Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

A bit of a belated thanksgiving post! Our thanksgiving holiday this year was largely spent driving - to NJ, then to NYC for a day, then around NJ visiting a couple friends. We are lucky that K didn't grow sores on her tush from all that time in the car - and that I didn't hurl "Where is Spot" out the window after reading it for the 45th time.
The holidays are far more exciting now that K can get infected with our excitement! She seemingly understands that this is a time of year laced with good food, friends and family and tons of sweets. The only thing that hasn't changed since last Thanksgiving - she refuses to eat turkey, regardless of how much cranberry sauce it's hiding under.

Thanksgiving 2007 - moments before settling into a food coma

Thanksgiving 2006 - wow, look at those cheeks. What a load to carry around.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aspirator: Tool of relief or fiendish torture?

If J and I vehemently disagree about anything, it is but this: the use of the aspirator when K has a cold. J thinks all an aspirator accomplishes is in stretching out K's petite nostrils. I, on the other hand, hail the aspirator as the most important weapon in the battle against gallons of mucous congealed in K's sinuses. I don't know who's right, but I do know who suffers: K and only K. Just look at her!! Ok, this photo was taken nearly 18 months ago but that's not the point. 18 months later and I still wince when I see how helpless she is in this photo. If only babies weren't born so vulnerable. If only K could have snatched the aspirator from my grip and snapped "how'd you like to have something that's 25 times the size of your nose jammed up your nose??"
Fast forward 18 months later. K, now nearly 20 months, enduring her umpteenth cold, has finally found her voice. Today, when I neared her, aspirator in hand, she jumped and fled screaming "noooo!" And in the evening, as I was getting ready to put her down to sleep, she demanded "mama take booger out". Ah, what exuberant relief to finally be able to understand my child's wants and needs! Surely this will cut down on the amount of egregious mistakes I make as a parent. And if not, there's always psychotherapy. Just kidding!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like winter when...

waking up in the morning, you find a pair of these at the bottom of the stairs.

K's first pair of "booties". This is her first pair since I neglected to knit K a pair of booties when she was a newborn, which is merely item #29 on the list of "Ways that I failed my newborn child because I was clueless and terrified and exhausted and did I tell you after 12 weeks I had a 90 minute commute to work, 75 minutes if I got lucky." Actually, did I ever tell you that K? Why did I do it? Why wasn't I home knitting booties??

Ah, I remember now. Because I didn't even know what booties were. Which goes to show what tremendous strides I've made in 19.5 months. Aside from my bootie revelation, I have come to notice children everywhere. Have they always been there, but just on the periphery of my single, then married-but childless, vision? Moreover, I have discovered children are refreshing, a deep long drink for a parched soul. Especially K. This will sound like gushing no matter how much I want to avoid it, but quite simply, I cannot get enough of K these days. With the exception of her refusing to eat the fifth consecutive variety of food I offer her for lunch or deliberately removing the straw out of her cup and creating an ankle-deep pool of orange juice on the floor (it's only 8am K!! mommy hasn't even brewed the coffee!!), I really have become a bit lovestruck. It must be that K's personality is finally at full bloom and thus I am entranced by all that she expresses throughout the day:

In the morning, when asking what she wants for breakfast: "Croissants at la madeline!"

After coming back from la madeline, when offering her an egg: "Eat egg on sofa!"

Throught the day: "Mama read book moon book!" (as she is obsessed with "Papa, please get the moon for me")

The hour before J gets home: "Where dada? Mama find dada!!"

No doubt with time, all the demands will eat away at my soul instead of delighting it, especially when it involves extending curfews and dating a leather-clad biker named Bubba. But for now, the days with K are a wonder to me.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The official trick or treat night

The outfit

The loot
A loose interpretation of the above gesture:
Me: "Would you like your first taste of chocolate and embark on a life-long journey of being a choco-holic like your dear mum?"
K: "I dare say, that interests me not in the least. Please unburden me of these sweets and while you are at it, do pass the broccoli."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

3rd wedding anniversary + K's 2nd (1st official) halloween

It just happens that our wedding anniversary will eternally be the day before halloween. Not sure what chaos this will bring in the future but in 2007, we had a butterfly fluttering about this week. A butterfly disguised as K.

