Borobaby is back with a brand new…. State?!

Well hello out there borobaby readers! As you know, it’s been too long. Please forgive my absence, as my family has been adjusting to the many changes in our lives that have taken place over the past few months. “What changes?” you say….Well, since May:

  1. The end of my breastfeeding journey with Marley.
  2. As indicated by my last post, the unfortunate passing of my very dear mother, Sue.
  3. Becoming pregnant with borobaby #2! We are proud to announce that we are expecting another baby BOY in March! There are a couple of dear friends out there whom I haven’t been able to talk to about this just yet – I apologize if this post is how you are finding out our happy news. I promise a long talk is in our near future. 🙂
  4. A hugely stressful and logistically challenging but also awesome move to Montpelier, Vermont. Yes, borobaby is now brought to you from the great state of Vermont, from the capitol “city” of Montpelier. A bit of trivia – we are the smallest state capitol and the only one without a McDonalds! Cool.
  5. A new job for my husband, which is working out quite well so far. 🙂

Soooooo I’ve been a bit emotionally exhausted – it’s been hard for me to think about how to restart the blog. But, at the encouragement of a special colleague/friend today, here I am trying.  😉

There are several things that have been on my mind that I would like to share with all of you. Here are some posts/topics you can expect to see in the near future:

  1. Adventures in Sewing. I am VERY, VERY inspired to learn to sew. Not like, with my needle and thread to repair a button and stuff like that. I mean really, really sew like with a machine like people do. For the boys, I want to make pajamas, sleep sacks, blankets, doofy outfits, hats, etc.  My main focus in the beginning will be completing Marley’s Halloween costume, which I planned to sew by hand but will try with the machine, aaaaaand some winter sleep sacks. Can someone out there please explain why they don’t make long-sleeved ones? I feel like I am always low on clean sleep sacks because I refuse to buy any more for like $40 or whatever it is. NO WAY – I will make them, I will, I will! Thank goodness I have a new neighbor up here who says she can help me to learn, and I have a gorgeous- genius-future famous designer niece whom I can ask stupid questions. Wish me luck, I will really need it.
  2. OMG I’m in Vermont. This change came as quite a shock to those who know how much I love Astoria. What about the BORO?! We knew that we’d need and want more space for baby #2, and my husband and I always knew that we’d plan a move out of the city around this time in our lives. So, here we are! We are so glad we landed in VT, and particularly glad to be in Montpelier! It’s a funky “city”/town of 8K-9K people. There is a plethora of interesting things going on, a very cute downtown with awesome shopping/restaurants, a lot of young families, and some very “colorful” hippie and not-so-hippie folks hanging around. In many ways, because of the small community feel, it is similar to life in Astoria believe it or not! Also, it is GORGEOUS here. We are surrounded by mountains and we breathe fresh air every day. What a refreshing change that has been! Anyone want to come up for a ski vacation!? 😀 Oh, the food is amazing too. Yesssssssssssssss! We haven’t quite found our groove yet with the local mom groups and such, so I hope to share some thoughts about that as we continue to try to get involved.
  3. Preparing for baby #2. I want to share with my readers some of what I’ve been feeling emotionally, and how I am trying to prepare logistically. Um, I also welcome all advice on this matter because I am basically clueless. 😉

Thanks for hanging in there, dear readers! What else would you like to hear about?

I hope you’re having a great birthday, Mom…

Sap alert.

This is a tribute to my mother who just passed away about a month ago now. Her 59th birthday would have been tomorrow. As many of you surely know, she was a very special person and was wonderful in too many ways to count. I do not wish to rewrite my eulogy, nor do I wish to upset any readers, but I would like to share some of the ways in which she inspired me.

Since this is a bit of a public therapy session for myself, I’ll go ahead and do what I do best: a list.

