No One Left Behind

Here’s a conversation I need to have with my kids: what to do if we get separated while getting on/off the train. This is totally a fear I have, and the more kids I add to our crew the greater the fear. Logically it makes the most sense to just stay put and wait for Mommy to come back, but can I really expect a toddler to wait patiently for ten minutes on a subway platform?

I admit that I invested in a safety harness (leash) a couple of years ago. I tried it on Judah. It was a backpack with a monkey on it, totally discreet. He walked with it on his back for a block and then started crawling on the ground like a puppy. Eventually I lost the leash part and he just used it as a backpack. If I could find the leash I’d totally use it on Lisi, but she’d probably start barking. I digress.

This fear has been on my mind because of something that happened the other day. I was having a little “me” day; as in, I had two doctors’ appointments and wanted to go by myself. I also managed to squeeze in a mani-pedi and some shopping, so overall it was pretty successful. On the way home, I transferred subways and — just as I sat down — the lady next to me was like, is that your bag? Pointing out the window. Oh crap. Well, the doors closed and my bag was on the platform. No, it wasn’t anything irreplaceable, just an H&M bag with a few things I’d picked up, but it was still money I’d just spent and I’ll be darned if wasn’t going to make every attempt to retrieve it.

I got off at the next stop and waited for a downtown train. Two minutes in. What the hell is taking so long? An uptown train comes. I popped my head in and quickly looked around for someone holding an H&M bag. Nothing. I waited for what was the longest three minutes ever. The train finally arrived. I took a seat (have you seen my varicose veins? Heck yeah I’ll sit for one stop). I wondered, should I sit and pray that the bag is there? I’m Jewish and prayer is a big part of our religion, but is this really what we’re supposed to be praying for?  I mean, there are sick people who could use my prayers, shouldn’t I pray for them instead? Ah, doors open, my stop!

I got off the train and ran up the steps, across the overpass and back down the steps. The platform was a little crowded. I looked around at everyone heading my way to see if anyone was holding my bag and then I spotted the scene of the crime. There were a bunch of people there. I pushed my way through, lots of thoughts running through my mind. I mean, what was even in the bag that someone could want? Sunglasses for Lisi, a flower headband for Annie, a shirt for me and the cutest little bathing suit for Judah. Who would want that? But crap. My receipt was there. They could return it for store credit!

My heart was pounding. I approached the area and there was a lady looking at me. Is this yours? Yes! Yes it is! I took my bag, waited about a minute for the uptown train and went on with my day. And of course, losing that bag is what had me thinking: what if I had left my purse? Or a child? But hey, I didn’t. And I’ll come up with a plan. Eventually. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for that leash.

This picture would not have been possible without the big H&M rescue mission

On Hating Mother’s Day

    Here’s something you probably didn’t expect to hear from me: I hate Mother’s Day.  Not because it’s a “Hallmark holiday” and not because every day should be Mother’s Day. In truth, it’s always been a great day spent with family, wonderful weather and food. And that’s like the best-day-ever trifecta. But I still dread the day. Why? This year marked my 29th Mother’s Day without a mother. Crazy, right? Sure, I always changed it to Happy Mother’s Day, Granny. And I honestly never felt left out in school when we’d be forced to do flowery Mother’s Day projects. But come on, who was I kidding? It’s totally not the same.

                                          

I thought that once I became a mother, I’d learn to appreciate the day more. I really wanted to believe and just enjoy the “holiday”. I can totally play the game, too.  After all, it’s a day dedicated to me. I sleep in, I decide what we’re doing, where we’re going, when we’re leaving (perhaps it’s just like any other Sunday?). I graciously accept Mother’s Day wishes from strangers. I also find myself glancing over at Craig several times saying “I don’t like Mother’s Day” and oddly, just saying it out loud helps. Kind of pathetic, I know.  Some therapist could have a field day with this, I’m sure, but that’s where I stand on the topic.

