No, I’m not talking about the latest on the race for delegates; what I refer to is of so much more importance…your votes regarding which celebrity baby name is the absolute worst.
And the winner is….Pilot Inspektor. This poor child was given this name by his parents, actor Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf, who had to answer to more than a few befuddled fans. According to them, they chose the name “Pilot because they really liked the song, “He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot” by the band Grandaddy, and the name “Inspektor” because it sounded good (especially spelled incorrectly?).
Ummmm….what? Is this an attempt to prove your eccentricity at the expense of your child, or do you really just believe your celebrity has catapulted you so far from planet Earth that only alien names will do?
My personal vote was actually for Heaven Rain, bestowed on the baby girl by her loopy parents, Brooke Burke and David Charvet. They chose the name because, according to them, “Rain grows everything.” – Earth shattering. I chose the name because two clueless parents have single handedly determined a life of petuli oil and skirts made of wheat for their defenseless offspring. At least Pilot has a shot at a pretty good job….
Needless to say, check out the newest poll…your vote is important; our national security depends onit.
As a mother of two children with red hair and reflux (in other words, a perfect storm), I consider myself more than capable of commenting on the subject. Family will tell you it gets easier, others will remain skeptical that it’s anything other than gas, and the outside world as you know it will cease to have any importance to you because all you want is peace, quiet, and, most of all, a happy and healthy baby. So here are some tips for survival (some for laughs and some for sanity), and please know that as hard as it is, that baby knows he or she is loved and, in time, will show it in their own way.
10) Set the clock: At it’s worse (always between 7 -9 at night) my husband and I would set the microwave timer for ten minutes and take turns with my daughter. She was rocked, swayed, “sh sh shed”, bounced, sung to, and even bathed (this actually really works well for some babies) and all in increments of 10-15 minutes. There is something psychologically reassuring about the fact that you just have to make it for a small amount of time before someone comes to rescue you…it helps prevent feelings of frustration and even anger, and the baby enjoys a new set of calm arms.
9) Distraction: As with anything child related, this does not work for everyone, but it seems to have worked for more than a handful of parents. Whether it’s taking a drive, turning on the vacuum cleaner (I’m not kidding), or getting fresh air (who cares what your neighbors think…they have horrible taste in landscaping*), a change of pace, scenery, or sound does wonders, if only temporarily, to console a seemingly inconsolable baby.
8) Ask for Help: Your mother / sister / neighbor*/ friends….they are all capable of holding a baby for ten minutes (they know they can leave whenever they want) and so take advantage of anyone who’ll offer to give you even the smallest break. When we were at our lowest point, I was ready to ask the UPS guy (shout out to Brian) because he was the only one who came to see me everyday (confession time: Some people eat, or watch television when they’re down…I shop online). I really believe if it had not been for my mother and mother-in-law (two awesome mothers in their own right), things would have been so much harder for us. I still owe them each something really pretty...
7) Alcohol can be a wonderful thing: Okay..I know I am going to get in trouble for this one, but Dr. Oz will agree that one glass of red wine a night is even good for your heart, as well as your sanity. I'm not talking about keg stands, just the occasional glass of Pinot Colic. Plus, many doctors will advocate (off the record) a serving of beer a night for nursing mother as yeast boosts milk production. If you are nursing, I wouldn’t recommend alcohol (see online shopping), but if you are going with the bottle, enjoy a cocktail and raise a toast to the fact that things could always be worse…just ask anyone who works at CHOP, or with the littlest of little ones (word to Stacy on Vine, Mary Jo, and the fabulous Julianne).
6) Pamper Yourself: For me, pampering myself meant going to the bathroom or blowing my nose, but hopefully you’ll have more opportunities to take care of yourself. I’m not suggesting a day at the spa, but taking twenty minutes in a long shower (you can’t really hear a crying baby there) or a walk around the block to clear your head and relax will do wonders for your soul. My husband would hurry home from work and take our daughter (no matter what) and send me into the shower for a break (and to wash away the pleasant smell of spit up)….I’ll never forget what that did for me! Remember, you are not being selfish!!! A happy mommy equals a happy baby.
