Sunday, May 31, 2009

Who Needs Fancy Toys When You Have a Cardboard Box?

I was at the playground today with my friend and fellow mom, Gry. As our children ran loose, I was telling her that I was passing by a toy store the other day and I was tempted to go in, but I didn't.

First I'll tell you why I was tempted to go in. I have been substitute teaching a lot lately, and thus have had less time to spend with my son. I thought I could go into the toy store, pick out something shiny and new, come home and say to him "look what mommy got just for you?"

Now I'll tell you the reasons why I stopped myself.

Reason # 1 - I thought to myself "He has so many toys at home, does he really need more?"
Reason# 2 - I remembered past incidents where I had purchased a toy for him and he would ignore the actual toy and play with the box.
Reason # 3- I tried to figure out why I had this sudden urge to buy a shiny new toy for my son since he has so many at home. I realized that I felt guilty for not being around as much and reasoned that if I got him a new toy this would make up for not being present in his life as much. When I realized that this was my motivation, I knew that I could not go through with it.

In the end I chose to walk by the toy store and come home empty handed.

But I would like to focus on Reason # 2 for a a moment. The truth is, babies are very easily entertained, contrary to popular belief. Depending on the age of your child, you have the relevant household item that will keep them busy for a while.

Here is a list of common household items that babies love to play with
--Keys - Only standard metal keys will do. They know the difference between fake keys and real ones. You are not fooling anyone with the plastic ones, so don't even try.
--A cardboard box - They love them. They love to put things in them and take them out again. Or (if they aren't old enough for that yet) they can just feel the texture of the box.
Pots, Pans and Large Plastic and Metal Serving Spoons - These always make for a lot of fun. Can be a bit noisy, but they work.
Mirrors-- Take your baby into the bathroom or any other place in the house that has a mirror. They love looking at themselves and at you!
The Window-- Although not a household item per say, it is an instant fix when my son is screaming his head off, I take him up to the window and have him look outside. For the most part, he stops crying. Babies love looking outside.
--Paper-- Newspaper, magazines, wrapping paper, or just an old bill you don't care about. Babies love to play with paper. And it makes fun sounds when you crinkle it.

Anyway, you get the point. You don't need to go to the toy store when you have ready made entertainment in your own house!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Park Slope Parents Debacle

I have been a member of the Park Slope Parents Yahoo group since my son was born. I have found the messages posted on their message boards to be useful and helpful for the most part.

Recently I received an email from the administrator of the group stating that they are going to start charging an annual fee of $25 for their group. Now, as someone who has been enjoying the membership to this online forum where parents can gain insights into their children for FREE for over a year, I was devastated.

Furthermore, as a person who makes very little money and is struggling to pay her rent and feed her family, $25 is a lot of money.

So, I wrote PSP an email. It said:


I am curious to know what the $25 annual membership cost is meant to cover. What expenses do you have? It is my understanding that starting a yahoo group is free. Perhaps the website is the main expense?

For my part, I cannot afford to pay $25. I am very disappointed that your group has chosen to charge this annual fee.

I have enjoyed your yahoo group as a free resource for parents. I feel that this $25 annual fee will alienate the members who (like myself) have a lower income bracket.


Sarah Fader

I received the following response:

Do you want to answer this one before we delete her ass

Now, granted, I'm sure that this was not meant to get to me directly, but it was (in my opinion) entirely unprofessional. I was simply trying to gauge what the $25 was meant to cover.

I wrote back the following:

Hmmm... that is a very hostile response. Have a nice day!

The individual replied almost instantly:

Oops ... I'm sorry you got this rude message from me... It's been a long week!

Please fee[sic] the extensive FAQ both on our website at and on the club express homepage.

We've offered membership discounts including a free subscription to Time Out NY Kids and the option to volunteer for a free subscription or write in for a hardship subscription if the fee (which works out to 7 cents a day) is too much.

I understand that people are easily offended. I was offended when I received the email stating that the free yahoo group that I enjoyed was asking me for money that I don't have. So I get why this individual reacted the way that they did. However, it turned me off even further. I suppose I will just let my membership lapse if this is the way that they like to treat their members.

Who is My Child?

As my millionth day as a substitute teacher comes to a close, I realize that there are certain universal truths about children. There will always be the smart ass child who remarks snidely when asked to do anything.

There will be the eager to please child who offers to collect completed worksheets or gives helpful information.

There will be the attention seeking child who behaves badly when ignored.

But the question is: what kind of child will my son be? The truth is, I can see my son's face in all of these children. I have no way of knowing who he will turn out to be or how he will act in school.

