Raising Boys

This one is a little longer, but has a great payoff.  I was moved to smiles and laughter by an essay on Babble by Thomas Matlack. The full article is here. It was a piece by a dad, telling a mom about raising boys.  I know a lot more about girls, being one, so I was all ears.

So, here is me reading some highlights with Rex and, of course, giving my take on it.

See if you agree or disagree.

Face Mixer

I don’t go to a lot of mom blogger gatherings.  Was it something I vlogged?  There are bloggers that seem to know everyone, I don’t think I’m that person.  I haven’t been to any of the BIG events, but over the last year I have been invited to a few smaller gatherings and it is nice to meet the sisters.  One a few weeks back was hosted by Romy Raves in the SF Valley.  It was the OPI Salon where I actually had done a segment as host of the Fashion Team there ( you know, before they downsized me to occasional correspondent) it’s a nice place where you can get a massage and pretty nails.

This soiree was sponsored by Therapon skin.  I can’t give a review of it yet as I still haven’t cracked open the sampler box they tucked under my arm that night.  If that cute gal Christina who reps them is any indication I’ll be dropping my dreams of a scapel. She said this is stuff for your skin that was developed by a plastic surgeon. She is a darling Southern Belle who made the party possible and allowed me to gorge myself on LASAGNE cupcakes.  Sounds gross?  well, It’s in the form of a cupcake, but no batter, more like a lasagna bomb. Also cupcakes from Magnolia bakery ( just ordered some mini’s for Rex’s bday party) Ran into Candice of fashionably organized.  We love to talk charter schools and fringe neighborhoods we can afford.

Lots of the gals were getting that new Katy Perry crackle nail thing, not my bag.  But, nice to have a little color on these worn paws.

That’s why I need to listen to my friend Carolyn who always says, “go where your invited.”  Highlight for me was when a gal said, “I just watched Rex’s wallet service!”  Felt like a star.

Explaining the News to Vivien

News events are moving so fast that this video I did a couple of weeks ago went from being dated to relevant again.  I posted it last week, but took it down quickly because the news came out about Lara Logan being attacked.  That really bothered me and thought the video would be in poor taste .  I feel like it’s okay now and with the events in Libya and all the other stories that will unfold while you have young children how do you address it?

How far do you go when exposing your kids to news stories?  Vivien was old enough to know I was obsessed with the 2008 election, and Michael Jackson’s death went on forever.  Do I get into all the unsavory bits? Certainly not. I think it’s cool for her to know about big events and I try to break it down for her in a way she can understand. I filmed this when the grease was first hitting the pan in Egypt.

The part of Vivien is played by my friend Michelle.

Rex’s puppy party

My little boy is now 2.  He is even more fun, has more words and still slaps me and kisses me ( see Italian Movie Star).  I am more in love with him than ever.

As great as he is Rex doesn’t have a lot of friends.  It’s not that he isn’t friendly.  He hugs kids all the time.  Just walks up to them and hugs them.   But, no daycare, no pre school, hard to make friends.  I didn’t want to go crazy for his bday, but wanted him to have his “happy day-o”  which is what he calls it.

So, invited family, Vivien’s best pal from school and his friends ( who I like a lot) and then just neighbors.  I was so pleased because we live at a cross section of the city.  We have Koreans, gays, Hassidic Jews, Latino’s.  I was really touched that so many showed up.  I ordered Kosher cupcakes because I want all of my friends to be comfortable.  But, they were all pleased with the main event of the party rolled up.

puppy party
We had a puppy party.  I have never been a dog person.  I have never had my own dog.  But, after sometime with these puppies I think I could become a crazy dog lady. Now, of course since Rex loves dogs and cats I was sure when he saw them he would squeal with delight.  No.
puppy party
puppy party
He looked frightened. I tried to get him comfortable, but he ran back in the house.

