I had lunch today with my friend Julie (And yes, our four children – all age 3 and under). You can imagine the scenario. I see no need to really elaborate. In our bits and pieces of conversation (between
yelling nicely asking our children to sit down, eat chicken and stop squirting ketchup), we chatted about the fall tv schedule. Of course, the conversation only turned to tv after we finished our weighty discussion on Iraq. OK not. You know, a girl is allowed to be shallow sometimes. It’s very freeing.
So with the interns of “The Fashionista Diaries” now apparently making their way in publishing, pr and fashion without the cameras rolling or me watching and with all my high school friends in “Newport Harbor” having graduated – it’s time to see what else is out there. And by “out there”, I mean, “in my living room.”
I was excited about the season opener of “30 Rock.” This very sharp, funny comedy fell a little flat (even with Jerry Seinfeld around to help get the party started). But I know Tina and Alec will bounce back. My husband and I briefly checked out “Dirty, Sexy, Money.” In the few minutes we watched, I really saw nothing dirty or sexy. I wish I had. My husband loves “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Office.” Both solid shows but not exactly my thing.
We watched “Grey’s Anatomy” but the Meredith/McDreamy thing just feels done. ABC must agree because the on screen duo just broke up (sort of). Even so, I’ll still hang in there. It’s a light, fun ride. I have some favorite dramas like old school “ER” (yes, it’s still on and yes, it’s still good) and the critically acclaimed but little watched “Friday Night Lights” (and you don’t have to love football to like this show). But neither of these feel like a sugary indulgence. Then there is “Gossip Girl.”
“Gossip Girl” is the best weekly tv candy. Yes, “Gossip Girl” is another show about privileged high school students. But at least these are actors and they are probably in their mid-twenties. My days feel so messy with the feeding, cleaning, bathing and changing (repeat early and often). Shows like “Gossip Girl” are pretty, glossy, stylish and fun. At the end of a long day with my little, sloppy, adorable people, it’s like a mini getaway.
If none of these shows work for you, you could A) wait patiently for the debut of “Project Runway” B) read a book OR C) contemplate whether Chrissy and Clay of “Newport Harbor” will survive long distance. I personally am pulling for them.
mama bird notes
Have you ever stood at the beauty counter and looked at all those shades of foundation? I mean, seriously, how should I know if I’m fair, very fair or medium fair? Please. Of course, your beauty extraordinaire Alex has the solution. Click on “the beauty diary” under the menu bar.
So this morning, as I whisked 3 year-old Dylan off to preschool, this sometimes nudgey girl was in no mood to say goodbye to her daddy. Nor did Dylan want to say “I love you.” A little wave was all she was offering (big sigh from me here). I feel for Rick. Being a working parent can be difficult. You might only get short bursts of time with your kid(s) at the beginning and at the end of a day and it’s upsetting when it all goes haywire. Rick wants to head to the office feeling connected to Dylan and Summer, not frustrated. Yet again, we learn that we can’t always control our children’s behavior. Don’t worry, we’ll keep trying.
Of course, both Dylan and Summer love their daddy like crazy. Summer can’t jump out of my arms fast enough to be with him. Here are two pictures I adore.
And this is just because I can’t resist. A few weeks ago, I found Rick’s old head shot (this is after his triumphant portrayal of Danny Zuko in his high school production of “Grease,” but before his days as a Fox News anchor). Rick once had dreams of being an actor but has parlayed his talents into the news biz. Oh how cute is he!? I love the denim collar shirt (very early 90s).
We did call Rick later in the day so Dylan could say, “I love you.” If that’s not enough to make Rick smile, Martini has headed back to Connecticut. Hallelujah! We are now living in a poop free zone. Well, at least it’s not on the floor anymore. Thankfully, something we CAN control.
mama bird notes:
We all have enough doubts about our parenting skills without our own children weighing in about our shortcomings. Contributing mama Daphne Biener gives us a very humorous look at her 6-year-old, the safety pup. To read more, just click on “contributing mamas” under the menu bar.
And finally, there is hope for us lazy environmentalists. My friend Sandrine just told me about an organization that will put a stop to all that junk mail with little effort on your part. Click on “drooling over this” on the menu bar to find out more.
If this goes on any longer, my husband and I are going to need couple’s therapy. Martini is in the house. Our very spirited black lab mix (formerly of Manhattan, now residing in Southern Connecticut) has been staying with us for the past week. Her new family is on vacation. Oh god, I hope they are coming back.
Seriously, it was nice to see the black beauty. Until she pooped in the apartment. Many, many times. In fact, in one day alone, she pooped four times – three times on the floor (not so bad), once on the rug (very bad). We aren’t sure why. We’re certainly walking her. Maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe she has a stomach virus. Maybe she now prefers hardwood floors to city cement.
