Archive for May, 2016

Parenting in the 21st Century

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
One day, before I had kids, I was out for a walk with some girlfriends, all of whom were pushing strollers with little ones. We were on our way to a restaurant for dinner. I was chatting away when I noticed a little guy holding something and watching it very intently. It was a large iPod (these were the days before iPads). The boy was watching a video as we strolled. I was perplexed. The boy was about two years old. I turned to his mother and said, “Is that an iPod?” Her response was: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

People without children are all kinds of judgmental, which, it’s kind of easy to be when you have no clue what you’re talking about. My perspective has changed immensely. Goodness knows, my children love their screens. (They don’t, however, use them when they are outdoors. I still maintain that is ridiculous.)

Haley loves unwinding from a busy day by watching a few YouTube videos on the iPad. Unfortunately the iPad has become Hudson’s new obsession, because if Haley does something, then so must he. He’s not super adept at using it. He presses the main button and sort of bats at it hoping it will swipe to different screens. I always get nervous that he’ll get frustrated and throw it, a very real concern with a one year old.

Folks can switch to dumb phones and “cut the cord” all they want, but new technology is here to stay, and definitely when it comes to entertainment. Kids are always going to want in on the action, and there will always be concerns about what they are exposed to. Haley recently said, “Mom, when I see a commercial for a thing, it makes me want the thing.” Were truer words ever spoken? I think this issue comes down to the same thing almost all aspects of parenting do: knowing where to set limits and when to say ‘no’. But you try saying ‘no’ to toddler holding an expensive piece of computing over his head with no fear of smashing it to the ground.

Have a great week, everyone!

Class Clown

Friday, May 27th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I had Rory’s parent teacher conference yesterday.  I was told he was doing great in just about every area, with two small exceptions.  

The first was no surprise:  he does not do well managing emotions and, as a result, is prone to crying or tattling when his friends do something he doesn’t like.  We have been told we need to work with him on talking through his feelings more.

The other observation was more surprising.  He doesn’t like to give the right answer when asked a question in a group setting.  He acts “shy” or claims not to know, even when he truly does.  I found it shocking that little Mr. know-it-all doesn’t like to share his thoughts.  

His daddy didn’t find it all that surprising.  We have always known Rory to be a little bit of a showman.  Based on his teacher’s explanation, it seems that he would rather get giggles from his friends than chime in with the right answer.  

Hopefully it is a nerve thing and we can help him past it.  But for now we have our “to do” list, and are looking forward to his new classroom.

Last Day of School!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

We said goodbye to our friends last week. This week, Jack and Tate said goodbye to their school. Our emotions ran high over the last several days. I’m excited one minute and sad the next. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be this hard to leave. Our youngest is finishing Kindergarten, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around how quickly the years are flying by. In two years, Jack will be in middle school. Wow!

We really enjoyed our little elementary school. The teachers and staff were nothing but fantastic to both Jack and Tate. Even though schools in our state aren’t highly rated, I’m confident my boys received a great foundation for their education. Am I nervous about their transition? Absolutely, but I know that no matter where the boys go, there will be an adjustment period.

I delivered a note and some freshly picked flowers to the school office, thanking them for four wonderful years. To my surprise, when I set the vase on the counter, I was in tears. I have no idea where the burst of emotions came from, but those tears reminded me that we are all going to miss the great teachers/staff, the fun learning environment, and the friendships my kids enjoyed everyday. I’m looking forward to seeing what the new school offers. Hopefully it’s the same, if not better, than what we are used to. We are looking forward to a fresh start and a new adventure in life.


Jet Setters

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

For the last few days, we traveled to Toronto, Canada to visit some relatives and attend a wedding. Like any parent, I was nervous about air travel with little ones, but it went pretty well. Every time they even touched the seat in front of them, my heart skipped a beat. But the people sitting around us as well as the flight attendants complimented me on how good they were. We head back today so hopefully it goes just as well.

