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I Am 1/4 Danish: I Am Jealous Of Denmark's Parental Leave Policy.

Today, I wore a suit, which means little more than that I finished getting dressed by having thrown on the jacket that actually matched my pants.  I wore the suit because I had a meeting in a federal judge's chambers at noon to discuss a new pro bono program in which I had the opportunity to participate.

This morning, Baby cried the entire time I changed him into his "daytime clothes."  His eyes were puffy, his nose was stuffy, his cough that will not go away was still not going away, and to top it all off, two of his teeth have been "erupting."  Yes, erupting.  Babies are born with all of their baby teeth - albeit inside their gums - so we cannot call this process an arrival.  Instead, it is an eruption, a term that sounds almost violent, but trust me, the description is apt.

Despite Baby's discomfort, the two of us proceeded on course to Day Care.  However, when we got off the bus, I realized that I could not see all of Baby at once.  Somewhere in the lower right regions of my scope of vision, there was a void.  So here it was.  After three and a half months of a migraine-free life, here was my migraine.  I decided to walk Baby to Day Care because he would be in better hands with people who could see.  My vision deteriorated, a terrible zig zag line was flashing just right of center of my field of vision.  I waited for the light to change so that I could cross Flatbush and was secretly worried about crossing a major avenue while the aura were in full effect, but I was so close to Day Care, I just wanted to hand Baby to someone who was capable.

By the time I got to Day Care and passed Baby to one of the young women who works there, I could barely see anything right of center.  This kind of vision impairment is normally upsetting, but it felt about three thousand times worse when I tried to say goodbye to Baby without really being able to see his little face.  

The aura seemed to have subsided by the time I got to the subway.  I thought I could go to work, pump, maybe have a bagel, go to the meeting with the judge, and then head home to recover from the migraine.    This thought was a foolish one.  

On the subway, I closed my eyes until I got to the Wall Street stop.  When I opened my eyes and stepped off of the train, the aura had returned.  By the time I got to my office, the nausea was hitting me in full force.  I must have looked like a nauseous little mole when I asked my secretary if I could talk to her in my office where I turned off the lights.  Even though I really wanted to go to the meeting with the judge, I asked her to email the judge for me.  I told her some phrases that could go in the email about vision impairment and sincere apologies.  I cannot really remember because the nausea had enveloped me.  Say a little prayer that my last minute cancellation was somehow professional and dignified (the chances of that are slim).  I got in a cab and headed back to Brooklyn.  The last five minutes of the ride were the worst, but I did manage to make it into my apartment before I vomited  (no small feat).  

I woke up this afternoon and saw the remnants of my crazy morning.  The purse and keys that were left just inside the door because I had to run to the bathroom to be sick.  The shoes just outside the bathroom door because apparently even when I am sick I hate to bring outside shoes all over the apartment.  The suit crumpled on the bedroom floor because it was so obviously unnecessary anymore. 


How Do U Want It

The other morning, I dropped Baby at Day Care and caught the train to work.  I stood mid-car and read my book.  A woman sitting about three people to my left was casually singing along to whatever song was on her mp3-type player.  There were long pauses between the lyrics that she knew.  She caught my attention and the attention of others around her because this was not typical morning commute behavior, but in classic city style, attention caught was quickly released.  We went back to what we were doing for several stops . . . until she started singing How Do U Want It, at which point I had to stifle a guffaw.  A white woman wearing a scrunchy was singing along with Tupac while she was on a New York City subway.  My conclusion?  She has a very free spirit, and I mean very free.


BOOK REVIEW - Applesauce Season

Applesauce Season, by Eden Ross Lipson and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

This book has been on high rotation since it came into our lives (thank you, generous extended family).  It is less plot driven than some of our other books.  Instead, this story is told by a little boy who lives in the city.  His family has a weekly tradition - perpetuated by his spunky grandmother, of course - of making applesauce during applesauce season.  

Three things about this book appeal to me: (1) the narrator is a cute city kid; (2) it underscores the value of family traditions; and (3) the subtext suggests eating local is eating right.  The family gets their apples at the local farmers' market, and they make their applesauce according to the apples that are available each week.

