Money Matters

I’ve been thinking about how to talk to Miss Red about money. Money was a tense subject in my house growing up and I want her to have a sense of empowerment about budgeting and monetary decisions, because it’s something I still struggle with at 34. My husband and I have a pretty good way of talking about money – sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s tense – but in the end we generally reach the same conclusions. Most of the time.

I’m working on not seeing spending as something to feel guilty about, and doing my best to witness my relationship to money. Geneen Roth, the author of Women, Food and God, wrote a book called Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, where she chronicles how she lost everything to Bernie Madoff, and how her relationship to money is related to food. Interesting, no?

My mother-in-law was able to be part of a cool Sesame Street project, which focused on financial literacy. She even met Elmo and got to stand in Oscar’s trash can! Sesame Street’s model is an interesting one, but I’m wondering what you all do to talk about money with your kids. Do you plan on giving them allowance? Will you ask them to save for college?

– MD


Adventures in Bedtime

Lil’ Miss Red is funny, caring and lovable. She smiles, tells us silly statements and is a joy to be around. Except for bedtime. Then she’s the Girl Who Cries Wolf.

Her history of sleep has been, like most children, rocky. As an infant she was nocturnal and her wakeful period was from 7 p.m. until midnight or 1 a.m., when she would still get up one or two times during the night to eat and I had a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call to pump.

She started sleeping through the night, 75% of the time, when she was a little more than a year old. We had a nice routine and she’d happily talk to herself, sometimes for upwards of an hour, in her crib, with all of the lights out and the door closed. When she didn’t sleep through the night it was usually related to teething or sickness and within a week she’d be back to her usual pattern.

That was one year ago.

Now, at two, Lil’ Miss Red has a new plan. To get out of going to sleep. Enter her new tactics:

  • Throwing her pjs away. She has placed them in both the trashcan and her diaper genie.
  • Crying “help me.”
  • Crying “I have a poopy diaper.”
  • Crying “hey mama” or “hey dada” repeatedly.
  • New iterations of how far the door can be open. “Open the doorway” and “not dark” are new calls from the crib.

Any of the above combinations can go on for an hour. With an 8 p.m. bedtime, this means that she sometimes doesn’t fall asleep until 9, or even 9:30 p.m. A few weeks ago I went in after 9 and insisted that all of her friends were asleep. “Wake them up,” was her response.

Oh sure, we do the various tactics of getting ready for bed. No TV an hour before bedtime, reading books, giving her ample verbal announcements about changing clothes, offering her an option of who will sing her songs, letting her pick said songs as we rock her, etc.

Her stubbornness is starting to shift to naps, too. We’ve found that one of the ways she’ll at least go into her crib is by convincing her that everyone is “taking a rest.” We’ve even started singing a favorite song, courtesy of Sesame Street. The Caribbean back beat really helps.

Nearly two years ago I ended my maternity leave and I quipped that the key to work/life balance was sleep. Not much and a little of everything has changed since then.

– MD

Today, My Day Was Saved

Today, my day was saved by Sesame Street. My daughter was tired, hungry, thirsty, crabby, teething or SOMETHING, and Elmo, Big Bird, and the rest of the gang were able to make her happy when nothing else could. We sat on the couch and watched Sesame Street for, oh, longer than I care to admit.

Huge shout out to Sesame Street!

It made me think. I have gratitude to more than just Sesame Street. There are people and things that have helped me tremendously in my 14 months as a mom.

Here are just a few of my shout outs:

