Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Top 10 Reasons Why Staying Home is Hard

There is no doubt that holding a full time job is hard work. However, it is just as hard (if not harder) to stay home with your child. Here are my top ten reasons why staying home is hard.

10. Your "boss" refuses to let you take a sick day, ever.

9. You are not allowed to take a bathroom break lasting more than 60 seconds and sometimes you are even accompanied by a "chaperone" when you use the facilities.

8. Despite your efforts to please your "boss," sometimes your hard work is literally thrown on the floor.

7. You are asked to do things beyond your job description, including drawing upside-down.

6. Often the "boss" screams at you for no apparent reason.
5. You are frequently interrupted mid-task to do something else.
4. Sometimes your "boss" engages in bizarre behavior including standing on the coffee table and
accepts nothing less than a hostage negotiation tactic to be talked down from said coffee table.

3. You are often not allowed to shower before work.
2. Your "boss" does not like to negotiate or compromise.

And the number one reason that staying home is hard:

1. Coffee "break?" I don't think so!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

"Button Nose" Provides Zipper Practice

In the past week or so, Ari has discovered how to unzip his pajamas. He can't do it all the way, but the fact that he has this skill at all thrills him.

Today he unzipped my hoody a thousand times. Then I had an idea. I remembered this cloth book I bought for him a while back. Usually, I don't buy books in the store, I get them at stoop sales or as hand-me-downs, but this book was too cool to pass up.

It's called: Button Nose.

Each page provides a different clothing assembly skill to practice including: buttons, snaps, zippers and laces.

I pointed Ari in the direction of the zipper page.

To make this task even more fun, I put my keys inside of the zippered pocket. Then he was determined to get them out.

And then he succeeded.

For more information on Button Nose, click the button picture below:

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Glued to The Couch

I worked every single day this week and I am utterly exhausted. I'm lying on the couch and Ari is watching Blue's Clues while playing with my toe nail. Now he's trying to stand on his head.

I don't understand how moms who work full-time do it. The couch is my only friend at this moment in time. I won't be leaving it for some time.

The problem is this, Ari doesn't care that I'm exhausted. He wants to draw, run around like a maniac, chase the cats and be a toddler. I drew with him earlier, but once I sat on the couch, it was over.

I'm really having trouble forming a coherent thought and the idea of speaking in real sentences scares me. I blame these symptoms on standing on my feet for 8 hours straight for four days.

Ari just gave me a hug. Then he said:

"Yes?" I replied
"Where's daddy?"

My head just fell off.

What do I do when my kid wants to run around and act insane, but I have no energy to run after him?

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

According to Your Costco Cart We are a Match!

As I was perusing the aisles of Costco , I took a look around me to see what others were buying. It turns out that there are people who purchase the same household items that I do.

It occurred to me that (based upon our similar taste in Glad trash bags and Scotch Brite sponges) we could be potentially compatible friends.

I've said many times how hard it is to make mom friends, so I propose this:
a mom friend matching service based upon the contents of your Costco shopping cart.

Think of it:
--You have your virtual shopping filled with Eco-Friendly dish soap, paper towels and cat litter.
--You get an email stating that a "potential match has been found!" the mom in question has those items and 120 capsules of fish oil as well as the Kirkland brand diapers.

Well, you may have found yourself a new friend! You already have so much in common. I mean, who doesn't love cat litter?

So, what do you have in your Costco cart? Are we a match?

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Daddy Draw!

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Late Evening Sketch

After he returned from his solitary journey, the artist felt inspired to create with company around.

He made this:

This item is not for sale.

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The Afternoon Sketches

I am pleased to announce that The Afternoon Sketches are now available.

The artist has been working in seclusion on these pieces.

He is willing to sell them separately or as a set. For more information on what inspired this collection, email the artist via his agent at:

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Admit It, I Snapped

Yesterday began with an argument about the night shift. I asked Wil if there was any way he could change his shift. We got into an enormous fight. I yelled "I hate you! You have no heart!" while holding Ari in my arms and slammed the bedroom door on him while he was going back to sleep.

The night shift continues to cause an enormous level of stress on everyone in the house. I feel like I'm a single mom most of the time. Whenever Wil is here, he's either sleeping or getting ready for work.

Am I proud of the fact that I screamed at him? No. But I reached my frustration threshold. I wanted him to change his shift, he said there was nothing he could do and to "stop asking him." This made me angry so I snapped.

As much as I would like to think that I always do the right thing, I know that's not the case. I'm human and sometimes I loose it.

It was touch and go there for a while. It all ended with apologies and hugs.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oatmeal, I Love You

I want to talk about oatmeal. Ari loves oatmeal. He is the pickiest eater in the entire universe, but there is one thing that he will always eat: oatmeal.

