May, 2012 Archive

Baby’s Night Out

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

The two years before Alison got pregnant, from 2009-2010, Alison and I saw 65 shows at various theatres across the country, performed or participated in five community theatre productions collectively, and attended probably about 30-40 baseball games at Dodger Stadium. That’s without getting into the details of the late nights out at Friday’s after the performances, the fun trips to New York where we saw 20% of the shows, or the long amount of time we were at the ballpark during a game (usually from batting practice until the players left the field).

I’m not saying Alison and I had a completely crazy social life — it’s not like we went out on the town clubbing or barhopping every Friday and Saturday night — but we did like to have a good time with friends and enjoy some of our favorite activities together — particularly theatre, baseball, and vacationing.

Well, when Alison got pregnant, I knew the cliche “our lives will change forever” would be in full effect. And of course, our lives have absolutely changed forever; no question about it. But when Alison got pregnant, I also hoped our lives didn’t have to change too drastically. I mean, I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same because, of course, they could never be — we have a child now. Our attendance with Dodger games and theatre tickets definitely dropped off quickly, even just with Alison getting pregnant.

But Alison and I have still more or less managed to find a way to continue enjoying many of the things we loved about our life together before Madelyn joined it. While part of our ability to do this is due to the incredible appreciativeness we have for our parents living close and being willing to babysit often, we have also found that we really like bringing Madelyn with us everywhere we go, if we can. I mean, the best part is sharing all of these things with Madelyn, which of course is a bit difficult with a near 10-month old, but before long, she’ll be able to appreciate things with us too.

We obviously can’t keep up the same kinds of numbers we did before Madelyn, but we aren’t eliminating all of our formerly well-attended activities completely. Since 2011, we’ve still gone to the theatre 20+ times (admittedly, 80% of those times were during Alison’s pregnancy, but we have seen about four shows since she was born, with at least three more on our list for this year). We went on a couple of trips while Alison was pregnant, and we’ve been on three or four vacations with Madelyn already (she’s been to three states!). While we’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from our local community theatre, I’m sure we’ll return as soon as Madelyn is old enough to say “oh my goodness, oh my goodness!”

And finally, after nearly a year drought, we attended Dodger Stadium last night, with Madelyn in tow. Thanks to Madelyn’s Great (and great) Uncle Barry and Aunt Pattie, her first Dodger experience was in the Dugout Club. Which means she’s spoiled forever — the Loge will never work for her.

As you may know, taking Madelyn to a Dodger Game has long been a dream of mine. I even wrote about it before she was born. And of course, reading that old post now makes me laugh at the level of naivety it displays. I guess I thought my first game with Madelyn would be when she was two years old or something, and even then I now realize it will be something very different from how I had imagined it. Even so, though, it was thrilling to be at a game with her — for a couple of innings at least. I know she had basically no idea what was going on, but just being with her and seeing her eyes light up at all the new stuff she got to see, it totally made my daddy-instincts perk up and my parental heart melt.

I’m hoping somewhere deep down in her consciousness, she understood what I was saying to her about Vin Scully’s play-by-play, James Loney catching a fly ball, and A.J. Ellis’s incredible patience at the plate. I’m sure I didn’t understand that stuff when my dad and grandpa first explained it to me either, but hey, look at me know. There’s still hope for her.

Unfortunately, our rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” quickly became “take me home from the ballgame because I’m seriously tired and I just want my crib already.” Of course, I wanted to stay because I always try to stay until the end of the game. But, I’ve already conceded that things can’t stay exactly the same as they always have been, and as it was, we extended Madelyn for eight innings sans nap at a particularly long baseball game (almost four hours by the end).

So we left after the 8th inning, game tied 3-3. And alas, instead of seeing it, we got to hear A.J. Ellis’s walk-off three run home run from the 5 freeway as called by Charley Steiner on the radio, with Madelyn already sleeping in her carseat by then. Just part of that whole parenthood thing I guess.

