Today Otto’s six months shy of turning two–and in many ways it feels like he just had his first birthday. It’s really no lie when people tell you it goes by so fast. One of the things I’m so glad I’ve kept up is my monthly letter to Otto. I’ve written these since the first month. Sometimes it’s a pain to sit down and do it. And who knows if he’ll ever really care to read them. He’ll probably be, like, “oh, maaaaa” and shake his head. Really, though, I think they’re more for me. Not only does time fly, but you forget a lot of the little things that make these days what they are–fun, special, frustrating, exhausting. Last year I was at a baby shower where we all had to write a bit of advice about mothering. The monthly letter was my suggestion. A year later, I’d still say the same thing. The stories get funnier and more detailed, they become less about how exhausted you are and more about the silly things that make up your days together, and no matter what phase you’re in, they remind you to stop and take in the present, which changes as fast as your kid changes.
A few times I’ve thought of posting the letters here, but decided I share enough about Otto and our little family here. But today’s a special one, so I’ll give you just a few notes of what’s making the letter this month: Continue reading
Otto’s in a bit of a dipping phase these days. It started with some ketchup a few weeks ago. In most cases, he was just dipping his finger and licking it clean, as seen here at the Shake Shack…how could he not want those perfect fries?! And that burger went untouched. It was all about the ketchup. Or “red dip,” as Otto’s little cousin calls it.
In an effort to broaden his dipping horizons, I tried something new. Last night in an effort to get him to eat his sweet potato fries–which he was throwing onto the floor for Dolly to eat–I took out some babaganoush to see if that would make them more appetizing. Worked like a charm! I’m not sure if it’s the act of dipping (which he does with such gusto) or the extra layer of flavor that he likes (ps…babaganoush and sweet potato fries is a lovely combination). Either way, I’m looking for more recipes. So far, these are on my list:
Edamame Skordalia. Have you ever had skordalia? It’s this Greek garlic and potato dip that’s beyond delicious. And what a beautiful word to roll off your tongue, right? Otto’s a bit meh about edamame, but I bet I can convert him with this concoction.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Dip…oh, so many beet recipes, so little time!!! I also clipped this Beet and Horseradish Dip from Oprah magazine a while back, although I’m afraid the horseradish will be a bit of a turn-off. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try.
Cauliflower and White Bean Dip would go well with bits of crusty bread and a bowl of soup.
And last but not least, my favorite way to eat peas. We had a mint pea dip similar to this one at our wedding. It’s made with frozen peas, but biting into this you’re instantly transported to a spring day, no matter how cold it is outside.
This Goodnight Moon parody made me laugh. Kind of because it’s true, at least in my little world of Brooklyn parenting. I will say, though, that we’ve managed without the nannycam (I have a theory about this that I’ll share eventually) or the baby monitor (video or otherwise) just fine. And we haven’t sprung for the G&T coach, nor do we plan to. If Otto gets in, he gets in on his own merit. G&T, for all you that aren’t familiar with elementary education lingo, is Gifted and Talented. And for some parents, it seems to me, it’s the only way they can feel good about sending their child to public school. But who gets in? Look at this article about the G&T testing in New York! But I digress. Enjoy your Tuesday!
For well over two months now, I’ve been putting off the inevitable first haircut. Haircuts instantly morph babies into toddlers and I just wasn’t ready for it. But the hair kept growing and growing and in his eyes and I lost count of how many times people thought Otto was a girl. And in addition to that, the extra long nape hair reminded me that he was one Wayne Gretzky jersey short of looking like a circa-1982 hockey player. So yesterday without too much thought or fanfare (just a few chalkboard drawings to make the kitchen into a barber shop), I bit the bullet. And I have to say….I love the new look! It’s clean and he looks so handsome. And sure, he looks older, but he’s still got the baby cuteness too.
All the credit goes to Adam. I started out as the stylist and Adam was the photographer, but after about two snips, he was like ‘no no not that way’ and took the scissors and started cutting. We joked that if things to work out with architecture, he can always move on to cutting hair.
Bye bye earmuffs!
And we’re all done!
