February, 2012 Archive

My Yummy Valentine

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Valentine’s Day 2006: Sixty miles away from home, after a fun day at the aquarium, a romantic gondola ride with lots of kisses under bridges through the canals of Long Beach with a perfect Italian dinner in a cute little ristorante, dressed in our best date night threads.

Valentine’s Day 2012: Zero miles away from home, after a long day of work and parenting, a yummy dinner from the condo kitchen, followed by mediocre sugar cookies and “Chopped” on TV, dressed in our best couch couture.

Yeeeeeeeah, I’d say things have changed a lil bit. Yup. This                   much.

No complaints here! Yes, the era of extravagant outings and making a big deal of Hallmarkidays is over, but I kind of like the cozy concept of enjoying our home, doses of Madelyn, and snuggles with Princeton. Oh, and each other. So, it was only natural that our Valentine’s Day 2012 was low key, but special. All we planned to do was eat a delicious meal created by Bryan. It couldn’t be created by me or it would not have been a delicious meal. And our fire insurance would have to be validated.

Bryan whipped up a peppercorn filet mignon that made me want to fly higher than Bette Midler’s eagle. It was sosososososososo good. My man can cook. And bake. Then he had the audacity to present me with a chocolate souffle. Take that, Bette. And your eagle.

Meanwhile, back in Baking Land, {bee bee bee bee boo boo dooooo} I tried to find my inner Mrs. Fields. Or Sara Lee. Or Betty Crocker. I don’t discriminate against chicks who can bake; I’ll take any one. So, Keyword: Tried. I threw together some sugar cookies, cut them out with my new heart cookie cutters (thanks, Ma!), and then attempted to make royal icing. Confectioner’s sugar and regular sugar is the same thing, right? WRONG. Attempt to make royal icing #2 went better when I used the correct form of sugar and I even got crafty with the gel food coloring. I learned, though, that royal icing basically has PMS all the time and is a temperamental decoration, so I think it’ll take a few more trials and errors until I perfect the right consistency.

My icing didn’t come out as shiny as I would have liked, which was mean because it looked shiny as I was applying it. What a royal tease. Overall, the cookies tasted fine. They just weren’t as purty as I would have liked.

After we shoved dinner and dessert down our throats, we decided to shove ourselves down Madelyn’s throat. She’d been upstairs sleeping (a romantic dinner AND no babysitter?! Score! for having a date night at home!) and, really, what’s Valentine’s Day without our itty bitty Valentine? Our own baby Cupid? But, with no bows and arrows because we’re Jewish and don’t own weapons.

Madelyn joined us, took a visual — VISUAL! — liking to the sugar cookies, and we exchanged some presents. We said we weren’t doing gifts this year because Madelyn was our gift {cheesy “awwww”}, but my rebel husband decided it would be acceptable to surprise me with an a.dor.a.ble and so-Alison, petite heart necklace (thanks, Krystal!). I girl-squealed at that one.

A few weeks ago, Madelyn and I made a ceramic hand and foot print keepsake. It was ready for pick-up only last week, so I held onto it to show Bryan on Valentine’s Day and he adored the finished product of Madelyn’s little prints. We can’t wait to display it in her room to look back on as she grows.

Shortly after our mini gift exchange and before we settled onto the couch for a usual night of iPhones in our laps and eyes on the Food Network, we put Madelyn back to sleep and our little baby Valentine looked so peaceful and beautiful in her crib as she slept, probably dreaming of filet mignon and actually-good royal icing.

Doggies Are A Girl’s Best Friend

Every girl needs a loyal friend, and so far Madelyn’s bestie is her doggie, Princeton. Even from the beginning when we first brought Madelyn home, the two of them have been inseparable.

