Archive of ‘Am I the only One?’ category


When Abe was born I looked so forward to our visits to the pediatrician’s office. This is mainly because I typically hadn’t left the house since our last visit, nor talked to an adult aside from my husband. But also because it meant I got some reassurance that my baby was a-okay. As babies become toddlers, the range of “OK” stretches waaaaaay out. Milestones in the first six months usually occur around the same time for all babies and it’s pretty easy to spot an issue. Like if the baby isn’t breathing or taking nourishment. But milestones in the second year?

Doctor, when can I expect him to start walking?

Oh, anywhere between 9 and 18 months.

Doctor, when will be begin talking?

Sometime around month 14. But maybe not until month 22. 

Doctor, when will sleeping no longer be an issue?

Like, when he’s about 9.

Today we had Abe’s 15 month well baby check. They used to call them check-ups. I’m not sure why this changed. The doctor asked if we had any questions before she started going through her list of developmental milestones. Of course, I explained how my “friend” had told me through a complete stranger that my son had a head disease and would  never speak. She checked his head and, guess what? He’s got his father’s big head. No news there.

Then she started asking me all these question. Does he point with his finger? Is he bringing you toys? Does he pretend to take care of a baby doll? (I explained that Abe is a boy and she skipped that question.) How many words does he say? Can he find his belly button? Has he been able to define democracy? Does he feel like Tim Tebow’s fame is warranted based on skill or on personality?

My head started spinning and I immediately began to feel like this was a test for me. I tried to remember every singe thing he’s done in the past 15 months to prove that he had met all of his “milestones”. But alas, he can’t say 15 words yet. And he has never, ever, EVER pretended to put a diaper on a baby doll. He has mounted our dogs and figured out which button to push to turn on the TV and learned to open the front door, stand on the porch and wave at every car that drives by, but none of those were on the test.

When I got home I realized just how competitive these well baby checks make me feel. Like I’m competing with all the other babies in the world whose averages were used to create this baby test. The range for these milestones makes it seem like they shouldn’t even be a milestones. And frankly, they make me feel like a bad parent every time we visit the doc. Because the only reason he can point to ANY of his own body parts is because I was bored one day and I decided to try and teach him. It took forever and I was pretty surprised when he remembered them the next day. So why can’t I just wait until he’s around 3 to teach him his body parts when he’ll have NO problem understanding what I’m trying to teach him?! BECAUSE HE HAS TO KNOW MORE BODY PARTS THAN ALL OF THE OTHER BABIES IN THE WORLD, THAT’S WHY.

I vote we write our own milestone test that every parent can feel good about. You can add your own questions, but I’ll start:
1. How many varieties of Cheerios has your child tried?
2. Can your child tell the difference between a cookie and broccoli, and does he/she prefer the cookie?
3. While your child cannot say any actual words, do you always know what he/she is saying?
4. How many pairs of pants has your child “blown out” of?
5. Are there at least 3 restaurants in town you can never return to?





Don’t be That Guy

We recently flew from California to Florida after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The first flight was a four and a half hour flight and we got an entire row to ourselves. We played a little bit of hookey when the flight took off. You know that whole, turn off anything with an on-off switch rule? We may have bent it. With a blow torch. Abe sat in my lap by the window and David help the iPad against his left leg facing us. Each time a flight attendant (didn’t we used to call them stewardesses? And why did that become offensive?) walked by announcing it was time to turn everything off, Dave just pushed the iPad screen-down onto the seat. The light all but disappeared as we smiled and nodded in compliance. As soon as she was a few rows up, David propped it back up against his leg. Don’t judge, the plane took off without a hitch and Baby Einstein kept Abe from screaming. You know everyone else was trying to get the last Words with Friends move in before takeoff.

Abe slept for the first hour. When he woke up he had a snack and we played with some distracting toys I packed, including a miniature slinky and a butt-load of stickers. It’s brilliant how stickers both piss him off and fill him with joy, all the while occupying him into silence. At one point during the third hour he gave a few loud shouts. After the fourth or fifth one, I caught the eye of a woman across the aisle. She was in the process of shooting me the dirtiest, snottiest, most I-couldn’t-be-uglier-at-you-if-I-tried look. I smiled. I mean, this child was all but silent for 3 hours. I assumed she was angry because he was having a hard time and she had an overactive sense of empathy.