Ways in which my mother was awesome:

  1. She taught me very thoroughly and thoughtfully how to be a decent person. I have such poignant memories of my mother sitting me down to explain, for example, exactly why such-and-such a comment may have been hurtful to my schoolmate. She never punished without explanation and she never reprimanded without kindness shining through.
  2. She taught empathy and generosity through her own words and actions. She had a soft spot for those less fortunate. We would often travel to Philadelphia or New York City on the weekends when I was really little. In the 80s, these places could be pretty seedy and full of homeless folks and such. If someone looked truly hungry, she would take me into a store to buy a sandwich or whatever – always holding my hand tight and ensuring my safety. She always said one of her favorite things was when we got to shop for school supplies each coming Fall. After I went away to college, she began participating in a program to “fill a backpack” with school supplies for local children in need. She often cried for the wrongly accused – this was a special subject for her about which I believe she felt extremely saddened.
  3. She rewarded honesty above all else. Mind you, I was kind of a goody two-shoes. But if I did end up in some kind of trouble, honesty would be honored. I could tell her everything and ask any question (even through my teenage years – oy!) without fear of judgement. Even if I did try to lie, she knew immediately anyway. Moms know EVERYTHING.
  4. She expected me to achieve my personal best. Everyone looks at me with wide (and frightened) eyes when I explain that my mother forced me to get straight As in school. However, what I always must explain is that she expected this because I got As the previous semester and the one before that. “If all you were capable of was a C+, I’d expect straight C+s,” she would say. This is not an exaggeration – I would be in actual trouble when I brought home B grades in my best subjects.
  5. I was afraid of her. Yep – I admire this a LOT actually. She was my friend in so many ways, but until the day she died she could give me “the look” and I’d know I needed to shape up and improve my behavior. This woman meant what she said and she was a seriously good parent.
  6. She taught me manners. I am thankful that she took the time to impart upon me social skills and proper manners (yes, yes, haha). No really, she did. If I was rude to someone, I was forced to apologize – it was not considered cute and it was not ignored. I will always remember these lessons in particular.
  7. When I left home and became an official adult, she stayed out of my damn hair. Thank goodness for this SERIOUSLY. I have always had trouble relating when friends’ parents were any other way. Yes, this means I made huge mistakes during my college years. But as they say, those experiences make you the person you are and I am so thankful she had the wisdom to let me live my own adult life.
  8. She was loyal to me and soooo protective. There are girls that were mean to me in elementary school (Do you read my blog St. Anthony’s girls? Hello!) who were given the stink eye by my mother as recently as 2012. OH YEAH. And boyfriends/love interests, they fell into essentially 2 categories in her eyes: “in love with Sara” or “gay”. To her, there were really no other possibilities.
  9. She was so openly loving every single day. My parents were not perfect, nor was my childhood perfect by any definition. However, I always knew that my mom loved me unconditionally – she ensured that this was the case. Because of her love, I am a better wife, mother, and friend than I ever could have been without her.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

“What I’ve learned being a mom to a one year old” or “Holy shit I survived”

As Marley’s first birthday approaches this Sunday, Nick and I have been watching videos of him that we have taken over the past year. A YEAR!!!!! OMG, right? Some of the more special ones involve me having a “conversation” with Marley at 7 weeks old and 5 minute long videos of him sleeping. I began thinking about how much has changed about our family in 12 months. Obviously, Marley has changed and grown exponentially in such wonderful ways. Something I think of often but do not always articulate is how much my mindset as a mom has morphed as the year went by. Here, I will share with you some of those thoughts.

