Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brooklyn Botanic Garden - How I Love The

Every time I visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) with my son, I fall in love a little more. I love how calm the Garden is. I love how it makes me feel like I am in another world. I love how my son reacts to the trees and flowers; how he instantly calms down the moment we enter the gates of the Garden.

The Garden is an excellent place to take your child. They love looking around at the different plants, flowers and trees. And if they are walking, there is plenty of room for them to run around the various winding roads and paths.

They also have a discovery garden to children over 3 years of age, but you can walk with your baby through it as well.

Admission to the Garden is $8.00 for adults, and free for children under 12. On Tuesdays admission is free all day. It is also free to visit the BBG on Saturdays from 10am -12pm.

The Garden offers a variety of memberships. The individual and family memberships are pretty decently priced if you plan on going often. To find out more about the BBG and membership options, click here

When to Take Your Child to the E.R.

My good friend and fellow mother, Gry, forwarded me this insightful article from about when it is appropriate to take your child to the emergency room.

The article lists key symptoms that warrant medical attention. I encourage you all to take a look at it here

The article also encourages parents to trust their instincts. If something doesn't feel right to you, take your child in.

Thank you good friend and fellow mother, Gry!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hitting a Frustration Threshold

I have always been an impatient person. I hate waiting in lines, being on hold on the phone, waiting for someone to call me back or answer my text or email. I have an extremely low frustration tolerance.

This low frustration tolerance does not come in handy when having a child.

Today, my son was having a bad day. Was he hungry? Nope. Everything I offered him to eat he promptly rejected. Except for Cherrios. All he wanted to eat today was Cherrios. Try as I might, forcing vegetables in front of him he pushed them out of the way.

I tried to play with him, he didn't want that either. I thought maybe he was tired, so I attempted to put him down for a nap. But all he did was scream.

Finally, I was completely and utterly exasperated. So I yelled at him:

"What do you want?!!!"

His response: he began crying hysterically.

Needless to say, I wanted to bang my head against a brick wall. Or throw myself out a window. It is during these moments that I wish babies could talk. It would really make things a lot easier.

People tell you:
"Having a baby is hard."

What they don't tell you is that sometimes, as adorable as your kids are, they push you to your absolute limit and beyond.

I have never been tested so much in my entire life. And it has really grated on my nerves.

However, I have to tell you, that I feel like (in some bizarre way) being utterly frustrated by my child has made me a more patient person in other situations. I observe myself behaving more patiently in situations in which before I had a child I would have flipped out. So being pushed to a frustration threshold has somewhat of an upside.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Now Hear This: New York City Citizens Help Mom With Stroller!

Today my son and I took a journey from Brooklyn to the illustrious Manhattan. Our mode of transportation: the good old fashioned New York City subway system.

I strapped him into his stroller and hit the road.

Thankfully, my subway station is handicapped accessible so we were able to use the elevators to travel from the street level to the subway level with my son securely fastened in his stroller.

The trouble arrived when I made it to my destination stop. There was no elevator to speak of, and I was going to have to do the inevitable: carry my son in his stroller up the subway stairs.

Until a nice gentleman came to my rescue and asked

"You need help with that, miss?"
"Yes!" I replied instantaneously.

And with that he transported my son up the stairs.

During the course of my journey, several other strangers assisted me with my stroller. And I didn't even have to solicit their help. They willingly volunteered their services.

And they say New Yorkers are rude and unhelpful!

It just goes to show you. There are some decent people out there, and some of them live in New York City.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why I Love Steve Burns

The short answer to this question is because my son loves him.

For those of you that don't know, Steve Burns is the former host of the children's television show "Blue's Clues." The show no longer airs new episodes, but reruns are on Noggin every morning from 7am - 8am.

Blue's Clues is an educational show that is meant to teach young children (mainly pre-schoolers) a variety of things ranging from counting to where the planets are in outer space.

Even though cognitively, my son doesn't get a lot of what is going on on the show, he really enjoys the songs associated with Blue's Clues as well as the fact that it is highly interactive.

