Long Island Mom

What I've learned about being a mom.

The ‘easy’ baby

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, recently said she has an ‘easy baby’ and moms everywhere instantly hated her. I’ve seen many a blog post, Facebook post, or Tweet calling her a bitch or a liar, or both.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/lisa-belkin/marissa-mayer-easy-baby_b_2205817.html

Some women were jealous, claiming their children were never easy and saying how much they wished they would have gotten a few winks of sleep or a meal in those first few months.

Some women claimed she was premature for calling her baby easy so early on. I do agree with this one, because my daughter was easy, until week 8. Then all hell broke loose.

Some women attacked her status and money, saying that they, too, would call their children ‘easy’ if they had nannies and personal chefs, etc.

I just think she’s dumb. As any mom will tell you, you NEVER breathe a word about your child being easy. It’s Murphy’s Law of Parenting. The second you vocalize any positive attributes of your kids, the shit hits the fan. As soon as you brag about your easy 6 week old, colic hits. As soon as you brag about your son sleeping through the night, he starts teething. As soon as I bragged about my daughter eating anything I put in front of her, she went on a hunger strike. It’s like they know.

I sincerely hope Ms. Mayer does have an easy kid. Just keep quiet about it, lady, or you’ll ruin it.

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She hates kids

My 2 year old hates kids. More specifically, babies. She’s just barely not a baby herself, what gives?

It started a few months ago when we went on a play date at my friend Meredith’s house. She has a then 1 year old little girl named Hannah, who is sweet and friendly and doesn’t scowl. Must be nice. Sofia was fine to play on her own, but when Hannah got near her she would scream ‘stop it!’ and run away. So embarrassing.

Fast forward a few months and another play date with my friend Laura and her 1 year old, Luke. Luke just wanted to play with her and her toys. Poor Luke. Sofia again screamed and ran away anytime he got too close for her liking.

Her cousin Steven’s 1st birthday party last weekend is the picture below. She looks like ‘Get any closer and I’ll attack.’ Anytime he’s around, this little love bug just wants to hug her. She kicks him.

And her 2 month old brother? I can’t even get a picture of the two of them together because she refuses to get anywhere near him. Anytime someone she wants to play with is holding him she tells them to put him ‘right here’ and points to a swing or bouncy seat.

She has no problem with kids her own age or older, though. She plays very nicely at Gymboree, she adores her cousin Adriana, who is 3, and she had a great time playing with her cousin Jake, also 3, when we were in California. What is it about babies that makes her act this way?

Anyone have similar experiences? I’m thoroughly embarrassed and confused by her behavior and totally at a loss as to what to do with her.

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Today’s Baby

I’m sure every generation thinks the newer generation has life so much easier, and in many respects they’re right. Just registering for the birth of my first baby I was overwhelmed at how many ‘things’ there are that you just have to have . Bouncers, swings, Velcro swaddlers, baby towels, detergents, wipe warmers, etc. are so unnecessary but so, well, awesome. I wonder how our parents brought us up without all of these cool things.

My in-laws bought Sofia an iPad for Christmas last year. At a year old. Seriously. And now, at not quite 2 years old, she can use it better than I can. She knows what folder all her apps are in and how to play all her games. She knows how to turn it on and how to exit an app when she’s bored. Which happens quickly. A big part of me hates to give it to her because I’m sure it’s ‘bad’ for her, but she has learned so much from it. She knows her alphabet, numbers to 20, shapes, colors, etc. I’m positive I didn’t know all of that at 2.

So this generation has cooler toys and is smarter than us. Perusing the Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby websites will leave you wondering how your parents were able to raise you without all of these cool things. How did one travel with young kids without an iPad or laptop full of games and episodes of Sesame Street? I remember beating the hell out of my sister in the backseat of our minivan on many a road trip. I’m sure an iPad would have saved her a lot of bruises.

