Puzzle me this, just please don’t make me do it

One of the good things about Captain is that he’s as in love with BB as I am. And I’m especially in love with her once she’s asleep for the night. I sigh,

“Isn’t she great?”

“Yeah, she definitely has her own persona.”

She does and it’s apparent she’s extra related to Captain.

The two of them are very happy doing any number of activities that I have no desire for or can’t even comprehend the enjoyment. As a kid Captain loved lining up his toy cars. He walks into the house after work and BB shouts,

“Daddy, lets line up my doggies!”

They both love legos and both prefer the process to the finished product. They spend half an hour building something for BB to declare,

“Let’s knock it down and do it again!” And they do.

She loves puzzles. Arts and crafts are something I was confronted with my entire childhood, but puzzles were pretty easy to avoid. Until now.

We’re lucky she has a lot of puzzles. And in theory I come down on the side of encouraging her to do whatever she’d like to do. Which means, she wants to do a puzzle? Great! She wants me to do a puzzle? I’ll be hiding in the bathroom until she finds me and dumps the puzzle all over the bathroom floor.

I could suck it up and do one puzzle, glue it together and never do it again. The thing is the minute the puzzle is done BB sends the pieces flying and shouts with glee,

“Let’s do it again!”

Shoot me now.

The good news is Captain is a puzzle fan too. I’m still waiting to see what BB got from me aside from both of us liking to eat lemons.

So if at all possible, when BB begs for me to do a puzzle, I pawn it off,

“Daddy will do one with you when he gets home.”

The minute he walks in the door she explodes,

“DADDY PUZZLE TIME! You’re better at it.”

She has taken to telling us which tasks we’re better at. Captain is better at puzzles and tubby time. If Captain even attempts to sing, BB is quick to remind him that my rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is bar none.

And it’s clear that BB has her own sense of personhood. I told her, as I’ve told her many times,

“You have two choices…”

“No. Those are mommy choices, those are not my choices.”


A puzzle competition! They’re a thing.


What to do about a geriatric blanket

As you may or may not know, I have a security blanket. Her name is Blankety. Yes she is a she and no she does not like to be called Blankie.

Blankety is 36 years old. That is very old in security-blanket years.

I made that same joke in a 2013 blog, but I’m banking on you not remembering it.

Over the years she has started to show the wear and tear that anyone would show if someone slept on top of them every night. The more worn out she gets, the less I wash her.

And before or while you’re saying eeew, if someone told you the Notorious RBG would live longer if she stopped showering, tell me you wouldn’t go take away her soap.

For awhile I washed Blankety every year or so give or take a year. I washed her right before BB was born. And since then, by nothing short of a miracle, she has stayed free from spit-up, vomit and all other bodily fluids that have spewed out of my child.

We’re going on 3 years since the last wash. That may be a record. I’m more and more concerned that she has very few washes left in her.

My mom and I have mended her many times. The issue now is that she’s disappearing. The material is fading away before my very eyes. It’s hard to say how mending can help her.

I also have a blanket we wrapped Angel Baby in. It wasn’t really a conscious decision, but the night she died, I snuggled that blanket right up to Blankety and they haven’t been parted since. I don’t need AB’s blanket quite the same way as I need Blankety, but when I was trying to pack as light as possible to go to DC, I left a big empty spot in my rolling suitcase.

I tell my therapist,

“Looks like I’m going to travel with both blankets.”

“Sounds totally fine. You’re not hurting anyone.”

No I’m not. But I’ve just doubled the number of blankets I need and refuse to wash.


Was the trip a success? Yes, minus a few major malfunctions

We made it to DC and back! AND had a great time. It took what felt like a herculean effort, but was worth it. All we missed at home was Captain, 2 yoga classes, one zumba class, one playgroup, one library story time, one therapy session and an immense amount of sleep.

It IS possible to travel carry-on only, including BB’s giant, bunny sleeping bag. A surprising number of people offered to help me drag my luggage through the airport. I turned everyone down because I was managing and also because I could’ve checked something if I’d really wanted to.

I got us to the airport 3 hours early because I was terrified of how long it would take me to get through security. I had one rolling bag, two shoulder bags, one backpack, one stroller and one toddler.

I can’t remember the last time I went through security without getting pulled aside for extra screening. This time they waved us right through. We must’ve looked like it would be more of a hassle to keep us hanging around then to send us on our way.

I love our light weight stroller. The only time it proved to be insufficient was when BB was insisting on dashing away from me. I strapped her in the stroller, at which point she started whipping all 28 pounds of herself back and forth, full-body tantrum style. The stroller was about to be knocked over entirely when my hot tea that was in the cup holder sprayed everywhere. BB sat in shock contemplating what must’ve been painful tea splatters all over her.

I got her into the sling. Yes, the same sling she spent the entire first year of her life in. She still fits, ish. But more importantly, she still loves it. As her eyelids closed she told me,

“I’m not sleepy.”

“I know.”

Then she was snoring and I was drinking what was left of my tea.

BB enjoyed her window seat. And I enjoyed having two seats worth of leg room. On the way there BB was the ONLY person under 18. And the only person on the plane sneezing and coughing without covering. I’m sorry to anyone we gave our cold to. It’s a nasty one.

BB still hasn’t figured out how to blow her nose which led up to an ear infection mid-week. The urgent care office we went to gave us a Minnie Mouse nightlight, so now BB can’t say enough good things about going to the doctor.

This is BB’s first time taking amoxicillin, aka the pink stuff. I LOVE the pink stuff. I mean that. I would still get it in liquid form if I needed to take it. I’m so excited for BB to try it. She is not impressed. I stare at her,

“You don’t like it? It’s the pink stuff. Everyone loves the pink stuff.”

“No medicine. I went to the doctor, I’m all better.”

I wish it worked like that. I have an epiphany, I tell BB that if she drinks the pink stuff she’ll turn into Pinkalicious, one of her favorite characters. She slurps it right down.


That’s what I thought.

My dear friend has 4 kids and a fenced in backyard. I can’t say enough good things about the fence. Kids can be outside and we can be inside. So peaceful, until I go hurtling for the tree house as BB contemplates descending down a rope.

