Sunday, December 25, 2011

At the edge

Eatin' ribs at the beach. Sand gives them more flavor and crunch.

Might be nice if mommy thought to bring a blanket.

This morning Mr. Monk enjoyed his first taste of what I expect will be a lifelong love...the Carribean Sea! He face planted in the water easily 15 times and kept coming up for more. Sitting at the shore, as the tide washed in and out, he seemed to be in a state of utter bliss. I had to hold him as tight as possible to prevent him from just crawling/walking right in. Can someone please explain how are toddlers so strong? It's like I'm putting steroids in his milk. As calm as this water may be, I'm thinking he may not be ready for his first open water swim.

Last year, on this same island, I was hit by a rogue wave that knocked me completely on my ass. As I came up sputtering, I was minus one pair of fancy sunglasses. The year before, the same thing happened though that time I came up minus one bikini top, which I thankfully found before my father-in-law could see me. Eek! Still, losing the sunglasses was worse. I'm hoping they found their way to a lovely new owner with good taste.

It was such a relief to see that the little guy likes the water, after he grunted and pelvic thrusted his way through dinner last night. His tantrum included knocking over a glass of water, throwing pasta and an utter refusal to walk anywhere except up and down a set of stairs ten thousand times. After his perfect behavior with my family in Florida (including actually walking for the first time in front of his grandma and great grandma!), we were convinced my husband's family was in for the devil treatment this week. But, he's a beach boy through and through. I'll be finding sand in him for weeks after we leave. Now, if only the ocean could do something about his constipation.

Here's wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Straight baller

So, apparently the trick to flying solo with a little is to go first class....

If only. We got upgraded because of a glitch that had us seated in a row with another baby, which is not allowed on Virgin. My lucky day! The other baby cried the whole flight and never slept. Poor baby and poor mama. I spent most of the flight walking up and down the aisle, so I didn't get to take full advantage of the amenities. But we did manage to fully recline for naptime. Total relaxation at 30,000 feet. Mr. Monk LOVED flying in style. He charmed all the flight attendants and only elicited slight side-eye from our neighbor to the left who drank easily a bottle and a half of white wine on our morning flight. Thankfully, the pilots didn't seem too disturbed by his banging on the cockpit door for a few minutes when I was trying to clean up a little animal cracker slaughter. That kid is like lightning speed these days. I had to grab his hoodie at least five times to prevent him from tearing off back into coach. With the plebes. Oh, man, I miss that flight.

We're now in the land of tan bodies, early bird specials and really awful drivers. Ah, Flahreedah. I've already seen three accidents in two days. Fun times. I also saw a woman jogging this morning with her little toy poodle strapped into a jogging stroller. Weeeeeee. I'm in love. I've been coming to Miami to visit my gramma since I was a kid. She's 96 now, so you do the math. 96?! Seriously, I hope I'm as active as her when I'm 56, let alone forty years later. She is one stubborn, charming, and rather amazing broad. And, spending the past couple of days with her and my wonderful (stubborn, rather amazing) mom makes me realize how alike the three of us are. How fun for my husband, eh?

This is just the beginning of two weeks of family time for the Schneeds. Good thing no one cares about anyone but the baby anymore. I could disappear for a day and Mr. Monk would be the only one to notice. As long as the blondie keeps showing off his belly button, stomping his feet (like an elephant-can you do it?) and eating his grammy's latkes, we're in business.

Happy holidays! We are going to brave the mall tomorrow am. Hope we make it out with all our limbs in tact!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mama can't hang

Earlier this week, in celebration of our one-year anniversary (time, oh time, where are you?), my playgroup mamas and I had ourselves some cocktails. And then about a hundred more cocktails. Seriously, y'all, we killed multiple bottles of champagne and wine. At dinner. We also went to a bar before and after the restaurant. Holy moly, I may talk a big game about my former partying ways, but I've always been a pretty cheap date. Thursday night I drank like I was at a wedding. The old, fancy kind with singles tables and premium liquor. It was so incredibly super fun to celebrate with those ladies. Without the babies.