The host, Steve Burns, known to the audience simply as "Steve" is very charismatic. The premise of the show is that he is looking for three separate clues in order to figure out a puzzle. Along for the ride is his dog, Blue. Hence the name "Blue's Clues."

The show aired from 1996 - 2006. But Steve left the show at some point and was replaced by a character named "Joe" who in my opinion is no Steve.

When my son sees Steve ask a question or sing a song, his face lights up. He even starts bouncing to the beat of the music.

I thought it might just be the show itself that he liked, but he truly can tell the difference between Steve and Joe. He is not engaged very much at all when he watches the "Joe" version of Blue's Clues. But he goes nuts for Steve.

Steve Burns, I'd like to thank you for entertaining my son. I wish your career still consisted of entertaining babies and toddlers, but I know you've moved on to bigger and better things.

Check out what Steve is doing now at his official web page

An Uninformative Visit to the E.R.

My son has been vomiting and had diarrhea for a week now. Naturally, I've been in constant communication with his pediatrician, who I'm sure now officially thinks I'm the most neurotic Jewish mother ever.

Anyhow, his symptoms have essentially remained the same. Until last night, when he actually coughed so much that he woke himself up at 4am to vomit.

Needless to say I was concerned. His sickness has been going on for over a week now, and if we count the previous colds that he has had its actually been a total of three weeks.

So I put another call into the pediatrician's on call line. She told me to bring my son to the Emergency Room. So my parents, myself and my son hit the road and headed to the hospital.

We were seen almost immediately by a resident doctor. He asked me what was happening with my son and I relayed the list of symptoms. I also brought a sample of the diarrhea, which my pediatrician suggested that I do.

The resident looked at the sample and snidely told me 

"Ma'am that's not diarrhea. Diarrhea is pure water"

I was speechless. I didn't want to get into a semantics argument with this doctor about what was or was not diarrhea. 

Anyway, after he asked me a million questions he concluded that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my son.

"Okay, so why is he waking up in the middle of the night to vomit?" I asked him.

"I'm sorry ma'am you'll have to ask your pediatrician about that."

I tried asking him more questions, but his response was the same to each question I asked. So we left with no new information. 

So I returned home only to further harass my son's pediatrician's office for answers. Hopefully they will provide some soon. There is only so much frustration I can take before I explode.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Adiri Bottles Shipped

Well folks, I just received an email from Adiri saying that my sample bottle has shipped. Hooray!
I am eagerly awaiting it in the mail so that my son can try it.

We will see how much it actually mimics the breast.

I must say, I have had particularly good luck requesting sample products from vendors so far. I am excited to see what other companies are willing to offer sample products for my review.

Keep checking back here at for product reviews!

Adiri Natural Nurser

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FuzziBunz Delivered!

I returned home today with my son in hand to find a surprise package waiting in my mailbox.

It was from FuzziBunz!

I eagerly opened the package to find not only one, but two one size fits all cloth diapers. I was quite pleased.

Upon first inspection, the diapers look very well-made and sturdy. We will see how they hold up to my son's waste products.

Check back here at to see my review of the FuzziBunz One Size diapers!

Adiri Bottles For Breastfed Babies

To my dismay, my son stopped taking a bottle at 5 months old. He now exclusively breastfeeds. I used to be able to nurse him and also give him breast milk in a bottle. But no longer.

I was discussing my bottle issue with the mother of a 13 month old. She told me about these bottles made by Adiri which simulate the breast. Apparently breastfed babies really like them.

So I emailed Adiri to ask them for a sample bottle to try. I said the following:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am the mother of a 11 month old, and I am heavily considering buying the Adiri bottles. I am still nursing and having difficulty giving my baby a bottle. He won't take one.

I currently have blog where I am beginning to review baby products.

Would it be possible for your company to send me a sample Adiri bottle to try?

Thank you for your time.


