Posts Tagged ‘infants’

In praise of the five-minute mommy nap

December 4, 2011

Tis the season of trying to cram too much living into too little time and space. Some years, we here at the Mommy Prayers candy-cane crunching headquarters cook and shop and decorate and entertain like mad fools. Other years, we declare ourselves to be having a soulful/non-consumerist/relaxed holiday, and wind up exactly as frantic and exhausted (soulfulness, we’ve discovered, takes energy. Who knew?)

All this, of course, is a cue for the youngest among us to immediately begin fighting every bedtime and, inexplicably, waking up before dawn on some of the darkest mornings of the year. Over at the lovely Standing in the Shadows blog, Sarah Buttenwieser’s preschooler arose at 4:45 one recent morn, leaving her in a state she oh-so-accurately described as being groggily wide awake — too tired to think straight, too wired to go back to sleep. A dangerous fugue, especially this time of year, as you could easily emerge from the fog to find you’ve inadvertently purchased some toxic toy or another.

The solution, of course, is one of the most blessed gifts every bestowed upon humanity — the afternoon nap. No, not for your kids, for you, exhausted parent. True, between cookie-baking and tree-decorating and Charlie Brown-watching and catalog-ordering, your chances of getting that nap are low. But it’s a magical season. A mom can dream, can’t she? Or, perhaps, pray:

Prayer for My Five-Minute Nap

Dear God, I cannot go on. It is four in the afternoon, my morning caffeine high is long gone, and I have hours and hours to go before I manage to get to bed. I am quite certain I could crash to the floor this instant and sleep like a rock for a week. I cannot read one more syllable of Owl Babies to my little  monkey chattering here beside me. I cannot even lift my hand to turn the page. Five minutes, God, and I’ll be a new woman. Please and amen. 

In defense of the corn-maze mom

October 16, 2011

Here at Mommy Prayers headquarters and cider-donut repository, every day feels like a maze of one sort or another, so I feel compelled to come to the defense of the hapless family currently being ridiculed nationwide for calling 911 to be rescued from a corn maze. (Punchline: They were only 25 feet from the entrance, ba-da-dum.)

They’re catching especial hatred for having a three-week-old infant with them, with comments along the lines of “who brings a newborn to a corn maze at dusk?” and “those people should not be allowed to procreate,” etc. etc.

It’s not till you read that they also have a preschooler that the story makes more sense — and boy, did it bring back some baaaaad memories.


Dio Mio — Mommy Prayers in Italian?

June 4, 2011

Here at the Mommy Prayers world headquarters and pizza capricciosa takeout bar, we are wiping away tears of joy with one hand and pouring a small glass of prosecco with the other: Le Preghiere delle Mamme has arrived.

That’s right, gente, Mommy Prayers has been translated to Italian. I could not be happier. No, wait, I could be happier. I could be happier if I were reading Le Preghiere delle Mamme on a balcony of Le Sirenuse in Positano. Then I could not be happier.

But even stuck in the under-dusted Mommy Prayers home office from hell, I’m still pretty happy. Mr. Mommy Prayers and I, back when he was only my intended and I was years away from being anyone’s mommy, spent six glorious months in Italy, the memory of which will sustain us both till the day we die.

We were broke, parceling out our small savings 10,000 lire at a time, living in a series of studio sublets (Florence, Rome, Positano, Trevi, Venice) — and absolutely, positively drunk in love with Italy and the Italiani.

Even in our non-childed state, it was a wonder to see how enraptured Italians are with children — theirs, strangers’, any child, any nationality, any time day or night. I will never forget finishing up a lovely and modest dinner one night at 10:30 or so, only to have a family of 15, including toddlers and a babe-in-arms, pile in and take over the joint. (The joke here, if you have not had the fortune of traveling in Italy, is that only foreigners eat before, say, 11 at night. Early bird is 9:30, 10 p.m., maybe.)

