Friday, July 31, 2009

Ari Discovers The Webcam

After several fruitless attempts to get my son away from the computer, I decided to embrace his obsession with this particular technology. Instead of letting him blindly bang on the keyboard, I had another plan. I introduced him to the webcam where he could see himself on the computer screen. Needless to say he was fascinated. See for yourself in this video:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is There a Clean Tee-Shirt in This House?

It's a very easy thing to do; stay in your house. Especially when the weather is hot and humid outside and you don't feel like you live in New York City anymore but rather the rain forest in a South American country. Personally, this kind of weather makes me want to become one with my couch, soak up the air conditioning in my living room and eat a lot of ice cream.

If you're anything like me in this situation, you create excuses not to leave the house. I can't find a clean tee-shirt therefore I must stay in today! Plus, it's overwhelming to try to leave the house with a baby in tow. You need to compile a bag of supplies to make sure your child is satisfied both physically and emotionally for the duration of the time that you are in the outside world. It can be a daunting task.

On the other hand, I once had a therapist who gave me these wise words of advice: "When in doubt don't bail out!" Meaning, if you have plans to do something or go somewhere, and you are considering canceling those plans for an arbitrary reason to stay home, DON'T. Force yourself to leave the house. Go out!

Why go out? Why not! If you stay in, the day will be predictable. You'll watch a lot of TV, go a lot stir crazy, and by the end of the day you'll feel worse. But if you go out, the possibilities expand.

Even if you visit familiar haunts, you may meet new people, find a new spot in the park that you didn't even know existed and by the end of the day you will have given yourself three important gifts: surroundings that are not the four walls of your apartment, fresh air and a little sanity.

So if you are debating whether or not to get out of the house, do it! Go out there and take a walk with your child. Even if it's around the block, even if you have no destination in mind. Your mind and your body will thank you for it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Babies and The Elderly

Babies are loved by many, but nobody loves a good baby more than the elderly.

My best friend's father has dementia. Before he got sick, George always loved babies. I am happy to report that despite his illness, George's love for babies has remained intact.

Yesterday, my son and I went to visit my best friend and George in their apartment. It was difficult to carry on a conversation with George because he was staring into space the majority of the time. Then I had an idea.

For months now, OK, a notorious tabloid magazine, has been sending my best friend their periodical despite her efforts to thwart them. To show my support for their demise, I begin ripping pages from OK one by one and handing them to George. Then I threw them up into the air and screamed. This excited both George and my son who began to laugh. Babies and the elderly share joy in the simpler things.

Frequently during the day, George sat in a chair and stared off into space. At one point he began to cry spontaneously. My best friend comforted him, and assured him that he was crying because he was confused and could not communicate what he was wanted to say. I wanted to help too but felt ill equipped to do so. But then I remembered, I had a baby with me! So I picked up my son and put him in George's face. He began to laugh once again.

There is something inherently funny about babies. They are not only cute, but they do weird and quirky things like read books upside down, eat paper towels or babble in their own alien language. They are just discovering the world; whereas the elderly have already been living in the world for sometime. Babies remind the elderly of a simpler, stranger more entertaining time, when one is just getting used to themselves, their body, learning to walk and talk and just be.

George loved watching my son do weird things all day. Conversely, my son enjoyed engaging in strange activities; like holding a green marker in one hand and a blue one in the other and drawing on both paper and himself. His hands are still a hybrid of green and blue.

When my son is older I will show these pictures to him and share the stories of the funny things he did to brighten George's days.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Can I borrow Your Phone?

Although my trip to Puerto Rico was loads of fun, there was one thing that did go wrong: I lost my phone. Yes, friends, my phone was eaten by the sands of Condado Beach. I'm a little sad about it. Okay I am a lot sad about it. It was the G1 Google phone and I had an intense love affair with it.

But, the good news is this: I am not phone-less now. T-Mobile came to the rescue, and it didn't cost me a penny.

I was in a desperate situation. When we got back from Puerto Rico we were totally broke and I couldn't afford to buy a new phone. At least not immediately. I was so overwhelmed and depressed about the situation that I was resigned to the fact that I would just go without a phone for a while. But my boyfriend would not have this.

"I have to be able to get in touch with you! I need to be able to check on you and our son!"

So I called T-Mobile and asked them what they could do for me. It turns out T-Mobile has a program called the "Loaner Phone Program" for people in my situation. The way the program works is this.

--File a claim with your phone insurance company to get your replacement phone.
--Go to a T-Mobile store and give them the claim number.
--T-Mobile hands you a FREE phone that you can borrow for two weeks until your permanent phone arrives.

