I think my kids are FINALLY starting to pay off. I mean for a while they were just take, take, take. So greedy. You have these children and suddenly there are these little people on the planet who depend on you 27/7. Plus, and this is the real doozy, you love them more than you love yourself. Who needs that?! All this brings you is anxiety, worry, stress, fatigue and a barge load of responsibilities. But now it’s payday. Turns out, there might be a little something in it for me.
First of all, my children have taught me how to be an impulse buyer. Pre-kiddos, it took me a gazillion years to buy something. Once at the Gap, I tried on two down black coats (size small and size medium) for about 55 minutes. First, the small. Fits nicely, very flattering, but could I wear a sweater under it? Not sure. Then, the medium. Much roomier, less tight in the back, but a little large in the shoulders. Back to the small. Over and over and over again. My boyfriend at the time was sitting lifeless, having surrendered to boredom in the corner, just nodding his head in agreement at anything I uttered. I finally bought the medium. I don’t even have the coat anymore and I still wish I had purchased the small. Seriously. That jacket was alway too big.
Those days of deep consideration and pondering are so over. Yesterday, when picking out a Christmas tree, I looked at one tree. ONE. The guy cut the twine off, showed it to me and I said, “I’ll take it.” With two hungry kids (make that 3, I was starving), winds smacking me in the face and nap time looming, there was no time to hesitate. Deliver that bad boy. For years, my husband pleaded with me to make decisions (and get ready in the morning) more quickly. But it’s my girls who’ve finally succeeded in transforming me.
My children have really started paying off in the holiday department too. Growing up, holidays could be a bit unpredictable and lonely at times. So I sort of dreaded from Thanksgiving until the New Year. As an adult, I was completely intimidated by the idea of creating my own holiday traditions because this time of year is so wrapped up in food, those sweet, intoxicating smells from the kitchen. And I just don’t cook. How can I have Christmas eve at my home if I can’t roast a turkey? Or more accurately, if I don’t want to roast, puree or dice anything.
But now I’m starting to get it. I don’t have to be perky Rachael Ray to create a tradition. Last week, Rick, I and the girls lit the menorah candles for 8 straight days and celebrated Hanukkah. We even made latkes (potato pancakes). They were from a mix but still…those cakes were damn tasty. And today, 3 year-old Dylan and I put lights on the Christmas tree. She helped me fill the tree stand with water and layer the branches with ornaments. It didn’t feel unpredictable or lonely. It feels like the creation of my own holiday traditions. So my kids may not have part-time jobs (when can they start that by the way because preschool is steep?) but they are contributing in other ways. Who knew these little ladies could teach me so much?
mama bird notes
Contributing mama Daphne Biener could also take a lesson from one of her girls. Click on “contributing mamas” to read more.
And in “drooling over this”, a gift idea for a fellow yummy mummy.
Damn. It’s too freakin’ cold out. Before children, bundling up for freezing winter temps meant throwing on a coat, hat and stuffing some gloves in my pockets. Done. Out the door in 14 seconds. Now, add 32 minutes. And that’s on a day when I’m cooking with turbo gas.
There is just too much crap to wrap around these kiddos. Nothing stays on. Little 1 year-old Summer looks at me with those big hazel eyes and just simply can not understand why she can’t hold her scrumptious piece of buttery toast. She tries to grab on to it with her big, pink, puffy mitten but it’s just futile. I finally shove the toast half way into her mouth and she seems content with the hands free option.
Even with the windy, I-wish-I-was-wearing-wool-hanky-pankys-weather, I decided this morning to take the girls to pick out a Christmas tree. Shhh… don’t tell all my Jewish relatives. I mean, 48 hours ago there was a rabbi in my apartment. So we drove an hour and a half to the Lantier Tree Farm in Jamesburg, New Jersey to pick out and cut down our own tree. Well, maybe that’s not quite accurate. Actually, on the hair less ambitious side, we walked three blocks from my apartment and picked out a tree on the corner of 8th Avenue and Jane Street. And we had it delivered. Look, it’s free delivery AND I did have to brush a little ice off the branches so it’s not like I’m a holiday prima donna here.
I tried to encourage Dylan to get out of the stroller and actually help me pick out the tree but she wasn’t budging. She said, “Mommy, you do it. I’m too tired.” Too tired? Too tired for this joyful holiday moment? Too tired for St. Nick? Too tired for Rudolph and his precious, rosy red nose? Too tired for the little white lights, steamy hot cocoa and exuberant Christmas carols? Apparently so. Fine. Well, I can’t really blame her. She was all tucked into that stroller sleeping bag, looking perfectly toasty.
