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Stumble the Mama Bird Diaries


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By Daphne Biener

Dear Mom,

I hope this letter finds you well. Wait, scratch that – I hope it finds you in an extremely forgiving mood. I am sorry. Boy oh boy am I ever sorry. And thank you. And did I mention that I love you?

I’ve been wondering: how late is too late to beg forgiveness? Wait, before you answer: thank you. Thank you for not smacking that self-righteous smirk off my face with a cast iron pan back in the early ’80s. Thanks for retaining composure as I defied you, dared to call you jealous (please know I am cringing as I write this.) Stood with hands on hips and detailed why, OH YES, I WOULD be going out with that boy (yes, yes I know NOW that he was a sociopath intent on mayhem, but damn he was one hot psycho.)

And the eye-rolling. Let me search the far east to gather up enough humility to atone for my teen eyeballs’ need to reach for the sky every time you offered a ride then insisted on pulling up right in front and leaning in for a kiss goodbye. As if.

Not that I’m in any position to do so, but if you’ll allow me just one more whimper: It’s not fair! My daughter Kira is not yet seven but I swear if her eyes roll any further back they’ll peer straight into her brain (where she will no doubt find empirical proof that she is indeed smarter than I am.) And the mouth on her? Here’s how daylight savings went down at our house:

The scene: 6am Monday morning. Unsuspecting Mama tucked harmoniously into bed. Enter Kira (or whoever it is that has taken possession of her sweet young soul):

Kira: MOM! MOM! DON’T YOU KNOW ITS NOT THE WEEKEND ANYMORE, MOM! HEY I NEED SOME PANCAKES BEFORE FIRST GRADE BITCH! (ok, maybe I made up that last part, but it was there. I saw it lurking beneath the seething surface and I cringed.)

Now I have heard that if we handle this phase right (because it IS a phase, right?) then the teenage years are sure to be a breeze. True, I’ve mostly heard this as my husband and I mutter it back and forth like some kind of mantra or offering, but still, it would not be fair at all if we had to deal with this twice, RIGHT MOM?

So Mom, I’m begging you. Show some mercy. Dave has done the math and it’s not good. Looks like we are on a collision course that will have menstruation and menopause detonating in our house in one cataclysmic boom. Please, Mom, lift the curse. You, Lady Macbeth, stared into your bubbling cauldron and did this to me. It’s your fault but I give up. You win. My daughters are exactly like me.

Now can you please make it stop?

To read “lift the curse” in its sestina form, visit Daphne’s site here.  Not sure what a “sestina” is – Daphne promises to explain. 


Daylight savings is kicking the crap out of me and my husband. Every morning at 6 am, the girls are up. And boy are they perky. How is that kids wake up at full throttle? Full throttle should definitely not start before 7 am.

So my long, drowsy day begins. And it’s quite a ride because I truly live with a crazy person. Here is a small snippet.

3 year-old Dylan has a 15 minute meltdown in the stroller because Rick is pushing it, instead of me. I’m sweating from the stress. Once we are home, she is incredibly happy and content as we make flowers out of crunchy tissue paper and furry pipe cleaners. I’m suddenly feeling euphoric. I am a Martha Stewart mommy extraordinaire. Before I can I twist the last pipe cleaner, Dylan is sobbing because I won’t allow her to drink chocolate straight out of the Nesquik chocolate syrup bottle she’s confiscated from the fridge. Gosh, I’m cruel. Twenty minutes later, she is an angelic being, quietly playing in her room, pretending to make birthday cakes out of her toys. I blow out the imaginary candles with delight.

She tells me, “I love being with you,” which is so incredibly sweet and absolutely appreciated but I want to answer back, “Really?! Because sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. In fact, sometimes you really seem a little nuts.” Now of course I don’t say that. I share a different truth. “Dylan, that is such a wonderful thing to say. I love spending time with you too.” And I do. I just wish she would be a bit less crazy sometimes.

Speaking of crazy, why must nightfall now come at like 4:30? That pesky daylight savings is once again to blame. And not only is it dark but the writers (or probably it’s those greedy network suits) don’t want to give us new shows to enjoy after our kids are snug in their beds. Listen Hollywood – we tired mamas need our shows.

The Daily Show and David Letterman are already in repeats. New episodes of prime time dramas and comedies could soon disappear. Well, at least I have a back-up of saved shows like “Mad Men” and “Friday Night Lights” on my DVR. And better than that, the new season of Project Runway starts next week on Bravo. Oh Tim Gunn, you always manage to save the day. The master of design would tell those writers and tv executives to “make it work.” Because it’s too damn expensive to get a sitter and go to the movies.

mama bird notes

In this week’s “beauty diary,” Alex knows the power of a good pedicure. But when you have to do it yourself, she’s got the polish that will make your toes zing. Click on the “the beauty diary” to read more.

And for you New York City mamas – here’s one way to keep your kids entertained on cold afternoons. Just click on “drooling over this” under the menu bar.


If you have children, you really should feed them. Or else they will get very cranky. And despite my desperate hope each week that food will magically appear in my fridge and in my cabinets, it has yet to happen. So that means a weekly run to the grocery store.

3 year-old Dylan and 10 month-old Summer enjoy a trip to the market. But their enthusiasm seems to fade before we are even out of the produce department. Dylan likes to fill up and push one of those mini kid shopping carts but then she decides it’s too heavy half way through our list and abandons it in the middle of aisle 4. That, of course, can leave me trying to maneuver Summer in the stroller and the little grocery cart – all while keeping track of Dylan who is now meandering through the aisles. So, when possible, the kids only come along when I need just a few things.

