There are moments when gratitude is in very low supply. In the late afternoon, when cold and darkness envelope the neighborhood, my children are bouncing off the furniture and the walls of my 1,200 square foot dwelling seem to shrink, “thank you” is not at the forefront of my frazzled mind.
But these are just minutes and moments and blips of time. There is abundance and gratitude to be found everywhere.
I am thankful that my husband Rick found me, digging through my reporter bag, on the steps of the Stamford, Connecticut Courthouse. I’m grateful he said hello and so began this current, wonderful life of mine.
I’m grateful that a boy in search of a fellow jew, found a shiksa he could love more than anyone.
I’m grateful the child and dog phobic co-op board of a 4th floor walk-up on the upper east side of Manhattan rejected us and we ended up in an ideal, 5th floor west village apartment (with a stylin’ elevator of course).
I’m grateful beautiful, moody, shy, creative, dance feverish Dylan boogied into our world on our 2nd wedding anniversary.
I’m grateful her smiley, sassy, vivacious, boob loving sister Summer found us too.
I’m grateful our dog Martini is chasing wildlife in the suburbs, instead of ripping apart yogurt containers in our apartment.
I’m grateful for our friends and family who generously share laughter, advice, support and kindness.
I’m grateful for the mama bird readers who spend their very limited free time, allowing me into their lives and sharing their own.
I treasure you all.
So thank you. I am one lucky, blessed mama.
Most of the time I’m conditioned to ignore people doing bad things in New York City. There is always going to be some Neanderthal who insists on leaving a big glob of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk so some unsuspecting mom can inadvertently push her stroller through it. There is always that schlubb who drops his coffee on the subway and makes no attempt to clean it up. So hot, sticky coffee haphazardly streams towards people’s feet and bags with each jerk of the train.
But now and then, I reach my limit. I just can’t keep my mouth shut. I tire of these people who seem to disregard the fact that we live in an interwoven, civilized society where each of our actions can affect another person’s day or life. Or more succinctly, it pisses me off when I step in dog crap.
Today was one of those days. I watched a woman nonchalantly flick her half-smoked cigarette to the ground. First of all, she threw it much too close to my stroller. I will confess that the stroller was empty because I had just dropped my daughter Dylan off at preschool. But STILL – she couldn’t see it was empty. Plus, she tossed it on the ground two feet from a trash can. Isn’t a cigarette litter? Shouldn’t it be extinguished and then deposited IN the trashcan?
So I tried to let it go. Ok, I didn’t try that hard. My self-righteous self took over. “Ma’am, the next time you throw out your cigarette, could you PLEASE do it in the trash can.” I know I called her “Ma’am” because it bugs any woman over thirty to be called ma’am and this woman was definitely over thirty. This cig loving New Yorker just stared at me with bewilderment. She said nothing. I said nothing. Then, I kept walking.
Did I make a point? I don’t know. Maybe now, she’ll consider throwing her butts in the trash cans, conveniently placed at the corner of EVERY block in Manhattan. Or maybe, to spite the obnoxious blond stranger with the empty stroller, she’ll smoke an extra pack today and throw all the butts onto the city streets.
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. In The World. The butts are not biodegradable. The filters take years to decompose and long before that, often end up in our waterways, leaking toxins into our water supply. Gross.
At least I spoke up this time.
mama bird notes
Contributing mama Jordana Bales is wondering if she is a POF these days. Never heard of it?! Click on “contributing mamas” under the menu bar to read more.
This week Alex is talking about something near and dear to our
hearts butts – cellulite. You got it? Flaunt it! Wait, I mean read “the beauty diary” on what to do about it.
I’ve always been a bit obsessed by six degrees of separation. Mostly because I’ve been in love with Kevin Bacon (aka Ren) since Footloose. That’s 1984. “One kid, one town, one chance. All he wanted to do is dance. ” Oh, that Ariel had it so good.
O.K. I’m back.
But it does seem like everyone is intermixed and interconnected. This weekend I’m at the Publicolor Top Coat benefit. My girlfriend Margo introduces me to her friend Russell, who also just happens to know my friend Liz, who once upon a time introduced me to Sarah who is married to Erik, who is best friends with Russell. I’m not sure if any of them knows Kevin Bacon. They must.
There’s also a therapist (I’ll call her Kate) uptown whose number is in practically every cell phone in the city. Sooner or later, every guy or gal in Manhattan makes a desperate pit stop at this woman’s office because (1) there are a million problems out there (2) who couldn’t benefit from a little therapy and (3) she’s the best. Now, you’re thinking – wait, I need talk to this Kate. Email me. I’ll give you the number. No questions asked.
As for Kevin Bacon. I have no idea if he sees a therapist but he and his wife Kyra Sedgwick did come to a concert with my husband Rick and me. It was James Taylor, Madison Square Garden, 2001. Kyra was just a few people back from us in the concessions line. Then, we rode in the same subway car with them on the way home. It was practically a double date. Fine. We don’t know them.
But you do know me through the mama bird diaries. I know my husband. My husband’s best friend writes for the The Closer which stars Kyra Sedgwick who is married to Kevin. You see, Kevin is still the center of the universe. Let’s hear it for the boy.
39 minutes until I need to leave for yoga. I want coffee.
“Dylan, do you want to come to the coffee shop with me?” She does. “Ok,” I say, “But we’ve got to hustle.” She nods her head yes. She has committed to the hustling. Then, she immediately wanders off to our computer, climbs up onto the desk chair and begins randomly pecking on the computer board and doodling on birthday invitations. I’ve known a lot of hustle in my day and that is definitely not it.
37 minutes until I need to leave for class. I still want coffee.
