Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Size Matters

The most liberated I ever felt when it came to wardrobe were the months after I had a baby. I fit barely anything, and it was warm outside, so I was resigned to yoga pants and stretchy tank tops. My breasts were enormous and always on display. My clothes were spotted with spit up. So you can imagine that the clothing options were slim (and I don't mean in size!)

But it was easy. It had to be. I never worried about what to wear, since I was rotating around a few items that could take a beating and hold in all of my parts that dared to escape at any moment. It wasn't pretty, but I made do. And it was relief -- new motherhood is all about questioning and re-questioning -- I was thrilled to spare myself an internal dialogue on the topic of what to wear.

I have learned one cardinal rule when it comes to dressing. Dress for the size you are, not the size you want to be. You will look much thinner in an 8 than a 6 if you are really an 8. Your lines will look leaner when material is not clinging. The same goes for bras, but I will leave the bra fitting hype to Oprah. I learned this post partum and have never forgotten. I wore bigger sizes and felt smaller. I had no shame. That's another thing about childbirth -- shame is tossed in the garbage. Right beside your placenta.

When I shop, I never look at sizes. I just look at the racks and pull what looks like it will fit the largest part of me. This is not easy. Hardest is accepting that the size you were at 16 is permanently out of reach, unless you have the time and discipline to cultivate an anorexic habit. We all look at our photos of years gone by, when we mindlessly consumed food, did not break a sweat, wore small sizes and still had the audacity to call ourselves fat. They say youth is wasted on the young. I say that thin is wasted on the young -- when we are too insecure or unaware of ourselves to really enjoy it.

Even if I had the inclination to diet to return to a shape where I felt my most fabulous, it is now out of the question. Mainly because two sets of huge blue eyes are watching me at all times. And I can't scoop a bagel, fan a sweet and low package or order fat free anything without sending her a message. I can make healthy choices -- steam over stir frye, brown over white bread -- but anything more than that creates risk. She watches me to learn what is safe (Elmo) and not (hot oven). So my endorsements and my actions mean something.

And I can't say one thing and do another. At music class recently, I was chastised for throwing the instruments into the bucket, when in the same breath telling Chloe not to throw her egg shaker at her little friends head. She does not understand how one toss is safe and another is not. So for her, and for me, I need to model the right behavior about things that have the risk of danger. Which may mean more calories and cellulite. But it also means more of a chance for Chloe to rise above an inclination to ever be something she's not.

Monday, October 30, 2006


I hate naps. Not hers, mine. Unless they are happening during summer, on cool sheets and small clothes where you will definitely wake up while it is still light.

During any other season, naps always end at around 5:00 or 6:00, when daylight is dimming and the silvery feeling of night encroaches. You wake up, and you wonder how long you have been gone. Even when entwined with another, there is a desperately lonely feeling about awakening from a nap -- combined with hunger, panic and confusion. Naps make me feel weak, which may also be why I always lie when anyone calls in the middle of the night and ask if they have awakened me. It could be 2:00 AM, but I always say, "no, no, I am up".

I guess I feel that naps are for the old, the depressed, the overwhelmed. I just hate missing any part of the day -- the sun, the light, the possibilities.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Big Apple Thoughts

I am in love with New York City, but not in a Carrie Bradshaw way. It does not hold memories of expensive shoes and cocktails. But it is brimming over with my experiences -- as the only place where I have ever really lived. Sure, I lived in New Jersey twice as long -- but I wasn't really LIVING, in a suburban colonial with my parents and rules and school. The neighborhood was not my friend. My friends lived elsewhere. So I never became attached to New Jersey, nor to Boston where I spent my college years. College living happened much more on campus in a small Boston suburb where days would amble into nights - heaps of girlfriends in denim and wool, too cold to go out for much more than a meal.

But New York -- New York was immediately a crush that I used to nurture from afar. Birthday weekends as a pre-teen meant Rockefeller Center, pretzels with dripping mustard and unfortunate fashions purchased at Bloomingdales. As a senior in highschool I became friends with a wealthy New York teen socialite, who introduced me to the finer things -- clubs that did not card and the cloying sweetness of wine coolers. Jeans were worn long and belted. Shirts were tight and snapped at the crotch. Cigarettes were smoked in dark corners (yes, inside), hoping nobody recognized you. Mix tapes were made to capture it all - songs from Stealing Home and Erasure.

