Sunday, August 30, 2009


Starting Tuesday we'll be on vacation, peeps, which might just be the best sentence I've ever written. We're greasing the palms of the relaxation gods and getting as close to heaven as we possibly can without a car: Mohonk Mountain House. We are going to go on hikes and see stars and eat our weight in crispy bacon while lying on the beach getting a massage with the scent of s'mores wafting to our room as we rock the baby to sleep in our Adirondack chairs on the balcony overlooking the mountains.

It's our first vacation in 5 years. I'm feeling pretty psyched.

Seriously, I'm too excited. Way too excited. Unless they hand me a basket of brownies and a leprechaun, it can't possibly live up to my expectations. But the anticipation is fun. We're taking the train which should thrill the Under-2 set. I'm getting a facial. Matt's bringing books. How bad can it be? (I'm gunning for awesome with a side of fist pump.)

In other, less spa-induced news, turns out Owen did NOT qualify for speech therapy. But I'm happy to report that the words are coming fast and furious these days. Today's top hits are bee (he saw a dead bee on the playground and is now completely obsessed. Helicopters, specks on the carpet. "Bee! Bee! Bee!"), oh peeeze ("please" with an extra "oh" to completely manipulate his parents), and the ABC song, which mostly consists of him singing "A, B, A, B" over and over, with a few C's and D's thrown in. (Hey, it's a start.) That brings the grand total to 12 definite words and several almost-theres, which is a HUGE leap from where we were a month ago. It's amazing how proud you can be listening to your son garble the word "shoe".

So much more to tell but it'll have to wait. 5 a.m. still comes at 5 a.m. 'round these parts. Regardless, I'll see you when I get back. IF I COME BACK! (Sometimes after I've had a glass of wine I imagine that we've won a contest and are allowed to live at Mohonk for free. That's usually when I know that it's time to eat something.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Super quick and related to nothing, but I know it's confusing - my son's real name isn't Owen. I'm just using a pseudonym on this blog because I'm paranoid.

Now back to your regular programming.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Me + margarita + husband + ocean + sleeping baby. Add a bag of money and I'm golden.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing my son.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

An inability to laugh at yourself. Cocky ignorance. Undermining. I could go on.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Cocky ignorance. Undermining. I could go on.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Wasting time.

What is your current state of mind?


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


On what occasion do you lie?

Whenever anybody asks what I've been up to lately.

What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Good natured snarkiness.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

A very well-loved housecat.

What word or phrase do you most overuse?


What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My son, of course.

When and where were you happiest?

Lots of happy to choose from... Today I'll go with Edinburgh, strolling alone, early morning, sunshine.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I haven't even come close yet.

Where would you like to live?

By the ocean. Any ocean.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Abnormal lab results.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My knowledge of pop culture factoids. And my hair.

What do you most value in your friends?

Their ability to tolerate me, even at my most maddening.

Who are your favorite writers?

You know that episode of The Office where Michael grilled his foot? That guy.

Who are your heroes in real life?

People who do the grunt work without acknowledgement.

What is your greatest regret?

Not liking myself more during adolescence.

What is your motto?

"If you don't ask, you don't get."

How would you like to die?

Preferably leaving behind a trail of money and admirers.

*And just for kicks, the Inside The Actors Studio question:

What is your favorite swear word?

Is calling someone a douche considered swearing?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Need some quick advice, parent-types.

What's the appropriate way to handle little jerks? I'm talking about those little a-holes on the playground who scream "Go away!" or "I don't like you!" when my guy toddles up to them with a big smile, hoping to play. I know what to do when they're, say, 7 (kick 'em and run) but these kids are 2, maybe 3, so I have to go easy. Plus, they're going to be in my son's class in September so making enemies ain't the way to go. I feel like there has to be a way to get them to be nice (other than that saying something useless like "Be nice") that's developmentally appropriate but still gets the point across. Also, any advice on what to do when I see this behavior happening? I don't want to coddle Owen but he looks so heartbroken and confused when kids close to his age shun him. I don't know how to explain it to him in a way he'll understand.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WWJD? Scratch that. WWyouD?

Say you bought some clothes. Say the store forgot to ring up one of the larger-ticket items. Say you tried the item on again when you got home and decided that you didn't actually want it after all. Would you:

A) return the item to the store, explaining the mistake.
B) return the item to the store, telling them your husband lost the receipt. Return it for store credit. Smile.

