Archive for February, 2016

And The Oscar Goes To…

Monday, February 29th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I hate to admit it, but I did end up tuning in to Hollywood’s most glamorous night. My feeling about these awards shows is that they are simultaneously pointless and kind of fun. My favorite part is the red carpet. I love analyzing the dresses, the hairstyles, and the jewelry—and deciding who looked the best and let’s face it, the worst. Haley caught just a glimpse of the revelry on TV as she headed to bed and was instantly charmed with the high fashion. Like mother, like daughter!

Watching the show and the admiration heaped on the performers got me thinking about my own little actors. Kids sure are good at putting on a show. There are the moments they intend to perform—the impromptu signing, dancing, and magic shows I’m grateful to witness on a daily basis. And then there are the acting moments designed not for entertainment purposes, but for the kiddos to get whatever it is they want. Haley begging for dessert, Hudson freaking out over a diaper change—oh, the drama! The acting is truly Oscar-worthy!

It’s funny that children learn how to alter their behavior to suit their purposes from such a young age. They only get better at it over time. I suppose that’s part of the human condition. I know I have many more years of dramatics ahead of me. Good thing I love a great performance.

From a Different Angle

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Granddaddy Writes…


Friday Mom is out of town on business all week, so I have been enlisted for this week’s contribution. I’m rusty at parenting young children, but I don’t mind writing about them, especially when they’re my grandkids.

A grandparent’s perspective is special because it isn’t colored by the most recent tantrum, fever, or note about biting from the daycare. We see Rory and Charlotte every four to six weeks. That timing means they still remember—and apparently like—us, but it’s sufficiently infrequent that we quickly pick up on what’s new and different. That’s usually something joyful, which makes those meetings all the more fun.

We also get to see personalities emerge, develop, and become more nuanced. Having a quartet of grandchildren aged 1, 3, 5, and 8 makes that progression all the more apparent. It’s more obvious with Rory and Charlotte, because we see them more frequently, but also because so many changes happen so quickly at younger ages.

Increasingly, we’re aware of the challenges families face when both parents are working professionals whose jobs require they be “always on.” Charlotte and Rory’s parents manage far better than many, and it’s clear that their first allegiance is always to their children. Still, there’s more than enough guilt to go around, and that is a burden parents shouldn’t have to wrestle on top of everything else.

As was the case when our kids were much younger, as grandmother and grandfather we tend to help in different ways—always being supportive without interfering. Never interfere.

While I don’t think I’d want to be dealing with my own toddler 24/7, I’m delighted to be a part of my grandchildren’s lives, and to continue being a father to my own kids, for as much time as it takes to be a good parent—and grandparent.





Sous Chef

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I wrote several blog posts about dinnertime challenges and my kid’s picky palates.  Just when I think something is a safe food that they will eat, they change their minds and push it to the side of their plate. My new plan is to get THEM involved with the cooking process.  I hope this will encourage them to try new foods and like them.
Jack and Tate like to help me make cookies, brownies, cakes, and pies and decorate cupcakes.  They are always helpful when sugar is involved. Last night, I asked Jack if he wanted to take his cooking to the next level and prepare our dinner. Jack was hesitant, but he was excited when I assured him I would be supervising and helping him through the process.
Spaghetti was on the menu, a basic meal he could start with.  I explained stove-top safety, and made sure he was careful of the boiling water. He learned what the idiom “a watched pot never boils” means. I handled the oven and the dinner rolls because his arms aren’t long enough to reach over the hot oven door. He was careful to be smart about the stove-top burners and watched the timer count down until the pasta was ready.
Now I know that Jack is perfectly capable of cooking a very basic meal, with a little supervision, of course. He was shocked that it wasn’t too complicated.  I hope my kids learn to love cooking and, more importantly, eating their dinner. I’m hoping if they help cook, mealtime becomes less of a battle.

Little Snowflakes

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
They say every child is different, but you don’t realize how true that axiom is until you are actually raising two (or more). Hudson is closing in on 17 months old and it’s amazing how unlike he is from his sister at this age.

