Archive for October, 2015

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 30th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We took Rory to a Halloween party last weekend.  It was one of a handful of times I’ve seen Rory exhibit true fear.  Trembling, speechless, unfiltered fear –  at an adult-sized Darth Vader costume.

He wouldn’t even step inside the front the door.

After coaxing him a bit and picking him up, he came on inside and settled in as far away in the house as humanly possible from the costumed man (who just so happened to be the father of the host).  Eventually, our hosts graciously asked the masked man to reveal the fact that, underneath, he was a gentle old grandfather (and not the frightening man on the exterior).  By the end of the evening, Rory couldn’t stop talking about his buddy Darth Vader and how he was very scary, but that he was really a man.  A very nice man.

Although I feel badly watching Rory tremble with fear, I also find it fascinating to watch how he processes his fears. Having watched his reaction under such circumstances a handful of times previously, I’ve come to realize that talking about things after the fact is his methodology for processing his emotions.  This time, that processing was a bit more sophisticated than the last, in that he seems to be verbalizing what scared him a bit more, as well as what he has come to realize as part of his no longer being scared.

I’m hoping he learned his lesson reasonably well– I’m sure we’ll have to revisit it tomorrow when we go trick or treating.  Hopefully if we run into Darth out on the sidewalk, he’ll stand tall and remember that he’s really a very nice man.


Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Over the last three weeks, we got to spend time with both of Jack and Tate’s grandmothers.  It just so happened that they arranged to visit us this month. Though never here at the same time, I dropped off one grandmother at the airport to say goodbye and picked up the other all within 30 mins.  I don’t think we could have planned that any better.  We maximized our time with each grandmothers and enjoyed every minute of it.

The boys loved playing board games, visiting the pumpkin patch and carving pumpkins, riding bikes, showing off their soccer skills, eating yummy food, movie night, and celebrating Daddy’s birthday.  I was spoiled with extra help for cooking dinners, cleaning the house, a date night with my husband, and lots of hugs and kisses to the boys.  Since I know they will both read this, we greatly appreciate all the help, Grammy and Candymum!

We look forward to many more visits in the future.  My boys are growing up at a rapid pace, and I want to make sure they get every chance to spend quality time with their family.  It’s something I value, and I know they do too.

Cranky Pants

Monday, October 26th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I think it’s hilarious when babies cry. Yes, I’m a terrible person. It’s just that the vast majority of the time an older baby wails about something, it’s just not that big of a deal. This is especially true of my usually very happy baby boy. Hudson is easy like Sunday morning—unless he’s getting tired. Then you better watch out.

The other night, Haley took out her Crayola markers for some evening coloring time. Naturally, Hudson wanted in on this. He picked up a marker, with the cap on, and put it in his mouth. His father gently said, “Hudson, what do you have there? No, no, no.” Hudson lost it!

Usually Hudson is rather rough-and-tumble, but he also broke down after gently sitting down on a small dollhouse lamp. When I briefly left the living room and he was alone with a friend of mine from out of town for all of 15 seconds: waterworks.

The one moment I didn’t find his crying so funny that night was when I finally put him down for bed. He was overtired by then, so it took him a few minutes to settle down. I hate hearing him upset when he’s alone in his room, but I know going to him is the worst thing I can do. I’d have to rock him for a long time, which might not even work, and would push back Haley’s bedtime too far. I know at that point he needs to go to sleep quickly, so I have to let him sort himself out.

It’s important to keep your sense of humor when you’re dealing with your kiddos. But at the end of the day, your crying baby is still just your baby.


Friday, October 23rd, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte has decided that she is too cool for pureed baby foods.  Her teachers at day care told us around a month or so ago that Charlotte was showing signs of wanting to self-feed.  We tried a few new foods at that point, but she mostly gagged on them.  So we held off.

Over the past two weeks, her arm flailing was getting more pronounced and her frustration even more visible.  So, I finally got my act in gear and purchased some baby friendly foods for her to try.  So far, she has devoured boiled potato, sweet potato, mashed potato, avocado, soft cheese, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, meatballs, peaches, pears, and even frozen waffles (toasted, of course).  She loves all of it.  Immensely.

