Posts Tagged ‘Friday Mom – Erin’

Henry’s House

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

From Friday Mom – Erin:

Rory has a new idol.

We went to a party at my husband’s colleague’s house on Sunday afternoon.  They have three kids, ages 12, 10, and 5.  They had quite clearly been instructed to make the other kids feel comfortable and at home.  Rory hit it off with the 10 year old boy splendidly.

Or should I say he shadowed him.  They ate snacks, Rory watched video games, and they shared a chair watching movies.  Rory was so in awe of his new big kid friend.  He hug out in the basement playroom without being his typical shy and uncertain self.  He never once came looking for us, and when it was time to leave he went back to say goodbye to Henry three different times.

I was proud of him for being such a big kid.  And it also made me realize just how important it is to expose him to older, well-behaved role models.  While I don’t know we’ll be back to “Henry’s House” any time soon, I do think we’ll keep trying to expose him to great examples.  Perhaps a trip to see his cousins is in order soon!

Losing My Cool

Friday, February 24th, 2017

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte has been in rare form this week.  Some of it is due to the fact that the poor girl is coming off of another cold that seems to have settled deep in her chest.  She’s frustrated and phlegm-filled and just ready to feel better.

But her frustration seems to have manifested itself in the form of a complete unwillingness to do anything she is told.  No diaper changes. No getting dressed.  No shoes.  No car seat.  Nothing necessary to get out the door and on our way in the morning.  And of course, showing up later than usual at school might as well be the end of the world in terms of her reaction.  Do you see a pattern here?

This morning, I lost it while trying to get her into the car and snapped.  I yelled loudly.  At a two year old.  And she started to cry instantly. And I apologized.  And told her brother I was sorry too.  And then backed away and let her dad finish buckling her in.

I took a few deep breaths and thanked him for stepping in.  The fact is, strong willed kids can get the better of us every now and then.  Sometimes, the best thing for moms and kids is for mom to take a time out, too.


Dishing It Out

Friday, January 27th, 2017

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory told me the other morning that he hoped his friends liked his new shoes so they would let him play with them on the playground.

I was floored.

I asked if his friends excluded him often.  He told me they did, and proceeded to share a lengthy story of how three of his classmates had precluded him from playing in the treehouse with them.  Except he didn’t use words like “preclude.”  He just said they told him that he could not play in the treehouse and that it made him very sad.  I asked if he told anyone else, like his teachers, or if he’d told his friends how their actions made him feel.  He said he did not.

He seemed so forlorn when he told me that I mentioned it briefly to my husband, who promised to ask his teachers at the end of the day.  Actually, I said I’d ask, but we were delayed in getting to school that morning and, as a result, I wasn’t able to pull his teacher aside to ask quietly in a way that wouldn’t embarrass him in front of his friends.

So Rory’s daddy asked at the end of the day, and learned that we have nothing to be concerned about.  Rory’s group of friends apparently has quite a habit of teasing at least one friend on any given day.  But the “honor” of being left out/teased/excluded rotates with regularity, is never long lived, and, at least according to his teachers, never truly ill-spirited.  And, more often than not, Rory is on the giving, as opposed to the receiving end (although that didn’t make me feel a whole lot better, either).

Hearing about Rory’s power struggles, even if entirely fictitious, engaged a new level of parenting concern that I hadn’t really felt before.  Every parent wants to think of their child as well-socialized and well-liked.  While my concerns were a bit over-blown in this particular instance, I am certain it won’t be the first time that I feel compelled to intervene in a situation where I really ought not insert myself.  Thankfully, having felt my heart break in response to this first instance, I’ll be better prepared to stay strong and help my little man through it the next time.

