Long Island Mom

What I've learned about being a mom.

Girlfriends

I used to be the ‘guys girl’. In high school, almost all of my close friends were guys and I liked it that way. All of them, of course except for my friend Christine who was just like me and preferred to hang out with the less dramatic sex. I was not a ‘lets go get our nails done and go shopping’ girl.

In college I was a little more open-minded. I formed a very tight-knit circle of girlfriends that I still consider more like sisters than friends. Xena, Kristin and Lauren probably know more about who I really am than I do myself, and I love them intensely. But I still hung out with fraternity boys and refused to join a sorority.

Now, I can’t imagine a life without my girlfriends. I know having kids changes how you see yourself and the world, but I have never felt like more of a woman and I don’t mean that in any kind of women’s empowerment way. I feel like my girlfriends, especially those that are married and/or have kids, understand my need to bitch constantly and aren’t put off by it. I don’t mean to complain, but goddamnit my husband pisses me off sometimes, my kids drive me insane, and none of my guy friends care to hear about any of it.

Tonight my friend Meredith is hosting a Pampered Chef party. If you would have told me 10 years ago that this would be my Friday night I would have laughed and felt incredible pity for my boring adult self. But a night to drink wine and shop for kitchen stuff sounds like just what this cabin-fevered mom of 2 needs.

And I’ll probably bitch the whole time about my husband and my kids. And my girlfriends will know this doesn’t mean I love them any less, it just means I need an avenue to let loose with everything that isn’t acceptable to say to anyone else. They get it. That’s what’s so important about girlfriends.
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The easy stage

I remember shortly after Sofia was born, in a sleep-deprived fog of frustration, asking my mom when it would get easier. Her reply? ‘It doesn’t get easier, it will just be different.’ I didn’t believe her then. I felt like no parenting challenge could be as difficult as nursing a baby every 2 hours day and night and healing from childbirth.

Turns out she was right. She’s always effing right.

In every stage Sofia has entered, some things have gotten easier, and others much tougher. She sleeps 12 hours at night now, at age 2, and takes a very long 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. There are very few nighttime interruptions from her now. She can entertain herself for pretty long periods of time on puzzles and watching Sesame Street, so I am able to cook dinner, throw a load of laundry in, or write a blog post. She also feeds herself and helps me get her dressed.

But just when I think she’s so easy she throws a tantrum over putting on socks or not allowing another tv show and I’m snapped back into reality. The worst tantrums, of course, are the public ones. I’m pretty good at the quick exit now. Oh, and potty training is around the corner. A corner I’m too afraid to even look at yet.

My son is in a tough stage now at 5 months old where he can’t quite sit up and play with toys, but he wants to be entertained. His attention span is pretty much non-existant and he’s a horrible sleeper. But I can eat a candy bar in front of him without sharing and I don’t have to spell things to my husband because he’s not repeating me like a tiny parrot. Yet.

And I know those of you with teenagers are reading this thinking ‘oh, she has no idea what she’s in for.’ I sort of do. I was, perhaps, the worst teenager on the planet, and I taught 7-12 graders for 5 years. I know the attitude all too well. So yes, I know how blissfully simple things are now when my kids can’t leave the house and take car keys and get into real trouble. I know how uncomplicated life is when they can’t talk back or steal liquor out of the cabinet. But I am looking forward to sleeping through the night and maybe, just maybe, sleeping in past 6am on a Sunday. That will happen one day, right?

I’m trying to just enjoy each stage with my kids and I’m trying not to rush them through everything in the hopes of independence for them and for myself.

But I’m just so fucking tired.
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My poor pediatrician

I’ve written before about how terrible I feel for my pediatrician. He’s a wonderful man who has helped me through many issues with my 2 kids – as small as a cold and as big as David’s hospital stays for uncontrolled jaundice. He is patient, kind, knowledgeable and funny, and I am unbelievably annoying to him.

When you have your first child, you are expected to call the pediatrician with stupid questions on a frequent basis. Even with the convenient answers google provides, new moms everywhere completely freak out over every little thing that happens with their baby. And that’s ok.

I’m on baby #2 and I’ve become more annoying.

Baby #2 should be easy, right? I mean, I’ve already successfully gotten one kid past her first year mostly unscathed, so this should be a breeze. Only he’s the exact opposite of Sofia in every single way. Is that even possible?

Sofia was a terrible sleeper and so is David. But whereas I had a hard time getting Sofia to sleep and needed to rock her for a half hour minimum to get her in her crib, David goes to sleep easily just by putting him in his crib and walking out of the room. He just won’t stay asleep. For more than 3 hours at at time.

Sofia was a good eater and so is David. Sofia would eat anything I put in front of her (until age 2), but only small amounts. This boy of mine is insatiable. There is no amount of baby cereal and fruit/veggie that is enough for this kid. And he would nurse 24 hours a day if I let him.

Sofia got her first tooth pretty late in the game. 8 months old. David? At 4 months he started cutting his first tooth and now it looks like 3 are coming in at the same time.

