Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Toast To 2012: The Year That Won't Suck

In thinking about our last post of the year, we struggled a lot with how to characterize 2011.

On the one hand, we could simply title this post: "Good riddance crappy 2011, hello 2012!" The end of the year is a time to take stock as all the "Best albums/fashion/dirty politicians/etc. of 2011" lists in the media remind us, and the only thing we're taking stock of this year is that if we ever have to go through another year like this past one we'll never make it.

New York has a population of over 9 million yet the city can sometimes be one of the loneliest places in the world. It's not a city with a built-in community. You have to find your own community, your own niche, and in a city with so many things going on that is easier said than done. And, if like most New Yorkers, you work 50+ hours a week, you barely have enough energy to go on seamless web and order your dinner, much less try and go out and talk to your neighbor. It's a sad cliche in life that you learn who your real friends are (or aren't) during tough times, and this year sadly re-proved that to be true. So as we take stock of things we cannot elaborate on: the disappointments, multiple near-nervous breakdowns, and lost friendships, we pause to observe that living in a city of 9 million strangers doesn't necessarily help with that. When you struggle you struggle alone.

But nothing is entirely black and white so to say last year was "crap" and leave it at that would leave many other things unacknowledged. This was also the year of our first writing successes. The year mini learned how to ride a bike and tie her shoes. And while we had our backs turned it was also the year mini evolved from an innocent young person to a toothless and beautiful young girl, fully immersed in the journey that is middle childhood.

And the loneliness? Turns out that despite living amongst so many strangers, sometimes New York can also feel like a small town. The school mini attends? A brand new community for both her and her mother. The neighbor who was a stranger? A fellow alum from University. The lady at the haircut place who needed a door opened? A friend whose children went to school with your friend's child. The lady on the bus? A friend's mother. The runner you walked by on the street? Your child's piano teacher. The creepy stranger at the coffee shop? A friend of a friend from abroad. And so it continues...

So while we are tempted to talk about all the things we hated about 2011, the light at the end of the tunnel is but 12 hours away.

How will we begin 2012? Reminding ourselves that "hey, you still have your health" as we relish in the soreness that comes from celebrating our muscles in exercise class this week. Enjoying the peaceful feeling that accompanies watching a child sleep. Sipping champagne, surrounded by friends, hopefully dancing our @ss off. Feeling gratitude for both old friends that have been a part of our lives and new friends that have come into it. And excited about the adventure and possibilities that lie ahead in 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Little Boxing Day Advice

With Christmas on a Sunday this year, the whole country has Monday off as a national holiday.  Which means one thing: more people shopping day-after-Christmas sales than ever.

So in the spirit of consumerism, let us give you a little Christmas shopping advice from this New York Jew. 
Just because it's on sale, doesn't mean you should buy it.
Seems simple, yet so many people ignore this advice.  "But Poker Chick", you might say.  "40% off! When do you ever get zebra-print earmuffs this cheapAnd sheets!  Egyptian cotton sheets at 60% off! So what if they don't match anything in my bedroom, it's the bargain of 2011!  And --- oh my goodness, it's the brown and crisp! I've seen this on TV! Just think about all the money I will save not ordering in."

We know, we know.  This advice is a total buzzkill and seems especially odd coming from a woman who told you about all the wonders of Sephora.  But that's when you're looking for something specific.  It's the impulse purchase, rationalized by the word "sale" that we are convinced has something to do with the financial crisis our country is in.  See, retailers are counting on this "60% off saves me money!" mindset.   We've fallen trap to this ourselves.  And it's great when you were going to buy that anyway.  But if it wasn't on your list, just remember, you can be smarter. 

The real math is this: 40% off $100 is still $60 more than zero.

Instead of shopping, might we suggest you maybe use that day to get a jump on your New Years' Resolutions, such as catching up on your correspondence.  You can use the first note to send yours truly a thank you for saving your wallet.

Happy Boxing Day, peeps.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Chanukah. Did you just make that gelt from scratch?

One could call it dedication.  Wanting our daughter to have a bag of foil-wrapped chocolates like her friends in school tomorrow, we made some. 

However, one could also call it desperation.  Despite knowing that Chanukah was coming for weeks, and that her school would give out gelt, we did not order the safe chocolate in time to arrive for the party.  Of course, the party is a day earlier than we thought, but that's even worse. We write about allergies and planning for school celebrations all the time; we talk the talk but can't walk the walk?

So when school called asking what she would eat, we panicked.  Suddenly it dawned on us that why not make our own coins! How hard can it be? One quick trip to a store and $6 later we had molds and wrappers in hand.  A minor domestic miracle!

Dedication? Desperation? How 'bout just plain old procrastination. 

Happy Chanukah all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 5 Superpowers You Didn't Know You Had

Did you know it's Superhero week?

We didn't.  In fact, it's not.  This monumentous made-up week would have come and gone unnoticed if not for the dear Nancy Davis Kho who wrote a fabulous blog entry about her superpower of timepacking.

It was so brilliantly funny, it inspired us to write our own.  In no particular order (ahem), here are the superpowers motherhood has granted us:

  1. Mind reading: I have the uncanny power to know what you are thinking before you will say it. It’s true! You don’t even need to open your mouth, I will say it for you, even if it’s not what you wanted to say, trust me, it’s what you were thinking.   
  2. No-soap sensor: You may have run the water, but if I hear the pitter patter of your little feet, my supermom no-soap sensor will tell me whether or not you used soap, so that I may direct you back to re"wash", even if I haven't seen or smelled your hands.  Talk about efficiency!
  3. Super nighttime alertness: Not only has motherhood introduced me to the wonderful feeling of constant sleep deprivation, my superpowers ensure I wake at the drop of a pin, just in case there's trouble.  My super nighttime alertness makes sure I hear every pee break.  I'm there for the coughs, the fevers.  The drunk guy cursing on the street at 3am.  And for every razor falling in the shower due to a poorly-functioning suction cup, I'm there.  
  4. Nag-o-meter:  Nagging is a superpower, right? It must be.  I could win a nagging contest with anyone.  If you need nagging, I'm your woman.   I can nag at mealtimes, bathtime, on the way to school.  I'm such a good nagger I don't even need a kid to nag! Just ask my colleagues!  
  5. Transcendental memory: My memory is so good, I can remember every detail.  Every piece of broccoli you promised to eat and didn't.  Who broke the faucet.  And your name.  I remember names so well, I bypass a parent's name and go straight to the kid's.  Heck, I'll even call them by their own kid's name because I have remembered their names so well I don't even need to use it anymore.  That's how good my momnesia is.
Anyone else have awesome superpowers?  

