Oh, What a Night.

date nightAre you ready for your first night out sans kids?  Take this quiz to find out.

 

1.) Who do you turn to most for babysitting?

A. Your parents. After they’ve taken the required CPR classes.

B. A responsible teenager who lives in your building.

C. Your neighbor’s friend’s elderly aunt, who said she’d stay with your kids for free as long as she can watch her “stories.”

 

2.) Which location do you choose for your first date night?

A. A Chinese take-out place across the street from your house.

B. A nice place up to a half hour away from home.

C. It’s been a while since you crossed the border.  Hey, you’re not paying the sitter by the hour.

 

3.) What numbers do you leave behind for the sitter?

A. Poison control, the pediatrician, the local ER, all family members within a 20 mile radius, and the SPCA.

B. Your cell.

C. The local pizza place.

 

4.) What is your exit strategy for leaving the house?

A. Accidentally say “goodbye” to your kids and spend the next half hour trying to pry their sobbing arms from your torso.

B. Slip out the front door while they are distracted by “Winnie the Pooh.”

C. Initiate a game of “Hide and Seek,” then sneak down the fire escape while they count to 100.

 

5.) During dinner, how often do you check in with the babysitter?

A. Every 10 minutes. Disaster can strike at any moment.

B. Once, after dinner, to make sure the house is still standing.

C. One of these days you’ll put the babysitter’s number in your phone.

 

6.) How do you manage alcohol consumption while nursing?

A. No, thanks. You don’t want to pump and dump that precious liquid gold.

B. One glass of wine early in the night.

C. Bottoms up. Those cups aren’t going to flip themselves.

 

7.) How often are you able to have a night out?

A. Only when your brother guilts you into attending his wedding.

B. Once a month, so you can reconnect as a couple.

C. Every Saturday night. And for Tequila Tuesdays. And Thirsty Thursdays.

 

Results:

Mostly A’s: Rookie Mistakes– You will spend most of your date night watching your kids on your Baby Monitor iPhone app. What a waste of perfectly good $15/hour free time.

Mostly B’s: Date Night Connoisseurs– You have a firm grasp on how to meet both yours and your children’s needs. However, people are fed up with your smug perfectionism and don’t want to baby-sit for you.

Mostly C’s: Kids? What kids?– While the kids are away, Mommy and Daddy are going to relive their college days.  You know what’s great for a hangover?  A screaming baby.

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Shower Soliloquy

showerIt’s been five days since my last shower.

I’ve been looking forward to this well-timed event for a while. I had to sacrifice a sleep slot to make this happen, and leave several bottles of milk with my husband, but it’s been a long time coming. The bathroom is one of the only places I can go without the baby: no baby strapped to me, or on my lap, or thrown over my shoulder. I can have baby-free thoughts!

Crap. I think I hear the baby crying.

Or it could be the hot water coming through the pipes.

 

I know, I should sing in the shower. Something fun from the 80s.

Why do I find myself belting out the theme song to ‘Sofia the First?’ I hate ‘Sofia the First.’

Damn, that song is catchy.

 

Ooh I can see my feet again. Hello, feet. Ugh, hello stomach. You have the texture of a deflated balloon, and have so many stretch marks you resemble a traffic map (with delays on the I-95).

Stomach, I will hide you with soap.

Ah, my citrus body wash! You made me want to vomit while I was pregnant, but now I use you liberally. You smell like Tropicana, and I suspect you have the cleaning power of it as well.

The baby sounds like she’s crying again.

Or it could also be a cat dying in the alleyway outside my bathroom window.

Please be a dying cat.

 

Oh look, I have purple marker on my arm.  When did I use purple marker?

I blame the baby.

Wait, it’s not marker; it’s a bruise.  When did I get bruised?

I blame the baby.

 

A shower is the perfect place to contemplate life’s enigmas. Like, what to eat for dinner. Or if iTunes has the soundtrack to ‘Sofia the First.’   Or when was the last time I cleaned this bathroom? I’m pretty sure I’m the cleanest thing in here, and I haven’t bathed in days.