I’m sure we’ll take Madelyn to many more Dodger games before she’s old enough to appreciate them, but I can’t wait to see that look in her eye when she finally does, even if it’s just a little bit. And if we’re ever at the ballpark with her and the game is tied in the 8th inning, I can’t wait to see if she’ll beg to stay, just for one more inning, to see if the Dodgers win…

…hey, a dad can dream.

  1. Aunti Pattie
    5/29/2012 8:28 AM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! So glad I’m a tiny part of Madelyn’s very first game!!! AND, I hope and pray that she appreciates the game like the two of you and NOT her Auntie!!!! hee hee

Four Years Ago

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

Before Alison and I got married, if you said the names Madelyn or Princeton to me, the first things that would have come to my mind would probably have been a French children’s literary character and an Avenue Q puppet. Now, though, when I hear those names, my heart basically melts. They are my family.

Tomorrow, May 25, 2012, Alison and I will celebrate our four-year anniversary. Four years. Married. It’s not a significant milestone year like our first anniversary, or even our fifth anniversary. It has its own sort of significance this year though — it’s one year longer than we were together before we got married, and that one year has been quite a difference.

Before Alison, I was never a husband. She made me a husband just by being my wife. But she has also made me into the husband (and the man) I am today by being a really great wife.

The day we got married was such a special day. It sounds so cliche when I read it back, but it was seriously such a special day. It laid the foundation for so many things we share today. For one thing, Princeton was “conceived” on our wedding day. I think the success of our big day directly led to Alison starting her business, The Wedding Yentas, if only so she could try to extend the great experience she had planning the events. We shared our passion for music and theatre with a target=”_blank”>choreographed first dance and my surprise heartfelt (but not so solid) piano/vocal performance of She’s Got A Way. And perhaps most significantly, Clayton Kershaw debuted for the Dodgers on that day, pitched six innings, gave up two earned runs, struck out seven, and the Dodgers won the game 4-3…only we didn’t get to see it because we were walking down the aisle.

The day after we were married, we embarked on our honeymoon to Hawaii, where we documented the [PG-rated portions of the] trip on my trusty [non-HD] video camera. It was our favorite vacation ever, so we had to make sure to preserve the memory as best we could. Of course, it’s been well-preserved alright…on my MacBook hard drive, where it has lived for quite a while as I’ve worked on editing the “Alison and Bryan: A Honeymoon Adventure” video on and off for the last four years, promising myself right before every anniversary that this will be the year I finish it…

…well, this will be the year I finish it. Not before our anniversary, unfortunately, but soon after undoubtedly. I guess I got inspired this year, as I’ve made more progress on it in the last two weeks than in the last two years. And maybe part of the reason for my surge in effort is that I feel like I have to check it off my list so I can move on to newer video projects with a different star at the center of them. I think you know who I’m talking about.

Before Madelyn, I was never a father. She made me a father just by being my daughter. Madelyn has helped to make this last year the most thrilling ride of our marriage since we took off on that plane to Maui four years ago. I can’t even imagine my life without her, or even without Princeton for that matter, and yet on that most special day four years ago, we were without them.

As I watched the many hours of honeymoon footage we took and edited it together, I often found myself wondering “Who are those people?” because we seem so different then. Younger. Skinnier. More naive. Less tired.

So here’s a tribute to us on our anniversary — the opening sequence of our soon-to-be-finished honeymoon video…a sequence I’ve had done for just about four years. It’s us, just Alison and Bryan, on our special day of the past without our special pieces of the present.

  1. 5/25/2012 6:15 PM

    This is why Happy Flowers does what she does. I am so honored to be a part of your world, even if it was only the flowers for your wedding. You both make me smile when I read your facebook entries. Your daughter makes me want a daughter even more. (Guess I will wait for a Grand Daughter)
    Thank you again for believing in me 4 plus years ago.
    You are an amazing couple.

