Stroller Time! Oh City Mini, I love you more each day.

Hi there guys and gals. You wanna know what’s freakingridiculous? I keep forgetting when it’s Friday. How awful is that? Considering this, I am afraid it is incumbent upon me to inform you that I will be posting Freakingridiculous Fridays rants on random Fridays from now on. I seem to be lacking in talent when it comes to keeping track of what day it is anymore. ūüôā

In any case, as promised, I want to tell all of you about our stroller story. Of course it’s a whole story – ha! I am especially speaking to all you special pregnant ladies out there. If you haven’t got your stroller planning spreadsheet going yet, I bet you’re thinking about it. What a dilemma! How does one make a decision when this stroller offers “seated ball bearings” and that one offers “independent suspension”? You troll around on all the stroller companies’ websites and become mesmerized by the instructional videos. Perhaps you begin feeling overwhelmed, or perhaps you’ve had an upsetting incident when you found out the stroller you thought you loved doesn’t come with a cup holder!!! Gasp. This is serious sh*t here, people. What? You actually don’t have a stroller comparison spreadsheet at all? Oh – well I’d like to think it’s not just me so go ahead and keep that little tidbit to yourself. ūüôā

Anyway, a decent stroller can cost a lot of money. If you intend to navigate a city and not just the mall every now and then, you probably DO actually want a decent one so that the darn thing doesn’t collapse in the middle of a pothole on Astoria Boulevard. Even if you aren’t a city cat, that Bugaboo video sure is tempting. Okay so here it is: We bought an Uppababy Vista secondhand. It was an awe-inspiring piece of equipment that performed its intended function very well indeed. We spent a lot of money on that stroller, even secondhand. I bragged to everyone under the sun about it too. What a deal we got! What we failed to admit was that we lived in a tiny second floor apartment. The guy in that Uppababy video made it look SO easy to fold up and carry around, but we failed to note that in order to do so, the moon had to be in the 7th house, Jupiter aligned with Mars, and you had to do a roundoff-back handspring and say a Hail Mary with your eyes closed. Oh, and the darned contraption weighs about 25 pounds even if you do manage to get it folded while holding an infant. To make a long story short, we finally admitted our mistake, sold the Uppababy to a lovely couple who wanted to convert it to a double stroller, and bought ourselves a BRAND NEW Baby Jogger City Mini.

WE LOVE OUR BABY JOGGER CITY MINI. A LOT. In a nutshell, here’s why. This will also double as my list of stroller features that we found to be actually useful/important:

  • It really and truly folds with one hand. You pull this little handle and boom. It’s amazing – a really great party trick.
  • I can carry it in one hand while carrying Marley in the other arm coming down my stairs. Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the highlight of my day or anything, but we get where we’re going in one piece.
  • It is extremely durable and high-quality despite being only about 16 pounds.
  • The wheels are those nice fancy ones, not crappy plastic ones.
  • It reclines to just about 180 degrees to¬†accommodate¬†newborns.
  • The sun canopy is for real. It is very large and has various “settings”. Sometimes the sun is a problem and I see lots of strollers with insufficient canopies.
  • Yes, you do need to purchase the rain canopy and cup holder¬†separately, but you’ll get over it I promise. There’s this fancy thing they have now where you can put all your purchases in one shopping cart and pay once. Not sure why people get all nuts about the¬†separate¬†purchase of these items.
  • The price is approximately $200 (depending on 2011/2012 and color) – exactly $479 cheaper than the Vista. OMG, right?
  • One negative – the seat is not reversible. This means that you cannot face your baby. However, I think people generally get over this pretty quickly, as well. Oh, and there’s this little sun roof thingy where you can peek through! Cool.
I know there are one million strollers available today. In fact, I bet that darn Vista is the exact right stroller for plenty of people out there! It’s a marvelous product. However, I felt compelled to share our story with you and how we learned the hard way what features were really truly important to us.
Oh, and one last thing. It’s just a stroller. You’ll have more pressing matters when the baby comes. Really. ūüėČ
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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. ūüôā 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. ūüėČ

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‚Äô 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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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?