I almost want to fast forward four years so I can find out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Old School/New School Mom Business Cards

A very wise woman told me that I should get business cards made for my blog. I trust this woman because I have known her since I was seven years old. Thank you for your advice Kyle!

I ordered the business cards on Vista Print. Vista Print falsely advertises that their business cards are "free". They are not exactly free, but the truth is they might as well be free because they are really cheap. Essentially you have to pay for the shipping costs of the cards.

Vista Print offers design templates that you can input your contact information into. I chose a template that I liked and the cards came to me in about a week and half. So here it is! Let me know what you think! I want honest opinions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The End of a Nursing Era

After 12 1/2 months I am sad to report that I have stopped nursing my son. I am proud of myself that I was able to successfully nurse him for a little over a year. But now that I am working, it was the most practical thing for me to wean him and start him on organic whole milk.

I was sad when I stopped nursing him. I thought he would be the one going through withdrawal symptoms and sadness. But you want to know something? It was me looking longingly at the Boppy pillow given to us by his Aunt Kimberly.

I missed the bonding associated with nursing my son. He still puts his hand on my breast when I carry him around, taking some sort of ownership of it. But all in all he has been able to function fine without nursing.

I remember how difficult it was to start nursing. I was in the hospital trying desperately to get him to latch on after my 20 hour labor. I was so exhausted that the first two days of his life I ended up reluctantly supplementing with formula. Finally, I went to a breast feeding class, which I thought was ridiculous sounding at the time- I mean how hard could it be? But it saved me a lot of frustration.

The lactation consultant was slightly insane. She was a typical Upper East side looking woman in her mid fifties. Her hair was brown with blond highlights and blow dried in a 1950's bob-like style. It looked as if it couldn't be moved no matter how hard you tried. She was wearing dark blue scrubs and pearls. I wanted to laugh out loud when I saw her. But you know what? She was amazing!

I sat in an intimate room in the hospital surrounded by new mothers in stark white hospital gowns. We were all still drowsy and/or drugged up from our labors. The lactation consultant went around the room addressing each mother.

"You! You breasts are pointy! Try this!....You! You breasts are round, do this!...It doesn't matter if you're flat chested!! Everyone can breast feed. And don't let anyone tell you differently!"

I loved this woman.

She came to me and saw that I was having trouble with my son. So she leaned over and said

"Ah! I think I need to use my magic potion on you!" I have to say, I was slightly afraid of what she was referring to, but I was so desperate she could have handed me a crack pipe and said "smoke this!" and I would have been like "Okay! As long as it makes my baby latch on!"

Anyway, she squirted a bottle of formula on my boob, and my son latched on immediately. Normally, being the perfectionist that I am, I would have been like "But...that's cheating!" But at this point all that mattered was that my son was nursing. I was thrilled.

And you know what? From that day on, I never needed formula again. I will always remember that nutty lactation consultant. She enabled me to have a year old love affair with nursing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Unorthodox Mom

My great friend Cordy has just started her very own mom blog; The Unorthodox Mom. She is hysterically funny and outrageous.

She is a self-described "ex-wild child" who has two children: a wacky 16 month old Aquarius and a sweet five month old Capricorn.

So check out The Unorthodox Mom blog. I promise you will laugh your ass off.

My Thoughts on The Jon & Kate Plus Eight "Scandal"

I have been a fan of Jon & Kate Plus Eight since I gave birth to my son. I discovered the show when I was barely sleeping, caring for a newborn and needing emotional support which I received in the form of a television show.

Each day, I would watch Jon and primarily Kate care for their eight children. It gave me hope that I could continue caring for my one child successfully. I liked that Kate fed her kids organic food and that she was a real human being. She is a honest person who doesn't sugar coat her feelings. She tells it like it is. And I admire that quality.

I also identify with the Gosselins on a cultural level, Jon is half korean, half white and my
boyfriend is half Filipino half white.

The public gives Kate Gosselin a lot of flack for being mean to Jon or for being blunt in general. Personally, I like her. I identify with her outlook on life, her organizational skills are extremely impressive. Plus, wouldn't you get a little cranky caring for eight children and trying to satifisy all of their needs?

Kate cares for her eight children seemingly with ease. This includes: food preparation, bathing, clothing them and loving them. I think that she is a phenomenal human being. And keep in mind, when the show started The Gosselins had minimal help. Kate had a few trusted people that she met in various situations that she allowed to help her care for her children. Now, she admitedly uses the help of nannies, but can you blame her? Would you be able to care of eight children by yourself?

Recently the Gosselins have been in the news due to allegations that Jon was unfaithful to Kate. When I saw these headlines in the tabloids I was saddened. Why has the media chosen to focus on whether or not Jon Gosselin is cheating on his wife?

