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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

Month

March 2008

Baby Note of the Day

There are few things cuter than a baby’s snore.  I never thought I would appreciate a snore.  I have been proven wrong.

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Not Your Mother’s Hot Chocolate

I have on occasion listed favorite things on this blog.  Tonight is no exception.  When in doubt, on a chilly night, try this hot chocolate.  And apparently you can make pot de creme from it as well. 

Newhc2006

Yes, I think I have a new obsession.  Chocolate in a mug.  Delish.

Nothing In Particular

I have a rare moment now when I have both hands available (my child LOVES to be held, and all of the conventional "wisdom" says you cannot spoil a newborn, so who am I to question?), so I thought I would jot down a few random thoughts:

  • I love black and white pictures of NYC from the 1930s and 1940s.
  • I graduated from high school nearly 20 years ago.  This is almost unbelievable to me.
  • We recently learned that our child’s first name means "Elf Ruler" and her middle name means "Elf Army".  No joke.  Luckily, her first name has other meanings, but what are the chances that we would pick two names related to elves?  And I don’t even like elves.  I mean, they are OK.  Elves are not as bad as clowns.  Clown Ruler would have been bad…potentially worthy of a name change.  But elves we can live with.  And what’s weird about it is she is destined to be tall.  We are tall.  She is already long, so she will likely be tall.  What do we think it means that we have named her an Elf Ruler?
  • My vocabulary has taken a dramatic turn in the last few weeks: paci, Dr. Brown, what color is her poo?, growth spurt, sleep when you can, "don’t you just LOVE the rainforest swing?", when did I last pump?, mommy’s group (funny, I have not heard of a daddy’s group yet), sleep sacks, spit-up, do I have enough burp cloths?, witching hour, Gripe Water, Pampers Swaddlers and the perfect swaddling technique…wipes wipes and more wipes…it’s like a whole new language.  And I can have full blown, long, in depth conversations with total strangers about all of this stuff – and ENJOY these conversations – without missing a beat.  It’s a new language, and a new world.
  • And the Knicks are dressed for St. Patty’s day today!  Nice.

Lastly, it’s a damn shame about Bear Stearns.  I am sure the firm made some major mortgage-backed errors, but I feel for those folks who work there.  I started my career at Kidder Peabody in 1994 right when the Joe Jett scandal hit and brought down the firm (nice timing).  Leaving work one day thinking everything is fine, and going in the next only to have the ceiling (and your career, finances, dreams, ideas about how you spend your time at work, etc. etc. crash down on you in an instant) is very very tough.  We are in for a wild ride.  Hang on folks, lots of our economy is built on psychology.

And now the moment passes.  The crying returns. It is the witching hour, after all (do you know what that is, the witching hour?).  So no more two hands.  it’s not all bad, I have learned to do a "Ctrl Alt Delete" with one hand.   Not bad for a new mom.

Are you ready for kids?

Have you ever heard of the Jeep Wave?  Apparently people who drive Jeeps wave at other Jeep drivers when they are on the road.  I have no idea if this is true, but I have noticed the Baby Nod.  Stroller pushers of all types, mostly moms, nod to other stroller pushers.  Or at least glance.  Some stare.  Some judge. 

Oh let me be honest…it’s not a nod…it’s judgment!  I would like to think it’s a friendly nod, but I live in Brooklyn, full of baby-wearing, Birkenstock bearing, granola moms who breastfeed their kids until the kids can walk and talk (maybe longer) and make those of us newbie moms feel like losers who are doing everything wrong.  Perhaps I am being too sensitive.  And it’s not entirely accurate (my description might be a bit for dramatic effect) but it’s close.  Some mothers have been nice on the street…others, not so nice. 

But so what.  What I need in times of dealing with judging mothers, self doubt or other "I’m failing as a new mom" sentiments (again, I don’t really feel like I am failing, per se…a tad of hyperbole for Dramatic Effect) is a sense of humor.  And this email, sent from a friend is just that.  Take a read…

Thinking of Having Kids?  Do this 11 step program first!

       Lesson 1

       1. Go to the grocery store.
       2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
       3. Go home.
       4. Pick up the paper.
       5. Read it for the last time.

       Lesson 2

       Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and
berate them about their…
       1. Methods of discipline.
       2. Lack of patience.
       3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
       4. Allowing their children to run wild.
       5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s breastfeeding, sleep habits,
toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

       Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

       Lesson 3

       A really good way to discover how the nights might feel…
       1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM
carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other
obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

       2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
       3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
       4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
       5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
       6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
       7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
       8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
       9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

       Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

       Lesson 4

       Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out…
       1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
       2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
       3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
       4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
       5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
       6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

       Lesson 5

       Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
       1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
       2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

       Time allowed for this – all morning.

       Lesson 6

       Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway
spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that.
       1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
       Leave it there.
       2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
       3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle
cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
       4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

       Lesson 7

       Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school
child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then
definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your
sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not
even contemplate having children.

       Lesson 8

       1. Hollow out a melon.
       2. Make a small hole in the side.
       3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
       4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by
pretending to be an airplane.
       5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
       6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

       You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

       Lesson 9

       Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and
Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I
know, you’re thinking What’s ‘Noggin’?) Exactly the point.

       Lesson 10

       Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying ‘mommy’ repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four
second delay between each ‘mommy’; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is
required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready
to take a long trip with a toddler.

       Lesson 11

       Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt
hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the ‘mommy’ tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now
ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

       This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say ‘it’s all worth it!’ Share
it with your friends, both those who do and don’t have kids. I guarantee they’ll get a chuckle out
of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you’ll need when you become a
parent!

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