Thursday, November 22, 2007

Martha Stewart I'm Not

It is Turkey Day. Seth and Marc are home, and we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. It is a mellow day. Until a week ago, we didn't know if we'd have any particular plans.

I don't love turkey, so for me, it would be no huge loss if we didn't eat it. But, there is something to be said for tradition....especially family tradition. And, I am feeling a bit of a loss in that department.

I lost my mom close to 10 years ago (hard to believe), and making Thanksgiving was her thing. I recall the great smells that would come from the kitchen. She had a way of putting her own stamp on the food. She made a mean stuffing....not from bread or a mix....but matzoh, vegetables, spices. And, her pumpkin bread with chocolate chips would have you talking (and dieting) for weeks. But, it was all worth it. Years later, Marc sometimes bakes some loaves from her recipe, and I love it.

While I now have my own family, I miss the Thanksgivings past. My sister and the kids are never available because they travel for tennis. Yes....believe it or not....there are tournaments on the major holidays. My dad and Marc's mom are around...but quite honestly....I don't love entertaining. We have done it here before, and I find it a lot of work, and not a lot of fun. All the set up, clean up, etc. Just not my thing.

Every year, I say we should start a new tradition and get together with close friends....even if we meet in a diner. But, that has yet to come to pass.

When Marc's brother called a week ago to invite us this year to his home, I was pleasantly surprised. Not that he hasn't invited us in the past, but we didn't know he planned to entertain. I am glad to have a destination....but all the happier for Seth. I like the idea of him being with some extended family and/or people other than us. We don't have a lot of family to begin with, and Seth is an only child. But, regardless, it somehow feels more festive to be with a group. And, certainly a lot easier just to be reponsible for picking up dessert.

In a "perfect" world I'd be more of a Martha Stewart, but I know that will never happen.

I'd probably be happy eating a turkey pot pie, but I don't think Seth or Marc would go for that.

What do you do to celebrate, and what does the holiday mean to you?

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I Survived Projectile Vomiting

(originally appeared on WorkIt Mom Entrepreneur Mom blog)

Had to republish this here because it was a monumental, rite-of-passage motherhood experience for me!

I Survived Projectile Vomiting

Not my projectile vomiting, but baby's.

I think I've just entered a new level of work-at-home motherhood. If you told me a few years back that my workday would be interrupted by a baby throwing up all day long, I would have thought you were crazy. Little did I know.

Yesterday was a day like any other weekday - babysitter arrived on time, I settled in to work. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Baby had just thrown up her breakfast.

Quick gear shift from work mode into mommy mode.More...

Was it something I fed her? Were those grapes going bad? Did I give her too many grapes last night? I don't know why I focused in on the grapes as the culprit, but that was my first thought. We wiped her off, changed her shirt, I comforted her for a while, then went back to the other room to work.

Knock knock. She threw up again. All over. This time, a bath was in order. We ran a bath and put her in. I made sure the babysitter was okay watching her as baby played contentedly in the tub, then went back to work.

Right after she was clean, dry and dressed, baby threw up again. By then I was in the middle of attending an online panel that I was covering for an online publication. So much for work. Baby was in need. Gear shift. Getting priorities straight.

We changed her clothes again, and I called the pediatrician. Yes, there is a stomach bug going around. Vomiting for a day then diarrhea for a day. Oh boy. My 17-month old daughter must have caught a stomach bug at the fitness club play center a few days ago.

I closed my laptop and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting with her, catching the vomit in towels, holding her, watching Elmo with her (thank God for Elmo, the new toddler pacifier), and changing her clothes and even bathing her a second time.

She couldn't keep anything down - not Pedialyte, not water, not any part of the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). In face, her biggest throw up was after a little applesauce.

I was able to get her to nap for about an hour in the late afternoon and squeezed in a few work tasks in between worrying that baby was going to vomit in her sleep and choke to death.

Later that evening, she was asking for "Feff," her word for "Food." I mixed some plain white rice with a little chicken broth (per the nurse's instructions), and she ate it and kept it down. The entire household sighed in relief. Then she drank half a bottle of water and kept it down.

Once she was asleep for the night, I squeezed in one more task for work then called it a day.

That was my workday the other day. How was yours?

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

odor...smell and synonyms

I always wanted to be a mother even as far back as when I was a little girl growing up on Long Island New York. But, I took my time. After working more than a decade in Manhattan for book publishing and public relations firms, my husband and I got married and had our three kids close together when I was 32, 34 and 36 years old. Through gaining and losing the “baby” weight, these numbers are far from my physical measurements. I quit the public relations profession for a while and hunkered down knee-deep in diapers and feeding cycles.

