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An Exercise in Futility



How do you parents of toddlers ever vacuum? I have spent the better part of the last two hours picking things up so the Roomba can run while we are out doing errands. For every three things I pick up Sabine seems to drag another four out. It seems so futile. If I weren’t so OCD I would give up and and succumb to life with crumb and cat fur covered floors!

The Pigeon



The Pigeon

I do not like pigeons. Their grayish/brown plump feathered bodies, their propensity to poop on absolutely everything and their strong need to invade my foot space when dining alfresco ranks them in the top 5 things I despise about city living. I remember when my hometown grew large enough to attract both Target and pigeons – one big red target sign for all the pigeons to poop on, I thought. It was a sad day when pigeons came to my happy sparrow and dove filled world.

The volume of pigeons in my home town pales in comparison to that of NYC. It is not unusual to see me dart to the other side of the street to avoid a flock of pigeons feasting on discarded bagels. I curse the pigeon lovers who insist on feeding the birds on the sidewalks and in the parks. I have little heart attacks anytime one narrowly misses my head while flying by (those things fly an awful lot like NYC cabbies drive).

After a year here I still freak out when confronted by a flock of pigeons. Once I ended up alone on a subway car with a trapped pigeon, flying around frantically as I said a little prayer and hopped to another car while in transit. Despite my pigeon aversion, I have started to see them as a beacon (beakon, if you enjoy a little pun) of hope. These birds have adapted so well to the gritty life in the city. There are all kinds of stories, some fictional and others fact, of the birds doing amazing things, like the A-line riding pigeons. They are rough and tumble creatures who don’t just survive in the dankest of conditions, they thrive.

Transitioning to life in NYC has been a little harder than I had expected. We don’t live in Manhattan where cafes, markets and shops are just a block or two a way. We don’t live where there are great restaurants and where date nights to see a show are just a quick train ride away. We live in Riverdale, Bronx. Our neighborhood is quaint and family-friendly but we do not have easy access to things like big box retailers and entertainment.

Unlike the pigeon, I was not adapting well to city life. So what did the pigeon have that I did not? Flight. The pigeon could flap its little wings and get the hell out of dodge. The pigeon could fly off to find the best discarded bagel on this side of the Hudson. The pigeon didn’t have to mail order 8 pairs of shoes and return all but one. Ok, that last one is a stretch because to my knowledge pigeons have not evolved to wear shoes… yet… but you get my point.

We sold our car when we moved here. Honestly, we felt a little elitist about this. “We don’t need no stinking car. The bus and subway are just fine for us!” What we didn’t realize was that living without a car in Riverdale means you need to take an hour long train ride to Manhattan if you want to go to Old Navy or Trader Joe’s. Want a date night to see a show? Tack at least another 2 hours of baby sitter time onto the bill because you have a 45-60 minute commute one-way. Want to stock on on groceries? Put your walking shoes on because you have to haul them 10 blocks and then up a big ass hill… with baby in tow. Top all this off with the fact that the Professor and I love to hike and could not get to any of the amazing trails north of us and you had one soggy, house-bound mama Belle.

We tried Zip Car but the prices have gotten out of control. Our last rental for a full day on Saturday was $140. Two of those a month was bascially the cost of a leased car and insurance. Picking up the Zip Car was not particularly easy either as the nearest lot was a 15-20 minute walk down the hill. On two occassions our Zip Car freaked out and locked us inside the car (no joke) and once it locked us out. Zip days became days that we dreaded.

Last weekend we put our pedestrian pride on the shelf and leased a car. A little Honda Civic that is NEW and clean and oh so delightful to drive. It does not smell like fish like the Zip Car we often got and it does not lock us in or out. It is amazing to have my own “pair of wings,” if you will, and be able to run errands and take hikes. As we drove off the Honda lot we mulled over what to name our new car. After a lot of bad suggestions that neither of us agreed upon we came up with The Pigeon. Meet our little grayish-brown, slightly rounded city car that will take us to the country, deliver us to fresh bagels and allow me to actually shop in person for shoes. Our life just got so much better!

Update on Sleeping



See that tooshie? That tooshie is fighting nap by wiggling all around. She wiggles and wiggles for about 30 seconds then pops up to continue romping. A few minutes later the tooshie is wiggling all over again. Tired. Baby.

See that tooshie? That tooshie is fighting nap by wiggling all around. She wiggles and wiggles for about 30 seconds then pops up to continue romping. A few minutes later the tooshie is wiggling all over again. Tired. Baby.

Praise the Lord.

Since sleep training Sabine has consistently slept through the night sans a few nights here and then when she is sick or we are traveling. Those nights I wake and nurse her back down and in a few days she returns to sleeping through the night on her own. It is amazing, miraculous and still surprises the shit out of me when I wake at 6 a.m. and realize I got a full 8 hours.

Up until two weeks ago bedtime was consistently at 8 p.m. and wake time was pretty consistently at 5 a.m., which after 9 months of waking every one to two hours seems like a dream. In efforts to help her eat more and hopefully grow we have bumped bedtime to 7/7:30 p.m. so dinner can start closer to 6 p.m. It seems that Sabine eats a better meal if it is served up around 6 p.m. and she is given a full hour to eat while watching a show. This is a little inconvenient for our scheduling but the sheer volume of food she can pack away with early dinner makes it well worth the sacrifice. The past week she has eaten an entire bowl of whole wheat pasta (with olive oil, Bragg’s and nutritional yeast), a fruit/veggie pouch and a protein of either black beans, tofu or scrambled eggs. (Jak, we tried sneaking finely minced ground beef into her pasta and she would have none of it, picking every. little. speck out and then eating the noodles.)

So earlier bed works great for getting her to eat more. I was afraid that earlier bed would mean earlier rise but am shocked to see her actually sleeping later. For the past few days she has slept till 6:30/7 each morning. I am LOVING it! I still wake up at 5 so I can get a little precious alone time. I eat my breakfast and drink my coffee in peace and am charged and ready to go when she arises. I sincerely hope that this post does not jinx things!

The one thing that is not going well are our naps. Sabine fights naps like it is going out of style. I am not even able to nurse her down lately as all she wants to do is go, go, go. It is terribly frustrating because I know she needs the snooze. She starts to lay down on all the pillows and blankets and stuffed animals. Her head remains still but that little tooshie bops all over the place like it has a mind of its own! Adorable but not so not a nap.

I know she needs at least one nap a day for growing and so she is not a basket case at night. I also need that one nap a day. I need at least 45 minutes to think about grown-up things, make business phone calls, sit around and watch Gilmore Girls or, gasp, blog. I am a much better mother when I get some down time and she is a much better baby when she takes a snooze.

In efforts to get this I’m starting some “nap training” using the techniques we learned from our sleep consultant. Just like bedtime follows dinner, nap will follow lunch. I let her watch 20 minutes of a show so she will actually eat some lunch, then scoop her up, hand her lovie and offer warm milk in our nursing chair. Lately she won’t take warm milk and tries to run off so I offer a hug and kiss and put her in the crib.

And she screams. Good lord does she scream. I watch her on the monitor as she screams and waves her lovie all over like it is a white flag of surrender. It is heart breaking and wakes all the cats up, but, she needs to snooze. Today it took 13 minutes for her to fall asleep. I hope that she will nap a full hour and that after a few days of this she will not fight the snooze so much.

Any nap training tips? Do you guys do PJs before nap too? Do you have a nap routine? If so, what do you do?


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