So, for the locavores out there, you will enjoy reading this book with your little one(s) as a way of instilling and reinforcing your locavoracious values.  For the rest of you, I imagine you will also enjoy reading this book simply because it is about a little boy joining a family tradition.

(N.B.  The illustration of their farmers' market bears a striking resemblance to the green market in Union Square except that there appears to be room to run in the illustration.  My experience at the Union Square Saturday Morning Food Hooplah has taught me to be patient because there is no room for turning around, let alone running.)


Thank You For Riding The MTA

Last night, Baby woke up and announced his displeasure with his lingering cold at 10:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 1:00 a.m., 3:30 a.m., and 4:00 a.m..  In addition, as luck would have it, at 2:30 a.m., I heard the sound of a sad song by Sarah McLachlan blasting from the television of our upstairs neighbor.  This morning, I woke up feeling a little worse for wear.  

I packed for the day and realized I was going to need to carry three bags with me: (1) a bag for my work-issued laptop, which weighs at least thirty-four pounds; (2) my purse, which necessarily included bottles, pump accessories, a freezer pack, a wallet, and various gadgets; and (3) a bag for Baby, which included bottles, a freezer pack, a blanket, and two back-up outfits because the poor little guy pooped his way through everything he had at Day Care yesterday.  As such, I could not imagine carrying all of those bags plus Baby in my carrier.  I decided to take the stroller and the bus.

The bus arrived right on schedule, and it lowered to the sidewalk so that Baby, Stroller, and I could hop on.  I thanked the bus driver and said good morning as I swiped my Metro Card.  The bus driver, a man the size of three men who looked like an enormous bullfrog on a lily pad, responded by telling me to fold my stroller.  I pretended that this was not the most ridiculous request I had ever heard, most notably because Baby was in the stroller, and I said that I would work on it when I got a seat.

Did I work on it when I got a seat?  No.  There were about three other passengers on the bus, and the stroller was not blocking the aisle. 

Within about three more stops, I was looking out the window and watching some kids play soccer when I heard someone saying, "Miss?  Miss?  Miss!"  By about the fourth "miss," I think I realized that The Bullfrog Magistrate of Lily Pad B69 was talking to me.  I pretended to be very engrossed in that soccer game, but The Bullfrog Magistrate persisted.  So I relented.

"Yes?" I ask from about the sixth row of the bus.

The Bullfrog Magistrate repeated his instructions.  I was supposed to fold my stroller.  He was clearly upset.  He muttered that he had already asked me to fold the stroller.  

"Oh . . . okay.  I will see what I can do.  Yep.  Okay.  Oh, I hear ya."

I made a pile of my three bags on the floor by my feet.  I pulled Baby out of stroller and set him on my lap. I managed to fold the stroller - a stroller that requires two hands to fold - while I was holding Baby on a moving vehicle without damaging Baby, the stroller, or any of the other passengers (who number around seven at this point in the trip).  

Two lessons here.  First, The Bullfrog Magistrate lets the little stuff get to him.  Second, I am a badass.

But I wonder, do any of you feel that strollers should always be folded on a bus?  Do you think it depends on how crowded the bus is?  Or do some of you feel that buses, like bars, are no place for strollers - folded or unfolded?  


Big Day - Part Three: I Always Take 718 Calls

I am trying to get to the subway, and I am being thwarted by the slowest group of tourists ever to walk past Ground Zero.  I have said, "Excuse me," to try to get past them at least three times.  
I repeat, "Excuse me."  
"Excuse me!"  
"Are you kidding me?" as I move past them (and by "move," I might mean push).

Five minutes ago, I was in my office pumping when I saw that my cell phone, sitting on top of my printer, was buzzing.  I looked at the incoming call ID, and it was a "718" number.  I always take "718" calls at work because Day Care is in Brooklyn, and because my husband works in Brooklyn.  I turn off the pump.


"Hello, [Momma-In-Training]?"


"This is [one of the directors at Day Care].  [Baby] is fine, but . . ."

Pause.  Probably just half of a second?  A terrifying length of time.

" . . . but he has had three diapers that were filled with diarrhea today, and we call when there are three because there is a risk of dehydration.  You may want to call your doctor for some [hydrating potion] . . ."

