Parker and Mason’s First Day of School

Today was Parker and Mason’s first day of school at St. Aidan’s MMO/Preschool. Parker went into the two year old class since his birthday misses the cut-off for the three year old class, and Mason went into the MMO (Mother’s Morning Out) 18-24 month program that Parker was in last year.

Mason looked like someone beat him up, sporting a black eye from a fall last Friday, as well as a few bumps and bruises from, well… just being a toddler I suppose.  The photos below  weren’t the best either (the worst possible back lighting in the house) so it didn’t make that shiner look any nicer.  When we got to school, he walked right into his classroom and started playing, but did cry when I left.  When I came to pick up, she assured me that he only cried for about 10 seconds, just as I was leaving, and then he warmed up very quickly.  They said he was very happy and chatty all morning.  I was so worried when I left that he would be upset the whole time, but apparently, he did great!  I was so happy to see him when I came to pick him up.  Mason was so involved in pointing out things on a book, and had his back to me, that he didn’t even care that I arrived.  He just kept showing me things in his book, chatting to me in his own language.  It was so sweet, and it warmed my heart to know that he was so comfortable there and enjoyed himself!

Parker did great, too.  Of course, he’s used to going to school and even has the same lead teacher Ms. Amanda that he had last year! He loves her so much, and has warmed up pretty quickly to Ms. Linda, the assistant teacher as well.  He can sometimes be apprehensive about having someone else take him to the potty that he doesn’t know very well, but Ms. Linda took him three times during the day, where he pee’d and pooped, so he did great! That’s my boy!   He was so happy to see me when I came to pick him up and immediately got up from story time and ran to my arms to give me a big super hug.  He was excited to tell me about his fun day that he had, and I was thrilled that he enjoyed himself too!

Parker’s Speech Development

So, call me a crazy over-protective Mama, but I ended up breaking down and taking Parker to the pediatrician to discuss his developing speech.  I’m not sure if it is my pregnancy, or what that is making me feel super emotional about his not-so-perfect speech that has seemed to, for some reason lately, gotten worse.  Parker has had a bit of a stutter for a few months now, and apparently I was doing all the wrong things dealing with the issue.  I think everyone’s natural instinct when their child is trying to communicate is to help them communicate or to teach them the proper way to say things like you would with other developing skills.  However, when it comes to stuttering, this is exactly what you’re not supposed to do.

So, to make a long story short, we went to see the Dr. and she said that Parker is certainly within normal range for his speech development, and that there isn’t any need to worry whatsoever.  I think with all that I have going on with my pregnancy, I just feared that maybe I had ignored an important sign of a developmental issue that he could possibly need help for.  She said that at this age, a lot of times they get really excited and it just gets hard for him to articulate good speech.  It’s really difficult because communicating is how we feel close to people, and it is how I feel close to Parker, too.  I think I had taken it for granted until I started noticing that his stuttering was getting worse for some reason and I was overcome with guilt when I realized that I wasn’t responding to him appropriately.  She sent me home with a few sheets of info on what I can do to help Parker, and things I shouldn’t do.  I hope this helps others who may be reading this and in a similar situation.