He was great for the last hour of the flight because we had played movies non-stop. Our neighbors in the row behind us kept remarking on what a good baby he was watching his “shows”. We declined to mention he was slowly being brainwashed by hand puppets.
When we landed he was ready to get off of that damn plane. He fussed and squirmed while we waited to unload. The couple in front of us stood up with what appeared to be pet-carriers. The nasty-faced gal across the aisle asked, “Are those cats?”
“Yes! We’re moving to Baltimore. There are 3 of them in here.”
“Oh wow! I love cats! They were soooooo good on the plane, I can’t believe it.” And then, ready for this? She turns to her friend and says, “They were better than that kid.”
Yep. She said that.
First, I turned into the Incredible Hulk, ripped through the roof of the plane, grabbed her with my giant hand and squeezed her puny little body with the unexplained muffin top until she cried, “PLEASE, PLEASE I’M SORRY PUT ME DOWN. I’M BARREN AND CHILDLESS AND INCREDIBLY ANGRY AT SOME OF MY MOTHER’S CHOICES DURING MY CHILDHOOD.”
Then, I looked at my husband. We gritted our teeth and watched each other’s blood pressure rise. Of course, after I was off the plane, I thought of one thousand witty and insulting things I could have said. But instead I stared directly at her until I knew she could feel my eyes piercing her pathetic, probably never-married skull and I muttered, “Don’t be that guy.”

I don’t even think my husband heard me say it, so I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear me. And I’m kinda glad because that’s not really a creative nor direct way of saying the colorful things I wanted to say. But I think there’s a lesson in all of this that I want to share with you. If you’re on a plane and there’s a baby anywhere near you, immediately tell the parent(s) they’re doing a great job, smile at the baby, and then go about your business. If the baby shouts, cries, or screams, just smile knowingly or offer some type of alcohol. What you’re doing, in essence, is creating an energy that allows airplane karma to continue circulating in a positive direction throughout your life and the lives of your children. Your aircrafts will consistently be on time, smooth, and likely child-free. I’m not a scientist, obviously; these are layman’s explanations. Though I can all but guarantee these results. Anything to the contrary will bring you a lifetime of unhappiness, not to mention engine trouble.

Don’t be that guy.

Are You Ready for This One?!

This entire blog falls under the heading of, “You can’t make this stuff up.” You want to end a really romantic night with your husband on the worst note possible? Check your email.

So it’s Friday night. I go to the gym at 6 and get home close to 7:30. My husband has a beautiful meal for me on the table. We have a fantastic date night at home, complete with two episodes of Dexter in bed, and by 10 o’clock we’re falling asleep (because we’re old now). I roll over to turn my phone off and check any last minute emails. And this is what is in my inbox:

Hi, you don’t know me, but I have two sons with a condition called craniosynostosis. It’s a cranial defect where plates in the skull prematurely fuse. Anyway, I was discussing my son’s condition with several of my friends, and one (who asked to please remain anonymous because she was worried it could possibly offend you) said she thought your son might have the same thing. I’m emailing you because it’s a fairly rare disorder, and is commonly overlooked by pediatricians. It is something that should be taken seriously though. The fused skull can cause points of pressure on the brain which in turn can cause delays. My oldest son with the condition is almost five now, and doesn’t talk (the doctors aren’t sure if it’s related or not in my case, but I think it is).  Anyway, I hope you aren’t offended. I’m writing you only out of concern, and my own experience. I didn’t get a diagnosis until my son was almost 3, and that missed diagnosis was a real set back. I wish I would have had someone looking out for me. Best of luck with everything. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I can send you pictures of my son for comparison if you’d like.
Name (because I’m not going to be a douche-bag and publish her name)

So first I had a panic attack, silently. Then I read the email to my husband. Then we both had panic attacks, out loud. Then we stared at our son on his monitor. Then I went upstairs and woke Abe up and gave him a bottle and felt his head for 15 minutes. Then I wrote her back:

Who is this?