On Hope

Friday, January 20th, 2017

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Schools are closed here in our nation’s capital as we usher in a new administration and await what these next days, weeks, and months will bring.  As much as I would like to isolate Rory and Charlotte from the rancor and divisiveness that has permeated the news cycle in the past months, as those of us in urban bubbles lick our wounds and wonder if this is all a dream from which we will soon awake or perhaps some innovative reality show in which we have all been cast, I intend to show them both the days events from the comfort of our home and the safety of our own couch.

Charlotte, I am certain, will spend all of five minutes (if that) before insisting that one of the two of us assist her in baking, clothing her baby, or otherwise catering to her demands.

Rory, however, may be more interested.  Consistent with my remarks in September, my aim is to use the day as a lesson in civics–a foundational discussion on the peaceful transition of power, and a focus on the institutions that our founders have created for us.  I will resist the urge to sour his young mind with my real views, or my true fears.  I will, instead, encourage him to join me in watching the pageantry and speak with him about the great responsibility that rests in all people in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  We’ll see how long it lasts before he asks me how this all relates to the Rebel Alliance or Emperor Palpatine (his most recent obsession).  And I will, again, resist.

Parenting, after all, is a constant exercise in framing reality in a way that is accessible and understandable to the youthful audience.  It does him no good to lament the future of American politics or regale him with my thoughts on how we are living in the thick of the factionalism predicted all too well in Federalist No. 10.  We cannot control the times at which we are forced to teach our children hard lessons.  We do not hold that kind of power as parents.  Deaths, disappointments, bad days, or hard losses.  They happen.  Try as we may to shield them, I view my job as a parent as filtering those lessons through an age-appropriate, yet honest, lens.


Happy Birthday

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Dearest Rory and Charlotte:

It is hard to believe you are now four and two.  I can still remember almost every hour of the days you were born (and the weeks leading up to it).  I remember the first hours of your lives, and the first harrowing days at home with each of you.

It is true what they say about parenting.  The days are long, but the years are short.  And here I am, living it.

You are each at the threshold of pivotal years.  Charlotte-  you will continue to find your voice, develop your independence, and cross over from toddler to little girl.  Rory- you will continue your hunger for learning, start to read, and begin your final year of pre-school.  You will both change schools, and you will both make new friends and try to keep up with old ones.

My wishes for you both in this coming year are simple.  I hope you are able nurture your boundless curiosity each day with new lessons, sights, and experiences.  I hope you continue to be selfless and give of yourselves to those in need, whether through thoughtful hugs or listening ears.  I hope you observe and embrace all that is good and caring and carefully reject and avoid hate and animosity.

I hope you continue your ability to make both me and your father want to be better people.  And I hope that I am able to be the best mom for each of you, almost every day (because let’s face it, EVERY day may be hard).

Happy Birthday, kiddos.  I love you both to the moon and back.


Happy New Year

Friday, December 30th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin
New years eve is a little different with an almost two year old and almost four year old.  Instead of fun parties and champagne, we will have pajamas, my parents’ couch, some football, and champagne.  Staying up until midnight will guarantee and even sleepier morning when the kiddos wake at 6 am and tip toe their way into our bed.  And the day spent on the couch watching football will give way to park trips, snack time, and mommy watch this, watch this.

In most ways, our post-kid lives are the new normal.  And most days and weekends I don’t spend much time longing too terribly hard for “the way things were.”  Fortunately, I have never actually been a huge fan of NYE.  So I don’t stress, make the best of it, and look forward to the first year Rory will be able to stay up late to ring in the new year with us.

For now, we’ll teach him about resolutions, celebrate, and wait with anticipation for what the new year has in store.

New Routine

Friday, December 16th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I had Rory’s parent teacher conference a few weeks ago.  In response to my request for how to speed up morning farewells, she offered a great response (which I wish she’d piped up with earlier, though I also understand her hesitance):  have him pick a goodbye routine.  Then stick with it. Consistently.

So now, each morning, we avoid his classroom– going first to Charlotte’s (which is right next door).  We get their lunches put away, the stroller into the storage closet, and her coat hung up.  We each give Charlotte a hug and kiss, and say our goodbyes in her classroom.

