Category Archives: babies

Goodbye Double Stroller, Hello Bike

We gave away our double stroller yesterday. Over the weekend I sold the warm stroller bags and gloves. All gone. There were no words to be had when the new baby rolled away with my memories. I just gulped and stood there, aimless…feeling like it’s all happening too quickly. I had to smile, though, because that stroller was with us through some pretty extreme weather – for four years. It also was my shopping cart, and often allowed two kids to sleep. I think even a year ago both kids were sleeping in it while mom and dad were parked at a bar drinking wine! As much as I loved the stroller, I also broke my back pushing it all over New York in the rain and snow…and wrote of being caught in a rain storm with babies as “humbling.” It was not uncommon for me to push it all the way to the West Village and beyond. That’s a long way. But we all have to grow and the happiness in those beautiful/stressful memories is that at least I have them. This time in my life happened. We are already past pacifiers, cribs, bottles and potty training. One kid is already reading chapter books and reading to the second kid -without me! And I’m already missing my special chair “Mommy Time” that was me reading to the kids. It’s hard to be sad when our new means of transport saves us money and is so much fun. And it’s hard to be sad about your kids learning to walk, run, dance and read. It’s just a sigh.12642499_10153423716222781_4678929169830025763_nIMG_5466

And all of sudden my baby is turning FIVE!

Maya at her ballet performance, 2014

Maya at her ballet performance, 2014

“That’s right, mom, in four months, I’ll be five, then I’ll be six.”

Me: “Can’t you just be happy being four for awhile?”

My kid: “No, I can’t wait to grow up!”

My younger kid (who is two): “Me too!”

Me: “That’s it, no more growing up!”

My older daughter: “Mommy, it’s okay, if I didn’t grow up, I could never start kindergarten.”

Nothing is more exciting than the moment you are growing your family. Nothing. From just the two of you to “baby makes three” and then the remarkable moment that “baby makes 4.” For a long time you will be marveling at the creation of these little people, who grow while they sleep, who show up in the morning one day — both of them — running, talking, laughing, fighting — pushing you to “get you up.”

Need a change of pace, a change of stasis? Try adding a person to your world. When you have a baby you are adding a person to this earth and it’s a miracle.ImageImageImageImage

It’s a miracle. It’s remarkable — and it goes quite quickly, so quickly you will barely have time to marvel at it….you are so busy cooking them dinner and buying them new shoes. Take the time my friends. Hold them close. Cuddle and love them, even in those angry moments (me — every single day – ha) — and “be not sad that the baby time is coming to an end, but be happy that it happened in the first place, or at all. “This is a quote from my good friend and wonderful actor, Amy Dickenson. I think this just about sums it up. Many of my friends have kids going into kindergarten. Our babies are turning five this year and we can’t stop the tears, they just flow in those moments when, for example you walk in to pick up your little girl from her very last day of pre-school…forever. You know it, the teacher knows it but your daughter, it will take weeks to sink in fully. You exchange a look with the teacher and you see that the she also has tears in her eyes as she has watched these little kids, who were toddlers still when they arrived, turn into such smarty pants. Maya talks about things that I never would have dreamed of at 4. “Mommy, is that person speaking French? We never speak French anymore.” I didn’t even know the word “French” when I was four – unless we were talking about French bread. Maya has a favorite planet. She mixes colors. She speaks Russian “better than mommy.” And sometimes, I catch a glance of her to my right, out of the corner of my eye, and I’m shocked at how grown up she is already is. I see long, slender legs…and her beautiful little face. Sigh. What hell is coming to us? I await.  For now, I will still relish in her little-girl-ness. I’ll enjoy her tea parties and “cooking” and her utter excitement with the world.

To all my friends who are having babies this year, remember that it goes fast. You will barely be able to recall them as babies in a few years. It’s just the way it goes. Take a lot of pictures and savor the moment. I did. I do. By the way, I still have a two-year-old, but she thinks she’s four, but she’s still two. She’s still silly in the way that two year-olds are silly. Still wakes up at 7 just to “get in mommy’s bed.” I’m actually tired at 7. I’m not awake yet, but it’s okay, my little one. You can be next to me.

