With the exception of the two weeks when my husband was home on paternity leave, I have been walking Bug to School every weekday for almost three months now. Our morning walk has been a bright spot in my day since . . .
A few years ago, I was having drinks with some colleagues. One of those colleagues exclaimed, "Oh! You're from LeaveItToBeaverLand!!" when she discovered that I grew up in the same town where she went to college. In response . . .
I am taking a break. I am at my limit. I have had three migraines in the last six days. I keep remembering additional people who deserve hand written thank you notes . . . and then forgetting . . . and then not writing any at all. I blamed my husband when Squish threw up (spit up is too mild an expression for what happened) all over himself and me in our bed at midnight the other night. They started potty training at Bug's school, and I have nothing close to a game plan for how we will keep up the training at home. Last, but most certainly not least, I have not slept for more than an hour and a half in a very long time.
So this blog, which has become part diary, part locker decoration, and part message in a bottle, is on hiatus.
I just got the following info from Local Roots about their winter CSA . . . enjoy!
Our winter CSA is a great way to provide families with locally grown produce and our winter season features vegetables from our farmer's greenhouses; this means spinach, kale, and swiss chard in the winter season when the season usually only brings us root vegetables. The shares may include everything from vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, grain and beans, juice, cheese, and bread, all based on your preferences and all from regional farms that use healthy growing practices with pick-up in once convenient location.
The CSA’s unique model is designed to offer greater convenience, product variety, value, and payment flexibility. The winter season runs from December-February with members paying upfront for 12 weeks as opposed to the 24 weeks in other CSAs. Membership applications are due November 27, 2011 for locations in Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill. Information on products, farms, and how to sign up can be found at www.localrootsnyc.org/csa/products
About Local Roots NYC
Local Roots NYC is a new organization dedicated to connecting New York City with local farmers and their food through CSA programs. Local Roots NYC hosts bi-monthly supper clubs and provides recipes, and other tips to make cooking at home easier. More information can be found at www.localrootsnyc.org/.
CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, allows city residents to have access to fresh produce grown by a regional farmer. CSA members purchase a “share” of produce from a local farm. Shares of produce are brought to the same site for members to pick up each week. By joining a CSA, members learn what foods are in season in the North East, support small, local farmers, discover new varieties of produce, try out new recipes, eat healthier, and reconnect with their food.
Special Agent Dos (a.k.a. The Little Squish) arrived safe and sound at 2:23 a.m. on Monday, October 10, 2011.
Labor and delivery went well. (Notably, in the early stages of labor, my water broke on Clinton Avenue about a block from our apartment. Left with no alternative, I walked home feeling like I was living one of those anxiety dreams I've heard about where you show up naked to school.)
Life with Little Squish has been great so far. During the days, though, I developed a list of priorities for myself:
(3) Hygiene (brush teeth / shower / wash hair . . . in that order of importance)
Yesterday, I managed to get through the first two, and I think I brushed my teeth.
Today, I have already completed the first three - including having washed my hair. A day without a migraine is so much more productive.
I spent all day yesterday trying to get the birthing party for Special Agent Dos started. I cleaned Bug's room and re-organized his wardrobe to make room for all things 0-3 months. I dusted. I organized the linen closet. I walked a mile to buy a shower curtain and then a mile home. I ate all the spicy parts of my green papaya salad with my Thai take-out dinner.
7:15am - Bug wakes up, and I teach him how old he is.
"[Bug], how old are you?"
"How old are you today?"
7:25am - I suggest we leave the Bug's room to get the breakfast routine started. In the living room, I see that I have thirteen work emails that must have arrived between 11pm and 7:25am. (Normally, I have about 0-2 emails waiting for me when I wake up.) I sit down to find out what all the fuss is about. As I am distracted by Email #3, I hear the Bug running down the hallway and into the living room. He hides out of my sight behind the couch, and I hear "Rarrrr!" Then I see two little eyes peeking at me from behind the couch. As soon as I look up, down goes the little head, and I hear "Rarrrrrrr!!" as he runs back down the hallway. The Birthday Monster has arrived.
