Friday, January 25, 2008


I'm back on the subject of neurotic New York parents today. But before I describe my morning, let me start with an admission, lest you think I am harshly judging these Preschool Parents. I am just as neurotic in my own way, as was brought home to me clearly last weekend when we went to have dinner at our friends house in the suburbs. There were four couples all together, with four kids total, ranging in age from 2 to 6. For all these people, having the kids downstairs in the playroom while we had an adult dinner upstairs was par for the course. To my husband and I, this was some unheard of and slightly anxiety producing nirvana. When the other parents heard someone crying or shouting, they rolled their eyes and waited for the injured party to a) work it out for him/herself b) come upstairs seeking parental assistance. When it was my kid crying, my first instinct was not only to jump up and run downstairs, but also to broker the peace between the kids. Every 20 minutes or so my husband would look at me and say, "should I go check on the Boy?" Now clearly, the other parents have a far better and healthier approach to this. In our defense, we not only live in tight quarters with our children in New York, we are, for the most part, required to keep a sharp eye on them at all times. I don't let my kid go running wild in the museum, or even out of my general sight at an unfamiliar playground. And walking down the street with your child in NYC is an exercise in vigilance. Too many crazy people, too much traffic, just too much, in general. And when removed from this urban environment, it's hard to relax the standards, I admit.

This morning we had the followup visit to one of the preschools we are applying to for September. The "playdate." I mentioned this in my earlier rant about Manhattan preschool insanity, and today was the first of three I have scheduled. It's also the most normal, in my opinion, and the one I'd most like him to attend. So whatever, I don't really get why they do this unless they want to weed out the super aggressive kids or something, but we went and it was low key, just four kids, one parent each, and all they did at first was free play. The point, the director told us, was to observe the children. Get that? Observe the children. Which I took to mean that I should hang back, shut up, and let my kid do what he wants, right? The Boy, being who he is, found a bucket of tiny blocks and proceeded to build a tower in his meticulous and focused way. And spent the entire freeplay time doing it. Which was fine with me - just as well she see his anal retentiveness right off the bat. And there was another mom there doing pretty much the same thing, and she and I chatted a little and kind of watched the kids and waited to see what we were supposed to do next. But the other parents? Holy crap.

There was one dad there, who I am familiar with from some previous classes, who was pumping his kid so loudly I was embarassed for him. "Julia, look! There's an alphabet puzzle! You love alphabet puzzles! You know your letters, Julia! Do you want to play with the alphabet puzzle? The RED, YELLOW and BLUE alphabet puzzle?" Good God, man. I'm sorry you didn't make your high school football team, but you really need to back up. Your kid is three. He then followed her over to the play kitchen, where he entreatied her in a loud voice to play with the other little girl there: "Say hello to Lucy! Say hello, Lucy! Why don't you give her some food on a plate? How about the YELLOW BANANA, Julia?" Oy. I had a headache by the time I left. If the Boy doesn't get in because he didn't display his knowledge of the alphabet, we'll live.

And a few random and odd things rattling around my head:

I do not understand the big fuss over this stupid Jessica Seinfeld book, Deceptively Delicious. First of all, our own mothers and grandmothers have been doing this for years - ask yours. I bet you anything she shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce, grated peppers in meatloaf, etc. I know mine did. If that woman had a different husband, that book never would have been published, if you ask me. BUT! I keep reading blogs where people are raving about it, and talking about copying down the recipes. What?? You need a recipe to puree vegetables and stick them in what you're cooking? It boggles the mind.

Why am I craving ice? I am drinking a boatload of ice water these days, but what I really want is the ice. And for some reason, the ice from my freezer tastes just like I remember the virgin, unbroken snow tasting when I would eat it as a child. Weird.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

work it

A few weeks ago I wrote about going to my prenatal massage at the spa in the W hotel. It was dark and rainy when I got out of the spa, so I decided to have lunch in the hotel restaurant. You know, since I couldn't make my lunch all those brownies at the spa lounge.

As I made my way to the restaurant, I had to walk through both the lobby and the lounge, and both of them were full of business people. Small groups of 3 or 4 people sitting around low tables, having meetings. Colleagues reviewing paperwork. Business travellers on their own, working on their laptops with a cappuccino in front of them.