When I moved to New York City in 1997, it was a mindless decision to follow friends and others, close enough to my parents and far enough away to feel independant. It was a luxury one bedroom that lost its allure when stuffed with three girls and only two bedrooms. Wall to wall carpeting grew stained from ash and soy sauce and Diet Coke. Murray Hill was a refuge for recent graduates, an area that lacks a firm Manhattan identity but is reachable to everything. The boys we knew lived on the Upper West Side -- where a cab cost more than we could afford and landed us in places with unfortunate names like Brother Jimmy's and The Racoon Lodge. That living situation became a combustible mix of despair and claustophobia which thrust me into a world were avenues had letters. Stuyvesant Town -- with it's cheap rent and big rooms and flea markets where a basketball court hosted tables of wares and clothes and most importantly, the killer leather skirt that never really fit but is totally vintage and perfect.

As I consider leaving Manhattan, every bus ride or subway ride overwhelms me with memories. My midtown offices, where my 28K paycheck was stretched over vodka tonics and cheap suits. Gramercy, where I finally learned that I do better living alone. Carnegie Hill, where my husband made me rethink that idea about myself. Union Square green market. Times Square cheeziness where as an MTV intern, I believed that the blinking Virgin sign was actually taunting me, outing my sexual status. The boyfriend who dragged me to ESPN Zone and became the last sports enthusiast I ever dated. Broadway -- where I still believe in dressing for the theatre and I will never recover from missing Les Miz.

En route to my first job in Manhattan, my father used the steering wheel to explain the city's geography, using the line in the middle of the rubbery orb to represent central park. It all seemed huge and overwhelming. I am now proud to know the city like the front of that steering wheel, or the back of my hand. Except the village still escapes me somehow. I don't want to leave, even though I know that my husband craves grass and my budget is no longer comprised of questionably cheap sushi and tank tops. I am torn -- I feel that the city has given me so much, but I owe more to my family now, even if that means hills to sled down, carpool and swingsets.

Oh, and square footage.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


November is right around the corner - the month that I loathe in a way that makes me want to lock my doors, shut the lights, and hole up for 30 days of watching nothing but The E True Hollywood Story and eating Cheez-Its.

Everything bad happens in November, I am convinced. It's hard to believe that a month generally reserved for cornocopias and gourds, thankfulness and turkey, tweeds and tights can strike such fear in me.

The only deaths I have personally encountered have all happened in November. The first of which was losing a new friend at Brandeis, a mere three months in to school. All who have been touched by the torture of knowing what happened to Jeremy do not need to relive it on my blog where it would neither be effectively re-told or paid tribute. But it all happened in the bizarre seasonal backdrop of November - sun shining, leaves turning, getting ready for holiday frocks and fervor. I think about this time very infrequently - because it is a sickening memory. Also, ever the fiction writer and reviser, I do believe that I could have prevented this accdient had I been blessed with a bolder spirit as an 18 year old when it came to boys. Hours before IT happened, I had my hand on a doorknob that would have lead me to his room for an evening of not much more than flirtation I am sure because I was a yeshiva girl, after all. I can see myself with the hand on the knob of the dorm known as Scheffries, the "should I or should'nt I" mantra in my head, rehearsing first lines and reasons why I was there. I never made it inside. But was later convinced that had I pushed through that door, my company (or at least my tight jeans) would have been infinitely more compelling than the ride that ended up being his last. Or maybe I would have gone too. Who the hell knows. It is because of this that I almost have a heart attack whenever my phone rings in the middle of the night or if someone wakes me too suddently. Still.

The next year, almost the same time, another friend from Brandeis died in a car accident. He was a lovely boy, really. David. I like to remember the fact that three months into a friendship that was really based on borrowing class notes and gum, I realized that he thought my name was Wendy. It's easy to happen, really, how often do you use a person's name in discourse? It sounds formal. So he must have misheard me the first time and then I was stuck, three months in - it seemed embarassing to correct. So I would even *gasp* answer to "Wendy", much to the hysterical delight of my friends when I told them the pickle I was in. Somehow he figured it out - probably because he began dating a friend of mine - but it was pretty funny. I also like to remember that he was one of those always smiling types who was genuinely concerned whenever I was despairing that year that he died (which was often). These are better memories than the fact that when I learned of his death I was telemarketing Brandeis students for UJA (not a fun job). Or that Denise promptly vomited into the toilet, which was the first time I knew that shock could bring about a physical reaction.