                                         


Aside from the dark cloud of Mother’s Day looming overhead, it truly was a lovely day. Annie and Judah both made me awesome cards in school (which may still be under the stroller from Friday but I did appreciate it nonetheless). The day was spent with family, barbqueing and rolling around in dirt. The day ended with a drunk man peeing across from me on the  LIRR, literally like 2 feet away from me. (And no, it wasn’t Craig.) Sometimes you just have to laugh because you don’t know what else to do.

                                       


Dreadful, right?

But right now I’m just really happy. I’m thankful everyday that I’m a mother, but I’m most thankful that the day is over! Happy May to all!

Strolling

Fine, I’ll admit it: I have a lot of strollers. Five, to be exact. I can justify each one but the fact remains that it’s a bit excessive. Well, a couple days ago I was meeting up with some friends for lunch. The restaurant was small and had a few steps at the entrance. In my head, I was stressing. I can’t bring my monstrosity of an Uppababy Vista. It’ll get in everyone’s way, the waiters will get angry, it’ll be a fire hazard, we’ll get kicked out, I’ll put up a fight but they’ll fight back and then someone will get stabbed with a butter knife. Ultimately, I decided against bringing Lisi to lunch, which I blamed on my lack of a smaller stroller. I was in dire need of one and it needed to be a Bugaboo Bee.

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That night I went on Craigslist and found one. I contacted the seller. Then I checked my email every five minutes. When she didn’t respond after an hour, I sent a follow-up saying that I’d be happy to pick it up the next morning and will obviously bring cash. She wrote back that it was long gone. I was crushed. I did some research and saw that it actually was a great deal. I’ll never find it at that price again. I considered returning my new KitchenAid mixer and use the credit toward a new Bee, but did I really want to spend close to $750 on another stroller? And then I stumbled upon another listing. Which is funny, you know, because it’s not like I was refreshing the page every few minutes. I asked if it was still available. Yes. Can we work on the price? A little. Can we meet in the city? Sure. Less than 24 hours later I became the proud owner of a Bugaboo Bee.

Now, I’ve never really been much of a Bugaboo person. Over five years ago, a month before Annie was born, someone posted on Facebook that there was an abandoned Bugaboo in the garbage in front of their building. It was freezing and close to midnight but Craig and I waddled over to get it (I did the waddling). It was in excellent condition, and even came with some accessories. Score. I used it for a few a weeks but realized it wasn’t very practical for my needs, so I put it up on Craigslist for $400. It was claimed within minutes. And now here I am, five years later, finding myself in the market for the exact ride-on board that I sold from the street. I posted on our local listserve and got a response. The only catch being that she wasn’t exactly in our neighborhood. No big deal. Craig came home from work a bit early, lent me his unlimited Metro-card (saving us $5.50!) and I was off.

                                             

I know the city pretty well. And by pretty well I mean exceptionally well. Except, that is, for the 60 blocks that are considered Harlem/Hamilton Heights/Morningside Heights. I’ve been there before — there are a few outlets along 125th Street — but only a couple times. When I heard Morningside Avenue I pretended to know exactly where it was. The seller gave me detailed directions but I didn’t bother checking. I got off the train and saw that the Gap outlet would be closing in eight minutes. I ran in (bought nothing; I hate outlets) and perused a bit. I typed in the seller’s address on my phone and glanced at a vague map of where I was headed. I started walking east. It had gotten darker out and there were now fewer people on the street. Stores were closing and I could hear Granny’s voice in my head saying turn your ring around. I wanted to pull out my phone to see the map but I thought someone would totally steal it. You know, because that’s what people do in Harlem.

I continued heading east; Malcom X Boulevard, 5th Avenue, Madison, Park, Lex… where am I? I slipped into a Pathmark (yeah, there’s a Pathmark there, who knew?) and looked at my phone. It turns out  I’m an idiot; I was looking at driving directions. Hey random stranger at Pathmark, where’s Morningside Avenue? Oh, it’s down that way. All the way that way. Should I take the bus? Yeah, you definitely should take the bus.  I crossed the street. The bus was approaching, as were half a dozen police cars. They stopped right in front of the Pathmark. Move over folks, get me on this bus! I took the seat right behind the driver. No one will steal my phone if I’m next to him, right? I looked at my map and followed the route.  So far, so good. I texted the seller to let her know I was running a little late. So now I’m heading back west, watching the dot on my map moving. I saw we were a block before the stop I needed so I rang the stop button (oh man, if I told the kids I got to push the button they’d be so jealous). Ding. Wait, where are we going? Saint Nicholas Ave, Amsterdam, a street I can’t remember. The bus finally stopped and I got the hell off. Where am I? Where are all the people? I started to run. And I use the term run very loosely. Did I mention I’m pregnant? (If not, let’s consider this the announcement!) I saw a silhouette of someone in the distance. It was man with a large dog. The other side of the street was deserted as well. I started “running” faster.