  2. donna
    5/25/2012 5:58 PM


  3. Mimi
    5/25/2012 8:56 AM

    Happy Anniversary #4!! And MANY more!!
    This wedding tribute is a beautiful blog piece entry–I laughed, I teared up, I got to relive a fabulous day for my daughter and son-in-law & am happy to realize that there are going to be a lot more wonderful adventures for you two coming your way.

Everybody And Their Mother

Growing up, Mother’s Day was not my favorite holiday. It probably had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t a mother. However, holidays in our house — unless they were for me — weren’t a huge deal. My parents didn’t require being showered in presents and specially planned events just because it was “X” Day. Mother’s Day used to be a day with obligatory mushy acts of affection, and since my mom never made a big deal of it, my dad and I didn’t either. Don’t get me wrong — we appreciated her all other days of the year anyway (though she probably didn’t always feel like we did), so Mother’s Day was just another Hallmark event.

After 28 years of saying “Happy Mother’s Day” to my mom and grandmas, I finally got to receive the sentiments and let me tell you, I am totally on board with Mother’s Day now! What a treat! I’ve loved being a mom for 279 days from the night Madelyn was born through May 13th, but I really loved being a mom on Mother’s Day! It really feels great to be appreciated and I didn’t have to wash one bottle that day! Score!

I woke up to cards from my favorite household loved ones. Interestingly, Princeton, Madelyn, and Bryan all have the same handwriting. Hmmm…

Hallmark owns my dining room table.

Good morning giggles with my love bug!

Princeton's card says "I RUFF YOU." I'm glad he and I have the same sense of humor.

Madelyn calls "Take backs!" on the card she got me! Rude!

Bryan also managed to surprise me with a gift. A lot of my mama friends were asking for diamonds. I like myself a carat or two as well, but Bryan also knows his wife well, and when mommy is stressed, everybody is stressed. So lucky me got a gift card to my favorite day spa! Facial, massage, and pedi here I come! Wheeee!!!!

Madelyn tries to torture me so she can steal my gift card. Who does this kid think she is?!

Smiling with my children, Baby Human and Baby Spa Gift Card.

It was nice to spend the morning with Madelyn and play together. I think she knew that Mother’s Day meant she had to spoil me; she was on perfect behavior, giggled like crazy, and went down for her nap like she was an Olympian napper with endorsements from Serta.

We knew we wanted to spend the chunk of the day with our own moms, too, so we planned to have everyone over at our community pool for lunch, chit-chat, and play time with everyone’s favorite baby. We exchanged cards and simple, kind gifts. And Madelyn gave her grandmas and her Gigi a card with handprints that she made in our Mommy & Me class. I can’t wait until she’s a little older and she comes home with handmade presents for me. I think I will wear them and hang them proudly!

Eating and talking. And probably both at the same time too.

Grandma holds up Maddie's prints -- almost as valuable as diamonds. Almost.

Madelyn the pop star riffs freestyle because that's just the kind of soul sista she is. Mmmmm hmmmmmmmmm

Mother's Day ROCKS! Next year, I'm totally buying my mom a private jet to Tahiti and getting Ryan Gosling to sign her bra.

Madelyn in a sea of her own DNA.

Madelyn flashes her gang signs in broad daylight for the camera.

Four generations, holy cow!

The original Mama Friedman with her two babies.

Don't worry, Ma. I totally get Mother's Day now. We are going big from now on!

It truly was a lovely day! Our time at the pool flew by, which is easy when you’re noshing on summer fruits and gushing over a baby. And to the HOA Gestapo who tried to tell us that pets are not allowed in the pool area, I say, “What pet?! It’s Mother’s Day and Princeton is my child!”

Is She Baby Enough?

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings

Does she sleep through the night? Does she crawl? Is she walking? Can she say her name? Did she get early acceptance to Harvard Medical School? And how does she measure up and compare to other babies who are just trying to be… babies?