I know which course of action I'm leaning towards.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The little guy had his speech evaluation yesterday. The verdict? Probably good. Unfortunately, Early Intervention's definition of "good" means that he qualifies for services. Nothing's certain yet - numbers must be crunched - but the evaluator's (off the record) info pointed towards slow. She was really nice and gave a lot of tips, most of which I've been making a conscious effort to avoid up to this point. Truncated sentences? ("Go up? Eat food? Yum!") Disregarding proper words? ("Baba" versus "bottle") Ending words in "y" sounds? (Doggy instead of dog) Check and check.

It's not that I'm anti-kid speak (I want to penis-kick hipsters who introduce themselves formally to newborns) but I've naturally gravitated towards talking to Owen like a regular person. 'Scuze me while I break out the golf clap but I'm really proud that he scores so high cognitively and I think part of that has to do with the fact that I've always spoken to him in full sentences. (Of course he also doesn't talk which probably cancels out the cognitive.) Point being, it feels like a step backwards to give directions like "Block in?" instead of my usual, "Hey, come help me put the blocks in the green box." I think repeating words often is really helpful and I'm happy to sing and read and make animal sounds but the rest of it? Feeling suuuper resistant. I know I should be grateful for the aid but my gut really just wants us to leave him alone. I find myself Googling things "genius+late talker" to reassure myself that being behind the curve is fine. I'm under no delusion that Owen's an Einstein. But I wouldn't mind if he were the next Bill Irwin. (Both super late talkers!)

At 19 months Owen has turned into Harold and the Purple Crayon. Thank god Crayola makes washable ones, that's all I have to say. I think we're finally past the eating-of-the-crayons phase (which lasted waaaay too long. Have you seen what it does to poop?) but we're stymied at Only-On-Paper. "Only on paper" is a tough thing to make clear to a little guy. He's having a hell of a time differentiating between being allowed to color on paper but not books (which are, ahem, paper), or on paper but not the (flat, smooth, white) dining table. It's not all confusion - there's also some definite boundary pushing. He'll start on the paper then slooooooowly inch the crayons towards the off-limits area, watching to see if I'm paying attention. Needless to say, this drives me to drink. I know that this would all be solved if I was actively engaged every moment of every day but here's where I bust out the tiny font: sometimes I make him chase the cat so I can spend a few more minutes on Facebook. Yes, (sometimes! occasionally!) I would rather be on the internet than play with my son. 'Fess up: what supposedly fun activities do you absolutely loathe?

Speaking of ignoring our offspring, my friend Colleen made a really interesting point the other day:

"I wonder if our parents read all this unsolicited parenting advice, and I wonder if it bothered them as much as it bothers us? My mom thinks it's kind of stupid to worry about all that stuff, said it was much easier when we were kids b/c kids were kids and parents were parents, and they all had our own jobs to do, and nobody fussed at her if she spent time cleaning house instead of trying to find quality time with all four of us every day."

Dude, yes! What happened to kids being kids and parents being parents? Something has totally shifted, right? I don't recall my mom ever sitting down to play with me, and I say that with absolutely no resentment. She was my mom. She had grown up stuff to do. Why the sudden change?

Final note: Trying to find an affordable, family-friendly vacation spot close to New York? Can't be done. I know we can't afford it and it's ridiculous to spend money we don't have on something as frivolous as mental health and blah and blah but seriously, we haven't had a vacation since our honeymoon. And that was 5 years ago. I have spent the last 3 days scouring the intenet for something resembling a vacay. No dice. Everything's either super wonderful but anti-kid or super kid but anti-parent. Oh, and that "recession" thing everyone's been talking about? Nobody's mentioned it to the resort community! At Mohonk Mountain House, prices started at $730 PER NIGHT. And all 265 rooms were almost booked! Buttermilk Falls refused to budge at $460 per night, and that didn't even include meals. (Plus no children allowed in the main house. Or in the pool. Or at dinner. For reals.) If anybody has any suggestions (we've already looked into Great Wolf Lodge. Can't get there from here) we're all ears.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I hate it when people post "SO FUNNY I LOL-ED!" videos. But then I watched this one and laughed so hard I woke my kid up.

This one's hilarious too. (Apparently they're a series.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


As if we didn't feel guilty enough already, Time has to bitchslap parents with a header like this. The article isn't much better, what with all the facts and warnings and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Normally I'm a fan of all 3 of these things but let's get real. Until a doctor comes over to my house and physically turns off the set, my son is going to watch some Blue's Clues. Hell, he will watch it DAILY. That 28 minutes of uninterrupted laundry/dishes/email time is all that stands between me and rabid insanity some days. My entire childhood was spent in front of the tube. It was on from the moment I woke up until long after I went to bed. I ate every meal in front of it, did homework with it blaring in the background. And yet my parents were super-involved in my life. I was an avid reader. My standardized test scores were positively bragworthy. I might know less about the cosmos than a 1st grader but I blame that on my love of note passing, not The Cosby Show. Intellectually I understand that moderate television viewing - even before age 2! - will not make my son's brain ooze out his nose. So why do I feel all Bad Parent when Owen climbs up on the couch to manhandle the remote?