At this age, Haley was saying several words and animal sounds, and was pointing at her body parts on command quite reliably. Hudson says stuff and points too, but he spends more of his day giggling. Haley was fussy as ever with food. Hudson eats whatever you put on his tray. His willingness to try new dishes is amazing. This is what I wished for when Haley was a toddler. With Haley, naps were usually a battle. Hudson goes down reliably and sleeps at least an hour and change. That duration was always Haley’s max!

I wonder what all of these differences can be attributed to. Maybe I’ve learned a thing or two the second time around, hence the improved eating and sleeping patterns. Perhaps their genetics play a role. And maybe there’s something to be said about opposite genders and the corresponding natural inclinations. I’ve heard that boys are often slower to gain cognitive skills and tend to be heartier eaters. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I really enjoy it. When you have one kid, you think you know everything about how babies act and react. It’s such a pleasure to learn another personality. I look forward to every stage of their lives. As they grow into young adults, I relish experiencing everything they have in common with one another, and everything they don’t.


Friday, February 19th, 2016

Charlotte has a surgical consult today with a pediatric plastic surgeon.  She was born with a dermoid cyst on her eyebrow.  It’s a perfectly benign thing, but according to her doctor it will continue to grow over time and, given its location and the potential to impact her vision, we should have it removed.  So she will be having surgery at some point in the next few months.  Her pediatrician suggests doing it before she is old enough to fight back too much.  Though, given the fight in this little girl, we may be too late already.

Once she finishes that consult, we are likely going to be seeing an allergist, as well.  I grew up with a fairly harsh allergy to bananas, of all things.  We were careful introducing them into easch child’s diet for that very reason.  Rory had no issue with them, and loves them.  Charlotte didn’t have them until last weekend.  And we–at the risk of over-sharing–dealt with the gastrointestinal repercussions the better part of this week.

We’ll likely be sitting tight on the allergy front until Charlotte’s next pediatrician appointment.  We need to get his thoughts on the matter, and we’re fine with the avoidance approach until then.

We’ve had the very good fortune to date of having pretty happy and healthy kids.  I know that seeing a plastic surgeon for a relatively minor procedure and an allergist for a mild gastrointestinal allergy are both pretty mild issues to have to address.  But the newness of it to us as parents has raised a new trigger of concern and angst.  I’m sure it all will go swimmingly, and I feel fortunate to be in a major metropolitan area with a tremendous Children’s Hospital.  I’m sure it will be interesting to see her little face appear once free of the characteristic bump on her eyebrow.  Perhaps by thinking of it as getting to see her true profile, I’ll feel a little less nervous about it all.   We shall see.


Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate’s grandmother gave them her old iPad last fall. My husband updated it and created an ID for the kids on our family share. Basically, he made sure the kids only have access to software and content WE approve of. He installed some kids games and educational software. We put it in a kid-proof case and came up with some ground rules.

First and foremost, there is no fighting over the iPad. Misbehaving children do not get to use the iPad. If you break these simple rules, the iPad will be donated to charity. The boys have actually been great at sharing the iPad and following the rules. When they did argue, we took it away from them and stuck to our guns as parents.

This week my husband was updating some Apps on the kids’ iPad when he decided to enable Facetime and iMessage so that the kids could follow him on his travels for work and even Facetime him all over the world. The boys immediately began to Facetime and iMessage their Dad and me, as well as their grandparents… at all hours of the day. It is cute to get an emoji-laden text from your kindergartener, especially when he tells you he loves you on Valentine’s Day.

However, a Facetime call while in a meeting and a nonsensical text message at 5:45 AM? Not so cute. So we have had to make some new rules for the iPad this week regarding appropriate iMessage usage and the why Facetime isn’t safe while driving. My husband opened Pandora’s box for our kids, but we are doing our best to help our kids adjust to a very connected world.

Story Time

Monday, February 15th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
When I eliminated Hudson’s bedtime nursing session, I created a new routine of: bath, pajamas, story time, two songs in the rocking chair, and straight into the crib. I’m so pleased that he took the new schedule really well, and didn’t seem to miss the milk too much. If Haley wasn’t dawdling in the bath or still working on her dessert, she would join us for story time. It was so exciting to think that reading to both kids before bedtime was a ritual that could become a reality!