Bug has shown a keen interest in all things stringed-instrument lately. He points out guitars whenever he sees them - on building blocks, in books, at parks. He sometimes asks to see my violin, and we talk about the parts of the instrument, including the tuners. When he got excited about an autoharp at his grandparents' house, we talked about the strings, the chords, and the tuners. He also likes the banjo, and if a book has even one picture of a banjo, Bug will find that page and say, "Banjo!"
Two nights ago, while I was holding Bug and singing his lullabies before putting him to bed, he put both hands on my collar bone and said, "Tuners!"
Unsure if I had heard him correctly, I asked, "[Bug,] did you just say 'tuners'?"
Labor Day weekend is almost here, and as with all three-day weekends, it cannot come fast enough.
This year, as was true when the Fraggle Bug was in my belly, I feel so pregnant that my own "labor day" cannot come fast enough either. Nevertheless, I try (try!) to remind myself that what I really want - more than anything - even more than to not be pregnant anymore - is a healthy, happy baby (emphasis on the healthy).
This year, I also find my mind wandering frequently to questions about my job, my career, and that ever-elusive work/life balance.
I grew up in central Ohio. So - I had tornado drills growing up . . . not hurricane drills.
Further, I have lived on the East Coast north of New Jersey for the last nine years. So - I have come to expect Nor'easters, public transportation annoyances, and a collective obsession with baseball . . . not hurricane warnings. Then came Irene.
I just got a note about the Local Roots CSA Fall Season... they have locations in Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Williamsburg, and Tribeca and offer share options of vegetables, fruit, beef, duck, grains/beans, eggs, and bread.
Their farmers are organic or use healthy growing practices. Members can pick and choose which shares they would like and are not committed to a vegetable share, as is the case in most other CSAs. Membership applications are due August 19th and they can sign up online at www.localrootsnyc.org
A few weeks ago, my husband, the Bug, and I went on vacation with one of my husband's brothers and his family. We spent almost every day bumping back and forth between the beach (a five minute walk) and the pool (a thirty second walk). Tough life. By the end of the week, in an effort to break out of our routine, we decided to do something different.
I just received a message about the following family music festival in Brooklyn later this month -- enjoy! Note the end time has changed to 5pm!
Jam On DUMBO Summer Family Music Festival
Bringing Free Entertainment to Brooklyn
BROOKLYN, NY – Sidewalks in the city may be getting steamy, but on Saturday, August 20th, Brooklyn is really going to sizzle as Jam On DUMBO brings a full day of family entertainment to the Manhattan Bridge Archway.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Adams Street between Front Street and Water Street, kids’ entertainers will jam on as local vendors sell their wares in our community marketplace. The Summer Family Music Festival is free to attend.
Musical performers include: bluegrass act Astrograss; an interactive Afro-Haitian drum and song performance by Bonga; the funky Erin Lee and the Up Past Bedtime Band; kiddie cabaret band The Itty Biddies; ukulele duo The Mini Max Players; rockers Rolie Polie Guacamole; and teen alternative-rock group Still Saffire. The festival will also feature a performance by P for Puppet and a family yoga class led by Bija Yoga.
Jam On DUMBO was founded in late 2010 by a group of local parents looking to bring more children’s music programming to the cobblestone-lined neighborhood known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). After hosting a series of successful winter music concerts, Jam On DUMBO began to think bigger: Along with planning its Summer Family Music Festival, the organization has brought a weekly drop-in music classes to a local café and is planning a Music Week at P.S. 307, a local elementary school that primarily serves the Farragut public housing complex.
My husband makes his guest blogging debut below -- enjoy!
Clear eyes, wet butts. Can't lose.
A few weeks ago, I was hanging out full-time with the Hot Toddie [a.k.a. The Bug], and we decided, after some discussion, to check out the kids' music concert at our local park. It was a nice summer day, and a band was performing that had the under-four-years-old set amped up. The Hot Toddie begged me to let him bring his bootlegging equipment, but I was like, “nah, save it for Rolie Polie Guacamole.” He was like, “Dump truck!” Cool.