I borrow my friend’s car to drive to the pharmacy with BB. We FaceTime with Captain, he exclaims,

“Are you driving a minivan?!”

“Yes. Yes I am.” It’s the car I should’ve bought if my ego didn’t insist on a SUV.

It was a successful weeklong playdate. And with the help of a babysitter, we even snuck in a pedicure.

On our return flight there was a woman flying by herself with 4 kids: ages 6 months through 6 years. She made me feel like anything is possible, as long as you check some luggage.

Version 2

Solo flight with a toddler, what could go wrong?

I just booked a last-minute flight to DC for BB and me. A friend will be waiting there with her car and a car seat. So as far as baby gear goes, I can travel “light.”  I want to go carry-on only and the internet is not helping me.

I google “pull a rolling suitcase and push a stroller.” I’m hoping to find a helpful how-to video, no luck. Someone did ask a similar question and got this response:

“I suggest you find a different piece of luggage to transport your belongings. It doesn’t meet your needs if you have to ask this question.”

I practice in my driveway with an empty stroller and an empty suitcase. Super easy!! Yes I realize that my driveway trial will have no resemblance to departure day with a 30 pound toddler and however much our allotted liquid amount in fruit pouches weighs.

We would definitely be able to travel light not in quotes if it weren’t for the fact that I’m taking BB’s sleeping bag. It’s a big, hairy bunny bag. Its selling point was not based on how tiny it compresses.

I’m nervous about juggling luggage and a small person. Everyone has asked if I’m nervous about the flight. Not really. It’s less than 2 hours. Our iPad is up to the challenge. And whoever our seat mate is is welcome to share the giant bag of chocolate animal crackers I just bought.

As a child I was always desperate for a window seat, but as an adult I prefer the aisle. I like to go to the bathroom. Without thinking I select an aisle and middle seat.

Captain and I are chatting about the flight. He says,

“BB will like looking out the window, don’t you think?”



“Of course I need a window seat for her! What was I thinking?” I modify our reservation ASAP. Window seats both ways. Phew.

So maybe this is the start of a lifetime of travel together or maybe I’m never flying solo with BB ever again. I will let you know.


7-year-old me privileged enough to be going to Disney World and pissed I didn’t get a window seat. Yes, I used this photo the last time we flew with BB, but it’s a classic 

Sesame Street Live with the big ol’ five-year-olds, here we come

Happy New Year!

After wallowing in a low point over the holidays, I feel like I’m picking myself back up. The end of last year sucked pretty hard, but not for all of us. BB decided December was a very good month. She keeps asking,

“More presents?”

I made the mistake of saying,

“Not until your birthday.”

So then she started asking,

“Is it my birthday?”

“Not until the Summer.” And we talked through the four seasons.

“Is it my birthday?”

“Not until July, in the Summer.” And we talked through the months.

There’s a kid song about months. It has proved helpful for dancing, but not as helpful for understanding that her birthday isn’t tomorrow.

BB asks about her birthday again. I ask her,

“Can you say the months?”

She looks at me and gives me the biggest eye roll I’ve ever seen. And if I doubted for a second that she rolled her eyes at me, my mom was there and said,

“I saw that. She rolled her eyes at you.”

Great. So that’s where we’re at with the 2-year-old attitude. On one hand it’s a lot quieter than a tantrum. On the other hand, what is she going to do when she’s 13?!

She tells my mom,

“I need a guitar please.”

We head to the attic. I had a toy guitar at one point so it’s up there somewhere. Everything is up there somewhere.

We find it and BB is overjoyed. Her big cousin got one for Christmas and since then it’s been a must-have that I told her she could wait for July for.

Over dinner I mention to Captain that BB might like to go to a concert. BB pipes up,


“Yeah a show where people play music, like on a guitar and sing.”

“I want to go!”

We do a quick search and there it is: Sesame Street Live is coming to Boston in April. BB’s eyes open wide,

“Big Bird singing and dancing?”




“Abby Dabby?”


“I want to dance with Big Bird!”

“We will!”

BB is exploding from her booster seat with excitement. She shouts,

“Let’s go!”

“In April.”

SIGH. Here we go again.

We get BB to bed despite her wanting to go to a concert immediately and I browse Ticketmaster. I’m torn between the Saturday morning show and the Friday evening one. I debate it with Captain. We’re leaning toward Friday evening. Captain says,

“My only concern with Friday night is that it’ll be an older crowd.”

“It’s Sesame Street Live.”


Clearly from the 90’s

The whole marginal Santa thing

Happy New Year! I’ll be lucky if I’m awake to see midnight. And awake because I woke up to go to the bathroom doesn’t count. Six years ago I would’ve been wide awake bartending. I still can’t believe I start my mornings very close to when I used to go to bed.

Captain has deemed Christmas a success and I’m relieved it’s over. I didn’t realize how relieved I was until December 26th when I ran around like a crazy person and by the time I went to sleep all the decorations were put away and the tree was in a heap in the yard. The only signs of the season now are a couple snowflake towels floating around.

Okay there are also some melamine plates with dogs in glasses and Santa hats.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this whole Santa thing. I grew up knowing he wasn’t real. I remember scoffing at the kids who believed in him, while simultaneously taking the Tooth Fairy very seriously.

I also never believed in the Easter Bunny, but one Easter we were away at the Ritz in Chicago and they promised the Easter Bunny would visit our room. My parents wanted to head out for the day. I was frantic. I called the front desk and pestered them for the whereabouts of this bunny, never for a second letting them believe I had any doubts about his existence. Please just bring me a basket of candy.

I thought having the Tooth Fairy was fun, so might as well do Santa. BB seemed to grasp the idea that Hanukkah presents come from Mom and Dad and Christmas ones come from Santa. I thought this would be an easy enough year, but BB is already trying to poke holes in my Santa story and I haven’t had a chance to get my story straight.

We were headed to a holiday party to see Santa. I mention this to BB. She asks,

“We’re going to the North Pole?”

No. What? Good point. How the heck do kids make sense of the million Santas walking around at Christmas time? Having worked in Disney, I know they let nothing threaten the magic. You will NEVER have a double Mickey Mouse sighting because there’s only one Mickey of course.

But nobody is monitoring all the Santas. I can’t even remember what I told BB. When we get there she asks,

“Where are Santa’s reindeer?”

