Category Archives: Parenting

Five Things I’ve Learned (about being a mom that is).

So now that I am six months into being a mom of 2 what have I learned? A lot, Here’s five short lessons from my first half a year of having two little ones.

#1.) Time Management 101. I had heard this one before, but 3PM is too late to do anything. Maybe not for the rest of the world, but for us moms 3PM is LATE. Are you kidding by 3PM I am pooped! Note to self: Please get a sitter in the am.

#2.) Poopie Diapers! Everyone’s favorite topic, I know. But when you have kids you talk about it a lot. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this one out. Don’t throw poopie diapers in the diaper pail. Put them in plastic bags and throw them out — as in out of your house — immediately. For 2 plus years I wondered why my daughter’s room was so stinky.

#3.) In case of Emergency!  Not packing a diaper bag? No worries.  You don’t really need it — or do you? One day I took my 2-year-old out to a birthday party in Brooklyn. It was just the two of us. We were having so much fun. She seemed like such a big girl now, holding my hand and walking beside me.  Ooops. I forgot somehow that she wasn’t potty trained. She talks so well that we just ran out the door and whoops! I was calling my husband: “Hurry up with that diaper, Oh my god.”

So after that day I decided to make a little emergency pack in my regular purse for both girls. Oh, I am so, so organized I thought to myself when putting it together. In a plastic bag I put the following: 2 diapers – one for the big girl, one for the baby, A small bottle of formula — just in case — a nipple for the top that is still the wrapper, something that can be used as a wet wipe in an emergency, hand sanitizer and a small Luna bar for mommy. Again, so frigging organized right?  You don’t know how many times I’ve eaten the Luna bar or pulled out the hand sanitizer. Hmmm…what’s missing from this awesome emergency baby packet? Today I knew. A pacifier. Argh! (This is where I swear).

Okay, so I took both girls out to a mama lunch with mama friends this afternoon with our babes. It was my two-year-old’s nap time, but I thought, she can make it, right? Wrong. She wanted her pacifier and I had been out on an audition earlier and only had my purse with me. Poppy had brought her to school. We weren’t thinking about what we didn’t have.  I looked all over and there was no pacifier to be found. A pacifier could have calmed the savage beast that my daughter turned into. She was out-of-control, like I hadn’t seen her since she was 15-months-old (the good old days I call them). As soon as I got the girls home, I put a pacifier in my emergency pack. What else am I missing? Not sure yet.

4. Are you a mom who auditions for commercials? Sometimes I still get invited to audition for commercials. I was an actress — yo. And I used to be pretty cute. But that was BEFORE I had 2 kids back-to-back. I don’t even look like a mom now, I look like a creature who came out of a cave who is starved and certainly due for a hair cut. As my husband so sweetly put it: “At those castings they are looking for fake moms.” You know, super hot, skinny moms who have perfectly gorgeous whitened teeth. Yes, of course I realize  that some of those skinny bitches are also moms. They probably put a fire out on there way there too. Whatever. My current size is actually the size of a plus-size model, but model I am not. I look so tired that I hardly recognize myself. I guess my agent hasn’t seen me lately (hope he doesn’t read this – ha!). Truth is, I like going out to these auditions, even if I most-likely won’t be cast, at least not in my current state. It’s a small reminder of my old life, the old me. You know the me that once had a job in an office. The me that dressed up to go out of the house once in awhile and looked put together.  More and more I catch myself going out in clothes once reserved for bedtime, or uh Target shopping in California. To go out in NYC wearing sneakers when your are not on your way to a workout is uh, not cool. It’s a New York City faux-pax. At least for me it is, I mean was. Now I’ve got a baby sleeping right in front of my closet, so I just grab whatever is there that might fit me. Turns out, nothing fits. It’s all either too big or too small. And my hairdo these days – pulled back mom do. But I’ve been rocking this look for years.  The difference? I go days without washing it now, or even brushing it sometimes. The other day I found that I had grown a dread lock. Yes, seriously. My hair also grew long when I wasn’t looking.  I guess when you don’t have time for hair….it’s time to pour perfume oil on your dread locks?

So I’m all set for my “mom” audition today. I got up pretty early, had time to shower and really put my face on. I nearly saw the old me behind those long dreamy eye lashes. I looked pretty good. I combed my hair, but didn’t really have time to blow it dry, so I put it up. Wet. I swear it looked good when I left.

When I got to the audition and saw all these beautiful versions of me with their perfectly coiffed  blown dry. I realized I had made a mistake. Hmm. Maybe I should wear my hair down?  Oh, can’t do that, it’s wet and I forgot to bring a comb. (Note to self: put an emergency comb in that bag).

What was I thinking? You don’t go to an audition with wet hair. I also had the baby in the carrier on my chest. She fell asleep and I had to go on camera with her there. Oy. Well, she at least covered my fat tummy. I’m not exactly waiting for my phone to ring.

5. Do something for yourself every day. Like today, I’m doing this blog. This is fun for me. Ah. Feels good.

A mom of two

I remember one day back when my daughter was maybe eight months old. It was around 10 in the morning and raining out, so I took her to a story hour at the library next door to my apartment in New York City. We were late, so by the time we arrived the story hour was over. There was a mom of three there. Her 4-year-old was sitting calmly next to her, a 2 year-old on her lap and a 3-month-old on a mat on the floor. She was beautiful, full of love and life. She somehow stayed calm, reading a book to all, while touching the young baby. I was awe-struck at her mothering. I sat nearby with my baby and I wanted her to wrap both of us up in her love. As a mother of just one, I didn’t quite feel like a mom. Not compared to that supermom.

Back then I was just getting used to my life as a mother of one. I really had no concept of what it would be like to have 2 of them.

