Berenstain Bears

Let’s face it, the shows our kids watch permeate our souls! Lately, Vivien’s number ones have changed to Max & Ruby (big, big fave) and The Upside Down Show.  My sister Cecily says, “You always like what your bunny likes.” But not always… hence this vlog about the Berenstain Bears. (Also Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!… I started to avoid that one. Too fast.)

Are there some that you like and some that just bug?

Brooke Burke Visits The Fashion Team

As is so often the case when I meet a really skinny and beautiful mother of four, I wanted to find something about Brooke Burke to dish on. (Actually, I don’t know if I have ever met a skinny, hot mom of four.) Alas, she was very nice, professional and down-to-earth.

Brooke Burke and Daphne Brogdon on The Fashion Team

She was a guest yesterday on my show, The Fashion Team. I am always slightly fascinated when a woman who has had multiple babies still has a fab body. But she started with one, so there is that. Brooke also swears by her Taut, one of the products she has developed for would-be or new moms. Basically it’s like a girdle that you wear after giving birth, for 40 days. I said, “Isn’t that uncomfortable? I think it would make me even more cranky than I was.” She said she would take it off to nurse or if it was bugging her, but she believes it helped her get her figure back.

Her fourth child is 4 months old, and Brooke looks good. Almost as impressive was that she didn’t have that super-haggard look I associate with myself and other new moms. I was trying not to be obvious as I scrutinized around her eye and barely saw one line. She said having four kids is a challenge (and three isn’t?).

I asked her how the older kids dealt with a new baby, since I often wonder how I would handle that if I have another. She said she tried to make the older kids feel that the baby is theirs, too. Letting them hold it and if they are not holding it properly don’t yell at them, just change the holding in a gentle way. Sounds good to me.

Bye Bye, Bottle

Look, she ditched her binky a long time ago, but she isn’t toilet trained and she still likes a bottle at nap time, bed time, and sometimes to ease a cranky mood. This video is about me trying to wean her off the bottle. I was NOT successful and have given up of late. If anyone has words of wisdom, lay it on me.

Since I nursed till she was 2.2 and now she is 2.10, it should be no surprise that I am slow on this stage as well. Oh God, and don’t get me going on my lame-ass, lazy toilet-training. Hoping her new school can help with that one.

Weekend in New Orleans

Well, the boogie weekend wound up being pretty fun. I reconnected with the man who claims to be my husband. We actually went out with adult friends both nights and DIDN’T TALK ABOUT KIDS. It was good that some of them don’t have children. I could feel my brain opening up. We bagged out of the Tales of the Cocktail for the weekend. I went to one seminar on Friday and yes, a seminar about booze can be really boring. Even when it’s about hooch, people, you need to involve the audience. They all sound like Ben Stein.

Mark Peel and Daphne Brogdon in New Orleans

Since Mark works most nights, it was a treat to be out with him. I also enjoyed the heat because I could wear my new maxi dress. This is a trend I am partaking in. (I am a firm believer in picking and choosing your trends; Uggs and Crocs went on without me.) It’s also remarkably similar to the dress I wore when I was 6 (in the ’70s), the first time I went to New Orleans.

Rue de la Course mug

I had the best mocha ever at the cafe Rue de la Course on Magazine Street, hence the photo to record the moment. And I made Mr. Fancy-Pants Chef chow on the fried wonders of a beignet. Yum.

Mark Peel enjoys a beignet

Honestly, the New Orleans I saw, French Quarter and Uptown, looked better than when I visited 10 years ago to eat nutria for the Dr. Dean Edell Show. Seemed like there were fewer drunks bugging this time, but back then I was usually walking alone. Our friends who live there had many Katrina horror stories, but they were glad to see tourism was up.

New Orleans is great but I did, however, take issue with the excessive air conditioning. It was hot out, but why the deep freeze indoors? Really uncomfortable. I met one lady who liked it. She said, “It’s an antidote to hot flashes!” My friend Beth came in from Nashville and she said you always need a cardigan in the South. And I was worried about humidity! Silly me.

Vivien was fine with my sister while I was gone, but definitely paid for it the day we came back (at the crack a– of dawn, ’cause I missed her). She was very clingy and needy and wanted to know where I was at all times. Poor baby. By night time she was better.

It was still worth it to go, which I have to remember the next time I resist a similar trip.

The Shape of a Mother

As we all know, your body does some adjusting when you are pregnant. Things that don’t always change after birth. Yes, one of my feet is a half-size larger than the other.

This site, The Shape of a Mother, was funny and touching. It is a very honest site about our bodies. So after you watch my vlog, please go check it out. It’s a great antidote to those awful tabloid covers rating celebrity cellulite and other flaws. What famous women have imperfect bodies? Stars, they’re just like us!

Tea Party Game Rocks!

I don’t know what I would do without this game. I bought the Tea Party game in a store a few months ago. (It’s cheaper online, by the way.)

It is so pretty and well-designed, and the object of the game is to accumulate all one needs for a place setting at a tea party. Vivien loves it. When you land on dessert, players don’t all pick the same sweet. You can pick cake, a cinnamon bun, or a petit four. I have changed the rules to speed up play – we start with the plate, which makes it go faster. Vivien learns to take turns and she learns that sometimes she doesn’t win. Although when of us wins she will say, “We all won?” Well, yes, sort of. I think it has helped her be more patient.

Granted, it’s not a mind teaser for those over 7, but she has said to just about everybody who has walked into this house, “Want to play tea party?” And in her little voice, who could resist?

Pottery Barn is Mom Porn

I really enjoy Risa Green’s column, Life on the Mommy Track, on the site Mommy Track’d. One post was my launch point for this video. I think Pottery Barn catalogs are like going to open houses on a Sunday: It’s fun to imagine living in a place with no piles of stuff, where a scented candle is always ablaze.

