Monday, May 31, 2010

I love long weekends

First things first--Son is fine. More than fine, in fact. So fine, he managed to break a really fine, nice, sweet, innocent red sugar bowl, run around a gorgeous Brooklyn backyard, fall asleep in a little girl's Pack'n Play in Park Slope, chase a rather large dog under the West Highway Midtown overpass, eat avocado with pate in Riverside Park and pee in his portable potty all over town. Oh yes, Son had a fabulous weekend.
I have come to the conclusion that the only weekends that work for me are the Three-Day Weekends. As some of you in the US know, today we celebrated Memorial Day, which entitled the workforce of America an extra day of vegging out and excessive food and retail consumption. I love those weekends because only then the Diplomat and I manage to rest, party and reconnect fully. On Saturday, we stayed at home with the recovering Son. I even managed to snag a mani and pedi, and he grilled a fabulous steak on the porch. The day ended with peach pie.
On Sunday, fully rested, we headed over to Brooklyn to visit future fellow FSO and his lovley wife and 11 month old charmer for a BBQ at a fabulous townhouse in Cobble Hill. The garden in the back was somewhat of a fantasy land with its cascading rose bushes, overflowing flower pots and hanging vines in the back. The BBQ master served burgers that were famously "70-30" (think meat/fat ratio--in your face, dieters!!) and hot Italian sausages. Dressed in a dainty white dress, I ate unlike a lady. Son proceeded to 1) break a sugar bowl and 2) feel superbly smug about it afterwards. (bad parenting moment, methinks...). We moved on to another gorgeous townhouse, this time in Park Slope, to visit another fabulous pair of friends. Luck would have it, they had a guest who happened to have been Bartender of the Year in NYC last year. He preferred to call himself a Mixologist (insert a mental eye roll). He certainly could mix things! We managed to get back home at 1 am.
Sunday found us going to a picnic in Riverside park with old colleagues of the Diplomat, where Son ran for 3 hours straight after a large dog, who in turn was running after a Frisbee. He also spent some time wooing a cute 2 year-old girl who wouldn't give him the time of the day. We discovered that Son dislikes brie and blue cheese, but can deal with Boursin cheese. Avocado remains a favorite and I even managed to sneak in some pate in the mix.
As a side note, the Diplomat is in pain. He pulled a back muscle while carrying groceries. The moral of the story? He clearly does not do it often or enough, otherwise those muscles would have been in much better shape! I am just saying...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sick baby and Sex and the City 2--what's a mom to do?

Son continues to be sick-lish. Fever has gone down considerably but still majorly cranky and refuses to eat. I am determined to be calm and not to panic ESPECIALLY since it is a 3-day weekend. Naturally! The Diplomat thinks it is strep throat, or pharyngitis--ahh, the pitfalls and traps of self-diagnosing. But he does seem to have the symptoms, just not the age (apparently, strep is not common below 2 years). I spoke with the doctor who told me to stop giving acetaminophen and see where the fever goes. So, we are currently in "wait and see and not eat" mode.

On a funkier note, I went out last night with my girlfriends while the Diplomat dealt with Cranky. No, that does NOT make me a bad mom, I needed to go out to air my head a bit, plus we already had tickets for Sex and the City 2!! The Diplomat managed just fine on his own, he is truly great with Son and I am happy that he doesn't get freaked out by the thought of taking care of him in my absence. The key to that is early training! I had him bathe and diaper Son from the get-go. In fact, he was doing all the diapering during the first week, I was too exhausted and depressed to do anything besides nursing. So, here goes another reason why I love that man! He is currently passed out, and with Son finally also napping, I am having a quiet little Saturday afternoon, drinking a nice green Sencha and surfing the net for unnecessarily expensive hair products.

So, Sex and the City 2--the movie is AWESOME, y'all! Forget the first movie fiasco, girls, this one is hilarious, poignant, thought-provoking, mouth-gaping(they do have a male rugby team walk around only in speedos at times) and very sexy. Someone told me it was supposed to be a giant ad for products. It actually is not. Surprisingly few products are actually featured (like some book on the art of staying young, Pringles, CuisineArt and Abu Dhabi) but it is all done quite subtly and does not take away from the movie. The plot jives well and the 2+ hours just flew by. My gals and I loved it. So, go see it. No, I don't get any money from them to promote it, I simply really liked it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When bebe is sick

