JennGoldieAlexaFINAL

I was feeling good. I had just completed a great workout in my basement and planned a healthy dinner, and just a few hours earlier had successfully blown dry Alexa’s hair post-swim lesson. (Huge accomplishment, btw. Especially with no WiFi in the YMCA locker room to distract her with Netflix during the process.) Goldie was awake but chill, and Alexa had a great, cheerful disposition for the entire day.

So I decided to go all “super mom” and told Alexa that Goldie and I would put her to bed together tonight, pitching it as a special treat, as opposed to an actual glimpse our new reality given that the occasion of me being the sole adult in the house at bedtime is one that will surely happen many times. Lex was overjoyed, and the three of us scrambled upstairs, full of excitement and optimism.  Disclosure: Our wonderful nanny was home at the time and more than happy to help, but I told her to go on up to bed, “I got this.” Famous last words.

The toothbrushing portion of the evening went off without a hitch. I was able to balance the baby on one hip while brushing my own teeth alongside Alexa, just like we do every night. Normalcy maintained.  Then I sat Goldie in her most beloved throne while Alexa and I did our nightly musical medley sing-off to her favorite songs from “Annie” (the original, people- not that new fangled one- I am a musical theater purist). Next up, story time. Lex insisted on the longest book on her shelf, “Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique.” Of course since this is also one she knows by heart, skipping pages was not an option. We cozy up on her bed, crack open the book, and Goldie starts howling. Blood curdling, hardcore screams. 

My heart starts racing and I can hear my voice become more agitated by the second. I contort my body so I can read the book and use the side of my boob to keep Goldie’s pacifier securely in her mouth for the duration. We finished the book, I tucked Alexa in, and then came the 5 minutes that I have been stressed out about dealing with since I found out I was pregnant. Yep, sad but true. Every night since she was in her big girl bed, Alexa has asked that whoever puts her to bed stays for “5 minutes” while she dozes off. Since in the grand scheme of preschooler bedtime routines this is a small ask, we have always obliged. 

“Mommy, stay for 5 minutes.”

“Okay Alexa, I will. Good night, love you.” I sit down on her floor by the door as per always, bouncing Goldie and doing my best to keep the pacifier in her mouth until we can sneak out. No such luck. She spits it out and reprises her chorus of screams. 

“Mommy! Baby is too loud, I can’t sleep.”

“Alexa, baby is a baby and she is going to cry sometimes. I can’t get her to stop so I am going to bring her downstairs and, since you are such a big girl, you can go to sleep all by yourself tonight, and if you need me, I am just downstairs, you can call for me.”

“NOOOOOOO! Mommy! Just drop baby.” (I think she seriously meant for me to drop her from the landing on the second floor outside of Alexa’s room into the foyer below where we wouldn’t hear her as loudly.)

“Um, Alexa, I can’t just drop your sister. You are the big girl here and I know you can go to sleep without me staying for 5 minutes. Goodnight, love you.” I walk out of the room, and now Alexa’s screams harmonize in the most un-musical way with Goldie’s. 

I start to sweat profusely, knowing that once Alexa starts melting down the entire bedtime routine is null and void and I am going to have a long hour or two ahead of me repenting and restarting. I can hear the shower going up in the nanny’s room- my backup plan is shot. I run from one end of the hallway calling up for help to the other end reassuring Alexa she can go to bed all by herself- back and forth for about 5 minutes until I hear the most beautiful sound of the evening: “Jenn, do you need some help down there? I can take the baby.” 

In that moment, I question if it is a total cop out to ditch my heroic bedtime plan- then I hear Alexa start to emerge from her bedroom and I realize- SCREW IT. I can be a hero another night. I practically toss Goldie into our nanny’s arms and scramble back to Alexa, silently praying that I can talk her off the ledge and get her to go back to bed without an episode of “My Little Pony” and a popsicle (or three.)

Fifteen minutes later, Alexa is sleeping soundly in her bed (mind you, this is after she told me “today was the baddest day ever, mommy!” when it was anything but!), Goldie is passed out, and while I didn’t earn my “Put One Kid To Bed While Holding The Other In My Arms” wings, I did try, and that has to count for something (?). 

Oh well, there’s always tonight…

(And yes, I realize there is nothing truly heroic about putting a four year old to bed while holding a newborn and millions of women across the world do this every single night without any help at all and while they don’t think it is a walk in the park, they don’t think they deserve a medal for it. I am in on the joke that is my sometimes feeble, but always well-intentioned, attempt at this next iteration of my mom journey. And to the women out there who do this night after night with grace and patience, let me just say this: You deserve a medal. And a strong cocktail.)

virtualshopping_etsy

 You GUYS. The baby stuff you can find on Etsy? Insane! When Alexa was born, Etsy wasn’t as much of a thing. I mean, it was a “thing”, but whoa, has it come a long way. I feel like the things I used to find on there in 2011 were super “arts and crafts”-y, if that makes sense? Now, I am up until all hours every night filling my shopping cart like, um, a parent who doesn’t already have drawers full of hand me down finds from my first kid (and my friends’ well-dressed baby girls) waiting to be used. I swore up and down I wasn’t gonna buy a bunch of new clothes for Goldie- instead opting to mentally siphon my “baby fashion” budget into the “baby nurse” column. But seriously- check these shops out and just TRY to tell me you could resist?

1- Kennedy’s Collection: Choose your font and color combo and customize any assortment of this shop’s adorable hats, swaddle blankets, dresses and leggings. I discovered it too late to do this for myself but, if you still have a month or so before your due date, how amazing would it be to get a hat made with baby’s name on it  for that ubiquitous newborn Facebook photo that we all post from the hospital to announce baby’s birth and, most exciting obviously, his or her name?!