All of this for a ride-on board. Forget it, I’m taking an Uber home. But that would have required me to pull out my phone again. Even though there was no one on the street, I was sure someone was going to come out of nowhere and steal my phone. I kept running. Now I’m on Morningside Avenue. One side of the street was a really dark park and the other was nothing but quiet stoops and lots of construction. I walked through one of those dimly-lit makeshift sidewalks. I looked for the building number while silently praying that I was on the right side of the street. And there it was on the corner. Wait, what is this? It’s a brand new modern-looking building, like the kind you’d pass on the street and wonder what it would cost to buy there. There was a doorman. I walked in. I was finally safe. I took out my phone as I walked into the elevator and saw that there were several Ubers in the area. Now I’m really at ease.

I knocked on the door and the seller greeted me. I was getting worried, would you like some water?. Ahhhhh. Thank you! We did the exchange and it was in near perfect condition.  Score. Are you sure you know how to get back? Who cares, I’m taking a cab. You know it’s actually really safe around here, it’s not like Harlem used to be. Oh cool, I said, as I distractedly tried to get a good glimpse of her beautiful kitchen. I rode down the elevator. Damn, this place is nice. There’s a gym in this building?  A large group of people were waiting for the elevator. Perfectly happy, calm looking people coming home from a day of work. Not disheveled people who look like they’ve just run away from a large man with a dog. What’s wrong with me? I’m tough, not scared, and this is place was far from scary.

I sucked it up and decided to take the train home. Hey doorman (note: I didn’t say that), how do I get to the A train? Oh just turn right over there and walk 2 blocks. Seriously? Two blocks? Okay, Mr. Doorman. I followed the directions, walking down this beautiful block of brownstones. There were now several people out walking their dogs and watering plants. I saw the train station and glanced at my phone to check the time. Thirty minutes prior I never would’ve dreamed of pulling my phone out, yet there I was walking down the street looking at my phone like a normal person. I caught the train and headed home. I saw Craig, hugged him, peed and went to attach the board to the stroller. It didn’t fit. But hey, that’s a story for a different time!

Yay Lisi, You Did It!

And then she did it. I knew she’d do it. I actually called it last night. Lisi climbed out of her crib. Finally. Sure, she was fine, she climbed right into Annie’s bed and back into her crib and then back in Annie’s bed. I get it, you mastered a new trick. I hate this trick already. Wait, now what are you doing? Clapping? Mmmm hmmmm. Yay Lisi, you did it! That’s what she’s waiting for me to say. I just stare in horror and she does it again, you know, in case I missed it the first time.  In and out and back in. Then she starts clapping again. And it’s at that point that I look at her clapping (and now cheering yay) with her goofy smile that I love and I join in.

Yay Lisi, you did it!

So this might not seem like a big deal to those who are used to kids sleeping in beds. Annie never climbed out, she just got evicted from her crib when she was 3. Judah can totally climb out, but he only does it when I tell him it’s okay in the morning (good boy). Lisi doesn’t get it. She’s not scared and she can’t be bribed. That’s like the worst possible combination.

After I put everyone to sleep for the night, that’s when I usually take a power nap. I knew this wouldn’t last forever; nap time has already been cut short lately thanks to Annie and the world’s tiniest bladder. “Just go to the bathroom, Annie, no need for an announcement — can’t you see mommy is trying to sleep?”  Now with the burden of knowing that Lisi can escape, how am I supposed to nap?

