Archive for August, 2016

School Picture Day

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
For years, I dressed my children up in whatever I pleased.  When the boys were toddlers, I liked to dress them up for our outings in cute little button down shirts, plaid, belts, ties, and shoes of my choice. It made me feel accomplished during those long days by actually getting us ready for the day. No matter what they wore, it never phased them.

As the years passed, Jack and Tate got more aware of their attire. They liked certain fabrics, and disliked many others. They had aversions to buttons, collars, and “handsome shoes.” It was a little heart breaking for me since I loved to dress my guys up from time to time.

School pictures over the last several years were easy. Jack and Tate’s former school had a uniform policy. All school pictures had to include their uniform shirt. No big deal, it was like every other day of the year.

This year, they don’t wear uniforms. So, I got to pick the outfits for school pictures. I was reliving my dress-up days with my kids for picture day. I ironed two shirts and two pairs of shorts. I let them know this was what they were wearing for picture day. In the back of my mind, I knew there was potential for concern. I was ready to see some eye rolls at the thought of wearing buttons to school.

The boys were not thrilled to dress up for picture day. It’s hot here, and a long sleeved shirt wasn’t ideal. However, I wanted them to make an exception on picture day. After some negotiating, we settled on wearing the nicer outfits and taking a change of shirt for after the pictures were taken. I thought that was a fair trade.

On the morning of school pictures, I dropped my parents off at the airport. I hugged my parents goodbye while my husband got the boys ready and took them to school. I tried to make sure my husband knew to tame the bed head and dress them appropriately. I know he is capable of making himself look nice so surely he can help his kids look picture perfect.

I can’t wait to see how the boys pictures turn out this year. Will their hair be a mess?  Will their shirts be buttoned? Whatever the case, I just hope sweet smiles are on their faces.


Magical Moments

Monday, August 29th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I too often fret that I am not squeezing every ounce of joy out of my children’s childhood. That I’m not giving them enough in terms of magical experiences. That I’m not taking traditions far enough. That I’m letting seasons go by without capturing enough perfectly staged photos that demonstrate their happiness—“Haley 5, Hudson 1, Afternoon at Petting Zoo, August 2016”.

It’s a common feeling among my parenting peers. Parents these days worry about absolutely everything, and want to get it just right. It’s an admirable—if silly and somewhat pointless, sentiment.

Well, this past weekend I was somewhat successful in creating a few meaningful moments. I took the kids to the US Open here in New York City for their annual Kids’ Day. Not only is it a beloved (and free!) event in the Big Apple, but also the tournament is something I enjoyed immensely as a child. By taking the little ones there, I felt I was not only successful in organizing a great summer outing, I was passing on a meaningful tradition.

But the day was a little less magical than I had hoped. Kids’ Day was a much simpler affair when I was a kid. Now, there’s a lot more fancy entertainment that has nothing to do with tennis. Don’t get me wrong—the kids had a good time overall. However, it was hot. Really hot. We had to wait on long lines in the sweltering sun to do any activity. And it was crowded. I have to be honest—I don’t love crowds. Parking was an expensive, interesting experience. There were enough annoyances involved that I thought to myself, “maybe not next year.”

And that’s okay. I tried. I think it’s important to remember that some children’s adventures are not really designed for the preschool set. The years go by fast, and we want to get it all in, but I’m starting to think waiting until your youngest is elementary age to fit in all the “fun stuff” is a smarter strategy. This just might be the Age of Great Times At Home. And maybe these pictures won’t be perfectly staged. Maybe they’ll be silly and messy and show off the chaos of our life. Fine by me.

Thank You For Being a Friend

Friday, August 26th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We witnessed an interesting shift for Rory this week.  He said good-bye to many of the older children in his class who are graduating to Pre-K in other schools, and started to welcome his old classmates into his new classroom.  However, his initial reaction was anything but welcoming.

In fact, he was downright mean to his friends.  It made me cringe:  watching him scream, in front of his friends and their parents, that he didn’t want his old classmates to join him in his new room.  He did this, of course, as his sister was running around like a crazy person, making it even harder to pull him aside and discuss the matter quietly with fewer histrionics.