Everyone always asks how Princeton does with Madelyn joining the family, and I’m always so proud to say that he’s adjusted beautifully. At first, he didn’t really care either way about her, but then realized she was sticking around and wasn’t just a temporary house guest. After a couple weeks, he became curious, but timid, unsure of what her sounds meant or if her arm reflexes would hurt him. Then, finally, the magical move happened that every girl dreams about: during a quiet time, when the mood was just right, and the outside world seemed to stand still, he kissed her. It was delicate and sweet, but nothing ruins the moment like an overprotective grandmother (mine, not Madelyn’s) who shouts “Oh, no, no! Don’t let the doh-awg kiss the bay-bay!” (She’s a New Yorker). But you know what? We’re all family. And if he gives her a lick to say he’s cool with her, then I’m cool with it.

I’ve noticed over the past couple months that Princeton has done more than just tolerate the new baby in the house. He cares about her the way he cares about Bryan and me. The first time he showed signs of protection, he had such good intentions, but really, nothing to worry about. My cleaning crew — a brother and sister team — were over at my house. They are very nice and love babies. The brother went up to Madelyn who was sitting in her little chair, and he talked in his baby voice to her and said nice things in Spanish like, “Ay! Que linda!” or “Madelyn es muy bonita!” and Madelyn cooed and smiled back because, like her mother, she’s a sucker for men who pay her compliments. Well! Mr. Princeton did not like that this man was speaking to his sister like that and from afar, he growled and made Tony Soprano look like a wimp.

Princeton watches over her and protects her because that’s what his doggie instinct tells him to do, but I really believe he accepts her as a part of his pack. When Madelyn is in my arms as I feed her and rock her to sleep in her dim bedroom, Princeton guards her as he lays in front of her door and keeps watch. His ears twitch at every noise and his furry eyebrows hop around as he scans the room for the boogeyman with his eyes and nose. It’s not until Madelyn is safely tucked in her crib, armed with her pink poodle lovey, that he gets up to leave her room. But he doesn’t go past the door until he knows it’s closed and I say it’s okay to follow me away from the nursery. It’s these times that our 14-pound, goofy terrier mix suddenly embodies a Secret Service canine who takes his job very seriously.

And when Madelyn plays, he watches her. I know he’s a little nervous about her touching and grabbing him, but he still takes the risk and leap of faith to be by her side even with his ears or tail in jeopardy. Recently, her curious hands hooked onto a chunk of his fur on his rear thigh. I was in conversation and not watching very closely, but heard a soft, breathy whimper from Princeton, looked down, and saw that a good deal of his leg was in her tight grip. I quickly unwound her fingers from his fur, apologized profusely and praised him for handling it so well when he could have snapped or ferociously barked at her. And when he was free from her grasp and could have jumped away to a safe and baby-free zone, he licked her head and stayed between us for more cuddling. Loyalty like I’ve never known.

I knew life would change when we brought Madelyn home. I often heard from others that “Princeton had no idea what was coming!” or that “Princeton is your child now, but once your baby arrives, he becomes The Dog.” People told me all the time that Princeton was in for a rude awakening and that my priorities would change. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to love another being the way I love Princeton. In fact, the morning we left to go to the hospital for the induction, I cried and cried and apologized to Princeton that his life was going to change when we walked back in that door with a baby in our arms. I told him that I was sorry that I was going to be cheating on him. I’m so glad to say now that I was wrong and so was everyone else. Madelyn did not replace Princeton. Princeton did not go down in rankings. I love both my babies immensely and love even more that they love each other. They can’t speak to each other or me, but they still know how to communicate and show loyalty that only a dog and an infant can know.

  1. Mimi
    2/14/2012 11:01 AM

    Dear Madelyn,
    There is nothing like the love and devotion you will receive from your 4 legged brother/best friend, Princeton. I will love watching you and Princeton bond & grow up together. He will teach you to be kind to all animals & to know the feeling of faithfulness. I’m so happy you have each other.
    Love you both! Mimi

Six Months!

Half a year ago today, I was having a party in my L&D room as I cruised through contractions (thank you, epidural, courtesy of Dr. Hunk!) and because every party has a pooper — in this case, the guest of honor — the party was cut short as our baby decided that nope, she was only going to make an entrance on an operating table instead! So at 10:25 p.m., after 14 hours of pitocin-induced labor because, again, she had no plans of leaving her little warm and snuggly home, we had a baby.

