Feb 24 2014

Leaving Manhattan

Published by Karol under Deep Thoughts

Happiest Junior 4 on the upper west side for rent.*

It was on a black leather couch in this formerly sprawling bachelor pad that I fell in love with my husband. I won’t retell the story but it involves years and years of close friendship, no-we-don’t-like-each-other-like-that’ness, late-night one-on-one poker games, discussions about relationships we were having with other people, and finally a deep, crazy love.

The formerly-1-bedroom apartment was gigantic for one person, cavernous. He had a huge desk in the office area where we now store 3 strollers, 2 car seats, a scooter, a bicycle, snow boots, shoes, jackets, as well as have a make-shift pantry area. In addition to the black leather L-shaped couch, and the largest tv anybody had ever seen, IC had a random couch in what became our dining room and then Sadie’s room and then Sadie and Jack’s room.

With each additional person the apartment grew tighter until we knew we were moving, just didn’t know when and where. Brooklyn was the obvious choice. It’s where I grew up and it’s near IC’s work. We looked seriously for almost 3 years. We concentrated on Carroll Gardens at first and then Columbia Street Waterfront. Nothing felt right and prices kept rising. We looked way outside our price range. I remember seeing a dark, small 2.7 million dollar brownstone and thinking “I can’t live here.” Or all the places we’d see that would require gut renovations and years of work. We thought we could commit to something like that but as our baby became a toddler and then a little girl and as one child became two we weren’t so sure.

The first place I really liked I saw without my husband on Sackett Street in Columbia St Waterfront. So much about it was wrong. The main living area was somewhat beneath ground and it basically had no closets. But it had 3 bedrooms, a huge backyard and a parking spot. We had looked for so long with absolutely no results that we weren’t messing around. We put an offer at full asking price before IC even saw the place. They accepted it but, as is somewhat typical in real estate in NY right now, dropped us when a better offer with cash and fewer contingencies presented itself.

A few weeks later our patient broker saw a place in Park Slope without us. He called us and said he had seen our future home. We didn’t believe it. It’s not that we didn’t like Park Slope, we did, just couldn’t imagine it having the home we’d want at a price we’d want to pay. We had resigned ourselves to up&coming, like Columbia St (I know as far as “up and coming” goes Columbia St isn’t exactly…rough. But we’re not pioneers and our top priority was a good school district which Columbia St has), but Park Slope had up and went decades ago. I think of it as the first hipster area of Brooklyn. Years before there was a Williamsburg there was Park Slope with its cool restaurants and Manhattan-like shops. It didn’t feel like the rest of Brooklyn. People from my part of Brooklyn (the south part) would go out in Park Slope as if it were the city. I remember when Blue Ribbon opened. It was groundbreaking. Places like that, Manhattan-type places, hadn’t existed in Brooklyn before. Also, three years of looking and making zero offers and then two offers in two months? Ok.

The first time we saw the Park Slope apartment we knew it was it. Bright and big, it had balconies everywhere we looked and a big roofdeck with views of just about everything, Manhattan on one side, Statue of Liberty on the other. We pictured parties, poker games, dinners outside. It was so quiet. We just saw our life there. When our offer wasn’t accepted we were pretty bummed. Everything seemed hopeless. We started to think of ways to make our current apartment work for the long-term. Then their original offer fell through and we got a second shot at it. And now it’s happening, it’s actually happening.

Saying goodbye to our current apartment has proven hard for me. My husband is so ready to go. But I think of life as time periods in places I’ve lived and measure out how happy I’ve been through them. And I’ve never been happier than in this apartment. No matter how tight it was, the toys all over the place, the closets overflowing, we were happy here. We were more than happy here. Life came together here. Every Sunday during football season almost everyone in our family piles onto our huge couch. We watch the games and eat all day. I learned to cook here, we bought our first furniture together here, our children came home from the hospital here. We’d dance around the living room and kitchen, first just together, then with one more, now with two. This is a home filled with joy.