I actually had lofty plans to make her costume and dreamed of K adorned as a woodland fairy creature. I went so far as to make her tutu, got the pattern for her hat and shoes, and after two Saturday hours spent (wasted) on this endeavor, I gave up and went out and got the butterfly (bumblebee???) getup.

And tonight, J, K and I went out to dinner to a local French restaurant to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. K's current fixation is the Eiffel tower so she was wide-eyed for all of ten minutes. Then the food took too long and by the time it arrived, K had salted every inanimate object on the table, including my glass of Kir royale (delicious, still). J wrote me a poem and there was lobster claw meat in my mashed potatoes. Sigh, why can't it be our anniversary every other night? Happy anniversary J!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The first pumpkin picking outing

Ah, there are so many things to love about the arrival of autumn (by far my favorite season). And now that we have lovely K in our lives, there is the addition of a soon to be classic autumn activity - pumpkin picking!

It was more than a little strange picking pumpkins in October in tank tops and shorts due to the 90+ degree weather, but at least we all know about the cause of such oddity in global temperatures (we can thank Al Gore for that evidently).

I would also like to note that K has started speaking full sentences, as opposed to pointing and grunting one word. During the course of a day, K may say the following:

"Kakadoodle doo! K wake up"

"Dada go to work"

"Mama pick up K's cup"

"K eat dip dip waffles"

"Mama read hat book"

"Dada buy K rocking horse" (NO JOKE)

"K fly away or K run away" This is a recent obsession of hers. 19 months old and already she doesn't want to be seen with her mom at the mall.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another first: The Zoo

K experienced her first trip to the zoo at the national zoo in Washington DC this past weekend and had it been 10 degrees cooler, we would have all actually been comfortable. Perhaps the excessive heat was to blame for the lack of animal sightings? For the first 30 minutes, every animal exhibit we came to was devoid of any living, moving creature. But there were plenty of rocks and trees. Which is why K kept pointing and enthusiastically crying out "rock"!! Naturally, she believed we were spending the afternoon at a rock museum and was humoring us, sweet child.

Okay, admittedly these pictures are not going to win me any awards in photojournalism. But it was just too hot, I tell you!
We will probably wait awhile before our next zoo outing as K wasn't as excited as we had hoped. That and I suffered massive panic attacks at the tiger exhibit when my maternal instict to protect my offspring consumed me. Why is it that as a mom you envision every worst-case scenario in every circumstance??

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Our (fleeting) return to NYC

Over the labor day weekend, K, J and I went up to NYC for a little E & E (eating and eating). That was our primary goal, along with 1) getting J a decent haircut; 2) hitting up children's boutiques; and 3) seeing old friends. The haircut didn't happen, J began to complain when I dragged him to the 9th toy store in 2 days, and having brunch with old friends made us feel like we never left nyc.

We stayed in Union Square for old time's sake and during the entire weekend, the city never missed a beat. K particularly was in sensory overload - the fire engines, the fantastical toy stores, the near-perfect croissants (her favorite pastry to date) and strollers, dogs, people everywhere! Oh, and undoubtedly the very best part of the entire weekend for K was...

...pistachio and hazelnut gelato at Cones in the west village. Who knew you could buy (and eat) happiness?? Or that it came in a sugar cone?

Here are some more pics from the trip:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Martha, you have nothing to fear from me. Your throne is secure.

My first sewing machine!

Does it look like it cost $20? Yes. But does it sew? Heck yeeeeah.

The first project: A mini pillow for K's chair. Much to K's dismay, I've definitely caught the crafting bug. K is doomed to lose social acceptance if my visions of sewing all her kindergarten outfits play out.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Living for the here and now

K is now 17 months and surging ahead, with no concern for the past. I, however, lurk perpetually in the past, especially on evenings such as this when I'm going through her baby albums. I am silently desperate to clasp onto those moments so tightly, hoping to keep them fresh in my memory banks for as long as I can.

As I look through K's baby pictures, I feel like I am living some of the moments for the first time. This is because, sadly, I committed the worst of parenting crimes in that I failed to live in the present for much of these moments. I remember when K was a week old, I was thinking about when we'd ever reach the 12-week mark. When she reached 12 weeks, I yearned for all the allure that the 6-month stage held (solids! yay! what did i know!). When she graduated to 6 months, I pinned all my aspirations on 10 months - surely she would walk by then (again, i knew not for what i wished). I counted the days until she turned 12 months - surely that number contained magic? And as she inched toward 14 months...I held my breath for her first non mono-word sentence.

