Archive for November, 2015

Making Memories

Monday, November 30th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I always dreamed of seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. I grew up in the New York City area but had never gone. It’s one of those things that is so accessible, you think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I’ll definitely go one day,” but it just never happens. Once I had Haley, I figured the show was something she would love. This year, I felt that she was old enough to sit through the performance and appreciate it. We went last week, and it was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!

Haley was excited when we got to the venue, as it was decked out for the holidays. Once we got to our seats, the complaints started, right on schedule. We were in the front row of our level with a great view, but she whined that there were seats closer and wanted to move up. I had to calmly explain to her that it didn’t work that way. Early in the show, a screen descended with a quick 3D clip. Haley didn’t want to wear her glasses. She soon became fussy and slumped in her seat.

Next she said she wanted a snack—not the goldfish crackers in the Ziploc bag in my purse, of course—a snack “from Radio City Music Hall.” I knew this was my ace in the hole. If she got to buy a snack, she’d eat and watch the show intently. Never mind that a small popcorn, hot chocolate and Coke were over twenty dollars! Once she was settled with her treat, she watched every number, asked great questions and clapped with the audience. When we got home, she was even practicing her high kicks!

I look forward to bringing Hudson to the Christmas Spectacular when he’s old enough, too. Despite the bumps in the road, we all had a great time and really got into the Christmas spirit. Sometimes kids need a little push and a little coddling to be convinced to enjoy themselves. It’s so worth it to see the look on their faces when they finally do.

Giving Thanks

Monday, November 30th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
This Thanksgiving had us counting our blessings. A dear friend of ours got news over the holiday weekend that his nephew—a month younger than Rory—has a genetic digestive disorder that has been affecting his appetite and will mean the beginning of a fairly lengthy battery of tests and treatments to determine the extent of the impact it will have on his lifestyle. His younger brother and sister-in-law received word from their specialist while home visiting with family, and the news cast a fairly dark cloud over the family’s collective celebrations. They are at the very early stages and have no sense of the ultimate impact the disorder will have. In sum—they are still in the stage of discomforting uncertainty.

We also learned of the passing of the grandson of one of the sports icons that has shaped our recent college sports rivalries in the past decade. Though obviously far, far more remote to our own small family, the story of a young boy spending his fifth year of life faced with the diagnosis of a terminal, inoperable brain tumor cuts to the quick of any parent’s heart. How can it not.

The emotion one feels as a parent when grappling with such misfortune at a distance is clearly nothing compared to those who face it directly. To say that parenting carries with it a host of emotions is a tremendous understatement. From the feelings of surprise at the depth and breadth of emotion you feel toward your own children, to the shock of unfortunate news affecting parents you barely know—parenthood opens a host of emotional connections you had never felt or shared. And, at the start of this holiday season, it makes us realize what a gift it is to have two happy, healthy children. So very, very much to be thankful for, indeed.

The Little Moments

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Every day when I pick up Jack and Tate from school, I look forward to seeing the smiles on their faces when we greet each other at the end of the school day. It’s a little moment that makes my heart skip a beat. I’ve missed their faces all day. I love to hear the excitement about what they loved (or didn’t love) at school that day. It’s a moment we’ve shared almost daily since they started school.

Every night when I put my boys to bed, I look forward to tucking them in and kissing them each on the cheek. They always say “I love you, Mommy, I’ll see you in the morning.” Sweet words I’ll never get sick of hearing.

The other moments that keep me going are when Tate will grab my hand without me telling him to as we cross the street, or when Jack cuddles up next to me when we’re watching a movie. Also, the look of determination the boys convey when they’re learning and exploring new things, and to see the light bulb go off when it all clicks is especially uplifting. These moments are what parenthood is all about.

Over the years, we’ve had our struggles… tantrums, sibling squabbles, and days I just wanted to redo. But, the little moments of apologies, and heartfelt makeup hugs are what kept me in line. I knew I was doing something right, even during a time where I felt like I was failing at motherhood.

