October 31, 2008

What Do You Get When You Put an Alligator and a Cow in a Stroller?

Tonight we dressed up the kids and paraded them around the block so that we could get ourselves some candy. You'd be surprised how much chocolate a 16 month old can haul when she's blowing kisses and hugging strangers.

October 30, 2008

Dear Whole Milk

Dear Whole Milk,

What happened to you? When I was growing up you were the only game in town. You dominated the mornings and you owned alone time with a sleeve of Chips Ahoy! We put you in cereal, and oatmeal, and chocolate milk and, well, in a glass, chugging you greedily down.

Then one day, an adult handed us some milk-like liquid in a green, or, god help us, blue carton that was supposed to be “good” for us. What about the calcium you had been strengthening our bones with for all those years, huh? That wasn’t good enough? What about the energy you gave us to run around like idiots and play half-field baseball until the sun faded over the outfield trees? Suddenly they were telling us that you were bad and that we would no longer see your warm red carton in the fridge anymore. Everyone was worried about us getting fat. How could that happen? We were out in the woods having rock fights all day and climbing trees. We would have had to drink a gallon of you a day to get fat.

Luckily my family fought pretty hard and at least had the courage to purchase your skinnier, but still respectable, 2% cousin. But so many kids were punished with 1% and in some cases—skim. Are you kidding? Skim? I wouldn’t be surprised if skim was just a cow’s pee, and watered down pee at that.

Well, I’m an adult now and I have two children, one of which is drinking you in her bottle before bedtime. So this morning, when I was pouring myself a bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch I saw you there, alone, in the refrigerator. I thought, well, maybe this once. No one will know. I have to admit, as I poured you over the flakes, and you stuck to them like cream, I was a little nervous. But then the spoon touched my tongue and your cold, silky way won me over. I greedily gobbled the rest of the bowl and poured another, wondering if the world knew what it was missing.

After a little research I have some answers for you. You have only 3.7% fat. Wait, I was just talking about drinking 2% as a kid. You aren’t even double that. Why didn’t you fight harder? You could have hired a lobbying firm and turned the tables on those skinny bastards. They would have sent some strapping Iowa farm boy to Capitol Hill and he would have used all of his wit and 6’5” frame to convince them that if he—a Princeton grad and star quarterback—could drink whole milk everyday, then why couldn’t the rest of us?

Sorry, back to the facts. I read here that “for many people, three eight-ounce glasses of whole milk provide more than the recommended limit of saturated fat for a whole day.” Huh? Who the hell drinks three glasses of milk a day? All I’m talking about is cereal, and pancakes, and a little glass with cookies. At least I don’t live in England where a national ban on you is in the works. Tell your cousin Nigel that he needs to move here, and fast.

So, on second thought, if someone out there drinks milk like the rest of us drink water, then he should probably stick the low fat stuff. But for those of us who simply want a respectable bowl of cereal, then I say go ahead. Treat yourself. You probably just had cream in your coffee and an inch of cream cheese on your everything bagel anyway.

Alright whole milk, I’ll see you soon. I’m lucky to have you back in my life and wanted to thank you for not leaving the milk game altogether. Oh, and don’t worry, these things are cyclical. They tried to tell us a while ago that Tab caused cancer. Who’s laughing now?



October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Picking

We took our little pumpkins pumpkin picking yesterday. We went to Fairfield Farms right here in Fairfield, New Jersey. Who knew there was farmland tucked behind Route 80, just a few steps from every big box store in existence? I wonder if they ship any goods on horse cart to the local Target?

It's great when neither parent is working (I guess that goes without saying), because you can do all of the traditional weekend activities at 1 O'clock on a Monday. As you can see from the photos, we were the only ones in the patch. We left with two pumpkins that weighed more than Annie, so the pictures of the carving are sure to be a treat (sorry).

October 24, 2008

I Hate Cute


Things were a little better last night. Tilda drank five ounces of formula at bedtime(the usual is four) and two scoops of cereal. This seemed to make her the desired degree of catatonic. Maybe tonight I'll go for six.

We took the girls to their Grandma's school today to show them off to all her friends and, as is her wont, Annie was a woman of the people. At one point she was walking down the hall through a sea of 12 year olds, slapping everybody five and blowing kisses. Maybe I'll write in Annabelle Poulas instead of Mike Bloomberg.