We’ve spent our last few weeks here going to neighborhood places we love. The Smith is our absolute favorite brunch spot, Red Farm for dinner again and again, shopping at Trader Joe’s, Citarella and, when I absolutely have to, Fairway. I’ll leave our new tenants a list but there’s an incredible sushi place called Yasaka on 72nd street. I’d say it’s our little secret but as it’s basically impossible to get into even during the week the secret is probably out. We order Chinese food from a hole-in-wall called Wok City. They nail that broccoli every time. When we’re feeling fancy we order from Shun Lee. I’ve been od’ing on visiting Century, the last days of Loehmann’s, Gap and Zara for kids.

If you’re moving here with kids I can’t say enough good things about the JCC. Sadie started going there when she was 18-months old and then started at the nursery school and camp there. It is a happy, welcoming, nurturing place. I’m most sad about leaving it.

I know it’s fashionable to hate Manhattan right now. Playground of the rich, boring, staid, over. Come on. It’s Manhattan. It’s the greatest city in the world, there is no other. I love Brooklyn, I’m from Brooklyn, I put my hands up in the sky when Brooklyn gets a shout-out but no matter the branding, theme songs, the artisanal pickle shops, Brooklyn is what it is because of its proximity to Manhattan. Manhattan is so crushingly expensive because everyone in the world (whatever, Shane Schleger) wants to be here. I’ll always love it and think often of the 13 years I spent living in this treasure of a city. Not everyone gets the chance to be here, to really live in Manhattan, and there’s just no way I won’t miss it.

I’m ready for this next chapter for us. I think of our new apartment all the time and I can’t wait to live there. I know we’ll fill it with the same happiness we had here. Life moves on, kids grow up, more space is needed. But Manhattan isn’t an old boyfriend you leave behind, I won’t just love Brooklyn to the exclusion of loving Manhattan. I take this city with me like a sibling or parent. It will never not mean something to me.

*The apartment has been rented but if you’re looking for a different happy Junior 4 on the upper west side, email our broker ronaldsheinin@gmail.com. He rented out our place super fast and has other listings like it.

4 responses so far

Feb 12 2014

Jack at 1

Published by Karol under Letters to Jack

I had heard, of course, that no two children are alike. Snowflakes, you people. And I had spent my life hearing that my brother and I were extremely different, particularly as babies. Yet I still sort of expected you to be Sadie, part deux. You weren’t. In a big way.

Your saba coined the nickname “tarzan” for you and let me tell you, it stuck. I don’t know if it’s because you’re a boy but wow, are you a (very happy) handful. You are freakishly strong. On the flight to Aruba in December, at 10 months old (your first flight was international-mine and your aba’s too!), you dismantled the television screen on the seat in front of you. Our running joke is that we are constantly saying “NO! JACKIE! NO!” And you look over at us so innocently and shake your head like “No? No, no, of course not, no, who would lick the outlet/chew on a shoe/lean way over the back of the couch/escape from a strapped in high-chair/put his hands in the toilet/try to ride Sadie’s scooter before being able to walk?” On the days I have to take you with me to pick up Sadie from school I am a sweaty, disheveled mess with a squirming 23 pounder in my arms. The other babies look like they’re so contented being carried. You? You want to run, climb, squirm, move. There’s so much to see, so many places to go, what’s that over there! If only you could walk and weren’t held back by your mama.

Despite your high energy, and oh it is high, you are super cuddly. You spent the first few months of your life just snuggled up to me.

You are incredibly loving, incredibly sweet. Sadie was sweet too but she pretty much skipped the baby phase and didn’t become affectionate till she was well over 2 years old. You were a baby all over. (I hate to keep drawing comparisons with your sister but she’s all the baby information I had before you.)

Most importantly, you are crazy about me. “His aba was a mama’s boy, his saba was a mama’s boy, no way he won’t be a mama’s boy” your aba said before you were born. We have so much family around that I was never sure if Sadie knew that I was A-#1-caregiver. With you there is no doubt. You speed-crawl to your aba too, don’t get me wrong, and you get super-excited to see your baba, your safta, your saba, your aunt and your uncles but the way you look at me is incomparable.

