Archive for the ‘ A Fi Grows in Brooklyn ’ Category

Moving to LA–the Sad Part

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Fia with her favorite friends (and my babies too)

I have written a lot about my mom mafia here in Brooklyn–the small group of mom friends I hold close to my heart. I feel like their babies are in some ways my babies too. They are my shoulder, my crutch. In moving to LA, I’ll make new friends, but this chapter will never be repeated. It’s been the time of new motherhood–22 months of navigating the toughest waters of my life while at the same time basking in the magic of it all.  You only become a mom once. This next baby, while just as loved, won’t signify the same crossing of this life-changing threshold.

(In fact, I’m hoping it will be easier, since it’s a road I’ve already traveled.)

Thing is, I’ve always known that regardless of geography, this time is fleeting.  In a year or so, our tots will be starting preschool, and if I lived here, they’d probably go to different places. My mom mafia would move on, replaced by a new set of parents. Sure, we’d keep in touch and see each other when we could (and we will, via email, text and phone). We’d reminisce about our constant conversations of this time and laugh about the tears and the triumphants—from sleep strikes and nap woes to the first tooth and the first fall. But even with that, it wouldn’t be the constant it is now.  Because babies grow, and so must we. It is part of our journey.

So as I prepare to bid farewell to my dear friends, I feel a deep well of gratitude along with a heavy heart. These women helped make me the mom I am today. They have not only saved my sanity many a time, but also have helped me to become more patient, more caring, more kind. In essence, they have made me a better person.

When I board the plane with a one-way ticket, in many ways, Fia and I will be starting over.

It is going to be a chapter closed. But also a chapter well lived.

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Entertaining Your Toddler

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Playing With Magnets

I came across something I wanted to share. I bought this string of magnets you see on her lap in the photo above. They are polished and smooth (rocks?), about the size of four lima beans squished together (sorry, it’s the best measurement I can come up with). I bought 10 of them for $2.00. They have proven to be invaluable. I’ve found that they can entertain Fia up to 30 minutes at a time. I used them on a recent trip to South Dakota when she tired of the DVD on the plane. I also used them at a restaurant this weekend when we were waiting for our food.

Since they are magnetic, they all want to stick to each other, which I can tell both baffles and fascinates her. She’ll take them apart, then get one close to another and wham; they instantly bond back to each other. I figure it will be awhile before she has a science class that will explain the mysterious ways of the magnet.

I bought them at a gift shop, but if you keep your eyes open, you can probably find them just about anywhere. One thing I will caution: I would only allow your child to play with them supervised. They are a bit small and smooth, so could be a choking hazard.

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September 11th: The 10-Year Anniversary

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I was in the air when the first plane hit. Three minutes later I landed in Newark, oblivious to the world collapsing.  Twelve hours later I would make my way to our apartment and fall, sobbing into my husband’s arms. Oblivion replaced by sorrow.

We had just moved to New York City 3 weeks prior.  Phil was about to start his Master’s in film at Columbia.

My flight on September 11th was supposed to be at noon. I was traveling home from a Food Network appearance in Cincinnati.  For some reason at the last minute I decided to change to the 6 a.m. flight. Unbeknownst to me, karma was on my side.

As our plane descended I distinctly remember looking out the window and seeing the towers. I remember feeling so lucky—so alive–to be living in this great city and starting this new adventure.

At that point in my life, kids were not part of the plan. I had no interest.

In the days following the attacks, I mourned like the rest of the country. Shell-shocked by the hate, inspired by the love.

Years went by and September 11th became part of me, just like it did for most of us. It was always there, serving as a timeline in life. “That was before 9/11.” or “That was after 9/11….”

On December 2, 2009, Fia came into our world. The cocoon we created during our stay in the hospital was nothing short of magical, even surreal. It was a bubble of warmth, safety and love.  I felt panicked when it was time to go home. I knew nothing about taking care of a baby.

Phil and I gingerly loaded her into our rented car. I got in the back with her and we began the trek from 168th and Broadway to Brooklyn. It was snowing. Phil drove about 40 mph down the West Side highway. We were paranoid new parents.

When we passed Ground Zero I looked out the window and began to feel a heaviness like I’ve never felt before. It was deep and sad. It carried the responsibility and burden of bringing a life into this world.  It said, “This is a dangerous place full of hate. Why did you do this to something you love so much?” It said, “This is an unworthy world. You are selfish.” Had I been standing, this profound pain would have taken me to my knees. I tried to push it away and force happy thoughts. As I looked down at my tiny, sweet baby I thought, She has no idea what her world outside the womb is.  But it’s my job to teach her. And love her no matter what.

I believe it was at that moment that the real burden of parenthood began.  I carry it with honor, understanding and respect. I’m on my 21st month now and will continue to carry it as long as I’m lucky enough to walk this world. This is life and it is fleeting. It is only by the grace of god, go I.

First Moments

First Moments

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First Date

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We decided to meet at the corner, half way between our apartments. My husband was working from home so we needed to go elsewhere. Before I left I did one final check. Teeth cleaned. Hair combed. Mascara on.

We’d seen each other in social circles a few times, but we never chatted much. Just some smiles and eye contact. But now, the stakes seemed high. Maybe because it’s my first date of this kind. I know we have a few things in common: we live close by and we’re going through a similarly tough time. If this date turns out to be “the one” I can picture long walks in the park, museum excursions, maybe even yoga classes.  I want—no, need—this person to like me.

I arrive a few minutes early. Punctuality is important.  On our dates, timing and schedules will mean everything.

“Hey, how are you?” I ask as we quickly embrace.

“I’m okay. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.”

I already know where this is going and I’m relieved. Not because I wish sleep deprivation on anyone, but because it tells me we’re in the same boat.

“Yeah, me neither,” I reply. And we begin to commiserate. The baby barf, the diaper changes, and most important–the need to get out; to feel less isolated.

(more…)

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Earthquake in Brooklyn!!! And I’m an Idiot.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

I had a new sitter, Gayle, come over today and meet Fia. We were sitting on the carpet playing. I wanted to stay for a bit and make sure all went well. My feet were on the floor and I suddenly felt the ground moving. I almost said to Gayle, “did you feel that?” But then I thought, no, I don’t want this woman to think I’m a whack job. Yet. I must be having a dizzy spell….even though I’ve never had a dizzy spell before. Or maybe I’m going crazy. So, like a good hypochondriac, my mind went to all the dark places, including the what if something happens to me and I suddenly collapse and no one knows my symptoms??? Fia won’t have a mama. I won’t have the baby. Oh god, I’m dying. I just know it.

Then I get a text from my friend. “Did you feel the earthquake?”

HUH? WHAT?

Yes folks, we’ve had an earthquake! New York City! The reports are still coming in, but it appears the epicenter was in Virginia.

Holy crap. This is crazy stuff. And yet, I’m not going crazy, which is good.  Such a relief.  My body and brain are intact. I just have a good, paranoid placenta brain that doesn’t connect dots….like floors shaking might equal an earthquake, not a tumor in my head.

I hope no one got hurt.

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