Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This One's For All You Pregnant Ladies Out There

Wil found my old pregnancy journal, circa 2008,in the closet today. I was flipping through it and I was amused by this page.

Since it's unlikely that you'll be able to decipher my handwriting, I'll decode it for you:

"Everyone keeps obsessing over the caffeine thing. It's really annoying. I barely drink coffee, and now if I'm seen eating a chocolate chip cookie, they want to alert the media! Quantity-wise, there is significantly less caffeine in chocolate than coffee! What else? Oh, I keep hearing "take it easy!" What does that even mean?" What do people think, I'm going to take it hard? Start mountain climbing or hunting?"

I crack myself up.

But this does bring to light something that I want to discuss. When I was pregnant, and after I had Ari, I received some of the most nonsensical "advice" from co-workers and (for the most part) strangers.

When Ari was three months old, I was nursing him and enjoying a cup of coffee with my cheesecake at Junior's (the best cheesecake in Brooklyn I might add) and this lady, who was a complete stranger, walked by and shouted "Don't drink any brown beverages! They will upset the baby!" I smiled and nodded politely, but wanted to yell obscenities at her:

So, I just want to say, if you're pregnant, or you have a newborn, and someone says some stupid shit to you that makes no sense, feel free to react accordingly.

Now it's your turn. Please tell me the most ridiculous advice you've received as a expectant or new mother.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monkey See Monkey Do

Yesterday, Samara and I were having a conversation...oh, and Ari didn't fall down...

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Meet Dayne:

It all started this morning when Ari began carrying this orange thing (pictured above, but without the hat on at the time) around and saying:
"This is my baby. Nobody can take him away from me. I love you baby!"
Then he began nurturing the orange thing like it was a real baby. He was holding it, putting it to sleep and took it in the living room because his baby was "hot."
"My baby is hot, mommy. He wants to sit neat the air conditioner."
After his baby cooled down, he decided to give him a ride in the stroller, but not before accessorizing him appropriately, which is what you see above. In addition to a hat Ari's baby also had on...well let me just show you:

I asked Ari what his baby's name was. He's taken to naming everything after a grasshopper on Max & Ruby whose name is "Hoppy." So of course he said "Hoppy!"
"Why don't you pick another name for him besides Hoppy?" I asked him.
There was a palpable silence.
"What's his name?" I asked, anxiously awaiting the answer. Ari is not extensively familiar with nomenclature, but I figured he would come up with something. After a few moments he said quietly:
"Dayne?" I clarified.
"YEAH!" He exclaimed.
"How do you spell it? D-A-N-E or D-A-Y-N-E?"
And so that is how Dayne came to be Dayne.
In fact, he is so attached to Dayne, that ran out from quiet time to get him.
"Wait! I want to sleep with my baby!" He exclaimed.
Here they are together:

Tell me, who is your child's inanimate object pal at the moment?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here's My Son's Card

I was on the playground the other day on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, my old neighborhood, and I met this really cool mom. We got to talking while Ari was running amuck and her toddler son was strapped into his stroller. The mom in question had gorgeous long wavy hair that looked too perfect for words.
"I love your hair!" I marveled. "I wish I had hair like that."
"Oh don't be fooled," she cautioned me "My hair is just like yours. I just had it cut and blown out yesterday. That's why it looks like this." I laughed. She told me where she got her hair done, this place in Chelsea, and we compared bad curly hair cut stories.
Things were going great on this "mom date," I thought, until she and her child were ready to get going.
"Hey, we should exchange emails or something," I offered "maybe we could meet up on the playground again sometime?"
"That would be great," she said smiling. Then she looked down for a moment and hesitated.
"Um, my husband made these for me the other day,'s the first time I'm handing one out." she said offering me a small white card the size of a fortune from a fortune cookie.
I looked at was her son's full name and his emaill address.
So basically, in order to get in touch with this woman, I have to email her 16 month old. I really didn't know what to say. I thanked her and she went on her way with her stack of business cards at the ready.
So what do you think? Should I email this toddler or what?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Day We ALMOST Didn't Make it To The American Museum of Natural History

Yesterday was Sunday, so all I wanted to do was lay on the couch, but I knew that if I did that, at the end of the day I would feel like a total sloth. Instead of being lazy, I packed up the kinder in the Fadermobile, and told them that we were headed to see the dinosaurs at The American Museum of Natural History.

By the time we got out of the house, it was around 1:30pm. We drove my dad into the city, because he just got a part in a play, so he had to sign a contract on 42nd Street. After that, the kids took a nap in the car, and by the time we got to the Upper West Side, they were awake and starving. So we went to Ceasar's Pizza, on 84th and Amsterdam Avenue, to eat.

Ari had pizza and ice cream, and Samara and I shared rice & beans and meat balls!

