January, 2013 Archive

Sunday in the Park with Madelyn

by Alison Friedman in Madelyn & Friends, Marvelous Madelyn

For an outdoor activity that allowed us to enjoy some fresh air in this Southern California “winter,” we met up with Brian and David for a little picnic and playtime in the Valley. We had no idea this gem of a park existed! I hesitate to marvel at its perfection and publish this blog for the world to see because it’d be a shame if riff raff came to ruin it, but it’s darling! With real, historic adobe houses still in tact, a working blacksmith shop that has living history demos on certain weekend days, a duck pond, and a big grassy field, there’s lots to see without it looking like a generic “kiddie” park.

It's no Smithsonian, but Los Encinos Park is pretty cool.

It’s no Smithsonian, but Los Encinos Park is pretty cool.

We enjoyed our burgers and hot dogs in the shade at a picnic table. It was quiet except for some passing cars on the narrow neighborhood street, and the sun felt good as it canceled out the “freezing” temps in the high 60s. Hardly anyone was around so we had the whole park to ourselves. After we ate, it was the Madelyn show where Uncle Brian played fetch with a very excited little girl who, up to this point, had no interest in her blue bouncy ball that had been in our house for months! Score one point for Uncle Brian!


Teach a kid to fetch...

Teach a kid to fetch…

The boys — Bryan, Brian, and David — played frisbee with Brian’s DARE frisbee circa 1997 that he just happened to have in his car. While these shenanigans happened, I chased after Madelyn who had made a friend. A neighborhood girl, 2 years old, came to play with her as her dad chatted it up with me (my husband was oblivious! Figures!). I don’t have any photographic evidence of Madelyn sharing her babydoll or ball, but she did. Even though this picture says otherwise:

Today it's bouncy balls... tomorrow it's boys. Girls are so mean.

Today it’s bouncy balls… tomorrow it’s boys. Girls are so mean.

It was cute to see Madelyn interact with another girl she’d never met before. The little girl was a chatty one and kept asking Madelyn questions. As I’ve said before, Madelyn isn’t really speaking human English… she speaks her own Madelynese. So she never answered anything that the girl asked, but they communicated through body language and facial expressions. I felt like all I needed was a boots and binoculars and I was watching the greatest National Geographic special never created. Toddlers are amazing, you guys.

The little girl went bye-bye and the big boys got tired, so we took a stroll over to the ducks. But first we had to get Madelyn’s baby’s stroller down from a tree. Thanks to Uncle David for giving her a boost.



At the duck pond, Madelyn proceeded to flip out because the geese were extremely vocal. They hissed and squawked and honked at Princeton who was just as confused about these feathered dudes with the long noses. It was an interesting mix of species and thank goodness there was a fence between us because these fowls were foul.

I love her little profile. So very toddler.

I love her little profile. So very toddler.



We sang song about ducks and watched another family feed them, but Madelyn wanted no part in this and figured that running away would be her best bet to end this experience. She was right. We found ourselves instead at the adobe that used to house some famous Encino ranchers. There was a little museum inside and everything!

On the outside, we took photos.

We took silly ones that DO put Baby in the corner (I love having fun friends!).

They had the time of their life.

They had the time of their life.

Seriously, how cute are they?!

Seriously, how cute are they?!

Then Madelyn got curious and wanted to know what was behind the big adobe doors. I love the colors and her little body trying so hard to shove that door open.




Madelyn was getting tired so we decided to quickly walk around the rest of the park. We ended up at the little blacksmith shop and Madelyn was fascinated. Nothing was even going on in there, but she was very attracted to the machinery. Or just very confused by it. Probably the latter since she’s a nice Jewish girl from Ventura County.

I could stare at those back curls all day.

I could stare at those back curls all day.

The big lawn also had a corral where, we learned, is where sheep did their thing. We let Princeton off the leash there — sshhh!! No one saw! — and he loved life. I never get sick watching him run. He’s such a good dog.

Princeton channels his inner herding skills.

Princeton channels his inner herding skills.

