Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Artist Formerly Known as Henry Does Not Do Santa Photos

Last year I congratulated myself on what a perfect little monkey I had. He sat on Santa's lap so nicely! He didn't cry at all! He was the sweetest little man in all of Little Man-dom!

Well, apparently, the Artist Formerly Known as Henry* does not do Santa photos any longer. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Why Gun Sense Is Like Rome

On this day last year, the lives of 26 people, including 20 children, were abruptly and senselessly ended.

That same day, I wrote Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mother Enraged, completely unaware of the response that was brewing. In that post, I said:
Politicians, listen up. We don't want your "thoughts and prayers." We don't want your platitudes. Your "national conversation" on gun control. We want action. NOW.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Everything Else Is Gray

Today is my baby boy's second birthday.

When I bought his baby book just before he was born, I recall flipping through the pages and marveling at how long it would take me to get to "two." Yet here we are.

Words fail me too often these days. When I see him sleeping, when I watch him playing, when I hear him speaking English and Italian, when I see him hugging my 95-year-old Grandma.

The truth is, from the moment I first met him, everything else was gray.

Today I am honored to be sharing my birth story on The Day We First Met, a collaboration of MacKenzie of Raising Wild Things and Stephanie When Crazy Meets Exhaustion.

So if you haven't heard the ridiculous tale of how delusional I was about going into labor, click here to head over now and check it out. It will make you laugh, cry and probably shake your head in amazement at my pig-headedness.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday, little man. Mommy loves you more than you know.

Everything else is gray.

Photo by Maria Domenica Rapicavoli.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Everyone Has Limits, Not Everyone Has Choices

Welcome back to The Brilliant Book Club, a collaboration of five parent bloggers. To learn more about BBC, read this post or follow us on FacebookG+ or Twitter with the hashtag #BrilliantBookClub.

And don’t forget to read what my co-founders Lauren, Jessica, Sarah and Stephanie have to say about this month’s book, Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink by Katrina Alcorn. Links to their posts are below.

I wanted to like Maxed Out. The premise spoke to something I believe wholeheartedly about the U.S. workplace: that it is institutionally biased against dual-income earner families with kids. From the excessive hours to the lack of maternity and paternity leave to the unfriendly childcare and sick leave policies, American families truly have the odds stacked against them.

I wanted to relate to the book because, although I do not feel maxed out myself, I know my sister is running at full capacity. She is the bread-winning, commuting, suburban mother of two, smart and talented, but often at the end of her rope, pulled in every direction. And she is not alone.

I also wanted to like it because, by all superficial measures, Ms. Alcorn and I are similar: a few years apart, upper middle class children of middle class parents, highly educated, parenting in an urban environment, striving to rise above "mediocrity," as she puts it.

But I didn't like it. There, I said it. In fact, were it not for my commitment to The Brilliant Book Club, I would have put the book down after a chapter or two.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?

One of my favorite childhood memories is my grandpa's stories.

My maternal grandfather was not an easy man. A first-generation Italian-, nay, Sicilian-American -- a distinction he never failed to impress upon our young minds -- he was raised in a time of world wars and the Great Depression, a brilliant mind trapped in a chronically ill body.

He was a demanding husband and an overbearing father. But he was a great grandpa.

He spun stories of his early childhood in Oklahoma, where he lived for the first decade of his life. Politically incorrect stories of cowboys-and-Indians interwoven with traditional tales of cops-and-robbers. He recounted stories of places he had never seen -- and never would -- places I would one day go, but not until after his death.

Monday, December 2, 2013

On Marching to the Beat of Your Own Jamboree

I was lucky I met Nicole when I did. I moved to Brooklyn without a clue as to the neighborhood, the local parents list-serv, the playgroups, the playground situation.

(Although I used to think of myself as pretty organized, the move was not the first time I just jumped into something with two clueless left feet. See also: my brash entrance into the world of blogging.)

Nicole had arrived in our neighborhood only a month earlier, but she was already an expert on the Brooklyn mommiverse. She is the type of person who always has an extra snack packed in case someone named Deb forgets one for her child. She is also that person whom everyone thinks is her best friend, although the adjective "best" obviously rules out her having more than one. In any case, she is definitely my closest friend in the neighborhood. She is everyone's closest friend in the neighborhood. Without putting too fine a point on it, I would not have any friends in the neighborhood if it weren't for Nicole.