Thankfully, my husband Rick does the big weekly food run at Whole Foods on Monday mornings before he heads to work. My responsibility is the grocery list. I type it out and I am pretty specific. These are items from recent lists.

Cooked Chicken – Rick, keep in mind that the chicken Francais in the prepared foods section is a bit fattening so you may not want to get tons of this.

Note: I’m sure Rick appreciated the diet tip.

Whole Wheat Tortillas – If they have the Maria & Ricardo’s brand, get 3. If they are sold out, buy one of any other kind. Just make sure they are whole wheat. If there are no whole wheat, don’t buy any.

Granola – Don’t get Cascadian Farms. I like it but now I’m sick of it. I need something new. Any kind but just make sure the total fat is 3 grams or less per serving.

The last one had my husband in the cereal aisle for a good long time. He scans rows and rows of granola boxes – some with berries, some with nuts, some with honey, some with oats, some with a combination of berries, nuts, honey and oats… and he starts to panic. But he pulls it together, comparing total fat per serving on a variety of boxes and victoriously chooses a low fat granola. Most weeks, he even gets to work on time.

The food gets delivered in these reusable bags so I feel all eco-proud on Mondays. Dylan and Summer are delighted to “help” me unpack the groceries. In order to minimize my frustration, I try to consider this an afternoon kid’s activity rather than a task that actually needs to be completed. It kind of goes like this. I put the chicken in the fridge. Summer pulls two yogurts out of the fridge. I put the two yogurts back in. Summer grabs the string cheese and the hummus. But finally, it all gets put away… at least somewhere. Note to anal organized self: I can rearrange the food and line up the yogurt containers after the girls are in bed.

So our fridge is stocked… at least for a few days.


So when are you too old to have long hair? My friend Sarah asked this question a few weeks ago. I don’t really know the answer. I have long hair now and I’m going to be 40. O.k., it’s still three years off but as Sally (aka Meg Ryan) once expressed, it’s out there.

A mini skirt? I’m definitely too old for that. What about signing up for Facebook? This social network on the web is the online stomping grounds for high school and college students. But now, it’s apparently also becoming a business networking tool for the thirty and forty something crowd. So I created my Facebook profile. I felt like a cool hipster until I realized that I was creating my profile on a Saturday night, at the same time all the ultra groovy girls were out doing way more fabulous things. Damn. Now I need to search for Facebook friends other than my 20-something babysitters.

It seems like you’re never too old to do a lot of things. My mother, at the age of almost 65, plans to attend Smith College to earn a master’s in social work. This accomplished woman already has a masters from Yale and a PhD. Girlfriend apparently likes to study.

My father has one more year until he retires. Then he plans to learn how to play the piano, hold orphan babies in Romania and perhaps, join the senior ice hockey league on Cape Cod. I hear my dad was pretty good on skates back at Denison.

My uncle, who’s in his late 50s, just moved to Roatan with his wife and twin babies. No, Roatan is not a town in Connecticut. It’s off the coast of Honduras. That is one adventurous spirit. They are ballsy.

But it’s always nice to be reminded that your entire life can be an opportunity to do and try new things. I really like that. You’re never too old to reinvent yourself. Or to just be yourself. Long hair and all.

mama bird notes

For New York City mamas – it’s a mama bird giveaway. You could win 4 tickets to the Big Apple Circus for this Wednesday, November 7th. 6:30 pm at Lincoln Center. This is not an ordinary circus. The show promises hilarity on the ground, gymnastics in the air, soaring ballerinas and grandma the clown. I’ve seen the show. They deliver. Email me at Kelcey@mamabirddiaries.com by Tuesday at noon to enter this big apple giveaway.

Finally, looking for a stylish way to display your child’s artistic talent, click on “drooling over this” to read more.


paul-radcliffe.jpgDid you see the abs on Paula Radcliffe? In case you missed them, here is a picture. This British long distance runner won the women’s division of the New York City marathon this weekend. But that’s not even the most impressive part. She had a baby in January. That’s January of this year. Apparently, a little marathon training will flatten a post pregnancy belly.

I am really in awe of these marathon runners. Gosh, I feel really good when I just get through an hour and a half Ashtanga yoga class. I can’t even imagine the feeling of accomplishment when you run 26.2 miles. That’s a lot of street to cover. Maybe I could forget the 26 and just do the “point two.” I wonder how much flat belly you get for point two. I’m guessing not a lot. Plus, I doubt you would draw big, boisterous crowds calling out your name, cheering you on in a point two race. And doesn’t that seem like the best part? “Go Kelcey. You can do it. Only point one to go. Hey, great abs!”

marathon-runners2.jpgMy friend Lanie has run a few marathons. Why must she make me feel so damn lazy? I’m just content to watch the New York City marathon. Dylan, Summer and I headed to the upper east side on Sunday to experience the energy and frenzy of the race. I love the shouting and cheering and me not running. 3 year-old Dylan didn’t quite grasp the excitement. The crowds and the noise were too overwhelming and too close to nap time. 10 month-old Summer seemed contently indifferent.

But to me, the marathon is magical. When you watch it, you really feel like you can tap into all that energy and accomplish something. I hope I get inspired by yummy mummy Paula Radcliffe. If she can give birth in January and win the New York City marathon in November, I can certainly tear the plastic wrap off my power Pilates workout tape. And maybe even start thinking about what else I want to accomplish by next November.

kelcey kintner


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