Tada! You are no longer phone-less. My one warning to you: the loaner phones do tend to go quickly, so it is important that you call ahead to the T-Mobile store to make sure they have the loaner phones in stock.

Also, the loaner phone itself is nothing fancy. It's just a basic no frills phone, that you can make calls out of. Mine doesn't have a camera or any fancy accesories, but it will do. I'm constantly running around with my son, and I cannot be without a phone, as my boyfriend pointed out so eloquently.

So if you have T-Mobile service, and you lose your phone. Don't fret. Just get a loaner phone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Visit to Museo del Niño

Today I had the privilege of visiting San Juan's Museo del Niño (The Children's Museum) with my son and my boyfriend, who (incidentally) was the photographer of this photo:

We tried to visit the museum yesterday, but it was Monday and apparently this museum is closed on Mondays. We found this out after trekking from Condado Beach all the way to Old San Juan on the bus, only to find the museum's sad sign that read "Cerrado" -"Closed."

Today was Tuesday, and the museum was, in fact, open so we had a chance to visit. Admission to the museum is $7.00 for children (ages 1-15) and $5.00 for adults.

Museo del Niño has classic children's toys like the following:

You may recognize this vintage toy from any pediatrician's office you or your child have visited since the 1980's; or possibly earlier in time, but I can only speak for my generation.

In addition to classic toys, Museo del Niño also has more elaborate structures for children to play with. Such as the following:

And how about these?

In addition to these impressive structures, the museum also had traditional activities for children of varying ages to engage in. These included a dress up area with lots of mirrors:

A baby and toddler area with small houses for children 0-3 to run in and out of.

And much much more. In total the museum had three floors of activities for children. But I think the most valuable aspect of this visit was gained by a conversation I had with a museum employee. After exiting the baby and toddler area, he told us his thoughts on working at a children's museum:

"Children are great," he said "They are a lot of fun. It's their parents that are annoying. When they stop their children from doing things, from playing. That's what the kids are here for!"

He is a wise man. I couldn't agree more. Places like Museo del Niño allow children to be themselves; to play freely. You can let your kid run around and go nuts. That's what this place is for. As opposed to the rest of the world, where you essentially have to constantly silence your child and tell them to behave "appropriately" whatever that means.

If you are planning a visit to San Juan, visit Museo del Niño. You and your kid(s) will love it!

For more information on Museo del Niño visit their website here.

The Ocean is a Toy

The ocean is many things; it is beautiful, mysterious, sometimes dangerous with it's unpredictable ebb and flow. But today I have learned that (in addition to all these qualities that the ocean possesses) it is also a toy.

Let me explain; my son decided that when the waves wash into the shore it is hysterically funny.

And when they leave the shore and go back out into the ocean's abyss, this is even funnier.

I knew that my child liked water; what I didn't know was that he thought it was hilarious. It just goes to show you that a child can view a natural phenomenon entirely different from us adults. We look at the ocean and we see a massive body of water; sometimes peaceful sometimes erratic, but always volatile. But a child views this body of water as exciting, funny, and strange.

Thank you ocean, for keeping my child and me on my toes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Puerto Rico: Where Children are Loved

Greetings from sunny (sometimes rainy for five minutes and then sunny again) Puerto Rico! Where the natives love children and say things like:

"Que Lindo! Su nino caminando." - "How beautiful, your child is walking."

Puerto Ricans love children. I cannot tell you how many random people; people on the street people in restaurants, people at the bus station , even homeless people have gone out of their way to make comments about how cute my kid was. I even got a discount on a pair of sandals for my son because the sales people thought he was cute.

After we purchased the sandals a nice older woman approached my son and carefully disinfected his hands with Purell hand santizer because she saw him crawling all over the store's floor and was concerned about germs. All the while she was repeating "Que lindo, que lindo." - "How beautiful."

It has to be a cultural thing. When I walk down the streets of Brooklyn, few strangers approach me to oogle at my child. But in Puerto Rico we can't go a block without getting stopped by strangers who want to accost and touch my child.

It's kind of nice actually, how much Puerto Ricans love and appreciate children. We attempted to go to their most prominent manifestation of their appreciation for children (Museo Del Nino- The Children's Musuem) but it was closed today because it is Monday. Apparently (like many museums in The United States) The Children's Museum is closed Mondays and open Tuesdays thru Fridays. But we did get a fun picture in front of the musuem.

We intend to try to revisit this museum tomorrow when it is officially open. Until then, we will just pass by more random strangers who will bless us with their love of children.

More on Puerto Rico to come...

Friday, July 17, 2009

A New Friend Named Rupert

For the past few weeks my son has been waking up at night and screaming. I'm not sure of the cause, but I have a sense that it is because he is lonely. So my solution: give him a fuzzy friend to ease the pain.

