Archive for August, 2015


Monday, August 31st, 2015

From Monday Mo – Neetika:
I was thrilled yesterday at the park when another mom and her little girl came over to play with Haley. The adorable little girl was named Hazel, age 3, and she was enamored with the many princess toys Haley had with her. At first, the girls played nicely together. They role-played princesses and kicked around a ball. But soon, Haley became unreasonably annoyed. Now, I’m sure to Haley there was a reason. But seeing as how she’s 4, what that reason was and how to overcome it was a mystery to us adults. All I know is that it had something to do with the fact that everyone wasn’t doing exactly what she wanted.

Haley usually loves meeting other little girls and plays very well with them. So when she started being bratty, I was shocked and perturbed. She suddenly refused to play with Hazel. I was mortified, but the small blessing was that Hazel seemed oblivious and just kept playing with Haley’s ‘Elsa’ and ‘Anna’ on her own.

I tried to reason with Haley, but she wasn’t having it. I need to just chalk it up to having a bad day. Yet I wonder what to do moving forward. What if these incidents increase in frequency and intensity? How do I instill in Haley the need to treat all playmates with respect, whether we are in the mood to or now? I am not a perfect person, but I’ve always tried to show an example of kindness to my kids. Do I just hope that eventually her goodness will just “take”?

On some level, Haley’s bad behavior is age appropriate. She’s probably testing limits and practicing social interactions. It’s normal. Even if it makes me cringe! I hope ‘Mean Girl’ leaves us as quickly as she arrived.

Transition Time

Friday, August 28th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory is finishing up a week of transition at daycare.  He’s been ready for a change for a good two to three months now, having outgrown his younger twos classroom quite a while ago.  It had become fairly routine for me to have to wrangle him out of one of the two preschool classrooms and back into his own room each morning.  I don’t know if it was the draw of the “big kids” or just the better toys, but Rory was clearly longing for the new space.  Luckily, the time has finally arrived.

I’ve loved listening to Rory’s stories about his new classroom each evening.  So far, he has sung the praises of the toy bulldozer and toy dump truck, as well as the cars and ramps and parking garage.  He’s also told us about the new loft, and talked about the new stories.

From my perspective, I’m more excited about the structure of his new classroom.  The potty, for example, is now a regular part of their routine, increasing the chances that we’ll get over the final potty training hurdles sometime soon (or so we hope).  He’s been somewhat consistent this week, and has even started to vocalize his need to use the potty.  He has a little ways to go, but it is a welcome transition, for certain.

In addition, they apparently have a reward system under which he gets stamps for good behavior or being a particularly good helper in the classroom.  On his daily report from Thursday, he was lauded for being a very good helper during clean-up time, earning two stamps.  I was not surprised, but pleased nevertheless that he was doing so well so soon.

But perhaps the most welcome change this week is the sweet exhaustion that comes with all the new experiences.  Bedtime has been pretty seamless, and more importantly, Rory has been sleeping later than usual.  Here’s hoping that lasts through the weekend.


Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate’s school uses a positive reinforcement system for discipline. Each student is expected to follow rules and is rewarded with a ticket, called a Panda Point, when showing good behavior throughout the day. The school mascot is a Panda, hence the name. The tickets get handed in to their teacher and can be redeemed for rewards like stickers, pencils, snow cones, class ice cream parties, silly hat day, and time in a bounce house depending on how many tickets were earned.

As I’ve blogged before, Tate can be challenging when it comes to his behavior. He is strong-willed, and he struggles to control his emotions in certain situations, especially when he is tired. Fortunately, in the first few weeks of kindergarten, Tate has grown to love Panda Points. I think Tate is feeling the pressure of learning the school rules and being in a “big school” atmosphere. He understands the way this behavior system works, and obviously it’s incentivized good behavior.  When I pick him up from school, if he runs to my van clenching his Panda Points with a smile on his face, I know he had a great day.

Tate still has some work to do on his behavior, but this is a huge improvement from even a few weeks ago. I am less anxious about his behavior with each Panda Point he brings home. I’m looking forward to parent/teacher conferences so I can find out how my strong-willed little boy is handling Kindergarten.

Road Trip

Monday, August 24th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Hudson had his first road trip over the weekend. We went out of town for a wedding—the second of his young life. This kid gets around! This time we were in the car with the kids and the grandparents. It was a very full SUV. Haley loved having her ‘Grandma’ and ‘Papa’ with her and so did Hudson—it’s clear that he knows and adores them.