Labeling babies as if there’s a Baby Olympics where the competition is stiff and then broadcasting it to other babies out there would be absurd. And yet, that’s exactly what TIME magazine did with their cover story about moms and the choices they make for their babies. The cover shows a mom awkwardly breastfeeding her preschool-age son with a hand on her hip as he stands on a chair (yeah, because THAT’S how moms breastfeed their children all the time…), creating a platform for moms to judge other moms and in my opinion, that is mean. And stupid. The mom chose to breastfeed her baby beyond a year. So what? Who cares?

I read the article. I read the follow-up responses. I took the quizzes. Apparently, I am not mom enough. According to the quiz results, I do not subscribe to the methods that Dr. Sears prescribes. And, because I do not sleep with my baby or breastfeed her, I am not an attached parent. So if I don’t subscribe to attachment parenting as a whole, then does that make me a mom who is detached?

Newsflash: I really like my baby. In fact, I love her. Actually, every choice I make is with her in mind. I am extremely attached to her. Even more so, I am attuned to her needs and respond to them in a manner that suits our family unit.

What the many articles and the Dr. Sears studies don’t mention are the many obstacles, usually unexpected, that moms and families as a whole, experience that could drive lifestyle preferences a certain way. I had every intent to breast feed my baby. I never gave myself a time limit. I assumed at least six months. Hell, I’d try to make it to a year. I didn’t expect to go longer because I knew I’d want my body back and that my baby would receive nutrition from her advanced foods. And that was my personal choice. As we all know by now, I made it two weeks. A week of breastfeeding and a week of pumping gave Madelyn about three weeks of breast milk. I fell about 21 weeks shy of meeting a benchmark I had for myself and am still mourning that lost experience due to the complications after my c-section. Dr. Sears would say I am not an attached parent. Laughable.

I should make sure it’s known that I don’t take a side on “attachment” parenting or not. I just think parenting, period, is important and necessary.

It’s no secret that breast is best. But things happen. Life plays tricks on you (or, you are just unlucky enough to get an on-call doctor who couldn’t care less about you when you explain you are in pain, which results in a horrible infection). Moms who don’t breastfeed aren’t shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads as if to say “Nah. I’d prefer to give my child what’s second best.” We make choices. And sometimes decisions are made for us. Novel idea: how about we moms just give our children OUR best and stop putting so much pressure on everyone else?

The controversy about the article is really just annoying. Why breastfeeding has to be a controversy at all is beyond me. We are mammals. Yes, breasts are sometimes utilized during sexy time — wooo! — but their primary purpose is to nourish our children. As humans, we have the ability to make choices (or, in my case, not) and some choose to feed their children with a bottle with breast milk or formula, and some choose to feed their children straight from the tap with the breast. Other mammals do not have these choices, but no one questions a baby elephant in the wild who nurses until he’s about three to four years old. Likewise, I believe a breastfeeding mother shouldn’t judge and label a mom who’s nourishing her baby with formula.

Would I nurse my baby until she’s three to four years old? H. E. Double hockey sticks!! I love my baby, but I’d want my body back! But do I care if other moms do? Absolutely not.

So why the Good Mom vs. Bad Mom rivalry? Why the labels? Why does one side have to be right? And who can really be on one side anyway? I imagine, like the way most people identify with politics, parenting styles rarely fall in line with one single perspective. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. A pinch of this. A sprinkle of that. Why can’t moms learn from other moms, see what works, and practice what makes sense to them individually? That would seem like a perfect blend of methods and choices that work for the child-parent relationship.

By labeling and categorizing types of parenting in the spotlight like TIME did, we are putting a stigma on the methods we do or don’t agree with. This creates tension and polarizing differences between groups of moms if we don’t accept other moms’ practices. And don’t we want to raise little humans who are tolerant and accepting of others who are different than them? Is this really what we want to model?

Choosing only one camp and living exclusively by its set of bylaws seems to actually promote ignoring the baby’s needs for the sake of being loyal to a labeled lifestyle. There are aspects of attachment parenting I practice that I didn’t even know fell into the attachment circle of the Venn diagram. Reversely, Bryan and I parent in ways that would not be considered attachment parenting. But until I was aware that there was this war on moms — by moms! –, I always just thought instincts led parents to raising happy, healthy, and balanced children. I’d say we don’t use any specific method. Just our instincts.

