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Seat belts are buckled. My hands tightly grip the arm rests. The plane starts building speed down the runway. I am not crazy about take-offs. Just get this ginormous air boat in the sky and I can relax. A little. But 3-year old Dylan diverts my attention.

Dylan: I have to poop.

Me: Dylan, really?! Are you serious? You can’t poop now.

Dylan: But I have to poop.

Me: Honey, you have to wait – just a few minutes – until we reach a comfortable cruising altitude. It will be the perfect altitude for pooping. (Dylan has just learned that sometimes you have to wait to do your business. Thankfully, she does).

As soon as we arrive in Boca Raton, Florida, I’m immediately conscious of two things. First, I’m freezing. The indoor temperature in this state is completely ridiculous. Everyone saunters around in a t-shirt and shorts (they are apparently oblivious to the 45 degree indoor weather), while I’m desperately searching my bags for more layers.

Second, after a long day of traveling, I need coffee. I convince my husband to return to the airport (after we’ve rented our car) because I know there is a Starbucks somewhere in that airport. I leave the poor guy endlessly looping around the passenger drop-off area, with our two girls buckled in the back, while I go in search of a cafe mocha in the main terminal. I approach an information desk.

Me: Hi. Is there a Starbucks in here?

Information Desk Lady: Why yes, there is.

Silence. Now I don’t want to come off as some impatient New Yorker so I wait. More silence. It’s like a staring contest at this point. I blink.

Me: Could you tell me where?

Information Desk Lady: Right down there by terminal C. But it’s kind of far.

Me: That’s ok. Thanks.

So I begin my journey. And I’ll wager that Information Desk Lady is not a long distance runner. Because 20 yards later (yes, I just happened to be carrying my yardstick), I’m standing in front of a Starbucks. Suddenly Boca is the land where your dreams really do come true. I’m clearly inappropriately euphoric over a cup of coffee.

That night we leave Dylan and Summer with Ricky’s parents and we dine at Sal’s Italian Ristorante where we are greatly relieved to learn they still have the buffalo wings on the menu. Because what’s fine Italian dining without wings?

Then comes sleep. For about 46 minutes.

Dylan starts coughing and wheezing. Her breathing is labored. Is it Croup (a virus that causes inflammation of the airway)? She’s sobbing. I’m getting nervous. She’s shaking. This is the most distress I’ve ever seen my little girl experience. She’s had Croup before but never like this.

We rush to the hospital. These are the words that seize my whole body. The nurse says, “We have a 3 year-old who is having trouble breathing.” I keep telling Dylan that everything is going to be fine. My arms are wrapped around her. But I’ve lost all faith. Inside I’m hysterical.

We quickly learn there is no pediatrics department at this hospital. But they begin treating her. A nurse nebulizes her with adrenaline and another gives her a dose of steroids through an IV. She screams, vomits and shakes.

Slowly, way too slowly, her normal breath begins to return. She stops quivering. Her body starts to calm. My faith returns. Ricky and I start smiling. We can laugh again.

We start to wonder why no one looks like McDreamy, McSteamy or Katherine Heigl here. It seems doubtful that any of these residents are sleeping together. We catch no one hooking up in the examining rooms. We are a bit disappointed.

3 hours later, at almost 4 am, with the diagnosis of Croup confirmed, we check out of the hospital and bring her home to my in-law’s. Dylan gets a gigantic Hershey’s bar as a special treat for her bravery. Needles = chocolate. She is starting to see the upside of a trip to the ER. I am so drained. So tired. So grateful. I fall asleep. One night of Boca under my belt.


Men seem to be strikingly different from women. Which is completely fine unless you live with one of them. This is how it seems to go.

My girlfriend Alex was oh-so-kind to loan me a few baby clothes for our trip to Florida. 13 month-old Summer balked at wearing her long T’s and cords in 80 degree weather. High maintenance, that girl.

So here are the directions I gave my husband Rick.

Me: Can you please pick up a small, blue bag from Alex’s doorman? She’s loaning us a few shirts and a couple skirts for Summer.

Rick: Yeah, no problem.

This is what Rick (a very smart, talented and successful guy) brought home:

A gigantic, tall, white kitchen garbage bag, with the name, “Ellen Goodman” taped to the side, stuffed with something soft. Definitely could have been clothes. Like someone’s entire sweater drawer.

Me: That’s not THE BAG. It’s not small. It’s not blue.

