Boobs

Remember those birthday cards that would say something like “SEX. Now that I have your attention, Happy Birthday”. See what I did here? Boobs. Now keep reading.

I never thought of myself as an “uberboober”. I nursed Annie for about 7 months while looking for any excuse to stop. I did it because it was easy and she seemed to like it but as soon as all those teeth came in….OW. Then Judah lasted about 3 months. I wasn’t into it, he wasn’t  into it. We kind of tried but we were both much happier with the bottle.

Then came Lisi. Did I mention she was born without an epidural? I’m sure I have but just thought I’d throw it out there again. I remember sitting in my hospital bed and she was nursing wonderfully. Maybe since she was the third my milk came in a lot faster but she was gulping away. A doctor came in to see if I wanted to meet with the lactation consultant and he looked at us and said “oh, you probably shouldn’t go, you’d make everyone else feel bad”. It’s working out really well for us. I mastered sleeping while nursing (I know, that’s a no-no), nursing in the baby carrier, at the zoo, in Century 21 — while shopping! Totally rocking it so why stop?

          Nursing with Marc Ruffalo….

Another thing that’s different this time is that I’m less shy about it. With Annie I remember hiding in the bathroom to feed her. But even that was tricky. If there was a line or I got stuck with one of those automatic flushing toilets it was a pain. I had one of those nursing covers that I carried around everywhere with Annie and Judah but neither of them cared to be covered during the feeding (and throwing on a giant nursing poncho kind of draws attention). When Lisi was 10 days old I fed her on the subway for the first time. I think that was my first time nursing in public. It was totally fine. Slowly I started getting more comfortable with the idea and realized I can nurse pretty much ANYWHERE.
One of the list serves I’m on sent out this email: 
“Last week at the Spuyten Duyvil branch of the NYPL a library employee asked a breast-feeding woman to cover up while nursing or leave the toddler story time….. if you support a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, please join us for a “nurse-in” this Thursday….”

A nurse-in??? How cool is that? I’d never heard of one and wasn’t sure what to expect but figured if anything, it would give me something to blog about. I was one of the first to get there and wasn’t really sure who was there for story time and who was part of this little nurse-in, but I kind of went with the flow and headed on to story time. After a round of If you’re happy and you know it and The wheels on the bus, the librarian started reading. All of a sudden it was like a flash mob of nursers. One by one boobs popped out. And I totally joined in.

I left shortly after but from what I heard, it was a complete success. A year ago, I never would have imagined myself doing this but I’m really happy I did! I used to think it was inappropriate when moms would nurse anywhere. I totally would have judged myself but now I get it. I don’t think I’m a better mother because I breast feed and I don’t think Lisi is any healthier (I do think I’m a little richer though, formula is quite costly!). I do it simply because we both like it. 

Just a little info on breast feeding in public in New York. You have the right:
  • To breastfeed your baby in any public or private place where you have a right to be.
  • This includes stores, day care centers, doctors’ offices, restaurants, parks, movie theaters and many other places.
  • No one can tell you to leave any of these places because you are breastfeeding, and no one can tell you to breastfeed in a bathroom, a basement or a private room.
Moral of the story? Do what works for YOU. I don’t care what you do. And don’t mess with a breast feeding mama or she’ll get all her friends to stage a nurse-in. And believe me, that’s a lot of boob.

Fort Washington Park

On a recent afternoon out with a bestie, I insisted we check out this new playground I had just read about. I liked the name: “Discovery Playground”.  Sounds educational, right?  I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there but I had a vague image in my mind of where it was supposed to be. So we walked and walked, all the while noting we were walking downhill (which means more uphill on the way back). We were at the point where we’d walked as far west as we possibly could and were looking DOWN at where we needed to be. We had to somehow cross the West Side Highway but there were no overpasses in sight. We needed an underpass. Although I’m a native New Yorker I’m never too proud to ask for directions. A jogger explained that we’d have to go down what seemed like an infinite number of steps, walk under the highway and backtrack a bit. OK.
I think this was taken at the halfway point. And then we walked. And the girls peed on the side of the highway. 
Let’s just say we got there. 
The park itself was actually quite fabulous. It was along the water, great views and literally in the middle of nowhere so it was oddly relaxing. There are tennis courts, picnic tables, a public bathroom about 10 blocks up, and plenty of trees. I’ve seen people BBQing and fishing, too.  
Here are some shots of the actual playground. I like that it had a little nature theme, it definitely stood out from the other NYC playgrounds.
This rope structure was a lot harder to climb than you’d think. 


