One More Book

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It starts with one story read each night when you aren’t old enough to read. You listen to the words daddy reads to you, taking it all in, holding onto each word of his deep voice—wanting him to read one more, just one more—because you know that means more time with him. You look at the pictures and you help turn the pages. You cuddle up in the warmth of each other’s bodies.

You don’t see daddy all day, so if he’s home to tuck you in—I know I will see that jack-o’-lantern-light-up-the-room smile form between your cherub cheeks.

“Pumpkin face, it’s time for bed.” I say, picking up some toys off the floor.

“No way!” You demur.

“Look it’s Daddy, and he is going to read you stories.” Then Daddy appears into the room in his work clothes, fresh from rush hour traffic and a stressful day–ready to put on his daddy cape and save the day. He is your superhero.

“Dad-eee!” You screech with glee. Then like you just gave him a secret hand shake or a double thumbs up only you two can see, you walk past me grabbing daddy’s hand to go to your room.  He tells you to pick two books and you do. Then you lay on your big girl bed in daddy’s arms.

Him reading, you listening.

You start getting antsy when you see the last book coming to an end.

“Book, peas,” you say wanting one more, sensing your time together is about to end.

“Okay, just one more,” he answers your raspy plea. You pick one more– and you both dig in.

You like to hear the stories but what you really love is your time with him. You, laying peacefully on his chest. Him, reading to you and making silly voices for different characters. The two of you—laughing, smiling, eyes twinkling at each other.

One day you will get older, and you won’t want to read with daddy. He will be there for other things like life advice, homework help, and to grab you and your friend’s bagels after a sleep over party.

You talking, him listening and vice versa.

When you are sad, he will let you lay peacefully on his chest—and try to make things all better– taking you back to the times when he read to his little girl during story time. When you are happy, he will celebrate you, because your victories will be his. He will always have that twinkle in his eye for you, his little girl. When it comes to you, he will want one more book, one more moment. Always.

Gosh, I will miss that gummy smile

 

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I wake up because I hear your little babbles next to my ear from the bassinet you sleep in at my bedside.  “Bah Bah Bah” your babbles slowly get louder and louder– I hope it’s because you are counting sheep back to bed (hence the Bah), but it’s highly unlikely. You are having a late-night conversation with me. My everything is too tired to participate though my heart knows it’s time for me to check out why you awoke, willing my sleep-ridden body out of bed.

My husband lays to my side. He doesn’t move or notice your loud babbles. Oh, some men. I laugh at the way he plays dead.  I look at my iPhone that flickers 2 AM. “You have to be kidding me” I say mid yawn, I just dream fed you at 11 PM. How could your seven-month-old body still be hungry? Growth spurt?  Or is it your teeth trying to break through your soft gums? Torturing both of us, because I hate to see you in pain even more than the tiredness that comes from these wakeful nights. And gosh I will miss that gummy smile if your teeth are the culprit.

Your babbles get even louder “BAH BAH BAH.” Those sheep must be having a full-on ragger!

I get up and look into your sweet baby browns.

“What’s going on sweet girl?” I say and you smile at me so big and bright, you have a magical twinkle in your eye. I can’t help but smile back at your happiness.

I lift you, taking you down the hall to the playroom where I feed you daily. I marvel at how I can hold you on my left hip. We bounce down the hall in the dark–silence and the beat of the heater fill our house. You feel so good on my side– you are no longer delicate and dainty.

I feed you your bottle and listen to your feeding noises, little gulps and grunts, while staring into your eyes.

As much as I hate these hour and half wake ups that have been going on these past couple of weeks, it is our time. It’s the only alone time we get. As exhausted as I am because we are up early with your big sister—I will always treasure this time. This time, just you and me.

Your sister is demanding with my attention. She is the spicy to your sweet and sugary. She demands the spotlight—a lot of the time taking it from you without even meaning to. Most of the time she does mean to, she’s still a little jealous of you. So baby girl, this is my way of apologizing on her behalf.

The only other time in your life we were alone was hard. You were born a month early and found yourself in the NICU for the first two weeks of your life. It was a tough time. It broke my heart to leave the hospital without you. I never was without your sister for a night until I gave birth to you—but those two weeks I had to leave you in other hands—great ones—but they weren’t my own hands. My hands that love you more than anything on this earth. I don’t think anyone else in this world besides your father can say that.