 

That really does sound like a baby crying.

Or a firetruck. I hope it’s a firetruck.

I shall sing louder to drown out the firetruck.

 

Time to shampoo the baby body fluids out of my hair. And then wash the baby body fluids off my hands. And…

And…

And…

 

Huh, I seem to have fallen asleep standing up in the shower.

 

Okay, my skin is shriveling up. I suppose I must come out and face my responsibilities.

 

Is that baby still crying?

 

Whoops, I ‘accidentally’ got eyeliner all over my hand.

And feet.

Eyeliner EVERYWHERE.

 

Back in the shower for me!

Conditional Love

motivationAs any synagogue-reared thirteen year old knows, becoming a bar or bat mitzvah comes with a set of expectations and rewards. In exchange for applying ourselves, studying Hebrew for several years, and chanting atonally for three hours in front of family and friends, we would be rewarded with a party and an increase in cash flow.

Some bat mitzvah gifts were exciting: checks in multiples of eighteen dollars, bonds in multiples of eighteen dollars, cash in multiples of eighteen dollars. Some gifts were not: the large number of attendees who had a tree planted in Israel in my name. That was the gift. My tweenage mind was blown. What would be next: adopting a stretch of highway in my honor? This was worth writing a thank-you card for? I was under the distinct impression that my efforts would be rewarded with enough money to buy that hair crimper I had my eye on. Instead, I was the reluctant recipient of an arboretum in a country I couldn’t find on a map. My friend Sara got a Sega Genesis for her bat mitzvah (and didn’t even need to write thank-you cards). My reward completely did not match my achievement.

I vowed never to have a bat mitzvah again.

Flash-forward a bunch of years, and I am now the mother of a toddler and a newborn. Like any good parents, my husband and I want our children to be on their best behavior, meet milestones, and avoid dangerous situations, for their own good (and not just because we’re tired of getting kicked out of Friendly’s). But how, how, how do we make them stay? And listen to all we say

We find ourselves in a constant state of bargaining with our toddler, and yes, even our newborn.  These are five types of negotiations that make up our daily life:

 

1.)   The Crock Exchange: Offering your toddler something unrelated to the task you are asking of them.

Examples: “If you stop eating chewing gum from the subway floor, I’ll let you wear your Minnie Mouse costume to school.”

“If you eat one more bite of dinner, I’ll recite every verse of ‘Chicken Soup With Rice’ instead of omitting the boring ones.”

 

2.)   The Idol Threat: Using your toddler’s role models as a means of manipulating their behavior.

Examples: “Peppa Pig always says ‘thank you.’”

“If you draw on the wall, Winnie the Pooh will stop loving you.”

 

3.)   The Success of Excess: Desperately promising your child unlimited bounty in exchange for one simple behavioral modification.

Examples: “Tell Mommy where you hid her cell phone, and she will take off the security code to the iPad.”

“If you stop screaming during the wedding ceremony, I will let you eat every dessert on the Venetian table.”

 

4.)   The Empty Promise: Getting your child to do something in exchange for something you were going to do anyway.

Examples: “If you stop dropping my hairbrush in the toilet, I will let you wear your jacket, hat, AND your gloves outside!”

“Please put all the books you threw on the floor back on the shelf, and then we can go to nursery school!”

 

5.)   Penalty Shots: Taking an ordinary daily activity that your child hates and using it as a threat, regardless of whether the punishment fits the crime.

Examples: “Stop pouring bubbles on my computer keyboard, or I’m going to make you brush your teeth three times a day.”

“Put your diaper back on, or you’ll have to take a nice looooooong bath. That’s right- with water!

 

And if all else fails: Tell your child that if their behavior doesn’t improve, Santa, Hanukkah Harry, Grandma, the Tooth Fairy, and everyone attending their birthday party will, in lieu of presents, plant a tree in Israel in their name.