Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Quick! Bea's napping! Harper is playing some coding game! Work doesn't need me for a sec!

-- Bea is now fully walking, nay, running. For a few weeks there she could walk, but was mostly still choosing to do her crab scoot. I wasn't bothered in the least except that she'd get super grimy at the playground and all her clothes had holes on one side and I was semi sick of other people wondering if there was a delay (she's only 15 months old, people). Then, suddenly, a few days ago she woke up and decided meh, I'mma walk. So she does now. It's like I live with a full time day drunk. I love it.

-- Harper's starting day camp tomorrow. She was quite disappointed to learn it wasn't sleepover camp as she'd already planned what to pack for a bunch of breakfasts. "Do my french toast sticks have peanuts in them, mom?" Related, I have no idea what I'll pack her for lunch as pb&j is our only real lunch success. And please know I will laugh in your face if you suggest sunflower butter. Or sorry, Harper will laugh in your face and I will probably cry a little.

-- I couldn't find my headphones yesterday as I left for work and was filled with a level of angst I feel wasn't really appropriate to the situation. I was so upset I stomped my foot waiting for my elevator. I hope someone saw me. How human beings commuted without music or podcasts filling their brainwaves is a head scratcher.

-- My little brother is getting married on Saturday. Bananas! HJ and I are taking the trip to Mass together and Bebe will stay behind with her dad. I'm excited for a hotel trip that doesn't involve a 4:40 wakeup call! Oh and I'm also excited to be getting a new sissy! I don't have one, you know.

-- I have really fallen down on the eating-like-a-grownup thing. I've been eating the strangest things at the strangest times. Last night I ate an oatmeal cookie when I got home from work and then forgot to eat again until 9:30 when I had fistfuls of popcorn and pretzel Goldfish. It's such a relief not having to cook that I sometimes forget it's actually nice to do it sometimes. Sometimes.

Baby awakens!

Friday, June 12, 2015


Okay this week has been crazy. Work is busy and personal life is busy and oh yes, I have two small children folk. All of the things are good, if not exhausting, if not intense, if not woah, I'm just tired.

Tonight I'm putting the girls to bed as early as humanly possible then I'm eating old takeout and working on the couch until I give up and will then commence bingeing on Orange is the New Black SEASON THREE YAAAAAS YAAAAAS MY QUEEN. I want to be asleep by 10:00.

Life as a part-time working mom is such a limbo land. Somedays we laze and run in the fire hydrant and make the house a giant mess, sometimes I put on booties and a dress and very loud music in my ears and I get going to work.

I like working. I like what I'm working on. I like wearing booties.

I'm struggling with this identity shift because I always thought I'd stay home with any kids I had till they were in preschool or kindergarten. I felt very strongly tied to my identity as a full time mother, honestly couldn't imagine doing it any other way.

And now I just feel differently. I'm a happier mom as a working mom. I'm a happier person as a working person. I feel tiny waves of guilt when I put that out there, when I admit it's not just for the money that I'm working. It's the oldest blah blah in the book, but it turns out many people want you to want to stay home with your kids. People squirm a little when you say otherwise. I know I used to!

I'm a little too tired to tie this up with a bow. But I think I want to tell people that this is a positive change for me and not to worry about me or wring their hands. Just like the idea of leaving my pretty old house in Connecticut seemed difficult to the outside world and it really wasn't at all. I think it might look like a really sudden change, this working life, this booties life, but was really a couple years in the making. So yes. I'm tired, but I'm good! I'm good.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


This is going to be a really corny and sappy post about how much I love my friends.

I'm just kidding this is going to be about HOW OBSESSED I AM WITH RE-WATCHING FRIENDS FROM THE BEGINNING.

Guys. It's so good. And I don't even know what I mean by "it" ... The actual show, yes. Which I'm kind of surprised about, I kind of thought I might hate it as a 33 vs. 13 (!) year old. I like it more, though. Hi -- maybe because I might actually get the marriage/sex/job jokes? Just a thought. But I also just love the whole nostalgia of it all. The clothes! The clothes. The overalls and the strange sneakers and the crop tops and the leather string necklaces.

There are also giant giant Star Trek phones and waiting to hear back about interviews by MAIL and they drink so much Snapple. Like cases of Snapple. Why were we all so into Snapple? The facts inside the cap? This is a real question.

I am completely infatuated with Jennifer Aniston. I always liked her fine, but now I'm just so into her everything. Marry me, Jen. Also Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc are way funnier than I gave them credit for before. And Matt Perry is way less. He's like a tiny flailing Muppet who says every line the same way. Was it the painkillers?

Oh also I'm realizing it's probably like New York! I live here now. Yeah yeah. That's probably part of it.

Is this how you write a blog post? Talk about an old TV show with no real transitions or purpose?

I thought so.

Episode 50, The One Where No One's Ready: PLAY.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Do you folks have the Timehop app on your phone? It gathers the Instagrams/tweets/Facebook posts you wrote on this exact date 1, 2, 3 years ago (sometimes my Facebook posts go back 8 or 9 years gasp). It's one of my favorite things to check every morning.

Like... a year ago today I was carrying Bea around for every single one of her naps and the irises were blooming in my Connecticut garden. Two years ago I was just finding out Bea was happening, not believing it might stay this time. Three years ago I was doing endless crafts with HJ at our crazy brown house in Westport and trying to train George not to pee on my bed. Four I was obsessively reading medical journals in my Denver bungalow for the latest on aspirin's effects on recurrence. Etc. 