Half a year ago. HALF. A whole year. Cut in half. And that’s today.

The Divine Miss M, Madelyn Shana, is six months old today and I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly. She delights us every day and we are constantly in awe of how much she grows and changes. Six months ago, I could have never predicted what our baby would look and act like in February, so when I think about what the next six months will bring, I think our August will be filled with many lovely surprises.

This month, Madelyn:

  • Is rolling around like Princeton does when he finds a nice patch of mysterious-but-yummy-to-him patch of grass. We’ll set her down on her play mat, turn around real quick, and come back to find her on a completely different part of the room and not at all on the play mat. Don’t worry, the play mat is not elevated. However, the changing table is the new Olympic venue for gymnastics. Madelyn now makes diaper changes an athletic event with lots of rolls and squirms on the contoured pad. Changing a diaper is exhausting and challenging, but I’ve learned that as long as I keep a toy on hand, she can be distracted into staying still.
  • Holds her bottle all by herself! Part of me is sad because she doesn’t need me at mealtimes anymore, but the other part of me is throwing a flippin’ party that I can give her the bottle, keep her happy (and quiet), and go on my merry way through the market, Target, and Nordstrom. Drink up, little darlin’! Mama is going shopping and actually getting to browse!
  • Makes this fantastic sound when she’s super excited or happy. It’s kind of like a backwards laugh with a screech and as horrific as this sounds in print, it’s actually really cute to hear. When she makes this noise, her eyes light up real big and her cheeks look like they’re going to get stuck inside her ears. This is usually followed by a series of giggles which, forget about it, kill me into mush.
  • Began eating cereal. We started her on baby oatmeal mixed with formula and at first, she was not that impressed. I think it was more about the inability to swallow and use her mouth properly. But later in her fifth month, we gave it another try, and she totally gets eating. Thank goodness, too, because if she had decided that food didn’t interest her, she would have had to find a new family. Friedmans are eaters. She sits in her Bumbo on the table and we sing the “Sittin’ In My High Chair” song (I know, we’re liars. She’s actually in her Bumbo. One day she’ll read this and be ruined.). She ends up in a big mess and it’s all so deliciously cute. We get through about five or six spoonfuls before she’s all done, but it’s still a good amount that helps her practice and get ready for the more exciting foods that are about to start for her (pureed peas, anyone?).
  • Understands when it’s time to come out of her car seat. When I start to unbuckle her, Madelyn lifts up her arms as if to say, “Come get me!” and then smiles real big as she comes up toward us. It’s amazing how babies soak up routines. And then, to top it off, she wraps her arms around our necks and lays her head on our shoulders. It’s a major case of warm fuzzies.

  1. nicole
    2/14/2012 8:23 PM

    is she wearing the headband i got her?? XOXOXO

A Hairy Situation

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Madelyn and I currently have something in common that’s affecting our vanity: we are bald.

Before I go out and redeem our frequent buyer card for Rogaine for Women and Babies, I should at least spare Madelyn’s ego and declare that she’s starting to grow her hair back. Me? Well, I’m losing it in volumes.

One of the best parts about being pregnant, other than wearing horizontal stripes with no penalties, is the luscious, thick, shiny hair that adorns the top of a woman who’s with child. I knew that this was one of the good side effects and it was definitely a silver lining as my feet developed ankle muffin tops and I made quarterly trips to the bathroom every hour thanks to the bladder compression. So yes, pregnancy came with its fair share of disturbing, annoying, and ugly symptoms, but at least I could rock the hair toss-toss.

And then I had a baby.

Within three months, my hair started to fall out. All those hormones and nutrients that were keeping my baby — and my hair! — alive were no longer working in my body and so now I continue to leave the shower with a hairy souvenir in my hands. It’s a little depressing. Ho hum. Time to start getting clever with hair dos and parts and products.