Son is sick. He had high fever yesterday, and ran it through the night. It appears to be under control today. He spent the night screaming, I think he must have slept less than 4-5 hrs altogether all night. Clearly, neither did we. Diplomat was nice enough to tell me he wold take care of him through the night during the expected wake-ups. But come on, what supercool mom would just lie there in her bed, listening to her sick bebe screaming, completely unable to stop? It was a sad sight, his small arms flailing about, his eyes half-closed, his hand reaching out for water but for some reason not wanting it. Then all of a sudden everything stops, he takes his binky and falls asleep on mine or daddy shoulder.
It is moments like that that I realize just how powerless I am to help him. There is no greater frustration in the world, bar none, than the one a mother feels when she cannot help her child. It reduces you to tears, and you are ready to do any single thing in the world to make that little creature stop crying and screaming and thrashing. At times you get mad at him--anything you offer is pushed back violently, even your embrace and you are rewarded with a few kicks as he is wildly kicking. But it is all trumped by the seeming futility of everything you try to calm him down.
After several wake-ups on the hour, he finally fell asleep at 5 am. We thought he would sleep late into the morning so that mama can get some much needed beauty sleep. Nope. At 7 am sharp, Son was wide awake and happy, wanting to play. This is another one of those moments when you realize that mothers are super humans. I got up, barely able to open my eyes, got him our of the crib and tried hard for a few momenta to get him to go back into it. Then watched him with half-closed eyes prance around to play with his cars. After an hour of this, he finally wanted to sleep again. Amen to that!
Oh, and the Diplomat got up at 6 to go play tennis. He is weird like that. But I love him for all of it, so there.
Good morning, world!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's exhausting being a supermom

Every mom knows it--it is EXHAUSTING being a cool, good mom. Yesterday, Son had a day off from daycare, so I decided to take him to the Bronx Zoo. It was high time he finally saw all those animals he only sees in his books and even knows by name. (Isn't that so funny--most children's books are all about farm and wild animals, as if those really fill the majority of every person's daily life....odd). Naturally, I chose the perfect day--the temperature outside was reaching 90 degrees plus it was free day at the Zoo, so it was packed with school groups, yippee. I soldiered on, regardless!
Turned out, everything was great. The zoo has so many trees that it was nice and cool. The school groups moved in droves and we just had to wait for them to scream and screech at the animals for a few minutes and then the place was ours! We saw the newborn lion cubs! My goodness, what sweetness. The lion daddy just sat there, barely moving, and the mom and aunt pranced around, licked and pushed the babies on the grass. Son refused to move for half an hour, pointing out to the "bebe" out there.
I also took him to the giraffes, but he was much more impressed by the silly ostriches running like mad around than the goofy giraffes. Oh well, at least this morning at breakfast, he could point them out in his book to the Diplomat.
We also had a super wholesome lunch of chicken fingers, french fries, industrially produced apple juice and practically frozen apple slices. Oh yes, and mama had a glass of cold Stella. Trust me, mama deserved it!
After walking for 3 hours in the heat, I could barely walk, so we came home, and while he slept sweetly for 3 hours, I proceeded to iron a mountain of his tees and shorts and pajamas and whatever else comes with a boy toddler. The moment I was done, he woke up and I decided to take him to the swimming pool next door. Once there, he categorically refused to inside and instead, ran like mad with his friend around the pool area. I ran after him to feed him dinner.
Well, by 8 pm, I needed someone to wheel ME in a carriage, so the Diplomat gave him a bath and off he went. I meekly had dinner, watched a show on TV and passed out.
Boy, it's tough being a good mom!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Paltz, 2 weeks ago

