Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

Ari is not the best sleeper these days, but one thing is for sure. I cannot get him to nap or go to sleep for the night without this book:

This is what I would consider an "old school" children's book. Originally published in 1974, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go By Richard Scarry, was one of my brother and I's favorite books. My mom had a funny feeling that Ari would love it too, so she bought it for him.

She was right, he loves it. Maybe it's because he is utterly obsessed with cars? I don't know. But whatever the case may be, he is napping right now because I read it to him. Here is a sample page from the book in case you are unfamiliar with it.

Scarry (who sadly passed away in 1994) had a quirky sense of humor and includes vehicles like a "cheese car" which is driven by mice, or a pickle car. There is also a "bananamobile" driven by monkeys. In addition to the funny fictional vehicles there are also real cars and trucks to identify.

So, what are you waiting for? If you have a vehicle obsessed toddler you need this book! Click below to order it.

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Easy Playdough Recipe

In a previous post, I asked for ideas to keep my son occupied while I lie down on the couch being pregnant. One activity that was suggested to me to keep my 2 year old busy was playdough. My friend Lisa (who used to teach developmentally delayed pre-schoolers) was the source for this idea.

I knew that playdough was easy enough to make at home, so I searched online and found a quick and easy recipe requiring only flour, water and salt. One thing to be aware of is that you will be using a lot of salt, so be sure you have plenty on hand.

Here is the recipe:
1 cup of water
1 cup of salt
1/2 cup flour
Food coloring

Don't worry if you don't have the food coloring. I didn't, and it was just as fun to play with.
What you do is boil all the ingredients on the stove. Stir until the mixture becomes "doughy." Once it is the consistency of dough, remove from the heat.

I stuck my concoction in the freezer for half an hour to cool it down. After that I kneeded it a bit and it looked like this:
It is very sticky, so you might want to add a little extra flour to lessen the sticky-factor.

Ari seemed to like it.
My dad made a horse with it, upon Ari's request.

For this particular recipe and more interesting playdough recipes click here.

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Pictures From My "Day Off"

The other day, my dear friend Josina gave me a break from parenting. She agreed to watch Ari at her place while I went to the movies with my parents. For those that are interested, I saw "The Kids Are Alright."

Ari was pleased because he got to spend time with his best buddy Nelson. Here are the pictures from Ari and Nelson's day together.

It seems like they had a great time! Yay for Josina!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drawing Lines

Before I took my break from being mama, we managed to fit in a little drawing time

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A Break

After hearing about my horrendous day yesterday, my wonderful friend Josina offered to give me a break. Today, while I go to the movies with my parents, she is going to watch Ari. It's great for him too because he gets to spend time with his best buddy, Nelson. Details on the day to follow!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And Then I Lost it...

Today I went to Ari's pre-school, the place where I continually forget all the other mom's names, which is funny because most of them are named "Sarah."

So there we were. I barely got any sleep last night because I kept waking up every three hours. Ari was not in the best of moods either. He refused to sit for storytime, and when I put him in a chair he screamed "No storytime!" And ran off to play with some vehicles.

Every time I turned around he was doing one of the following things:
---Screaming at another child for taking "his" toy
---Grabbing a toy out of someone else's hand
---Screaming for the sake of screaming (not necessarily directed at anyone in particular)
---Refusing to sit for any of the activities

This was all happening while I was trying to make casual conversation with other moms, and I kept saying unintentionally offensive things. I don't think the other Sarahs liked me very much.

Anyway, the last straw was when the head of the pre-school was attempting to hand out temporary tattoos to all the kids at lunch time. Ari did not want to sit to receive his tattoo. He wanted to go play. I was attempting to keep him seated, and as he was handed his tattoo, he screamed:

"NO Tattoo!!!!" As loud as he possibly could and with that he knocked the remains of his and my lunch onto the rug.

I burst into tears. The head of the school told me to calmly explain to him that he couldn't throw food. I replied:

"I'm not even a person right now."
" I know." She said rubbing my arm. "Nobody tells you how hard it is to be a mother, right?"
I nodded.
A couple of the other moms came over to comfort me
One said:

" I totally know what your going through. Don't worry! You are doing a great job! Don't be so hard on yourself!"
She also let me know that when she was pregnant with her second kid, she had a calendar that she would cross the days off until she gave birth.

That was my day. How was yours?

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Help! The TV is Taking Over

I am heading into my second trimester of pregnancy and, unfortunately for me, my level of exhaustion is still high. Ari, my little roving two year old, has no shortage of energy. This presents a problem. In my current physical state (being three months pregnant) I lack the energy to chase after him. In fact I was so exhausted and hyper-emotional about my lack of "mom energy" that I called my friend Josina (mother of Ari's best friend, Nelson) crying because all I could seem to do was put Ari in front of Blue's Clues and lie on the couch.

Josina was very supportive and listened to my sad story. She said something that really stuck with me:
"Kids need structure. He is probably happy to watch all that TV, but he is also probably confused as to why you are suddenly allowing him to do so."