Madelyn got whiny so we fed her. That’s the best thing to do for a kid when you need to extend their time just a little bit more. So there she stood on the corral, held up by Uncle Brian, with a delicious pouch of pureed fruit in the middle of the park. It was a great moment and we all got pictures.



Did she have a good day? I don’t know. She’s on the fence.

Ok, that was really bad, I’m sorry.

We had such a fun afternoon with Brian and David and we can’t wait until our next get together where we will likely play Name that Tune with musicals and talk about movies all afternoon. Those are the best days.

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  5. Krissy
    3/28/2013 1:46 PM

    I don’t know how I missed this one but it is both ADORABLE and HILARIOUS! I can’t believe how big Miss M is…. We need to get the babies together again. 🙂 xoxo

  6. Grandma
    1/26/2013 8:29 AM

    I took Bryan to that park when he was just about Madelyn’s age. Such fun! Looks like you guys had a great day!

I Carried A Bag of Pee Across Town Today. What Did You Do?

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings, The Sick

Today was a better day at Camp Sick. I changed my pants, so that’s improvement right there. I still have yet to wear a bra. That’s for tomorrow. Baby steps.

And I’m not even the sick one! (Yet).

Madelyn woke up with a teeeeeny fever, so she got to enjoy some “grape juice” WINK WINK (read: purple Advil) which she inhaled out of the syringe. And then I gave her water, half expecting her to give me the hairy eyeball like she did yesterday when I tried to fluid-ify her. Instead, Madelyn gulped that H20 down and even signed “more” for a second cup. She must’ve woken up extremely thirsty from her liquid strike.

She was in good spirits, so that was another noteworthy improvement. She played and talked to her dolls and made piles with my Tupperware, so her regular activities had resumed. She wasn’t into food, though, and still refused delicious offerings like Jell-O and blueberries and popsicles! One day she will beg to have this breakfast of champions and I will deny her and tell her she should have taken advantage of the sick day diet when she could. Karma’s a bitch, y’all.


My homework for the day was to get Madelyn to pee into a bag. My mom brought over new bags from the doctor’s office and we sealed it to her bits before her nap.

When she woke up three hours later (my girl’s still got it!), I opened her diaper to find a pristine and sparkling cider-like bag of liquid gold also known as pee. The doctor had been wanting to test her urine for a UTI, but since she was so dehydrated she wasn’t making any! This was a good sign that not only am I a cooperative parent who can follow doctor’s orders, but that Madelyn was less dehydrated.

I got us dressed in semi-real clothes (yes, us) and we drove to the doctor’s office. I kept her pee in my CR-V cup holder because that’s how I roll. I prayed to the traffic gods that I could get there in a timely fashion because otherwise the sample would no longer be good enough for urinalysis. The entire process reminded me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Forget Paris, where Billy Crystal has to get his man-seed to the fertility clinic asap. L.A. traffic happens and typical Billy comedy ensues. Good flick. Go watch it after you finish reading this. And Debra Winger with a bird stuck to her head? Doesn’t get any more ironic than that.

We got home from dropping off her pee (which will be sent out and tested. Hold your breath for results. I’m sure they’ll be worth passing out over) and Madelyn had dinner. By “dinner,” I mean, Trader Joe’s canned pears and TJ’s wannabe Triscuits. I know. Mother of the Year. But that’s all she would eat and the pears are great for fluid! She got cranky at her usual bed time so we did a bath to freshen her up and she’s probably never been cuter in the bath. The cranky-crank-o version went away and she was like “la la la la la! I’m in the bath! I love life! Idon’tevencarethatIhavesnotonmyforehead! Wheeee!” She did cute stuff and I caught it on video. Want to see? Good.

We brushed up. Read a bed time story. And went to sleep!

I’d definitely say that things are looking up in this house. She only had two fevers today that were quickly remedied with a dose of Advil, but I’m looking for 24 hours fever-free. Tomorrow is the day. I know it.


Either way, I love that my girl is back to smiles.

