Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I feel lucky when my daughter does things like this:

Kisses me when I haven't asked
Says please and thank you
Tells me she is "dipappointed" that she doesn't get something instead of throwing a temper
Pretends to talk to her friends of the phone and I get to listen to her conversations
Falls down and a kiss from me is all she needs to feel better
Says "It's OK mommy, don't be sad, I am here" when I am sad and that's all I need to feel better
Helps clean up her toys
Does something the first time I ask
Takes a good long nap
Plays independently for more than 5 minutes
Tells my husband to drive safely as he walks out the door
Says"I am so excited about that" when she is looking forward to something
Tells me she likes something I cook for her
Lets me snuggle with her
Dances on the street without any concern of who is watching her or what she looks like
Sings at the top of her lungs
Goes to sleep at night without calling out
Is kind to babies and makes them laugh
Does yoga with me in the morning
Eats her vegetables
Lets me do fun things with her hair
Smiles when I want to take her picture
Laughs hysterically with her best friend
Comes over when I call her
Is reasonable
Out of the blue says, "Mommy, I love you"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simmer Down Now

It is hot!

There is no doubt in my mind that the heat makes all of us a little bit more edgy. I have noticed that with the thickness in the air not only am I uncomfortable, but I feel pissy. I am trying to get a lot done these days. Perhaps too much. And as usual, I feel a bit overwhelmed. Twig is not in school yet, so my free time is limited to when she naps.

I have a list going in my head of things to accomplish at all times. Work on the projects I have started: a documentary, this blog, a yoga book (that was started before I gave birth), study for two exams I have to take before October 1st, and now clean my entire house of clutter. Somehow in my head I think I am capable of accomplishing a little of all of these in one short hour long nap. When I hear her yell, "Mommy, is it wake up time?" I will inevitably be in the middle of something. I then have to put my pencil down (so to speak), and head back into mom mode. The frustration of not being able to finish things is making me testy, and this heat isn't helping.

All I want to do is take my daughter swimming at the houses of friends that have pools. Sometimes I think I want to go in more than she does. It just takes the edge off, and plus it contains her to one small area. My husband and I share this love of getting in the water. If there is an opportunity, I'm in. I feel so at peace and suddenly it doesn't matter what is piling up. It is really a dream that someday we will have a pool. I don't know any other adults who want to get in the pool as much as the two of us.

In the meantime we have enjoyed our friends company as well as their aquatic centers. I don't know how I survived summers in New York. Perhaps it explains why people are a lot more angry there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Freedom Fry

So I guess respecting other peoples decisions as parents is something that hasn't quite spread to the masses yet. It seemed pretty obvious to me, but apparently word hasn't hit the news stand yet that you need to ask a parent before giving certain foods to someone else's child. I suppose it also isn't known to all yet that fast food is not the healthiest. Apparantly, there is not enough out there yet on that one.

Yesterday my husband was holding Twig at a neighbor's house and the neighbor had in-laws there. She kept asking about Twig's weight and commenting on how petite she was. Twig does get her nic name because she is little, but she also is completely healthy and I don't need her getting a complex at three. While she was talking, the woman's husband came in with a bag full of McDonald's. The Golden Arches are holy for some, and I do not judge others religious or dietary choices, but I would never eat there. I know one day my daughter will, but as long as she is little, it's my decision. Or at least I thought it was.

This woman, after commenting on Twig's size more than twice, decided she needed some fries. She shoved the shiny red box towards my girl and offered her a bunch. My husband, who was shocked and at a loss, said, "Oh, that's okay...thank you" but she insisted. Holding Twig, my dear husband said she could take one (much to my chagrin) and she right then and there had her first piece of food that never disintegrates. The ingredients are horrible in McDonalds fries. The oil they use has TBHQ in it (which is illegal in Europe, largely because it never breaks down in our systems). They also contain Dimethylpolysiloxane. For anti-foaming. Yes -- anti-foaming. I didn't know fries foamed. Oh, and beef flavoring. Yum.