And I was jealous. Bitterly, longingly jealous, missing those days. Those days of travel, of meetings with grownups, of decisions that produced immediate results and the camaraderie of colleagues. Oh, and employees that actually listened to me and did what they were told. Unlike my current staff of one.

Don't get me wrong - I am thankful that I had the choice to stay home for these past three years, and thankful that I'll get to do it again with baby #2. I'm glad I got to be there for all his firsts, to watch him grow and develop, and to see him, every day, turn into the little person he's become. But I really miss working - I have just removed myself so far from that world that I don't often think about it - my days now are filled with kid classes and my world populated with parents and other children. Walking through a business hotel made me seriously nostalgic, though. And as much as I bitched about it while I was working, I have always, always loved to be busy. I mean productively busy, not busy wiping noses and doing endless amounts of sweeping, laundry, and play-doh playing. I'm an immediate gratification kind of girl.

The good news, though, is that I can take naps when the Boy does. There were no naps at work. If there were, though, I might be tempted to go back.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


When my boy was around 18 months old, he really started fighting the crib. After months of this, my husband, in a 3am moment of desperation, set him down on the futon that was in his room at the time. The Boy rolled over and promptly fell asleep for ten hours. Needless to say, we went out bed shopping the day after.

Unfortunately, the delivery of his big boy bed coincided with his worst-ever bout of separation anxiety and a terrible stomach bug. This combination led us, his exhausted middle aged parents, to break the cardinal rule of bedtime and start laying with him in his bed until he fell asleep. Now this has been going on for a year, and with the imminent arrival of Boy #2, I decided we had to nip this in the bud. So I bought the Supernanny book, dusted off my copy of Weissbluth, polled all my mom friends, and did a few internet searches, and I devised a plan. A plan involving a week of talking it up, a kitchen timer, and a basket of small treats. I dreaded the implementation, as I have never been one of those parents who could stomach the cry-it-out method, but time is growing short - I'm about 6 weeks away from delivery, and figured it could take about that long.

I can hardly believe it, but it's worked like a charm. IN TWO DAYS. The first night he cried out for me a few times after I left his room - I went back and reassured him that I was just in the next room - and the second night when it was time for me to leave the room he put on a brave face - "Is okay, Mommy, is okay, I not cry, you check on me in a few minutes.." And now? Now when that timer goes off he opens his eyes and says, "Dat da timah? Ok... you go." And he goes to sleep. Goes to sleep! I should have done this 6 months ago

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'll miss reading

I really have been trying to make the most of this time before the baby comes, both with the Boy and on my own. You know, while I still have an "on my own." The massage and solo movie day, of course, because it will be a long long while before I indulge myself like that again once the baby is born. I'm also trying to read as much as possible - while I read a TON when the Boy was a newborn (after a month or so, I started reading while the baby was nursing or sleeping in my arms - you know, instead of just staring at him) But I don't see that happening this time, not with my 3 year old monkey man doing backflips off the couch. Since New Years, I have read four books and am well into numbers five and six (yes, two at a time.) If I wasn't so ignorant and lazy I'd create some kind of sidebar, but instead, here's what I've read:

Up in The Old Hotel - Joseph Mitchell
Leftovers - Laura Weiss
Heat - Bill Buford
Digging To America - Ann Tyler

I'm currently alternating between Adam Gopnick's Through the Children's Gate, which is his story of moving his family back to NYC after 9/11 (the Children's Gate is an actual entrance to Central Park, at 76th Street and 5th Avenue. Hard to see the sign now, though, as there is usually a hot dog vendor parked in front of it) and What is the What by Dave Eggers. The latter is the story of one of the "Lost Boys" a young Sudanese man who escapes the horrors of Darfur to come to America, where he is promptly abused and robbed by young African Americans, mostly men. I've just started it, but may soon put down Gopnick, as I've already cried twice in the first chapter. It's riveting, and makes me just a little ashamed to be an American.

Ok, time to go read books with the Boy - I'll try to get back later to post on Operation GO TO BED, DAMMIT. It's going to be a tough go.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

roll, over

I was really on a little roll, there - 3 entries in 5 days - but apparently it's all over now. Not sure why I haven't posted, just every time I sit down to it seems like I'd rather read other peoples blogs.

