Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: I'm Blue

I do my best to maintain some semblance of a social life despite the fact that I would far prefer to spend the balance of my days buried under my bed covers.  Unfortunately, the Muffin Man's version of an entertaining afternoon does not include quietly snuggling with me while I nap.  As such, I often find myself meeting friends for lunch or coffee with the kiddo in tow.  One of our usual neighborhood haunts is great because the food is good but it's also kid friendly.  The kid's menu doubles as a paper placemat, and each kid gets a small box of crayons to draw with in the hopes that this will keep them quiet until the food arrives.  Now that Noah is older and more active, I am all about restaurants that provide activities for my child, because otherwise I might never be able to see my friends who don't have kids and therefore run the risk of permanently losing the ability to converse about something other than diapers and preschool.

Several weeks ago Noah and I met up with a friend of mine at the aforementioned neighborhood spot and settled in for a leisurely lunch (by toddler standards this means any meal that lasts longer than 15 minutes).  We placed our order, the waitress gave Noah some crayons, and I sat back to listen to my friend's stories of single life in LA.  Prior to this particular afternoon, I think that the Muffin Man had only drawn with crayons once while at some other munchkin's house.  As you know if you're a faithful reader of the blog, I'm not exactly the hippest Mother on the block when it comes to introducing new activities to my child.  Honestly, if it weren't for my Sister-in-Law giving me helpful hints I'd probably still be expecting Noah to lie on his activity mat doing tummy time.  Obviously it never occurred to me that now might be an appropriate time to introduce art supplies, so my poor, deprived kid wasn't on a first-name basis with crayons.  I did a few orange squiggles on his placemat to demonstrate what the things were for, and then set him loose with a rainbow of waxy sticks and hoped for the best.  

For the most part, our meal seemed to be proceeding well.  Noah was quiet, I got to live viciously through my friend's sexual escapades, and I even managed to eat most of what I ordered without interruption.  For those of you who are not yet parents let me preface this by saying that whenever a toddler is quiet for longer than a few seconds or a minute, he's usually up to something suspicious.  I really should've been aware that something was going on, but between my pregnancy starvation level and my friend's scintillating stories I was mostly just thankful to have a few uninterrupted moments to eat some protein (while sitting in an actual chair) and hear about the current trends in dating (n.b. men of LA: please stop expecting sex if you're not willing to pay for a woman's cocktail).  I don't know what Noah did that caught my attention, but when I looked over at him his mouth was completely blue and, instead of eating his almond butter sandwich, he was about to devour a final bite of Blue crayon.  While I'd been completely enthralled by the 50 Shades of Grey antics of my fickle friend across the table, my kid had made himself a meal of an indigestible waxy substance in a bright primary color.  I snatched that crayon out of his sweaty little grip, attempted to clean his mouth of whatever wax shavings were still lurking behind his molars, and forced him to chug an entire sippy cup of water.

Apparently, crayon companies understand that many children find colorful sticks of wax to be irresistible, which is why they are non-toxic.  I'm terribly thankful for this, as it would've been a real downer had my ladies-who-lunch afternoon turned into a stomach-pumping-in-the-ER kind of day, though I probably could've convinced my friend to go with us by suggesting the possibility of an assignation with a handsome Doctor.  Amazingly, Noah's crayon lunch didn't seem to upset his stomach, though I did find his Smurf-colored mouth and blue poop to be rather off putting.

You'll be glad to know that I have since purchased a lovely box of (washable) crayons for Noah to play with at home.  He really seems to enjoy them now that he's learned that they are for drawing and not, in fact, an appetizer.  

Crayon photo courtesy Woodley Wonderworks

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Get Your Earth Day Groove On

Apparently today is Earth Day, which means I'll spend the day feeling twice as guilty than I normally do for refusing to use cloth diapers and not composting my kale stems.  As some of my long time readers know, I spent my formative years in Berkeley, the center of the universe for all things hippy-dippy and Earth-centric.  I don't know where the idea of Earth Day came from, but if it didn't originate from some stoned-out-of-his-gourd environmental studies major at UC Berkeley, I'd be pretty shocked.  Anywho, I attended private grade school right in the heart of Berkeley for K-8, and while much of what I learned was excellent and challenging and entirely responsible for the closeted nerd that I am, there were a number of things that occurred at my school that were... countercultural to say the least.  

My school made a HUGE deal of Earth Day every year, so I have vague recollections of making flower crowns and sitting in the quad participating in some sort of drum circle.  These activities were lead by teachers, mind you, specifically my math teacher who also happened to be a Dead Head and who often missed school due to the fact that she had hopped in her VW Bus and either gone on a bender or headed out to wherever The Dead were playing that week.  Based on that description I think you probably won't be surprised that she didn't wear a bra or deodorant and that on the last day of classes she played a Sounds of the Rain Forest CD, sprayed us with water and told us to "close our eyes and imagine we were in Brazil".  Welcome to a childhood spent in Berkeley, my friends.  