Now here we are, me and you, alone again. You, still in my hands, but now much bigger. You are not the delicate little baby I held—swaddled up to keep your little body warm. You keep getting bigger and bigger and soon bottles will be replaced by real food and you will want to be more independent, like your sister. So I will embrace these wakeups because they are so short-lived, days go by fast and furious, and I will miss this one day too soon.

After you are done with your bottle, I give you some Tylenol for your maybe-teeth and you talk to me while I pump—making your yummy breakfast.

Then around 3:30 AM we head back to bed. You and me, us–together.

I tuck you in and you smile at me one last time before we close our eyes for the final stretch of the night. Gosh, I will miss that gummy smile.

Today I Was Over It

Today I was over it.

My toddler woke up in a mood. While I was pumping she waddled over to my six-month-old in her Rocker and pretended to hit her on the head smiling her mischievous Dennis the Menace smile.

“No, I won’t let you hit the baby.” I said trying to remain calm like Janet Lansbury advises, but getting ready to unhook my polka-dot-Minnie-mouse inspired pumping bra and take action knowing my toddler all too well. She smiled at me again, and hit the baby’s head harder–the baby’s face starting to scrunch up to cry. Okay, Janet, this is where I couldn’t give no reaction anymore.

“That’s it!” I took off the bra, liquid gold spilling everywhere, and swooped her up placing her in her purgatory— time out.

Today I was over it.

I was over the fight to put her diaper on after her bath. Her little kicks into my stomach every time I got close to her and her screams because diaper changes are the worst thing you can do to someone, don’t you know?

 Today I was over it.

When we switched rooms, my toddler ran down the hall instead of to the playroom where we usually convene. Her little body moving from side to side– while I ran after her, baby cuddled into my chest. I caught up to her by the stairs and grabbed her little hand as she tried to pull it away because once you turn two you are totally independent. Turning to bolt again, I forced her up—the toddler in one arm, the baby in the other. We walked down the hall like this.

Today I was over it.

The outfit changes. The baby had a poop explosion while I was feeding her this morning. Mustardy poop covered my shirt and the baby’s clothes. Then I went to art class with my toddler, blue paint covering outfit number two by the time she was midway through finger painting.

Today I was over it.

Always having to have my shit together. Getting the bottles prepped, everyone changed, bathed, cleaned—out the door on time. Not having any time for myself.

Today I was over it.

When bedtime approached I was so relieved. After putting them both down I got into bed myself to unwind when five minutes later I heard through the monitor a cry from the toddler’s room. I ran down the hall, feet pounding like a dinosaur.

“What baby?” I asked as I entered the room.

She gave me a soft hug saying “tissue tissue” as salty snot dripped from her button nose. I wiped. “Book, book. Please.” Please! Just like I had been teaching her…

“Okay just one.” I grabbed the one on top of the pile.

I read her The Very Hungry Caterpillar as she turned the pages.

“Thank you mommy,” she said in her sweet husky voice.

“Your welcome baby.” I kissed her forehead, placing the blanket over her lower half, the shushers’ soothing sound playing in the background. I closed the door.

I heard soft cries come in echoes “neh, neh” from the baby’s room across the hall. NOOOOO. I ran back down the hall, as I tried to decipher the meaning behind the cry—maybe she lost her pacifier? Then I saw her scrunched up face. All she needed was to see me, her mommy, and her frown turned into a magnetic smile as I couldn’t help but smile back at her sweet little face. As I stroked her little head, she leaned to the side, falling right back to sleep.

That’s when I knew

Today I was over it but I am never over both of you.

You are my heart.

Hatching An Egg The Second Time Around

First of all, if you are pregnant with your second child, props because it’s work to get here! After a long day of having your toddler climbing you like you are human Monkey Bars, the last thing you want to do is be touched in any form, at least on some most days. So yes, getting to this point—high five to you! The first time around, there were countless times I wished I was a chicken and could just hatch an egg. I think we all have these wishbone moments—where we wish when cracking that chicken wishbone for this baby’s healthy eviction another route. But this time, so far being pregnant with child number two has been treating me well–besides the headaches and nausea of first trimester– but I digress to some encouraging facts I have gathered:

1). It goes by fast.