Okay, I can come off my high horse now and say that she only ate one. No big deal. It bothers me, but she will survive. What gets me upset though is that this woman not only didn't ask if it was okay, but also insisted she take more. Thankfully by then, my husband walked away, but her assumption was jarring. It is my job to say what she can eat, and thank goodness I have the freedom to choose from a lot of amazing choices. Why didn't this lady get the memo that she needs to defer to us? Now I have to make my kid more precocious and require her to ask her mommy or daddy first.

I'm so glad she likes In and Out fries better.

Monday, August 22, 2011


For the past week and a half, I was away with my family in New York and in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Family Vacation always feels like an oxymoron to me. There are not a lot of relaxing moments involved with my family. Every time I spend time with my family I try to not be surprised by the tension, yet every time I am surprised at how surprised I am.

There are a lot of characters in the group, and despite the chaos we all keep coming back with a strong desire to be together. Our visits always come with stress, and the fun does come but not always very easily. A typical loud New York family, we are often yelling at each other. This was something my husband has never seen before. When he witnessed it for the first time early in our relationship, his jaw was hanging on the floor. Still now when he comes into the mix I am embarrassed about what he sees.

There are no boundaries of space when we are home. My dad gets frustrated and loses his cool easily, and my mom is scattered and spontaneously says things that make my eyes pop out of my head. My brother has a temper and can argue at you until you want to run away. My fifteen year old nephew was also there this time, and although his behavior is pretty typical of that of a fifteen year old, I was still baffled at it at times. I didn't know whether to laugh or hide when at a Friday night dinner with my sister in laws parents he came to the table with his IPod and said that the app on his phone said that his fart was in the key of a perfect A minor. Classy table talk.

Every family has their share of craziness. Some more than others. This trip though I could see that Twig was watching it all with very little going over her head. At one point she said "Don't talk to me that way" Which is exactly what she heard me say to my brother. Here begins the fuel and fund for her future therapy sessions. Ah well, I went through this family and came out okay I suppose. My husband sang circus music in my ear whenever mayhem broke, and I only had to run out of the house once, so overall it was a pretty good trip. We just got back and all I want to do is plan a real vacation now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Faux Pas

There are unspoken rules about what you can and can't say to a pregnant woman.

Saying things to a pregnant person's closest friend is a different story. If only I could wear a sign stating which topics were were off limits, maybe I could prevent emotional outbursts to random people when they simply try to ask me a question. Or perhaps with a little time, I won't be so hyper-sensitive and cry or feel the earth drop from under me.

It is hard enough to lose a baby when two of my best friends are pregnant and due exactly when I would have been. It takes time to be able to watch them grow without jealousy and envy. It took me a few teary weeks to be able to be with them and accept the fact that we are on different paths. Hopefully I will join them soon.

In the last month I have had my ups and downs with coming to terms with my loss. Last Friday was particularly difficult. I took Twig to gymnastics, where my friend and her daughter, were going to meet us. She was running late and we had been texting earlier in the morning and she knew I wasn't in my best mood. When she walked in, I was helping Twig roll down a ramp. As she ran after her daughter, she gave me a sympathetic look which in one second communicated to me how well she knows me. And that she understood. She gave me a hug and the first thing I felt was her growing belly against mine. That part is hard for me, but it's getting easier each day. She also looked amazing in a cool dress with a Harley Davidson belt just under her belly, so it was hard to look at her without seeing how cute she is -- baby and all. I went back to help Twig navigate through the obstacle course when a woman whispered in my ear "Is your friend pregnant?"

An innocent question, but I didn't see it coming at all. I was so caught off guard that my response came out of my mouth without thinking. My mood earlier in the morning was due to how off my cycle had been since my D&C and how long it was taking me to regulate. Even if I wanted to try again for another baby, my body just wasn't ready yet. This poor woman didn't want to assume anything and ask my friend if she was pregnant, so she chose what she thought as the safer bet. I wasn't the only one to notice her growing belly, and so just in case she was wrong, this woman tapped my shoulder, at the worst possible moment, on the worst possible day. I turned around, looked at her (possibly with a touch of insanity and desperation) and said, "Yes -- and I am not."

