Archive for September, 2014

From the Editor

Monday, September 29th, 2014

We’re pleased to report that Monday Mom gave birth to a healthy baby boy last week. As a result, we’ve given her the week off to get to know the new arrival. We won’t say more at this point, leaving the details for Monday Mom to share when she returns. Watch this space for further updates!




Friday, September 26th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
As our heads hit the pillows last Sunday night after a long weekend of traveling to visit with our extended family, my husband whispered about what a wonderful time he had had watching me play on the expansive lawn of our rental home with Rory and his cousins. The boys had spent hours of their mornings, afternoons, and evenings running themselves ragged up and down the field, hiking up the neighboring hillside, and gazing into the cool blue mist of trout-filled mountain ponds. Rory giggled, cried, tried to flee, and snuggled close to family.

“It is in watching those moments that you realize that all of this is so fleeting,” he said. “And you want to do everything you can to soak it all in.”

My voice quivered as I choked back a silent tear.

“Yeah,” I responded. “I know.”

In the constant quest to “be a good parent,” I often find myself not entirely focused on the present and focused, instead, on next steps  – whether large, like looking out for the next developmental milestone, waiting for single words to become longer phrases, and hoping for signs of potty training readiness. Or small, like waiting desperately for bedtime on the trying days, or crossing my fingers that he agrees to give up his pacifier before heading out the door to school. I am guilty of viewing at least a portion of my role as a mother as being a chief logistician. Is the laundry clean? Are the lunches packed? Do we have enough diapers? Have I purchased groceries? Did I return the picture order form to school? Is he running out of diaper cream/shampoo/lotion/wipes/etc. The to-do lists and questions can be distracting and all-consuming.

But every once in a while we pause and allow ourselves to take in the joy and excitement with the world through the eyes of our young children. We look with glee upon the tinge of red on the maple leaves dotting the lawn, run at full tilt between rows of apple trees, and collapse at the end of it all in an exhausted, contented sleep. We can take pictures, shoot video, and do everything we can to try to document such moments. But try as we might, they shall remain fleeting.

So, in those blissful moments, such as those spent surrounded by family last weekend, we must remind ourselves that our time is best spent being entirely present and focused on the here and now. Because those moments will be gone before you know it.

Welcoming Fall

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
We live in the Deep South and we are ready for fall. It has been at least 90 degrees for as long as we can remember. It is hot, humid, and unpleasant. It is so hot that my kids can barely stand to play outside. I know when March comes along I’ll be happy to feel the warm sunshine again, but until then I’m ready for jeans and pullovers.

The start of fall has finally brought some cooler, dryer air here in Mississippi. We are taking advantage by playing outside all afternoon and evening. The sand box is getting some use, as well as the boys’ bikes, play set, and every ball we own.

I’m looking forward to fall activities. But our family schedule is getting busier, too. Soccer is in full swing as well as school projects and meetings. My husband is coaching Jack’s soccer team this year, which is a big time commitment for our schedule. I drive my two boys to soccer in a mini-van; I’m officially a “soccer mom.”

If we have time, I still want to go to our favorite pumpkin patch and hike the nearby trails. The boys want to go camping this year, too. I don’t know if we we’ll have time for everything, but I am happy that fall is here and we can enjoy the outdoors again.



I Can Do This—Right?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We’re in the home stretch, people! I’m just a couple of weeks from my due date with a possible induction on the horizon (just like everyone else these days, it seems!). Very hard to believe, but soon I will be a mother of two.

You’d think that since I’ve been through this before, I wouldn’t be too nervous. Well you’d be wrong! I’m incredibly apprehensive! I’m nervous about labor and delivery and this time, the new wrench thrown in is that I’m concerned about how Haley will handle my time away from home. I know her wonderful grandparents will take perfect care of her, but it’s still a bit nerve-wracking.

She has never before stayed here at our home, overnight, without me. I’m sure she’ll find it weird, to say the least. Aside from that potential hiccup, I worry that issues that did not go well the first time around will repeat, and that others I was grateful to avoid the first time will come up the second time. Overall, my first labor was not bad. If I had any regrets, it was that I was plagued by a sense of things about to go badly, instead of focusing on the fact that nothing was going badly. I wish I had let go, enjoyed the moment, and appreciated the miracle that was unfolding before my eyes. I’m committed to being more present with this one.