  1. The annoying cliches are so very true that you begin repeating them to everyone yourself. “They grow so fast.” “Having a baby will change your life.” “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.” “When you become parents, your priorities will change”… and so forth. You get the idea. When I was pregnant, this is about all I heard from my parent friends, or so it seemed. I remember thinking – what on earth!? – do they think I’m slow? Of course having this baby will change my life, DUH, etc. What I learned is that, when you become a parent, your life turns so completely upside down. Indeed, many describe it as re-learning how to live your life all over again. It IS so much harder (and so much more wonderful) than you had imagined, that you cannot help but repeat the old sayings over and over again to anyone who will listen. In fact, it became a source of comfort for me eventually. It helped me to not feel so alone and frustrated – knowing that so many others had been through the same circus and lived to tell the tale.
  2. There is a lot of garbage/nonsense/crap on the internet that is bound to make you go insane.  When I started doing research on mommy blogging, I happened upon many blogs and websites that displayed what can only be described as cyber-bullying. I respect mommy blogs. I do not respect preaching, bullying, and belittling. I saw all too many forums where one way of parenting was presented as the only way and moms were made to feel inferior because they did not, for example, make their own baby wipes or cloth diaper their babies. Don’t even get me started on these witches who make people feel like they are “cop outs” because they switched to formula or “selfish” because they returned to the workforce. I am fortunate enough to have found a way to return to work to help support my family AND I am outrageously lucky that I have an employer that accommodates pumping during the day. I consider myself extremely blessed to live in these first world conditions. Thankful does not begin to describe how I feel when I think about what moms are going through right now in so many parts of our world. Parenting is hard enough, people. How dare you!? Also, get a life. It is seriously a mystery to me why anyone would spend time belittling a mom she’s never met over the internet. This has gotten so bad that there is even a “Mom Pledge” Blog, dedicated to creating a more respectful online mom community. I cannot convey to you the despair I felt when reading some online accounts of Stay-at-Home-Moms and how terribly selfish they thought it would be to return to work. What have I learned? STAY AWAY, STAY FAR AWAY from any website or blog that makes you feel inferior as a mother. All of us are just doing our best and these people are just ridiculous.
  3. You block stuff out, thank GOD. Wow, were those first few months hard. I remember thinking that the first week of Marley’s life was the hardest of my life thus far, and Nick quite agreed. I remember this as if it were a story someone told me once – I no longer “feel the pain” so to speak. For example, I remember that I had to deal with an oversupply of breastmilk issue for the first 6 weeks. I remember what I did to troubleshoot it and how supportive my husband and certain friends/family were, etc. But I cannot recall the abundant frustration which I know I had. I’ve blocked it out. If that seems too harsh, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I’ve “moved on” to the point that I no longer have to cope with the intensity of those emotions. Thank goodness this is so, or we all would be in big trouble, and we’d all have exactly one child.
  4. Sleep is really, really important. Without boring you to death with all the details, I would like to convey how much better our parenting experience became when we all started sleeping properly. I realize that sleep strategies are a VERY sensitive subject and so I will just say this: Find something that works so that parents and baby alike are getting enough sleep, or close to it. Suffering through sleep deprivation helps no one. And for the record and for curious parties, we worship Dr. Weissbluth and don’t be cyber-bullying me about it. 🙂
  5. The love you feel for your child is indescribable and very powerful. As such, I will not try to provide fancy descriptions. 😉 My love for Marley is the most overwhelming and wonderful emotion I have ever known and I am changed forever because of it. When my girlfriends who have not become mothers ask me – how do you do it? How did you do all those night feedings when you were clearly exhausted? How could you stand all those poopy diapers exploding all over the place? Do you ever wish you had your old life again? My reply is this:  Your love for your baby is on your side. This is so powerful that it enables you to do amazing and seemingly miraculous things you did not know you were capable of. You can trust in this completely. Even when you feel you are failing or just going nuts (read: Opening a can of Modelo Especial at 9:30 on a Sunday morning…ahem…don’t judge), you will get through it and so will your baby because that love will somehow get you through in one piece. Hm, maybe that was a fancy description after all, but thanks for listening.

Happy Birthday to our Marley!

Raising Astoria – the new heart of our parenting community!

So really, did we ever have a winter? WOW I cannot get over how great it feels to be walking around outside today (just a bit!) in my Toms and my snazzy non-winter hat!

Local parents and parents-to-be listen UP! In case you haven’t heard, there is an amazing new store in town called Raising Astoria. It is on 23rd Ave and 26th St. Their grand opening was last Saturday and there could not have been more excitement and energy (and babies!) in the room that day. They offer new and slightly used maternity and baby clothing and gear, as well as seriously adorable new baby and toddler toys. Indeed, I have already made some very exciting purchases here: Some really awesome Adidas baby sneakers (slightly used and gorgeous), a few beautiful wooden toys and handcrafted stuffed animals to send to a new baby in the family, and one pink baby stroller. All the little girls were getting them and I thought Marley would like it. Turns out, I was right….

Additionally, the community space will be home to extremely affordable and brilliant classes and events that cannot be beat! To name just a few, they offer 2 levels of art classes for the little ones and a “Dance Party Friday”!!! How fun is THAT? Adult-centered activities will be offered too, like the monthly Working Moms’ Support Group (starting April 4 and hosted by yours truly) and Parent Education Workshops on Saturday afternoons. Marley and I cannot wait to join in all the fun!

It should not come as a surprise that this beautiful space is brought to us by Laurie and Kim – “meetup” group mavens and local mamas extraordinaire! Read this article on the Queens Mamas website about them and their ideas for Raising Astoria. Their warm and welcoming personalities carry through to the store itself, creating a positive and energetic vibe. I’m certain that Raising Astoria is to become the new “it” place for local families to connect with one another, not to mention the buying and “selling” opportunities that their consignment model allows. Thanks, ladies!