  • Encourage Conversation-Sit and talk with your child at least once a day.  Keep the subject matter pleasant
  • Help your child relax when stuttering occurs– Mild stuttering that’s not causing your child any discomfort should be ignored.  When your child is having trouble speaking, however, say something reassuring such as “Don’t worry, I can understand you.” If your child asks you about is stuttering, reassure him that “Your speech will get easier and someday the stuttering will be gone”
  • Don’t correct your child’s speech– Avoid expressing any disapproval, such as by saying, “Stop that stuttering” or “Think before you speak.” Remember that this is your child’s normal speech for his age and is not controllable.  Do not try to improve your child’s grammar or pronunciation.  Also avoid praise for good speech because it implies that your child’s previous speech wasn’t up to standard.
  • Don’t interrupt your child’s speech– Give your child ample time to finish what he is saying.  Don’t complete sentences for him.  Don’t allow siblings to interrupt one another.
  • Don’t ask your child to repeat himself or start over- If possible, guess at the message.  Listen very closely when your child is speaking.  Only if you don’t understand a comment that appears to be important should you ask your child to restate it.
  • Don’t ask your child to practice a certain sound or word– This just makes the child more self-conscious about his speech.
  • Don’t ask your child to slow down when he speaks-
    Try to convey to your child that you have plenty of time and are not in a hurry.  Model a slow relaxed rate of speech.  A rushed type of speech is a temporary phase that can’t be changed by orders from the parent.
  • Don’t label your child- Labels tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.  Don’t discuss your child’s speech problems in his presence.
  • Ask other adults not to correct your child’s speech- Share these guidelines with babysitters, teachers, relatives, neighbors and visitors.  Don’t allow siblings to tease or imitate your child’s stuttering.
  • Help your child relax and feel accepted in general– Try to increase the hours of fun and play your child has each day.  Try to slow down the pace of your family life. If there are any areas in which you have been applying strict discipline, back off.

So, after reading that, I know there are some areas that I failed in the beginning when the stuttering started and things I can continue to improve on as a parent.  I’m confident with this new info, that I can help him overcome this, and we can get back to a comfortable relaxed communication that I love and miss.  Here’s the two of us chatting a bit, and you can see where Parker’s speech is currently.  I’m hoping to do a follow-up on this in a month or so to see where his speech is, after practicing the techniques above.

Thirty-One

No, I’m not talking about the handbag line… I’m talking about my age. Yes… I’m officially “into” my thirties. Yikes! Honestly though, age doesn’t scare me. I mean, the alternative to having a birthday is dying, RIGHT??? So I’ll take getting older over that. I mean, this life isn’t too shabby.  I think I’ll take it as an excuse to celebrate!

I have some amazing friends and family that certainly made me feel special and loved on my birthday. My friend Sarah organized a girls night with some Mommy friends, some of which were also celebrating an August birthday.

Friday was my actual birthday, and since Dan was out of town, we had just planned on celebrating it on Saturday night.  I made a playdate with a friend of mine, Kate who I hadn’t seen in a little while, and had just planned to go over her home, let the kiddos play and catch up with her.  The boys always love seeing Charlie and Amelia and they always have fun playing with them.  This time though, Kate had surprised me and invited a few more Moms over as well, and Jenny and Tara were able to join, and Parker and Mason had a few more playmates too!  It was great because they all played so well together, and us Moms were able to relax a little and actually hold conversations.  Kate made a great salad for the Mamas, lunch for the kiddos, and of course a delicious home made cake.  What more could I have asked for?  It was SO sweet!  Of course, everyone knows that when the kiddos are happy, so is Mama, and this playdate made it easy for me since the boys had such a wonderful time playing with friends and gobbling up yummy lunch and cake.  I got some sweet gifts, flowers and balloons, and the boys and I went home for nap time all tuckered out from the fun with our bellies full.  Thanks, friends!

As if I hadn’t indulged enough in cake at Kate’s house, after naps, my friend Meagan brought over a home made cake for me! Ah, so sweet of her! Of course, THIS pregnant Mama can’t get enough cake for her birthday!  Good thing I passed my glucose tolerance test! My sweet tooth was in full force!

Since Dan wasn’t due into town until later in the evening, I decided to do a little “date” with my boys for dinner and take them to my favorite place, ZPizza.  My boys were sweet enough to be on good behavior while I indulged in my Chicken Sausage Arugula pizza on Wheat crust.  Yum!  Of course, they were pretty quiet because they were busy chowing down on their own yummy pizza slice with avocado and grapes I brought from home.  Next door is a Starbucks, and every ZPizza visit wouldn’t be complete without getting a cookie for the boys next door.  They made a crumbly mess of it, but they loved every minute of it!

This day was finished off with some cuddle time on the sofa with my hubby watching a movie when he got home.  Absolutely perfect!  Not to mention the wonderful phone calls, cards, texts, and messages I received throughout the day.  Feeling. Very. Loved!