Now that I'm an adult and a parent, I'm both sort of horrified at the fact that some of these individuals were allowed to mold the minds of young children, yet also grateful for the unique experiences I had.  Growing up in Berkeley was a lesson in the dichotomies of life; surrounded on the one hand by the brilliant minds at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Labs and the attendant high salaries and wealth that went along with that, while on the opposite end of the spectrum there were Schizophrenic homeless people roaming the streets and pooping on the doorsteps of the aforementioned Professor's homes.  It's truly a magical, mystical land of peace, love, and public bodily functions, my friends.  

Anyway, I wish you a Happy Earth Day, whatever that means for you.  While I won't be participating in any drumming circles or making flower crowns, I just might download some Sounds of the Brazilian Rainforest to share with the Muffin Man.

In the spirit of the day, I'm sharing a fantastic recipe for All Natural Dishwasher Detergent with you.  It's so much cheaper than the (toxic) stuff from the store and better for the environment!

1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Baking Soda
1 tablespoon LemiShine
1/2 cup Kosher Salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.  Use 1 tablespoon per load, plus some white vinegar added to the rinse cycle.  
This is especially amazing if you have hard water like we do in Los Angeles.  

Happy Earth-friendly cleaning!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mommy Wants an F-ing Cracker

Okay, fess up.  How many of you have a seriously terrible Easter candy hangover thanks to your uncontrollable urge to steal chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs from your children?!  It's an epidemic, I'm telling you.  I've managed to dodge the candy blues only thanks to the fact that I have to take the horrible, no good, very bad Glucose Tolerance Test tomorrow and I refuse to flunk.  I'm eating only proteins and veggies and all the food that's good for you and all I want to do is take myself to Dylan's Candy Bar and eat my way through every single bin.  Forcing a pregnant woman to abstain from eating anything with carbs or sugars is some kind of terrorist-sanctioned torture, especially around Easter time.  Thanks to Noah's young age, the contents of his Easter baskets were mostly little toys, but the one dark chocolate bunny he did receive is taunting me each time I walk by it grinning at me from our sideboard.  I can guarantee you that as soon as they draw my blood tomorrow I will be committing some sort of hate crime against chocolate animals and devouring that bunny's innocent, smiling face.  I'm salivating just thinking about it.  

Other than my inability to consume anything with flavor we had a lovely Easter that actually included  a wonderful brunch and time spent with family.  I can't tell you what a nice change it was to sit down at the dining room table and have a civilized meal (complete with tablecloth and silver place settings) instead of just eating my son's leftovers off of his highchair tray.  It's the little things you appreciate once you become a parent; pathetic, I know.  

I'm off to attempt to assuage my constant hunger and sugar cravings with yet another serving of f-ing raw nuts, so if you happen to hear loud sobs coming from the vicinity of Koreatown adjacent, it's just me standing in my kitchen, longing for a carbohydrate.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Have an Egg-tastic Weekend

Happy weekend my lovelies!  I hope you have something fun planned, especially if you're lucky enough to have today off from work.  Sunday we're headed to an Easter egg hunt and brunch with the family, since we never miss an excuse to celebrate a Christian holiday.  I'm looking forward to seeing the Muffin Man thoroughly confused by the idea of searching for hidden eggs, as it should be hilarious.  Ah well, in future years he'll just be confused about why a bunch of Jewish people celebrate Easter and Christmas.

In other news I'm super excited to be the featured small space dweller over at A Home Full of Color today!  If you stop by there you can get a glimpse at my nifty little office space and see a few shots of Noah's nursery.  Shavonda has incredible style and a great aesthetic, so if you're not already familiar with her blog and you're a fan of interior design you're in for a treat.  

Here are a few interesting goodies from around the interweb this week:

I wish I had the energy to make some polka dot Easter eggs.

I love this beautiful (and affordable) abstract art.

What you need for the well-equipped home bar.

I'm loving this embroidered top.

Baked eggs for Sunday brunch (easy enough that I might actually make them).

Have a beautiful weekend!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Natural Birth, Take Two?

Oh sh*t, you mean I have to give birth again?
The party is happening over at Laughing My Vag Off today, kittens.  This week I'm ruminating on the fact that I just realized I'm going to actually have to give birth again rather than Baby Girl simply arriving on my doorstep in a shower of fairy dust and Unicorn sparkles.  Sucks for me, but it makes for an entertaining read for you!



