If there was one thing Mommy learned from the Mommy group she attended in your early days (besides how to unabashedly flash total strangers in a church basement while debating the merits of the Peg Perego Pliko Mini vs. the UPPABaby G-Luxe) it was the importance of a short, consistent bedtime routine in instilling healthy sleep habits in you for life. It was the one principle she fully embraced when she embarked on a mission to sleep train you the minute you turned four months old. And for the year that followed, it worked like magic. A five-minute ritual consisting of reading you Goodnight Moon, zipping you into your Gro Bag, and placing you gently in your crib was all it took to send you off to dreamland before the clock struck 7 pm. Then you became a toddler with the negotiation skills of Gandhi. Now your bedtime ritual is a 2-hour ordeal AT BEST. Mommy always starts the evening with the best of intentions (Lay down the law! Suppress Mommy guilt!) and the highest hopes (You ran around the park for an hour tonight – you MUST be exhausted). Two stall-tactic-jammed hours later she inevitably finds herself reading “one more book!” for the 16th time and panicking because the 43 things on her to-do list (and *sigh* PVR) will remain untouched yet again tonight.
DRINK: The No-Fail Sleep Solution. 1 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon honey, grated nutmeg. Serve this exclusively to everyone in your household this week and pray to the sleep gods it actually works.
Watching you navigate life makes Mommy wonder why the human species isn’t extinct. Since birth, you’ve had an unhealthy (literally) obsession with all things dangerous. When you learned to crawl, the first thing you wanted to explore with your drool-soaked fingers was every electrical outlet in the house. Until you discovered your next passion, attempting to hurl yourself down staircases. Mommy thought this “phase” would magically end once you learned English. But it turns out that as a defiant toddler your favorite thing to do is the exact thing that Mommy’s just asked you not to do, which is why in the last two hours, you’ve rubbed a lemon slice in your eye, eaten an ant, and made six attempts to lasso the knife block off the kitchen counter with your Slinky. Not only is Mommy now forced to speak exclusively in double negatives, but she also can’t leave you alone for more than three seconds at a time, which means accomplishing (insert any basic life function here) is now impossible. Mommy hates saying no all day and regularly crushing your dreams, like last week when she had to break the news you can’t fly, but she promises it’s only because she loves you more than life itself and wants you to be safe.
DRINK: The Hard Hat. (Why don’t babies come with one?) Transform crème brulee into an irresistible dessert cocktail in your own kitchen. 1 cup half & half cream, 1 oz vanilla vodka, 1 oz Frangelico, 1 tablespoon sugar. Wet the rim of a martini glass and dip it in a plate of sugar. Carefully blast the sugar with a kitchen torch until it browns. While the glass cools, heat the cream and sugar over medium heat, stirring continuously, until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and combine with the vodka and Frangelico in an ice-filled shaker; strain into the sugar-rimmed glass. Prepare this drink and enjoy 15 minutes of fearing for your own safety rather than your baby’s.
DORA: Hi. Hola. Do you know how we can get Mommy a drink?
DORA: That’s right! The Wine Fridge. Can you say “Rioja”?
TALKING MONKEY: Rioja!
TALKING SNAIL: Vino tinto!
TALKING WINE FRIDGE: Yum yum yum yum yum. Delicioso.
DORA: Si. Yes. How will we open the bottle?
CORKSCREW WITH EYES: (singing) I’m the corkscrew, I’m the corkscrew, I’m the corkscrew, I’m the corkscrew, I’M THE CORKSCREW.
DORA: Great! The corkscrew opened the wine. Now Mommy can have a drink after overcoming today’s obstacles, such as: the Riddle of Why You Won’t Put on Pants, the Daycare Meltdown Puzzle, the Late for a Work Meeting Again Race, the Snapping at Daddy Dance, the Great Bedtime Battle and conquering Mt. Laundry.
CHORUS (all singing):
She did it! She did it! She did it! Hooray!
Yeah she did it
Mommy made it through another day
Without having a nervous breakdown
She did it!
DRINK: Anything from Spain. This includes cava. Qué viva España!
Nothing makes Mommy’s heart race like watching you race toward that yellow plastic incline of injury known as The Big Kid Slide. It feels like only yesterday you had the coordination of a co-ed at their first Keg party and now you’re training for the X Games on a playground designed by Russian gymnasts. If only you would hang in the toddler area – but with little more than a sad mini rocking duck, it doesn’t quench your thirst for bloodsports. As you begin your ascent on Mt. CardiacArrest, Mommy makes like a sherpa to stop you from plummeting to base camp. You make it to the summit with a big smile. Then Mommy wonders why a spinal board isn’t in her Skip Hop as you launch off a 75-degree angle at Mach 10. Hooray for the quilted cushion landing of the Pampers you refuse to potty train out of, as you come out unscathed and run back up for more. Ironically, Mommy’s the only one who shit her pants. All in all, she’s proud of your jungle gym bravery and she tries not to helicopter parent, but when a bigger kid shoves you out of the way, Mommy punches him in the throat.