What about all the good the Gosselins are doing for and have done for their family? They were given an extraordinary situation: Kate was pregnant with six children at the same time, and they made it work. Granted they put themselves in this situation. They chose to do fertility treatments, but they didn't ask for sextuplets.

I couldn't imagine being able to care for six infants at the same time. I would mostly likely have a nervous breakdown. Despite her occasional bouts of crankiness, Kate Gosselin is able to be a great mommy for her eight kids. She is emotionally present and there for her children.

My point is, stop focusing on the negative events surrounding the Gosselins. Let's acknowledge the fact that they are doing an extraordinary job as parents.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Baby Drama

As parents we would like to think that our children are perfect. But they all have their days. Some days my son gets so cranky and I don't know what to do with him. I pick him up to comfort him and he arches his back, leans his head back and wails. He has a legitimate concern. Maybe he's tired, or hungry, or perhaps he's teething. Sometimes I joke to my boyfriend that he is being...dramatic!

And you know what? He is being dramatic. Or at least it appears that way, because he currently only has one real mode of communication: crying. Sometimes I wish I could burst out crying when things don't go my way...wait, I do do that. But not to the extent that my son does it.

When he doesn't get his needs met, my little man lets me know, and in quite a theatrical way. I think the reason I joke about him being so dramatic, is to relieve my own maternal anxiety. Let's face it, being a mother is a hard job. The hardest job I've ever had.

And when my son is wailing his head off, I laugh at his dramatic display to ease the tension within myself. Because I don't know what he wants. I use trial and error to figure out what could placate him until I get it right. And if I don't get it right, I ask my mom for what to do.

The truth is babies are inherently dramatic, because they have to let us know when they need something. And that communication cannot be subtle.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Save The Library!

Yesterday, my mom friend and I took our kids to Story Time at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.

My favorite librarian was there facilitating the program. She let the kids play for 30 minutes and then she read us three stories. Our kids listened eagerly and attentively. After the program was over the librarian's friendly smile turned into a solemn look.

"Thank you all for coming today," she began "I want you to know that the library is facing large budget cuts and currently over 300 jobs are going to be lost including mine. The library hours will be cut drastically. This library will only be open between 1pm - 6pm. Also, programs like these will no longer be available. If you want to stop this from happening, sign our petition at the front desk."

As soon as I left the Story Time room, I bolted (stroller in tow) to the desk to sign the petition against the library budget cuts. I felt good about signing the petition, but I want to do more.

The library is an incredible free resource for parents and their children. Its a place to take your child to enrich their life. You can take your son or daughter to one of the library's free Early Childhood programs or just come to the library and hang out. To loose this capability would be devastating.

What can we do? Call 311 and tell the operator that you want the library to stay as it is: a resource for parents and their children. A place where children and adults a like can read or experience wonderful programs that will enrich their lives. Tell the operator that Mayor Bloomberg is making a huge mistake by making these budget cuts.

Save the library!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Google Phone Camera Was Not Designed For People With Babies

I recently switched cell phone carriers and had the opportunity to pick a new phone. I chose the G1 Google Phone because I use the internet a lot and I had heard great things about the phone. For the most part, the G1 is amazing. It is user-friendly and the internet capabilities are awesome.

The only issue with the phone I have is that frankly, the camera stinks.

As a new mom I take a lot of pictures of my son. But the shutter on the G1 has a massive delay.

Essentially, you click the button to take a picture and then it seems like a million
years later, it captures the image. Now you can imagine how this would be
problematic if you were taking a picture of a baby because babies do not stay still for long periods of time.

Here is an example. I attempted to take a photo of my son typing on a
keyboard with the G1 camera. Take a look at the results:

You get the point. Because the delay is so long, it is virtually impossible to capture a baby doing something funny or cute. Because, as any parent knows, babies move quickly.

So please be advised, if you are thinking about purchasing the G1 and you have a small child, you will not be getting the best photos of your little one on this device.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"That's Cause You Don't Got Kids!"

It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was perusing the aisles at Duane Reade. I had one purchase in mind, a pregnancy test. I brought my item to the cashier to purchase. She noticed what I was holding in my right hand and said

“Oh! Are you excited?”

I clutched the E.P.T test

“Yes,” I replied

“You got kids?” She asked with a smile

“No.” I replied.

“That’s ‘cause you don’t got kids.” she said and began laughing uproariously. It turned out I was, in fact, pregnant. Nine months later I delivered my son.