  • Shout out to infant’s ibuprofen!  You have soothed my baby during ear infections, fevers, new teeth.  You have stopped the crying.  You have eased my mind.
  • Shout out to spring!  My house is too small for winter.
  • Shout out to milk!  I think if my daughter had to choose, she would choose you over me.  She LOVES you.  And you make her happy and healthy, so I love you too.
  • Shout out to Feist!  Your music has made our diaper changes easier.  I haven’t gotten poop on myself or the wall ONCE since we started playing your music in the bedroom.
  • Shout out to rainy days!  You provide quiet times in our busy life.  You slow us down just when we need it.  But please, don’t come around too often.
  • Shout out to clotrimazole!  You are foot cream, but you get rid of my daughter’s antibiotic-induced yeast infections, too!  You are amazing!
  • Shout out to grandparents!  You love our baby independent of us.  You will always be there for her and watch out for her.  And you will let us know if we are doing something wrong.  I don’t always want to hear it, but I will always remember that your heart is in exactly the right place.
  • Shout out to cheese!  From the dogs to the adults, every single member of my family loves you.
  • Shout out to bed time!  My sanity thanks you.  Please talk to nap time and see if you can get it on board, too.
  • Shout out to my dogs!  You are annoying, you smell, and you cost too much money.  But you are kind to my daughter, and she loves you.
  • Shout out to Dexter’s Pub!  You provide a place that my whole family feels comfortable and welcome.  You have great food, an awesome beer list, stellar service, and you know us – and our baby – by name.
  • Shout out to our daycare!  No one would call you the best that there is.  But for a insanely small amount of money per hour, you have taught my daughter some very useful sign language, single-handedly gotten her to eat solid foods, and treated her with love and respect.  You are (relatively) affordable, accommodating to my part-time schedule, and close to home.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.
  • Shout out to books!  I love that my girl would choose you over any of her toys.  Like Mary Poppins, you are practically perfect in every way.
  • Shout out to generics!  You provide the same products at a fraction of the price.  You have helped us buy the things we need and want for our family without being a burden on our sometimes meager budget.
  • Shout out to dandelions!  You assure me that I can lay our blanket in the park without fear that the grass has been chemically treated.
  • Shout out to my camera!  You aren’t fancy.  You’re kind of banged up.  But you fit in my pocket and have reliably and beautifully captured the best times in my life.  And you’re pink!
  • Shout out to graham crackers!  You have dried tears in the car seat, in the cart at the grocery store, and in the stroller.  I try to never leave home without you.
  • Shout out to Madison!  I fell in love with you the minute I laid eyes on you.  I can’t think of any place that I’d rather raise a family.



It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’d like to think that having a baby didn’t change me. Yes, it changed me in all the usual and wonderful ways. I have more love in my heart than I ever thought possible. I feel more joy and gratitude than I have ever known. My highs are higher and my lows are lower. But at my core? I’d like to think I’m the same person.

Who is that person? I’m maybe a little loud, I can be a bit brash. I’m honest and open and giving. I laugh easily. I swear like a sailor and, well, I tend to say some really raunchy things. I’m a bit shy in new situations, but friendly. I can be slow to warm up to new people. I hate talking on the phone. I have well-informed opinions on the world around me. I pay attention and read people well. My bullshit meter is off the charts.

We all know those people who completely change when they have a baby. Every conversation is about what their little one is doing, how potty training is going, how much sleep they got last night. You know, the people who can’t hold a conversation about anything other than their kids.

I am not that person.


I got my first clue that things had changed at work. I was picking out some colored paper for a form with a co-worker, and she decided on yellow. “YELLOW!” I shrieked, clapping my hands.

“You are SO the mother of a toddler,” she deadpanned.

A few days later, my husband and I were able to get out for a date night. We went shopping for our daughter’s first birthday and then out to a bar for a few beers. It was lovely, having a night to ourselves, shopping for our daughter and celebrating this huge milestone. We thought back on the past year and the difficult years before our daughter arrived, and marveled at how far we’ve come. This was our chance to reflect, spend some time together, have some adult conversation.

“Did you ever notice that Murray doesn’t interact with ANYONE else on Sesame Street? If it wasn’t for ‘Murray Had a Little Lamb’ he’d be nothing more than a host. But she really loves him, it’s a shame that they don’t make a Murray doll. And you know, I find that Mr. Noodle kind of creepy. But I do like his brother, Mr. Noodle. And that robot! I love that robot, with the underbite?”

Sitting at the bar downtown, spending a few glorious hours outside the house by ourselves, I was rambling on and on. Not about current events or the book I was reading. Not about what was happening at work or our plans for the weekend. I was going on and on about SESAME STREET.

I stopped to catch my breath and looked at my husband. “I’m done talking about Sesame Street,” I promised.

Yeah, I’m the same person. I still have many of the qualities that I had before, with a few new ones thrown in. I am trying – TRYING – to curb my swearing. I keep my mind out of the gutter until after my daughter’s bedtime. I’m still a bit loud, but I’m thankfully starting to feel less shy in new situations. I’m trying new things. I am not quite as tuned in to the world around me and sadly, I have less time for reading.

I’m still all of the things I used to be. But these days, I’m also a person who yells out colors and numbers and shapes. I laugh more easily at silly antics. I get on down the floor and play. Yes, I have opinions on baby constipation and diaper rash and sleep schedules. And I will hold deep, meaningful conversations about Sesame Street late into the night at a bar.

It’s who I am.


Blog at

%d bloggers like this: