Saving the Fireplace Fairy

I discovered yesterday evening that Tim had never seen the video of a young girl’s new flying fairy toy flying directly into the fireplace fire at first launch:

Henry was in the room for this discussion and consequent viewing and naturally wanted to watch as well.

It did not go well.

It turns out, the very important scene in which the fire is put out and the toy rescued was cut.

“But they have to put the fire out,” Henry said right after watching.
“Don’t worry kiddo, they did,” I responded maybe lied.
“But they have to get the fairy out,” he replied, fighting tears.
“They did, buddy, after they put the fire out.”

Then I used the occasion for a fire safety lesson that wasn’t listened to.

“But I need to see them put the fire out.”

What proceeded were two videos, one of two men putting out a small fire and another of the same flying fairy toy flying freely and unburned.

So if Henry asks, THE FAIRY IS FINE.


Happy birthday, Henry

Happy birthday, my joyful, determined, funny two-year-old. I love being your mom.

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22 months

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Henry turned 22 months this month. We are closer to 2 than to 1 now. In fact, I’ve just started calling him a 2-year-old. He looks like it. He acts like it.

Looking back at my 18 months post he is so different. There’s now very little overlap in his “stats.” It’s equally bittersweet and fascinating.

At 22 months:

Favorite foods: Pancakes, waffles, french toast, french fries, dried fruit, yogurt, Trader Joe’s cheese rocket crackers, raisins, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, Mommy and Daddy’s cereal.

Favorite books: Anything with a train, construction vehicle, or emergency vehicle in it. Any and all books about anything. But particularly lately Where Is the Green Sheep, Good Night Central Park, and Red Wagon.

Favorite toys: 2 train, matchbox truck from Gangy, wooden cars, bucket of blocks (not the blocks inside – the bucket), laundry cart, microwave stand, baking utensils drawer.

Favorite activities: Reading, vacuuming, brunch, playing with his train and truck (always together), visiting family, dancing, singing, making a mess to clean up (cleaning up is the goal), putting on lotion, watching “Bigger Bigger,” running to the window every time a vehicle with a siren drives by … and we live near a hospital. AND PLAYGROUNDS.

Words: I’m going to stop listing the words. Every day his school report checks off “talkative.” Though I will announce that he says “excavator.” We were just as surprised as you are.

How Henry currently makes us laugh: Well, “excavator.” Singing himself to sleep. Figuring everything out. Knowing what he wants and doesn’t want. Closing the toilet lid and putting the safety lock on if we forget to do so when he goes in for a bath. Pointing out his penis every time it’s exposed. Calling Uncle Neil’s song “Bigger Bigger,” singing along to “Bigger Bigger” and getting really upset when we don’t play it eight times in a row or every five minutes. Always being excited to hear an “ambeeants” [ambulance] or see a subway train. The feelings he feels. How well he repeats words. Wearing my boots and successfully walking in them. Telling us he has poopy in his diaper and being right sometimes.

And now for the pictures:

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But he’s so cute NOW

Quite often I worry that I’m not documenting Henry’s milestones well enough. I don’t have scrapbooks or baby books* – that’s what this blog is for. But we’ve already been through a whole year of firsts and the only one I’ve shared here is his first birthday.

There are plenty of adorable ways to document baby milestones (that you don’t even have to come up with yourself). But I’m sure even the mothers who do them all feel like they aren’t doing enough. So instead of trying to become something I’m not (someone who has patience for crafts and craft-like projects), I’ve accepted feeling guilty as a constant side effect of motherhood that I can tolerate and keep on living.

But all is not lost.

Here is what I do do:

  • Twitter. I created a @measuredinweeks account for some real-time documenting. I tweet about Henry but also about momness, parenthood, New York City and the sports teams we cheer for (which really falls under the category of family – go Bills!)
  • Instagram. I’m bad about adhering to the “instant” implication of the service and post pictures much later than I took them, but I’m getting a little better. And I have actually started tagging not-real-time photos as #latergrams, which is good, or people will think I’m at brunch at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday.
  • E-mail. Soon after Henry was born I set up an e-mail address for him so that I could e-mail him when he does something new or funny. I even actually do it sometimes. It’s especially convenient since I can send e-mails from my phone, which was my primary documentation device for the first year of his life. Sometimes the e-mails are sentimental, but most of the time it’s “You just farted and laughed at yourself.”
  • New camera. Well, new to us anyway. This spring we bought a secondhand Canon someprofessionalmodel for half its original price. Then started taking pictures with it, some of which I even share here. We’re still working on taking good pictures with it.
  • Family photos. I had a friend who takes good photos take good photos of all three of us recently in Central Park. Stay tuned if you want to see them. I have a notion to even make cards and mail them. I mean, it only took me 6+ months to send out birth announcements. Up until the recent photo shoot, these were the only family photos I had:

Opening Day (blog)

This one is from Opening Day. We’re at a wing night upstate. Tim, Henry, me, and a glass of beer.

