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Oct 6 2014

Never Go Apple Picking With a Toddler and a Baby

By at 10:42 am

apple-picking

The Jewish New Year is all about the sweetness of apples and honey, so that the genesis of our upcoming year is saccharine, free of the travails of the year before. As the mother of a busy 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, what better way to ring in the year than with apple picking? Great idea, right? We get to drive out to the country, fill our urban lungs with fresh rural air, take in the autumnal sights of the changing colors of the leaves, and hopefully get our kids to take a nap en route.

This adventure began with nothing but hope and good intentions. We also hoped to avoid going to a very popular apple orchard, frequented by many people we know, because they charged each person over the age of 3 (of which I’m many, many years over) a cover charge. With my clubbing days long behind me, I had no intention of paying to get into the orchard only to then have to pay an overpriced amount per pound of apples, which made the price of buying organic ones at the most expensive grocery store in my city more appealing. So, we did our research (well at least my husband said he did) and off we went.

The kids cried the entire way there. No nap. Not even a hint of one during the almost hour-long drive. Two screaming children makes for a less than serene atmosphere in which anyone could appreciate the mélange of candied-apple, golden, and bronzed hues of the aging leaves mixed with the leftover bits of green vibrancy desperately trying to hang on to the dog days of summer.  Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 25 2014

I Won’t Let My Fear of Travel Hamper My Son’s Curiosity About the World

By at 12:26 pm

road-trip

Growing up, my parents liked to take Sunday drives around the scenic parts of Connecticut: to watch changing leaves, visit aging relatives, drive over covered bridges. During one of these outings, I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up, I asked my parents if we were in Texas.

Their shock and horror likely prompted them to make the generous offer, some years later, to send me abroad my junior year of college: a last-ditch effort to provide me with some geographical context. I declined, citing a commitment to my position in student government. Obviously the Brandeis Student Senate would suffer mightily in my absence. I stuck with that story, even in my own mind, for a long time.

All that year, I received postcards from friends in Israel, London, Spain, Australia. They told tales of impromptu weekend trips to Florence, milking cows on a kibbutz in southern Israel, and late-night rendezvouses with strangers encountered in youth hostels. What could possibly make me choose “Robert’s Rules of Order” over these exotic adventures? Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 26 2013

Friday Night: Eating Pizza on White Tableclothes

By at 10:22 am

tamara reese and adina kay-grossA few weeks ago my family and I were visiting extended family on Long Island. First thing Friday morning we loaded the kids in the car and by 7 a.m. we were on the road. With only stopping twice to pee and nurse the baby we managed to hit minimal traffic and rock out Pittsburgh to the Big Apple in under nine hours.

Since it is not humanly possible to visit the Land of Pizza and Bagels without indulging, we met up with co-contributing editor Adina and her family for THE WORLD’S BEST PIZZA (Umbertos, New Hyde Park).

I texted Adina that it hadn’t occurred to me but we might need to wait for a table. She texted back, “Let’s pray for 15 minutes, my girls might be monsters.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 12 2012

10 Tips for Surviving Road Trips with Kids

By at 10:01 am

open roadMy husband and I took our daughters (ages 3.5 and just barely 2) on a 10 hour car drive for our summer vacation last week. Yes, I said 10 hours. Each way.

To answer your initial questions, yes, we all survived, and yes, my husband and I are still sane. I think.

We’ve made the 3.5 hour drive down to New York to visit the girls’ great-grandparents three to four times each year since my older daughter was born. Between those drives and our most recent vacation, I have decided that I am now an expert on road trips, and well qualified to give advice to all of you idiots brave folks who have decided to venture forth on the great American highways this summer. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 14 2011

Plane Trip Turns Into Road Trip

By at 10:18 am

van on the road

Woman plans, God laughs.

When last we spoke, I was all overwrought about my four month old’s first “vacation” and plane flight. An hour-long plane flight to Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg, specifically) would, I was convinced, turn into an hour-long screaming poopfest. I would be the recipient of looks of pity and disgust from my fellow passengers. My husband would offer to get bumped.

That’s not really how it went down.

The day we left, I woke up Baby G at 5:30 am – yeah, that’s right, I woke up a sleeping baby, which is a violation of the Geneva Convention. She smiled at me lovingly as if to say, “Mommy, don’t worry – I’m the Perfect Baby.” She is, actually, the perfect baby. I haven’t written here about how she started sleeping through the night at four weeks old because it is the biggest keyn eyn hora anyone ever heard of, but the fact of the matter is, this kid is an absolute sweetheart. She gets it from her father.

So we schlep to the airport – me, husband, baby G, the two boys, ages 6 and 8, and my parents, who are simply the best human beings in the world. We get through security, where my mother’s hip replacement and baby G’s car seat stroller are given thorough scrutiny (you know, because both of them are aspiring terrorists). And then we find out that, thanks to the fog engulfing the New York area, our flight is cancelled. The boys’ faces crumple like Kim Kardashian’s ketubah (fine, she didn’t have a ketubah, but you get what I’m saying). Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 29 2011

Notes on Road Tripping With Kids and Without DVDs

By at 11:02 am

Our road trip didn't look like this. At all.

Maybe don’t do it.

Bring a DVD or two until your kids are in grade school and have required reading.  As I just said to a friend who suggested I write about this–and actually thinks I’d be applauded for braving several trips with two kids and without DVDs (she’s pregnant…)–of all the moms I am good friends with, I am the dimwit.

Let it be known that we didn’t consciously not bring a personal DVD player because we believe in “no t.v. for kids” (quite the contrary, but that’s a post for another time).  We didn’t bring one because we were pressed for time to buy or borrow one.  Also, let it be known that we once brought a DVD player on our first-ever roadtrip with two kids, and it worked really well for keeping the toddler entertained for one of four hours.  But somehow, the charger cord for that device was lost between our house and my in-laws’ house, and so our borrowing expensive things days are at an end.

Here are my  notes on the subject after three consecutive car trips (three weekends in a row) with a two-year-old and a 10-month-old:

Infants don’t need DVDs, but thrive on stimulation from their elder siblings who like to make farting noises and silly faces that involve sticking their chubby little fingers in their noses, mouths, and eyes simultaneously.  This is how all of our trips started out, except for the final leg home from Vermont, which began with two screaming (read: bloody murder screaming) kids, both overtired as we’d missed the “let’s leave at naptime” window, resulting in two kids who slept for three of the five hour ride home. Read the rest of this entry →

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