Adjusting to motherhood has been tough. But tougher still was finding out that the other people in my life could not understand that I was now a mom. I have compiled a short list of unhelpful questions and comments that people have offered me, post child.

1.“Why is your house so dirty? Can’t you clean when the baby is napping?”

My house does not look like “Martha Stewart’s Living” because I am busy caring for a child 24 hours a day. As far as cleaning when the baby is napping the first issue there is that the baby refuses to nap. Perhaps you could come to my house and force my child to sleep? And then I could clean so that my house would be more aesthetically pleasing to you.

2. “Why don’t you come out with us?”

When you have a baby you relish any free time you can get. Now, the use of the word “free” here is relative. When my son goes to sleep at 7:00pm I can’t go have a night on the town, go to the movies, even go out for coffee. I have to sit in my apartment and wait just in case he decides to wake up spontaneously and needs something. So my “free” time is watching TV or looking on the internet for celebrity gossip by myself in my pajamas. Somehow this has escaped my friends and family and they continue to invite me out to dinner, the movies and various events that fall after dark that I obviously cannot attend.

3. “How can you let him cry when he goes to sleep? Why are you still breastfeeding? Can’t you give him formula? He’s really fat.”

News flash everyone: babies cry. Or didn’t you get the memo? Sometimes they cry when they are trying to get to sleep too. I am still breastfeeding because women have been doing it for centuries and my son still accepts the milk that my body is making especially for him. I could give him formula ignoring all the wonderful immune system benefits that breastfeeding offers, but what good would that do? As far as his “obesity” is concerned, that baby fat will come right off once he starts walking. And if you think he is packing on the pounds perhaps you should look in the mirror and recall the last Weight Watchers meeting you attended. When it comes to raising my child, please keep your opinions to yourself. He has survived this long without your pearls of wisdom; I think I am doing wonderfully without you.

4. “I, your friend, would like to recommend an impossible alternative.”

Maybe you need a day to yourself without the baby? Why don’t you ask your husband to take the day off so you can go on a yoga retreat? Why don’t you take a nice warm bath or a nap? These are just a few impossible solutions that your friends might earnestly offer to ease your pain as a new mom. They mean well, but they are ridiculous and unachievable because you have a child who is totally dependent on you.

I have learned a special kind of patience with these folk. If and when they do decide to have children, I will not be insensitive and offer them unattainable solutions to their problems. Nor will I instruct them on them how to raise their youth. But rather I will lend a sympathetic ear, having been there myself. I have realized one major thing when it comes to the childless people in my life. They cannot offer adequate advice and (in the words of the Duane Reade cashier) “That’s cause they don’t got kids.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Introducing Joe to Blue's Clues!

My son and I are big fans of the TV show Blue's Clues. The show first aired in 2001 with a host named Steve Burns. For those of you that have been following my blog, you know how much I love Steve.

Steve is a charismatic and highly engaging host. He calls the viewer a "friend" and makes one feel as if you are involved in his adventure. The adventure: solving a puzzle based on three distinct clues that his dog, Blue, has laid out for us; "Blue's Clue's"

I have been watching re-runs of the show (as it no longer airs new episodes) on Noggin. I noticed, somewhere along the line, that Steve is mysteriously no longer on the show. He is replaced by a fellow named "Joe."

The Joe episodes of Blue's Clues are okay at best. Let's face it, he is no Steve. But the lingering question in my mind was: how did the show introduce Joe to the kids who were long time Blue's Clue's fans? They had known Steve for such a long time, it must have been tricky to do.

Well, I finally got my answer yesterday when I caught the episode:
Meet Joe Scrapbook Adventure. The episode introduced Joe to the kids as Steve's brother. The episode itself is an hour long, giving the viewers a chance to play with and get to know Joe. We even get to play a round of Blue's Clue's with both Steve and Joe together.

After playing a round of Blue's Clue's with both hosts, Steve announces that he has some exciting news; he is going to college! The viewer learns what college is, where he will be staying and that Steve will keep in touch via letters and the telephone. The whole episode was executed so well.

I was really impressed with how the producers of the show handled Joe's introduction. It was done so gracefully and with such empathy on behalf of the children who had come to know and love Steve for years and years. There is even a special message to Steve in the credits of this episode thanking him for his work on the show. Joe's introduction really furthered my love for Blue's Clues.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's All "Relative"

Ahhh yes the in-laws. If it isn't hard enough to deal with your own family's idiosyncrasies now you have to deal with your partner's family's quirks. They come to stay with you maybe when your baby is born or for special occasions like say a birthday or a major holiday.

For my part, I like my boyfriend's family very much. However, the prospect of accommodating other people in my home is intimidating and causes me anxiety.

