Posted by Mihal Levy
It is funny how I usually don’t have enough time to myself, but when I do, I don’t know what to do. (Catch up on sleep, emails, cleaning, chores or something fun for myself?) But of all things, Chuck E. Cheese’s ended up not being a bad idea for a mommy’s day off.
I am starting to think that I have forgotten what it is that adults do for fun. A fun day in for me has became a day of Lego building and homeschool projects with my son. A fun day out is trips to the Lego store or homeschool outings, errands and chores. You can see why I have forgotten what I am “supposed” to do.
Yesterday I got a few hours to myself. And what I mean by “got” is that my husband was home for a few hours before he headed out to a session (music, not therapy). I had the choice of “me” time or family time. The choice was a difificult one, but I was on my way out in no time, showerless and in sweats and pseudo-Uggs. (I slept in the sweats, sans Uggs, but don’t tell anyone.) I didn’t want to waste any time.
Once I got in the car, the decision of where to go was not as easy as the actual decision to abandon my family. I put the key in the ignition and let the car lead the way. Unfortunately, my car must have gotten used to errands and chores, because my first stop was the library. I decided to pick up some books and educational DVDs for my son . I might as well do something for my son too, I thought. It can’t be just about me.
After the library, I started thinking of all the things I should probably pick up for home. Napkins, toilet paper, dishwashing liquid. I might as well get that out of the way before I start my “me” day, I thought. I ended up driving around just to listen to my music in the car and not some band that ended in “bops” or songs sung by children for a change. It was nice to listen to a song that had a long guitar solo and a double bass drum sound for a change. I drove around and ended up in a shopping center with a Kmart, a Chuck E. Cheese’s and a Henry’s right across the street. Perfect, I thought. I will just quickly grab some things at Kmart. (I never go to Kmart - I felt like I was cheating on Target, but it worked.) I realized I had no patience in Kmart with all the after X-mas sale mess, and decided to just grab the necesseties in the “cleaning products” section. (What fun!) But not forgetting a small Hot Wheels car and some new washable recycled plastic crayola markers for my son.
At the register, I thought, now I can start my “me” day. But where will I go? Well, since I was already across the street from Henry’s, maybe I could just get grocery shopping out of the way. But then I would have to hurry home with the perishables? After all , this was “my” day. While my thoughts were racing (as they usually do), I remembered Chuck E. Cheese’s next door to Kmart. I’ll just run in there quickly to stop in and use the restroom (since Kmart’s was out of order) and maybe even pick up a drink. (It’s the only place I know that sells caffeine-free Diet Coke - I know this from the endless birthday parties we have been to there; too bad the pizza wasn’t vegan, because I may actually have eaten there as well.)
I entered through the gates of Chuck E. Cheese’s. The woman at the door was preparing to stamp my hand. (For those that have never been, Chuck E. Cheese’s stamps your hand and your child(ren)‘s hand(s) when you enter with the same number, so that when you are exiting, they make sure you are leaving with your own children and not someone else’s. I guess that theory may have been tempting to some mothers. A trade in?) So first the woman looked at me, looked down and then behind me, for a sign of any little people with me. “Alone?” she asked.
I said, “Yes,” and felt I needed an excuse for entering Chuck E. Cheese’s. “I am just grabbing a Diet Coke,” I said in my defense.
She let me in, childless and stampless.
Chuck E. Cheese’s was crowded and noisy. I started to miss my son. It had been at least a couple of hours at this point since I saw him. I felt bad now that I had not brought him with me. They had new games, even Guitar Hero. (Not that I was looking, but I spotted them on my way to the restroom.) The mother guilt kicked in.
After the restroom, I checked the self-serve soda machine. Yes, they had caffeine-free Diet Coke. I must have cheered loudly, because the mother next to me refilling her child’s fruit punch looked at me and giggled - or maybe it was just my paranoia kicking in.
I lined up behind the children holding dollar bills waiting for their buckets o’ tokens. It was my turn. I purchsed one soft drink excitedly. After I paid, the cashier handed me my empty cup and explained that just so I know, the Diet Coke is out of order. “The what?” I asked, clearly upset. “Do you mean the regular Diet Coke (I was hoping he would say yes) or the caffeine-free Diet Coke?” And of course, it was the caffeine-free Diet Coke, a.k.a. the only “me” thing I had done today besides using the restroom. Oh, and buying dishwashing liquid for my home.
