Friday, December 21, 2007

Not Christmas

One more thing I forgot to write about. Last weekend, we took the boy to a birthday party at the NYC Fire Museum. It was very cute, and they got firehats and did a scavenger hunt and ate pizza... and as we were leaving I told my husband to hold on a second, I wanted to just stick my head into the 9/11 Memorial room.

And I ducked in, and in front of me was a giant arch covered with black and white ID photos of all the firefighters lost. And somehow, oddly, the very first photo I zoomed in on was one of the firefighters lost from my own blocks fire station. I turned away, and faced a wall of candid photos on my right, a firefighter with his head in his hands, people covered in dust, their faces turned upwards while tears made rivers in the soot on their cheeks, that horrible, unspeakable cloud of blackness coming from the first tower. The closed fire station door of my 10th Street block, it's very Village painting partially obscured by all the flowers and banners and candles the neighborhood had piled there.

And I lost it. Completely lost my shit, right there. And while I first blamed it on the pregnancy hormones, the real deal is this. I was one mile away from the towers the day they fell. I will never ever begin to be able to put the experience into words, although I wrote about it in my old journal when it was fresh and raw, without editing, and maybe next year I'll post it.
In the days and weeks that followed, when my family would come to visit (I wouldn't leave, couldn't leave the city) and we walked around and saw all the hopeful, tattered homemade "missing" signs, all the smiling photocopied faces that would never be found, they all cried and asked me, "How can you walk by this every day? How can you live like this?" And the answer was, I had no choice, right? You steel yourself, to some degree, because otherwise you'd spend every day in bed with your head under the covers, scared to go out, scared to ride the subway, unable to work or shop or eat. You put your head down and go. My mantra for many, many things in life.

But now. Now all this time has passed, and I'm no longer steeled to it, and I'm actually a little incensed every time I hear Guiliani on his new right wing campaign trail. I can actually feel it again, now. So very very strange.

And if you ever get to NY, that's the memorial to see.

it's a wrap

So, I did it. Finished my shopping today while the babysitter played Playdoh with the boy - it was cold as hell but I took lots of breaks - hello, mothers room at babies r us, thank you for letting me rest my fat ass, even though I technically didn't have a baby with me - and whatever isn't done now isn't getting done. I have added one thing to the husband's list for his shopping day tomorrow, but no more stores for me.

My cold, meanwhile, has clogged my head up into a solid brick. I called my OB's office, and she told me I could take ONE otc cold medicine, in the childrens dose. So I went to the drugstore and got it, took it, and...... nothing. Right. Because it's for CHILDREN. Children under 6, who weigh less than my leg, at this point. And when I called her back and told her she better step it up, she said nothing else otc, but she'd call in a prescription for a Z pack. Now, this goes against all my extensive medical training, but I am willing to try anything at this point. A cold is a virus,right? Which antibiotics don't help? Whatever, I'll give it a shot.

So tomorrow I am going to stick to my original plan of staying in, baking cookies (which will probably be given only to Santa, as they will be filled with my sick germs) and wrapping the trillion gifts I haven't even thought about wrapping yet. And maybe watching some Christmas movies with the boy. Oh, and remember those ornaments he refused to paint? He looked at me at 5 o'clock yesterday evening and said, "Mama, I want to paint now." So he painted all six of them in one fell swoop, and now I am happy. Even though my house is covered in glitter. Or maybe especially because of that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

4 days and counting

I've been doing a lot of stressing and complaining about getting things done for the holidays, but haven't mentioned that my husband and I have been doing some fun things, too - we rarely get a sitter during the week, as it is so expensive and I prefer to use my babysitting budget during the week so I can do wild things like go to the OB and the dentist. But 'tis the season, so we've been biting the bullet and going out.

We went to see the new Pinter play out on Broadway (Homecoming - not a new play, but newly restaged) with friends of ours a few weeks ago - while I found it highly disturbing and without much redemption after all, it was great to get out - we used to go off-Broadway at least monthly B.K (Before Kid), and getting back out inspired me to get some tickets for my husband for Christmas, for the new Mamet he wants to see. Which, of course, is also a gift for me. Plus I lined up June Cleaver for FREE overnight babysitting, so maybe we'll get dinner, too.

