Archive for October, 2014

Bye Bye For Good

Friday, October 31st, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
The return of cooler weather and cold season means we have returned to our routine of taking Rory to the pediatrician with unfortunate frequency for ear infections. Sadly, he’s just finishing up his second round of antibiotics for the same infection. Depending on how things go over the next weeks and months, his pediatrician may recommend surgical solutions. For now, however, we’re ticking off a few remaining suggestions for restoring our little man to his full stregth.

The primary to-do list item: Bye Bye Paci. For good. His doctor’s hope is that by eliminating the added pressure in his ears, especially when sleeping or napping, we’ll help his ears drain more efficiently.

This has been an interesting switch. We opted for the cold-turkey method, which has involved us telling Rory that we “can’t find” Paci and that Paci “must have gone somewhere else.” Out of sight has been out of mind for the most part. We’ve hidden the once-prominently featured devices and are coming up with new soothing techniques, in addition to talking about the change with him and reminding him that it’s to help him get “all better.”

We started this approach at home last Friday and he did a great job most of the weekend. We’ve had some serious struggles on the changing table, but he’s getting used to it, slowly but surely.

Our biggest concern, by far, was how he would handle not having it at daycare. He was used to using it at naptime, and we were worried that not having it would mean that he’d come home poorly rested and cranky. In an effort to stave that off, we sent him to school with his “lamby,” a wind-up stuffed lamb that he sleeps with at home. We had a back-up lamby with a broken music box, so we excitedly told him on Monday that lamby was going to school with him to keep him company at nap time. Luckily, that approach seems to be working, for the most part, at school.

Though the short-term change has been challenging at times, I’ve been tremendously impressed by Rory’s resillience and adaptability. We’re hoping this helps knock out the ear infections, but, even if it doesn’t, it’s nice to know that he’ll be pacifier-free before his sister arrives early next year. After all, as we’re fond of telling him, big boys don’t use pacis.

Stash or Trash?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
My boys come home with homework folders filled with artwork, practice sheets, assignments, and other miscellaneous papers. When they bring home completed projects I struggle deciding what to stash and what to trash. I’m a sentimental person and love hanging onto meaningful things, but at what point do I draw the line?

When Jack started preschool, I built a giant portfolio by taping two large pieces of poster board together. I preserved every precious handprint, foot print, art piece and coloring page he ever made. I loved going back and looking at all of his masterpieces. I stored this sacred folder in his closet and would look at it from time to time. I continued the process for several years, even with Tate’s work. While these folders keep multiplying, our storage space is shrinking. I am running out of room.

In the digital age, there are a handful of apps available that allow you to take a picture of the artwork to store, catalogue and share. My fear is the site crashing and losing everything. I think it’s a great idea, but I’m old fashioned and like the idea of physically holding the art piece in my hand.

As a compromise, I went through each folder and made a stash pile and a trash pile. I separated the works by keeping unique illustrations, hand/foot prints, writing of letters/numbers progression, and a few other favorite pieces. I trashed the remaining items that weren’t as treasured. In the future, I can re-evaluate the collection, but for now, I’m happy to have a little more space for future creations.


Chaos Ensues

Monday, October 27th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley, Hudson and I had an interesting time of it last week, our first as a daily unit of three. We were managing quite nicely until mid-week, when Haley got sick, in the literal sense. One night, she awoke throwing up and continued to do so all night. Hudson is still feeding every couple of hours, so you can imagine the state of our apartment—two pitiful little ones, their bleary-eyed parents wandering around zombie-like, attempting to attend to their needs.

Haley already seemed to be better by the morning, but of course we headed off to the pediatrician anyway. My instinct was confirmed when the doctor said it was likely a virus that would clear up in a day or two, and thankfully it has. For a fun bonus, at that same doctor’s visit, Hudson and I were diagnosed with thrush. That’s an infection that sometimes occurs in infants and if applicable, their breastfeeding mothers. It’s not the most pleasant situation, but our case is mild and will hopefully resolve before too long. The doctor recommended a homeopathic remedy. I went to four stores before I was able to find what we needed. It was also pouring rain that day for good measure.

Even though it wasn’t easy, I’m sort of glad things didn’t unfold in a picture perfect way. That’s not how life works. And now I know I can handle it. It’s amazing how well you can pull your exhausted self together when you need to for your children. Think of what I’ll be able to accomplish when they’ll let me sleep at night! Let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

Monkey See. . .

Friday, October 24th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
While attending a parents’ meeting at Rory’s daycare this week, Rory’s daddy was chatting with one of Rory’s closest friends in his classroom– a little girl whose name always makes Rory’s face beam. They chatted about the fact that they have been known to roll around together during playtime. They also discussed how cute it is when they say good-bye to each other at the end of the day.