I was shocked at my own response to this woman whose name I don't even know. I quicky glanced at my friend who noticed the interaction but couldn't hear, and suddenly burst into tears. I left my daughter with my friend and ran to the bathroom to sob. It was a mess of a morning, and I needed to pull it together, but not before falling apart a little more in a stinky bathroom stall. I went back told my friend what happened -- she couldn't stop laughing. When I finally saw the humor in it myself, I went to over to the woman and apologized. I explained as quickly as I could why I was so sensitive, and that I didn't mean to respond to her innocent question that way. She was awesome about it and said that she understood. She looked over at her son and told me that it took her eight years (thats right, eight) to conceive her son. When she said she understood, she really meant it. I guess no matter what we women go through we all ask innocent questions to each other at the wrong time. Just in case though, I am going to be really carefull how I word things from here on out. You just never know.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Practicing What I Preach

Today was a moody mess for me. I am hormonal, impatient, anxious and obsessive. My head is busy over-thinking the future and fantasizing about things I can't control. I fell into a hole, planning things in which only mother nature has a say. Today I cried at the flip of a switch and I turned to others to make me feel better, instead of just taking a deep breath and remembering that everything will work itself out.

Today was a moody mess for my Twig. She woke up wanting a short order cook and the one she found just wasn't working fast enough. She didn't feel like talking to anyone and ignored friendly chatter when anyone approached her. She was disappointed when her friend didn't play a game the way she wanted, disappointed she couldn't swim as much as she wanted, and disappointed when she couldn't have a third treat of the day. She cried at the flip of a switch, and turned to me to make her feel better, instead of taking a deep breath and being reassured that everything will work itself out.

I don't get everything I want and I am glad that my daughter sees that. I realized today, however, that it's not a bad idea to let her see me get upset about it sometimes. She doesn't have to see me kick, scream and throw a fit, but witnessing me shedding some tears is only going to help her see how I deal with my feelings. She can see that it's okay to be upset -- and that there is a beginning and an end to it.

There isn't a tantrum that goes by that I don't wonder, will she will ever stop crying? No trick I have up my sleeve, or that I have ever read about, has ever worked to quell her. She needs to take what seems like an epic long time to get through her frustration. If I could reward myself for every tantrum she threw today I would have a glass of wine, a massage, and the Eames rocker chair I've had my eye on. It doesn't work that way in grown-up land, so I should be careful when I offer her consolations to just stop crying. I ask her to just go with it, say "oh well, or in Hebrew "En Ba Yah" (meaning, no big deal), but do I do that? I see myself over-thinking a misplaced sippy cup, or hair clip. I actually imagine what better uses I would have for fifty dollars as I am writing a check for a parking ticket. I feel the need to let people know when they piss me off, and I'm not the quickest to wait for something I want.

I am trying to get her to go with the flow, when frankly I suck at that myself. I have been fighting the urge my whole life to pout when I hear the word "no." I can't expect her to bounce back from her disappointment so easily. Things are not always fair, and she is learning that exact lesson a bit more everyday. I just want to make sure that she can see the light at the end of the tantrum tunnel without me helping her through it every time. In the meantime, I will reassure her that it's there and that even her stubborn mama forgets that sometimes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Several times this week my daughter has driven me to an excruciating state of frustration. I feel my shoulders tense up when I have to say no to something. I flinch in anticipation of the tantrum that often follows her disappointment. The hair on the back of my neck stands with the sound of her whining. I feel I have a low tolerance for the frequency of her breakdowns, and feel pushed beyond my ability to respond rationally to her. I start out as patient as I know how to be, but when she begins to kick and scream, I temporarily envision myself jumping ship.

I hear myself throw out threats, disclaimers, and conditions in an effort to curtail her downward spiral. I saw myself get physically close to her face and felt my lips furl and my finger point. I can hear myself say things I never wanted to say to my child. It sucks even more when a couple of days later I hear her say things like, "You may not talk to me like that, mommy" -- right back at me. This is the reality of three though -- it's not all adorable. A lot of it is pretty freaking amazing, but this part is not easy.