5) Laugh: Every chance you get. Rent a funny movie (you can pause it for any screaming sessions), or enjoy watching the baby spit up all over your husband’s tailored suit (still makes me laugh…only last night it was strawberry icing from valentine cupcakes—I love my O).
4) Seek out other moms: One of the healthiest things you can do is to find out you’re not alone. Whether you find a chat room online, go to the park, the library, or even a kids store in the mall, initiate conversation by complimenting someone else’s child. It’s amazing how quickly they’ll open it. Before you know it you’ll be sharing war stories and feeling a lot better about being someone’s mommy. When they’re older, try to get in a playgroup….the bond you’ll develop with other moms over raising and loving your children will be one you’ll always hold tight to (I am very fortunate for the women around me…you know who you are).
3) Did I mention alcohol? (I know, Barbara, it was a joke!)
2) Live for the happy moments: For some reason, mornings were always the calm before the storm for me. Both of mine would laugh, and coo, and lead me to believe this day would be the day that things got better….ahhh, and then came four o’clock. Take the time during those happy moments to talk, read (yes, even at this age), sing songs, take pictures (and schedule them!), and just enjoy the most beautiful thing you’ve ever done.
1) End on a positive note: When my husband and I would finally crash into bed after hours of crying (us and the baby), we’d say, “OK, what was good about today?” If I went to bed holding onto the fact that she smiled three times today rather than dwelled on the three hours of crying, I went to bed knowing that I was a good mom with a beautiful baby and a lot to look forward to.
*Neighbors- I would just like to take this time to clarify statement 9. Chip and Joan are the best neighbors in the entire world and if anyone would lend a hand, an ear, or a meal…it would be these two, most amazing human beings! THANK YOU!!!!!!
My first full week as a blogger has come to a close and what a week it has been! Thanks to everyone who has visited the site, especially those who posted comments or sent in pictures.
My hope is that this site becomes a portal for all things relating to mommy-hood, including stories, advice, ideas, concerns, events, and, yes, the greatest pictures of our favorite subjects. If you have any of the above, feel free to email them to me at:
And now for my newly instituted weekly tradition..
The Top 5 Things I Have Learned This Week
5) Lycra is the new black 4) Tracheotomy tubes + Gymboree = disaster 3) Shoes do not make the man 2) Every time I see a “kitty” cat on television, I can’t help but snicker 1) If I want to continue to generate traffic on this site, I must put Lawyerboy and disgruntled wife on my payroll (see worst valentine ever)
Okay, so this picture was clearly taken by a professional, but I don’t care if you’re Annie Lebowitz…no one can manufacture the natural love a grandparent so obviously feels for their grandchild…as evidenced by this image.
So, after all the valentines were done and the kitchen was completely covered in glitter, glue, and stickers, my daughter remained working on one final piece. It was the largest and most elaborate valentine she had created and the level of concentration apparent in her expression could only be matched by my son’s challenges with regularity (something that would be resolved in the car an hour later).
As she finished, she brought the valentine over to me, at which point I inquired, “And who is this one for?”
Expecting her to say Zachary, you can imagine my surprise when she said, “It’s for you, Mommy…you deserve it. Happy Valentine’s Day!” Struck by both the humor and the heart in her statement, I grabbed her and hugged her for a lifetime. I decided that this would be one of those little moments I would love to share with others, but that I also might forget ten years down the road. So, I took the Valentine, turned it over, and wrote down the whole episode on back of the valentine…to be added to her memory box.
Now, as my thoughts are still with young Kaela and her family, I have been thinking of ways to hold on to these times a little better. As Anna Quindlen alluded to in her essay below, these moments pass so quickly, you’ll wish you’d spent more time living in the moment as opposed to thinking about what was next. So, I came up with an idea…
Using a recipe box and index cards, I am making a promise to myself to record these sweet little moments whenever they come my way. More than the pictures they’ll draw or the photos you’ll take, these little conversations are the most precious…and most easily forgotten. I realize there will be a chorus of you who’ll say, “Who has the time for all that?”. Well, if you have the time to retell the story to your mother/sister/husband/friend, you have the two minutes in your day to make sure that moment lasts a lifetime in your memory. Simply write it down and date it.
