Finding room for Nemo

Some of you may know I’ve signed up for an email group for mothers living in Hoboken. Usually it’s informative, but sometimes I get some real comedic gems, like one email I received last week. A mother was traveling to North Carolina by car and was looking for some appropriate movies to show her 2½ year old to keep her entertained. Just as I was about to type “Finding Nemo” into a response I read on to see this: “Never realized how terrifying Finding Nemo is until you see it through their eyes”

What? We’re talking about a two-year-old right? I know the mom dies at the beginning of the movie, but they don’t show it. Maybe that’s scary for a five year old, but a two year old? The whole movie is like watching a fish tank to them. Ali loves it and when we go to the aquarium she just yells NEMO! The whole time, it’s precious.

What’s wrong with people? If you’re afraid of Disney movies you’re probably not going to get far in life. I once babysat a young kid who wasn’t allowed to watch TV at all and his mother only let him watch Lord of The Rings because it was his favorite movie. His mother was quite the hippie, she would leave the air conditioning off in the summertime while I was babysitting and made me journal with him in the oppressive heat. His mother took him to go see Inconvient Truth and he came to me the next day discussing the difference between gas and electric stoves … he was six.

 I’m all about “live and let live” but we live in a social world filled with pop culture. If you can’t talk Britney Spears or sports with people you’re probably going to have no friends or social skills. All this poor kid could talk about was L.O.T.R. All his mom had to do was let him watch the marathon on TNT three times in a row and he wouldn’t be able to watch it again for a minimum of 6 months; she would know that if she watched TV.

I’m not promoting couch potato-ry (as I sit on my couch with the TV in the background as I write) but kids need to be exposed to life. If you shelter them and only let them see what you want they will end up playing alone with their replica Sword of Narsil (Even though your babysitter told him not to because he will end up cutting his arm off). So maybe Finding Nemo isn't the worst thing that could happen to a toddler.

Breast Milk Baby

Recently a company in South America has come up with a genius idea for a toy; it’s going to trump the “Tickle Me Elmo” and “Furby” fever’s that swept the nation. What can it be? You need to get your hands on it now before the Christmas rush! It’s the Breast Milk Baby! That’s’ right, they’ve come up with a doll that breast feeds. The doll comes with a halter-top that has two flowers where nipples would be, when the baby is held up to the flowers it makes a sucking sound. (Halter-tops, just like God intended)

This is just weird. I know it’s probably a good idea to get children comfortable with the idea of nursing but that could be true for other things as well; like getting your period. But we all know no one is going to buy the “Menstruation Baby”, unless it’s Dora themed of course. Also, I’m not so comfortable with my daughter thinking about her boobs and their function just yet. I’m nervous she may try to whip it out in public to nurse her hungry doll. Hopefully she has the decency to use a nursing cover (I recommend “Hooter Hiders” brand).
My real problem with this toy is that it’s going for $89! What? I can’t remember the last time I dropped $89 on anything let alone a doll. I get chapped when I spend $89 on groceries. The number one reason I nursed was because it would save money! If Ali takes one of her modestly priced dolls and holds it up to her little boobies I wouldn’t find it weird, it would be thrifty. But somebody trying to make $89 for making a sucking sound, that’s just wrong.
The craziest thing surrounding all of this is that parents are calling this an outrage and that it’s going to encourage little girls to want to get pregnant. What? Do they realize that little girls have been playing with baby dolls for hundreds of years? Have they watched 16 and Pregnant? None of those girls blamed dolls for their unplanned pregnancies; they blame lack of contraception and sexual education … and their boyfriends.
I don’t know if any of these angry women have actually nursed or worse pumped, because it is painful, exhausting and would encourage me NOT to have children. I remember the first time I had to pump at work; the only place with a power outlet was the supply closet in the break room. I thought I got lucky because I could crack the door open and watch TV while I pumped (score!). Unfortunately my 19-year-old co-worker was in the break room eating her lunch and she didn’t need a glimpse of my lovely ladies mid bite. If she grew up with a “breast milk baby” my story may have been different. Maybe I would have been able to watch E! News that day.
In conclusion, nursing is good, babies nursing fake babies is weird, Paying $89 for toys is stupid and blaming toys for teen pregnancy is just ignorant. 