Pool (blog)

And this photo from this summer in my parents’ pool. We’re saving this one for a t-shirt tan contest.

  • Went through a back-up-all-of-our-photos-on-computers-and-hard-drives-and-the-cloud frenzy, including all cell phone photos from phones alive or dead. And I dare say we have, like, 13 or so good photos among the thousands. Success! Maybe I’ll even print them out. And hang them on walls. But I don’t want to push myself too hard.

So, if you’re like me, and the thought of choosing photos, printing them, putting them in frames, deciding where to hang those frames, then hanging the frames or doing anything else like it makes you want to instead build a blanket fort and hide from the scary decision making and the following through and read your Christopher Plummer memoir that you’ve been trying to finish for three months, then maybe one of the memory-capturing methods I’m capable of works for you.

What do you do capture memories?

*This does not mean I don’t value the worth of baby books or scrapbooks. A blog just works better for me, probably because I also get to talk about myself on a blog.


Remembering a sad October

The ache of this month’s move from the neighborhood I love(d) has me reflecting on where I was last year at this time. Last October was hard.

Henry was 5 months old. He had just started day care, and I had just returned to the office. My heart was an open wound I felt inadequately equipped to protect. I also felt like a confused robot. Then one of Henry’s sweet classmates died of SIDS at home in her sleep. Then a friend’s best friend lost a 37-week-old child she was carrying. Then Marina Krim’s nanny killed two of her young children. None of these tragedies were mine, but they also all felt like mine, in a very small dose that I could handle.

This must be how people get through unimaginable grief: We all, through empathy, take on a little bit of the suffering for the people for whom it should be unbearable, and somehow they go on breathing, sleeping, doing, being.

I’ve thought of these families often this month, and I probably will for many Octobers to come. I hope it helps.


Good advice

Described in an article on being a good (or bad) sport parent, a Proactive Coaching survey asked college athletes what made them feel great, happy after a game. Their response: When their parents told them “I love to watch you play.

From A Cup of Jo:

Isn’t that lovely? These kids didn’t want to hear criticism or coaching or even praise from their parents. They simply wanted to hear that their parents loved to watch them play. Kids get enough pressure from teachers, coaches, peers and themselves; you just want unconditional love from your parents, right?

I’ve been struggling with encouraging Henry without the burden of praise. Sometimes even better than saying “you sing so well” (as opposed to “you are a good singer”) will be to say “I love hearing you sing.” Which I do.

I love watching you play, Henry.

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Cry it out

… then buy cookies for your neighbors.

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We live in a one-bedroom apartment, on the second floor of a three-floor brownstone, mostly so that we can have two sets of neighbors to wake up with loud crying at 3 a.m. (or annoy by dumping wood puzzle pieces onto the wood floor at 6:30 a.m. or by making them listen to the opening number of the 2013 Tony Awards over and over and over even though it’s awesome and the singer is going to be our new neighbor and have us over for play dates all the time).

Our one-bedroom status has not lent itself well to letting Henry cry it out when he wakes up at night, because, well, he can see us. We’re right there.  And he just keeps crying. Luckily, he very rarely wakes up for no reason. It’s either a wet diaper, teething, coughing, or gas, and even a mediocre nurturer like myself isn’t going to not provide comfort to a baby in discomfort.

Well, on Tuesday/Wednesday at 3 a.m. Henry decided he wanted to come in bed with us and read The Very Busy Spider. Sometimes bringing Henry into bed for a quick snuggle puts him right back to sleep (and then right back into his bed if we don’t also fall asleep in the process), but not on Tuesday/Wednesday. He fought the back pats, the cuddles, the rocking chair, because he was up, duh, and had stuff he needed to do. Even explaining to him that his disproportionate-to-the-disappointment tantrum he was throwing was because he was tired and not actually upset didn’t work.

So we just put him in his bed and let him wail. We laid him down a few times to remind him that laying down was an option. Then continued to let him cry. And continued. Then continued and continued. Around 4:15 I heard a thunk and a whimper, then the most beautiful snores ever snored. I had to fight the urge not to dance on the bed like I was Angela Chase and I just got over Jordan Catalano.

Henry: 289. Parents: 1. We got 1!