Archive for November, 2014

Hugs and Kisses

Friday, November 28th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
When Rory’s daddy picked him up from daycare last Friday evening, he was surprised to learn that Rory and one of his classmates had gotten a little cozy together at naptime that day. Apparently, each of the children have a routine of giving all of the teachers in the classroom hugs before climbing into their cots for nap time. On Friday, after hugging his instructors, Rory hugged and another little girl in his class shared a hug AND a kiss. They then climbed into their cots together and proceeded to fall asleep, holding hands.

We know that this playful bonding is not atypical, but we were still surprised to hear it. Rory and this particular friend have always had a great relationship, and they clearly get along well. We just thought we had a few more years before we would need to chat with him about it not being okay to just kiss his friends. Luckily, daycare didn’t treat it like a big deal. Frankly, his teachers thought it was adorable. But we still found ourselves caught completely off-guard and wondering what the “appropriate” response should be. We discussed with him this weekend that hugs are fine, but that kisses should be left for family at this point.

At the end of the day, we’re just happy to know that he is so happy and comfortable with his classmates. He clearly has a good relationship with many of the kids in his class, and we’re thrilled to see him thriving. We just hope to buy ourselves a little more time before we REALLY have to start talking with him about the birds and the bees.


Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The start of the holiday season has sneaked up on us. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here. The grandparents are here for the week, and we’re enjoying spending time with them. The kids have the week off from school, and we are having a nice vacation at home. My husband has planned an assortment of meals and snacks to last all week, culminating in our family Thanksgiving dinner.

My husband is a “foodie” and is proud of his Thanksgiving menu. He planned the staple Thanksgiving meal–brined turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, homemade pies and countless other side dishes. I’m thankful he likes to take over these large meals, because I don’t quite have the confidence to be in charge. We’re making an effort to include the boys in this year’s cooking. I hope they’ll appreciate the hard work that goes into it and maybe someday make their own family meals and traditions.

The grandparents are very helpful. They took the boys to the movies, help around the house and play lots with the kids. It is nice to have some adult company throughout the day. They also gave my husband and I an opportunity to go on a date. Yippee! I hope you eat lots of turkey and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday together with family.

Rolling The Dice

Monday, November 24th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Next week, Haley’s preschool expects an answer on whether we intend to send her back for the “four’s” program next year. Though this sounds like a simple enough decision to make, it’s anything but. We live in New York City, where the new mayor has made universal Pre-K education a priority. In theory, the new system is great for us. However, there aren’t enough spots for all the kids that want them. If I were unconcerned with the location or quality of the school Haley attends, then yes, she’d likely get a spot somewhere. Silly me—I’m concerned.

We’re happy with Haley’s school, but it’s pricey. They require monthly payments starting in January for the subsequent September. The public “lottery” doesn’t begin until March, and applicants don’t receive an answer until June. That means if we reserved a spot in the private school, but then received and accepted a spot in a public school, we’d be out thousands of non-refundable dollars. That’s a lot of money to most people, us included. There are some great public pre-Ks near our home, but they have around 600 kids “competing” for about 35 spots. I don’t like those chances. They are planning to add more spots wherever they can, but it’s not something you can count on.

Haley’s preschool teacher brought up a wonderful point, though. Families with both parents working actually need to have their children be somewhere, and expect that there will be some cost associated with that. Since I stay home, it’s less of a crisis for our family if come the fall Haley has no spot. Which is not to say I want a four year old on my hands all day! But in the tally between a potential large financial loss and teaching Haley to write her ABC’s, I’m willing to take a gamble.

I’m hoping this ordeal will be less stressful than I imagine. Stay tuned.


Friday, November 21st, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
This week, I’ve had the pleasure of having a number of people provide their unfiltered observation that I look “ready to pop” at this point in my pregnancy. I’m 31 weeks and 5 days and well-within my doctor’s recommended weight gain range. Therefore, I have to admit, I’ve taken serious umbrage at these “observations,” whether well-intentioned or not.  As Monday Mom mentioned a few short months ago, there really is something about a pregnant woman that makes people say stupid, stupid things that would otherwise be entirely socially unacceptable.

