Monday, August 31, 2009

Bend me, Shake me...

Emery and I finished up our stint at Yoga Child last Saturday...the class that wouldn't die is finally over, and I have mixed feelings. I'm sad that its done, mostly because it means this chapter of Emery's babyhood is closed. I remember being pregnant and thinking about how wonderful taking Mommy and Me yoga would be, I remember rubbing my belly and thinking of all the friends I would make and the things we would learn...


That really didn't happen.

I feel seriously underwhelmed and its a shame because the pre-baby lessons K.O. and I took at the studio were great! Its one of the reasons I was so pumped about post-natal classes; I thought if their couple's classes were so comprehensive, well then the actual baby classes were gonna blow me away.

Not so much. I found the instructor less learned than I had hoped, I didn't really connect with anyone else, and I felt frustrated throughout, spending more time trying to stop Emery from rolling off the mat than I did getting to practice any actual yoga.

So here's a break down of the good stuff and the bad stuff, just in case you were thinking of joining up. A lot of people talk/write about Yoga Child and this class, but there are very few ACTUAL reviews. I'm hoping this sheds a little light on the subject.

Lets start with...

The Positive:

It got me OUT OF THE HOUSE every week and there's a big part of me that says it was worth the price of the class right there. Knowing you have something to look forward to, knowing that if you just hold on for two more days there is a something other to do than go to the grocery store and stare at the wall, can get you through some tough spots.

I partially credit going to yoga with helping Emmy conquer her fear of strangers. She got to see other adults in a calm and quiet environment-as opposed to what usually happens-somebody or another is trying to take her from her mother, making googly faces inches from her own, all the while screaming about how cute she is. That's a lot to handle and I never understood why people were surprised when Emmy would recoil in terror. I think class helped with teaching Emery not all people are asses.

There were a couple of things my instructor said that made a lot of sense. I was able to bring a few lovely one liners home with me which I try to hold on to them when I am feeling stressed. The one that I really meditate on is about trying to give from an empty basket. The gentle reminder that its okay to take some time just for me has been exceptionally beneficial and I try to remember that metaphor when I feel myself overextending or trying to take on too much.

I got a little bit of exercise and now know just HOW out of shape my abs are.

They are very out of shape.

Moving on to the...

The Negative

The class wasn't as yoga-ish as I had hoped. A lot of the exercises we ended up doing were Pilate's based, and while yes, I do want a toned tush...I didn't sign up for squats, v-shapes sit-ups and crazy isometric tummy work. I wanted to gently stretch and rediscover my body...thus the reason I signed up for a yoga class...not a Pilate's class.

I didn't make a single friend. Now, its not that I didn't get along with the other ladies, the other women in the class seemed very nice, but I was the youngest there by a good ten years and Emmy was the oldest baby by a good 2 months. I blame this mostly on the fact I had C-section and had to wait 12 weeks before I could be cleared to take the class, most women only have to wait 6. No one really had much to say to me, and while that's not Yoga Child's fault, its still a negative for me.

The instructor seemed to be making things up as she went along. She kept trying to give us these calm, focused meditations, these insightful little tidbits of wisdom...only they were kinda based on the toys I'd brought Emmy to play with. One day she started talking about butterflies and cocoons, siting the Eric Carle book "The Hungry Caterpillar". I know this book very well, mostly because Emmy has both, a stuffed caterpillar and stuffed butterfly from said book

...which I bring to yoga

...which she was chewing on as this woman was going on and on about our metamorphosis.

She also had us try to do infant massage on our last day, which left the outfit Emmy was wearing that day smeared with oil which doesn't really come out in the wash. Don't get me wrong, she was a very nice woman, I just don't know how experienced she is, or well thought out the actual classes were. This leads me to my next point.

The schedule that the class was supposed to follow was, apparently, more of just a suggestion than an ACTUAL timeline for when we were to meet. I was supposed to be done with yoga the first week of August but my instructor had to cancel so often it was pushed back four weeks...right into the middle of my vacation. Granted, Yoga Child would let me make up two of the classes I missed with either the alternative baby class on Thursday or any adult class I'd like. And that's very nice...but I didn't sign up for the Thursday class and I don't have the time to take a class without my daughter...that's why I took the Saturday baby class.