Missing My Mentors

I miss my mentors. I miss my old friends. As we get older, we will start losing people. Two of my mentors passed away last year — Le Wilhelm, who I loved with all my heart. He was so supportive of my work, and he was just such a heartfelt, real person. He produced my first play in NYC. But even when we weren’t working together, I enjoyed his Face Book political rants. He was very opinionated and Southern to his core. He was gay, but very Right and in the theater in New York….so he was pretty funny. I miss seeing those hilarious comments pop up on my feed. They made me smile. Carolyn French, who was an agent at the Fifi Oscard Agency also past away last year. I sat next to Carolyn when I worked at the agency and we became great friends. She begrudgingly became a fan of my playwriting too, even though she really wanted to me to become an agent. In fact, Carolyn invited someone very important to one of my plays years ago, and this person loved my play and invited me to “submit more material.” This was a TV executive. This was a very big deal. I wasn’t ready for TV at the time, so of course nothing more happened (mostly because of me)– but all these years later, this TV executive is back in contact with me again. Carlolyn was not my agent — and as I said, really didn’t give a hoot about my plays. But she saw my play, liked it and made a call for me. Perhaps it was “the” call of my life. Anyway, she’s been gone now for eight months. I think of her often. I still think that we will go meet up in Bryant Park for lunch, and I just miss her. A compliment from Carolyn or Le meant the world to me for different reasons, but the same reasons. One of the last things Carolyn ever said to me was to tell me that she thought I was a wonderful mother. I brought baby Maya to see her one day, now four summers ago and she couldn’t get over the change in me: “Oh Laura, you’ve found yourself. Just look at you.” Of course, this was both pleasing and frustrating to me as you can imagine. “No, no, no…I’m more than a mom. Ugh. This mom-thing isn’t finding myself, ” I thought to myself. But maybe, what Carolyn and others were seeing in me was a Zen that rises up within us as mothers. We are bigger than anything else, even our own ambitions in that moment. We are mothers.

Stopping to smell the (frozen) Roses

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Two and Four.

My kids are two and four and my life is very busy, and I’m enjoying every minute…I’m enjoying it more than I did when they were 1 and 3 and more than when Lilly was first born and Maya was just two. Maya turned two 12 days before Lilly arrived. My life during that early time was in sweat pants, hair in a bun, tired beyond belief and tired. I can remember nursing Lilly and Maya would be screaming for me in the other room. I remember breaking my foot when she was six months old and limping around pushing the double stroller. I remember with pain and annoyance that my husband ran a Triathlon that year and that he was never around. He left me one weekend when I was deathly ill with the two kids. I thought that I might die in the night and my two-year-old might have to save the baby. I was out of my head. I tried to tell a producer and director who were trying to meet with me about a project how miserable I was and that trying to “make a deal with me” was probably a bad idea. I was in a fog.

Things are better now. They still scream for me at night, my two year-old, Lilly especially, but it’s overall less. I hear screams and I put Homeland or Parenthood on pause. Maya at the same age gave me/us I should say me a much harder time. So Lilly gets a set of parents that take less shit…hopefully. And mommy is in a better place.

Lilly takes a “tots” ballet class at 9:30 on Monday mornings these days.  We never get there on time, but even the remaining 30 minutes that we are there, Lilly enjoys the mommy –and-me time she gets very much.

“Ballet?” She says as we head the direction of class. “Yes,” I say. “Just you and me,”…”No Maya!” She says. And we dance…and she wants to be held. She’s the littlest one in the class. The other mothers and babysitters who are with the slightly older girls all look upon us with a certain “Oh my god, she’s so cute.” It’s true, and of course, I’m seeing this with the rose-colored glasses that she is my kid, but she is pretty cute. She runs to me after each solo exercise with such glorious excitement and yells “Mommy!” I open my arms and swallow her up. And I remember that two years ago, I was doing this with Maya, and it’s funny, because she also ran to me in the same way – with complete and utter excitement and got the same giggles and smiles from the other parents. And I know, unequivocally, that these moments with my two-year-old are absolutely precious. A gift, a joy, and I’m so happy that I’m in a better place and I’m allowing myself to stop and to use a cliché “smell the roses.”

