Then, I’m strapping the little one into the carrier or ‘snap and go’ and we’re off! Big Sister has been more than patient. It’ll finally be her turn to drive this train.


Friday, July 18th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
To follow-up on last week’s post, I am writing this blog by the pool at the end of a reasonably relaxing week of vacation. Rory has enjoyed making new friends, exploring new playgrounds, and running himself ragged at the beach and pool.

Work has stayed quiet, though my to-do list has continued to grow despite my absence. My emails have continued to trickle in, but I am doing my best to ignore them when feasible.

Generally speaking, vacation with a toddler is not nearly as relaxing as our prior vacations have been. That said, it is nice to begin new family traditions together, and we have very much enjoyed watching Rory experience new places and things. He is remarkably adaptable, and his go-with-the flow attitude has made this week a relative breeze. He was cautious for the first 24 hours or so, but since then, he’s been pretty comfortable.

The long drive was a little painful, but he was alright for the most part. We’re crossing our fingers very tightly that the trip back will go smoothly, as well. Overall, the stress of getting away has been well worth it. Enough so that I am already starting to think about next year.

Soccer Sign-ups

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom: Janelle

Tate is eligible to start youth sports in our area. We just signed him up for soccer like we did for his big brother three years ago. Jack has since graduated to the next age group in both soccer and baseball, but Tate is about to fill his big brother’s shoes.

We are excited that Tate is going to get off of the sidelines and into the game. I think he will love playing and will hopefully learn the benefits of teamwork. However, we also know that we are about to double the logistics of our family getting to/from practices and games. I am fortunate that I am a full time mom and can commit myself to getting the boys where they need to be, but it is by no means going to be easy.

I am a little apprehensive because soon my husband will be transitioning careers and he may not be able to help me be in two places at once. So I am in charge of the balancing act of the boys’ schedules. I know it is going to be really hard, but it’s something most families juggle. My husband reminded me that the boys WILL miss some of their own events for their sibling’s over the course of their childhood. So as long as we put forth our best effort we still win as parents.

I hate to complain too much about having busy, healthy children and a loving husband who helps when he can. I guess I am anxious because I have friends with older kids who are constantly managing activities of their own families. We haven’t hit the phase of travel teams yet, so hopefully this will be a good transition. I know first hand the commitment to supporting our children’s interests because my older sisters spend most weekends driving to various tournaments, practices and games. It’s hard to believe my little boy is trading his mom’s lap for cleats and shin guards, but I’m happy he is taking on a new adventure.

Baby Love

Monday, July 14th, 2014

From Monday Mom: Neetika

Lately Haley has met a lot of children about half her age, and I’m pleased to say she’s gotten along very well with them. She loves interacting with them and does so calmly and with great care. She thinks babies are absolutely adorable and endlessly amusing. They seem to love her, too.

Since I have one on the way, this is obviously a wonderful development. The only hitch is that these youngsters are mostly over one year old and are technically out of the infant stage. I’m glad Haley gets along with them, and our new arrival won’t be an infant forever, either. On the other hand, he or she is not going to walk out of the womb at 18 months old!

Haley showed maturity and patience in understanding why these little kids were fidgety and distractible. But newborns and infants are a different ballgame. I know that we will face some challenges when she’s confronted with a sibling who cries a lot, sleeps a lot, and demands a lot of attention. To be honest, I think it will be difficult. But Haley is nothing if not resilient and quick on the uptake. She may not “get it” right away, but she will get it eventually.

I’m into my third trimester now, and Haley knows that school starts before too long and that the baby will come soon after that. The other day, she asked me if we could go to the hospital and have the doctor take the baby out right now. “Please! Please!” she implored. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do for her. But I’m amused by the fact that she just can’t wait to get this baby out. In a few months, she may wish she could stick it back in.

Vacation Stress

Friday, July 11th, 2014

From Friday Mom: Erin

We are heading on a much needed family vacation starting tomorrow. Unfortunately, what we have come to realize over the past few years is that, unlike when we were little kids, vacations as adults means spending the weeks leading up to vacation doing everything you can to complete work before you go and trying to remind colleagues that you’ll be gone.

I will inevitably have to keep an eye on emails while I am out; it is the nature of my job. However, when you add to that the pressure of this being our first real vacation with Rory and wanting to be able to savor every moment while we’re gone, and it makes for quite the stressful week leading up to our journey.

We’d been hoping to hit the road after Rory’s bedtime to make the lengthy drive more manageable, but, unfortunately, we have been too busy with our collective jobs to pack enough this week to make that happen. And so, we’ll be hitting the road at the crack of dawn with the rest of the vacationers on the East Coast. We’re doing our best to take it all in stride, but we know that tomorrow is going to be a long day and are gearing up for it.

Luckily, by tomorrow evening we’ll have our feet in the sand and be watching our little man dip his tiny toes in the ocean for the first time. And watching that gleeful sight will make all of the frustration worth it, I am sure.

Acts of Kindness

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Over the weekend, we celebrated Tate’s birthday. A couple weeks ago, Jack told us he wanted to give Tate a birthday gift.   I thought it was very sweet of Jack. I was not surprised, because Jack is the type of person who loves doing things for others.

Recently, Tate is fascinated with all things related to Batman. Jack thought it would be an awesome idea to get Tate a Batman mask. Jack thought Tate would enjoy actually being batman. Jack researched his favorite website, and found the perfect Batman mask. Jack took money out of his own piggy bank to pay for Tate’s gift. What a thoughtful big brother.

The mask arrived in the mail and Jack hid it immediately. The next afternoon, I helped Jack wrap the gift, while Tate was taking a nap. While we were wrapping the gift, Jack insisted on making a scavenger hunt for Tate to find the gift. I loved the idea and told Jack to plan his hunt around the house.

After much thinking, Jack wrote clues on pieces of paper and hid them around the house. The first clue was on Tate’s chair at the dining table. Each clue led to the next clue and so on and so forth. Tate followed each clue until he finally got his present. Jack hid the “treasure” in his closet. Tate opened his special package and absolutely loved the surprise. Tate gave Jack a big hug and thanked him at least twenty times.

As a mother, these rare moments of kindness make me feel lucky. I’m happy to see my kids love each other so much, especially when constant bickering is the norm some days. I’m happy to see my oldest son do things for his little brother all on his own. I’m happy to see my younger son acknowledge his big brother’s acts of kindness and thank him for being so special. It’s my goal as a mother to teach my kids that family is so important. I don’t know what I’d do without my siblings. I thank my parents everyday for surrounding us with a loving atmosphere and a wonderful support team. I can only hope to provide the same for my boys.