Anyway, in my last post I mentioned that I would be having the prenatal massage my husband got me for Christmas. Where have I been??? I should have started this prenatal massage thing waaaaaay earlier in my pregnancy - no wait, I should have started it in my FIRST pregnancy. It was at Bliss, which is not my favorite, but I went to the one at the W hotel on 49th Street and it was much more relaxing than the one in Soho. They gave me a male masseuse, which normally doesn't bother me, but being pregnant and all I was a little hesitant. He turned out to be one of those spiritual yoga type guys, though, so it was all ok. He gave me a Buddha charm at the end. Anyway, it was fabulous and relaxing and I think that I must need a heated bed and a giant fluffy body pillow in my own house, because I almost fell asleep. And sleep is a rare commodity for me these days. Alas, the husband doesn't agree. He's already complaining that I want a private room at the hospital. The only bad thing about was the brownie bar. Because my facist OB, if you recall, has me watching my sugar and carbs. And really, what pregnant woman wants to hear that? And ok, I had one, but they were really tiny and if she didn't tell me to stay away from the sweets I would have eaten eleventy million of them. They're pretty crafty, that Bliss spa. First a massage, and then a brownie bar? You have to admit, it puts them right up over the top.

So it has been decided that I will be having another C section. My OB, who is all about the natural way of doing everything, has determined that if my 7 lb 1 oz first baby didn't fit, the second one probably won't either. And it looks like #2 has also inherited his fathers (and older brothers) giant size head. (An aside - after the Boy was born, I mentioned in front of my inlaws that he had the big MYLASTNAMEHERE head. Whereupon my brother in law remarked, " I didn't realize there WAS a big MYLASTNAMEHERE - which is also his last name - head." Heh.) I won't get the date until the end of the month, but looks like the very first week of March. Yikes. I better get my ass to the country to get the baby stuff out of the attic. And I guess I better think about a double stroller, too.

And in other news, my boy has some kind of weird bumpy little rash thing on his face that's freaking me out just a little.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


So I dropped the Boy off at my parents this afternoon, did my usual trip to Target while in the suburbs with the car, and am now home drinking tea. The boy is sleeping at Nana's tonight while the husband and I go to an early dinner at Gramercy Tavern and then to the theater to see the new Mamet. (I bought him those tickets for Christmas. Nothing like a gift for your husband that you get to enjoy, right?) I figure we better live it up while we can. Well, live it up as much as possible before 10:30 pm, when I turn into a pumpkin.

On Friday when the babysitter came I actually really did make it to the movies, which is shocking - I always end up feeling guilty for squandering my babysitter time and end up running a million boring errands. Atonement was amazing, while maybe a little heavy for 11am on a sunny Friday afternoon. I debated seeing Juno first, but am not sure I'll get back to the movies anytime soon and really wanted to see Atonement. It was a gorgeous film, and right in line with the dark and depressing genre I seem to be drawn to while pregnant and extra emotional. When I was pregnant with the Boy, I went to see 'Night Mother with Edie Falco on Broadway, and literally spent the second half of the play sobbing and hiccuping and shredding tissues.

It was a good relaxing day, though, and by now I have pretty much let go of all the holiday stress that was weighing on me, so I think I won't even post about it. And one of my new years goals is to spend one of my babysitting days per week doing something relaxing, just for me, until the baby comes. Next Friday I'm cashing in on my prenatal massage certificate that P got me for Christmas. Ok, off to find something suitable to wrap around this giant belly.

Friday, January 4, 2008


So I had an appointment for my regular (now three week) checkup at my OB - but she called this morning to cancel, as she has a patient who needs to be delivered. (This is one of the things I love about my OB - she delivers all her own babies if at all possible. One of the things I don't like - she wouldn't give me painkillers stronger than prescription Tylenol after my C section because I was nursing.)

Anyway, so I find myself in the position of having a babysitter and nothing to do. I think I might just take myself to the 11 am showing of Atonement in Union Square and eat popcorn and Twizzlers.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I can't believe it's taken me so long to post, and now I'm so bone tired that I can't even attempt a post holiday recap. All I have to say is that as of 8pm tonight, I FINALLY, FINALLY have my apartment back - no one staying here, no overnight bags strewn over the living room, no more Christmas toys spread wall to wall....ahhhh.

I will update the holidays tomorrow, but I had to just hop on and post this, as if I had to spend one more hour entertaining people I think I might have gone off the deep end.

And in other frightening news - Huckabee won Iowa for the Republicans? Guess that's good news for us in the general election, but damn, man. That guy is a nutter.