As it turns out, it would be fixed in fifteen minutes or so. I figured at this point, where would I go? I still wanted to get to Henry’s across the street and I hadn’t even eaten breakfast; it was now lunch time. So, I ordered a salad bar and figured it would not be so bad to actually sit down for a bit (in a crowded, noisy kid-filled small-space play room that smelled like pizza and lit matches from the simultaneous birthday parties happening there).
I loaded my salad plate with veggies and fruit and waited for the caffeine-free-Diet-Coke-fixer-uppper to arrive. I took a seat next to the soda machine so that I could keep an eye on it. I only drink water, tea, and on rare occasions, chocolate almond milk. Clearly, I HAD TO wait for my caffeine-free fix.
And halfway through my salad (or plate of fruits and veggies), he appeared. In his red and black striped suit and matching baseball cap, there was my knight in shining armor (with his tool belt and artificially flavored syrup in tow). I waited anxiously, staring over at him. He was done. I headed over to the machine and filled up my cup. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, but it was cold and did the job.
I finished my salad and decided that I was Chuck E. Cheesed out. (And I wasn’t even running after my son and his bag of tokens this time.) I looked down at my watch. It was almost time to return home. I had just enough time for a quick trip across the street to Henry’s. Perfect!
I waited in line again behind two families as their numbers were being checked under a black light to ensure there were no child trade-ins. All clear! I was up. The woman looked at me. I smiled. “No children today” I said, embarassed.
“No stamp!” I said proudly. (Something about numbers being stamped on my arm that I don’t relate to well, go figure.)
She gave me a weird look (or maybe my paranoia kicked in again); I was released!
I made it home with a car full of groceries, library books and cleaning supplies with barely enough time before my husband had to leave. My son was thrilled with the library books, markers and toy car. I realized that “me” days are overrated and it is the little things that I do for my family with just a few
caffeine-free Diet Cokes in between that make me happy. The definition of “me” has definitely changed since the birth of my son and it’s the little reminders along the way that let me know that it is ok and I am really not “missing out,” but missing him when I am not with him.
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December 27, 2010 | 6:12 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
After a time of pirouettes and pointe shoes, Black Swan’s leading lady and her onset dance coach Benjamin Millepied have something else keeping them on their toes; a bun in the oven.
People magazine announced that Portman and Millepied are engaged and expecting their first child together. (And to think, some of us only got a ring.)
I have always had great respect for Portman in keeping her private life, well…private, as well as staying out of weekly gossip magazines. But a pregnancy would have to be known sooner or later. Portman explained to EW.com, “I have always kept my private life private but I will say that I am indescribably happy and feel very grateful to have this experience.”
A few months ago, Portman was still not ready to let her secret out. In a mid-November interview with the Los Angeles Times, after the premiere of Black Swan, Portman explained that she probably had a case of “food poisoning.” She stated, “Yesterday, I was on the red carpet like, ‘Please don’t throw up.’ I went home after the red carpet last night and had a saltine and applesauce and was, like, asleep by 10.” (And that did not make it into the tabloids? Was no one curious?)
With all due respect, Natalie Portman is a brilliant actress and has a great year ahead of her. Mazal Tov to both you and Benjamin! “Be Shaa Tova!” And from one mother to another mother (to-be), I hope you take home an Oscar, but know that there is no greater accomplishment than the award you are already carrying. (But I am sure you already knew that.)
December 25, 2010 | 12:24 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
With all the hype over Xmas, what is a Jew to do today? How about joining the celebration? Why not? After all JC was Jewish.
Here are five ways to celebrate:
1) Red Box your day. (For the cost of a soft drink at a vending machine, you can get a movie. How can you go wrong? At $1, even if the movie is a flop, you didn’t lose much but the fact that maybe you should have gotten a Coke Zero instead.)
2) Have a faux party. No tree, no ham, but plenty of food and gifts. Why not?
3) Plan for date night with your significant other. A movie? Like everyone else.
4) Write your after Xmas list for Santa (or a list of discounted items you will pick up on Sunday).
5) Order in. Chinese food? Nah. Indian food. And bring out the dreidels. The game of dreidel is fun any time. (Use stale gelt as prizes or gumdrops from the gingerbread house you didn’t build.) After all “a miracle happened there” didn’t it?