Get the idea? So because they are so different, everything David does strikes me as abnormal and warrants a call to the doctor. Calls that are met with patience but I know what he’s thinking.

Get a grip, psycho.

And even though I know I’m annoying him and my ‘issues’ I’m calling about are non-issues, I call. Like, once a week. Someone please stop me.

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Lent – Day 2

The hubs gave up dessert for Lent.

Last night he drank a half of a bottle of wine and a glass of scotch.

#sacrifices

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Wanna go out now?

I’m not into Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s the cheap Scottish girl in me, but I just find spending ten times the amount you normally would on some flowers that will die in a few days to be ridiculous. That said, I do use the day to reflect on how good I’ve got it.

This year I have 2 little valentines to think of, so yes, I’ve made a big deal of the day with heart shaped and pink and red everything. But there will be no dinner out, no flowers or jewelry, just a card telling the hubs how awesome he is and a nice home cooked meal. And wine. But I have wine every night. ;)

12 years ago, I met Dave in an English required course at NYU. He was wearing clothes about 8 sizes too big for him in a way only an Italian Wu Tang fan from Long Island could pull off. He was late, looked hungover, and I thought he was adorable.

Many awkward days ahead were spent finding excuses to walk out of class at exactly the same time as him so he’d be forced to walk back to the dorms with me. Our dorm buildings were next door to each other. We talked – correction – I talked – about where we grew up, what we wanted to do for a living one day, and how much we hated that damn class. We were both dating other people, so it was all very innocent, but I had a big time crush on him.

A year later, a friend dragged me to his fraternity party and many games of beer pong gave me a little courage. His buddy Nhat told me Dave was looking for me and directed me to his room. He walked out and when I asked him what he needed me for he said ‘nothing’ and I realized what Nhat was doing. So, many solo cups of beer gave me the courage to ask him if he wanted to go out sometime. His answer? ‘Wanna go out now?’

2 underage college kids in a seedy bar split a pitcher of watered-down beer and didn’t talk. We made out in a way only drunk college kids do. I’m still embarrassed by that one.

He called me the next day. And the next day. And the next day. We were instantly inseparable and 3 years of marriage and 2 kids later I couldn’t be happier. I have several people and things to thank.

– NYU
– Finnerty’s
– Mike Lampasona
– Nhat Le
– Bud light

But mostly the Bud light.

Happy Valentines Day!

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Birchbox

I made no secret of my desire for my husband to put in a little more effort at Christmas this year. He’s a wonderful man, but thoughtful gift-giver he is not. I am in no way high maintenance about gifts and holidays, in fact for years now we don’t exchange gifts for Christmas, but I am serious about stockings.

Stockings were serious business in our house growing up. They were always filled with little inexpensive cool things that Santa knew we’d love. Always our favorite candies, a crazy pair of socks, makeup for my sister and I, and as we got older, airplane-sized bottles of liquor.

Every year I stuff my husband’s stocking with little gadgets, Lego sets, candy, liquor and snowboarding accessories. I think obsessively about what he would think is cool but would never buy himself. And he always loves it.

Every year I get a bag of mini-snickers and a bouquet of flowers. Sweet, but no real thought put into it. So this year I told him it was time to put in a little effort. My choice of words was probably not that delicate, but they worked. He came through in a big way.

I got a little gift card for this website called Birchbox. I had never heard of it but it’s a concept that is just awesome and something any woman would love. Every month Birchbox sends you a little box full of sample-sized products they think are cool with a description of what they are and a price list for the full-sized version. You create a profile on the website by answering questions about your beauty routine so the products really are specific to what you would actually use.

So far I’ve had 2 shipments and I’m really loving the ability to try out things I wouldn’t have otherwise. And when you find something you love, you can buy it from their site on a discount.

An excellent idea for any woman in your life. Valentines Day, birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah and Mother’s Day are all good opportunities to give an inexpensive beauty gift like this one.

Not a paid advertisement, just genuinely something I love!

Birchbox.com

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Lent

I’ll start by saying that I’m not really Catholic. I was raised Presbyterian but my family stopped going to church when I was about 15 so I haven’t been religious at all since I was a kid. My husband is Catholic, but more as a cultural thing than a religious one. He’s Italian and was christened, made his confirmation, etc. but we weren’t even married in a church and don’t attend on a regular basis. So we’re typical Catholics.

We have decided we will raise our kids in the Catholic Church. Our daughter was christened at 2 months old and her brother will be christened next month. We attend church sporadically, when all of us are able to get ourselves together in time for 9:30 am family mass. Which is incredibly difficult even though the kids never sleep past 7.

So I’ve said all that to get to this – Lent. Giving things up for lent is not a Presbyterian thing so it’s new to me. In the past I have given up coffee, soda, wine, swear words and online shopping. Basically everything I love. This year I’m having a hard time coming up with something because my survival as a mom of 2 young children depends on caffeine, alcohol, yelling about all the FUCKING SHIT MY KIDS DO and the ability to buy diapers from diapers.com.