So does all of this mean we interact with our babies less than our parents did? I’m a stay at home mom, and I’d like to think I play with my kids and expose them to lots of cool stuff that doesn’t involve a tv or iPad. And I’d like to think that I’m more willing to go and do things with them knowing I have convenient products to fall back on when the inevitable meltdown occurs. Would I have chanced a cross-country flight with a 2 year old and a 2 month old without an iPad and an Ergo carrier? Probably not. Would I have breast fed my daughter after returning to work with a single hand pump instead of my double mechanic Medela pump? Absolutely not.

What do you think? Are all these new gadgets improving our interactions with our kids, or turning them into screen-obsessed softies?

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Lucky in my Bad Luck

I’ve had a hell of a year. It seems every time I feel like things are just so great, I get hit with some bad news that knocks me down a peg. And yet, with every cloud that has loomed over me there have been some serious silver linings. I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I started the year mourning the loss of a pregnancy I was so excited about, only to find out a short month later that I was pregnant again. We were so lucky to find out we were pregnant so soon after the loss and were elated to know we would have a baby come October.

Then the sickness hit. I had such an easy pregnancy with Sofia that I had no idea how hard that first trimester could be. I spent a night in the hospital due to dehydration and learned this pregnancy would be far more difficult than what I experienced with her. And yet, how lucky I was to have a strong support system to help me manage my own health and to help with Sofia. My mom came out from California often to stay and take care of us both, and my mother in law has always been there to do the same.

I had a nagging feeling that baby David wouldn’t make it to his due date and I was right. At only 36 weeks, David was born on September 18th at a tiny 5lbs 3oz. Tiny, but not so bad for a preemie, and both of us were without serious medical issues, thank goodness. Lucky again.

Then jaundice. What is a very common medical issue for most, became a battery of tests and phototherapy for David. Unable to control his bilirubin levels, he was not discharged with me from the hospital, and again we relied heavily on our families to get us through a few days of the NICU. He was released and we were home as a family.

5 days later his bilirubin was back up and he was back in the NICU. It broke my heart and was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. The silver lining here was looking at all the other babies in the NICU and knowing how simple and easily corrected my baby’s problem was. So many of those babies were recovering from surgery, less than 5lbs, or just so so sick. Puts things into perspective.

So he came home. And we got into a nice groove. Then hurricane Sandy hit. Our car was totaled, we lost power for 2 weeks, we got hit with a snowstorm while we had no heat or hot water. Again, we had a large support system and we were able to stay with family and friends. My parents flew me and the babies to California so we weren’t dealing with the cold with the kids. And most importantly, when so many here in Long Island lost so much, we had minimal flooding and lost a car. No big deal compared to friends who still aren’t back in their homes, family who lost everything, including irreplaceable family photos and keepsakes, and a mother in Staten Island who lost her 2 and 4 year old boys. How lucky I really am.

It’s important when things get rough to remember the silver lining. So many people go through hiccups like mine but in the end my family is safe and in their warm beds, and I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

What a great Thanksgiving this will be.

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Pink Taffy Designs

There is nothing quite as fun as dressing up a little girl in pink tutus. From the moment I found out I was having a girl, I started stockpiling adorable pink things to put her in and at almost 2, there is no end in sight. For her first birthday (see pic below), I had her in a customized Elmo shirt with a pink and red tutu. It was obnoxious and just so cute, and not at all what my mom would have guessed I would dress my daughter in.

My grandma called me Johnny Cash as a kid. I wore black. Not in a Twilight, Emo Vampire way, just in a please-don’t-look-at-me -I-hate-being-the-center-of-attention way. I NEVER wore pink. There is just something about having a little girl that turned me into a ruffles and frills, pink-loving mommy. Although I still prefer to dress myself in black.

Pink Taffy Designs has all the adorable girl and boy clothing you could ever hope for, plus lots of gift ideas for baby showers and nursery decor. Check it out and enter the raffle to win free wall letters to put your kid’s name on their wall. So cute! Check them out :

http://www.pinktaffydesigns.com/

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Post-Sandy Price Gouging

We have power after 12 days of bouncing around Long Island staying with in laws and friends trying to keep the kids warm. We were so fortunate that our only casualties from the ‘super storm’ were a piece of carpet downstairs, junk my husband refused to part with in our garage, an ugly couch and our car. About 6 inches of water came into our garage and guest bedroom, a far cry from the 4-6 feet of water so many in our neighborhood had rush into their first floor, ruining homes, furniture, and irreplaceables like photo albums and keepsakes. Our car flooded up to the dashboard but is fairly easy to replace thanks to insurance. So many in our area lost everything. I’m counting my blessings.