Merry December 25th to all…however you choose to celebrate it.
December 23, 2010 | 12:50 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
While everyone was at the mall shopping for Christmas gifts, I was there with my son shopping for a gift for a bris we were going to the next day. You might have seen me with my son. He was the one yelling at Santa to stop wishing us a Merry Christmas every time we passed by the gigantor Christmas tree, but Santa would not quit.
We must have passed Santa at least four times going back and forth between children’s clothing stores to find the perfect bris gift. Each time we passed Santa, he would get up out of his seat, walk toward my son, and cheer a jolly “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas, little boy.” I just smiled and wished Santa a Merry Christmas back. My son nodded and waved as well.
Then the question came. My son asked, “Is Santa yucky, Mommy?” In this case, Santa was yucky - and a little perverted, I might add. He seemed to have his beard on lopsided and was a little overjoyed every time a woman in a short skirt or jeggings (a combination of leggings and jeans) would walk by. He would stare at them from head to toe and wish them a Merry Christmas in a “How YOU doin’?” tone. The mall wasn’t very crowded and Santa was single, I assume. Or maybe things weren’t so good at home with Mrs. Claus - what was poor Santa to do?
I told my son that Santa was not yucky, but that he was just saying hello to us. I told my son we should also wish Santa a Merry Christmas. My son agreed and shouted out to Santa as we passed, “Merry Christmas because you celebrate it, we don’t.” Not my intention, but it worked.
I decided to finally settle for a couple of outfits and a gift card at Baby Gap to avoid passing Santa any more, as well as the crowds that were now forming in the mall.
My son picked out a cute striped onesie, while I chose a red and grey fleece onesie. “Perfect,” I thought.
We got the gifts and headed back toward our car. I was hoping this time as we passed Santa that he would be so busy checking out the ladies or in the midst of a photo-op that he wouldn’t notice us. No such luck. Santa waved to us as we passed.
We waved and were almost home free, until Santa yelled out. “Looks like you got a gift in that bag, kiddo. What did you get for Christmas?” Santa was clearly bored and we were there to entertain him, apparently.
My son yelled out, “We don’t celebrate Christmas!”
But Santa continued, “Yeah, then what’s the gift for?” Now Santa was just plain nosey.
I couldn’t help it. I replied, “For Brismas!”
He appeared confused. My son laughed, although I am not entirely sure whether he got it or just thought it was funny that Mommy answered Santa.
We got home and I went to wrap the two outfits we had purchased for Brismas. The first was cute. The one my son chose. But then I noticed the second one had devil’s horns attached to the hood, which I hadn’t noticed in the store. I could not possibly give this as a present. Now I would have to go back and exchange the little devil onesie and deal with the crowds and Santa again. That’s what I get for talking back to Santa. I am not even sure the horns were attached when I picked it up at the store. Hmmm. One has to wonder. Thanks, Santa.
December 21, 2010 | 10:18 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I am not a perfect mother, nor do I claim to be. Still, some mothers irk me. They really irk me. Do I have the right to judge? Probably not. But will I? Of course.
First off, mothers who nurse in public restrooms bother me. I am just curious. Do these same mothers that feed their children in public restrooms also eat in public restrooms themselves. If not, they should really try it some time. Grab your PB and J or side salad and Café latte and eat it in the public restroom of your choice. Like the mom I noticed in the Macy’s bathroom the other day. (Thank you for inspiring this story by the way.) She was eating a sandwich and sipping a soda in a crowded extremely dirty public restroom while nursing her child. The two of them were lunching together.
Perhaps it is quite delightful to be surrounded by the smell of cheap pine scent barely masking the stench of the excretion of bodily functions. Who knows? I just assume that if I can not even stand using a public restroom for its original purpose, that eating in one probably would not work for me, or my child.
But I see no reason to stop nursing your child in a germ-filled pine-scented (not to mention other scents) space, if you do it yourself. In fact the sound of simultaneous flushing toilets may be soothing. Right? And no it does not make a difference if you are sitting just past the hand dryers on a comfy couch or chair surrounded by lighted mirrors and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. You are still in the restroom. You might as well nurse on the toilet.
But I have been told, “don’t knock it, ‘til you try it,” and I haven’t tried it.