At the end of they day, life is fueled by these little moments. No matter how weary or frustrated I feel, I think about these said moments and instantly feel brighter. I’m thankful to share these little moments with my kids. They’ll forever be remembered in my heart.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!


Monday, November 23rd, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Today, I have for your reading pleasure a rare interview with princess expert Haley, aged four:

Q: Tell me about princesses.

A: “They are really pretty and wear fancy dresses. And they, um, and they have a prince to talk with. Each of them have a prince to talk with.”

Q: And what is special about being a princess?

A: “Treating kindness and being nice.”

Q: Who is your favorite princess?

A: “Jasmine.”

Q: Why?

A: “It’s ‘cuz she looks so beautiful and I love her shoes.”

Q: What do princesses do for fun?

A: “Um, having a tea party?”

Q: What does a princess wear?

A: “A dress.”

Q: Can she wear pants or another outfit if she wants?

A: “Yeah, like Jasmine.”

Q: Where does a princess live?

A: “In a castle!”

Q: With whom?

A: “Um, a prince? And a king and a queen?”

Q: Have you ever met a princess?

A: “Yes! Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White.”

The princess obsession is here to stay, so I figure I may as well embrace it. I am happy to hear the princesses she admires so are kind and nice—even if part of her admiration is due to their fancy footwear! I’m a bit over princesses myself, but I’ll hang in there as long as I need to. I know the days she’s willing to share her interests with me won’t last forever. I can handle dresses and tea parties if it means fun times with my little girl.

Covering the Spectrum

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin
It is interesting to see just how many different types of teachers our children have encountered in their collectively limited time in daycare.  We have had one or both of them in four out of five of the classrooms at their current center, and no two experiences have been the same.  Yes, there is a high degree of love and caring in all of the rooms, but the attention to and interaction with parents can be worlds apart.

I say it not out of criticism, but out of an intellectual realization of the different impacts different educational styles can have on our children.  For example, Rory’s head teacher last year had a loving but commanding presence, but his teacher this year is a bit more free-spirited.  He may just be getting better now at testing limits, but he also seems a bit more flighty himself.

Their current teachers are also very different in terms of the level of feedback we receive.  We have literally no idea how Rory is progressing relative to any developmentally based mile markers right now.  His teacher provides us with funny stories and tells us whether he ate well, but says very little beyond that.  Her remarks in the online, interactive database repeat these same stories.

In contrast, Charlotte’s teacher sends pictures with detailed descriptions of developmental milestones and focus areas.  In addition to filling up my photo stream, it gives us a better overall sense of how she spends her days.

Coming from a family of educators, I find it interesting to view these perspectives for the first time as a parent.  I hope I can find the ability to be a little less judgmental about it all as the years go on, though something tells me my opinions may simply grow stronger.



Family and Friend Support

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
My family is my rock. I can always rely on them for support, especially my husband. They always offer a shoulder to cry on even if it’s via phone or text. They listen to me vent on occasion, and they lift me up when I am down. As a military spouse, times can be very hard. As I’ve mentioned before, I live far away from family, but unlimited talk and text are wonderful little luxuries. I’m so appreciative for everything my family does to help me out.

I have no local relatives, so when I need help picking up the kids or being two places at once, I rely on my trusted network of friends. I have made great friends over the years in the Navy, and now that my kids are in school and sports, I’ve befriended some local families who were generous enough to take me in under their wings and provide an extra hand when needed. I can’t thank them enough.

I’m thankful for the relationships I’ve been blessed with over the years. The support, encouragement, and love my family and friends provide to me is something I value. I hope I give the same back as they give to me.



The Tough Questions

Monday, November 16th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Unfortunately, we had a death in the family a few days ago. My uncle had been in poor health for a very long time, but of course it was still sad to process the loss. I knew I’d have to tread carefully in discussing it with Haley. She’d been asking a lot of questions about death lately—for no reason other than she’s simply getting to that age. Now, here was someone she actually knew, gone, so I was nervous to see how she would handle it. I also figure she’s old enough that she might always remember this event, so I wanted to discuss it in a way that wouldn’t scare her.