Some other things about you:

You have called me “mama” exactly twice, both times under extreme duress. It drives me more than a little crazy to know that you can say it, you know it refers to me, but you only say it when you absolutely have to. You might be stubborn.

Last week, out of nowhere, you decided that you did like to be read to after all (previously, not). Your favorite book is called Nosh Schlep Schluff . You’re clearly channeling your Yiddish-speaking ancestors. You keep bringing it over again and again to be read to you. It’s kind of awesome.

This is pretty much your life, always at risk of being squashed with love by your sister (and I apologize in advance for the matching pajamas, I really can’t help myself):

You love her like crazy (and also, wisely, fear her). We hear her wake you up every morning with a “HELLO JACK!” before she climbs into your crib with all of her stuffed animals. You’re best friends. I hope it’s always like that.

I don’t want to lie to you (and the internet evidence wouldn’t let me anyway). It has been a tough year. Two kids and a growing business has completely exhausted me. I feel so guilty that you don’t get what your sister got in her first year–Gymboree everyday and a mom who was there 100% of the time. You’re such a happy, content child anyway. You’re always having a good time. You’re just happy to be here. And we’re so glad to have you. We can’t wait to see what kind of boy you grow up to be.

One response so far

Feb 05 2014

Letters to Sadie

Published by Karol under Letters to Sadie

Today you are 4! A few days ago you had a party for 40, or so, of your closest friends. There was a show, there was pizza and then there was the cake. You are super into a Russian cartoon called Masha i Medved (Masha and the Bear) right now (we randomly came across this episode on YouTube and I’ve never seen you laugh so hard in your life) and the cake had this picture of the bear holding that silly Masha up on his paw.

Your aba and I got behind you while everyone sang happy birthday. When the song was over you, happy and in-the-moment, took three blows to extinguish the candles. Then you immediately turned and whispered in my ear “I’m still 3, right?”

That’s you all over. You’re happy, you’re joyful, you’re mellow. You’re this amazing little girl who takes such pleasure in everything and everyone. But there’s rules to this ish and just because you’re blowing out 4 candles on a birthday cake doesn’t mean you’re 4 yet and you need this confirmed.

I mention this side of you–your aba and I call it law&order but it’s actually a lot more than that–because it played a large role in our ridiculously poor handling of you in the first few weeks of your brother’s life. You were always such a little sport about everything. I think of landing in Rome when you were 18 months old and saying to you “Sadie, we really need you to sleep on this car ride” and you waking up when we reached our destination. Or, waiting outside your classroom on your first days of school last year in case you needed me but knowing there is no way you would. Or, even when you were a baby we didn’t have to babyproof anything because if we said “no” once then that was that (more on how that is not the case with Jack a week from now when it’s his birthday). And how even now, I can tell your babushka 500 times not to give you M&Ms in the morning but I only have to tell you once for you to refuse candy on your own.

So, in keeping with all of that, a few days before Jack was born we moved you out of your crib and into your big girl bed. And we we figured it was time to drop your pacifier so we took that away and you didn’t put up any fight. And with that one-two-three punch of new bed, no pacifier, new screaming infant you dropped your nap and cut way back on your nighttime sleep.

What. A. Disaster.

You loved him right away but oh did you despise us. I had never seen you angry before, not really, but you were so exhausted and this led to crying, screaming, defiance. You had never been defiant before! Now every word was “NO.” Nothing was making you happy. I cried so much in those first few weeks. I really thought my happy girl was gone. You got two ear infections back-to-back. You wanted to be held and also wanted us nowhere near you. It was a really hard time.

