Random Blog A Musing Farf: 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008


In 1989 I started a new school. I was a freshman in high school and, while I could have enrolled in the local high school in the town in which I grew up, I ask made the decision to leave my friends behind and enroll in the Loomis Chaffee School.

I still remember the night before the first day of school very clearly. I could not sleep - the mix of nerves and excitement kept me awake – and I spent an inordinate amount of time deciding what my first day of school outfit should look like. Blue jeans were not allowed and I had no idea what the current fashion for a high schooler was (having never been one before). I remember thinking that the next 4 years would be defined by the outfit I chose. And, I still remember what I wore: a light blue skirt given to my by my cousin in exchange for writing one of his papers and a collared t-shirt. I am probably the only person who remembers that outfit.

When I arrived at school, I expected that everyone would be strangers to each other and was dismayed to discover that was not true. Instead, I found the cliques had formed and that people knew each other prior to the start of school. I met a girl named Cari (who 19 years later is still one of my best friends) and together, we navigated the perils of high school. At first, we formed a clique made up of people who had nothing in common other than the fact that they were not part of an already formed clique, but as people got to know each other, friendships faded, blossomed and changed.

By graduation, it was easy to forget who knew each other before school had started and who met in school. Instead of clinging to each other as we had in the early days, friendships were now based on common interests such as theater, sports, and mooning over cute boys. We had grown up together - learning how to deal with new and raw emotions and getting ready for life’s next steps. And, my senior year, I remember watching the freshman start school and go through what seemed like such as unique experience to me as a freshman.

Almost exactly 19 years after that first day of high school, I attended my first New Moms group. Meeting for 2 hours on Mondays, it was a support group for new moms in NYC and mostly a way to get out and meet other moms and spend some time talking to adults, as opposed to an infant. I have no idea what I wore to that meeting, but I spent an inordinate amount of time deciding how to dress my daughter. I remember thinking that my skills as a mother would be defined by the outfit I chose. Finally, after trying on several different onesies, I settled on one given to us by Cari. It was green with purple trim. I am probably the only person who remembers that outfit.

Just like in high school, when I arrived at the group, I expected that everyone would be strangers to each other and was dismayed to discover that was not true. Friends who had babies near in time to each other were attending and many in the group had been coming for several months and had become friends.

When I left the group, I called Cari to tell her how I had gone to the group, but had not met anyone with whom I felt a connection. She reminded me that, as the mother of an infant, just showering and getting out of the house was a triumph and that, more importantly, we had not met on the first day of school, but rather sometime in the second week. I had survived the first week alone.

So, I went back to the Moms’ group and also reached out to folks from my childbirth class. First there was Katy and then Sarah, and Caroline and Maria and Angela and others. At first I found people with whom I had nothing in common other than the fact that we were all first time moms with babies of a similar age. Six months later, friendships have faded, grown and changed and now, when we get together, the babies are not the only topic of conversation.

And, not so different from adolescence, the other new moms I have met have helped me make sense of the new and strange emotions I am experiencing. (It is nice to be reassured that I am not the only one who can no longer watch television shows involving sick and dying children without checking on the baby 40 times an hour). We bonded over husbands who don’t seem to hear the baby crying at 4am, laughed together when one of the baby boys projectile peed all over a strange woman at Lohemans and mourned together when we lost a member of our little clique.

Lat Monday, I went back to the Moms’ group. I had been going less often as Mondays have gotten busy and now that I have a great circle of friends, I don’t need the excuse to get out of the apartment or a pre-made group of adults for conversation. When I arrived, there were two women who mentioned they were attending for the first time. When I looked, I noticed how their babies outfits seemed meticulously planned and how they glanced from person to person, nervously looking for an excuse to talk to someone. And a way to break into what seemed like pre-established cliques.

Thinking back to how I felt that first day of high school, the first day at the Moms’ Group and thinking that not everyone is lucky enough to have a Cari in their lives to put everything in perspective, I simply walked up to them and asked how old their babies were. We spoke (mostly about the babies) for 30 miniutes and by the time I left the conversation, these women were exchanging emails addresses and phone numbers. I have no idea if they will remain friends, but it is nice to be the senior watching the freshman again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Yesterday, I braved the long lines and was rewarded for my efforts. No, not the voting lines (those were actually moving pretty fast), but the free Starbucks I got for voting – that line was almost 20 minutes long!

Actually, I can afford to be glib about the election since the outcome was exactly as I had hoped. I woke up this morning feeling a bit different than I had the last few days and realized that, although I did not initially support Obama (I was a Hillary supporter),
I really bought into his message for hope and for the first time in a while, I was actually proud to be an American last night.

I am excited and proud to have this charismatic and inspirational person leading the country and really believe that he can change the perception of Americans abroad and undo the damage the Bush Administration has inflicted in the last eight years.

Husband and I went to the polls yesterday with the Baby and voted as a family. I even let the Baby pull the lever for me (although I am afraid she may be a closet Republican as she reached out for the McCain lever and I had to redirect her hand). So now, I am interested to see how Obama shapes the presidency and brings our country back from the ruins…

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I like to think that I am generally a good person. I actually enjoy helping others. In the last couple of weeks, I have donated breast milk to a woman who survived breast cancer and whose baby can not tolerate formula (I had tons of pumped milk from when I was eating dairy and beef, and it turns out that BG can not digest the bovine protein and my bovine protein-laden breast milk was making her sick). It was way better than throwing it away and I felt good to help. Then, I helped a blind man find his way on the subway and made arrangements to donate my old maternity clothes to a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Sadly, they have a real need for maternity clothes, which is a horrible thing to think about.

And yet, despite all my do-gooding, I feel like in the last week or so, Karma has not been on my side. First, my cell phone was stolen out of the stroller. Then the people who stole it attempted to hold it for $100 ransom. I actually was going to pay the ransom since I wanted the calendar and photos from the phone, but when I showed up at the appointed location to get my phone back, the people who stole it never showed up.

Then, I was supposed to meet with my old employer in order to work out the terms of my departure from the firm. Instead, I was ambushed with “issues” that they discovered in my work since I went on maternity leave and Evil Partner flatly refused to discuss the payout I was promised until the issues are resolved. (And, it looks like the only resolution that he will find acceptable is for me to tell them I engaged in unethical practices. While I may be guilty of a careless error and misfiling a piece of paper, there was no unethical conduct and I won’t admit to something I did not do!)