Plus, this is my husband’s first pet. We found her at a rescue shelter and she was part of our family for more than four years. She was particularly close to Rick and it was hard to let her go. Martini needed to move to the suburbs and we weren’t ready to move with her. But her return is emotionally difficult and it’s causing a lot of stress for Rick and me. We are squabbling over this dog when we would rather just be enjoying each other’s company or at the very least squabbling about other things, like where we put Dylan’s favorite flip flops.
It’s much easier for our girls. 3 year-old Dylan likes to help me clean up the poop. 10 month-old Summer is enjoying the dog immensely. The other day, I found her chewing on Martini’s greenie (a dog treat). Interestingly, Summer is actually quite constipated right now. Martini obviously can’t stop pooping. And I guess the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle.
“So what do you do?”
Hmmm… I think to myself. What do I do? Let’s see. I change diapers. I feed children. I clean food off faces, counters and floors. I sort, wash and fold laundry. I bathe and clothe little bodies. I organize toys. I straighten. I neaten. I sing songs and make faces that make children laugh. I read books and play silly games. I push strollers. I make meals. I hold babies and carry tired toddlers. I repeat these activities again and again like a 24/7 groundhog day. Is that the answer?
“I’m a stay-at-home mom.” Suddenly I feel like a 1950’s housewife. That statement alone feels like it’s pushing back the women’s movement. It sounds like, around 4 p.m., I should start preparing a pot roast and baked potatoes for my husband and the kids.
“I work full time at home, taking care of my children.” More accurate but sounds too defensive, as if I think I’m being judged. I do think I’m being judged.
“I’m an orthopedic surgeon.” Sounds better but it’s a lie.
“I take care of my kids full time and I’m a writer. I have a blog.” Doesn’t practically everyone fashion themselves a writer these days? Even my eccentric neighbor has a blog (written in the voice of his dog by the way). I’ve never read it. And now I have to explain that my own blog is sharper, wittier and more compelling (Oh god, I hope it is) than the ten million other blogs out there. So I’m back to being defensive.
“So what do you do?” Such an easy question before I decided to do what I never thought I’d do. So maybe forget what I do. And I’ll tell you who I am. I am a loving mother. I am a committed wife. I am a writer. I am funny (at times). I am neurotic (at times). I am compassionate (almost always). I am tired (almost always). And I am constantly figuring out who I am.
mama bird notes
Enough about girls on the mama bird diaries. Bring on the boys.
Many of us grew up listening to our purple “Free to Be You and Me” albums which challenged traditional gender roles and celebrated our individual selves. Laura Brownson, a contributing mama, remembers William had a doll. So of course, she bought her son Cade a doll to help him adjust to a new baby brother. But how come her sons only want to play with trucks? Laura is trying to understand why her boys just want to be “boys.” To read more, click on “contributing mamas” under the menu bar.
I feel like my 3 year-old Dylan suddenly grew up – all in one week. Preschool is now no problem. I stay a few minutes, she kisses me goodbye and then that’s it. No tears. Nothing. She even has a boyfriend. I picked her up yesterday and learned all about Andre (the name sounds so debonair). Not from her, of course. She was very discreet and never said a word. But her teachers were all a flutter at how Dylan and Andre were hugging all morning. At one point, as they embraced each other tightly, Andre apparently pulled back ever so slightly and asked, “what is your name, again?” Just like a guy.
This week, I took Dylan to the Empire State Building (inspirational idea from my city friend Laura). We left Summer at home with a sitter. No stroller. No diaper bag. No sippy cups. Just my purse, with a few snacks. I practically felt like I was day tripping with one of my girlfriends. Unfortunately (or fortunately), visibility from the 86th floor observation deck was practically zero. That meant no lines, no waits and well, no view. But we could see the miniature taxi cabs moving up and down the avenues and lots of foggy buildings and that was fine with us. Dylan’s favorite part? The pink tile in the landmark’s ladies’ bathroom.
And then last night, we converted Dylan’s crib into a toddler bed. As an incentive to get her to sleep in the big girl bed, I promised her baked ruffles as part of her breakfast in the morning (please no judgments). After much trepidation (the hall light on, the bedroom door open, sitting with her for quite a while), she went to sleep. But I didn’t feel joyful. I missed her crib. Or rather, I missed her in the crib. She always liked to sleep horizontally, across the short length of the mattress, with her feet sticking out through the crib slots. She could sleep like that all night. Now I miss those toddler legs dangling out like the wicked witch of the east (minus the house on top of her). Damn, I wish I had taken a picture.