Sunday, November 9, 2014

When do issues stop being funny?

I've always loved how this group can laugh our way through serious issues. We all love to reminisce on how one of our first group bonding experience was over Mark's balls.  I am pretty sure we all peed ourselves a little that day. 

You guys all know my Ellie. She has never been the most comfortable in social situations.  It is now getting to the point where I am really worried and upset. I am not writing this for anyone to offer any kind of solution or advice. I am just posting it as an outlet. 
Eliana started school in September. blah blah Now it's November. I took off of work on Friday to go to her school to spy to see everything for myself. Just like the teachers said, Eliana just stands there. She will not play. When I spied it was outdoor playtime. All the children were on bikes, playground equipment, cars, sandbox etc. Eliana stared and refused to participate in anything. According to the teacher this was a good day because she wasn't hugging the teacher's leg, she was merely standing next to it. When I picked her up I asked her if she wanted to show me her playground outside. She raced outside and couldn't wait to play on everything. It was like a serial dieter finally being allowed cake. 
Let me get to the really serious part. You guys once again know Ellie and her love of food. We have had complete strangers approach us in restaurants to comment on their shock and amazement at how well she can put it away. 

Eliana will not eat at school. 

When it is snack time she will stand off to the side. She will not sit at the table. When it is a birthday party, she will even refuse CUPCAKES! In this entire situation, that has been the most shocking and upsetting part. MY CHILD REFUSES CUPCAKES!?!??! I cannot even begin to comprehend that. The sheer amount of self control and stubbornness and need for control astounds me. 

We are working on these issues and the school has been amazing and supportive. I know everything will work itself out. Sometimes you just need to vent. And sometimes you just need to think about giant balls and laugh. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Eating En Famille

My husband, daughter and I eat dinner together most nights. It's on the (way) early side, especially when you compare us to regular New Yorkers, but I think it's really important. Here's why:

  • I've heard a million different versions of "I don't have time to cook" from my clients. Yet they manage to make sure that their child(ren) have a green veggie, protein and starch at every meal. If your toddler is feasting on salmon, sweet potatoes and chard at 5pm and you're doing fast food Chinese with your SO at 9:30, I don't believe your excuses. I DO believe that you're not valuing your health nor taking care of yourself as much as you protect your little one. Treat yourself as someone who deserves to be nurtured and cared for. Make a double batch of that salmon (or ask whoever made it to!) and reheat it for you
  • If you wouldn't consider giving your kiddo what you're eating (coffee and wine excepted), maybe you shouldn't be eating it. 
  • I've also seen the flip side, which looks a lot like "my kid will only eat peanut butter and jelly." So, Jr is digging into his sammy at 5pm and you're eating his leftovers at 5:15. I hate to sound preachy, but I'm gently suggesting that kids mimic us. If we can eat a balanced meal together and they see Mom and Dad eating broccoli and chicken, maybe they'll try it. Maybe. Put a small PB&J on their plate along with the greens and see what happens
  • Picky eating is sometimes a power struggle. Do not make meals a battle zone. If kiddo eats his broccoli, fine. If he doesn't, fine. Keep offering it, maybe in different incantations (steamed broccoli with cheese may get rejected, but roasted broccoli with garlic may happily get eaten), but don't make too big a deal. 
  • You learn stuff and get creative. I'm totally not above an enormous dollop of ketchup to get those greens down. Eliza loves straight balsamic vinegar, which I never would have known had she not seen my put it on my salad and asked for her own. 
I don't cook dinner very often, most of our meals are brought in or made with very little effort (frozen veggies thrown into a pan with shrimp and a little sauce). I'm not saying you should sit down to a homecooked meal every night. I work through dinner every Tuesday and Thursday, so Daddy and Eliza are on their own and usually that means pizza. But some meal-eating QT can really have lifelong benefits, both for your bebe AND you