He is a platypus and his name is Rupert. My son loves him. He has made going to sleep easier. When it is time to take a nap or go to sleep for the night, I hand him Rupert and all is well in the world.

So those of who are dealing with night separation anxiety from your child, try a stuffed animal friend! He/She just might help ease the bedtime blues.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why are Children's Books So Inane?

In the course of reading several children's books, I have realized one major flaw about many of them; they are incredibly boring.

Many of the baby board books are repetitive and less than compelling. I cannot tell you how many baby books I have read about the sounds that barnyard animals make:

Pig = Oink, Cow= Moo, Cat = Meow etc.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting to read a literary masterpiece in a "board book," but come on! Even if there is a simplistic concept, at least the drawings could be innovative; different; creative; unique in some way shape or form.

Of all beings, children are the most open to off beat concepts. Authors and artists should take advantage of this aspect of children and create children's books that reflect children's innovative nature.

Summer Reading, Had Me a Blast!

You all know how much I love the Brooklyn Public Library. There are so many reasons why I love it. The access to free books, the kids events and now this; The Summer Reading Program.

My friend Josina told me about this program that is exclusively available at the library. And guess what? It's free!

It works like this:

1. You go to the library
2. Head to the children's section
3. Ask to sign up for the Summer Reading program
4. The librarian will hand you all the materials you need.

You will get a "Reading Log," a booklet which is numbered inside from 1 - 30. Here you will write down the 30 books that you read to your son or daughter (or both) over the summer. Next to the title of the books are stars which enable you to rate how much you and your child liked the book you read.

When you have completed the the 30 books, return the booklet and....get this?... you get a prize! To be honest, I don't know what the prize it, but we will find out at the end of the summer and let you know.

You can also sign up for Summer Reading online! Visit: and register your child here. You can login in here and write reviews to the books you've read.

Don't be shy! Sign up for Summer Reading today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Journey To Hickville USA - Epilogue

Ever since our trip to Hicksville, my son has been enjoying his Cozy Coupe car on a daily basis. (**see previous blog here).

When we returned home that evening from purchasing the car, I wrote an email to the kind mother of four who relinquished her Cozy Coupe to us for $15. It said:

Just wanted to say thank you so much for the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. My son loves it. Here is a link to a blog I wrote about our journey to Hicksville.
Also- please let me know about future tag sales for kid's clothing in the area. Thanks a Million, Sarah

I received an email back from the lovely mother of four today; it read:

Hi Sarah,
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I have a busy schedule with my kids, my work, etc. It was nice meeting you, your husband and your son. I'm glad the weather cleared up the day you all came and that the sun was shining so your son got the chance to see his car and the chance to sit on it. It's great knowing it will be enjoyed. Time goes by so quickly with your children so having treasured memories is so important. Obviously you can't always save everything your children have so when you do part with things your children enjoyed, it's not so hard when you know it will bring great joy! One day you'll look back and share the day with your son that he got his favorite car and that you went out of your way to make him so happy. That's what it's all about! I will let you know when the next tag sale is.

The email made me smile. It was such a thoughtful and nostalgic note. It didn't even occur to me that one day I could show my son the pictures from our journey to get his favorite car.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Recess Monkey Climbs into Brooklyn

I was perusing the Brooklyn Public library's website for children's events, and I came upon a free children's music concert. The band playing was called "Recess Monkey." BPL described the event as: "a fun concert of goofy original and educational songs for children." Sounded good to me!

I forwarded the event on to Josina and Nelson. They wanted to come too! I managed to drag both my parents and my niece too. We didn't know what to expect, but once the concert started all attendees were groovin' to the music.

Recess Monkey is composed of three band members, Andrew, Daron and Jack. All the guys are school teachers from Seattle and their songs are inspired from their work with children. Their songs are goofy and esoteric with titles like "Marshmallow Farm" and "Bubble Factory."

I particularly loved their song "Haven't Got a Pet Yet." Jack began the song by asking the audience:

"So, I have a question for you guys: who here doesn't have a pet but really wants one?"

Several of the kids in the audience screamed affirmative answers.
"This song is for you guys!"

Then they busted into song:
"Susie's got a pet, Johnny's got a pet, but I haven't got a pet yet!"

The concert was great! Nelson was bouncing and grooving out to the music. Ari, my son, loved the music too, but unfortunately he missed his afternoon nap so by the end of the show he was a bit cranky.

Recess Monkey's music is fun and engaging for both children and adults. They have a straight up rock-n-roll style that makes you want to dance and sing out loud.