Plenty of open space
Treehouse!

Lots of climbing
Not just any old mushrooms, some were bouncy.

   


Might be the closest they’ll get to a nature hike for now.
Check out the Little Red Lighthouse
Well, what up GWB?

So full disclosure: I don’t know the best way to get there but probably not the route we took. There were so many uphills on the way back I may have had a mini-heart attack. I mean it just kept going. 
So would I go back? YES! This is a great destination playground, you can probably spend a whole Sunday afternoon on these grounds. There were swings in a few sizes, sprinklers and lots of seating for those who like to sit (pick me. pick ME!). It was also just a FUN park. I was totally climbing on the equipment myself. There was also this really cool zip-line that I would have loved to go on but then I was scared the littles would want to try it as well, which would mean that I’d have to do a lot more work. And we all know how I feel about doing work.

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Happy Family

If you think this is a mushy post about family it’s totally not. Welcome to the year of “never have I evers” becoming “for the first time in forevers” (sorry, I’m surrounded by Frozen addicts).  We’ve crossed a number of things off our bucket list recently, so I thought I’d share with the crowd.

Chronologically:

1) The stomach bug:
Before I got married, my last stomach bug was October 1993. I was the third grader who missed the toilet, and I promised myself I would never again be known as the girl-who-threw-up-all-over-the-bathroom. Since we got married I’ve had it once or twice, but this past summer I had it 4 times. 4 times! Yes, it was a temporary fix for losing the baby weight but so not worth it.
2) Pink eye:
So I didn’t actually have it but the kids did. Over and over. That stuff is contagious! It went down like this — I dropped Annie off at school at 9:00, went downtown and got a call from school around 10:15. They said her eye looked infected. Ok, so I called the doctor for an 11:30 appointment, came back to pick her up and figured I’d have her back in school by lunchtime since there was obviously nothing wrong and the school didn’t know what they were talking about. Um, wrong. I get there, see her eye bulging and pus oozing out. I gasped. Literally gasped. 
Here’s the visual: 

And a few days later:

That stuff really made its rounds.
3) Laryngitis:
Remember that?? Talk about annoying. That was a first for me. Ordering a coffee looked something like this:

4) Strep:
I’d never had it. My throat hurt like crazy, fever hit 104. I went to the doctor and he wanted to do a throat culture. I’d never had one.
Doctor: I’m going to swab your throat now
Me: Ok
Dr: You’re going to have to open your mouth
Me: Ok
Dr: Wider
Dr: Say aaaaaaaaah
Dr: Wider
Dr: Put your tongue down
Dr: Stop backing away
Dr: Ok, now I’m going to put my hand in your mouth and hold down your tongue.
Me: I might bite you
Dr: Please don’t bite me
I didn’t bite him. The test came back positive right away, then I got it again 2 weeks later and went to a different doctor.
Dr: I’m going to swab your throat now
Me: Ok
Dr: You’re going to have to open your mouth
Me: I’m sorry, I’m going to be difficult, but can’t you just put your hand in my mouth and hold my tongue down?
Dr: No, you might bite and I have places to go.
Worse than a pap. No joke.

5) Pediculosis:

That’s the fancy name for lice. Annie had been scratching her head for over a week. I thought it was a dry scalp or eczema thing. I’ve never had lice, why would she? We’re fairly clean people. But after sifting through her hair in front of shul with a friend we saw a little bug. Meh, it’s totally a fruit fly. Wait. 2 fruit flies? What are the odds? Oooooh not fruit flies.
  