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Judgey Parent

Eliza started preschool yesterday. It's a little home-based, non-academic, gentle flow place: there aren't any lesson plans and the tuition is cheap. As this is Park Slope Brooklyn, the families this set up attracts are a bit more into homeschooling, elimination communication (mine is the only girl in diapers) and gentle parenting. They also all seem to be members of a farm share. I totally get the farm share thing, but the two seasons I tried it, it was a disaster. I know that it doesn't work for me and my family, but I get a slight edge of defensiveness when I hear someone throw "our CSA" into conversation CSA=Community Supported Agriculture Almost nothing makes me more mama awkward than packing meals and snacks for my kid that she'll be eating around other moms and kids. I mean, I'm a nutritionist! I feel like I should be setting an example! I planned what I would send her the first day for weeks. Mind you, the first week was only 2 hours, all she needed was a snack, but I was on a mission to be just as good as these other CSA moms who's kids think goldfish are pets, not food. I lovingly packed Eliza a cup of organic yogurt (sweetened, though, fail), two sticks of hormone-free cheese (not local, not organic-hmm), organic dried mango, sliced organic bell pepper and carrot sticks (NOT baby carrots, of course) and an organic local apple (win). I figured it wouldn't be the best snack there, but it would hold its own.

Okay, 3 points already:
1. My mission to be "just as good as" the other parents. HUH!? Why am I basing my worth as a parent on what I pack for one snack in comparison to other snacks packed?

2. Yes, I do in fact realize that I packed enough food for the entire day. I'm a Jewish mother. Back off

3. The parents are NOT with the kids at preschool. No other parents would have any idea of what I packed unless their kid instagrammed it.

And the over arching big point? I AM THE JUDGEY PARENT. About myself! I couldn't care if little Henry has conventional pretzels or if Willa brought pizza for lunch. Those people who talk about their CSAs? They're not talking shit about me and my lettuce from California. That's what I hear because I am the one with the inferiority complex. How much of the "Mom Wars" are simply about our own insecurities?

I'm already learning so much in preschool!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More on veggies

Part of Mommunism is bringing your expertise to the group for the benefit of all. Anytime there's a bee sting or a medication question, Jeanmarie (RN) gets a text. If someone is moving or considering new furniture, Traci (Interior Designer) is called upon to discuss cost/benefit analysis and maybe even draw a diagram. I'm not really the type to wait for people to ask my opinion, I just give it. I have forced all of these mamas (and papa) to attend my boot camp or Spinning classes. I recruit them for nutritional challenges and serve gluten-free crackers and raw milk goat cheese when I host parties.

Which reminds me: sorry, y'all

But I know that we all want our kids to be as healthy as they can, and since I think that eating well helps that along and since I think that eating vegetables is a big component of "eating well," here are some tricks I've recently come up with to get Eliza to continue to try new veggies:
  • I use her love of the color purple. She has happily eaten purple cauliflower (yummy), purple radishes (too spicy) and purple carrots (meh, which echos her feelings about orange carrots)
  • The power of choice. "Would you like to have a yellow bell pepper or a red bell pepper?" "Would you like the peel/skin on or off?"
  • Unexpected delivery shapes. Slicing a pepper horizontally makes hearts and flowers, cucumbers become dipping spears, zucchini and squash get twisted into noodles. 
  • Add butter. Eliza would eat butter with a spoon, so I put thin slivers on top of anything I suspect may be met with resistance. Often she'll pick up the butter and eat it plain first, but when she finds out that's all the butter she's getting, she'll often eat what it was topping. If your kid is a cheese fiend, cheese works well, too

Monday, August 25, 2014

Biking to Urgent Care

Of course, the minute I write about singing Kumbaya with germs, my kid gets sick. Worst cold in a while: hacking cough that prevented her from sleeping anywhere but on me, runny nose leaving her cheeks stained with dirt from where the city grime stuck to her snot, low fever for a few days that left her grouchy and bored. But after a full day of indoor quiet time and another day of low-key playing, I figured she was on the mend and fine. We went to a birthday party and let her drink juice, eat cookies and cake and run around with at least 10 other toddlers. She was happy, we were happy. Cue 8pm bedtime resistance so great that we knew something wasn't right. Plus, every time she put her head on her pillow, she sobbed that something was hurting her ear. We live a mile away from an awesome pediatric urgent care that was open until midnight. My husband and I immediately agreed to go, but hesitated at how to get there.

