Archive for July, 2015

Bursting With Energy

Friday, July 31st, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:

I cannot wait to see how Charlotte’s personality evolves over time.

At just under seven months old (how time flies!), she is happy, wiggly, and seemingly in perpetual motion. When I walk into her room each morning, she presses herself up to see me and then flops down on her belly, squirming with anticipation of my picking her up. Similarly, when her father picks her up from school at the end of the day, she is typically waving her arms and legs joyfully and cooing with delight. Her whole body gyrates with glee when she sees one or both of us. I know I am partial, but I think it is one of the cutest things ever.

I know I should not indulge comparisons between Rory and Charlotte, but I keep trying to remember if her overall demeanor is new or much of the same as her brother. Truth be told, I cannot honestly remember if her brother acted the same way. My foggy recollection is that he was equally happy, but perhaps not as ebullient in his demeanor. He had his fair share of infant arm-flailing, but I just don’t remember him being quite as. . . active. To the contrary, I have very vivid recollections of his sitting quietly with his toys and being quite content.

Charlotte, by contrast, seems to want to engage with the world around her. When her brother is playing in the playroom, she will roll and squirm her way off of her play mat and as close as possible to the playroom door. When we put her down in her rocker, she makes certain to coo and babble at us, as if to remind her that she is still there and ready to play. She is dangerously close to being able to push up on to her hands and knees, and I give her a month, max, before her backwards squirming evolves into a more purposeful crawl.

All of this energy makes me wish I could get inside her tiny little head to know what she is thinking as she smiles from ear to ear. Part of the difficulty with second children is knowing the excitement that will come in a year or two as she starts to be able to verbalize her thoughts. I often find myself impatient, wanting to speed up the clock. But then I remind myself to enjoy these fleeting baby days while they last.

Getting Outside

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Our time in Pennsylvania is quickly coming to an end. We are taking every opportunity to go outside and play. Although there have been some sticky days, the weather up here is gorgeous compared to Mississippi, where temperatures hover near 95 degrees and 95% humidity all summer long. The nighttime lows in Mississippi are often hotter than the daytime highs in Pennsylvania. So while we are still visiting Pennsylvania, we are taking advantage of the great weather.

We made the most of our time here. We rode bikes, played tennis, went hiking, swimming, and ate a lot of meals outside. The best part was that most of these activities were fun and free or very inexpensive. We spent over an hour feeding the ducks at a local children’s lake and it only cost $1.25 for the feed corn.

Jack and Tate’s father had to work all summer, but he had two local layovers when he surprised the boys and took them hiking on the Appalachian Trail, where the boys saw trout, animals and bearded thru-hikers. This was one of the boy’s summer highlights.  Jack and Tate are in the midst of planning a camping trip. Hmmmm…. I wonder how that will go.

We have tried to give our kids a great summer with relatives, activities and fun. As our vacation comes to an end it is nice to know that they got to enjoy the best of Pennsylvania, where we both grew up.


A Healthy Mama

Monday, July 27th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Being pregnant means growing another human being in your body. It’s inevitable that a one’s body would go through some changes as a result. Isn’t it amazing, then, that women—who should fully realize what’s going on here— generally obsess over the way their bodies look, instead of focusing on the amazing things they’ve achieved?

I’m not above it, by any means. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time stressing about the way I look—particularly my mid-section, which has the deflated look of a cavity stretched to accommodate a large object, more than once, that has since been expelled. I know I’m not the only one. Most of the people I interact with have been through the same exact thing. But there is this very weird emphasis to get back in shape following pregnancy. If this impulse had only to do with health, that would be one thing. But it’s got so much more to do with vanity. Take a look at the media to see how we treat a woman who “bounces back” quickly after a baby, and one who does not. It’s shameful.

This summer, I’ve been focusing on getting back in shape, and I’ve been fairly successful. People talk about making small changes, but to be honest, with the stress of caring for little ones, “making better choices” all day long was never going to happen. Instead, I’ve been setting caloric goals and tracking my food intake and exercise output religiously. I’m doing this because I want to set a healthy example for my kids, and really be a fit, capable mother for as many years as I’m blessed to have. But I have to be honest—I want to look good, too. And that last feat of smoothing down my tummy is not easy. I’m trying to remind myself that aesthetics are unimportant—I would never want my kids to worry about such a thing. Hopefully as I continue on my fitness journey, I’ll focus instead on being energetic and strong. Who cares if I’m a bit soft in the middle? All the better for a child to snuggle into.