I look forward to seeing you all there!!!

Freakingridiculous Fridays: Baby Business Cards

I am really truly sorry if I will offend anyone with this post, or any Freakingridiculous Fridays post for that matter. Perhaps you should read a different blog if you are personally hurt by my weekly rants. 🙂 AH – speaking of weekly – Happy (week after your) Birthday to my husband Nick!!!!! I apologize for missing last Friday, dear readers, but birthday celebrations were in order!!! You gotta have priorities. 😉

Now, on to the matter at hand – Baby Business Cards, Play Date Cards, Mommy Cards, etc. When looking for invitations for Marley’s upcoming 1st birthday party on tinyprints.com (great site!), I happened upon an option called “mommy cards”. Of course I clicked the link, whereupon I discovered that there were such things as “playdate business cards” or “baby business cards”. At least that’s what I call them. Evidently, the idea is that you meet another parent/child, things go well, and you want to see them again. Nevermind exchanging numbers via cell phone. That is soooo 2012. We can’t be allowing the new fancy pants technology to overrun our children’s pure and innocent minds. The civilized thing to do is of course to exchange business cards. I wonder if we could drop one into those fishbowls they have at some stores/delis and perhaps win ourselves a free lunch.

After all, in Japan, where people are very advanced and sophisticated, it is considered very important to present one’s business card appropriately. Allow me to enlighten you:

Traditionally business cards have great significance and are part of a lengthy ceremony. Exchanging business cards is important because it shows peoples’ status. When handing a business card it is required to use both hands and bow. After receiving the card it is looked over and read and you must try to pronounce the card owners name. The cards are also kept out on a table. This is a strength because it helps you understand the title of the person. This is important in knowing who you are talking to and what their ranking is. It is very important to the Japanese to know the hierarchy of the companies they are doing business with. Traditionally the ranking of someone is very important to them. The ranking has always been important because they want to know what level of authority they are dealing with. This helps the company to know what is going on. [http://internationalbusiness.wikia.com/wiki/Japan’s_Business_Traditions]

You see, we wouldn’t want our kids growing up without such values and traditions in place. Indeed, with some of the names these days that surely appear on these cards, we would all have a grand time with the ceremony of trying to pronounce the name aloud.

Baby business cards?! Now THAT’S Freakingridiculous. 

Up next – Stroller review! How much we love our Baby Jogger City Mini and why the UppaBaby and Bugaboo people are nuts. 🙂

Freakingridiculous Fridays: The USA and (not) Breastfeeding

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) Section on Breastfeeding, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, and many other health organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. A study by Harvard Medical School last year showed that if 90 percent of mothers followed the standard medical advice of feeding infants only breast milk for their first six months, the United States could save $13 billion a year in health care costs and prevent the premature deaths of 900 infants each year from respiratory illness and other infections.

However, in the U.S., while 75 percent of mothers start out breastfeeding, only 13 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months.

In 2009, half of all mothers with children younger than 12 months were employed, and more than two-thirds of those employed worked full-time.

Only four countries [on earth] offer no legal guarantee of paid maternity leave –Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia, and the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only 11 percent of American employees have the option of taking paid medical leave.

Employed women have been less likely to initiate breastfeeding, and they tend to breastfeed for a shorter length of time than women who are not employed.

In 2009, only 15 U.S. states required that employers support breastfeeding employees when they return to work. 

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) required that employers provide reasonable, though unpaid, break time for a mother to express milk and a place, other than a restroom, that is private and clean where she can express her milk. As part of first lady Michelle Obama’s breastfeeding initiative, the IRS issued a ruling allowing mothers to use pretax money from their flexible spending accounts to cover the cost of breast pumps and other supplies.

Sarah Palin, conservative anti-Obama politician focused on promoting family values, publicly blasted and mocked Michelle Obama’s initiative after previously announcing she would feed her family S’Mores in protest of Mrs. Obama’s childhood obesity initiative. Meanwhile, Janet Walsh, deputy women’s rights director of Human Rights Watch states that “despite its enthusiasm about ‘family values’, the U.S. is decades behind other countries in ensuring the well-being of working families.”

Cultures who have low incidence of postpartum mental illness all have rituals that provide support and care for new mothers. These cultures exhibit several protective social structures. Such structures include “a distinct postpardum period” and “functional assistance.”