The puppy lade set up a fence and out came the puppies.  A Maltese ( Vivien’s favorite), the Doxie I was ready to adopt right there, a Doxie Shitzue mix that won my heart.  Mark loved the Jack Russel.  We had an hour with the pups. “I think I might have you come once a month for therapy” I said to the puppy lady as I absorbed the puppy love.puppy party

“Oh, I have a lot of people who do that.  They don’t think they can handle the responsiblity of a dog, but they miss having one.”

When puppy lady had to go, one little boy cried.  I have heard that other kids are still asking, “where are the puppies?”  puppy partyWe had the cupcakes and then most guests said their goodbyes. Rex loved this shirt I bought him when I was in New York.
puppy party
Then Mark said, “where are the jumper cables?”  Why?  The puppy lady couldn’t start her car.  As Mark tried to help her with her car with an assist from his brother in law, I ran for the puppies.

“Bring them back in.”  I didn’t want them in their puppy carrying case.  She came back and set up the fence again. I thought, maybe Rex will have gotten use to the idea and he will be into it now.  I ran into the Vivien’s room where they were playing with their cousin Lily.

“Rex, the puppies are back.” I got the reaction I had hoped for.

“PUPPIES” He screamed and ran down the hall way with the girls following.

I sat back down with Rex and the Maltese came over.
puppy party
“Mommy, I think they peed.” Vivien exclaimed. Yes, their was a bit of pee on the tarp.

“Well, honey, they were cooped up, they need to pee.”  Poor puppy ladies car would not start.  She was going to have to wait for a ride.  The rest of us were in heaven.  Mark got her a plate of mac and cheese he had made and we all played with the pups.  Then it got dark.  I suggested we bring them inside as it was getting dark.
puppy party
Rex and Vivien and my niece were having a blast.  Now we had a houseful of puppies.

Finally the puppy lady was picked up and I had to pry the Doxies, and the mix out of my arms.

Mark has been against getting a dog for a long time.  But, even he melted.  “They need someone to play with , we should get both Doxies if we get one.”

The thing is I have a poo limit.  I am also still a tad sleep deprieved.  When my little human puppy is potty trained I can think about getting a dog.  But, not before then.

Rex got a lot of great presents.  People were very good to him.

He had a happy day-o.

And, God willing, when my kids are in college I will be in Palm Springs, with short dyed hair, have pink golf clothes and puppies.puppy party

Children’s Book Review

The good thing about having more than one child — besides producing a human who can affirm for your first born that “Yes, our parents are nuts!” — is that all that stuff you haven’t thrown away will be used again. The highchair, some clothes, the crib, the stroller… This amortization makes additional children seem like a worthy investment (skip the part about paying for private school or college; just let that go for now).

One of my favorite early Cool Mom vids was this one about how parents get bored reading certain children’s books.  As Vivien got older, I found that I was less bored.  We read different things, and some even have pretty good little stories.  But now that Rex can say “book” and “sit here” while gesturing to me – well, really commanding me – to sit next to him on Vivien’s bed (that’s our reading place), I am remembering why reading to the toddler-to-three set can be a challenge.  They interrupt, thrusting different books in your face, saying, “this, this,” and then want the same book read over and over about 43 times.

Most of our favorite books were gifts, but not all of them smell like spring roses.  That’s a metaphor.

Momversation: Were You Scared to Become a Mom?

Teresa Strasser is the guest mom on Momversation this week (Catherine Connors is one of the trio as well). Teresa and I have crossed professional paths for 10 years now. In the early zeros, we were both doing shows that were produced by BBC America. Hers was “While You Were Out,” mine was “Perfect Partner.”  Then, we were both participants in a Christmas Special for the Country Music channel.  I remember it as glorious.  I had just given birth to Vivien two weeks previous and hadn’t worked for many months beforehand.  I was HUGE, tired and housebound.  Mark and Oliver watched baby Viv while I got into a Mrs. Claus outfit, made jokes and collected $500.  Yippee, I’m making money and leaving the house.  I was practically kissing the make-up woman for making me look human, even though I was wearing a red muffin hat and wire framed glasses.