In her mind.
DRINK: The Slidecar. 1oz brandy, 1oz elderflower liqueur, ½ oz Cointreau. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon. For big kids only.
Flickr/Barbara L. Hanson
Nothing makes Mommy want to have a meltdown like watching you have a meltdown. Mommy wishes she could predict the onset of meltdowns so she could at least be emotionally prepared when they strike. Unfortunately, unlike tantrums which are usually provoked by something momentous like a piece of fuzz, meltdowns can appear out of nowhere and, usually, at the worst possible times. Like five minutes into a ten-hour road trip or when Mommy runs into her boss in the frozen food aisle. When a public meltdown happens, Mommy is faced not only with the challenge of trying to soothe you, but doing so while darting judgemental stares and responding to Mommy Perfect-Kid’s unsolicited parenting advice. Mommy wishes that she could learn how to rationalize with you during a meltdown, but she’s too busy battling avocado stains on the weekends to crack open The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Which is why, in desperate times, she is forced to resort to less sophisticated solutions, like cookies. Unfortunately, this hallmark of bad parenting, besides racking Mommy with guilt, only serves to delay the meltdown by approximately 12 minutes. Which is thankfully just enough time to make it to Grandma’s house for a spontaneous visit. YAY!
DRINK: The Super Wine. 1 bottle chilled white wine, 1 lime, 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup sliced peaches or apricots, ½ cup lemonade, 2 shots berry-flavored brandy, 2 cups ginger ale, sugar. Pour the wine into a large pitcher. Cut the citrus fruits into wedges and squeeze into the pitcher. Add berries, lemonade, brandy and sugar to taste. Complete with ginger ale and ice. A great beverage to serve at parties. (Or to consume, the minute Mommy Perfect-Kid shows up.)
Every day you’re becoming more of a real person, which, like all real people, means you’re quickly becoming an annoyingly opinionated asshole. Mommy used to be able to outfit you for success, a living Dress Me Up Prepster doll thanks to the toddler Ralph Lauren line. Now you stubbornly insist on layering a threadbare hand-me-down plaid shirt over rainbow-coloured Elmo pajamas tucked into oversized winter boots. Mommy is sure you’re going to end up on the “Hipster or Homeless?” tumblr, mainly because she’s moments away from uploading a pic. You have strong opinions about everything now, from what to eat (“COOKIE!” hurls gnocchi on the floor), where to hang out (“NANA’S HOUSE!” read: where the cookies are), and when not to go to bed (“PLAY iPHONE!” discovers new functionality Mommy didn’t know existed, yesterday you showed her the volume control can act as the camera shutter button? WHAT?!). As you slide into deeper levels of self-absorbtion daily, Mommy wonders if this is the preview to the teenage years or whether this just means you’ll go into the banking industry.
DRINK: Mommy’s Thyme to Shine: 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 sprig of fresh thyme, 1 strawberry sliced, 5 oz lemon juice, 1 oz gin. Combine all ingredients and serve over ice. Use any remaining ice to wrap in a washcloth and put on your head to soothe the throbbing headache from hearing NOOOOOOOOOOO all friggin’ day.
Before you were born, Mommy used to live her life with as much spontaneity as possible. This meant only buying disposable (read: IKEA) furniture, never owning a plant, and booking 99% of her travel on lastminutevacations.com. Now Mommy has heart palpitations if the entire family’s Christmas flights aren’t booked by June. It’s not just travel that now requires an Excel workbook. Even a trip to the park demands hours of preparation. Mommy doesn’t understand why such a tiny little person requires SO much stuff to travel two blocks. After running up and down the stairs for an hour collecting your diapers, wipes, snacks, thermos, bib, sunscreen, clothes, extra clothes, hat, sunglasses, shoes and sand toys from 26 different areas in the house, Mommy finally understands why all parents eventually bite the bullet and build Little Tikes play structures/eyesores in their own backyards. Occasionally Mommy lives on the edge and takes you somewhere without a diaper bag. Unfortunately, this is akin to investing one’s life savings in a Ponzi scheme, except riskier.
DRINK: Manhattan. You can no longer fly there on a moment’s notice, but at least you can enjoy this classic cocktail without leaving home! 1.5 oz rye whiskey, 0.5 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes bitters, 1 cherry. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients and a few ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and stir. Gently shake and strain into a chilled martini glass, garnished with a cherry.