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Mar 17 2014

Forget the Vacuum Cleaner: 10 Things Moms Actually Need in Minivans

By at 1:42 pm

The Minivan and I have been together for a few months. We’re past the idyllic honeymoon phase, when I was constantly impressed by his self-closing doors and he could do no wrong. We’re at the point in our relationship most easily likened to that moment where you fart in front of your lover for the first time: in short, I have seen that the Minivan is not perfect. And I’m not looking for someone new, but there are things that Minivan could do to step up his game a little bit.

So if you’re reading, good folks at Honda and Toyota, this one’s for you. Add these things to the Minivan and I will be ready to make a commitment, i.e. not just the lease thing we got going on now.

1. Privacy partition.

As a mom of five, let’s forget all of my degrees and resume: I’m a chauffeur, plain and simple. Period. And being a mom chauffeur in 2014 is no longer the job of nonchalance that it was when I was a suburban kid and my mother would honk for me from blocks away. Nowadays, not only I am expected to be at least five minutes early for each and every pick up, but I am also supposed to park in a legal spot, hustle my ass to the doorstep of the activity in question, and meet my child with a manic expression of unmitigated joy. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 12 2014

Eight Things All Parents Hate About Winter

By at 12:24 pm

Eight things all moms hate about winter

I am a Mom. I am a New Yorker. It is winter.

If you’re a mother in a balmier climate, known to complain about fifty-degree “freezing” temperatures, you probably can’t relate–but feel free to read on, if only to have a laugh while you snuggle into your cotton sweater. Fellow cold-weather moms? You know how we feel about winter. Now let us count the ways:

1. THE HONEYMOON PHASE

On the surface, this a part of winter isn’t that terrible. That first nip in the air doesn’t come as a warning; it’s almost welcome. That little chill is a harbinger of holidays, of cute sweaters, of paper snowflakes and other wintry-themed craft projects. The early part of winter passes by in a blur, what with taking cold-weather clothes out of “storage” (i.e., a trunk or bin stuffed to the max with snowsuits and puffy jackets), the luxury of indoor playdates (no pressure to go outside when the temperature dropping!), or visits to the playground when it’s almost empty (“Gee, it’s not even that cold,” you think to yourself. “Those other moms are total wimps!”). Getting ready for the holidays puts a palpable excitement into the air and the radio plays holly-jolly music twenty-four hours a day. What’s not to love? But then…

The gifts have been opened; the playground is finally too chilly for even the heartiest of families. Then the realization sets in that you are facing months more of this. Months more. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 12 2011

Stop Touching My Kid

By at 10:32 am

How germs look to moms.

It starts with a pregnant belly. Something about the protrusion leads people to think it’s OK to pat total strangers. And it doesn’t stop once the kid is externally perched. I’ve experienced several uninvited hand-to-baby contact incidents in the 20 months my daughter has been around. I find the situations fall into two categories: Just Trying to Help and Just Trying to Help Spread Germs.

Take, for instance, these two scenarios.

Scenario 1: Ellie and I are in line to board a plane at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. An older gentleman is behind us and smiling at Ellie. All of a sudden, he takes his thumb, sticks it into his mouth, closes his lips and pulls his thumb out with a pop. I could see the saliva droplets flying through the air. As if to make sure he definitely coated her in his spit, he took the same hand and pinched. Her. Cheeks. I was so horrified that I don’t think I was able to speak, but I did wipe her face off as best I could given the circumstances. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 30 2010

If Only He Made House Calls

By at 10:28 am

I live in Israel and still call my pediatrician in Los Angeles. Is that so wrong?

Some folks are afraid of spiders. Others are terrified of wide open spaces. Some shudder at the thought of public speaking, while others have nightmares about clowns.

I am scared of germs. Like, “don’t you dare touch my child unless you’ve washed your hands with boiling water and antibacterial soap, and have used a paper towel when turning the bathroom door knob, or I will cut you,” scared. I’ve always been this way, and no amount of therapy or heavy drugs is going to change it. Since taking my kids outside to the grocery store is already hard enough, as you can imagine, going to the pediatrician’s office is a test in heroics.

And, to make matters more challenging, while some doctors offices have separate rooms to segregate the sick from the healthy, our  pediatrician’s office back in Los Angeles only offers a narrow center divider, with colour-coded chairs on either side. Blue if you’re sick. Orange if you’re healthy.

Yeah, like the germs give a shit where you sit. Trust me, they will find you: The last time M had a “well baby” visit, she came down with Roseola, and the time before that, she caught a nasty cold.

In other words, going to the pediatrician’s office is like enduring an intense session of immersion therapy.

The good news is, Dr. S. is one of those rare pediatricians who is almost always available to offer advice over the phone, which means that nine times out of 10, we’ve saved ourselves a trip to Pathogen Paradise.

The best thing about Dr. S is that he doesn’t care who calls him:  He never asks for names or medical record numbers, because he figures that if you’re calling him, then there’s a sick kid involved and it’s his job to help. Period. The End.

Since we’re FOB new immigrants getting smacked sideways by every virus and bacteria known to Israel, I’ve racked up a lot of long distance calls to Dr. S.  (Hi B.  You thought my cellphone bill was high? Just wait until you see our landline.)  The best part is that when it’s 1:00 am here, and M. is puking up a lung, or Little Homie’s poop has a decidedly greenish hue to it and my mind is swimming–no, drowning–in a sea of Very Scary Thoughts thanks to sleep deprivation and very real circumstantial evidence that Something. Is.Wrong.  With. My. Children. Dr. S’s office is still open, and I can get him on the phone in two minutes.

And every time I hear Dr. S.’s cheerful voice, I am comforted, remembering the halcyon days in Los Angeles when I could navigate the medical system in English.

And until we make our way back home to the blue and orange seats in Dr. S.’s waiting room, I will continue to stay in contact with my favorite pediatrician from the other side of the world. Hell, I may even send him a postcard, because fair is fair.  And if the phone charges are too high, I can always sell the number to his direct line to other exhausted, overwhelmed and terrified new immigrant parents facing wave after wave after wave of illness, again and again and again. And again.

Believe me, it’ll be more lucrative than selling weed on Ben Yehudah Street or hooking in South Tel Aviv.

And a lot less germy.

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