Immediately a waiter swept up the baby, to nobody’s consternation, and showed him off  to every other table in the place one by one, before disappearing with him behind the swinging double-doors of the kitchen. That mother ate an entire, dizzyingly delicious meal with not one care for her baby and not one peep out of the little ragazzo.

It’s standard operating procedure in Italy — babies are from heaven, welcomed everywhere at any hour, as much a part of life as al dente pasta, beautiful tailoring, and the Pope.

So the thought of those mothers, those parents, reading Mommy Prayers Italian-style? What can I say? Dio mio.

It’s not the snow, it’s the %$#* snowsuit

February 10, 2011

My kids have not gone to school in more than a week. They were dismissed early last Wednesday in a snowstorm, and the schools haven’t been open since. The administration keeps telling us they’re shoveling the schools’ roofs…with a single teaspoon, apparently. You may begin feeling sorry for me now.

But not that sorry — because I remember what it’s like when every day is a “snow day” — when you’re stuck in the house with a baby or a toddler or a preschooler, or two or three or four, and there isn’t any school to go to and it just will not stop snowing.

My best girlfriend and I used to laugh at the moms of older kids who’d complain about the endlessness of February school vacation — we’d be like, “Suck it up, whiners, do you forget that this is our lives — figuring out fun and cheap things to fill up day after day after day of frigid temps and ice-covered sidewalks?” (more…)

The tetchiness of bringing home Baby No. 2

August 20, 2010

We’ve been thinking second-child thoughts all week here at the Mommy Prayers summer shack — primarily because firstborn’s been away in the White Mountains all week, which makes us realize we have a second child, and, furthermore, the kid is good company.

But also because a friend has just had her second baby, which brought back memories of those ticklish early days trying to get the older kid to not just not-kill the baby, but actually like it and welcome it into the family. Hellish.

Nobody captures that tetchy emotional dance better than Catherine Newman in Waiting for Birdy — have you read it? Best new-parenting memoir since Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions. (that’s not my original thought — some lovely blurber said it on the cover of Catherine’s book before I did. But I agree.)

She’s just so spot on about those first hours and days, hiding the precious newborn — which, after all, you worked a long and hard time to conceive, gestate and birth and would now like to cuddle with publicly — from his or her sibling.

In the hospital, Newman hears her three-year-old Ben coming down the hall: “I scrambled to get the baby into her little crib, the way you might, say, hide a bong in the closet, and shoo the smoke out with your hand. Baby? There’s no baby.”

Exactly. The second-born (and third, and fourth, and…) is your little forbidden secret. For awhile anyway.

Those same emotions inspired Prayer for Bringing Our Second Baby Home:

Dear God,

Hoo boy. This is the tough part — well, the emergency C-section was tough, too, but this is tough in a different way. Here we are, walking through the door with beautiful Baby No. 2, and the look on her big brother’s face is enough to make me call for another round of postpartum drugs.

Oh, we’ve talked this all through, but no amount of words can change what’s just happened. He used to be the center of the universe, now he’s just a star — a very very bright star, but now only one of a pair.

As the joke goes, you’d be upset too, if your husband told you he loved you so much he wanted another wife “just like you!”

The van that de-sands: If only this were true…

July 18, 2010

The Mommy Prayers summer outpost (i.e., our same old house, only now with 70% more wet towels moldering the place up) is under siege from the season — ants, compost that’s decomposing a bit too enthusiastically, endless laundry as the heat wave causes us all to change t-shirts six times a day… Don’t get me wrong, I love love love summer, but I can’t be the only one thinking, whoever wrote that song about “summertime and the livin’ is easy” probably didn’t have kids.*

What we all really need? This: a van that de-sands. And that’s not even mentioning the frosty cocktail for mama:


(From the Summer 2002 issue of Brain,Child Magazine, for all you archivists out there.)

* actually the lyricist was DuBose Heyward and I just spent a long Google-y time trying to figure out if he did have kids, because the Mommy Prayers copy desk is nothing if not scrupulous about accuracy. We turned up nothin’. If you know, let me know!

Ham. Pineapple. Mother’s Day. What more did you want?