  1. 1/24/2013 8:22 PM

    Yay! Glad she is feeling better. I love the bit about the tupperware piles. Made me laugh just thinking about it (cause I know exactly what that kind of play looks like). 🙂

Sick of the Sick

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings, The Sick

In just over 24 hours, how could our baby girl go from this:

Hey Madelyn. The Beatles called. They want their hair back.

Hey Madelyn. The Beatles called. They want their hair back.

to this:

I'm in so much trouble for making this photo public.

I’m in so much trouble for making this photo public.

On Tuesday morning, Madelyn woke up hot to the touch. I doubted my therMOMeter — my lips — because I’d thought she’d had fevers in the past only to use the real thermometer to find out that she was fine and normal. So where were my magical lips that could feel fever? As a kid, I remember my mom could put her lips on my forehead, squint in deep thought, and pronounce “one-oh-one point two!” and Regis Philbin would say, “Final ansa?!” and my mom would be like, “Yes, Reeg. Final answer!” and then she’d take my temperature with the real thermometer and sure enough, her therMOMeter was right. Every freakin’ time. (P.S. Let’s pretend for a second that Who Wants to Be A Millionaire was on TV in the late 80s and early 90s because shows like Pyramid and other ones that my mom watched didn’t require the “final answer” schtick). So now as a mom myself, would my lips lie to me?

I kissed her on her head. Warm. But, like, she’s alive and (kind of) well, so that’s a good start. Then I kissed her tummy and it was like backdraft. I may even have third degree burns on my face. The baby was hot. So I took her temperature and she definitely had a high one to the tune of 102.2.

After some milk and water and citrus, I took it again a couple hours later and Madelyn spiked to 104.8. This is a number that grown ups don’t like and I called the pediatrician to find out what she’d like me to do for Madelyn. I should say that this was our first rodeo with a real, true fever. We’ve been so lucky that for 17.5 months, Madelyn has been super healthy! She’s had one bad cold and that’s it. So I felt late to the sickness party, but still very fortunate that Madelyn has had such a clean bill of health for so long. I will say, as much as I did not appreciate this bug invading my daughter’s body, I didn’t mind the cuddles and low-key disposition from the usually rambunctious and busy Madelyn. It felt good to feel needed and I savored every moment of her in my lap in search of hugs.

Kisses and snuggles hold us over until we hear back from the doctor.

Kisses and snuggles hold us over until we hear back from the doctor.

I know how to take care of myself when I’m sick, but I’m not sure what’s appropriate for a toddler and even though I played doctor on Google, I wanted to hear it straight from the source: our beloved pediatrician.

I called and they needed to call me back. I’m sure the office was swamped with other sick kiddos. When I finally heard back and the doctor learned of Madelyn’s 104.8 reading, she asked if we could come in at 5 at the end of her day. And this is why I love her. She’s a working mom and always has time for other peoples’ kids. Amazing doctor.

Super Daddy to the rescue!! aka Mommy gets to breathe for a minute.

Super Daddy to the rescue!! aka Mommy gets to breathe for a minute.

Bryan met us there straight from work and Madelyn was happy to see her handsome daddy. Even when she’s sick, she knows a good thing when she sees it. Thankfully, she was clear for any kind of nasty infections like strep and ears and the doctor performed a flu test that 80% ruled out flu. She wanted to check for UTI, but in the 20 minutes we were there, Madelyn wouldn’t pee in the bag. So she sent us home with pee bag souvenirs to facilitate ourselves. So, no diagnosis, but she told us how we should treat her fever and would like the bags returned with pee the next day for urinalysis. All of the examinations were done with much protest by the patient, requiring parental involvement in the fashion of arm restraints and leg holds. Really fun. The butcher paper on the table was soaked with tears. So was my shirt. Kudos to me for wearing black. A wet t-shirt contest in the office of the pediatrician would not be savory.

Unimpressed with life on the butcher paper and not even getting to enjoy a pastrami on rye.

Unimpressed with life on the butcher paper and not even getting to enjoy a pastrami on rye.

Back at home, Madelyn got a cool bath which she did not love and then went to sleep. Like the usual rockstar she is, she never woke up once even though I slept with one eye open the whole night. Glad one of us got sleep!