Monday, December 12, 2011

What If We Break Our Own No-Nut Rule?

For years we've lived our lives avoiding eggs, sesame seeds, peanuts, and any and all forms of tree nuts.  No one said it was easy, but since we've been doing this before mini started solids (what we affectionately called the "not so fun yet thank goodness we can still eat frozen yogurt nursing diet") we're kind of used to the drill.  Years of blood tests, skin pricks and food challenges have confirmed that these allergies ain't going away anytime soon.


Except that a recent food challenge revealed mini is not allergic to almonds!  Not sure if she outgrew them, or if she was never really allergic and we were avoiding it just to be safe, but our world just opened up.  That's right, you heard us, so many foods we could never have before!  The one tiny brand of almond butter that is not made in a plant with any other kinds of nuts!  The cheerios made with almond flour but no other contaminants! The almond hershey kisses!  The....well, actually, that's it.  Maybe "world" is a bit of an overstatement.  But it's still a big change.

Such a big change, we were told mini has to eat almonds at least a couple times a week now to ensure it's safe.  So honey nut cheerios for breakfast it is.  Fortunately for us, it also meets her stringent food criteria as it is non-nutritious and white or brown.

All of this is exciting, but not unexpected.  Her numbers for that nut were borderline for years.  It was time.

So why, you ask, is this even blog-worthy? 

We write because we are humbled.  We write because we did not expect the sudden fear of being a huge-ass hypocrite.  We write because now we have a taste of what it feels like to be on the other side.

Suddenly we were making apple and almond butter snacks like it was no tomorrow, throwing together almond butter sandwiches without thinking about it, and putting together bags of honey nut cheerios as a snack.  It suddenly dawned on us would be so easy for us to forget. 

It would be so easy to throw on almond butter instead of soy nut butter one morning, not thinking, and throw that in the lunchbox.  Imagine, after years of advocating, what a field day people would have if we were the ones putting an almond-allergic child in danger?

Now have we made this mistake yet?  No.  But this actually keeps us up at night.  What if?  What if we're the ones making that awful mistake?  And if it's so easy for us, imagine how easy it would be for people who don't live with life-threatening allergies every day?

So we're cutting everyone some slack in this area.  It is hard to be perfect.  So we sympathize with those of you who have made and will make mistakes.  The ones who are mortified and apologetic when the teacher calls to ask them not to send peanut butter to school anymore.  The ones who stop eating their almonds and slip their bags back into their purses in shame when they see you and realize.  You peeps, when you make a mistake, you get a free pass from this allergy parent.  Honest mistakes happen.

So let's be clear.  It's not you that keeps us up at night.  It's the people that either do it on purpose, or don't care either way.  Because to lack compassion like that, to be that thoughtless, to think your kids' right to a peanut butter sandwich is as important as another child's right to attend school safely, that's not easy. 

So what's our message?  We're saying we acknowledge perfection is not possible.  That's why we carry epipens everywhere.

It's all about the attitude.  The attitude, more than anything is what determines our child's safety.  So if you understand, and you try, but you still forget...we will do our best to understand too.

And to those parents of children who are allergic to almonds? We promise we will do everything in our power not to accidentally send them to school or to the playground or anywhere where we know you might be.  We can't promise we'll never make a mistake, but we can promise to do our best and take painstaking care not to let that happen, because the thought of us making a mistake that could hurt someone terrifies us.  Because we've been there, too.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Should Food Allergies Qualify as Special Ed? One Parent's Story...

Almost a year ago we wrote about the good times we had with the NYC Department of Education trying to get a school for our daughter.  Truth be told, they did us the biggest favor in the world, as mini is at a fabulous school: she's safe, healthy and thriving.

A public service message to kids with medical needs who can't attend school without help: if you're not behind academically there's no school for you!
But we couldn't let it go.  See, NYC's ignorant and dismissive attitude towards food allergies is going to get some poor kid killed one day.  It is a known fact that the majority of children with food allergies WILL have a reaction at school.  Furthermore studies have shown that the single biggest factor in determining whether or not a child's reaction was fatal was access to an epipen and time to administering.  Therefore it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that one must keep an epipen near a child with food allergies at all times, just in case.  It's an easy thing to do to prevent death.  After all, we already incorporate other things that may once have been perceived as "inconveniences" into our daily routines should the worst happen: sprinklers, seat belts, choking signs, fire extinguishers.  Have you ever seen a school that said "nah, we don't need the free sprinklers you're handing us, we've never had a fire.  You may have expertise in fire prevention but we've been preventing them for years and know we won't have any."

We didn't think so.

So why is it so hard for city officials and school administrators to wrap their heads around the simple fact that 5 minutes of training for all their staff plus easy access to epipens will bring peace of mind and evade a serious tragedy?  Seriously, you can watch one YouTube video and be trained, it's that simple.  And you can't even hurt someone by accidentally using the epipen.  And if you're still not convinced, think of it as a public health necessity: almost half of food allergic reactions at schools occur with children who were never diagnosed with any kind of allergy.

New York may not take it seriously but our federal government is.  There is a bill being proposed that would require schools to carry epinephrine, not just as prescriptions for individual students, but several injections of epinephrine not locked up, not in the nurse's office, easily accessible just in case.

And this is all we asked for.  We did not ask for a nut free school.  We did not ask for a curriculum change.  We did not ask the school to spend any money.  We simply asked the school to take a little time and meet with us to develop a plan, train its teachers, and ensure an epipen is available in any room our child would be in.

Clearly this was too much to ask.  So we asked for an IEP.  504 plans are great but they assume you had a say in what school you're at and therefore don't give you the right to move schools.  Kids with special needs should have the ability to say "hey, this school doesn't meet my needs, but this school does, so please move me."  Other kids have that right.  Kids with mild speech delays and an IEP have the right to switch schools.  Children with wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc. may switch schools if one is better suited to their needs.

But food allergies, while classified as a disability according to the ADA, falls under that vague non-specific area that until now has been interpreted as falling under 504 for most cases.  Except most cases assume the parents actually had a say in the school they choose to attend.  Studies in Massachussetts documented families moving to different school districts simply because they felt the new school would better accommodate their child's food allergies.  This happens all the time.