Yoga Child is a great studio. The owner is wonderful, the staff is warm and helpful, and they're are right next to Whole Foods so parking is free. I wanted to write a happier review of my experience, but this is mucky hand I was dealt. Maybe Thursday's class is better, maybe I just stumbled into a bad round. Its possible, and I sincerely hope that's the case. Yoga Child deserves nothing but great reviews and I'll be hoping to get lots of email siting the awesome experience other people had in the same class.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bargin Basement Mommy

So...I just got back from my mother's house in North Jersey. Emmy and I had a (mostly) lovely time, what with the excess of grandma love that spills out like a torrent and covers everyone in a warm and comfortable goo of teddy bears and jelly beans.

I also got a chance to drop off a bunch of clothes Emmy had out grown at the local consignment shop which was awesome because those bags had been sitting in our hallway for months. My mother came with me to the store and while I wanted to look around for a while, she kept frantically shifting her eyes to the door and asking me if I wanted to leave and go Kohls, the massive department store my mother would move into if it was permitted.

I tried to brush her off, but she kept insisting and made it clear that she was quite anxious to leave. I finally gave in to her persistent questioning and agreed to leave the store empty handed. When I asked what made her so nervous (maybe there was a killer robot I didn't see, or a lion hiding behind the door) she told me that it made her upset to think of her granddaughter in second hand clothes, that Emmy just deserved better than that.

This threw me for a loop.

I am a big fan of doing some bargain basement, consignment or thrift store shopping for kids, and cannot, for the life of me, understand why people do NOT take better advantage of these great resources. I'd say at least two-thirds of Emmy's wardrobe are either hand-me-downs or something we purchased second hand and she looks great.

I never thought twice about this topic until my mother said something.

Am I doing wrong by my baby by refusing to pay retail?

After a couple of days of tossing and turning over this offhanded comment, I've come to this conclusion:

I love my mom, but she is wrong. Wrongy, wrongy, wrong.

My husband and I aren't poor, we aren't starving, and Emery has everything she needs and many things she doesn't. We go to baby yoga, baby music class, and she tends to get lost in the piles of toys and books that are slowly taking over the space we once used for things like our sofa and our bed. We are constantly taking trips to farmer's markets and have never, ever left without bags and bags of delicious treats. She has great medical insurance, fancy strollers, and a mom who doesn't have to work and stays home to bake challah.

How do we afford so many extras?

Because I don't have to use all our disposable income buying her new pants every two weeks.

Anyone who has had a baby knows that children have a closet full of clothes they have never worn. People give you gifts without gift recites, sleepers that are too big, onesies that are too small, or cable knit sweater that your baby will grew into around July. Or maybe you did what I did, and stocked up the wardrobe with newborn sized clothing only to have a baby the size of a Volkswagen.

And what did I do with all those too small clothes? I offered them to friends and turned over the rest to consignment store for resale.

I think the stigma that seems to attach itself to clothing and other stuff you get from a second hand place stems from the idea of purchasing something that someone else has thrown away or deemed not worthy for THEIR consumption.

I think this is ridiculous.

How many people buy used cars?

If you shift your perspective and look at places like consignment and thrift stores as a communal resource, a place to pass on the good stuff you've received and no longer have need/room/patience for, the "ick" factor fades away. We've picked up high end, major label clothes (Janie and Jack, Baby Dior, etc...) for peanuts and you can bet that when we're done with them, we're packing them up and passing them on.

So what do you give up when you do some shopping at thrift store? Well, I guess you don't get the mass size selection. There is only one of each item (unless someone had twins) and sometimes its a hit or miss selection, but I think that's all secondary to saving an incredible amount of money on adorable stuff for your child.

And naught for not, but if you ARE in a situation where you're struggling to put food on the table, its nice to know that getting a winter coat for your baby isn't going to ensure that you and your family have to eat oatmeal for two meals a day for a month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oh! And I also write this column...

Hey everyone,

Just in case you didn't already know, I write a column for Every week I go out and find something great to do, and, in these shaky times maybe more importantly, inexpensive to do with a baby/child/adult who likes to do things babies like.

The latest edition is about our local farmer markets, where to go, what to buy, all that good stuff.

If you're interested, check it out here:

Stupid pets.

