Archive for April, 2016

Gentle Touch

Friday, April 29th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
It really does seem as though there is a rash of toddler misbehavior plaguing our mommy bloggers. Although Rory, fortunately, hasn’t bitten anyone recently, it’s our little girl who has run into behavior problems lately.  Likely a function of how much she and Rory wrestle and roughhouse at home, Charlotte is inclined to tug on her friends or even crawl over and/or sit on them at daycare.  The absurdity of it is that she is about half the size of most of her classmates, many of whom ought to be able to shove her off easily.  However, she is the only younger sibling in her current classroom– the remaining children are all first children that haven’t been subjected to the rough play of their older siblings.

I don’t say that to excuse the issue, but it’s been an interesting obstacle to work through with her teachers and at home.  Her teachers all readily accept and willingly agree that it’s good to have a young girl with such a strong and confident personality.  They also admit that they find it humorous to watch her take down kids twice her size.  But, they also have a classroom to oversee, discipline to instill in these children, and, obviously, the health and safety of the other children to protect.

At Charlotte’s age, redirection really is the only way to combat Charlotte’s combative ways.  We’ve been trying to work with Rory on teaching her the importance of gentle touch and to tone down the rough play at home.  But, I have to admit, I want her to be able to stand up to her big brother, so it’s quite the balance to try to strike.  We’ll continue to emphasize the importance of using words to talk through conflicts and being gentle to one another.  For now, that is probably the best we can do.

Grandparent Love

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate’s grandparents are visiting with us this week. It’s been a great week so far. The boys enjoy games, light saber battles, yard work, and learning to golf with their Pappy. Thankfully, the weather is beautiful and we can play outside. I appreciate the helping hands, conversation, and quality time with my parents.

We have a busy week ahead of us, and I’m glad my parents are here to take in all the excitement with us. We are looking forward to Field Day at the boys’ school. It’s a fun day for the students and parents. There are lots of activities and events, along with some chaos. Jack is coaching Tate on his first Field Day. I hope the 50-meter dash will be as exciting for Tate as the concession stand.

We enjoy talking to my parents on a regular basis, but Face Time doesn’t compare to the cuddles and laughter we share when we’re together. Their visits always seem to fly by. With the minimal time we all get to spend with one other, I love knowing the boys are making memories that will last their lifetime.

One More Bite

Monday, April 25th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Too funny that Friday Mom’s little boy, Rory, has been having some issues with biting lately. Well, maybe not funny for her, but coincidental in that I’m having the same problem with Hudson. He has been biting everyone, but the poor soul taking the brunt of his noshing is Haley. Makes sense—after all, she is the kid he plays with the most. Considering his verbal skills are not that well developed, he feels he has no choice but to voice his frustration by engaging in physical assault. He’s not above giving you a good smack, either.

I don’t condone his behavior, but I understand where he’s coming from. His pal “Sister” is bigger and stronger, so what she says pretty much goes. Hudson can’t plead his case, but he wants to be heard, or felt, as the case may be. He either screams and cries or bites and hits. Those are all bad options.

I’m trying to explain to Hudson that ‘no biting’ is pretty much a hard and fast rule. He definitely understands what I’m saying. He still doesn’t listen, though. In fact, he often laughs when being chastised. Haley is particularly irritated at those moments. What are really fun are the instances when he bites her, she cries, I admonish him, and then he cries.

We can’t put all the blame on the little guy. Haley can definitely be bossy. I’m trying to teach her to be more patient and selfless with her baby brother. That’s another lesson that’s sinking in very slowly. Hopefully as their relationship develops, so will their ability to engage peacefully with each other.


Friday, April 22nd, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
There seems to be a biting bug going around Rory’s daycare classroom.  Last Friday, when one of Rory’s friends refused to share the toy he was playing with, he chomped down on her arm.  I arrived for pick-up to learn, mortified, of his transgression.  His teacher informed me about it, and said that Rory needed to work on asking teachers when his friends fail to share.  I watched as he listened intently and responded to her redirection and instructive scolding.

We ran into the friend he bit on our way out of the building.  She was very upset and insistent on asking for an apology.  Rory tilted his head awkwardly in his signature “I’m guilty but refuse to admit it” position and refused to respond.  Fortunately, his classmate’s father was very understanding and didn’t make it any more awkward than the situation already was.