We headed out. Did I mention how nice it was outside? 85, no clouds, dry as a mouthful of cheerios. (Of course, as I write this, I am sweating, and it is 9 o’clock at night, so that may be why I am fixated on how amazingly nice the weather was that day.) In any event, I was pretty impressed with the time we were making since the Hot Toddie had climbed right in his stroller without the usual struggle that I can only compare to the time that I tried to force a half-badger/half-freshwater-eel into the backseat of a two door Honda Civic. We even had time to stop and get an iced coffee from the local coffee place that sells a five-dollar small iced coffee. Five dollars is a reasonable price to pay for a small iced coffee, right? No? Even if it's cold brew? Okay.
We made it up to the top of the hill at the park early, and we were one of the first twenty or so families there -- headed by 87% nannies, 12% moms, and 1 dad. Me.
I recently got a message about the following kid-friendly dining option in the Theater District . . .
Trattoria Dopo Teatro is now opening its door to host children’s birthday parties!
Parents can rent out one of the rustic, spacious rooms in this expansive, high-ceilinged 1878 landmark space. With the help of a brick oven in the main dining room—exposed for diners to see and bearing artfully composed thin crust pizzas—Dopo Teatro is offering kids do-it-yourself pies that youngsters can assemble themselves right at the table.
Children also have the option of choosing from the all new kid’s menu:
PENNE WITH FRESH TOMATO SAUCEORCHICKEN FINGERS WITH FRENCH FRIESORTWO SMALL BURGERS WITH FRIESORPIZZA MARGHERITA
This week, the Bug has been his usual complex, young self with all of the ups and downs that naturally accompany being a self in this world. Included in that complex, young self is a budding yet keen desire to test limits. And lately, the moment before he tests those limits, he looks at me, smiles a sneaky smile, and his eyes actually sparkle a little -- all as if to say:
When I was pregnant with The Fraggle Bug, my body grew and grew and grew (as did my dear Fraggle Bug). Early in the second trimester, my doctor at the time gave me a little talk about my weight gain in the four weeks since I had last seen her. What I took from our conversation were two warnings:
A Momma Grows has been nominated to the Top 25 NYC Moms list at Circle of Moms. You can vote once a day until July 7, 2011. While you do not have to vote early . . . voting often apparently is allowed.
One morning, a woman I work with said that she liked my hair - and especially my bangs. I thanked her but wondered if they were really bangs? Are bangs still bangs if they are unintentional?
I have avoided discussing the following topic on this blog in an effort to protect Future Mommas-In-Training from running far, far away from ever trying to get pregnant, but now it is time.
This morning, in an effort to avoid Day Three of piling all of my hair on top of my head and twisting it into the sorry result of what would happen if a pony tail and a bun got together, I got out the curling iron.
I always imagined that any baby of mine would be a dancer - of some sort. When the Bug was a newborn, my husband and I each carried and bobbed the Bug to music in the living room. When he was a few months old, I put Bug into a baby carrier and tried to re-enact the Waltz of the Flowers. As he grew older and developed more gross motor skills, I tried again and again to tap into his little dancing spirit.
All of this was to no avail. I finally resigned myself to the possibility that the Bug was not motivated to move to music. No big deal. He does not need to love dancing. Momma Lesson learned.
Then, one day last week, he started dancing, and his moves are awesome. His path is best described as meandering. When he travels, he travels fast. When he is in one place, his feet move quickly forward and back and a little to the side. During one of his recent dances, those feet were in a frenzy and ended up stepping over each other in some sort of stationary grapevine, resulting in his landing on the floor, legs crossed, and looking up with a big smile.
Doris Humphrey believed that all dances are too long, and I agreed with her until last week. The Bug's dances will never be long enough.
I want to use this opportunity to change Baby's name on this blog. I hereby pronounce that Baby is not a baby anymore. To continue to refer to him as Baby is inaccurate and erodes the authenticity of the word. Further, and more to the point, there is the expected arrival of Special Agent Dos in early October. Therefore, henceforth, Baby shall be known as The Fraggle Bug, or Frags or Bug for short.
I just got an email about the following opportunity to join a CSA for those of you in Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg, or Tribeca . . .