That’s what’s really going through my head as I’m on my hands and knees at 7:30pm trying to figure out how to adjust her crib to the lowest setting so it doesn’t happen again. Who am I kidding? She knows what she’s doing; give it a few more months for her chubby little legs to get a bit longer and she’ll be grinning and clapping again. Yay.

Sweet dreams, Greaseball. Please forget about your new talent in the morning?

 

 

Bath Time

  Okay, confession: my kids watch too much TV. And not in an omg, they watched two shows today kind of way, but it’s that they watch way more than I’m willingly to admit publicly. I’ve always been cool with it because it buys me alone time or allows me to sleep in longer. Craig and I both grew up glued to the TV, and there’s actually some quality children’s programming if you look for it. So yeah, I totally stand by this decision. I’ll let them do projects in front of the TV — sometimes even messy ones involving glue. I also tell myself that when the weather gets nicer we’ll be outside most of the time and they won’t be watching as much TV. I’m not really sure what the long term effects are but I’m sure studies have been done. No, I don’t care to read them. 

                                                

This week I tried something different. I may have bragged about this before but my kids only bathe once a week or as needed. The original idea behind this came from an article I read when I was pregnant with Annie. It spoke about how bathing too often can lead to dry skin and all I thought was sweet, one less thing to worry about. And for what it’s worth, their skin is pretty soft. Then as they got older, some of them just didn’t love bath time. It seemed as though one of them was always someone going through an anti-bath phase, and while I thought about not forcing it, even I know that it’s kind of gross to go a few weeks without a bath. So once a week it was.


Lately, I’ve started rethinking this decision. I give them a bath on Friday afternoon and they just love it. They’ll sit there for nearly an hour playing so nicely, so I’m like why don’t we do this more often? And then I forget about it until the following bathday. The purpose of the TV, besides the free babysitting, was to keep them in one space so they don’t destroy our apartment. And these guys can be monsters (Lisi, I’m looking at you). But I can accomplish the same thing by sticking them in the bathtub. Granted, they need more supervision in the tub but I still get what I want, some down time. I just sit on the floor next to them not chasing after anyone, not cleaning up spills, not waitressing or wiping anyone. I’m just sitting there watching them play nicely, in a way I’ve always imagined siblings playing together.  

  

So is this it for the TV? No. They might be over this bath thing by tomorrow. But truth be told, I think I’ve been seeing some positive results from this extra bath time. I mean, today Judah didn’t even ask for the iPad. And if you know Judah the iPad is like his right hand. They’ve also been cleaner! I’m sure I’ll be paying for it in moisturizer but I can live with that. Then between the bath and bed time I caught them playing together. The TV was on and they chose to play together. I gave myself bonus points for that. But most important, I’ve stayed sane. I hate when I have to yell at them (but wow, sometimes they totally deserve it. Okay, kidding, they’re pretty good kids) and getting that little bit of sitting-on-my-butt time is what keeps me calm. 

   

Gosh. I just love sitting on my butt sometimes.

Hillbilly Lisi

Ah, Lisi. I’ll probably delete this post once my other kids discover this blog but Lisi is totally my favorite. There, I said it. She’s spunky, easy-going and loves to cuddle at all the right times. She’s hilarious as far as babies go and she’s also very mischievous. She’s adventurous and at her age, adventurous and reckless go hand in hand.

Friday night while Annie and Craig go to Shul, I light the Shabbos candles while Judah anxiously waits by my side to blow out the little candle I use to light the other candles. Lisi will usually watch and copy everything I’m doing. Then we have a big good Shabbos hug. Last week Lisi was preoccupied with a slide she got as a Chanukah present so I let her be during candle lighting. Just as I was making it to the living room to give her her Shabbos hug, I realized that she must have just fallen down. She was crying and there was blood coming out of her mouth. When Craig and I first started having kids, the deal was that I would deal with the diapers and he would deal with blood and throw-up. Of course most of the time when blood and throw-up happen, he isn’t around.