K has grown up too fast. I miss her grunting, instead of saying "momma, up, now!". I miss the the chubbiness, the drooling, compulsion to put everything into her mouth, the fascination with pulling herself up to a standing position before she plopped down again.

I'm determined to try harder tommorow to savor every unique moment that K offers up - the teething tanturms, insistence of running around unclothed and diaperless, the need to plunge headfist into every conceivable danger. I understand now why we shouldn't live in the future - it comes much too quickly!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The first family vacation, south beach style

We just returned from the "first" family vacation in South Beach, Miami (but have no j.lo glow to show for it - I guess spf 85 was a wee bit higher than neccessary). K experienced tons of "firsts": plane ride, beach sand, ocean, the pool, palm trees, seeing women running around topless, and art deco.
We actually ate everything but cuban food - the hotel was not within walking distance (in 90 degree humidity) of little havana, nor the rest of miami. So we spent most of our time on the beach, by the pool, eating at the pool restaurant and on Lincoln Road mall (which is a close approximation to being in a European city with all the euro[trash]peans lounging at the outdoor cafes chain smoking, sipping espresso and ordering a pound of bufala mozerella for dinner.)
Highlights of the trip include:

1) genius jones - a most delightful toy store!

2) ice box cafe - considered by some as home to the best cake in the u.s. after tasting the sour cream pecan coffee cake (for breakfast, might I add - aren't vacations sinfully indulgent?), we'd have to agree.

3) cafe con leche - strong cuban coffee +steamed milk + unknown and obscene quanitites of refined sugar = AH, NOW I'M BUZZED FOR THE NEXT 12 HOURS.

4) la sandwicherie - a french sandwich stand run by a group of italian men. the sandwiches were generous and fresh and packed with goodies (like a special french vinagerette).

5) friendship. we stayed in a hotel that was unfathomably spectacular due to the graciousness of j's friend. the setai lived up to the hype, but we missed out on the celebrity sightings since K's bedtime was 8pm. ah well, there's always next summer!

A few of our favorite moments...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The dog days of summer 2007

I have no reasonable idea as to what the "dog days of summer" refers but it was the only summer cliche that came to mind. And the phrase does conjure up images of running through lawn sprinklers and lemonade stands so it captures the spirit of today well as today marked the momumental 1st summer popsicle!

Nothing fancy went into making the popsicle - just some pear nectar diluted with water poured into an ikea popsicle kit. But a lot of trepidation was felt immediately before introducing the popsicle to K, a 15 mo who had not quite mastered the skill of holding a rapidly melting frozen treat w/o dropping it/letting it drip/refraining from hurling it across the room. I knew that short of putting her in the bathtub, a ominous sticky wet mess loomed in the near future. The OCD in me fiercely protested. But in the end, I was only too happy to present K with her popsicle. K's eyes grew wide as she tasted the cold treat. My soul swelled with the simple joy of the moment. Oh to taste a popsicle for the first time!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Too lazy to blog

I've been too lazy to blog lately. Ever since I got a library card from the local library, I've been borrowing books by the cartfuls to bring home, have them sit in a pile in the corner for three weeks untouched, accumulate a few days worth of overdue fines, and have them carted back to the library because reading books take time and time is scarce scarce scarce when there's an increasingly independent 14.5 month old in your life! K is truly coming into her own. These days, her favorite activities include:

1) Saying no
2) Still refusing to eat anything remotely healthy while saying no
3) Pulling every reachable item off the shelves at Target while I say no

Her major milestone is - ta da! - walking! Kind of. Her skill level when it comes to walking is somewhere between that of a hobbit and a graceful sumo wrestler. You'd know what I mean if you saw her in action.

Ah, the mismatched socks day. Sometimes K and I just throw caution to the wind and live life with abandon.

Here a couple more pics from the homefront to make up for the long absence...

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Mother's Day personality disorder

It still feels strange to celebrate Mother's Day as both daughter and mother. I was startled when strangers wished me a "happy mother's day" when they saw me and k together on Sunday.

Me? A Mother?