November 2001, I lost my grandmother. I should have been prepared, because it was November, after all. And she had suffered a stroke two months before. There were no words -- really. I quoted Bette Midler in my eulogy, otherwise speechless. We had a pseudo Thanksgiving that year, because when you are grieving you always think those rituals will help and they almost never do. We sat around my uncle's sagging table, part shiva, part stuffing. His girlfriend brought candy apples -- plump and gleaming, coated with rainbow sprinkles and all things carnival. I still haven't forgiven her.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I want to be more personally philanthropic. I want to read more books. I want to learn how to cook. I want to update Chloe's baby book. I want to dispense gifts on time instead of late. I want to always hang up my clothes right after I take them off. I want to deaden my insides when it comes to work. I want to sleep restfully. I want to find a picture for the empty wall that makes my apartment feel a bit like an asylum. I want to give away even more clothes. I want to get weekly manicures even though I loathe the process. I want to call back faster. I want to check on friends in need more often. I want to stop checking email so often. I want to wear more interesting jewelry. I want to not be afraid of bikini waxes. I want to give more than I get. I want to stop consuming Nutra Sweet. I want to start using a night cream. I want to keep lists. I want to remember birthdays. I want to clone my husband. I want to believe in Karma. I want to say "please" and "thank you" so Chloe learns. I want to take my vitamins. I want to be supportive, even if I don't agree. I want to take bold steps in old shoes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Work Ethics

My sister is about to return to work after maternity leave, and has hired a nanny. I recently told her to "make sure the nanny knows not to go shopping with him".

I said this for a reason. The number of nannies who swarm The Gap, Ann Taylor, Bolton's, Banana Republic, Strawberry and other stores with generous sales racks is shocking. It always reminds me of a choreographed scene as the nannies root through the racks and the children dangle bored from their strollers. I can not imagine that the working moms of the Upper East Side are okay with this. I cannot imagine that at the end of a day the nanny is telling the mom that she spent hours at Sephora instead of Central Park. And I don't think they are buying anything, mind you. They are just...browsing. Shopping without purpose is a huge pet peeve of mine. I like to get in, and get out.

Anyway, my sister, ever the level-head said to me. "You know, I was thinking about that, but I mean..I shop with him. Why should I tell her not to?"

Which lead to a conversation of things that we would be fired for if we were actually hired help rather than the parents, had we been "nanny-cammed". They include:

1. Dropping food on baby's head while eating when he/she is in the Bjorn
2. Shopping for post-maternity wear at the abovementioned locations
3. Turning baby away from screen (or not) while watching Sex and The City and eating Tasti D-Lite
4. Checking celebrity blogs while feeding baby
5. Copious use of cell phone while walking with baby
6. Almost dropping baby
7. Not always washing hands before touching baby
8. Cursing under breath when baby cries after five-minute nap

And so on....

So what can we really expect from our nannies? My sister and I mused that perhaps it is different because this is a job they are hired to do. But don't we all goof off on the job? Ordering Fresh Direct? Checking US Weekly online?

Speaking of which, I better sign off RIGHT NOW.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

I am on the verge of a breakup. I thought I was done with this shit. The strategizing, the nervous stomach, the guessing and second guessing.

Its not with a man, but it all comes down to the same thing. Its with a friend, a mommyfriend to be exact. She is a new friend, and we spent the better part of a year seeing each other weekly. We don't have much in common beyond kids of the same age and living in the same neighborhood. She is guarded, a little crunchier than most of my friends, a little older. She is sweet but also unexpectedly acerbic. She has depth but offers little beyond baby-talk and shared husband stories -- all surface. I like to get my hands dirty in my friendships - I freely give and receive details, I trust completely. I like to be up to my elbows in the lives of those I love. But regardless of these differences, I enjoyed her company. And I needed it desperately in those first months when the rest of my life were spending their times at desks and bars and not even pregnant yet.

As is common at the start of any relationship, emails and phone calls were copious and always returned. They were upbeat and funny and spotted with details that showed we remembered and cared - the outcome of that pediatrician appointment, how did your husband like the birthday gift, etc. After a while, my emails started going unreturned. When we spoke and I referenced something I had written, it was clear that she had either not read or not retained it. If this was a boyfriend, I would have updated my Jdate profile at this point, or at least started to plan to.