Master Calendar

Monday, July 27th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
There is a moment at some point fairly early on in your child’s life when you realize that in order to survive the weekend (or any day at home), you had better have some semblance of a plan in place.  Meals, naps, activities, visits with friends, etc:  all are necessary elements.  At least they are when one of your brood is a mini-tyrant toddler. . .

I have found that having at least one “planned” activity each weekend day helps break up the monotony of the days and also keeps Rory from going stir crazy.  Some weekends, however, I over-book us.

This weekend is going to be one of those.  We have a play date Saturday morning and then drive an hour out of the city in the afternoon to visit some dear friends who just bought a new house out that way.  On Sunday we have swim lessons in the morning and  a visit with another old friend in the afternoon.

I know that by Sunday evening I will wish deeply for another day of rest.  But I am thankful to be able to spend the time giving the kids a varied and diverse set of experiences, so I suppose my own relaxation is worth the sacrifice.  Especially because a well-exercised and entertained kiddo is an extra sleepy kiddo come bedtime. . .

I hope everyone strikes a good balance of rest and activity this weekend!



Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

When my children get interested in something, they get obsessed. I remember when Jack was only a few months old, he had a favorite toy fish. He would scream when it wasn’t in sight. We couldn’t go anywhere without that fish. Tate had a similar attachment to his Curious George stuffed animal. These attachments with certain things have continued on through the years.

As they grow older, Jack and Tate’s interests are more topical. If they are interested by something, they get obsessed with it. They love to read, watch videos and ask questions about all kinds of cool stuff.  If I don’t know the answer, I make sure to research and find the correct answer.   I’ve even learned all kinds of facts about different animals and why they do the things they do.

We’ve gone through many obsessions over the years, such as dinosaurs, pirates, trains, airplanes and Legos. If there is something they like then that is ALL they talk about or play with. Tate will talk your ear off explaining the differences between 20 different Lego characters. Thankfully, they aren’t just obsessed with toys. They are both into different children’s book series. They get obsessed with certain series and end up wanting every book or they’ll read the same book over and over and over again.  Thank goodness for public libraries. I love their enthusiasm about reading books. I hope, as they grow older, they will be able to read to learn about whatever they enjoy.



Monday, July 20th, 2015

Although our apartment is somewhat spacious—for New York City—we need to be creative about how we use our space due to its layout. There is no hallway—each room leads into the next. The bedrooms are right next to each other, and frankly I like having the children close at hand through the night.

Of our two common rooms, one is much more light, airy and spacious as the other. It’s always been our living room. The other room held our dining table and all of Haley’s toys and activities (art table, play kitchen, doll house, etc.)

Now, we have an active crawler joining the fray who loves to play—especially with balls—and we realized that the small room was just not going to cut it as a playroom anymore. So over the weekend, we pulled a switcheroo.

Thankfully, my family stopped by for an impromptu visit, so we had plenty of people to help us move things, wrangle children and consider what would and would not work with the new set-up. And we couldn’t be more pleased with the results! We will be able to make better use of our dining table. The kids have more room to stretch out. They will be less apt to watch television since it’s in the smaller room now. But more than anything, we were just ready for a change. Our family isn’t the same as it used to be, and it feels great to make our home reflect that. It’s kind of amazing how physical differences can affect your mental state.

Hope you have a positive week and that you’re happy in your space, too.

Mama Bear

Friday, July 17th, 2015

As the type of person who has always been very involved and invested in everything I have done, I am constantly struggling with how best to balance my involvement in Rory and Charlotte’s daycare. Perhaps it is my type-A personality or my inability to rest on my laurels. Whatever the reason, I am constantly focused on ways to improve my own surroundings by proactive involvement.

But the problem is that with two kids, a full-time job, and a general lack of sleep, I am hard pressed to find enough hours in the day to take on new and additional causes. Yes, that may sound like an excuse, but given the demands of the legal profession, I truly do not know where I would find the time.