And then this little girl’s mom informed Rory’s dad that one of her favorite sayings at mealtime is “Do like Rory do. . .” Which–apparently– means that she wants to put her bowl of cereal up to her face and drink all the milk out of it. Or just put her plate/cup/container up to her face and eat directly, without any utensils.

Needless to say, Rory’s dad was a little embarrassed. After confessing that he was the one who had taught Rory to drink the milk out of his cereal bowl, Rory’s classmate’s mother quipped (politely of course), “well, you now you’ve taught her, too.”

When he relayed this story to me last night, I certainly felt badly that Rory was passing along his less civilized behavioral traits to others. I don’t like thinking that it is our son teaching other kids bad habits. Then again, I’m sure he’s picked up at least a few unsavory skills from his classmates, too. On the whole, the exchange reminded us how much toddlers learn by example, and stressed to us the importance of making certain that every example we set is a good one.

Field Trips

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This year, Tate’s preschool class gets the opportunity to go on field trips. It’s something a lot of the kids (and parents) look forward to. So far this year, they’ve been bowling and toured the fire station. Today, I had the chance to join Tate on my favorite trip of the school year, the pumpkin patch.

Teachers and parents loaded up vehicles with car seats and happy children. We had a little bit of a drive, but the kids were so excited and giddy about their day ahead. We arrived with kids literally bouncing off the walls. They had a giant jumping air pillow, swings, petting zoo, pig races, mazes, a sand pit, and our favorite part, the hayride. The farmer educated us about the life cycle of a pumpkin. We picnicked at lunchtime and each child had an opportunity to speak about their favorite part of the trip. Although it felt a little chaotic with 24 children, we had the entire place to ourselves for the morning, which made keeping track of all the kids easier.

I’m happy to share in these fun opportunities with Tate. I love to see him learn about new things, places, and people. I also love to see him enjoy time with his friends. I can specifically remember a time when I was in preschool playing with two of my best friends out at a farm. To this day, I’m still friends with them, and we’ve discussed those little moments in our past that have always stuck in our head. It’s these fun memories that can last a lifetime. I’m happy Tate has the chance to make them.

A Cold Hard Dose of Reality

Monday, October 20th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
My fabulous mother-in-law came to stay with us and lend support as we welcomed the new baby into our home. Her help was invaluable. She took care of Haley when I needed to focus on the baby. She watched both kids skillfully while I caught up on sleep in the mornings. She did endless dishes and loads of laundry—it was so nice not to have to worry about those household tasks. Her presence made the daunting “new normal” manageable. I am so grateful for her help.

However, she couldn’t stay forever, and so today is my first day with the two kids on my own. My husband has a long day of work, and Haley doesn’t have preschool today, so it’s truly my orientation to being a mom of two. I’m apprehensive but hopeful. I know there will be challenges, but trust that every day will get a little easier as I figure things out.

It will be an adjustment for all three of us. Haley will have to come to terms with another kid being here permanently. Hudson will have to wait here and there to get his milk or have his diaper changed. I will have to stay calm and be patient with my kids, while caring for them the best I can. I feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my life, and I’m nervous and excited at the same time. Wish me luck!


Friday, October 17th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory’s daycare has started to offer a Spanish enrichment class for the first time this fall.  His classroom is the youngest group that is receiving Spanish lessons, and my understanding is that the instructor tailors her lessons based upon the age group.  Rory’s daddy and I were pleased to learn of this new offering, and very curious to see how it evolved. They started a little over a month ago, but until now, I was fairly skeptical about whether he was actually going to retain it at all.  However, just yesterday, upon arriving home, I was greeted with a big grin and a very happy Hola! Mommy! Hola! Mommy!

This morning, when driving to daycare, I asked if he wanted to count to ten.  From the back seat, a very soft uno, dos, tres. . . pause. . . I chimed in and helped him out up to “diez.”  He repeated himself a few more times, eventually coming pretty close to counting all the way to ten on his own in Spanish.

I know that kids his age are supposed to be sponges for learning multiple languages, but I still found it fascinating to witness first hand. L Rory has gotten pretty good at counting to ten on his own (usually with a little coaxing and some not entirely-understandable numbers), but I was blown away to hear him do it in another language.  Interestingly enough, he skipped the same number in Spanish that he tends to forget when counting in English.  (Seven is either hard to remember, or perhaps he is scared of seven because it ate nine).  Regardless, I’ll be curious to see how quickly he masters counting in Spanish.  Something tells me it may not be long.  Guess it may be time to brush up on my own vocabulary, too!





Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

I’ve blogged several times about cleaning up the mess my kids leave behind. Like most parents, I am constantly organizing, rearranging and scrubbing my home. My husband and I gave our kids some responsibility with weekly and daily chores. They are doing a decent job keeping up with what we asked of them, but the littered mess of toys is still bothersome. I’m keeping my cool and accepting this childhood happy-mess.