Rick: Well, I never heard you say anything about blue.

Apparently, he heard bag and he, indeed, picked up a bag.

And further proof that we are a bit different…

This past weekend I cleaned and organized our computer desk. That newly clutter free, smooth, polished and buffed desk fills me with unbridled, exuberant joy. It’s so CLEAN. AND. ORGANIZED. As for Rick, when it comes to the desk, he’s not even close to anything unbridled or exuberant. Unless I put a seasoned pork chop on it. Or his iPhone. Or maybe some chicken parmesan.

And if you are still not yet convinced…

There’s the HDTV. Oh, you know, that life altering, high definition, it’s jumping into your living room, experience.

Rick: Look at that. Isn’t it incredible?

Me: What?

Rick: The picture. The detail. It’s like you are at the stadium. You feel like you are on the field. God, it’s amazing. Look at that.

Me: Wait, I’m watching it right now?

Rick: YES. It’s HD. Don’t you feel like you are on the sidelines?

Me:I don’t see it. And I’m sorry for this because I love you very much. But I just don’t.

Rick: How can you not see it? (Sigh)

Rick is dumbfounded that I still record my fave tv shows on the NON high definition channels. But why?! It would take me a whole 4 minutes to reset my recording preferences. Actually, about the same amount of time it takes to pick up the correct, blue bag from a doorman.

mama bird notes

For New York City and Philadelphia mamas, isn’t it time you did something cool and cultural with your little babe? Or even (gasp) alone? Check out drooling over this for the dish on some super savvy metropolitan moms.


Life is good. I had a dream last night about Juno’s Michael Cera. Oh, mamas, its NOT like that. We just enjoy each other’s company. I tell him how funny and talented he is. He tells me how talented and funny I am. It was only coffee.

Plus, 3 year-old Dylan and I have been in a cool groove. Yesterday, I came up with the brilliant idea that I stole from someone else to give each other foot massages. First, we did some yoga poses and during our shavasana, we did lavender lotion foot rubs. DEE-vine.

Later in the day, she turns to me and says, “Do you know Jagger?” Jagger is a boy with adorable shaggy hair and a heartbreaker face from her preschool class.

Me: Yes, honey, I do.

Dylan: How did you meet him?

Me: We were at a cocktail party together and a mutual friend introduced us. He’s a writer too. We may collaborate on a project together.

Me (for real): I met him at preschool honey. Just like you.

Dylan: I like Jagger.

Me: Me too. Seems like a cool little boy.

This preschool just happens to be tucked between a firehouse with handsome, ready to save you in a moment because you think it’s ok to leave mail on the stovetop, firefighters AND a Joe’s coffee house. With a location like that who cares if your kid can recognize shapes and letters? There are more important things people.

So Monday we leave for a week in Florida to visit Rick’s 371 relatives in Boca, all of whom still call him “Ricky.” The Jewish people just really seem to love that Boca. Warm breezes, sunshine, maybe some golf, a little mahjong, a quick snooze and a mid afternoon dinner. Not too shabby sista. But it’s the getting there that does me in.

The packing. I can’t even talk about it. The schlepping to the airport. The argument with Rick on the way to the airport because HE has we’re-going-to-miss-our-flight anxiety. The argument with Rick on the plane because I have this-plane-is-too-big-to-fly and I’m-sure-the-pilot-is-12-years-old-and-drunk-and-doesn’t-even-have-a-pilot’s-license anxiety. I’d actually feel better if I was flying the plane myself. No, I don’t have control issues. Why would you possibly think that?!

But I’m hoping Dylan will watch Elmo, Summer will crawl all over her boyfriend Rick and I will read Elle Magazine. If you don’t hear much from me next week, please know I’m just wrapped up in a super tense match of shuffleboard. Those senior Boca gals can be fierce.

And so far my fave moment of 2008. It will be a hard one to surpass. 13 month-old Summer starting to walk (please ignore all the drool on her shirt).


mama bird notes

So I hear all the hip mummys are shopping at The Little Seed. Never heard of it?! Click on drooling over this.

The results of our latest mama poll are in. So what do you and your spouse do after a fight? 70% of you just apologize, make up and go back to enjoying each other’s company. How civil! 13% simmer and brew in an attempt to build a lifetime of resentment. 9% drop it and pretend it never happened. Another 4% apologize, make up and head to the bedroom for more making up. And I thought make-up sex was rampant! Guess not. Finally, 4% of you claim to never fight. How is that possible? I just don’t know. Check out our latest poll. Just click on your mama says what?