We had a late lunch, and by the time we finished eating it was 5:00pm. The museum closes daily at 5:45pm. I told Ari we had to rush, otherwise we would miss the dinosaurs! He immediately jumped up from his seat, got Samara ready in the stroller, and off we went!

We were going at a great pace, Ari was so excited to see the dinosaurs that he was actually running down the street. Until he got tired...and wanted to "rest"...on someone's stoop.

I reminded him that we were in a rush, and if we didn't hurry were going to miss the dinosaurs! Well...that didn't work. He still kept lollygagging around, until I pointed to a couple of kids who were running up the block.
"Can you catch those kids?" I asked him. "Go run and get 'em!"
This was a challenge he was glad to take on. He bolted up the block to catch the children in question. Since he was so fast, I don't have pictures to document his success.

We got to the Musuem of Natural History at 5:20pm, which meant we only had 25 minutes to spend there.

But...the good news was...the last hour the museum is open is...FREE! WHOOO HOOO! The museum is a suggested donation institution in general, but this was a nice surprise.
Here are the highlights of what we saw in 25 minutes:

We did what we could in our mini-visit! At least we got to see the dinosaurs!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Am So Creative

When I was packing the diaper bag to leave today, I realized that I had no Ziploc bags to store Cherrios in. But then, I remembered I had breast milk storage bags! So I did this:

Talk about thinking outside the box...or the bag! Am I awesome or what?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Broccoli Yogurt

Samara loves yogurt. She doesn't care what kind it is, she eats them all indiscriminately.

The other day, she was eating Stonyfield Farm Plain yogurt, and I had an idea. She's never tried strawberries before. What if I threw some strawberries and the yogurt in the blender? So I did it!

Needless to say, the strawberry yogurt was a big hit.

I was so pleased, that the next day, I thought: if she likes strawberry yogurt, perhaps I could combine something more obscure with yogurt. Something that kids don't typically like. Something green.

Yes, that's right...broccoli! I decided to combine yogurt and broccoli.

I threw one strawberry in there for good measure.

And here's what the final product looked like:

It was well received! I liked it too!

Maybe I should try spinach yogurt next time?

What steps have you taken to get your kids to eat healthy? Any recipes to share?

Monday, September 12, 2011

It All Began With a Lost Earring

This morning, as Wil was changing Samara, he yelled:

"Babe! She's missing an earring!"
"What?!" I shouted back. I was in the kitchen, which is at the complete opposite end of the apartment.
"Wait! I found it, it was on the changing table. But the back is gone!"

The next thing that occurred was that we each took turns trying to put the backless earring in Samara's ear. One person would hold the baby while the other person would attempt to get the earring in the earring hole. Meanwhile Samara was not happy about this whatsoever. She screamed the whole time, mostly because she was being restrained and wanted to crawl around and eat things.

"I have to get a replacement pair of earrings from the doctor!" I exclaimed.
"What are you talking about?!" Wil replied "Just go get a pair of cheap earrings at the 99 cent store and use the backs."
"No! They're going to get infected!"
"Wait, maybe your mom has an earring back downstairs." He said with a gleam in his eye.
He ran down to my parents place, and swiftly came back up with an earring back. But, alas, it didn't fit!

I had to go to the dermatologist today, so I put it in my mind to find a pair of replacement earrings for Manhattan.

So, Ari fed Samara lunch and off we went to the city.

We got to the dermatologist, which is located in the fancy neighborhood otherwise known as the upper-east side. We were sitting in the pretentious waiting room with post-menopausal women awaiting their botox injections, when Ari decided he wanted to fill out my doctor paperwork for me. I told him that this was impossible, and asked if he might be interested in drawing on a piece of blank paper instead. He threw a gigantic tantrum. Needless to say, the botox crowd was not amused. Then he began to crawl all over the floor. Since he was already on the floor, I figured it was only fair that Samara join him.

I told Ari that if he behaved, he could have a cookie after the dermatologist. That seemed to change his tune. We went to a fancy-schmancy coffee place and I only had enough cash to get one gigantic chocolate chip cookie and an iced decaf coffee. So I split the cookie in half, one had for each of us. He was very displeased about this. But then I realized that the fancy-schmancy coffee place took debit cards! Yipee! If you're still reading this my favorite color is green. So I decided to splurge and get a brownie, which I promptly split in half. Ari was very pleased about this. Here are his halves:

After he was thoroughly hyped up on refined sugar, he decided to finish off the rest of his cookie on top of our car. I don't know why.

I'm having an MRI of my cervical spine tomorrow! Wish me luck.

