There is a battle for my soul this holiday season. For years, I have envisioned my children running down from their rooms on Christmas day to an enormous tree and diving into a pile of gifts with unbridled euphoria. I always glaze over the part when 24 minutes later, disappointment in their youthful eyes and colorful, torn paper at their feet, they gasp, “Is that all there is?” Yup, now 18 more hours to kill til Xmas is finito.
There are a few hiccups with my idealized scenario. First of all, my daughters are Jewish. But long before my husband and I said, “I do,” we hammered out a holiday compromise in a very intense interfaith class. We practically had to hire an attorney to work out a settlement but we got it done. We decided to honor both Hanukkah and Christmas with all their cultural traditions. No Harry the Hanukkah bush. No 8 days of Christmas. Both holidays are celebrated independently and completely. So that means 3 year-old Dylan and nearly 1 year-old Summer would be riding the Santa Menorah gravy train.
But Al Gore has ruined it all. Damn, that formerly hunky vp. I have deep green guilt. I am bothered by the commercialism of the holidays. All the toys we don’t really need. All the wrapping paper that will be tossed into landfills. All the junk that you’ll receive and immediately want to purge. I desperately want only to buy earth friendly, wooden toys for my girls but I know Dylan would just fly to the stars for that plastic, piece of crap Elmo Sing-with-me Karaoke machine. I think the moment you buy one, the temperature of the earth goes up one degree. I’m overheating just thinking about it all.
So what is a Christmas lovin’, Jew marrying, eco-girl wanna be like myself supposed to do? Well for one, definitely no wrapping paper. Santa has switched to newspaper. Rudolph, who has always been the most earth conscious of the reindeer bunch, actually suggested it. When we have the choice, we will buy earth friendly products. We’ll indulge in a little plastic only when it makes our children’s hearts expand with recycled joy.
Mommy Poppins, another eco-mama, suggested buying gifts that create togetherness like tickets to an event or an offer to do something special together. Dylan has been begging me to take her to the merry-go-around in Central Park so I like that idea. Would I have to purchase a carbon offset? Maybe I’ll get one in my stocking.
mama bird notes
Contributing mama Daphne Biener admits when she’s been outsmarted by her 4 year-old. Click on “contributing mamas” to read more.
Friday is your last chance to enter to win a smart, stylin’ Hayden-Harnett bag. $300 value. Washed leather in a fab eggplant color, vintage look, too cool for school (pictured on the right hand side of the screen). Just “subscribe to this feed” and follow the directions from there. It’s free and no email addresses are ever shared.
Wait – you say, you are already subscribed?! Then don’t stress girl, you are entered. May you be the lucky mama birdie.
I was watching the CBS “Early Show” for a few minutes this week. I believe their target audience age is 78 to 105. You can envision the advertising opportunities. One of their anchors, Harry Smith, seems like a sweet enough guy but he really is wow’ed by this new thing called the internet. Have you heard of it? It’s like an information superhighway or something.
They were doing a little segment on finding deals on the web. You know, it’s two minutes after Thanksgiving, so every segment is focused on how to have a better holiday, a greener holiday, a cheaper holiday, a more yummy holiday, a more bearable holiday, a holiday where you don’t murder your family and so forth. (Oh right… disclosure. As a former tv reporter, I did endless, countless, Christmas and Hanukkah stories that in no way added value to this world).
So back to Harry and his new internet. Harry was bubbling with gleeful enthusiasm that you could actually COMPARE prices on the web. He was so overwhelmed by one site, pricegrabber.com that he even let loose the words, “By golly.” And don’t even get him started on free shipping. Gee willikers!
I don’t blame Harry. Technology moves at a mad, screamin’ speed. I didn’t even have email in college or a computer (just a word processor). Now my own children (ages 3 and almost 1) are obsessed with my husband’s iPhone. They constantly fight over it – both trying to grab it off Rick’s belt. I knew there was a reason he’s more popular than me. How do they even know the iPhone is cool? Dylan puts on her favorite iPhone music and I can’t even figure out how to turn it off. Am I turning into Harry?
When Dylan was a baby, she destroyed my cell phone, sucked the life and all my friend’s numbers right out of it. I promised myself, the next go around, I would be a smarter parent. Scratch that. Summer’s baby wails come to a complete and instant stop the minute she is handed a telephone. Oh, not a toy phone. Girlfriend knows the difference. A real phone. She prefers cell but will accept land line. Wait til she learns about Wi-Fi.
mama bird notes
First, the results of our weekly mama poll. Here’s your dream evening. 66% you want a night out with a spouse, partner or date. 17% are dying to be home alone. 11% will order take-out and the remote control with someone special and the remaining 6% of you are dialing up your girlfriends for a night out.
Click on “Your mama says what?” under the menu bar to dish the dirt in this week’s anonymous poll. And if you want to know what’s on the minds of other mamas – email me your poll question. firstname.lastname@example.org
Our glowing beauty expert, Alex, is now a full-time working mama. But don’t worry girls, she still has time for us! Oh thank goodness. I’ve always envied that sultry, smoky eye look and the beauty diary knows how to get it. Just click on the “beauty diary” under the menu bar to read more.
Finally, a boys clothing line that is pure genius. You’ll find it in “drooling over this.”
