Tag Archives: New York City

May Showers

Apparently we are having an unseasonably cold and wet spring here in NYC. I know that because people go out of their way to tell me. A lot. And many of them do it with narrowed eyes and a sideways look, as if to really be saying: THANK YOU FOR BRINGING WHAT COULD BE THE WORLD’S MOST DEPRESSING WEATHER. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD HAVE JUST LEFT IT IN SEATTLE.

(Believe me, I tried.)

I don’t think I’m being too sensitive. But almost nine months in and I wonder when my kids are going to stop feeling like they are from somewhere else. Maybe never. Maybe mobility will be part of their personalities or makeup: I live in New York, but I’m from Seattle and was born in L.A. Or maybe it just takes a few years to actually feel like a New Yorker. And then you spend your life as one, because we all know you can never get rid of THAT.

In London a few weeks ago we all most certainly felt American. Even me. My children were two enormous ambassadors for the American childhood. I told them, while shuttling in on the Heathrow Express: Listen, boys. American children have a god-awful reputation for being rude in general, and to their parents in particular. So do your countrymen a public service favor just for a few days and be really nice to me in public.

It kind of worked.

But they LOOKED American and they WALKED American and they really couldn’t understand all the pleases and thank yous (“so many,” said one.) and in synagogue, Efram said: “It’s all pretty much the same, but instead of praying for the President, I had to pray for the Queen and some guy from Edinberg.” (I did not have the heart to correct him.)

Edinberg. Poor Phillip. Makes it sound like he’s from a town right near Hoboken.

I guess everybody is really from somewhere else. Even him.

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Filed under children, New York City, parenting, travel, weather

Getting Buellered.

Columbus Day. Not much of an event on the West Coast, but here in NYC it feels like more than just another day without mail service. Perhaps it’s the annual parade midtown, or the extra sprinkle of Sinatra on the radio in honor of Italian American pride, but there is a tinge of festivity to the day. (Although there was nothing festive about the Columbus Day protests I saw while in college here in the City. I remember touring perspective students and their parents past a burning effigy of Columbus on the library steps.)

Still, burning effigies aside, it was a sunny fall day and I suspect Bennett sensed the air of celebration because he woke up “sick” this morning. I got talked into letting him rest for an extra hour or so, and he really had me going because I experienced mild pangs of guilt when I yanked his weary body out of bed at ten and drove him to school.

And then I remembered. Honestly, I’m ashamed that I even forgot.

Less than 36 hours earlier I did something I can’t believe someone hadn’t done before.

I introduced Bennett to Ferris Bueller.

I’ll never forget the look of recognition and awe that spread across his face and stayed there for the entire movie. All the pranks and all the shtick that have gotten him into hot water were not only celebrated, they were COOL. (I didn’t want to show him a picture of Matthew Broderick now; the pain of middle age is too much for the young mind.) And while I watched him watch Ferris, I thought: “I will never forget this moment. This is wonderful, even though I know I’m going to pay for it.”

And then I promptly forgot. Because a day and a half later, I got Buellered. Stomach cramps, my ass. He just wanted a day off. Monday morning. The postal workers are in bed, why shouldn’t he be?

I have been kicking myself all day. When I finally figured it out and asked him if he’d Buellered me, he just winked. Winked. Like I was the school secretary.

I’m just lucky he didn’t make his way to the parade.

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Bitch-snacked

Bitch-snacked.

Derived from the term bitch-slapped. You know you’ve been bitch-snacked when someone points out that you’ve provided one of your kids with inadequately nutritious food.

Just last week I picked Sid up from school. The whopping six minutes that she spends at nursery school had once again flown by and I was once again on the late side of pick up. Her wonderful teachers are waiting with her and hand me her backpack.

“Sidney loved that cookie bar you gave her today.”

Cookie bar?

“… so much so that she didn’t eat a bite of her sandwich.”

I look at Sid. “What is a cookie bar and how did it get in your lunch?”

“It’s a power bar. I put it there.”

I smile sheepishly at the teachers. Why kind of crappy-ass mother doesn’t know what’s in her preschooler’s lunch?

“Oh, and let’s leave the pacifier at home next time, right Sidney?”

Pacifier?

“I stuck that in, too,” Sid says.

Her teacher kneels down next to her and asks her if she wants to box up all her pacifiers and send them to a needy baby. Sid winks at me, as if to say, “I can’t believe people still try this.”

What I want to tell the teacher is that Sidney is a fifth child and is therefore lucky to be fed at all, even shitty little power bars. And I’m so worn out, that if she wants to walk down the aisle with a pacifier jammed in her face, I’m cool with it. Really. She has kept us up for seventeen nights in a row with a delightful blend of night-terrors, move anxiety and general two year old bitchiness. Honey, I am done.