I agree with Josina. I have to come up with activities that Ari can do while I lie on the couch being pregnant and tired. Please post a comment with an activity idea for me to try!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

The Firemen Visit Pre-School and Ari Ignores Them

I was disproportionally excitied about today. Today was the day that the FDNY (Fire Department of the City of New York) was visiting Ari's pre-school. I thought he would be as excited as I was, and he fooled me into believing that this was the case. All morning he was running around the living room yelling "firemen!"
Wil asked him "Are you going to see the firemen today?"
"Yes!" He replied triumphantly.

We got on the train and headed to pre-school. The minute I pushed the stroller onto the subway car, he demanded to sit in an actual seat.

In order to get him into the seat, I had to do this to my stroller:

A woman saw me taking pictures and must have assumed I was a tourist. She asked:
"Would you like me to take a picture of you guys?"
"Sure, why not?" I replied. Ari was suspicious of her real motivation.

We got off the train and took the bus across town.

We arrived at school and in came the firemen!

They even had tools and uniforms!

I was excited. "Look Ari, firemen! Do you want to see the firemen?" I asked him.
"No!" He said. With that he promptly took a toy truck and ran away.

"Ari, look! They have suits and masks on!"
"No mommy! Choo-choo!" He screamed and went to play with a train set.

The firemen said goodbye and Ari could have cared less. As a parting gift, they left us with a fire fighting coloring book. After some time, Ari decided that he liked the coloring book.

I was really surprised that he was indifferent about the firemen. Perhaps if there was a real firetruck present he would have been more intrigued.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Anonymous Reader Attacks

After I posted I'm Not Married, I received a highly jugmental comment from an anonymous reader. It read like this:

"Anonymous said...

You are the product of how our society has become so immoral......there is no shame now in bringing illegitimate children into the world. We have become a Godless society.....and you my dear are helping us along the road to destruction. People have become soulless and just look to their own pleasures to fill empty lives....this is very sad. "

Here is my response:

"Anonymous - Thank you for your comment. You just proved my point about how self-righteous and judgmental society can be. As for being soulless, I don't know you and I think it unfair for you to make judgments about whether or not I have a soul. I hope you feel better about yourself after posting this comment."

Although the comment was hurtful, I'm glad this person made it. It proves my point: there are still judgmental people out there telling me that I am living in sin.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm Not Married

Though my Facebook relationship status indicates otherwise, I'm not married. Yes, I have a child, and yes I have a boyfriend. But, I am not married.

There is a reason for my blatant lie on Facebook. I am sick of dealing with the inappropriate comments that people make when they realize that I am not married and have a child.

Here are some of my favorites:
1. A co-worker said to me "You better get that ring, otherwise you are giving the milk away for free!"
2. "Is your boyfriend the father of your child?"

Here is the best one of all. I am now pregnant with my second child. I was asked this astute query:

3. "Is it the same father?"

Mind you, if I were married, people would not have the guts to question the paternity of my children. It would be assumed that these children were my husband's. But, despite the fact that it is 2010 and not 1952, people cannot seem to process this information.

So, to the social networking world, I am effectively married. At least I can avoid ignorant questions online.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ari's First Day

It seems like only yesterday that I was lamenting about not being able to afford pre-school. Due to the outrageously expensive options available in New York City, I was resigned to the fact that I was going to skip pre-school altogether.

But then I found an affordable option. Ari goes one day a week and I attend with him. When we first entered the school I began to get nervous. Most of the other kids were following directions, meanwhile when I told Ari he had to sit in a chair he screamed and ran in the other direction.

But the head of the school reassured me:
"Don't worry," she said "let him play and when he sees you participating, he'll come around and join us." So I did. I let him go off and play with a train set. Eventually he became interested in what the group was doing and wandered over of his own volition.

Here are some of the things Ari did today:
  • Played with choo-choo trains
  • Participated in a group art project where the kids created a rain storm out of collage paper, cotton balls, blue and sidewalk chalk.
  • Played musical chairs where no one was out
  • And finally had loads of free-play time with which he located every vehicle in the place (including cars trains and boats) and hoarded them for himself.

It was a great time. We came home and he fell asleep immediately. In fact he is still napping at this very moment and it's been three hours.

I can't wait to see what we do next week!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

New York Magazine Can Babysit For Me

A copy of New York Magazine was lying in the lobby of my building. The cover displayed a provocative title: "Why Parents Hate Parenting." I thought to myself: what a terribly negative article. I want nothing to do with it.

But then I saw the magazine again in a waiting room, and my curiosity got the best of me. I read it, and I stand by my initial opinion. It is a negatively charged article riddled with studies that conclude that being a parent does not increase your level of life happiness, but rather has the potential to make you more unhappy. Like I needed to read that!

One of the most uplifting quotes (can you feel my sarcasm) is this one: "Mothers are less happy than fathers, single parents are less happy still."

The article told me things I already know like: " Today’s married mothers also have less leisure time (5.4 fewer hours per week); 71 percent say they crave more time for themselves..."
I don't need New York Magazine to tell me that I never get a break, my job as mother is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And you know what, New York Magazine? If you care so much about making me happy, come to my house and give me some time off. Let me go to the movies or get a pedicure!

If you see this article and you're a parent, read it if you must, but know that it probably won't tell you anything you don't already know, and it might make you crankier than you already are in this 103 degree weather in New York City.

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