I don't know what it is about oatmeal, but I also love it. Maybe it's the B vitamins in it that make me happy, or the butter and milk I add to it to make it pleasantly salty, but it hits the spot in the morning.

It doesn't have to be a particular brand, in fact, our oatmeal comes from an anonymous Ziploc bag.

And look what happens when you take the anonymous Ziploc bag away:

Oatmeal, in this house we appreciate you. Keep being you.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Y Cookie?

I'm attempting to set boundaries for Ari but it is so hard! He sees me eating a cookie, and he wants a cookie! He's got his debate down to a science. He says:


And then I say:

"Okay, one cookie."
"Y cookie." He confirms. "Y" meaning "one." In case you don't speak "Ari-ese."

After scarfing down "y" cookie, he says:


And then I say:

"You just had one cookie. That's it!"

His response:

"One cookie?" He looks at me with pleading eyes.

This kid is good.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm The Mama Part II

I am happy to report that Ari is asleep and it is 7:55pm Eastern Standard Time. I made a promise to myself that I would get him back in his bed, and tonight (at least) I've done it!
Here's what magical steps I took to accomplish this task:

1. I told him at 7pm that we were brushing our teeth and going to bed.
2. After teeth cleaning, we sat together in his dark room and I read Goodnight Moon 1-2-3. He cried through half the book and listened to the 2nd half.
3. Then I sang Perry Como's " 'A' You're Adorable" while he put his head in my lap and screamed "MOMMY!"
4. After awhile, the screaming and crying stopped and he listened to the song.
5. I continued to sing Mr. Como as I moved him onto his pillow. He began screaming once again. I put a firm hand on his back and eventually the screaming calmed down and he drifted off to sleep.
6. Then I counted to 120 (to make sure he was really asleep) and I snuck out of his room and told Egreck to stop meowing at the door. He was attempting to ruin everything that I worked so hard to accomplish.

Ari is asleep! I hardly know what to do with myself. One thing I do know is this: I'm the mama! I rock the house!

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Beware: The Three Headed Monsters!

The more I stay indoors with my sick child, the less I want to enter the outside world. I think there may be three headed monsters out there. Or at least fire breathing dragons who only speak Russian. I certainly won't be able to communicate with them, so what's the point of leaving the house?

This is the result of being indoors for a day and a half. Not to mention the fact that I've had my daily cup of coffee and (because I've been stuck inside) I haven't had a chance to burn off that nervous energy walking. So I just feel crazy.

Also, I'm afraid to change from my pajama pants into jeans. Jeans feel like bad luck somehow. Pajama pants = good.

The funny thing is that Ari doesn't seem to care about being trapped in the house.

I must be going now. I think there are some garden gnomes threatening to enter my apartment. Bye for now!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recess Monkey: An Interview With Jack Forman

Over the summer, I had the pleasure of attending a free concert at the Brooklyn Public Library. The band I saw was none other than Seattle's Recess Monkey, creators of unique and fun children's music. The attendees of the concert were as follows: Me, Ari, my mom, my niece (Francesca- age 8), my great friend Josina and her son Nelson.

Josina and I were reflecting the other day on what an amazing time we all had. Recess Monkey had all the children dancing around the BPL auditorium in a conga line! And it was a such a culturally diverse crowd, there were kids from every nationality you could think of there.

One of the things I love about Recess Monkey is that they really get kids. All the band members are teachers, so they are constantly surrounded by children and use their daily interactions with kids as inspiration for their music.

After the concert, I purchased "Field Trip", Recess Monkey's latest album. I've used the music from "Field Trip" in the classroom when I play freeze dance with grades ranging from Pre K- 3rd, and at home when Ari requests a "CD" he is referring to "Field Trip." He loves to dance to "Fort."

I exchanged emails with Jack Forman, Vocals and Bass. Jack is such a cool guy! I occasionally send him videos of Ari rocking out to Recess Monkey and he always responds!

Jack, being the awesome guy that he is, agreed to be interviewed about Recess Monkey for OS/NS Mom. Here's what he had to say:

1. Who are the members of Recess Monkey and what instruments do you each play?

Drew Holloway (Vocals, Guitar)

Daron Henry (Drums, Vocals)

Jack Forman (Bass, Vocals)

Recess Monkey
Left to Right: Drew, Jack, Daron
Photo By Kevin Fry

2. How was Recess Monkey formed?

We all met not as musicians but as fellow teachers- we taught all together for three or four years at University Child Development School before we started to experiment with music. After a few special events at school, we started demoing songs under another band name: The Waiting Room. That band name was pretty apt, actually- it was the way that we prepared for Recess Monkey! It really takes a while to get to know someone else musically- a lot of experiments with songs and conversations and you eventually start to almost read each other's minds.