Yes, Virginia…

Hello out there… It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The Quebecois guys are selling trees on Ditmars Boulevard, I’ve switched from sweaters to my actual wool coat, and I’ve ordered winter articles for Marley in ridiculously large sizes. Hooray!

This Christmas, we are hosting my mother and brother in law for Christmas Eve for the first time and I am SO excited about it. In particular, I am excited for Marley to experience his first Christmas morning in our home. Our home is not much, and we haven’t much room, oh and the baby has no idea what the heck a holiday even is but OH WELL. I’m still excited and that’s that. Christmas morning cinnamon buns await!

I’ve been through some pretty rough holidays. Many a Christmas day has ended in vague disappointment and a glass of wine, especially since the passing of my very special Grandmother, Virginia, in 2002. You see, most of my happiest childhood Christmas memories were centered around her – her alto voice singing out during the holiday sing-along, our special Christmas Eve slumber party when I would provide all details about my latest love interest, our tradition of bringing bags full of pennies for the midnight mass collection basket (The preacher was famous for declaring “No Jingle Bells!” and we enjoyed putting him in his place), and the pure joy on her face when she would receive yet another cat-related gift (Oh, Sara! It’s a cat!!!!!). She was wonderful and filled with pure love despite leading a truly difficult life. Even when the other elements of the holidays had inevitably gone awry, I had these moments with Grandmom to comfort me. This is the kind of holiday warmth and love I hope to create for Marley for the rest of his life.¬†Ridiculous as it may sound that I am wrapping his little gifts with great care and preparing a special breakfast (which he cannot yet eat), I am wild with anticipation for Marley’s first Christmas. We can’t wait to see him put all of his new toys in his mouth and look at us with wonder and love as we enjoy special family time together.

We are so grateful for what we have and what we can give to Marley this holiday season. Besides being able to care for him and feed him each day, we are able to shop for little toys and new clothes to make his first Christmas special. May I humbly suggest that, as you plan your holiday shopping, you consider one of the following giving programs?

The Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree (presented by jcpenney): Adopt an “Angel” (a child in need) online. You can search for angels by age/zip code/gender and then donate a gift based on the child’s needs/wants.

UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts Program: Buy a life-saving gift for children in need. There is an option to send a gift on behalf of a friend and UNICEF will send an online card. Options run the gamut from soccer balls to measles vaccines.

Thanks for listening, dear readers. Wishing you and yours a holiday season filled with warmth and love!

Victory At Last! The boy eats from a spoon…

Hello out there, borobaby readers! The holidays are here – hip hip hooray. I am starting to get soooo excited to introduce Marley to our favorite holiday traditions – listening to Christmas music, sharing time with loved ones, and most importantly – entire days dedicated to eating! Yes, Nick and I operate a food-centric family and we’re damn proud of it. Our friend Alex once hypothesized that the proportion of one’s life dedicated to the preparation and consumption of quality food has a direct correlation to one’s happiness and well being. I am certain that this is true and hope to impart the same values to our Marley. With that in mind, I am thrilled to share this story about my most recent (and most significant?) mommy victory to-date.

When Marley was ready to begin solids, we were excited and a bit nervous – kind of our approach to most new things with our little guy. However, being the child of two food-obsessed individuals (Nick with cooking it, and me with eating it), I had no doubt Marley ¬†would have no trouble at all eating whatever we presented to him with enthusiasm and gusto. Aaaaaaaah yeah – it kind of didn’t go down that way. Here’s what really happened. He liked cereal, then he hated veggies (yea, even sweet potatoes)… fruit was kind of an improvement, but still he was not thrilled. Within a month or so, something happened along his culinary journey that caused him to shut down. And by shut down, I mean he shut his mouth TIGHT, leaned forward in his high chair, and give us the stare of death every time we presented food. Wait what??? How did this happen? What’s wrong with this boy? He continued to eat just fine at daycare so we knew it wasn’t impossible. Was it US ?! Oh dear. Nick and I tried everything but standing on our heads to get him to open his mouth for a bite. We sang, we danced, we fed ourselves, we fed each other….nothin. Sigh. We went the route of the store-bought organic squeezy pouches (which we still LOVE as a great on-the-go option) which he loved actually, but you know what???? One cannot go through life eating store-bought prepared food out of a squeezy pouch. Although most of our parent friends advised me to just give it more time and try again later … I insisted that we immediately find a way to feed him our homemade baby food FROM A SPOON.