So now there’s blood dripping out of her mouth and all over my t-shirt (heck yeah I was still in pajamas!). I wasn’t too concerned because I knew that it was normal for there to be a lot of blood with a mouth injury. She settled down, the bleeding stopped and I gave her (and Judah — sympathy pains) an ice pop and went to change out of my blood-stained clothing. When I came back Lisi was going up and down the slide again. I was a little curious as to the source for all that blood so I took a peek in her mouth. She immediately gave me a big smile. I’ll never forget that big goofy smile. She was missing her front tooth. OMG! Okay, must find the tooth. I returned to the scene of the crime and there it was. It was like one of those horror movies where that music is playing, you know what I’m talking about? And there it was. Looking at me.

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Okay, play it cool, maybe Craig won’t notice? I put the sucker in a cup of milk and ran to Shul to ask the dentist what to do. Of course our dentist was in Australia. Why wouldn’t he be? After I broke the news to Craig and we spoke with a local hygienist, our wonderful neighbor did some Google research and we decided to try and pop the tooth back in. They tried. I hid in the bedroom under some blankets. The tooth slid in neatly but it had to be held in place for way too long. Lisi wasn’t having it.

After Shabbos I spoke to our dentist. Apparently it’s not common practice to pop back in a baby tooth and even if you’re successful, there’s a risk of infection, possible root canal and the tooth can turn grey. So I guess for now (and for the next five years) she’ll be Hillbilly Lisi.

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Five Minutes

So I’m still recovering from our walk home from school yesterday. It was awful. Up until about 3:15 I was having a glorious day. I sent Lisi to a babysitter and had some much-needed alone time. I got a wax, had my own ice cream (that in and of itself makes for an awesome day), rode the local train all the way downtown just because and then did some shopping at the big Century 21. I even started missing the kids on the way home so it was just what I needed. I picked up Lisi first. I don’t know what her problem is but she hasn’t been feeling the stroller lately. Or maybe it’s more of a love-hate relationship because the babysitter said she refused to come out all day so maybe she just had enough. Who knows, babies are weird.

While we waited for Annie to come out from school I let Lisi run around in the school yard. She was excited for like a minute and then wanted to be held. I held her. Annie came out, they had a cute little hyper reunion and it was time to walk up the block to get Judah. I attempted to put Lisi back in the stroller and she wasn’t having it. She totally knows how to wiggle out. So halfway up the block she’s standing and screaming in the stroller. I have one hand on her so she doesn’t fall, I’m pushing the stroller with the other hand and Annie is holding the belt of my jacket as we cross the street. Normally around this part of our walk Annie will say something like “I need the bathroom right now” or “I don’t want to get Judah today” or “Can you just take me home, turn on the TV and then get Judah?”. Sensing my anxiety, she didn’t dare say a word. I finally gave in and just held screaming Lisi who was now inexplicably reaching for the stroller. I mean what can she possibly want? It’s not like she wanted to go in it.

We make it to Judah’s school. He won’t go in the stroller so Lisi really had to go in. I’m fighting her, she’s screaming and arching her back. In the corner of my eye I see Judah trying to open every car door he sees. Crap. I get Lisi kind of in the stroller and I turn to Judah and he’s halfway up the block running with Annie. As I start speed-walking in an effort to catch up with them I see Judah trip and do a faceplant on the ground. Sweet. He bought me like 30 seconds. Of course Lisi is standing and screaming by now. Annie helps Judah up (so sweet) and he’s fine. He continues running.

I don’t know what came over him but he just kept running. And then he ran into the street. Like not just a step off the curb. Like actually standing in the middle of the street. Omg. I run after him, grabbed him with more force than I thought I’d be capable of and threw him on the sidewalk. What the hell. In the meantime, Lisi didn’t stop. She’s standing in the stroller screaming and reaching for us and then the stroller slowly starts rolling. Annie, with her quick thinking grabs the stroller. She was totally freaked out. Once we safely made it across the street I take Lisi out and carry her for the rest of our walk home. I walk through the door, turn on the TV, take off my jacket, scarf and bra, make myself a hot chocolate (threw in marshmallows when no one was looking) and sat on the couch. End scene.