That being said, a number of issues have arisen lately which lead me to think I ought to be better involving myself with our daycare. The board has vacancies, the search committee for a new director is (in my opinion) in dire need of leadership and vision. We sat through a lengthy parent meeting this week which I left feeling wholly unimpressed.

My first instinct in such situations is to raise my hand, take on the responsibility, and try as I may to fix it. But then the other half of me thinks that my limited time might be better spent doing my research into an alternative pre-school/childcare center. I am trying to take my time and make a rational decision — as opposed to simply just jumping in to try to solve it.

Wish me luck.

Summer Learning

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

We’re really enjoying our summer. Visiting with family and friends is always a favorite of ours. We rarely get to spend time together, and the last few weeks have been quite a treat. Jack and Tate were fortunate to check a lot of things off their summer bucket list. They’re often asleep before their heads even hit the pillow every night. Although, they miss their friends in MS, they are happy to be making memories with the people they love most.

From a parental perspective, summer vacation is a mixed emotion. Along with the lazy days of summer, I am incorporating learning and review amidst all the fun.   I understand the frowns I get when I ask Jack and Tate to work in their workbook, read, or do some math skills each week. I know this is their break from school, but in my opinion, it’s so important to keep their brain active. I’ve searched the Internet for fun ways to review skills. Games are one example to get my kids motivated. Turning addition problems into a game of bingo is much more amusing than simply writing problems on paper. So far, Jack and Tate are enjoying the entertaining ways to study in between all the fun activities.

The next school year is right around the corner. I hope Jack and Tate have only great memories of their summer. I’m sure reviewing skills isn’t at the top of their “fun” list, but when the school year begins, I’m sure they’ll be happy their daily summer school sessions took place. As we all know, a little review can go a long way.

Forming a Community

Monday, July 13th, 2015

The program at which Haley will be attending pre-kindergarten is brand new. We haven’t gotten much information about it so naturally we’re anxious and curious about how the year will go. Fortunately, we’re not alone. A group of parents in the same boat got in touch a few weeks ago, and a few of us met over the weekend.

It was great getting Haley together with some kids who might be in her class. Immediately after playing with one of the other girls for a few minutes, Haley announced in classic Haley fashion: “Maddy is my best friend.” It’s great that she’ll see familiar faces when starting school, even if everything else about it is rather unfamiliar.

I think I enjoyed the get-together even more that Haley did. It was great to meet like-minded parents who had the same level of interest in their children’s education. Most of the families are in the same school zone as we are, so these are faces we might be seeing regularly for years to come. It’s weird and invigorating. Having kids that were only baby/toddler age had been sort of isolating for me.

Sure, I would meet nice moms in the neighborhood here and there, but no one I felt bonded to, and I think the lack of structured unity is the reason why. Some families we met through preschool and other classes were great, but it just wasn’t that many hours together. With kids as full-time classmates spending so many hours a week together, it seems like there’s a shift. School is such a big part of a family’s life; it’s only natural that that’s when and where strong bonds are formed.

I’m truly looking forward to the school years ahead. It may be a bumpy ride, but at least there will be commiseration. And who knows, maybe we’ll all make some lifelong friends.

Informed Customer

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Rory and Charlotte’s daycare is undergoing yet another changing of the guard. His center is undertaking the third executive director search in just under two years. And I’m not positive what to make of it.

As I’ve commented on here in the past, we’ve had our frustrations with Rory’s center, but, on the whole, have been quite satisfied with the care and teaching Rory receives there. Charlotte seems to be thriving, as well. And they both clearly like being together each day. Their teachers love regaling us with tales of visits to the other’s classroom, and they clearly enjoy being dropped off and picked up together.

As I’ve lamented before, each time we experience a staffing change, I find myself somewhat disconcerted. I tend to wonder whether there is something “wrong” that I should have been able to discern in my lengthy childcare research when Rory was only a few months old. I experience overwhelming mommy guilt at the thought that he may not be in the best possible place day in and day out.

The center is hosting a parent meeting to discuss the turnover and I look forward to receiving more information. I am also ramping up my own efforts to visit and review other possible daycare and preschool options in hopes of feeling as though I have truly surveyed all available options. I highly doubt we’ll be making any immediate changes, but gathering information now at least helps inform just how frustrated I should be by the current situation. Hopefully it’s not too much.