Here’s what I also want to say: I JUST SURVIVED SEVEN YEARS IN SEATTLE WITHOUT GETTING BITCH-SNACKED ONCE! HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I GET BITCH-SNACKED IN THE BRONX! I’M THE MUM WHO SCREWED UP THIS MORNING’S OATMEAL BY GOING OVERBOARD WITH THE CHIA SEEDS! THAT’S RIGHT, CHIA SEEDS! (Consequently, I was going to redeem myself yesterday, which was Sidney’s designated day to bring in fruit for the class. I’d show them what kind of mother I really am. But yesterday morning rolled around and I’d completely forgotten. I remembered minutes before school started and the only fruit we had in the house was a leftover bushel of apples from our apple-picking outing last week. I threw Sid in the car and we raced over to the A&P, which is disgusting and only sells fruit that looks like it’s been grown in someone’s toilet in the Bronx. I guess it’s at least local…)

But I say none of that. I’m so glad that Sid has somewhere to go that isn’t with me, even if it is only for 6 minutes, that I’m willing to be bitch-snacked every day of the school year. I smile at her teachers, who I really do adore. I give an extra big grin to Virginia. Sid can’t pronounce her name, and calls her Vir-ginger, which is a whole lot better than the name the kids suggested at home.

I’ll keep that to myself.

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Runners High

I am sure it’ll get old at some point. But instead of doing all the things I ought to be doing (unpacking, sorting, visiting Ikea), I’m ditching it all and running.

Because, in NYC, if you’re willing to put up with a little bit of this:

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You get a whole lot of this:

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And this:

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And it really is nothing short of spectacular. At some point I’ll have to unpack the office and figure out my work situation. But for now I’m just running.

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Where have you gone Mrs…. Frisby?

Cover of "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIM...

Cover of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

We’ve been reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It’s not a book I ever read as a child, but lately I’ve been having a hard time coming up with books that don’t get booed by page two. The boys may piss and moan ever so slightly about the pacing (I don’t know if there is a fight scene coming, but I’ve been letting them think that an epic war is about to happen). I try to point out the beautiful language and the slow building of characters, but I tend to go overboard and inevitably get something thrown at my head. It seems I may never learn.

Still, even when they complain, it’s clear the book sinks in.

Like when Francie came down with strep this weekend (nothing says welcome to town like a trip to urgent care) and she lay wan and lifeless on the coach.

“Just like Timothy (Frisby),” says Bennett.

Exactement.

Life continued to imitate art when we discovered our very own furry friend living in the basement. We called the exterminator (who wants $600 in cash because we are tenants. Is that even kosher?) and plugged in these…

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..which will apparently make a noise that the mouse dislikes so much that she will be forced to bugger off. I would have thought that the constant din of whining in this house was enough to scare off anything, but perhaps it’s just me that wants to bugger off when I hear it.

Bennett wanted to know how I could oversee the extermination of “our very own Mrs. Frisby” and still live with myself. What if she has a sick child? What if she’s on her way to her winter home now that the temperature has dipped below 80?

Sorry, Charlie. Someone told me recently that even though our house is one giant bug farm, we won’t be official New Yorkers until we’ve seen a rodent. Well done, and done. Now that I’m official I can honestly say that I don’t care if that bloody mouse has an entire village depending on her for its survival, most likely because that entire village is probably living under the fridge. I don’t know what happens at the end of NIMH, but in this novel, Mrs. Frisby goes down.

** M has informed me that the picture of the plug-in is not one of the mouse-scarers but is rather something entirely different, having to do with the Internet. We have mouse-scarers, but this is not one of them. (Please note strong grasp of technical terms.) He is horrified. Not because I erred; that is commonplace. He is sure tech savvy readers will think he too thought he was scaring away mice with that Internet thingamajig. The editor apologizes, and assures him the mistake was all hers.

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Filed under children, moving, New York City, parenting, reading, Uncategorized

Wordless Wednesday

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My morning run. #iloveny

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Moving mishaps.

I’d been intending on chronicling the move, if only in pictures. But that plan derailed itself when Fiona dropped my phone into a toilet. (In a moment of weakness, I told her she could play for 15 minutes if she let me nap. I was so, so very tired and would have traded just about anything for a power rest.. maybe even her. Note to self: Do not plug your phone in next to a toilet. I will probably get this right at the same time I learn NEVER to smell underwear (or pull-ups, I did that this very morning) to see if they are clean.)

We are now in the thick of the unpack, the part of the process which has me wandering from room to room in a haze of panic and confusion. It doesn’t help matters that the tiny blue notebook I’d been using in lieu of the iPhone went and got itself lost this afternoon. (It seems the folks at ATT thought we were trying to defraud them when we changed our address and then promptly ordered a new phone, and so they have kept me just about technology free for several long days now.)

Without the phone you cannot see a picture of the dining room table that went and got itself cracked in two during the move – the very same table that did the same thing en route from LA to Seattle.

But I don’t need a phone to tell you that yesterday Sidney asked me what I was doing.

Me: I’m unpacking china.

Sidney: You know, china is an inappropriate word.

Enter Fiona (as if on cue): That’s Va-china Sidney.

Sidney: Oh. Va-china.

Speaking of the nether regions, in a giant karmic last laugh, it seems that while M has moved us with 5,632 rolls of paper towel, we have come here with nary a roll of toilet paper. In a panic I used some tissues I found in the bathroom.

Some menthol scented tissues I bought in France last summer.

Note to self: If you want a spring in your step, there are probably better ways of going about it than wiping with a minty tissue.

So noted.

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Filed under children, moving, New York City, parenting, Uncategorized