We spent much of the night laughing hysterically. I was still giggling when I got home (late. LATE) and spent a good twenty minutes in the bathroom deciding if I should cut bangs again. No. Cue spin central. My husband was laughing at me as I moaned about having to wake up with the babes. Mr. Monk took pity on me and slept till 8, which would have been awesome if Tony hadn't thrown up in our room at 5. Nothing like hearing your dog yakking away to make you wonder if you really might throw up from alcohol for the first time in 10 years. *Shudder*

The next morning I looked and felt like a poopy diaper. The post-breastfeeding, real deal, solid foods kind. Thankfully, my son doesn't yet understand "Mommy's hungover." And, hopefully, he never will. Despite the 8-hour recovery period, our wild night was so worth it. I'm just glad no one brought a camera.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Evolution hard at work

Three minutes later and this horsey was dead to him

Ever have to go digging through a diaper pail to find a missing shoe? I don't recommend it, unless the missing shoe happens to be the mate of the only pair that are just tight enough to prevent your child from kicking them off the minute you leave your house. Of course, if you do find yourself diaper digging, be sure to keep your eyes open for missing wood pegs, bath squirters and other assorted objects that have mysteriously disappeared in recent days. And hold your breath!

Yesterday, I managed to find a sock and stacking ring buried in the plant watering can. And, about a minute ago I opened the garbage to find his brand-new (well, used, but new to him) crocs sitting on top. This kid, as my grandma would say, is quite a character. I wonder how much of his stuff I inadvertently throw out on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like we are playing a game and I misplaced the instruction manual-maybe he flushed it down the toilet before we smartened up and got the strangely complex lock that now has me tinkling my pants a tiny bit every time I'm rushing to the bathroom.

I know one day soon when they are replaced by actual words I will miss his frenetic pointing and grunting, DARE, DARE!! There? Where?? The second I finally figure out one food that he seems to like and stock up on it, he flat out refuses to even taste it anymore. His friend's toys that he wouldn't put down just aren't as cool once they are in the confines of our house. Sometimes the car seat is a haven of security that immediately brings sweet slumber and snorty breathing, and sometimes it is so infuriating, so horrific that even the thought of being strapped in necessitates shrieking, full body thrusts and a stiff pelvis that is impossible to manipulate. Diaper changes have become an all hands on deck situation, as we never know if it'll be a poop smearing kind of a day. One minute I'll look at him and he seems such the big boy, about to ride a bike down the street and away from me; the next he's poking at my belly button and looking at me with his sweet baby smile. The only predictable thing about my child lately is that he is constantly changing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wash and fold

This week Mr. Monk is scheduled for a swim class, gym class and two library story time hours! My babe is going to be one social butterfly. Speaking of socializing (and potentially inappropriate behavior), he's actually developed this new incredibly adorable habit of lifting up people's shirts to see their tummies and then hugging them. What can I say? He's a sucker for belly buttons. Or maybe he's just checking to see if anyone else is an outie like him. So far most people think it's sweet. Hopefully, he drops this approach by high school.

Our little imp has also had the great fortune of visiting the indoor playground, aka the laundromat, twice this week! Sights. Sounds. Hipsters. The laundromat has it all, folks. We're doing a little (but seemingly endless) construction project on our house and didn't completely think through the whole being-without-a-washer/dryer-for-multiple-months thing. With a toddler who stains outfits before he even puts them on. Somehow I have managed to convince the babe that laundromats are awesome. He likes pushing the metal carts, and maybe taking a spin or two inside them. I'm not sure I've ever used a laundromat before, as most of the places that I've lived in had laundry in the building. In NYC, when there weren't machines in the building, it was far easier and usually cheaper to have my laundry done for me. Picking up those folded bundles was an awesome feeling, even if they ruined all my towels. I always expected them to be fairly depressing, but our local laundromats are clean and cheery. I'm making the rounds. At least our water bill should be sufficiently lower this month, though I may need to see a chiropractor after lugging around three loads of laundry plus a baby.

This evening I took a bath (see aforementioned sore back) and steamrolled through the rest of my book, The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides. One thing I hate about the kindle is not knowing how many pages I have left. Even after three years, I still can't think of books in percentages. The book explores life post-college for three Brown grads involved in a love triangle. At first it seemed both superficial in theme and heavily laden with obscure references, but it had a slow burn (and I let myself gloss over some of the references...shhh). Around 30-40% through (whatever that means), I started to enjoy it and became attached to the characters. Overall, it was worth the read, though I never fell in love with the story as I did with the author's previous book, Middlesex. But still, uninterrupted bath reading time was pretty special!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This afternoon a good friend and I met up for a movie date. For moms of little ones, is there any more delicious forbidden fruit than the taste of movie theater popcorn and candy? I wish someone had warned me that having a baby would pretty much signal the end of my movie going days. But, now that football = daddy/son bonding time, my Sunday afternoons are wide open. We discussed seeing the absurdly cheesy New Years Eve to finally set us in the holiday mood, but we both knew we'd regret it. After ruling out the Decendants for perhaps being a bit too depressing (though I have read it's a comedy, albeit a dark one), we decided to see Young Adult.