TIME magazine played dirty. They took breastfeeding and made it into a topic that requires campaigning one way or another. It should be a non issue. Instead of educating people about available methods of parenting, TIME divided varying styles of motherhood, pinning moms against each other. Being a female is hard enough already. Didn’t we leave middle school behind us ages ago? Why is there a need to good cop/bad cop moms? It was sensational “journalism” to make something that’s natural and thousands of years old like breastfeeding “news.” The cover photo was a cheap shot to sell magazines in a world where print media is dying. Publishing a cover with a breast should not be the ticket to selling units. It makes me sad that a breast is sexualized so much that it’s a scandal and the talk of the town just because it appeared on the front of a magazine. If our elephant friend had been on the cover suckling on his mom, would we even be having this discussion? I’m sorry that print media is suffering but not at the cost of labeling moms and how they do the hardest jobs in the world.

I may be a rookie at this mom gig, but I haven’t met another woman who has said that being a mother is a piece of cake. I also believe that dads don’t have it so easy either. Parenting is hard work. Making, growing, and raising a human is the hardest job anyone could have, but its blissful moments and heartwarming experiences are better than any other million-dollar pay out could be. We are rich for being moms. And dads. And I don’t care how you do it and the media shouldn’t care how I do it. I am very attached to Madelyn and simply by being her mother and her being my daughter, we share a life-long bond that will always be strong.

  1. Char
    5/11/2012 6:53 PM

    The best thing you can do for your children is to love them and guide them to be independent, responsible human beings. Unfortunately the judging won’t stop. You will see it through all of her school years. But, you are a great mom and Madelyn will know that. She is a doll baby. Follow your heart and trash the crap you hear!

  2. 5/11/2012 6:06 PM

    Thank you!!! Thank you for saying what so many of us have been thinking, and quite eloquently at that! Time’s article is absurd because it’s purpose was to cause controversy. I haven’t been able to read the entire thing, but based on the cover photo and what I’ve read about it, I can say with certainty that it is incredibly unfair. The last thing we need to do as mothers is fight against one another, take sides, point fingers and judge. Ugh. Parenting is hard and we need to encourage one another!

    And I’m disgusted by how they chose to portray breastfeeding. I can’t help but wonder how ruined that poor boy’s life is going to be. How embarassing that photo will be for him as a teenager…

  3. Cindy
    5/11/2012 5:52 PM

    Well said.

  4. Jan Glasband
    5/11/2012 5:14 PM

    Eff Dr. Sears.

Nine Months!

Today marks nine months of Madelyn! Starting tomorrow, she will have been out and in our lives longer than in and part of our dreams. Those nine months of pregnancy were (mostly) magical, but these nine months of babyhood have been extremely eye opening and adventurous!

Good morning, America!

I was looking at old videos from the pregnancy before Maddie was born and I stumbled across a very nervous Alison at an ungodly early hour before taking off for the hospital. I listen to this Alison and this Bryan and I barely know them. Ah, how young and ignorant they are! They think they’re going to a hospital to entice a baby to slide out and then go back home 48 hours later and enjoy the pristine nursery in all its pre-Madelyn glory. I find myself laughing at those two people and yelling at the computer: Oh, you guys! You’re going to wait like ALL day for a baby to come and then she won’t and then there’s going to be a dramatic surgery and then you’re not coming home for FOUR days and then when you do, Alison will be worthless while she recovers from an infection and Bryan will have to do ALL the work and by the way, the nursery will never stay clean because when she’s nine months old, Madelyn will crawl everywhere and untidy up all the decor like the dolls and pillows and books by pulling them down so they’re strewn across the carpet and you’ll never have time to clean up after her because you’re too busy running after her. OH YOU GUYS!

That’s what I would say to those two strangers.