My dog ate my cake... all rights I should eat my dog.

Munchy Crunchy

So I think Emmy is having a love affair with food...and I'm concerned.

Why is it then when I read about babies with food issues its always about children pushing cereal out with their tongues and the worries about babies not getting enough calories as they reject strained carrots and peas.

Where is the article about the child with a crazed look in her eye as she screams, throwing spoons and attempting to launch herself from the highchair because her mashed avocados have run out.

I am thoroughly confuddled. If I gave Emery her heart's desire she'd eat EVERYTHING in INCREDIBLE amounths...except peas.

She hates peas, if I try to give her peas she refuses to let the spoon into her mouth.

But anything other than peas she gobbles up and when it runs out she cries for more.

Should I just keep shoveling the apples, pears, and couscous into her mouth until she grows to the size of a small horse? Don't little people have a shut off valve when they reach capacity? Is my daughter magic? Are all her other organs tiny to make room for an adult sized stomach?

Its weird to think you might not be feeding you child correctly. Its times like these that I feel like an idiot. I feel like barging into my mother's house with Emmy held in front of me and asking "How much do I put in this?".

Is there an over-eater's anonymous for babies?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Naps! I Don't Need a Nap!

Why won't this child nap?

Is her blanket made of throwing stars?

There are no monsters under her bed or in her closet. I checked. I even said "Okay, I'm leaving the room now!" and made stomping noises, like I was going into the hallway. Not a one popped out. No monsters.

For the past three days Emery had decided that napping is for suckas.

I love my daughter, I think she's wonderful, and I want to just spend oodles of time with her but our carpet looks like our cats and dog exploded all over the place. Emery is afraid of the vacuum so I can only really run it when she's in her crib and sleeping.

If she doesn't sleep for more than fifteen minutes at a clip our family is going to be smothered in the rouge hairballs drifting at alarming speeds down our hallway.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Found: One Teething Cookie (part 2)


...oh good God. this why they don't make teething cookies anymore?

...Emmy is stuck to her chair.

There is cookie on the dog, on the floor, in her hair, on her dress, all over the highchair, there's a coating on her bib that I think I might be able to scrape off with a blow torch and garden trowel.

...but it DID keep her quiet for ten minutes. And now she smells like a little cookie.

Meh. I'll call it a draw.

Found: One Teething Biscut

I had assumed it would be easy to find teething cookies...I figured I'd be fighting off teething cookies with a stick.

This is not the case.

I went to four different grocery stores, a Target, and a CVS and not a single ONE had baked teething treats.

You'd think I was looking for Leprechauns, or Big Foot, or a female under the age of 40 at a Clay Aiken concert.

A part of me wanted to give up hope. A part of resigned myself that my child would just have to spend her days chewing on my keys and attempting to eat her own foot.

But there was another part of me, a BETTER part of me that knew if I just held out a little longer, if I didn't give up hope I would find the mythical baby biscotti like cookie I so craved.

And is the day of victory.

People, I found a teething cookie. Whole Foods carries Healthy Timez baby biscuits and Emmy is currently devouring one of them like mad.

I win! Score one for desperately teething!

Let Me Tell You 'Bout The Birds and The Bees...

I have a favorite thing.

This is a link to my favorite thing, Aden and Anais muslin baby wraps.

I think these *might* be made by God.

Seriously, I think that God may have employed angels to weave blankets out of awesomeness and gypsy tears. THESE ARE THOSE BLANKETS!

They are soft, huge, and breathable. If Emmy was the kind of baby who was okay having a cover up when she was nursing, I'd have one surgically attached to my chest so that we'd never be without one.

When I first registered for a four pack, I'll admit it, I did it because I loved the adorable little patterns, bright red caterpillars, happy faced bees-the mod styles were just incredibly sweet...and different! They were unique...even if they were massed produced. So I got them at my shower, took them home, and washed them. Some how, in the washer, I think it might have been the gypsy tears, they got softer. And its been like that EVERYTIME I put them in laundry! The colors have never faded and the uses I've found them have grown and changed as Emery has grown and changed.

