29 July 2012

GONE FISHIN'

Back soon!

WHO CAME FIRST?

We three are currently on vacation in Scotland and about to head up to the North Coast where there is nary a computer to be seen.  I am signing off for a bit, but first a taste of the good life here in the Kingdom of Fife, as Roan tries to answer the age old question...


23 July 2012

TODDLERS SONGTIME


My very first friend in this world was Matthew.  We were born a few weeks apart to two moms who were themselves great friends.

My mom (left) and Delores 3 days before I was born.  Hello 1970's!

Thanks to their friendship I got to spend many a weekend in the bucolic suburbs of White Plains and thus got a taste of what a real American childhood was like (not that I was Little Orphan Annie or anything, but rent strikes and pigeons roosting in the airshaft outside of your bedroom window isn't quite Norman Rockwell territory). It was like my own little Fresh Air Fund.

Me and Matt Circa 1980

One of my favorite things about being there was Matt's mom Delores.  She sang, played guitar and piano, and taught music classes at their house.  You've never met anyone so attuned to the mind of a child in your life.  Their house was top to bottom kid fun and adventure. She would also bring the fun to the city for birthday parties.

Delores performing at my sister's 4th birthday.  That's Caitlin scowling in the party hat.

I have been wanting so much for Roan to have that same magical experience so my mom, sister, and I took him up to one of her music classes last week.  I mean, really, can you handle this cuteness?

Roan with Tippy, music class assistant

With Aunt Caitlin and classmate
As usual Roan could not stay seated for even a minute of class
Checking out Betsy, the guitar

After class Delores set up the kiddie pool using an ingenious rigging for the hose.  We sat outside with some other class moms and grandmas and kids and cooled our kicks in the water. 

Pitchfork!

Delores chilling with an icepop

This little guy had quite a mosquito bite

Squirt fish attack

catching fish
At the end of the day I persuaded Delores to give us a private encore performance.  It was so surreal and wonderful to see Roan literally reliving my childhood verbatim and having such a great time.



The rhythm is gonna getcha!


19 July 2012

SO THIS IS HELL: FLYING WITH TODDLERS

I am dreading dreading our flight to Scotland, which is happening next week.  I hate flying under even the best of circumstances because I can never ever sleep on planes.  I have been known to polish off 2 Ambien with a glass of wine and still sit there twiddling my ever agitated thumbs for the 7 hour night flight. The last time I flew may have been one of the worst flights in my 15 years of pond hopping to and from Scotland. I was 4 months pregnant and my flight was delayed by 7 hours for half an inch of snow, most of it sitting in the plane on the tarmac in Glasgow airport. 

Flying seems to encompass the worst elements of a doctor's office, the DMV, and rush hour on the F train. I hate sitting still.  I hate waiting.  I hate lines.  I hate canned air. I hate jetlag. Hate hate hate.

Add to this a two year old who has never flown and spends relatively little time in the car (or any place where he has to sit still for extended periods of time) and I have no hope of anything short of torture.  Nonetheless, I have been amassing tips from other parents on how to survive:

TIPS FOR FLYING WITH CHILDREN

• If possible try to get them to skip the nap before their flight (especially a nighttime flight). They will be cranky but more likely to sleep on the plane.

• Make sure they have their own carry-on bag that's completely separate from your stuff so if the parents need to separate in the airport all the stuff stays with the kid.  Try to make them carry it throughout the airport if it's not too heavy.

• One parent should board the plane with all the stuff and get everything ready while the other parent hangs back with the kid and waits until the last possible second to board.

• Don't let them drink for a while before getting on the plane and give them a sippy cup just before the plane takes off so they are sure to drink it and their ears won't pop.

• Buy a bunch of tiny cheap toys (Goodwill might be good for this) and wrap them in tissue paper and lots of tape.  You can dole them out throughout the flight as needed.

• Office sticky tabs and a small notebook are a cheap alternative to sticker books.

• If the kiddo does seem like he will sleep you can make a nest of the floor under your feet for him to curl up in (unless you get a crabby flight attendant - you're not really supposed to do that)

• Buy earplugs in bulk from Home Depot and hand them out to your neighbors (Sam's idea).

• If all else fails, Benadryl for them and a Xanax for you.


16 July 2012

BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE

I found this old video of Lula in my email.  She would often hyperventilate when a cold rush of air came across her.  I think of her every time I feel that, something I miss in the summer. 

video

15 July 2012

NEW YORKER OF THE WEEK

My friend and inspiration, Eliza, founder of Extreme Kids and Crew, is NY1's New Yorker of the Week.  NY1 is our local station and hopefully this publicity will let special needs families out there know that they have a great place to go.

I make a brief cameo, crafting sea creatures with some of the kids in the background.  Lula's L is there, which I'm sure is no coincidence.

http://www.ny1.com/content/164815/nyer-of-the-week--eliza-factor-creates-safe-space-for-special-needs-children-and-their-families

I was on a crafting frenzy of sorts for two weeks, hot gluing the shit out of my fingers one too many times than I'd care to remember, in preparation for the filming.  The kids were fantastic and did a great job completing various gluing and painting tasks.  Here are the final results.

