Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm Ordering Online Next Time

"Ari, we're out of wipes. We need to go to Target to get wipes for Samara." I said this morning as Ari was playing with his cars.
"NO! I don't want to go to Target. I need a jacket!" He whined
"It's really hot outside, you don't need a jacket." I said with a sigh.
"I want to watch the new Max & Ruby instead." He countered.
"Okay, I'll get you a car if you go to Target." I said thinking about the dollar bins at Target which are stocked with Matchbox cars.
"I want Toy Story instead." He said.
"I can offer you a car." I say, standing my ground.
"Okay." He said with a sigh.


At Target

As I make my way to the elevators, I pass the women's summer clothes. I do a mental inventory of the clothing I have at home, and realize that I have exactly one summer outfit. I begin impulsively grabbing pairs of shorts and a few shirts that appear to be my size. I feel like I'm on Supermarket Sweep except with clothes as opposed to food. The whole time I am grabbing clothes, Samara is alternating crying with nursing while in the Ergo.

"Cookies mommy! Look! I want cookies!' He says pointing to the chocolate chip cookies at cash register strategically placed for impulse purchasing.
"No cookies!" I say beginning to sweat profusely.
"My car! I want a car!"
Shit! I completely forgot about the car! I accost the next red-shirted employee walking by named "Leonard."
"Excuse me, are there cars down here? You know, at the cash register. There used to be cars down here. I don't see any." I am trying to construct a coherent sentence while sweating, listening to Ari ask repeatedly for a car, and hearing Samara crying loudly.
"Hold on. Let me check for you ma'am." He says with a surprisingly genuine smile. He disappears and arrives back, looking triumphant, holding a small plastic car.
"Thank you!!" I almost yell, wanting to hug him. " You are so awesome. Is there a manager I can tell how awesome you are?"
"Sure! Right over there." He says pointing to a man in a collared red shirt. I commend Leonard to the collar-shirted man.

Samara hasn't stopped crying, so I remove her from the Ergo and hold her on my hip.
"Uh, miss!!" Shouts a stranger "She's throwing up on you!!"
I look down to find spit up all over my tank top.

I'm about to get in line when I remember the whole reason I came to Target! The baby wipes!
I race to the elevator with the kids, get upstairs, grab the wipes. Then get back in the elevator, go downstairs and get back in line.

"I want Goldfish!" Ari proclaims when we get in line. He is pointing to an enormous Costco-sized container of Goldfish.
"Ari, that's way too big to carry home."
The manager I told about Leonard is walking by.
"Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but do you have a smaller thing of Goldfish?"
"Yeah, I think so..." He says. He disappears and materializes with two individual-sized portions of Goldfish. I thank him excessively, Ari busts open one of the containers and digs in.

We manage to make it out of Target alive with 50,000 bags, and I am $80 poorer.

When I get home I realize only two out of the seven clothing items I bought actually fit.

Next time, I'm shopping online. Anyone else there with me?

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Go The F#$k to Sleep"

I am very cranky this morning. I cannot think of a better day to write this. Ari did not go to sleep until 11pm and I wanted to throw myself out the window. I tried everything, but nothing worked. It was incredibly aggravating. Thank goodness there is someone out there who knows my pain. His name is Adam Mansbach and he wrote this genius book:

Here's a closer look at the cover, just to drive the point home:

As a parent, I try to be diplomatic and reason with my child. I tell him if he sleeps, he will grow up to be big and strong, he'll have more energy to run around on the playground. I've tried many many tactics to get my kid to sleep, but sometimes nothing works and the frustration makes me go insane.

Mansbach knows this frustration all too well. His daughter, Viven, was a terrible sleeper. He joked on Facebook one day that he was going to write a book entitled "Go the F#$k to Sleep." He received such encouraging comments that he went out and actually wrote the book!

Mansbach is a Professor of Fiction at Rutgers University. Some of his previously published work includes: Angry Black White Boy, A Fictional History of The United States With Huge Chunks Missing, and genius b-boy cynics getting weeded in the garden of delights.

One of the great things about this book is that it spread through word-of-mouth and social networking. Here's how I heard about it: my friend Amanda posted a link to the book on my Facebook page. I got unreasonably excited, because I related to the sentiment so much, and wrote Adam Mansbach asking for a copy to review. He thanked me for reaching out, and his agent sent me a copy!

