Meow Mix Commercial: Best Temper Tantrum Cure Ever

There’s no question about it, the terrible twos are upon us, even though Mason doesn’t actually turn 2 until Sunday. He had a meltdown this morning because I changed the channel from NY1, a local news show here in NYC, to the Today Show. I needed to watch a segment for work. But Mason prefers the jingles on NY1, and he totally fell apart.

He threw his baba down–yes, I have failed to get him off the bottle and it’s going to rough when the doctor tells us to go cold turkey with it at his next check-up. He buried his little face in pillows. And he screamed and screamed and screamed. I sipped by coffee and tried to stay calm. Chris smirked.

Then this Meow Mix commercial (below) came on and the room got silent. Mason was mesmerized, dazzled, by the singing cats. His tears dried up faster than I can snap my fingers. Guess we know what to DVR (and play) the next time Bug has a fit.

httpv://youtu.be/00M7CojclWM

What surprising thing cures your kid’s meltdowns?

Childhood Obesity: Mom of Inspirational Nike Ad Star Doesn’t Get It

“At any point did you worry…that some people might [say], ‘Wow that kid’s really overweight and he’s only 12”?

Matt Lauer asked this startling question during an interview with Nathan Sorrell, the 200-pound, 5′ 3″ star of Nike’s Olympic ad campaign “Find Your Greatness,” and his mother on the Today Show this morning. The 12-year-old was chosen to participate in the campaign, which shows him running down a lone highway while a narrator talks about how we’re all capable of achieving greatness.

httpv://youtu.be/LsXRj89cWa0

I love Nathan’s heart and his drive. I think that it’s great that he’s inspired to get into shape after participating in this ad. And I think that he’s an awesome role model for anyone who is trying to lose weight. I wish I could hug him. But it made me sick that he was in a position where he had to answer such a humiliating question on national TV.

I thought about the interview as I dropped Mason off at school (thankfully there was no vomiting incident this morning), stood in line at Starbucks for my  latte, and rode the elevator up to my office at work. The more I thought about it, the angrier I felt. By the time I logged onto my computer I was outraged.

Where were his parents while he was packing on the pounds? He didn’t become obese overnight. In fact, Nathan was so out of shape that he had to stop and vomit on the side of the road during the shoot, according to an ABC News report.

During the interview, Nathan’s mom Monica said that she was “wowed that Nike picked Nathan for their ad” and said that it was “something else to see your son on TV during the Olympics,” however, she seemed to be missing one critical detail: Her 12-year-old was in the ad, on TV, because he’s obese. She never once acknowledged that Nathan is facing a major health crisis for which she is at least partially responsible. Nor did she speak about how she’d help Nathan stay inspired to get fit.

Maybe you’re agreeing with me right now, or maybe you’re thinking that I’m being a mean, judgey mom. But when it comes to a child’s health, even if it isn’t my own child, I can’t help it. Childhood obesity is a major crisis in this country and we as parents are in a very powerful position to put an end to it. So why are so many of us dropping the ball?

I hope that Nathan gets healthy, and seeing his tremendous spirit on TV, I’m betting he will. I’d love to see a fit Nathan run in a follow-up Nike ad.

I also hope that his mom wakes up and does her part to help him succeed. Make him nutritious meals. Get out there and jog with him. Remind him that he was great even before Nike put him on TV. Get him healthy now, before it’s too late.

Photo: Sign via Stacie Stauff Smith Photography via Shutterstock.com

Should Taxi Drivers Be Allowed to Give Sick Children the Boot?

When your day starts out with your kid vomiting all over himself and you on the way to school, you know it can only get better.

We took a cab this morning, because I didn’t feel like dealing with the sweaty, gross subway. Two minutes from our place, just after we had gotten onto the bridge, Mason got sick all over himself. Yucky, mommy! I had to agree with him. He was sitting on my lap, and I could feel the stuff dripping down my arms and legs.

The cab driver slammed on the breaks and tried to kick us out in the middle of one of the busiest bridges in New York City. I refused to get out. It was totally unsafe, and there was no way I was going to walk nearly a mile to get to the subway, in 70-degree weather, with both of us covered in sick.

Here’s what I felt like saying to the guy:

Sorry my sick kid is ruining your day, as-hole, but think how he feels. His tummy hurts, he’s covered in stinky sick, and now he has to listen to some jerk yelling at his mommy. Now turn this cab around, and take us home right this minute!