The Local Roots CSA is now accepting members for the 2011 Summer Season!
Local Roots is a unique CSA model designed to offer greater convenience for its members with features like enhanced product variety and payment flexibility. Members have the opportunity to pick and choose product shares, allowing members the convenience of picking up a week's worth of fresh, locally grown groceries at one distribution location. We offer vegetable, fruit, duck, beef, egg, grain/bean, juice, and/or bread options. Our summer season runs from June - August, so members pay upfront for 12 weeks of produce as opposed to 24 weeks (don't worry, we'll have a Fall CSA as well). By paying for half a season upfront, we hope this will be a bit more flexible for our members. CSA locations are in Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg, and Tribeca.
Check out all the details on the website and sign up for shares before they are sold out! Membership applications are due May 23, 2011.
Tonight, Baby seemed interested in my violin case. So for about five minutes before his bath, I opened the case and got out the violin.
I have not played my violin in earnest in at least a couple of years. The G string is broken and hanging off of the violin like a cowlick. The D, A, and E strings were all loose and wobbly - I tightened and "tuned" them while I let Baby play around with my spare bow (which, incidentally, looks like it might be the same fiberglass bow that I started using when I was in the third grade).
While Baby held the bow, I plucked the strings. He was interested. Then I pulled the bow across the strings to play a few notes, and Baby was genuinely impressed. Eyes wide; eyebrows raised. For the crowning achievement of our mini music exploration time, I had Baby hold the bow on the strings while I pulled the violin away so that he was the one making sound. He was doubly impressed.
Then it was time for the bath. Baby looked down at the empty space where I was about to put the violin. The inside of the violin case is lined in soft, velvety material and would look inviting to anyone - but especially so to those under three feet tall. So without much ado, Baby climbed into the case and tried to lie down and get comfortable as if he were my little violin.
I just got the following info about a new Clinton Hill location (and a grand opening party!) for Bija Kids Yoga . . .
Grand Opening Party for our NEW! Clinton Hill Location The first Brooklyn studio devoted exclusively to children's yoga! 900 Fulton Street btwn Waverly and Washington Avenues. Sunday April 10 10am - 3pm Free children's yoga sessions, concert with Michael of Preschool of Rock, Food and Drink, Chair Massages for Grown Ups and More. 10% Discounts off all spring class registrations, summer camp, teacher trainings and birthday parties on Sunday April 10. Bija Kids Yoga is a comprehensive children's yoga program for crawlers - age 9. We offer classes, birthday parties, teacher trainings, workshops, summer camp and more. In addition our new home at 900 Fulton Street will offer music classes, art classes, French classes and more to support families in our community. Conveniently located on the same block as the C Train (3 blocks from the G) our beautiful 2500 square foot studio space is the place for kids yoga in Brooklyn. Location doesn't work for you? We offer satellite classes throughout Brownstone Brooklyn. Licensing Opportunities Available.
I just got an email about the following event . . . it looks very interesting.
EVENT: Parenting, Pizza & Political Action on 3/14!
You know that parenting is hard work, but did you know . . .
• That new parents in California and New Jersey get paid leave, but state lawmakers have failed to pass paid family leave in New York?
• That half of public school parents in New York City don’t have any paid sick days to care for their kids (your child’s classmates)?
• That pregnancy discrimination and unfair treatment of mothers at work is on the rise in New York?
• That part-time workers, disproportionately women, are routinely denied access to fair pay and benefits?
• That in New York City, the cost of child care is increasing $1612 per year?
New York parents are invited to
You may be tired . . . but we’re all sick and tired of politicians who talk about family values but don’t value our families.
Old First Reformed Church
729 Carroll Street
(corner of 7th Ave.)
Monday March 14th, 2011
Join other parents to let our public officials know that supporting families is good for workers, good for business, and good for our economy.
Release of “Failing our Families,” a new report from Human Rights Watch, Presentation of A Better Balance’s Working Families Bill of Rights, speak out moderated by Ann Crittenden—author of The Price of Motherhood, and information on campaigns around paid leave that are going on right now.