As soon as the concert ended, Josina and I ran up to the guys and thanked them for the show. We took a few pictures with them; but alas my mom's camera phone failed me and the pictures all came out blurry.

After the photo shoot, Nelson ran the length of the auditorium with Josina in tow, and I promptly purchased Recess Monkey's CD. I actually asked Daron which CD he recommended I start out with. He recommended: "Field Trip."

All in all everyone had a great time; it was an awesome show. For more information on Recess Monkey, visit their website here.

Earth's Best Has Bested Themselves

As some of you may know, I recently contacted the Hain Celestial company (makers of Earth's Best Organic Baby food) regarding a free cooking class (**see previous blog here). My mom also contacted the company on my behalf (**see additonal blog here).

Unfortunately, after all of my efforts to cash in on this offer, the free cooking class promotion has expired. I am terribly disappointed. But, for my trouble, Pati, a lovely woman and supervisor at the Hain Celestial company sent me a large variety of coupons for Hain Celestial products.

These are not just ordinary $1.00 off type coupons. There was one coupon in the bunch for a FREE package of Earth's Best diapers valued at $14.99. And several more for free Earth's Best products valuing up to $2.99. Way to go Earth's Best!

I have always wanted to try the Earth's Best diapers, and now I have the perfect opportunity.

Thank you Hain Celestial and Pati, for listening to one of your consumers.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Let's Go to The Movies!

Yesterday, my son, my friend Donna, her friend Susan and I went to the movies to see "Up" in 3D. It was my son's first time going to see a movie in the theater. I was hesitant; even a little neurotic.

When I mentioned my movie plans to my dad, it triggered a memory for him:

"I remember when we took you and your brother to see the first Star Trek movie. It was 1979. They almost didn't let you in! We had to lie and tell them that we came all the way from the Bronx with a baby. Then they let us in."
"How old was I?" I asked my dad. Now I was getting nervous.
"Oh, I don't know. A baby. Remember it was 1979." I was born in '79 so my age had to be in terms of months.

I called the theater ahead of time to ask if they would even let my child in. The theater employee on the other end was not phased by my query.

"You can bring in any child. Doesn't matter how old." she said sounding surprised that I was even asking the question to begin with.
"How old is your son?"
"14 months."
She began to laugh
"Just don't expect to see the whole movie."

So I thought I was prepared. It was an experiment. I was imagining that I would be in and out of the theater with a cranky toddler. But what the heck?

So off we went. We arrived at the theater just in time for the previews.

We took the stroller into the theater and sat it at the end of a long row of movie seats. The movie began and I sat there anxiously awaiting my son's freak out session.

Guess what? It never happened!

He sat there mesmerized by the enormous screen, the animated characters and vivid colors.
He was locked in. He watched the whole movie eating Cheerios out of his snack cup (which we later lost at the grocery store) and didn't cry once! Ha! Take that movie theater staff!

Needless to say I was truly amazed that my 14 month old son had a greater attention span than I do on a daily basis. He was able to sit through an entire full length movie. Good job Ari-bear!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Immunity to Injury

Yesterday my parents were babysitting my son while my boyfriend and I were out. When we returned my dad had an ominous look on his face.

"I have to tell you something." He said, the guilt so apparent that it was leaking off of his face.
" What?" I asked, already annoyed.
"Ari the bed and bumped his head."

I looked at my son, who was smiling and laughing and running across the floor with a plastic truck. He was obviously fine.

"It's okay dad. He looks fine."

My dad was visibly relieved. What I find interesting about this story, is that six months ago I would have freaked out if my son fell down and bumped his head. I realized that my laid back response to my son's injury means that I have grown as a parent.

I now realize that not anything and everything is an emergency. There will be lots of bumps and scraps along the road and not every one of them requires a a freak out.

Incidentally, head injury in babies can be serious. I don't mean to minimize it. I remember one time (when my son was around 9 months old) he fell and bumped his head leaving him with the bump the size of a grape on his forehead. I called the doctor to ask what I should do.

She told me to observe him and if he:
--was vomiting
--was lethargic
--seems dizzy or out of it

to take him to the emergency room.

The point is some injuries are benign are some are serious, but as a parent, it's important to use your intuition to judge whether or not you feel that your child's condition warrants further attention. And if you have a funny feeling call the doctor. Even if it turns out to be nothing, you'll have piece of mind.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Homage to The Soft Boiled Egg

I love breakfast foods. There I said it! If I could, I would eat breakfast all day everyday. I particularly enjoy eggs. But the problem is, being the mother of toddler, it is difficult to have time to prepare elaborate breakfast meals. There is a solution to this breakfast craving for those of us that have no time in the morning: the soft boiled egg.