But hopefully, my week will start to improve. The shower repair guys showed up on time, a friend from prenatal yoga class had her baby and is meeting me for Mommy & Me and coffee afterwards and tonight I am seeing Hair. Sunday I have tickets to [Title of the Show] with Wuzi and, as Stitch pointed out, the people who stole my phone did not mug me when I tried to get the phone back.

So maybe I just need to help a few more needy folks and the work issues will be resolved.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I think I am finally getting into the swing of this motherhood thing. I have a group of new mom friends, BG is involved in all sorts of age appropriate classes to help her develop both intellectually and physically and, most importantly, we have a regular babysitter!

I posted a job ad with the Barnard Babysitting Services and got a response from a wonderful student. Babysitter came by today in order to meet me and BG and has tons of babysitting experience, including acting as a nanny last summer for her cousin’s newborn. I am spying on Babysitter right now as she pays with BG (the baby monitor has a video option) and she seems like she will do just fine. This means I can get out during the day and get my nails done, go to the gym and Husband and I can go out one Saturday per month and catch a movie, get dinner or just be baby-free. Babysitter is already booked on Wednesday morning so I can go get a manicure. To me, a nail salon is an inappropriate place for a baby – too many chemicals.

Or, at moments like this, I can sit down and blog knowing that BG is well cared for. And, even if Babysitter is not as good a caretaker as I am, well, that is okay as long as BG is happy and well cared for. And, right now, Babysitter is reading to BG –something I rarely have time to do during the day (although we do read two books every night and one in the morning at least).

Babysitter actually offered to stay for the entire afternoon gratis in order for me to feel comfortable with her and so she could get to know BG, but Evil Partner wants me to come in for an exit meeting (basically so he can yell at me one last time) and I want to bring BG so that if she cries, I have an excuse to cut the meeting short. Hahaha. I am already using my child for my own selfish needs.

Boo! Babysitter is leaving. So much for my free time….

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I never thought I would find fulfillment in staying home and raising my child, but more and more, it is what I think I want to do. Seeing BG smile is more rewarding to me than any bonus I have ever received and, despite my fears when she was born, I am not just sitting bored at home. We take classes where I meet other moms, we go for walks around the City and, even on those rainy days where the idea of leaving the house seems an impossible task, we manage to have a good time. And all of this has happened before she even learned to talk.

Then, I think about my own childhood and how my mother did not work outside the home. Instead, she worked on raising me and my siblings. And we all knew that if a homework assignment was accidentally left at home or we forgot to bring sneakers for gym class, we could count on Mother to save the day by arriving to school in her station wagon with whatever it was we needed. Or just the afternoons when we were home and we would chat about our days. I have a closeness with my mom (and so do my friends who had moms who were home with them) that I want to replicate with my own daughter.

Now, this is certainly not meant to belittle moms who want to work at outside careers. The thing I learned in my mere 11 weeks as a mom is that the best moms are those that are happy and content in their lives - whether because they have a life outside the kids or a career or not - and that everyone has to do what makes them happiest in life.

But, there is more to it. There is something I am loath to admit. Lately, when Husband comes home from work and the house is clean and dinner is cooking (or at least the take-in has been ordered) and the baby is quiet, I feel like I accomplished more than I felt like I accomplished at the office. What is even scarier to me (and harder to admit) is that I really like doing it. Going to BG's clothes, organizing them, arranging toys and packing up outgrown clothes is not fun. It is a chore and I recognize that. But, when Husband came home from work, I could not wait to show him what I had done. I was proud of myself. And I continue to be proud of myself for managing to vacuum the apartment, finishing the laundry or sewing a town pair of shorts.

Part of me worries that I am backsliding and falling into the the gender stereotypes of the 1950's, but in reality I know this is not true. Husband assumed childcare duties last night so I could have dinner and a drink with a girlfriend and, while I do the bulk of childcare even on nights and weekends, Husband definitely takes an active role and helps me considerably.

And then there is the practical side of me: I have thousands of dollars in law school debt, Husband and I have a mortgage, we need to eat and occasionally, we like to go to the movies. This all takes money and my income certainly helps with that. But then again, my old salary was barely more than it would cost to pay for childcare. But, as I have written before when contemplating this topic, theoretically, my salary would go up as childcare costs go down.

Husband, ever the practical one, thinks my going back to work is the right decision. But maybe, just maybe I can convince him otherwise. I wonder if it would help if I made a cherry pie first.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


One day, I fully expect Baby Girl to ask me where she came from. When that time comes, I hope to have an honest and forthright conversation with her - to the best she can understand - and fill in gaps in knowledge as she can process them. (No child of mine will believe you can't get pregnant the first time!) But, in the meantime, I sit and wonder where this little angel came from.

So much of this baby looks familiar: She has her father's expressions, sleeps in the same position as her uncle and Pops, has fingers that look like mine and the long eyelashes of both her father and me. But so much is unaccounted for: the olive colored skin that almost everyone remarks upon, her grey eyes and the Mongolian Blue spot.

It's weird. As I sit now and watch her nap (so much for my attempt to go to Mommy and Me yoga today), I have started to become curious about my family tree. According to Wikipedia and other sites, the incidence of a Mongolian Blue Spot is a minor skin blemish that disappears around puberty and while is is present in almost all babies of East Asian heritage*, is almost non-existent among Caucasians - except for those of Hungarian descent. Apparently the Hungarians mingled with the Hun population and therefore Hungarians tend to have these spots. The incidence among Hungarian Jews is even higher than that of the rest of the Hungarian population. Apparently, we are a horny people.

My maternal grandmother is Hungarian. When asked, she swore that we are 100% Jewish and that as far as she knows, no one in her family ever married someone of East Asian Descent. when I asked her if perhaps there was a non-marital dalliance with one of her ancestors and as East Asian, she giggled. She really liked the idea. Like I said, we are a horny people.

So, that mystery is solved. Whew, when I saw the spot, all sorts of crazy ideas ran through my head - she is developing back and blue marks (someone hurt her), she is sick, the hospital gave us the wrong baby (not like we were giving her back though!) and other insane ideas too embarrassing to be mentioned here.