We make it home. In the lobby, Dylan jumps out of her stroller with gusto. Then she sheds every annoying layer in the elevator. So by the time we step out onto the 5th floor, I am holding her jacket, mittens, hat, sweater and shoes. I plead with her to at least keep her socks on until we actually make it inside our apartment. And then we do. Ah. Warmth.
Gosh, I’m jealous of all you mamas who live in warmer climates. What are you wearing right now? A t-shirt? A pair of flip flops. Can I cry with envy? My very talented hubby is a TV anchor in New York City, the number one television market in the country. Don’t tell him but I’ve been sending his resume tapes to a few stations in Santa Barbara. Hopefully, I’ll hear something soon.
mama bird notes
We have two mothers that could use some immediate mama help. Jordana can’t figure out what to name her baby if it’s a girl. Weigh in on her current favs and give your top picks. And mama Natalie is also looking for some guidance with her 3 year-old. Click on “askamama” under the menu bar and share your brilliance.
Also, a pediatric ER doctor wants to pass on some sweet information to all you mamas. According to new research, a spoonful of honey can help reduce your kids’ nighttime coughing. Here’s the link if you want all the details. Thanks doc.
Finally, I was recently tagged for a meme by Nona at Everyday Yogini which, in the blogging world, means I’m supposed to share 7 little known facts about myself. So here I go.
1. I’m very good at using chopsticks. For as long as I can remember, my mother has used them for practically every meal, so props to her for teaching me. I also won an award in high school for my typing skills (my photo was in the local paper). Obviously, I haven’t won too many awards if I still remember it with such fondness.
2. I went on my first date with my husband in 1996. We went on our second date in 2000. Apparently, it was love at second sight.
3. My parents were never married. They still aren’t. They are not together.
4. Growing up, I was the shortest kid in my class for years and years. Now I’m an average 5’4.” Well, it might be more like 5 foot 3 inches and a quarter.
6. I was one of the top ten finalists for Real World San Francisco and then I got cut when they selected the final six. I came oh-so-close to kissing Puck. Damn. Sorry I missed that. Yes, I’m obviously still bitter about being cut from the cast.
7. As a sorority girl at Tulane University, I did live goldfish shots. That’s what a college tuition can buy. I got a degree too.
At my apartment this weekend, it was the war of the deli sandwiches. In the words of the always oh-so-confident but sometimes designed-challenged Christian from PR, the battle was “fierce.” Way fierce.
This weekend, we had a family baby naming ceremony for my 1 year-old Summer. I think, according to Jewish tradition, you are actually supposed to knock out this baby naming thing in the first month or so but we’ve been busy battling mice and boobie addiction around here. So finally, it was Hebrew time for Summer time. Girlfriend got her third name of her young life, Sara Yona, in honor of her great grandparents. A rabbi performed a simple, lovely ceremony and then came the nosh.
Rewind one week. Rick and I have slightly different visions for the food at this family shindig.
The right way My vision: Gourmet sandwiches (grilled chicken with basil, smoked turkey, mozzarella and tomato) on whole grains from Whole Foods, served with a lightly dressed, fresh green salad. Spring water, Pellegrino and white wine. The wrong way Rick’s vision: Brisket, pastrami and corned beef sandwiches on rye from Katz’s Delicatessen. Also, coleslaw, potato salad and mountains of chopped liver. And soda. What?! Get. out. of. here. Yup. Cans and cans of cherry and cream soda.
Like every other married couple, we discuss our different visions until we are able to come up with a perfectly crafted compromise. As always, we are both content and satisfied with the solution. Oh, PLEASE. To hell with that. We make it a competition. Game on brother. Game on. We order EVERYTHING. Well, everything except the soda. We left that off the list so as not to encourage soda drinking amongst the kiddos in attendance.
Let’s just say I knew I was in trouble, as soon as one of my relatives said, “Can I grab a diet coke?”
Me: Oh, sorry, we aren’t serving any soda.
Pop lovin’ relative: But there’s a diet coke sitting on the counter. (She’s now looking at one can of soda amongst rows and rows of beautiful bottles of fresh spring water and bubbly San Pellegrino).
Me: Yah, that diet coke is my mom’s. She smuggled it in. Sorry. (I can see the disappointment in her desperate-for-caffeine eyes but she cheerily heads towards the other beverages. What a sport. I consider running to the market to buy soda but uncharacteristically let it go).