What you do:

1. Boil a pot of water
2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, throw a slice of bread in the toaster
3. When the water has boiled crack an egg open into the boiling water
4. Boil the egg for 2 - 3 minutes on a high flame
5. Take toast out of toaster and place on a plate
6. Either pour the egg into a colander to drain it, or scoop it out with a spoon
7. Place egg on the toast, add salt, pepper and even a little cheddar cheese (my favorite!)

While the egg is cooking you can also prepare your coffee, tea, or orange juice.

I love soft boiled eggs. They are quick, easy and healthy! Because you don't add oil or butter to the water, they are really good for you.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Journey to Hicksville USA

Somehow, my son knew that today was a special day; and it was. Today was the day that we were headed to Hicksville, NY. Why Hicksville, you might ask? Because his resourceful mother had gone on craigslist and located a mother of four who was selling none other than the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe for a mere $15! The very same plastic car that my little man had become so obsessed with just a few days ago. He was so taken with this car that he tortured two children just for the privilege to sit in the thing. (**see previous blog**)

When we got to our car, he could barely contain himself.

We drove and we drove. We got lost quite a few times. We argued about who knew which direction to go and what exactly constituted a driveway. It was rough going there for a while, but finally we arrived in Hicksville. My son and his daddy immediately hopped out of the car and began to enjoy the green surroundings.

When we arrived at the house in question, there was a note on the door:

"Sarah, be back in a moment."

So we took the opportunity to decompress from our long drive and from yelling at one another.
I have to say, Long Island does have some nice greenery to offer its visitors.

Our mother of four returned and we headed to the backyard to meet the Cozy Coupe. When my son saw the car, he immediately recognized it. His face lit up.

"It's a little wet from the rain, do you want me to wipe it off?" She asked.
"Sure!" I said. She went inside to get a paper towel. But my son was so excited that he couldn't wait. He jumped right into the car and sat in a wet puddle in the front seat. The lovely woman returned and smiled at the sight of my child enjoying the car as much as her kids must have.

"Here you go." I said handing her the $15 she was owed for the Cozy Coupe.

"Do you think you could take a picture of the three of us?" I asked her.
"Of course!" She replied

We said thank you and then attempted to take our son out of the Cozy Coupe so we could pack it up and head back to Brooklyn. He did not like this one bit. As soon as we removed him from the vehicle he screamed at the top of his lungs. Even when we got him into his car seat he was still crying and trying to reach the Cozy Coupe in the trunk.

But all was well when we arrived back in Brooklyn. Cozy Coupe and my son were reunited and although there was concrete instead of grass, they were still having a good time together.

The journey to Hicksville, USA was a sucess! My son now owns the car that he tortured two children to get.

A Visit Down Memory Lane...Inspired by The Toilet

Every mom has a labor story. I was just spending some time on the toilet, and I remembered (some time ago) a friend of mine telling me that all I had to do to get my baby out of my uterus was to pretend that I was having a bowel movement. This took me back to the day I gave birth.

It was a Friday evening. I was nine months pregnant. I passed out on the couch, as usual, waiting for my boyfriend to come home from his evening shift at work. He arrived at 1:30am and as he gave me a kiss on the forehead I felt a gush of liquid shoot out of me. I promptly removed every article of clothing below my waist. The liquid kept on coming, flowing onto the hardwood floor of my Park Slope apartment.

"Oh my G-d! Oh my G-d! Oh my G-d! I'm in labor! I'm not ready for this!" I exclaimed.

It was true. I wasn't ready because my due date was June 1st and it was only May 3rd. My boyfriend responded with an alarmingly detached

"Why is this happening now? I have to call my job and find out about FMLA benefits, blah blah blah June 1st, blah blah blah!"
He finished his diatribe with: "Are you sure that was your water?"
"Yes! Yes of course it was my water! We have to go to the hospital now!"
First I called my doctor.

"Hi Dr. W!" I said frantically" "I'm in labor!"
"That's wonderful!" She replied. She advised me to head to the hospital.

Then I called my Doula. A Doula is someone who provides emotional support to pregnant women throughout the labor process. When my Doula answered the phone, I was so wound up I could barely contain myself. She tried desperately to calm me down.

"Sarah, are you sure that was your water?"
Why didn't she believe me? My boyfriend and my Doula were doubting me, but I was certain I was on my way to pushing out a child.

"No! It's my water I'm telling you!" I replied.
"Alright. Well, call me from the hospital and keep me posted." said my unconvinced Doula.

My parents arrived at my apartment when I was mid-conversation with the Doula. I shoved some belongings into a bag and we drove off to the hospital.

It was 3:30am. When we arrived at the hospital I was put directly into one of the labor rooms. A resident came in to examine me. After several uncomfortable minutes he determined that my water was not broken.