May 7, 2010

The Mommy Prayers pit crew is down for the count, crumpled to the floor (well, to be precise, the couch) by a weekend and then a bunch of weekdays of book-launch festivities that included some awesome family n’ friends connections and re-connections, more than a few high-end sweets, and a little cocktail we called the Missing Binkie that incorporates a clear liquid I haven’t been able to consume in quantity since college days (damn you B.B. King at the State Theater).

Thank the Lord some of my cohorts in crime are still able to ingest in typical volumes. Me, I stuck with the squished grapes of the white variety. Lovely as always.

There are way too many people to thank for the book-launch highs, but in particular, the Mommy Prayers matriarch, 72 and still kickin’ it, really delivered by dragging a significant number of her nursing co-workers to the book signing to really send our little tome out into the world in good style.

(Have I mentioned how much I adore “old nurses,” as she freely refers to herself and her lady buddies? Topic for another day: Why nurses rule.) (more…)

Working from home: The good, the bad and the chubby

April 13, 2010

Today is book publication day – whee! You’ll be relieved to know Mommy Prayers is now officially available from your favorite book vendors, physical or virtual.  

To mark the moment, Mr. Mommy Prayers had flowers sent – always a brilliant plan, darling – and I brought them right upstairs and wedged them on a postcard-sized space on my desk that was mysteriously clutter-free, so my “office” is now a (spare bed)Room with a View.

This seems like as good a time as any to salute the virtues (and pitfalls) of working from home, something I’ve been doing since just before my older son was born, back in another century.

Pluses: No need for Spanx, pencil skirts or an “accessories wardrobe”; flexible schedule permits attendance at midday elementary school recorder concerts; folding laundry while on speakerphone conference calls; always-there availability for kids & dog. 

Minuses: No way to justify Nordstrom purchases, not even off the sale rack; always-open kitchen; too-chatty neighbors; lack of centralized IT support for crappy, dying laptop; always-there availability for kids & dog.  (more…)

Peeps v. yoga — must we choose?

April 7, 2010

Following a very good if insanely calorie-laden Easter weekend here at Mommy Prayers central, at least one key staffer has been left feeling as squishy as a Peep and as ovoid as a Dove double-dark chocolate egg.

To honor that, a few quick words on Prayer for My Yoga Mat

Dear God, Because I know you cherish each and every one of us as unique individuals of your creation, I just wanted to report that the beautiful body you gave me is missing in action. If you’ve seen it in your travels, I would like it back. 

One of my huge pet peeves in life – like, it makes smoke comes out my ears – is when anyone, including the mother herself, refers to a pregnant or recently prego woman as “fat.” Even if it’s a joke, even if it’s said the way black people use the N word or the way you can complain about your mother-in-law but nobody else is allowed to.

It’s not fat, it’s a freaking human being, or multiples, created in the privacy of your very own womb. For most of us, does that particular piece of magic take some shape-shifting? Hell yeah! 

Once upon a time, I was that hot yoga chick in the front of class. Now I unroll my matt in my toy-strewn family room, inhale deeply, and think, Wow, moldy!  (more…)

Birth order + happy heinies

March 29, 2010

It was crazy busy at Mommy Prayers headquarters this week – to honor those frantic feelings, a short discourse on Prayer for the Diaper Left on Too Long

Dear Lord, please forgive me, for I have been a bad mother. Or at the very least a mother who has literally not had three minutes in her day to tend to the bottom of her youngest child. 

Does this phenomenon happen to firstborns? Rarely, if ever, would be my guess. My own firstborn had the double blessing of being not just our first baby, but the first baby on my entire family’s side, which means he received more attention that any infant since Mary gave birth in the barn. His perfect little bottom was eco-clad in cloth diapers — and cloth diapers, though kind(er) on the earth, need to be changed every, oh, hour or so. 

No matter, we did it – we spent day and night doing absolutely nothing but taking care of firstborn’s every need, so keeping his backside perfectly clean and dry was just one more of our endless tasks. Flash forward four years and three months and oh, how the world had changed.  (more…)