But due to a loophole mini didn't have that right.  She was "waitlisted out" of her zoned school, sent somewhere else, and her parents weren't even allowed to tour the school before registering.  So when we found the administration hostile to the accommodations we requested (the phrases "you're crazy," "I don't have time for this" and "we have children with real medical issues" were carelessly tossed about by the principal), we concluded that a 504 would simply not be enough.  According to many leading food allergy advocates:

No matter what the content of your school's plan for your child's safety, the biggest factor in your child's safety is the quality of communication and trust between parents and school staff.[1]

Thus, we naively assumed that when we brought all of the above information to the attention of the special ed committee, they would grant her an IEP so that she may be placed in a school better suited to her needs (in this case, one where the principal actually took the condition seriously).
Readers will know the result.  Six months after applying, we finally had a meeting, and were denied an IEP on the grounds that mini was too smart.  The conclusion: the medical condition was not affecting her grades, therefore she did not qualify for assistance.

You can imagine our horror.  Here we were telling administrators that without their intervention it was not safe for our daughter to set foot in a school for even half a day, and 4 months had gone by with her not being able to attend school the whole time, yet this was not enough to show "affect on learning".  What, we wondered, did children with other disabilities do if they were smart and resourceful? Would a child in a wheelchair be denied ramps if their grades were good?  Would a deaf child be denied an interpreter necessary to do well in schools if they were developmentally appropriate in all other areas? Would a diabetic be denied an IEP and transfer to a school with a full time nurse if they were academically at par with their peers?

Most of all, what really kept us up at night was "What if we weren't fortunate to have the resources we have?"  What would happen if another child found themselves in mini's shoes but the family could not afford an independent school as an alternative?  The parents would have to choose between home-schooling their child (which some parents of children with multiple food allergies are known to do), or risking their kids' lives every day.  We've heard stories of mothers going to the cafeteria every day at lunch to ensure their kids' safety, but what if you have to work?
Clearly, there were many, many kids risking their lives in the NYC school system every day and it was only a matter a time before tragedy struck.

So we sued.

If we didn't say anything, who would?

And we lost.  Friday we were informed that the judge upheld the claim that our child was not eligible for an IEP, solely on the grounds that she was not academically behind.  There was no dispute she had special medical needs, and had we kept her out of school long enough for her to fall behind, they'd grant it. 

So, for those of you out there with babies who have any kind of special need, if you're wondering how you will go about getting special accommodations for your child, fret no more! All you have to do is ensure your child is not performing at grade level and you can ensure they will get what they need!  Do not read to them! Do not let them play with other children! Do not play with shapes, colors, blocks.  Think of all the money you'll save on mommy and me classes!!  Think of all the time you'll save thinking up activities since you can just plop them in front of the TV all day!

Some will tell you to run in all kinds of circles, get a special education attorney, etc. to advocate for your child.  Learn from us! Save yourself the money.  As the judge's recent decision states: if your child performs below grade level for any of the academic tests, they will qualify for any service they need!  

So there you go, peeps.  Special education has been distilled into one, easy uncomplicated answer.  Prevention is a waste of society's time, it's all about being remedial.  You heard it here first.
Meanwhile, we'll be looking for ways to lobby for better laws.  We probably should give up saying "we fought the good fight" but we can't shake the nagging feeling of knowing something's wrong and that someone will get hurt if nothing is done.  
Other states have much better policies in place than New York.  It's time the policies were updated to focus on their original intent, which we presume is to actually educate our kids. 

No idea where to begin here.  Suggestions welcome.

[1]              Ellie Goldberg, food allergy advocate.  Also see Take Steps to Ensure Your Child has a Safe School Year, available at, Communication Crucial to Protecting Food-Allergic Children at School, available at,, quoting, Michelle Freas, coordinator of medical and health services at Kunsberg School on the campus of National Jewish Health (“Most parents do an excellent job during the summer of isolating their children from foods they’re allergic to, but when they go back-to-school they lose control of what their kids are exposed to.  The key to protecting food-allergic kids at school is communication with the school.”)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

5 Things I Learned At My Kid's Piano Recital

Mini had her first piano recital today.

This was an interesting cultural experience that was new to this musically-challenged mother.  After entering a hot small room packed with 18 kids and their families, she watched all the 4-7 year olds, one by one, take their moment to shine.  Here are the few things we learned:

1) A keyboard is just not the same as a piano, even if it's a good one.
We cheaped out seeing as how none of us know how to play a piano, nor do we have room, so keyboard it was.  Poor mini fumbled for the first few notes getting used to the pressure she needed to exert on the keys.  Whoopsie. 

2) Some kids practice, and some kids really practice.
We thought mini was ready.  She practiced every day, on her own.  Not at a formal time, just whenever she felt like it.  We heard her two songs the morning of the recital.  But clearly, seeing as how smooth the other kids played their pieces, we underestimated the amount she should practice.  Another clue that the other kids played it too much: they kept going over, repeating the song even after it was done and the applause had started.  After this had happened a few times, and a 5-year old boy asked his mom "not 5 times?" we started figuring it out.

3) Your child is not the piano prodigy you think they are.
We now suspect part of the incentive to run these recitals is to humble a parent or two.

4) The teacher is better than you think they are. 
If the goal was to sell us on the need for more lessons, it worked.  One 5 year old just came in and schooled everyone with his version of that king song who's name we can never remember from "Shrek".

5) Kids can surprise even the most seasoned piano expert.
Hands down the funniest moment of the night goes to the poor 4 year old boy, who sat in his chair, played 3 off-key notes, then ran.  His mother got up in front of everyone to announce he had to go to the bathroom.  It was so funny we hope someone got it on camera to replay it for his teenage friends someday.  As everyone bit their lips to stop themselves from laughing, the teacher summed it up: "there's a first time for everything." 

Indeed, there is.  Congrats, mini.  Mama is so proud.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 Ways Times (and words) Are A-Changin'

Yo, yo, yo, peeps!

What's up with no one talking in full sents anymore? At least no one cool or under the age of 18, it seems. 

We're down with the shorthand on texts and tweets, but it seems to have spilled over a bit too much into our lang, ya know?  Has anyone realize the extent to which this is impacting our pop cultch?

  1. Kids:  Friends, parents and educators are henceforth known as the posse that shall be called BFFs, 'rents and ur teech.  
  2. Working professionals:  After permanently losing wasteful words in emails such as "dear" "please" "thank you" and "sincerely", businesspeople are now bucketing all emails into two areas: "CYA" or simply "biz deets". 
  3. Therapists:  Lengthy introspection and intense psychotherapy have been replaced by simply telling their patients to "figs it all out".   
  4. Doctors:  Medical histories are now called "MD deets" 
  5. Spam:  Spam is shorter as lengthy emails are reduced to phrases such as "#nigerianking needs ur $$ stat". 

We'd say more but then we'd be over our unoffish char limit.  Hmmm.  Maybe this short speech thing ain't so bad. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Hate to Ask, But...

Apparently you readers see this as a food allergy mom blog.   This is not so surprising we suppose.  "Women with twisted senses of humor who work in advertising and have children who also happen to have food allergies that they often write about" was not a category.  Go figure. 

What was surprising was seeing this little blog get almost 300 votes in just a couple of days after being nominated for "Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs".  So is the fact that "Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs" is the next category.  Interesting...

Here's where the favor comes in:  we're just past 25 right now and would really like to keep the badge!  It's pink and all, you see.

So if you have enjoyed reading any of these warped thoughts, we'd really appreciate a literal vote of confidence.  You can click on the badge in the right-hand navigation bar, or follow this link:  You can vote once a day until Nov. 16th.  In fact, you can vote even if you haven't enjoyed reading this blog.  We won't hold it against you.

Thanks, lovely peeps!  And more importantly, thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Halloween Horror Snow

New Yorkers were taken by surprise today by the first October snowstorm in the city since....well, ever.

The snow messed everything up.

Occupy Wall Street protesters were brutally reminded of the generators they had lost just one day ago but chose to stay and freeze.

Other Manhattan residents were just dumbstruck.  Had it ever snowed in October? Well, technically there was a quarter inch in 1925 but with vanity sizing and all that a quarter inch in 1925 is probably less than a tenth of an inch by today's standards anyway.

What is the reason for this bizarre weather?

Well, some people think the end of the world is upon us.  One theory is that we all died May 21 and are now in some alternate universe without knowing it.

That's one way to go.

Another theory is that while the world didn't end on May 21, a chain of events was set off that will build up to our imminent destruction. 

People who subscribe to this theory were doing giant "I told you so!" dances in August after the Gotham City was hit by an earthquake and a hurricane, in the same week.   Since then, residents have been bracing themselves for locusts and cattle sickness, as surely these must be next.

Others are saying the May 21 date is really October 21, and they too are probably doing little dances today.

These are all interesting theories.  But we have another one.

You see, none of it made sense until now.  The earthquake, hurricane, both of those were rare, mild, and technically the earthquake wasn't even anywhere near New York.  So to link this recent snowstorm, a storm that brought us thundersnow, no less, to those events is odd.  Thundersnow, peeps!  Do we have to hit you over the head?

Clearly, we must blame the Canadians.

Is it a coincidence that the bizarre October event coincides with the arrival of several friends' relatives from up North? We think not.  Is it a coincidence that just one day prior, the team that won the World Series just happened to be the one closest to Canada?  Did you think it was a coincidence that this event happened exactly one hundred forty-four years, 3 months and 29 days after Canada officially became a country? Do you not see these facts staring at you in the face?

It was only a matter of time before those mild-mannered folk up North finally realized they had twice as much land as everyone else and set out to conquer the rest of North America.

It's a genius plan, really.  First, they hit us with their freak snow and next thing you know there's Caribou all over the place and every tap in the city is filled with Molson.  Then, when we're weakened, they hit us with (gasp!) their socialist medicine and gun control laws. We must stop them before it's too late!

Betcha thought those guys were dressed up for Halloween, didn't you?
Did you not see those Royal Canadian Mounties riding around the village today?  You didn't actually think those were Halloween costumes, did you?  That's exactly what they want you to think.  They're stealth, these snow-lovers, we tell you.  Stealth.  But what else would you expect from a nation whose first official citizen was named Snorri?*

Fortunately, we're onto them.   So next time you see a whole bunch of Canadian tourists "in town" after a bizarre aberration of Mother Nature, be on guard.  We're just saying.

*You can't make this stuff up! "Snorri", born in Vinland around 1000 A.D, was the first North American child to be born of European parents (Thorfin and Gudrid).

Saturday, October 22, 2011


It's amazing what a difference a few years can make.  A few years ago, still dealing with the shock of motherhood without training, I wrote a post about avoiding large groups of women like the plague for fear of being exposed as a fraud, and wondering how one learns what a real woman/mother is supposed to know?

Flash forward 3 and 1/2 years and it is these very same groups of women that quite possibly may save me.  Guess I got over the estrogen fear.

What happened?

Well, mini grew up.  And started school.  And there were classes and birthday parties and playdates.  Somehow, we were lucky enough to end up in a place where we actually like the moms.   And then, things started getting hard.  Really hard.  The kind of phase you're supposed to look back on those times and pat yourself on the back for the resilience you have in making it through to the other side.  I'm still waiting for that part.  But I haven't waited for, is much-needed support from my girlfriends.

Rather than mocking my cluelessness when it comes to so many things, these peep-e-lehs have asked me for food advice, bending over backwards to figure out how to feed mini at their place.  They've watched her when needed, they tell me what classes and activities we should consider.  They have taken mini and I into their home on weekends, snow days, holidays, even traveled with us on vacation.  Without fail, someone checks in daily.  They read my writing, and drag me to plays, ballets, movies, dinners, drinks, even shopping when I didn't want to go (can you imagine!?).  They make the manicure appointments, they lend me books, they listen and they make me laugh.  And they've (gasp!) trusted me with their own children.

Wait, what was that last part?!

That's right.  We seem to have passed the motherhood hazing ritual that is the 5-and-under phase, so I guess one doesn't need to know every 1950s thing to be a good mother.  I still can't do any of those "female" things I wrote about years ago, but I'm a damn good baker as long as you have 6 free hours and are willing to clean up a huge mess.  And while I'm still not fully versed in the etiquette involved in making playdates I'm trying. 

So this one is a thank you to my girlfriends who have embraced me as part of a larger community that is motherhood in general.  Thank you for your support, your patience, for laughing at my jokes, for your funny and touching and educational updates, and for teaching me that even though things might not always be easy we will always be okay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wouldn't Be Prudent

Last weekend, we went to one of those pop up stores to get a Halloween costume that mini will wear for five minutes before taking it off and declaring it itchy as she collects candy she can't eat from houses that scare her.

Forgetting for a minute why we would do this (she asked, really!) what shocked us the most was what's out there for kids' costumes now.  Especially the girls.  Everything is,  Really sexy.  As in totally inappropriate for a 6 year old, 10 year old, or 12 year old sexy. 

Why does a superhero or fictional character need to have a skirt six inches above the knees?  Is that really necessary?