But I’m also nervous about what happens after the hospital discharge. I know enough to know that everything you need to do just sort of comes to you naturally (with lots of help from Google). That doesn’t mean it’s stress-free. I’m hoping that breastfeeding goes well, and that I’m not a total mess with two kids to manage, and that that Haley generally adjusts all right. And the fatigue! I know it’s coming. It’s so hard, and I tend to be short-tempered with Haley when I’m overtired. I don’t want her to get the short end of the stick. But it’s a weird thing, because at three years old, she won’t fully understand everything that’s happening. All she’ll know is that things are different, and she might not like it. My plan is to just let her know that I love her—constantly. Obviously, this has been going on for centuries and we will all get through it one way or another. Wish us luck!

Full Speed

Friday, September 19th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
The end of summer has brought the return of my more chaotic work schedule. Vacations have ended and my phone is ringing non-stop. That is a very good thing from an overall perspective for my law firm and the legal industry, generally. It is a bad thing, however, for achieving balance on the home front. Throw in a growing belly and the fatigue that comes with pregnancy, and things can be downright disheartening.

I’ve been fairly fortunate in that, since returning to work when Rory was just shy of five months old, my workload has not required me to put in quite the same ridiculous hours I was working prior to his birth. It meant that I got to see him nearly every evening and even got to spend most of my weekends at home (rather than the office). The only problem with that good fortune is that I got used to that flexibility and freedom.

Now, as my phone keeps ringing and the workload keeps piling up, I am consistently turning back to work for two to three hours a night after Rory goes to bed. Some days I am able to muster my focus without too much effort. Other days, my eyelids get saggy before I’m anywhere close to being done. If I’m lucky, I manage to work in a few additional chores, like cooking extra food for Rory’s lunches and dinners, or running a load of laundry.

So far, I’ve only had to make minimal sacrifices. Even if there are days where I have to stay 30-40 minutes later than I might like, I still do my darndest to make it home at least to tuck Rory into bed before getting right back to it. As this pregnancy progresses and work continues to pick up, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep that up. Fingers crossed.

Tennis Lessons

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
In our small town, activities for kids are pretty limited compared to other places. If I find out about a new sport or event, I try to enroll my children (with their permission) to expose them to new ideas and skills they may not have otherwise known.

Several weeks ago, a friend approached me and asked if Tate would be interested in joining a few of his friends for tennis lessons. I thought that would be a great idea. Tate was excited about the new opportunity. His lesson takes place one day a week right after school. He is in the lesson with two other boys from his preschool class, and they all really enjoy it. The instructor teaches kids of all ages and really gets a kick out of the younger ones. He works really well with them  – teaching the very basics even in the ridiculously hot weather.

The instructor prefers for parents stay off the court in order for the kids to focus and not be distracted. I stay and watch from afar, and I can already see improvement with all three boys. They learn from each other and have fun doing so. Even though tennis balls are flying every which way, they look so cute trying their best.

I’m happy Tate found something he likes of his own, something different from what big brother plays. He is challenged by other kids and learning how to work hard for his own goals. I love seeing the excitement in his eyes when we pull up to the courts.   It puts a smile on my face every time.

Off and Running (Sort of)

Monday, September 15th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley started school this week, and she absolutely loved it. I am so relieved. I had a feeling she would adjust fine, but you never know. Especially since in the weeks leading up to school, she would randomly tell me that she was “never, ever going to school”. Oddly, it seemed like she was saying that because she felt like it was something she should say, rather than something she actually felt. Anyway, it all worked out in the end.

I am very pleased with Haley’s teachers, classmates and the other parents. It’s a good environment. I am somewhat annoyed at how a few things have gone, administratively speaking. For example, we were told to bring family photos to decorate our child’s cubby on Visitation Day, and that we could bring in snapshots (which I did) or make a collage. That day, they weren’t ready for the parents to decorate the cubbies. The next time we went, I asked about it, and was told that the kids were going to make an art project with the prints. That’s fine—but what if I had opted to make a collage as instructed? In a few ways, the teachers just seemed unprepared. Here’s another example. We were informed that we should not bring nuts for snack time through a casual conversation with the parents standing around chatting and one mom mentioning her twin sons’ allergy. I thought the process for something like that would be much more formal!