There are so many stories to tell about how our community in Oceanside has come together to help out our neighbors. Football players from our local high school volunteered to clear debris from flooded homes, teachers distributed hot meals to families, and loads of donated clothes, baby supplies, food and blankets from neighbors looking to help. We really banded together and continue to help each other get through the worst storm the area has ever seen.

Unfortunately it hasn’t all been good. There are also so many stories of price gouging – businesses looking to make money off of people’s misfortune. It saddens me to hear of gas stations charging crazy amounts because people are desperate. Lia’s pizza in Oceanside was cited for charging $5 per slice of pizza because they were the only restaurant in the area open and able to serve. And the most despicable, if you ask me, is this story at the Hempstead Ford Dealership in Hempstead where my husband went to replace our car.

Dave did his research before going to buy a new car, and also brought his cousin Teresa with him in the hopes that needing 2 cars (hers was totaled as well) would mean a better deal for both of us. Cars were marked up and the saleswoman refused to work with my husband to lower the price, telling him she didn’t have to work with him on the price as she had sold hundreds of cars since the storm. Nice. Thanks for the help.

I guess it’s the American way. Supply and demand. I just hoped people would be more willing to help instead of looking to make a quick buck. I know I will be frequenting local businesses like SVS Jewelry in Oceanside who opened their doors for people to warm up, charge cell phones and have a free cup of coffee. And I will never buy a car from Hassett Ford again.

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Traveling with small children

Don’t do it.

Seriously, if you can avoid a plane until your child is old enough to fear your wrath I would not endure the aggravation.

In fact, endure is a good word, because a flight with a small child is an endurance test. I had no idea how quick and painless my 6 hour flights to see family in California used to be until I was forced to take a child along.

My first flight with Sofia was for my sister’s bridal shower when she was just 4 months old. My mom came as back up and Sofia thanked her by throwing up all over her within the first hour of the flight.

Lesson #1 – bring extra clothes. Yes, for your children, but also an extra shirt for you. I have yet to take a flight with my children where I stepped off looking fresh and put together. Suck it, Angelina Jolie. 17 kids and not one apple juice spill. Unreal.

My second flight with Sofia went much better, and I attribute that to the following 2 pieces of advice :

Lesson #2 – baby carriers. I hate bringing a stroller because it does nothing to help during the flight. A baby bjorn or Ergo, Moby, whatever, will help you when you’re pacing the aisles hoping your child will fall asleep. And you have 2 free hands for the next piece of advice.

Lesson #3 – buy a cocktail. I know they’re ridiculously overpriced on a plane but trust me on this one. A glass of wine or any other adult beverage will calm your nerves (which will calm your child’s – they absolutely feed off of your energy) and also help the time pass. Which, on a cross-country flight is so necessary.

Several times I have flown by myself with Sofia and it is not my favorite way to travel. Back up is preferable, but if you must fly alone with a child the next piece of advice is so important.

Lesson #4 – Ask for help. You cannot pee on a plane while holding a toddler. Ask the flight attendants to give your kid a cookie or something so you can pee for 3 seconds. Most of the time they are all too eager to help out.

I try to limit Sofia’s screen time at home, which is tough because she has access to so many gadgets from the tv, to iPads and iPhones. On a plane there is no limiting.

Lesson #5 – suspend normal rules. Movies and iPad games are non-stop, snacks are plentiful and basically she runs the show from takeoff to landing. It’s survival, people.

And my latest lesson learned, from the flight I am currently on with my sister and both children. Baby David has thrown up on both of us and pooped on his blanket and burp cloth. Sofia peed through her diaper onto my sister and then spilled wine onto the nice suede boots of the poor woman next to her.

Lesson #6 – bribe other passengers. If your child is a tornado like mine, there will be collateral damage. Offer to pay dry cleaning bills, buy cocktails to apologize for kicked seats, whatever you need to do. Or you will be hated.