I wanted to write, “Who the ‘f’ is this?” but I refrained. Because seriously, who the hell is this? Who writes a mom at 10:00 at night to tell her that her child has something wrong with his head according to her friend who shall remain nameless so as not to OFFEND me. I took a few deep breaths. Then I decided this was all a joke or some spam so I entered craniosynostosis into Snopes. I prayed and prayed for hundreds of angry mothers posting their spam emails about babies with misshapen heads, but alas. Zero results.  I started getting teary-eyed. What if something is wrong with my baby?
My husband began to reason it out. It can’t be real, no mom would ever do that to another mom. It can’t be real, who sends this kind of sensitive information in an email? It can’t be real, who sends this kind of sensitive information in an email from their iPhone?
My phone dinged. She wrote back.

My friend asked me not to give you my last name so you couldn’t find me on Facebook, but I only have good intentions. You should just google it and see what you think. I won’t be offended at all if you think I’m misguided and speaking out of place. I am doing this because I wish someone had done it for me. 

So I googled. So did David. And we saw some of the most disturbing-looking children we’d ever seen. We also saw some fairly normal looking children, any of whom could have been Abraham. “His head sort of looks like that, right? Could that be it?” It was an hour before we convinced ourselves we needed to go to sleep and trust that our baby was safe and healthy. I laid there praying for sleep or a Xanax or something. I sat up and wrote her back:

Sure. Send me some pictures of your boys.

And with that, I went to sleep.

The next morning we had a play date with a dear friend who also happens to be a chiropractor. She’s been seeing me since I was pregnant (even adjusted me while I was in labor, though I don’t remember that) and has been adjusting Abe since he was 6 days old. I knew, if anyone would, she could confirm that my child is fine.
I spent the ride to her house feeling very peaceful about that email. I couldn’t help but think no one very close to me would do this to me; they would know it hurt me too much. And God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, would never give me something that wasn’t perfectly perfect. And if Abraham has a head disease, we’re all going to be ok. He will have the most perfectly perfect head disease of any baby out there. And I will send Christmas pictures of just my baby’s head to everyone in the world with the words, “Craniosynostosis is this beautiful, Happy Holidays, Love, The Big-Headed Cohens.”
And I was right. My friend read the email, reviewed Name‘s son’s pictures, took one look at Abe, and snorted. “Seriously? Abe’s head is fine. He has David’s head. His fontanelle isn’t even finishing closing yet. He’s fine.” That was it. Not even a second thought. And with that, I put all my fears aside.

It wasn’t until several hours later that I realized how incredibly pissed off I was. I cannot imagine ever sending a stranger to tell a friend something so personal, so potentially life changing. How do you bring yourself to do that?! And if you even know me a little, if you’ve read my blog, if you met me even ONCE at BabyGym, you know I’m not easily offended. Having no access to the “friend” who provoked this entire charade, I decided to write Name back. I did it quickly before dinner that night so I couldn’t change my mind.

Name (still not being a total douche-bag and revealing Name’s name),
First, let me tell you that never would I be offended at someone caring about me or my son. It’s not in my nature. Any “friend” of mine would know I’d be far more offended to be approached by a stranger via email regarding something so intensely serious as my son’s health. To be completely honest with you, I’m kind of surprised you agreed to play messenger for my “friend” having kids of your own. Imagine receiving an email at 10 o’clock at night from someone you don’t know telling you there could be something very wrong with your baby. It was one of the worst ways I can imagine to end a day. Anyone who knows me knows I’d much prefer a friend come to me with compassion and honesty. This method was entirely disappointing.
Second, with that all being said, I took your suggestion seriously and looked into it. Our dear friend is a chiropractor with her doctorate. She has been seeing my son from the day he was born for regular adjustments. I showed her your email as well as your boys and she did an exam today but assured me she feels there’s nothing abnormal with his head. His fontanelle is not even finished fusing yet. He has an well-baby check this week and I will bring it up to his pediatrician as well but at this point, thank God, I do not believe this is something our family needs to worry about.
I wish your family health and happiness, especially those boys.