Happy Halloween! We just got through our first official one with Otto and had no idea how much fun it would be. Like all things when kids are under a certain age, this is more for the parents, right? Otto was a rhino–a costume that has been planned since May(!) when we hired his babysitter from Denmark, where, we learned, kids grow up on a story about Otto the rhino. There’s a song about him and when Marie takes Otto to this Danish playgroup, apparently all the kids sing the song to Otto. Needless to say, the rhino is Otto’s mascot.
I’m proud to say I made that little number. Of course I spent way more time than a sane person should on a Halloween costume, but given that I’ve spent all of maybe two hours (shopping time included) on all of my costumes in the past 15 years I was allowed to go a little nuts. That said, it was far from perfect (I loosely followed this pattern for a bear costume and made that giant Dr. Seussish horn myself.) I also carved my first pumpkin in I don’t know how long, as is evidenced by the very basic geometric eyes and nose, and scary toothy smile. Otto had no interest in this and Dolly was scared of it and wouldn’t come near the kitchen as I finished. I can’t blame her, really. It was awful. We skipped the seed roasting, though. That’s because the pumpkin I bought was well on its way to rotten in part of it. But that’s OK because we came home and put Otto to bed and had plenty of loot to snack on instead. Continue reading
Is it too late to post a little post about Otto’s first birthday party? No? Well let me tel. you all about it, then! We had a cupcake picnic last Sunday near Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Of course I stressed for I don’t know how long about the weather and what we would do if it rained, but it was absolutely perfect. I also worried that Otto would be having one of ‘those days’ where he was grumpy, but he rose to the occasion and loved being the center of attention.
Can you guess which of these I stopped to get? Beet & Dill, of course! If there was a kale flavor, it would have been a tough decision. The flecks of dill were unexpected, and it was so good I had to stop to share it with Otto. He approved. That’s my boy.
P.S. The ice cream is from Karloff, a beautiful place with borsch and cabbage rolls and warm stews. It’s completely underrated. Go!
Today my little one had his first birthday. I’m a little late posting him a birthday wish, but that’s because we were out all day having fun! 365 days and 1 lucky leap year day later, I’m still in awe of this little miracle that came into our lives. Even though it’s bittersweet to see Otto turning into a little boy seemingly overnight, I am excited to watch him grow–just not too fast! Happy 1st birthday, Otto. xoxo.
Posted in motherhood
Dolly reminds me that I need to let her get her terrier instinct yayas out now and then. It’s in her nature to hunt for squirrels and rats. I’m still thanking my lucky stars for the time she didn’t see the skunk run across the yard of the house we rented in Maine last summer. Anyway, she needs to have her time to do what is in her nature. She pays us back with kisses and adorable views of her curled up in various parts of the apartment.
I’m realizing that’s the same case with Otto. He needs to crawl around in dirt. Just like his ancestors way way back. I just started reading Happiest Toddler on the Block (a follow up to our newborn bible) and the first chapter talks about how toddlers are basically uncivilized cavemen. He was such a pill today; sweaty and my head pulsing from our long walk home from Ikea because I wasn’t about to brave another bus ride with him (and just to add to that, all of our shoppings were left at the store because he was too impatient for the long checkout lines), I had a solution. I took him to the neighborhood sandbox and plopped the little caveman in. It was all wet from the downpours we had this morning, but he couldn’t care less. He was happy as a clam.
Fifteen minutes later, we strolled home peacefully, both of us covered with sticky city sand. Save for a few more fits of impatience, all was good, and he even came over to me at one point and gave my shoulder a hug and nuzzled in. He also went to bed with no more than 30 seconds of crying. If those are the rewards, I have a feeling we’ll be spending much more time at the sandbox.
Posted in motherhood
Otto is smitten with his babysitter. When she arrives he waits at the top of the stairs giddy with delight, giggling and kicking his legs. And on Monday for the first time, he cried when she left. He tried to follow her out the door on all fours and she had to come back up the stairs to give him another kiss goodbye. The next day we walked with her to the subway, and this was his face as she slowly went down the stairs. It’s like ‘where’s Marie going???’ It all reminds me of this short film that’s on my list of things to see/do. It’s about a boy and his babysitter, all set in an eerily quiet New York City.