I’m still cautious in how much food I put in front of her.  She seems to have a real propensity for packing her mouth completely full but not really swallowing, so I’ve spent a great deal of time showing her –over and over and over again– how to chew and swallow.  So much so that I fear her first word may be “chew, chew, chew.”

Rory was never as adventurous when it came to self-feeding, so this latest stage is proving to be a period of discovery for all of us.  Guess I’d better get back to the grocery store soon to keep the options coming!


Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack’s soccer season is well underway, and he is enjoying it. He’s playing on a bigger field this year, so he has to run farther per game. He is breathless by the end of the game, but getting in a good workout. He is learning more and more rules of the game and finally getting some skills and footwork down pat. He still relies on his coach for help from the sidelines, but he is grasping more with each game.

Jack’s team isn’t the top team of the league by any means, but they work together and demonstrate great teamwork. It used to be that once someone got the ball they dribbled it down the entire field by themselves trying to score that goal. Now the boys are learning to pass to each other and realizing that plays an important role of the game. Jack used to get bummed out when he didn’t score a goal, but now he’s happy when he gets an assist.

It’s great fun watching this age group play. My husband and I get so excited to watch and cheer from the sidelines. I think back to Jack’s first year of soccer and it’s awesome to see how much he has learned over the years. I can’t wait to see how much more he learns and performs in future years.

My Child, The Genius

Monday, October 19th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
An interesting issue arose last week in Haley’s education. Apparently, it’s now time to submit a Request For Testing if you want your four year old assessed for the city’s gifted and talented program. I’m sort of lukewarm on this topic. I absolutely think that gifted education can serve certain children beautifully. Yet I think it’s funny that literally every parent I know is considering the testing for her child. The main concern doesn’t seem to be whether the kid will qualify, but whether or not it’s preferable to be in a gifted classroom, or a regular classroom in a higher performing school. I have not heard one parent say, “You know, I just don’t think that Susie is gifted,” or at the very least: “I don’t think she’s right for that program.”

I’m honestly and unabashedly proud of Haley’s raw intelligence, but when it comes to what she knows and what she’s able to do at this age, I don’t push anything—at all. It’s just my opinion, but I think that she’ll do fine with what she learns in school at the regular pace of the curriculum (and if not, of course I would intervene). It’s not that I won’t do any “pushing,” it’s that I simply think she’s too young. I feel what she really needs is love and encouragement, not the sense that people are trying to feel out her ability. I’m probably a bit sensitive to this issue because I come from a culture in which academic excellence is an extremely prized trait—and I’ve seen too many kids not allowed to be kids.

Consequently, I also fear going to far in the other direction. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t value educational success, too. Like any other parent, I want what’s best for Haley and Hudson, and I know firsthand the advantages that come with performing well in school. I hope that I’ll know to strike while the iron is hot. But for now, I look at my baby girl and I want her to enjoy everything she’s learning—no strings attached.

Ebb and Flow

Friday, October 16th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Some days it seems as though Charlotte is well beyond the early-baby stages. She’ll crawl around, engage actively with her surroundings, flail her arms in her best efforts to communicate her wants and desires, and generally act like a little person. She’s largely back to sleeping through the night without waking, and she has started eating more and more solid food. She is fiercely independent, except when she craves affection or is overly tired, at which point she clings to me like silk on a dry January day.

But then there are the random nights during which she cries out like a newborn in a fit of uncontrollable tears or frustration.

I have long since resigned myself–well before Rory was even a year old–to the fact that the few times that you really, truly, need your children to cooperate from a schedule perspective are the precise times that everything will go wrong. On Wednesday of this week, a day during which I was to be presenting on a panel at an all-day bar association conference, Charlotte decided that she would wake up at 4:30 am and demand to be held until finally falling asleep 45 minutes later. She finally nodded off around the time that I am usually getting in the shower. Meaning that my day effectively began at 4:30 am. I slogged through my all day conference and then an evening networking event on adrenaline and caffeine and the gratitude that it was only a single-day affair.

