Oct 12 2013
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Oct 12 2013
Sign up for Amazon Mom to get deals on diapers and wipes and free shipping on all of it.
Aug 26 2013
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.)
Aug 12 2013
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.
Aug 05 2013
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.
“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.
Mar 29 2013
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.
Mar 19 2013
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:
*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.
Jan 23 2013
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.
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):
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.
I love you. I love us. And the us that we’re about to be.
Sep 05 2012
My friend Michelle and I have opened a blowout bar in NYC. And you can get a simultaneous manicure too.
We got our first write-up today in Racked.
We’re doing Friends&Family week through Sunday so you can use code FFFix for 25% off blowouts by making an appointment on our website.
Aug 08 2012
Jdeal has a great deal to NYC institution Planet Kids–$25 gets you a $50 gift card.