Castle Couture

There are a few places in the world that babies should never be allowed in: bars, China shops, and as I have come to learn: Bridal Stores. A few months after I had my daughter my mother wanted to take me shopping for a wedding gown. My husband and I got married legally, but never had a wedding, We figured since I was pregg-o we only had 9 months to plan for a baby so the big wedding could wait until after I gave birth. 

As soon as I could put on a pair of jeans that didn’t have an elastic waist, my mom put the baby in her finest outfit, I grabbed my maid of honor and we went off to the dress store. Since it was our first time at the Rodeo, we thought it would be a good idea to go to the newest, fanciest store in town: Castle Couture. We walked in and the lobby was decked out with white marble columns and ornate crown moldings, it was beautiful-very Jersey. Typically if you walk into a bridal store with a baby on your hip you may not be treated with the best service, but the woman at the desk, Brianna, couldn’t be sweeter. She was young and worked in fashion but got laid off. We commiserated about the whole fashion industry, she told me her boss was crazy and I told her mine got annoyed at me for getting pregnant: we were instant buds.

Well if you’ve ever watched TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress you know that the saleswomen come into the room with you to assist in getting the dresses on. I didn’t know this at the time and as it happened I went to the beach for the first time that summer only a few days before my shopping adventure. If you check out my picture you can see that I have the complexion of an ill vampire. Usually I soak myself in SPF 50 before leaving the house (even in the winter months) but I had a new baby and my mind was elsewhere. I put sunscreen on but I didn’t realize it wasn’t waterproof. So after my first hour at the beach I went into the water and off went the sunscreen. My chest happens to be the most sensitive part of my body so I re-apply the SPF 50 every half hour or so. Well, let me describe to you this sunburn that I had. My chest and face were still as white as my picture, but my stomach and thighs were purple, but not an even purple. There were little spots of white all over my stomach where the sunscreen ricocheted off my chest and it looked like a handprint on my thigh where I possibly wiped off some of the excess. Now I have to strip down in form of Brianna, I’m desperately trying to explain to her that I don’t have a skin condition; I just can’t apply sunscreen properly. To top it al off, I just had a baby but I never bought new underwear. (I guess I thought they would fit eventually.) Here I am with 2 sizes too-small string bikini underwear that was cutting mercilessly into my post-baby muffin-top. Poor Brianna was so sweet but she was probably thought, “ this girl can’t take care of herself, how's she going to take care of that precious baby?”

I eventually swallowed my shame, we tried on a few dresses and we were having a nice time. Then I found a dress that was a true contender. I’m standing up on the pedestal; my best friend is so excited. My mother is on cloud nine, her only daughter is in her wedding dress and she has her first grandchild in her arms, there were tears in her eyes, It was truly a beautiful memory Then, in the silence of this moment, my three month told bundle of joy lets out her loudest, wettest, diarrhea sounding poop. It echoed off the marble floors. Way to go Ali. Brianna did her best to pretend she didn’t hear it, my best friend is mortified and my mother just casually takes the baby outside to clean up. I didn’t even try to apologize, I just went back to the dressing room to take off the dress, you should never be in a white gown when diarrhea is nearby. We didn’t end up buying anything from Brianna; II was too embarrassed to ever go back to Castle Couture. 

Yankees Forever

Undoubtedly we’ve all heard the story of the man who did the right thing. Last week Derek Jeter made history by becoming only the 28th baseball player ever to reach the 3,000 hit plateau.  In typical Jeter fashion, hit number 3,000 was a 420-foot home run to the left field seats. I’m sure you’ve asked yourself what would you have done if you were the lucky fan who caught that ball? Would you auction the ball off?  It was estimated to fetch a bid of over $250,000, not bad for a day’s work.  Would you keep it for yourself?  Luckily hit number 3,000 fell into the hands of Christian Lopez, a 23-year-old diehard Yankee fan who wanted nothing but to return the ball to its rightful owner, “Mr. Jeter.”  Just to put how selfless this act was into perspective, Lopez has over $150,000 of outstanding student loans.  He easily could have taken this opportunity to wipe that slate clean and take that enormous weight off of his shoulders by putting the ball up for auction. 

