As I walked out of Dylan’s preschool today, I started to cry. It’s just that kind of day.
It was her first day of preschool. After a year of preschool applications, essay writing (we did the writing), preschool play dates (she did the playing), rejection letters, acceptance letters and preschool bills (they come before the ABC’s begin), we finally arrived at the first day. Unfortunately, there would be no smiling picture of Dylan with her crisp outfit and new backpack. This picture was the best she could do.
As I dropped her off at preschool, her tears were gone. They had been swallowed up by soft, fresh playdough, a painting canvas and new puzzles. She was fine. But I felt sad. Within moments of walking out the door of Village Preschool Center, I saw her waving goodbye from her college dorm. I know she’s three. But why does it feel like I’m going to turn around and she’ll be gone, off on her own adventures, experiencing her own life?
Maybe it’s just the day. Any year, especially this year when it’s Tuesday again. Tuesday, September 11th. I think of all those families, still crying, still grieving, wanting to just talk to their husband, their daughter, their brother again. To say I love you one more time.
All of us, who live with these two and three year-olds, know that some days “challenging” doesn’t even begin to describe the toddler experience. There are days when it’s hard to even like Dylan as she pinches her sister, throws multiple tantrums and seems to relish in making every moment difficult. But I always love her like crazy. And today, I felt like she slipped away a little bit. Got a little older. And it made me cry.
Not very long ago, I was squarely in the anti-reality camp. I could snicker at those who spent their evenings watching “Survivor 43″ (seriously, how long as that show been on?) and the “Surreal Life.” Oh, I spent my evenings watching television (and some of it was very low brow) but I liked to think of myself as above the reality fray. Things have changed.
Reality tv is like a drug. You sample just a little bit and you’re hooked. It’s cheap, easy to get and feels so good. I blame my baby Summer. A couple times a day, I put on Sesame Street for my toddler and nurse my baby in the other room (Summer can not focus on nursing when her spirited and chatty sister is in the same room). So for twenty minutes, I need something to watch. First, it was Kathy Griffin’s reality show. Entertaining and funny. Call it a gateway reality program. Then Paul Abdul’s show. Painful to watch but still addictive.
Then I went further down the dark road of reality addiction. “Scott Baio is 45 and Single” filled up my DVR. As each show ends, I want more. “The Hills” (as I’ve discussed in depth) came next. And now, perhaps my most shameful moment, “The Fashionista Diaries” on the Soapnet channel. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m now watching the Soap Network. I think I’ve hit rock bottom. The show follows six New York City interns in the public relations, magazine and beauty industries. I’m right now in the middle of a “Fashionista Diaries” catch-up marathon. How do I even find the time to blog?
I tell myself once I wean Summer, I will wean myself off this mindless, candy tv. I’ll just quit and never record again. I’ll watch a movie with my husband. Maybe even hire a sitter and grab dinner outside of the apartment. That might be fun. Maybe I’ll run into one of those fashionista interns in the ‘hood. How cool would that be.
mama bird notes
The always glowing mama, Alex Goveia, will now be sharing her insider beauty knowledge with the rest of us in a new mama bird feature called, “the beauty diary.” You can find it under the menu bar on the right hand side of your screen. Alex comes to us with top beauty credentials (check out her bio under “this manhattan mama”). Each week, she’ll tell you about products that will make your skin glow, eyes pop and your outer beauty shine. Let’s face it. Inner beauty can only get you so far. She will turn you from a drab mama to a yummy mummy in no time.
I think my college years may have helped prepare me for parenthood. Just like at Tulane, I’m still counting the minutes until nap time, still being tested and still unsure of what I want to do when I grow up. If only that semester abroad was an option right now.
She may be years away from diplomas and sorority rush, but already my toddler Dylan seems to understand the rules of college. As I’ve mentioned, she refuses to wear most of the clothes I buy her (are any boys like this?). The latest item: a bright blue Juicy Couture shirt I got on sale. Honestly, I would wear this top. But my days of the baby doll t-shirt are over (so I think a toddler size 3 is definitely not happening). Adorable shirt. Amazing color. Cute as can be. Of course, Dylan will not let it touch her skin.
