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.
By Daphne Biener
It’s safety day in the first grade. 6 year-old Kira came home packed with useful tidbits designed to make life with me, her live-by-the-seat-of-her-pants mother with the devil-may-care attitude, safer. She believes deeply that I, while not exactly unfit, am at the very least unqualified for this job. If the cement truck grinding of her teeth each night is any indication, she feels lucky just to make it through each day in my care alive. Recently we attended a party, an amazing, ocean-side party where one of the perks offered (to adults only – what a welcome change!) was surfing lessons. Complete with surfer dude instructors, beginner boards and the wonderful California surf – I couldn’t wait. Here’s Kira’s take on the events that were about to unfold:
Kira: So, Mom? Kids can’t go surfing, right?
Me: Right, just for grownups this time sweetie! (I tried to look distressed at her exclusion)
Kira: So both you AND dad are going to surf, right?
Me: Yup! Yes we are!
Kira: You know, MOM, you can’t just leave me and Acadia on the beach by ourselves (She states with a look on her face that says she knows what I’m up to and it’s not going to fly this time. Maybe, just maybe, she’s got social services on speed dial and I better watch it).
Now, let me say, in case there is any doubt, I have NEVER left my children unattended. I strap their bodies into car seats and their little bike-riding noggins into helmets. I shmear sunscreen on clear days and bug spray at dusk. I make them eat their vegetables. I do everything I can to protect my children but Kira remains unconvinced.
This particular afternoon Kira proceeded to run through the ways in which we could turn home-sweet-death trap into a more hospitable homestead. She explained, painstakingly slowly so I could comprehend the importance, that pot handles on the stove should point in to prevent accidental burns.
Me: You know, honey, I already do that when I cook.
Kira (incredulously): You do?
Me (sighing): Yes, I do.
You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.
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.