What if my house isn't clean enough? What if they are not comfortable and they don't tell me? I'm in a state of constant worry about...well, pretty much everything. The truth is I'm a control freak. And nobody knows my routine like

But, I must say, that the wonderful upside to having family stay with you is...the help!! They love their grandchild/niece/nephew/etc. as much if not more than you do! So they help you with pretty much everything.

My advice to you is, accept it! Even if you are a control freak like me. Because when they leave, you won't have that help anymore. And you'll notice the difference.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Eventful Visit to CMOM (Children's Museum of Manhattan)

I had the pleasure today of visiting CMOM (The Children's Museum of Manhatan) with my son. As someone who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I am familiar with the museum and have foggy recollections of visiting it during my childhood.

However, when I set foot into CMOM today, it was a totally new and exciting experience and entirely different from how I remembered it as a child.

As soon as I entered the museum I realized that I was going to have to do the dreaded task; check my stroller. I begrudgingly headed to the coat/stroller check line. As soon as I reached the front of the line I was reminded of how incredibly disorganized I am as a human being not to mention as a mom.

I stood there shifting items from the diaper bag to my purse not really knowing what I was doing. I finally got it together and set out with my son to explore the museum.

Note to parents visiting the museum: if you are going with an infant 25 lbs and under, since they require you to check your stroller, bring an infant carrier such as the Baby Bjorn or the Ergo Baby carrier. That way, if your baby has a meltdown and wants to be carried, you are prepared and your back won't hurt when you arrive home.

Baby Bjorn Ergo Baby Carrier

I asked the woman at the information desk what I should start out with. She sent me to the 4th floor which was the baby and toddler-centric area.

When I arrived on the 4th floor, it was like baby utopia. The floors were carpeted and brightly colored. I didn't know where to go first...but my son spotted some colored plastic balls, and fell instantly in love with them.

Then we noticed that there was a painting activity going on. A musuem employee had squirted different colored paints on a glass wall. The kids were supposed to smear the paint around and make designs with it.

"Do you think he's too young for this?" I asked the musuem employee.
"No, he can do it!" She said confidently.

So I thought "what the heck!" I put a smock on him, rolled up his sleeves and off he went. And boy did he love finger painting!

Afterward, he freaked out when I had to wash the green paint off his hands but all in all he had a great time. And apparently they do this finger painting activity every weekday at 1:15pm. I have a feeling we'll be back.

We spent the majority of the time on the 4th floor with the baby-centric activities; which, by the way, were great because I could just let my son roam around the floor and barely supervise him. He would find something he liked and explore it.

He also particularly enjoyed the Lower Level of the museum that housed the Kapla blocks. Similar to Lincoln Logs, Kapla blocks are simple wooden blocks that can built extraordinary structures.

All in all, my visit to CMOM was wonderful for me and my son. For more information on CMOM click here.

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done to Date

I have stayed home with my son for exactly one year now. I just recently re-entered the work force as a substitute teacher for the New York City Department of Education. And let me tell you, after not working for one year, it is tough to go back to work.

Don't get me wrong, having and caring for a child is a job unto itself; however, reporting to a place of work on a given day at a set time is work in an entirely different way from being a mom. Plus, when I return from said job to my home, I have to do my other job, mom. It's really hard.

When I am working at my "real job" I can focus on what I am doing. I'm not thinking about my son, because I know either my parents or my boyfriend is taking care of him. But its when I get home and I haven't seen my son all day, that I begin to feel sad and resentful of the "real job" from taking me away from my son.

Its a tough dilemna. I need to make money to pay rent and my bills, however, I don't want to miss out on watching my son grow and change on a daily basis.

However, I do appreciate that my parents are the primary babysitters for my dear little boy. Though he is not with me when I am working, he gets to spend time with his grandparents.

In Response to Cat Antics

I've received a few responses to The Cat Antics blog. One was from Mint, stating that she was dissatisfied with the picture of Egreck because it didn't accurately depict the image of baby and kitty sleeping together. I wholeheartedly agree with her on that one.

It's too bad that I didn't have a camera ready at 4am to catch those two in action. :p

However, I also received a response from Cordy saying that the same situation happened to her; she caught her cat, Piotr Lev, and her baby in the crib together. So I asked her to send me a picture of this event to post on my blog. That way the readers will know that I am not alone.

Also, it will satisfy Mint's craving for a baby/kitty crib picture. Although, Pitor Lev, is clearly awake in this photo. Sorry Minty.

So here it is:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cat Crib Antics

I went to sleep late last night. I'm talking late, like midnight late. My son had been asleep since 7pm and for some reason I could not get myself to wind down.