In the morning, Madelyn’s personality was back. So was her temperature. At 102.7, we pumped her back up with Advil and affixed the fresh new pee bag. Over the next three hours, she had a half of a popsicle, a couple slices of grapefruit, a handful of blueberries, a few Cheerios, and a pouch of applesauce. She refused liquids. She was not into anything — juice, water, milk. She was falling asleep in the high chair — a new first — so I knew it was time for a nap. I checked her bag and it was empty so I put her to sleep, hoping she’d go while she snoozed.

Asleep at the dining table and refusing all forms of nourishment? She has lost her Friedman card.

Asleep at the dining table and refusing all forms of nourishment? She has lost her Friedman card.

After her “nap” which consisted of on-and-off shut eye and talking to herself, I checked her bag which was still empty and surrounded by other waste, so that was a lost cause. I checked her temp and she was normal, so I felt better about things. I slapped on our last bag and hoped she’d pee before the end of the day.

But two hours later, she still refused liquids and her temp soared back up to 103.3 and her bag was still empty! I even baked cookies because what goes perfectly with cookies? Right? No. Nothing. Apparently. Then I squirted chocolate syrup into her milk because, I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate milk?! Madelyn. That’s who. She wouldn’t touch it. No juice. No fruit cup. No flavored waters. This girl could live off of sand in the Sahara. I called the doctor to say that I have not turned in my homework because my daughter is a camel! She warned me that dehydration is serious and that she needs liquids so she’s either going to get it through a syringe or at the ER via IV. Neither sounded fun.

Short of water boarding her, Madelyn was force fed liquids via syringe because the ER was not exactly my idea of a fun evening or a helpful one to any of our immune systems. She fought it so hard. Oh my gosh. If you’re ever in a dark alley and you’re being chased and you need someone to back you up with arm chops and kicks and crazy, angry Miss Piggy hiiii-ya! kind of stuff, call Madelyn. Email me for her phone number. She means business.

So I escaped the ordeal without needing rhinoplasty, but she got a few syringe-full doses of water and juice, even though she might hate me for it for the rest of our lives. Better to get it out now than when she’s 16, yes?

And because there was an entire factory of Minute Maid all over her body, I stuck her in the bath which was met with whining because of the coolness of the water, but then she got over it and she played and giggled as if we were best friends again. Phew. I was worried.

Bryan came home from work and saw her all happy and was probably like “why is my wife a beast with frizzy hair and juice all over her face and the house a disaster and our dog jumping up and down in desperate pleas of ‘HELP. ME’ when there’s a perfectly happy and sparkly baby girl jubilantly playing in the bathtub?” Actually, he probably wasn’t like that because he gets it. But yeah, thanks a lot, Madelyn, for putting on a good show for your father.

After the bath, she was in great spirits! We tried to incite more thirst by loading her up on salty snack foods, but she only had a few bites and then was on to our scheme. She barely sipped from her cups. So, we went Gitmo-style and force fed our sick little terrorist with liquids via syringe and she cursed us in her baby language “I WILL NOT GIVE UP THAT INFORMATION!” Even though it was upsetting me, too, I tried not to gasp and breathe like Carrie Mathison and really wished I had Saul Berenson on hand to calm everyone down with his beard and Hebrew.

The torture ended and we figured she was so exhausted, she just needed sleep. My mom, with all of her therMOMeter glory, always said that sleep is the best medicine. So we took her temp one more time (normal! Score!) and soothed her to bed.

She’s now sleeping peacefully and I’m hoping to catch a wink or two myself. Taking care of a sick toddler is no fun. Whenever I’d heard of my friends’ babies being sick, I always felt bad for the baby. I still do, of course, because I have a soul (somewhere. Deep down.). But now I feel bad for the caretaker. Like, really bad. My job is still the best and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else, but yesterday and today were hard. I’m sad Madelyn is sick and that she isn’t all rah-rah about the numerous remedies I keep trying to do for her. C’mon, Madelyn. Pretend I’m Jerry Maguire. Help me help you. Help me. Help you. Aaaaand then I go make out with Renee Zellweger while Jonathan Lipnicki talks about human heads.