I maintain, to this day, that you weren’t jealous of Jack, just overwhelmed by change and idiot parents who ruined your sleeping. But I started taking you on outings just the two of us. We’d go to Alice’s Teacup and then walk by the Dakota to see where John Lennon lived. You were better when we were alone but still not completely better. The first time I really saw you back to yourself was Shavuot–in May. I dressed you and Jack up in all white and we went to a Shir Fun party. Shir Fun is a Hebrew music class run by this amazing woman named Dafna. You went to Shir Fun from the time you were about 6 months old until you started school. You loved it so much. You were excited to go to the party:

Maybe it was seeing your beloved Dafna, or doing something familiar that you did in the time before Jack, but after the party was when you snapped back to the way you were. We were standing outside the shul and you were eating something and pointing up at birds and just laughing the way you used to:

Thinking about all of this now it seems like ancient history. It was almost a year ago and you have become an even better, stronger, smarter and happier little girl since then. But if these letters are to tell you about your life right now I didn’t feel like I could leave that part out.

Like the last time I wrote you, you’re in for another time of change. We’re moving to Brooklyn, hopefully in the next month. We had been looking to move for a long time and we’re excited to finally have found a place we love. You are excited about it too. You know you’re leaving the big white building and you know you’re leaving your school. I think that last part is harder on me than on you. I love your school so much.

And the thing that’s really hard for me to imagine, since we’re talking about me, is that this is our last year of being together all the time. Next year you’ll be in pre-k fulltime. This year is the end of Sesame Street mornings (or you swap it for Sophia the First, Mickey Mouse or lately Masha all the time) where you put my arm around you and snuggle into me, the end of whole days playing hide-and-seek with your baba, or sitting around with your safta reading Hebrew books. It’s hard to imagine you’ll be somewhere else more than you’ll be with me but I feel so lucky and privileged that we had these 4 years together.

Some things about you:

Your favorite band is the White Stripes. Which I love, obviously, even though I wouldn’t call myself a huge White Stripes fan. You also love the radio hits Blurred Lines (“try to domestakitchen”) and Get Lucky (“I’m up all Mexican lucky.”)

You are starting to read, to sound out words, and you are crazy good in math. Just more evidence that you’re a lot like your father. You can do basic addition and subtraction already and you can count to 100 in English and to 10 in Hebrew, Russian and, yep, Spanish:

Spanish counting

You learned about death this year. Lou Reed died and for some reason that turned into a teachable moment in a lot of ways. We talked about how dead means gone and never coming back. You said “is his daughter sad?” and then I totally blew your mind that he didn’t have any kids. You know families with one parent, or two same-sex parents, and you’re unfazed. But families with no kids is something you kept coming back to again and again to have me explain it to you.

You love your brother so much even though he’s a little troublemaker. You yell “Jackie! You little troublemaker!” at him a lot. He adores you to no end.

And you’re crazy about your family. You love your baba and your safta coming during the week. Your favorite day of the week is Sunday when almost everyone you’re related to piles onto our couch to watch football. The last two summers we’ve rented a house in the Hamptons for a week and everyone came to stay with us. You talk about that week all year long. You mentioned it to me yesterday. You like having a pool and you like bbq’ing (and making s’mores) but you really love that everyone is together then.

I could talk and write about you forever so I should wrap it up here. Happy birthday, our incredible, happy little girl. You can come sit under my arm and watch Sesame Street whenever you want.

4 responses so far

Oct 12 2013

Deal of the Day

Published by Karol under Deal of the Day

Sign up for Amazon Mom to get deals on diapers and wipes and free shipping on all of it.

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Aug 26 2013

No you never took me to a reggae club

Published by Karol under Misc.

Today is my husband’s birthday and as his present I wrote the lyrics and hired Andrew Reid on Fiverr to sing him a reggae song.

You can listen to it here: Reggae Club

(Background: My husband and I are both reggae fans and when we first started dating we frequently talked about going to a reggae club. For one reason or another it never happened and now, two kids later, it probably never will.)

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Aug 12 2013

Letters to Jack

Published by Karol under Letters to Jack

Happy 6-month birthday, Jack!

I thought your sister was the happiest 6-month old I’d ever seen. But you give her a run for the title. It turns out your aba and I produce super smiley children. Who knew!


You smile at your family. You smile at strangers. But no one cracks you up like your sister. You see her and just start laughing. You can’t eat when she’s around. She’s too hilarious and also there’s the chance she’ll jump on you and start kissing you in a way that makes you fear for your life (“Jack is making such a serious face!” she says when you have the look of mortal danger). She used to say “why does Jackie think I’m so funny?” but now she just enjoys being the one who makes you laugh like no other.