Sarah Fader


I went back to business as usual, and before I knew it, I had a reply from a Adiri! It went like this:

Dear Sarah,

Thank you so much for your interest in Adiri. We would be happy to send you a Stage 1 bottle to review. In order for us to help track our bottle requests, we ask that you please complete the attached form so that we may send your sample out.

Best Regards,
CPSIA Certification :


I was thrilled! I filled out the form immediately, and I am eagerly awaiting my sample bottle in the mail.

Check back here at for my review on Adiri bottles.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Help Me! I Have a Baby

Okay, I admit it. Having a baby does come with perks sometimes. Like today for instance. I left the house with my son. It was bad weather, so we decided to drive to the library instead of walking there. My mom was kind enough to let me borrow her car.

But as soon as I reached the car, I encountered a problem. I was blocked into my parking spot by two other cars. Yes, folks, I had become the victim of New York City's alternate side of the street parking.

What was I to do?

Well, I noticed there was a man hanging out on the stoop across from where my mom's car was parked.

"Excuse me sir?" I called out to him "Do you know whose car this is?"
I motioned to one of the cars that was blocking my mom's car into the spot.

"No I don't, miss, but I can ask my friend who lives on the block." He said.

His friend stuck his head out of the window and informed him who the car belonged to. Eventually, it was established that there was one man who was responsible for moving multiple cars on the block. It was a community effort.

Anyhow, seeing that I had a baby with me, both these men attempted to help me (graciously). One of the men (the one who was responsible for all the cars on the block) moved the car that was blocking my mom's car.

Both men then attempted to direct me out of the tight parking spot that I was in.

After many minutes of trying and failing to get out of the parking spot, the man who had a friend on the block asked me

"You want me to do it for you?"

"Okay!" I said without any hesitation at all.

He pulled my mom's car out of the spot in less than two minutes. He told me that he used to drive limos. It was no problem.

My son was watching all of this in his car seat. Totally mesmerized.

As I got ready to be on my way I said thank you to both men.

"Its no problem," said the man who was the resident car mover "You got a little one there. You have a lot to take care of."

"Yeah, don't worry about it. You got a baby." Agreed the man whose friend lived on the block.

Having a baby can work to your advantage sometimes. Especially when you are the victim of alternate side of the street parking.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Trying to Remember

Ever since I gave birth to my son, my memory fails me constantly. I joke often that I actually "gave birth to my brain".

It's sad actually. I have blocked out entire chunks of my life. Including specific incidents and conversations that I've had with people.

When I tell someone that I don't remember something, its embarrassing. In fact, I used to have a flawless memory. I could recount to you a detailed conversation that I had with someone. That is not the case today.

I spoke with my friend and fellow mom about this today. She told me that she has also suffered a horrible memory loss after giving birth. So its not just me.

The trouble is, when I tell someone that I don't remember something that happened, good or bad, and they don't believe me, and there's nothing that I can do to convince them that I'm not lying.

Believe me, I would like my memory back. It would save me some embarrassing moments. So to all those people that I have offended because I don't remember something that I said or did, I am officially sorry.

That's all I can do.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Perpetual Sickness

When my son was young, I kept hearing about how wonderful nursing was. Among its many benefits, it was known for building up a baby's immune system. Needless to say, I am very pro-nursing. In fact, my son is nearly a year and I'm still at it.

But its not just nursing that builds up a child's immune system. It is also getting sick.

My son seems to be very good at this getting sick thing.

As a mom, I try to be very active. I take my son out of the house everyday. We go for walks, we go to the library, we socialize with other kids. We are out a lot.

Needless to say, he is exposed to germs everyday. But lately, he just keeps getting cold after cold. And it is truly frustrating.

I am all for building up my son's immune system, but lets face it, being sick bites the big one. In fact, there was a point where all three of our household members were sick.

My son, my boyfriend and myself were all passing germs back and forth like a game of catch.

I've heard from other parents that once my son gets into a daycare/school situation its even worse. Kids pick up colds from one another constantly at these places.