When we first brought Em home...I was nervous about everything. I was worried the baby was going to stop breathing, her belly button stub would never fall off and she'd have to go around with that little part of the chord attached to her forever. I worried about her crying, about her not crying, worried about her eating too little, worried about a zombie attack and how our original escape plan would have to shift to accommodate a small baby and her ginormous carseat.

Looking back, some of these fears are more founded than others.

One fear I had, one of the less crazy ones, was that Emery was going to get one of her blankets over her face and not be able to breath. Now I know that we're all supposed to put the babies in those little sacks and leave them in an empty crib and get video monitors, and spend all our time staring at the screen, making sure the baby doesn't hop out and choke themselves using a teddy bear and Hey Diddle Diddle lampshade.

But my husband wouldn't let me get a video moniter and Emmy couldn't STAND her sleepy sack and since she was born in February just leaving her sans blanket in an empty crib was not an option. Aden wraps helped this mother out. Even if she managed to wiggle out of my incredibly tight kung-fu type swaddle, it didn't matter. She was safe, she was happy, and I could get some sleep.

Now that she's older and has left behind my ninja baby origami skills, we use them as urp cloths, to cover babyseats in grocery stores, but them over the baby swings at the playground so when she licks the bucket seat she kinda maybe doesn't get a mouth full of pigeon poop. We have eight...I could use four more.

You can find Aden wraps pretty much anywhere as Babies R Us carries them, but if you're reading this and you live in Philadelphia, let me make a suggestion. Make your way down here to Fairmount and visit Ali's Wagon. A great children's store, the prices are comparable to any of the big name stores and Ali's isn't only a shop. Ali's Wagon is special and deserves someone going out of there way to say so. Begun by Jessie Menken and Nat Weston as an answer to Fairmount's "young and urban" parenting needs, the couple quickly put together a fantastic resource for us hip, sleep deprived, and throw-up stained folks here in Philly. Yes, Ali's Wagon is a store, but its so much more than just a place to pick up spare up clothes. Think of it as an all-in-one parenting emporium, with great house wares, kids clothing, and baby goods along with a rich and diverse parenting center.

Now, I know I've already flogged the greatness of Ali's on phillyist in my column so I'm going to drop it...only I after I say that even if you're NOT in Philly, they have an online ordering option.

If you know an expecting mom, please suggest that she register for a package or two. They aren't a common item and they certainly aren't on any of those "new mom checklists". I found them as a happy accident and want to pass along the fun. Not everyone is as attracted to bright colors or willing to register for something based solely on a love for bright green mod-styled apples.

This concludes my public service announcement.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We Did Something Right This Morning

So we all got up when Emmy got up this morning (7:00...ish) and finally, finally, finally got ourselves together to go for a nice long walk. We got the dog on the leash, the baby in the stroller, the ipod all plugged in to the little adaptor thingy INSIDE the stroller ('cause that's classy and awesome), and off we went down the street and to the left, straight into the azalea garden section of Fairmount Park.

It was lovely.

And sweaty.

And interesting.

In our last neighborhood the people used to sit outside of their houses, pick each other's heads with their feet in kiddie pools, while their children ran up and down the sidewalk hitting the adults in back with wiffle ball bats. Every fourth of July weekend they used to have a "block party" which was code for setting up a giant beer pong table in the middle of the street and making you wish that you lived some place else.

In this current neighborhood we are in walking distance to like, half a dozen gazebos and our neighbors called me "Miss".

...except for the house across the street.

Let me explain the house across the street. I can do this in a single sentence. One sentence and you will know exactly what kind of neighbors I have.

They watch T.V. by turning the television around and setting their chairs outside.

Why? Why do this? It makes me so mad-its crazy times over there man. However, to be fair, they've stopped watching SO much T.V. outside, mostly because they've purchased the world's largest and rustiest air conditioner. It seems that it keeps their downstairs cool enough so that they can enjoy their never-ending marathon of SpongeBob Square Pants indoors.

Now if the eight hundred pound patriarch would just consider moving his free weights back into the living room and STOP pouring himself onto the pavement to do girly style push-ups, we might have the makings of an upper crusty street.

Friday, August 21, 2009

An Open Letter to the Girl that Flirts Online With My Husband


We've never met, but I couldn't help but notice you've recently moved into my house and have been sending hugs and smiley faces to my husband. Yes, I know that you really only reside in my husband's computer, or, what my daughter likes to refer to as "The Wiggles Box", but I'm observant.