Crossing fingers we wake up with normal temps and thirst. And then the countdown is on for the germs to attack Bryan and me next. In 5…4… 3…

  1. 1/23/2013 9:46 PM

    Sounds rough! Crossing my fingers for you she stays well and you guys too. Sick babies are no fun! At least you get an adorable blog post out of it though. 🙂

Turning Two Today

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

TwoHappy 2nd Birthday! No, we haven’t entered a time warp or powered on our flux capacitor. We really are celebrating a second birthday. Born Friedman is two years old today. Crazy, right?! It seems like just yesterday I was laboring through the wee hours of the morning to bring it into the online world. It’s only two and it’s already been through a makeover. Oh, how these blogs grow up so fast.

I think the best part of having started this blog almost a whole eight months before becoming parents is the ability to go back and read just how clueless we were before Madelyn came into our lives for good. Sure, we were scraping the bottom of barrel for anything to write about at the time where we now have tons of tantalizing toddler tales to share. But it was more therapy and less content during that pregnant preparation period. I mean, who can forget my scintillating story of the ever popular fruit-to-embryo comparison? Or Alison’s joyful jaunt through Old Navy as she shopped for maternity clothes and pondered the gender of the baby? And of course, the stunning reveal when we finally found out we were on Team Pink! Then there was Princeton’s pictorial portrayal of his last trip as an only child and mama’s colorful recounting of the baby’s room renovation from office to nursery. And, of course, there were the final two posts, one from mom and one from dad, just days before Madelyn’s arrival would change Born Friedman forever.

Wait, you don’t remember those epic posts?!?

Yeah, I didn’t either. That’s because Madelyn’s arrival changed everything forever. I barely remember life without her!

Sure, Alison and I (and Princeton) have our place on the blog, but it’s undeniably Madelyn’s now. I look at it as our gift to her. Something she will read, examine, enjoy, and be embarrassed by later in life. And, at least until there’s another child born Friedman, she’ll be the star of this tiny little corner of the Internet.

It’s been almost six months since Madelyn’s first birthday, which means we’re just over six months until (OMG I can’t believe it!) her second. But I’ll use today, the second birthday of Born Friedman, to reflect on those early months of its life, before Madelyn, when the posts weren’t as compelling, as comical, or as cute.

  1. Mimi
    1/21/2013 5:54 PM

    Well, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway–I am your biggest Born Friedman fan & I have enjoyed reading every.single.word—from pre-Madelyn on!
    Happy #2 Birthday & congratulations on your very entertaining blog. I look forward to many many more laughs, tears, ooos & ahhs with The Friedman family. What a wonderful blog of memories for all of you (& her Mimi & Poppa).

Maddie See, Maddie Do

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

As a stay-at-home mom, I try to keep Madelyn and me pretty busy. We do a couple different Mommy & Me classes and get together with friends for play dates a few times a week. We have lunches with Daddy or the grandmas and sometimes we spend time in the car driving through L.A. to get to auditions. We are a busy little duo, but sometimes, we do love a nice and relaxing PJ day at home.

Spending the day at home gives me a chance to really observe Madelyn as she plays and explores in the house. There are many teachable moments.

For me.

She has taught me that everything she does and knows is a direct reflection of me. Madelyn repurposes herself as me, and the role of “Madelyn” is one of her baby dolls.

For example, Madelyn takes great pride in making sure her baby is well hydrated and nourished. This is probably because of the nutritious breakfasts we share together each morning where I prepare yogurt and fruit, or waffles and eggs, and everything is complemented by a big, tall kitten-covered cup of milk. So really, it’s no surprise that she provides the same detail-oriented menu for her little one, using play food and dishes.

Madelyn treats her baby like a queen with a cup o' tea in the face AND a force feeding of Fisher Price mustard.

Madelyn treats her baby like a queen with a cup o’ tea in the face AND a force feeding of Fisher Price mustard.

The resulting food coma.

The resulting food coma.