That’s it. Uncle! I’m tempted to tell her I made a big mistake and Santa isn’t real. Santa terrifies her. Later when we read some books, she points at Santa’s elves and tells me,

“I like the little Santas, not the big Santa.”

She also asked me,

“How does Tutu (our Elf on the Shelf) fly? She doesn’t have wings.”

“Uh… Magic?”

Is that the right answer? I know the Elf on the Shelf website provides answers to potential questions, but when BB put me on the spot I panicked.

If I can’t field the two-year-old questions, how the heck am I supposed to carry this story until the marginal age of 7?

It also dawns on me that Santa needs his own wrapping paper and hand writing. I get a pass on that this year. The only letter BB cares about is the first letter of her name.

Christmas Eve I absolutely regretted the entire thing. BB was sitting up in bed terrified and she kept pointing to the roof,

“Is he up there?”

“No, don’t worry, he doesn’t want you to see him.”

“Are the reindeer up there?”

“No.” If Santa keeps BB from sleeping I’m going to be really angry with this guy.

She sleeps. In the morning she comes tearing down the stairs and comes to an abrupt halt in the kitchen. She gasps when she sees her presents,

“A tractor! I told Santa I wanted a tractor!” And then she whispers, “Is he in there?”

“No, go ahead!”

She won’t move. Captain has to hold her hand and we proceed with caution. The coast is clear, Santa is back at the North Pole, until next year!


Despite the supposed war on Christmas, here we are

Jew here and it’s Christmas time. I never celebrated it until a few years ago, but my Jewish soul is no match for my desire to put lighted reindeer on my lawn. The main problem is I have no sense of nostalgia for Christmas like I do for Hanukkah, or Halloween, or any other holiday I grew up celebrating.

We’re hosting Christmas day this year. It’s just Captain’s immediate family, but still. There needs to be food. What food? For Passover there’s matzo ball soup, for Hanukkah there’s latkes, for Christmas there’s? I turn to Captain. This is his holiday. He is an unreliable source of information. He’s just not sure.

I can’t fathom this. I text his mom:

“Do you guys usually have turkey or ham for Christmas day? I come from a long line of people who went out for Chinese food.”

I learned that both have been done, so we’re going with ham and maybe a kugel and maybe some wonton soup.

In the last couple months BB has decided she loves going to the playroom at the YMCA. She gets to play and I get 2 hours of babysitting. I can workout or I can sit on my butt in the cafe or I can do both. Two hours is a lifetime.

I’ve been going to yoga regularly and it feels great. There’s a lovely woman I look forward to chatting with every week, but today a guy was waiting for class too and he dominated the pre-class chatter. He turns to me,

“I trust you celebrate Christmas?”

If you’d asked me a few years ago, no. I tell him we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. He asks what’s on my kid’s list. My neon green bracelet is a dead giveaway that I have a child in the playroom.

I mention that BB got most of what she asked for for Hanukkah. Then he asks,

“Do you have more than one?”


“Do you want more or is one good?”

This is the point where I’m tempted to scream,


I don’t. I keep it together.

And speaking of dead things, I hope our tree makes it. It’s dropping a lot of needles. It doesn’t help that BB likes to pet it. She pats the tree and as needles scatter everywhere she says,

“Gentle, gentle.”

And then there’s the elf on the shelf. All of November I pondered whether we should have one and if we should, should we start this year? The one other Jewish mom in our town has a mensch on a bench. Actually there are at least 2 other Jewish moms in my town, but that’s all I know for sure.

I wonder about the mensch on a bench. The elf goes back to Santa every night, where does the mensch go? I have other questions, but it feels like if this is something we’re going to do because I don’t want BB to miss out on what most of the other kids are doing, then we might as well do the elf.

The day after Hanukkah ended our elf arrived. BB named her Tutu. I’ve yet to remember to move her until the next morning when I run around like a panicked person, although BB doesn’t get it or care if Tutu moves or not. Yesterday Tutu “flew” off the top of the refrigerator when I banged the door closed. I had to touch her, which means she probably won’t move for a few more days, that works for me.

I have many more thoughts on Christmas, but whatever you celebrate, I trust we can talk again soon.


Picking out our tree. I trust this is a traditional Christmas gorilla.

Glue for the girl who has everything

I’ve got my dreidel jammies on, that means it’s Hanukkah time! Or was. Our dreidel jammies are comfortable enough to wear all day, all Winter. Just ask Captain. I made the mistake of putting them on before Thanksgiving and BB exclaimed,

“Fall is over already? It’s Hanukkah time?!!”

“First Thanksgiving and then Hanukkah.”

I string some Christmas lights along the railing upstairs. BB shouts,

“It’s Halloween time?!”

Things are getting confusing.

I ask BB, 

“What are you excited about for Hanukkah?”

“Crispy latkes!”

Me too!

All year I’ve marveled at how much stuff BB has. In October I wondered if there was anything left to get her. 

Two nights before Hanukkah I found myself wrapping up almost 30 presents for her. How did this happen?

We wanted to get her arts and crafts supplies. I don’t like to shop, so doing it online is the best way. I browse the selection. It’s hard to get an idea of everything that’s available and appropriate for someone with limited fine motor skills. 

I decide it’s a good idea to go to a brick and mortar Michael’s. By myself. 

I walk into the store. Oh no. This is bad. What was I thinking? I don’t like shopping and I don’t like arts and crafts. This store is a combination of both of them. I feel overwhelmed just standing in the entrance.

I head to the kid section. A month ago BB told me,

“I need colored pencils.”

“Ok put them on your Hanukkah list.”

The next day, 

“Mom, I need colored pencils.”

“I know, they’re on your Hanukkah list.”

A few days later,

“Colored pencils?”

“Hanukkah list!”

We continued this way for a month. I look at the colored pencils in the kid’s section of Michael’s. Not only are there at least 4 different brands of colored pencils, but they’re in 4 different aisles within the kid’s section so if I want to price/color count compare. It’s just about impossible. I postpone making a colored pencil decision.

I get kiddie scissors. That’s also a comparison nightmare. Glue. I stop comparing. Elmer’s all the way. It claims to be washable. Then there’s white construction paper, colored construction paper, markers, water colors, water-color paper, and some Hanukkah stickers.