To be honest, there was a bit of stress too. There was plenty of traffic on the busy interstate, and what should have taken under five hours to drive turned into over seven. Haley was whiny at times. Hudson was fussy at times. The wedding was a little chaotic. Some parts went long. Early on, the kids got hungry and there wasn’t food available. The kids got cranky. Thank goodness we were staying at the same hotel at which the wedding was being held. It was so nice to be able to go up to the room as necessary. Our room and the grandparents’ room were adjoining, which Haley just went crazy for. Long before the party was over, she went upstairs, got into her pajamas, cuddled up with special snacks in front of the TV, and requested a rotating roster of her favorite adults to keep her company.

The trip took a lot out of us. But when we saw the groom, my childhood friend, and his family at the reception, they were incredibly touched that we made the effort. That made it all worthwhile. I hope we’re instilling in the kids what it can mean to the people we love when we just show up.

Listening Ears

Friday, August 21st, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
My parents are in town this week to help look after Rory and Charlotte while their daycare is closed for staff development week.  Their grandmother is playing primary caregiver, while their grandaddy is responsible for running Rory around the park each morning to work off the excess energy.  So far, it seems to be working pretty well.

Each night we return home from work hopeful that the day’s report will be a good one.  So far, we’ve not been disappointed.  Rory is apparently a tremendous help throughout the day and he has worn his listening ears all week with great pride and satisfaction.

Until we get home, that is.

My mother politely informs us that Rory is extremely well behaved all day long.  Apparently he’s worn out from all that behaving, because bedtime and bath time have been a struggle the past couple nights.  And heaven help me if I need to do a diaper change between dinner and bath– the likelihood of getting Rory’s cooperation is slim.

I know there is a certain degree of novelty to grandparents, but I cannot help but be a bit frustrated that Rory doesn’t pay the same degree of attention to our requests of him.  I know it is likely an effort to test limits, but at the end of a long work day, I often wish he could leave those listening ears a little while longer.  Guess we’ll just have to keep working on that.

Hump Days

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
It’s Wednesday, and the struggle is real. We are halfway through the second week of school, and my children are already asking if it’s Friday yet. Clearly, the newness of a new school year has worn off already. Homework is in abundance, Jack has already had his first tests, and runny noses are present. It’s an adjustment getting back into the routine, or in Tate’s case, learning what the new routine is.

I try to make positive comments when I drop off my carpool crew at school each morning. That little boost of encouragement can’t hurt. I know it helps me get motivated hearing positive words when I’m not always ready to take on the day.

In the mornings, we listen to a kids channel on the radio. They often interview children about topics and the kids find it interesting.  The radio hosts will announce birthdays, play fun songs, tell jokes, and other kid-friendly entertainment.  One day they were talking about “hump day” and my literal child, Tate, was confused and couldn’t understand what that meant.  After a little explanation, he was in the know. So, on the following Wednesday, as I was shouting, “have a good day” to the kids getting out of the van, Tate was  unbuckling his seat belt to get out of the car and he responded with “happy hump day, mom!” He gave me a morning laugh and made my gloomy day much brighter.

It’s the little things that make me a happier mom. I know some days are better than others, and I know, as a parent, I need to keep my kids in line and focused on what is best for them. Starting their day with a positive attitude makes all of us feel better. With that said, happy hump day, all!



Summer Days, Drifting Away

Monday, August 17th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We’ve done a lot of fun things this summer. As the season draws to a close, I’m looking forward to Haley’s new school year and Hudson’s farewell to babyhood. Of course it all makes a parent a bit wistful, but I’m trying to stay grateful and positive and enjoy every change. It’s also easy to look forward to Fall when it’s still really, really hot.

I won’t miss having to (seemingly constantly) slather the kids with sunblock every time we go out. I won’t miss feeling impossibly hot and sticky at the end of a jaunt with Hudson in the baby carrier. I won’t miss Haley suddenly deciding she’s too hot and crabby to keep walking somewhere. I won’t miss squinting in the bright sun when I forget my sunglasses. I won’t miss worrying that the kids are dehydrated and constantly pushing water on them. I won’t miss soggy clothes after the spray park.

But I will miss not needing to bundle everyone up each time we go out. I will miss getting away with Haley throwing on flip-flops and Hudson not needing any footwear at all. I will miss the impromptu ice cream cones. I will miss how tired the kids are and how easily they go to sleep after a day of playing outside in balmy weather. I will miss their dad’s slightly more lenient work schedule in the summer months.

There will be more summers for me, but there won’t be any more summers with a preschooler and a baby. Next year, it will be a kindergartener and a toddler—I can hardly believe it! You can count on the seasons changing, and your children changing even faster.

Stay cool!

Out of the mouths of babes

Friday, August 14th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin
Rory repeats everything.  Literally, everything.  Words.  Cadence.  Phrases.  You name it, he mimics it.  And I find it hilarious to hear these things blurted from this quiet, soft spoken two-and-a-half year-old.

