A Fancy Bottle of Shenanigans- Dr. Seuss Style

Has anyone ever given you one of these things?

Metaphorically I mean?

The bottle is blue or maybe green,

And the oblong shapes inside come with an alluring candy-coated sheen?

Stop! Don’t eat them just yet-

Read on! read on! I shall prove to you this was not just a dream!


Two weeks after baby number one was born the doorbell rang

I tell you this happened

I tell you this true-

A plethora of postmarked packages were piled high on the porch,

Tilted, askew

It wasn’t a holiday

not even



Swallowed whole by bubble wrap and hollowed out cardboard,

I began to panic, yes I did

This one says, “That one is the best!”

That one says, “This one is the worst!”

Your neighbor Jean says, “I know what’s best for quenching your thirst!”

Breathe new mama, don’t feel cursed

T’maybe best to inquire

with your pediatrician first.


So many people will tell you what to do and that their way is best,

It can be as scary, exhausting and intimidating as an elephant staring down at a flea.

So whether it be

Formula, diapers, butt cream or breast milk enhancement tea

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor,

on this you can trust me.




Bubbe in the Basement Syndrome

          Strange title, I know; please read on.

I loved when my bubbe slept over. The house just felt different; better. Within seconds after delicately hobbling into our house and kissing the middle of my forehead a million times she made everything smell like chicken soup and brisket. Somehow she got the tangled vine that was my hair soft and flowing, and also somehow helped me find that place in my brain that naturally eliminated any mathematical knowledge. With her I was a NASA genius ready to orbit the earth and not the child whose dad had to come into school and discuss getting a potential forever math tutor. She was a tiny, strong, 4ft 10in Russian powerhouse! She could do anything, she did not need help, she was fine and I always needed a sweater; she said so!

Falling asleep with her was by far my favorite moments. She let me place my drowsy noggin on her round belly and she told me story after story until my thoughts mixed with her stories and became the dreams I had during the night. With Bubbe the world made sense and everything would be okay.

One morning I woke up and she was not in bed. I ran downstairs assuming the bagels, cream cheese and apricot jam would be taking over the kitchen table. She was not there. I checked the back pantry, the backyard, knocked on bathroom doors. Nothing. I woke my dad up in a panic. We both searched and searched until finally I heard my dad say, “Mom, what are you doing down here?” I ran down to the basement steps where I saw my bubbe sitting up on the floor, hands in her lap, serene as can be. She had fallen down the stairs and hurt her hip. My dad asked her why in the world she didn’t yell for help. She did not want to bother us she said; we needed our sleep. Oh for goodness sakes!!

If you stuck around and reached this part of the story, thank you.

Maybe a long way around to get to my point, but when I had my babies I thought about this moment frequently. I knew that if my bubbe would have asked for help and woke us up we would never, not for one second, thought she was anything less than the role model of pure goodness and strength she had always been to us. If she would have asked for help she would have been in less pain much sooner and would have been back to cooking, brushing my knotty mane, quizzing me on my multiplication tables and crocheting a blanket for giant in no time!

I wish I would have asked for more help when I had my babies.  Why didn’t I ask for more help? Maybe I thought it made me seem incapable, unfit, not ready. Maybe I thought people would judge my parenting. Maybe it is all of the above. My bubbe was one small person who made a village of possibilities come to life when she came into mine.

Let’s do this thing, together.


Oxytocin Smoothie

                After about two months I began to feel less like a human, bloated, clumsy pretzel and more like a lone spaghetti string, soft and free from the pack; loose and lithe. I could feed my baby without 45 minutes of prep time and just plunk down, lift em’ out and get to it! Shortly after this transition occurred something else wonderful happened; I call it the oxytocin smoothie moment. It was in the middle of the night in cold, cold December. With my night vision eyeballs, trained perfectly like an owl’s, I slithered my way to the bassinet and scooped up my baby. We got into position, cuddled up like two commas face to face and the feeding commenced. Almost immediately I began to laugh uncontrollably. I laughed so hard tears poured down my face and other things poured, and it was as if I was in one of those movies where all of a sudden the scene became animated and I was sliding down a rainbow in the sky into a pot of gold glitter! I was a firework exploding in gorgeous sparkles from the inside out; though with every firework, the dissolve of sky fire is inevitable. Baby fell asleep and after placing her back in the bassinet (keep in mind this still took some acrobatics of perfectly timed baby roll off of forearm into unscathed REM beauty) I was overwhelmed with a ravenous sensation; to the kitchen I went, or sprinted.  I scoured the fridge of all cold Chinese leftovers, my all time, and favorite meal and went to town. As if catapulted into a scene of Harry Met Sally my husband came downstairs and said, “Can I have whatever it is you have been having and are presently having?” He had a look of combined fear, confusion and curiosity on his exhausted face, though simply sat at the table with me, fork in hand.

I know the recommended ingredients for a good smoothie are kale, or bananas, or strawberries, etc….But, I would take oxytocin mixed with whatever if given the opportunity.