I’ve done some soul searching and I really can’t come up with where Madelyn might have learned how to so expertly lounge. She’s NEVER seen Bryan and me watching hours of TV, binging on several full series, like Downtown Abbey or Breaking Bad. She’s never been around us while we watch movies on the couch or sit lazy on our iWhatevers. No no no. I don’t know where she could have possibly learned this.

As I beam with pride how she's mastered the 2-minute lounge, I also can't believe how big she is on her chair!!!

As I beam with pride how she’s mastered the 2-minute lounge, I also can’t believe how big she is on her chair!!!

Madelyn mimics me after all those evenings I sat on her head and her little legs poked through under me because I was too engrossed in Abu Nazir  holding Carrie hostage while she gasped for air talking to Brody on the phone even though his first name is Nick.

Madelyn mimics me after all those evenings I sat on her head and her little legs poked through under me because I was too engrossed in Abu Nazir holding Carrie hostage while she gasped for air talking to Brody on the phone even though his first name is Nick.

I did teach Madelyn how to do “Cheers!” She’ll take her tea cup and bang it against my beverage of choice and after I say, “Cheers!” she drinks, which is really more like breathing heavily into the tea cup while she holds it to her face and sounds like Darth Vader.

She now moves about the house holding the cup to her face. I can’t wait until she starts really talking away. She may end up with an English accent. All that Downton Abbey marathoning will have paid off! Cultural awareness for the win!

She's like two afternoon teas away from mastering the pinky-up!!

She’s like two afternoon teas away from mastering the pinky-up!!

Some mornings, when it’s cold, Madelyn and I will cuddle in her crib together, and by cuddle, I mean she does her version of Tae Kwon Do on my face. (She’s a black belt).

This week, the mornings in SoCal were fuh-reezing! Like, definitely under 70 degrees. So while she played on the floor in her room, I crawled into her crib and curled up in a ball in her blanket because she gets very territorial if her blanket leaves her crib. I listened to her play and scatter about her room. While I couldn’t see what she was explicitly doing, I could hear her tapping her puzzle pieces, I could hear her “talking” to her baby dolls, and I could hear her pull out every book from her book shelf that I had crouched on my knees for 10 minutes to organize neatly only a half hour earlier.

Then I heard silence. That’s never good. Then I heard the sound of a canvas fabric rubbing. What’s canvas? Her swing? Her laundry hamper? Curiosity got to me and I picked up my head, peered through the slats of the crib, and saw her right below me, just chillin’ in HER baby’s crib.

It made sense. Her mommy was in her crib. So she got into HER baby’s crib. Clearly, that’s what moms do. They play Goldilocks and the Three Bears in their own kids’ beds.

"Heeeey! Party in my baby doll's crib!"

“Heeeey! Party in my baby doll’s crib!”

Climbing out of the real crib now will guarantee a 7:00 p.m. high school curfew later. You've been warned, Miss Friedman.

Climbing out of the real crib now will guarantee a 7:00 p.m. high school curfew later. You’ve been warned, Miss Friedman.

Madelyn has just begun to mimic some of our sounds and words, but none of them are said with precision yet. However, it’s amazing what she has picked up, especially after a language delay.

One day a few weeks ago, I was holding her baby doll and cradled her back and forth. Then I bounced her on my lap. And lastly, I flipped her over my shoulder and burped her, saying “Burp, burp burp, burp.” Madelyn caught onto none of this except for the burping and now her baby doll never spits up. Amazing!

Madelyn actually didn’t require very much burping when she was a newborn, so it just goes to show that her own experiences didn’t interfere with her mothering instinct. What a natural!

  1. Mimi
    1/21/2013 6:01 PM

    Dear little Madelyn!
    I love watching how you explore and discover your surroundings and how quickly you learn & pick up on things. Mimi & Poppa are going to have to start watching what we say around you! 😉
    Be sure that your Mommy & Daddy explain all the pop culture references they write about in your blog of memories so you can laugh & appreciate them when you get older. ;-D
    xoxox <3

  2. 1/17/2013 3:04 PM

    too cute! She’s growing up so fast!