When Diapers Fail

It was Passover time. My best friend came over with some kosher for passover egg noodles to make for me, my niece, and herself. She cooked them in curry with a little broccoli.

The thought didn’t even occur to me that my son would be remotely interested in the final product. But he was!

When he saw this curry noodle casserole, he looked as though he hadn’t eaten in days. So we let him have some. Within seconds, he was shoveling handfuls of it into his mouth.

Honestly, I was thrilled. I had been trying to get him to recognize that broccoli was food, and not a toy for months. Maybe all he needs is a little curry? I thought to myself.

Boy was I wrong.

That evening, my boyfriend and I went to sleep, as usual. We awakened 5:45am to a screaming baby.

“Why is he up so early?” I asked my boyfriend in my foggy sleepy state.

My boyfriend went to change our son’s diaper, his daily morning duty. But then I heard him exclaim

“Oh no! This is bad!”

I shot up out of bed to see what was going on.

I kid you not, my son was covered from head to toe in poop. Literally, from his head to his feet, there was poop everywhere.

I was so confused. I changed him into a new diaper before he went to sleep. Then I realized what it was:

The curry! He must have eaten too much of it and exploded as a result.

So, we gave him a bath at 6am. I was barely functional but it turned out fine.

Later I wrote my best friend an email telling her what happened.

Beware of massive amounts of curry! They may make your baby explode.

Going Broke to Go to Preschool

My son is barely one year old, and I am dreading when he turns two. Why I am so afraid for him to turn two? Because I can’t afford Preschool.

Currently, I am staying home with him and my boyfriend is working. We figured out that if both of us were to work, we wouldn’t be making more money.

The “extra” money brought in would go directly to paying for some sort of childcare. Thereby defeating the purpose of me working altogether.

So I chose to stay home with my son.

However, we are still really struggling to get by financially. So, by the time my son turns two, I though about enrolling him in sort of Preschool situation.

Until I started researching the possibilities.

The majority of Preschools in New York City are privately funded and extraordinarily expensive.

For example, I had heard wonderful things about the Montesorri School in Cobble Hill. So I looked up the cost of their programs or two year olds.

I kid you not, for two days a week, part-time (meaning 9am – 12pm) it is nearly $8000/year!
Clearly, this is not a viable option for my family.

And surprisingly, this is a typical cost for a preschool program.

I started to wonder if I was alone. Does everybody just suck it up and break their bank accounts to send their kids to Nursery School?

But then I met another mom at the Brooklyn Public Library who has two boys, one is almost one and the other is two and a half.

We got to talking about the whole Preschool dilemma. She, too, was in a bind. Her older son was currently enrolled in a Preschool in the East Village but it was costing her money that she didn’t have.

She was concerned about what would happen to her finances when her other son turned two.

She said to me

“There’s got to be another way.”

I agree with her. There has to be an alternative solution. But I have yet to figure it out.

Old School New School

You may be wondering why this blog is called Old School/New School Mom. Well, wonder no more!

In raising my son, I believe that it is important to take parenting ideas and advice from the previous generation (AKA the Old School) and also integrate parenting advice from our peers (AKA the New School).

You will be a better parent, I believe, if you are able to integrate these two worlds together.

For example, in previous generations, they didn’t rely so heavily on fancy electronic baby toys to entertain our kids. They simply read to their children, let them crawl around on the floor; explore and learn by doing. I like this idea. Old School.

However, I have to admit, that there are some fancy electronic flashy baby toys that are pretty neat. So I am not ruling them out all together. For example, there is a Baby Einstein toy that lights up, plays random classical music, and has interesting objects to touch that my son adores.

See? He loves it. But if you’ll notice, he is also holding a plastic bottle in his right hand that he also adores. So, he loves a lot of things, Old School and New School.

The point is, you can draw from different schools of thought to raise your child. I think this integration makes for a more well rounded child.

Remembering to Eat

I recently told my best friend that I would like to get a job where I would get paid to eat. When she asked what I meant, I replied

“My current job (the job of ‘mom’) is one where I NEVER get to eat, because I am always feeding someone else.”

And its true. As a new mom, I find that I am constantly taking care of my son, leaving me no room to take care of myself. By the end of the day I am exhausted because I have been attending to another human being’s needs all day and ignoring my own. People who don’t have children can be sympathetic to this feeling, but they can’t really understand it until they are in the situation for themselves.
But now more than ever I realize how important it is to take care of myself. I realized this because I haven’t been doing it. Most days I forget to eat at least one meal.
As a mom, it is so important to attend to your own needs. I have found that if I neglect myself, I don’t have the energy to be there for my son in the way that he needs me to be. And that disappoints me.
So the solution; eat. And remember to do it. The best time to eat is when your baby is eating; that way you don’t have to think about when to do it. It will be automatic.