Finally, after watching massive amounts of television, I knocked out. My boyfriend stumbled home from his overnight shift at the airport at 5am. I woke up abruptly to him standing in the bedroom doorway:

"Babe! You know the door is wide open?!" He said pointing to the doorway of the bedroom.

He was right.

I sat up immediately.

"Oh my G-d!" I shouted. My first thought was: the cats! Generally, we keep the bedroom doors closed so the cats can't come into the room at night.

"Go check on the baby!" I exclaimed.

My boyfriend rushed over to my son's crib to find a sleeping baby next to...a sleeping cat. They were curled up next to one another comfortably. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or scream at that point; so I let my boyfriend deal with the situation. He promptly removed Egreck, my cat, from the crib, and we all went back to sleep.

Pictured above is the illustrious crib hopper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dr. Michael Thompson Rocks!

I recently wrote an email to Dr. Michael Thompson praising him on his book, It's a Boy.
The book talks about child development with regard to boys specifically.

I really enjoyed his book and admire Dr. Thompson as writer and clinician. So I decided to tell him all of this in an email. I sent him a short note stating how much I liked his book (It's a Boy) and how it inspired me to write a blog about developmental milestones.

To my surprise and delight he wrote back:

Dear Sarah,
Thanks for sending me the link to your blog. I very much enjoyed your piece on developmental milestones and competitiveness.

I wrote back to him asking if I might include his response in my blog. He responded almost immediately back stating:

Dear Sarah,
Yes, you may post my comments on your blog, but let me add a couple of sentences:
"Thanks for sending me the link to your blog. I very much enjoyed your piece on developmental milestones and competitiveness. What you say about moms and dads subtly competing about their children's milestones is so true...and more than a bit sad. It suggests that the children of "good parents" reach their developmental milestones faster and the less rapid developers are slow because their parents aren't doing something right. These assumptions are almost always wrong, but the real problem is that this kind of competition is demoralizing and alienating. It leaves parents lonely at a time when they need friends the most, i.e. when they have needy, tiring young children. The hard thing for parents to accept is that DEVELOPMENT is in charge of development, not parents.

May I just say that any admiration that I had for Dr. Thompson has now been exponentially multiplied.

So please check out Dr. Thompson's book if you have a son. It will shed some light on key developmental issues and help you to become a better more understanding parent.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Transition to Solid Foods

My son has been eating baby food jars since he was six months old. I only feed him organic baby food because I feel that it has the purest ingredients for his little body. His favorite brand is Earth's Best Organic Baby Food

However, he is having a really hard time transitioning from pureed baby foods to solid foods at a year of age.

He likes certain solid foods a lot. But his issue with solid food is mainly the texture. He finds the texture of many solid foods unpleasant. I offer them to him and he spits them out instantly.

So far he has rejected:

--avocado - which everyone insists is a winner. He says - not so much.
--peas - I put a pea in his mouth, he sticks his tongue out and the pea shoots back out onto the high chair tray.
--salad - He doesn't know what to make of it, so he throws it on the floor.
--boiled carrots - same tongue action as the peas
--broccoli- It's so weird looking, it must be a toy
--black beans - he makes a strange face, sticks his tongue out and the beans fall to the floor
--most vegetables in general - he hates the texture and the taste

So far he likes:
--breaded baked chicken breast - I cut it into little pieces and he eats it all up. Loves it!
--steak- I marinate it it olive oil and soy sauce and also cut it into tiny pieces. Loves it
--bananas- Who doesn't love bananas?
--spinach - but only if it is sauteed in garlic and olive oil and hidden in a piece of steak
--oatmeal - I wish I could explain this one. It's so bland. But he loves it.
--yogurt- creamy delicious yogurt. He loves it.
--scrambled eggs- soft and easy to eat. But only eats them if there is salt and pepper on them and if they are made with olive oil
--bread- soft and chewy, it is his new pacifier when I am out at a restaurant
--Cherrios - bite sized, he can feed himself ten at a time now. He is totally addicted

He is quite a fussy eater. I've asked his pediatrician about the transition from baby food purees to solid foods. She says that it takes time, and that I shouldn't give up. Just keep offering him different choices of foods. She also says that kid's tastes change. He may not like avocado now, but I should try it again at some point.

I don't far he's rejected avocado on three distinct occasions.

I wrote to Earth's Best to see if they had any suggestions with regard to the solid food transition. Hopefully they will have some advice to offer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Adiri Bottle Review

Adiri was kind enough to send me a sample of one of their Natural Nurser bottles to sample. I was able to try the bottle out on my son. The following is my review of the Adiri Natural Nurser Ultimate Baby Bottle - Stage 1.