I wish there were a way to send little notes back in time. Give ourselves some future hindsight. Some love. A promise of good days ahead.  Last year at this time was rough. And it was about to get rougher. And then, well, even rougher. Yesterday I saw a picture of myself from May 26, 2014, a chubby face selfie with chubby face Bea. I was still 25 pounds overweight and trying to stay calm about it, but it felt like no one else was. 

I've got a small frame and don't carry extra weight particularly gracefully. It's very noticeable when I lose or gain even 5 pounds, which is frustrating but just my thing. I probably shouldn't even add that detail because it's mostly irrelevant. I guess it's entirely irrelevant. Because absolutely of course I can't stress this enough it was okay to still have weight to lose in May (this May even!). But I could sense people's weirdness around it. I could tell people close to me felt turned off and worried.

I cried a long time about it yesterday, remembering those feelings, remembering how I felt I wasn't good enough or pretty enough anymore. Realizing how much importance were placed on my looks. Feeling like there was little patience for me to get back. Or, rather, no patience if I never got back. Deep down I knew I would, I knew losing the weight was important to me and would happen. But I'd gained 50 pounds -- 5-0! -- and that takes awhile to shed. 

I lost the 50 -- 55 actually -- and that feels nice and I'm proud. But it mostly feels good because it's just for me. Entirely for me. I'm working on working through that anger and closing up that little hole that happened in my heart. I'm working on softening that time for myself, letting those memories and images -- nursing on the dining room floor and catching a look of disgust as my soft belly squished over my yoga pants -- fade away. Instead, I want to remember the way I'd swaddle Bea every night on my soft white quilt, lay her next to me and we'd both drift off to sleep watching the sun set over the pond. Or planting carrot seeds with Harper up by the cabin after a skinny dip in the pool. Or stomping through the fields as I listened to podcasts, absolutely essential emotional balms for me, and felt fleeting moments of okayness. 

I'm grateful for the pictures I took that anchor me to the good things I wanted to capture and savor, that remind me there was and will always be beauty and richness amidst the rocky stuff. I'm grateful for a life that's kept on moving forward and onward, sprinkled with so many happy moments. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

I am not dead

Hi, peoples!

I am not dead.

I am just

I paused there for so long. I want to write "really busy living!" but that sounds ABSURD because we all are! And that does not preclude writing an update or a life tale. And because these are the times I want to record the most. And so I'll just say

I'd been tiptoeing into my new job (feel free to ask me offline about the job if you're interested in details -- I'm not trying to be secretive, but I still blush thinking about my old advertising bosses finding Blue Jean Amy and reading all my inane ramblings about boring meetings) but as of last week I'm in the real swing of things, going into the office and wearing office clothes and taking the train and being a lady with a desk (though it's only 20 hours a week until September) and I can only say that woah, lots of adjustments underway.

My headspace is cluttered and scrambling. I haven't needed a real work wardrobe since 2008 and so that's a thing. Harper's been watching a few too many Shopkins tutorials on the YouTubes lately. Bea fell asleep with yogurt in her hair tonight. I keep eating breakfast sausage for all my meals.

I want to say upfront I'm pretty damn happy to be working again and getting out of the house. I needed it.

I just don't like: leaving the girls with a sitter all day. (I am all about this stellar preschool/daycare for Bea come fall and public kindergarten for HJ. Then I will skip carefree into Manhattan.) A lot of my reasons are helicopter-y, so I won't bore you, but purely logistically speaking? I HATE GETTING THE HOUSE READY FOR A SITTER. Hate it hate it hate it. I've gots to: make sure there's tons of food and snacks and everything and all organized and super tidy and not weird bras or self-help books or emo journals laying around or whatever. I'm a super private person in lots of ways and it makes me squirm to have someone in my space all day. Then the added prep of making sure everything is all set up/not confusing/clean before I head out the door? Do not want, world!

This post is boring me.

I want to write more in this space. Things are good right now. I'm hectic and chaotic and changing and busy and confused and so tired, but I'm happy. I feel like I have so many New York things happening to me that I'm loving. And I'm loving New York more than I thought I would. Like tonight, the girls hung with their dad while I went grocery shopping in my car. I'm always doing little trips or deliveries, but I wanted to do a massive trip and really stock the freezer and cupboards. I drove to this amazing store in Red Hook (a Brooklyn neighborhood) and I felt this crazy manic runaway happiness being there near the water while the sun set -- looking at the choppy waves and this new angle of the Statue and the hipsters eating crab at picnic tables and I had a case of coconut La Croix in the passenger seat and yeah!

See you back here soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The calendar says it's Tuesday so sure, let's go with that!

-- My brother and his soon-to-be-wife (am unsure for life whether the guy or girl is fiance or fiancee and cannot be bothered to check) came to stay in our teeny third bedroom for the weekend. It was nice! My mom (who was not here, but acting as a benevolent overlord) treated us all to Mamma Mia on Broadway. Now LISTEN. I'm not the worst theater snob, ain't nobody got time for that, but I can't say this was my first choice.
Shall we fast forward to tonight? When I anxiously get the kids in bed, desperate for some alone time so I can sit on the couch and watch NONSTOP OVER AND OVER REPEAT ABBA VIDEOS? Somebody put a chip in my brain. AN ABBA CHIP. They're following me! It's all over. I'm sorry but I'm not sorry, I love them I love it all I need an ABBA tee shirt kthxbai.