We call you Jackie. We call you Giacomo. Your baba calls you Yasha. Your safta calls you “SO good-looking” and your saba says you look just like him (you really do).

Your interaction with Sadie melts me and I hope you’re always as loving to each other as you are today. In my last letter to your sister, shortly before you were born, I wrote that I love the us that we’re about to be. It’s already hard to remember the us we were without you. I can’t wait to see the boy you become.

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Aug 05 2013

Yes, I want my daughter to be nice.

Published by Karol under Deep Thoughts

When I was a teenager I loved a poem called Daughter by Nicole Blackman. I didn’t imagine I’d have children but if I did have a daughter I would surely teach her to “say Fuck like other people say The and when people are shocked to ask them why they so fear a small quartet of letters” and “that her body is her greatest work of art.”

I loved the free spirit, take-no-shit tough woman Blackman wanted her future daughter to be.

But having an actual, live, non-theoretical daughter, and also not being 17 anymore, made me hope she isn’t much like that poem. I’d rather she didn’t say fuck too often and the time she Sharpie’d her legs I didn’t applaud her treating her body as a work of art. And no, I don’t want her to be the kind of woman who gets up and goes straight for the door after having sex nor do I want her to “talk hard” like the woman in the poem wishes for her daughter. That woman doesn’t seem happy to me. That woman seems damaged.

I want my daughter to be nice, kind, outgoing and yes I’d like for her to smile at people.

There’s a piece by Catherine Newman on the New York Times’ Motherlode blog last week, that is making the rounds among moms who have daughters, which reminds me of Blackman’s poem. Newman wants her daughter to be hard, harder than her, and she loves that her daughter scowls at strangers.

“I bite my tongue so that I won’t hiss at her to be nice,” she writes. “I tell you this confessionally. Because do I think it is a good idea for girls to engage with zealously leering men, like the creepy guy in the hardware store who is telling her how pretty she is? I do not. “Say thank you to the nice man who wolf-whistled!” “Smile at the frat boy who’s date-raping you!” I want my daughter to be tough, to say no, to waste exactly zero of her God-given energy on the sexual, emotional and psychological demands of lame men — of lame anybodies. I don’t want her to accommodate and please. I don’t want her to wear her good nature like a gemstone, her body like an ornament.”

As if the only options in the world are ignoring well-meaning strangers or being nice to your rapist! What kind of lesson is that for a girl? You’re in danger all the time, honey, so if you smile at little old ladies in the elevator that’s practically the same as encouraging sex without your consent.

Newman continues:

“And, currently, she is not in danger. She is decisive and no-nonsense, preferring short hair and soft pants with elastic waistbands. Dresses get in her way, and don’t even get her started on jeans, the snugly revealing allure of which completely mystifies her.”

Wait, what? The way for girls to avoid danger is to have short hair and wear pants with waistbands? And this from a self-proclaimed “radical, card-carrying feminist?” I want my daughter to wear whatever she pleases–dresses, pants, shorts, whatever. I don’t want her to associate certain clothing with certain behavior. Her mama spent her teenage years wearing fishnet stockings, platform boots, short dresses, blonde wigs, long eyelashes at clubs in NYC (and then on the subway back to Brooklyn). And woe to the man who thought that meant he could touch me inappropriately. I am friendly, I am nice, I have been been accused (by my anti-social husband) of wanting to befriend the world. But I am no-nonsense when I need to be. I can stand up for myself despite my ability to make chit-chat with my pizza guy. I understand there is a wide gulf between pleasantries with my neighbor and putting up with sexual harassment.

Blackman’s poem ends “never forget what they did to you, but never let them know you remember.” But her daughter, yet unborn, hasn’t had anyone do anything to her yet that she would need to remember. Similarly, Newman projects her experiences onto her daughter. It’s not healthy for a girl to have to live with her mother’s fears and phobias. It’s one thing to give a girl guidelines for living, another to make her fight the battles you couldn’t win in your own life.

