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.
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.)
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.
Every inch of storage in Mommy’s house is bursting at the seams. Mommy has stopped inviting people over because she fears an innocent play date will turn into a hoarding intervention before your impressionable young eyes. Back when they were searching for real estate, Mommy and Daddy failed to account for the 500 square feet in additional storage they’d one day require for the baby gear, clothing and toys you’d outgrow before your second birthday. And Mommy’s convinced that the day she trucks it all to Goodwill will be the same day she discovers she’s pregnant with baby #2. And who knew Mommy’s wardrobe would one day include pre-baby wear, maternity wear, maternity-leave wear, back-to-work wear, and replacement wear for all her baby-stained wear? To be fair, you’re not totally to blame for Mommy’s storage woes. At some point, Mommy may want to consider parting ways with her teenage diaries, a decade’s worth of stolen office supplies, and her collection of Cindy Crawford VHS workout tapes. And it’s not like Daddy’s tacky lamp collection, bench press and Kegerator could be seamlessly incorporated into the living room décor when his Man Cave was dismantled to create your playroom.
DRINK: The Pack Rat. 2 oz vodka, 5 oz grapefruit juice. Fill a cocktail glass with ice and pour in vodka and grapefruit juice. Stir well. Serve one to Daddy before you gently suggest that he donate his tabletop Air Hockey game to charity.
flickr/Robert S. Donovan
Spring is in full bloom! Which means Mommy’s supposed to spend her boatloads of free time either cleaning, tackling her tax return, or googling “What does aerate your lawn even mean?”
DRINK: Spring Fever. Throw your to-do list to the Spring breeze this weekend and enjoy this refreshing, seasonally inspired cocktail on a sun-drenched patio. You deserve it! In a mixing glass, muddle 2 strawberries, 1 tablespoon (chopped) basil and 2 tsp sugar. Add 1.5 oz gin and 1 oz fresh lemon juice. Shake vigorously. Transfer to an ice-filled highball glass, top with club soda and garnish with a strawberry. Note: Does not pair well with TurboTax.
Mommy heard urban legends about children who self-potty trained and actually believed them. According to a woman she met once in a park for eleven minutes, if she put a Cheer for Me! Potty out and talked positively about your bowel movements you would magical get the hang of numbers one through two. Tomes like “My Potty and Me”, “The Harlem Potty Shake,” and “Stop this Crap and Crap in the Toilet Already” now adorn your bookshelf but it’s like you’re not invested in the protagonist struggle at all. What you are really good at is explaining that you have, in fact, shit your pants. Usually loudly in public and nowhere near a change table, something to the effect of “ATTENTION SHOPPERS. I HAVE DEFECATED. PLEASE GIVE MY MOMMY LOOKS AS DIRTY AS THE CURRENT STATE OF MY PULL UPS. THANK YOU.” As you climb the upper echelon of diaper sizes, and prices, Mommy is actually considering the hippie bare-bottom method and letting you run around naked. She just needs to do a quick cost analysis on re-carpeting her entire house vs. Pamper Points. Uh oh, you’re doing the squat and smile in aisle four. Mommy knows what this means: It’s my potty and I’ll cry if I want to. Mommy is convinced that by the time you get the hang of potty training, she will probably be in Depends. Oh the irony.
DRINK: The Potty Mouth. 1oz white rum, 0.5oz brandy, 0.5 oz Amaretto. Shake over ice with orange juice and a squeeze of fresh lemon and strain into a glass. Garnish with sprig of fresh mint under your nose.
This is Mommy’s worst nightmare: “Mom, I just want to dance / paint / sing / act / write haikus about my general state of malaise.” To avoid this devastating life-choice known as A Career In The Arts, Mommy has been making every effort to make things like long division seem super rad. Of course, Mommy can’t just tell you that the new math is the new cool, so she has been sneakily turning playtime into nerd camp. Just this last weekend she encouraged you to play a rousing game of investing in high-yield dividend stocks hoping that your thirst for financial sovereignty would skyrocket. Too bad Daddy intervened when she suggested taking you to a morgue to learn about the inner workings of the human body. Of course it’s not just about your future MCAT scores. Mommy has also been encouraging sports, especially if you learn golf and can play a solid back nine while discussing the volatility of exchange trade funds. Obviously Mommy will support your choices and nurture your interests no matter what. The one thing Mommy won’t do is sign you up for Improv classes. That’s the gateway to permanently living in her basement.
DRINK: Mentos and Diet Coke. Combine in your backyard and watch as your child’s eyes light up with the joys of science.