Rachel W. (a self-described schwag-whore) won the mama bird giveaway! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer schwag-whore. Really.

Thank you to Little Green Star, Butterfly Buggas, Francesca Segrè, Kristen Maas + Herbal Serenity Show of Hands Instant Manicure and Sephora. You all rule.


In our next mama bird giveaway, one lucky birdie will win this super cool Mutsy Spider Stroller. Oh my gosh, I love this ride. Beautifully designed, light weight, folds easily and an amazing travel stroller. Best of all, it’s clean and new! No crushed raisins, cracker bits or ice scream stains. Isn’t that dreamy? Details to come après-Boca.


I’ve been melting down over the details of life. As you know, my phone crashed into the toilet and all my contacts apparently swam down the drain. Then, I had the absolutely brilliant idea to sell something on ebay. What a windfall, I thought! Finally, we’ll put a huge chunk of cash into our girls’ college savings funds. Except for a slight miscalculation in shipping.

I sold this baby carrier which turned out to be a very awkward shape. My husband and I logged about 5 man hours just finding a box to tape around that too-long-for-a-normal-box backpack thing. By the time I wrapped it all up, it looked so ghetto. I’m now convinced the buyers are going to completely diss my ebay reputation. I’ll never get in with the cool ebay kids now.

So I schlep that pathetic, dilapidated box to the post office and the clerk charges me a number of surcharges because of the awkward, too ginormous shape. End of ebay story: I netted 17 dollars. But forget about coming up with other ways to pay for my toddlers’ college educations. There’s no time. Because a baby is MIA.

We are talking a baby doll. 1 year-old Summer’s favorite. I can’t even get it out of her hands long enough to wash it. oh baby, that baby could really use a bath. Now what she needs is a GPS system. We know it’s in the apartment because I put it in her crib at nap time. We search. We ransack. We pillage. Nothing.

My husband and I become obsessed. We live in 1,200 square feet. There are only so many places to look. We pitifully search the same spots over and over again as if the baby doll will use her plastic head super powers to suddenly become visible to adults. I search places that even I need a chair to reach. Why would she leave us? Wasn’t she happy?

I am particularly panicked over bedtime. Not Summer. The girl is completely chill. She doesn’t want any replacement doll (we have plenty to offer). She goes to sleep without much fuss, with no baby doll hand to hold. I am sadder than she is.

Enter the doctor. A friend of ours happens to give Summer a belated birthday present the very next day. It’s a doctor baby doll. And this gal is macked out with a headband, blond ponytails, a beeper and stethoscope. She sings some loud, strange song about helping people as she runs down the street when she hears the beep, beep, beep. I’m horrified. Summer is intrigued. She spends the day tightly holding doctor baby’s hand.

Never underestimate the powers of a jealous doll. Suddenly, the original baby turns up. I find it. Rick finds it, right there on Summer’s window, hidden behind the shade. Didn’t we look there 16 times? I guess not. That night, Summer sleeps holding both baby dolls’ hands. Her universe has expanded.

3 year-old Dylan and I could really learn something from that gal. We are more prone to sweat the crumb-like, much smaller-than-a-missing-baby-doll stuff. We are both pledging to be more big picture and wait for the universe to expand and provide its riches. Or at least that’s what Dylan told me this morning.

mama bird notes

Planning a trip soon? Contributing mama Daphne Biener gives her colorful review of a recent trip to Mexico. Let’s just say, she gives you a whole lot more than you’ll find in any Fodor’s Cancun guide. Click on contributing mamas to read more.

Don’t forget to comment and send a post to a friend on the mama bird diaries this week. It’s all you gotta do to enter to win cool, free stuff from Little Green Star, Butterfly Buggas, “Daughter of the Bride” by Francesca Segrè, Herbal Serenity Show of Hands Instant Manicure and Sephora. For the dishy details, see posts from earlier this week.

Finally, for nyc mamas, the mom, of one of Dylan’s classmates, is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Lisa Flynn Gershowitz, the mother of two young children, was recently diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Despite 6 weeks of chemo, she is not in full remission. It is now critical for her to have a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Finding a donor match is her only chance. You can get tested this Saturday (The most likely match will be from European Ashkenazi descent). They swab your inner cheek and it only takes a few minutes.