I was hoping that the biting tactic had ceased.  But I arrived home today to learn that Rory had been the victim of a bite today.  One of his very good friends who he has been close with since his first year at daycare grew upset that Rory wouldn’t play with him, and apparently bit him.  The precise details remain a little unclear.  We tried to talk with him during bath time and received a slight explanation: “Gray wanted to bury leaves in the dirt, and I said no.”  Something tells me that wasn’t quite what happened.  Especially since his daddy arrived as his teacher was asking, “Well, Rory, did he ask you to stop. . .”

Rory informed us at bedtime tonight that he would not be biting anyone tomorrow.  “Biting is not nice,” he explained.  Here’s hoping he remembers that promise the next time he gets frustrated with his classmates.

Mama Chauffeur

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
There are pros and cons to minivan ownership. The abundant space is the best perk. We love how much stuff we can put inside our van. It’s made packing for family vacations a breeze, hauling kids and sports equipment simultaneously possible, and the gas mileage is reasonable. I’m always a little embarrassed walking up to my mom-mobile, but once I fire her up, I’m truly happy with our purchase.

Now that both Jack and Tate are involved in sports, we’ve met many families with a similar schedule. For the time being, my kids play in the same soccer organization and they share fields at two complexes. It can still get dicey at times when my husband is out of town, but somehow it’s worked out. However, some parents have multiple children playing different sports at different locations during all times of the day and simply can’t manage to get everyone where they need to be on time. (I have my own opinions about this dilemma, but we’ll save that for another blog post.)

As of late, with sport seasons overlapping, I am everyone’s chauffeur. I’m thinking the minivan is a big red flag alerting everyone just how many people it can haul. At first, I felt a little hassled keeping up with the amount of text messages I’d receive daily asking if I could take this person to a practice, and then another text asking if I could bring these children home, and another one asking if I could pickup or take home their children from school. It was getting to the point where I was so concerned I would leave someone stranded, I had to constantly set reminders on my phone who I was taking when and where. Honestly, I started to become annoyed. After several weeks of helping out, I realized I was being selfish, and my friends were extremely thankful for the support. I put myself in their position and recognized I would be very appreciative for the support, as well.

Jack and Tate love when we have company riding in the minivan. It’s almost like a mini-play date. They catch up with a friend, or tell funny jokes. I also like the fact that they see how we’re helping out a parent/friend. I hope they will learn to return the favor. I know a time(s) will come soon where I will be the mom asking for help, so I am happy to assist while I have the extra time and the means to do so.

Older and Wiser

Monday, April 18th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:

Now that Haley is five, I’m noticing many new developments in her behavior. She is more patient that she used to be. She listens a bit better. She retains more information when something is being explained to her, and she understands more complicated details. She is more curious—asking deeper questions about space, prehistoric animals and history. Her baby-like drawl is slowly being replaced by big kid pronunciations. She waits a bit longer than she used to start whining when we’re running (what feels like) an endless errand. 

Don’t get me wrong. We still have our challenges. I wouldn’t call it “talking back,” but Haley is increasingly creative when defending herself in the face of some unfair rule. She knows how to open the front door with the use of a stool, and has become emboldened enough to actually do it. She can also be a bit too forceful with her brother when he frustrates her. Ironically, Haley is learning a lot about what it takes to deal with a little one!

I have to say, I enjoy this phase. It’s amusing to see what Haley will come up with next. I wouldn’t say ‘I hate the baby phase” like so many other do, but I don’t enjoy the constant anxiety of caring for a little person who has no way to express herself and faces actual danger pretty regularly. I let more roll off my back these days. If Haley can be a bit sassy, she still has a great heart, is polite and loving. It’s such a joy to keep experience the person she’s becoming.

Ms. Independent

Monday, April 18th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte was diagnosed with an ear infection last week.  Although her doctor gave us the option of waiting it out and holding off on antibiotics for a few days to see if it cleared on its own, we ultimately decided that her demeanor had been a little too much for a little too long and decided to fill her prescription.

We regretted that decision the moment we loaded the first medicine dropper of the liquid suspension.  She. HATED. It.

