Tag Archives: motherhood

Our boy wonder

My sweet chunky monkey at 8-months-old

If you look up the word “boy” in the dictionary, you just might find a picture of my son, his body jumping in midair, eyes ablaze, with one hand gripping his beloved angry bird toy, and the other fist raised high in the air in triumph. My son is ALL BOY, as they say: spirited, energetic, sensitive, moody, sweet, charismatic, rambunctious, hard-headed, nutty, lazy, and a lot of other adjectives in between!

From the day he was born, he has been “my sweet baby boy.” I still call him that, even though my “baby” turns six-years-old tomorrow. When he falls asleep on the couch, I still pick up his 60+ pound body and carry him up the stairs to his room, his legs dangling and grazing my ankles. My husband keeps telling me that I’m gonna throw out my back, but  I keep doing it anyway, holding on to the fading memories of when I used to carry him to bed as a baby.

So far his first year in kindergarten has been somewhat of a challenge. At the first parent-teacher meeting, his teacher said our son was doing well, but had a hard time focusing and that he could easily be side-tracked from doing various tasks. Well, DUH! That wasn’t a surprise. After all, he was our son, and we knew we had to tell him to do things at least 2 or 3 times (“Pick up your shoes/toys/coat/books/food, etc. off the floor…NOW!”) Plus we knew that kindergarten was a new experience for him and that he just needed time to adjust.

Well, six months later we met with the teacher again and apparently he’s still having issues with focusing in class. He’ll talk when he’s not supposed to, and will “zone out” at other times, and not complete his class work. She said that it wasn’t a behavioral issue, because she has kids in the class that she’s dealing with who are very disobedient. But our son’s lack of focus is starting to affect his development. He’s still learning, however, and will pass kindergarten, but he is at the bottom half of his class. His teacher (and his father and I) know that he is a bright child and is capable of much more.

She commented that she didn’t know what to do, and that perhaps we should speak with our pediatrician to determine if our son has ADHD or ADD. I wanted to cry right then and there and thought, “Our poor baby needs help. What can we do?” She immediately saw the concern in my eyes and said, “I’m not a professional in this area and can’t tell you if that’s what it is or not, or if he’ll need medication or what. I’m at a loss and I want to help him, too. I just wanted to bring this to your attention.”

To make matters worse, I had to leave the meeting to return to work and meet my deadlines. But that night my husband and I talked and we obviously agreed that we would do whatever was necessary to help our son.

However, in the days following our meeting, my husband has been especially attentive to my son’s needs. He has been calling our son’s teacher daily to touch bases on his progress. He has also been visiting our son throughout the day, just to check on him and keep him on task. (Thankfully his work schedule allows some flexibility.) So far the teacher said my son is doing better and she has already seen some improvement.

I don’t know if my husband’s hands-on approach will continue to be effective, or if something more medically comprehensive will be required. But I’m just so thankful that my son has a strong father figure in his life. There’s nothing like a mother’s love, but there’s absolutely NOTHING like a father to love, support and provide the encouragement and discipline a child needs. And to see the extra love and care exhibited by my husband these past few weeks has been astounding.

Going forward, we still plan to meet with the pediatrician for my son’s annual physical and to discuss his developmental issues. But as Oprah would say, one thing I know for sure is that my boy is so fortunate to be surrounded by parents, grandparents, extended family, and educators who care and want the best for him, and that fills my heart with such appreciation, peace and reassurance. And I know, no matter what, that my sweet baby boy will be just fine.

Sharing a sweet moment with my favorite little boy
(photo courtesy of JulieFitzPhotos)

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The Tamster Rule

When my husband and I had our first child, I’ll never forget how perplexed he looked when I told him I needed to buy our baby daughter new clothes. After all, just a few months before, we had received TONS of clothes from friends, family members and several baby showers but, as I had to explain to my husband, children grow rather quickly, which meant that replacement clothes had to be provided.