While we were there, one of the students was surprised to see us sitting in his classroom and upon being told that there was a cute little girl there he said, "I hate cute," and promptly took his seat. Even a baby has to work hard to win some of them over.

October 23, 2008

To Ferber or Not to Ferber, Or, To Use Some Variation That Eases Your Conscience


A reader asked me yesterday, in response to my despair, whether or not we “Ferberized” our first child. My reaction upon reading this was disgust. The Ferber method is for callous parents who don’t love their children and for people who don’t want to take the time to let their children ease into their own comfortable sleep patterns. At least this is what my heart tells me about “Ferberization,” when in actuality this is exactly what we did with Annie.

As a rule I don’t read much about parenting and I never consulted anyone other than our pediatrician for sleep advice. Instead, once it was clear that not eating for twelve hours wouldn’t harm her, I did what I could to ensure that it happened. There were so many setbacks, both emotionally on my part and physically on hers, but eventually she started to go down happily and stay asleep all night. She is sixteen months old now and, despite her random setbacks, I would consider her a successful sleeper.

The Ferber Method is defined in part as “putting your baby in bed awake and leaving her (even if she cries) for gradually longer periods of time.” This holds true for the subsequent times she wakes up throughout the night. In a nutshell, this is exactly what we did for her. Does that mean I “Ferberized” Annie, and will I do the same for Tilda? Yes, only I didn’t know it at the time. I am still hung up on the title and the fact that the literature mentions the idea “that a baby who cries long and hard enough may vomit.” I can assure you of two things, one of them callous and the other reassuring. First, Annie definitely cried long and hard enough, sometimes for up to two hours. Second, she never vomited and if she had my sleep training would have ended right there.

Detractors of this sort of sleep training say that you can scar your children for life. I’m not entirely sure this is impossible, Annie is quite impressionable, but take a look at the list of times above. Eventually you realize that waking up this often can scar you for life. I will tell you briefly again about an anecdote involving a holistic birthing class that my wife and I took before Annie’s birth and a session we did involving “birth tigers.” When our class was asked what most scared us about childbirth, I followed up the responses of autism, death, and cesarean birth with, wait for it, sleep deprivation. At the time I was mocked, though now I suspect those other parents would feel that I was quite prescient in my fears.

So here I sit, a year later and our newest edition/addition is going through the same sleeping issues as our first. Why? Is it my fault? Who are these people with kids that spontaneously sleep through the night? Are they lying to me? Are they callous? Or deaf? If you have a child who sleeps through the night with little effort I encourage you to write in with very specific details. If you feel long winded on the subject email me and I will give you a guest spot in this space. In other words, HELP!

October 22, 2008


It occurs to me while sitting here on a Wednesday night in October that I’m pretty miserable. After showing early signs of being the fat lazy baby that I have always (since Annie’s sleepless nights) dreamed of, Matilda has now regressed to her worst sleep patterns yet. She is now twelve weeks old.

We put her to bed every night at seven, and half the time she falls asleep with little trouble, just a pat and a burp. Most nights she needs her pacifier put back in once or twice, but other than that she sleeps soundly until midnight…eleven…10:30. You can see where this is headed. From her highpoint of nine hours of consecutive sleep (about a month ago) she has come all the way back to her daytime schedule and is up three times a night. Fortunately, she goes back to sleep easily, which is unlike Annie, who needed at least a half hour of bouncing. However, try getting up at 11:00, 2:00 and 5:00 o’clock tonight and stay awake for 20 minutes each time. For good measure wake up at 12:00 (Annie likes to poop and freak out once a night) and then start your day at 7:00 A.M. Okay, now try this for the next week, or two, or a month. Fuck.

Really, that’s all I have to say right now. I’m tired. Annie is a handful during the day, and with bedtime changing from the only relaxing part of the day to the part to the day I dread most, I’m kind of bitter. I just want to move to DC and start Sleep Training Week 2008: Matilda’s Revenge.