Now at 42, I’ve been fanning the flames of my career again working from home as a freelance writer and budding musician trying to keep up with life. It seems the older we are all getting and the more stuff we’re all doing, our home life is in a state of constant chaos—like running a mini business. I get a slight reprieve during the day with Robert 9, Kelly almost 8 and Melanie 5 ½ all attending public school in Syosset, New York (Long Island).
Except this past Friday, on my husband Tom and my 11-year wedding anniversary, and in the middle of finishing up a food column, I had to traipse to three different classrooms observing my children in “education day.”

“Mommy, come see my new chair at the orange table,” said Melanie
“Mommy, come to Project Beyond and see our experiment,” said Robert
“Mommy, come to science and mush clay with us,” said Kelly.
“Help,” said mommy!

This was one of the rare days where my husband, who works seven minutes away as a Manager of Cablevision television, couldn’t help me out visiting the school. Tag, I was it.

After sitting cross-legged on the carpet in Melanie’s Kindergarten class to chart the weather; blowing bubbles with Robert to determine if the most expensive soap was indeed the most effective, I was thirsty, tired and my sciatica was beginning to act up. I finally found Kelly’s classroom.

The children were adorable, visibly excited that parents were there and played up to us like actors mugging for the camera. Parents stood awkwardly behind each child as they paired off to do a synonym matching game. I chit chatted with a father in Friday casual dress clothes who looked like he just escaped from work to partake in his daughter Ann’s class.

Ann, Kelly’s partner, selected two words. Odor and Smell. With innocent big brown eyes she looked up at her father, turned to me and said, “Daddy makes a smell like when he farts and doesn’t say excuse me.”

His face turned bright red. I didn’t know where to look. It took every ounce of the last bit of my energy not to burst out laughing. You gotta love kids!

After eleven years, this is how a busy mom spends an anniversary and I still had the article due and to rush to the store and buy my husband a card and present. Yikes! Happy Anniversary Tom!

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sold Out By Seth

From the mouths of babes.....they say. You've probably heard the expression. Well....Seth "sold me out" in school!

We attended a parent-teacher conference this week, and thankfully, got glowing reviews about Seth. His teacher is a delight, and she said he was as well. We talked about his behavior in class, play skills, listening, best buddy, etc....and it was all good.

The teacher made one somewhat surprising comment. She asked if there is anything different going on at home because Seth has said in school that he "misses his mom." He even went so far as to ask his teacher if she misses her mom? This caught me offguard, and I couldn't think of any particular reason he might say that. Then, the teacher clarified by saying that many of the children say that when they're away from home. So, that made me feel better.

Next we got on the subject of some of the activities that Seth and I do together after school. I said he takes a music class, watches some tv, plays with his trucks & trains, and I try to get him to do arts and crafts projects, if we're not going somewhere, like food shopping or other errands. And, the teacher added, like shopping at TJ Maxx. I was stunned and laughed. Seth apparently has made comments in the classroom that his mom loves TJ and we shop there often together.

While true, and I don't deny it, my secret was out. I'm a TJ Maxx groupie (as is Seth...under my influence). And, now his teacher knows we're TJ shopping buddies. No harm in that, but it got me thinking. What else has Seth spilled the beans about to her or others? And, what will he say in the future that might have me cringing? I can't predict, but I now fully realize that "mum" is never the word with a child....unless he means "mommy."

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

To Donate or Not to Donate

When Seth was a baby, he and I attended a Mommy & Me program at a school in Great Neck called Open Door. We did it for two years, and it was a really positive experience. I can still think back to those days, when I carried him into the classroom in his convertible Graco carseat/carrier. I was a new mom with so many doubts, questions, etc.

Fast forward....Seth is now 4.5, and Open Door is holding a fundraising sale. I got an email requesting donations. Anything from costume jewelry to new clothing, to children's books, household items, and good condition.

We've been storing all of Seth's old clothes, toys, baby supplies, and even his crib, in our basement, since his birth. We recently gave away some of the clothes to friends of Marc (my husband) with a young son. But, I find it challenging to part with things because there is such sentiment behind every article of clothing, stuffed animal, musical mobile, etc.

Yesterday, however, the spirit moved me, and I spent time going through boxes in the basement, and came up with a care package of books and baby toys for the Open Door sale. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of bringing the toys upstairs while Seth was awake, and he took an unexpected interest in a couple of items. He hasn't played with them in a few years, but suddenly he couldn't get enough of them.

He asked why I brought them upstairs, and I didn't have the heart to tell him I was giving them away to a good cause. So, I'm hoping that in a few days, he forgets about them. He has other baby toys downstairs. I didn't clean him out. But, there was something freeing about ridding a bit of the clutter. I just don't want to feel like a cruel mom, giving away Seth's old playthings. My own mom, may she rest in peace, threw out my old Barbie dolls, etc., and I only found out once I moved out of the house. To this day, I still regret not having a Kiddle or two from my childhood.

How long do you hold on to belongings from your child, as he or she grows? It's so tempting to want to keep much for posterity.

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