My Boogie Weekend

So, I am gearing up to leave early this morning for my weekend away with my husband. I should be psyched, but I’m not. I always feel anxious when I leave Vivien.

Buffett's Cafe
Creative Commons License photo credit: ViNull

I know she will have a great time. My sister Cecily and niece Lily, whom she adores, will move in our house and take care of her for the two days I am gone. I have left detailed notes including what channels she can watch (no Disney), the nearest emergency room, and plenty of chicken tenders. I need to snap out of it.

Nearly 3 days (I took a red eye, so it wasn’t a full 72 hours) is the longest I have ever been away from her. I hear of mothers/parents leaving their kids for a week. I would find that very difficult. I met a woman on a plane once, nice woman, no horns on her head, mother of three, who said when her first baby was a newborn, she left him for six weeks while she and her husband went to Europe. Her parents took care of the kid while she pumped all over Italy and France. I am still struck dumb by that.

I have a one-day gig in San Diego next week for Fox and I’m already trying to figure out how I can take Vivien with me and go to the Zoo or Legoland and or something very Southern California.

When I have spent a few days away, usually in San Francisco or NYC, truth be told, I have a good time. Relaxing, having meals where I don’t have to give someone some crayons or stickers so I can eat. But leaving is so hard. And, let’s face it, post 9/11-travel ain’t what it used to be.

Oh, and you’ll love this classic male/female difference. My husband is already in New Orleans for work (he is attending Tales of the Cocktail – yes, a convention) and I asked, “How’s the hotel room?”

Mark: “It’s got clean sheets and a TV.”

Me: “Are you kidding?”

Mark: “No.”

Me: “So I am going to fly 4 hours, leave my child for 2 days, and I assume you want to have sex at some point – in a room that you describe as ‘clean sheets and a TV’?”

Mark: “Do you want me to move rooms?”

Me: “I think you will be happier if you do.”

Did he just meet me?

I have to put on some Zydeco and get in the mood.

Why I Love Advertising

Hey, we are bombarded with it, right? Sometimes you have to succumb. I know few people who have never ordered something off TV or QVC. As a kid, I ordered the Liberace Big Note Song Book and learned to play “Deck the Halls.”

I do try to shield Vivien from it on TV and radio, picking channels that have very little and muting it when ads come on. Even though she says, “What happened, Mommy?”

Well, here is how I haven’t shielded myself, and the funny thing? I still haven’t eaten one Klondike bar.

Preschool Days 2 & 3: Mama Drama

Day 2: After an hour of her not wanting me to leave, I bit the bullet and walked out. I walked out to her screaming and crying and begging and grabbing at my legs. I walked to the gate and didn’t turn around. One of the hardest thing I have ever done. Like I’ve been punched in the gut.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jonny Thirkill

I had signaled the teaching assistant I was doing it. She was standing next to us, ready to attend to Vivien. I went to the grocery store and took the groceries home. A zombie. All those things I had been looking forward to doing with my new free time in the morning flew out of my mind. I just felt horrible. I thought she must hate me. When I got home, there was a squirrel in my house. We both screamed. It ran out of the window we shouldn’t have left open.

I drove back near the school and walked closely by to try to hear her screams. I didn’t. I walked around the neighborhood for one hour. At least I got some exercise, that had been on my list. I was going to rush in at one point, but called my mom and she talked me out of it. “You are just going to prolong this,” she saod.  But it also showed it’s not crazy of Vivien or the other kids who cried when their parents left. I am arguably a middle-aged woman and in times of stress, I want my mommy too.

I called my friend Bonnie, I called my husband. Finally I sat in front of the school, again, just waiting to hear her voice or cry. When two parents from her class came up, they said I was not sitting by our kids, but a different class, so I wouldn’t have heard here anyway. We went in. I could see her happily having lunch. The teacher came over to us (they didn’t want the kids to see us yet). She said Vivien had cried for a few minutes and then played with two other kids. (Who had also cried earlier, maybe they are the sensitive crew.)  I went to where she was playing, about 15 minutes later.

I said, “are you ready to go home?”

Vivien said, “No, I want to stay.” I was so relieved and happy.

Mark is out of town, so I have to take her tomorrow, even though I have to bail even faster. God, I hope it goes okay.

And to think if Brad and Angie hadn’t had their kid on Monday, I wouldn’t have been able to have that experience with her.

Day 3: I went earlier so there were fewer kids and it was more tranquil. It’s a small room they start out in and it gets pretty hectic by 9ish. I stayed 30 minutes. Again, had to leave for work. I gave her a warning of leaving.  She took that fine.  But, when I said, “I’m going,” she flipped out again. Cried, grabbed, again the TA was standing by to pick her up. Vivien whacked her away, but the TA stayed with her. I walked out. As I walked to my car, I seriously thought I was going to throw up.

I drove 45 minutes to my shoot and blabbed to everyone who would listen about the preschool drama. I did a shoot on celebrity gift baskets. All that swag they get at gifting sweets. I said to my crew, “Let’s knock this out in one hour,” and we did. I was able to get back to Viv for the end of school. And again they said she had 2 minutes of crying and then was fine. She seemed fine. But tonight she said, “Mommy, no more school.”

I wasn’t going to send her 5 days this week, but now I think I should. Get her used to it…oh, gosh, I dunno. Also trying to set up some play dates with classmates, as she feels a familiarity with some of the kids.

You know, the other part that nags at me is I have a 14-year-old stepson who wants to spend very little time with us, and so I think, “Why am I pushing away this kid who wants to be with me?”