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Booze Hound

I am currently learning that being a Mother means sacrificing any hope of having a relaxing meal while in the company of your child for approximately five to ten years.  Monday night's seder was certainly no exception.  As I detailed in yesterday's post, the Muffin Man was not at his best.  As a result I was frazzled, exhausted and half paying attention to anything that didn't involve bribing my son to stay quiet long enough for the other guests to hear one page of the Haggadah without the accompanying wails of an overtired toddler.

A big part of each Passover seder is the consumption of a significant amount of (Kosher) wine, which probably explains why I've always enjoyed this particular holiday.  While the adult guests are expected to polish off a few bottles of vino by the end of the meal, the younger not-yet-a-man set receive glasses of grape juice.  For those of my dear readers who are not members of the tribe or who have never been to a seder, let me just preface this by explaining that kosher wine and kosher grape juice are the exact same color.  I suppose in good lighting and with younger eyes one might detect a slight variation, but to me they appear interchangeable.  Therefore, when the cups were doled out to everyone sitting at the table, I assumed that Noah had received one holding grape juice.  I poured some water into the glass to cut the juice and handed it to him, assuming that he would react in the same way he'd reacted to everything else that night and either reject it out of hand or fling it back in my face.  I was pleasantly surprised when, for the first time all evening, my son finally quieted down.  He was so busy guzzling the delicious sugar-filled nectar of the grape Gods that he couldn't open his mouth to complain or even spare a hand to throw matzoh across the room.  Just as Noah was draining the last of his cup, someone came by to offer him a glass of grape juice.  When I explained that he had already received one, the hostess looked at me in horror and told me that she hadn't poured any prior to this and had only given out cups of wine.  Oh, excellent.  While I was taking a moment to relax and thank whoever was smart enough to invent grape juice, my kid had been lapping up a significant portion of wine.  I quickly grabbed the cup out of Noah's hand, hoping against hope that he had not consumed so much alcohol that I would have to take him to the hospital and risk his being taken from me by the Department of Children and Family Services.  Well folks, the apple must not fall far from the tree because my kid had sucked that cup dry.  I'm pretty sure had I not grabbed it from his sweaty grip that he would've actually taken the time to lick the last few droplets of wine from the sides of the glass.

Let me just say that Noah was none too thrilled to have his beverage snatched unexpectedly from his his hands, despite my promptly replacing the cup o' booze with one filled with grape juice.  That was essentially the beginning of the end of our Passover evening, since Noah screaming for more wine combined with my anxiety over having inadvertently allowed my child to drink enough alcohol to get a sorority girl tipsy didn't make us the best party guests.  Thankfully, he doesn't seem to have sustained any lasting damage from his Passover bender, though I am planning to look into whether there's an AA meeting for the five and under set, just in case.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seder with a Side of Neuroses

At least we looked cute.
I am completely and totally flipping out about how I am going to juggle having a newborn and a toddler at the same time.  Yesterday was a total sh*t show at Casa Lane, my friends.  As you may be aware, Passover began last night at sundown, so we were scheduled for family seder at 6PM.  Under normal circumstances, this would have been no big deal other than being a half hour or so later than the Muffin Man is used to dining.  However, in typical Jewish holiday style, Noah refused to take an afternoon nap, which meant that by the time he was expected to be on his best behavior for a reading of the Haggadah and a serving of gefilte fish, he was having none of it.  He refused to sit in his high chair, he threw his yarmulke across the room like a frisbee at least ten times, and he wouldn't eat anything other than a few pieces of matzoh.  As I sat at the seder table last night watching my exhausted son melt down over a piece of unleavened bread shmeared with chicken liver, I really did have the thought that I am not up to the task of having two children.  I know that people do it all the time and that some even manage to have two kids, no family nearby and no help, but those folks must be superhuman or something.  I can't for the life of me grasp how I am going to be able to wrangle two children at once.  Just trying to get myself and Noah dressed for dinner yesterday wore me out.  Here's the best part: we didn't even get a chance to eat dinner with the family because the Muffin Man got so tired that he wasn't able to be coerced into silence with YouTube videos.  Yes, the brisket and potato kugel were delicious eaten cold in front of the TV,  but I was so wiped out from our adventures of Passover with a toddler that I fell asleep while eating a macaroon.

We will, of course, manage somehow.  Most likely with the aid of too much coffee and alcohol, but either way it's happening.  I'm sure at some point in the near future having two kids will be the norm and I'll roll my eyes at myself for ever making a big deal about it, but you know I have to be neurotic and overdramatic about pretty much everything.  My therapist claims it helps me "process", which is probably total BS, but it does make me feel better, and that's what I pay her for.

On a related note: is there no child-friendly Haggadah that we might be able to use next year?  I appreciate the free Maxwell House one as much as the next Jewish gal, but it would be nice if one existed that moved things along a bit faster and had cute drawings of animals wearing yarmulkes or something.

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