Now to figure out where she got that lovely skin color and those grey eyes.

*Chinese believe that if you are reluctant to be reincarnated, the King of Hell prods and kicks you until you agree to go and that causes the spot. Husband's cousin told me that when they baby smiles in her sleep, she is reliving her past lives and shutting the doors in order to more fully live this life. The more she smiles, the happier her past life. Baby Girl smiles all the time when she sleeps, so I like the idea that she was so happy in her last life that she was a little reluctant for another go around.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


As a kid, I used to wonder why the heck my mother was always up so early. If the rest of the household was getting up around 8am, my mom was up at 6am. She always made excuses about having to do laundry or needing to clean up, but she was generally up early even when there was not lots of laundry to be done or the house was spotless.

Now that I am the mom, I think I finally understand the deeper reason. I woke up at 6am today and started laundry and then sat down to check email and otherwise take some time to myself and it occured to me - this early hour is literally the only time I now have to myself during the day. Once Baby Girl and Husband are awke, there are chores to be done, a baby to be fed and held and my personal quiet time is over.

It was not until I started staying home with the baby that I realized how often at awork I would shut my office door and just take a moment to regroup with my thoughts. And, on days where that was not really possible, I had the subway ride to and from work or a quick Starbucks run when I needed a break. Baby Girl does not respect my need for this. And, at 10 weeks old, I suppose it will be a while before I can tell her, "Mommy needs 5 minutes to herself."

So, for now, this is my time and I am happy to have it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Just a couple photos of my little princess.


It’s one of those rare quiet moments when Justin has left for work, the dogs are in day care and the baby is sleeping. Baby Girl (BG) and I spent the last week relaxing at my parents’ house in CT, lounging by the pool, swimming and visiting friends and their new babies. Tiki and Cody loved playing off leash in the yard and everyone was pretty sad to leave, but we had to head back to NY, resume our routine and spend some time with Husband, who has not seen his daughter in a week and was missing his family very much!

Being back in CT with my family was wonderful. In addition to Mother helping with the baby, Meme and Uncle Mister stopped by daily to hang out with the newest member of the family and that meant I actually got to read a book, finish a knitting project and nap. It was like a real vacation!

What I can not get over is all the changes the last week brought. BG has now discovered the jogs of thumb sucking and barely nurses because I can’t get the thumb out of her mouth! She also now follows conversations and sounds and I swear that she was actually rooting for Michael Phelps to win an 8th Gold Medal. (She stayed up, stared at the television and then smiled when he won). And that’s the other thing – now at just shy of 10 weeks, she smiles all the time and it wonderful. I finally feel like all my little songs, games and other interactions get some sort of positive feedback. Yippee.

My next accomplishment will be to learn how to use Facebook and maybe even finish my dog training course so I can start getting paid for my efforts. And, to be a more regular blogger. But first, I need to get my baby out of her dirty diaper….

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


On Friday, June 6, 2008, I went for a routine OB appointment for my 37 week check. By this point in my pregnancy, I was ready to be done. Although I actually had a pretty easy pregnancy and loved the fact that I could basically demand that people on the subway give me their seats, I wanted to meet my daughter and hold her in my arms. So, imagine my surprise when the doctor told me I was already 4 cm dilated (at 10 cm you give birth) and that since this was a first child, while I could go until my due date, he thought that was highly unlikely.

I love my OB and could not have asked for a provider who was more in tune with my needs and my birth plan, but at the same time, his news made me nervous. I had heard such horror stories of hospital births and I did not want to be forced into a hospital protocol. No IV, no drugs. I wanted a completely natural birth and needed to be sure that my provider would comply with my wishes. When he told me I was dilated, the list of last minute questions I had brought with me to my appointment was instantly forgotten and instead, a list of necessary products (diapers, wipes, blankets, etc) filled my head. I left the doctor and called Husband. “Are you ready to be a Daddy?” I asked. We cancelled plans for that night and agreed to meet for a last minute shopping trip for baby supplies.

The next several days where a whirlwind as I made all sorts of last minute plans for a baby who looked like she may come early. We met with the doula and signed the contracts, purchased diapers and blankets and pretty much started doing whatever we could to make the birth happen – spicy food, coffee, chocolate, etc. If there was an old wives tale about speeding up birth, we tried it.

The following Monday, I woke up in wet sheets. Convinced my water had broken during the night, I called the doctors and the doula and made an appointment to go to the hospital and get checked. My water had not broken and I was still 4 cm dialated. Apparently, I was peeing myself. Lovely. Disheartened, Husband and I headed home.

Wednesday started off normal and I was excited to leave work early and get my hair done. My colorist only works a few days a week and if I had to cancel the appointment, it would take weeks, if not more than a month, to get another appointment. As I left the hair appointment, I began to experience mild cramps.

The cramps felt like period cramps and I called Husband to let him know I would be home late and was going to a yoga class in order to try and stretch out the cramps. In the cab home, I also called Mother, who told me it sounded like I was in labor. I acknowledged that she might be right but decided to go to yoga anyway and work through what seemed like early labor.

Up in my apartment, I changed into yoga clothes and sat on the birthing ball to watch a little television until it was time to leave for yoga. It was 6:15pm. At around 6:30pm, the birthing ball became uncomfortable and I decided to forgo yoga for a relaxing bath. In the bath, the cramps became stronger and I think I realized I was actually in labor. Still, remembering that labor can take 24 hours, I tried to ignore the cramps as much as possible and time the contractions.

At approximately 6:45pm, I experienced a contraction that literally knocked the breath out of me and, in a panic, I called Husband and told him to come immediately home. He did not get the message and came home 30 minutes later with the dogs to find me (as he puts it), “flopping around in the bathtub.”

The most comfortable places were the toilet and the bathtub and after trying for a while to time to contractions, we called our doula to get her opinion. I certainly did not want her to trek out to me if labor was going to be long and drawn out, but I also did want her to reassure me that I could make it through labor without drugs. Husband and I timed the contractions and thought they were about 13 minutes apart. We called Doggie Day care and had them come and pick up the dogs for an overnight stay.