The good thing about second children is that you have the perspective to know that it gets better– that they become more independent, and that, although their needs shift and change and the demands grow greater with time, the sleep deprivation of these early months is in large part short lived. Thank goodness for that!

Fall Fun

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This weekend we visited our local pumpkin patch. Like so many farms, it has grown from a simple field of pumpkins to a family fall fun destination with many activities for young children. We spent hours running, playing, feeding animals, and getting lost in a corn maze before we finally took a tractor ride out to the actual pumpkin patch. Jack and Tate wait for this day every fall. They love the open fields, the fun attractions for kids, and finding the perfect pumpkin. I love watching them enjoying being kids.

This year was special because my mother, Jack and Tate’s “Grammy,” was here to witness all the fun. The boys led her around and showed her their favorite activities, including a new 100ft. slide that the boys particularly loved. My mother and I sat back and watched nervously as they flew down the hill with smiles on their faces.

The actual pumpkin patch was perched at the top of a hill. We rode on a hay trailer behind a tractor up a ¼ mile bumpy path. When it stopped, we quickly jumped off to find the perfect pumpkin. The boys searched and searched and found their favorite pumpkins. They were determined to carry the pumpkins back to the hayride all by themselves, but they learned that big pumpkins are also very, very heavy. I managed to get a cute photo of them trying.

The pumpkin patch was a fun adventure during the boys’ fall break. Over the last several days off from school, we did as much as we could to relax and enjoy each other’s company. As is so often the case, my kids get up earlier on the days they don’t have school, and they try to sleep in on the days I need them to get out of bed for school. Either way, I’m happy to know their break was time well spent, especially with Grammy in town.

Car Trouble

Monday, October 12th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:

I can’t be the only one.

I can’t be the only one who drives with a screaming child in the car seat. Any mom or dad who has been in the car for upwards of half an hour with a baby, rear facing, in the car seat, knows the dread I am talking about. It’s the feeling you get when your child is crying hysterically, you can’t clearly see him, it makes no sense to stop, and worst of all… you will not be there soon.

Usually I plan longer car trips for Hudson’s naptime so that at some point, he’ll conk out and have some energy for our destination. It didn’t work out that way yesterday. He took two good naps and then our schedule put us on the go. The mercurial nature of NYC stop-and-go traffic was the cherry on the sundae. It’s annoying enough to be delayed in your travels; listening to your baby wail and having no way to comfort him is torturous. What I’ll never understand is how Haley slept soundly through the whole thing!

When people talk about being glad the baby years are over, I think they are reminiscing about moments like this. Being a parent is always difficult, but there is something particularly grating about not being able to communicate with your child. You can’t explain what twenty more minutes is (an episode length of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), and you can’t bribe with treats or toys. There is so alleviating the despair. Sometimes, you just have to be in the car. That’s life. But at least mom and dad can shower you with hugs and kisses just as soon as the destination is reached…whenever the heck that may be!


Friday, October 9th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory and Charlotte have really started to show their love and affection for one another.  Charlotte has been working through a handful of back-to-back colds, mixed with teething, and has been a little out of sorts for the last week or so as a result.  Rory has stepped in–as any dutiful big brother should–and has tried to help keep her in good spirits when she gets fussy.

And he does a remarkably good job of it.  She will be wailing away, and usually all it takes are some silly antics from him to snap her out of it.  It is very cute to watch (recognizing, of course, my own personal bias).

In addition to helping calm her, Rory has also decided that Charlotte is fun to play with.  They spent a solid 15 minutes or so chasing each other around our ottoman in the family room last weekend.  The giggles were absolutely heartwarming.  Rory has also started to articulate his affection for his sister, too.  On Monday evening after school, Rory–in the process of hugging Charlotte– proclaimed to her, “You’re my sweetheart, Charlotte.”

Words do not do justice to describe the way your heart fills when you see your children love and care for one another.  I know it will not always be as happy, but I am so excited to watch their relationship grow.