My neighbor gave me the number for a lovely Chassidish girl who does lice. She came over that night around 11. Hey, guess what? I had it too! As she was working on Annie, she was also on the phone with her mother: “oh yeah, the mother had some and the little girl has a happy family in her hair“. She was infested. I bet you feel itchy now.

You’d probably look the same if someone woke you at 2:00 to check your head for bugs.
 The day after: new pillows, airtight storage bins and a cart full of impulse buys. 

 I have to comb through our hair every night with Pantene for the next week. So far no bugs but a schocking amount of Oreo crumbs.

So just a little PSA. ANYONE can get it, there’s no way of figuring out the source so let’s not play the blame game. Own it. If you have lice you tell people, it’s not embarrassing. In fact, a lice specialist at Oxford said that lice prefer clean heads. Yah hear that? We’re clean!

Besties

A couple months ago I walked by a Claire’s and saw a sign in the window: all sale items 10 for $5. Annie wasn’t with me — I think I may have only been with a sleeping Lisi — but when I saw the racks of Doc McStuffin tchotchkes (I was skeptical about the spelling as well but wikipedia is the boss), neon peace sign necklaces and princess paraphernalia with every shade of pink fur, I just couldn’t resist. I grabbed 2 baskets and started filling up. We’re talking 50 cents an item — you don’t see that anymore these days! Upon rummaging through all the junk (who am I kidding, it’s complete junk) there was a necklace with the a broken heart, one half said “best” and the other said “friend”. Remember those? At first glance I thought it was awesome, 2 necklaces for the price of 1! But then I was thinking about it more. Who would Annie give the other half to? Who’s her best friend? Does she have only one? Should I buy 2 sets of necklaces?  I started sweating. I grabbed a headband with “Lambie” ears and with much restraint I only spent $5 that afternoon.

Craig tells me I use the phrase “best friend” too loosely. He frequently reminds me that my cleaning lady, manicurist, barista, doctor and doctor’s secretaries aren’t actually my besties. And maybe they’re not but sometimes I feel like they are. Okay, not really (maybe a little?). Who is my best friend? Is it Craig or is he just my husband? Or is he my husband AND best friend? Is that why he’s my husband? Because he IS my best friend? Yikes, sweating again. 
In the spirit of making conversation with a 4 year old I asked Annie who she wants to marry.   Definitely a concept she hasn’t quite grasped yet since her answer is always “I want to marry Daddy”. When I tell her he’s taken and she needs to find someone else she settles for Judah. I know, that’s what I get for a asking a silly question. Is Judah her best friend? Craig and I are both only children. We don’t really know much about this whole sibling thing. Not totally sure what the norm is. Are they supposed to fight and tackle each other or play nicely and be lifelong friends? Maybe some of both? 
I talk about this a bunch but Annie and Lisi started sharing a room about a month ago. In the early stages of perfecting our bedtime groove, I would tuck Annie in first and tell her that she has to set a good example and show Lisi how to go to sleep nicely. I’ll put Lisi down and head out. I’d peek in after and find Annie doing headstands claiming “Lisi likes it when I do that”. Or I’ll hear Annie singing some songs from Frozen or making some crazy animal noises and Lisi cracking up. Many times, I’ll hear Judah giggling in his room across the hall. The other night when I put the girls down I gave Annie the same little speech about going to sleep and NOT doing any acrobatics or straining her vocal cords. I tucked her in, put Lisi down and started heading out. I turned around and see Lisi sprint towards Annie, stand at the edge of her crib and stare at Annie to get her attention. I close the door and I hear Annie making her funny noises  and Lisi is laughing. Then Judah starts laughing from his room. Apparently Lisi is now the instigator.

So are they best friends? Or does that not count in the same way Craig doesn’t count as my best friend? Does any of this really matter? I hate labels like that. Those necklaces are so dumb and I’m glad I didn’t buy one. Even if it was only 50 cents. 