Instead, I bribed him with an enormous tip. He shrugged and looped back toward our place.

Then poor Mason got sick twice more. The driver swore and made us get out five blocks from our place. At least we were off the bridge at that point. I ended up carrying Mason like a baby, with sick on our clothes, arms, and legs, home to our apartment. People stared at us in horror. One guy actually yelled UGH! as we passed by. I stared straight ahead and kept walking, feeling like something from Night of the Living Dead.

Should cab drivers have the right to kick sick kids out of their cars? Or, is the occasional sick passenger just part of the job?

Photo: New York City taxis via Luciano Mortula / Shutterstock.com

Birthday Cupcakes: Bears on the Beach

Mason turns 2 next Sunday. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, but it’s astonishing that he gets even more fun as the months go by. I thought 6 months was the best age, then 1, then 18 months, and now my vote goes to the age he is right now.

In the spirit of his upcoming birthday, we traveled to Columbus, Ohio, last week to visit family. My mom hosted a celebration for him, and all of our family was there, as well as Amber, my closest friend from college, and her two boys Declan and Liam, stopped by as well.

The kids played in the kiddie pool, in the sandbox, and in a giant bouncy house. They blew bubbles, and raced cars. And of course they ate cupcakes.

My mom made simple cupcakes from a mix, frosted them, and then created a little beach scene on top. A sprinkling of coarse sugar made the sand. A piece of fruit roll-up became towels and little cocktail umbrellas offered shade for Teddy grams wearing either a bikini or swim trunks made from frosting. The treats looked adorable–and they were very easy to make.

Now I just have to come up with a good cupcake design for his class party next week.

Here are the Elmo cupcakes that another of Mason’s classmates recently had for his school celebration, so I want to go another route for Mason (but hopefully be just as creative!) I’m going to start with the mix–I’m thinking carrot cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting–but I need a fun decorating idea.

Care to share your ideas?

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg: The Biggest Breastfeeding Bully of All

It’s not enough that hospitals are banning free gifts of formula, or that the editor of Mothering magazine likened free gifts of formula to cigarettes, now the mayor of New York City is locking up formula at local hospitals, according to the New York Post. He says that he believes the maneuver will “encourage” new moms to breastfeed, but it sounds like the ultimate act of breastfeeding bullying to me.

As part of his Latch on NYC initiative, which launches September 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use, making it the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation, reports the Post.

More than half of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded freebies, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

I live in New York City. Mason was born here. If I choose to give birth to another child in the city, I better pray that my child latches on immediately and is naturally perfect at nursing. Otherwise I’m going to have to negotiate with a nurse in order for my child to be fed (as I’m recuperating from a C-Section) and endure a “talking-to.” And what about that medical justification?  Is one night of solid sleep following major abdominal surgery good enough, or will I need to somehow feign total incapacitation?

I breastfed Mason the entire time I was in the hospital, but I was grateful that he could get a bottle in the nursery at night so that I could have a couple of nights of solid sleep (and time to heal) before we were totally on our own with him.

Oh, and get this: If I get thirsty during all of this, I’ll need to watch what I drink because the major is also trying to ban large sizes of sugary drinks from being sold in NYC. What liberty will he rob from us next?

Policies like Latch on NYC do nothing but create more stress and anxiety for expectant mothers. If a mom is willing and able to breastfeed her child, she will. If she’s not, she should have a viable alternative without being put through a major guilt trip. Why should NYC’s mayor–or anyone else, for that matter–have the right to institute a policy that make a new mother’s time with her baby anything but joyful?

Photo: Michael Bloomberg via Miro Vrlik Photography/Shutterstock

First Haircut: Getting Rid of the Mullet

Mason’s gotten a lot of flack for his mullet. The old man fringe he was born with (bald spot on top, with a dusting of silky black hair underneath) fell out and was replaced by wispy blonde hair that grew long in back but stayed short on top. A natural mullet.

To be honest, I didn’t even notice he had the offensive ‘do until several moms poked fun at it. (Yep, add that to my list of rude things other moms say.)

When our family started making mullet comments over Christmas, I decided it was time to give Bug a little snip-snip. I had to do most of the trimming while he was sleeping because he screamed every time I tried to cut a lock of his hair.