And what I've observed is you being an Internet whorey slutterton.

A I.W.S. if you will.

I don't cotton to I.W.S.s.

Especially Canadian ones.

Quite frankly've got no idea who you're comin' up against.

I fight demon Sesame Street toys that don't make noise when you press the buttons and THEN MAKE ALL KINDS OF CRAZY HAUNTED TYPE SOUNDS WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND! That's right! I've taken on possessed Bert-now what? Also, I was a cheerleader in high school (captain Junior and Senior year) and if THAT experience taught me anything is how to mess with another girl's self esteem.

I think I might harbor the ability to kill someone's soul.

But all that aside-if you really want him...really, really want him, please by all means, come on down. But I have a secret to tell you...come here.

Super close.

Are you ready?

He has ear hair and its just getting longer everyday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Toaster, No Coffee Maker, No Problem

So we don't have a toaster.

In our old house we had a toaster oven which was old and cruddy. We set it free in the woods when we moved. And when I say "the woods" I mean "the garbage can". Sometimes I like to think of it running around the dump with all the other crumb filled and rejected appliances. Maybe it met a blender and settled down...had little waffle makers or whatever toaster ovens and blenders make when they reproduce together.

Life without a toaster isn't all that bad. I don't have to make a little home for it on my counter and the Kitchen Aid is enjoying being an only child. It does, however, become a problem when I want toast. Now, if I want some toast I either have to pre-plan and fire up the oven, hold it over the open flame of the burner, or kinda fry it in butter. I find this last method works the best because then I don't have to butter my toast and this is nice because I hate trying to cold butter on bread.

I always break something.

I've also taken to using my french press instead of a coffee maker. I drink less coffee which is good because I'm breast feeding and Emmy already HATES napping. I don't need her buzzing around here like a hummingbird. Before I got pregnant, I had a pretty hardcore caffeine habit and its been quite something moving from a pot a day habit (not counting the venti black eye I got everyday from the Starbucks around corner from campus) to a cup and a half in the morning. I get so excited for my morning coffee, its like my own special little treat. I add more milk than I used to so that it lasts for longer.

Strangely enough though I'm still going through the same amount of coffee beans as I did when I was brewing big ol' pots.

...i think i'm doing something wrong.


I love my neighborhood. It is wonderful. Lots of trees, friendly people, everything in walking distance.

I love my neighborhood.

I hate the house across the street.

The people who live in it throw their garbage on the street...instead of using a garbage can. This morning I found a dirty diaper on my sidewalk.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The First Ever Blog...take two.

So I'm back.

I'm torn between formally introducing myself or just letting this whole nonsense unfold...really its not a hard or difficult story to jump into. There is no time travel or wrongfully accused criminals. There are no interupted plot lines or neat, twisty surprises.

I'm not Lost.

So maybe basics, a for beginners if you will. I live here in the Fairmount neighborhood in Philadelphia with my husband (a dashing, skeptical lawyer) and baby daughter, Emery (aka Emmy). She is a little over six months old and enjoys the Wiggles.

I do not enjoy the Wiggles.

This is a sticking point in our relationship.

I started this blog in the hopes of sharing some of my experiences, issues, and my judgey, judgey opinions. See, when I first found out I was expecting I was dismayed that there wasn't a stronger Philly mom presence on the web. I found out that I base a lot of my personal choices on what the web has to say...I count on it for good pizza and embarrassing video. When I discovered there was no Philly mom blog to point the way, I had to lie, cheat, and bribe high ranking government officials to find a quality pediatrician.

Quite frankly, I don't even like to talk about what I had to do to find my new moms group.

So I'm slowly feeling my way around this city as a lady with a baby. I'm excited to say there are a few things I think I've got a handle on and these are things I want to share with other moms.

Now, this is not to say I know everything.

There are still MANY mysteries out there.

For example, today Emery and I drove across the bridge to Wegmans ('cause I LOVE me some Wegmans) and we were in the baby aisle, searching for Zwiebacks or some other teething type cookie (we didn't find any, but that's another post) when I saw the CRAZIEST baby food in the world.

Take a'll never guess.


Gerbers makes a "veal meal" for babies.