Enter me, mommy genius (ahem). Why was he eating at daycare and not at home? They asserted it was because they played with him and made him laugh and sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider…. um DUH – of course we already tried those things ad¬†nauseam. I began to think it was because he was imitating the older babies. He would see them eating and would be thusly inspired to accept a spoonful of food himself. I decided that I would try a rather unusual trick – I would play You Tube videos of other babies happily eating their food from spoons. I don’t want to name names, but a certain husband of mine made quite a few jokes about how this trick was going to fail. Well guess what – the video came on and the boy opened his mouth for a spoonful of food immediately! He was healed. Whatever emotional/spiritual/existential concern Marley had with eating food from a spoon – it is gone. We only had to play the video a few times. ūüôā VICTORY! SUCCESS! HUZZAH!

It just goes to show – we moms know what’s what and there’s no harm in trying something strange if you think it will help!

I hope everyone out there is having a great time getting ready for Turkey Day this week! GOBBLE GOBBLE!

Attention expecting moms! A registry to copy from borobaby – hindsight is 20/20!

Hello readers! We sure hope you had a glorious weekend! Here in NYC, it is crisp and sunny and cold – perfect autumn weather if you ask me. You know, when I was pregnant with Marley one thing I really wanted was for someone to just tell me what to register for from soup to nuts! Oh sure, there are tons of checklists available, but I found that many homegrown ones were too sparse and the ones sponsored on the baby sites were extremely overdone. Surely I would not need a crib, a bassinet, a napper, and a Moses basket! Come ON. When I started this blog, one of my goals was to provide my readers with a great “demo” registry to copy/borrow/plagiarize/learn from, etc.

So, without further ado, here it is РENJOY!!! borobaby demo registry

Some notes on the registry:

  • I provided comments on each item that will help explain why I think it is necessary or desirable.
  • Some of the items are ones that we have and love, and others are ones that my friends have and love (eg, My Brest Friend pillow – we hated the Boppy).
  • Pay attention to the quantities – I updated the appropriate amount of each item, as well.
  • Obviously, the colors are random – Amazon carries all the various colors/patterns you may like better, of course.
Items not on the registry list that must be purchased outside of Amazon:
  • IKEA Antilop Highchair¬†– This highchair is $20 and we think it is absolutely fantastic! Make sure to buy the separate tray, and the support cushion if necessary. It does not have a fluffy ruffly seat thinger, but Marley really doesn’t seem to care. VERY easy to clean – this is a very, very important quality, people!
  • Sweet Bobbins Crib Sheets – I ordered 3 different crib sheets from 3 different shops on Etsy (Etsy is an amazing site where one can purchase handmade items from all over the world!). The one from Sweet Bobbins was the best by far – great quality fabric that washes well and beautiful patterns. Angela and Rene throw in 3 matching washcloths with your sheet purchase!
  • Land’s End Little Tripper Diaper Bag – This is an awesome¬†bag – although certainly not as cute as many others on the market. Major pluses for TONS of great functionality (which is actually the point of a diaper bag) and the fact that the dads I know don’t mind carrying it (assuming you do not purchase the baby pink color). You will be amazed at how much fits in there!
For other information on preparing for baby, please see my former posts: Our Top Ten Favorite Baby Stuff (pregnancy through 6 months)!¬†and Toolkit for Baby’s Arrival.
I hope all you pregnant gals find the demo registry and these notes helpful!!!