So, there we have it. Nine months have gone by and we have a kid who, according to her check up today, weighs 17 pounds and ten ounces, is 28 inches long, and has a head that’s 17.3 inches around. She got a shot (boo!) and was cleared to start drinking less expensive normal formula (yay!). The doc was super impressed with all of her tricks and she’s on target, if not early, with all of her developmental milestones! Proud parents! Swoon!

This month, Madelyn…

  • Has made it her goal to stand up on anything. That means things that don’t allow for standing on. Like, you know, my face. She pulls herself up on everything she can see: walls, furniture, toys, human bodies. She’s a standing exhibitionist. She does it one-handed too and confidence is really kicking in because she’s starting to experiment with “look ma! No hands!” but is followed with a quick tumble that doesn’t even faze her. We are now greeted by a stander in her crib every morning. She’s just so funny! What can I say? My Madelyn is a “stand” up comedian. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
  • Took her first vacation that required a plane. More on that later, but her first plane trip was not that great. Let’s just say, she failed at earning her young wings, but I don’t really blame her and she made up for her on the return home. Still, she’s a lucky almost 9-month-old to have spent a week in Hawaii! A full recap will OF COURSE make it onto BornFriedman soon! Lots of pictures to sort through.
  • Began babbling like crazy! She makes so many cute sounds. I just love her little voice and never get tired of listening to what she has to say! She can put together consonants and vowels and make up words in her own little language. She has said “da da” and “ma ma” but I’m betting that they are not associated with her Mama and Dada and are just easy sounds to make. But, this is the fun part — listening to her develop speech and communication skills and my inner geek is fascinated by the whole evolution!
  • Learned to make fart sounds and speak Click. It’s silly, but the reason why this is cool is because it’s showing me we can exchange our own dialogue. If she makes the fart sound, which is really more like a raspberry, and then I do it, she’ll do it back and we take turns. The same goes for the click sound she makes with her tongue smacking her gums. If I do it, she’ll do it back and vice versa. And, let’s face it, yes, the monkey-see-monkey-do act is brilliant of her, but really, who doesn’t like it when a baby makes fart sounds? It’s hysterical.
  • Started the beginnings of waving hello and goodbye. She reaches out to whoever is coming or going and is trying to figure out the whole hand part of the wave. I think her fine motor skills are developing in that area, but it’s cool that she gets the motion and the appropriate time to do it. Looks like she already had her eye on the Miss America crown and is practicing that wave!
  • Recognizes Princeton! This may just be my new favorite trick in her book. Obviously, since Princeton is my first-born, he is very, very special to our family. The fact that Madelyn now knows who he is and enjoys his presence is my latest gush. We can say, “Madelyn! Where’s Princeton?” and she’ll either get really excited and flap her arms at the sound of his name or crawl toward him and attempt to touch him. It’s really cute and exactly what a proud parent would want! I think it’s the start of them becoming the best of friends! Princeton, like most dogs, likes his privacy and alone time and finds places to hide out and den all throughout the house. One of his favorite denning spots is under Madelyn’s crib; he can still see out, but he’s protected by the frame. Madelyn’s never cared about him being under there until just today! As she was crawling around her room, she caught Princeton’s eye that was at her level under the crib and she crawled toward him and touched his foot. They definitely had a special sibling moment and I melted.

As always, our greatest joy is watching Madelyn grow and explore. She’s working so hard and practicing all her new skills. She’s on her way to a perfect 10… months. Happy nine months, love bug!

  1. Mimi
    5/9/2012 11:07 PM

    Dear Sweet Madelyn!
    Happy 9 Months! You are so funny and fun to be around. I just love watching you blossom and thrive like a beautiful flower. I wonder what you’re thinking in that curious, smart & adorable head of yours and am amazed how you size people up with those gorgeous big brown saucer size long lashed eyes.
    You make me smile!
    My leg and thigh muscles have gotten used to sitting & crawling around on the floor with you & my arms are stronger from lifting & holding you—I definitely burn more calories when we play together, so thanks for that!
    Love you~~ Mimi