With support and some patience, The Oxytocin Smoothie can be a gift for all new moms.

My First Tofu Play Date

Though this story takes place outside of the immediate postpartum period I promise an important and relevant point will be waiting at the end so please, read on.

When my daughter turned 6 months old I enrolled the two of us in our first parent /baby play date group at a charming facility in my neighborhood.  I finally felt like my mama legs had come in and it was time to venture out into the social world of parenthood. (Or so I thought) so off I went to “tot time.” This place had all the goods a parent would want; a glorious room filled with visually stimulating colors, hand painted designs delicately and gently popping out of the subtle and calming backdrops, wonderful books, fantastic soft rugs making you feel like you’re literally walking and playing upon a rainbow and a small, safe, tiny gym for the teeny tiny feet and bodies that will play within this adorable squishy labyrinth.

After some good ol’ circle time, singing and stories it was time for snack and then playing in the gym. I watched all the parents find a spot at one of the small tables designed for “Inch High Private Eye.” We all shimmied into our seats and started to dig through our diaper bags. One by one out came the tin containers, perfectly matching Tupperware and wooden forks and spoons. I watched in awe as each cover was taken off and the most beautifully crafted snacks magically appeared before my eyes. Here’s some of what I saw: roasted root vegetables shaped into the most darling little squares, purple grapes with the skins peeled off and cut in small triangles assuring no choking hazard, spinach and arugula (I think) diced for small fingers and finally, perfectly cut mini rectangles of baked tofu. You may be wondering, how did I know this was tofu? I didn’t! I had to ask someone which was particularly embarrassing and I slithered back to my inch high chair with my daughter. I proceeded to unzip my diaper bag and took out a pitiful looking Zip Lock bag of graham crackers. The play date was an hour long, I assumed a couple of graham crackers would suffice. It would right?

I looked around the room, beet red, praying no one was watching and placed a graham cracker in front of my daughter.  I wanted this tot time to end and all I wanted was to go home and finish this bag of crumbled graham crackers in my closet. Alone. All of a sudden this happened. A woman came over with her son and sat next to me in the empty inch high chair. She plopped her son on her lap and placed her Zip Lock bag of vanilla wafers on the table in front of us. “Want to share?” She asked me and she winked; she did, she really winked.  I stayed at tot time and did not go home and sit in my closet.

We need each other. We need to support each other without judgement and help each other,  that’s all there is to it.

Just a cup of coffee and the debut of, Meet The Girls!



“Come on Jessie; let’s go to State Street, one of your favorite places, and have coffee at that cafe you love, come on!”

I did love Canterbury back then – the coffee shop/bookstore/bed and breakfast. (Presently it is A Room Of One’s Own, one of the most gorgeous bookstores in Madison right off of State street)

I worked at Canturbery while in college back in…well…a long time ago. Trudy Barash, the most lovely, brilliant, sincere and book savvy woman I ever met in my life, was my boss and let me watch authors from above in the atrium of the bed and breakfast. I sat for hours and hours, month after month doing homework and listening to authors promoting their books.  I coveted that time, It was magical and solitary. Plus, I thought I was very dark and stormy up there, hovering over authors unbeknownst to them – it was college and I now know I was NOT as dark and stormy as I thought; I digress.

Back to present. I had just given birth for the first time 14 days prior, and had not yet left my house; my body was doing strange, transformy, drippy things that made me want to stay exactly where I was – at home, with my baby, Boppy pillow, my breast pump, two more Boppy pillows and the privacy and safety of my house. My oldest and dearest childhood friend Heather was visiting with her baby from Florida. I am sure she was given some sort of directives from my husband that went something like this: “GET HER OUT OF THE HOUSE, PLEASE!”

So after two hours of packing my diaper bag and getting us all in the car we arrived at the bookshop/coffee house. My favorite table by the window, looking out at State Street, was free and we made it ours. We ordered our pastries and coffees, took babies out of their “buckets” and stroller and I felt clean, social, capable of motherhood on every level, courageous, successful – and then I noticed my carrot cake seemed to have liquefied and I realized the liquid was sweat that was streaming down my chin onto not only my baby’s face, but obviously my food! Then all hell broke loose. My two week old began to cry and all the receptors that make it possible for me to feed my child from my own body began to go on high alert. ‘Okay,’ I thought. ‘Here we go. I can do this. ‘ I covered myself up with my breastfeeding cape, and tried the football hold; when my daughter’s legs kicked the cape on the floor I tried the cross cradle position and placed napkins over her face and myself. Her left arm also decided the napkins had to go and a shrill cry came from her tiny body that I had never heard before. Heads turned, 20 to 30 pairs of eyes tried to NOT look at me while looking directly at me.

There I was, dripping sweat like an Olympic gold medal athlete. My baby’s hair was slathered in salt water; coffee and pastries a concept of the past. I looked around the café, propped my feet up on the table and silently mumbled, “Enjoy the show everyone, meet the girls.”

Heather and I dissolved into tears and laughter. What else can you do after that?


Tears and laughter.