Free to Be You and Me at The Library

I almost fell into the trap myself; paying for activites to do with my son. When he was an infant, I was still pretty isolated. I didn’t yet have the playgroup to hang out with and no real mom friends. So I when I would see local advertisements for Baby Yoga, $10/class I would start salivating. It sounded so appealing, being in a calming class with other new mothers and my new bundle of joy; however, I literally did not have the $10 to spare. So I didn’t pursue it.

As I noticed how many paid baby activities there were in my neighborhood and in New York City in general, I started to feel like maybe there was something wrong with me. Perhaps I had to pay for activities to do with my baby to have a good time. So I hung my head down and went home.

Out of sheer curiosity, I began researching free baby activities online. At first I couldn’t really find much. But then, I remembered my best friend, who recently graduated from an Early Childhood Education program, telling me that the Public Library had a great Early Childhood program.

Boy was she right! First I tried to attend a Story Time program at one of the Manhattan branches, but because of my perpetual lateness, I missed the program. This was after lugging my son and his stroller on the subway to West 4th Street.

But I didn’t give up. I found out that The Grand Army Plaza branch of The Brooklyn Public Library was having Story and play Time for ages 0-5 Saturdays from 10am – 11am. This program was absolutely totally FREE.

The Story and Play program is awesome. All the children and parents gather in the children’s room of the library which is very warmly decorated and carpeted. The librarian reads three stories, sings many songs, and then the kids are free to roam around and play with copious amounts of plastic toys! How wonderful! And it didn’t cost me a cent.

The same library, at Grand Army Plaza, also has the Story Time/Babies and Books program for babies from 0-18 months. This takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am, 10:30am, and 11am respectively.

Each of these programs runs for 30 minutes. But beware, there are limited seats so you have to get there early to get a ticket for the program you wish to attend. It is similar to Story and Play except there is no play time. It is just reading books and singing songs. But there are puppets involved too!

I am so happy to have found the library. It’s a great place hang out with your baby and it won’t cost you a dime!

http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/first5years/events/

Trusting Your Inner Mom

I went to the library today with my son for their Story Time program as I usually do on Tuesdays. I was feeling a bit stir crazy, since we didn’t get out yesterday, so we went to the 10am program. My playgroup buddies were missing in action, as both their babies were taking naps at unceremonious times. So I was there solo.

After the program, I was approached by a lovely woman carrying a six month old infant in an Ergo baby carrier.

“Excuse me?” she asked “Can you do me a favor? Can you help me fasten this?” She was referring to the back strap of the carrier. She was unable to reach the strap herself to click it together securely.

“No problem!” I said and I obliged.

“You know, I had actually had the same issue with the Ergo carrier myself, but I learned a trick.” I told her.”Pretend like you are fastening your bra strap together.”

“Oh!” she replied with surprise. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

She tried my trick, and it worked. She was thrilled.

We got to talking, so I asked her out for coffee.

She told me about the issues she was facing with her son, starting solid foods, his unwillingness to nap etc. I commiserated with her on all of the things she was bringing up. Here was an intelligent competent woman just trying to do the right things for her son. I felt I was looking at myself just a few months ago.

It was really reassuring to know that I’m not crazy. That the issues that I was facing six months ago are common ones among mothers. That’s what meeting this mom reminded me of.

Babies don’t come with an instruction manual. As much as we would like to think that we know what’s best for our kids, we are all (to some extent) flying blind. We can receive advice from many sources but ultimately, the way we raise our children is up to us as mothers.

I remember the day that I came home from the hospital with my boyfriend and our son. We got into the apartment. We put our baby in the crib. We looked and each other and thought

“Now what?”

We had no idea what to do. But the point is, you figure it out. My son has survived one year with me stumbling through, trying different things, figuring it out.

And that is what I will continue to do. I have to remind myself that all I can do is try.

Cloth Diaper Update

I’ve written to a bunch of cloth diaper companies asking for samples. Here is what I said:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am the mother of a 11 month old, and I am heavily considering the cloth diaper option. I currently have blog where I am beginning to review baby products. http://oldschoolnewschoolmom.blogspot.com/

Would it be possible for your company to send me a sample cloth diaper to try?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Sarah Fader

*************************************************************************************

The responses I’ve received so far have boiled down to this; we can’t send you a sample because our company is too small and we would go broke if we sent out samples to everyone who asked for them.