So far Lopez has received four Champion Suite tickets for the rest of the season (including playoffs), tons of signed memorabilia, Mr. Modell’s 2009 Yankees World Series ring, appearances on YES network and ESPN, his own baseball card, and two companies pitching in over $25,000 each to help with his student loans. He’s met Derek Jeter, Jay-Z, and countless other stars that we only get to read about. So far it looks like it pays to be good. Of course Yankee haters are talking about how much taxes he will have to pay on the memorabilia, etc. Miller High Life has come out and said they would pay his tax bill since he exemplifies “living the high life’ (shut up Miller, way to plug yourself [but that’s pretty nice of you anyway])
Amidst all these good deeds there is still so much hatred for the Yankees. I am an avid Yankee fan and all I have to say is that Christian Lopez is proof that the Yankees can’t be an “evil empire”. If someone this pure of heart can love a team so much, to turn down the possibility of thousands of dollars they can’t be bad. And if they were bad, they would have patted him on the back and said, “Thanks for the ball” and sent him on his way. (Actually if they were evil I imagine they would have punched him in the face and took the ball) They wouldn’t have showered him with gifts and praise. Seriously, there is nothing less evil than a baseball card.
 Everyone hates on the Yankees because they think they buy championships. I’m sorry, this is a business and they pay for the best players because they have the fan support to do it. I’ve gone to an Orioles game in Baltimore and they were literally giving tickets away. Seriously, there was a police officer giving out tickets, it was unreal. How can you expect to attract talent when O’s “fans” don’t even show up for games?
            When all is said and done Christian’s action was a great example of someone who did the right thing and is getting rewarded for it … and that the Yankees Rule! Specifically Derek Jeter. 

Judgement Day

Dan, Ali and I had our first trip to the neighborhood playground yesterday. I’ve been to this playground before, but as an outsider. I’m now an official resident so I need to be recognized as a member of society. I meticulously picked her outfit; she needed to look cute, but not make it seem like we are trying too hard. It also needs to be playground and weather appropriate. It was a difficult task I know, we ended up with black leopard shorts, matching hair clip and a tank top – this is Jersey after all. Ali ditched the hair clip on the walk over and I had no back up, already we were off to a bad start. We arrived after 4PM and even though its late in the day it’s still almost 90 degrees. We’re all sweating profusely and I quickly learned that Ali’s shorts are a smidge too big and keep falling down. Couple that with lack of a hair accessory, the heat, and the new revelation that her face likes to turn bright red in blotches when she’s hot. This isn’t going so well.

Of course her first act is to slide down the slide. On our way up we see a girl about her age with her grandmother. I say Hi and they ask how old Ali is. I say “2 ½”. My husband looks at me with dagger eyes and hastily corrects me and says “27 months”! I later got yelled at because those three months make a huge difference developmentally, he thought I was purposely setting her up for failure. So now that everyone thinks she’s 2.5 Dan’s got something to prove. He keeps announcing that Ali is going down the slide and says “ONE” and Ali would follow with “to, tee” and Dan would stand by proud of his counting 27 month old. I just went with it since this was obviously all my fault. Then Ali gets daring and thinks she can walk down the slide. She slid about ¾ of the way down, stood up and face-planted on the bottom of the slide. She’s tough so I don’t react and she’s fine. If I did react she’d play for the crowd (I know she’s a drama queen). Ali was fine; not even a bruise but I heard the gasps from the peanut gallery of moms on the bench. Now I feel dubbed as a “bad mom” or “I don’t love my kid” because I don’t brush her hair, buy clothes that fit or care that she falls on her already red face. This is getting worse by the second.

I decided to move over to the swings with a much younger baby. Maybe her mom wouldn’t judge Ali’s development because she won’t know the milestones (I’m a genius). So I say hi to the mom ask the babies name and age. The mom replies “she’s 13 months” and in the same breath she says “but she doesn’t walk yet!”  Have I found a kindred spirit?  A mom who is so self-conscious that everyone is looking at her thinking her baby should be doing more? I told her it was OK Ali didn’t walk until she was 16 months (I didn’t share with her that Ali broke her leg, no one needs to know that).  I’m so excited I think I’ve made a friend and her baby is super cute (I only befriend mothers of cute babies). These particular swings unfortunately are in direct sunlight and I’m dying; you can see the sweat pouring off my face. I tell my new friend I’m dying and going to go in the shade. She looks at me and says nervously “yeah it’s way too hot” then grabs her baby and leaves the park. What? Oh no, I think she may have read me being too hot as “you’re a bad mom for keeping your non-walking 13 months old in the sun!” Which was not what I was saying. We all decided to go home after that.

I think I should stop being so hard on myself. I don’t judge others so why should I think they are judging me? (We’re having an Oprah moment here). I’ll try the park again tomorrow, but Ill be more careful on the slide and bring back up hair accessories.