Then we head to his, sign him in, put his belongings away, and share three hugs, a kiss, and a shove out the door.

It’s pretty basic, and arguably a lot of steps, to just say farewell.  But we talked it up, let him play a role in choosing it, and have shown him lots of praise and excitement about his success.  In addition to reducing morning stress and making him proud, it has earned me back around 15 additional minutes of early morning time in the office to sort through e-mails and get myself organized before launching into another busy day.  An all around win.  Now on to seeing where else this tactic can assist. . .

Feistier Than Usual

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
That is how Charlotte’s teachers characterized her day yesterday.  Apparently she was even bossier than usual, so much so that her primary teacher asked what we had done to her the night before.  She wouldn’t allow anyone to do anything any way other than HER way.  And it was bad enough that her teachers wrote it down on her daily report sheet.

At almost two, my biggest concern is that what we’re seeing isn’t actually a passing, one-day thing, and, instead her true terrible twos.  I believe I mentioned earlier this year that I thought she had “early onset twos.”  I genuinely thought she was ahead of the game and that maybe we’d be out of the woods sooner.  Now, I’m starting to think it was a mere fraction of the fire and independence this little spitfire is going to have in the coming year.  Sure, its terrific that she’s communicating, and it is starting to feel as though we have two independent (yet still very, very dependent) children on our hands.  But when she is. . . feisty. . . oh man is she ever.

The good news, so far, is that she does seem to listen to redirection and firm instructions reasonably well.  So, if worst comes to worst, we’ll just end up introducing more of the discipline tactics that we used on her big brother a bit sooner than we had to with him.  And in the interim, we’ll probably work on finding ways to channel that determination towards something other than just forcing us to do what we’re told.

Still Fighting

Friday, November 11th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Okay, I promise this will be the last week I write about bedtime.

But I am losing the battle.  Completely.  Rory is currently asleep on the couch for the fourth night in a row.  I know.  That’s dangerous precedent.  We’re undoing good habits.  But he’s literally crawling out of bed over, and over, and over, and over again each evening.  After an hour or so of fighting, I’ve given in, needing to get back to work or handle chores around the house, I have been resorting to the silent treatment, waiting for him to curl up on the couch, covering him up, and carrying him to bed much later in the night.

It has to stop.

This evening I’ve been researching techniques on limit setting and how to re-train a pre-schooler who is challenging the bedtime norm.  I’ve read most of it before and know that we have to be consistent, persistent, and ready to deal with an hour or more of walking him back to bed, again, again, and again.  But I just wish he’d managed to hit this impasse at a time when we both had a little more time to do it.  I know how harsh and unsympathetic that sounds.  As though I am a parent that doesn’t have time for my child.  As though it’s my fault that he is acting out.

Trust me, that’s probably why we’ve been so bad at nipping this in the bud sooner.  But starting tomorrow, this is it.  No snuggling on the couch, no “one more goodnight;” just bedtime. And that’s that.

The Battle Continues

Friday, November 4th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
It took me 2 hours to get Rory to bed last night.  His daddy had dinner plans, and so we waived bye bye around 7:45, and then began the slow, draining saga of five good nights followed by a slew of excuses, trips downstairs, quiet time on the couch, etc, etc, etc.

I survive with my crazy schedule by signing back in by 8 and working another couple of hours.  Eventually last night I told Rory that he would simply need to watch me do that.  I felt like a bad parent, but the best way to shut down his toddler antics was to deprive him of the attention and reaction he appeared to be seeking.

Things have been beyond busy around our house lately.  It is no fun, and I know the kids can sense it.  But I also know that he is pulling levers and pressing buttons to see what he can get away with.  We’re going to need to curb that a bit more moving forward.  The question is how. Guess we have the topic for post-bedtime discussion for the next few days.  At least we get an extra hour to sleep off the bad bedtime. . .