Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If at the end of it all I should end up in hell, which (based on much of this blog alone) I suspect may happen, I predict it will look exactly like the Garden State Plaza during the post-Christmas shopping rush. Whatever rumors are circulating about a recession, they have not reached Paramus where every man, woman and child were out looking for a deal, a steal, a sale of the century.

And much as Bree and I vow every year to not end up in the fray, we are invariably yanked into the vortex that is the post holiday-season mall for some present we forgot, overlooked or simply didn't feel like hauling cross-country. This time SB, guilty by association, was hauled into the vortex with us.

I won't speak of the 45 minutes it took us to find parking or the 3 times we got hopelessly lost in a place where the ground floor is actually considered the 2nd floor.

There was one shining moment in the whole fiasco. There was a fantastic merry-go-round - complete with every animal, real and imagined. After gazing at it longingly each time we passed by, Otter was rewarded with a ride. We chose a horse with a fish tail. A mer-horse? A hor-phin? All went well for the first 10 seconds. Then Otter noticed the panda and her heart, already filled with panda-obsession flowed over. "Deda! Deda! Deda!" continued the chant. Nothing could be done except a second ride - this time on the panda. The carousel spun around and around while hordes of shopper jostled past. Unfazed, SB sat on the panda, smiling happily.

And somehow that made it all ok...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Plane and Simple

Otter celebrated her 16-month-day by beginning her 3rd cross-country journey. Up in the air!

Friday, December 25, 2009

12 Days of Xmas, Redux

A look back at this season, (set to music)....

On the last day of Christmas, my family gave to me...

Twelve trips to the mall...

Eleven (thousand) holiday cards....

Ten p.m. bed time (in spite of having another several thousand holiday cards to write)...

Nine hours of phone calls (with my mother, discussing presents)...

Eight second-guessed presents...

Seven bottles of booze...
so far...

Six dozen presents wrapped...

Five (1/2) foot tree...

Four time I've nearly burst into tears at the mall...

Three holiday parties...

Two batches of cookies (I should be baking but I'm not)...

And a photo that's worth a 1000 words....

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Trust Your Instincts

The latest Parents magazine lets us in on the secret: one of the top 10 trends for 2010 is "Intuitive Parenting" - i.e., dumping all those advice columns and using your instincts to raise your kid.

And for those of you who need a little extra push, there are three suggested how-to books.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Anyone who tells you they know the tricks to raising kids is a liar.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cheers (or not)

As we head into the holiday season, many of us are thinking to raising a glass (or 2) to celebrate family, Santa, and surviving the malls. But lest anyone be lulled into happily sitting back and sipping your beverage of choice, Parents magazine is there to play chaperon to your imbibing.

Now I must issue a disclaimer - I've always found Parents a bit frightening. After receiving my first copy from a friend in my hospital room after Otter was born (I suspect as a joke), I was afraid enough to steer clear. Until I got my free subscription with the purchase of a toy (a telling sign, if ever there was one) I hadn't read any issues. Additionally, I would suggest the magazine be re-named Mothers, since there's very little aimed at the male half that "Parents" implies. And it comes chock full of the inequitable expectations and stereotypes that are generally aimed at the chick half of the parenting equation.

Now, let me save you some time in reading (in case you're saving it so you can get your drunk on) by synopsizing the article. Called "Playdates with Cocktails" you can imagine the contents. And the spin. At best, the article was mildly condescending. At worst, downright judgmental. Most offensively, all the while pretending to present a balanced view on the subject. Quoting statistics like "55 percent of women with a child as young as 15 months old have had at least one drink in the past month" can there be any doubt of the tone?

Of course, Diane Schuler (the woman who killed her daughter, 3 nieces and 3 other men while driving under the influence) was mentioned. As was the fact that "upper-middle-class moms drink s much or more than lower-income moms who have a history of substance abuse." So, drinking ain't fo' the ghetto no' mo', huh? And the article wouldn't be complete if it didn't cut down to size a mother who not only had alcohol, but dared publish a book about it (among other things). Yes, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay is issuing public statements of her alcohol problems and rehab.

Why mention all this? Properly chastened, the rest of us should follow suit, sit down, shut up and be good mommies.

Are there parents (yeah, not just moms) who don't know when to say when? Of course. Are there mothers who put their need of a drink ahead of their children's needs? Sadly. But is it possible to have a drink from time to time and still be an effective parent? I suspect it is. And it angers me beyond words that in an arena where it's hard enough to live up to my own expectations I am now being passive-aggressively informed that I am being an irresponsible parent by having a glass of wine with dinner.

Otter-tionary V. 2.0

Of late, we've been expanding on our vocabulary - so here are some additional uses as well as new definitions:

mama - 1) mama; 2) lemon; 3) llama
daa - down
gabtey gabtey - what turkeys say; what turtles say
thththth - what snakes say
oppa(paa) - octopus
ppppppp - penguin
gaaa - goat
wawa - waffle

On a related note -
Today while feeding Otter, I took a paper towel to clean her hands. "This is to clean up between courses," I told her.
"Eheheheheheh," replied, making her best horse noise. Horses, courses... sounds similar enough.