Sometimes I feel like I'm merely a benevolent guardian over k. I mean, I don't knit, sew or bake - can I still be a mother? For a vacation, I'd rather take k to napa valley rather than disney world - am I still a mother? I wear dangly earings from time to time, don't shop at Ann Taylor (because I like to wear pants that don't make my butt resemble a flat pancake), and still listen to hip hop - what kind of mother am I??

I hope k understands that the cloak of traditional motherhood doesn't fit me very well but that in place of being chauferred to soccer practices in a honda pilot suv, she'll appreciate the other ways we can bond as mother and daughter. For example, playing hide and seek under the table while mommy finishes her Sunday brunch!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Space and Convenience in the Suburbs: What's it worth?

In response to Christine's comments about the value of space and convenience in the suburbs...


If you go from a 3800 sq. ft hom in the burbs to a 688 sq. ft. 1 bedroom apartment in the city with a child, you can appreciate living space. But here are a few possible reasons you may not value the extra square footage:

1) You are OCD about cleaning but tragically hate to clean (surely we can think of 1001 other things you'd rather do when your child is napping). How are you going to keep a 4 bedroom/2.5 bath home dust free for your toddler? (Obvious answer: Housekeeper. We finally found one after 3 months of searching.)

2) You are not a homebody and prefer being outside rather than being home - oops, nothing to really do outside the home in the burbs and now all that square footage going to waste...

3) You hate bugs - all bugs. But now you have a yard full of bugs. Did I mention the bees in the suburbs are 5 in. long and look demonic???? And ants...they infest every house, apt and condo. Theere are no escaping them!

4) You are up to the challenge of making the most out of space. I'm especially inspired by apartment therapy's smallest nursery contest - a 36 sq. ft nursery in a 550 sq ft apartment?? City dwellers have SO much imagination and creativity.

I confess we do enjoy the 1300 sq footage we have now, compared to the walk-in closet in NYC. k has a playroom (which she rarely uses) and our "home office" is situated in our dining room with space to spare. And I'm giddy about being able to cook without using the stove top and sink as extra counter space. But I would gladly give up the extra room for the chance to step outside my door to grab a cup of coffe or walk to the park. Which leads me to the issue of convenience...


Swimming/golf/tennis - ok, the burbs has all of these in abundance, but not within blocks of each other. More like within tens of miles of each other with a child in the back seat that does not take kindly to being chaufferred around. Theoretically, there is a starbucks on the way to gymboree class, but since stopping for coffee in the burbs entails parking, taking k out of the car seat, waiting in lines that move incredulously slow (apparently no one is in a hurry here), balancing coffee in one hand and k in the other arm (far too lazy to lug the stroller out of the trunk), and belting k back in her car seat, the coffee never happens.

I believe the city wins on the point of convience - in NYC, we were blessed to have trader joes, whole foods, garden of eden, food emporium and a farmer's market within 4 blocks of each other. And walking home from grocery shopping, I could get a pedicure, pick up a new cookbook, upgrade my wireless phone service, buy another yoga mat, get new sandals to showcase my pedicured feet and grab a croissant and cappucino good enough for the pope himself. Granted you could do some of these things at a mall, but then you have to deal with teenagers (yikes).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Urban vs. Suburban living: the most important decision. Ever.

This blog entry is inspired by my friend Christine, who started her own pro/con list on the subject, which you can find here: (hope you don't mind Christine for the shout out). And yes, her baby boy really is that heartbreakingly adorable (and well-heeled) in person!!

The urban vs. suburban dilemna is one that I'm struggling with myself. In the past 12 months, I moved from NYC to NJ (in a moment of fleeting insanity), only to move back to NYC (with relish), and then to move down to MD (hubby got a new job). And in that time, I've decided, heck, every fiber of my being is convicted, that the city > suburbs. Actually, more like:

NYC >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Suburbs

but I think understatement is more compelling.

Ok, so be forewarned, this pro/con list is entirely NYC-centric and I'm handicapped by a slight bias. Hope you enjoy all the same! I've organized by things that may be of importance if you have a child.


  • madison square park: 2 words - Shake Shack. where else can you chow on the best burger this side of the Mississippi and drown it down with a half bottle of [good] wine (for you) and creamy vanilla custard (for the baby)? YUM-O.
  • central park. free shakespeare plays and symphony/opera in the park? enough said.
  • union square park. where else will you run into a mommy/former CEO of a fortune 100 company, the next young martin scorcese working on his first screenplay, a group of homeless men playing chess who could make kasparov cry and a dog whose designer collar cost more than your spring wardrobe?