To me, “hustle” means, “to hurry, to move rapidly, to take action energetically, to get your groove on.” Dylan has a more avant-garde interpretation. To a 3-year-old like herself, the word appears to have several meanings: (1) Promise to get dressed and then start investigating and dismantling my parent’s stuff until one of them notices (2) Run in circles around the kitchen island until I slip, cry, search for mommy to give kisses to my severe yet invisible, nonexistent injury, then repeat circles (3) Find baby sister, make her laugh, hug her tightly, maybe just pinch her neck a bit, she likes that, oh wait, she’s crying, maybe she doesn’t, I’ll pinch her one more time to see if she likes it now.
None of these definitions is getting me any closer to a large skim cafe mocha.
36 minutes to yoga. “Dylan, get dressed. Come on. Or else I’m leaving without you.” My threat and my full focus has finally got Dylan moving at a rate of thick, heavy syrup. I’ll take it.
Toddlers don’t just move slowly. They move in reverse. You get one sock on and they’ve removed their shirt to wear a different one. You finally get their coat on, turn your back for point 3 seconds to get your own jacket and the coat is off so he or she can put it on themselves.
32 minutes left. Dylan is dressed. We’ve got some real momentum now. We are out the door. Caffeine is within my reach. Just a few blocks.
“We’re walking too fast,” she insists. This immediately jolts me back to walking in the city with my mom years ago. We are late for a broadway show. She’s walking briskly. Cold air is slapping me in the face. With every block, I am trailing farther and farther behind. She’s getting impatient. She wants to use the ladies room before the play starts. We must hurry. I’m trying. Why is she walking so fast?
Fast forward. 24 minutes until yoga. I scoop Dylan up and lug her the last block. We have made it. We make it back. There’s no time to finish my coffee. I’m off to yoga class. I leave Rick and the two girls, all of whom, thankfully, have no where to be.
mama bird notes
I’ve become a real juice lover these days. I’m talking about the juicy website Vital Juice Daily. No Paris and Britney gossip here – just fabulous tips on living a healthier, more organic, greener life. The juice girls will send you a free, daily email with trends and tidbits on nutrition, fitness, healing, beauty, green living and social responsibility. It’s a much more refreshing and inspirational way to start your morning than a glass of OJ. Plus, they are launching a mommies-only weekly edition soon. What could be sweeter than that? You’ll be a juice addict in no time.
Don’t forget to take our mama bird survey on your ideal evening. Just click on “your mama says what?” under the menu bar. The dishy results at the end of the week.
Not long ago, I found myself out with three single women. We were at Norwood, a new British-inspired private club which resides in a lovely townhouse on West 14th Street. I felt like a cool kid in the “in crowd” as I admired the grand staircase and the pristine dining room. Immediately, I tried very very hard to not talk about my children.
I did not want to bore these stylish, career savvy women. One works for Prada. The other two are both marketing executives and internet entrepreneurs. They all wear posh, chic outfits all the time (or at least every time I see them). In full disclosure, this was the first time I met the Prada gal, but PLEASE, she works for PRADA. How bad can she look on a Sunday afternoon?
So even though I spend about 13 hours a day, caring for two very scrumptious, very messy and very unpredictable girls, I barely uttered a word of it. Instead talk turned to movies ( which I rarely watch), working out (which I try to do), ex-boyfriends (definitely have done that) and pets (not doing that anymore). I enjoyed the conversation but it felt very counter-intuitive to ignore a GI-normous part of my life. Still, what single girl wants to hear about weaning, potty training and teething? So tortuously dull. Right?! I’d rather hear about their dating lives.
Surprisingly, I learned this lesson from our former dog Martini (for the history of this mutt – lab mixed with kangaroo and a big dash of crazy – see previous posts). When we first adopted her from the shelter, we were OBSESSED. We would go out with other couples and tell endless and I’m sure tedious stories about our dog. We could tell Martini tales from the first martini, right through the main courses, to the last cappuccino. No one could stop us. I’m not doing that again. When it comes to kids, I don’t want to be that mom.
Neither does my friend Laura. When she works out with her personal trainer, she makes no mention of her two little boys – until conversation starts to wane. As silence descends between abdominal crunches, it’s like another being takes over and she can’t help but babble about her brood to this trainer who just can’t relate. She vows to be stronger next session.
When a bunch of us mamas all get together – it can be a child talk off. The other night I think a small group of us clocked 37 minutes alone on potty training. Wow. There’s a balance to be found here.
So let’s go to dinner. We can talk about politics. Maybe then discuss a few celeb sightings. Chat about an article I just read in New York Magazine on air travel. Weigh in on the real estate market. Then just for a moment, I must tell you about Dylan and Summer. Because they did the cutest thing.
mama bird notes
First of all, let’s talk about sex. Finally, we get to find out what’s going on behind closed doors (without prying). Turns out a whopping 66 percent of you have sex a couple times a month. 10 percent do the wild thing once or twice a week. 7 percent of you have sex practically everyday and really, we all salute you. Finally, 17 percent of you are getting no action in the bedroom. Click on “Your mama says what?” under the menu bar to take part in the newest survey. It’s all about your dream evening.
In this week’s “beauty diary,” Alex writes about a holiday gift box that is actually worth giving and receiving this season. Click on the “beauty diary” to read more.
Contributing mama Daphne Biener writes about a naked bird. I can’t say anymore. Click on “contributing mamas” under the menu bar.
In “drooling over this,” I have a book recommendation. Sort of. I explain.
Finally, Project Runway is back. Heidi and Tim: you guys are the cutest couple. Thankfully, the show stuck to its “make it work” format and it worked. Sadly, my fav did not win. But this is the winner, designed by Rami:
And this was my pick, designed by Victorya:
To see all the runway designs, click here.