Go The F$#k to Sleep is written in the style of a children's book, but it is for adults, parents in particular. Here is a sentiment that you might be able to relate to, as a parent:

The flowers doze low in the meadows
And high on the mountains so steep.

My life is a failure, I'm a shitty-ass parent
Stop f#$king with me, please, and sleep.
Mansbach, Go the F#$k to Sleep

Here are some illustrations from the book:

All images copyright 2011, Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes

With every page of this book, I laughed in commiseration at each sardonic stanza.

I would like to personally thank Adam Mansbach, once again, for making me feel a little less alone as the parent of a troubled sleeper. I wish I was doing this right now:

What do you think? Can you relate Mansbach's words?

For more information of Go the F#$k to Sleep click here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies), A Review and a Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Michelle Au, MD and author of This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies). The book is a candid memoir of Au's medical training and entrance into motherhood. She recounts her trials and tribulations as a medical student, a pediatrics resident, an anesthesiology resident and a new mother. The book has an injured monkey on the cover.

In addition to being a doctor, Michelle is also a mother of two boys, Cal, 5 (almost 6) and Mack, 2. In fact, she gave birth to Cal while she was an anesthesiology resident!

This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies) is hilarious and profound all at once. One of the things I liked best about the book is Michelle's honest inner-monologue. There are priceless humorous touches like this one:

"I suddenly remember an embarrassing mark on the back of my white coat--earlier, I accidentally sat in a puddle of spilled coffee that has since dried into an unsightly yellow-ish stain, making it look like I peed on myself--and angle myself slightly away from the family before anyone can see that." This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies) Au, P. 224

She touches on the struggle of balancing a rigorous full-time career, in medicine, and being a mother. One of her attending physicians suggests that she find a "mommy job" when she's done with residency, meaning a job where she will be able to spend more time with her family. Au does not hesitate to shoot back at him:

"Well, why is that a mommy job?" I respond snappishly, my feminist guard dog springing reflexively into action. "Don't fathers want to spend time with their kids too? Don't fathers in medicine ever consider taking part-time or no-call jobs in order to smooth out issues with childcare or family life?" This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies) Au, P. 293

The book brings the reader into the raw, sometimes laughable (in a black humor sort of way) world of the hospital system. The reader sees the world through the eyes of an impressionable, anxious, but charming, medical student (that would be Michelle Au) who is just getting her bearings.

Au has a dramatic streak in her as well. There are short plays interspersed in the book that are downright hilarious. This is my personal favorite:

How to Find a Job in Anesthesia, Theater of The Mind Edition

MICHELLE: I am graduating from Anesthesia residency, and I need a job.
HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR: And why should we give you a job?
MICHELLE: Because I need one. And also, I'm awesome.
HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR: Excellent, Doctor. You can start in July, with full benefits and a parking space in the physicians' lot. Would this giant wad of cash be sufficient to seal the deal?
MICHELLE: Yes, please.
This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies) Au, P. 294

This play is followed by the reality-based edition, but you'll have to read the book to find out how that ends!

Now remember, folks, I have two kids, so it is always a challenge for me to read, let alone finish a book; however, I found Au's book to be a quick read, and I was able to read it when the kids agreed to sleep.

Now for the fun part! Want to win this book? Dude, I'm giving away two of them! Each of the following counts as one entry:

1. Post a comment about why you want to read This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies)
Please include your email address in the comment!
2. Like This Won't Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies) on Facebook
3. Follow Michelle Au on Twitter
4. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Google Friend Connect
5. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Facebook
6. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Twitter

The winners will be announced on Tuesday June 7, 2011 on my blog. YAY!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Starting To Become Fun

The first four months of having baby # 2 (Samara) in the house were really difficult. I had to deal with:
With all these things going on, no wonder I'm tired.

But, even though I am really tired, I've noticed that having two kids is starting to become more fun. Ari and Samara are beginning to interact, and it's really cute. The other day, I put Samara in the stroller. It was her first time in it, as I usually carry her in The Moby Wrap or The Ergo Baby Carrier. Ari got a kick out of seeing his little sister in the stroller as opposed to on my chest.

