Princess or Despot?

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm

This morning, for the 1000th time, I argued with the 4-year-old about what she was going to wear to school. The dialogue goes something like this:

L: What am I going to wear today?

M: Let’s check the weather. Not too warm today, honey.

L: Does that mean I can’t wear a dress? (Insert whiney tone here.)

M: Not today.

I set aside pink pants, pink t-shirt, and a turquoise sweatshirt with purple and pink polka dots.

L, now crying: I can’t wear that, pants are for boys. I can’t go to school wearing that. Everybody will laugh. I am NOT going to school today.

My daughter can be dramatic and prone to mood swings. She ends up wearing the outfit I selected and skips to the car happily to go to school (an aside: if I give her two options to pick from, that does not prevent a wanna-wear-a-dress tantrum).

What’s even more disturbing to me than her drama and the disruption of my morning rush, is that she is, in fact, in a panic. I am not the one who drops her off at school, but I have learned that some of the little girls in her class do taunt the poor souls with no Y chromosome who show up wearing pants. They also dole out compliments to those in dresses. It all goes back to girls being princesses, and princesses wearing dresses. I don’t know how this Princess Dictatorship came to be, but I want out.

When L was almost one, we read this article on the New York Times Magazine. I remember it now, Z and I reading it over breakfast, thinking we would somehow prevent the Princess bug to catch our little girl. Please try to hold back the laughter.

I can’t say I remember when Princesses became her everything, but I know it was gradual. When L was a baby, we dropped her off at the home of a wonderful, loving babysitter who has a daughter almost exactly a year older. That is where the exposure began. Princess books, Princess dolls, what’s the harm, right? Next thing you know, the kid can identify all the Disney Princesses. The loving sitter took her family to Orlando, and came back with a Disney Princess lunch box. We were horrified. We kept it in the closet until the sitter asked why we weren’t using it. Slowly but surely, more sparkly, glittery, perfectly pink products with the mugs of Ariel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty made their way into our home. Slippers. Stickers. I confess I, myself, purchased a cute Ariel doll to present to L after her ear-tube surgery. Well-meaning relatives purchased costumes. The adorable 2-year-old, twirling in her gown, had found heaven.

Brownbaggin’ It

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm
People know that one of the easiest ways to save money is to bring a brown-bag lunch to work. I know it too. But life gets in the way and I find myself spending $7-$10 on bad food, or worse, attacking the vending machine. In the past, I have worked in parts of NYC with so many different food choices that I could always find something tasty and cheap (how I miss you, Chelsea…). This neighborhood where I work now has lots of hospitals, not gourmet food. There’s really good Indian food a few blocks away, but I don’t always have the luxury to go beyond the corner. My recession special: a slice of plain pizza ($2.25) and a fruit salad from the juice cart ($3). Delicious, but I try to keep the pizza to once a week.

This week, as my bank account looks less than healthy, I decided to bring lunch to work – EVERY DAY. No matter what. Let’s see if I can get through the week without hitting the ATM. This may take some advance planning and strategy. It will also require consistency, not my strong suit. In the interest of full disclosure, this is a team effort. My husband and I share the cooking and he often packs my lunch in the morning. I love it that he always includes a special snack or treat. Makes me smile when I open the lunch cooler. Here we go:

Hi there.

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I can’t quite fit in.

I am a NY Jew by way of Brazil. I moved to the States when I was in my late teens. Everybody asks me how I lost my accent. As my four-year-old points out, I really  mispronounce things all the time.

I am a working mom. Not the kick-ass corporate career big-earning kind of working mom. Not the fancy designer suit kind. More the nonprofit does-OK-but-struggles-like-crazy kind of working mom. The kind who needs to work but suspects wouldn’t be too happy at home all day without any help. The kind who gets jealous of the other moms at the preschool who don’t have to rush to catch a train in the morning. Jealous that they get to drop off their kids at preschool at all.

I miss my single childless friends. I don’t get to see them much. I like my mom friends but sometimes it’s clear we don’t have much in common beyond geography and when we popped our babes.

Life is crazy. Life is rich. Life is lonely. I have many interests and very little time to devote to any of them. So I dabble.