The doula came over a half hour later and took about 10 seconds to assess the situation. Contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and had been for a while. See, no one told Husband or me that you time all contractions, so we were only timing the big ones. The little ones - ones I could walk, talk or otherwise pretty much ignore – well, we ignored them.

So, we were on the way to the hospital. Parents were called, C was called (my best friend from high school, I really wanted her at my birth) and Husband called the OB to let him know we were on our way.

I wanted so badly to push. Every instinct in my body told me to bear down and push, but the doula begged me not to push and kept instructing me to “blow like you are blowing out a candle.” I pretty much crawled into the hospital on all fours.

Once in the hospital, we were waiting in triage when my water broke. It was about 9:40pm at this point and moments later, I found myself being checkout out by the doctors. I could not stay still. I wanted to rock on all fours, squat, walk and generally be in any position but lying down. But, the hospital staff wanted to monitor me and despite my protests, I was put into a supine position and hooked up to external monitors. I tolerated that for about 30 seconds before ripping off the monitors. My OB showed up at this point, asked me to lie back so that he could examine me, announced that he saw hair (not mine as I had been waxed just a couple days ago!) and moved me into a birthing room.

Husband ran out to try and secure us a private postpardum room and I got set up in a birthing room. (Basically, this is a room with a bed, an incubator and some medical equipment) The OB put a birthing bar on the foot of the bed to that I could put my feet against it to push and Husband returned as I started to push (this time with the doula and the OB’s blessing). About 30 minutes later, our daughter was born.

I watched most of it through a mirror, Husband watched live (both things neither of us though we would want to do). The OB offered to let me catch the baby myself, but at the last minute, I chickened out and had him do it, and Husband cut the cord. The baby was immediately placed onto my chest and I breastfed her and Husband and I shared some quiet time with the newest member of our family.

It was the birth experience I really wanted. No drugs, no IV, no needles and no real pain. My OB was a wonderful provider and one I would use again in a hearbeat. Even my doula wants him as her OB. Sure, it was a hospital birth, but I could have been at home I was so comfortable and I really consider myself lucky to have had such a wonderful support system. C, my parents and Husband’s parents all got to the hospital and were visiting soon after the baby was born. And now, to look at my daughter and remember how wonderful her birth was, I feel truly blessed. The only downside is that I can never guilt trip her with stories of how I suffered while she was being born, but I suppose, for such a wonderful birth experience, I can forgive that one little detail…

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So it’s been a while and things have been overwhelmingly busy. Of everything that has to slip to the wayside, blogging was one of the first things to go. However, now that I have a rare moment of peace and quiet, I thought I would take a few minutes for a new posting.

Over the last couple months, a million topics have come to mind and, of course, now that I am sitting down to write, I seem to have forgotten them all. So instead of concentrating on trying to remember all those forgotten topics, I am going to selfishly update this blog with updates as to what has been going on lately.

First of all, huge kudos go out to Sister. She has put me and Husband and the dogs up in her place not once, but twice. She also has been a most willing babysitter to the dogs while apartment renovations have been underway. Turns out the Cody’s separation anxiety has returned and he was barking while we were not home. Sister has, on multiple occasions, given up plans so that we can leave the dogs with her at her apartment and continues to be helpful in a million ways that I can barely describe.

Apartment renovations were supposed to be done this week, but given the sloppy work of the guys that were supposed to install the stone countertops today, I imagine that there is at least another week of work on the horizen. Still, we now have a functional kitchen and a working bathroom (minus the bathroom sink, which should be installed this week) and a completed living room. The baby’s room is no longer a storage place for boxes, but actually has some baby stuff in it.

And speaking of baby, it is a good thing that the room is pretty much ready since it looks like the baby won’t be waiting until June 27th to enter the world. When I went to the doctor on Friday, I was already dilated 3.5 cm and experiencing what turns out to be mild contractions (I thought it was just a stomach ache). But, we spent the weekend doing some last minute shopping, packing the hospital bag and generally getting things together so we are ready for the baby when she makes the decision to enter the world.

Oh right, and we gave up on keeping the gender a secret. It was too much of an aggravation and so we admitted to those who asked that the baby will be a girl. Or, at least we think it will. We never got actual confirmation but the tech seemed to agree with our assessment.

Anyway, that is pretty much the update. Hopefully, this little post will get me back into the blogging spirit….

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


When I was a little kid, my parents would sometimes go away together and leave us at my aunt Meme's house for a long weekend.  I loved when they did this.  I mean, sure, I missed my parents, but staying at Meme's meant new toys to play with, cousins who always made me giggle and, as a kid, I mostly thought about the cabinet of treats.  

Meme's house has something very important that was lacking in my own home: a pantry filled with things like Vanilla Wafers, Fig Newtons and other yummy delights.  And the best part, it was all within reach of a small child!  I would happily reach in whenever the sugar urge struck me (which ironically, was less than at home where such things were often not in the house) and pull out a cookie or cracker.  A child's version of heaven.

Now, as an adult, I rarely keep cookies and such items in the house.  Like Mother, I have a horrible sweet tooth and if I had a pantry like Meme's, I would constantly be eating out of it and gain tons of weight (not to mention a very unhealthy lifestyle).  I am sure that one day, my child will prefer staying at relative's houses for the same reason that I loved visiting Meme.

I know that for my dogs, they are very happy that we are all living with Sister while the new apartment undergoes some renovations.  The love the air mattress that Sister's boyfriend (SuperRob) brought over and seem to be very content relaxing on her couch as well.  But, last night, for the first time, I realized that if I were to leave them alone with Sister for a weekend, they would likely not even miss me.  It would be just like when my parents left us at Meme's house.

Last night I met a new friend from my dog training class for a quick glass of wine (I dare you to judge me for it!) and some food.  We were having a blast and time quickly flew.  I looked at my watch, saw it was 9:30, the time I had promised Sister I would be home, hastily said goodbye and jumped into a cab.  As we sped toward Sister and the dogs, i figured I would call to check in and make sure that 1. Sister knew I was on my way; and 2. to ensure that the dogs were not missing me too badly (Cody will often cry when he gets home if Husband and I are not there).

"Hey, I am on my way in a cab, " I informed Sister when she answered.

"Ok," she replied.  "Can the dogs eat tuna?"

"A little bit is fine," I told her.

"Ok.  Bye," she said, abruptly hanging up on me. 