The entire point of giving something up for Lent is to sacrifice the way Jesus had sacrificed for us. Not sure giving up coffee is even on the same playing field as giving your life, but its a nice sentiment. And I do think its a good example to set for the kids. What you give up is something you enjoy but it’s not at all a necessity. And in an age of beyond instant gratification, it’s nice to teach them what it’s like to look forward to something.

I wish I could get my 2 year old to give up Yo Gabba Gabba.

I thought about skipping the giving up of things for lent this year because I’ve already given up so much. Here’s an abbreviated list of things I really enjoy that I no longer have :

– sleep
– peeing alone
– manicures
– sex
– eating snacks without sharing
– my pre-baby body
– a clean house
– clothes free of stains

Lord, do I get a pass this year?

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Turning 30

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On March 1st, I turn 30. I should feel pretty good about this milestone. I’m in a good place. I have a Masters Degree in Education, I was a tenured teacher in a fabulous school that I left on my own terms to be home with my kids, I’m married to my best friend, own a home and have 2 wonderful children.

So why am I so depressed about this?

There is nothing more that I wish I had accomplished by 30, nor do I think 30 is old. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. But 30 has always seemed so old to me and I feel like it came around far too quickly.

I have wrinkles. Like, real ones. Wrinkles that are definitely not from pillow creases and a good nights sleep. Wrinkles from scowling at my 2 year old and squinting to see street signs and laughing when the baby farts so loud he wakes himself up. Wrinkles from life.

And I probably have grey hair, but I wouldn’t know. I’ve told my hair colorist (my sister in law Angela) to keep that info from me due to my already fragile ego, although I’m pretty sure they’re there.

And my formerly thin, model-ish figure has been completely wrecked by 2 kids and a diet of coffee and whatever Sofia didn’t finish from lunch. Oh yeah, and lots of wine. Soft and mushy and not at all sexy. Wish I would have appreciated that hot college bod when I had it.

I don’t feel 30. I definitely look the part, but I still feel like I’m 22 and on my way to meet my friends at a bar for drinks. I can’t remember the last time I actually did that, but I feel like I could probably still hang.

Only no, I couldn’t. Hangovers used to be a few hours of a headache. Now, they last for days on end and are a violent reminder of how much I can’t hang. And don’t get me started on the late nights. I’m yawning by 9pm now – I used to wait to get dressed and do my hair until 9. My, how things have changed.

I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything. I’m really happy. Really. I just wish I could look in the mirror and see a 22 year old. Instead of this 30 year old in yoga pants with bags under her eyes. Lord, you are so cruel.

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Kid-free Zones

It’s the latest trend in all things travel and restaurant – the Kid-Free Zone. Air Asia officially has a ‘quiet zone’ on their flights with ambient lighting, whispers only and no children under 12. I am a frequent traveler and a mom of 2. I think I’m highly qualified to debate this one out.

I have traveled countless times back and forth from New York to California in the 12 years since I moved across the country. I have to admit, even as a young college student without kids, children on airplanes never bothered me. The humming of the cabin is normally enough to drown out most kid noises and I have found parents to be well-equipped to deal with any problems with their kids on flights. I was lucky to never really deal with issues because of kids.

Now that I have traveled back and forth with my own children, and I know how difficult it is to keep them entertained, fed and happy on a 5 hour flight, I have a lot of empathy for parents traveling with small children. Screaming infants are usually in pain from ear pressure that they can’t regulate, crying toddlers are usually overtired and unable to get comfortable enough to sleep, or extremely bored. For the most part, especially with the invention of the blessed iPad, I have seen few obnoxious incidents on a plane.

Normally my issue with kids on a plane is not because of the kids, it’s the parents. On my last flight to California, a mom in business class with her 15 month old repeatedly allowed her very young child to walk up and down the aisles by herself. In a shit-filled diaper. She was told several times by flight attendants that letting her daughter walk up and down the aisles was unsafe and to go back to her seat, but she ignored it. My mom and I felt like vomiting from the smell of that kid’s full diaper going back and forth. And she stopped to touch each person sitting in the aisle on the knee to say hi. A billion times. Of course her mother thought this was adorable. We did not.

In my opinion, taking children out of the equation only takes the scapegoats away. The real issue are ridiculous adults. Drunk, irate passengers. People that bring tuna sandwiches on board to eat and then rot sitting next to you for hours. People that clearly need to buy that extra seat but instead encroach on your territory. And my favorite, the chatters. No thank you, I’m not here to make friends.

So where do we draw the line? Will there be a ‘no fat people’ cabin? An alcohol-free cabin? A no-tuna cabin? Isn’t dealing with people part of life? Shouldn’t we all learn to be a little more tolerant of everyone? Including children? And trust me, that screaming kid on your flight is punishing her mother way more than it is punishing you. She’s doing her best.

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What is the best Stroller

After reading through the responses I got from you about the best strollers out there, I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most popular. Please take a minute and choose from the 5 selections below and we’ll find a winner for Best Stroller!

Here’s the poll – please click on the stroller below that you think is the best option!

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