"Then what is it?" I asked him incredulously.
"Sometimes, during pregnancy," he began –"Like he would know"-I thought to myself "women become incontinent."
"So you're saying that I peed on myself?" I asked
"Yes." He replied.
"No, that's not possible!" I retorted.

Me? Pee on myself? Who did he think I was? Some sort of barbarian? Shortly afterward I was discharged from the hospital with some mesh underwear and a package of generic maxi-pads. I lay in my bed that evening trying desperately to go to sleep, but the liquid kept on coming. The next day it continued to leak. I knew something wasn't right. It seemed illogical that after 28 years of perfectly normal bathroom habits, that I would suddenly have no control over my bladder. Something wasn't right. I trusted my instincts and called my doctor's office. The doctor on call answered. I described my persistent leaky behavior.

"It sounds like your water broke. You had better come to the hospital and get it checked out. If it did, I'll deliver you."

Finally, somebody believed me! So back to the hospital I went. It turned out my water was broken the entire time. I had not (as the resident had diagnosed previously) peed on myself. This meant my water had been broken for over 36 hours!

Because it was broken for so long, my labor had to be induced with Pitocin – a synthetic hormone that brings on labor. 20 hours later I gave birth (vaginally) to my son.

This labor experience taught me many lessons. The most important one was to trust my intuition. The moment my water broke I knew what it was. But the medical staff at the hospital convinced me otherwise. Pregnant women are all too often conned into believing whatever the doctors at the hospital are telling them. The rate of C-Sections in the United States is alarming. I believe the reason for this is that doctors convince their patients that a C-Section is necessary, when this is not always the case.

Don't get me wrong, there are situations where the baby and/or is in danger and a C-Section is necessary. But then again, there are situations where a mother could have a vaginal birth and the doctor prescribes a C-Section. It could be that the labor process is taking "too long" and the doctor has other plans.

Labor is a lengthy process. It can take 15, 24, even 36 hours for a baby to be born. But many doctors are more concerned with scheduling their next vacation and less concerned with letting labor occur naturally.

The truth is if you are pregnant, it is important that you advocate for yourself. Educate yourself on the process of labor. Don't take for granted what the doctor is telling you. And most importantly, if you feel that something isn't right that means it probably isn't. Take it from me, who did not pee on myself.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Mystery Book: Sarah Fader Private Investigator Strikes Again!

The other day I received a curious package in the mail. It came in a bubble wrapped envelope with my name pre-printed on the label. There was no company listed on the return address, but instead a random P.O.Box in St. Cloud Minnesota. The package was labeled "time sensitive."I was confused and slightly frightened. Despite my fear, I ripped open the package and found this:

Needless to say, I was perplexed and a little more scared. So I decided to to further research on the origin of this book. I took a closer look at the return address and noted the zip code in Minnesota. I googled post offices in the St. Cloud area and got the appropriate office on the phone.

"Hello," I began tentatively. "I received a random package from your post office from P.O. Box 3000. Can you tell me who owns P.O.Box 3000?"
"Oh, that is from a marketing company." said the friendly Minnesota postal worker on the other end. "They send out a ton of packages. You musta signed up for somethin' and they got your address."
"Okay," I said now even more confused "Can you tell me who this company is and how to contact them?" I was determined to get to the bottom of this.
"They are called FSI, Fulfillment Systems." The friendly worker continued. "I don't know their number. You would have to look it up."

I thanked the lovely Minnesota postal worker and continued on with my investigation. I located the website for FSI and emailed them a query regarding their mystery book. I received a response a few days later stating that they wanted more information regarding the numerical code on the package. So I decided to call them up.

I spoke with Cathy and after some research she determined that the origin of the package traced back to....Earth's Best Baby Food. Some weeks ago I had signed up for the Free Baby Body Care kit. (**See previous blog here**)Well there was some confusion and Earth's Best sent me the wrong free item! Instead of the Baby Body Care kit they sent me a free book, which was also being offered as a separate promotion entirely.

Cathy apologized for the mistake and offered to send me the Baby Body Care Kit as previously requested. As I hung up with her a thought occurred to me. My friend Gry had previously collected over $75 worth of Earth's Best coupons in order to receive the Baby Body Care kit. When she sent in her coupon stash she was told that the offer had expired. Well, I thought, I might as well ask if they can throw in a spare kit for Gry!

So I called Cathy back and she generously agreed to send not one but TWO Baby Body Care Kits along!

I have to say, my private investigation skills were at an all time high this week. I figured out the origin of the mystery book and got two free gifts in the process.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bogus Free Cooking Class Part II - The Joys of Having a Jewish Mother

My mom read my blog about my experience with Hain Celestial and was angered by the customer service that I received. She called the company's 800 number and spoke to Patty, a supervisor at their company.