We also had a very fabulous dinner at BLT Prime with some other friends, and on Tuesday went to my husband's work party, which is actually pretty fun and not at all corporate or stuffy-like. So it hasn't been all drudge and no play

Now tomorrow is my very last day for Christmas shopping, and I have yet another cold. My OB is very anti-medication, so I've been driving myself nuts trying to figure out what I can take for this so I can get some damn sleep already. And you know what happens when you start googling stuff like this. Anyway, I need to finish up tomorrow. Saturday is M's day for shopping (for me, which is somehow all he ever ends up having to do, I take care of both of our families) and I am bound and determined to stay in with the little man and get him to paint the ornaments I bought him to give to his grandparents. (Me: "LOOK!" Look at these coooool snowman ornaments, and all these paint colors. And glitter! You love glitter! And this sponge brush! Want to paint these with Mommy? Him: "Um, no thank you." Been going on for weeks now.)
And we also need to bake at least sugar cookies so we have something to leave out for Santa. I'm really looking forward to the Santa thing this year, as it will be the first year he sort of gets it. And if Santa could please get rid of the snotty head and bring me some sleep, I'll believe again myself. And maybe even leave him some single malt with those cookies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

impeccable timing

So yesterday, as I was running around trying to get gift cards and holiday cards for the Boy's gazillion and one teachers at his little preschool program, my cell phone rang. It was my OB's office, telling me that my glucose results were a little (5 points! 5 lousy, measly points!) high, and that I need to go for the 3 hour glucose test. I am dreading this, as the one hour had me feeling dizzy and lightheaded, but I pointedly told her that this new test will NOT be happening until after Christmas, as I have exactly one day of babysitting between now and then, and a very full to do list.
So she said fine, and I made an appointment for the lab two days after Christmas, and then called her back to give her the date so she could fax the paperwork. And before we hung up, she said, "Oh, and the doctor says to watch your sugar and carb intake between now and then. "

GRINCH! It is CHRISTMAS! How am I supposed to watch my sugar and carb intake? Doesn't she know that June Cleaver spends the whole month baking cookies that we never get any other time of the year? Or that I make homemade manicotti for Christmas dinner? Hasn't she heard of my grandmothers pumpkin bread?????? BOOOOOOOOOO.

My son just brought me a little frying pan full of plastic food from his play kitchen - and in it are an ear of corn, a piece of bacon, a chicken leg, two french fries, a piece of lettuce, and a piece of cheese. She must have gotten to him, too, because there's no sugar in sight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So I found this holiday tour of homes thing over at BooMama (sorry, you'll have to google it as I cannot link) and man, does it make me feel like a slacker. I like to blame it on the pregnancy, but I think some of these women are more pregnant than me, and their houses are FESTIVE. Festive like June Cleaver's house (my mom) - here, we have a tree, a wooden Christmas train, and um.... that's it. No, wait, we have a basket of kids Christmas books, too, and some tree placemats and dishtowels.

Once upon a time, in another life, I had a big house that I decorated full out for Christmas. Maybe I should get into that attic and dig some of that stuff out. Now I have to go back to obsessively admiring everyone else's Christmas decorating. Instead of finishing addressing my cards, which is what I should be doing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

skinny bitches

I know now why all the women on the Upper East Side are so skinny. It's impossible to find carbs up there. I left my boy at home with his babysitter today to go to my regular OB checkup, then on to the lab for my glucose test. Ugh, I hate that test - and every woman in the waiting room of the lab cringed in sympathy when I came back with that vile bottle of orange nastiness. And it's funny, even though they give it cold, for some reason it's impossible to chug it fast. After the endless hour long wait for the blood draw, I was telling the tech that - "Why can't you just hold your nose and drink it fast, like you do with medicine?" And she laughed and said she didn't know, but you definitely couldn't. And then she told me she had five kids herself, and when my phone rang and it was my apologetic babysitter telling me that the Boy had flung himself full length into a mud puddle and would need to be taken home and showered, she laughed and said, "That's a boy, for you! "

Anyway, I did have a point. After no food since 8am, a nasty bottle of pure glucose, and 6 vials of blood, I was really ready to pass out. I was ready to get out of there, find a bagel shop and have a bagel (everything with cream cheese and tomato, thank you), a cup of coffee and a giant bottle of water. Alas, it was not to be - I walked from 75th Street and Madison Ave to 63rd and 2nd without finding a single bagel shop. It was like being in LA or something. I finally grabbed a cab and hauled it back downtown, where the normal eating people live, to get my bagel.

And now I'm home, and the boy is clean and sleeping peacefully, so I'm catching up on blogs and trying to ignore the fact that I still have Christmas shopping to do. Tonight we're going to get our tree, finally. The heat in most NYC apartment buildings is on so high that you leave the windows open even in the winter - which is fine, but tends to dry out the tree fast. We'll put the boy in the stroller, go pick our tree from one of the myriad sidewalk tree stands that start sprouting up after Thanksgiving, and then decorate it tomorrow after the kid birthday party we are attending. I really can't get into the spirit until that tree is up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

and later

My friend and I had told the kids we'd take them out for dinner before the tree lighting tonight, and when we left it was raining and we assumed the lighting would be a washout. But by the time we finished eating it had stopped, so we headed over and met up with our husbands. I'm glad I motivated myself, as the Boy had a great time running around, and after they lit the tree a one-hit wonder band (the one hit was "Stacy's Mom", you know that one? I forget the name of the band.... Fountains of W@yne, I think) played at this big makeshift bandstand.

