What’s with all the tears? All the time. I get the baby thing. Babies have a very limited way of communicating. So I know, when nearly 1 year-old Summer wakes up for the 37th night in a row, at exactly 4:32 am, she’s crying because she wants the boobies.
Now, I’ve explained to the little lady that we really are phasing out this boob thing. Really. But she’s a stubborn gal and wants me to know that if I’m going to talk the talk, I’ve got to crawl the crawl (or something like that). So she’s testing me. I let her cry until 5 am (because that seems more like actual morning to me) and then I give her the goods. But hopefully we are making progress. I am slowly reducing the length of time she nurses. Summer continues to deem all other milk repugnant.
But when does all this sobbing peter off? My 3 year-old Dylan is a ticking tear bomb. This morning she was convulsing over the very notion of getting dressed. This afternoon – another full on, body on the floor, cranked up SOB FEST (almost as eventful as the New Orleans Jazz Fest, minus the gospel tent and crawfish po’boys). Dylan’s distress? It was too bright in her bedroom for her baby dolls to sleep. Oh. Now I see.
For the record, I offered to pull down the blackout shades and turn off the light but she remained completely distraught. I would have even sung those baby dolls a verse or two of, “Mary had a little lamb.” But Dylan wasn’t open to creative problem solving. Tears. Wails. And more tears.
I can tell you what definitely doesn’t work. Two summers ago, Rick, Dylan and I were vacationing in Italy. One afternoon, we were trying to prepare a lovely Tuscan lunch – some cheese, prosciutto, bread, salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasonings. Yum. We planned to eat it by the pool, surrounded by the rolling green Tuscan country side. I was 5 months pregnant and attempting to cut up fresh, bright tomatoes for the salad. If I couldn’t enjoy all the wine that Italy had to offer, I was going to soak up every crumb of the divine food.
But Dylan would not stop crying. Endless, inconsolable crying. I finally got down on her level and screamed, “STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW.” So what happened next? Oh, she cried harder. I was immediately ashamed of my behavior. How could I give birth to another baby when I was so cruel and incapable of caring for this child? I apologized for yelling at her. And then more “sorry’s” and “I love you’s” from me. Slowly, the tears dwindled and there was peace and comfort and quiet. Lunch came later.
In some ways, there is something so beautiful and authentic about openly and immediately expressing emotions (even with kicking and screaming). We adults are so buttoned up and conditioned to keep our tears tucked inside. So Dylan and Summer will cry if they want to. Even simultaneously at times. But still, a day without tears would be magical. Peace. Comfort. And quiet.
mama bird notes
Next week, I have a fabulous giveaway package to tell you about. I kind of want to keep all the goodies myself but I promise, the mama bird diaries will give it away. Stay tuned for details.
And remember, if you comment on the mama bird diaries by the end of this week, you are entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Flip Clips.
Marriage is not for sissies.
These lovable, amazing, exhausting children and life itself can beat the amour right out of a couple. Everyone is just so tired. By the time you are finished with the bedtime routines, the delay tactics, the tantrums, the good night kisses, the dishes, the laundry, the neatening, the glass of water for the toddler still fighting sleep and then tomorrow’s prep, your energy for each other is greatly diminished. O.K., sometimes nonexistent.
Because of this, my husband Rick and I have put off something for a very long time. No, I’m not talking about that. Well, unfortunately sometimes that too. I’m talking about something completely tedious and annoying – picking out a new faucet for our bathroom sink.
Not only does the goose neck spout shoot off occasionally, spraying water everywhere, but it’s also leaking into the vanity below. FINALLY (and only because all our stuff is getting ruined and I’m pretty sure toxic mold is growing on our stock of shampoo and sun tan lotion), we sat down at the computer at 10 o’clock one night to look at faucets. Hundreds of faucets. Within minutes, we were both irritated. One exchange went like this.
Me: “You’re not even looking at the screen.”
Rick: “I looked away for a second.”
Me: “Well, you missed a bunch of them. I don’t want to do this alone.”
Rick: “I’m paying attention. I looked at the TV for two seconds. Do you want me to tell you every time I briefly turn away?”
Me: “Yes, actually I do.” Even as I’m saying this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds.
We are both tired. We are both bored. Then I see one. A faucet that looks kind of cool and relatively reasonably priced at $129. We have quickly learned, on this grand faucet expedition, that $129 is actually a bargain. But Rick won’t go for it.