Mission accomplished. I check out, head home and hide it all away until I’m wrapping presents two days before Hanukkah.

I pull out the Michael’s bag. Where are the colored pencils? I scan the receipt. I NEVER bought them. The only thing BB put on her Hanukkah list everyday for a month, and it costs all of $5, I did not buy. 

I could go back to Michael’s, Target or even Stop & Shop. I don’t consider it. With limited comparison, I settle on a 36 count box Prime next day shipping. DONE.

BB opens up her Elmer’s glue. She declares,

“Mom, I need googly eyes.”

Good news. I already have a bunch. I got them years ago to April Fool’s prank Captain. I bought them online.

Last night BB opened her last Hanukkah present.  She exclaims,

“Colored pencils!”

Paper Turkey Time

I am not a crafty person. My mom learned this when my pre-school teacher expressed her dismay with my lack of scissor skills. I haven’t improved much, but I’ve made a life for myself that doesn’t rely on scissor skills, or so I thought.

BB loves to color, loves to paint, loves to glue. She LOVES arts and crafts. This has made it apparent that Captain has contributed his genetics to this. He is great at art. Before I dated him I didn’t know there was such a thing as AP Art. There is and he took it.

Nothing makes BB happier than an art project. And just like Captain, all the joy is in the process. Almost as soon as it’s done, she puts it in the recycling. There appears to be zero attachment to the finished product.

When I hear that the library in the next town over has a story time followed by a craft, I know this will be perfect for us. Orchestrating arts and crafts is almost as low on my list as creating them.

We’ve been twice now. The first time the craft was creating a squirrel. There was an outline of a squirrel on a piece of paper with pieces of grey felt for the body, leaves for the ground, an acorn for its hands and glue for everyone to put it all together.

We approached the craft table. It was surrounded by small children watching their caretakers make a squirrel. I got BB situated. She started to glue leaves onto the squirrel’s body and grey felt in the sky. I have never had to exert so much self-control in my LIFE.

I reminded myself on repeat that I did not come to story time so I could make a squirrel.

The next week I ask BB if she’d like to go to the library again for story time.

“YES! Glue googly eyes and leaves!”

This time it’s a paper turkey and there’s plenty of glue and googly eyes. Again all the caretakers proceed to make turkeys and again it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done to step back and watch as 6 googly eyes get glued on or around the turkey.

I keep asking myself,

“Jessica, if you didn’t have a small child would you be here making a turkey?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Right, then let BB do this.”

The librarian tells BB,

“You’re doing a great job!”

Then she turns to me,

“I’m so glad you’re letting her do that.”

“It’s so hard!”

“I know.”

I never knew my dislike of arts and crafts could be consumed by my intense desire to glue turkey feathers in the “correct” place.


BB’s turkey. And for the record, BB paired the eyes together herself


The turkey we were intended to make

Memorializing my baby at Claire’s

I got my ears pierced for the first time in my life.

When I was 10-12 I thought I would die if I didn’t get my ears pierced. My mom said if I made it to 16, I could do it then. When I turned 16, I didn’t care anymore.

Then I got pregnant again. I started daydreaming about what I wanted for a push present. For BB I designed 2 interlocking rings with her birthstone that I wear on my right hand. I toyed with the idea of getting my ears pierced for the next kid.

For whatever reason I still felt reluctant. Really why bother now? And I didn’t ask our midwife, but I figured if I’m not supposed to eat lunch meat, a body piercing can’t possibly be recommended.

Then we said goodbye to Angel Baby. A week later Captain had to work on a Saturday and BB and I were hanging out at home. I turned to her and said,

“Let’s go to Claire’s.”

She’s never been there, but she agreed.

To be a 36-year-old customer at Claire’s is a very odd feeling. I strapped BB into her stroller. A toddler loose in Claire’s is enough to raise my heart rate just thinking about it.

I sit in the piercing chair with BB in the stroller beside me. I tell the Claire’s employee,

“This is my first time getting my ears pierced.”

A mom and her 6-year-old daughter overhear me and stop to stare. The mom points at BB,

“Is it the first time for her or for you?”

“For me.”

“Really? The first time for YOU? Not for her?” And she points at BB again.

Yes, I’m very sure I’m the one getting my ears pierced and not my daughter, although if she makes it to 10 or 12 years old that’s another story.

I ask the young woman piercing my ears,

“In your experience, what’s the oldest person who’s gotten their ears pierced for the first time?”


So there you have it, I’m still doing it on the young side.

I notice the woman’s name badge. It’s the same name we gave our Angel Baby. I hadn’t planned on telling anyone at Claire’s anything, but now of course I unload on this poor young woman. She is very kind.

And there I am, in Claire’s, surrounded by 6-year olds, sobbing and getting my ears pierced for the first time.

We named Angel Baby after a unicorn from one of my favorite childhood books, so now anything unicorn is kinda my thing.

I opted for gold stud earrings because I have to wait until my ears are healed to wear the earrings I really want. Captain, who forgot there’s a market for little kid jewelry, says,

“Good luck finding unicorn earrings.”

“Don’t worry, they’re a thing.” Mostly for people under 12, but for at least one 36-year-old and maybe an 85-year-old.

People do any number of things to memorialize their losses: services, gardens, crafts, you name it. I got unicorn earrings, in honor of Angel Baby.



BB may have gotten a unicorn purse. And a unicorn bracelet. But that’s really it. Because I’d already bought a unicorn mug from HomeGoods. And a tiny unicorn figurine to put next to the family photo by my bed

My Angel Baby

Oh dear blog. I don’t know what to say to you. I lost my baby, I was 16 weeks pregnant. Yes I’m blogging about it; it feels impossible to blog about anything else. I’m aware that this isn’t the funniest topic in the world. It puts my dog dying post in perspective.

I feel like I have a deep understanding for the whale who carried her dead calf around for weeks. Don’t worry, I’m not carrying my baby’s body around. Mostly because Captain made sure we said goodbye to her after we held her for hours.

BB does not appreciate my crying. She keeps saying,

“No mommy, don’t cry.”

But TV seems to totally distract her. I can sob in the kitchen as long as Daniel Tiger is on.