She informed Patty about her daughter's poor customer service experience. She also told Patty about her daughter's mom blog where Earth's Best was mentioned positively several times.

My mom is a retired Public Relations professional who is ready to bring out her arsenal of marketing tricks at any moment. This moment was no exception. She told Patty that she was not only my proud mother, but she was also the editor of my blog.

Additionally, she informed Patty, that as a consumer of Earth's Best and someone who speaks to the public, it would be wise to have me on their side.

Patty was taken aback by the public relations savvy Jewish mother she had on the phone. She had a moment of silence and then told my unphased mother that she would "report this situation to her director." so it could be "resolved as quickly as possible."

Thank you mom. I don't know what I would do without you. You amaze me everyday with your crafty P.R. techniques.

So when you're in a bind, call upon a Jewish mother to help you out. They always seem to know what to do in a moment of crisis.

Since my mom and dad are virtually in separable (unless my mom is on the phone being her P.R. self and my dad is watching with awe) I am including a picture of both of them. Liz Fader (my mom) is on the right.

Bogus Free Cooking Class

The other day, I was in the kitchen unloading my excessively healthy groceries. I went to put the organic sugar on the shelf when I noticed a sticker on the back of the bag; it read:


Well, you can imagine how excited I was. I love free things and I love to cook! So I read the terms and conditions of the offer. It told me that I needed to collect $10 worth of proof of purchase UPC labels from the Hain Celestial company. This company includes: Earth's Best, Arrowhead Mills, Spectrum, Hain and many more sub-headings.

I might as well hold stock in Earth's Best at this point, so it was an easy feat. But then, to my dismay, I lost the label advertising the cooking class! So I did what any internet savvy person would do; I googled the class. I found the offer advertised in three seconds, here.

When I went to the site, I immediately realized that I could not cash in on the offer, because I lost the sticker which contained the secret code that enabled me to take the class! I thought to myself:

I can't just give up! It's a free cooking class!

So I contacted the Hain Celestial customer service department at 1-800-434-4246. I spoke to a representative and explained the situation to him:

"Hello, I am interested in taking this free cooking class. I've collected the relevant amount of UPC labels, but I can't input the code for the class because I lost the sticker. Is there anything you can do for me?" I pleaded with this man.
"I'm sorry, but I don't have the capability to generate another code for you."
"But sir," I continued to plead "I have the product that had the sticker on it. Can't I just read you the UPC number? Can you find the code that way?"
"Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Why don't you just buy another Hain product? Then you can get another code for the class."

Well, now I was infuriated. This man was telling me that my hard work of buying loads and loads of healthy food was going to waste! And he was sugesting that I go out and buy another product when I had already fulfilled the terms of their offer!

I demanded to speak with a supervisor.

The supervisor got on the line. I re-explained the sitaution to her. In my opinion, I am still entitled to this free cooking class. I have the appropriate amount of UPC labels, so what if I lost the sticker associated with the products. I have the products themselves. I told her that the other representative sugested that I buy more product to compensate for the loss of a plastic sticker. She was sympathetic, but not much.

"I'm sorry that the representative said that to you. I can send you some coupons for Hain products. But you must understand that there are rules and regulations to any offer. We cannot generate a code for you."

I told the woman that I have a toddler who could have potentially eaten the sticker, or ripped it up. I don't know where this blasted sticker was! But did she care? No. She simply asked for my mailing address to send me copious coupons so I could buy more product.

I don't want coupons. I want my free cooking class which I am entitled to.

The Snack Trap

When you have kids, you carry a lot of things with you when you travel. As a result, many of these things tend to get lost. One day, after having my son's playgroup over to my apartment, I found all sorts of remaining items; a yellow baby spoon, a baby sock and this; a plastic container that resembled a tea cup. My good friend Josina and her son Nelson left this curious contraption behind.

I was immediately intrigued and took a closer look.

The container had slits on its cover resembling the way that one might slice an orange.

All of a sudden I had memory flash; I recalled that Nelson was reaching his hand into this cup and eating Cheerios by himself. So I decided that I would place some Cheerios into the contraption and see if my son would do the same. He did!

This was incredibly exciting to me. For months now I have been cleaning the remains of Cheerios and their brethren off of the floor of my apartment. This container cut down the Cheerio debris considerably. My son was able to eat his snack without creating an enormous mess.

The container advertised a website: I decided to take a look and see what this company was all about.

