February, 2013 Archive

When I Brush, You Brush, We Brush

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Today was Madelyn’s 18-month check up and the doctor said she is right on target for all her stats. She weighs just under 25 pounds, is 33 inches tall, and demonstrated some of her tricks for the doctor who noted that she’s doing great. Proud mama beamed!

During pediatrician appointments, the doctor always asks the parent a list of questions about the kid and it’s seriously my favorite part of this every-three-months routine.

“How many hours per night does she sleep?” “Fourteen,” I say casually, like, psshh, no big deal. The doctor raises an eyebrow and tells me I’ve hit the jackpot.

“Is she eating all her food groups?” “Yes,” I say. “She can’t eat broccoli fast enough! Sometimes I have to make seconds!” It’s moments like these that give me a safe outlet to brag.

“Are you brushing her teeth?” “Yup,” I reply. “Every night, she brushes her teeth and her baby doll’s teeth. Sometimes she puts up a fight and I’ll have to brush my teeth with her, which she thinks is a hoot.” And on the topic of teeth, the doctor tells me we can start our first visit to the dentist!

I’m so excited for this! As a kid, I was a dental freak. No cavities to this day! I used to do a really good pre-brush before I went and the hygienists were always pleased with my performance. I suppose that’s kind of like cleaning for the cleaning lady, but you want to put on a good show for the pro, right? The dentist gave the kids a sticker chart and I always filled it up super fast and scored the highest possible grade for brushing. Back then, I was clearly motivated by incentives.

Anyway, the best part in all this is that Madelyn is going to go to the same dental practice. I’m really looking forward to helping her have the healthiest pearly whites possible! Ever since her teeth popped through, we’ve made it part of our nightly routine to brush. The “brushing” consists of a lot of chewing on the bristles or sucking on the fruit-flavored toothpaste. Hey, practice makes perfect, right?

The other night, in my efforts to make Madelyn part of the cast of Brushing with the Stars, she insisted on brushing MY teeth. She forcefully shoved the toothbrush around my entire face. It was basically a really cheap facial with an emphasis on the exfoliation part.

I guess now she’s helped prepare me for the dermatologist.





Eighteen Months!

A year-and-a-half! Madelyn is 18 months old and my mind is officially blown. I remember 18 months sounded like an eternity away when she was just born. I received some clothes for her that were size 18-24 months and for so long, they lived in the top and back part of the closet, almost unreachable. It seemed like it would be an eternity until she’d get to wear them, and now, here we are, with those same pieces rotating through the laundry. It’s so Alison of me to mark time based on clothing.

Taking Madelyn’s growing photos is becoming more work. Girlfriend doesn’t want to stay seated in her pink chair. She just wants to go! go! go!


At 18 months, Madelyn…

  • Is signing to bridge her communication with us. She’s still behind in speaking which is why we visit speech therapy once a week. The therapy is actually like one big play time and it’s really fun! We look at animals and make sounds, play in a ball pit, create noises while we do sensory activities, and learn sign language! Madelyn is the Mistress of More — she loves to put her hands together and ask for “more” or tell us she’s “all done.” Her “all done” sign looks like she’s flipping gang signs. Ah, our little gangster. So sweet. At first I doubted the significance of sign language. Why talk with our hands when we’re supposed to talk with our voices? But then I learned that the sign language is supposed to bridge the gap of communication and ease up any frustration we all have when Madelyn can’t tell us what she wants. Eventually, she’ll put words with the signs and she’ll be chatting away. We’ve been going for about two months and the therapist has seen lots of improvement already! Just this week, Madelyn said “go,” “Poppa,” “boo!” “baa-aa” like a sheep, and “moo” like a cow, in addition to some other animal sounds she has learned like “dah!” for duck/quack, “ccchhhh” for a pig (instead of snorting in, she snorts out like she’s speaking Hebrew), and “grrr” for lion.
  • Understands way too much! Just because the girl isn’t talking doesn’t mean she isn’t understanding. I could be in a conversation with an adult that has nothing to do with her, but if I say the sentence, “… so I decided I could do some more shopping…” Madelyn will sign “more” because she hears it. A few weeks ago, I told Bryan something outrageous while she was in the room minding what I thought was her own business and I said, “Seriously, Bryan! I’m not even lyin’!” and out of nowhere she roared. Lyin’ = lion to Madelyn’s ears. If I give her commands, she takes them, which will be awesome once she is strong enough to run the vacuum. Hmm…
  • Has discovered Minnie and Mickey Mouse! She’s still very loyal to her Sesame Street friends, but she now recognizes and gushes over Minnie especially. We took her to Disneyland the week she turned 18 months (more on that later!) and she was completely star struck. She has two Minnie dolls that she loves to carry around with her, and whenever I wear my Mickey PJ top, she doesn’t let go of me (it’s a sneaky way to get cuddles out of her!).
  • Finally suffered through her first illness of a fever, respiratory thing, and an ear infection. We got through a week’s worth of icky, but she proved to be a total champ through the whole ordeal. She’s much braver than I am!
  • Still loves books and reading to herself and her stuffed animals. She also enjoys sorting her toys and making piles out of everything. She walks to an area, moves what’s there, one piece at a time, to a whole new area, and then starts the process over. There’s a method to her madness, I just wish I understood what it was!
  • Has excellent dance skills. She keeps rhythm by clapping or bouncing and has a few different signature moves. One is sort of Frankenstein-like where she takes big steps side to side and holds her arms straight out like she’s balancing. Another Madelyn classic is standing in place and bouncing at her knees while flapping her arms at the elbow like a bird. She dances to a capella singing, live music, Sesame Street songs, anything with a melody! Bryan and I think she has some musical talents budding deep down. Can’t wait to see them develop!
  • Wears her hair in a few different hairstyles. She finally has enough for pig tails and that style is my personal favorite! She also pulls off a mean Pebbles Flintstone with a pom on top of her head. Her curls are coming in so with enough detangler and a good air dry, the back of her head usually has some good fluff. She won’t allow bows or headbands to stay in her hair very long, but we manage with itty bitty elastics. I should probably learn how to do other fun hair styles. This girl never learned how to French braid! Gasp!