The Adiri bottle is designed to simulate breast. On the box it states "Introducing the ultimate baby bottle: the world's most breast-like bottle experience."

Pictured above is the Adiri Natural Nurser. On the left is the bottle and on the right is the cap.
After receiving the bottle I read the product instructions, which prompted me to boil all bottle parts in hot water for five minutes before use.

Well, unfortunately in my haste to try the bottle out, I didn't read the directions well enough. I put the pumped breast milk directly into the upside down bottle and the milk spilled everywhere. So I had to start over again.

Note to Adiri users, read instructions thoroughly; even if you are one of those people who 'hates instruction manuals' and can 'figure it out on your own by trial and error.'

So, I washed the bottle and parts out with hot soapy water as instructed by Adiri. I waited a few hours and pumped again.

This time I read the manual. It told me to:

--put the cap on the bottle

--turn bottle and cap upside down so that nipple is facing downward

--make sure the nipple is securely in the cap

--screw open the bottom of the bottle

--pour breast milk into the bottle

--screw cap back on

--finally turn bottle right side up.

At last, I was ready to try out the bottle on my one year old son who has not taken a bottle since he was five months old.

I put the Adiri Natural Nurser on his high chair tray in front of him. I kid you not, he immediately grabbed it, placed it in his mouth, drank from it, and smiled.

He was in love.

The only issue that he had was the flow seemed to be a bit too slow for him. He didn't get frustrated, he just seemed like he wanted more milk then he was getting at one given time. I may have to purchase a faster flow version of the Natural Nurser from Adiri.

The Natural Nurser comes in three flow rates. 0-3 months, 3-6 months and 6 months to one year. Perhaps he will like the fastest flow the best.

All in all, my son really liked the Adiri Natural Nurser. As a breastfeeding mom, I wholeheartedly recommend this bottle to babies who are nursing and do not take a traditional bottle.

For more information on the Adiri Natural Nurser, visit their website

First Birthday Parties

My son turns one year old today! May 6th. Happy Birthday, goo-goohead!

The first birthday is a big deal. In most ways it is a bigger deal for the parents than it is for the baby. As my best friend said wisely:

"The first birthday is celebrating that you survived one year with a baby."

And its true. My son is not going to remember today, unfortunately. But I will. And later in his life I can show his pictures of what happened on his first birthday.

My boyfriend and I agonized about what to do for my son's first birthday. Should we throw a huge party and invite everybody we know? Or do a low key family event.

It was really a tough decision. In the end we compromised; today we are taking our son out to lunch with our close family. Next week we are having another tiny family party with a few of my son's friends and their moms.

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday goo-goohead!!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For the Love of Coffee

Well folks, it's been a year. My son is turning one tomorrow and I am getting nostalgic. Many things have helped me survive throughout this year; my boyfriend, my incredibly supportive friends and family, even my cats and one more crucial

Coffee, I love you very much. You got me through a very hard transition in my life; from bachelorette to mother. You are a loyal friend. When my son was waking up every three hours on the dot, you were there to help me survive.

You were there during the summer in your iced form. You were there during the winter season in your standard heated variety. But the most important thing is that you stayed true to me. You never let me down.

When I thought I might collapse from exhaustion and emotional upheaval you lifted me up and gave me the necessary energy to cope with my problems.

I want everyone to know, that you are safe to drink (in moderation) while breastfeeding

And thank goodness for that.

Thank you coffee. You are this mom's best friend.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My First Substitute Teaching Experience

Today I substitute taught at my old elementary school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I got up early, got ready, dropped my son off with my parents so that they could babysit, and took the subway uptown.

I got off the train and started walking uptown towards my old school. Who did I happen to see? Cynthia Nixon! For those of you that don't know who Cynthia Nixon is, she played Miranda on 'Sex and the City'. I smiled at her, she smiled back at the fact that I recognized her and we continued on our respective daily journeys.

What a nice start to the day!

I got to the school ten minutes early and it was really busy. I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to go, but every time I went to ask the secretary the phone rang or she was accosted by another teacher or student needing her assistance.

Finally, I was handed my schedule for the day. I was placed in a different class each period: 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, respectively.

The first class were 3rd graders. I was told that I should supervise them while they 'read quietly'. They did neither of those two things. Every other minute I had to remind them that there was no talking and it was quiet reading time. They would comply for a while and then regress into talking. So finally, I bribed them.

"Okay. If you read quietly for ten minutes we can play a game." I said hopefully.

"Can we play 7up?"

"Sure." I said exhausted already from shhhing them.

It worked. When the teacher walked in we were playing our reward game of 7up.