We began to see each other less, though I continued to reach out. Her behaviors that I used to shrug off seemed to perplex me more. The fact that she never wanted to eat anything. That was a big one. I like to share food as much as I like to share secrets. It was weird that after hours together she would only want to gnaw on an apple. Pass the fries, please. Even if you only take one.

Finally, it also became clear that she was meeting weekly with a group of girls that I had met at the same time as I met her. But she never mentioned these playdates, and never invited me to one. What was she hiding? I love when friends meet friends. And the fact that this went unmentioned after a year of knowing each other -- I felt slightly cheated on, but not exactly. I too have other friends, closer friends, whom I see. But I talk about them incessantly. I invite her to join. Why the concealment?

So now, enough time has passed that I can fade this to black, as we say. Its the only thing that seems to make sense. I should just stop calling, right? I can't imagine that a "talk" is necessary here, or would be anything but painfully awkward and seemingly "lover-like" -- "you hurt my feelings", "why didn't you call me back", etc. And she is SO not my type. ;) Despite the fact that she went into great detail about what kind of lingerie I should buy for a weekend away....

I am not really even bothered. Sure, it feels like an investment that went sour, a waste of time and breath. But I am starting to understand that sometimes friendships are meant to expire. That they serve a purpose in that space and time but are no less important and no more painful because they are not forever.


1. I officially got a glimpse of what my life will be like with Chloe in 15 years. While softly reprimanding her "We do not throw food on the floor, we do not..."(the official soundtrack of the household) I was met with an eye roll. Two unexpectedly blue pupils hid rolled above the heavy lids that she inherited from my husband.

2. I am not making light of the situation -- thankfully the upper east side plane crash, while terrible, was not terrorism. But I cannot imagine a group more unprepared for a real attack than Upper East Siders. Bugaboos a-flying, women racing around in pedicure moccasins, frozen yogurts and scooped out bagels abandoned. I include myself in this category, have no fear - though I would likely be in the park with my acorn collector as I was today. Downtown folk just seem much more industrious and quick moving to me. Let's hope we never have to know.

3. Wine at work events is a good thing. I generally never drink at business functions when I am working, but my what half a glass of shitty chardonnay can do when you are flanked by men in their nineties hitting on you.

4. How do you remove pinecone sap from chubby finger folds?

Friday, October 06, 2006


I greatly admire women who have perfected the art of fashionably casual. Candice, Leigh, Gail...supermodels in sweaters as far as I am concerned. This is an ongoing battle for me and a hard part of my new identity as a mother. I don't do casual well. On me, it feels sexless and shapeless. I prefer plunging necklines and high heels. I wore bodysuits long after I should have, and embraced the way they made you feel like you always had a tampon in. But these things don't mesh well when pushing strollers, or carrying toddlers. My closet is a wreck. It is a mishmash of all of "me's" -- suits and dresses for work. Sweats for the gym that I barely see. Summer clothes for a hopeful trip to Florida. Jeans that show too much butt crack when I sit on the floor with C. Shirts that fit me before I dropped a cup size.

And poor A. I look ok when I go to work. Well groomed at least. But he returns to a mascara smeared, sweats wearing, ponytailed mess. My mom was the inverse of this scenario. She worked in a bad neighborhood, and dressed for it. When she came home, in anticipation of my father, she was all black and clavicle and Chanel No.5. I need to start doing this. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, my hair literally feels like it is attacking me, and the smallest wisp across my face sends me into a frenzy.

There must be some in-between. I think it lies in the world of J. Crew. Cashmere and cable knits and suede elbow pads. And it definitely means straightening the hair. You can't wear curly and cable.

Ugh - I am already tired. Where are my sweats?


Here's what I have decided. Parenthood is like shining a big ol' spotlight on all of your idiosyncracies. Those little things about yourself - what you have sought therapy for, or you have decided to just live with, or what you secetly worry is not normal about you. Those quirks. Those neuroses. Once you become a parent, you are either so worried that your child will manifest with the same issues or that your issues will affect that lump of clay that we call our kin, you start wearing your secrets on your sleeve.

For instance, I am a hypochondriac in the way that I don't always think I am sick, but if there is something wrong I assume it's fatal. Bump on the arm? Bone cancer. Twitchy toe? Lou Gehrig's disease. Itchy patch? Melanoma. So when Chloe stares momentarily into space, I assume it's Autism. Silent for a second? Speech delays. Etc.