There’s no denying that second pregnancy bellies show faster and grow larger than first pregnancy bellies. Plus, the fact that I am fairly petite works against me as well. There’s simply no hiding my growing mid-section. But what these unassuming observers fail to realize is that each time they ask if the baby is due “any day now,” I start running through the list in my head of things that I need to do/accomplish/get in order before this little girl makes her big debut.

Stress. Me. Out.

Luckily, my folks were gracious enough to come visit this past weekend so that my mom and husband could paint the soon-to-be nursery and start getting the physical space more in order. This weekend, we plan to order Rory’s new furniture so that he’ll have time to transition to his big boy bed before his little sister arrives. And, in a fit of fear (or perhaps nesting insanity) the other evening, I washed the stacks of baby girl clothes that had been accumulating in her closet so that I would have clean clothes in the unlikely case that she makes her debut sooner than anticipated.

I have grown very good at not showing my fear/disgust/frustration when met with tactless observations.  For the most part, the  joy and excitement of our baby girl’s pending arrival typically outweighs my more emotional reactions.  But I still hope to keep checking things off my to-do list before I really am ready to pop. . .

Boo Boos

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I’m a mother of two energetic boys and the aunt to five more. People always tell me, “Kids will be kids.” I’m used to hearing loud yelling, clanking of simulated battle weapons, wrestling matches, and giving out reminders that someone might get hurt. I understand boys play rough, and that’s just how it’s going to be. I watch my friends’ children play and interact with others and I’m thankful my kids are nowhere near the violence of others.

This week I received the most incident reports I have seen from my boys’ preschool in over 5 years. Poor Tate has been a victim of several accidents at school. He is a tough cookie, but getting your head bonked by the head of a friend, getting your teeth knocked loose, and getting a cut on your lip is a lot for one week. I immediately call his teacher when these accidents happen. Often times it’s hard to tell whether or not a four year old is telling the story accurately. I know Tate is not perfect with his actions or words. The teacher assured me that each episode has been an accident, and Tate is not being the aggressor.

It’s become a daily habit now to remind Tate when I drop him off every morning to be careful and slow down when playing. I don’t’ want him or any other child to get hurt. I know the teachers can’t watch each child every second they are at school, but I’m just hoping the actions of the kids are carefully being observed to avoid any other problems. It’s hard seeing your child come home routinely with cuts, scrapes and tears flooding his little cheeks. The good news is that after a little TLC, Tate is back up and at ‘em like he never got hurt. I guess boys will be boys.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Monday, November 17th, 2014

We had a lovely, low-key weekend. The weather was cold so for the most part, we stayed in. Our good time included obsessing over a college football game, a spontaneous afternoon dance party, and endless homemade chocolate chip cookies. By any measure, it was a success.

I was able to soak it in and enjoy myself because Hudson is finally nursing a bit less at night, allowing me to sleep as many as six (!) hours in a row. This is huge. Recently it had seemed that any simple activity like watching a cartoon with Haley took a monumental amount of effort to participate in. You know it’s bad when you’re too exhausted to enjoy “chilling out.” No matter where you are, if it’s not asleep in your bed, it’s not where you want to be. Now I’m starting to feel rested enough to take pleasure in relaxation!

It will take more time before Hudson gets into a reliable pattern, but I feel that we’re heading into that sweet spot at which he is an often content but non-mobile baby. As a second time mom I know that once he starts crawling, I’m in trouble! I can’t believe that just as baby proofing is becoming a non-issue for Haley, I have to start at ground zero with Hudson! But I’m not going to worry about that now. I’m just going to appreciate every easy day that comes my way.

Five more minutes

Friday, November 14th, 2014

From Friday Mom – Erin:
After doing some investigation into recommended techniques for helping toddlers transition between tasks, we’ve adopted a warning system for Rory in which we count down the time left before he must transition to a new activity. For example, each night when I get home from work, he’s usually wrapping up his dinner and ready to play for a little while before bed. We usually only have 15 minutes or so before we need to move upstairs and start the nighttime routine. Rather than spend the entire time dreading the breakdown when we tell him it’s time to go upstairs, we’ve started giving him ten, five, two, and one minute warnings in his playroom to let him know how much longer we have.

It doesn’t work every evening. Sometimes he’ll continue playing a few additional minutes before finally following us upstairs. But most evenings, he repeats the warnings and, though dragging his feet a little, follows along willingly.

