Saturday, April 27, 2013

I Missed It!

Yesterday I decided it was time to install the safety guard in the window of Clara's room.  I set Clara down by her toy storage across the room.  She happily cooed to herself while pulling out toy after toy.  

I became engrossed with installing the window guard correctly - measuring and remeasuring.  Drilling pilot holes and finally attaching it.  I was so caught up in finishing the job that I didn't turn around to look at Clara for a couple of minutes.  I could still hear her happy little voice and that was fine.

As I attached the final piece of the window guard I was startled to feel a tiny tug on my pants leg.  I looked down - and THERE WAS CLARA!!!!  Her tiny fist tugging on my pants.  She was smiling up at me - totally unaware of the fact that she had just crawled across eight feet of floor space for the FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!

Needless to state, I dropped what I was doing,  swept Clara up in my arms and carried her around in a victory dance.  We then called her dad on the phone to relate the news.

Clara seemed inordinately pleased with herself.  I get distinct impression that she was waiting for me to turn my back in order to try out her new moves and surprise her Mama.

Well, little girl...mission accomplished.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


One thing I have learned being a mother, is that your baby will blindside you with milestones.  One day they're happy sitting on the floor - the next their pulling themselves up to standing, and you're left wondering "when did you teach yourself that?  I am with you all the time and I never saw this before."

At this morning's breakfast Clara suddenly insisted on feeding herself with a spoon. She grabbed it right out of my hand and put it in her mouth like a pro.  I guess she's been watching me feed her and finally decided it was time to try it out herself.  She also yelled at me whenever I pried it out of her fist to refill it.  She wasn't to clear on how to refill the spoon and watched me each time I dipped it into the bowl and handed it back.  Maybe she'll be doing that herself tomorrow.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


This past week Gerald, Clara and I took a trip up to Hudson, New York to visit Gerald's parents.  For days leading up to the trip I found myself fretting about what to pack for Clara.  Clothes, spare clothes, food, formula, socks, diapers, wipes...the list went on and my head.  I kept meaning to write out a list but somehow never managed to put pen to paper.

Sunday night  I got home from work.  Gerald had managed to pull out one small suitcase and pack half of it with some clothes for himself for the three day trip.  For the next hour Gerald and I wandered around the apartment with an aimless sort of purpose trying to remember what we had to pack while Clara said "Wow" a lot and tried to pull herself up to standing before toppling over again.

After an hour I looked happily at the one small suitcase now packed with all my clothes, Gerald's,  and Clara's.  We were doing good.  Then I looked at what else we had.  The rest of our packing for our short jaunt out of the city consisted of: An overstuffed diaper bag with diapers, wipes, toys, extra binkies, and spare bottles.

Another medium sized bag held the baby monitors, formula, adult toiletries, three days worth of handmade frozen food for Clara, a couple of more toys, and our cel phone chargers.

My purse - an oversized messenger bag held my kindle, Ipad and other various woman detritus.

Then there was the carseat and the snap and go stroller it attached to...and a blanket.

Gone were the days of me, Gerald and one small suitcase.  How could one little baby need so many things?

Gerald and I got all of our things and Clara to Penn Station.  Happily, Amtrak is very baby-family friendly.  The Red Caps helped us skip the line down  to the boarding train.  Two elevators later we were the first to get on the train and find comfortable seating.  

On our return trip, having magically sprouted another large bag full of gifts from Gerald's parents, we were even more loaded down. At the train station, the stationmaster called ahead to the arriving train and alerted them that we would need assistance.  When the train arrived, one of the ticket agents went through the train cars and found us seating with room for the stroller so that we did not have to go car to car searching for ourselves.

All in all a successful trip.  In the future Gerald and I will know to be loaded down like pack mules while Clara exclaims: "Wow!"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Baby Food

I knew I wanted to make all of Clara's food when she finally started to eat.  For the most part she loves everything.  Parsnips, carrots, peas, green beans, yellow and green squash, sweet potato, bananas, and apples.

There have been a couple of things she did not like.  I tried broccoli, thinking to myself "Hey, if I like broccoli....".  Little six month old Clara took one bite, made an absurdly cute "what the heck is this" face, and promptly projectile spit the broccoli all over her Mama, accompanied by a loud raspberry noise.  Clara is nothing if not totally clear about what she thinks.

I recently introduced Avocado and from the cross look on Clara's face I was bracing myself for another vegetable shower.  But after a moment's thought, Clara decided it wasn't so bad and swallowed it. I find a little banana mixed in with the avocado lightens up Clara's expression considerably.