Haley seemed to handle everything really well. She asked a lot of insightful questions—some were actually funny—and we answered as best we could, in age-appropriate ways according to our belief system. I’m not sure we did the best job; we made heaven sound pretty cool (and that’s where Great-Grandma is!) so she seems somewhat eager to go there. Not exactly what we were going for!

I know Haley will have more questions as she gets older and has a better understanding of the nature of the world. Whether the answers we give are right or wrong, I hope we always convey that she can ask us anything.

Face Plant

Friday, November 13th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
When we were considering putting in an offer on our current house, I was concerned about the fact that the first floor has a number of single steps up and/or down in a range of locations. There’s a single step down from the dining room into the kitchen, and from the laundry room into the family room. There are two smaller steps from the family room down into the playroom, and a steep short flight from the front door down into our mudroom.

My concern at the time was that Rory would be unstable or have difficulty with them. I also feared that his friends might have similar difficulty. Fortunately, but for a few bumps and bruises, Rory sailed through our first summer in the house without much difficulty.

Charlotte, however, is a different story.

The problem with single steps is that Charlotte doesn’t really understand the need to turn around and crawl down them backwards. She is constantly on the move, and having to stop, turn around, and slide down the step backward takes far more time than reaching carefully over the step and sliding down to the lower level. Half of the time, this approach works just fine. The other half, she finds herself rolling sideways or otherwise tumbling down the step.

It has only happened three or four times, but each time it does, we feel horrible that we failed to convince her to turn around. We’ve asked her teachers at daycare to try to reinforce the need to turn around and crawl down backwards, but she will have none of it. The alternative is to start putting up more gates and doors, but with an almost three year old, that is not a particularly viable option.

So for now we’ll work even harder at getting Charlotte to spin around BEFORE heading down the stairs. Fingers crossed she catches on soon.


Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:

I’m thankful for laughter and all the joy it brings. Laughter is, in my opinion, the best medicine. It heals broken hearts, builds friendships, and never gets old. There is nothing better than a hard belly laugh with my family and friends.

One of the many qualities I admire about my husband is his ability to make people laugh. He is quite the comedian and he doesn’t go a day without amusing his family. He induces laughter on the spot. One of us will giggle from his jokes and before we know it, the entire family is laughing uncontrollably. It’s amazing how those boisterous sounds exude a rush of emotions like no other. I’m grateful for a family who makes me laugh out loud to the point of tears pouring out of my eyes.

In stressful times, laughing is often my only therapy. It helps issues seem more manageable. Whether it’s stress from my children, staying on task with schedules, bills, or life in general, a little chuckle throughout the day keeps me level headed, even if that means laughing at myself.



Girls’ Trip

Monday, November 9th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
For the first time since becoming a mom, I took an adults-only trip with some girlfriends this past weekend. I’m not going to lie- it was awesome! These are girls I don’t see very often, as we’re spread throughout the country. But when we get together, we don’t miss a beat. They are friends I can be completely myself around. It was so comforting to spend some time with them. And the fact that I wasn’t distracted and consumed by the tasks of parenthood made the weekend all the more enjoyable.

Obviously I missed Haley and Hudson. But I knew they were well taken care of and having a blast ignoring Mommy’s usual rules. I told Haley I would be gone two days. Well, she thought two days meant Friday and Saturday. When she got home from school on Friday, she cried when she discovered I was coming back Sunday, not the next day. When I heard this, I wanted to turn around and head back home! Of course the next day she was fine. I can understand her confusion. I will be sure to provide a four year-old level of clarity in the future.

Hudson cried when I left, but then was utterly fine the rest of the weekend. I felt like he changed so much in the two days I was gone. It may have been imperceptible to most, but I could see that he was moving and playing slightly more confidently than he was before. That’s how fast they change in early toddlerhood.

It made me feel a little sad to miss out on the kids for a few days, but not so sad that I won’t go on another girls’ trip! In order to fully appreciate their antics, I need to recharge every now and then. Every mom deserves a break. I’m so glad I got one.