Madelyn, on the other hand, was born with a tuffet of hair that would have been soft and cushy for Little Miss Muffet. And just like me, around three months after she was born, her hair began to disappear. It wasn’t even really noticeably going anywhere. Just, one day, she woke up, and there was less hair. She doesn’t seem to be too concerned about it, but it’s probably because she can’t see the little bald spot in the back of her head. Grandpa Madelyn’s spot just started to sprout some new growth and the coverage is getting thicker everywhere.

I didn’t even notice this hairtastic change until I started flipping through photos over the past six months. Girlfriend looks like she was born wearing a toup! In fact, her hair was the first feature Dr. Fiiiine described when they were first able to see her during my surgery. I’d like to think that I’ve kissed it all off since then. But, I have a feeling we’ve both been a little hormonal which caused our hair loss: her puppy fur and my, well, my ol’ bitch coat.

With the promise of new hair coming true, I can’t wait to see her cute curls and clip in bows directly through her locks. Hopefully she won’t get too frustrated with me when I can’t do the trendy hairstyles on her before she goes to school every morning. I suppose I should learn to French braid now and keep practicing. I promise never to brush through her curls and create a frizzy hot mess (I’m looking at you, Mom.). I predict that 15 years from now, she’ll beg me to purchase a flat iron for her so she can straighten her naturally curly hair. And when she goes on a first date with a guy (if her father ever lets her out of her room), she’ll probably nervous-twirl her hair as she flirts (guilty).

Hair is such a huge part of a girl’s identity and I can’t wait to see what’s a-HEAD (snort!) as Madelyn’s new wisps begin to sprout through.

As for me, I guess the only way to get my hair back is to get pregnant again.

Hmmm… maybe I’ll just stick a hat on.

  1. Cathy
    2/8/2012 11:00 PM

    lolololol “a hairy souvenir” lolololololol!!!!

Swing, Baby, Swing

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Madelyn has discovered a new hobby that is much more fun than sucking on her own feet or being benchpressed by me. I know, it’s hard to believe that she can think something is more entertaining than my goofy voices and faces, but it’s true. She just recently experienced her first trip to the park and her first ride on the swings.

Based on her utter glee for the swings, this girl is going to totally love roller coasters or rides with drops. She’s also going to have to find a new mom who will go on them with her because I’m too scared. I am the purse holder at the end of the Splash Mountain line on group trips to Disneyland. But who’s the smart one when everyone comes off the log all soaked and dripping and I’m warm and dry? That’s what I thought.

My mom and I walked to the park in her neighborhood which was filled with cute toddlers and other young and pretty moms who wore fantastic Lululemon outfits. I was hoping to make friends with them, but my priorities changed when I realized just how fun my baby was on her first swing ride that wasn’t a product of Graco. I had to stuff the high chair cover in with her, not to protect her from the park swing germs (but, okay, bonus points), but because her Scarlet O’Hara waist didn’t fill up the swing, so I padded it around her to keep her stable.

Once she was properly placed, I started to push her lightly and I wasn’t sure how she’d react, but Madelyn loved it! I could not stop watching her face light up as the wind blew through her wispy hairs and her scrumptious cheeks flapped in the swing’s direction. I got a little weepy as I lightly pushed her in the baby swing and looked over next to us to see two little girls who were swinging on the big-girl swings and deciding if they should play Mermaids or make up a dance next. That’ll be Madelyn one day with her girlfriends and I realized right there as I gave her a little more height on the swing that she’s already been swinging through the past 5.5 months and that swing isn’t stopping. It will always be going up and down. Scary. Exciting. Bliss.

For now, there won’t be any important life decisions about what to play next and I won’t have to watch from the sidelines as she plays with other girls. It’s just Madelyn and me, and we’ll continue to visit the park and I’ll hear my girl giggle through the air.

  1. 2/8/2012 12:42 PM

    Whoa, I also HATE the “rollercoasters” at Disneyland…and 6 Flags, forget it about it. Never been because there are no rides I’m not afraid of there. WHY ARE WE TWINS? ITS CRAZY.the end.