2- Lulu & Roo: There is just something about a little kid in a sweatsuit that kills me every time. This shop has slouchy cool sweatpants, yes, but also not-even-the-slightest-bit-cheesy sweatshirts and sweat shorts (yes, you read that right, sweat shorts) in grey, pink, mint and peach hues. 

3- Pink Posies Shop:  Boho-chic newborn moccasins with their names stamped onto the soles? Yes please.

4- Lulu & Roo: Clearly I love this shop so much I had to post about it twice. Gold liquid leggings are one of those items best worn (ahem, ONLY worn) by kids of a certain age. I would say that 3 months to 8 years is probably the sweet spot for this style- so go for it while you can, right? Right. 

5- Haute Bellies: This shop has dozens of glittering gold tees and onesies that can be customized for everything from everyday wear to monthly milestones and big birthdays. I mean, my kid’s name is Goldie so stocking up on this is kind of a given. 

6- AnchoreDeep: Pretty  much every single thing in this shop is something I wish I was cool enough to wear now. Baby harem pants and rompers in cool prints and camo, cozy hoodies featuring the phrase we all utter on the reg (“Stay This Little”), and just-the-right-size knotted head bands wraps that are the perfect anti-dote to those  pink and purple oversized flower ones that used to be a girl’s only option.

Do you have a favorite Etsy shop for pint-sized fashions that I may have missed? Please share!

 

JennFalikKidVidsNYC 

One of the things that stresses me out most as a mom, is, I have recently discovered, quite common amongst my peers. And it has nothing to do with sleep training, healthy habits, or discipline. It can be summed up in the following quote, a variation of which is uttered by every mom I know soon after she places her phone back on her pocket after memorializing some adorable moment with a quick video: “What the F am I ever going to do with all the cute videos I have amassed on my phone?!”.  I have nightmares of all the memories- both major and minor- somehow disappearing into the abyss of a cloud somewhere, never to be seen again. And even if they don’t disappear, they will be so random, out of order and hard to find, how on earth will I ever be able to actually enjoy them?

In a desperate attempt to control the chaos, I created more confusion- backing up videos all over the place so nothing was synced up, creating iPhoto folders that ended up jumbled, failed attempts at figuring out how to transfer said videos into iMovie, and then YouTube, and then whatever other video service of the moment happened to cross my path promising to help corral our family’s memories in some sort of organized fashion only to subsequently disappear months later (ah, the life of a start up.)

So, when I came across KidVidsNYC, a family video preservation company, I swear I heard angels sing. Nicole Maller Savariego, the Founder and Creative Director (and a mom herself) got back to me within hours and held my hand through the entire process of transferring the videos from my phone and computer over to hers. Then, without much back and forth at all, she was able to perfectly assess the most crucial moments to capture with sound so we could hear Alexa’s adorable voice and silly saying,  the smaller moments that could be sped up and set completely to music (she also happened to make spot-on music choices, without me even having to give direction- huge plus!) and used the date codes on each video to put them in chronological order with “chapter” breaks for each year. Here is a snippet from Alexa’s video in case you want to check out how talented Nicole is and/or how freaking cute my daughter is- and you can also see the company’s demo reel on their website.

You can choose from 3 packages, and the turnaround time is minimal- anywhere from a few days to three weeks. My project was a lofty one- taking 4 years of sloppily shot and poorly lit quick clips and putting them into one 60 minute compilation.

Now, armed with a DVD and a downloadable link of my little lady’s major and minor milestones from 2011 to now, I sleep much more soundly. Well, except for that newborn in the room next door… But hey, at least I know all those videos I am taking of Goldie’s silly faces and blood-curdling cries won’t go to waste, right? 

BundlKit_BottleBib_FisherPrice

The baby market is ever-evolving, and even in comparison to what I observe in the always-innovating beauty world, it blows me away. So while I will cop to using a significant amount of hand-me-downs to keep Goldie clothed and cozy, there are some new acquisitions that I just must share in the event you, or someone you know, is expecting and you want to give them (or  yourself) one of the best baby gifts that will be used and very much loved:

1- BundlKit
The modern minimalist aesthetic of this new premium baby apparel line is the first thing I noticed upon breaking open the box- and soon thereafter, I came to appreciate the super soft material and completeness of the offerings inside. Two onesies (one for 3 months, another for 6 months), a burp cloth, mittens, a hat, a swaddle blanket and a great keepsake carrying case all retail for $125 and in my opinion is officially the most no-brainer baby gift of all time. Especially because for each BundlKit sold, a blanket is donated to a child in need. 

 2- Bottle Bibs
Random yet genius. Even with a burp cloth tucked under Goldie’s chin, we still manage to finish every feeding with a décolletage full of formula. These are super simple but very smart outfit savers- think of them as part scrunchie, part napkin. Put one around the neck of a bottle and tuck the cloth under baby’s chin, then feed away.  A set of 2 is around $9, and you really can never have enough. Throw one in your diaper bag, one around your wrist, and a handful wherever you stash your formula. 

 3- Fisher Price Infant Seat:
There is something about the old-school tried and true brands- sure, the designs may not be the most sleek or sexy, but they work. Very well. This infant seat is a prime example- every friend of mine who has had a baby in the past 8 months raves about this- and I can vouch for why. The angle is just so that a baby can sit comfortably even if you aren’t 100% sure that you waited enough time post-feeding to put her down yet but you really need your hands free to, ya know, take a shower or check Instagram. It is light as a feather to tote around the house as needed, and can easily be rocked with one foot while you work, which I may or may not be doing right this second. 

There is more where this came from and as time allows, I will be sure to share them here. Because even the second time around, I appreciate that new moms can use all the honest advice they can get.

 

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