Posts Tagged ‘Monday Mom: Melissa’

Rockin’ Out

Monday, May 26th, 2014

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I am a music lover. I’ve gotten a little less “into” my favorite bands and musicians as I’ve gotten older, and I can’t say I’m totally up to date on the latest pop. Who has the time? But I still enjoy it and try to stay somewhat aware of what’s new in the industry as a whole as well as some of my favorite genres in particular. Haley loves music, too. Unfortunately for my sanity, our tastes don’t always align.

Don’t get me wrong—I love the soundtrack to “Frozen” and a few hits from “The Fresh Beat Band” are really quite catchy. But hearing them over and over again can get a bit, well, repetitive.

Her latest album of choice? “A Kids Bop Christmas.”

Haley does not care what the calendar says. When we’re in the car, she demands “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and “Santa Claus is coming to town”—sung by tweens. If I dare to put a regular FM station on for a bit of a break she screams, “No big girl songs! Christmas! Christmas!”

However, it is really adorable to hear her sing along as best she can to the music. Her interpretation of what the lyrics are is often quite amusing. It’s neat to see her personality develop to the point where she so strongly knows what songs, movies and shows she really likes or dislikes. I think we’re just as the beginning of her confidently knowing what’s cool, and rolling her eyes at Mom’s terrible taste.

Amazing Talents

Monday, February 11th, 2013

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley is going to be two in a couple of months. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. In some ways, it feels like she was always here. In others, it seems like she just arrived. Not long ago she was a helpless newborn. Now, she’s a feisty girl who tears up the house, helps with chores, and wants to pick out her outfit! She’s no wallflower.

I used to think that I knew Haley so well. I had tight control of what she was exposed to, followed her every move carefully. Things are changing. She spends more time with other kids. She watches a few TV shows. She enjoys long afternoons out with her Dad, weekends with her grandparents. She says and does things that I didn’t know she had any clue about or exposure to. Yesterday, we were looking out the window at the snow and she matter-of-factly said, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.” I had no idea she could count at all, let alone to ten! We used to say to her, “Haley can you count?” And she would hold up one finger, and we thought it was so cute. I have no idea how she went from that to counting to ten effortlessly.

There are other habits Haley is picking up, and even though I now where they come from, that doesn’t make them any less hilarious. Haley will pick up her pretend phone as if it’s been ringing and say “Hello?” then pause and say “Hi!” As if she has no idea who’s calling, and then is greeting an old friend. It is so funny. When you give Haley her cup of milk or a banana, she reflexively says “thank you.” She’s likely picked up on that more from my example than my instruction, but I feel proud either way.

Haley is learning and growing and such a startling rate, I can’t imagine what the next few months will bring. The more she knows, the more defiant she becomes, too, so it should be interesting. Stay tuned.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Monday, December 24th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika

The holidays are a fun time of year. It’s adorable to see your children’s enthusiasm in the biggest and smallest traditions. However, there are times that as adults, we don’t feel quite as enthusiastic. Sure, it’s fun to decorate cookies and eat a big meal—but who has to do all of the shopping and preparation? Everyone loves opening presents—but who braves the mall and hunts for the best deals; who stays up late wrapping gifts and setting up the big ticket items so they are ready for immediate play? I’ll give you a hint—it’s not always Santa! It can be tiring to create a festive holiday environment for your family. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean we get to take an actual break from reality. The house still needs to be cleaned. There are often additional year-end responsibilities at work. We still have to pay bills in December. Someone is always coming down with a cold.

Over the weekend, I took Haley to see Santa Claus. Even though she has been talking about “San-a!” non-stop before and after this visit, she was a sheepish mute when confronted by the white-bearded man. It did not go well. She didn’t cry or scream. She just looked down, frightened, and tried to leap from his arms. It didn’t seem to matter to her that we wanted to get a nice photo memory. She was dressed in an adorable Christmas outfit complete with red teddy bear sweater, plaid skirt and sparkling red shoes—I had her all ready to go for the big moment. Haley didn’t seem to care. It was then that I realized that I couldn’t control every special holiday event. We came, we tried, and we failed. Haley still had a great time looking at the neat Christmas displays and had tons of fun out with Mom and Dad—and that is what matters.

I keep telling myself that it’s okay if things don’t go perfectly this Christmas, because Haley won’t even remember it. But what about when she is old enough to remember? Does it matter then? Is it my responsibility to make her childhood perfect? Obviously that’s ludicrous. But when your kid is just a toddler, you still hold on to the idea that you can ensure his or her total happiness. You know you’ve screwed a few things up in the first couple of years, but since the child is so young, you figure you have time to get everything right. Haley understands more and more every day. Surely she can grasp if Mom makes a mistake. But she doesn’t care. And neither should I. Kids are more perceptive that we think. And what they perceive most of all is love.

Merry Christmas Eve! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Sleep Tight

Monday, August 1st, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I was reading yet another parenting book recently (a theme is emerging with me, I am realizing), and I came across a section I found fascinating. It deals with sleep at different ages—how much people need and how often they tend to get it.