But yesterday morning she had no choice. My husband was home and Dylan’s sister Summer was napping. Earlier I had pulled the Juicy shirt and a pair of pants out of their room so Dylan and I could slip out and get her a haircut. Dylan did not appreciate my somewhat sneaky tactic to get her to wear the shirt. She cried. She whined. She begged for her stained blue and brown striped shirt (the one she wears nearly every day but alas, it was dirty). Finally, I got the Juicy shirt on her. She tried to rip it off three times on the way to the Doodle Doos Hair Salon. Then it happened. It always does. She started to warm up to the thing. I guarantee you it will become one of her favorites.
Remember in college when you used to go out for those ladies’ nights or “two for one” pitchers? Nobody wanted to break the seal. You did everything you could to not pee. You hold out as long as possible because the minute you go, you have to go again every 10 minutes. Well, that’s how Dylan is about clothes. With a new item of clothing, she holds out as long as she can, but once she gives it a go, she wears it constantly. She may be a member of the class of 2026 (seriously) but she’s ready for college already.
Toddlers are strange little creatures. In the past couple months, we found a new suburban home for our dog Martini, gave our baby Presley the nickname Summer and hired a new babysitter. Big changes – right? Not according to my toddler Dylan. She seems completely unfazed by these developments. I guess that leaves her extra energy to obsess over the little stuff. If I attempt to put almonds and peanuts in the same snack bag or try to put on the “wrong” pull-up diaper (she likes the pull-ups with the picture of three princesses, not just one princess. I mean, obviously, three princesses is so much better than one), a meltdown is imminent.
Even though Dylan seems quite comfortable with the big changes in her life, I don’t want to be blamed for anything in her future therapy sessions like a dog abandonment complex – so yesterday I took her to visit our former dog Martini. Dylan, Summer and I jumped in the car and headed to Connecticut. Doesn’t the word “jumped” make it sound like I’m still so carefree and spontaneous (even with two children nipping at my heels all day)? Let’s just say Dylan was unimpressed with the trip. As Martini bounded toward us, covering us with kisses, Dylan was more interested in getting access to my handbag. She sat on the grass and happily applied different shades of Christian Dior lip gloss until the visit was over.
Later in the day, once we were back in the city, I made a stop at the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine. A glass of wine at the end of these sweet and maddening days with my children is a real must sometimes. At the store, Dylan got out of the stroller and apparently noticed a kitty cat. As I was picking out a bottle of shiraz, she happily chatted with me about the sleeping cat. Before we headed home she wanted to say goodbye, so she lead me over to a wine crate where I saw the surprisingly life-like, stuffed kitty. At least I hope it was stuffed and not some taxidermy special. Either way, we said our goodbyes and promised to come back and visit. Maybe Dylan is just a cat person after all.
I’ve always had a bit of doctor envy. In my head, I imagine these scenarios where someone is hit by a car or suddenly passes out or is in labor and I come running to their side. “I’m a doctor, please stand back. I know what I’m doing,” I say as I quickly stabilize them. Sometimes I can fashion medical supplies out of random things on the sidewalk. “Hey you, hand me your belt. Stat!” Or there is a medical emergency on an airplane and the flight attendant urgently asks, “Is there a doctor on board?” Yes. Yes. That’s me. I’m one of those cool, fabulous doctors.
Of course, I’m not. I hated science classes. I don’t actually want to be a doctor. I just like the idea of it. It’s like you are some kind of super hero. My friend Adam is a doctor. Or at least he claims to be. I met the guy in a crowded hot tub in Crested Butte, Colorado in my twenties so it’s hard to imagine he really practices emergency pediatrics. But I’ve actually seen him in his scrubs up at Mt. Sinai Hospital and he uses big medical words so it’s either a really elaborate hoax or he’s legit.
Doctors are just so darn helpful. I mean I’m a stay-at-home mom/journalist. What can I do for you in an emergency situation? Let’s see. I could write about it after someone else saves your ass. Or I know, I could use my secret mommy powers and give you kisses and promise your boo boo will go away. I even have Elmo band-aids if things really get serious. You see? Not that helpful. Not at all.
I could earn a Phd and then call myself Dr. Kintner. But that’s a lot of school and I will have come no closer to saving anyone. I could pretend to be a doctor but apparently you can get yourself in quite a bit of legal trouble practicing medicine without a license. I guess at the very least I can call 911 if I witness some kind of emergency situation. It’s not much but it’s a little something. I’m keeping my cell phone handy.