After a long day, which involved visiting a winery, the boys play frisbee

Tired of traveling with a toddler

We travel a lot. A LOT. By plane, by car, bus, what have you. During this past month only, we were away for three consecutive weekends: we went upstate NY to New Paltz to visit a friend, then up in Connecticut to visit my aunt and uncle for their annual BBQ, and then this past weekend to Diplomat's aunt and uncle's place in Washington, DC for their granddaughter's first birthday. I am all traveled out. Seriously. If I see our car right now, I might barf. And that would be a shame, since I quite like the car.
Traveling with a (supposedly) potty trained toddler, locked in a car on a highway, is a pure nightmare. Son has learned quickly (clever child, just like his mom) to chant "potty, potty, potty" every time he is strapped or put into something he is not interested in like his car seat, or the high chair (Son is not fond of the whole eating thing), or even to go into the bathtub every night. So, every now and then, while we are driving full speed on I-95, counting our blessings for the low traffic, Son begins to scream playfully: potty potty potty, and even though I KNOW there ain't any, I DARE you not to stop. I frantically beg him to wait, we stop at the next rest area and I patiently hover him above ground next to the car while passers-by give us dirty looks while sipping from ginormous McDonalds coke cups. What is even more ridiculous, I got a nasty look from a rather portly fella WHO WAS WALKING HIS OWN PORTLY DOG to pee. So, since when it is OK for dogs to pee on the street but it is not for my lovely Son?
Anyhow, traveling around with a 20 month old means also dragging the pack and play around (Son refuses to sleep in the same bed with us, I think it is a form of a statement to pay us back for all those nights of CIO when he was a baby), a whole stack of underware and pants in case he has an accident, all his binkies (he sleeps with them), his bear, his precious cars, his books, etc. paraphernalia. Oh yes, and also packing for me and the Diplomat (no, he does not pack, that privilege is reserved for me, woo-hoo?).
So, after three weekends of packing and repacking, and putting the pack and play up and down and up and down and up and down, I am DONE. DONE DONE DONE. I have imposed a moratorium on overnight travel in cars involving him. Angelina Jolie has got NOTHING on me!
I am now busy mentally preparing for our trip to Italy in a month. ..

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tantrums, Tantrums, Tantrums!! What is with toddler tantrums???

Son throws tantrums. Massive, loud, obnoxous tantrums that often manage to get me out of my skin. He throws them at home, in a restaurant, in the store, while he is (supposed to be) eating, in the street when we disagree on the subject of sitting in the stroller, on the bus (just because he can). He screams endlessly while I am trying to balance 63 things in my hands while making sure he doesn't fall off the cart and pee in his pants (Son tends to pee while crying) in Costco, he screams in Target if I refuse to buy him 35 different cars, he screams while we are in line at the supermarket simply because he is bored, he throws himself on the floor and rolls around howling if I don't let him watch Elmo. One place he does NOT scream anymore is the car. Go figure.
Let's see what the magi say:
The Almightly Sr. Sears (whom I dislike) on tantrums: "You send a clear message when you ignore his fits or walk away. This teaches him that tantrums are not acceptable. This is part of toddler discipline." Um, Son can go on for 20 mins or more. Ignoring him does nothing...what else you got?
Babycenter on tantrums: "Staying with your child during a tantrum is a good idea. Stomping out of the room — alluring as that may be — can make him feel abandoned." Well, but here's the thing--if I stay with Son during the entire tantrum, there is a distinctive possibility that I might toss him out of the window at some point. I am fairly certain that it is better for both parties involved to remove myself from the scene at home.
This is what I do outside of home: I freeze my face in a pleasant, possibly slightly psychopathic looking smile and give looks with it to everyone who is staring at us. I also pretend to know exaclty what I am doing while saying things to Son calmly in a foreign language while he flails and screams. In my head, I hurl obscenities at the 20-month old and invent various alcohol recipes that I am about to try the moment we enter home.
The MayoClinic has this pearl of wisdom: "If you sense a tantrum brewing, distract your child. Try making a silly face or changing location. It may help to touch or hold your child." My son is 20 months old--making a silly face worked when he was 3 months. And it's tough to change location when you are finally approaching the cashier on an endless line.
So, where does this leave me? Nowhere! But since this is mommy's world and her rules, Son will just have to suck it up and do what I say. This morning, he refused to eat breakfast even after I broke down and put some Elmo on (oh, judge me galore, I don't care, YES, we do watch TV during meals sometimes. I certainly prefer that to malnourishment). Then I threw a tantrum of my own, stopped the TV and told him (calmly, I assure you!) no more Elmo till you eat your awesome breakfast. Voila--tantrum! I gave him a time out in his room. After yelling for about 10-15 mins, he finally calmed down. I still have not been able to. When is too early to whip up a martini?