To overhear groups of new mothers on the streets, it is a symphony of strangeness. Everyone's shtick on parade. The former anorexic worries about the calorie count in formula. The germ phobe is rubbed raw from Purrell. The insecure one wonders why her kid is the only one who has not started crawling. Our poor kids.

Personally, I have tried very hard to keep my own issues surrounding fear of illness at bay. I think I smile somewhat convincingly when Chloe tumbles to the floor. I say "Uh Ohh" in my cheeriest voice, while silently praying that she does not have a concussion. I sit on my hands in order to not call the pediatrician. When I see him, I feign breeziness while he spends a bit too long silently studying that rash.

As parents, I think we all need to work hard at making sure that we stifle our own shtick. This is our chance to do over, do better. They watch us carefully. We need to behave.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rage Against The Machine

I hate you, Levitz Furniture. I hate everyone who works in your alleged customer service department. I hate your four hour delivery window that you summarily dismiss without a care in the world. I hate that you delayed my delivery without caring that we were without a couch, a central piece of furniture for those of us who actually like to SIT. I hate that I have to watch Deal or No Deal on the goddamned floor. I hate that the automated customer service selection makes my blood boil into my throat and would there not have been a perfect cherub and quick-dry Elmo gazing at me I would have thrown the phone against the wall.

I hate these words: Relax, Think positive, We are trying to accomodate you, and theres-nothing-more-I-can-do. Because I too am in the customer service business of sorts, and if I ever dared to utter any of the above to a customer I would be canned.

Also on my list: Duane Reade prescriptions counter, my old OBGYN office, Quest Diagnostics, Banana Republic (no I am NOT trying to WEAR and RETURN a $30 tie), Janovic Paint, Chase Bank, and the whole flexible spending system. And the MTA.

It is SO not going my way, today.

About Me

Things about me:
1. I hate the sound of dripping water
2. I wish I still had my Sweet Valley High Books
3. My huband's name is a part of one's body
4. I sweat the small stuff
5. I hate all melon except watermelon and all things smoked except lox
6. I still count on my fingers
7. I got a D- in Intro To Computers but now I am pretty ok at them
8. I was a hair model for a salon infomercial
9. I consider US Weekly to be a reputable news source
10. I read books over and over again
11. I was almost named Nicole
12. I am not as tall as you think I am
13. I met and married my husband in one year
14. I would take a cockroach over a mouse any day
15. I have recurring nighmares where I lose all of my teeth. I believe it every time.
16. I believe that nothing is as expensive as regret
17. I have a photographic memory for song lyrics but for nothing else
18. I am in love my daughter but she also scares the hell out of me sometimes
19. I still get carsick
20. I love: Summer, my daughters apple cheeks, my family and friends, clean smells, distinct memories
21. I hate: Cheap people, fall, customer service representatives, growing older, things left unsaid
22. I covet the job of Giuliani DePandi
23. I am a big fan of plastic surgery but anesthesia makes me vomit
24. I had three wisdom teeth pulled at the same time with just novocaine
25. I would have made a great lawyer, but I hate school
26. I secretly worry that I am not smart enough
27. The thought of death gives me a panic attack. This happens often.
28. I only liked one boy in four years of college, and he had a girlfriend.
29. I still want to be famous.
30. I bought two pairs of shoes that were not my size because I loved them
31. I love Bon Jovi
32. I can't fall asleep unless my hair is pulled back
33. I pretend to like avocado but I really hate it
34. Ginger tastes like soap to me
35. I have never gone trick or treating
36. I have cried twice at my current job. Both times in my boss' office.
37. I understand why Monica Lewinsky did what she did
38. I took my cabbage patch kid very seriously
39. I don't believe that laser hair removal works. For me.
40. I feel guilty for not adopting
41. I am scared to grow old and lose my glasses
42. I almost entered an amateur strip night and chickened out at the last minute. But I would have chosen "Pour Some Sugar on Me" as the song to strip to.
43. I think that My So-Called Life was the best show ever created
44. I was an MTV intern with the guys who created How I Met Your Mother. I am rooting for it.
45. I type with two fingers
46. My hair has been red, blonde, brown and black
47. I am a hypochondriac