-- After dinner last night I gave Harper her first pack of Shopkins. I don't have the will to go into these right now, but basically they're tiny little rubber collectables that are grocery store items with faces. DUH. She watches a crazy person on YouTube play with them and that's how she became obsessed, but had yet to really ask for them. So because I'm crazy I bought them anyways; I just knew she would flip. Which she did.
She put them all "to bed" on her nightstand and giddily lay her head down. Kiss kiss goodnight, bye. 3:00 a.m. on the nose, I wake up in a sweat because I hear voices in my living room. Aaaaaand those would be the voices of Juicy Orange, Cheesy Churro, and Coffee Drip performed by one Harper June. Sure okay, wake up smack dab middle of the night and play with your toys on the couch what? I was convinced she must be sleepwalking, something she's done once or twice, but she was definitely awake.
"I was just sleeping over there and woke up to play..." She points to the corner of the room behind a chair, all set up with a blanket and pillow. I am beyond confused. And tired. So I nod like any of this makes sense and scoop up my child and her plastic children and send them back to land o' nod. (What on earth?!)

-- Today we waited for the rain to stop and then hustled our bums to Harper's soon-to-be elementary school for official kindergarten reg. They needed approx 800 pieces of info from us to prove she is she and we are we and we really live at this address. (Lots of scamming in the world of NYC public school, no joke.) Had to bring all these things and then fill out 100,000 pieces of paper while Bea yelled AT THE TOP OF HER BABY LUNGS, from joy/boredom/religious freedom/don't know. Harper calmly sat and looked at her Shopkins, answering the principal's cheery "And what brings you here, Harper?" with a very quiet "Well, I'm new"...
I feel so good about this place for her. Of course she's a little weirded out by the real schoolness of it all.. "This sho' is different from Apple Blossom"... but I have no doubt she'll love it. FREE SCHOOL WHO KNEW.

-- Okay I'm tired and need to put flowery sheets on my bed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


My current blogging style is like that string of tiny songs on Abbey Road. Yes I'm comparing myself to the Beatles.

-- The greatawesomebignews of the week (year?) is that Harper got into our neighborhood's public kindergarten (and therefore elementary and middle school). I am relieved beyond measure infinity infinity and so on and on. It's a great school, we can walk there, and it's just gonna make my life easier/cheaper/better. And I think Harper is going to love it capital L. There's a big waitlist, something I honestly didn't anticipate (because the consultant we hired told me it wouldn't happen ahem), and I'm feeling giddy I somehow dodged that bullet. (My apologies to those who were waitlisted, but c'monz. I've had a rocky year... I can gloat a bit, non?)

-- I always feel guilty/ashamed when I'm jamming out to music and I replay the same song 20-25 times in a row but why? This is allowed, dearest me. No one there to judge but you and okay. Okay maybe I am a little disappointed I went on a late 90s Will Smith binge that shall never be repeated or mentioned again.

-- The months leading up to Bea's birth I wanted to prep for natural birth, but didn't really vibe with the tips in all those books. (There are just so many ice cubes a person can hold to their wrist.) So I came up with my own method that probably needs a whole book of its own because hey, it helped me birth a 9 lb. 2.5 oz baby in a bathtub. I don't know if I'll have the time to write out all the complicated parts of my method, but I'll try: When it's cold out, don't wear a coat or mittens or hat while you pump your gas, then try and sit with/go into the all-encompassing discomfort of it. Oh, that's it I guess. (This legitimately helped me!) (No luck for you, west coasters.)

-- A cute guy at the deli counter called me 'mama' today and I don't know, I kind of enjoyed it. I think I need to analyze this.

-- I just got a 19 dolla pair of supersoft sweatpants in the mail today and they're really a cherry on top a darn good week.

Onward ho.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


--I once told Harper that Skittles used to make me really nuts when I was younger. They were my favorite candy, but something about them (oh, the insane levels of sugar + artificial colors perhaps?) made me go wild and then crash. It was a whole thing. This year I filled some of her Easter eggs with a few Skittles, which delighted her.
Later in the evening, after Bea was asleep and we were recapping our weekend on the couch, she opened a couple last eggs and started sharing some candy with me. She got to one with Skittles and held out a grape one. As I reached, she quickly pulled it away. "Promise you won't go crazy?!" A look of terror in her eyes. Oh, that was good.

--I like to give Bea small "treats" in a cup and then put her on the floor so I can do kitchen things. Today I put puffs of whipped cream and then later a tiny inch of OJ. Is this like how my mom told me Certs were candy?

--After finishing up this bad ass Lego Frozen ice castle Harper says "Oh! I also did that Sleeping Beauty one! Do you think daddy will go upside down for it, too?" .... What?
She looks kind of sheepish, "You know...like you said he was going to go upside down when he saw how cool this castle was..."
Oh! "Yes yes -- I said he was totally going to flip over how awesome it was. So yup. He's gonna flip over Sleeping Beauty's bedroom, too."

--I inherently know that giving up caffeine would help stabilize the ups and downs of my blood sugar and therefore help me lose the few pounds I'd like to lose, but to be quite honest -- this feels like an impossible journey. Oftentimes, Bea has us up at 4:00 in the a.m. Trudging through that without hot tea (followed by a hot coffee a few hours later) sounds like a fool's errand. I'm sure there are a hearty few who will chime in "Do it! You'll love it!" but I think it might be like the time I gave up using shampoo, turning to a vinegar rinse once a week instead. LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR ALL THAT.