From the previews, I gathered this would be a snarky, funny commentary on the state of perpetual youth as told by a semi-successful, beautiful though pathetic woman, played by the awesome Charlize Theron. Whoa. Neither of us were prepared for how mean, uncomfortable and ultimately refreshing movie this would be. I literally spent the entire time in cringing in horror and vicarious embarrassment, wondering what the childish, narcissistic (depressive, alcoholic, mentally unstable...) protagonist might do next. While there were a few funny moments, it was much more a character study about one woman's spiral downward. Unlike most movies, there was no redemption in the end, no life's lessons learned. Instead there was just brutal honesty that some people suck and continue to suck no matter what they experience life or how many people they hurt. It certainly did not get us into the holiday spirit or lighten our moods, but it made me think and I'll take that over levity any day. I was so disturbed I couldn't even shop!

But, shop I must because I have just realized this week that I need to get a shitton of presents for folks. Mainly, for the people who are kind of enough to watch our precious bebe, drop off our mail, clean our house once in a while and take our dog on 3 hour hikes. Oh and apparently I have to give the woman who delivers the Sunday NYT a gift as evidenced by the self-addressed stamped envelope that has been delivered with the paper for the past three weeks. Presumptuous? Definitely. Effective? Probably.

In other news, it looks like bibs are now officially off the table.

Good times

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I miss the office holiday party


One inadvertent side effect of not working right now is that there is a slight lack of excitement about the upcoming holidays. Without any daily decorations to remind me and vacation days to look forward to, I seem to be missing some holiday spirit. My boys and I are lucky enough to be going somewhere warm in a couple of weeks with some far-flung family members, but we'll be gone for the entire holiday period. Being a good Jewish girl we usually get all loud and proud with our Hannukah menorah and latke eating. Since we'll be traveling this year, we've got nothing. Add that to the 60 degree weather here and it's really hard to remember that it's December.

I keep looking for Christmas trees in people's windows. There really aren't that many-why not?? Man, I love Christmas trees. When I was a kid, I was sooooo jealous of friends that got to have them. I spent twenty minutes the other day watching a tree trimming party that was taking place about a block away from my house. It seemed like a bunch of pre-teens, hanging ornaments, placing the lights just so, drinking hot chocolate and debating the merits of team Edward vs. team Jacob. I was all caught up in my daydream about being 12 again when I noticed someone noticing me staring at the group through the window while my dog waited to continue with our walk. Awkward.

Yesterday a friend asked me what I was getting Mr. Schneed as a gift. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about for a few seconds. We've been on a little gift-giving hiatus for the past couple of Hannukahs, though last year I did present him with a (relatively) brand new baby boy. I'd like to think this was because we both feel so enriched by our daily love for each other that we don't need any additional presents, but really it's because we are lazy. Lazy and indecisive. I try to only buy my husband things (I think) he either needs or wants and always manage to miss the mark slightly. Our garage is like a bodega of failed gifts. At least he can't bring himself to throw them out, though at this point we might as well hold onto the boogie board (he once said he liked to boogie board...I didn't hear the "as a kid" part). As evidenced by the gift certificates that he's bought me for every anniversary, birthday, etc. for the past five years, my husband is clearly scared to pick anything out for me.

Lately I have been hearing so many scary stories that really make me feel grateful to be alive, healthy and loved. Maybe a little generosity for ourselves and others will be just the thing to get us feeling a bit more merry. I'm thinking a food theme would be a safe bet for all the Schneeds this year--for my old man, for his ball and chain, and for our wee one.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just wondering...

Why is it that when I blow dry my hair it looks nothing like when the professionals do it? Does it really require a special degree? I even shelled out a bunch o money for a good hairdryer and yet it's still big on the sides and erratically wavy in the back. Whatever happened to my hair getting thinner post-baby? I'm pretty sure I'm part lion these days.