This past Saturday, Kaela DeJesus, a twelve year old seventh grader attending William G. Rohrer Middle School in Haddon Township, NJ tragically passed away after battling pneumococcal meningitis. Apparently, what started as an earache quickly manifested into a non-contagious strain of meningitis, taking her young life within 48 hours.
Kaela’s mother, Danielle, happens to be my daughter’s Little Gym teacher and, though we’ve only known her a few weeks, we do know that if she shows half the care and compassion for her own children (Kaela was one of five) that she does for all the small strangers she works with each week, she is truly a loving, doting mother. Our hearts grieve for her in this tragedy…words fail us.
So, it does not need to be said, but mothers- hold your little ones tight. This is a horrible loss that no mother should ever endure.
Rest in peace, little miss.
***UPDATE: For those of you who inquired the family is requesting that, in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Haddon Township Board of Education, for a scholarship in Kaela's memory, mail to 500 Rhoads Ave., Westmont, NJ 08108. For e-condolences please visit www.jacksonfh.
Let me begin by clarifying that I am not an ungrateful wife. My husband is a wonderful man who takes care of his family better than anyone I know…and, as far as Valentine’s Day, he could give me a wink I would be fine with it (though, coming home early would be nice too).
Anyway, that doesn’t mean he has not provided me with a few opportunities to blog at his expense and, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, I give you…. The Worst Valentine’s Gift Ever:
The year was 2003 BC (before children) and we were enjoying a candlelit dinner accompanied with soft music and a nutty wine. We laughed as we toasted our second Valentine’s Day as a married couple and anticipation mounted as he placed a heart bedazzled bag in front of me. What could it be? Jewelry? Theatre Tickets? A new pre-diaper bag purse? No, not even close. It was…
The puppet dog from the Pets.com commercials.
Cute dog. Funny commercials. But, nothing says I love you like a sock puppet????
So the question is, can anyone top that? I doubt it--- but the challenge is on. Leave a comment if you can beat my gift.
**Inside joke alert: “I’ll give you two dollars. I’ll give you three dollars.”
For those of you who have been embarrassed by something your child has said or done in public, know that you (and your reactions) are in good company on this blog. For the next installment of “I Couldn’t Make This Story Up”, I give to you one of the more unbelievable stories I’ve heard. This was told to me by a friend who will remain anonymous… but who happens to be a supremely fabulous mother, and handled this crazy situation much better than I ever would have.
Here we go…”Little Boy” is the shining star of his Gymboree class. He smiles and laughs with everyone, and, in turn, everyone loves him for the little charmer he is, and for the ladies man he is certain to become. On one particular day, his equally charming mother was sitting with him on the group mat, waiting for class to begin. She was soon joined by another mother, who was new and appeared somewhat apprehensive over deciding to bring her daughter to class. No, she wasn’t anxious about what her daughter was wearing, how her child might behave, or even the superbug; rather, her daughter had a serious medical condition that had, up until this point, really hampered her ability to socialize with other children.
The little girl had a depressed chin which impeded the normal development of her throat and esophagus while in utero. As a result, a tracheotomy tube had been implanted in her throat to allow for sufficient breathing until the time her throat properly developed, at which point it would be removed (between ages 2-3). To make the mother feel comfortable, the charming mother struck up a friendly conversation with the nervous woman, and before long she appeared more relaxed and open to this new experience.
Class began. The children sang, marched, and played instruments. The class was happy, the class was cooperative, and, finally, the class was over.
As the two mothers shared goodbyes, the obvious relief of the nervous mother was apparent to all, and the charming mother felt glad she’d played such a positive role in helping that to happen. However, as is typical with the hustle and bustle of packing up things and putting on coats, the children got a little shuffled in the mix and attention was suspended for but a moment…(prepare yourself…here it comes).
As the charming mother looked down to collect her charming boy, she realized with horror and disbelief that her little darling had, in all his curiosity, removed the trach tube from the little girl’s throat.
A moment of brief hysteria followed while the other mother quickly reattached it and the daughter was checked for any apparent harm. Thankfully, all was healed and everything was okay…except, of course, for the raw mortification felt by the charming mother who mustered all that she had to simply say,
I realize this has nothing to do with motherhood, but I couldn't resist putting up a post about this cute little guy. This is Uno, and he is the first beagle in the 100 year history of the Westminster Dog Show to win the top spot.