The book said that in the 1950s, a trend emerged in which high school start times were set earlier, in the seven o’clock hour. Teenagers also started becoming very active in extra-curriculars such as sports, music, and church. Many of them got part-time jobs to help out their families or save for things like their own vehicles. More recently, high school students continued this trend, but also added the responsibility of more homework.

When I think back to high school, it’s wonder that I, or anyone, had the energy to do all that “stuff!” In addition to a comically rigorous curriculum, I played varsity sports, was an officer in numerous clubs, and spent a fair amount of time with my friends. The bus picked me up before 7, and it wasn’t unusual for newspaper, tennis practice, and then dance rehearsal to be completed at 8. Then I started my homework.

Obviously, I was a busy kid. Yet this is aside from the issue that the work teens and sometimes even younger kids are expected to do at home can take hours. As I try to get Haley onto a consistent schedule, I can’t help but wonder for how long I will be able and willing to impose a strict bedtime. We tend to think of teens as so resilient that they can bounce back from all-nighters and weekend fun. Perhaps we shouldn’t. For the time being, I will gladly take Haley sleeping well for a week—let alone for 18 years.


Monday, July 25th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley has been exhibiting some cool behavior in the last few weeks. I don’t know if all babies are like this, but Haley had a burst of quick developments in motors skills from approximately week 5 to week 12. At that time, she started to hold her head up really well, bat at toys and stand up on her legs (with assistance, of course). I had gotten so used to refining those skills, that it was a pleasant surprise when new abilities arose.

Haley is almost 4 months. She has been grabbing at my face, particularly my nose and mouth. It’s cool to observe her realizing that these parts exist and figuring out what they might be used for. She stares at me really carefully while I’m eating as if to say, ‘what is she putting in that hole in her face? Why?’ I’m really hoping that this curiosity signifies an interest in solid foods.

Another new favorite activity is rolling over. A couple of weeks ago, Haley moved from her tummy to her back. She only did so occasionally, and with some strain. Now, when she’s on her stomach, she basically just drops her elbow and goes for it. She can easily roll to the right and to the left. I’m so proud!

An infamous baby ability I was not quite prepared for is putting things in her mouth. It’s funny what a priority that is! The mouth is simply where everything must go. Toys, Stuffed animals, burp cloths, remote controls—whatever she can get her hands on. Her spit is all over her face, hands and clothes all the time. I can deal with that. What’s more scary are the germs that are potentially on those objects! But it’s a scary world sometimes, I’m just glad she’s successfully learning how to negotiate it.

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 30th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Today, my family is having a barbeque, as I’m sure many families around the country are. I’m can’t wait. Not only do I get to make some of my favorite recipes, but I also have several relatives coming over who have not yet spent much time with Haley. I just hope the weather cooperates!

First up, the salad course. I’m making mixed greens with goat cheese and grilled portabella mushrooms. I’m particularly excited about this because I didn’t partake in the soft cheeses while pregnant. Then we have some standard grilling staples like hot dogs and vegetable skewers. My favorite entrée will be the chicken with white sauce, a Southern classic made from a delicious recipe given to me by my mother-in-law. We’re finishing things up with a ridiculously great banana pudding. Here’s the recipe if you are interested. It’s the no-bake kind—just assemble and let it set in the fridge.

When we have outdoor parties, we always play games in the backyard. We love badminton, bocce ball, and just throwing around a football or kicking around a soccer ball. I love the competition and bonding with family members. Though I am famous for being obsessed with the couch, the television, and air conditioning, I have to admit it feels great to stretch some muscles and get active. And it’s inevitable that someone will do something hilarious we will laugh about for years to come. I’m so excited that Haley is now a part of these traditions. Certainly many cultures enjoy grilling their own delicacies, but I love how in America, cookout holidays always seems to correspond with days marking and celebrating our freedoms. It seems especially appropriate to be outdoors, enjoying this land and time with loved ones. Have a safe and happy day, and don’t forget to appreciate the fact that you can.

Party Time?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
This weekend, I am attending the engagement party of a close family friend. I know that I am welcome to bring Haley to this event, the question is: Should I?

I would love to show off my new baby (around 7 weeks old) to all of my friends. My parents and husband will be there, so I will have plenty of help—it won’t just be me carrying her around non-stop. And I am starting to realize that with breastfeeding, it is always much easier to have her in close proximity to me, rather than coordinate the circus of timing feedings, my departure from and arrival back home, and pumping so that she will have the sufficient number of bottles. If Haley goes to the party, I will get to dress her up in something really cute, too!

If I don’t take Haley, my husband will stay home with her. He’d prefer to watch sports on TV, frankly, so he wouldn’t mind missing the party in the least. However, he hasn’t yet been alone with her for an extended period of time, with all of the responsibility on him. Perhaps that’s all the more reason that he should do it. If I bring her to the party, she may be fussy and cry. It will probably be really hard to make sure no one touches her. People are dumb, and they can’t resist a baby, unfortunately. Many of these folks are older “family friends,” and they may be easily offended. (Not that I really care, but my mom might.)