It was really fun catching up with relatives and introducing them to Hudson for the first time. The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins. Haley also really enjoyed learning more about the culture of the Indian side of her family. Her favorite part was definitely dressing up in her festive clothing. She was so proud of herself—she knew how cute she looked!

I feel very fortunate to be able to give my kids new, exciting experiences. It’s also cool to know that as they get older, they will be able to handle much more. Perhaps, in the future, trips to international cities will involve more than just the hotel pool! The kids were certainly troopers, but I couldn’t push them too hard to sightsee or shop. But whatever they get out of it, I’m happy about it— even if it’s just the fun of eating room service in bed. After running around two kids every day, I’m partial to the relaxing-type vacation myself.

Moving on up

Friday, May 20th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Daycare provided their transition notices this week.  Both Rory and Charlotte are moving up to the next classroom in the beginning of July, and we are looking forward to it.

For Rory, it means that we avoid the problem we encountered last summer. Last year, we could tell he was simply ready to move up to the older classroom.  This year, although he may be moving a bit earlier than some of his closest friends, we are hopeful it will mean that the summer months will be more enjoyable for him.  Maybe he’ll even get a few field trips in, too!

For Charlotte, I am very hopeful that it means that she’ll continue with her verbal development at a quick clip.  I remember seeing a marked improvement for Rory when he moved up to the next class– the increased emphasis on language enabled us to communicate with him much more easily.

I’m excited to see how they each handle the changes and looking forward to watching them continue to thrive.

Heartfelt Goodbyes

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Whatever your age, it’s tough saying goodbye to friends. As a military spouse, I feel like saying goodbye is always part of the deal. It’s never easy, but we have to do it. This time is different. My kids are the ones who must say goodbye, and start a new life in a new place.

Last week, Jack’s classmate friends had a small going away party for him. We met at a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed plenty of chips and salsa. The kids sat at their own table and were giggling the entire time. I watched Jack and his buddies interact, and had some sad feelings. He was comfortable. He has built relationships with each of them. A couple of the kids started preschool with him, almost 7 years ago. They all grew up so quickly, and it was neat watching them grow together. I quickly shook off those sad feelings and smiled at the camaraderie all the kids shared. I hope Jack builds those same types of friendships in the months to come.

Tate doesn’t have as many friends as his big brother, but he made a very close friend this year named, Livi. Livi has been his “buddy” since the day he started Kindergarten. Jack will giggle and tell you it’s Tate’s girlfriend. I know they are just two great kids, but I’ve never seen Tate so happy as when he is around Livi. I’m not certain he understands fully that he won’t see her after next week. We made sure to have one last play date before their final tennis lesson this week.

I am confident Jack and Tate will eventually make great friends in our new town. I know an adjustment period will take place (for me too), and that’s okay. The only thing that makes me happy is that they are both still relatively young and we are no longer a full time military family, so we don’t have to move anymore. We can all make lifelong friends in our new home without the dread of another move.


Monday, May 16th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Please tell me my children are not the only ones climbing on everything they see! I wish I could say the activity was limited to the usual places—jungle gyms, slides, trees, etc. Haley and Hudson must climb on everything. Sofas, stacked boxes, open drawers… I’m like a broken record imploring “Get down from there!”

It’s great for a child to have an adventurous spirit, but as a mommy, it makes me very nervous! I want to encourage them to reach great heights, but until the fear centers of their brains fully develop, it’s my job to be a nervous Nelly.

Haley and Hudson both also love to read books, so their thrill-seeking activities are certainly tempered by calmer moments. I’ll have to remind myself how pleasant it is to be sitting still the next time I’m reading “Goodnight Moon” for the 1,000th time. It may be mind numbing, but at least there are no falling children to look out for.

Have a great week, everyone!

Bedtime Battles

Friday, May 13th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory’s bedtime routine has grown epic.  The bathing, tooth brushing, and dressing remains about the same: completely inconsistent.  Some days he’s content with a quick bath and completely cooperative as we get him in his pull-up and PJs.  Other days it’s a long, drawn out affair.  But the real rub comes when we finally finish his story and attempt to turn off the light.