And what’s a Madelyn photo shoot without a little Princeton? More proof that Madelyn’s arrival 18 months ago didn’t take away from our fur baby!


Oh you know, just drinking and reading to my baby like a big girl.

Oh you know, just drinking and reading to my baby like a big girl.

  1. 2/12/2013 6:57 AM

    She is precious! Growing like a weed (a beautiful flowery like weed). 🙂
    When I was working with infants and toddlers we taught them sign language. It was the best and truly helped them get to language faster and easier. There were also far less tears because they could communicate with us what they needed through sign. Good to hear she’s doing so well with it!

A Pain in the Ear

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

Remember two weeks ago when I was sequestered in the house for five days straight wearing perma-pajamas (I pretend to be really annoyed about this, but secretly, this was the best thing ever) while I slaved over pee bags and snot suckers? Well, Madelyn’s fevers never went away and the nose juice was getting juicier. Pulpy even. And she was eating weird. And really, let’s be honest, she was acting like a biatch. This is not typical Madelyn behavior because normally, she is the sweetest kid in the world. But EVERYTHING was pissing her off. I guess I couldn’t blame her. If I didn’t know how to blow my nose and I had a faucet of liquid germs emerging from it, I’d be really irate as well.

But this fussiness turned into spur-the-moment temper tantrums without any kind of trigger! She was going all out — incessant screaming, head banging on the floor, total attitude to mom and dad (sneak peak of her teenage years! Score!). Madelyn was not a happer camper. No kumbayah in our house.

So after a week of sickness, back to the doctor she went.

Of course, when we walked in wearing real clothes for the first time in a week (this development went for both of us), she perked up and acted real chipper. Maybe she was stoked to finally get out of the house and see some other humans other than her old lady. Maybe she was just grateful that I put on mascara and ran a brush through my hair.

We had to go through the sick door to sit in the contaminated side of the waiting room. I feel like there should be a scarlet “S” for SICK branded on our foreheads anytime we have to enter on that side. It’s so embarrassing. And you know the moms on the other side of the waiting room are thinking, “Gosh, glad we’re not in THEIR shoes!” or “That mom didn’t wash her kid’s hands enough!” Banished to the sick side. That’s how we rolled. And yet, when we’re on the healthy side, visiting for well-child check ups, we’re so glad to be separated from THOSE people. It’s a cruel world.


Madelyn excitedly entered the waiting room and checked in at the desk. Then she wanted to explore the toys and books. Part of me was thinking, “Ho hum. She’s already sick. She may as well entertain herself,” and the other part of me was like, “Oh HAAAAAAIL no, you’re not catching a new germ from touching the infected doctor’s office toys!” The neurotic Jewish mother version of me won, and I enticed Madelyn to sit in a chair, isolated from the toys on the shelves that may as well be petrie dishes.




We got called back to the room where we did more waiting. To distract Madelyn, we did a butcher paper photo shoot on the exam table. She hammed it up, making me think she was faker for the previous days that she acted miserable.