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Just some thoughts about parenting

It’s hard to believe that last year I had a two-year-old who still sucked on her pacifier, slept in a crib, had awful tantrums and wore diapers. I also had an eight-month old baby. Only a year later and they are already so big, so independent; only one in diapers, one who sucks a pacifier and only one in a crib.

Maya, my almost four-year-old talks like a teenager and seems to have such a confident grasp of concepts; and my little one wants to be big. She’s so darn cute and coming right along. She says “Vadi” for water, the Russian word for it. Yup, she’s coming along. This summer, it’s me that is stalled. Without proper time set aside, I lose myself in parenting. I have a marketing client (I do), who I’ve mostly ignored all summer. I have a playwriting career (I do) and in the summer and winter I simply don’t….have…time. Normally when you have a job, it’s a job and there is a set time that you go do that job. For a mom that works from home, who doesn’t have both kids in school or a day care, where do you get this “time?” You beg, borrow, steal…you pay for it. So it’s a lot to figure out. How do I spend the time that I mostly have to pay for? 

And then, during the summers and winters, I have so much less help that there are days and days that pass by where I don’t get a break, a moment of thought to myself, and I just give in to it…to this parenting thing, and I’m okay with that.

I realize I’m not working a normal job (9-5) for a reason and I know why. I don’t have full-time help for several reasons and I know why. The truth is, I am here in this moment flipping through the channels trying to find Olivia because I want to be here…

When you are a parent you have so many moments of “Wow, oh my god…this is amazing….This is so hard…Why am I sweating so much? Do I really have to bend over to gardenfairylillyget that? Oh yeah, you have learned to put on your own jacket….Please don’t jump on that….Break that…Eat that….Don’t talk to me like that!….Why is it raining and I am pushing a double stroller? And then, it’s over – Pre-school…pushing a double stroller…your parenting time, or maybe your life. So you better enjoy every rainy day, every fight, every tear…every cuddle.

My first born’s first dance retial: The power of love

Call me crazy, but with all the sadness in the world, going to a kids’ dance performance is a way to really lighten your spirits and remind you, that it’s not all bad. Despite the polar ice caps melting and terrible hurricanes, corrupt, polarized politicians — there is happiness to be had, and it’s right in front of you, maybe.

Maya’s first ballet performance was a hit. She was awesome and the show was very professional with so many wonderful children dancers (lots of hip hop boys’ too), teachers and parents. I caught myself getting a little weepy there in the audience. I noticed I was a little teary during the rehearsal too. I was totally embarrassed and put my sunglasses on. I dunno. Perhaps it reminds me of when I was little dancer, which doesn’t seem so long ago. I sort of did a dance on stage in 2004, and before that I did a crazy “Bat Dance” with my friend and amazing dancer Sue Olsen. But that was a long time ago, when I was 18. I danced a lot when I was teenager.

I was also a dance teacher once, and I was the teacher back stage wanting my kids’ to do well.

But this feeling I had today came up and grabbed me in the chest. Love is so powerful.

And then, I got home with baby Lilly and put her down for her nap. Dad is at a birthday party with Maya. I immediately had to get to work cleaning out the double stroller — after an afternoon out, it’s disgusting with milk splattered about. Then, I cleaned my apartment like crazy instead of sitting down to do my real work — for a client that is due Monday, or my writing, which is due for my TV class. I can’t work when my apt is a mess, which is just a perpetual state of affairs when you have little kids….it just is. But once all the laundry was folded and put away, I put the program from Maya’s dance recital in her baby book, and sat in the chair in her room– the one we sit together in every night, where I read The Cat in The Hat and The Giving Tree. I  looked around the cluttered room and thought: just don’t take this from me.Image

Hip Hop Abs…or update…1.5 years into having 2 kids!

It’s almost my birthday. I’m totally old! Ugh.  I’m going out with friends tonight — to a bar in NYC. It’s hard to plan these things last minute…drinks for 15 friends in NYC. A few people will cancel with really good excuses at the last minute…and I will be annoyed. I mean, why bother with all the planning? But whatever. Just because I’m old and sore, I should still get a drink with friends on my b-day, right? I’ll have to update you on how this goes….