All About Me #1

My New Year’s resolution this year is to try and listen when people talk and try not to spin the conversation on to myself. It’s been incredibly difficult. I’m terrible at not talking about myself. There have been a few conversations where I did bite my tongue and listen so I thought this would be a good outlet for me. This is the first “All About Me” installment. This may not be interesting to anyone other than myself but I will reminisce some instances where I’ve kept my mouth shut and just listened.

A good friend gave birth to her 3rd baby a couple of weeks ago. As she texted me all of the details of her labor and hospital stay it seemed very similar to my experience with Judah. It took every nerve in my thumb to refrain from saying anything. So, if you’re reading this (and I know you are since I told you to), here’s how it went down: Just like you, I was induced and had to arrive at the hospital at 6:00 am. Crazy, right? It was freezing in the delivery room and Craig had the nurses bringing him blankets. I believe we both had the same nurse. She was fabulous. I might have babies just to see her (and to get meals from some people post-baby). My doctor came in around noon to break my water. Have I ever mentioned that my doctor is fabulous as well? Well she is. I got my epidural before I could feel anything and Judah was born shortly after. It was so pleasant I could hardly wait to have another one!

And yes he’s still attached. I know this might look gross but this  is “all about me” and I like it.

I find that childbirth is a wildly popular topic on the playground. Everyone wants to share their story. I know I do. If it ever gets awkward you can casually ask “so, what hospital was Penelope born in?” and you’ll likely end up with some kind of TMI conversation with a stranger. It’s kind of nice!

Another popular topic is sleep. Your sleep. Your baby’s sleep. Everyone talks about it. Sleep training. Crying it out and all the fun that comes along with it. Here’s my experience, and feel free to refer back to this if I ever clam up while you’re talking so I can listen to you. I totally sleep trained Annie and Judah. I had them cry it out. Ask me for how long? Not really sure. I would put them to sleep in the evening and either hop in the shower and blast music, close the door and watch TV or maybe just turn on the dryer. All I know is that they were sleeping when I was done doing my noisy activity.  Humblebrag: I had those 2 in bed every night by 5:30 and they would wake up at around 8 in the morning (and bless little Judah Leopard who would go to 9 and beyond on occasion) for about a year. This is no longer the case but I don’t think I can ever complain about anything because of that. Annie now tiptoes into our bedroom and hangs out for a little. She’ll toss and turn and hog the blanket. Then she gets dressed, grabs a yogurt and straw and waits for me to turn on the TV. Sometimes I stick Lisi in there with her and go back to sleep. It will be quiet for a little bit and then she’ll come back asking for things like gum or ice cream or Pez. She’s obsessed with Pez. Mama, can I have Pez? I really like Pez. I finished the Pez. Can we please buy more Pez? 


I posted a few weeks ago about evicting Lisi from our room and moving her in with Annie. Updates? I don’t want to jinx it but it’s going quite well. Since Craig and I are both onlies this is really sweet to watch. Even though I tell Annie she has to set a good example and show Lisi how nicely she can go to sleep I always hear them giggling. Annie doesn’t even try to hide it, she’s quite loud. She does headstands because “Lisi likes it when I do headstands” and eventually they doze off. Lisi went from waking up every 2-3 hours to eat to doing a 10-14 hour stretch at night. I may have closed the door to our room and their room all the way so I wouldn’t hear any crying but guess who’s been sleeping better? Yup, ME, because this here folks, is ALL ABOUT ME!

An Apple a Day

Judah got really into technology over the last few months. He’s obsessed with phones, tablets and pretty much anything that makes noise and lights up.  Impressive but typical for a 2 year old these days. He can probably be entertained for hours if I let him. I’m not really proud of this, but he’s actually really good! My hopes are that he’s at least learning Spanish or how to read from some apps but for now it’s just a good distraction.

This morning we got on the train with no particular destination in mind. I knew that I needed to get to a Coffee Bean and go to the Apple store to see if they could replace my charger wires (seriously Judah, you don’t HAVE to yank the devices so hard that the rubber frays!). Once I had my coffee I started thinking more clearly. It was a bit chilly today so I was looking for an indoor activity. I decided that we’d go hang out at FAO Schwarz but thought we’d stop in the Apple store to take care of things first.