A few days ago I was trying to get work done and she was supposed to be napping, but instead she was calling out to me from her bed about every two minutes. I finally went up and the reality hit me that I wouldn't be able to leave her room until she was allowed to leave with me, and I got so mad at her. I wasn't at all sensitive to the fact that there was no way she could have fallen asleep since there was construction going on right outside her door. I was just pissed I didn't get enough time without her, and I misplaced all my anger and told her I was upset and needed a break from her for a little bit. She was beside herself, and I could tell I hurt her feelings. I took a second, pulled it together and then pulled her in close. Again, this is all new to both of us and we have to be careful not to push each other too far. We are both learning on the job.

Today she hit the ceiling again. This time, she was hysterical because we forgot to take Baa (her favorite stuffed sheep) to her check up to introduce him to her Doctor. I could see she was really disappointed. She asked me to please turn the car around and go back home to get him. I explained that we couldn't miss our appointment and that we could tell the doctor all about Baa, but she wasn't having any of it. Twenty minutes of screaming and wailing (all while she was strapped into a car seat) was hard for her to feel, and hard for me to listen to. Even with all the compassion in the world, I still had a hard time feeling sensitive around the fiftieth attempt to reason with her.

Feelings can be so strange. Today, watching the news, I saw Mubarak in a cage in an Egyptian courtroom. He was an evil man who caused so many deaths and so much suffering. Lying there today I felt compassion for him. I am confused and conflicted when an elderly man turns out to have been a Nazi and finally gets jailed in his eighties. I know he is not worthy of his freedom, but he looks so vulnerable now. It's all part of humanity, although I am sure these men I speak of would never have been sensitive to who I am, as a Jewish female, but still I can feel sad for them. At the same time that I have feelings of empathy for sick, twisted, horrible criminals, I look at my daughter like she is nuts, and it scares me a little. Even as I write this, I can't believe I have put my daughter in the same sentence with any one so horrible. But that is my point, I am human, and she is human and sometimes we just feel what we feel.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Different Folks

Once every couple of months a beautiful thing happens in my house: it gets cleaned by a housekeeper. This is a luxury that I don't take for granted. Some of my friends don't have them at all, while others have them once or even twice a week. As a child, my family never had someone clean for us, and we didn't know anyone who did. When I think of what I saw around me compared to what my daughter will see around her -- well, it makes me take pause.

I love Los Angeles. The weather is incredible, compared to NY. You get a lot more for your money, there is so much more space, and for a kid there are countless activities. It's a great city. With any place though, it has its cons, and the big one here for me is the intense focus on image. As I wrote in earlier blogs, when I first became a mother I fell into the wrong group of women. Not unlike when I first moved to LA and chose a couple of bad friends, just because I had a few things in common with them. When I became a mom, I chose these women simply because they were new moms too. I still get down on myself at times for being such a poor judge of character at the old age of thirty something (blame sleep deprivation).

The women I befriended quickly became a group, a clique, a club, and although I was in it, I knew I didn't belong. I have a lot of fantastic friends, and I don't have everything in common with all or any of them, but at their core I know they are good people with the intent of being a good friend. I can't say the same for some of these women. I can honestly say their intent was to look better, be richer, and seem more together than the rest. It was junior high all over again. Having a daughter made me realize all the quicker how the example these women were setting was so off and away from the ones I wanted to set. They weren't all bad, but overall it was a bit too pretty in pink for me.

I learned a lesson from that time, and know now that I don't judge anyone who has more money that me, or has a nanny, or their kid goes to the "best" preschool. But I do raise an eyebrow if they aren't passing anything on to their kid besides a sense of entitlement. I know it's not easy to avoid here, compared to other places, but I want my daughter to have an awareness that things don't simply fall into her lap. In this economy, it's seems like LA still has a lot of pressure to keep up the facade. I was pleased to see my daughter cleaning the shower with a rag the other day and say that she was helping to clean. I'm glad she sees that it needs to be done, and that her parents have house jobs just like she does (she puts her dirty clothes in the hamper -- I am not working her to the bone at the age of three, so don't call Child Protective Services on me...yet).