The pediatrician came in and we love her! She did a thorough exam on Madelyn, looked in her ears, and, Eureka! There it was! The right side was clear, but the left ear was positive for infection! She said it looked pretty red and gnarly and that was definitely the cause of Madelyn’s un-Madelyn like everything (small appetite, irritable temperament, bad sleep).

She prescribed 10 days on an antibiotic and we immediately trekked to the pharmacy to start the drugs.


Thankfully, the liquid antibiotics was flavored with something delicious — strawberry milkshake? — and Madelyn gulped it down each time during the entire course. We noticed she was back to her usual self within two days and I am so thankful we caught the ear infection, but so sad it had gone so long.

The week before, when we were in for Madelyn’s initial check, her ears were clear. Obviously the infection began brewing during that time. She never tugged at her ear or touched them in pain, and since she’s still speaking Madelynese, I don’t understand her language. I had no way to know that her ears were the culprit. My poor baby! Oh, Mama Guilt, you are mean.

I’m happy to report that the illness is behind us and so far — KNOCK ON EVERYTHING — Bryan and I have remained healthy during this season of ick. And there goes Madelyn’s first ear infection milestone. It only took 17.5 months. Not bad for a formula fed baby, eh?

Disney in Our Own Backyard

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

It may not be the Smithsonian, but we are lucky enough to live, almost literally, across the street from some pretty great American history. The Reagan Presidential Library is a stoplight away, and two weeks ago, we enjoyed a Saturday afternoon there when we were thinking of a unique family activity.

We had been talking about braving Disneyland for Madelyn’s first visit and since the Reagan Library is currently home to a Disney history exhibit, we thought we’d give our little princess some Disney background knowledge before our trip to the house of mouse.

But first, we traipsed through the permanent Reagan history exhibit, which is a fabulously curated journey through my first president’s stint as POTUS. One of my favorite parts of the museum is the podium and teleprompter simulator. Madelyn gave a very moving speech. As her campaign manager, I suggest you cast your vote: Madelyn 4 Prez!

My fellow Toddlers, read my lips: no new naps.

My fellow Toddlers, read my lips: no new naps.

It wasn’t our first visit there, though. We took Madelyn when she was four months old.

Serving as President really ages a person.

Serving as President really ages a person.

Typical politics. Not much has changed in a year. Even the people in the crowd haven’t moved! Psshhh.

The end of the Reagan museum also showcases his later years and his love for horses and ranch life. Madelyn saddled up and rode next to Ronnie. She seems to enjoy the horsey.

Giddy-up, Gipper.

Giddy-up, Gipper.

OMG! Madelyn rides a horse WITH NO LEGS.

OMG! Madelyn rides a horse WITH NO LEGS.

Galloping on a plastic horse. Air conditioning blowing through her hair. Girlfriend is stoked.

Galloping on a plastic horse. Air conditioning blowing through her hair. Girlfriend is stoked.

We finally made it to the Disney exhibit and viewed some of Walt’s early characters and a replica of his exact studio office, including a model of the piano that the Sherman brothers had played on several times on the lot. In a separate downstairs tented area was a display of costumes from Disney projects like “Enchanted” and Broadway shows. I was wishing right then that Madelyn was old enough to be into princesses. She would’ve flipped over seeing the gown that Giselle wears when she arrives in New York City.


We also saw a lot of Pirates of the Caribbean movie paraphernalia, like costumes, model ships, and props. I never saw any of these movies so I wasn’t really wowed by any of it, and by then, Madelyn was kind of over the whole museum experience. But still, movie history is always interesting to see.



I loved seeing some of the ghoulish characters from The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. Madelyn posed next to them without being too spooked. I think I am more impressed by artifacts from rides than from movies. Madelyn seemed to be impressed by neither.


Overall, I’d say this exhibit was a little overhyped and I’m not sure it was worth the cost increase in admission to the Library, but I’m still glad we went because it pumped me up for our upcoming trip to Disneyland.

At the end of our time inside, Madelyn was pretty restless, so we let her run around the beautiful lawn with the stunning views. I always get chills when I see the portion of the Berlin wall displayed beween the Library outdoor corridor and the endless views of the mountains and sky.







Though a little windy, it was a gorgeous day at the Reagan Library and I always feel a little extra American pride when I’m there. Bryan and I agreed that politics, shmolitics — it’s cool to have this landmark and cavern of our country’s history in our town.

  1. Mimi
    2/8/2013 7:42 AM

    I love these pictures, especially the 2 pics of Madelyn behind the inaguaral podium. Did you notice that the shirts she’s wearing are very similar? Her slogan should be “A Lovey in every crib.”. It looks like Madelyn mostly enjoyed running around outside, but she should take up horseback riding too. Love you Madelyn!