Judah was beyond excited in the clear glass elevator, he was clapping the entire way down. Then the doors opened revealing a giant underground room filled with hundreds of iPads and iPhones. He literally jumped out of the stroller, took his jacket off and got comfortable.

 I showed the “geniuses” my wires and they said that since I didn’t have an appointment it would be a 15 minute wait. So we waited.

And waited….

And waited….

And took a coffee break

And sang some songs from Frozen

And it was an hour. Just as I suspected they forgot about me. It worked out in my benefit though because they replaced both wires for free! Not such a bad morning, needless to say FAO Schwarz wasn’t necessary!

Roomies

I remember our first night home with Annie and she just screamed and screamed and screamed.  Craig and I were flipping out because we thought that was what our lives would look like from that point on. Luckily the crying stopped. From all of us. At that point we were still in a 1 bedroom apartment and we wound up sharing a room with her for 18 months. There was a lot of tiptoeing and whispering and it definitely made things interesting, but she was a pretty good roommate so no complaints.

Then there was Judah. When he came out (of me) he was such a boy. I woke up the morning after he was born and the nurse wheeled him in, I was so excited to just cuddle with him for the first time. I hobbled out of bed and as I’m about to pick him up he let out a burp and a fart at the same time followed by some projectile vomit.  When we got home he had the worst gas. Like not the kind I’d expect to come out of a human (and if you know me well that’s pretty harsh). It was even on my list of concerns when we went to our first pediatrician visit. At night time when he wasn’t screaming he was snoring. And grunting. By night #3 he was evicted to the hallway. By 3 months he was fully sleep-trained and on his own. Such a man.

Then there was time Annie turned 3 and we moved her into a bed and Judah into a crib (he was in a pack n’ play). That was quite the transition. Annie was now free to roam around the apartment as she pleased. Well, not on my watch. Still, um, not like we’d ever do this, but if we were to go to a neighbor and not get a babysitter, just that idea that she can get out of bed and walk around is kind of crazy. Lucky for us she’s not very adventurous in the dark but I’m no longer as comfortable as I used to be turning on the monitor and dashing.

I’m talking about all this now because tonight is Lisi’s first night in her new crib. Up until now she has been sleeping in a mini crib next to our bed. For the last few weeks she’s been pulling herself up to stand and she’ll just stare at me trying to get my attention whenever she can. It’s not conducive to sleep for any of us. Plus, the crib is so small that she’ll often fall and bump her head on the way down.  She wakes up twice a night to eat and even though it’s usually just a quick 5 minute feed, I think it’s time. I’m excited/nervous to see what tonight will bring all of us. Annie hasn’t had a roommate since us and come on, who else can top that?

Here’s to a restful night! Sweet dreams……

The Year We Rocked Purim

I’m sure everyone has already moved on to Passover. If you haven’t started menu planning and cleaning out the bedrooms, consider yourself behind.  Pre-kids, Craig and I were totally into our (award-winning) Purim costumes. Once we started having kids we just invested our energy into their costumes and didn’t dress up ourselves. This year we talked about dressing up again and went back and forth but at 10:30 Purim morning when I saw Craig trying on a potential costume we went for it!

Elliot Spitzer and Lady Friend, 2008

Captain Sully and Crew, 2009

We attempted to go with a rockstar theme. My inspiration was Judah’s hair. He really needs it cut every 6 weeks or so to keep him from looking homeless but when he hit the 3 month mark a few weeks ago we decided to hold out and incorporate his locks into a costume. Elvis was born.
Piece of junk romper, later I noticed it said size 6-12 months — at least he has the hair
                                                 

Annie had been going from doctor to fairy to ballerina to princess for weeks but I got her excited about wearing candy and a blue wig, then sat down to some youtube videos so she would have some idea who she was. Here’s Katy Perry:

This was too delicious to last until Purim Day
Here’s my man:
Sir John Lennon

 So how could I not be Madonna?
And please remind me to never go blonde

Then there was Lisi. There were no rockstars we could think of that were bald without coming off as racist so she was a dinosaur.