Rory hated medicine when he was Charlotte’s age, so we weren’t shocked.  What we did find shocking, however, was that none of our surefire deception techniques were working for her.  Hiding it in yogurt– nope.  Hiding it in pudding– nope.  Blowing on her face to distract her– most certainly not.  We averaged somewhere a consumption rate of approximately 50-percent for the first few days and were close to giving up.

Like any good parent, I called in reinforcements.  At my mom’s suggestion, we handed Charlotte the medicine loaded dropper to see if she’d feed it to herself.  That failed.  But, she did seem interested enough that I tried putting it into a spoon and letting her feed herself.  Finally, she seemed receptive.  For the past few days, we’ve been hiding it in things that she is happy to feed herself.  And she’s been quite receptive.

Guess we’ve got an independent one on our hands.  This is going to be a wild ride.

Big Personality

Friday, April 15th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte is going to be a handful.  She has so much personality for such a little girl.  And it is hilarious to watch.

When we arrive at daycare each morning, there are hugs for her classmates, hugs for her classmates’ parents, hugs for her teachers, hugs for the director and other administrative staff, and plenty of goodbye hugs for me and her big brother.  There are also plenty of hellos and bye-byes.

She also refuses help and insists upon doing many, many things all by herself.  Whether opening the crayon box, holding her own spoon, holding her own cup, putting on her own jacket (or trying), picking up toys, or trying to put on her own shoes, she insists on independence.

None of these things are particularly unique to toddlers her age, but she is so much more outgoing than her older brother that her enthusiasm is very new to us.  It is a daily reminder of how no two children are the same.  And we are looking forward to whatever the next surprise she brings may be.

Movie Night

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

One of my favorite ways to spend quality time with Jack and Tate is snuggling on the couch watching a movie together. It’s a time where we’re all relaxed and able to enjoy a story line all in the comfort of our home. The popcorn and treats are a nice bonus, too. We have these nights often as a family, but I find myself hosting more when Daddy is out of town.

Over the weekend, after a LONG day on the soccer fields, we decided a movie night was in store. I scrolled through Netflix looking at our options. Jack insisted we watch ET. I was excited, and shared with him my childhood memories of the movie. It’s been decades since I last watched ET, so I was up for a good walk down memory lane.

The boys sat next to my side nestled in their blankets. At first, they were a little scared of the eerie music and weird alien, but quickly became enthralled in the story. Jack and Tate were curious where this alien came from, and I was getting a kick out of all the 80’s attire, toys, technology, and random flashbacks. By the end of the movie, Jack and Tate were sad to see their alien friend say goodbye, but agreed it was a great flick.

The movie was a great way to end our Saturday night. The boys were calm and went to bed without any negotiation- a rarity in our house. Before I know it, Jack and Tate will have plans of their own on the weekend, and I am sad to even think about that. For now, we’ll share lots of snuggles while we can.

Confidence Boost

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
There is nothing more saddening than your child crying in hysterics because things just aren’t going their way. A couple weeks ago, Jack and I were driving home from soccer practice and he couldn’t hold his emotions back anymore. He was so upset with himself for not scoring a goal at the most opportune time, he didn’t have the perfect footwork and he didn’t stop the ball as a defender. The list went on and on.

As a mom, I want the best for my kids. I want Jack to do well, but I also want him to learn from his mistakes. I did my best talking him through his troubles on the ride home. I gave him positive feedback and told him the wonderful things he does do on a daily basis. This wasn’t helping. It also wasn’t helping that it was close to 9pm on a school night and he was absolutely exhausted. No matter what I said, Jack was not cheering up.

We got home and Jack wiped tears from his cheek. He took a nice shower to rinse off the mud that was splattered all over him. He got ready for bed, and asked me to tuck him in. I gave him a kiss and told him to get a good night sleep and tomorrow will be a new day. He apologized for his behavior, but said it felt good to release his frustrations.

The next day, Jack had a much better attitude about soccer. He went to the next practice with renewed determination. He was much more responsive to his coaches critiques and performed well. Even when he made a mistake, he shook it off and continued on. Later that week, he gave his all at his game and managed to score for his team. Jack was really happy, which made me happy, too. That little boost of confidence renewed his love of the sport. I’m happy to know Jack has experienced a little life lesson, and was able to move on and persevere.