That's some awfulness.

Why would you ever feed a baby veal?

That's kinda like feeding the baby baby.

Babies don't like the taste of baby. I know because they told me.

Now, my husband and I choose to make our own baby food, mostly because its easy and I like the idea of being able to control exactly what Emery is eating. We have this little food grinder thingy that manages to power through anything softer than an apple with ease. Things tougher than an apple require elbow grease. Many older moms I've spoken with warned me off trying to make my own stuff. I heard a lot noise about how hard it would be and how much time it would take.

I really haven't found this to be the case at all.

Things like peaches, avocados, boiled potatoes, cooked carrots, yellow watermelon, anything soft gets pushed through in seconds. I can make the exact amount I want or I can just strain the whole fruit and freeze what we're not going to use. I think people are hesitant to try things like making their own baby because they have some kind of "Little House on the Prairie" picture of them bent over a stove and frantically canning or mashing as a baby screams in the background. In the time it takes to open a jar you can run a plum through the grinder. The swirling little blades remove the skin and seeds for you. No muss, no fuss.

I've really enjoyed making Em's food. I love going to the grocery store, finding something that just looks and smells amazing. I'm never afraid to taste anything I feed her.

I cannot say this about some the food I fed to my youngest brother. I remember looking at the beef stew meal and thinking I would push that crap out with my tongue as well. And there are so many great places to go in Philly for produce. If you haven't gone grocery shopping with your baby yet-do it! Strap them to your chest and go! The colors, the people, the lights, being OUT OF THE HOUSE, what's not to love?

If you're looking for some bargain basement prices for organic AND regular produce, check out Iovine's Produce in Reading Terminal Market. It may seem like its out of the way, but with four dollar parking, just go. If you're a student (I myself was a medical student pre-baby) they offer a discount on their already incredibly low prices on Wednesday and Sunday. How good are the prices? Two pounds of tomatoes for 99 cents...and not those pale, perfectly round, mealy tomatoes they sell in the plastic sleeves. These are ugly, misshapen, REAL tomatoes from Jersey.

If eating for a cause is more your thing, try out GreensGrow. A non-profit, leading nursery and farm grows an incredibly diverse range of produce hydroponically over a super fund site. They also bring in local cheeses, eggs, meats, and other treats for the surrounding Lancaster area. Now, in accordance with full disclosure, I'm not crazy about this group, but I want to be. I really, really, really want to be over the moon about Greensgrow, but every time I go, something always falls short. The green bell peppers are small and bitter, the cheese isn't as good as I thought it would be, or my bill is much higher than it would be if I just shopped at a chain. Now I understand the point of shopping at a place like GreensGrow is so that I DON'T shop at a chain, its paying a little bit more to support local growers, I get that, I really do, and maybe if it was the cost I could get behind it a little bit more.

But it's not.

I don't know, go, give it a try, let me know if you have a more positive experience.

When I go to chain for produce I will go one of two places, Whole Foods (either on South and 10th or Pennsylvania Ave. and 20th) or Wegmans. Many people hesitate going to Whole Foods because they think its going to be super expensive, and to be honest, yes, some things at Whole Foods are super expensive, far more expensive than at a place like Acme or ShopRite-specifically the meat and seafood. Their produce, however is often times right on par with the other big chains and, at times, it ends up being less expensive because they make a point to buy locally. The quality of the veggies and fruit are always, always, better. I've never bought an icky peach, never gotten a slimy bag of baby carrots, and I never have a problem finding an unbruised apple. They offer a discount if you bring your own bags, the cashiers are friendly, and unlike a certain Thriftway I know, you can actually bring your cart right to your car.

I'm not so enamored with Trader Joe's as far as produce (or bacon-worst bacon I've ever had) goes, but I am obsessed with their bulk nuts and pomegranate limeade.

So that ends my tirade on veggies. I wanted to conclude this in such a smoother way...but I'm tired. Em woke up rather early this morning and has she is one of those special children who is ACTUALLY a thirty year old lady and has no need for a nap.

She also keeps grabbing my wine glass.

We are concerned.


I had good intentions...

to begin this blog with a bang. However, someone decided to take a twenty minute nap this morning...

...will be back soon.

Gone shoppin'.