The boy sat up on my husbands shoulders ("Wanna go on Daddy's HEAD") and watched that band wide-eyed, bobbing his head up and down in time to the music. So cute. And he couldn't stop talking about it when we got home. "Momma, you like that music? That music we saw outside? In da dark?" And although he ran through his usual repertoire of stall tactics at bedtime, which now include needing a washcloth for his headache (remnants of that cold), one more book, a "little song", and much questioning of what Daddy might be watching on TV, he fell asleep fairly quickly. I even got some envelopes addressed for my Christmas cards, and cleaned up the toys and set up the coffee for tomorrow. So am feeling a little less frazzled.

Now if my upstairs neighbor would stop stomping around in concrete boots, things would be great. Maybe I should bang on the ceiling with a broom like the old shrew I'm becoming. Seriously, though, it's 10:30 at night - what the hell could he be doing up there?

'Tis the season procrastinate, apparently. I started out so strong, too.Before Thanksgiving I had about half my Christmas shopping done, my stamps bought, my list made. Unfortunately, I somehow woke up on December 10 and that was STILL all I had done. Christmas shopping in NYC with a 2 and a half year old and a giant belly is not exactly easy - I don't often feel this way, but I find myself wishing for a mall lately, where I could strap my fat ass into the car and load up all my bags after my one stop shopping trip.

Instead, I have to do an awful lot of walking, carrying progressively more numerous and heavier shopping bags. Last year, when I wasn't pregnant, I'd use my babysitter days to power shop, and come home at the end of the day with purple hands from carrying those loaded to the brim shopping bags. These days, however, 10 blocks with two carrier bags feels like an awful lot, so I'm not nearly as efficient as I'd like to be. And I don't think I have to tell anyone with children what it's like to try to shop with a toddler.

Anyway, I ran out today while the boy was in preschool and got wrapping paper and cards - last night I ended up choosing the least lame of the pictures and ordering them 2 day shipping - and finished up my photo calenders for the grandparents and now I've had it. I had grand plans to get some kind of holiday themed picture taken this year, but the boy now thinks it's hysterical to close his eyes and make weird faces when I bring out the camera, so that didn't happen.
I should at least be addressing some cards or wrapping a couple of gifts but I haven't got the energy. We have plans to do pizza with some friends tonight and then the little tree lighting in our neighborhood (Rockefeller Center tree is OUT until the kids are older - much as I would love to take my native New Yorker son to see HIS hometown tree lighting, the place is so swarmed with tourists at all times that I could very well be pushed right over the edge) Rain is in the forecast, so we'll see how it goes.

I guess it's good I never got around to cookie baking this year, either, or right now I'd procrastinating wrapping AND eating way too many cookies.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Guess he's not as oblivious as his father

My two and a half year old is a pretty good eater - he will try (or at least lick) most anything I give him, but he does have his preferences. And like any good tri-state area kid, he is a bagel connoisseur - don't be trying to pass off some (easy for me) frozen Lender's mini bagels on him - it must be a full size bagel, from the bagel store.

This morning I toasted and buttered him a bagel (the whole thing, which is huge) and cut it up as usual, in eight pieces. Since I am currently suffering from some mild pregnancy induced TMJ, I am forbidden to eat bagels myself, so when I saw a thin little piece of his, I took it off the plate and ate it before I brought it to His Highness at the table. I put it down in front of him and went back to the kitchen for my coffee, and I hear him yell indignantly, "Hey! Hey, what happened?"

So I came back in and he said, "I missin a piece!" Little stinker. When I fessed up that I'd eaten it, he screwed up his face, pointed his finger and said, "You don't do dat AGAIN!"

At this rate, I won't be able to eat all his Halloween candy next year, either.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's not Harvard

So we are now entering the circle of hell known as Manhattan preschool admittance. For anyone living outside NYC, the process of getting your child into preschool usually involves 1. touring the school 2. signing up 3. writing your check. Not so in Manhattan.There are different degrees of lunacy, of course, depending on which schools you want to apply to. But some things are true of all of them. For starters, you must call the schools for applications the day after Labor Day the year BEFORE you want your child to go. Then, in the fall, the school contacts you (the parents) to schedule a tour and an interview. Did you get that? So THEY can interview YOU, the parents, who will NOT be attending the preschool. And by YOU, I mean both parents, because showing up solo for an interview is a big fat strike against you.