Teresa recalls it as a low point.  Forced to degrade herself as a Christmas tree on Yom Kippur for $500.  I do remember telling them, “She is not going to want to put green on her face; no woman would.”

Then we were both hosts at TV Guide channel for awhile.  Her show was “Watercooler” (with the super funny and clever John Fugelsang) and I was doing the FT.

Now, we cross once again.  She has written a book about pregnancy and new motherhood.  She talks about her fears about becoming a mother.

Can’t wait to see where we cross again! Oh, and yeah, she does have white wires coming out of her ears.

1st Annual Cool Mom Awards

As we face down the barrel of Oscar time I think, ‘Hey, I can be as self-involved, self-promoting and self-congratulatory as anyone else in show biz, the Hollywood Foreign waiters (what my dad called the Golden Globe group) or the Tea Party’. It’s time for the CMAs!!! Oh, wait, that’s what the Country Music Awards go by … hmm, I know!  Time to hand out the “Coolie” (sidebar:  I worked with Coolio once on a VH-1 show in NYC and loved the guy.  I’m from Culver City; he lived in Westchester, which is next door.  We bonded over unchic addresses.)

But, will the Coolie go to me?  Sure, the team that put that video together will know they were a big part of making something award winning — I’m talking to you Rex and Vivien — but, oh, no, the real winner is the randomly selected commenter.  Because if you make a comment, that is my reward.

When I shot this video I didn’t know what my “trophy” would be for the lucky winner (a viewer, not the winning video).  But now I know!  The lovely moms behind PackIt (my first ever national commercial) have offered up one of their PackIts.  (True: love the PackIt.  Just packed a smoothie in one this AM for Vivien’s lunch snack.)

So, watch this video, and please “vote” below.  Who knows? Maybe one day the Coolies will have a dinner, red carpet and sweaty under breasts – all the hallmarks of a REAL award show.

IF you need to jog your memory here is a link to nominee #1, #2, #3, #4, #5

For official rules, click here.

Gamma Gave Me

Since my dad’s passing in August, my kids have been left grandfatherless. Mark’s dad passed many years ago.  It breaks my heart that my dad and children didn’t get more time together, but I’m so glad he held them both in his arms.

With the loss of Papa, their grandmas are even more important.  We are fortunate to have them both nearby. One is about one and a half miles away; the other about five.  They are nice grandmas. My mother-in-law is Grandma Cheryl and my mom is Aunt Mom — a nickname my nephew gave her as he heard his mom call her sisters by their first name and her mom, “mom”, so that must be her name and she must be Aunt Mom — to Vivien. But Rex is a traditional kid.  He just calls them “gamma” or sometimes my mom is “mom” (I’m momma or mommy).

I really love that my kids love their grandmas.  When either of them come over it’s like the Rolling Stones just landed on the tarmac for an impromptu concert.  I want to foster this cross-generational closeness. I want my kids to know how great it is to have loving grandmas and appreciate the love and the gifts they get from them. Always say thank you and acknowledge their kindness.

But, maybe, just maybe, I’ve gone too far. A girlfriend came over the other day and said, “how can that be?”  “Check this out”, I said.  And grab the camera.

Sponsored: Amazing Little Movers: Leighton, James & Charlotte

Okay, this one is pretty cute. It’s a lot of babies, and it was fun to play sports anchor with Rebecca Woolf. I did three of these so watch for them.  We do use Huggies, so this was a natural fit. Ah! A Pun.

The basic message here: 1) Huggies fit your kids well and lets them move; and 2) if you do buy Huggies they have a number you plug in online and earn points to get stuff.

The fun for me was to see my Momversation moms IN PERSON.  I wish we had more of those.  It’s much easier to talk when we are in the same room. Also, I went into an office to do these.  Felt very grown up – “I have to go to work.”


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