It turns out that the company, Made for Mom, was founded by a mother named Christine Moss. She worked in corporate America and when she had her two girls, she made a choice to stay home with them to raise them. But she missed the business world, so she took the initiative to create her own company of mom-inspired products, one of which is The Snack Trap.

When I found out that The Snack Trap was created by a mom, it made me like it even more. Although I have to return the coveted item to Josina today, when I see her at the library, I will be purchasing some Snap Traps of my own. Thank you Josina for inadvertently introducing me to something wonderful!

For more information about The Snack Trap and Made For Mom, visit here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Son, The Bully

I went away for the weekend to a place where my son was around many children. We were in the suburbs, and we often found ourselves hanging out in the backyard. Being a city kid, my son has limited access to greenery so we take what we can get.

He quickly became obsessed with a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe; a toddler sized plastic car that had a door he could open and close himself. He would open the door, get into the car, and then close the door and move the steering wheel around for a few seconds. Then he would re-open the door, exit the car and repeat the process several times. He loved it.

He was having a ball; until the rightful owner of the car (an 18 month old boy) attempted to go for a ride. My son became frustrated. He thought the car was his! What was this other child doing trying to drive his car?

My son did not stand for this boy usurping ownership of the car. He promptly crawled up to the 18 month old, grabbed his hair and pulled it as hard as he could. I was horrified. I ran up to my child and exclaimed:

"Hey! What are you doing?! No! Stop that!" I removed him from the scene of the crime and comforted the other boy who, at this point, was screaming his tiny head off.

I felt terrible. Where did my son learn such rude behavior from? Certainly not from me. I had never seen him do something so blatantly mean to another child.

The other boy calmed down and the kids went on playing as usual. I was relieved. Until a three year old girl (the sister of the boy who my son just got finished torturing) approached the Cozy Coupe. The girl got into the car and began driving. My son was visibly displeased. He opened the door to the coupe, and pushed the little girl to the side using the force of his 22 lb body.

What was happening? My son was so fixated on this car that he was unwilling to let any other children use it, and it wasn't even his toy to begin with!

I could not believe my son's behavior. As much as I tried to intervene, he was behaving like a bully toward these children and I felt powerless to stop him.

I began to wonder if this is his true personality coming out. Images flashed through my mind of my boy five years from now on the playground, smacking a child in the face and running away and feeling no remorse in the process.

Is this who my son will become? I am going to observe him closely to see if this behavior resurfaces in other envrionments. If it does, I must find a way to stop it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sigg Water Bottles For Kids!

Let me begin by saying that I intentionally seek out products that I feel would be of interest and would benefit my readers. Many times, a product that I write about is one that I already use, myself. Sometimes, friends or other mothers recommend products to me.

As a mom, I am conscious of health concerns for my son. Recently I have been made aware (through my environmentally conscious friend, Mint and multiple news sources) of the dangers of plastic bottles. Drinking bottled water poses certain health risks. When you drink a plastic bottle of water you are ingesting a percentage of plastic.

There have been many concerns specifically associated with plastic children's products as well. When you look at the packaging on sippy cups, many of them read "BPA free." BPA is a harmful chemical that leaches into plastic, and has been found in baby bottles and some sippy cups.

Sigg, a Swiss based company, has created a durable metal water bottle that does not leach harmful chemicals into your water. In fact, you can put just about any beverage into a Sigg bottle and drink it; then you can rinse it out, refill your bottle with a different beverage and there will be no aftertaste from the previous beverage.

The Sigg company itself has been around since 1908 when Ferdinand Sigg first established his factory. Sigg was a metal processing specialist and began by making metal cookware. Eventually by the mid 1990's the Signature Sigg metal water bottle was developed.

I love my Sigg water bottle. I bought it when my son was only two months old. At this time I was thirsty all the time. It was the middle of the summer and I was nursing. Those two factors combined made me crave water constantly. My Sigg water bottle was always there to come to the rescue.

I was thrilled to find out that Sigg also makes kid's water bottles! I wrote to Sigg and asked if they might send a sample kid's water bottle to review on my blog.

I was sent not one, but two kid's water bottles.

The water bottles are short in stature making them child friendly. My son was immediately intrigued by these bottles. He was easily able to grasp one in his hand, and in no time he was drinking up a storm.

I have been trying to get my son interested in drinking water for some time now. Clearly, my son is just as in love with the Sigg water bottles as I am. I was so happy to witness him drinking from an eco-friendly product. The kid's water bottles (just like the adult water bottles) are 100% non-leaching. Whatever liquid that goes into the bottle is the only liquid your little one will be drinking.

Both my son and I are happy to have such a great drinking vessel. Maybe we should form a club; me with my water bottle and him with his.

For more information about Sigg water bottles and other Sigg products, visit their site: here.