I watch my friend Eric, up at the podium, talking about his dad, Allan Schwartzman. Eric shares a jumble of moments and experiences, their life together… the best snowball fight, their tennis matches, how his dad never let him win, the pride when Eric finally, rightfully beat his father for the first time on the tennis court, his dad’s complete joy at the birth of Eric’s two sons even as he faced his own demon, cancer.
Eric’s deep love and respect for his father emanates in every tale from his childhood. He recounts how, when it came to a task, his father would always ask him, “How would you do this?” And his dad would support him, even if “Eric’s way” took a zillion times longer or turned out to be completely wrong. It just didn’t matter. Because that’s what a good father does for his son.
The story makes me think about my own children. It reminds me to be more patient and let them discover how to do things themselves – even if it takes 2 minutes longer, 20 minutes longer or even if the task never quite gets done the way I envision.
3 year-old Dylan is always screeching and hollering to, “do it MYSELF” and whenever possible, I really need to let her. There is nothing bad that comes out of a spilled yogurt container on the floor, shoes temporarily on the wrong feet or scrambled eggs with a few bits of shells. Because it’s those memories, those bits of shells, that will stay with Dylan as she grows into an independent, confident person.
Eric’s father was clearly someone who brought boisterous joy, humor and passion into this world. Eric said he could have talked all afternoon about his dad. I, and everyone else in that chapel, would have been content to listen.
There was a whole lot of crazy going on this weekend. Due to 11 month-old Summer’s breast addiction and bottle rejection, Rick and I ended up carting our two girls up to Staatsburg, New York for a wedding.
On the car ride up, I’m jammed between the two car seats in the back so I can attempt to give Summer her lunch, consisting of chicken, cheese and a jelly sandwich. Of course, she insists on constantly grabbing my sweater and freshly blown-out hair with her sticky jelly fingers. While I try to remove her tight fist from my black, chunky cable knit, I’m using my other manicured hand to pick apple out of 3 year-old Dylan’s teeth. Dylan has insisted that she can’t possibly continue eating her lunch, until we find floss and remove the apple skin that is wedged between her baby whites. As if. So begins our romantic excursion.
Summer has her own dental issues. She pillages the book, “Dora Goes to the Dentist” as we drive through Rhinebeck. Poor innocent Dora. I guess she’ll never get to the dentist.
But we arrive at the Belvedere Mansion, wonder twins activate and Rick and I take the form of wedding guests in our suit and dress. My dad has graciously come to attend to our children. Then, here comes the bride in black and white.
Anna was the coolest bride I’ve ever seen. Project Runway designers should take serious note of this outfit. Sarah Jessica would approve. First, the dress. White strapless with a black sash. But the most stylin’ part is the shoes. ADORE the black heels. And you should have seen her on the dance floor. This bride really got her groove on. So did another guest, a somewhat older woman, who actually kissed my husband on the lips (no tongue for the record) and said, “Forget the woman you came with. Come home with me.” I’m going to assume that was the scotch talking. Quite a bit of scotch. But my husband went home with me. See ya, girlfriend. He is mine.
The morning after was long. “English Patient” long. Dylan and Summer were up dreadfully, agonizingly early and then morphed into stir crazy wind up toys – crying, laughing, crying, laughing – as they spun around the hotel room. We finally packed up our crumpled evening clothes and child paraphernalia and made our way down the New York State Thruway. Along the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that McDonald’s now offers a grilled chicken wrap and a fruit, nut and yogurt plate. Not as brilliant as those black bridal stilettos but still, this is the home of the 10,000 calorie Big Mac. I may have rounded up.
We finally made it home after a 3 hour highway tour. No Gilligan or Mary Ann. Just two drowsy girls, two even more tired ‘rents and lots of bags to unpack.
I just love a wedding. There is something so romantic and sweet and lovely about an open bar, a kick ass band and blown out hair. Oh, and of course, two souls uniting for a lifelong bond. This weekend, my friends Adam and Anna are doing the ring thing. I mean, really they had to. Because how damn cute are the names “Adam and Anna” together? They could despise each other and they would still have to get married, just so we could all forever utter their names over and over.
I met Adam in an outdoor hot tub in Crested Butte, Colorado in 1997. There were about 10 other drunk people jammed in that hot tub too. So it was a little less romantic than you might think. This red headed doctor was headed to New York City and that’s where we became friends – super groovy, cool friends. As for Anna, she is this amazing, crazy ball of fiery energy and the two of them seem, well, destined.
My own wedding now seems like a galaxy far, far away. 3 year-old Dylan loves to watch our wedding video. When I see myself come down the aisle in that strapless, satin A-line gown by Wearkstatt, with just the right amount of crystal beading on the bodice and French piping at the waist, I think, “Damn, I wish I could wear that dress again.” And how about the understated, but brilliant, jeweled tiara. I wouldn’t mind throwing on that bad boy too.
I was a bit melancholy for the first few days of my honeymoon. Could it really all be over? Of course, my handsome, amazing, although a bit perplexed, new husband kept reminding me that it was all just beginning. I knew that guy was sharp. Turned out, he was right. And don’t stress Anna, I’m not wearing my wedding dress to your nuptials. That breathless beauty is vacuum packed into an enormous bridal box in my mother’s attic. Oh, how the mighty gown has fallen.
For Adam and Anna (gosh, I love saying that), this weekend is just the start. And we would still come celebrate your marriage, even without the free booze and music. Really, we would. Congratulations.