Saturday night, we got a sitter and went on a sweet dinner date that the hubby planned.  I told him that I wanted to go somewhere “urban” with a city view.  My first thought was the Westin (and yes, Danielle, I saw your post afterward and thought it was ironic you ended up going there! Must be a thirty-one-birthday-thang).  Dan did some research on food reviews as well as city views, and he also got the recommendation from a friend for Capitol Grille, so that is where we went.  Dan and I agreed that the food was super yummy.  I got a cedar plank salmon with grilled asparagus and he got a filet mignon.  The portions were decent, and the lobster bisque was very tasty without being too salty.  The dessert was to die for!  It was super rich, but I’ve been in a super rich chocolate sweets kind of mood lately during my pregnancy, so it hit the spot.  I even indulged in a few sips of Shiraz, sneaking them from Dan’s glass.

Everything was perfect and Dan and I were able to catch up from him being gone all week, and it was nice to feel like I got the star treatment.  I had fresh highlights done earlier in the day, so my hair was at its best, and I had been completely pampered.  The only thing that was a little bit of a let down at Capitol Grille, was the view was a little less than we expected.  There were two ginormous cranes outside the window of the building, and you could see the city view a little more in the distance than we had expected.  It was still a fun “urban” dining experience and it certainly was nice to get out of Alpharetta for a change.  Here’s a pic of us prior to diving into my birthday slice of cake.  I know, I know, … it looks like my boob is about to fall out onto the table.  It’s an illusion I assure you!  Gotta have a sense of humor when you’re growing into a whale sized being in preparation for birth.

On Sunday, my Mom and younger sis Amanda came over to visit and give me birthday gifts, hugs and love.  I of course, loved seeing them and visiting and going out to dinner with them.  The boys LOVE seeing them and Parker always has a blast getting to play with Nannie and showing her all the toys he has.  He was so sad after dinner when we came home, and she didn’t come back home with us.  He LOVES the attention she gives him so much.  It was great visiting with them, and a nice way to end my birthday weekend!

Imagine It! Children’s Museum Atlanta

For this week’s play group, we went to Imagine It Children’s Museum in downtown Atlanta.  We arrived a little after 10am since I know my boys poop out early afternoon, and wanted to get the most out of our time there.  Admission was pretty expensive being $12.75 for persons 2 and older.  It would’ve been cheaper if we had a group, but it would have to be ten or more, and we all arrive at the same time.  I know my kiddos get anxious waiting, and it’s hard to confirm 10 mommies when you have little ones, and anything under the sun could happen at the last minute.

We started off just exploring the place.  The boys loved the area where you could farm your veggies, then grocery shop, then bring them back to the pretend kitchen for a meal.

Over in the “Leaping into Learning” area, there was a great place for the boys to play with tot toys and their absolute favorite was a baby waterbed.  It wasn’t too long before Parker learned how to climb out of the waterbed on to the ledge and plunge on top, making Mason giggle up a storm. They also had an area where Parker could catch fish.  He was quite the fisherman.  Mason on the otherhand, just wanted to go for a swim.

They had quite a few areas for the boys to “dress-up”, but that only lasted a little while.  Mason loves hats, so he enjoyed them quite a bit.  They had a track where you could run a scooter over different surfaces, and little hide-away tunnels that were a big hit.

We sat down just at the right time during lunch because only a few short minutes later, there was an “Adventure” performance that included a pirate, hidden treasure, and a hot air balloon.  The boys loved it while they at their lunch.

There were several “building” areas with foam blocks, pipes, wood blocks, etc. that the boys loved.  The large ball area kept them entertained for a while, placing the balls in the pipes and watching them go up in the machine and shoot out again.

Of course, Parker’s visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the train table!  He enjoyed that quite a bit while Mason enjoyed playing with the magnetic gears and the plastic balls with a little girl he met.

The boys were pretty well behaved.  The only challenge was that the area was pretty spread out, and Mason wanted to “explore” different areas while Parker really played with the exhibits more.  It definitely kept me on my toes, but they both had a blast and enjoyed every minute of it.