Unfortunately Haley developed a habit of not only deciding she didn’t want to read a story with us (usually because she became absorbed in a show), but also declaring that she didn’t want Hudson and me to read a story either. She didn’t want to miss out! She enjoyed story time, but not enough to attend. And if she wasn’t willing to attend, no one would!

However, Hudson enjoys his story. So now, I read him a board book every night but I pretend that I don’t. If Haley asks you, please tell her that we’re just doing songs and Hudson goes straight to bed! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

For a few pleasant weeks, we had a good thing going. It’s a good reminder that this parenting thing ebbs and flows. Just because I can’t cuddle up with the kids at night and enjoy a story doesn’t mean it will always be this way. I look forward to when my two kids will both be compliant. I’ve really been wanting to get into that Harry Potter series one of these days.

Have a great week!

Little Bully

Friday, February 12th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We received an incident report from Charlotte’s teachers earlier this week.  One of her classmates had bitten her hand.  Fortunately, the skin was not broken, though she does have some tooth marks and bruising as a result of the altercation.

As with any call from school, we were a little surprised by the call.  What was not terribly shocking, however, was that Charlotte was the instigator in the incident.  She had stolen a toy from one of her daycare classmates and refused to return it.  Her poor classmate lashed out in frustration and chomped down.  Even after the bite, Charlotte still refused to relinquish her grasp on the toy.  In fact, her teachers seemed quite surprised by her strength.

Charlotte’s feisty nature comes across as somewhat surprising.  She comes by her spunk and determination honestly, but we still get a chuckle out of watching this pea-sized toddler taking on kids two-months her junior but twice her size.  Having watched her brother steal toys from her over and over again, I’m not terribly shocked to see her mimic his behaviors. Time will likely resolve this one, but Mommy and Daddy are on the watch as well.


Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate are excited for Valentine’s Day. They picked out Yoda cards for their classmates complete with a glow stick light saber. They’re positive their friends will get a kick out of them. The school Valentine’s parties are this week, as well. I know my boys are looking forward to candy and treats. The school is also raising funds for the 5th grade field trip to Washington D.C. in part with a lollipop sale. The boys bought several for their friends. At least some good will comes from all this candy.

The boys are even more excited by a visit from their grandmother. They have been getting extra love and attention all week. Their grandmother has helped with schoolwork, housework, soccer and reading skills. Tate has been particularly happy to read books to his grandmother and recently learned how to send iMessages from his iPad to his family. The house was full of dings, beeps, buzzes and alarms on various phones, computers and iPads.

Despite the noise, it’s worth it for the kids to be able to communicate with their loved ones, especially when daddy is traveling for work. Unfortunately, my husband won’t be with us to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I’m sure Jack and Tate’s newfound way of communication will be a sweet surprise to him.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monday, February 8th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Hudson loves his big sister. He’s always giving her hugs or poking at her face (the way only a toddler can show love). He laughs at her antics. He steals her food. He chases her all over the place. Their most adorable interaction is when Haley does something new and you can see the gears clicking in Hudson’s mind as he thinks: “I want to get in on that!”

Haley was searching for a toy over the weekend when she came upon a large plastic egg from Easter. She then made me record her opening the egg, over and over again, as she ‘discovered’ different little toys inside (that she had put in there). Naturally, Hudson had to do the same. He needed quite a bit of help opening and closing the egg, but he was undeterred. He just had to do what “Sister” was doing.

Later, Haley started jumping up and down. Hudson is not quite able to accomplish that fancy footwork, but he tried. He would bend his knees really slowly, and pop up as if he were jumping, though his feet didn’t leave the ground. It’s hard to describe, but it was hilarious. Especially since after each “jump” he smiled exuberantly and applauded for himself heartily. If he was proud of his accomplishment, who am I to take it away from him?

I really love seeing Haley and Hudson play together. Sometimes they get into skirmishes, but overall they really love and appreciate one another. I hope it’s a bond that remains throughout childhood and beyond.