Did you know that in real time that was all about 5 minutes? I want to say that those 5 minutes made me stronger but they possibly made me weaker. Definitely made my ego weaker. I spent the next half hour in a state of shock trying to figure out how to keep that scenario from ever happening again.

Some days are really good and I know they’re really good kids. If not I’d trade them in (I’m all talk). Some days they pull stunts like that. I mentioned that earlier in the day I went to the big Century 21 downtown. If you’ve never been, it’s really great! They had a new display of Frozen paraphernalia. I got giddy when I saw it and bought way too many things they really didn’t need (at a discount!). I called Craig afterward and I was like why did I buy all that stuff? He was like well, that was nice of you and they’re good kids…. usually. He had a point. After I cooled off a bit I called Annie over. Let’s face it, she was a rockstar throughout all the crazy. I asked her if I could give her a little present. I bought her her own little piece of carry-luggage on wheels. It’s about the size of Lisi (hmmmmm). She asked if she can keep it and put some things in it. She was really excited and a little while later she told me that she loved it and it made her so happy. I needed to hear that. Of course all hell broke loose when Judah saw so I gave him his new Olaf umbrella. Maybe I bought myself a little quiet last night but I had a lot of thinking to do. Do I start using a double stroller for pickup? Get Judah first? Get a leash and let Lisi run wild? Something definitely needs to change in our pickup routine. All I know for now is that all 3 kids are laying quietly in their beds and tomorrow is a new day.

Can’t wait!

Super Baby

When Judah was 11 months old we kind of lost him.  We had two couples over for lunch one Shabbos and four kids in the house total. While I was in the kitchen getting the next course ready, schmoozing with the ladies, I was like “Has anyone seen Judah?”  Often I’ll ask that and without even looking, Craig will answer “Yeah, he’s over there.”  Luckily our guests took my question a little more seriously and started scouring through each room.  Our apartment was unusually warm that November afternoon and I had left the front door ajar. While the search was going on one guest finally came in holding Judah.  The little guy had crawled up three flights of stairs and was found reading (destroying) a New York Times.  That story ended well and the takeaway was to keep the front door closed in the future.  That was probably Judah at his most mischievous, and he’s otherwise pretty mellow as far as little boys go.

And then there’s Lisi, our resident queen of mischief.  Did you know she has a superpower?  Nope, she can’t fly or freeze things, but she can make ANYTHING within her reach spill.  It’s truly magical.  Like if I hand her a drink, I’m guaranteed to step in it at some point in the next few minutes.  Sometimes I’ll forget that I gave her a cup of chocolate milk until I reach under my stroller a few days later to find a thin layer of congealed stickiness.  And the cabinets!  OMG, the cabinets.  When Annie was a baby I never bought into the whole baby-proofing thing.  It boggled my mind that you could actually pay someone to come to your house and do that for you.  I’d think Hey, you know what’s free?  Watching your own damn kid!  Karma.  I’ve WATCHED her spill bags of cereal, flour, cocoa!  Sometimes she’s just clumsy but sometimes she does it on purpose.  Like yogurt art on the floor, pudding handprints on the walls — and believe me, I let out a sigh of relief when it turned out that the brown handprints on the walls were in fact chocolate.

  

You might look at these pictures and think Ha, you took a picture?  Why weren’t you tending to the situation at hand?  Let me tell you, for every picture I did take there are about 99 I didn’t.

You might be thinking that an easy solution here would be to simply give her cups with lids but she’s not falling for that.  She likes to think she’s an adult, or maybe it’s that a lid might cramp her style.  Or maybe she just knows that it’s much easier to spill things when the lid doesn’t get in the way.

And yeah, there was totally that time she used a rectal thermometer as a spoon. Totally gross but do you really think her hands are any cleaner?

Dear Craig

This one actually started out as email to Craig but as it got longer I realized I may as well turn it into a post. And it’s been about 2 weeks since I last posted, that driver’s license totally got to my head. Craig is out of town for business and between the time change and the jet-lag we don’t really get to talk much so I’ll send an email of everything I’ve done while he’s gone. That was totally a run-on sentence I think. Forgive me, Craig usually  edits.