And now that our two children are getting older, taller and bigger, that definitely has not changed. I swear, it’s as if my kids grow every 10.2 minutes, which means that the shoes and clothes that fit last month are now too tight and way too small. So I’m quite often on the lookout at yard sales, consignment shops and clearance racks trying to get the best deals.
Just recently I was treated to some extra money that was remaining in our monthly household budget. I was so thrilled and thought about some of the things I needed that had been on my “want” list for a while: Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume (one of my faves), a gorgeous pair of black pumps I had been coveting from DSW, a long-overdue facial, Kiehl’s body butter, etc. But then my mind went to the kids and the things they needed. And, before I knew it, the extra “play” money flew out the window.
One day I was speaking with one my oldest and dearest friends, Tamster. Her real name is Tami but everyone knows her as “the Tamster.” She’s the one and only, kind of like other one-name phenomena such as Madonna, Cher or Rihanna. Like the aforementioned, she has the glitz and glamour of a true diva but, as she would say, on a very limited budget. 🙂 But that doesn’t stop her from living large and embracing each and every day with fervor, fun and passion. Her personality, as well as her heart, is spirited and gigantic!
Our friendship has spanned 20+ years, so when we talk on the phone, we can spend hours just laughing and reminiscing, but the majority of the time is spent sharing war stories about being working women, wives and mothers to our children, who happen to be around the same age. We commiserate quite often, talking about our nutty sons and why they just can’t seem to get a clue, and the latest hair products and styles we’ve tried on our daughters’ natural locks.
Tamster recently advised me that I need to make a point to do something for myself every pay check. She said, “Even if you just go to Marshall’s and buy a $5 pair of underwear, do SOMETHING to treat yourself!” I chuckled but realized that she was absolutely right. We as mothers are always sacrificing ourselves: our time, money, energy and efforts. Before we know it, our needs are placed on the backburner. (That’s why a lot of mothers look so tired and jacked up all the time! You might come across one of us in the check-out line at Target and wonder why our earrings don’t match or our elbows are dry and crusty. Well, that’s because we are spent from giving all that we have and putting ourselves last.)
Don’t get me wrong: I love my family ferociously and would GLADLY give up my right arm if needed, but we should never lose sight of our dreams, wants and desires. Even if it’s something small (like a lovely bottle of wine, a cute pair of earrings, or taking the time to check out a movie that isn’t animated or kids’-themed), or something larger (like an all-girls’ vacation getaway with friends), it’s important to put a few dollars away just for ourselves.

Tamster and me on a rare ladies’ night out.

And now I make it a priority to regularly treat myself as well as put a few dollars in my savings account. And when I go to Marshall’s, I simply cannot leave the store without checking out the panty section. If I find a good deal on a lovely pair of panties, I smile to myself and think, The Tamster Rule is in full effect!

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“A” is for apple, “H” is for hoochie

The day I found out that I was expecting a baby girl, I immediately began shopping for the cutest, girliest and frilliest clothes I could find. I took great delight in putting together clothing ensembles and deciding when and where my baby girl would wear her various outfits.

And almost 8 years later, I still enjoy picking out outfits for my daughter Shelby. And thankfully, she is a girly-girl who loves dresses, purses, lip gloss and anything pink, purple or frilly, which makes shopping even more fun.

But over the past year or so, I’ve noticed a shift in the girls’ clothes selection. Now when I peruse the racks to find items for her in size 7/8 or 10/12, the selection isn’t as appealing. That’s because somewhere between size 6X and 7/8, the styling and colors begin to take a dramatic and, in my opinion, dismal turn.

The majority of the clothes I’m finding now look too grown or, dare I say, hoochie. I do not want my daughter wearing short-shorts that are just centimeters below her buttocks, nor do I want shirts so tight that I see hints of the “buds” that are perking just below her chest. A couple of months ago while shopping for a bathing suit for my 7 ½ year old, I found a gold one-piece suit with cut-outs on the side. Seriously?!! A gold bathing suit with cut-outs?!! It looked like something you’d find in a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog (not that I’d have any idea what a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog looks like, of course)! 🙂

I’m not a prude, but I personally think that little girls should be age-appropriate and dress like little girls. I DO NOT want my daughter decked out in mini-me versions of clothing styles that I wear, nor do I want her to look like a prepubescent teenager. She is 8. I want her to look like she’s 8! Kids grow much too quickly as it is. Why must we all be in such a rush to make them look older than they are?

My daughter goes back to school this week, and this will be the first year the students at her elementary school will wear uniforms (khaki, black or blue bottoms and solid-color polo or dress shirts). Initially this announcement was a little surprising but I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly. Already it has made shopping so much easier. I simply find jumpers, skirts, shorts and pants in her size, and polo shirts in various colors.

But I must admit, when I go shopping for clothes, I always take a few minutes to peruse the infant/toddler section to sigh and reminisce about how easy and fun it used to be to find her an adorable outfit. And it makes me a little sad because in that moment I remember that my baby girl is no longer a baby and is growing right before my eyes.

I also know that in the very near future, she may want to turn away from the “girly” clothes and wear some of the grown-up, trendy styles her friends may be wearing. And some of those looks may be on the skanky side. So when she comes to me a few years from now, seeking permission to wear, say, a flimsy, gold halter top, I’ll caress her face, look lovingly into her big brown eyes and say, “Seriously?!! A gold halter top?!! Stay away from my Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog!”

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