No weirdos in the park, from what i've noticed. Lots of families. Breathably clean air. People even come to fish! Note: everyone fishes in the suburbs.

Is there anything to say in defense of the burbs here? Anything at all?? Compared to the microcosm of epicurean delight that is NYC, I'd be quick to say NO.

To be fair, the burbs does have its share of non-chain eating establishments that are run by mom and pop types whose recipes date back 10 generations, use high quality ingredients and take great pride in every dish they set before you. But these are true diamonds in the rough - and there's a lot of rough in the suburbs. In other words, if you like your pasta al dente and don't care for buffets, the burbs are not for you.

On the other hand, the burbs force you into eating relatively healthy and saving tons of $$ by cooking nearly every night of the week. Unfortunately, if you haven't yet learned to cook, cooking classes aren't quite the caliber that they are in NYC so if you want to make anything other than tuna casserole, you may be out of luck.

In sum, if you like your pasta al dente and don't care for buffets, the burbs are not for you.

If you share my love affair with Target, than let's give the suburbs a point or two. Most items also cost much less at the mall than at boutiques. In fact, today I went shopping for Pedipeds for k and found that Nordstrom actually sells them for less than the price posted on the Pediped website! NYC boutiques are rich in the diversity of their products but the markups are ridiculous ($32 for Robeez at Ibza Kidz?? Criminal.).

NYC really has the kindest mommies. Sure after the first hello and asking how old your kid is she will turn up her nose at your non-european stroller and ask you whether the stuffed pig your baby is clutching is made of organic soy fiber (knowing full well it is not). But she will also generously pour you a glass of wine and share her secrets on how to lose that last 10 lbs of post-partum weight. J/k! I don't know any moms like this in NYC. The NYC moms I've been fortunate enough to meet are incredibly colorful, sophisticated, sweet women who are so taletned and wise. Not that suburban mom aren't the same - however I feel that urban moms have a particular infectious energy to them (perhaps due to the Starbucks on every corner?).

I think this just means I have to get out and meet more suburban moms and do away with my quick judgments. But for some disheartening reason, I have yet to secure a single playdate and my church is full of mommies! Perhaps I reek of desperation. Perhaps I reek of alcohol. But this is just confirming my belief that NYC moms are friendlier (the martini before noon probably helps the socialization along). In all seriousness, I think it's because most NYC moms realize that it's not ALL ABOUT THE BABY ALL THE TIME (will have to save this subject matter for a later post).

Ok , this will have to be a post-in-progess as it's very late and k will be rising with the sun. But before I go, perhaps it doesn't matter whether babies are raised in the city or the burbs, as only one thing really makes them happy: KA KA (crackers).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hungry Toddler, she is not

This is k's first taste of solids. at 6 months. Echhhhhhh. Poor girl - would YOU enjoy being force fed rice cereal mixed with boob milk? I'm convicted that it's because of this first ick experience that k has since eschewed solids in every shape, color, smell and consistency. My first mistake in feeding her tasteless blah rice cereal was compounded by my second ever-more grave mistake: feeding her jarred baby food. If you've ever tasted jarred baby food, you may have shared my reaction, which amounted to: yelling "what the BLEEP???" and hurling the jar with all its inconsumable contents across the room. On the spectrum of things I never want my taste buds to experience, jarred baby food falls somwhere between 3-week old elephant manure and cat piss on a bush (I don't know why a bush - I just have this image in my head).

I've been blindly and desperately perusing baby recipes, talking to other moms and spending all our disposable income at Whole Foods to get nourish k - all to no avail. K will not eat! Except cheerios and slices of american cheese, that is. She obviously (and justifiably) still harbors deep distrust and resentment over the rice cereal incident.

So this eating strike (not really a strike I guess b/c she never ate to begin with) has me losing sleep and really highlights my Type A personality because I read somewhere that the greatest nutritional deficiency in toddlers is iron. Iron deficiency is dangerous because it leads to slower brain development as iron helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain. Insufficient levels of iron in children has even been linked to ADHD. Apparently millions of children are deficient in iron and the parents don't have a clue because the symptons are not always apparent.

Not that I need to give you another thing to worry least this means we should be indulging in more steak dinners.

The precious moments where k really throws it down and makes Hungry Momma proud.