What else? Oh right! Back to the earring. I stopped this teenage punk girl on the street and asked her where I might buy some replacement earring backs in the neighborhood.
"Oh..." she said "I don't know about this neighborhood, but there's this place on the West Side called Claire's--"
"Yes, I know Claire's!' I said excitedly, thinking that this would be a great affordable option.
"I think it's on 83rd, but I'm not sure, and I don't want to steer you in the wrong direction. You should look it up." She said with a half smile while looking down at the sidewalk.
I thanked her and went straight to my phone to find the Claire's she spoke of. It turns out it was on 81st and Broadway, close enough.

We headed over to the West Side, and on the way to Claire's we passed a coffee shop that has been there since my childhood.

I honestly don't know how this place is still in existence. The Upper West Side has become totally gentrified and has so many rich yuppies living in it. Most of the old businesses have shut down. Yay Three Star!

I told Ari that after we got Samara's earrings, we would head to the playground. We got to Claire's and a very kind sales girl gave me an earring back (that they use to pierce ears) for free! Hooray! She also put the back on Samara's earring. I even got a pair of earrings for myself.

After we solved the earring crisis, I desperately had to pee. So we went to The Jackson Hole, another old restaurant on the Upper West Side, to use the facilities. Once Ari got wind of the fact that this place had grilled cheese sandwiches, he wanted to stay. He also referred the menu as a "magazine." He said "Mommy, I want a magazine." And I said "You mean a menu?" to which he replied "Yeah, a menu."

Ari had a grilled cheese (with cheddar cheese) and french fries, while I had an egg sandwich. Samara had Earth's Best Sweet Potato and Chicken baby food.

By the time we finished eating, it was 7:00pm. But I promised Ari we would go to the playground, so we Central Park and 85th Street, and it was totally empty.

Thankfully, there was another playground across the way that had a few late dwellers in it, so Ari got a chance to play for a bit.

After we left the playground, it was almost 8pm. Wil gets out of work at 8:30, so I had the insane idea to drive to the airport and pick him up! When I called him, he tried to talk me out of it, but in the end, I think he was happy to have a ride home.

We got Wil, he drove home, and the kids passed out from exhaustion in the back seat.

After an epic day, I'm finally home and my bed is calling.

How was your day?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago...9/11

Here is what I remember:

I was a senior in college at NYU (New York University) and living at home in Brooklyn. The evening of 9/10/01, I stayed over at my friend Brian's dorm. We had the same political science class in the morning.

I was asleep. It was morning. I heard a loud "BOOM!"
That sounded like a plane crash I thought to myself, but I went back to sleep and put it out of my mind.

Shortly thereafter, Brian and I got up and headed to class. When we got outside the dorm, Rubin Hall, which was located on 10th street and 5th Avenue, there was a crowd of people standing completely still looking in the direction of downtown Manhattan. We approached the crowd to see what they were looking at.

One of the Twin Towers was on fire. We stood there transfixed. We didn't know what to do. So we went to class. To this day, I can't believe that we went to class.

Our class was, ironically, a political science course that addressed terrorism. I can't remember it's exact name, but I know it had the word "War" in the title of the course--"War and Morality" maybe? The whole time we were sitting there in class, all I could think about was the burning Twin Tower, and how I wanted to leave class, get to a TV, and watch the news. I needed to know what was going on.

When we got out of class, we looked downtown and both towers were completely gone. They were replaced by smoke and flames.

We went back to the dorm. Everyone was on their cell phones, trying to call their friends and family, but there was no service. I kept trying to call my dad (who, at the time, worked downtown near South Ferry) to see if he was alright. I couldn't get through. I was so scared.
I prayed that he was okay.

I finally got my dad on the phone. He was said he was afraid to leave his office. He was going to stay put. He heard that no trains were running, so he'd have to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get home. I told him I would stay in Manhattan at the dorm for at least that night. He thought that was a good idea.

We watched the news until we couldn't watch it anymore. I thought New York was invincible. How could this happen? I felt unsafe, vulnerable, scared.

I remember sitting in Weinstein Dining Hall. All the faces of the once carefree college kids were solemn.

We walked to Union Square. One of the movie theaters was letting people see movies for free, ostenisbly to lift their spirits. We saw "Hedwig and The Angry Inch."

I left movies feeling distracted and empty.

I was further uptown, but the people who worked in the Twin Towers had a far scarier story to tell.

To all those affected by 9/11 my thoughts and prayers are with you today.

Now, I invite you to share your story. What do you remember from 9/11/01?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bed Lover

A quick bed update:

After being bribed with stickers for days on end, Ari finally slept in his bed last night for the entire night! In fact, he's in his bed right now sound asleep and it's only 8pm.

Excuse me while I relax with Wil's headphones and my neck pillow.

What do you do when your kids are asleep?

Marking His Territory

Ari has taken to peeing...everywhere.