“I need a drink of water.”

“Are my feet covered?”

“Can you sleep with me for just a little bit?”

“Wind up my (musical) lambie so it won’t stop.”

“I need a tissue.”

“Where’s daddy?” (or mommy)

“I think I hear Charlotte.”

When we finally get him to say goodnight and put his head down, the careful dance to actually exit the room begins.  Between the “goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight. . .” as we walk to the door and the half-dozen times he cries out after closing the door, attempting to say goodnight “just one more time,” we spend an average of 5-10 minutes hoping desperately that he will finally put his head down.  On particularly difficult evenings (such as last night), he’ll creep out of bed and show up in our room or downstairs, glassy eyed but belligerent in his desire to avoid bedtime.

I know this is perfectly normal behavior for a child Rory’s age.  What is hard about it is that he has always been a terrific sleeper.  But the tactics we relied on when he was little (i.e., letting him cry it out), no longer work when he’s smart enough to crawl out of his bed and stumble downstairs.  Instead, we have to rely on patience and the recognition that he’ll eventually give in to the exhaustion evident from his drooping eyes.

But that does’t make it any easier to handle on busy weeknights or long weekend days when we are ready for him to sleep so that we can get back to work or get some much-needed adult time together.  Here’s hoping tonight’s bedtime goes better than last night’s.

We’re Moving!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Yes, you read that right. We’re moving! Soon, we’ll be packing up our family belongings and moving to suburban Atlanta, for good. Our family is ready to finally put roots down in a small town we can call home. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for some time.

After years of military orders, my husband got off active duty. For the first time in our adult lives, WE finally got to decide where we want to live. As a pilot, we could live anywhere in the US, but we felt anchoring in Atlanta was the easiest option to minimize his commute and still enjoy small town living with big city access. We are excited the most for what the area offers our children; great schools, neighborhoods, sports and opportunities.

When Jack and Tate learned the news of our upcoming move, they were a little hesitant. We moved to Mississippi when Jack was 2.5 and several months later Tate was born here. This town is all they know. They love their school, their friends, and can give you directions to their favorite places. However, once we drove them around our new town while house hunting, they got more excited. Now they’re eager to move, try new things, meet new friends, and have more space to play. The neighborhood pool and water slide definitely helped ease their concerns.

Although Mississippi wasn’t our favorite duty station, we did meet a lot of wonderful people over the combined nine years we’ve lived here. Some friends have moved on, but others call it home. We’ll always have fond memories we made here of the friends who bent over backwards to help us when we didn’t have family nearby, and the military friendly community we thrived in.

Cheers to a new adventure!



Monday, May 9th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I recently joined an online writers’ group. I thought that this group would be just perfect for me. I am always trying to improve my writing, and I love the accountability and great feedback you get from other writers. Meeting in person can be tricky with two little ones to care for, but a virtual connection provides the network without the hassle. After “introducing” myself to the other moms of our online group, I felt confident about this new enterprise.

However, it hasn’t been so simple. I’ve already missed a lot of soft deadlines to submit work and critique others’ work. Theoretically, there’s always time to work on your computer. After all, you can always go to bed an hour later or wake up an hour earlier. But that’s easier said than done! More often than not I’m wiped from the day after I get the kids down. And Hudson’s six AM wake-up call is the earliest I intend to rise, thank you very much.

But I made a commitment, and I intend to stick with it. Yesterday, I spent a little Mother’s Day free time reading over some pieces, providing feedback and working on some pieces of my own. The irony of this process, I’m finding, is that sometimes it’s actually easier when you make plans to leave the house. You line up childcare and say, “I’m doing this!” When a mom postpones something she wants to do for herself to when she “has free time”, she’ll never do it. The key is to know your needs and make them a priority. A mom who has her needs fulfilled is happy. And a happy mom means happy kids.