Over the years, I’ve learned to contend with endless amounts of scattered toys, peas flung on the floor, finger prints covering every glass surface, toothpaste stuck to everything in the bathroom, and I will refrain from disgusting you when it comes to cleaning a toilet after two boys. This is a part of life as a parent. Recently, I’ve realized this is just the way it’s going to be until my kids are a little older and understand the idea of cleanliness. Please tell me one day this will happen?

Being a quasi-neat freak, it’s taken me some time to finally lower my expectations of cleanliness. I try to be neat myself, but there are days where my closet could use attention, or the stacks of paper by the filing cabinet seem to multiply hourly. Even as a parent, I make a mess. I’ve found for my kids to learn, they are going to make a mess. They are going to get every toy, stuffed animal, crayon or costume out. This is how they learn and have fun. Of course, we have rules about clean up, but a consistent nag about trying to make everything look perfect is a setup for failure on my part. After all, if the boys spend all their time being tidy, they are not spending enough time just being a kid.

Hurry Up/Slow Down

Monday, October 13th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I am so much more at ease in caring for Hudson through his newborn days than I was with Haley. Most likely the biggest reason for this is my experience and facility with breastfeeding. The first time around, I didn’t know what I was doing, what was normal, and how to tell if my baby was thriving. This time, I’m sure the baby is doing fine and I’m much more laid back about it. In fact, I’m much more laid back about everything. I’m not trying to interpret the contents of every diaper for some hidden meaning about wellness. I’m not always checking to make sure the baby is breathing at night. (Well… I check, but not constantly!) I’m not worried about every little mark that appears or noise he makes. He’s doing great, and I’m grateful.

Yet newborns aren’t always the most exciting bunch. I find myself looking wistfully forward to when he’ll give me a smile (that isn’t a reflex) and start to interact a bit more. Then again, he’s such a precious little bundle, and I know that I will never, ever get this time back. I simultaneously want him to grow and not change one bit!

The most important thing to me, as I look to the future, is just being open to who Hudson is, and being thoughtful about how to be his best parent. I remember how much it irritated me when well-meaning relatives would ascribe personality traits to a very young Haley. I have the same protective instinct with Hudson. It’s nice that they are amazed by how wonderfully “alert” he is or that he somehow seems “smart” (Okay…). I just want him to be who he is and I think it’s my job to encourage him. And I vow to myself to be patient with his development, and appreciate every step of the way.

Everybody’s Doing It. . .

Friday, October 10th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
This past weekend, we took Rory to the pumpkin patch. We got there within the first hour the farm was open and had a fairly quiet hayride out to the patch, where he gleefully picked out his own Rory-sized pumpkin straight from the vine. I may have even captured a few good snapshots to capture the moment (though this week has been too crazy to allow me to download them to check).

Little did we realize that in the 20 minutes we spent out in the pumpkin patch, enjoying nature and the chill in the air of that perfect fall morning, the parking lots had filled to the brim and the market area would be swarming with people by the time we returned from the fields.  They came all decked out with Louis Vuitton purses and Gucci sunglasses and with multiple kids in tow wearing perfectly-matched halloween outfits.  There were families literally everywhere.  Sure, I had made certain my family looked presentable to take some pictures, but the culture shock was astounding.  Not to mention, it took us a solid 15 minutes to find a wheelbarrow to hold our pumpkins when we returned.  And even then, I had to follow some poor young dad out to his car to even find one that was available.

Part of the problem in living in such a heavily populated metropolitan area is that all of the “country” locations within a reasonable driving distance of downtown are bombarded come fall with families who decide– it’s fall, that means we must go pick apples/pumpkins and pet farm animals.  Sure, we are guilty of having the same idea, but as one who embarked on such adventures every year growing up, with far smaller crowds, I couldn’t help but wish that we’d taken Rory a little bit further off the beaten path to the types of orchards and nurseries that his dad and I frequented when we were growing up. I don’t know that my parents ever had to stalk fellow shoppers for a cart for our pumpkins. If they did, I apologize profusely for putting them through that gauntlet. And I am positive I wasn’t shoved by other children while trying to look at goats in the petting zoo.  Poor Rory looked at the little girl who brushed him aside in disbelief, as if to say, “excuse me, is there a reason you cannot wait your turn?”

Most of the time, living in an urban area means that we can expose Rory to lots of great cultural things, like museums, shows, and other enriching activities.  I know that he will continue to benefit from the rich offerings this area has to offer.  But on cool Sunday mornings like this past weekend, I have to admit I long for fewer people, shorter lines, and a much more down-home feel to something as all-american as pumpkin picking.  Maybe next time we’ll take him up to his grandparents’ house to experience the real thing. . .