I wondered what was going and and when I walked into Sister's apartment, both dogs looked absolutely blissful.  Turns out, Sister had split an order of sushi with them and all three had gorged themselves on tuna rolls, tuna sushi and rice.  Neither dog looked particularly excited to have me home.

And this morning it hit me.  I had walked in immediately following the dogs being able to have all the treats they wanted and they gave me the same reaction I used to give my parents when they walked in right after my fourth Vanilla Wafer.  

I guess everyone (even dogs) need a Meme to spoil them occasionally.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


It’s amazing how fast time has gone by this month. I don’t think I have ever been this busy at work and getting the apartment together feels like a never-ending process. But, we do have a slight update: We now have a (mostly) finished living room and the kitchen has a working microwave, oven, stove and sink. Sure, there is still no bathroom and Husband, the doggies, and I will be moving in with Sister for a week while the bathroom is being done, but there seems like there is an end in sight and for the first time, I think the apartment may be finished before the baby is born, which is really all I wanted.

Actually, as we get closer to having an actual baby (as opposed to a fetus) I alternate between feeling like a baby is going to be much harder than I think and feeling like I really will be a good mother. Tiki and Cody the wonder dogs (aka double Trouble) are a huge part of my parenting practice.

For example, the other day, I noticed that Tiki was peeing weird and took him to the vet. Initially, the vet said nothing was wrong and offered some antibiotics as a prophylactic (which I accepted) but insisted on more tests. Sure enough, it turns out the Tiki had kidney stones and I congratulated myself on knowing my baby well enough to insist on medical care, even when the vet said it was not necessary. Oh yeah. I can totally handle a human baby.

But then, as though he knew my confidence was soaring, Cody (who has been uncomfortable in the new apartment) developed massive separation anxiety and howls whenever we leave the apartment. A couple weeks after moving in, we left Tiki and Cody crated in the apartment while we had dinner with Photogenic Friends, who had just moved into their new apartment in Brooklyn. The night was really fun and when we got home, we were surprised to see a note on our door. Apparently Cody was crying all night and kept up the neighbor who loves below. (Of course, he left an anonymous note so it took us a while to figure out who was complaining). I worked really hard with him and finally figured we had progressed to the point where he and Tiki could be left uncrated in the apartment.

So, Sunday night, I left the dogs uncrated in the living room (blocked with puppy gates) and went to the movies with Husband for the first bit of relaxation all weekend. When we came home, both dogs greeted us at the door, having jumped the gates, and we noticed the trash had been torn apartment and so had the remains of good bags given to us at a party the previous evening. One or both dogs had eaten sugarless gum, chocolate, and oatmeal raisin bars. All three things are toxic to dogs and could be fatal, and my first reaction was to freak out. But, instead, I had Husband walk them (in case diarrhea was coming) and called Animal Poison Control. Following the instructions given by the vet over the phone, I induced vomiting in the dogs and went to bed. Ugh, I will be the worst mother ever and likely kill my child.

As I was retelling this story to a friend, she commented that, despite allowing the dogs to get into something dangerous to being with, I actually handled the situation well by being calm and just figuring out a solution to the problem. According to my friend, she screws up all the time as a mother and the trick is just fixing the problems she causes before they get out of control or cause real damage. That made me feel better.

So maybe I will be okay in a couple months. But then again, not sure how to remedy the fact that for the last month, I have been breathing in lead paint dust during renovations. Ah, the conflict continues…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


So last week was one I hope never to repeat. Let’s start with the basics. I moved into my new apartment, which is still undergoing extensive renovations. We have a toilet and shower (currently draped in plastic with cardboard boxes as the floor), no sink, no kitchen, no living room and are living out of the bedroom. The bed serves as our couch, dining table, bed and desk. The dogs are stressed, I am frustrated and Husband is surprisingly calm about the entire ordeal (which is like bizarro world to me).

Then, to top it off, I was having the busiest week at work I had ever experienced. Three motions were all due, 4 client deadlines and an oral argument in Federal Court. I could have worked all night every night and still not finished. And of course, the whole pregnancy thing was not helping since I am starting to feel awkward in my own body. Just big enough that my belly and boobs are in my way, my back hurts and I am getting sick of this whole pregnancy thing.

But, sometimes, your body has a special way of telling you to slow down, and for me that came in the form of pneumonia. I went to bed on Thursday night with a sore throat, cough and congestion. I woke up on Friday with a massive hacking cough, chills, headache and general aching. Husband handled the entire move while I sat in Starbucks drinking tea and trying to stay awake.

All day Friday, things felt worse and worse and on Sunday, when I could not stand up, I finally paged my OBGYN to find out what medications I could take while pregnant. Robitussin and cough drops were pretty much it. And some Tylenol for the fever.

That weekend, Husband unpacked what he could, took care of the dogs, let me nap as much as I needed and bought an electric kettle in order to make me hot tea to soothe the cough. He spoke to the doctor when I was too sick and carried me to the makeshift bathroom at 3am when I was so dizzy that I could not stand up.

Monday morning, I went to the doctor and after a bunch of tests and a fight with my General Practitioner (I really hate him but only remember that I hate him when I am too sick to do anything about it) I had chest x-rays and the diagnosis came back with pneumonia. A prescription for antibiotics, fluids and rest followed and I missed the entire week of work.

While the construction guys were in my apartment I went to Sisters and napped in her bed and on her couch. I used her kettle to make tea and Mother came over several times in order to keep me company, make sure I was drinking those fluids and check my temperature. I came home every night after Sister got home from work (she brought me cookies from my favorite bakery) and Husband got me soup and bread to settle my stomach. My Nana called to check in on how I was feeling. Various Aunts called and offered whatever services they could, Father offered to make me chicken soup (which I declined since last time he tried to make me soup, I thought he was poisoning me) and my coworkers took on all the assignments without complaint. Even Evil Partner, in a surprising show if humanity, told me to take it easy and be careful of a relapse.