So good luck and remember that this too, shall pass. And the people you have angered on the flight you will never see again. Except for my poor sister. She will be coerced into flying with us again because she has no choice. I should start working on a kick ass Christmas gift for her…

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My surreal life

Day 7 without power. No garbage pickup so the street is full of everyone’s garbage and items destroyed by the flood waters. What the hell do my property taxes pay for anyway?

Driving around Oceanside is surreal. An upper middle class town now looks like a total slum. A Red Cross truck came down the street today delivering blankets, water and meals, something I’ve seen in devastated places on the news but never expected to be in my neighborhood.

Saw what I thought was a LIPA truck go down the street so I grabbed my cousin Ro and we tried to see where it was going as if we were 5 and he was the ice cream man. Couldn’t find him but came across this :

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Can’t believe this is my neighborhood. No answers from LIPA with a timetable either. I feel so powerless!

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Our Story of Sandy

Whew… We’re safe. Now where to begin?

My husband took the news of this hurricane as pure hype and refused to prepare. To be fair, Irene did nothing to us last year and we were lucky. Unfortunately it was a false sense of security for what was to come this year. We live in Oceanside, on the south shore of Long Island just minutes from Long Beach where people were evacuated and we were issued a ‘voluntary’ evacuation.

I was not around for Irene last year, as I was lucky enough to be visiting my family in California with Sofia. My husband and brother in law weathered the storm together, drinking whiskey and ‘holding down the fort’ as we were untouched by the overhyped storm. I was increasingly more worried as days went on this year, watching the news describe this storm as something far more serious than any storm we’ve seen in recent history. I decided my in laws were a safe place to stay since their house is a good 7 steps above street level and they had a generator, should power go out.

As we watched the winds pick up I wished I had fled somewhere north, far away, with my 2 kids who include my 6 week old preemie and my not even 2 year old little girl. I felt scared as I watched the water rush through the street like a river, climbing step by step up to my in laws front porch. We were lucky it stopped before it reached the top and the our only real issue was a loss of power.

My in laws lost so much. 2 houses nearby that they rent out are badly damaged. My father in law’s collision shop under 5 feet of water. Cars flooded to the dashboards and totaled. And a basement full of my husband and his sister’s childhood memories that his mom has saved for decades. We got off easy, a few inches of water in my guest bedroom and garage and a totaled car. My kids and husband are safe, which is all that matters.

What makes me upset about the whole situation is how forgotten our area in Oceanside is. Nearby towns have FEMA and Red Cross trucks handing out water and food, and power is being restored all around us. We can’t even get the town to collect the mounds of garbage on the curbs, and I’ve yet to see a single LIPA truck around to even assess the situation with the downed power wires. It could still be weeks until we get power. As time goes on the weather gets colder and colder, so Dave and I had to leave to stay with friends to get the kids into a warm house. No idea when we will be able to return home and start to get our lives back to normal.

Gas shortages here have gotten scary. Stories of fist fights breaking out as people line up for blocks to fill up their cars and small tanks to power generators. It’s so much worse, they say, than the gas shortages of the 70s, and no real end in sight.

Long Beach is a ghost town. The sand has washed up so far that it looks as if apartments were built on the beach. Long Beach Hospital will be closed for a minimum of 6 months to repair and I wonder if it will ever be what it once was.

I can’t shake the feeling that this is all just a bad dream. These kinds of disasters are things you read about happening in other places. Events that you watch on the news shaking your head in disbelief. Events you donate to relief funds to quiet your guilt as you sit on your warm couch watching benefit concerts. Now all of these benefit concerts and relief efforts are for us. Eerie.

In the meantime, if anyone is looking to help please contact your Red Cross and donate money, bottled water, food, warm clothing, toiletries, anything you can think of that might help the families here that have lost so much. Those of us lucky enough to walk away unscathed will get past this, we will move forward with our lives. But there are those who have lost loved ones, those whose homes are condemned. They will need so much more and many will never be the same again.

Love and support to everyone in the tri-state affected by Sandy.

Red Cross

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