Now, before you go all judgmental and tell this mother to lighten up, you should know one very important fact: we are cool.  Quite cool, if we may say so.  We wear jeans and blue nail polish to work.  So we know if we're thinking this we're not the only ones.  And we were grateful when our friends at the Mouthy Housewives beat us to the punch on this particular observation, saying it better than we could have ourselves.

So read, enjoy, and cover up your girls for a little while longer.  In the meantime, we'll be busy petitioning the NYC taxi commission so that our children no longer have to be subjected to riding in cars advertising strip clubs. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Confessions from the Sanctuary, 2011

Now that Yom Kippur's over, it's time to note a few things we learned this holiday, mostly by accident.
While we did fast, we're always amused that many people who don't fast still enjoy the "break the fast" tradition.  Then again, we suppose one can't eschew a religious tradition that involves cake simply because of a small technicality of not fasting.  That wouldn't be very inclusive of us, now would it?
  1. When you're spending $100 on lox while fasting because you suck at planning, pause to note both the hypocrisy of the event and the irony of seeing/smelling all that food while you can't have so much as a nibble. 
  2. There are times, however, when exposing yourself to food on Yom Kippur is a good thing.  For example, feeding your father and your almost 86-year old uncle lunch so that they'll eat is a good thing.  Even if it feels like torture.
  3. When you've gone 24 1/2 hours without food or drink (but who's counting!), and you're so lightheaded you're not thinking clearly, there will come a time when you simply cannot deal with your child's refusal to wear any of her decent shoes, and her suggestion to wear tap shoes because they look fancy will sound like a decent one.  Be smart.  Learn from our mistake and do NOT, we repeat NOT give in!  It will be a disaster at best.
  4. Your second favorite moment of the day will be when your child takes out her toy shofar and blows as loudly as possible with a giant group of kids at the conclusion of neila*.  
  5. Your favorite moment of the day will be finding out some bizarre family detail.  For example, for us, it was the fact that our "shul" bracelet belonged not to our grandmother, but our great grandmother.  Meaning mini's great-great grandmother wore it to her shul on Yom Kippur in 1920s Germany.  That just boggles the mind.
  6. No one will tell you this, but the four questions were originally five.  The fifth question is: "why is it on all nights, we say the hamotzi quietly, but on THIS night the whole room practically screams the hamotzi with joy?" This question is asked by the "bored" child.

*For you non-Jewish peeps, neila is the concluding service of Yom Kippur.  The hamotzi is the blessing on bread which Jews say before a meal.  Interestingly, this explanation just gave away the answer to this question.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

No Peanut Allergies Allowed

Ok, seriously - what is wrong with these people?  Here is a link if you don't believe us.

Thanks to Gina at Allergy Moms for calling them out on it.

The Groupon Kidz Quorner: Your Ultimate Tree House

Hey, kids who have unlocked the awesome secret of reading! Here's your guide to building the ultimate tree house, tree fort, or awkward tree duplex you share with your former best friend who changed during summer camp. Let's get started!
  • Find a tree in the backyard that can support your ambitious plans and the growth spurt your lying mother insists is coming "any day now."
  • A well-armed tree fort needs plenty of ammunition. Fill your tin buckets with as many collected chestnuts, pine cones, dog bones, unseasonal snowballs, and dad tools as you can find lying around.
  • A good fort layout is still available in the 1952 Dennis The Menace story arc entitled A Few Good Menace, where noted terrible boy Dennis the Menace starts a counterfeit money ring.
  • Ditch that outdated "No girls allowed" sign in favor of the modern "No peanut allergies allowed."
  • Why go up into a tree, when you could go down into a well and become a TV star?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sanctuary Thinking in Progress

Happy New Year Peeps!

Hope those of you celebrating had an enjoyable holiday and enjoyed some non-dry brisket.  We are currently working on our pseudo-annual "Notes from the Sanctuary" post so please feel free to send any and all suggestions. 

In the meantime, please to enjoy the archives.

Thoughts from the Sanctuary, Part II

or the original

Confessions from the Sanctuary

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cooking on the Edge of Insanity

You might wonder why it's taken us so long in getting around to write this book review.  After all, it came out months ago.  The author, Emily Rosenbaum, first published this as an e-book (you can get it on nook or kindle e-reader), and due to its popularity has also been published in hardcover as well


So again, you ask, why so late on the review? Well, peeps, it's all well and good to read a book when it comes out, but we are of the firm belief that when it comes to a cookbook one must actually try a few recipes before you can give it a fair assessment.  If you ever saw the size of the closet kitchen we cook in, you'd understand why it took so long.

That said, the good news for you peeps is you know we're not feeding you any bullshit when we say we've actually used her recipes a lot.  You'll know we mean it when we say that mini, lover of all foods white, brown and bland, child who thinks fresh fruit is the stuff horror movies are made of, actually likes the spinach-chocolate muffins in this book.

Now we know the trend is all "hide it and they'll never know," but we went ahead and involved mini in the cooking process.  The hiding thing may be all well and good for some peeps, but mini is too smart to be outsmarted like that.  Not when it comes to food, anyway.  If she ever found a muffin tainted with a peach or an apple (the horror!) she'd stop eating muffins of any kind, altogether.  And mark our words, peeps.  She would know.  No matter how hard you tried to hide it, she would know.

But of course, if you read Emily's book and her endearing stories about trying to cook something all three of her children will eat, in the two minutes she has free between pickup and pulling out her hair, you'll know that if she can do this, you can do this.  And if her child will eat it, yours might too.

So instead of hiding things we sold mini on the idea of how fun it is that you're eating fruit, it's healthy for you, and you can't taste it at all!  This actually worked for a while, especially because it's really fun for kids to press that giant black button on the food processor and make that whizzing sound.  And once we calmed her down after the panic attack she had upon seeing the neon green substance in the food processor that is all the wet ingredients, she stopped hyperventilating long enough to realize that it all turns to brown once you mix it with chocolate.  Ahhh, chocolate.  
See? Brown.

What was next? Well we would never in our lives have considered making tortillas from scratch, but after a trip to whole foods where even the tortillas are processed on equipment that handles eggs and seeds, it was time.  So we broke out the flour, braced ourselves for the mess, and followed Emily's easy tortilla recipe.

These tasted delicious
While we were at it, we figured we might as well follow her method for cooking garlic, her spinach recipe, and her black bean recipe (forgive us, we used cans!)  Amazingly, despite smelling the cumin and curry that went into the beans and declaring them "disgusting!!!" to her mother and her friend, both mini and her friend gobbled it up.  Even with the visible chunks of onion and garlic.