Note: It was really hot that day; that's why Ari is squinting and Samara has no clothes on!
He had fun pushing Samara in the stroller for a few blocks, until he got tired and said:
"I wanna go in there!" And pointed to the stroller where Samara was sitting, contentedly staring at her feet.

He wants Samara to do everything he does. The other day, I was goofing around, and I put a Dixie Cup on Ari's head. He demanded that Samara have one on "his" head too. No matter what I tell him, Ari still calls Samara he.

When I ask Ari "what are Ari and Samara doing in this picture?" He says "Being Silly!"

My next goal, with regard to the kids, is to get Ari to sleep in his own bed. He still co-sleeps with me, and I haven't had any luck getting him to sleep at night in his own room. He will nap by himself, but night time continues to be a challenge with regard to sleeping solo. I asked him if he'd like to share a room with Samara. I thought he would feel less lonely at night if they slept in the same room. I told him that my brother and I shared a room when we were small. Ari's response:
"Oh, you mean when Samara gets older?" I clarified.
"Yeah...later!" He reiterated.

I am happy to report that things are getting a little easier around here, and slightly more fun.

When did the transition from having one kid to two get easier for you? Oh! That rhymed! Also feel free to comment on the silly pictures.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Wedding Cupcakes

My Kids Saw Their Parents Get Married

After six years, and two beautiful children together, on May 22nd, 2011, Wilhelm and I got married.

One of the special parts of the ceremony, to me, was that our children got to see us get married.
Ari looks really silly in this picture, but I think he was intrigued by what was going on.

Ari was three years old when he saw us get married. It's quite possible that he will have some memories from this day. It will be interesting to see what he remembers about our marriage, if anything.

Samara was only four months old, so she won't have concrete memories; however, when she gets older, she'll see pictures of herself at our wedding.

Samara with Grandma

I wonder what Ari will think when he gets older; what he will remember.
I wonder what Samara will think when she gets older, what she will observe in pictures.

What will my children remember from this very important day?

Things I've Learned on the Playground Today

1. Many of the Park Slope moms carry business cards.
2. On chance that you've forgotten baby sunscreen, somebody can hook you up with some.
3. Second children appear to be more laid back than first-borns.
4. If there is a sandbox around, someone is probably doing one of the following a) eating sand; b) throwing sand; c) stealing someone else's sand toy.
5. When you're two-three years old, "waiting your turn" is optional.
6. If you have a baby, someone wants to hold him/her and mentions how they want another baby.
7. There appear to be two types of playground moms a) Those that discipline their kids; b) Those who ignore their kids and let them beat the crap out of other kids.
8. Nannies/Babysitters want to make a point that the kid they're watching isn't biologically theirs, however moms want to make the point that the kid they are watching is biologically theirs.
9. The way to exit the playground the most gracefully is through bribery.

What have you learned on the playground?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ari's 3rd Birthday Party at Power Play

A couple of months ago, my friend Barbara introduced me to an awesome indoor play space and gymnastics center in Park Slope, Brooklyn called Power Play. Since that time, Ari and I have been back to Power Play for a gymnastics class, and Power Play agreed to be one of my blog sponsors, which I'm thrilled about. It means I'm going to be covering events happening at Power Play, and giving you all the inside scoop about what's happening there.

We had the opportunity to have Ari's 3rd birthday party at Power Play, and I was so excited. Initially, I was nervous, because the party started at 1:30pm on Saturday, and he generally naps around that time. He was cranky when we arrived, and kept asking for cupcakes. I realized that the constant asking for cupcakes had more to do with the fact that he was hungry for lunch. His mood turned around when he ate a bagel with Grandpa and he started to play!

Ari and Nelson bouncing around!

Ari wasn't the only one getting in on the action. His cousin Francesca tried out the zip line. Look at her go!

Even the adults were having fun. Check out my friend Cordy bouncing in the bounce house with her daughter Lyla, age 2.

Here's Wil bouncing too!

My brother, Jonathan, and my mom, Liz, chilling in the ball pit!

The kids hung out in indoor play space area too, which looks like this:

Of course, Ari spent some quality time in his favorite spot, the sand box!

After all the playing, it was time for bagels for the adults, pizza for the kids and cupcakes for all! YAY!