I understand that they have to go Red Alert about this stuff because some parents park their kids in front of the set for hours but come the frak on. It's like the cold medicine thing - a couple of horrible daycare workers dosed their charges with Benedryl to make them take naps (yes, really) and now nobody can give their kid a decongestant. Choosing to exclude television in your household is one thing. I'm totally in support of parents who find other ways to recharge! It's the INSISTENCE, the GUILTING, of these articles that sticks in my craw. 30 minutes of quality educational programming will not ruin a child. It just won't.

I can't be the only person of this generation who watched their weight in TV growing up. Do you feel scarred by it? How do you handle it with your own kid?

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Sorry for the void this week. Owen appears to be going through yet another growth spurt which seems insane given the fact that he is absolutely massive, but all signs point to Yes. Excessive appetite? Check. Constant kicking of achy legs? Check. General grumpishness and fussery? Check annnnnd check. Matt and I have been trading off night duty which generally involves an hour or two in the rocker, with an occasional tussle on the dinky loveseat until the Motrin kicks in. Right now we're clocking a good 2-4 hours of awake time each night, which definitely tips the scales towards "suckwad". Even if you're not the one on duty, waking up that much puts a serious cramp in the ol' REM cycle.

And then there are the cats.

Those furry bitches are going to take a long walk off a short pier if they don't stop going ballistic at 5 am. I don't know if it's because they hear Owen stirring (that kid is a freaking clock, peeps. He can be awake all night, but when 5 am rolls around? BAM!) but they turn freakballs come daybreak. Between the constant up-down-up-down-up-down and the scratchscratchscratchscratchscratch, mama is starting to lose it, but good.

Anyway. As soon as I manage to eek out more than 3 hours of consecutive shut-eye I'll get back to the blabbery. In the meantime, a quiz: How much sleep do you get each night? And how crazy am I for even considering a second kid?

(Aw crap, I hear crying. I think I just answered my own question.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


So this is hardly fair... (Click for deets, and make sure you check out the slideshow. The barn/workshop in the backyard? C'MON! )

Monday, August 3, 2009


I am currently parked in procrastination station and I gots nothin', peeps, nothin' to write about. For awhile I was on a roll with the magazine stuff but now that I've started pitching (gasp!) feature articles, I'm on hold until stronger clips come out. (Hopefully I'll be able to move come September's Babble essay.) I've been so busy in magazine-land that I've totally abandoned the book, and trying to get back into that world is some seriously heavy lifting... So instead I futz and fluster, reading archived blind items on dlisted. Who knew Bruce Willis had work done? (Allegedly! Allegedly.)

The boy is 19 months now and independence is definitely being asserted. He's mastered the "don't touch me, mama" shrug (I thought that didn't start until 2rd grade) and spends an inordinate amount of time shouting "no", which he pronounces "doh" for no reason I can ascertain. To whit:

"Owen, no coloring on the TV."

"Owen, leave the plants alone."

"OWEN, no throwing food."
"Doh! Doh! Doh! Doh! DOOOOOOOOH!"

Oh doh. Oh yes. (Ba-da-CHI!)

Other new words in the repertoire: car and guy but they only pop up if prompted. Come to think of it, the only unprompted word these days is "doh". It's going to be a long month.

Say, how did you explain to your kids that sometimes other kids act like shits? Specifically when little brats bar your child from playing on public playground equipment or come up and grab something out of your sweet, adorable toddler's hand. Do you chase them down and tell them to give it back? (What if your kid happened to find it on the playground so it's not technically his - but you know it's not the other kid's toy either.) Do you say something? Preferably something passive-aggressive and within earshot of the caregiver? ("Some kids have trouble learning how to share.") Point being, this has been happening to Owen a lot and even though I know it's normal and that children are grubby little tools sometimes, I don't want him picking up on it. He's already started giving the stink-eye (that bullshitty precursor to the eyeball roll) and it makes me irrationally angry. Right now he just stands there and looks hurt when kids grab stuff away and I'm not sure how or when (or if I even should) intervene. Thoughts?

Also, I'm taking suggestions on hip, arty small towns with great public schools. Oh, and with low costs of living. Please stop laughing.