So tomorrow, instead of a bland soy nut butter sandwich on whole wheat she doesn't like or eat anyway, mini will be bringing a bean burrito with homemade tortillas to school for lunch.  And a spinach muffin for her after-school snack. 

Seriously, if you have kids, and you care about what they eat, you should get this book.  The recipes are totally doable for those of us who cook in the real world, and even if you only cook once in a while, you'll be glad to have this one in your arsenal.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Proof That We Are Wise Beyond Our....Oh, Wait...

If you're wondering who this is, keep a'readin
Hello peeps.

Today we have some exciting news to share: Theresa at A Mountain Momma has featured yours truly as a guest blogger on today's Wednesday's Words of Wisdom!  Link below...

Wake me up When September Ends

We won't give away any more other than to hint that if you're a mother, particularly a working mother, we'll hope you can relate and offer some thoughts and comments of your own as we all know no mother is perfect and it's not always easy. 

Please go visit and check it out, even if it's only to satisfy your curiosity to see how a sane woman could willingly connect Poker Chick and "wisdom" in the same thought.

While you're there check out her other posts, she's quite entertaining and worth reading.  No, really, that wasn't sarcasm.  For reals.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Princess and The Peanut

I was lucky enough to snag* an advance copy of a new book called The Princess and the Peanut, written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt. 

This is a new book that covers a sorely needed gap, food allergy education for children.  And it's not just for the children with the allergies.  In fact, after reading this, I'd say it's really best for kids who have a friend or classmate with food allergies.

See, some crazy people have the notion that if you educate kids on food allergies they'll be less likely to - you know - protest and such when they have to give up things.  Crazy, I know.  But I just happen to buy into that kind of crazy.

So I sat down with my 6-year old girl who is also allergic to sesame, eggs, tree nuts, and (wouldn't you know it) peanuts, and we both dived into our first book review together.  Truth be told we were both skeptical: she, because she feared it might be boring or scary, and I because I was terrified it'd be cheesy.

It was neither scary nor cheesy.

The Princess and the Peanut is a cute, modern take on an old classic, however in this one, a poor unsuspecting princess who doesn't even know she has food allergies is in for a surprise when the Queen runs out of peas and uses a peanut for the royal princess test instead.  After all, what could happen?  What follows is a smart, matter-of-fact and fun story showing what to do should you have or encounter anyone with an allergic reaction. 

Beyond the obvious, there was a lot to like.  Things the mini liked:

It was silly.  The book has a surprisingly humorous tone to it, which she loved.  She particularly enjoyed it when the royal princess had a skin test to various things.  While "peanuts" came out positive, we were both pleased to find out that neither "three blind mice" nor "dragons" induced a reaction.   And any book with a court jester is automatically awesome to her.

She could relate.  She saw the picture of the princess having a reaction and knew what it was.  She saw the royal epinephrine, the skin testing, the abandonment of products that may contain peanuts, and she knew exactly what that felt like.

What did I like? Well any parent knows if you find an educational book your kid likes that's reason enough to like it! But beyond that, what made me happy was that it was accurate.  My biggest fear was that it would perpetuate some kind of misinformation, like if the princess got a shot of epinephrine but then stayed home instead of calling 911.  Fortunately, our fears were put to rest as the book elegantly weaves in key topics of treatment, diagnosis, and the importance of avoiding the offending food.
Wait, there's a book that shows a princess looking like this?

I thought it was surprisingly engaging.  I particularly liked the pages of illustrations where mini had to come up with the story herself.  I like books that force my child to think.  I like that it presented information without being preachy or boring.  

Another good thing? The princess was still cool.   There was no "poor me".  No one was pitying her or looking down on her.  She was still a strong, smart, desirable princess.  However, people who loved her like the prince had to do things a little differently if they wanted to be around her.  And it was no big deal.  Which is exactly as it should be. 

My favorite part? When we put the book down and I asked my daughter if she liked it and she had a huge grin on her face as she said "I LOVED IT!"  That princess was cool, and she could relate.

Overall, I love the lesson that this teaches.  I love that it teaches kids actual facts that are medically accurate.  And while it did not end as I had hoped (we don't want to spoil it but here's a clue: they went traditional vs. modern), I let that one slide because the story was so cute overall. 

So we'll be going on Amazon and pre-ordering a copy for her classmates tomorrow, along with Ganz-Schmitt's first book, Even Superheroes Get Diabetes

You can do the same, or you can wait until it'll be sold in bookstores next month.  If you simply can't wait, check out the trailer, the music alone will put you in a good mood.   Meanwhile we can't wait to see what topic she tackles next.

*When we say "snag", by "snag" we mean they sent us one. Thanks peeps!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Games We Play to Find a School in NYC

Ahh, September.  Back to school.  Back to the madness.  And back to the season of watching people go mad as they try to find their 4 year old a school in the Gotham city.
As friends get Kindergarten applications for their little ones we were reminded of the crazy day two years ago when we took off the day after labor day just to call elementary schools.  We had two phones and two calendars going all morning, getting applications and scheduling tours, etc.  This was a deja-vu from the day three years prior to that where we found ourselves hitting redial over and over just to get nursery school applications for our then-one-year-old.  Once they were out of applications, you had no hope of getting a spot anywhere.  Needless to say the busy signal was echoing in our heads all night after that.  Even the boss was assigned three numbers to call!

The process of finding a school for your child in Manhattan is effed up to say it mildly.  It goes without saying that there are way too many applications than there are spots in most schools.  This is a given and there's not much can be done about that.

But the madness can be managed much better.  Three quarters of the craziness can be alleviated by taking out all the stressful game-playing.

Problem #1: You have to send in an application to most schools before you can even go on a tour and decide whether or not you even like the place.

First off, if one could actually tour the schools in the spring - BEFORE you have to apply, one would probably have to call a lot less schools for the applications and be able to focus more on getting to know a few.

Now, let's say you decide you like some and are even lucky enough to get into one, or get onto a school's waitlist even.

Problem #2:  You never have the information you need to make the decisions you need to make.

The timing of the whole process is flawed.

Fall before Kindergarten - Call for applications, tours, interviews

January/February - Register for zoned public school and have your child take the city gifted &  talented test

February - Independent school letters arrive; must make decision.  If you get in and you accept, DONE.  If denied/waitlisted or you really want to try for public, then go through the following madness:

March - Zoned schools send out confirmations.  If accepted, DONE.  If denied, begin Real Estate Bingo.  Start calling realtors ASAP and begin touring houses in Westchester, Long Island or New Jersey.  Do not tell friends in same boat so as to competitively keep low inventory of affordable houses for yourself.  OR...