Newman also has a son, one she doesn’t worry about being too nice because he “still has the power and privilege of masculinity on his side, so, as far as I’m concerned, the nicer the better.” Treating her children differently, and teaching them such different life lessons because of their genders doesn’t sound like the equality-driven woman Newman purports to be. Strength, weakness, niceness, surliness, these aren’t traits doled out according to one’s gender. I will teach my son and my daughter both to be nice, but strong, and more importantly to read each situation for what it is. I will teach them that life isn’t a series of scary encounters against which you steel yourself. People don’t all want to harm you, even if you’re a woman and they’re a man. Closing yourself to the world won’t always protect you from pain the same way short hair, elastic waistbands or being a boy won’t. And mama will always love you just the way you are.

3 responses so far

Mar 29 2013

Six long weeks

Published by Karol under Baby Life

Today is 6 weeks since we brought Jack home from the hospital. They let me go a day early because I was doing well and told them I felt ready to go home, with my son, to my husband and daughter who I missed so terribly.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about that extra night I should have spent at the hospital, having food and drink brought to me, the baby changed and cared for, and wondering if they’d turn me away if I showed up right now to collect that night. (Memo to my wise, mother-of-3, business partner: yes, you told me so).

It has been the most challenging 6-weeks of my life. Not the worst 6-weeks of my life-that was in 2004 when I had back surgery, was bankrupting myself by foolishly going to graduate school and my beloved grandma died all within a few weeks of each other. But challenging in a will-I-keep-it-together-or-won’t-I kind of way. Many days I think I will not.

And, I mean, I realize complaining is unseemly. After the first night home from the hospital I bitched on Facebook about sleeping for 30-45 minute stretches and a friend of mine noted that I should be thankful for two healthy (touch wood, spit, spit) children when some people want that but don’t have that. And while I feel like, c’mon, complaining about not-sleeping is a G-d given parental right like Californians complaining about traffic, or something, I still feel like I should preface this whole post by saying that I am so grateful for my children, so blessed, would kill and die for them, wouldn’t trade them in for anything, not even better sleeping, better behaved ones.

But wow was I unprepared for the horror that is having two children.

The first two weeks Jack was home my sweet Sadie was an unrecognizable nightmare. She cried, she screamed, she was defiant and rude and uncontrollable. And while, yes, all signs point to acting out about the new baby (whom she is completely in love with and would hug and kiss and squeeze all day everyday) the truth is the story I told about her screaming “don’t talk to me” at me in a restaurant was a good month before the baby arrived and seemed like the actual precursor to her attitude problem. Maybe it’s just 3′s, more likely it’s that she dropped her nap and is perpetually exhausted, but in any case things have since improved. She’s gotten better, back to being more like herself. Of course, no sooner do things behaviorally improve than she spends two nights screaming her head off in pain and it turns out she ruptured her eardrum. I know this kind of thing can happen when you only have one child but when you’re sleeping 2 hours at a time with the newborn and the toddler wakes up crying during (of course) those 2 hours all you can think is “why G-d, why?”

In the midst of all this, I still have a business which requires my attention. My partner and our manager have been amazing about allowing me to be checked out when I need to be but I’m not on anything resembling “maternity leave.” I have work to do every single day so I have to muster up every available brain cell, do the work and then go back to the half-asleep life I’m living.

And of course, my husband. He’s been getting the shortest end of the stick. He’s been great about it, and an amazing help, but it seems the only way life works right now is if one of us is sleeping while we’re together. He is lightly snoring beside me right now. We don’t have the kind of marriage where we’re ok with not spending a lot of time together. We love our children but we’re each other’s first priority. I miss him.

How do people do it, I frequently wonder. I think a lot about people I know who have three (or more!) kids. I have a lot of help. My mother or mother-in-law are over almost every day. My husband is seriously doing the second shift thing where he works his ass off all day at his job and comes home to me wiped out, needing him to take one or both children off me. Help is great but eventually help goes home or goes to sleep and anyway, I’m the mama, there’s only so much other people can do for me. “Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama.” “WHAT?!” “Watch me twist the spaghetti.” No one else can watch for me.