--We were waiting for an Uber to take us to the UES for a playdate today and Harper sighs super heavily. "Ugh. I really hope it's not Mario this time." Because last month when we visited the children's museum together we had a driver named Mario (I never would have remembered this) who took a long time to pick us up. So heads up -- don't mess with Harper, Ubsters! She'll rate you 2 stars in a cold black heartbeat.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Twas a bad day

I don't watch American Idol anymore (after 10 years of intense dedication I just could not with that) and I have no idea if they play "Bad Day" anymore when someone gets booted. No, right? Maybe that was only the first year? I should know this. It's like a terrible Daughtry song I think.

Anyways. It delighted me that this very pop poppy song was accompanying a sad moment in such an earnest but weird way. Imagine that song, with my very favorite key change at the end, accompanying this post.

I had a doozy yesterday. Wait, ne'rmind, I forgot I hate the word doozy. Yesterday was bad. I engaged with something and someone that doesn't need to be in any part of my life and a whole insane spiral resulted. Amy! Stop. But it's so hard sometimes.

What I mostly want to say, though, is how comforting it is that comfort can be so easily regained if I tap into the things I need. Instead of sitting on the kitchen floor and eating yet another Cadbury creme egg, I got quiet and listened to what I was really asking for. And I told myself it was okay that I had a slip up, that I'm human and tired and stressed.

I went for a jog along the promenade at sunset. I listened to super angry old school Kelly Clarkson. I went to bed early. Today I put on soft cozy clothes and drank tea. I did laundry and vacuumed, walked in the sunshine and got Chipotle chicken tacos. I talked out and wrote out what went down the past couple days and forgave myself and others. I stopped thinking about it and started thinking about what I'll do for fun during my sitter time tomorrow.

Self care has been such a strangely hard lesson for me to learn. But really -- it's actually not that hard to achieve. It doesn't take moneys or things or even that much time -- it just takes mindfulness and focus and the vision to make it happen (regardless of a very, very shouty baby). Put that oxygen mask on first, yo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Things that are workin

-- Keeping my yoga mat/yoga book out for most of the day. Instead of thinking "I must have a precious 30-45 minutes of quiet alone time to practice!" I've adjusted/gotten real with my current life. If I don't just jump in and yogify whenever I can, it'll never happen. And as soon as I make real space and time for it (even if it's in 5-10 minute chunks and Bea is crawling all over me), I notice such a shift in my life. Yoga is magic.

-- I threw a fluffy stuffed animal into Bea's crib and it's totally helping her sleep. She used to have this creepy faceless SIDS-free lovey and she was all giiiiirl, this means nothing to me. So now that she's 12+ months, I changed it up and who knew? Instead of hellish long, long fall asleep times at nap (she's always gone down easy at bedtime) she just settles in wide awake and talks to her fluff and then zzzz.

-- Professional bra fitting. After I weaned Bea, I treated myself (that's the wrong word, as a well-fitting super necessary garment isn't really a treat, but) and it's made all the difference in how clothes fit me, how I carry myself, in seeing parts of my body I forgot existed (hello, upper ribcage!) Victoria's Secret knows nothing nothing. You've gots to go to a specialist who makes you get all naked (okay I kept my pants on) and really, really figures out your deal. It feels strange and weird, but she was like "you've had two kids?!" and so then I loved her and made her adopt me.

-- I bought Herbal Essences shampoo at CVS last week and it makes me feel like 1997 and that's okay with me. Although 1997 was kind of an emo time for me, I also had these L.E.I. jeans from JC Penney that I still dream about.

-- I'm reading my 4th nun memoir. I LOVE NUN MEMOIRS.

And that, trusty followers, is what's workin for me.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Oh, nothing

I have blogger's block and so I'm just going to write down a bunch of things more appropriate to Twitter without thinking so that yay! I'll have blogged:

-- Sometimes when I'm feeling like ah woe divorce remarriage someday traditional American dream huh? I think about the Brady Bunch and how they're still referenced as some dreamy dream team and look! Remarriage and stepkids trippin' all over each other, love it.

-- Unstoppable Kimmy Schmidt, I'm 4 episodes deep. I like it. Maybe I'll love it. For now, the theme song is living on my brain waves.

-- Bea is an animal. She climbs everything, gets into everything, "THIS?!" "THAT?!" "SISSY?!" All her words are in reference to wanting something so hard she spies up high and she's got this crazy hand movement that goes with it, like an agent in a high school play who wants his money gimme gimme gimme. Okay, but it doesn't matter because she is truly and insanely the most delicious human. Nature's plan with that one = make her look and smell and feel like everything good on earth so that I won't run away down the BQE yelling byyyyeee!, abandoning her in the highchair while she has a nervous breakdown because she can't eat my Trader Joe's daffodils.

-- I'm on a Judge John Hodgman binge. Used to be so meh about him and now I'm yay, plus Jesse Thorn has been/will always be my spirit animal.

-- I forget what kinds of shoes people wear in spring.

-- I cleaned out my car and I cleaned out my refrigerator (I even took out all the drawers and scrubbed them) (things you can do when Grammy camp is in session for the week) and I think it's going to make me sleep better tonight.

-- Every night, always, I think I'm seeing mice running across the floor. They're not, but after so many swarmings at so many different places, it's some kind of protective/assumptive PTSD. Remember when I killed that giant rat in my pantry with a frying pan? I think there might be something wrong with me.