  • After he pees in a place that is not the toilet, he has a variety of reactions including
  • Delight/Amazement"Look! I peed in the cat's water bowl." "I peed in Samara's crib!"
  • Shame "Mommy, I peed in my underwear."
  • Frustration: ARI:"I peed in my bed." ME: Why did you do that?!" ARI: [Sighs loudly]Because I wanted to go to the potty!

I took him to the pediatrician, and he doesn't have a urinary tract infection, so that's out.
It appears to be a behavioral issue. I've heard of kids going through "potty-training regression"; I wonder if that's what this is.

Maybe it's a jealousy thing? Now that Samara is crawling and more of a person, perhaps he's feeling a little envious that she's getting more attention than him?

Whatever the case may be, it's so hard to stay calm when he pees in absurd places.

So, what do I do? How do I handle this behavior? Thoughts?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Get Out Of My Bed And Into Yours

Since Ari was 20 months old he was able to climb out of the crib. Once he realized he could do this fantastic trick, all bets were off. The next logical solution was to ditch the crib and get him a real bed. I tried that and it worked...for a while. Then he started having night terrors, and eventually he found his way into my bed, along with Simon the cat. On top of that, I became pregnant with Samara, when Ari turned two, and I started freaking out about how I would continue to co-sleep once she was born. Co-sleeping was fine while I was pregnant and too tired to deal with putting Ari back in his own bed...until Ari decided that he was an insomniac. Thankfully, my friend Leigh offered a great solution of audio books, which seemed to calm him down enough to sleep at night...for a while.

After Samara was born, nobody in this house, including the cats, really slept more than three hours at a time for about seven months. Thankfully, Samara sleeps through the night now, so I decided it was high time to get Ari in his own bed. I've been so cranky during the day because, when you co-sleep with a 3-year-old (who's also a bed hogger) you don't exactly feel chipper in the morning. It makes me feel like singing that song "Oh how I hate to get up in the morning, oh how I hate to get out of bed!"

When I was at the Dans' surprise engagement party, Dan P.'s mother and I got to talking. She's a retired early childhood educator. I told her about my sleep woes.
"I can't get him out of my bed!" I lamented to her.
"How old is Ari now?" She asked
"Three..." I said shamefully.
"Oh...yeah, it's gonna be tough." She said "He's used to sleeping in your bed. You might try a behavior modification thing. You could get some really cool stickers, and give him a sticker each time he sleeps in his bed. If he sleeps in his bed for long periods give him more stickers."
Fucking brilliant! Why didn't I think of this before?
So I went out and got these:

The first night of my behavior modification bed trial, I was extremely nervous. Would it work? Would stickers be enough to get this kid into his own bed?

At dinner time, I told Ari:
"Tonight, you're going to sleep in your bed. And if you stay in your bed, in the morning you get a sticker!"
His face lit up.
"So where are you going to sleep tonight?" I reiterated
"In my bed." He confirmed.
"And what happens if you stay in your bed?"
"I get a sticker!"
This occurred on Monday.

As we were approaching bedtime, I could tell he was feeling trepidatious about sleeping in his bed. So I upped the ante.
"And...if you sleep in your bed the whole week...on Friday, you get a car." His face lit up again. I'm all about bribery if it works. Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't talking about buying him a BMW. I meant a matchbox car. Target usually has them in the dollar bins.
So, he climbed into his bed, and I read him "Frog and Toad Are Friends", as I do every night. And then as I was ready to leave his room, he became fearful again and began to cry. I started to get nervous because Samara was in the crib 10 feet away, and I didn't want her to wake up.
"What's wrong?" I asked "Are you afraid?"
"I'm afraid of the monster."
"There's no monster," I said confidently "Mommy is not going to let anything happen to you. I am right here." I rubbed his head and He sighed with relief.
That night, he slept in his bed...for about an hour, then he climbed out and found his way into mine. The next morning he got one sticker because he made the effort of sleeping in his own bed.

Tuesday evening, I reminded him of the deal. If he slept in his bed he would get a sticker. Once again, I upped the ante.
"Last night you stayed in your bed for an hour, if you stay in your bed all night, you get two stickers!"
Once again his face lit up.
"And I get a car on Friday!" He said beaming.
"That's if you sleep in your bed all week." I reminded him.
"Oh...yeah!" He replied.
That night he slept in his bed until 4am...when Samara woke up.

Then he climbed into mine.

The next night, Wednesday, he slept in his bed most of the night...until he wet the bed and had to relocate.

Thursday night, Wil successfully put Ari to bed in his own room. Ari slept in his bed until about 3am and then...with the stealth of a ninja, he sneakily found his way into mine.

Well, it's a process. He's slowly finding his way into his own bed, with the help of stickers and bribery. Today he gets a car! Here are the stickers he's collected this far:

Today, I am feeling triumphant, and a little more well-rested.

So tell me, do your kids sneak into your bed? Do you have a sleep woe story to share?