Me: “I like it. It’s cool.”
Rick: “It looks like a penis.”
Me: “No, it doesn’t. I would never think that.”
Rick: “Definitely. It’s a penis faucet.”
Me: “Damn. Maybe, you’re right. We’ll keep looking.” Now, we are both laughing. We have been momentarily saved by the penis faucet.
As a side note, others apparently aren’t so prudish. Rick and I went to the West Village Italian Centro Vinoteca (the latest from the owners of Gusto) over the weekend. I went to the bathroom (which of course was FREEZING – is it really too much money for restaurants to heat their bathrooms?! I’m willing to chip in. I hate shivering and peeing simultaneously). And what did I find? Oh yes, the penis faucet. Then the very next day at a birthday party at a kids’ playspace in Chelsea, the penis faucet AGAIN. This penis really gets around.
Back to marriage. An argument with your spouse can begin over a $5 container of fruit and suddenly you are fighting about the mortgage and your complete lack of a college savings fund. Sometimes one spouse needs more space while the other needs more connecting. One feels cranky. The other is taking it personally. The dreamy, euphoric rush of dating seems 107 years ago, if you can even remember dating at all. Romantic evenings out need advanced planning. Spontaneity goes missing. Responsibilities are plentiful.
But you keep trying. Trying to find moments of connection and laughter. Trying to find a penis faucet in your day. Because I hear that these kids will grow up and there the two of us will be. And we’ll be staring at each other, completely rested, with lots of time to try a new restaurant, check out an art gallery, meander around the city, duck into a movie at the last minute, fly off to London, linger over a coffee and connect. And someday I want to be there. But right now, I want to be here, in all this craziness. With you.
mama bird notes
First, the results of our weekly mama poll. So when the kids are asleep and you are home with your spouse, partner or lover – what is your preferred activity? 52 percent are definitely overachievers, hoping to watch a movie, have sex, eat ice cream and sleep ALL in one evening. 19 percent are content to just watch a flick. 15 percent are sexing it up. 11 percent are downing the low fat ice cream. And just 3 percent are getting some shuteye.
Click on “your mama says what?” under the menu bar to take our latest anonymous survey. This week we want to know about your overall life satisfaction.
If you can’t get no satisfaction and you’re in need of a new direction, maybe it’s time to invest in a life coach. Click on “drooling over this” to meet one of my favorite coaches. Mention the mama bird diaries and you get a free session. Be happy and free!
And remember, comment on the mama bird diaries this week and you are entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Flip Clips. More free stuff!
Have you noticed that mice have the best PR team ‘mouse money’ can buy? It was actually my wise
old father who pointed out that mice are depicted as almost heavenly in every storybook. Whether it’s that Mickey who presides over the magic kingdom, those lovable mice Gus and Jaq who come to the assistance of Cinderella, Ralph who can actually ride a motorcycle or Tom of “Tom and Jerry” fame – they are some cutie patootie critters, right? Oh, I’m not convinced.
In our apartment, I’m on full alert, near hysteria, mouse patrol. Mice are a sporadic problem in our building. And just the other day, I walked by the kitchen and who did I see but Mickey or Gus or Stuart Little (honestly, they all look the same) sitting, hanging out really, on my counter top. Holy crap. I do not like mice. I couldn’t even get to my cell phone because it, too, was on the kitchen counter. I picked up our landline and felt a bit like Jodie Foster, trapped in the panic room, because I only know one number by heart. It’s my husband’s and he, of course, was swimming at the gym. My heart jumped into my throat, as his cheery voice mail picked up.
The mouse finally scurried off to… I don’t know where. Hence, the reason I’m still hysterical. My super came up and put down some of those sticky mouse pads. So let me try to understand this. The best case scenario is finding a LIVE mouse stuck to one of these pads? Yeah, that won’t work for me. So I (once again channeling Jodie Foster) took matters into my own shaky, panicked hands. I hit the hardware store and bought one of these rodent control machines that supposedly transmits powerful ultrasonic sound waves that repel mice but can’t be heard by people or house pets. Hard to verify that this $40 miracle machine even works. I mean you just plug in and, like a gullible twit, pray to never again see another rodent.
I still remember when my sister’s pet hamster Susie got loose. We were about to hold a little memorial ceremony for the MIA fuzzfest when she popped up one morning, just sitting on my pillow, staring me in the face. Holy Amy’s organic macaroni did that freak me out. And then, in my 20s, my roommate and bff Jordana brought home a rat, swearing it was a pet mouse. Rat? Mouse? Really must we quibble over the nuances of difference? It was either me or the rodent and mice have a terrible record of paying their rent. So I stayed.