When does teething end? We had a three day break in between teething episodes. It was glorious-the child was happy, sweet, cuddly and (relatively) calm. And now we're back to this year's regularly-scheduled programming. How many teeth does one kid need? They are just going to fall out anyway. Can't we just stick with 8?

How did I not think through the fact that taking my son to a swim class meant that I had to be in a bathing suit too? Maybe I need to take my own lesson on getting my sexy back. And, note to self, bathing suits that fit last summer when I was still nursing are a tad stretched out and loose in one particular area. Definitely not my best look.

Who is this woman going out three nights in a row without her husband or her son? Party time! Granted, going "out" in my world means staying out past 9 pm, but still...I feel like a girl of 32 again.

Where can I buy baby patches for my Mr. Monk's pants? He's still not hip to the whole bipedal thing we humans do and his extreme crawling is wearing holes in the knees of all his bottoms. On the plus side, we're thinking of entering him in some crawling races, as his technique and speed are quite impressive.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Out of the mouth of babes...

You thought what?!

I saw this list, 11 Silly Things You Probably Believed As a Kid, on Jezebel today and was so excited to see that maybe I wasn't so crazy after all.

It's comforting to learn that I wasn't the only one who thought that if I couldn't see it, it didn't exist and blankets serve as an impenetratable barrier from monsters. I still sleep with the covers up to my chin to this day. And, I never, ever let a limb escape for fear that it'll be cut off in the middle of the night.

Some other greats that I "used to" believe came to mind while reading this:
  • My aunt's bathroom mirror was a vortex through which I could travel to other countries. If only I could have unlocked the code before she moved!
  • Counting to 8 before opening a door prevented any bad guys from waiting in the room to beat me up. 8 is a magic number that I still invoke in any and all scary situations.
  • I would be a famous talk show host, with five different porsches for each day of work. Still waiting for my big break.
  • Tom Brokaw was my real father and one day he was going to come rescue me. He just seemed so stern but kind.
  • I was the perfect cross between Jo and Blair. In reality, I am so Natalie (minus the famous friends).
  • Pamela was the prettiest name ever. I guess I really got into Baywatch.
  • Magical treasures were buried in our backyard. Turns out they were remnants of a hotel that had burned down years earlier.
  • I was destined to meet my husband on a New York City bus. Nope. But, I did go out with a guy that I met on the subway.
  • California was an amazing place where people rollerskated by the beach all day long and drank pina coladas. Sounds about right.
  • Snakes lived in the sewers and sometimes came up into the toilet bowl. I always check the toilet before peeing, especially since the time in Israel when I was 17 and I opened the lid to find a SNAKE IN THE TOILET!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dog Days of Denim

Maybe we need to start from a different baseline

So yesterday I went through the joy of shopping for new jeans. I find jean shopping to be second only to bathing suit shopping in the humiliation department. I spent the last week fighting my husband's suggestions to go get "some jeans that fit." Finally, I caved realizing that at least I'd get some new jeans out of the horror show. Although he doesn't seem to care about any other items of clothing, Mr. Schneed is compelled by a greater force to comment on every single pair of dungarees* I own.

It all started a few months ago with some confusion on the part of my body and my wardrobe as to what fits post-baby. While my pre-baby clothing is in theory the same size as before, in reality much of it has been stretched out due to my refusal to wear maternity gear for much of the pregnancy. So...those pre-pregnancy jeans now look both tight and saggy at the same time. Sexy!

Although I've been buying new jeans every few months since having Mr. Monk, I've also been losing weight slowly but steadily. Other than boyfriend jeans, which those of us with hips can't rock without looking like a dock worker, most jeans look better fitted. Therefore, most of my jeans look a little not good.

One of the friends I saw in NYC who has a four month old baby asked me when she's likely to get back to her old body. As I was saying that it takes a (looong) while, she turned to me and wondered aloud if I was at my old self yet. Well, clearly I must not look it! Apparently, everything on the body does not just go back to the way it was before. Even if you're at the same weight or lower, things settle and hang and jiggle differently. Fun times. But, I birthed a baby, and I'll be proud of my body no matter what. (And I'll keep reminding myself of this on the beach next month).

As for the jeans, unfortunately, there is only so much they can do for the shape, length and size of the legs, hips and butt they contain. Too bad there's no store that sells some newer, firmer models.

*My mom cannot call them jeans. Once dungarees, always dungarees.