We got through that rough morning, and have been talking to him since then about talking through his feelings.  First and foremost, we have explained to him that the very best thing he can be is a good friend.  That means–we explained–being nice to our classmates and not saying things that hurt their feelings.  We also gave him options for how to be more polite if he doesn’t want to play with his classmates or if he wants to do something different for a time period, such as asking for space or simply saying, “no thank you, I am doing this right now, instead, but maybe we can play later.”  

I am sure he will keep working on it, and we most certainly will encourage him to verbalize his emotions and feelings a bit more.  Thankfully, when he remains calm he is more than able to do exactly that.  

And, in the interim, I will be sure to apologize to his friends’ parents on his behalf. . .

Night Terrors

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Recently, Tate has been waking up shortly after falling asleep, often in tears, from “bad dreams.” Sometimes he remembers vivid details about the dream, and other times nothing at all. Occasionally, he’ll cry for a minute and fall right back to sleep, other times I have to scratch his back for 20 minutes. We’re unsure what triggers these scary scenes in his head, but we’re trying to monitor closely what he sees right before bed.

Tate experienced nightmares when he was little. Every now and then he would wake up during the night, but would always fall back asleep. He would tell me about his nightmare at breakfast the following morning like it wasn’t a big deal. I’m assuming now that he’s older he has a bigger imagination and he sees more and more “big boy” movies. I think the scarier scenes might be affecting him more than he thinks.

I’m hoping this is just another phase Tate will work through. I am careful about what he watches on TV, and I’m doing my best to comfort him and tell him he is safe. His stuffed puppy helps calm him down, along with back scratches and patience from me. Fingers crossed we both get a good night’s sleep.


Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate made it through their first full week at their new school. They were nervous the first morning, but by the time they stepped off the bus, they were more relaxed and excited for the year ahead. I love seeing their smiles each afternoon and hearing about what new activity they did each day. Getting past the initial unknowns is a big relief for all of us.

As a child, I never moved to a new school. I have friends today that I went to elementary school with (including my husband.) Although I was nervous for Jack and Tate, I’m happy we had the opportunity to move them while they were still young, rather than uprooting them as teenagers. They already have friends knocking on our door to play after school. I’m proud they stepped up to the plate and showed me they’re perfectly able to stand their ground in a new and unfamiliar place.

Their take-home folders are already full of projects and homework. I’m sure we are all in for a busy, fun and fulfilling year for both Jack and Tate. This will be a year they’ll never forget, and I hope they make life-long friendships and memories just like I did.




Welcome to the Club

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Over the weekend, a dear friend of mine welcomed her first child. As I gushed over the baby’s adorable face on my phone, I thought about what it means to be a parent.

There are myriad memes on social media pointing out how little non-parents know about parenting versus what they think they know. It’s unbelievably trite but true: you just don’t know what it’s like to be a parent until you are a parent.

That’s not to say every non-parent is clueless. There are aunts and uncles, real and honorary, who join Mom and Dad on the adventure and definitely learn a heck of a lot. But it’s not the same.

And now I get to see my friend transform into a different version of her—the sleep-deprived, constant low-level worry, full of monumental love version. I look forward to the way our conversations will take on a different tenor now. She gets it.

She’s in the club now. I welcome her with open arms.

Olympic Spirit

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory has been watching the Olympics this week and loves it.  So far his favorites are men’s gymnastics and men’s synchronized diving.  But he loves it all.  We’ve watched cycling, swimming, water polo, a little beach volleyball, and even a little air rifle.  We’ve been taping the coverage ourselves each evening, and then keeping the footage for Rory to skim through the next evening.  I’ve been working late this week and missed a few of them, but when I arrived home tonight, I had a chance to watch a few swim races with him.

He is definitely fascinated by it, and likes sharing what he knows about each of the sports.  Sometimes he asks quizzical questions and other times he simply stares entranced.  And he loves pointing out the American flag and cheering for the USA.