Saturday, January 19
The Jewish Community Center
334 Amsterdam Avenue between 75th and 76th streets
2:00pm-5:00 pm

Thank you mamas!


This weekend I was oh-so-lucky to be invited to a brunch celebrating women in digital media. It was hosted by a bunch of super smart women like Dina Kaplan of blip.tv and Celia Chen of Notes on a Party. Major girl power at this shindig.

As soon as I arrive, everyone seems to be talking about this C-E-S. As I move in and out of conversations, I hear, “I am so exhausted from C-E-S.” “I had so much fun at C-E-S.” Yada. C-E-S. Yada. And I’m thinking, W-H-A-T? Finally, I get up the gumption to ask someone. Turns out it’s a Consumer Electronics Show. Oh. Kind of anti-climatic because I was sort of hoping it was an all female undercover crime fighting unit or something. But new electronics. That’s cool too. I guess.

On the very low tech side of things, a little water spilled on my cell phone and it crashed. Ok, it fell in a tub of water. More widely known as a toilet. A public toilet. With urine in it. Thankfully, MY urine. Yes, I fished it out. Wouldn’t you? I can’t believe that Dylan Summer I did that. Yes, I had the phone in my back pocket. Well, NOW I know it’s not very smart to keep it there.

So I, with the two girls in tow, make a visit to the cell phone store today. I’m in the middle of the transaction when 3 year-old Dylan says, “I have to poop.” I basically ignore this statement, hoping it will just go away. Then Dylan starts setting up her portable potty in the middle of the store (she really likes this portable thing and apparently, she really needs to poop). I’m all about convenience but this does strike me as a tad inappropriate so I ask the store clerk if they have a bathroom. This is New York. So, of course, the answer is no. He says, it’s too dirty for a child to use. I highly doubt it’s worse than any Starbucks bathroom in the city but no time to get into it with this man who has my cell phone destiny in his hands.

So, I leave the clerk with my new phone so he can do his activating, sim card techy thing and I head outside with Dylan, Summer and the potty. Girlfriend goes number 2, in her potty, on congested 7th avenue and 14th street. Does anyone care? This is New York. So, of course, no. Dylan finishes and says, “I’m just like (our dog) Martini.” Yes, honey, you poop on the sidewalk like Martini. Evidently, I’m raising Dylan to be a dog.

When we return, I say to the store clerk, “So I bet that’s the first time someone left your store for a few minutes so they could go poop.” He replies, “no, it’s the second.” Oh, right, I forgot. This is New York.

mama bird notes

First, my apologies. There have been some problems with my feed service and I’m sorry if you were notified about old, so over, been-there-done-that posts. I’m trying really, really, really hard (with the help of savvy computer professionals) to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Just a reminder about this week’s stylin’ mama bird giveaway. In order to enter to win the cool, free stuff:

1. Comment on the mama bird diaries this week.

2. Send a mama bird post to a friend. Cool mamas don’t spam so don’t worry, you aren’t selling out your gal pals. Just click on the pink “send to a friend” box at the bottom of this post and follow the directions from there.

One oh-so-lucky mama bird fan will win ALL of the following…

A super cute kid’s t-shirt from Little Green Star. You show them who has the coolest kid on the block with a “My dad recycles more than your dad” t-shirt. Size: 4T. So green and groovy for your offspring or makes a terrific gift.


This yummy peppermint set, from Butterfly Buggas, includes everywhere spray, all natural handmade soap, whipped body butter and a body pouf. It’s all made by one creative, talented mama and smells simply divine.


“Daughter of the Bride” by Francesca Segrè. This truly entertaining novel is based on Franchesca’s real life experience as the daughter of the bride. This girl (29 and single at the time) walked into bridal salons with her mother and had to explain that her MOTHER was the one shopping for the big white dress.


Herbal Serenity Show of Hands Instant Manicure. By January, my hands are so crazy dry. Lotion alone just doesn’t do it. But this exfoliating scrub leaves hands soft, smooth and moisturized. Just ask beauty mama Alex. She’s a fan too.


And a Sephora metallic make-up bag. Color: silver. The perfect way to carry your make-up essentials and it’s thin enough to throw in practically any purse. It’s also great as an evening clutch. Throw in your keys, phone, cash and credit card, wave goodbye to the babysitter and you are off.


So good luck birdies!

kelcey kintner


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