For example, last week there was a large dump truck parallel parked in a no-parking zone at the main entrance to our neighborhood, dangerously close to the stop sign, and making it extremely difficult for me to make my right-hand turn onto the main avenue on our way to daycare.  Rory– ever the inquisitive one– asked what the dump truck was doing.  I muttered a few choice words (to the truck, not him) and barked back firmly that I had no earthly idea what it was doing there other than blocking the way.

The next day, we pulled up alongside another dump truck, parked in the same exact spot.  Rory, without missing a beat, chimed in– “That’s a dump truck!  I don’t know WHAT it is doing there.  It’s in the way.”

(Mental note– mommy must watch her language henceforth when driving. . . )

Similarly, we have always made a habit of asking “Rory– is that food?!” when he puts toys or other things that he shouldn’t into his mouth.  It is not surprising, then, that he will scold poor Charlotte when she is teething on her toys, firmly explaining: “No Charlotte, that’s not food!”  We’ve tried very hard to explain that babies explore with their mouths.  To no avail.

As much as I know that he has a very strong grasp of language, I am still consistently caught off guard by his conversational faculties and his ability to converse so matter-of-factly on a range of topics.  I can’t wait to see what he says next.




Kindergarten – Round Two

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Like many places across the country, school starts early in Mississippi. School is officially back in session, and it’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again.  Even harder to believe, my baby, Tate, just started Kindergarten.

As cliché as it sounds, where has the time gone? As I walked Tate up to the school, the last five years played over and over in my mind. I thought about all the memories of the day he was born, first smiles, first words, first steps, and now Kindergarten. My baby is starting a new chapter in his life.

For the past year or so, I’ve been concerned about Tate’s first day of Kindergarten.  He is young for his grade, and my husband and I went back and forth wondering whether or not we should send him to Kindergarten or wait another year.  Eventually, we decided he was ready, and registered him last spring.  I still felt some anxiety hoping on his adjustment to a whole new world of independence. Of course I had some concerns when Jack started.  However, this time around, I’m more anxious because it’s our last child to start this wonderful school adventure.  I guess I’m a little sad that I won’t have a buddy to share my afternoons with.  I am pretty confident my feelings will shift soon, but it was very hard to fight back those tears when I waved goodbye to Tate on his first day of Kindergarten.

When I picked up Jack and Tate from school, they were both talking a mile a minute about what fun their day was.  Tate immediately said how cool computer lab was and he wanted to do it again the next day.  Unfortunately, Tate did have one mishap.  He walked into the wrong lane at pick up and the teacher raised her voice a little more than he would’ve liked and scared him.  I’m thankful she did because he was crossing the lane where cars were moving.  A lesson learned, and now he knows what to do while waiting in the car rider line.  I’m sure there will be several other adjustments and learning of the ropes until he gets more comfortable with his new school.  I’m just glad he had a smile on his face when I greeted him after a long, hot day of school.

I’m excited about this year.  It’s a new milestone for me, too.  One I never thought would happen so quickly.  Both of my children are in elementary school.  It’s bitter sweet, but I’m proud of myself for reaching this point, and proud of my boys on their triumphs – big and small- over the years.  I can only imagine how I’ll be feeling when I send them off to college.

Faith, Family and Friends

Monday, August 10th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
My husband Joe and I are of two different faiths, and we’ve elected to raise our children in both. It’s been wonderful exposing them to different belief systems and traditions. Haley is already starting to understand her varied cultural background and seems to appreciate it. Being raised in New York City, this is far from a unique quality. Here, it would be stranger to be a “purebred!”

Over the weekend, we took a big step in our spiritual life as we had Hudson baptized in Joe’s childhood church—the same place Haley was baptized almost exactly four years prior, and the same place Joe himself was baptized as a baby. It was so lovely. Even though the church is not one we usually attend, all of the congregants welcomed us with open arms. Hudson was incredibly well behaved—only seeming slightly displeased to have some water dribbled on his head. But after giving the pastor a quick stink-eye, he was his happy baby self.

Following the service, Joe’s parents hosted a very fun barbeque lunch. We got to visit with old friends and family, and everyone fussed over the baby, of course! Haley loved running around with some girls her age. The key to keeping children happy at an outdoor summer barbeque? Balls, bubbles and sidewalk chalk! The grown-ups enjoyed themselves as much as the kids. I was happy to see several people I just don’t get to see nearly enough. Sadly, the party whizzed by and it was soon time to say goodbye. I always hope it won’t be so long until we see our loved ones again. It was a great example to our kids about what life is truly all about.

Enjoy your week!