Once we starting making kids music, we never looked back. I think The Waiting Room played about 6 shows, and Recess Monkey just hit 250. We had talked about kids music for a while, but the main impetus was Drew's: he wrote an album's worth of songs based on the pre-k class that he and another teacher were teaching. We recorded those songs over a few months and started playing shows at tiny coffee shops and bookstores. Over time, the shows increased in size and frequency- and fun!

3. You're all teachers right? What do you teach?

Drew and Jack still teach at University Child Development School- Jack teaches first and second grade and Drew teaches in the full day program, pre-k and Kindergarten. Daron teaches at Spruce Street School.

4. What's the funniest thing a kid has ever said to you in the classroom?

Oh man, this is hard to nail down! Instead of one of the funniest things, can I say one of the weirdest things? A couple of weeks ago a kid in my class said that she and her dad sat in their minivan in the driveway of their house and listened to our hourlong live show on SiriusXM in its entirety. It apparently was just starting as they pulled in and they just sat and listened. Really: it's a total honor to get to make music for kids but never, EVER did we think that our music might delay dinnertime over a national broadcast! Totally unreal!

5. What inspires you to write your songs?

We think of our classrooms as focus groups for what's on kids' minds. It's crazy how many ideas come up over the course of a day that could make great songs. Luckily all Daron and I have to do is tell Drew what we've heard and he takes care of the rest- he's an amazing and PROLIFIC songwriter! Tons of ideas have come up about losing teeth, getting a new backpack, going on field trips and so many more... We like to wordsmith and are bigtime pun fans: on our upcoming space-themed album "The Final Funktier" there's a song about how a booster seat is like a booster rocket. The only thing limiting our output at this point is time :)

6. What do you enjoy the most about making music?

We talk a lot about how much fun it is to get to play live shows- there's such a real energy at our shows that totally undercuts the caricature that Seattle doesn't know how to dance. We see ourselves as just a piece of that puzzle- the energy that kids bring to our shows encourages us to try even harder. I really feel like the laws of gravity change when you get a group of 200 kids dancing!

It's also really fun just to get into a space where you can exchange musical ideas with your bandmates- you start to speak in a different language!

7. What's the coolest thing about Seattle?

Too many things to mention, but it IS worth mentioning that there are an absolute TON of great kids bands in Seattle right now. We're talking with as many of them as we can to think of new ways to collaborate and make this city bounce. This list is just a part of the local scene here and still completely earth shattering: Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its, Johnny Bregar, Brian Vogan, The Brian Waite Band, Board of Education, Eric Ode, Eric Herman, Linda Severt, The Harmonica Pocket and more. People are going crazy for all of these bands and people in other cities are starting to notice that "there's something in the water!"

8. If a child told you he/she wanted to become a rockstar what would you say?

There's that old joke about the guy who asks how to get to Carnegie Hall and the answer is "Practice, practice, practice!" But it's totally true! A friend of ours said the most important thing a few years ago: the best way to get better as a musician is to join a band full of people who are way better than you (it's worked for me!). There is absolutely nothing stopping elementary aged kids from forming their own bands with friends (other than bedtimes) and I've seen some amazing things happen when kids do that. Last year at UCDS a pair of kids rocked out to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and it absolutely rocked! There are a number of great kids' music teachers in Seattle who create opportunities for kids to gig in a real way. One of our great friends Rob Hampton who's a really great guitar teacher does this a few times of year at local theaters: kids take the stage with supporting musicians and show their stuff. The other question I hear a lot is about what instrument kids should start on. I don't know if there's a magic formula for musical success, but piano and cello got me off on the right foot. Truly, an instrument you love to play and want to work hard at is waaay better than something that you get no joy out of. My mom says that when I was 4, whenever my cello teacher turned her back, I'd put my little 1/2 sized cello on my knee and play it like a guitar... kind of telling, huh?

Thanks Jack, you rock! And now, my favorite Recess Monkey Song, "Haven't Got A Pet Yet"

For more information on Recess Monkey click here.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm The Mama

Last night Ari was up until midnight. I tried to put him to sleep in my bed with me at around 9pm, but all he did was "read" Goodnight Moon 1-2-3 and play with my hair. After an hour of this, we got up and he watched 9000 episodes of Blue's Clues. I managed to sneak in my show "The Secret Life of The American Teenager" which he graciously let me watch.