Whatever the case may be, we are stuck in a cycle of perpetual sickness.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cloth Diaper Update Part Deux

So far I have received several emails from various cloth diaper companies saying that they would not send me samples. Today, however, I received an email from FuzziBunz stating that they would send me a sample diaper to try!

The email was quite simple. It went like this:

Sure, what is your address?

Tereson Dupuy


Become a FuzziBunz Fan

I am excited that a company responded to my plea for a sample cloth diaper.

Keep checking back here to see my review of FuzziBunz cloth diapers.

When Diapers Fail

It was Passover time. My best friend came over with some kosher for passover egg noodles to make for me, my niece, and herself. She cooked them in curry with a little broccoli.

The thought didn't even occur to me that my son would be remotely interested in the final product. But he was!

When he saw this curry noodle casserole, he looked as though he hadn't eaten in days. So we let him have some. Within seconds, he was shoveling handfuls of it into his mouth.

Honestly, I was thrilled. I had been trying to get him to recognize that broccoli was food, and not a toy for months. Maybe all he needs is a little curry? I thought to myself.

Boy was I wrong.

That evening, my boyfriend and I went to sleep, as usual. We awakened 5:45am to a screaming baby.

"Why is he up so early?" I asked my boyfriend in my foggy sleepy state.

My boyfriend went to change our son's diaper, his daily morning duty. But then I heard him exclaim

"Oh no! This is bad!"

I shot up out of bed to see what was going on.

I kid you not, my son was covered from head to toe in poop. Literally, from his head to his feet, there was poop everywhere.

I was so confused. I changed him into a new diaper before he went to sleep. Then I realized what it was:

The curry! He must have eaten too much of it and exploded as a result.

So, we gave him a bath at 6am. I was barely functional but it turned out fine.

Later I wrote my best friend an email telling her what happened.

Beware of massive amounts of curry! They may make your baby explode.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Going Broke to Go to Preschool

My son is barely one year old, and I am dreading when he turns two. Why I am so afraid for him to turn two? Because I can't afford Preschool.

Currently, I am staying home with him and my boyfriend is working. We figured out that if both of us were to work, we wouldn't be making more money.

The "extra" money brought in would go directly to paying for some sort of childcare. Thereby defeating the purpose of me working altogether.

So I chose to stay home with my son.

However, we are still really struggling to get by financially. So, by the time my son turns two, I though about enrolling him in sort of Preschool situation.

Until I started researching the possibilities.

The majority of Preschools in New York City are privately funded and extraordinarily expensive.

For example, I had heard wonderful things about the Montesorri School in Cobble Hill. So I looked up the cost of their programs or two year olds.

I kid you not, for two days a week, part-time (meaning 9am - 12pm) it is nearly $8000/year!
Clearly, this is not a viable option for my family.

And surprisingly, this is a typical cost for a preschool program.

I started to wonder if I was alone. Does everybody just suck it up and break their bank accounts to send their kids to Nursery School?

But then I met another mom at the Brooklyn Public Library who has two boys, one is almost one and the other is two and a half.

We got to talking about the whole Preschool dilemma. She, too, was in a bind. Her older son was currently enrolled in a Preschool in the East Village but it was costing her money that she didn't have.

She was concerned about what would happen to her finances when her other son turned two.

She said to me

"There's got to be another way."

I agree with her. There has to be an alternative solution. But I have yet to figure it out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Old School New School

You may be wondering why this blog is called Old School/New School Mom. Well, wonder no more!

In raising my son, I believe that it is important to take parenting ideas and advice from the previous generation (AKA the Old School) and also integrate parenting advice from our peers (AKA the New School).

You will be a better parent, I believe, if you are able to integrate these two worlds together.

For example, in previous generations, they didn't rely so heavily on fancy electronic baby toys to entertain our kids. They simply read to their children, let them crawl around on the floor; explore and learn by doing. I like this idea. Old School.

However, I have to admit, that there are some fancy electronic flashy baby toys that are pretty neat. So I am not ruling them out all together. For example, there is a Baby Einstein toy that lights up, plays random classical music, and has interesting objects to touch that my son adores.