And for whatever reason, BB has decided to start sleeping through the night in her room by herself for the first time in almost a year. I don’t know how many days of this to expect, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

I’ve often looked back at BB’s newborn photos and marveled at how tiny she was. Now all I can think about is how huge a full-term baby is compared to our 5″ angel baby.

After she was delivered, the nurse put an ice-pack in my underwear. She said,

“I don’t know if you need this, but I’m doing it just in case.”

No. I don’t need it. BB tore me open from end to end. Angel Baby didn’t have a chance.

Very late in the evening the day our baby was delivered the doctors were inclined to discharge us if we wanted to, but Captain and I felt better staying. I tell the nurse I’d like to take my IV out. She asks me,

“Is it bothering you?”

“Yes, I don’t think I’ll sleep well with it in.” My baby just died, I’m anticipating sleeping about an hour, and it would be nice if this thing wasn’t stuck in my arm.

She hems and haws.

“Well they were going to send you home.”

“Yes. I was thinking that.”

“If you start bleeding a lot, I’ll have to put another one in. No arguments.”

“Of course.” Yes, please save my life, even if it means putting in another IV.

While we were saying goodbye to our angel baby’s body, I had such a stinky fart that I felt compelled to check under the blanket to make sure that’s all it was. After the air cleared, I told Captain,

“I’m impressed at how magnanimously you handled that.”

“I know what it’s like, I’ve farted before.”

My heart is broken wide open. I have no physical pain, yet if it weren’t for BB I’d be hibernating in my bed until further notice.

There’s something to be said for putting clothes on, getting in the car and going to a playgroup. Even if all it proves is that my legs still work.

Two days after we lost Angel Baby at a hospital near the theater district, my iPhone grouped all our photos into an album called “Friday night at the show” and suggested I share it.

I’m sure we’ll try again and I’m not sure you’ll hear about it. In the meantime I’m going to drink some pumpkin beer. It is October and I’m not pregnant.


Another list of ridiculous things my daughter has said

Out of sight of strangers, BB continues to talk non-stop.  Sunday morning she was fast asleep. She opened her eyes, sat up and started singing “Wheels on the Bus.” We squeezed in 5 seconds of quiet awake time.

I hosted book club last week and BB was not pleased to be missing out. I told her that she’d have book club with Captain up in her room. This morning she tells me,

“I’m having book club.”

“Oh good.”

“I need 2 books and some wine.”


The other morning she woke up and wouldn’t stop rubbing her eyes,

“Sleep dirt in my eyes, maybe I need to see the eye doctor.”



In Acadia, Captain put her in the backpack for a low-key hike. BB had a super serious face and wasn’t talking. I was concerned about whether or not she was enjoying herself. I ask,

“BB are you ok?”

No response.

“BB, do you like the backpack? Are you having fun?”

No response.


She breaks her silence and orders,

“Keep walking.”


The other day I was changing her diaper and my mother-in-law was at her feet. BB farted and said,

“I tooted.”

My mother-in-law said,

“I heard.”

BB adds,

“It was a juicy one.”


And this last quote could easily be TMI, but it’s kinda my favorite, so here ya go. I was changing BB’s diaper and she was poking herself. I said,

“That’s your vagina, I have one too.”

She looks at me and replies,

“You have a hairy one.”



If I go buy organic dog food for BB, you’ll know we have a problem

Well. Acadia was lovely. We came home early because my 14-year-old Lab Booker wasn’t doing well. We knew he was old and probably didn’t have long, it was just a question of when would he go downhill. Only a few weeks ago he was still walking around with his puppy rattle in his mouth.

We put him to sleep. He’s gone. BB doesn’t understand. We watched the Daniel Tiger episode where his goldfish dies. We read a book about a dog getting old and dying and we’ve talked about it repeatedly because she keeps asking for him and he’s still dead.

Maybe she’ll remember him. Maybe she’ll remember all the dog food she’s eaten. I read not to make your dead pet’s things disappear immediately. I’ve been putting stuff away here and there. The dog food vanished the fastest. BB holds out her hand and demands,

“Dog food?”

“No. It’s all gone.”

“Dog treat?”

Nice try. Also all gone.

When Booker was alive I’d let BB eat some dog food. That seemed better than dealing with a tantrum every time I fed the dog. But with Booker dead, I can’t see paying $5 for organic blueberries to turn around and give BB the second cheapest dog food that Stop & Shop carries. Sometimes the cheapest if I catch the sales right.

Now BB doesn’t even form a full sentence about him, she just says,


“Do you remember what we said about him?”

“He’s old and sad and we bury him in the dirt.”

Something like that.

Version 2IMG_8684


2008, when he first came home with us and still had his balls



Is it still called glamping if there’s a two-year-old along?

We’re going “camping” in Acadia. Not that I have anything against camping not in quotes, but Captain asked for AC and bug protection. I’ll be happy to sit in our cabin’s screened-in porch and survey the people staying in tents.

I wasn’t sure if BB understood that we’re gearing up for a trip, but the grocery store clerk said,

“BB! How are you?”

“I’m going on vacation!”

Little does she know we’re in for a 5 hour drive. I ask her to pack her suitcase with some toys. She tells me,

“I’m taking a sandcastle.”

“You’re taking sand toys?”

She looks at me like I’m really dense and tries again,

“A sandcastle.”

I’ll let Captain know to make room in the car.

Now that BB is in vacation mode, she can’t stop. She tells me,

“I’m going to see a mountain!”

“That’s right! And you can climb it!” Or Captain can climb it with you on his back. I’ll be in charge of photos. I ask BB,

“What else should we take?”





Sleeping is the only thing that’s up in the air. There’s a queen bed, a bunk bed and a pack ‘n play, whatever that’s for.

I have a feeling BB is claiming the queen bed with one of us and Captain and I are going to be taking turns in the bunk bed. We’ll have to save the romance for the screened in porch.


Udderly unrelated

The things we’ll do for a sticker

BB has a history of freaking out whenever we go to the pediatrician. We’ve seen several different doctors, so the common denominator is BB. But for whatever reason, she has a great time at the ophthalmologist.

And it’s not just the shots. You’d think looking in BB’s ears was the same as trying to cut them off.