It only gets worse for me. Our guests descend like hungry wolverines upon the overstuffed Kosher meat sandwiches, pickles and chopped liver and merely pick at the lovely, gourmet alternatives. It really was pitiful. This Christian gal admits defeat.
And I picked up a few other tidbits on Saturday.
Despite the possibility of live or dead mice attending a festivity, if you offer lunch, drinks and cake, your family will show up. We hid the mouse traps for the afternoon. I mean, I know how to do the fancy hostess thing.
Even with a tuchus-load of shiksa motivation, it’s hard to eat 15 leftover gourmet turkey sandwiches on your own before they turn.
And when planning any party, you can’t beat good Jewish deli. Amen, sista.
mama bird notes
Megan A. is the winner of the mama bird giveaway package. Go Miss Meg. But please, the rest of you, don’t be sad. I’ll have another giveaway in three shakes of a mama poochy belly. We’ve gotta do something to perk up the gloomy month of January.
Thank you to the super cool companies who contributed such fab stuff:
Don’t forget to take our sinful mama survey. We want to know how you keep the magic happening in the bedroom. Don’t you just love an anonymous survey?!
And take a peak at “drooling over this” for a company that has me green and happy.
I used to be a cool downtown New Yorker. Or at least I was a few feet from the edge of hipness. No longer. Oh most definitely not. I’m on 14th street and 9th Avenue yesterday and who do I see? Penn Badgley. Yes, THE PENN BADGLEY. Can you BELIEVE it? Now you’re thinking, well, who the hell is that? Does the character Dan Humphrey mean anything to you? Still nothing? O.k., Penn is one of the adorable stars of “Gossip Girl,” that CW show I’m about 15 years too old to be watching.
Normally, I would see a celebrity and just saunter by like they’re no big thang (other than all that cash, the bling, the fame, the paparazzi, the personal assistants and the chauffeured cars, they are EXACTLY like you and me). But for some inexplicable reason, as I hurried by, I actually tapped Penn Badgley on the arm and said, “I just LOVE your show.” Now, why would I do this? Must I invade the space of some 21 year-old innocent teen heartthrob? Icky. Am I some kind of weird stalker mom? Double icky.
Perhaps I have been so wrapped up lately in “The Hills” MTV special with Lauren Conrad reflecting on her moments of love and heartbreak, that I’ve lost all sense of appropriateness. And you may recall, not very long ago, I felt strangely compelled to chat it up with Saturday Night Live performers Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers when I saw them having a private din din. It’s way obvious. I’ve lost my inner cool. If I ever had it. Crap.
I’m blaming my celebrity meltdown on the holiday pressure. Could we all have more to do this time of year? You’ve barely digested that last bit of turkey on Thanksgiving, when you start to feel the crushing stress of the December countdown. First, I need to buy Hanukkah gifts. Then, x-mas gifts. I need to figure out what to tip that strange hobbit-esque guy Steve who organizes the recyclables in my building’s basement. Then I need to sort out the tips for everyone else I’ve EVER met. I need to find one photo where 3 year-old Dylan is not grimacing to send out as a holiday card. I’m trying to coordinate the plumbers, the pest control guys and the locksmith – all of whom are trying to fix various problems in the apartment. And boy, are they all CHEAP. Fa la la la la, fa la la la.
Meanwhile, my little 1 year-old Summer has been feeling absolutely rotten (like every other kiddo in the city). She has an ear infection, a serious chest cold and a fever. I am trying to nebulize her 4 times a day. Girlfriend ain’t groovin’ with that. Of course, I should have taken her to the pediatrician a day or two sooner. But as usual, the second kid gets cast aside. Oh, it’s just a few sniffles, we thought. The poor lady was endlessly sobbing (desperately trying to communicate her immediate need to see a professional). Sorry hon.
So this is my excuse for almost groping innocent Penn Badgely on the street yesterday. Penn, my apologies. I resolve in the coming new year to try and get my cool back.
mama bird notes
Gals, another mama is in need. Click on, “askamama” under the menu bar and help Erin out. This new mother needs some support. Pronto.
And as I’ve been telling you all week, one very lucky mama bird reader will scoop up all the loot below. You gotta be in it, to win it (that’s what the savvy professional say). So make sure you’re in it.
In order to enter to win…
1. You need to be subscribed to the mama bird diaries.
2. Post a comment on the mama bird diaries by the end of this week.
3. And finally, send a post to a friend. Don’t stress, you won’t be selling out your gal pals. Their email addresses are completely confidential. Just click on the pink box, “send to a friend” at the end of this post and follow the directions from there.