"I understand.  I will be there in . . . "

"If you can get here within an hour, that will be just fine.  [Baby] is in good spirits, but he should probably see a doctor."

"I will be there in half an hour, forty-five minutes at the most."

I am on the train heading to Brooklyn.  That kid's headphones are so loud.  Why is he listening to such crap music?  Is techno even music?  I hope the woman standing next to me, humming her way through the subway ride, is getting off at this stop.  I think I know which stop I am going to . . . I have never ridden to Day Care, only from Day Care.  Am I right that this is the stop?  I think that this is the stop.


"Oh, hi.  He is so tired this afternoon."

I look over and see Baby reclining in a portable baby seat, thumb in mouth, bottle under his other arm, gazing off into space.  Baby sees me and smiles a dazed, toothless smile.  I plop him in the stroller and pack up the million and two things (including several soiled outfits) we need to go.   After we leave and turn the corner, I pull over on the sidewalk to check in on Baby.  He is, indeed, in good spirits, and so mine lift as well.

Baby was fine and got the all-clear from his doctor.  He did have a little bug, though, which brought on a fever, a cough, and an extraordinary amount of snot.  Today he seems better.

Big Day - Part Two: Routines

What do babies need (aside from food, shelter, clothing, and cuddles)?  I have been informed - through myriad sources - that babies need routines.  Routines purportedly provide our little ones with a sense of security in a complex world, which they are only just beginning to explore.

I am the first to admit that I am not prone to routines.  Nevertheless, this past week was Baby's first week at Day Care, and the time seemed ripe for developing a morning routine for both of us.  I imagined a routine that involved a lot of night-before organization followed by an easy morning of putting Baby in the carrier, grabbing my bag(s), and taking the bus to Day Care.

By Thursday morning, however, no routine had materialized.  I woke up feeling groggy and with a bit of a sore throat.  Baby and I played for a little while, and then I made some oatmeal for my breakfast.  As I was enjoying my own food, I looked at Baby and thought, "Maybe now would be a good time to introduce [Baby] to bananas..."  (I do not know why.)  I put Baby in the high chair, mashed up some banana, and gave it a try.  It did not go well.  Baby started to fuss, which I interpreted as, "Mom, why did you think I wanted a banana when what I really need is a nap?"

I responded by hatching a plan to leave in fifteen minutes, put Baby in the stroller, walk slowly to Day Care, and give Baby a chance to nap in the stroller.  After a whirlwind of bottles, back-up onesies, business casual dressing, sun hat grabbing, and general Momma-In-Training hijinx, Baby and I headed out the door.

I took what can only be described as a meandering path to Day Care.  I thought that Carlton Avenue cut straight through the neighborhood to within a block of Day Care.  So, I walked to where I thought I would find Carlton, which is where I found Clermont.  I decided to try my luck with Clermont.  (Baby napping yet?  No.)  Soon, I saw a construction crew in the block ahead of me ostensibly preparing for a wild rumpus of noise and road dust.  I got off of Clermont and took Adelphi instead.  (Baby napping yet?  No.)  Within a couple of blocks, Adelphi ended, forcing me to go right, which was where I finally did find Carlton Avenue.  (Baby napping yet?  No.)

One block later, I was standing on Carlton and Atlantic.  I needed to cross Atlantic to get to Day Care, but the pedestrian bridge was closed thanks to the highly controversial Atlantic Yards construction.  There are plenty of reasons to rally against Atlantic Yards, but on this day, my reason was pragmatic.  Atlantic Yards closed my bridge, which meant that I had to walk Baby down Atlantic Avenue to the next available bridge.  Atlantic Avenue is a loud, gravelly, no-trees kind of nastiness.  (Baby napping yet?  Ummmm, no.)  I started feeling pretty guilty for having created this haphazard, nonsensical, no-routine life for Baby.  I felt like I was failing to give Baby what he needs, and that is the worst feeling for a Momma-In-Training.

Just before I turned the corner to Day Care, I looked down at Baby.  Fast asleep.  We pulled over on the sidewalk, and I let him sleep in the shade while I checked work emails.  A young family walked by.  The mom and dad were walking their toddler in a stroller while the dad sang to his son.  The dad sang, "All you need is . . . "  The kid responded, "love."  The dad sang, "All you need is . . ."  The kid responded, "love, love, love."  The dad sang, "Love is all you need."