Back in June I glanced at the calendar and noticed that BB’s 2-year physical was a day before her ophthalmologist appointment. That’s not going to work.

Last time, the ophthalmologist sent us home with a sheet of pictures to practice. That’s the vision test they use for little kids before they know their letters. BB and I were all practiced up. The wild card would be if BB would be willing to talk in front of the doctor. Not her strong point. And terrifying her with a physical 2 days before didn’t seem like a great idea.

I postpone the physical. I tell BB we’re headed to the eye doctor. She shouts in excitement,


“Oh no, sorry, that’s the other doctor’s office.”

The ophthalmic assistant sits BB in a chair and tries to get her to peer into a machine to measure her corneas. She tells BB,

“Hold still and look straight.”

Who expects a 2-year-old to be able to hold still?

She tries again,

“Please hold still.”

I can assure you adding a please to your request is not going to make a difference. The assistant keeps trying. Another assistant approaches and offers,

“She might be too young for this.”

Thank you!

We move onto the vision test with the same assistant. She puts up several letters on the screen. I interject,

“BB is two. She doesn’t know her letters. We practiced the pictures that the doctor gave us last time.”

“I prefer the letters because it’s more accurate than the pictures.”

Okay, IF BB KNEW HER LETTERS. I don’t know what else to say. BB has identified one, she declares,


The assistant keeps pressing her. I’m frustrated. We’re using up all of BB’s goodwill and not accomplishing much. We finally head into the office to see the doctor. There’s the TV screen I was waiting for. BB shouts,

“Mickey Mouse!”

Yes, a Mickey Mouse video. Thank goodness.

The doctor comes in, reviews some notes and says,

“Looks like her vision test went well.”

“It did? We practiced the pictures you gave us, but the assistant insisted on letters.”

“Really? Lets try the pictures.”

BB names the pictures, asks for a sticker and we go on our way for another 4 months.

A week later we head in for her physical. BB shouts,

“Mickey Mouse!”

“No, sorry, that’s the other doctor’s office. But this one has the fishies.”


We check in and a nurse approaches us in the waiting room.

“The doctor is running 40 minutes late.”

SIGH. That’s a lot of time with the fishies. We push through. Every ten minutes BB asks,

“Mickey Mouse?”

The nurse shows us into the exam room. BB asks,


The eye doctor’s exam room had a lot of toys. There are no toys in this room, but tearing up the paper on the exam table is fun, so is rifling through the drawers, typing on the doctor’s keyboard and touching every possible surface.

The doctor manages to examine BB without any crying. Success. Then the nurse comes in with her vaccination. I brace for the worst. BB makes no sound. No flinch. Nothing. The shot is done. BB breaks the silence,


We go to get her blood drawn. Same deal. She doesn’t whimper, doesn’t move, nothing. Is my child ok? Has she all of sudden become unable to feel pain? The blood draw is complete. BB speaks up again,


She’s taking this sticker business very seriously. The phlebotomist offers her several stickers,

“You did better than some adults!”

And someday she’ll even know her letters.

Version 2

Potty training is on hold, but there are lots of other things you can do with a potty seat

Have potty, will travel

And just like that BB is potty training.

I potty trained when I was 2.5 and I’m sure Captain was later than that, so this is not something that was on my radar as being imminent. I knew and hoped it would happen one day. I figured I’d get some books, buy all the gear and be ready. I was not ready.

A week ago, BB was “helping” me fold laundry, which is really an exercise in folding and putting away as fast as I can before BB can undo what I’ve already done. BB has always liked playing with clothes and underpants are no different. She tosses them in the air,

“Daddy’s underwear, mommy’s underwear… I need my panties.”

“Uh huh.”

“I need my panties.”

“Ok.” I feel sure she wants panties to play with just like she’s playing with mine and Captain’s. She raises her voice at me,


“You want your own panties?”


“We’ll get them later.” All I’m thinking is: I need to make dinner, can I avert a tantrum?

A half- hour later, Captain gets home and I’m starting to cook. BB tries again,

“I need my panties.”



“Ok we’ll go to the store tomorrow and get some.” I don’t know why she needs panties so desperately, but I would really like to avoid a tantrum.

“I NEED MY PANTIES I NEED MY PANTIES I NEED MY PANTIES!!!” She’s starting to scream cry. I ask her,

“If you get panties, what are you going to do?”

“Go potty.”

What?! OK! I had no idea she understood what panties are for. I’ve never dropped everything and left for Target so fast.

BB insists on a shopping cart. I put her in and we find the underwear aisle. She grabs Mickey Mouse “boy underwear” and Sesame Street “girl underwear.” I ask her,

“Would you like any other ones?”

She’s already half way back to the register. She calls back to me over her shoulder,

“This is good.”

I chase after her, leaving the empty shopping cart behind. She reminds me,

“Shopping cart?”

“Do you want to get in it?”

She clutches the 2 packs of underwear,

“BB walk.”

“Then we can leave the shopping cart there.”


Or I can push it and try to wrangle a toddler marching through Target. I can do that.

We get home. BB wanted Mickey boy underwear so I got it. I assumed it was like how a store will label a blue truck a “boy” truck and a pink truck a “girl” truck, but aside from color they’re the same. So boy underwear, girl underwear what’s the difference?

I opened the packages. Oh right. There is a difference. I didn’t want to add explaining penises to this day, but BB does not know or care that her underwear can open in the front.

Only half believing that there is any chance of success, I put her in her new panties. She grabs her little potty, drags it from the bathroom, into the kitchen, over and through the open baby gate and sets it up next to Captain who’s working on his computer. She sits down and pees, straight through her new underwear.

Well that’s something. It’s been a week now. Some days we’ve had 100% success and other days are more like 30%.

First full day of no diapers, BB comes dashing into the kitchen screaming,


I don’t know what’s grosser: poop in the living room or the dog eating it.

Three days into it, I want to put a diaper on her to go to the grocery store. I’m not trying to wash the whole car seat right now. BB tells me,

“No diaper, big girl panties.”

Ok. The car seat could use a wash.

I go into a frenzy of potty paraphernalia shopping. Toddler seats for the full-size toilets came a few days ago. BB really likes those the best. Me too. Emptying little buckets of poop and pee does not feel like a big step up from changing diapers.