May - Time to play Board of Ed Lottery.  Find out alternate school.  Do not have say in alternate school.  Do not get to tour alternate school.  Simply get offer for some school and make decision by end of month.  If you take it, DONE.  If the option is unacceptable, follow steps in Real Estate Bingo above OR play Board of Ed Roulette with Souped Up House Odds by taking chances that your child will not only pass Gifted & Talented exam but there will be a spot in the program you want.
It's a sad day when a sign like this will make you happy, peeps.

June - Find out results of Gifted & Talented exam.   If fail, call Realtor and shell out the extra cash because you are desperate and they know it.  If it's a pass, wait two more weeks to play Who Gets the Short Straw? and see what spots your child is offered. 

Late June - Get Gifted & Talented placement.  If acceptable, DONE.  If not, you'd better start praying to the suburban gods that they either find you a place and the will to live away from concrete or that they suck away enough children from your zoned school to hit your spot on the waitlist.  We call this game Elementary Hail Mary.

We thought people were smoking crack when they told us this, but eventually, one way or another it does work out.  Likely it never works out the way you expect, which is why therapists do so well in this city.  But for your child, eventually, they will find a school so amazing that you'll wonder why you ever considered any other option.

Which brings us to our biggest problem.

Problem #3: Parents still think they have any semblance of control over this process.  Silly parents. 

You're embarking on a process which will have you spend the next year of your life year playing games where you don't know the rules.  Your sanity is going to be tested umpteen times.  Times ten.   Good luck keeping it.  You'll need it, especially because of:

Problem #4:  No free drinks for parents

Poker Chick would like to suggest to schools that they provide some beverages during tours and interviews.  We promise everyone will be much happier.

The good news?  Everyone wins something, even if you have no idea what that is as of now.  Happy calling, peeps.  Meanwhile those of us who made it to the other side are out interviewing fortune tellers.

We know a good business opportunity when we see one is all we're saying.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Art Vandelay, Latex Saleseman

How does one sum up a trip with some of the oddest stories ever?

Art Vandelay, Latex Salesman.

Odd?  Well that's literally how the trip started.  First night in Florida, after landing, checking in, and making the first of many Publix runs, we went to the local Chili's for dinner.  After all, it was Orlando, and when in Rome....

After rejoicing at the $4.99 kids menu, an odd man came to visit us.  He was not our waiter.

He was wearing a pin that read "Art Vandelay, Latex Salesman".

After laughing a bit and cracking a few jokes ("the sea was angry that day my friends....") we ended up chatting a bit with this fellow New Yorker/ magician/entertainer/balloon man.  We've never before met a balloon man that wasn't creepy.  He regaled us with stories of his travels.  Spoke of Southern hospitality that blew him away.  The slower pace of life outside New York.  The jokes non-New Yorkers just don't get.  He continued to entertain the adults, giving us insider tips on fun Disney things on the cheap as he made amazing balloons.  Most notable, this is the first balloon man we've ever met that is not creepy.

That's the bizarro world that belongs to Art Vandelay.

What else comprised this interesting trip?

Well, it's a story involving bizarre events such as car vomit, chefs who love food allergies, staying in Florida to avoid a hurricane, and repeated good customer service from an airline.  It's a three-act tale of life in an alternate universe:

Scene 1:  LaGuardia airport, gate 7

A nervous mother walks up to the gate.  After fighting with security about the soy nut butter jars in our bags, showing the epipen and explaining it to several employees and a manager that we can't buy it in Florida, we are ready for the usual eyerolling at the gate when we ask about peanuts we know they serve on board, hoping they have a heart.  Faster than you can say "peanu-....", we're shocked by the immediate understanding and knowledge they exhibit when hearing this.  They nod and immediately pick up a walkie-talkie, springing into action as if they actually know what a severe allergy means and have had some kind of training on the subject.  As if.

"We have a peanut allergy in 21 alpha.  I repeat, captain, peanut allergy in 21 alpha.  Over."

Some static and mumbling on the receiver.

"Copy that, sir.  We're clear."

He then turns to this mother and smiles:

"All set, ma'am.  We're clearing a peanut-free zone 3 rows ahead and behind.  Enjoy your flight."

We are flabbergasted.  No fight? No pleas? No protest? They just....helped?

Bizarro airline service experience #1.

Scene 2: Dinner at a Disney resort restaurant

"Hi, we have some food allergies at the table and had a few questions."

"Right away, ma'am."

Out comes Chef Brian.

"We can make anything you want.  I just reviewed your allergies as they were noted in the reservation.  We have a designated fryer. I'd stay away from the pasta, because that's made in a plant with seeds.  The pizza should be ok.  What sides do you want us to make you?"

He rattles off about 27 safe options.  Excuse me?  Have we died and gone to heaven?

We pick pizza with a side of peas.  Chef Brian comes out two minutes later.

"So I double checked our pizza as per our policy, and we just switched vendors who does not have a dedicated facility.  We have a supply of special allergy free pasta in our closet, we can make you any kind you want. Alfredo? Sauce? Fancy mac and cheese style?"

Mini picks mac and cheese.  Chef Brian tells us just to code it as a "pasta kids meal", giving us this very expensive allergy-gluten-free pasta with custom made bechamel sauce for $5.99.  We are too stunned to speak.

"Oh, and I see in your reservation you placed an order for a special chocolate cake for the table?"

We find our words again.

"Yes, we spoke to the bakery twice but wanted to double check that you really can..."

"Way ahead of you ma'am.  The mix we use is made in a dedicated nut, seed, egg, soy, dairy free facility.  We made it with egg replacer instead of eggs, knowing that she has an egg allergy, using sanitized equipment.  I just got off the phone with the bakery again myself, because it's our policy not just to double check, but to triple check these things.  Chocolate frosting ok?"

Now we are beyond tongue-tied.  Visions of the mini in a white flower girl dress as we step into a future of bliss with Chef Brian start popping into our head.  Chef Brian is our hero.

Our fantasy is interrupted a few minutes later by a waiter carrying a balloon and treats, along with a loud gong sound.  Apparently on every special occasion they announce it to the whole restaurant so they're all one "family".  This occasion?  Some 7 year old in another table made a nice picture and they want to randomly reward her for it.  We swear you can't make this stuff up.

They come out a little later with the gong, holding a giant chocolate cake.  We know it's not ours, because it's way bigger than we paid for, and fancy bakery style.  As we wonder how many of these gong hits we're going to have to sit through before we finally get our treat, the cake holder starts talking about a special family reunion.  Clearly going to the table next to us.  How do we know? It's written all over them. Literally.  15-20 people sitting at a table all wearing t-shirts that say "Smith family reunion".