See? He loves it. But if you'll notice, he is also holding a plastic bottle in his right hand that he also adores. So, he loves a lot of things, Old School and New School.

The point is, you can draw from different schools of thought to raise your child. I think this integration makes for a more well rounded child.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Remembering to Eat

I recently told my best friend that I would like to get a job where I would get paid to eat. When she asked what I meant, I replied

"My current job (the job of 'mom') is one where I NEVER get to eat, because I am always feeding someone else."

And its true. As a new mom, I find that I am constantly taking care of my son, leaving me no room to take care of myself. By the end of the day I am exhausted because I have been attending to another human being's needs all day and ignoring my own. People who don't have children can be sympathetic to this feeling, but they can't really understand it until they are in the situation for themselves.

But now more than ever I realize how important it is to take care of myself. I realized this because I haven't been doing it. Most days I forget to eat at least one meal.

As a mom, it is so important to attend to your own needs. I have found that if I neglect myself, I don't have the energy to be there for my son in the way that he needs me to be. And that disappoints me.

So the solution; eat. And remember to do it. The best time to eat is when your baby is eating; that way you don't have to think about when to do it. It will be automatic.

Free to Be You and Me at The Library

I almost fell into the trap myself; paying for activites to do with my son. When he was an infant, I was still pretty isolated. I didn't yet have the playgroup to hang out with and no real mom friends. So I when I would see local advertisements for Baby Yoga, $10/class I would start salivating. It sounded so appealing, being in a calming class with other new mothers and my new bundle of joy; however, I literally did not have the $10 to spare. So I didn't pursue it.

As I noticed how many paid baby activities there were in my neighborhood and in New York City in general, I started to feel like maybe there was something wrong with me. Perhaps I had to pay for activities to do with my baby to have a good time. So I hung my head down and went home.

Out of sheer curiosity, I began researching free baby activities online. At first I couldn't really find much. But then, I remembered my best friend, who recently graduated from an Early Childhood Education program, telling me that the Public Library had a great Early Childhood program.

Boy was she right! First I tried to attend a Story Time program at one of the Manhattan branches, but because of my perpetual lateness, I missed the program. This was after lugging my son and his stroller on the subway to West 4th Street.

But I didn't give up. I found out that The Grand Army Plaza branch of The Brooklyn Public Library was having Story and play Time for ages 0-5 Saturdays from 10am - 11am. This program was absolutely totally FREE.

The Story and Play program is awesome. All the children and parents gather in the children's room of the library which is very warmly decorated and carpeted. The librarian reads three stories, sings many songs, and then the kids are free to roam around and play with copious amounts of plastic toys! How wonderful! And it didn't cost me a cent.

The same library, at Grand Army Plaza, also has the Story Time/Babies and Books program for babies from 0-18 months. This takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am, 10:30am, and 11am respectively.

Each of these programs runs for 30 minutes. But beware, there are limited seats so you have to get there early to get a ticket for the program you wish to attend. It is similar to Story and Play except there is no play time. It is just reading books and singing songs. But there are puppets involved too!

I am so happy to have found the library. It's a great place hang out with your baby and it won't cost you a dime!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trusting Your Inner Mom

I went to the library today with my son for their Story Time program as I usually do on Tuesdays. I was feeling a bit stir crazy, since we didn't get out yesterday, so we went to the 10am program. My playgroup buddies were missing in action, as both their babies were taking naps at unceremonious times. So I was there solo.

After the program, I was approached by a lovely woman carrying a six month old infant in an Ergo baby carrier.

"Excuse me?" she asked "Can you do me a favor? Can you help me fasten this?" She was referring to the back strap of the carrier. She was unable to reach the strap herself to click it together securely.

"No problem!" I said and I obliged.

"You know, I had actually had the same issue with the Ergo carrier myself, but I learned a trick." I told her."Pretend like you are fastening your bra strap together."

"Oh!" she replied with surprise. "I hadn't thought of that."