You might remember my Summer of Lisi series this summer? For those just tuning in, I posted all the activities I did with Lisi each week. Some weeks were better than others but for the most part they were really fun. Then the school year started and it was still just me and Lisi. I quickly realized that if we stayed home she would take a longer nap in her crib and then I can take one too. Or catch up on 19 Kids and Counting. Or make myself a herring sandwich. On a good day I could do all 3. Aaaanyway, today Annie had off from school and Judah didn’t so I thought I’d let Annie (help) decide what we’d do. I threw a few suggestions out there: we could go to the zoo, run through leaves in Central Park, go to Trader Joe’s (I tried!), paint pottery — and she stopped me. Paint pottery! Ok, cool. While eating breakfast I got it in my head that I wanted to take her to see Frozen on Ice later this week. I found tickets at a decent price and impulsively bought them. I quickly had some buyer’s remorse .

Me: Hey, Annie? Wanna see Frozen on Ice?

Annie: Yeah! Yeah! Frozen! Frozen!

Me: Ok, so we probably shouldn’t spend any money today. Maybe no pottery painting?

Annie: Fine. Frozen! Frozen!

Me: Wanna see the fake pigeons in Washington Square Park?

Annie: That’s what I wanted to do today anyway!

Win.

And our morning continued. Did I mention everyone was up before 7? Including me. It was the longest morning ever. It was also the morning Lisi discovered herring spread. She drooled watching me eat it with a spoon until I finally let her try it. She would runaway and come back every 5 minutes for a refill. She repeated that 3 times.

Last night we got a free skateboard and baby stroller. Judah decided he’s going to stand on it whenever he plays with the iPad. He has yet to fall. Lisi loves the stroller, she keeps giving it kisses and walked around with a toy phone propped between her shoulder and cheek. Such a mini me. She was running away in this picture because I had just refilled her spoon. Definitely a mini me.

Oh, I almost forgot. Remember Annie’s counselor in camp that summer when she was 2?  She’s running a marathon for sick kids and was a few dollars short of her goal for the day so we helped her reach it. She hasn’t quite reached her goal, it’s a really good cause — if anyone is feeling generous, you can donate here.

I got everyone was dressed and ready to go. We brought Judah to school and he totally did that thing where he cries for 2 seconds so I feel like he misses me. Thanks for that, buddy. And we were off to Washington Square Park. We obviously started with Coffee Bean. Annie asked for a purple sparkly macaroon but I said no because I didn’t want to spend extra money today. She took it like a champ. Then we went to the fake grass. There’s a huge monkey bar rope going across and Annie was determined to make it across. She must’ve tried 15 times. Never quite made it all the way across but she still did pretty well!

  

I can’t go to Washington Square Park without running in to Clementine Consignment. Dude. They had kid’s Uggs for $19.99. $19.99! That’s cheaper than the knockoffs! I also made Annie pose in front of your alma mater. She insisted on using the bathroom there, explaining that a school MUST have a bathroom but I made her hold it in. She literally went 10 minutes before. It’s like she needs to leave her mark everywhere. I totally get it.

We went to the fountain but the water was off. Duh. I told Annie there wouldn’t be any water. She said I was wrong but I totally wasn’t.

  

Annie and Lisi were running around and dancing to all the street music and then we saw the Flash Flock setting up. She’s awesome. She made all of those pigeons herself (with lots of love!), really awesome. It might be my favorite thing these days. There are always real pigeons walking through thinking they are chilling with other pigeon friends. Ha.

  

Last night I gave myself an awesome sparkly manicure at Sephora and Annie was totally jealous so I brought her over today. It was pink and purple with lots of sparkles. It came off before she went to bed tonight but you can never go wrong with free. Seeing that we were 2 blocks away from Trader Joe’s we just HAD to go. Would’ve been wrong not to.

We ended the day by picking Judah up from school and going to Bennett Park with friends. When we got home, they took baths (I know, it’s not Friday but was totally necessary), ate dinner and went to sleep. No one came out for water or to pee (hi Annie) and Judah and Lisi barely cried. It was a good day.