She asked immediately "What round is this?"

"This is the first round!" Proclaimed a student

"First and last." She replied

Uh-oh. I thought, I'm in trouble...I was just trying to desperately to keep these kids happy.

My next stop, 4th grade. When I entered the classroom the teacher did not skip a beat, she was ready to update me on what these kids were supposed to be doing. As soon as she started talking I realized...I knew her! She was my old student teacher from the 5th grade and a good friend of my parents'!

I stopped her mid-sentence.
"Wait, a second. What's your name?" I asked her.
"Ruth." She replied.

Then I told her who I was and she screamed with delight. She recognized me immediately.

"I remember when you were in a stroller!" She said in disbelief.

We reminisced for a while and then she realized that she really had to go. She was late for her teacher's meeting. So I was left with Ruth's 4th grade class.

How bad could they be? I thought.

They, too, had a reading assignment. They were separated into reading groups. Each group was reading a different book. They had to read a portion of the book, discuss it, and then write their reactions in a reading journal.

Every minute or so, as predicted, I found myself shouting

"You're supposed to be reading! Not talking." And they would quiet down for a while and then resume their noise.

Then I heard a few boys yelling at each other at one table. So I went to see what the issue was.

"What's the problem here?" I asked
"He called me a bastard!" said boy A.
"Did you call him that?" I asked the boy B
"Yes." Admitted boy B
"That's not a very nice thing to say. How would you feel if he called you that?" I asked boy B.
"I wouldn't care!" Proclaimed boy B proudly.
"Well, he seems to care." I said pointing to boy A. "Tell him you're sorry." I instructed boy B.
"I'm sorry." Said boy B, laughing hysterically.
"It doesn't sound like you are very sorry." I said responding to his laughter.
"Okay, okay." He replied, calming down. "I'm sorry."
"He means it," Said boy A "He has a serious face on. It's okay."
Crisis averted.

Next was the 5th grade. After their student teacher taught a Social Studies lesson, I was assigned the task of handing out a workbook for them with questions to complete. I circulated around to each table to make sure they were doing their work.

There was one particular table that didn't seem to be doing very much work at all.

"Who are you?" one student asked me "Are you a new sub?"
"Yes, I am a sub."
"Are you new?" She asked again.
"I've been around forever." I joked with her.
"But how come I've never seen you before." She asked.
I changed the subject
"I used to go to this school." I remarked
"Really, how old are you?" another student asked,
"I'm not going to answer that." I replied.
"But, Mrs. Foster was my 5th grade teacher." I told them. Mrs. Foster is still a teacher at this particular school today.
"Wow!" They marveled.

"Okay, okay guys," interrupted the student teacher. "That's enough, get back to work."
Whew! She saved me from a personal inquisition!

Well....not quite.

I was making my rounds again, attempting to answer questions about 5th grade social studies, when one girl blurted out

"You have a tattoo."
"What does that have to do with the assignment?" I replied.
"But, did it hurt?" She asked.
"Again," I replied, "That has nothing to do with Westward Expansion in America."

The day was quite challenging. These kids are full of surprises and interminable questions. I have to say, that after spending the day with 8-11 year olds. Caring for a one year old seems like a cake walk.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Developmental Milestone War

"Aww! Your son is so cute! How old is he?"

"A year."

"Really? He's big for a year. Is he walking?"

"No, no he's not walking yet."

"Oh, well my daughter was walking at 9 months. Just give him time he'll do it. Is he talking yet?"

"Yeah, he says 'mama' and 'dada' but he doesn't really know what they mean."

"Well, my daughter was talking at 11 months, he's going to get there...."

Sound familiar? What I have just recounted is a common phenomenon amongst parents; competition.

Human beings are inherently competitive. But that competition intensifies when it comes to our children. Because our children are extensions of ourselves.

So if another parent tells me that their child is talking at one year, I get anxious and defensive; its only natural. I'm thinking to myself:

Why isn't my son talking? Is there something wrong with him? Is there something wrong with me? What's going on?!

So what do I do? I bring up some other wonderful thing that he has started to do!

"Well, he just recently started pointing!! And that's early too! He's actually under a year. Usually kids don't start pointing until after they turn a year."

I know, its immature of me. But I need to feel secure about my son's development and my parenting skills. But I've noticed that I'm not alone. Many other parents are competitive with regard to their children.

However, I have noticed that this competition is not productive. For me, it makes me constantly question myself and my son.

The solution; be more mindful of when I compete with other parents. My competitive nature is not going to make my son do things any faster. Because at the end of the day, our kids do things at their own pace on their journey to becoming who they are.