-- Should I get bangs? I'm kidding. But will ask you earnestly in probably 8-11 months. I wonder if you could somehow search that phrase across all the blogs in the history of blogs how many times you'd find it.

-- Tonight Harper said to me, as she put on her pajamas, "Mom? Sometimes you have to hold in your gas and then...it just disappears! INTO THIN BUM! ...You know, like thin air?"

Monday, March 16, 2015


It's finally getting warm up in here.

After Bea woke up from her second nap (woe woe woe shall be me the day she's down to one), Harper and I took turns bouncing on Rody to make her laugh and then opened the window because whew -- heat on full blast and sweat was dripping. We heard some squeals and yells and all three peered out the window to see our little dead end circle filled with kids! on bikes! and scooters! without mittens! It's rare that Harper is so quick to run outside and join in, but this time she was on it.

Threw Bea in the (Craigstlist!) Bugaboo (hid that thing all winter long in the closet, then remembered it and er, hello it's an awesome chariot of fire) and some sweatshirts and shoes and helmet and zip zip down the elevator!

Five other kids and their respective caretakers (nannies, grandmas) were out there, zooming and bumping and generally blissing out. I couldn't believe it was 4:30 and warm enough to stand in my cardigan, Bea hatless and munching on a TJ's cereal bar while she watched the big kids.

One woman, about 70, was watching her granddaughter bike. She's been living in Brooklyn Heights for 50 years, since she moved here to be a secretary and lived in a boarding house with a girlfriend -- two meals a day, maid service and a cute room for $99 a month. Sold! She pointed up to the apartment she lived in to raise her two kids and how back then they'd just send them down the elevator to this same dead end to play in a huge gang all afternoon. "I don't know. They just kinda all watched each other."

Let's not get too weepy here, but I did have a Grinch heart growing two sizes moment when I pictured back to the 60s, the same circle filled with kids looking out at the ferry boats and sun setting behind Manhattan. Squealing at their bare hands, kick the can and bikes, running back up the same stairs for dinner and tubs and baths. I love city life for all this -- the rhythms and the routines, the forced community and shared histories.

I make friends much easier here, find people are quicker to share their story and offer a hand or a phone number or a playdate. It feels like we're living in a different calendar, where kids run across the hall for playdates and all the neighbs know each other and hug each other in the elevator after holidays apart. I tell them my story without hesitation and they accept it with a look of understanding and acceptance. It's the city, dear -- it's all happened here before and it'll all happen again. And so it goes. Back up the stairs for dinner and tubs and baths.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Waldorf, the good parts

Alright, I promise this is it. Bea's going to be attending a play-based (and also Jewish?) preschool next year, so all talk of wool and kale and beeswax will gracefully fade away into oblivion...(to be replaced with latke talk.) 

So the good stuff.

-- I think being immersed in the Waldorf method made me a better parent. Parent evenings, articles left in my mailbox, moms chatting on the playground.... Waldorf ideas surrounded and enveloped me. And though I often felt like yelling STOP THAT (oh, hey, like when Bea was chewing on my hair once and more than one person told me it was a mineral deficiency), some of the ideas (especially the ones put forth by the actual teachers) were so golden. They included:

a) Your kid doesn't need you to be their playmate all the live long day. They need a clean house, a warm environment, fun and simple toys, and a loving/firm/gentle guide. Constantly providing projects and ideas and games and on and on and on actually limits their creativity and imagination, while conveniently driving you mad. Make sure to go back and forth (they call these in and out breaths, but whatev) between closeness (reading a book or building a tower or sharing a hug) and a bit of separateness (carry on your chores and keep them close, but playing independently.) 

I'm able to get a ton more done this way around the house (apartment) because I'm not feeling guilty that I'm supposed to be a one woman preschool circus. And what they promised me is true -- if I'm not just reading a magazine or typing on my phone (kids hate that, of course) but doing real work (dishes or laundry or sweeping), they will find something else to do. It's almost magical. This morning was a perfect example. Harper was whining and whining "what can we doooooo?" and I just said "Well, I super need to vacuum, so that's what I'll be doing!" and off I went. I vacuumed and swept and tidied and lo and behold, she stayed near me for a bit and then wandered off to her room and started reading and piddling around with her blocks and scarves. It even works with Bea! Unless she is incredibly tired or crabby from teething, if I'm quite obviously doing housework, she'll find her own groove with board books or coloring or just following me around with her own "cleaning." Magic!

b) If your kid is dressed very, very warmly they will enjoy playing outside in almost all weather. And by warmly I mean VERY WARMLY. Not an L.L. Bean parka and some mittens and a hat. I'm talking thick, wool long underwear and multiple clothing layers over those and then the parka and a scarf and a face warmer and on and on and on. It feels excessive, it's a huge pain, but man does it work. I never really liked playing outside in the winter as a kid because I just wasn't fully warm enough -- I think most kids aren't. So now I'm focused on buying/maintaining quality gear and really suiting up before setting out. And life is smoother and we can extend outdoor time even on the grossest of days. (Sometimes this only means 10 minutes of fresh air, but 10 is better than 0!)

c) Keep your toys to a minimum. Keep things easily reachable. Buy things that can be used in many different ways by different ages. 

d) Do the art project with your kid sometimes. Make a cup of tea, sit down, and paint with watercolors, too. When they see you doing your own artwork it sparks so much fun chatter and makes them dive even deeper into their own piece. I was doing this much more before Bea was born, but I'm trying to get back into it again. Harper just loves it when we're creating together. (Even though I am, quite literally, the worst visual artist on God's green earth.) 