She tried my trick, and it worked. She was thrilled.

We got to talking, so I asked her out for coffee.

She told me about the issues she was facing with her son, starting solid foods, his unwillingness to nap etc. I commiserated with her on all of the things she was bringing up. Here was an intelligent competent woman just trying to do the right things for her son. I felt I was looking at myself just a few months ago.

It was really reassuring to know that I'm not crazy. That the issues that I was facing six months ago are common ones among mothers. That's what meeting this mom reminded me of.

Babies don't come with an instruction manual. As much as we would like to think that we know what's best for our kids, we are all (to some extent) flying blind. We can receive advice from many sources but ultimately, the way we raise our children is up to us as mothers.

I remember the day that I came home from the hospital with my boyfriend and our son. We got into the apartment. We put our baby in the crib. We looked and each other and thought

"Now what?"

We had no idea what to do. But the point is, you figure it out. My son has survived one year with me stumbling through, trying different things, figuring it out.

And that is what I will continue to do. I have to remind myself that all I can do is try.

Cloth Diaper Update

I've written to a bunch of cloth diaper companies asking for samples. Here is what I said:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am the mother of a 11 month old, and I am heavily considering the cloth diaper option. I currently have blog where I am beginning to review baby products.

Would it be possible for your company to send me a sample cloth diaper to try?

Thank you for your time.


Sarah Fader


The responses I've received so far have boiled down to this; we can't send you a sample because our company is too small and we would go broke if we sent out samples to everyone who asked for them.

I have included the current responses I've received below.
Good Morning Sarah,

Thank you for your interest in Thirsties!
Unfortunately, as a small Mom and Pop company, we are unable to send out samples.
You could watch our Outlet Store at, or find a retailer on our wholesale site:

Best wishes in your endeavors!
Thirsties Customer Support

I am sorry but we are a small company and we are unable to send out samples to everyone that asks for them. We get this request 5-10 times every single day and doing so would put our small business out of business.
Good luck with your blog, I stopped by to check it out.
Linda Byerline CEO
MLB Industries Inc

I understand their position; however I don't want to purchase a product before I know what I'm getting into.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Search For a Playgroup

When my son was around four/five months old, I was going a little stir crazy. I wasn't employed and I had no real mom friends. My only friends that had babies lived too far away to visit on a regular basis. So I hung around the apartment with him a lot. My dad noticed that I was going a little nutty being in the house all the time.

"Why don't you try to meet other moms?" He asked. "Join a playgroup? You guys used to be in a playgroup when you were younger BLAH BLAH BLAH playgroup..."

So I indulged him. I looked online for playgroups. And the majority of the playgroups I found cost money. I was astounded. It seemed counter-intuitive that I should have to pay for my child to play with other kids. Plus, I had no money to spend on such things. My boyfriend and I were barely making ends meet as it was. So I kept looking.

I contacted a local children's toy store to inquire about playgroups. They informed me that they organized mother's groups by birth month. Great! Could I join it? Yes, for a mere $30 fee. So I succumbed and paid the cash to have some social interaction with other mothers. They added me to the email list.

So I sent out a mass email to the moms on the list. I told them who I was, and that I'd like to meet up and get to know them. We arranged to meet at a local coffee shop. I carried my son over in my Baby Bjorn. When I arrived, nearly the first words out of one of the mom's mouths was:

"Is that comfortable?" She was referring to me carrying him in the Baby Bjorn.

"No, actually," I replied "He's getting really heavy now. So it's not really that comfortable anymore."

"Well, you could get the Ergo baby carrier, but it's kind of expensive," she replied. Now this comment may sound innocent, but it was loaded. She was making an allusion to the fact that I might not have the money to afford to buy this pricey infant carrier. I was already turned off and questioning why I had left the house.

After several other disparaging comments including chastising me because my son doesn't like to take naps during the day, I felt my head was about to explode. Suddenly, one of the quieter moms abruptly stood up and announced that her daughter was fussy and she had to leave.