Bedtime is probably the most successful implementation of this new technique. We’ve had varying degrees of success at other times of day, but are trying to be consistent in our use so that he gets accustomed to it.  Getting him to come inside from the playground out behind our house is a little harder, though the warning system has worked there on occasion, as well.

The other technique we’ve employed for more short term focus, with somewhat less success, is to tell him that we’re going to do a particular task (e.g., get out of the bathtub, stop playing with mommy’s iPhone, put down the hazardous object of choice) as soon as we count to ten.  He loves counting, so counting to ten together usually helps distract him enough to move on.  Sometimes, he just wants to keep counting while staying in the bathtub.

I don’t think either of us fully appreciated prior to becoming parents how much mental energy would be spent trying to outwit a toddler.  Luckily, Rory seems to be pretty receptive to a very matter-of-fact approach to setting his expectations, and we’re pleased to have experienced some success with this approach.


Fun Run

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate’s preschool has two fundraisers each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. I have blogged before about the spring fundraiser to benefit St. Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital. Last night, the school held their inaugural Veterans’ Day Fun Run, to benefit the preschool.

We loaded up the minivan and headed to a local park for the festivities. The preschool director gave an introduction and greeted all the Veterans and their families in attendance. The youth pastor gave an opening prayer and the children each got an American Flag to wave while they ran.

We gathered at the starting line for the big race. The course was a brief ½ mile run around the park. The kids did a great job keeping pace for their slower parents. Surprisingly, both Jack and Tate made it around the loop. Every child received a participation medal at the finish line and both boys enjoyed a hotdog and cotton candy to celebrate Veterans’ Day.

It was a small event, but the kids loved it and it was a great way to stay active and honor our Veterans. The boys told their dad they ran extra fast for him. Daddy is our favorite Veteran!

Mom Friends

Monday, November 10th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I couldn’t be happier with my decision to be a stay-at-home mom. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. One of the most difficult aspects of the vocation—at least for me—is the feeling of isolation I experience daily. Since my main tasks are caring for a young baby and taking care of the house, I’m home a lot. Sometimes many hours go by without my interacting with another adult. I have no co-workers. So other mothers sort of serve as my colleagues.

No matter what you do, it helps to have others to commiserate with. Such kinship is crucial when your business is children. There are days when you feel overwhelmed or even downright clueless, just like we all sometimes do at 9 to 5 jobs. It really helps to talk things out with others who are going through the same thing.

I haven’t made close friends by just chatting up other moms at the playground—that’s not really my style. But through a local parents’ group and other random connections, I have a small base of other moms I rely on. And I’m excited that I’ve recently struck up a friendship through another source—Haley’s preschool. I’ve chatted with another mom at drop-off and pick-up a few times. Her daughter seems to be Haley’s closest friend there and she also recently had her second child, so we have a lot in common and decided to get together outside of those quick interactions.

I love meeting new people. That’s something I miss about the working world. But with Haley in school, I have more opportunities to connect now. I’m realizing now that the most isolating part of staying at home is definitely when the children are very young. I never knew that as their activities ramp up, so too might my social life! If I can make friends half as easily as Haley can, it should be a fun time.

Getting Dressed

Friday, November 7th, 2014

From Friday Mom –  Erin:
At some point in the past month or so, Rory decided that he was going to resist just about every part of his morning routine.  We are fairly certain it is simply part of demonstrating his toddler independence, but it has forced us to become very creative in how we get him (and ourselves) dressed, fed, and out the door on time each morning.

When Rory was younger, he would basically follow our lead each morning.  Wake, diaper change, milk, quiet play while mom and dad got dressed, then breakfast with mommy, farewells with daddy, and off to daycare (or “school” as we typically call it).  Now, we are lucky to get him let us change him before he takes off across the upstairs to play in mommy and daddy’s room.  And heaven help us if we try to get him dressed before he is ready.

Most mornings we resort to either distraction (using Sesame Street you tube song videos) or bribery (such as– if you want a yummy cereal bar you’ll have to help mommy put your clothes on).  We haven’t found a silver bullet.  Instead, we are treating it as an exercise in patience and adaptability.  When we get frustrated or agitated, Rory simply gets more obstinate.  So keeping our composure and negotiating with him as best as possible is the only viable approach.

It is definitely a work in progress.  I’ll be certain to let you know how it all shakes out.