Her pediatrician said the right time to first take a baby out around crowds is 6 to 8 weeks, so I know Haley is ready. But am I? So far, we have had the occasional outing to a store or two. For the most part, she has been closely guarded at home. I am not a person who thinks barricading children from potential germs is the best way to keep them from being sick. In fact, I strongly believe in the opposite effect. So what’s stopping me?

Whether Haley attends the party or not, there surely will be many more in her future. Sooner or later, she will get to dress up, visit with folks, and be the belle of the ball. Her social life will start whether I am ready for it or not. I guess now is as good of a time as any.

Moving On Up……

Monday, February 28th, 2011

From Monday Mom – Melissa:
I have been involved with GrowUpLearning since they piloted this website: so today is a bittersweet day for two reasons. First, this will be my final blog entry. Second, today is my son’s kindergarten registration.

Next week there will be a new Monday mom blogger: a mom who is just about to start her exciting journey into motherhood. Since GrowUpLearning is designed for ages birth through 5 ½ years, my sweet Brady is just getting too old now. So thank you for reading about our triumphs, failures, struggles, and love. I plan to continue reading the blogs to find out what all of these little ones are doing (and their mamas).

Now we are getting ready to head to our 2-hour kindergarten registration. It will be the first time that Brady will be heading to a public school, taken away from the safe arms of mama, and tested. They are given a variety of tests, much paperwork needs to be completed, and we get to meet the staff. While I am sad to see this phase of Brady’s life end, I am excited about all of the changes coming up. Brady is going to have a new step-daddy in six weeks, gain two sisters (he has always been an only child), he will get to watch the process of a new house being built from the ground up (literally), he starts formal schooling in August, and we will be taking two great family vacations. Okay, well, ask me afterwards if they were “great.” I am staying optimistic. While all of these changes will take time for all to adjust, they are all GOOD changes for all.

So to all of you just starting this journey: enjoy the ride. To those single parents out there who feel alone: hang in there and focus on what you do have in your lives. Some days are hard and lonely. To those of you like me, whose children are moving into kindergarten or beyond: it is okay to cry, just wait until the school bus leaves. Best wishes to everyone – off to register my little man for his next chapter of this crazy journey we call life.

The BEST Way to Parent

Monday, February 21st, 2011

From Monday Mom – Melissa:
It is that time at preschool: registration. Does your child stay another year; start kindergarten, or another option? Will your child go to the district’s best school or just an “average school?” Can your child count to 100? Can he or she write his or her name? The list goes on and on. This is what I like to refer to as the “mommy wars.”

The “Mommy Wars” start once you announce you are pregnant! What kind of birth is “best” for your baby? And it really heats up when you try to decide breast or bottle. Another biggie: will you work out of the home, work at home, or devote your hours full-time to mommyhood. Will you co-sleep or put the baby in the crib. Then there is the ever controversial…… crying it out.

Looking back now, it is funny how many arguments people had. I was always a bit more of an independent mama, doing exactly what I wanted and not really caring what others thought. Are you ready to judge me? Well, my infant wouldn’t sleep more than 3-4 hours straight. And that was the most consistent sleep of the night. The rest of the night was about 1-2 hour increments. So, I kept him awake until midnight and then we both slept from about 12-4am. But oh well, he happily goes to sleep at 9pm now and sleeps 12 hours, most evenings.

Now we are moving onto the next stage of the childhood: kindergarten registration. I am sure the “mommy wars” will continue through elementary school and beyond. But next week will be my final blog entry as both Brady and I move onto the next chapter of our lives: it is bittersweet. See you next week, for the final entry in this chapter. Enjoy everyday with your little ones, before you know it: they will be boarding that school bus and starting the rest of their lives. So hug and kiss them tight!

Snow Days ~ Glorious Snow Days

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope this blog finds you filling out little Valentine cards, eating lots of chocolate, and spending time with those you love.

We are now in the “cold days” of winter, and have had at least five snow days and another handful of delays for preschool! While some parents pull out their hair on these days that change the norm, I have embellished those glorious and relaxing days. Brady appears to be opposite of the average kiddo and thrives in these slow days. His entire personality is laid back and FUN! He is a lot calmer than typical (and that is putting it mildly).

We stay in our PJs all day (and I am not afraid to admit that). Most days, Brady has also slept in! We bake cookies or brownies together. Usually there are two trips outside to shovel, sled, and make snow angels. In between our “runs” outside, the gear goes in the dryer while we get back in our PJs. We also did a lot of school work (remember, I used to homeschool). So I got out some old curriculum materials and we learned together.

Snow days are such a nice surprise change of pace. While none have been HUGE storms, like those out in the Midwestern part of the United States. The smaller storms have still slowed down the town where I live. They have also slowed down my little boy. We have enjoyed our quiet time, not rushing from one activity to another. And the best part… there are no make-up days in preschool!