Finally, he went to sleep (with a fight) in my bed. Today he is cranky and I am miserable. After consulting with my great friend and mama, Gry, I've decided that tonight Ari must be re-sleep trained. He is getting back into his bed if it's the last thing I do.

The results of non-sleeping are this:
--a sink full of disgusting dishes that I am too exhausted to wash
--a cranky toddler
--a miserable mama
--I think Simon the cat may have a broken paw, but I'm too tired to check

I keep telling myself that I'm the mama! - I can do this!

Wish me luck tonight as I re-introduce sleep into our lives.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm Not Selling Anything, I Just Like to Write

I recently read the New York Times article about mom bloggers. The article talks about the fact that mom blogging has become more about making money rather than sharing experiences in motherhood.

For my part, I love to write. It excites me to connect with other moms, share stories and experiences.

If I happen to find a product that I feel other people could use or benefit from, I'll let people know. But the central reason I'm here is that I love to write. If other people read what I have to say, that's great!

I believe this article short changes the women out there who are still genuinely reaching out to one another and sharing motherhood experiences. I know it's hard to believe, in this consumerist-based society, but not everyone is selling something.

Now, if you ARE selling something, I have nothing against you (in fact, I admire that kind of entrepreneurship) I'm just not.

For all you moms out there who are sharing your motherhood experiences please continue to do so!

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Mini Car Drama Ending in Dunkin' Donuts

Last night, I decided to be a good girlfriend and drop Wil off at work. Ari was happy to be in the car and point out other cars on the road the whole way to our destination. We got to the airport and Wil opened the door to exit the car. That's when the drama began. Ari shouted:


"It's okay," I comforted my screaming child "Daddy's going to work. He'll be back soon."
He would have none of it.

We drove off and he was still screaming for daddy. I shouted over his cries:


He replied:


I began a combination of yelling/singing:

"The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town!"

That worked...for a while. Then the screaming commenced again. It occurred to me that he could be hungry. So I asked:

"Are you hungry?"
He replied:


Which I took to mean "Yes I am hungry."

"Okay, okay," I said trying to calm myself down yet feeling like I wanted to jump out of the car into oncoming traffic "We'll stop and get something to eat. We can't stop right now though."
I wasn't lying to him. We were on an incredibly busy road with no restaurants or stores in sight.

He was wailing:


All of a sudden I got a funny feeling something was not right. The wailing sounded muffled. I turned around to find that he had unbuckled his car seat and he was hanging to the side from his torso up, wailing away.

"ARI! SIT UP!" I yelled frantically.

I looked for a place to pull over, but there was none in sight.

I begged and pleaded with him to sit up. But he continued to lean over the side of his car seat crying and screaming. This child is Houdini! I thought to myself. How did he manage to unbuckle his car seat?

Finally, he sat up and I breathed in.

I almost started to cry when I saw the Dunkin' Donuts in the distance. We pulled over, I took him out of the car seat and into Dunkin' Donuts.

"Are you hungry?" I asked him once again
"Yeah," Ari said smiling
"Do you want a bagel?"
"Yeah!" He said
"Can you give me a kiss?"
He did.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday: A Poem

Friday Friday here you are
I wish I could play the guitar!
When all is said and all is done
Friday comes I have won
A battle to survive the week
My outlook is no longer bleak
I want to sing, I want to shout
Open the door and let the weekend out!
The rain is here and I still want to cheer
Friday you are here my dear!
To all who listen hear me say
Thank you and I love you so Friday!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Somebody Mother ME!

I pretended I was okay this morning when Ari woke me up at 7:15am and I had to be out the door by 7:30am, but obviously I wasn't alright. I was a walking disaster. I called my dad and pleaded with him to get Ari and take him downstairs so I could throw some pants on and run out the door to work. I know that a complete outfit includes more than pants, but all I could think about was putting my pants on. My dad refused to come upstairs, saying that it was "my fault" that I over slept. But Ari overslept! He was the one who woke up at 7:15am. Maybe I shouldn't be relying on my son as an alarm clock, but I can't possibly imagine using a real alarm clock. It just seems too horrible to listen to a loud obnoxious buzzing sound in the morning.

Sometimes I just want some help, some understanding for all that I do. I'm not okay today, not remotely. I asked my friend and fellow sub for a hug.
She was rubbing my back and then she said:
"Okay, I'm going let you go now..." Clearly I am starved for care. I want someone to mother ME! I'm doing all the mothering and I feel entirely exhausted.

Can someone please rub my back, play with my hair and tell me that everything is going to be okay?

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

There Was a Boy!

During his dinner of applesauce and yogurt and not much else, Ari saw "a boy" out the window and couldn't stop talking about it!

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