I knew I should take him to a salon for a real haircut, but if he freaked when I cut his hair, how was he going to react to a stranger wielding scissors?

Last Saturday I finally sucked it up and took him to a kids salon here in NYC called Cozy. He had a blast (no crying at all, it was shocking), and his new haircut is adorable. There was so much going on around him–bubbles being blown, a cool car to sit in, a new toy that made lots of noise, a Barney video–that he barely acknowledged the woman trimming his hair.

When it was all over, he mugged in the mirror, and then fussed as I lifted him out of the car. As we were leaving, he received a diploma in honor of his first trim, with a lock of hair attached to it. Did your kid love or loathe his first haircut?

Is Your Tot Refusing to Eat? Entice Him With One of These Dips.

When Mason’s being a picky little pill at mealtime, I add a dip to the mix, and watch him dig in. Last night, for example, he was more interested in his toy cars than dinner, so I added a dish of hummus to his tray, and suddenly he was gobbling up the strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and multi-grain crackers on his plate. (Sadly the pasta sat untouched, but you can’t win ’em all!) Sometime he eats dip by the spoonful, but since we give him healthy dips, I don’t mind. These ideas have worked for us. Any of your own ideas to add?

Eggplant Dip — Multi-grain crackers, bell pepper, tomatoes, chicken.

Cucumber-Yogurt Dip — Bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, chicken.

Ketchup — Mason likes everything better with ketchup.
(I like Annie’s natural ketchup because it doesn’t have sugar or corn syrup.)

Hummus — Try it with chicken, bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and apple slices.
Make it or buy it at the store; we like Sabra’s classic and roasted red pepper hummus

Peanut Sauce — Try it on chicken and lamb.

Guacamole — Try mild to medium guacamole on carrot sticks, toasted pita wedges, and tomatoes.

Photo: Eggplant Dip, BHG.com

Rude Comments Other Moms Make: "Your Son is So White, I Feel Sorry for Him!"

Bad mommy moment: I forgot to put sunscreen on Mason before we left the house this morning. He goes to the park every afternoon with his class, and as I was walking to lunch earlier today, I was panicking that he’d get a sunburn. (It is sweltering out!) Then I remembered his teacher telling me that she puts sunscreen on the kids before they go out. Hopefully she was telling me the truth and he won’t come home with a burn.

I relaxed a little and then suddenly remembered a conversation that I had with another mom recently at a friend’s party. Now I’m not so relaxed. It was so unimaginably rude, I just have to share:

Other mom: Your son is so white, I feel sorry for him! He must get sunburned the minute he steps outside.

Me: Nope, we just put sunscreen on him before we go out and he’s just fine.

Other mom: Really? I can’t believe it. He’s just so white!

Me: Well, he’s been playing outside the whole time we’ve been here, and, look–no sunburn!

Other mom: Huh (totally amazed)

Meanwhile this woman, who I had only met about an hour earlier, is totally ignoring her kids while she’s picking on mine. Her nine-month-old is perched precariously in the opening of a sliding glass door chewing on what looks suspiciously like a barillo pad, and her three-year-old is throwing sand at a group of younger kids. Hmmm.

It baffles me that moms pick on other people’s kids. In this case, Mason is fair complected–so are his parents, creamy skin runs in the family on both sides. (See how his skin matches mine in the pic above?) On the upside, he has beautiful skin.

And it’s not just strangers who are rude.

In fact, I was visiting a friend in another city recently and she managed to insult Mason three times in about 10 seconds (“His skin looks translucent!” “He’s so skinny he looks emaciated!” “He has the face of an old man, it’s so weird!”). The last comment was in reference to how much he looks like Chris, but Chris doesn’t look like an old man, so I didn’t get it. Anyway, I ignored her, hoping that she didn’t realize what she was saying. But still, WTF.

I know you know what I’m talking about. I see it happen all the time to other moms, at the playground, in the local coffee shop, standing in line at the grocery store. Any moments of rudeness you care to share?

Photo by Adriana Casey

Just Ridiculous: Giving New Mothers Formula Is Like Giving Trying-to-Quit-Smokers Cigarettes

“A ‘gift’ of formula is like a ‘gift’ of a pack of cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking; it will undermine your resolve,” says Peggy O’Mara, editor-in-chief of Mothering magazine.