How do other parents physically survive with more than one child? When you’re nursing one and the other is on the potty ready to be wiped, who wins? How does leaving the house work–do I have to just plot out bathrooms and changing stations along all possible routes? What about nursing? As soon as I leave the house the race is on to get back home to nurse or pump. I’m not even sure what happens at the 4 hour mark. I’m afraid to find out.

Which brings me to my next problem: I am fucking boring. I have nothing to talk about right now. I don’t know who Buzz Bissinger is or why he’s in rehab for buying too much Gucci, I don’t get your twitter memes, I haven’t read that article or heard that song, I don’t remember anything in the past which is being referenced. I am physically much better than after Sadie but mentally I’m a mess. I don’t have the baby weight despair because it turns out breastfeeding really is some miracle eat-cookies-all-day-and-lose-weight secret. Of course, breastfeeding is also likely the cause of my more limited sleep (2-3 hours at a time instead of the 4-5 I was doing with Sadie by this point) but as my friend Julie pointed out “your choice is either food or sleep…but once you choose sleep you can never choose food again.” So, food and mental incapacity it is for now!

I’m trying to wrap this up without going the corny but-it’ll-all-be-ok-and-I-love-my-kids route because yes, it (touch wood, spit, spit) probably will be and obviously I do, obviously. If this blog is about remembering this time in my life I want to remember the bad with the good and not just have a Instagram’d-rosy-colored glow over this period–but, sidenote, wow do I have some good Instagram shots: It has been extremely difficult and I don’t want to forget it. We wanted three kids and right this second I just can’t see how that happens. Unlike people who have kids late because they met the right person later in life (or did it on their own when they didn’t), my husband and I have known each other since I was 20. Why couldn’t we fall for each other earlier? We could have done 4-5 years between kids, it just seems so much easier that way. Now I’m 35 and we don’t have time for gaps which make child rearing simpler.

I say there is a 95% chance we’re done with baby-making and the only reason I leave 5% open is this: while giving birth to Jack I asked my husband to tell me stories of Sadie to keep my mind off what was happening. She brings us both so much happiness. He told me funny things she’s said or done. We giggled together about her, the time flew by and then we heard Jack cry. That first cry is the most amazing sound of all time, I’ll never forget the sound of Sadie’s or Jack’s first cry, and there is a 5% chance I’ll forget all I’ve written here and need to hear that cry again. So that’s my happy wrap-up. No matter the misery, the sleeplessness, the pain, the agony, the crying, the loss of independent life (and there is all that! Don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you there isn’t!) that sound and everything that comes after is more powerful than any of it.

14 responses so far

Mar 19 2013

Deal of the Day

Published by Karol under Deal of the Day

Jack Avram was born February 12, 2013 weighing in at 7lb 4oz. He is pretty awesome except for his whole not-sleeping-much thing.

And since there isn’t any sleep happening I’ve been online shopping late at night and here are two good deals I’ve found:

*Half-price Aden and Anais hooded towels for $16, with free shipping.

*140 Pampers Swaddlers diapers in size Newborn for $28.69, or $.20 a diaper, which is cheaper than even Amazon’s Subscribe&Save.

In other news, I’ve resurrected the 212baby twitter account and imagine I’ll be posting here more often again too.

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Jan 23 2013

Letters to Sadie

Published by Karol under Letters to Sadie


Last week, three weeks before your 3rd birthday, and four weeks before your brother is scheduled to arrive, you and I went to lunch at Sarabeth’s on the Upper East Side. Sarabeth’s, especially the UES location, is one of those very New-Yorky-lunch places. It was packed, as always, but you and I got a table upstairs, sat on the same side of the booth and had ourselves a lunch. You were perfectly behaved, which is like a 50/50 occurrence ever since you decided that the ridiculous 3′s would come early at our house (you screamed “don’t talk to me!” over brunch last weekend which was a nice preview of your teenage years). We ate their famous tomato soup and shared an omelet. You said your throat hurt which is usually code for either “I’m going to puke in this cab” or “I want to have tea.” I got you some herbal tea which you drank like a little lady.