So, while I physically felt miserable, it was nice to know what a wonderful support system I have and how many people care about me. And, while I never want to go through another week like last week again, it was reaffirming to know how wonderful the people in my life really are.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


So this Friday, I am moving to Beirut circa 1984. Well, at least that is how the contractor described the condition of the new apartment. There is no running water and exposed electrical wires. There is no kitchen and no bathroom, and even if there was, they would be useless since there is no plumbing right now. There will be almost no furniture, which is not a bad thing since there is dust and bits of plaster everywhere. I suppose that since there are not bullets flying through the windows (as there may have been if I have moved to this neighborhood 25 years ago), I should count myself lucky.

A month ago, when we gave notice on our current apartment and decided to move into the new place during renovations, this seemed like a good idea. The contractor was confident that most of the apartment would be completed and that, at the very least, there would be a working shower and toilet, even if there were not yet tiles on the floor. But, through no fault of our contractor (who we actually adore and would work with again in a heartbeat), the co-op board delayed and delayed on the required approvals and work is really just beginning. So we are weeks behind our original timetable and I begin to understand why our contractor refuses to put a “time is of the essence” clause in a contract concerning co-op renovations.

But, Husband and I are up to the challenge. We are going to “camp” in our new place and Sister has generously given us the key to her place for middle of the night bathroom emergencies and morning showers. Husband, Tiki, Cody and I will all live in the master bedroom and hope that the dust we are inhaling contains only minimal amounts of lead. (And, if there is lead, then when Sesame is actually born and does something stupid, I can tell him/her that it is not their fault but because Mommy inhaled poison during pregnancy.)

I will continue updates as the renovations continue and, in the meantime, am glad to have an office with a nice clean bathroom. Somehow, I see many a late work night in my future over the next couple of weeks.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Just this week, the accountant at my office asked me if I was pregnant. Apparently she was out of the office when I made the big announcement in December and had just figured I had been gaining weight over the last few months.

"Congratulations!" She gushed when she saw me. We talked about when I am due (June 27th) and how much she loved it when her kids were born. And then this:

"I suppose when the baby comes, you'll want to be a stay at home Mommy, right?"

I have spent many a sleepless night lying awake feeling my unborn child kick me non-stop and wondering about how the impending birth is going to change my life. First and foremost on my mind is childcare.

I live in Manhattan and work helping low income people fight for livable wages. The problem is that while I feel really good about my career choice, I barely make a livable wage myself. I never really cared about this since Husband, Sister and the rest of my family are generous enough to pay for vacations and the occasional meal, and while I do appreciate having nice things, I can also live without.

And, while there are certain aspects of my current job that I really don't like, I do like working overall. In fact, I love being busy with my work and my volunteer activities and can not imagine giving them up. Do I want to be an attorney forever? Likely not. Are there other career opportunities that I am eager to explore? Most definitely!

So then, Husband and I wrestle with the different ways to handle child care. Mother generously offered to help out a few times a week, but I feel bad having her watch my child just when all of her children are grown. Mother has fabulous vacations planned and keeps a relatively full schedule. She does not need a nanny job.

And what about a professional nanny? Well, the starting salary is somewhere around $600 per week, not including healthcare and overtime. I make just barely more than that and I have wondered about the trade off of working just to pay the nanny.

And then there is day care. At $2000+ a month on average, it is slightly out of our price range and the places we have explored do not allow child to enroll before 8 months of age. So that would be 8 months where I would be out of work and the idea of trying to catch back up and re-hone my skills terrifies me.

Part of me thinks of the cost of child care as an investment in my career. Money I am putting in now to ensure a higher return in the future. And part of me wonders why I am so eager to leave my child and go back to work even before it is born.

But the other day, I met a group Linkof women who really helped to clarify my thinking on the subject. We had gathered for a roundtable discussion about how the Clinton campaign resonates with working women and, due to my obvious pregnancy, the topic of working motherhood came up. One of the woman who was part of the discussion runs Working Mother Magazine, so clearly she had some insight into the matter.

I was open and honest regarding my fears for the future: our lack of affordable childcare options, society’s expectation that I stay home, the fact that Husband’s salary is so much more than mine and thus the one we rely on more. And also I spoke about how I am happiest when I am busy and thrive on participating in things like NYC Shiba Rescue, Haven Coalition and even my job (especially when Evil Partner is on vacation). I don’t know if I would be satisfied with full time motherhood and think I may even begin to feel isolated from my friends.

The women of the group nodded in sympathy. They had all been in my position and all felt like they were fighting an uphill battle against the same forces I felt.

One woman nodded in sympathy when I explained how the nanny would make more than I do (or close to it) and told me, “Going into debt for childcare is an investment in your future. It’s like going into debt for law school. You are paying out money now and expecting a huge return on your future.”

That was a moment of clarity for me. It’s okay to work just to pay the nanny (if that is what I choose) since the personal and career rewards I would reap from that investment would more than pay me back. And, while that may not ultimately be the decision I make, and I certainly would never fault those who made a different decision, it is nice to know that when the time comes, I am not alone.

And really, whether I go back to work right away, take some time off or never go back to the workforce, I am investing in my future. I am doing something that may not be cost effective now because I know the benefits I will have in the future. And I am lucky to have so many options.

So, the next time someone like my office accountant makes the assumption that I want to stay at home, maybe I will just tell them that I will be investing in my future leave it at that.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I had meant to write a post about how the other day, I participated in a rountable discussion with working women in NYC in order to discuss how the Clinton campaign resonated with them. Whether or not these woman supported Clinton's campaign for the White House, they also saw gender as a huge factor in the race and felt that Clinton was judged differently from her male counterparts. This post was supposed to be about how these woman, all mothers, made me reevaluate my own priorities and offered insight into working motherhood which changed my plans for the future and made me realize that I was not being true to myself, but rather what I felt society expected of me. That post will have to wait.

Instead, I would like to offer a quick lesson to anyone moving homes who may have a dog: If you decide to consolidate your CD collection and remove all the cases in order to store the CDs in a box to later upload to iTunes, make sure that you don't use the same box where you previously stored dog bones. And, if you do use the same box for CDs as you previously used for dog bones, do not leave it on the floor while you attend a friend's birthday dinner. Nothing good comes from that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


So, I realized that I almost never blog about the pregnancy. And really, what’s the point? I feel fat and tired, have heartburn and insomnia and generally am no different from any of the other women before me at 21 weeks of pregnancy.