Now, this already bugs the shit out of me. First of all, I need to spend the day after Labor Day on the phone with schools? Man, what if I wanted to be on vacation? Of course, some schools starts apps then, and you can continue to call for them after that - those are the only schools I chose, because there is something about thousands of neurotic NYC parents speed dialing the same number on the same day that makes me want to throw myself in front of a bus. I also only chose schools within walking distance of my house, because it's fucking preschool, for God's sake. I'm not schlepping my kid 25 blocks so he can have a more enriching experience with the finger paints, you know what I mean?

The second thing that bugs me about this is the two parent thing. Obviously they don't hold it against you if you're a single parent, or divorced. But some people have JOBS, and maybe they can't just take off on the preschools scheduled day to go check out the playdough station. Why isn't one parent there enough? I mentioned to one of my friends (a former Manhattan preschool teacher herself) that I found this ludicrous, and she disagreed. I said, "What if one of the parents is a SURGEON? Or a nurse? Or a fireman?" And she shrugged and said, "Well, they're also a parent, and they need to show the school that their childs education is a priority." I wanted to grab her and smack her back and forth in the face - your child's EDUCATION? It's absolutely amazing to me that they get so many people to fall for this bullshit. And let me just state right off, that if you can't take a day off because you will lose a days pay and won't be able to pay your bills, they don't care because you will not be able to afford their outrageous tuition anyway. Which brings me around to the third thing that bugs me. There are no other options. Your kid has to go to some grimy daycare or you have to pay a sitter if you don't have money.

Anyway, on to the process. After you do the parent interview, you schedule an interview for your child. They call it a playdate, but here is my question - Why do they need to see my kid play? As far as I can tell, with a few exceptions, they all do the same thing. Especially if you are sending your kid early, at 2 - they want to observe an 18 month old playing with other kids? It's so frustrating. Anyway, the kids come in February, and then you get acceptance or rejection letters in March. And the reason they can get away with this? There are 3 times as many children applying as there are spaces. They sell guides and write magazine articles about getting your kid in, suggesting you apply to at least 15 schools to be sure you get into one. I'm drawing the line, man. I'm applying to my neighborhood schools and that's it - if he doesn't get in, he'll have to stay home and learn to spell with me. Or go to the Y.

And don't let's get started on the emphasis they have already started pushing on FUNDRAISING. It's not enough that I have to pay thousands of dollars to send my kid to school for 3 hours a day, I also have to pimp wrapping paper.

I sometimes make fun of Kansas, but I'm starting to think maybe we should relocate.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It would be so nice

to take a shower just once without the boy standing outside the glass door.

Monday, November 19, 2007

from the land of tea and honey

Last Monday, the boy started sounding a little raspy, and Monday night spiked a fever before bed. And since then, we have been stranded in a sea of tissues, coughing, and snot. The poor kid (and his poor mama) didn't sleep through the night until last night - humidifiers, vaporizors, and Tylenol notwithstanding. I ended up sleeping on the extra bed in his room, since he was waking up choking and coughing, and in the middle of his hacking would hold up his little arms and say, "Mama, I needa hode you."
So now I've got it too - and can't take anything for it, either. I somehow made it through my first pregnancy without illness of any sort, so was unprepared for just how crappy a common cold would make me feel without the dual miracles of DayQuil/NyQuil with which I normally dose up and carry on. He's better now, and slept through the night last night FINALLY, so I know I'll be turning the corner soon.
Except my husband just called me from work to say he has a headache and doesn't feel well, and he's been working like a maniac the past week or so. Which means he'll be worse and more dramatic than the 2 year old.
I love winter. And all those damn nannies who bring their sick charges to preschool.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I hope those brain cells aren't gone for good

So I am now 25 weeks pregnant with my second son - my first is 2 and a half. I'm also 40. So when I was pregnant with the boy, I first experienced pregnancy brain - but I was working then, and so pretty much holding it together, although I would occasionally forget some obscure word like 'dresser'.
This time, however, I have reached new depths of stupidity - this morning I was randomly clicking around some blogrolls (sick kid, stuck in apartment for 3 days now) and found a link for someone I used to read in the old days. I eagerly went to her blog, caught up a little, and noticed her little link list - clicked on, and found a site about the first months of a new mother in Manhattan..... and then I realized it was mine. I started a blog, way back then, as I somehow couldn't continue my old one once I had a baby - instead of writing about restaurants and dates and crazy people, my life had become all diapers and teething and daytime TV, and I just couldn't make the leap. Anyway, point of this rambling diatribe is that I started a blog and forgot all about it, until today.

I'm hoping it's pregnancy and not old age.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I have really missed having a blog - actually, the last time I had one they were called online journals - but have been short on time. Am going to try to keep up with this one, as I'd like some record of these years, raising my kids in NYC.