When I was a teenager I used to cut school sometimes (don’t do that) on nice days to go hang out in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. One day walking out of the park onto Central Park South (the one with the horsies), I saw a well-dressed mom having lunch with her equally well-dressed daughter, maybe 5-years old or so. They seemed so happy and relaxed sitting at a table outside, the sun shining down on them. I remember thinking that I wanted that-to dress up with my little girl and go have lunch. I know I remember that moment so vividly because there are so few times in my life where I’ve actively wanted children. Maybe you’re not supposed to tell your child that you never wanted kids- I hope you’re not reading this 20 years later to your therapist as evidence your mom didn’t want you. Because while I never imagined kids, and I didn’t dream of family life, I have wanted you from the moment I fell in love with your aba. I didn’t want a husband unless it would be him. I didn’t want children unless they would be his. I only wanted you specifically, you exactly.

You’re getting a brother soon (sidenote: you want to name him Jokesun, middle name Leonard). It’s something you tell people about all the time, and kiss my stomach and talk to him, but I know that you don’t really know what’s about to happen to you and to us. We don’t really know either. For three years it’s been the three of us (and your saba and safta and baba and uncles and doda) and now it will be four. You seem ready to be a good older sister and tell us how you plan to hold him and kiss him. But your life is really going to change and you have no way of being prepared. So I promise you, every now and then we’ll leave him with his aba, dress up and go have lunch-just you and me.


Since I’m using these letters as markers of your development, here’s some more about you:

You continue to completely amaze us. You’re still incredibly into music.


You have requested a violin for your birthday from your uncle Ron and doda Shishi. And word on the street is that your brother will be bringing you a real electric guitar as a belated birthday present.

Your current favorite songs are Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) by the Doors and Oh Yoko by John Lennon.

You have an ever-growing tribe of imaginary friends: Meika, Klonga, Ponga, Jill, Dr. Lobo and on and on. You bake them imaginary cakes and tell us about your crazy adventures on trains to places like “Cincinota” (your father has been spending a lot of time in Cincinnati). You also like to real-cook and “help” me in the kitchen.

You love school and I have to admit that I’ve totally drank their kool-aid. I’m glad we only applied to one nursery school (if you live outside NYC this is a good primer on how nuts things can get), and that we took the whole process relatively lightly, but I’ve grown to really, really love your school. They push a whole “community” thing over there, the people are great, and I really enjoy it. You’re doing so well there. We still are thinking about moving to Brooklyn but your school really makes us consider staying in our current neighborhood. I love that you’re learning things I don’t even know about. On a trip to Grand Cayman in December, you demonstrated that you know yoga (the “sing it with me, guys” cracks me up everytime):

First day of school:

You love your scooter but not as much as wearing your ladybug helmet:

Your uncle Ronnie got you the Cinderella DVD and you’re so obsessed with it. You can not understand why her step-sisters are so mean. You want to marry a prince.

You were Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween. You know the whole story (the picture is you pretending to be afraid of the wolf) and when we took you outside there was a guy dressed as a wolf. He said “is that Little Red Riding Hood” as he came toward you and you can imagine how the rest of the scene played out. To this day you tell the story of bursting into tears and clutching our legs and reconfirm that he wasn’t really the wolf, right? Just a man dressed in a costume, right?

You are super rule-obsessed. Your aba and I call you “law&order.” Everything has to be a certain way. You enforce no shoes in the house rule on guests but also add no hats and no sunglasses. No talking while chewing. No saying the word “stupid” (“it’s not a nice word.”). Last summer at minicamp you put a little girl in the corner (the Russian version of a time out) for yelling. You had to be told that only teachers can dole out discipline but we were not-so-secretly amused by the whole episode.

And this song just always kills me. I hope you never let anyone fuu (blowing sound) it out.

This little light

I love you. I love us. And the us that we’re about to be.

(Previous letters)

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