I am already 16 weeks pregnant and I feel like I took the pregnancy test yesterday…maybe I did? (Damn forgetful pregnancy brain and your momnesia ways!). My pregnancy is like the Roadrunner running away from the Tasmanian devil on Looney Tunes-fast AF. I hardly even look at my Ovia app, where last time I obsessed about my baby’s fruit and animal size. It was important when she was an avocado. This time I just think oh that will be a nice food to give my other out-of-womb-child tonight. We haven’t done avocados in a while…

2). You are too busy to think about how exhausted you are, most of the time.

I am taking my fourteen month old to classes, running after her, as she is finding her walking groove–transitioning from her crawl. We are always on the “go, go, go” as she says often, especially when she is using her walker. So yes, I am always exhausted anyway, and don’t have time to feel it until around 7-7:30 PM when my little girl closes her eyes for the night and I can just sit on the couch and veg. But let’s be real, that’s what I did every night before I was pregnant anyway.

 3). You already have maternity clothes from the first time around.

In fact, I never stopped wearing them! I am one of those freaks that love maternity clothes. Baby number one is almost fourteen months, and I just never stopped wearing them because they are so damn comfortable. It’s also not because I don’t fit into my other clothes, because I do, it’s just a comfort thing. Why would I want to squeeze into jeans when these are like jumping into butter? Exactly! They are also nice and stretched from pregnancy number one—so they are that perfect consistency of soft comfort. One bonus for working at home and being the primary caretaker for my daughter—I am going to rock my maternity for life and no one can stop me!

4). Your attitude about your body changes.

You already have stretch marks and fun pregnancy battle wounds from the first go, so it’s like bring it on to more. I struggled with eating disorders for years, but pregnancy actually did something wonderful for me. It made me realize how amazing our bodies are as women. Being pregnant actually took me from in recovery to recovered because I really treated my body like I always should have without much second thought, or at least third thought (we all have bad days!). That has continued to this day. So if I get another mark or two, bring it on because pregnancy has brought the best thing in the world into my life—my daughter.

5). You’re not as nervous, because you have already done this whole baby thing before.

You are a pro mama. At least you are no longer a virgin to this whole baby world. Throw up-bring it! More poop diaper—shit, bring that too! Pat yourself on the back mama–you got this. Now that whole multiple baby thing, let’s just not think about that…

6). You are actually looking forward to the birth.

I mean, free childcare and drugs at my disposal—it will be like a full on party!

So far, pregnancy number two has been treating me well. I will keep you posted but no wishbone moments…yet. All you mamas out there try to think of these positives. Oh and remember, in those tough moments, you have another beautiful baby on the way—double high-five to that.

Five Reasons Why Stroller Rage Is Actually A Thing

It’s strange. I was never one for road-rage. In fact if anything I was the slow-anxiety-ridden driver causing traffic and inducing fury in others. I heard my mom and sister dropping F-bombs and yelling obscenities in their respective driver seats, but I was just the innocent passenger calming them down. I swear. But put me behind a stroller and I feel rage like no other.

Here are five of the top reasons why my Bugaboo stroller makes me want to go all Destiny’s Child on someone’s a** because “You buggin me! And don’t you see it aint cool!” Don’t mess with someone who has a real life Bugaboo (bug a boo—per lyrics).

1). People have no stroller etiquette.

I live in Manhattan and we walk everywhere. As I mentioned above, I am not crazy about driving so walking is the best means of transportation for both of us. Plus, my thirteen-month-old and I get some fresh air and exercise. Trust me, it keeps us both sane! Well on these walks it’s not the easiest to get around. We try to maneuver around people, but they just don’t notice or care! I mean they mostly have headphones on their ears rocking out to music or are on their cell phones, chit chatting about such-and-such and how self-absorbed such-and-such is. Yep, really! Like, come on people we have a class to get to! Sometimes I start tailgating them, but still, people’s cognizance of the world around them seems bleak. We end up walking so slow behind a person for miles and wind up ten minutes late to wherever we are going. Thanks, slow-lady in front of me. I did admire your tall red heels though and was impressed with how you didn’t trip along the way!