 

Tomorrow I will resume my regularly scheduled program including: cereal with chocolate milk, wasabi herring and catch up on the show I didn’t know I was pregnant. (How do they not know? You thought it was gas? Seriously?)

Have a good night, Craig! Miss you!

Alison Cohen, LD

Pretty shortly after turning 16 I went to the DMV to get my learner’s permit. I took a driver’s ed class and went driving with an instructor and friends for about 20 minutes a week. All I remember is that he let me drive on the highway and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Other than that, I had no additional practice so I never ended up taking the road test.  Then I turned 21 and my permit expired. I renewed it but had no intention of learning to drive. Then I turned 26. It expired again and I renewed it again. The idea of going for my license was so daunting and I really didn’t see a need for it.

Cars are expensive! Between parking, insurance, gas, and the cost of owning or leasing a car all sounded like a headache I didn’t need. I buy most of my groceries online and whatever is missing I buy at the Key Food down the block. I shop at Trader Joe’s when I’m near one, and if I’m really up for a treat I’ll go to Brooklyn. I love buying meat in Brooklyn. And herring. So much herring. And I’ll shove all those purchases into my stroller. That thing is better than a bubby cart. I digress.

If there’s one thing I’m awesome at, it’s navigating the NYC subway system. I’ve mastered it. I’ve been riding the trains since I was 13; I was riding the bus for years before that. I’m very used to it and it’s normal for me to lug my stroller up and down stairs without thinking. Occasionally I don’t feel like taking the train so I’ll hop in a cab instead — no big deal, I’ve saved plenty of money by not owning a car!

I was laying in bed one evening this past July when I decided to get my license. The next day I signed up for lessons. Not sure what pushed me, I just felt like it. Kind of like the time Forrest just felt like running. About five lessons in I took my five hour class, then two weeks ago I got the phone call saying that my road test will be October 27th at 7:30 am. I quickly took five more lessons and then it was the 27th.

The last time I set my alarm was the morning I was induced with Judah. That was also the last time I sat and ate an uninterrupted breakfast. When I was done I quietly left and grabbed Starbucks. It was still dark out and oddly pleasant. It had me thinking that I should set my alarm more often, but I have no doubt I’d snooze it if I set my alarm for fun.

I got there at 7:15 and met my instructor, Jimmy, who was going to drive four of us to the test site in Riverdale. I was the first ones there so I got shotgun. All of the cars line up, but no more than two drivers are allowed to go per car. If you’re not one of the two, your car gets sent to the back of the line. Guess who got sent to the back of the line? Around 10:15, after nine other cars took their tests and three bathroom trips later (I probably shouldn’t have had that coffee) I was sitting in the driver’s seat. I was buckled in, seat adjusted, ready to roll. The examiner stepped out of the car ahead of mine and, just as I thought she was heading my way, she left for a 30 minute break.

10:45, let’s do this.

Me: Good morning!

Examiner: Permit.

End of pleasantries, I guess. She wasn’t much of a talker. I executed some serious judgment by not making a that’s-what-she-said-joke when the examiner told me: “Pull out when it’s safe and go straight.” Really glad I didn’t say that out loud!

I turn on the engine, adjust my mirrors, look around, wait for the cars to pass and then I’m ready to pull out. The car didn’t move — it was still in park. Dammit!

Me: Ok, let’s start again!

I’ll save the details, but after she hit her breaks twice I totally thought I was done for. But then I parallel parked like a champ. My final turn was very wide, so much so that she commented on the width of it.

Me: I’m so sorry. Actually I’m not apologizing to you, I’m apologizing to myself.

I turned the car around and we drove past the line of cars waiting to take their road test. She slammed on the brake once more as we arrived at the end of the line. Then silence. Like ten seconds of the longest silence ever.

Examiner: Here’s your permit back. You should be receiving your license in 2 weeks; you passed.

Me: Seriously? I’d hug you but I doubt that’s okay.

Examiner: Probably not.

Me: Okay, well thank you so much. I have so much respect for what you do — you risk your life everyday.

Examiner: Wow, thank you, no one has ever said that to me before!

And just like that, I became Alison Cohen, licensed driver.