According to the AP, Uno won, "beating out two perfect poodles, a top Sealyham terrier, a sleek Weimaraner, a lively Australian shepherd and a sprightly Akita...Uno celebrated by chewing on the microphones of reporters who tried to interview his winning crew. Those had to suffice for the yellow, soft duck that's his favorite toy." -- and that's exactly how my 7 month old son would celebrate auch a triumph (my God, will those teeth break through already????).
On a personal note...shout out to Skippy, my first pet, a Beagle of mixed breed and pure heart and soul. You are missed, faithful friend.
Realizing that mothers are my target audience, I am certain there may be a few fathers reading this blog to find out what is being discussed, what advice is being disseminated, and whether or not some evil woman is filling their wives’ minds with black magic. For those men, I have created the following list of fail-safe Valentine gifts that every mother would be elated to receive.
A tip- Avoid flowers (children like to eat them) and chocolate (we can’t afford the calories since we all so want to look like Nicole Richie). Also, unless you are planning to use your tax return for diamond studs that require their own zip code, forego jewelry for the following gift ideas:
Top 5 Valentine Gifts for the Mother of your Child(ren)
5) Decide to go into work an hour late and prepare a full breakfast for your wife…a breakfast you will also clean up (and no, that does not mean simply moving the dishes from the table to the sink.—actually try washing them).
4) Come home for lunch…with lunch from her favorite, casual eating spot. Allow her to eat quietly and read a magazine while you play with the kids (who will also enjoy the surprise of your presence).
3) Come home early (perhaps you’re picking up on a pattern). Don’t tell her…just show up. If you do this, flowers and chocolate will only further enhance the arrival (diamonds too). Plan accordingly.
2) A Day at the Spa- This may mean a full day of massage, facials, waxings, and other beauty treatments; or, it may just be a manicure and pedicure with time off to shop or simply drive in the car while listening to something other than Lori Birkner or The Wiggles.
1) ALL OF THE ABOVE (plus a generous gift card to her favorite clothing store so she can shop without having to think of how she'll explain why she needs another pair of shoes).
Valentine*- Also suitable for Mother’s Day, Anniversaries, and Birthdays
If you live in South Jersey and you overhear a mother talking about needing to go to the gym, it’s safe to assume that she is not actually going to work out (gasp), but rather, she is heading to Little Gym with her little ones in tow for 45 minutes of running, jumping, tumbling, and, of course, sharing germs. She, in fact, may even be wearing some sort of lycra or spandex, which gives the illusion that a workout is imminent, but keep in mind this is Jersey…any excuse to wear it.*
My venting does not, however, concern Jersey couture…though I cannot wait for that post. It is, in fact, the dynamics of a few mothers at our Little Gym who refuse to let a little thing like their children’s development get in the way of social hour.
Do not misunderstand me: I enjoy chatting with other mothers…misery loves company when your 7 month old insists on breaking four teeth all on the same day…but the particular coven I am about to describe goes above and beyond the call of negligence.
Here’s how they roll: They begin the class by picking up with the conversation they left off with last week, as their children bang on the doors and windows of the classroom, eager to enter and get someone to pay them some attention. Even though their children quickly gain access into the room, it still takes them a good ten minutes to notice that fact and we are already shaking our bells (and our heads) by the time they bless us with their presence. (By this point, their children have assaulted other children, ripped the parachute, and left a suspicious stain on the big, red mat). Though they may join in on the opening activities at this point, they remain seated in their little circle, while the children enjoy open play. Again, their children are off on their own to injure themselves and others…and the rest of us actually have to step over and around them to interact with our own kids. They talk loudly about how their husbands don’t listen to them (uh…I wonder why?) and how their kids are such brats (again….hmmm) and never once do they stop to check on their spawn, Pathetic, frustrating, and fun for the rest of us to talk about. (I realize I’m not in high school anymore….but I sure like to visit every once in awhile).
Here’s the rub: If anything serious every happened to their precious offspring, you know they’d sue the Little Gym. On the bright side, any lawsuit may give them the opportunity to invest in more lycra and time with their friends.
***As for Jersey fashion, I now consider myself an assimilated Jersey girl and any jokes I make are from love, loyalty, and livin’ on a prayer. Rock on, sisters.