Bring your kids and join us for free pizza and political action!
Please RSVP by visiting A Better Balance’s events page on Facebook or by sending an email to ABBevents [at] gmail.com
Sponsored by: A Better Balance, Human Rights Watch, and the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition
Co-Sponsors: Center for Children’s Initiatives, Park Slope Parents, Public Health Association of New York City, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, Women of Color Policy Network, The What to Expect Foundation, Working Families Party, NYC Dad’s Group, National Physicians Alliance - NY
We have been brushing Baby's teeth in the evening after the bath for many months now. At first my husband and I would hold Baby up so that he could see the mirror and sing a song (a singable song for the very young) while one of us brushed the two or three teeth to Baby's name. Eventually, the song got old, and Baby asserted some independence - taking the toothbrush and doing the work on his own. Nowadays, the routine has morphed into an occasional mini-battle that ends with the toothbrush thrown on the floor to let us know exactly who is the Boss Baby around here.
This evening, before the mini-battle could begin, I thought I would try letting Baby brush his own teeth while standing on his own - which is how he brushes his teeth in the mornings with a high success rate. I brought the toothbrush down to him while he stood in his yellow duck towel. He spent the next minute or two using the wrong end of the toothbrush in his mouth in what seems to be his budding comedy career.
So, I thought it might help if I brushed my teeth while he brushed his - which is how the morning routine works with that aforementioned "high success rate." I grabbed my own toothbrush and started brushing. He kept reaching for my brush. I kept saying, "this is Momma's toothbrush - that is [Baby's] toothbrush." Baby still grabbed for my toothbrush. Eventually, I acquiesced . . . which led to Baby brushing my teeth with my toothbrush while I brushed his with his toothbrush. Just in case I was wondering exactly who is the Boss Baby around here.
Well, if you can pick up a copy of this week's New Yorker, or if you want to subscribe online, then I recommend without reservation Tina Fey's piece about working motherhood. It is smart and funny - i.e., par for her course. Enjoy!
Recently, I learned a bit about cognitive dissonance and self-justification, and I could go on for many, many posts about examples of both in my life, but here I focus on pre-school.
Did you, or did you not, write recently about your child's first birthday?
Do you, or do you not, still refer to your child as "Baby" on this blog?
Yes, I did.
And, for as long as I can, yes, I do.
But I live in New York, and pre-school is a Thing here. It is exciting and wonderful, but it also requires research, tours, applications, at least one (albeit very brief) expository writing sample, and a deep, deep reserve of patience.
There has been a lot of talk lately about types of mothers. Are you a Tiger Mother? A Western Mother? A Wimp Mother? All of the talk, the criticism of mothering-types, and the declarations of values led me to wonder where I fit on the spectrum. What values am I imparting - consciously or unwittingly?
At the beginning of the process, I have to admit that I wondered whether I actually had any values to articulate. Frequently, especially at the beginning, I felt like I was not making values-based decisions but was just getting by. (See e.g., I describe myself as a momma in training -- not a woman in charge -- and certainly not a woman with a clear set of values guiding my parenting decisions). Then I realized that I had spent a lot of time thinking about my motherhood through the lens of my childhood. My own feelings about what I liked (and probably more about what I didn't like) about growing up informed a very substantial part of my approach to parenting. Last, and on a less myopic note, I looked to friends' choices and the advice I could read in the limitless variety of parenting books, magazines, and - yes - blogs.
When I told my husband about this post and my values-evaluation, he told me that the following are his sources for his parenting values [and I believe that they are in order of importance]:
Baby woke up too early for us one morning last week. We pulled him into our bed hoping to lull him back to sleep with a spell cast by our own exhaustion. Baby was not lulled, he was ready to play. We tried to ignore him. We tried to snuggle him into quiet-time. Soon Baby had his head on my belly and his feet on my husband's belly. Then I heard a little voice in the dark: Baby saying his version of "thank you." Over and over again. I know his understanding of those words is rudimentary, but I like to think that Baby was thanking us in advance for waking up and playing with him before the sun was officially above the horizon. So you're welcome, Baby. You are always welcome, my little goofball.