But actually, I am really lucky. I have a great support system of friends and family and two of my good friends are due within a couple weeks of me so my baby will have some ready made playmates. Plus, I am taking pre-natal yoga and made a friend in that class who is due right around the same time. But, despite the changes I have had to make – new clothes, no wine with dinner (well, less wine with dinner), more vitamins and meat cooked beyond raw – the fact that Husband and I are going to be parents has not really hit me.

I could never picture beyond the delivery day, never really pictured a baby or a small child in my life on a permanent basis. And when I did, I actually sort of pictured an arrangement like I have with my dogs – give them love and attention and they reward me with kisses and good behavior. But yesterday, all that changed.

Husband and I took some time yesterday to go to the doctor’s and get the required 20-week ultrasound where they check to make sure things like the fetus has all it’s fingers and toes and that the heart and brain are there. (Yes, I realize I am 21 weeks pregnant but since abortion is legal in NYC until 24 weeks, I knew that if something was wrong, we would still have time to make decisions). Thankfully, nothing appeared wrong. Everything seems to be progressing on schedule and normally. Sure, the fetus has unusually large feet, but so do I so it’s not like that was a surprise.

Going into the ultrasound, Husband and I decided that we did not want to know our future baby’s gender. There are so few surprises in life where either way is good, that we wanted to keep it a surprise from ourselves. Besides, the room was already painted yellow so it’s not like we were re-painting pink or blue. And being that my mother, grandmothers and countless generations of Jewish women before me have imposed their superstitions on me, it’s not like we are really buying anything before the baby is born anyway. But then, in the ultrasound room, the technician asked us if we wanted to know the gender and I looked at Husband who pleaded with me with his eyes to say “yes” and we looked at the picture and knew even before the tech said anything. So, we know that we are having a ______.

Oh, wait. Did I mention that we decided not to tell anyone what the gender is? We had actually decided that well before the ultrasound. We just wanted to keep part of the pregnancy to ourselves. And really, given that my family is mostly girls and Husband’s is mostly boys, we figured the odds were not stacked in any particular way. Plus, I was convinced we are having a boy and Husband was convinced we are having a girl and neither of us cared too much either way, so why make a big deal out of it?

But the thing is, it has become a big deal. My mother is so annoyed that we won’t tell and my father even tried to get it out of me. We are calling Husband’s parents’ tonight to tell them all about the ultrasound results and I am pretty sure they will be equally as unthrilled with our decision to not revel gender.

There is more to my decision though than just wanting to keep this one thing to ourselves for just a few more months (although that is the major reason), the other part is that my poor child will be bombarded by gender stereotypes pretty much from the moment it is born. Toys will be pink or blue, clothes will be the same and I am not sure I want all of that pressure pre-birth. I do not think it will scar a baby boy to wear a pink onesie (so Mara, pass on your hand-me-downs) nor will a little girl be disturbed by being in blue (Cari, that means I want your old stuff as well) and no matter the gender, this child will grow up with an appreciation of sports as well as the ability to whip up dinner and dessert for six without more than 60 minutes notice.

But for me, weirdly, knowing the gender made the fact that I am having a baby seem all too real. I can now picture future events from a specific perspective and the little thing we have affectionately referred to as “Sesame” (since it was the size of a sesame seed at the first appointment) now has an actual person’s name. I can look forward to a bris/baby naming and I can finally see a moment beyond the delivery.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Actually, I got back yesterday and pretty much slept the rest of the day. Those overnight flights are brutal for folks like me (read: people who are incapable of sleeping on airplanes without prescription drugs). And while I would normally pop 20mg of Ambien, down it with a glass of wine and wake up 11 hours later, my doctor has frowned on this sort of this since the whole pregnancy thing started.

The trip was unbelievable and Husband and I are already talking about going to Patagonia again. He is super jealous.

And yet, as much as I missed him and the dogs, I am pretty glad to have been gone this week. The weather was terrible in NY (it was 85 and sunny every day in Argentina), Cody escaped and had an afternoon running free though the wilds of Connecticut when Husband went to visit his parents (I played with a puppy on a ranch outside of Buenos Aires who followed me around), and both dogs were sprayed by a skunk (I saw baby penguins and elephant seals).

But to give Husband credit, he did a wonderful job of holding down the fort. The apartment was spotless upon my return, the dogs were bathed, lightening fixtures were purchased for the new apartment and all the shopping for the week had been completed. I was very impressed.

I happily relaxed at home last night, basking in the calm, when, of course, that calm was shattered. Husband and I ran out to buy a new dishwasher for the new apartment and upon our return, we realized that the dogs had unzipped my suitcase and eaten the chocolate and chocolate cookies which I had brought back from Argentina. Yes, unzipped a suitcase, taken the plastic wrapping off of everything and eaten all the food, carefully avoiding any tinfoil and paper. Grrr.

We sniffed the dogs and from the smell, determined that Tiki was the culprit and promptly induced vomiting. Gross. Glad we are moving from the backyard. But then, an hour later, Cody suddenly vomited on the carpet. Apparently Tiki did not act alone.

Since then, both dogs have been sick and acting off. Cody has diarrhea and Tiki was high on chocolate and kept us up all night. And me? I find myself wistfully thinking of heading back on another trip with Mother and Sister for a week….

Friday, February 15, 2008


So I am sitting in a hotel in Pategonia, waiting for a car which will take me to the airport so I can explore the glacier and thought I would take advantage of how the hotel has seemingly forgotten to charge for internet access in order to write a quick post. Of course, as this is a Spanish keyboard, there are certain to be spelling and punctuation errors (even more than usual!) but you will have to bear with me on that front.

Being in Patagonia is like waking through an episode of Planet Earth. I was inches from Penguins, feet from Sea Elephants (no need to get to close to something that weights almost a ton at birth!), and bobbing in a boat right next to Sea Lions. It is really unbelievable and when I can upload some photos, I will post some.

The interesting thing also is that is is really warm. Somehow, I has it in my head that being so far south it would be cold, but it is beach weather and smarter people than I, meaning those who packed weather appropriate clothing, see to be taking full advantage. And, while I had no idea what to expect, I certainly did not expect desert-like conditions. (I learned on this trip that to be a desert, a region must recieve 5 inches or less of rain, but this area recieved 7 inches annually so it just misses the cutoff. You could have fooled me though - it is hot and dry and dusty!)