O’Mara made the comment in support of the fact that Massachusetts has become the second state in the country whose hospitals ban free formula gifts to new moms, in an effort to force encourage moms to breastfeed. Her remarks were excerpted in a TIME magazine article about the formula ban and the Mitt Romney connection (see the article for more on that).

I had to read O’Mara’s remarks three times–was she making a terrible joke? How could she seriously compare formula to cigarettes? It’s incredibly offensive for so many reasons.

For starters, I gave my baby formula, so how dare she even suggest a connection between a toxic cancer-causing product and a nutrient-rich food. I didn’t throw in the towel on breastfeeding because the hospital sent me home with a few free samples. In fact, I transitioned Mason to formula after I struggled for weeks to breastfeed. I finally confessed my anxieties to our pediatrician and he told me to let go of the guilt and switch to a specific brand of formula. He insisted that Mason would be just fine. And you know what? He was absolutely right.

O’Mara is also suggesting that moms lack free will. Using her logic, grocery stores should never offer free samples because some shoppers might be on a diet and the freebies might weaken their resolve to avoid snacking between meals.

It’s ridiculous.

I’m also appalled that Rhode Island and Massachusetts instituted the ban in the first place. Why should the government have that right? And what about moms who can’t breastfeed their babies for health reasons?

Take my twin sister, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about a decade ago. She gave up her MS meds while she was pregnant, because the particular drug she was taking had been proven harmful to a growing baby, and by 30 weeks her symptoms were so bad I was afraid for her. However, Erin insisted that she would not go back on her medication–nor would she seek an early induction–because she was determined to give birth to a healthy baby girl.

When asked by her ob-gyn whether she was taking a breastfeeding class, Erin explained that her neurologist was urging her to go back on her MS medications immediately after the birth due to her declining health, and therefore she wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Instead of being supportive, her doctor gave her grief about formula feeding and pressured her to delay taking her medication. Erin called me crying after the appointment, and I told her to ignore the b*tch.

Erin’s efforts paid off and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 41 weeks. Fortunately she listened to her neurologist and started her shots, along with an aggressive steroid infusion, immediately after she delivered her baby. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough: Erin had a massive relapse shortly after Natalie was born and was paralyzed for weeks. Imagine what kind of shape she’d be in if she had given in to the pressure to breastfeed.

When did breastfeeding become a tool for bullying?

Photo: Mother feeding a baby a bottle via mathom/Shutterstock.com

Moms: Let's Celebrate Marissa Mayer Instead of Picking Her Apart

I’m in awe of Marissa Mayer. In case you haven’t heard, she’s the new CEO of Yahoo, one of the most powerful technology companies in the world. There are few high-powered women in technology, aside from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Mayer has scored the coveted role at only 37 years old. Her achievement is epic, and so is the responsibility that comes with the job: She’s not only going to run Yahoo, she’s tasked with saving it.

Turns out the new CEO and former Google executive also happens to be pregnant with her first child–and shortly after Yahoo announced her appointment, she revealed that she’s essentially going to skip maternity leave. “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.”

Queue the judgey moms. According to a Today Show poll, 89 percent of respondents think that she’s making a mistake.

But how can we possibly say that before she even has a chance to do her thing?  Now is the time to rally around her and celebrate her bravery. She’s taking on a monumental challenge, and indeed the opportunity of a lifetime, at a time that even she would admit isn’t ideal for her personally. Swollen ankles aren’t exactly a confidence builder.

True, she’s never gone through the hell miracle of childbirth. Or recovered from it. She’s never had to breastfeed. She’s never stayed up all night with a screaming baby. But, c’mon people, she’s not stupid. Obviously she will surround herself with lots of help. In fact, I’m betting she’ll do pretty much whatever she needs to do to set herself up for success–both as a mother and as a CEO.

It will be incredibly hard, and while I can’t imagine making the same choice myself, I’m not her. Nobody has ever approached me to run a tech giant, nor would I be equipped to do the job at this point in my life. So how can I possibly judge her for her decisions? How can you?

Instead of judging Marissa Mayer, and using her achievement as an excuse to rekindle the debate about whether women can have it all, why don’t we sit back and watch her work? I’m betting she’ll show us some magic–and probably teach us all a thing or two.

Photo: Google Plus