-- The focus on fantasy and ritual. There are fairies and puppet shows and dances and all sorts of things that, at first glance, sort of weirded me out. Were they going to tell my kid anti-science things? ("Gnomes make the grass grow!") But they didn't. They just instilled in her an excitement and enchantment that fully belongs in the world of preschool. Tiny treasures are sent home, crazy festivals with homemade lanterns, oranges left in shoes by St. Nick....  I could never pull this stuff off, not without feeling kind of loony, but it feels so cool and fun and different. And the kids love it.

-- Incredible attention to detail and beauty. The food is delicious (everyday a warm and homemade/organic snack) and the plates and cups and napkins and everything are soft to the touch and lovingly organized by the teachers. There are candles with every meal, hot tea on the playground, calendula ointment on chapped cheeks. Everything smells good and looks cozy and soft and inviting. It still makes me tear up to imagine her classroom, to smell the apple crisp and the beeswax candles burning. There's a focus on care and living in the moment, stepping outside of real life, that is -- forgive the word -- precious. 

Bea is crying from her nap, so I'm going to wrap this up. Or I'll never finish! 

So. Overall, I think Waldorf is a win for preschool. (Not for upper levels -- no. No.) I think it's warm and loving, gentle and magical. No academics, no iPads, no pressure. You'll learn a lot as a parent and your kid will have super unique experiences. I do think there's a rigidity and a judgmental vibe that can sour some of the experiences, and I think schools that combine a few different methodologies often better nail it, but if you find the right Waldorf school it'll be a positive experience for you. (If you've got pretty crunchy leanings! I think that goes without saying...) We had lovely, wise, and gracious teachers who treated Harper with such respect and love. I'll never forget it. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My last (okay second to last) Waldorf thoughts

A few people have expressed interest in a bit of a Waldorf review. Of course it's obvious from some of my writings that I didn't have a wholly positive, total rainbow experience during our two years there. But it's more complicated than my irreverent mumblings and I do want to talk about the experience in earnest.


First off, I think -- as with any commentary on educational philosophies -- there's a big difference and important separation between a school philosophy and the actual school that's carrying out that philosophy. So, I think, some of my complaints and negative experiences had to do with the actual fancy Connecticut town (omg I wrote Connecticult by accident just then and I love that so much) Waldorf school we attended. Not just the Waldorf way. I'll try here to write about Waldorf as a whole and not the school specifically, though I'm sure I won't do this perfectly.

I'm beat from this weekend, so I'm going to do two separate posts. To end on a positive note, I'll start with the negative stuff.

Critical thoughts:

-- For 6 months last year, we had a tenant at our house who was a teacher at a Waldorf elementary school. She was way into it. But had some interesting thoughts about what the school could do to broaden their horizons and move forward with the times. Though I generally found her bananas, I liked her line of thinking here. For example, there is a huge (and hugely specific) emphasis on wool. Wool wool wool! Felting it and knitting with it and, I don't know, rolling around in a bathtub in it. All fine and good when you live in Germany or New England, but what if you live in Louisiana? Or West Africa? Do you really want to make wool shite all the live long day? I see no reason for the rigidity around things like this, when really the reason behind the use of wool in the first place is: natural materials that feel good in a child's hand, that keep them warm and comfortable, that connect them to nature. 

-- I don't agree with their official stance on literacy. I think waiting until first or second or third grade to learn how to read (and to discuss letters and to even be-read to) is unnecessary. What a world of stories and literature the kids are missing when they're not "supposed" to hear Goodnight Moon, Corduroy, The Snowy Day, or the delights of Amelia Bedelia. If you have books in the house they're supposed to be filled with beautiful, simple pictures and open ended story telling is encouraged. That's cool and there's room for that, but I'm also way into traditional children's literature. I don't want worksheets pushed in preschool, but this is not that.

-- Heavily unrealistic expectations for parenting in the modern world. I'll get to what I love that they encourage and how it changed my parenting and my view of childhood, but I think the Waldorf standards are borderline impossible to maintain if you also want to create children that can function in the greater world, in a normal way, happily. 
A perfect example of this issue was a photocopied article placed in all the parents' mailboxes. It was written by a famous Waldorf lady and talked about how to be present for our children and how to create a rhythm for the day. There were some nice takeaways, but I got very hung up on this idea (and I'm paraphrasing): "When the afternoon is long and the children are crabby, resist the urge to mail it in and turn on some music for dancing. Try to find other ways to pass the time."
Dude. Duuuude. If by 4:30 I've only resorted to music and not Nick Jr. plus handfuls of goldfish and juiceboxes thrown on the floor, I feel like a f*&$ing saint. Sharing music and dancing with kids are, like, gold medal parenting moments and not something to feel guilty about. I mean obviously. 

-- If it's too cold out, let the kids go inside. Even if it's above 20 degrees and they're dressed warmly, it's okay to yield. If it's pouring out and it's raw and dark... just let the kids go inside and play with the gnome dolls. Some of them are three years old! It's not a labor camp in war torn wherever. Lighten up, Francis. 

-- Some people would put this on the pros list, but not this girl. I guess should put this in a "neutral" column, but anyway. There is MUCH parental involvement required and expected. This isn't a drop-your-kid-at-the-door-and-bolt-to-Dunks situation. There are soup swaps and bake offs and knitting circles and kale salad exchanges. It's pretty much constant and very integral to the workings of the school. I knew this, sort of, going in and should have stayed away because -- know thyself. But it was hard to imagine just how much the school is expected to be part of your life until you're enrolled and rolling. It's legit and it's so much. 