The party seemed to go by really quickly. I think it was because not only was Ari having fun, but so was I! Also, I didn't have to clean up! And that, in itself, was worth it for me.

So, what did you do for your child's latest birthday? I want to hear!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Did You Do This Weekend? Oh, You Know, Got Married!

After six years together, Wilhelm Van Luyn and I got married in my parent's garden today. My friend Dara (whom I've known since the 1st grade) officiated the inter-faith ceremony. My best friend, Mint, was my Matron of Honor and Wil's brother, Dan, was his Best Man. It was very small, mainly family and a few of our close friends. I am happy to report that my entire family are now Fader-Van Luyns!

Before we got to the main event, we had to get ready first:

Here's Cordy doing my hair, and Ari helping. Donna was stuck in traffic with vegan
wedding cupcakes, but when she got there she finished flat ironing and curling my hair. She also did a killer job on my make-up.

I would like take a moment to thank Uncle Mike AKA "The Baby Whisperer" who held, fed, and calmed Samara before and during the ceremony.

Francesca was our flower girl, and Ari was our ring bearer. This was his second time doing the job, the first go-around was at Mint and Mike's wedding. He did a great job this time. He handed the rings directly to Mint.

**Edit Wil tells me that Ari did NOT hand the rings to Mint, but rather dropped them on the grass and Uncle Dan had to retrieve them. WHOOPS! Guess I wasn't paying attention!

My dad "gave me away" while my mom, my brother and my uncles held the chuppah.

Wil and I each lit a unity candle. While we were lighting the candles, Ari got his hands on the matches and started playing with them. Thankfully, Uncle Dan stopped him before he burned down the house.

Then we read our vows. Donna sent me these "vow libs" to fill out. They were really helpful! Essentially you just fill in the blanks (like in mad libs) and create your vows! I thought I was prepared, but when Wil took out his vows and began to speak, he almost made me cry. He's usually not very loquacious, but his vows were so honest and real. When the ceremony was over, I told him that his vows blew my vows out of the water.

We exchanged rings:

We were almost married...

Then it was official!

We're married! YAY!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Morning in The Life Of

"Ari, are you awake?"
"The robot...I wanna watch the robot episode of Max and Ruby."
"Are you awake or talking in your asleep?"
"Awake. Hungry."
"Go to the potty."
"No! Hungry first." Ari rolls over on his side.
"Use the potty and then you can eat breakfast."
"NO! Hungry."
"Carry me."
"Carry me to the potty."
"Okay. Fine."
I carry him to the bathroom. He pees. Flushes. Re-clothes. Washes hands, with help.
Samara starts crying. I pick her up.
"I peed on the potty, now I get cat cookies!"
"Okay, but only two."
"NO! A lot!"
"Okay four. But then breakfast."
"Okay..." Ari sighs.
"French toast." I say definitively.
I make french toast and coffee while holding Samara, who is crying, on my hip.
"Is that my french toast?"
"Yes. It's yours."
"Is that mommy's french toast?"
"I want chocolate milk."
"No, french toast first."
"NO! I want chocolate milk first. No french toast. I don't want to eat."
"You eat your breakfast, then you get chocolate milk."
"Okay..." Ari sighs.
Samara is still whining. I nurse her while drinking coffee and eating french toast at the same time. Ari eats half his french toast and says:
"Now chocolate milk?"
"Okay, fine." Thinking he ate a significant amount.
He downs the chocolate milk and just before he races out of the kitchen, I say
"Go to the potty. Then we're going outside to the playground."
He totally ignores me and makes a bee-line for his cars and trucks.
"Ari go to the potty. You need to go before we leave."
He acts as if he can't hear me. There's not much I can physically do, because at the moment I'm nursing Samara.
All of a sudden Ari stops in his tracks and stares straight ahead, his face turning a bit pinkish.
"Are you pooping? Wait, wait! Go to the potty!"
"I pooped."
"ARRRRRRGGG!!!!" I say and punch the couch as hard as I can.
"I need new underwear."
"Ari," I say trying not to rip my face off "Next time you have to poop, what do you do?"
"Go to the potty!" He says grinning ear to ear. The next thing that happens is that I am chasing him all over the apartment trying to catch him to change his soiled underwear.
A bath follows and we somehow miraculously we make it out the door to the playground.
I need a vacation. Anyone else?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nosefrida is Awesome- ENTER TO WIN ONE!