I am sure Rory will take to some competitive sport in the future.  We’re not sure which, and we don’t really care.  But I can’t help wonder, while watching old home movies from some of the swimmers and other sports, what olympic dreams he may harbor in his youth, and what we’ll do as his parents to foster those.  I’m not saying I WANT to make him want that, I just want to be sure that if he dreams big, I’m ready to give him all I can to achieve those dreams.

Bump in the Road

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate’s school hosted a “Meet and Greet” where the boys met their teachers, toured the school one more time, met the bus driver, and listened to a new student orientation. My husband was out of town, so all the responsibility fell on me. It was A LOT to take in. There were several hundred people roaming the halls, and by the time I exited through the doors, I was very overwhelmed. I knew it would be a chaotic evening, but with a new school come new policies, rules, bus schedules, tons of questions, new technology for parents and students to learn, trying to find answers to the 85 questions we had, and a lot of unknowns.

As the boys and I were leaving the school that night, it was thundering, lightning, and raining heavily. We held tight for a bit hoping it would pass, but no luck. It was beyond dinnertime, and all three of us were starving. I promised my kids dinner out and we’d get to the restaurant lickety-split. Finally, we gave up and made a run for the van. We were drenched beyond belief.

Then…. My van battery died…. completely dead. I told myself, “NO, this can’t be happening!” My husband is out of town, it’s pouring down rain, I have two starving kids in the back seat, I have a monstrous headache from all the information overload, and this is the absolute worst timing. I took a deep breath, and scrambled to find a familiar face to help. I knew things could be worse, and this was just a little glitch. Eventually, I got the van up and running, had a new battery installed the next day and life went on.

The most positive part about those stressful minutes was a little voice in the backseat who was so concerned about my stress level. Tate repeated over and over and over… “Mommy, please don’t worry. We will fix it. Some days are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.” His sweet little heart, and his memory of one of his favorite books, immediately calmed my nerves. I’ve been telling Tate something similar to his words for the last several years when he has a meltdown. This time he was helping me get through a meltdown. I’m beyond thrilled Tate showed some empathy and took it upon himself to lift me up from my otherwise frantic evening. Perhaps all our meltdown pep talks are finally paying off.

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Monday, August 8th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
It’s been pretty hot and humid lately around many parts of the country. So I’m probably not the only one who’s a bit sick of it! We’re trying to get through it—swimming, ice cream, air conditioning-fueled TV comas—but it’s not easy. I find myself pining for winter, when I can finally say, “enough with the freezing weather, I miss summer!”

Hudson takes the warm weather in stride. He’s pretty easy going in general, and anyway—what’s he going to do about it? He’s not yet two and he’s not the opinionated fashion maven his sister is, so he wears what I put on him and goes where I tell him to go.

Haley, on the other hand, is five with a vengeance. If she’s feeling the weather, she’ll tell you. Loudly. Repeatedly. In a whining voice. It’s not so charming, but I like to think of it as a reminder that I need to teach my children that not every moment and situation in this life is designed for our maximum comfort. The lesson hasn’t quite sunk in. It may take a while. I’m hoping to make headway by middle school.

Hope everyone has a nice, cool week.

La La La…

Friday, August 5th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We attended a children’s concert by some talented LA musicians last weekend.  The singers–a quirky hipsteresque couple with a real knack for entrancing toddlers–went to college with some friends of ours and were in town for a few other gigs.  We were fortunate to be included on the invitation list for a private backyard show.

Notwithstanding the horrible heat and impending thunderstorms that cut the set short, Rory and Charlotte (and mom and dad, for that matter) had a great time.  They danced.  They shook egg shakers.  They chased the bubble machine.  They tossed beach balls of all sizes.  And they tried to sing along.

And Rory has not stopped singing one song in particular since.  It is called “Grapes,” and it has a catchy beat, quirky lyrics, and a lengthy refrain of “I’m gunna go home, and I’m gunna eat some grapes. La la la grapes.  La la la grapes.  La la la la la la Grapes, grapes, grapes grapes.”

I know this well, because we have listened to the song.  Every morning.  The entire way to school.  All.  Week.

Rory is a pretty compulsive kiddo–he finds something he likes and tends to fixate for a while.  But this week takes the cake so far. . . Now please excuse me as I go try desperately to get that refrain out of my mind.