That's it for now. I think. My thumbs up thoughts coming soon. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On a new start

Almost everyone reading this right now knows my ex's name, but I'm going to start calling him "ex" from now on for privacy's sake -- not because of any cold and bitter estrangement. We're doing well, co-parenting smoothly, and life is fine between us. Whenever I write about "us" or the divorce or the healing process, I'm going to focus on how I feel or felt, emotionally/mentally, instead of specific details or conversations we had. Onward ho. 

My most intense breakup happened senior year of high school. After a school dance, I got in my Jeep and drove my boyfriend home. As we pulled into his driveway, he turned to me and began The Talk: he loved me, but didn't believe in love, I was taking away from his schoolwork, life was about more than love. It was literally crazy talk. I was blindsided and devastated; there was lots of Maybelline mascara on the upholstery.

I drove to my friend's house down the street and banged on her window to get her onto the snow covered porch. I kicked and cried and drank a few sips of her stepmother's wine. Which, in my head, was the equivalent of snorting a bag of coke. Then I drove to a big sleepover at another friend's house and fell asleep on the hallway floor in my clothes from the dance. I woke up, blissfully forgetting for a minute what had happened. When I remembered, I swallowed an acidic wave of nausea and drove home before anyone else woke up.

That breakup pain lingered for months and months. I was consumed with a hurt I've never -- thank Jesus -- experienced since. I had really loved him, really thought we were going to be together for a long, long time. I felt humiliated and confused and heartbroken. I can't even imagine the music I played to comfort myself. (Phish?) Of course part of that unique level of hell was the terrible landscape of high school. I had to see him everyday at lunch, in our chemistry class, at chorus rehearsal. And we shared all of our friends. (Still do! 16 years later! Ha?) We went from this intimate relationship -- we were only 17, but did have a weirdly deep connection and ended up getting back together for years in college -- to nothing and I could barely handle the change without dry heaving in the stalls. '

Anyways. That was a bad, bad breakup that still makes me shudder. In retrospect, there were definitely some signs we weren't going to live happily ever after in a Boston apartment paradise, but the breakup was still really out of the blue and sudden and when we're taken by surprise -- whether we're getting dumped or fired or going through a miscarriage -- the pain and anxiety and fear that come with an already bleh situation just skyrocket. At least for me.

I'm guessing other people feel the same after sudden bad news or weird life changes and so might have imagined when they first found out about my divorce that I was experiencing that deep well of dark and bad. I think that's why so many people have been reaching out to me, with delight and a touch of shock, to say how happy I look. They say I'm glowing, that I look free and content in all my pictures. And... they're right. I'm happy. I feel free. I promise I'm not putting on a weird Instagram fake out show.

It feels weird to admit that and harder to explain how or why. Did I want to get divorced? No. Was I so excited about being a single mom to two little girls? Also no. But I'd been going through a slow burn breakup for two years, a breakup so gradual and insidious I didn't realize it was happening until it was pretty much over. So instead of finding myself, now, in a sudden state of aloneness after years of comfort and companionship (which, I think, lots of the unmarrieds think married life is always like) I'm actually in a similar spot as I was a year ago. Heading to bed alone, giving myself pep talks, working out problems on paper or through long walks and drives. I mourned the end of something that once was good over such a long period of time that there never was this huge DUN DUN DUN moment. I slowly processed, over days and months, much of the hurt and change and got so used to emotionally supporting myself that I'm just in the groove now, it's just the norm. I don't miss anything because, well, there's nothing to miss.

But I worry that sounds too sad. It's really just explanation for how I'm doing so okay. Because I'm rolling along like I have been, how I've grown accustomed to functioning, but now I can subtract that singular feeling of being alone while not being alone. That is the worst, that is what makes a person cry at night. Because when support should be so close, but is so far away, you start to believe that life will never feel bright again. But this right here? This new life is filled with simplicity and hope and peace. I go to bed exhausted and sore, but without tears or a heavy heart. I wake up bleary eyed, but focused. It's like a second chance at grownup life and I'm so grateful to have it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sitter time

Sitter time is hammer time is fun time is spendy time.

The problem with the oft suggested "sitter time" is it's damn pricey. First, you gots to pay the sitter. Two kids (one a very tiny person) in the city and the hourly rate is bonkers. Then you have to leave your home and go do...something. And somethings cost money.

What I really want to do with three hours to myself is be at home. Alone. In my bed. With cake. Then I want to drift off into a nap with a lil' bit of a frosting mustache. Followed by some television viewing, underwear Swiffering, book reading, and word typing. My two littles would be returned to me all rosy cheeked and chipper and I would be happy to share my space once again.

But yeah, it just doesn't ever work like that. I could kick them out for a little while, but where would they go in the cold cold winter swirl? The longest you can subject a baby to cold air, even when they're all bundled is...an hour? Maybe? Past that she'll start to squirm and freeze and sweat and be hungry. And she's on a two nap schedule and Harper has her constant snack needs and also I just don't really trust anyone who isn't me (or someone related to me/the girls) to take them out on the sidewalks and the road and and.