I followed her out the door and we immediately started chatting about how rude the other moms had been. We bonded fast and soon began taking stroller walks in Prospect Park together with our babies. And then after a two months of hanging out, she moved upstate with her family and I was alone yet again.

I kept up the stroller walks, and because I had no money I searched for free activities that I could do with my son.

When my son was 9 months, I disovered The Brooklyn Public Library.
The Brooklyn Public Library has an amazing Eary Childhood Education program.

One Saturday I was looking online for free activities to do with my son and I found that The Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was having a Story and Play Time session that day for ages 0-5 years old from 10am - 11am. So I hightailed it over there with my son.

We were late, of course, so we missed the story portion of the program. But we made it in time to play. My son and I walked into a large room filled with children and toys. He was in heaven. He promptly shoved every toy in his mouth (at least once) and crawled around like a maniac.

Then, admist the crowd of unfamiliar faces, I recognized one of the women there. It took me a minute as I was rudely staring at her to try to remember where I knew her from. Suddenly, it dawned on me; I went to High School with her!

"Hey, did you go to LaGuardia?" I asked her

"Yes, did you?" She replied.

"Yeah, I think we were in the same math class!" I said, so happy to see a familiar face.

Upon further conversation, we realized that we both were drama majors at LaGuardia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with LaGuardia, it is a conservatory based arts high school where students major in drama, dance, music, vocal performance, or fine art.

Our sons were only two months apart in age. Her son (at the time) was 11 months and my son was 9 months.

After the Story and Play time was over, we continued to hang out and she and her son walked me home. She told me that she had met a woman from Norway at the library program, whose son was 10 months. They had been hanging out a lot because they were both still on maternity leave from their jobs. She said that I would love her friend too. And I did!

I was thrilled! After meeting a sea of unfriendly people, I had met the one friend that I had needed all along.

With that a playgroup was born. The three of us began hanging out weekly and sometimes multiple times during the week, and I didn't have to pay a cent for it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Power of Cheerios

When my son turned nine months I started introducing what they call "finger foods." That is to say foods that babies can pick up with their fingers. My friend (and mother of three) Alana informed me that Cherrios were the perfect first finger food. When I was over at her house with my son we plopped him in a high chair with a bunch of Cheerios and waited to see what he would do.

At first he just pushed them around and played with them. After a while he realized that he could pick them up. And then eventually he grabbed a Cheerio, shoved it in his mouth and ate it. Alana and I cheered. He was thoroughly encouraged and began eating more and more Cheerios.

The love affair had begun.

At 11 months he is still obsessed with Cheerios.
  • They are a source of nutrition
  • They also serve as a form of entertainment when he throws them on the floor and laughs
  • Not only does he eat them, but when he is finished with them, he starts feeding them to me as well
  • When he is in his car seat for a long ride being fed Cheerios makes him feel at ease.
I actually wrote to Cheerios to tell them how much my son loves them. I have yet to hear back but will keep you posted.

Listening to Grandma

As a new mom, I would like to think I have it all figured out; I don't need anyone's help. It doesn't matter that I've never done this before. I know my son. I understand him. Every single time he makes a peep realize exactly what he wants. I never crack under pressure while he's crying his head off. Can you tell I'm being facetious?

Let's face it. There are times when I have no idea what my son wants. He's crying, so I try to feed him. Oh wait! He's not hungry, maybe he's tired? So I nurse him. But he doesn't want to nurse. Perhaps he has a dirty diaper? Nope, all clear. Okay, no problem, maybe he's bored. I'll play with him. Nope, he doesn't want to play. What is it?! What does my son want?!

The point is, at these crucial times its okay to accept help from those who have been there before; the grandmas.

Recently, my son had a terrible virus. He had a fever and was horribly congested. He was so congested, in fact, that he could hardly nurse and could wake himself up in the middle of the night coughing. Once again, I adopted my "I can do anything I'm Super Mom" attitude. I tried everything:
  • I aspirated his nose
  • I gave him saline drops
  • I steamed him in the bathroom
  • I put books underneath his mattress to elevate his head so he could breathe easier
  • I went took him to see the pediatrician three times in two days.
Nothing worked!