Big Day - Part One: Old School Yogini

Today, I went to a yoga class for the first time in many, many months; I renewed my distaste for the Atlantic Yards "project"; and I yelled at several tourists.  It was a big day - so big, in fact, that I have decided that it warrants three separate posts because God knows I do not want to subject any reader to a never-ending story about one day. (I let the professionals handle stories like that.)

With no further ado, here is Part One of a Big Day:

Toward the end of my yoga class today, the teacher asked us if anyone knew the name of the pose that we were practicing.  I answered quickly, "Dead Bug!"  (I am not a whiz at yoga pose names, but, honestly, how can you not remember a pose called "Dead Bug" once you learn it?)

My teacher said that yes, indeed, the pose has been known by the name "Dead Bug."  However, he continued, the name of the pose is subject to some debate.  He explained that people are now calling the pose, "Happy Baby." Although the Momma-In-Training part of me loves the idea of practicing "Happy Baby," I smile to think that I am an old school yogini in Dead Bug Pose.  



On the way home from Baby's six-month check-up, a pigeon pooped in my hair.  I was stunned.  My husband, still able to form rational thoughts, suggested that he use the diaper wipes to clean my hair.  And that is exactly what he did.  On the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, my husband used diaper wipes to clean pigeon poop from my head.  After he finished, I used the anti-bacterial gel in the diaper bag to clean my hands, and then, on a pigeon poop induced impulse, I put some of the gel on my head, too.  Moral of the story?  Wipes are for everybody, not just babies.


When I studied for the bar (a lifetime ago), I followed a very specific routine every day.  One of the essential components of this daily ritual was my lunch break when I watched a certain celebrity-gossip-focused cable channel for exactly one hour.  It provided the absolutely perfect respite - juicy enough to capture my attention completely, and dumb enough that it never lingered in my thoughts after I turned off the television.  

Fast forward several years, and you find me in a different city, on a different couch, after a long day at work, and with my baby asleep in his crib. What am I doing to relax?  Oh, just watching a certain celebrity-gossip-focused cable channel - the addiction to celebrity gossip as stress relief is strong.  When a commercial aired for a certain celebreality show, I suddenly found myself extolling the virtues of both the show and a former playboy bunny or mate or girlfriend or whatever her status was.

Is Kendra really my new hero?  Maybe.  At least the commercial for her show might be.  

When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of my time being self-critical about my weight gain.  I imagine that this self-flagellation was due in no small part to the fact that my doctor was herself a loud critic of my weight gain.  But I admit that I contributed to the problem by having set some unrealistic expectations before I got pregnant.  I thought that I would be one of those Stylish New York Moms-to-be (e.g., that pregnant woman standing on the corner of Great Jones and Bowery, sipping her latte from Dean and Deluca, wearing something chic (not just chic-for-a-pregnant-lady), and with a lovely hobo bag hanging effortlessly from her shoulder.  I was not that woman.  My lattes tended to drip onto my belly, my outfits were not chic for anyone, and my purse always overflowed with the million things I needed for the day.

After Baby was born, I knew that "nine months up / nine months down" made sense, but I set some unrealistic expectations for myself again.  I irrationally felt that I should (perhaps magically?) get back into shape and back into pre-prego jeans much sooner than was possible for my body.  

I am not here to blame "unrealistic media images" for my unrealistic expectations (I am a rational, smart adult who understands the limits imposed by physics without a personal chef or plastic surgeon).  Nevertheless, we seem to live in an era when young, famous, and sometimes beautiful people are getting pregnant, having babies, and losing their baby weight on television, on the internet, in US Weekly, and anywhere else I look.  And these famous people are doing it all so quickly.

Enter my new hero.  Three cheers for the commercial I watched where a woman famous for her figure appeared to be fighting - and I mean fighting - to get into shape after having given birth.  Thank you, Kendra.


I just watched five minutes of a certain reality show, and I feel compelled to state that, in the future, I will be more mindful of the meaning of the word "hero."