So all of that is to say, I love sitter time, I adore sitter time -- but I also find it kind of tough to navigate, especially in the winter months. I'm happy to have my ears and brain all to my lonesome, but I'm also homeless and hungry and cold and I need somewhere to rest my Sorels. So I'll go to LPQ and eat a waffle and cappucino and do some writing and reading, but then... ? I've still got two hours left. Library? Window shopping? Should I take a nap in my parked van? Why isn't this Korea where you can rent a nap pod? 

I'm also the absolute worst at stepping out prepared, a Boy Scout's nightmare. I'll remember my phone, but it'll be charged to 4%. I'll forget my hat, but remember Harper's gloves. Computer charged, but no headphones. No book, only 6 milk-sogged Highlights magazines. So then I'm wandering the streets of Brooklyn with a tote of nothing, just looking for a cozy snow-free nook to escape from my children while I pay someone 7 million dollars to watch them. I feel like this is probably the definition of a first world prob, but the struggle is real ya'll.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I super miss Waldorf except not really at all

A couple of weekends ago Harper had a birthday party back in Connecticut. I would normally have "lost" the invitation, but it was for her best friend. And also we were heading up to Maine and sort of passing through.

The party was held at a complete parenting hell-scape, one of those abominations that combines a gym with bouncy equipment with the Jonas Bros on repeat with bad cake (and I think Easy Bake Oven cake is good, so..) These joints have always set me on edge, but it's especially rich when you've got a wild, crab-walking infant that you're trying to wean and who thinks she's 5-years-old. And when your actual 5-year-old is terrified of bouncy castles. Help.

Most of the party was fine, I guess, maybe, but then I got sucked into talking to one of Harper's former Waldorf teachers. Let's call her Joan! Now. Joan's not one of the main two women -- who are lovely with a capital Lovely -- that run the school. She's a newer, part-time lady that mostly handles the younger kids who stay for after care. None of which is important to this story, but I felt compelled to report it.

Anyway, at one point I offhand mention that I'm in the process of weaning Bea. Joan's face fell. And then quickly turned to stone. I forgot, guys! I forgot I was not amongst friends. I was amongst the gnome people! Six weeks in Brooklyn and I forgot all those hard earned Waldorf lessons. Damn me.

For whatever reason, even though I was in the middle of committing the gravest of sins -- weaning before the age of 7! -- she wouldn't leave me alone. Here are some choice quotes.

-- "Well. Because I nursed Soy Bean till 30 months, I naturally will do the same for Almond Milk."

-- "No no, Soy Bean. No ice cream for you! We don't eat dairy when we're boogery."

-- "Oh. Raffi. Huh. Well. I've heard of him. *laughs in a scary and confusing way* (are we talking about two different Raffis?!) ...But we prefer to play spoken word games in the car."

I blacked out the rest. 

What came rushing back to me is how unsupportive these women were to me. I tweeted this awhile back, but I really want to send them all an email with, simply: "You guys are kind of the worst." It's true. The Waldorf way -- at least at this school -- is this slow burn, a chronic level of judgment and oneupmanship that creeps and sinks into your bones. It weighs you down and makes you question the simplest of choices. About food and toys and books and clothes. Everything! And there's only one way! Wood and wool and kale. I'm going to write them a wood and wool and kale anthem, they'll love it.

I realized how quickly those feelings can come rushing back when I suddenly was questioning my decision to wean Bea, suddenly doubting something I'd known just one hour before to be right for me. How (but more importantly why) do these ladies with greasy hair and five dollar skirts from the Himalayan goods store excel so fiercely at bringing another sister down? For now, I can only say I don't fucking know. But good riddance; I'mma ride into the sunset on my non-electric car while I eat a Poptart and watch Barney on a handheld device. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I'm so tired

Okay so I decided to wean. It's February, Bea was born in February, and so that makes it a year. As a breastfeeding pusher website once told me, this gives me the "Gold Award" and then many commenters promptly asked "Where can I pick up my award, tho?" I wish I were kidding.

I can't really believe I made it a year, especially because I'm not the biggest breastfeeding champion of the world. I just kind of do it. But I am proud I got this far, whether it was really on purpose or not.

Anyway. One of the main reasons I'm weaning is because I'm exhausted. Like really exhausted. We moved and she started sharing a room with HJ and then she got sick and then she cut three teeth at once and through all of it nursing was her comfort. So I gave in over and over at all hours of the night because I was too tired to fight it. Which I originally typed "figh tit", which kind of works?

One of the main ways my fatigue shows is with word finding problems. Some of which are so deep I've started to concern the people near me. When I need to say something I'll often stare into space for a good 30-60 seconds before I come up with, say, "pan."

Here are a few favorite things I've said without noticing:

"Mom! Follow Bea! She's got an owl!" (I meant apple.)

"Joe! Joe! Joe!" (Trying to get the dog, George, to come.)

"I'm so glad we bought Harper the honey baked ham for her birthday!" (I meant Easy Bake Oven.)

And then a couple days ago I posted a picture of Bea eating a pear to Instagram. I could not -- could not -- remember how to spell pear. First I wrote it pair. Then pare. Then as I was typing into Google "how to spell the fruit pare" I looked up and asked my mom and she, scared, helped a sister out.

We're down to two feedings a day and she's already sleeping (a bit) better. I feel like a strange dizzy monkey from the hormone changes and it's sad to see my baby shift into toddler mode, but I know this is all for the good. My body will be all mine and maybe I'll even sleep five whole hours in a row. I'm into goal setting this year and my newest one is remembering my middle name by the end of March.