Wall of sea creatures

The jellyfish were my favorites

SUMMER MEDLEY

Days here have formed into a dreamy summer pattern that usually revolve around Roan's outdoor activities.

Bball boy

Water balloon filling station

Water balloon dance

Hydration

Water shadows

Rooftop visit with Sam

The Parks Dept guy very kindly let Roan check out his tractor

A rare moment indoors with watercolors

Trying out his new kick board

Rowing with Caitlin (under the hat somewhere)

video

11 July 2012

LONG BEACH MEMOIRS

The past two Sundays we have filled the Odyssey with friends and hauled our pale asses out to Long Beach.  A miraculous fact of NYC that is all too easy to forget on a daily basis:  We are spitting distance from the Ocean.

This is, however, a fact that some 8 million other people do not forget on a blisteringly hot weekend so the beaches can look a bit like an umbrella parking lot. The key to an enjoyable beach day, therefore, is to go early so we've been aiming to leave before 9am. Really it's no problem since those of us with kids are up anyway, it's packing all the gear that's a challenge.  By the end we look like the Joads setting out for California in The Grapes of Wrath.

Once you find your waterfront spot you stake out your territory and then construct all manner of beach gully around you so the eventual encroachment by trolly toting suburban dads is kept at bay.  By 1pm it it's a sea of plastic chairs and unfortunate tattoos as far as the eye can see.

The first week I think we overdid it because after 4 hours at the beach we went back to Tim and Libby's to watch the World Cup final and eat burgers and didn't get Roan home until after 6pm at which point he promptly threw up all over the couch. Lovely.

**I found some old old unused Polaroid film kicking around last time so I brought it along for our first foray out last Sunday. There are real polaroids not an iPhone app!
Long Beach

The boys

Say "hello" boys!

Our encampment

Boardwalk shadows

Roan and Charlie

Charlie was a good boy and wore his hat

Sand mascot

Relocating

Busy day at the beach

This Sunday we got to the beach even earlier and practically garroted Roan with a large Aussie-style sun hat, followed by obscenely good lobster rolls and clams at Jordan's Lobster Farm.  Apparently, the place has a line around the block by 5pm but when you eat dinner at 2:30 you've got no problems.  It was us and old people.  Perfect!

Sand toes

This hat didn't last long

Charlie and Roan

People eating humongous lobsters

Roan with his new wee friend


I am normally not the early bird but I have to say the worms made it worthwhile.

09 July 2012

THIRD BIRTHDAY PRESENT: A MACHETE?

In an attempt to distract you all from the fact that my recent blogging attempts have been lackluster at best, you MUST read this fantastic article from the New Yorker on the parenting styles of different cultures.  Roan and I will be off hunting squirrel today in Fort Greene Park.

08 July 2012

HOT STUFF

With yesterday's temperatures surpassing 100ยบ we didn't leave the house except to go in the back yard. 
Aunt Caitlin helps us all cool off

01 July 2012

TALES FROM THE ER

Don't panic.  This is a tale in which it turns out there was no need to go to the ER at all.  I cut my finger Friday night while slicing onions and bandaged it up without much thought.  It was bloody but didn't hurt. 

I took the Bandaid off tonight after cooking dinner and it was still gushing blood and it stung. It had sort of splayed open. Sam very kindly offered to stitch it up himself, which I declined, thank you very much. 

The thing is, due to a bureaucratic snafu which I will not bore you with my health insurance is going to expire tomorrow until they decide whether or not they in fact should not have cancelled it after all in two months time.  Hooray for the American Healthcare system!!!  When I asked the woman at the health office what I should do if something happens to me while my paperwork sits on someone's desk for the next two months she said "got to any ER and they'll treat you". Um???  This is exactly what is bankrupting our healthcare system.  And I'm pretty sure that ERs don't administer chemo or prescription meds so I have to avoid any illness that involves either of those.

The irony is that I don't even care.  I had such an atrocious experience when my health insurance refused to pay for Lula  after I diligently paid my premiums for a decade that it seems pointless to have it.  Insurance is supposed to provide you with security but it seems more like a scam akin to  3 card monte.

But I digress.   I worried that my finger might get worse and that I would feel stupid for not taking care of it sooner so I walked down to the ER.  I brought my iPad.  I watched a movie.  I peed in a cup (unnecessarily, it turns out).  3 hours later I saw a doctor who looked at it and said " oh, we might have put a stitch in there yesterday but because it's been 24 hours we won't do anything to it".  Turns out the risk of infection is worse when you do get stitches at that point than if you don't. 

I didn't want to leave empty handed so I asked for a tetanus shot and I got a wonderful parting gift from the nurse:


TATTOO YOU

I've been meaning to post this photo for eons.  I found Roan after a nap some months ago and he had managed to smuggle a blue marker into his crib and given himself a tattoo.  Busted.