I was actually in a cross walk today and this woman crosses the street and says to me excuse me, like I had anywhere to go with the stroller. We were surrounded in a snow mote on all sides! I wanted to say, “where do you want me to go?” but I held my tongue and tried to maneuver closer to the snowy left side. The woman squeezed around me, but like Stephanie Tanner used to say, how rude! Excuse yourself lady!

 2). When my daughter is fussing I have no etiquette.

When my daughter is crying or fussing and I am all “Oh no sweetie, what’s the matter?” and maneuvering to get a WubbaNub or a snack out of my diaper bag. My main focus becomes her and I may or may not run your feet over (warning!). Look it’s totally an accident. I will 100% feel bad and apologize at least five times, but shit happens. Oh, and when shit or throw up actually happens, then I need to get home ASAP (as soon as possible). This means, I am running past you, beating lights by mere seconds, and not caring at all about who or what is in my way. Sorry!

 

3). People don’t take weather into account.

My daughter and me are out let it be rain, sleet, hail or snow. Okay, maybe in a blizzard we stay in, but if we can get to class safely–we are going to give it a shot. I am a mother that needs to get out of the house or I will go insane—so we stroll in most elements. Well, in snow people are really for themselves—survival of the fittest to the extreme. This means, that they don’t let you by or help you when you are stuck. When stuck in snow, some people may gawk at you like you are a statue or exotic snowman. Observing, but not helping! I am not saying all people don’t, I have gotten a handful of kind citizens who helped us over snow piles, but most people just look at you like “lady you should have stayed inside.” Okay, and maybe I should have, I admit, but I was too far in my journey to turn back because of some snowy obstacles. Psh. Plus my daughter loves My Gym. We were stuck in one day from a blizzard already so we were going to get there. Dammit.

4). Because mommy’s don’t get enough sleep and work too hard.

Okay, it’s not right of me to play the mommy card, but I am going to do it. We work way too hard to not have some pent up aggression. Give a dirty look to a mommy who just wants to get her baby home to change her diaper and she will want to scratch your eyeballs out. That may be extreme, she may just threaten it and think about it–a lot. We work too hard, chasing our baby’s around all day, making sure they have everything—putting them first, and then you are messing with us mamas. Hell to the no!

5). Because we love our baby’s too much.

It’s part of nature. Mothers protect their young. Mother bears protect their cubs. Geese protect their flock. So I will kung fu your a** if you give my daughter any bit of side eye. According to David Wolfe, female alligators even create nests of rotting organic material. Once the nest has been created, the mother alligator will guard her eggs from all sorts of threats before placing them in her mouth once they hatch and caring for them over the next year. Talk about helicopter parents! We all are protective, even scary alligators! So give me a break, I just love my little girl more than anything! Okay?! It’s in my birthing blood.

So the next time you see a mother or father pushing their young along, be aware and be kind! Trust me, it will be appreciated. If not, you put yourself at risk. I have warned you, stroller rage is real AF!

 

 

 

 

 

Get Low, Low, Low

It’s called getting low. At least that’s what my hubby and I call it. When you don’t want to do something in parenthood, but you do it because you absolutely have to—that would be the start of getting low’s Wikipedia definition. Then you duck, tuck and get as low as you can and slither out of the room, like what they tell you in Fire education–stop, drop without the roll. But for effect if you want to do the roll, go ahead by all means.

For instance, last night my daughter was wickedly teething. The amount she was teething made me want to be all tough and Bostonian, like a Ben Affleck movie, hence the wicked. Well, she woke up screaming at around 10 pm. After some Tylenol and a pity viewing of Little Einstein’s, her favorite show, which I like to think she enjoys because she is a baby genius, not because of the bright colors and catchy tunes. But I digress.

After twenty-minutes when she seemed a little better I went to put her back into her crib when she started screaming. And when I say screaming I mean-wah, wah wah, getting increasingly louder with each subsequent wah. It’s awful. One thing I can’t take is hearing my baby crying. My heart cramps together in pain and my blood starts boiling like a teapot— it hurts my first-time-mommy soul. So I did the first thing that came to mind. I got low, and slithered out of her nursery, pretending it didn’t happen. Five minutes later, she was back to sleep.