Along with restroom feeding moms, I also despise mothers who leash their kids. (Even dogs should be free of their leashes.) I don’t care if the leash is attached to a cuddly teddy bear on their backs or chained around their necks to a spiked dog collar (or child collar). A leash is a leash. And mothers who would argue with me should really try it some time. Next time you are out with your husband/significant other/lover/date/partner/(insert politically correct noun here), have him/her/them hold one end of the leash while you wear the cuddly teddy bear backpack on your end or back, rather, and go about your date. If it feels good to you, then by all means, continue to leash your child. By the way, whatever happened to hand-holding?
What about the baby-
covering moms? You know the type. The ones that cover their infants’ car seat with a blanket to block out
light. Have they heard of the saying “sleep like a baby.” Babies really don’t need darkness to sleep in. In fact, aren’t children afraid of the dark? After this experience, they may equate darkness with suffocation. I’m just saying. Did these moms notice it is harder for the baby to breathe? (There are some moms who make sure there is an opening for air flow. These are not the moms I am talking about.) I wonder if Mom wears a blanket over her face while she naps.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. If it works for these moms because they have tried it themselves, I have no problem with it (as long as it is not hurting their child). I will now be on the lookout for moms wearing teddy bear backpacks attached to their partners by a leash. You moms I will excuse. And to the Macy’s Mom lunching with her newborn (Yuck.) You are excused, as well. But maybe I shouldn’t knock it, until I try it. Nah.
December 20, 2010 | 12:30 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
I rejoined Facebook the other day. (I know I said I left for good in a previous post a few months ago.) But, before you judge me, hear me out. I rejoined Facebook, but Facebook had other plans fortunately.
I rejoined facebook not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I did not miss it, as people assumed I did. I just found life a bit more complex without it. (Thank you Mark Zuckerberg for making us drones.) Let me explain.
I began meeting people who wanted to stay in touch (much like the K.I.T’s signed by classmates I barely knew in highschool, only I did not know that at the time). We would trade emails and phone numbers and…nothing. “Facebook me,” they’d say. But how could I Facebook you if I am not on Facebook? Couldn’t I just pick up the phone instead? We all now have fifty thousand monthly minutes on our cell phones, what could possibly be the problem? Then there were other people I would meet who decided they would add my husband on Facebook and send me messages through him. I even met Mommies in Mommy groups who preferred to communicate through Facebook. “It’s just easier for me,” they’d say. “I have the app on my phone.” Your phone also has a keypad and most likely email and text messaging as well. O.K. But where did this leave me?
I was beginning to miss out on major life cycle events and announcements. People bought houses, moved to different countries, had babies or died. And these were my friends? I would hear it after the fact and the grand announcement status update when it was already old news. And as it turns out, most of my “friends” refused to communicate any other way but through statuses. (It is always about one’s status, isn’t it?)
I felt I had no other choice but to rejoin…unwillingly.
So I gave in. And shortly after my wall and inbox were filled with nothing but I told you so, I knew you couldn’t stay away, hypocrite, and you came crawling back comments. A simple “Welcome back” would have been fine (I think I did have one of those.)
Was I a hypocrite, a sell-out, a pawn, a drone? I would like to think I was none of these, but someone who was left with no other choice. And perhaps the only person left on Earth who still picked up a phone to dial, not text or update my status. (Call me old fashioned.) But what was the use if no one answered on the other end?
After approximately twenty four hours or so in Facebook land, I tried to log on again to see just how many of my friends became my “friends.” I entered my email and password and could not get back in. I retried while looking down at my fingers as I typed carefully. Still nothing. Was it a sign?
Finally I got an error message stating that I would have to “verify” my account with additional information and went through a tedious process where I had to share more information than I cared to, and still nothing. Needless to say, all roads led to Rome or deletion rather. My account was set to be deleted in fourteen days if I did nothing.
I decided to do what I do best. I did nothing.
I am happy to announce that within a few days I will officially be deleted once again. This time for good. Now I am just sitting by my phone waiting for a “friend” to notice. One did, in fact. But what about the other fifty or so I managed to add?
Until someone notices, I will just have to spend more time with my son than with my keyboard (when I am not working, that is) and perhaps share a cup of coffee instead of a status updated with a friend.
However, you can still follow me on Twitter…for now: Jew Mama (or pick up the phone).