 It was either that or a unicorn so just play along. 
On to the meal. This was inspired by a long afternoon of weird cravings for old-school heimishe food and I still can’t believe it actually happened.  I think we were drunk on some crackers, capers and Swiss mayo when we* came up with this:
Hors d’oeuvres were crackers with mayo, lox and herrings  

P’cha: calves foot jelly. Not a crowd pleaser.

Giblets and prunes

Aunt Linda’s homemade kishka

Malki’s overnight meat/potato kugal
Roast

Emily’s stuffed cabbage

Maybe not heimishe but it was in the Bais Yaakov cookbook

As I type this I realize that I forgot to buy cel-ray soda. I should add that there was also lots of chopped liver and other food that wasn’t heimishe but was delicious!  

No different than any other day
Now back to Pesach cleaning. 
I lie. I’ll start in a few weeks, right now I’m still working on the leftovers.

* I think it’s time to give credit to my food soulmate, you know who you are!

The Buzz

As I write this I’m still a little tipsy so apologies in advance for the brevity and possible incoherence of this post. Tonight I went somewhere awesome. There was music, alcohol, good people, mini peppers (OMG, don’t you love those? They’re so cute you just want to….. eat them?), hummus and these crackers that looked really healthy— fear not, I stayed far far away from those.

A drink was made for me upon my arrival. It was a gin and tonic with cranberry juice, I’ve never had that before. It was fabulous. I really don’t care for alcohol but it was 8:00 on a school night so why not go crazy? Then the cold sweats set in. I ate some more of those peppers and I found myself laughing uncontrollably. Before I knew it I was demanding cheese. And there it was. A log of honey infused goat cheese with almonds. Where has that been my entire life? Ever have that? It’s really good. Like heavenly. Buy stock in it. You heard it here first.

This picture has no relevance to this post. It is a poor attempt at a selfie on the subway.

Tonight was truly a night to remember. Where did I go? Yup, you guessed it. Parent teacher conferences! Probably the most fun I’ve ever had or anticipated to have at a parent teacher conference. Totally unexpected. I’m looking forward to many more conferences like these in the future. 

Although maybe next time I’ll have the drink AFTER meeting with the teacher. Yup, will definitely wait.

Sneakers for the Leopard

After spending nearly 2 years shopping in the girls’ department for Annie it was really fun adding the boys’ section to my shopping routine. It was a little tricky at first — not as many accessories, and Judah puked so much there was no point dressing him half the time, but I totally got this down. I admit that by the time Annie was Judah’s age she probably had 5X as many shoes as he has. Maybe it’s a girl thing?Second born thing? I don’t really know but we must put an end to this! On Sunday we took Judah to have his feet measured (no, I’m not getting ripped off again at these $$$$ kids’ stores!) and couldn’t believe that his sneakers are over a size too small! I guess that explains the dents on his toes?

Shoes for Jude


These are my top 8 choices. My only criteria is that they go on easily. No laces, no high tops. Any input would be appreciated. Here are my thoughts: 1) When my editor saw this one he asked if they were girls’ shoes. They might be, but Judah can handle that. 2) I’ve always been a fan of these Vans. 3) A classic. A good candidate for the matching-father-son category. 4) I love these. They’re even brighter in person! 5) These actually go on very easily — there’s velcro and I love the bikes! 6) His last 2 pairs of shoes were this style. I’m a fan. 7) Ok, these have laces BUT right now they’re $25. In about 6 weeks I predict they will go down to $18.99 online and I’m hoping Gap will have a 40% off coupon. $12? I’d consider them. 8) I think Judah would think these are funny.

We all know I sometimes dress Judah in girls’ clothing. I tried it with shoes. This was last spring:

I was cool with it but a lot of little kids be like “why’s he wearing girls’ shoes” “purple is for girls”. I disagree. 
So then I became a little more color-conscious when buying shoes for Annie.

Played it safe with red.
And then there was the time I thought I could sharpie over a pair of Annie’s pink sparkly Toms.
FAIL.