We’re far far away from this being a done deal. Sometimes BB is self-initiating and going potty by herself, but she still isn’t pulling down her underwear. She yells from the bathroom,

“Mommy, I went potty!”

I cheer and jump and clap. Then I remind her that she can pull her panties down next time,

“Let’s put on new underwear, these ones are wet with pee.”

“No mommy, just sweaty.”


When it’s 95° and you’re potty training and you’re really into “The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens.”


And when you gotta go potty, but you also really need to trim your toe nails

Are you hitting on me or do you just need a seat?

The other night I go out to meet a girlfriend for dinner. I get there early and head to the bar with my book. Being at a bar, reading a book, makes me feel like everything will be ok.

I pull up a seat and acknowledge the people around me. I get a drink and I bury my head in my book. There is nothing about my demeanor that says “please talk to me.” In my many years of working at a bar, I know it’s possible to project the message that I’m looking for someone or something. I’m doing all the things to project the opposite message.

The woman across from me asks,

“What are you reading?”

“Do you know Trevor Noah?”


This conversation is off to a terrible start. Why is she bothering me? I offer,

“He’s the host of The Daily Show, he took over for Jon Stewart.”

She gives me a blank stare. This is my cue to go back to reading. She interrupts again,

“What’s it about?”

“His childhood growing up in apartheid South Africa.”

“Have you been to South Africa?”


“I’ve always wanted to go, but I’m not interested in doing a safari.”

“There are plenty of other things to do.” But I don’t know why I’m encouraging her. I should spare South Africa. I try putting my head down in my book again. She interrupts again,

“Are you meeting someone?”


“Me too.”

Great. She continues,

“But I don’t know where we’re going to sit.”

There’s an empty seat on the other side of me. She leaves me in peace for the next 15 minutes. Her friend arrives. She points at the seat on the other side of me,

“There’s a seat there, but there aren’t two together, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

I pipe up,

“Would you like me to move over?”

“Would you? That would be great!”

GOOD GRIEF! Is that what this conversation was about from the very beginning?


Adventure awaits and a fair amount of effort, but it’s worth it, sometimes

We spent 4 days and 3 nights on my in-laws’ sailboat and it is now safe to say it went better than expected.

It was fun and hard. But really a lot of fun. So I’ll take the hard. It was four adults to one toddler, which is a great ratio.

Despite the occasional wish to jump overboard in order to go swimming, BB was happy to play on the boat. I did pack several new toys and coloring activities, but I didn’t even use them all. And we watched some TV but not as much as I was ready for us to watch: unlimited.

I’ve been excited about this for months. Years ago I met families backpacking around the world with little kids and I thought to myself: I’d love to do that! Then I had BB and I thought: are those people insane?

Now I’m itching for more adventures. Maybe not around the world yet, even though BB seems willing to wear a backpack, but a sailboat, a few hours from home, sounds about right.

Captain left several days ahead of us so BB and I took the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard the two of us. The first test. How much adventure was I was really up for?

The main dilemma of that first travel day was where/when is BB going to nap. She hasn’t napped in the sling while I wear her in over a year. I ask Google: “Nap toddler in a sling?” Is it possible?

Boy did that make me feel good about my life. There are people who are still wearing their toddlers to sleep like I was with BB when she was less than a year. Bless those people and their backs.

I have no idea if it’ll work, but I’m going to try to nap BB in the sling on the ferry. A little bouncing, a little roar of the engine and a little rocking of the waves. I feel sleepy just thinking about it.

BB is as excited about the adventure as I am. As we’re waiting for the ferry and I’m trying to keep her from walking off the side of the dock in search of the boat, she declares,

“This is fun.”

“Oh good, I’m glad.” I hope it stays that way.

We board the ferry and I slip her into the sling. She used to nap with her entire body squished in it. I try that first. She squirms,

“Mommy, I’m stuck.”

I take her feet out and I start bouncing. I haven’t forgotten how to bounce. And in no time at all she’s passed out. I can’t believe it. I sit down and enjoy the entire ferry ride in peace.

We land and as I step off the boat, BB pokes her head out of the sling,

“I woke up.”

“Yes, I see that.”

We find Captain and our sailboat-home for the next 3 nights. There are minimal window shades so the boat doesn’t get dark until the sun goes down and BB sees no reason to go to sleep before that.

There’s a fair amount of sailing, a decent amount of beach and swimming and enough land time in general to run around like a crazy person. I can still walk fast enough to keep up with BB’s running, but it’s a close call, especially if she’s got some downhill momentum.

On our last morning on the boat, BB wakes up, stretches, sighs and says,

“BB’s boat.”



An example of not sleeping


Who’s Captain now?

Date weekend: letting the pheromones fly

Captain and I had our first weekend away together since BB’s arrival. It was magical for me. Bittersweet for Captain. He almost couldn’t bring himself to come.

My friend’s wedding was in New Jersey and BB wasn’t invited through no fault of her own. I was going no matter what. Captain couldn’t decide. I tell him,

“It’s July 4th weekend on the Jersey Shore. This hotel is not cheap, you should come.”

“But what about BB?”

“She’ll be fine.”

As of the last 6 months she’s been beyond thrilled to spend time with her grandparents. Special treat for everyone!

My mom takes BB duty and I get Captain in the car with me headed for New Jersey. That’s when the magic started. No toddler in the car: absolute zen.

BB is great in the car, she can be happy for a couple hours. But what makes her happy is listening to the same song on repeat. Right now it’s “Shoo Fly.” That’s a 66 second song with a 3 second reprieve between repeats. The other day we listened to it for an hour.

With adult music and Captain asking if I’d heard anything from my mom every so often, we make our way South.

I had no idea, but the highlight for me of our 2 nights away was waking up in the morning with Captain, but without BB. To snuggle in bed and then enjoy a coffee and a muffin and another cup of coffee. I could’ve driven back home after that and been happy.

Neither of us having been to the Jersey Shore before, we’re on the lookout for poofy hair or any other sign that we’ve arrived. We see some half-naked people bent over on their front lawn, butts in the air, playing some drinking game. I tell Captain,

“We must be close.”