Now I’m anxiously inspecting every nook of our apartment, waiting for that mouse to taunt me with its twitching little tail. Dylan and Summer are no help. They are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving crumbs throughout our apartment, basically inviting the mice to come join us for snack time. At this point, I’m just trying to spread the rumor that apartment 3A leaves out open containers of food. Hopefully, Gus and Jaq are already on their way downstairs.
mama bird notes
I’m really flipping for this. A company called Flip Clips will turn a 15 – 30 second digital video into a retro flip book. Remember those? Well, this is so much cooler than those ‘old school’ stick figure ones. Your kids will love playing with these. A groovy stocking stuffer. As a mama bird special, you’ll get $2 off in the month of December by using the discount code FC989SJ2. Or even better, win a $25 gift certificate to Flip Clips by posting a comment on the mama bird diaries this week. Any comment. No need to be smart or clever. How’s that for a deal?! I’ll announce the two winners this weekend.
Also, for you New York mamas, do you have the cutest kid in the city? Time Out Kids has just launched an online gallery of NYC’s Cutest Kids. If you submit a shot of your adorable tot by December 15th, you are entered to win a rad toy from LeapFrog Learning Moments (which means one less toy on your shopping list). Click here for more info.
I am so obsessed with Project Runway that I’ve considered putting on a diaper (astronaut style) and hoofing more than 20 blocks uptown to the garment district to declare my love for Tim Gunn and the rest of Heidi’s gang. I’ve even thought about watching it in real time (commercials and all). So far I’m holding onto a tidbit of dignity and still doing the DVR thing. The show is simply brilliant.
In episode 2, the arrival of Miss Queen Bitten Bee, Sarah Jessica Parker, had all the gay contestants gasping for air and practically drowning in their own tears. We are not worthy. And SJP was so darn sweet, especially when critiquing Christian’s misguided 80’s throwback (seen here), that it just made me heart her even more. Another mama at Blog con Queso, is hauling her cookies 30 miles to check out SJP’s discount line at Steve & Barry’s. So I’m anxiously waiting for the 4-1-1 on our trio (Steve, Barry and Sarah Jessica). Meanwhile, let’s move on to poor Tiki.
Tiki Barber showed up in episode 3 and there was just no love in the fashion house for that man. Nobody really even recognized the great football running back and current correspondent for the “Today Show.” And men’s wear? B.O.R.I.N.G. Or not. Apparently, these designers don’t really do men’s wear so some very creative garbs went down the runway – like this fetching look by Carmen. Um… she apparently ran out of time and didn’t quite get to the shirt. Auf Wiedersehen Carm. We hardly knew yuh.
Earlier, Tiki’s blase wife made a brief appearance in the workroom to critique the “in progress” designs. I’m sure most of her uninspiring and lackluster footage ended up on the cutting room floor. But it was a dishy, yummy treat to see some nearly nude male models for once. And Michael Kors is by far my fave judge with snarky comments like, “that crotch is INSANE!” I thought Crazy Eddie was in the room.
My Project Runway infatuation is perhaps fueled in part by the ongoing writer’s strike. I miss the Daily Show. I long for Saturday Night Live. In fact, this past Saturday night my husband and I saw SNL actors Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers eating at a pub in the west village. We do get our share of celeb sightings in this ‘hood and like a too-cool-for-school New Yorker, I would never say a word to any of them. But I was weak. I was foolish. I was lonely for them. As we passed by I said, “I miss you guys.” And they genuinely seemed to appreciate the unsolicited sentiment (read: total pathetic invasion of privacy).
So for now I live for the runway. Must leave you now. I’ve gotta head to the TRESemmé Hair Salon and L’Oreal Makeup Room to prep for Wednesday. I may even utilize the the Bluefly accessory wall on my way there.
Note: My apologies to anyone who doesn’t actually watch this show. I promise to be back tomorrow with tales OFF the catwalk.
mama bird notes
Congrats to Sandra Schwartz who won the Hayden-Harnett bag! Go Sandra. Go Sandra. Please no mama tears (sniff sniff) if you didn’t win because I promise, I’m putting together a December giveaway package. So you’ll have another chance soon to win some free, cool stuff. Details coming soon.
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.