Mother, Sister and I have been having a blast on our girls-only vacation and laughing pretty much non-stop. I have even recovered from the flight from NY where I sat next to a 2-year old child who did not just cry for the 11 hour flight, but actually screamed. I debated various tactics from smothering the child to slipping an ambien into her bottle, but both would have required me getting even closer than I already was to the loudest being on the planet. And all this on an overnight flight!

Ooops, so much to tell but the car is here and waiting. I am off to the next destination before heading home and will post more (and more coherently) when I am back.

And to Husband - on the off chance you are reading this - I miss you so much and can´t wait to see you. Thanks for looking after the dogs. You are a trooper for everything you handled this week.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


There are some people whose opinions I respect as gospel and follow blindly. One of these people is JG. She is my doggie –guru and the person to whom I bring my dog-related issues. Plus, in addition to starting NYC Shiba Rescue and knowing pretty much everything there is to know about Shiba Inus, she is a good person and always willing to share knowledge and a laugh.

So, when I complained to her that Tiki and Cody (aka Double Trouble) were destroying my home when I was gone, she reminded me of an important theory in dog training: Better behavior through exhaustion. If the dogs were tired from playing, they would not have the energy to destroy my home. This was perfect. I did not want to crate them during the day because Cody cries all day if crated and annoys my neighbors when we do that, but I also was not entirely sure which dog was the culprit. I suspect Tiki ate my shoes and earmuffs, but I blame Cody for eating all the English muffins off the counter top.

Husband and I started getting up 30 minutes early on days when the dogs were not in day care and bringing them to the dog run so they can play off leash for a while and get good and tired before we leave for work. This in itself can be a tricky process because there are some dogs that Tiki just does not like, and if they are in the run when we get there, I do not feel comfortable going inside (actually, I am about as fond of the owner as Tiki is of the dog so I am happy to avoid contact). But 99% of the time, we get there first and then the mean dog/owner even come so it works out fine. Husband tosses a ball for Tiki while Cody attempts to climb trees to get at the squirrels playing overhead. Thirty minutes later, we head home and the dogs pretty much sleep the rest of the day. I think all four of us really enjoy the outing.

So today, in an attempt to make my 9am conference call, we got up even earlier than normal and headed to the run. As we rounded the corner, I noticed it was empty.

“Wow,” I commented to Husband, “We even beat the guy with the cigarette and loud dog.”

We agreed that we were thrilled to be the only ones since we could run and throw balls without worrying about the reactions of other dogs and jogged up to the gates. Locked. No wonder the run was empty. Tiki pawed at the gate and Cody looked at me sadly.

“We could lift them up and jump the fence,” Husband suggested.

I thought about it, but what if the gate was locked because there was a dangerous condition at the run, like rat poison or something. So we decided to do for a long walk instead. We started walking around the Museum of Natural History. Tiki, out of boredom or whatever, started to jump over the 12 inch iron borders that surround the trees and I developed an idea.

We ran full speed down 77th Street as close to the trees as possible.

“Jump!” I would yell just before each little fence. We pretended it was an agility class and were having a blast until Tiki ran on the wrong side of the tree and forced me to stop short, skidding in the leaves on my knees, a bag of dog poop in my hand. Husband helped me up, made sure I was okay (and clean!), and I continued along my way, running (slightly slower) and having Tiki jump.

When the trees stopped having the borders, Husband took both dogs and ran full speed down the rest of the block and then turned and came back to me. When the dogs reach me, they jumped on me and gave kisses to my face. Then, we walked home (and got there about 30 minutes later, or just about the time we would have had the run not been locked) and both doggies passed out on the couch while Husband and I got ready for work.

So, hopefully the doggies were tired enough to sleep today after our walk. I know I am…

Monday, January 28, 2008


One of my very first ever posts was about SWCNBN’s wedding and how one of my most constant wishes was that my cousin M could marry L, despite the fact that both are men. Saturday night, I got to be part of that celebration. The entire family was there and we all celebrated, danced, laughed and had a fantastic time – really, how can you not love an event with a chocolate fountain???. It was an amazing celebration and the sheer joy of everyone inspired me to come out of vacation and start blogging again. Somehow, it seems as though the blog has come full circle or something.,,,

These last few weeks have seen a transformation in me as well. My energy has returned and my appetite is back with a vengeance. (Luckily for my waist-line, I am craving berries and bananas and not chocolate and pasta) Plus, I started pre-natal yoga, made a new friend in the class and actually got a client for my dog training business. A regular, steady client who is going to pay me. Sure, it’s only one client, but that’s how things start… Nine more to go and I will make more than I make as an attorney.

The apartment renovations have started as well and seem to be moving at a nice clip – we are going shopping with the contractor next weekend and already picked out paint colors for the entire place. Move-in date is Feb. 29th and except for the fact that our bathroom won’t be finished due to permit complications with the City, everything else should be done.

Plus, I’ve gotten zen about Evil partner. I am going on maternity leave in less than 5 months. I expect that Evil Partner will ask the firm to hire someone to replace me when I am gone and when I am ready to return, they will not want me back. I will then get a sweet severance package and either go back to my old job (which I loved on many levels) in a better position or really concentrate on my dog training business. Or maybe do a mix of both. The thing is, I hate sitting still and get energy from juggling a million balls in the air. I think that in some perverse way, having a newborn will add to this.

But, the most immediately exciting news is that I am heading on vacation for a week with some girls. And, my doctor is going to write a note that, due to my pregnancy, I need a bulkhead seat in order to avoid leg clots. Free trip, free upgrade and cool company: I could not be more excited.

And, maybe it’s the pregnancy or the impending trip or M&L’s wedding, but I feel like things are really falling into place. But either way, it certainly helps that Evil Partner is on vacation for the next week and, for the next few days, even work will be pleasant….

Friday, January 11, 2008


Wow, it’s been a little while since I have had time to sit down and write. Between Evil Partner and his ridiculous assignments, dealing with trying to get renovations started on the new apartment, launching the very beginnings of a dog training business and just being plain old exhausted from the pregnancy, blogging has fallen off the priority list.

I am actually too busy to really write more right now, except for this assurance that as soon as my energy returns, so will my blogging.