Redefining Milestones

Any new parent will agree that it’s easy to feel guilt and pressure about our babies meeting and /or exceeding milestones. As my friend said, “it’s not a true trip to the pediatrician if you don’t leave feeling bad about something!”  Well, I can’t say that I don’t fall into the category of overly anticipatory parenting when it comes to what “experts” say my son should be doing by now, but I’m also not going to lose anymore sleep that I already don’t have if we are slightly above or below the mean. 

One way to help alleviate the stress of meeting milestones that every other baby is held to is to create a list of ones that my son has already met. Don’t be jealous if your three month old hasn’t quite the accomplished list. 

  1. Sent at least one outfit (pajamas included) to the stain-remover station in the laundry room for five consecutive days.
  2. Slept in a car seat (in a car and living room floor), rocker/recliner, swing, bouncer, couch, your bed, play mat. Bonus parenting points if he/she doesn’t actually make it to their crib. 
  3. Knows the difference between the crib at your house and the one at Grandma’s AKA selective sleeping. 
  4. Detecting the exact moment you bring out a fresh cup of coffee and novel, settling under a blanket, so they can wake up from their nap. 
  5. Simultaneously wanting a pacifier in their mouth, but pulling it out over and over and over and over, mostly resulting in crying (the baby, not the  parent)
  6. Screaming bloody murder in your ear while learning to use their voice. 
  7. Discovering the convenient handles Mom had installed to hang from her scalp. 
  8. Phantom Crying: the cries you hear even when your baby isn’t home. 

How many of these has your baby achieved?  Did your older kids reach them in time to make you feel like a good parent?

Welcome July

Happy 1st of July! 

I am really excited to begin this new month.  It’s going to be the craziest and busiest month for us because we have so many friends and family members who are coming to meet our son, Cliff.  How blessed are we that many people love us enough to take time out of their schedules for us.  Thank goodness Cliff has been working on his selfie faces because I’m sure there will be plenty of picture taking and memory making!

June was an interesting month for us, and went out like a bang…literally.  Here are the highlights:

  • I spoke at my school’s graduation ceremony and watched my first group of students walk across the stage.
  • Dan wrapped up the school year and started his summer vacation.  It’s been great having all three of us home during the day.
  • I joined Bailey’s Gym to help get me closer to my pre-baby body.  I forgot how much I enjoyed working out in a legit gym.  The atmosphere inspires me to push myself more than when I’m at home.
  • Dan celebrated his first ever Father’s Day.  I wish I could have done more to express how much Cliff and I love him and what a phenomenal father he is.
  • I attended a week-long Advanced Placement Literature conference and got SOOOO inspired!  I have been developing my new courses and reading/rereading books like a curriculum planning-aholic.
  • Dan and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary by watching “Hail, Caesar!” and eating a delicious dinner at home.  #NewParents
  • Two wonderful young ladies that graduated a few years ago came over to visit, and it was nice catching up with them.
  • Cliff also had his 3-month appointment and got a solid bill of healthy from his pediatrician.  We are working on his sleeping at night because it has been fluctuating lately.  The doctor suggested that he may be having some digestive issues because she noticed a pattern between the pace and quantity of his eating habits and his poor sleeping sessions.  She suggested some Mylicon, and that has made a huge difference already!

NOT my baby =)

What’s In Store for July

July is going to be hectic but in a good way.  Just because we will be entertaining friends and family doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals to keep up with.

Books/Reading & Curriculum Planning:

I want to review the books that I have included in my curriculums for this upcoming school year.  I have read all of them before, but not necessarily used them for direct instruction.  Also, with teaching a section of Advanced Placement Literature, I will need to revamp my teaching strategies to support a new way to analyze and write about the texts they will be studying.

One of the strategies that I took away from my week-long conference was to give students a specific task for their reading that qualifies under a “Seek and List” title.  For example: Read the poem, “Groceries” by Cathy Smith Bowers, and create a list of similes and/or metaphors for things that are damaged.  Then, choose two and explain how and why the author used these devices to create tone.

Goal: Review the following books & create “Lists”

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Health and Wellness:

New moms have a difficult standard to live up to when they’re trying to lose the baby weight.  I don’t like the term “get back” your body because that assumes that there’s a loss, a void, a deficit when you don’t have the same physique after having a baby.  A woman’s body is put through total trauma to carry and deliver a new life, and it should be handled with tenderness and love.  As a culture, we are too violent with our expectations that women should “snap back” and quickly.  EVERY SINGLE aspect of your life changes once you become a parent or add another sibling to the pack, so why stress about having a different body?  That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to be healthy and in shape, or ever aspire to fit back into your old wardrobe; I am someone who has focused on that specific goal now that I’ve had my son.  The difference is that I don’t demand it to happen before it’s time, or set unrealistic expectations.  I work out every day, true, but I also did that before and during my pregnancy.  I slowly built my cardio and strength training routines back up, slowly and carefully.  I am not back to my fitness level, but I am not beating myself up about it.  Some women may achieve their goals sooner than me, some may take longer.  Just like all pregnancies, like all babies, each woman’s journey is specific to them and shouldn’t be compared to others’.  With that being said, I do have a goal for July to help me get closer to my ultimate goal.

July Goal: Workout daily & fit into my black and khaki capri pants.

Ultimate Goal: Workout daily & fit into my old wardrobe.

*Notice I don’t have a weight or pant size goal.  I just want to fit into the clothes that I used to wear.


Clearly, it is going to be a full month for the Ferrari family!  My ultimate goal is to enjoy each and every moment that we will get to spend with our out-of-town guests.

More Than a Name

I knew that I was going to have a boy. I knew that I would have a son. I knew that I would be a mother to a little boy, and I knew his name would be Clifford. I knew this well before the doctors informed me of my pregnancy and the gender of my growing child.

My son is named after my grandfather, Clifford Charles Freund. Growing up, he was my hero, and I spent the majority of weekends at his house doing nothing more productive than hitting plastic golf balls in the backyard or ordering our standard root beer at the Lumber Mill Inn, the small town’s answer to fine dining. As I got older and lost my innocence, I realize that my grandfather was far from the idealized man I’d conjured him up to be; more like a devil whose horns were hidden underneath his Budweiser hat. But you couldn’t convince me that he was anything less than perfect. 

Just before my high school graduation ceremony, I was devastated when my grandfather had had a stroke, and would spend the next month in a hospital, then in hospice, then in the adjoining cemetery plot to my grandmother’s.

Now, I consume any memento that brings back memories of my grandfather: his rosary, his library card that checked out books for me, and a picture whose anecdote is more valuable than the actual event it portrays hangs in my son’s room.

My grandfather told me that it was a painting of him and his dog, Neff, saying their nighttime prayers. I believed that story longer than I would like to admit, but those types of exaggerations are what endeared me to him.

I rock my son under that picture multiple times throughout days and nights. When we first brought Clifford home, and I would nurse him, he would occasionally shift his gaze from me to a spot above my left shoulder. I didn’t think much of it, mostly because I was so sleep-deprived that I couldn’t be sure I was awake myself. Then, one feeding, Clifford looked up to the left, and I softly asked him, “What are you looking at back there, Sweet Boy? What do you see?” 

I turned and saw that picture and realized that he was looking at his grandfather’s picture. It warms my heart to see him continue to look up, and in my opinion, his guardian angel looks back to return the smile. Cynics will say that he was just looking at the wall, that babies cannot see that far away or pick out those types of details. They will also say that I see what I want to see, and even if I am, what a beautiful connection to believe in.