But for the first time this week, I was put off by something I was feeding Clara.  Since she has only three teeth her food still has to be pretty smooth.  At nine months, she was ready to try meat.  I cooked up some ground chicken in some broth and threw it in the blender.  As I was portioning it out into my specialized one-ounce portion compartments  also knows as "ice cube trays" I  realized that blended-up ground chicken looks exactly like adult vomit.  Had I had a mouthful of anything at that moment I would have replicated Clara's projectile spit take.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"Times have Changed"

Last week I was riding the 1 train down with Clara strapped to my chest in her Ergo to visit her Nana.  I was seated next to an older man with a stern expression on his face.  Clara decided that she was delighted by him and proceeded to stare at him with her wide, two-toothed smile.  He kept trying not to look at her but Clara and her smile were relentless, He finally cracked a smile in her direction.

He looked at me and said gruffly: "I can't tell if its a boy or a girl."

Clara was wearing a blue striped fleece suit and a pink hat.  I understood.  Here is the rest of our conversation.

Me: A girl.

Him:  Humph.

Me: Her name is Clara.

Clara: Ba.

Him: I'm 76 years old.  When I was a kid there was a double decker bus down fifth avenue you could ride for five cents.  And if you got on and didn't have the five cents the bus driver would let you on and just ask you to pay next time you rode.  Times have changed.

Me: I didn't know there were double decker buses.

Him:  There are a lot of single mothers these days, having babies and not married.  Times have changed.

Me: (nods)

Him: There are also a lot of mothers now who work.  Can you imagine?  Things were different in my day.  Women stayed home with the children.  Now they're working.  Times have changed.

(A long pause while Clara reaches out her mittened hand to him.)

Him: Do you work?

Me: Well, actually I work two days a week, then I'm home with her the rest of the week.  Her father takes care of her while I am at work.

Him: (thinks for a minute) Times have changed. 

Yes, they have.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Stand Up.

My entire life I have ridden NYC Public transportation.  When I was a kid and teenager mostly the bus because the subways were still kinda dangerous, and since then the subway. I don't remember being taught to offer my seat to the elderly, the pregnant, and moms with young infants but it is an ingrained trait of mine.  I also stop to help women struggling to carry strollers up and down the subway stairs. Gerald independently of me, has the same feeling.  Coming off a train, we once both reached down  and offered a woman help with her stroller at the same instant which made all three of us laugh. As I was 6 weeks pregnant at the time, Gerald won the brief struggle to help the mom up the stairs.

Until a year and a half ago, I had no personal experience being pregnant or being a new mom.  Now I do - and what I have found out is that the people living in New York City seem to have forgotten how to take a moment to help someone.

Being pregnant gets tiring very quickly.  There are a lot of wonderful things happening to your body.  My  hair and nails grew really fast, and I had that "pregnancy glow" people talk about and I totally dodged the morning sickness thing.  But after about month 4, the whole standing and walking around thing started to get really tiring.  I made a joke to a co-worker during this time:  That the answer to the question: "So you want to sit down?" was always going to be yes.

At the time I was living in Jersey City with Gerald and commuting five days a week to my job in Midtown.  This involved a twenty minute ride on the PATH train which is sparkling clean and puts the NYC MTA to shame, (and ironically, costs less to ride), a brief walk, and then the B or D uptown to Rockefeller Center.

I naively assumed that because I always offered my seat to pregnant women that I would be offered one on every ride. Some sort of karmic payback.  Now I understand that there is a window of time in a pregnancy where people aren't sure you are pregnant and don't want to offend you but from month five to delivery I looked really, really pregnant.

Riding the 2 trains for the four months I was visibly pregnant, on 20 train rides per week, I can count on both hands and feet the number of times I was offered a seat.  That, my friends is appalling.  Now there were plenty of times where a seat was available.  But there were many more times on crowded trains where I stood for the duration.

The people who  offered me a seat those times were most often Latino women, then Latino men and  once and male Irish tourist who actually said something to the train car at large when no one would stand up and offer me a seat.

I was uncomfortable asking for a seat but after a while with my swollen feet barking up at me I would try to catch someone's eye.  The one's who most quickly averted their gaze were the well-heeled men and women  in power suits reading the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times on their way to their banking or finance jobs.

One time I rode a car that wasn't that crowded but had no seats available.  I was standing next to a man that had to be a 100 years old.  We were the two standing and no one stood up for either one of us.

I want to know when New Yorkers stopped looking each other in the eye.  When I was a kid here I knew all the store owners and all my neighbors.  Now it seems like no one is here to stay and they would rather step on you than hold out a hand. Everybody is so busy trying to "make it" here they don't have time to talk or even look at anyone else.

One positive is that now when I ride the train with my impossibly cute gurgling baby, her smile seems to crack the composure of even the most hardened subway rider.  I have had some great conversations with strangers on the train thanks to my little Clara.