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Power of Mom

Every day I am shown and reminded of the awesome power of Mom! Dads are good and nice and all, and can provide oodles of tireless entertainment, but in matters of importance, Mom has to come into play. Not sure where the power comes from, I suppose it is organic. And I don't think it's fear or any particular respect. It is internal or something. Example:
This morning the Diplomat goes into Son's room to get his folding bike out of the closet. Son is sleeping as it is 6.30 am and, btw, so am I. Well, after the opening of the creaky closet door, Son naturally wakes up and proceeds to refuse to fall back asleep. He demonstrates his refusal by loud screaming. Soon I am awake too. Lovely! The Diplomat tries to calm him down, apparently even puts him on the potty (Son is screaming "potty" anyways). Changes his diaper, puts him back in his crib. Yeah, VERY smart, why not wake him up even more, ya? Son continues to scream. Diplomat comes into the bedroom and sheepishly tells me Son won't sleep. I caustically remark that I am painfuly aware of that and suggest warm milk. It becomes clear this situation needs the POWER OF MOM! So, I get up, go in his room, hug, caress the hair and put back in crib. MIRACLE!!!!! Son settles in and stays that way, QUIET, for another hour of so. I get to sleep a few extra minutes (I have perfected the art of going from fully asleep state, to being fully awake, then immediately back to fully asleep--I highly recommend that to every single sane mother out there!).
So, there it is, the Power of Mom. Like, when Son takes the Diplomat for a ride and has him wrapped around his adorable pinkie and manages: to 1) squeeze out of him extra TV time with Sesame Street,2) make him run after him at the playground (I prefer to sit and read a book while he climbs around and then I glare back at the mommies who think I am a bad mom), 3) make the Diplomat sleep on the couch in his room in the middle of the night because he refuses to stop crying unless he is in the room (or so the Diplomat thinks), and so on and on. This does not happen to Mom very often. Thankfully.
We mommies have a different power, a different aura and I have to say, it feels awesome! Not the least because I get to say to the Diplomat--"ugh, let ME show you how it's done"! But it is also mostly because that power shows us every day what a special relationship we have with our kids as mothers. I suppose that makes it worthwhile leaving my fancy corporate lawyer job. I also suppose that is precisely why my future daughter in law will hate me, no matter how fabulous I am and how excellent my martini-making skills are.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stay at Home Moms are worth $117K a year!

Well, hell yeah! I have been saying it for years. Moms at home add so much value, what between vacuuming, cooking, swifering, diapering, pureeing, dicing, scrubbing, laundering, running after, pushing strollers, trying not to have a nervous breakdown and even staring like deer in headlights once kiddos are down for a nap, not being able to decide which chore comes next.
So, has apprently worked out some elaborate calculation by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist and chief executive officer. I LOVE the last one! Although I always said to my husband that while he might be the CEO of the family LLC, I certainly am the CFO of it! HA!

Here is more,2933,354638,00.html

But I am just saying that a lot that goes on during the day in the house remains mostly unappreciated by them menfolk coming back from work. I;d like to declare one day "be me" day and have my husband be me. Get up, prep food and feed the Son, but like I do, not like he does it. Because he does prep oatmeal for him and does feed him occasionally while I snag a further 30 mins of sleep. However, once they are done, I get to clean up the mess after them. So, being "me" means do all that AND clean up and polish the counters afterwards, while waiting for Son to go potty, change him into clothes and give him his after breakfast milk, then feed the cat and unload the dishwasher while fending off Son trying to climb into it or bang with wooden spoons on the clean plates. Then perhaps dash off to brush teeth and apply facial cream while Son demands to read a book about trucks. Then fixing the bed while Son insist on climbing on the top of, holding the ends of the bed spread and screaming to be lifted on it. Then trying to go to the bathroom while Son wants to play peek-a-book through the door. Then succumbing and reading a book about trucks only to be convinced to build garages for tiny cars, all the while noticing the dirt on the carpet in Son's room and running to get the vacuum to fix it. And then gently convincing Son that he cannot sit on top of vacuum while Mommy cleans...
I can go on and on and you KNOW what I mean.
So, I am thinking, I have earned my $117,000 this year. I also need a bonus for potty training Son when he was 18 months only. I am thinking that is worth about $10,000 this year. Another bonus for keeping my living room toy free most of the time--maybe around $5000? Also, another bonus for often hosting elaborate elegant dinners for company after I put Son to bed. Again, YOU get the idea.
The one silver lining on this invisible income--we don't pay taxes, yey!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Did you get your McNeil product recall money back??

This morning I finally decided to get to the superfun task of fishing out all those McNeil products at home. Turns out I had 5 of them! Tylenols, Motrins, drops, suspensions, what have you. Apparently they DO send you money back in exchange. So, hurry up! Sign up on the designated page:

It's really easy and ends up in extra cash!
This is the general info on the recall:

Fun money aside, drug recalls just scare me, ESPECIALLY when they have to do with kids' medicine. What really gets me in this one is the range of things that could be wrong: "Some of the products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles." Wait, "tiny particles"???? Whaaat? Wow.

At least you get your money back.