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Jun 10 2014

Why I Let My Son Watch (a Little) TV

By at 4:07 pm


There are plenty of parents out there who are adamantly opposed to the idea of young children watching TV. And I should know, because I used to be one of them. For the longest time, I refused to let my toddler sit on the couch fixated on a screen. I wanted him to spend his time playing with puzzles, building with blocks, and moving around–not glued to the television.

But one day I had no choice but to try a TV-related experiment. My son’s day care lost power overnight during a storm, and I found out the next morning that the center would not be able to open that day. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as I had a (pre-nap time) work deadline looming and needed at least an hour to complete a major project. Rather than ignore my son, I decided to try turning on the television to see what would happen.

At first I wasn’t even convinced he’d have the attention span to sit there watching Barney (yep, I went old school), but after a few minutes he seemed fairly content. I, on the other hand, was not. Even though we were only talking about two back-to-back kids’ shows, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this one concession would kick-start an unhealthy habit that I’d previously gone out of my way to discourage. In fact, following that incident, I made a promise to myself that TV would be limited to “emergency” situations alone. And for some time afterward, it didn’t actually go on at all while my son was around or awake.  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:


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 →

Feb 6 2014

Top 10 Ways Winter Makes Me Feel Like a Crappy Parent

By at 3:35 pm

Top 10 ways winter makes me feel like a crappy parent

There has been some sort of snow or ice on the ground in Pittsburgh since Thanksgiving. I am six months pregnant, driving a brand new (covered in dirt and salt) minivan, and schlepping around two kids. Did I mention we moved a mile down the road to a bigger place at the end of December and then my whole family got H1N1 a few weeks ago?

Yeah, I’m over it.

These are my normal “I’m a mom of two” standards: There is dust on my TV stand but I scrub the toilet bowl and sweep/vacuum bi-weekly (as in, twice per week). My kids don’t eat cereal for dinner but I am not opposed to Trader Joes frozen meatballs or Spaghetti O’s. I shower every other day, and shave at least once per week. My kids wear clean clothes every day but pajamas can be used two nights in a row. Bath night every other night. My kids each get two stories before bed and a song. There must be dessert in my house; my kids aren’t usually allowed to eat it. Milk plus back up milk, fruit, and peanut butter at all times.  One or two TV shows after naptime, and family movie night is Friday with popcorn if you ate a decent amount of dinner.

Currently? There is dust all over my house and pee all over my toilet. My kids ate frozen waffles and bananas for dinner the entire week I was sick. Fruit snacks now count as a fruit. I still try to shower every other day but you could braid my leg hair right now. Kiddo bath every third night, smell jammies on the floor to see if they are clean. Bake to keep the house warm, ration each child one cookie/brownie per day, eat the rest yourself after they go to bed. Go outside only if we run out of milk. Listen to the Toddler Pandora station in the morning, maybe one episode of Daniel Tiger, then a movie after nap. Sure kids! Eat all the pretzels you want for snack if it keeps you quiet. That means you will be less hungry for dinner which is good because I have no idea what we are having which is a problem because it’s 7 p.m. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 5 2014

I Refuse to Spend Snow Days Entertaining My Kids

By at 11:30 am

I refuse to spend snow days entertaining my kids

It’s a snow day here in Boston. You know what that means: kids that have to be dragged out of beds on school days are up before dawn and weary parents are staring glassy-eyed into their coffee as they negotiate who gets to go to work and who will stay home with the Tasmanian devils who have somehow managed to trash the house before the garbage truck has rumbled by.

I logged onto Facebook this morning and wrote: “They woke up at 6:30 AM and are currently wandering around the house in thin cotton summer dresses. My girls are terrible at snow days. At least it’s beautiful out.

It was your run of the mill, slightly less than clever, semi-whiny, halfhearted attempt to garner sympathy from my friends and find something positive about the day. A few friends “liked” my picture of the snowy scene from my front door, and in the midst of a few sympathetic comments, my former boss wrote this:

You need to get in full camp counselor mode! Bake cookies, dance party, art and crafts, story time, sledding, etc… hopefully, by later in the day the roads are a bit more cleared…I am hoping our Y is open to get them out of the house and swimming….good luck!Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2014

How My 10-Year-Old Walked Home in a Blizzard (And We All Survived)

By at 9:43 am

walking in blizzard in central park

Most weekday afternoons, I pick my 7-year-old daughter up from her school, while my 10-year-old son takes the cross-town city bus home from his. Usually, the 10-year-old is home before us, but there have been enough occasions where he’s a few minutes late that I don’t give it much thought.

As a rule, his commute home takes about 20 minutes. On Tuesday, as Winter Storm Janus dumped multiple inches of snow over New York City, my son wasn’t home 20 minutes after class let out. He wasn’t home 30 minutes later, either. I told myself the buses were probably delayed due to the weather.

Forty minutes after class let out (and about 20 minutes after he should have been home), my son called on his cell phone (no apps, no games, just emergency minutes) to say the buses were so packed, no one was letting him on. (He is skinny and well-mannered. Neither trait is particularly conducive to shoving your way onto an NYC bus.) Read the rest of this entry →


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