Good luck yummy mummys. I’ll announce the winner this weekend.
Here’s a recap of the divine mama bird giveaway package:
A beautiful toby + rei bamboo and organic cotton fleece baby blanket in chocolate. This soft, eco-friendly blanket ($60 value) is perfect for wrapping up your little baby. Also, a scrumptious baby gift.
These adorable, fun gloveables from Feather Your Nest. What could make cleaning more fun than these too sweet waterproof gloves? Finally, something to smile about when you’re washing all those dishes. And helps keep your mama hands nice and soft.
This Poco Bag by Bumpkins from EcoStyle Baby. It’s a perfect little bag for your cell, keys and cash when traveling with tots to the coffee shop. For those times when you don’t want to lug around that big purse. Plus, EcoStyle Baby is offering a 10% discount to all mama bird readers. Simply put in the discount code,”MamaBird.” Good til the end of January.
The Estee Lauder Holiday Spirit Lip Gloss Palette. Your lips will glisten and gleam in the stunning shades of the season. This limited edition product will turn you into one glowing mama.
And finally, this oh-so-necessary book, “Dear Peppers and Pollywogs… What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids’ Parties.” We all know the stress of planning a birthday party for your little one. Finally, some help. Author Lisa Kothari believes no matter the budget or limited time, a great kids’ party can be planned.
Today, on the way to preschool, Dylan and I pretended to be fancy Brits. Well, it really was more me. I spoke in my faux British accent about all the tea and crumpets we would eat with the Queen after preschool. It was an absolutely brilliant stroll.
Just after dropping her off, I stopped for coffee and a paunchy bald man in his later years was ordering just ahead of me. There are a lot of English folks in my hood so I wasn’t a bit surprised when a British accent popped out of his mouth. I’m assuming it was authentic. It’s unlikely that he was playing, “pretend to be a Brit” on the very same day I was playing it. As I listened to him order, I thought, “this bald, chunky, old dude seems a little SEXY.” Oh, the almighty accent.
A guy could be the biggest loser cad pain in the arse, but throw an English accent on him… and hello handsome – what are you doin’ later laddie? These Brits must have it so good in America. Sometimes in the bedroom Rick puts on one of these debonair accents as part of our role playing (you know, to spice thing up). I’ll let you wonder whether that is actually true. A girl can not divulge all.
A few hours later, I picked Dylan up at preschool and our stroll home was much less posh and downright bloody awful. There would be no tea with the Queen. Summer was along for the ride and girlfriend was pissed (not drunk but super mad). I would have preferred drunk. She’s not feeling well and did not take kindly to being strapped in. She wailed block after block. I was walking like a mad woman on 6 cups of regular, jumping curbs and skirting by leisurely tourists. I finally stopped and took Summer out of the stroller just to calm the poor lady but it was futile. The tears continued to streak down her sweet, damp cheeks.
So it was a tortuously long walk, with all those stares from strangers, sprinkled with some irritating commentary. You know how it goes. “Oh poor baby. She’s so upset.” “Don’t cry baby.” “I think your baby is cold.” Cold? She has on six layers, plus a hat, she’s stuffed into a stroller sleeping bag and it’s a not-so-terrible 43 degrees outside. Oh wait, maybe she’s hot. I take her hat off.
I feel like the queen of crappy moms because I can’t soothe her. Finally, we get home. She continues to sob. I put on “Jack’s Big Music Show” much to Dylan’s delight. I rock and nurse Summer a little. She starts to simmer down. She begins to babble a bit. It’s over.
Right-O. Thank goodness. Crumpets will be served after all.
mama bird notes
The results of our weekly mama poll are in. So, are you happy? Turns out, yes! 63% of you are overall pretty happy. Cheers to that. 38% of you are so-so happy and would like to revitalize one key area of your life like career, relationship or body image. And nobody was way down in the dumps. A lot of happy mamas all around.
Our sex poll was one of the most popular. So why not find out more about what’s going on in the bedroom. How do you and your spouse or partner keep the magic alive? Take our anonymous poll. Just click on, “your mama says what?” I’ll have the steamy results next week.
Are you an earth mama who secretly loves bling and a night at The Four Seasons? Then beauty expert Alex has the product for you. Click on “drooling over this” under the menu bar.
Finally, don’t forget to comment on the mama bird diaries this week to enter to win our divine mama bird giveaway package. You’ll also need to forward a post to a friend. But girl, don’t worry about that part right now. That’s later, gator.