You know you are feeling old when you are more excited about the massage that you’ve booked for the next day, then your night of revelry.

Anyway, so both my kids’ celebrated their half birthdays this month. Lilly, my little one who is as cute as they come, is 18 months old; and Maya, my oldest is 3.5. Whoa! So I am 3.5 years into this mommy thing….and 1.5 years into being a mamma of two. What have I learned?

1. The first year of having a new baby is the hardest! Whenever I think of having another kid — and believe me — everyone ask “will you have another?” What do they think I am a baby machine…? No, I am giving away all of our baby stuff as fast as possible….I am ready to move on from the baby making phase, but I will remember it fondly, I will….

But what I remember the most, and what I will impart to anyone who asks is this:

The first year of having a new baby is HARD. The real reason women are not supposed to have babies after a certain age is because it’s too hard. Someone is trying to tell us something important. As you get older, you need your sleep!!

2. It’s harder to lose the baby weight after the second baby. For me this has been true. 18 months later and I am down to 3lbs of my pre-second baby weight, which means 13lbs more than before I had babies. I guess that’s not so bad. Things would go a lot faster if I didn’t go to Shake Shack once a week, I know this…yet, I still find myself at Shake Shack every Friday.

3. Laugh more, relax more, Cuddle more and forgive more often. The other day I was about to give my older daughter a time out for not going to brush her teeth right when I told her to. She said, “In a minute mommy.” Then she and the little one started riding on their horse and cow naked. I just started laughing.

4. Realize that I may not have hip hop abs, but maybe I can get to a dance class once in awhile. Before I had babies I used to live in the West Village and on Wednesday nights I took a very professional level dance class at my local gym. It was a hard class and one that you really couldn’t do unless you were once a dancer. I was a dancer when I was younger and used to take classes several times a week up until my twenties. I  even had a dance scholarship when I was 19.

The last time I took this class (at my gym) was before I was even pregnant, probably in 2008. I remembered the class and the teacher fondly. Her name is Abbey and she seems to have a following — she does great choreography. It’s a combo of lyrical jazz and hip hop. In short, a real work out.

Since my daughter now takes ballet and loves it, I had often thought that I should go take a dance class — but I don’t have the time. I mean, that’s now how I would want to spend my time….but maybe that’s what I should do. Dancing is healthy and something that I used to love to do. So the other day, I woke up early with Maya and I went to turn on a cartoon for her, and a crazy infomercial came on for “Hip Hop Abs”…I let it play and after a minute, Maya turned to me and said, “Let’s do hip box ats.” We jumped up and started dancing and I decided right then and there, I was not going to have this flabby muffin top anymore. I was going to go get myself some hip hop abs! I ordered the supplies. I know that I won’t do it, though. I don’t think I even have a dvd player. But I did get inspired to go find a dance class, and you won’t believe it — Abbey’s “Dance Project” was happening that very evening at my old gym in my old hood. I had a sitter that evening, so I decided to go to the class. I slithered in to class in the back. Abbey yelled something to me. I’m sure that she didn’t recognize me. She never knew my name, but back in the day, she used to refer to me as  “Hot Pants.” Anyway, I was sure that I wouldn’t last 10 minutes…but there I was 30 minutes later — hooked…dancing, turning, jumping — sweating. I left though, early, because I didn’t have the right shoes and my toe was bothering me. But I was happy! In fact, I couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the evening. Dancing is good. I’ll be back!!

5. Super moms need a break. We are all super moms…I know this.

Remember that you need a break too. This can be anything….a rest, a massage, a moment to write a blog post….a hair cut. Moms (and dads too) need a time out from work and kids. These moments of time out are refreshing and well deserved. I’m a frigging super mom, who also writes plays, TV scripts and has marketing clients.  I take both my kids swimming by myself (they are babies) all the time. You should see what chasing them around the changing room is like, and you’ll understand why I think I’m a super mom. I also do a Russian play group on Tuesday afternoons. Yeah, I speak Russian enough to do a Russian play group. I read French books to my daughter every night and she loves it. No, I’m not perfect, and I never seem to have my double stroller stocked with exactly what I should have (there’s always a lot of weird shit in there), but I’m a very good mommy and I deserve every little break that I can get….you do too.