So imagine the shock of the whole place when it comes to us?  Why a family reunion, one wonders? Well, everything's a special occasion, and what else do you call it when a bunch of friends from New York get a lovely trip to Florida and want to celebrate with cake just because they feel like it and for once in their life actually can?
The fancy cake

So bizarro restaurant experience follows bizarro flight.  There's only one way to explain something like this:

Art Vandelay, Latex Salesman.

Scene 3 - several urgent telephone calls made past midnight

In a strange twist of fate, the hurricane that was headed for Florida veers north, sparing us but threatening the east cost.  The timing will surely cancel our trip home, even though the computers haven't reflected that yet.  We try the airline, hoping to rebook for a later time before people get bumped and rebooked, making it days longer before we get home.  We hear a recording announcing they've hired more staff but still have 2 hour wait times due to expected weather delays and cancellations.  Steeling ourselves for a long and painful wait, we are caught off guard when the recorded message offers to have someone call us back if we enter our cell phone number.

We try it, almost in disbelief, but remain cynical as we hang up the phone.  The clear and articulate voice tells us because we are frequent fliers we should hear back in 35-40 minutes.

Something like 45 minutes go by and nothing.  We call again, finally reaching the prompt for entering our phone number.  Surprisingly, after we do, we're told we already have a place in line, and that it's only been 34 minutes and we should get a call in 10 minutes but we can try and rebook online while we wait if that's why we're calling.

We hang up, not sure how to react.  We try online, seeing that the $50 change fee plus fare difference only amounts to $1,200 per ticket.  We prepare for the fight of the lifetime.

8 minutes later, the phone rings.  The person on the other end actually seems...helpful.  She speaks English.  She actually has our info in front of her already.  We don't have to repeat anything.  We just tell her the situation and she says yes, there is still room on the Monday flight and if we just hold a minute she'll transfer us to the change department.  She's gone before we have time to eke out a sound, much less a question, so we give our friend an "I told you so look" as we listen to the bad music.

We're about to hang up in defeat, when a person finally speaks.  They have our info, will go ahead and send us an email confirming new ticket.  And the price?



"That's right, there's no fee, ma'am."

"But, the website says..."

"Yes, but the weather's not your fault.  We understand that so given the situation there's no fee."

Wait a second, weather? An airline? NOT the customer's fault?  Before you go into full disbelief, there's more.

The $25 each baggage fee?  Waived, given the circumstances.  After going home 2+ days later than planned, it's expected we'd have more luggage than planned.  We shouldn't have to pay for that either.

Wait, who are we talking to again?
See the average of 8 calls per airline? And we only made one easy one.  We really were in bizarro world.

We hang up and proceed to call the hotel and car rental place to ask for two more days.  Again, we prepare ourselves for a fight, ready to dive into the irony of asking to stay in Florida for a hurricane.  Of course it's not their fault, but is there anything they can do?

Of course there is.  They understand.  After all, being stuck in a lovely resort in the Florida sunshine while the alternative is to sit at home with no power, water, or Starbucks as a hurricane blows in our windows must be horrible.  It's not our fault we have to miss more work and get two more days vacation.  We shouldn't have to pay so much for that either.  The horror of sipping pina coladas for two more days is bad enough.  So 15% off the car rental for the whole week.  15% off the hotel for the last two nights.  Just for asking.


Has anyone ever had a vacation experience like this?  Only one way to explain the bizarre, almost backwards series of events.

Wait, you haven't figured it out yet?

Humpfh.  And you want to be my latex salesman.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bill O'Reilly Slams Breastfeeding, So What?

We may be a little behind on the news, yes but we're not behind on your peeps' amazing ability to effect change.

Bill O'Reilly apparently feels that recent benefits to support nursing mothers are a burden to our society.  Sounds like he harbors a not-so-secret resentment to people fighting for nursing mothers' rights.  Who knows, perhaps he even harbors a secret resentment against nursing advocates, blaming these liberal idiots for the beating his portfolio has probably taken over the past few weeks.

We're going to go ahead and take a wild guess that readers of this blog are generally pro-nursing, or at least pro-supporting people who want to.

But sometimes you have to look at things from the other side.

Maybe the guy's got a point?  I mean, why should we make it easier to breastfeed at work, or frankly at all?  Do you really like walking down second avenue and seeing the indecency of exposed skin while some oblivious and thoughtless person feeds their child without even thinking to cover up or go down the stairs to the cramped and smelly bathroom like other people with manners do?

What has happened to us?  How are we supposed to increase our lagging GDP if we are encouraging people to take time away from their work to pump?  Look at all those Scandinavian hillbillies who let their womenfolk take a year off work and support their efforts to nurse.  What do they get for their efforts? Cold and ice! Cold and ice, peeps!!! Is that what you want? A land of cold and ice?

Think about it.  All that time pumping.  That, combined with all that brainwashing hoopla the government is disseminating about preventative health, for goodness sakes - smoke breaks may disappear altogether!  Think about what the tobacco companies do for our economy!  It would be downright irresponsible to let tobacco companies struggle in a time like this.  And the formula companies!  My goodness, formula!  Do you know how expensive formula is?  Women who nurse are not spending hundreds of dollars of formula, which would provide much-needed stimulus for our economy.

We don't want to scare you peeps, but Bill O'Reilly isn't afraid to tell the real truth like it is, even if it ain't pretty.  And we're here to tell you if this women's health nonsense doesn't stop we could become a society of (gasp) socialists!!!  Yes, we said the S word.  Extreme times call for extreme measures, peeps.  We apologize for anyone we may have inadvertently offended.
Don't listen to this uneducated hack
It's time we took back our society.  Breastfeeding is for wusses.  We need to focus on important issues like jobs for all those unemployed men out there and making guns more accessible to all who want them.  Don't listen to peeps like this guy, whose only agenda is to fuel anti-Fox News propaganda among the common folk.

And definitely, definitely, don't support organizations like this who are going to bankrupt America and spoil our workaholic culture with their agenda for more family friendly corporations. 

So, if you were mad at Bill O'Reilly's comments, you might want to look at an issue from all sides, is all we're saying.

*We feel an obligation to point out that the above post was sarcasm, or what may be referred to some as "satire".  Poker Chick does not, in fact, believe that all Scandinavians are hillbillies, nor does she think people who choose to breastfeed are ruining our country.  Just to clear that up.