I have included the current responses I’ve received below.
————————————————————————————-
Good Morning Sarah,

Thank you for your interest in Thirsties!
Unfortunately, as a small Mom and Pop company, we are unable to send out samples.
You could watch our Outlet Store at www.thirstiesoutlet.com, or find a retailer on our wholesale site: www.thirstiesbaby.com.

Best wishes in your endeavors!
Sonya
Thirsties Customer Support

————————————————————————————————-
I am sorry but we are a small company and we are unable to send out samples to everyone that asks for them. We get this request 5-10 times every single day and doing so would put our small business out of business.
Good luck with your blog, I stopped by to check it out.
Linda Byerline CEO
MLB Industries Inc
www.happyheinys.com
www.babyfrenzy.com

————————————————————————————————
I understand their position; however I don’t want to purchase a product before I know what I’m getting into.

The Search For a Playgroup

When my son was around four/five months old, I was going a little stir crazy. I wasn’t employed and I had no real mom friends. My only friends that had babies lived too far away to visit on a regular basis. So I hung around the apartment with him a lot. My dad noticed that I was going a little nutty being in the house all the time.

“Why don’t you try to meet other moms?” He asked. “Join a playgroup? You guys used to be in a playgroup when you were younger BLAH BLAH BLAH playgroup…”

So I indulged him. I looked online for playgroups. And the majority of the playgroups I found cost money. I was astounded. It seemed counter-intuitive that I should have to pay for my child to play with other kids. Plus, I had no money to spend on such things. My boyfriend and I were barely making ends meet as it was. So I kept looking.

I contacted a local children’s toy store to inquire about playgroups. They informed me that they organized mother’s groups by birth month. Great! Could I join it? Yes, for a mere $30 fee. So I succumbed and paid the cash to have some social interaction with other mothers. They added me to the email list.

So I sent out a mass email to the moms on the list. I told them who I was, and that I’d like to meet up and get to know them. We arranged to meet at a local coffee shop. I carried my son over in my Baby Bjorn. When I arrived, nearly the first words out of one of the mom’s mouths was:

“Is that comfortable?” She was referring to me carrying him in the Baby Bjorn.

“No, actually,” I replied “He’s getting really heavy now. So it’s not really that comfortable anymore.”

“Well, you could get the Ergo baby carrier, but it’s kind of expensive,” she replied. Now this comment may sound innocent, but it was loaded. She was making an allusion to the fact that I might not have the money to afford to buy this pricey infant carrier. I was already turned off and questioning why I had left the house.

After several other disparaging comments including chastising me because my son doesn’t like to take naps during the day, I felt my head was about to explode. Suddenly, one of the quieter moms abruptly stood up and announced that her daughter was fussy and she had to leave.

I followed her out the door and we immediately started chatting about how rude the other moms had been. We bonded fast and soon began taking stroller walks in Prospect Park together with our babies. And then after a two months of hanging out, she moved upstate with her family and I was alone yet again.

I kept up the stroller walks, and because I had no money I searched for free activities that I could do with my son.

When my son was 9 months, I disovered The Brooklyn Public Library.
The Brooklyn Public Library has an amazing Eary Childhood Education program.

One Saturday I was looking online for free activities to do with my son and I found that The Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was having a Story and Play Time session that day for ages 0-5 years old from 10am – 11am. So I hightailed it over there with my son.

We were late, of course, so we missed the story portion of the program. But we made it in time to play. My son and I walked into a large room filled with children and toys. He was in heaven. He promptly shoved every toy in his mouth (at least once) and crawled around like a maniac.

Then, admist the crowd of unfamiliar faces, I recognized one of the women there. It took me a minute as I was rudely staring at her to try to remember where I knew her from. Suddenly, it dawned on me; I went to High School with her!

“Hey, did you go to LaGuardia?” I asked her

“Yes, did you?” She replied.

“Yeah, I think we were in the same math class!” I said, so happy to see a familiar face.

Upon further conversation, we realized that we both were drama majors at LaGuardia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with LaGuardia, it is a conservatory based arts high school where students major in drama, dance, music, vocal performance, or fine art.

Our sons were only two months apart in age. Her son (at the time) was 11 months and my son was 9 months.

After the Story and Play time was over, we continued to hang out and she and her son walked me home. She told me that she had met a woman from Norway at the library program, whose son was 10 months. They had been hanging out a lot because they were both still on maternity leave from their jobs. She said that I would love her friend too. And I did!

I was thrilled! After meeting a sea of unfriendly people, I had met the one friend that I had needed all along.

With that a playgroup was born. The three of us began hanging out weekly and sometimes multiple times during the week, and I didn’t have to pay a cent for it.

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