An anthropological study of the American postpardum experience is described: “She may or may not have anyone to help her at home, chances are no one at the hospital has even asked.  Her mate will probably return to work within the week, and she is left alone to make sure she has enough to eat, to teach herself to breastfeed, and to recuperate from birth.  The people who provided attention during her pregnancy are no longer there, and the people who do come around are often more interested in the baby.  There probably are resources in her community that can help, but she has no idea where they are and feels too overwhelmed to seek them out for herself.  So she must fend for herself as best she can.”

Let’s get with it, America. Now THAT is Freakingridiculous.

Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/business/11breast.html

http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/breastfeeding/executivesummary.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/17/sarah-palin-michelle-obama-breastfeeding_n_824716.html

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-02-23/news/29442643_1_papua-new-guinea-employees-with-newborn-children-american-parents

http://www.breastfeeding.com/helpme/cultures.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave

Introducing Freakingridiculous Fridays

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Forgive me readers for I have sinned…. it has been WAY too long since my last blog post! I hope everyone is doing well and feeling great as we kick off 2012. As the weather starts taking a downturn, I’ve started researching fun stuff in the neighborhood for Marley and me to do indoors. Sadly, my default activity – picnicking at Astoria Park – is not as much fun when icicles start forming on our feet. Coming soon – borobaby’s official recommendations for winter fun!

Doing all this research has led me to a rather bizarre discovery… at least I found it bizarre anyway. Insanely expensive music classes for babies. Say whaaaat!? This has inspired me to follow in the footsteps of my fellow mommy-bloggers with their clever weekday themed posts (Wacky Wednesdays or Monster-costume Mondays) and create my own: Freakingridiculous Fridays. There are a lot of ridiculous things out there in mommy world, dear reader. I am only too happy to bring them to your attention on a weekly basis. You’re welcome. 🙂

Back to the subject at hand for this, our first Freakingridiculous Friday – Insanely expensive music classes for babies.

WHY? I have heard of these classes and wondered inwardly and aloud – what on earth does one do in a baby music class? Here at home, we play with Marley’s toy xylophone. I have a real blast teaching myself to play songs on it while Marley tries to steal it back from me. So far my repertoire includes “No woman, no cry”, “Happy Birthday”, “Mary had a little lamb”, and “Do, a deer”. Ask Nick – I’m really good. We also sometimes try to teach Marley to play Nick’s congas (see photo). Usually he just bounces up and down and says “dadadadadadadada” and then growls and shows us his one tooth. I was startled to discover that many people out there feel this is not enough musical education for a 10 month old. In the interest of Marley’s cultural enrichment and our pending cabin fever, I decided to research fancy pants baby music classes. Hey – why not?

The results of this little research project were shocking. Baby music classes cost upwards of $28 per class. Classes are an hour or so. Yes, there is live music and these people have to get paid. I get that for sure, but WHOOOOOA. And $28 was the most affordable “class” I could find. Class descriptions sound something like this “Your baby will grow up to be a f*cking idiot if you do not enroll in this class. He will not understand what music is, have no sense of rhythm, sound, or dance, and will basically not enjoy life ever ever. Furthermore, he will never develop essential social skills and will in turn live life with no friends. While his classmates enjoy time together playing instruments and dancing, he will sit on the sidelines barely comprehending what is happening around him”. Okay.. so I slightly exaggerate. But seriously, that is the message, right? For $28 per hour you’d better be saving my kid from something. About the money – do not misunderstand, I am not a miser. No one in my life would even describe me as kind of thrifty. Unless a coupon invades my email inbox, I do not know of its existence and I enjoy shopping a LOT. I draw the line at freakingridiculous, though, and that’s just what this is if anyone’s asking me.

Okay so you want to sit around with other parents and babies and play music. This sounds like SO much fun but you can’t afford $28 for a music “class”. The solution – start your own. Meet other people (this is free) and play music together on whatever instruments are around the house (real ones if you have talent, or pots and pans – who cares). Mad props to Laurie N., who organizes such a group (for free) through our local meetup.com parenting group. Mad props to Waltz Astoria (http://waltz-astoria.com/) which organizes a kid’s sing-a-long with live music for $7, including snack bar for little ones. That sounds reasonable enough, and I hope to make it there this winter if our schedule allows. I am a music lover and passionate about the need for creative expression in children’s lives. But don’t freaking rob me. Thank you very much.

What do you think of Freakingridiculous Fridays? What do you do to bring music into your child’s life?