Another instance where this works is when you are putting your baby in the stroller after a class, when she does not want to be in there more than anything. And hell yes, she will let you know it. Oh and also the fifteen other mothers in the class. She screams incessantly and all of the other mothers are looking at you like girl, what’s wrong with your baby? You can’t get her to stop-try a bottle, a WubbaNub, nothing works. So you duck, tuck and get as low as possible and sneak out the door and start hauling ass down the street.

This can really work in any situation. Let’s say you are feeding your baby at a restaurant and she throws up—puke covering her head to toe. Then you take her to the bathroom and realize you forgot her change of clothes. Crap. Well, you put her in the diaper and winter jacket with the 7AM—pay the bill of course, we don’t promote dining and dashing– and then duck, tuck and slither out of the restaurant before anyone can even notice.

So the next time something happens where you want to avoid seeing your baby upset or the judgmental eyes of other mamas; or worse, the judgmental eyes of other people that don’t have babies and don’t understand–do whatever you got to do. But always remember in the back of your head as a rabbit in the hat magic trick of the trade, when all else fails with your baby, duck, tuck and get low low low low low low low low.

Wanted: Mamas For A Flu Season Exorcism

So we decided to perform a cyber exorcism. Yes, it actually exists.

We called the priest and everything. We needed to get rid of this horrible stomach demon wreaking havoc on my 11-month old baby girl. She had been throwing up for days. It was time.

We are Jewish so this was complete desperation. We needed some holy water ASAP. Okay, kidding, but give me a few more days and maybe I will. I actually looked it up in a moment of hysteria. Non-believers, search Google right now.

It all started on Sunday morning, the one day I can sleep-in when I heard my hubby screaming, “fuck,” so loud that it echoed, echoed, echoed. You get the point.

I ran out of bed, pajamas hiked up to my stomach, hair-resembling Animal The Muppet, and came in to the living room to find throw up covering both of them–head to toe. NOOOO, I screamed in slow motion wishing I could use my mommy super powers to go back to five minutes ago, to cover them both with bibs and towels. But then I realized shit; mom’s don’t really have super powers–that’s a myth–and was left screwed with a messy baby in hand, while my husband went to change. What a pleasant way to be awoken. And before I even had a sip of coffee, how inconsiderate of them. Right?

“I think I had her at a weird angle and she choked on her formula.” He claimed from the other room mid-shirt swap.

“I hope so,” I screamed back as I disinfected my little girl, changing her into clean clothes, and washing her with a washcloth.

“Since, she’s okay, I am going to go back to sleep for like twenty minutes,” I said to him, handing off the clean nugget and yawning simultaneously.

Well ten minutes later–same situation happened–this time with a waffle, in the highchair, in the kitchen. How very Clue the Board Game of me. But, it was official. My baby girl had her first stomach bug.

And half a week later, I had never cleaned up more throw up, made more baths, and said oh shit so many times. Oh shit, because every time she would puke that was my instinctual reaction.

So finally, after days of throw up, days stuck inside, a doctor visit, and horrible poop diapers, not the royal Sir Patrick Stewart kind–I lost my own shit.

I swear her poop was even talking to me, but it had more of an evil chipmunk voice than a calm British one like it’s pooh counterpart.

“I will get myself all up your baby’s back mwahahaha so you will need to bathe her” the voice said high-pitched and evil AF. And it did.

“I will make your baby’s tushie nice, raw, and red so she can be extra upset.” And wala, it did.

I am telling you. Her poop was evil. It needed to be offed. If you had a thing like that hurting the love of your life, you would look into cyber exorcisms too.

Plus, my daughter who is the Queen Of Rolls, girl has rolls in all area codes (Thanks Ludacris for that one), was starting to actually look kind of slim. It freaked me out.

Moral of the story and in the name of my daughter’s adorable scrumptious rolls, who is with me on a flu season exorcism? I think we can all get rid of this demon. Bring it to The Upside Down, with the Demogorgon, where it truly belongs. I will not rest again, until I hear that the Demorgogon is throwing its guts up, with no chicken soup in sight. That’s my pledge. We got this mamas’.