So new father Joel Madden had this to say of his girlfriend, Nicole Richie, who very recently gave birth to their daughter, Harlow Winter:
"She's a wonderful mother and she looks really hot already," the Good Charlotte rocker tells People. "The girl is gifted, man. Women hate her because she looks good being pregnant and then has the baby and looks sexy. There's something so attractive about her now. It's a motherly glow."
I’m sorry….what? Jealous? Here’s what I’m jealous of, Joel. I am jealous of her personal trainer, personal chef, full time nanny (actually, not really that one), and her nutritionist who all collaborate to help her maintain that “motherly glow” (I guess I should include her dermatologist too).
Secondly, you obviously haven’t met my friend, Susan, who looked like she was ready for a photo shoot one week post-partum (and, yes, I’m pretty sure she sold her soul to the devil as well).
Finally, I am sure that there are many mothers and fathers who are very jealous of the fact that you have been blessed with a perfectly healthy baby. And so, now, let’s try to keep our eye on what’s truly enviable, shall we?
The following passage was sent to me by one of my favorite (and together) people, Beth, who is a mother of two, a partner in a big Philly law firm, and she still has time to look great and make me laugh. I am pretty sure she must have sold her soul to the devil....but that's a good thing-- I'll need someone to keep me company.
The passage is by Anna Quindlen, a famous author and fellow Jersey girl, and it is a good reminder of what parenting should be all about....living in the moment and not worrying about what is left to do. Great advice...and nearly impossible.
I have to say I have seen a lot of videos of kids reacting wildly to a whole slew of different Christmas gifts..from screaming, jumping up and down, and dancing- the reactions are always great and warm the hearts of even the biggest scrooges. However, the clip below is by far the best reaction I have EVER seen. The young boy is obviously from a family that cannot afford to live extravagantly and his sweet and sincere reaction to receiving the X Box 360 is priceless. He is utterly speechless, and as he continues to unwrap the various accessories that come with it, he cries, hugs his parents, and worries whether they can really afford it. Somehow my celebratory moonwalk pales in comparison… be sure to watch the whole clip.
So this story comes thanks to one of my most fabulous friends, Stacey, and her beautiful daughter. To say Stacey’s daughter is a little advanced is to say Brittney Spears is a little troubled and the following story is great evidence of her intelligence.
Here it goes…A not so fond memory of Stacey’s childhood comes from her mother’s insistence of referring to the female “nether regions” as one’s “kitty”…an obvious analogy to a harsher term. “Did you hurt your kitty?” “Did you take care of your kitty?” “Don’t even think about letting anyone near your kitty!” Needless to say, she always used the term to discuss the ins, outs, and troubles of said anatomy…even in polite company. The result: mortification for Stacey with a promise to never use anything but accurate language when it came to similar discussions she would inevitably have with her own daughter.
Then one day….Stacey’s mother was to spend the day babysitting her daughter, at which point Stacey reiterated her wishes to only refer to girl parts by their accurate, technical, scientific name…and not the dreaded “kitty”. She laid down the law to her mother and went on her way, leaving her darling sponge of a daughter with her mother.
Upon her return, everything seemed fine and well and she thanked her mother for her care. However (you must know what’s coming…) later that evening, Stacey’s daughter followed her into the bathroom as she was often want to do (curiosity is a constant companion of cleverness). As Stacey prepared to use the bathroom, her daughter stared at her – wide eyed and full of wonderment—smiled, pointed to her female anatomy and said, “Meow”.
Lesson: No matter what kind of mother you may be, you can’t change your own.
According to Parenting magazine, 85% of the dirt in our homes is brought in on our shoes. So, to drastically reduce your household filth, the magazine simply suggests checking your shoes at the door, or leaving a shoe tray or rack near the entrance - Earth shattering.
I decided to share this statistic with my husband, who came up with an idea of his own: indoor shoes. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him someone had already thought of a little thing called slippers). SO, he headed to Kmart to purchase a $9 pair of Stride Rite sneakers that are not only Velcro, but also have a styrofoam sole three inches high, and he hasn’t taken them off since his return.
The result: my house is so much cleaner and my husband resembles someone who works at an elder care facility….so hot.