This past October, just 2.5 months ago I had baby number 2. Lilly Emme Paperny was born. I’ve been wildly overwhelmed by — wow, just having a second baby. I’m also so busy. Mon dieu. How did our mothers’ do this? I mean, how did they do it? Motherhood has to be the hardest and the most unappreciated job in the world.

Meanwhile, I am feeling old and tired. My skin looks dry — and it is dry. I’m breastfeeding like crazy and I’m dried out. I feel like I’ve been through a war and I’m on autopilot. I have no “evening” because my baby only sleeps for 4 hours before I need to breastfeed her again. It’s exhausting. I’m on edge. And I don’t feel like anyone understands. Perhaps they do, perhaps it’s just tough. I want 20 massages, I do!  And then I stop and ask how have women done this for centuries? We are amazing. My mom is amazing.

At some point I’ll have more time. At some point my little girls will be grown. And then I’ll be sad. I’ll miss them as babies. My two-year-old is just hilarious. The things she says, the looks she gives me — her songs, her dances. What a great age. And little Lilly, oh my gosh. She’s so sweet, so alert.

So now I’m a real mother because I have 2. I have “children” not a child. I have context because I’ve just raised another infant from 0-2….

I am also more than just a mom. I am. I’m a playwright. I have a new job waiting for me when I’m ready. And when will that be? Right now…is right now.

Stranger Danger

The horrible story of Leiby Kletzky, a lost Brooklyn boy walking home from day camp who was killed earlier this week is just so awful and depressing, and I am just thinking about his poor family.  But as a parent myself to a precocious little girl it has me wondering what am I going to do? How am I going to teach my daughter not to walk away with a stranger?

It’s just so hard to believe that this little boy wasn’t abducted, he just asked for help from the wrong person.

This made me think back on something scary that happened to me when I was 6 years old.  First off, I grew up in the country and yes, my mom had talked to me about strangers. Probably because  I grew up in the country and wasn’t flooded with strange faces,  I think I was indeed more afraid and aware when someone was a stranger. I can remember  being fearful of my step mom because she said she had been to France.

Living in a big city like New York, I think about how many people and situations our children are exposed to, which is both good and bad.  At the playground, in elevators, on the street in cabs, etc, we (as parents) are always talking to strangers and so are our children.

One day long ago in a small city near our tiny town my brother was playing soccer at an elementary school, one that was, at the time unknown to me. It was a cold, foggy Saturday morning and my mom was sitting in the car with some other soccer moms chatting and laughing, so I guess she let me out to play — right in front of them in a playground. Sure, I played for a few minutes, but kids get bored and soon I had wandered off toward the school buildings, probably excited that I would soon be old enough to go to real school myself.

Before long I was lost and because of the fog, couldn’t remember the way back.
Out of the blue, a man appeared.  He asked me if I was lost. I was.
He said that he was a teacher and that he would show me the way back.
He held my hand.
As soon as he held my hand, I realized I had made an error. I was immediately uncomfortable and I had a feeling that he wasn’t a teacher.
We walked by a classroom and he pointed to it through the window and told me that this was his room and that he studies little girls bodies. I was very scared, and knew I was in trouble. I also knew that he wasn’t taking me back to where my mom’s car was. But I didn’t panic. I didn’t scream. I acted as normal as possible and actually continued chatting with him.
But I started thinking of how I was going to get away. I was looking around for where I could run, where anyone was. Where I could see people, hear people.
He took me to the back of one of the buildings and asked me to put my hands up against the wall, which I did. Then he asked me if I could take my clothes off.
I told him that I couldn’t easily do that because I had all my ballet clothes on underneath my clothes and I even showed him (I was wearing a pink ballet outfit with tights, all underneath my clothes) . He was not pushy. He calmly asked me if I would  take my pants off. I had the same response about the ballet costume and showed him again.
Then I heard voices, laughter. I looked to my left and I could see the other playground and that there was a girl was on a swing. From where I was standing, I could just catch sight of her when she’d swing to the back, because half the swing could been seen from behind the buildings where we were standing. This was not too far from us, maybe only one building away, and I realized that I was not completely alone and I needed to do something, anything.
So I pretended that I knew her. I yelled “Suzi!” Of course I didn’t know her or her name. I said to the man, “there’s my friend.”
So he said that I could go. And I ran over to the other playground. I waited until I felt safer and then walked along the sidewalk down to the other end where my mom was parked. I told my mom and her friends what had just happened and she drove me immediately to the police department where I gave an account of the story and a description of the man. They later caught him. He was a repeat pedophile who had molested other girls.

I realize that I was incredibly lucky and I learned a valuable lesson that day. I was a very independent, gregarious child and apparently before the age of 6, I used to get lost and walk away with anyone, despite what my mother had told me about strangers. When I was only one my parents lost me at the beach one day,  and turned to see my floating away in some wave. I was saved by a woman walking by who happened to see me.

This man could have taken me into the woods that were directly behind the school without a fence, or to a more private place. He could have been more forceful. This could have gone a completely different way, and I realize that I am lucky to be alive to tell the story.

One thing that struck me from my memory of this event is how easily I got confused and lost. Another is that I did have an awareness that this man was a stranger and I knew something was off right away, and I started looking for exits/strategies.
Outside of talking to our kids about “not going away with a stranger” maybe we need to talk to them about what to do if they become lost. What to do if they get in a bad situation. It’s easy to see how a lost child would reach out to someone who looks like a safe adult.  That’s what happened to me, and that’s what happened to this little boy from Brooklyn. Don’t forget, it’s very scary to be/feel lost to a small child. And there may not be a police man around.

My daughter is too little to talk to her about this yet, but yes, I am very scared. She is precocious and already runs away from me. She will be a handful when it comes to wanting her independence.  Sigh.

I plan to have this discussion with her as soon as I think she can understand.