I ask my friend’s wife,

“Is this the Jersey Shore from the show?”

“No you have to go further South. This is the family friendly area.”

After our hours long breakfast, we take our butts to the beach. We’re surrounded by families. I watch parents and toddlers scuttle around. I miss BB. But watching the parents run after their kids is enough to make me ready for a nap. Or a swim and a nap. Or a swim and a nap and some lunch.

I can’t resist a junky souvenir shop. I want to return with something for BB. Captain and I settle on a lifted school bus. BB likes school buses and Captain likes vehicles that are lifted. It’s a win.

Captain and I head back to our bed and breakfast to get ready for the wedding. It’s 90 degrees and humid. The only way it’s bearable is to be is in the ocean or in the air conditioning. Our room is lovely. It’s also a renovated attic. All 3 of our window air conditioning units are cranked up. Captain packed his suit. We nix that.

I shower, walk to get my hair done at a salon around the corner and head back to the room. We dress, beat it out of there and walk several blocks to the party.

I start hugging people. What’s that smell? I go to the bathroom. I panic. I FORGOT DEODORANT! Of all the days and of all the places. I tell Captain,

“I think I should go back to the hotel and come right back.”

“I’m sure it’s not that bad.”

I link my arms around his neck like we’re reminiscing about our wedding.



“You know I don’t mind.”

“But what about everybody else? And there’s still 2 hours of dancing!”

“Why don’t you just wipe off in the bathroom?”

“There aren’t any paper towels and toilet paper won’t work. Oh I’ll use a napkin!”

“Good idea!”

I grab my cloth napkin which has a little pizza sauce on it. That’s gotta smell better than whatever I’ve got going on now. I soak the napkin in the sink and head to the last stall. I take a sponge bath. Not sure what to do with my cloth napkin and thinking I might need it again. I hang it on the hook.

I link my arms around Captain again, as if I can’t get enough. He tells me,

“Oh much better.”


I wipe off a couple more times and I survive the night. I didn’t make any new friends, but I didn’t lose any either.

After another decadent morning doing what used to be super normal, plus reapplying deodorant multiple times as if that’ll make up for last night, we head back for BB. In the middle of our 6 hour drive, Captain turns to me,

“Who’s sleeping with BB tonight?”

I give him a hard look. What’s his angle? He looks eager/anxious. I ask him,

“You want to sleep with her huh?”


“I won’t fight you for it.”


I almost didn’t get into our lunch spot. I had to scrounge around for a shirt. I thought my bathing suit was full coverage, but I was wrong.


A list of silly things my daughter says

I like to talk, not non-stop, just an average amount. It’s too soon to say for sure, but it seems like BB, with no strangers in sight, would like to never stop. If it were up to her, she’d monopolize the entire dinner conversation without any input from Captain or me.

She’ll talk about her swing set, which will remind her of her sandbox, which is a turtle, do you remember when we fed the turtles? And we fed them lettuce, so she’ll talk about salad, which will remind her of pizza, and several different birthday parties, which makes her think of party hats, and the hat she wears for the sun, so she’ll break into a little song, “oh mr. sun sun” which reminds her of the beach and swimming, which makes her remember the tub, is it tubby time? ALMOST!

And if you’re wondering if a mouthful of food slows her down. Nope. Just makes everything she’s saying unintelligible.

After one dinner, Captain was working and I was cleaning up. I turn around to see BB blowing bubbles in her milk and dumping food into her bib. I exclaim, with what I assume is a rhetorical question,


In a super calm voice she replies,

“Having fun drinking my milk.”

Yes. I see that.

And BB has started calling us “mom” and “dad.” It aged me 10 years instantaneously.

Then she was in the other room playing and I hear,

“Oh my goodness.”

“Oh my goodness?” I ask her. Do I say that? She replies,

“Oh my goodness sakes alive.”

BB sounds like she just aged 70 years.

She loves bubbles, but the learning curve on how to make them is a challenge. She succeeded briefly and made one big bubble. She tells me,

“That’s a great one right there.”

Yes, yes it is.

Captain gets home from work, she runs to him, turns to me and says,

“I love him.”

Me too.

I was getting ready to go out for dinner with a couple girlfriends and BB was prancing around my room with two of my purses on her arm. She tells me,

“Going out for dinner.”

“Who are you going with?”


Captain asks her,

“Which friends?”

She stares at him and declares slowly as if she were already 13 and exasperated with him,


When I reclaim one of my purses and it becomes clear I’m going out for dinner with friends and she isn’t. She starts to shout,

“Mom take you! Mom take you!”

“Me” is overrated. I did not take her, but it was her best effort yet.

Last weekend our synagogue was having a BBQ and I’m not one to pass up free food. Of course they were serving the food after the service. I ask BB,

“Do you want to go with Mommy to sing some songs and have dinner with people?”


Ok, here goes nothing. I claim two seats in the back next to the door. BB is the perfect candidate for this. She likes to sit and color and she doesn’t like to talk in front of strangers. But she must have started to feel comfortable/really hungry/bored, because during a moment of silence near the end, she handed me her coloring and declared,



This isn’t the answer she wanted so she raises her voice,


A guy a few rows up turns around to tell her,

“I’m ready for dinner too.”

That’s enough to send her straight back to coloring.

I’m getting ready for BB’s second birthday, so I pop into a party store with her. That’s a huge mistake. She wants absolutely everything. Disposable silverware is all I manage to buy before we need to beat it out of there.

That evening I tell Captain about our quick exit. BB gets really excited and shouts,

“BB Birthday presents! Forks and knives!”

We may even get her some spoons too.

I also managed to order balloons. BB shouts,


“Yup, we’re getting balloons for your birthday.”

“On my head?” She rubs her hair with a food covered hand. I ask her,

“Balloons on your head?”

“Nooo that’s silly.”

And my recent favorite: I broke out a Summer nightgown for the first time since last year, which is an improvement on my Winter jammies. My favorite pair of plaid flannel bottoms is not from the same set as my favorite plaid flannel top, but that doesn’t stop me from putting them together, everyday, all Winter.

BB sees me for the first time in the morning and she exclaims,

“Oooh Mom fancy new dress!”



Circa February 2017, when BB was 8 months old and we both fit inside my Winter jammies.