I think that everyone is just getting their bearings, and perhaps these teachers have more to figure out than meets the eye. I’ve very pleased with the care and interaction Haley is getting. Certainly that’s the most important thing. I’m learning that as a parent, you can’t go into Advocate mode in every instance. You have to learn to pick your battles. Hopefully it’s a lesson I remember from preschool to high school!

More Changes

Friday, September 12th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We received a notice earlier this week that Rory’s “primary” teacher in his new classroom at school had been let go and that another teacher would be replacing her starting at the beginning of next week. Setting aside my momma-bear reaction to how the interim director of his daycare did at communicating that message (HR laws make the whole process unbearably vague and frustrating), our obviously larger concern was what this latest change would mean for our little man.

Rory has really settled in over the last few weeks as the remainder of his classmates from his older infant classroom have joined him in his new toddler classroom. Drop off is easier in the morning when there are friendly and familiar faces to keep him company, and his daily reports are full of great stories about his overall development each and every day. In short, we know he is in a fantastic, nurturing environment in which he is constantly learning. He’s getting close to being able to sing the ABC’s, can recite his shapes and colors, and is always exhibiting an overall thirst and joy for learning.

So, we couldn’t help but wonder whether these great new strides will take a step backwards as he starts over with another new teacher. The good news is that the other three teachers are staying put, so there will be overall consistency. And the silver lining of the whole situation is that his new “primary” teacher is actually moving up from his old classroom. She absolutely adores Rory, and he loves her equally as much. In that respect, we have no doubt that he will be well-cared for and that we’ll continue to receive the same detailed information about his day when we pick him up.

My only real concern is that his new teacher is able to transition into the older classroom and the shifted focus of learning in that classroom with a great deal of ease. I am sure she will, as she is very skilled and shows lots of initiative, but the uncertainty of it all has this momma-bear on edge once again. Luckily, we have a back to school night next week, where I look forward to asking some of these “hard” questions (in a polite manner, of course) and hope to be reassured by what I hear.

Big Brother Benefits

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
One of the biggest differences raising our second pre-school aged boy is the presence of his big brother. Whether it is soccer or reading sight words, Tate’s determined to keep up with his older sibling, Jack. Jack was reading to Tate the other day and my heart just about melted. The two of them reading side by side never gets old. I’m thrilled they enjoy learning together.

Tate wants to be like his big brother, and most of the time I think that is a good thing. Sometimes, Tate gets frustrated at their physical differences. For example, he can’t swing as high or run as fast, but he likes to learn from watching Jack. Tate sees Jack reading books and then wants to practice in his workbook. Jack was doing some addition and subtraction homework and shortly after, Tate tried to follow along with his fingers.

These things sound simple, but I am hoping they are beneficial to Tate. He has a long way to go before he is ready to start kindergarten, but this school year is a great chance for him to make improvements. We are lucky to have children who care about each other.

“Friendly” Comments

Monday, September 8th, 2014

From Monday Mom  – Neetika:
People just love a pregnant belly. I get way more smiles from people when I’m out and about with Haley now that I look like a baby could emerge from me at any second. I don’t know where the admiration comes from. Its just procreation! We’ve been doing it for ages.

I know a lot of women prefer not to talk to strangers about their pregnancies, and I see where they’re coming from. After all, it’s an intimate, medical issue—albeit one you cannot hide—and it’s really no one else’s business. I’m very different. I think it’s sweet that people take an interest. I like when they ask me if I’m having a boy or girl, and then I tell them I don’t know and ask for their opinions. They—usually middle-aged women— always furrow their brows and look me up and down and then declare which gender I can expect and the scientific reason why. It always makes me smile!

However there are comments that can make even the most laid back mommas cringe. I have had several people, who know I have a daughter, say to me, “Oh, I hope you have a boy.” This is not small talk. They really mean this. I smile graciously, but on the inside I’m thinking, “Why? I don’t!” If other parents have gender preferences, that is their business. But I do not. Whoever this child is, that’s the child I want. That goes for gender, looks, personality—everything. I think there’s as much fun in having a same gender sibling as an opposite gender sibling. Whatever makeup our family consists of will be wonderful.

Besides, if you’re a stranger at the drugstore, you don’t even know me! A close friend or family member might have some background in understanding such a preference, but a random person should limit their commentary to due dates, general symptom inquiries and congratulations. Consider this a Public Service Announcement from Monday Mom! And one more thing—hands off that belly!