Samara has yet another cold. All I can say is oy gavolt! It's her third one since birth, and she is only four months old! I was just about at my wits' end, when I found a really awesome, helpful product that's helping her and providing both of us (mother and daughter) with relief. It's called Nosefrida. This is what Nosefrida looks like:

Ari was very interested in Nosefrida the minute I opened the box
Here's what the box looks like:

Nosefrida comes with disposable filters that are replaced after each use. They look like this:

Here's how Nosefrida works: place the blue part of the tube against, but not inside, the child's nose:

Then suck the red part of the tube:

The mucus is suctioned into the blue tube, and absorbed by the filter. That's it! Here's a picture of the whole process:

Samara feels much better after a few Nosefrida treatments. In fact, I'm so pleased with Nosefrida, that I want to give you the opportunity to try it. Here's how you can enter to WIN a Nosefrida of you own:

Each counts as one entry
1. Post a comment saying why you'd like to try Nosefrida
3. Follow Nosefrida on Twitter
4. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Google Friend Connect
5. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Facebook
6. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Twitter

The winner will be selected by a random number generator, and announced on
Wednesday June 1st, 2011. Good luck!

Monday, May 16, 2011

This is What Four Months Looks Like

Samara will be four months old on Saturday, and I'm sitting here asking myself "How the hell did that happen?!" I feel like I was just in the hospital, giving birth. She is laughing, jumping and trying to stand, with some assistance, of course.

This girl is only four months old, and has already exhibited a fierce independent nature. She does not want to lay down, ever. She wants to stand at all times, and appears frustrated when she realizes that older people (than her) have to help to make this happen.

She's teething already! Just like Ari, who had teeth by four months, she is an early teether. But, unlike Ari, she hates the frozen wash cloth. She does love her amber teething necklace that my friend Amanda gave her.

She's sleeping in larger blocks at night. She'll sleep from 8pm to 3am. I'm dreaming of the time that she actually sleeps through the night.

It seems like things are happening so quickly with her. When I had Ari, I was waiting for him to do something; smile, laugh, sit up. I would stare at him for days waiting for him to change. Samara, on the other hand, keeps surprising me by doing something new. The other day, I realized that she could laugh. I thought to myself "Oh, you laugh now? When did that happen? Apparently it happened today!"

Maybe it's because I'm preoccupied chasing Ari around, making sure he pees in the toilet as opposed to on the floor and stopping him from murdering the cats.

Is this what happens with the second child? Does he/she essentially get ignored until he/she "does something interesting?"

Tell me, did your second kid start doing things "sooner?"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bacitracin Fights Old Age

Last night I was washing my face, and I noticed a spec of dirt on my cheek. I scrubbed the area, but the dirt didn't come off. It was then that I realized that it was not dirt, but a giant permanent dark spot.

I gasped, audibly.
"What's wrong, mommy?" Ari asked.
"There's a spot on my face!" I exclaimed. My mind was racing. I've been neglectful about putting on sunscreen, it's cancer! I have a cancerous growth! I'm getting old, I'm going to die! Clearly, I've gone mad.
"Don't worry, mommy," Ari replied softly. "I have a spot too.

"You do?" I asked, thinking he was just humoring me. "Where?"
He pointed to a tiny scratch near his nose.
"Let's put some Bacitracin on it." He said. "On your spot, and my spot. It's gonna feel better okay?"

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Bacitracin, it's like the Jewish Neosporin. When I was a child, my mom's tried and true cure for every thing was "put some Bacitracin on it!" Ari is becoming a part of the Bacitracin tradition.
"Ari, I'm not getting old, right?" I asked him.
"No, you put some Bacitracin on it, and it's gonna feel better okay mommy?"
"Okay," I said sheepishly.
We went to the bathroom and put bacitracin on both of our "spots."

After we were done with our "treatments," he said:
"Don't worry mommy. It's gonna feel better. It's gonna go away. Okay? You not get old."
"Okay." I said.

Together, Ari and I are fighting old age, one squirt of Bacitracin at a time.