My mom saw how exasperated I was becoming. She popped her grandma head into the picture and announced

"Can I make a suggestion?"

Normally when my mom says this it is not a suggestion at all but a "you really need to do this." I all but rolled my eyes. Through clenched teeth I replied

"What, mom?"

She smiled and said

"You should get him a humidifier. You guys used to sleep with a humidifier when you were sick and it really saved you. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH humidifier..."

Needless to say I ignored her suggestion and kept trying things that didn't work. Until I got a call from my mom at 7:30pm at night after spending the entire day with a miserably sick baby.

"I have something for you. Can I come up to your apartment?" She asked.

"Sure." I said totally exhausted.

The door opened. There was my mom standing there with a Vicks Cool Moisture humidifier.

I gave in.

Even though my son was already asleep we managed to covertly place the humidifier in his room without waking him.

Guess what? She was right. It was the best night he, my boyfriend and I had had in three days. My son didn't wake up once during the night. Thanks to the humidifier.

Grandmas can be annoying. They think they know what's best for their grandchildren and no one can tell them otherwise. But sometimes, they are absolutely right. So the next time your mom tells you

"Put some socks on him! Its cold in here." Even though it may be 75 degrees, indulge her. She may save your life someday. (Or at least your sanity).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

To Cloth or Not to Cloth That is the Question

When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about diapers; how extraordinarily expensive they are, how I barely had money to clothe myself let alone waste money on a perpetually disposable item that unfortunately was a necessity.

I thought about cloth diapers. I really did. I considered the option. But then I thought about the prospect of washing excess poop in the bath tub. Yuck. So I vetoed the cloth option.

Now that I have nearly a one year old son, I am thinking about diapers, again. I spend $34/month on them. That's $408/year. Considering my household income, that is a lot of money.

So now I am thinking about cloth diapers again. My best friend recently told me that her parents used cloth diapers on her. This was nearly 30 years ago. They, like my boyfriend and I, had very little money. So they never touched disposable diapers.

This brings to the forefront an interesting issue; if disposable diapers are so expensive, why do the majority of the parental population use them? Convenience? Less mess? What did people do before disposable diapers? They used what was available to them; cloth diapers.

I've decided that I cannot live in ignorance of the cloth diaper any longer. I need to sample this animal and see what it is all about. Perhaps I will even save myself a little money in the process.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Complaining About/Praising Products

I'm the sort of person that gets excited about a product that I really like. On the on the other hand I am also the kind of individual that gets upset when I feel a product has let me down. I recently rediscovered the concept of calling various companies to let them know what I thought about their products. I used to do this often before I had my son, and now that I have a child I have acquired a new found fervor in contacting corporations to let them know what I think.

For example, I recently was making a box of Annie's Home Grown Macaroni and Cheese for my son. I really like Annie's Home Grown products because a lot of them are certified organic, they are delicious and (most importantly) my son loves them. I went to open the cheese packet and found that it already been slit open a crack. Being a nervous mom, I called Annie's Home Grown to inquire about this open package. The representative was so pleasant and helpful on the phone. He apologized immediately and offered to send me coupons for Annie's Home Grown products.

And it's not just Annie's Home Grown. I've found that many companies I have contacted have granted me coupons for my trouble. When I called Stoneyfield Farm Organic to tell them about a puncture in the safety seal of one of their smoothies, they sent me nearly 20 coupons for my trouble.

Companies respond not only to criticism, but also to praise. I wrote to Entenmann's to tell them how much I enjoyed their 8 Rich Frosted Donuts. They sent me two one dollar off coupons in the mail in exchange for my praise. A similar situation occurred when I called Laura's Lean Beef to tell them about how much I enjoyed their lean steaks. I recevied coupons in the mail from them as well.

The moral of the story is, when you like a product, tell the company. When you have a problem with a product, tell the company. Chances are you will be rewarded for your efforts.