Birthday Cupcakes: Bears on the Beach

Mason turns 2 next Sunday. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, but it’s astonishing that he gets even more fun as the months go by. I thought 6 months was the best age, then 1, then 18 months, and now my vote goes to the age he is right now.

In the spirit of his upcoming birthday, we traveled to Columbus, Ohio, last week to visit family. My mom hosted a celebration for him, and all of our family was there, as well as Amber, my closest friend from college, and her two boys Declan and Liam, stopped by as well.

The kids played in the kiddie pool, in the sandbox, and in a giant bouncy house. They blew bubbles, and raced cars. And of course they ate cupcakes.

My mom made simple cupcakes from a mix, frosted them, and then created a little beach scene on top. A sprinkling of coarse sugar made the sand. A piece of fruit roll-up became towels and little cocktail umbrellas offered shade for Teddy grams wearing either a bikini or swim trunks made from frosting. The treats looked adorable–and they were very easy to make.

Now I just have to come up with a good cupcake design for his class party next week.

Here are the Elmo cupcakes that another of Mason’s classmates recently had for his school celebration, so I want to go another route for Mason (but hopefully be just as creative!) I’m going to start with the mix–I’m thinking carrot cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting–but I need a fun decorating idea.

Care to share your ideas?

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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg: The Biggest Breastfeeding Bully of All

It’s not enough that hospitals are banning free gifts of formula, or that the editor of Mothering magazine likened free gifts of formula to cigarettes, now the mayor of New York City is locking up formula at local hospitals, according to the New York Post. He says that he believes the maneuver will “encourage” new moms to breastfeed, but it sounds like the ultimate act of breastfeeding bullying to me.

As part of his Latch on NYC initiative, which launches September 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use, making it the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation, reports the Post.

More than half of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded freebies, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

I live in New York City. Mason was born here. If I choose to give birth to another child in the city, I better pray that my child latches on immediately and is naturally perfect at nursing. Otherwise I’m going to have to negotiate with a nurse in order for my child to be fed (as I’m recuperating from a C-Section) and endure a “talking-to.” And what about that medical justification?  Is one night of solid sleep following major abdominal surgery good enough, or will I need to somehow feign total incapacitation?

I breastfed Mason the entire time I was in the hospital, but I was grateful that he could get a bottle in the nursery at night so that I could have a couple of nights of solid sleep (and time to heal) before we were totally on our own with him.

Oh, and get this: If I get thirsty during all of this, I’ll need to watch what I drink because the major is also trying to ban large sizes of sugary drinks from being sold in NYC. What liberty will he rob from us next?

Policies like Latch on NYC do nothing but create more stress and anxiety for expectant mothers. If a mom is willing and able to breastfeed her child, she will. If she’s not, she should have a viable alternative without being put through a major guilt trip. Why should NYC’s mayor–or anyone else, for that matter–have the right to institute a policy that make a new mother’s time with her baby anything but joyful?

Photo: Michael Bloomberg via Miro Vrlik Photography/Shutterstock

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First Haircut: Getting Rid of the Mullet

Mason’s gotten a lot of flack for his mullet. The old man fringe he was born with (bald spot on top, with a dusting of silky black hair underneath) fell out and was replaced by wispy blonde hair that grew long in back but stayed short on top. A natural mullet.

To be honest, I didn’t even notice he had the offensive ‘do until several moms poked fun at it. (Yep, add that to my list of rude things other moms say.)

When our family started making mullet comments over Christmas, I decided it was time to give Bug a little snip-snip. I had to do most of the trimming while he was sleeping because he screamed every time I tried to cut a lock of his hair.

I knew I should take him to a salon for a real haircut, but if he freaked when I cut his hair, how was he going to react to a stranger wielding scissors?

Last Saturday I finally sucked it up and took him to a kids salon here in NYC called Cozy. He had a blast (no crying at all, it was shocking), and his new haircut is adorable. There was so much going on around him–bubbles being blown, a cool car to sit in, a new toy that made lots of noise, a Barney video–that he barely acknowledged the woman trimming his hair.

When it was all over, he mugged in the mirror, and then fussed as I lifted him out of the car. As we were leaving, he received a diploma in honor of his first trim, with a lock of hair attached to it. Did your kid love or loathe his first haircut?

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Is Your Tot Refusing to Eat? Entice Him With One of These Dips.

When Mason’s being a picky little pill at mealtime, I add a dip to the mix, and watch him dig in. Last night, for example, he was more interested in his toy cars than dinner, so I added a dish of hummus to his tray, and suddenly he was gobbling up the strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and multi-grain crackers on his plate. (Sadly the pasta sat untouched, but you can’t win ‘em all!) Sometime he eats dip by the spoonful, but since we give him healthy dips, I don’t mind. These ideas have worked for us. Any of your own ideas to add?

Eggplant Dip — Multi-grain crackers, bell pepper, tomatoes, chicken.

Cucumber-Yogurt Dip — Bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, chicken.

Ketchup — Mason likes everything better with ketchup.
(I like Annie’s natural ketchup because it doesn’t have sugar or corn syrup.)

Hummus — Try it with chicken, bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and apple slices.
Make it or buy it at the store; we like Sabra’s classic and roasted red pepper hummus

Peanut Sauce — Try it on chicken and lamb.

Guacamole — Try mild to medium guacamole on carrot sticks, toasted pita wedges, and tomatoes.

Photo: Eggplant Dip, BHG.com

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Rude Comments Other Moms Make: “Your Son is So White, I Feel Sorry for Him!”

Bad mommy moment: I forgot to put sunscreen on Mason before we left the house this morning. He goes to the park every afternoon with his class, and as I was walking to lunch earlier today, I was panicking that he’d get a sunburn. (It is sweltering out!) Then I remembered his teacher telling me that she puts sunscreen on the kids before they go out. Hopefully she was telling me the truth and he won’t come home with a burn.

I relaxed a little and then suddenly remembered a conversation that I had with another mom recently at a friend’s party. Now I’m not so relaxed. It was so unimaginably rude, I just have to share:

Other mom: Your son is so white, I feel sorry for him! He must get sunburned the minute he steps outside.

Me: Nope, we just put sunscreen on him before we go out and he’s just fine.

Other mom: Really? I can’t believe it. He’s just so white!

Me: Well, he’s been playing outside the whole time we’ve been here, and, look–no sunburn!

Other mom: Huh (totally amazed)

Meanwhile this woman, who I had only met about an hour earlier, is totally ignoring her kids while she’s picking on mine. Her nine-month-old is perched precariously in the opening of a sliding glass door chewing on what looks suspiciously like a barillo pad, and her three-year-old is throwing sand at a group of younger kids. Hmmm.

It baffles me that moms pick on other people’s kids. In this case, Mason is fair complected–so are his parents, creamy skin runs in the family on both sides. (See how his skin matches mine in the pic above?) On the upside, he has beautiful skin.

And it’s not just strangers who are rude.

In fact, I was visiting a friend in another city recently and she managed to insult Mason three times in about 10 seconds (“His skin looks translucent!” “He’s so skinny he looks emaciated!” “He has the face of an old man, it’s so weird!”). The last comment was in reference to how much he looks like Chris, but Chris doesn’t look like an old man, so I didn’t get it. Anyway, I ignored her, hoping that she didn’t realize what she was saying. But still, WTF.

I know you know what I’m talking about. I see it happen all the time to other moms, at the playground, in the local coffee shop, standing in line at the grocery store. Any moments of rudeness you care to share?

Photo by Adriana Casey

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