October 16, 2008

Write In

When you are standing in the voting booth on November 4th will you have known which lever/button/chad you are going to push for days/weeks/months? I grew up a Republican in Northern New Jersey and am married to a Democrat who went to NYU Law School. I know, life is interesting. As I've aged, my affiliation with the Republican party has faded almost as quickly as my affiliation with the Catholic Church. No, I'm not a Democrat, far from it (I think). It has taken me a while to get where I am, but I am now a staunch Independent. As such, I truly don't know who I'm going to vote for in two and half weeks.

On the surface Obama seems like the natural choice, but as this video shows, there's just something off about him. I'm kidding, of course. The only real issue I have with him is that he will almost certainly raise my (wife's) taxes. I tend not to believe his 250 thousand dollar a year spiel. McCain on the other hand is my kind of guy. If we weren't in a two party system he would almost certainly be a staunch Independent just like me. Alas, he is now a stooge for the Republican machine, so I think he's pretty much out of the picture based solely on his rather timely spinelessness.

So what is a smart, independently minded, handsome guy to do when he needs to make an informed choice? It's really quite an easy question when you think about it. He should vote for the candidate that has the guts to be himself. He should vote for the candidate who is socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and beholden to no one. He should vote for the candidate who unites races, religions, and lifestyles. He should write in Michael Bloomberg.

Don't waste your vote on a candidate your not sure of. Don't waste your time adhering to a broken system that creates candidates based solely on the money they can raise or the corporations they have in their pocket. McCain is right, Washington is broken, but it isn't "insiders" that need to be cleaned out, it's Republicans and Democrats. I can't believe in anyone who agrees with his party 100 percent of the time like our two candidates do. Where is the honesty and ability to think freely in that?

I didn't even know how disgusted with this whole process I was until I started writing, but now I want to vomit. Write in Michael Bloomberg or your own moral equivalent. Your vote doesn't matter if you live in New Jersey anyway, and for those of you in a swing state you can at least wake up in the morning knowing that you made an actual choice. You bucked the system and voted with your heart. Anyone can tell me if they prefer Peanut M&M's to Milk Chocolate M&M's, but can you tell me what your favorite candy in the whole world is? Figure out what that candy is (um, Butterfinger) and write that candy in.

As for me, my favorite candy is Mike Bloomberg and if he were here now he would be crushing Obama and McCain in these silly faux-debates. Forget that he is an economic genius and that with the state of our economy he would be a lock for President. Instead, think of a time in your life that you answered a difficult question with the confidence that you were answering it based on what is in your heart and not based on what a bulging, archaic group of homogeneous politicos told you was in your heart.

October 14, 2008

...Used to go to Camp Lake Winnipesaukee.

Our family spent the weekend at Lake Winnipesaukee with my wife's paternal grandparents. They had yet to meet either baby due to our stint in Louisiana, so it was a much awaited trip with many tears at both hello and goodbye. Everything about the weekend went perfectly, because they love us very much (and vice versa), and because they did 50% of the child rearing work. They also have plenty of space and one of the most beautiful locations I have ever laid eyes on.

For those of you that haven't ever spent time in New Hampshire, or more specifically on Lake Winnipesaukee, you need to take a drive during the fall and see it for yourself. Of course if you have the means I highly recommend picking up a lake front house while you are there. It makes for quite the cozy weekend.

October 9, 2008

I'm a lame blogger

I'm lame, but this (my favorite SNL clip of all time) isn't.

October 7, 2008

Some People Just Rock

I like to think of myself as a pretty solid all around guy. After 32 years I am finally beginning to understand where my specific talents lie. I am great with people--if there were a job in which I just got to schmooze all day I would be CEO--and I am very good at rearing children. However, I am not very good at math and I am the worst salesman you will ever meet. Writing, well, we are taking a wait and see approach on that one.

My wife however, is good at everything she attempts. When we first met, I knew she was gifted in school and on the beer pong table, and as our relationship has progressed I have had the pleasure of witnessing her uncanny creativity first hand. She picked up knitting in hours, and was soon making clothes for Annie. She picked up quilting just as quickly, and now she makes quilts for friends who pop out babies.

Recently she entered a growth chart that she made for the girls in a contest on Ohdeedoh. You know what, she got second place. You can view her work here, and here. Oh, and I know I'm biased, but the winner used a pattern for her jumper, which was admittedly beautiful. Where are the originality scores?

So, kudos to you Kristen. May I one day have your ability to see something and follow through on it exactly as planned.