Ah, NYC, aka Never Never Land. You can be in your mid 30's and think you're 22 because you still walk to the bars and eat pizza standing up. Nevermind that your toddler is in tow at said bar, denial is a powerful force. My husband is pushing 40, I'm not that far behind and we do not own a car. In fact, my licence was expired for a full year before I noticed, and that was only because TSA told me so. I commute by bicycle most of the time.  Our choices at 9pm on a Sunday night were subway, bus, cab or bike. NYC public transportation is notoriously terrible on Sundays, so bus and subway were nixed. Hubs suggested a cab, but the thought of installing our car seat in the dark with an exhausted possibly sick kid and paying $20 to ride for 3 minutes just seemed crazy to me. So we biked.

And while I maintain that biking was the most effective way to get to Urgent Care last night, it still seems a bit irresponsible. The older my kid gets, the more I feel like an ill-equipped idiot teenager, fumbling along. I don't have a car, I don't have a savings account (okay, I have one, it's just mostly empty), I don't have a potty training plan...the only difference from me now and me 15 years ago is now I'm aware of what an ill-equipped idiot I am. Anyone else feel like they're totally making it up as they go along?

She's fine, by the way. This was her first ear infection! Ah, the milestones we reach

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Second child syndrome

I just left my children with the girl next door. She's adorable, sweet...and has never held a baby. Five minutes later I was still out the door. I literally showed her how to give a bottle on Abby Kadabby. As I drove to my dentist appointment I designed the following chart in my head.
babysitter interview questions with one child vs two



So what do the high school kids do around here on the weekends?? (That was actually Craig's question)



Here's my cell lets text and send each other cute smileys. (Thank goodness there's a poop emoticon)💩



What? You don't know how to change a diaper? Ok I'll be home in an hour a little poop won't hurt- if its really big just do your best and try not to get it on our new rug

Poor isaiah. He's such a good little boy I think I take for granted his happiness to sit and watch eliana blow bubbles, eat her lunch, dance in his face and of course literally smother him with kisses

Good luck to any third children out there...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I do not now, nor have I ever, had Purell in my diaper bag. Or anywhere near my home, actually. I don't use antibacterial soap, my kid is no stranger to sharing backwash-filled sippy cups, my house is never clean nor tidy and, as I've mentioned before, baths are infrequent. The "10 second" rule at our house is more like "oh, you're eating food you found on the floor. Hmm, well, ok." (I do try to sweep under our dining table at least once a day.)

I am the opposite of a germaphobe, believing that most microbes are our friends. I am also WAY too lazy to invest in all of the gear that germaphobes require: hand sanitizer, extra wipes, travel-sized neosporin, plastic bags for emergencies...and these are only the things that I can think of. I'm sure my germaphobe friends are shaking their heads with pity in my not even knowing what gear I should really have.

DISCLAIMER: I have a healthy child! This is not intended in any way to minimize very real illnesses or any special needs. Obviously those are unique challenges and require unique solutions. 

So here's my thing about germs: they're everywhere. We live in New York City and we ride the subway. We are exposed to who knows what at all times.  Eliza rolls around in the dirt, she pets dogs, she kisses her friends and she shares food with anyone who will tolerate it. And I actually believe that all this stuff is good for her. Yes, her first two years of life were filled with colds, bugs and viruses galore. We actually had to cancel her 2nd birthday party because she was puking all day! But none of them were hospital-worthy. Only a couple were even Tylenol-worthy. She has played in the YMCA mixed age babysitting room since she was 6 months old. Did I shudder every time I dropped her off in a room full of snot-nosed toddlers? YES Are toddlers germ-machines who touch babies? YES Should you put your baby in a room with them? ALSO YES. I mean, I had to put her there as one of my jobs is teaching fitness classes for the YMCA, but I also firmly believe in this type of practice. Other kids, and all of their cooties, are good for kids.

You know how when kids start preschool or kindergarten or a new activity, they always get sick? It's a normal reaction of our immune systems. They're teaching their little bodies to fight all the yuckiness off and getting stronger for it. You know what else they pick up from other kids? Creative and collaborative play, exposure to new ideas, new foods and new music, expanded vocabulary-my daughter says "agua" for water and I have no Spanish-and social learning. The things my daughter has learned from other Mommune members is invaluable. It's totally worth the Roseola amd Coxsackie that they all shared.