And then I shouted, “BOOYAKASHA,” and made dinner for my perfect, big-headed little family.






You Don’t Know Until You Know

I find that Abe’s growth spurts ebb and flow, and so do my like and dislike of his different phases. I am really looking forward to this 14-18 month phase being OVER. And yes, I know every single mother on the planet is now saying, “YOU’LL MISS IT WHEN IT’S GONE!” Do I miss Abe when he was little and cuddly and fit perfectly in my arms?? Yes, I do. But not as much as I like sleeping.

I look forward to when he can walk and I can take him to the park without watching his knees scrape across wood chips as he desperately tries to make it to the swings. I look forward to when he can talk and tell me what the freak he wants for lunch instead of screaming and throwing foods that didn’t happen to be on his most desirable foods menu that day. I look forward to when I can point things out and discuss things with Abraham instead of pointing things out and then talking to myself for a half an hour while he chews on his fist and poops. Like today for example:

I’m in the car with Abe and at every single stoplight there is a police car with an inordinate amount of lights flashing. More than just the, “Get your hearts ready, I’m coming up behind ya!” lights you usually see. But lights coming from everywhere. I think the tires were lighting up. Cops weren’t stopping anybody, just sitting there at each light. I kept saying to Abe, “Look! Look at all these lights, Abe! What are all these cops doing??” Did he look? I don’t know, I doubt it. Finally as we approached the next light we came to a standstill. The next disco-ball of a cop car sitting at the light began blocking off the lanes of traffic going my direction. A big concrete median in the middle of the road, there was nowhere for us to go. “Can you believe this, Abe? We’re stuck here!” (I am so sick of talking to myself.) Suddenly in the distance I saw a few motorcycles lit up like Christmas trees. Then a few more behind that. “OH! Abe! I think this is a motorcade! It’s either a funeral or a famous person! Can you see it?” A flash of the local news from the night before reminded me that the first lady was supposed to be in town today and just as it flashed, it hit me! A big black Yukon surrounded by motorcycles and cop cars? That’s the first lady! “THAT’S THE PRESIDENT’S WIFE! SCREAM ABE! SHOUT HELLO!” I rolled my window down.

“MICHELLE!!! MICHELLE OBAMA!!!” As I screamed Michelle Obama’s name out of my mid-size SUV window, I realized that I’ve reached that point during motherhood WHEN women get pregnant with a second child. Because it’s going to be at least a year before I can get Abe to scream out of his window at celebrities and presidents’ wives or respond to me in the grocery store. And until then what am I supposed to do? Go on talking to myself in public and hating this phase of Abe’s screamy little life? NO! I’M SUPPOSED TO HOLE UP AND GET PREGNANT TO DISTRACT MYSELF!

So that’s why you moms have one right after the other so quickly. See, you just don’t know until you know.

Men are Interesting

Me: I need to run to Target this morning. I went yesterday afternoon and after I got all packed up, got my list and my gift card, drove there, unloaded Abe and the fan I wanted to return, I finally got inside and realized I left the gift card and the receipt for the fan on the counter. Argh!! They ended up letting me return the fan because I had the credit card I used with me, thankfully. So I want to run back with the gift card to finish getting everything on my list.

Husband: Ok, babe. Sounds good!

One Hour Later.

Me: Alright, I’m running to Target.

Husband: You are?

Me: Yeah. Remember? I told you…

Husband: Oh right. Ok! Great. Good luck returning everything.

Me: What?

Husband: Returning the stuff you bought yesterday. All that stuff.

Me: Ok. Thanks.

Where’s the…

My mom used to joke about how my dad would come home and ask where things were in the house. She’d say, “A few years in I thought he’d changed my named to ‘Where’s-My?'”. And any good shrink will tell you, we all turn into our parents.

It’s 5:30am and I hear my son shriek. I wait a few minutes before I react. I hear it again. It’s not a fuss and it’s not a cry, it’s a shriek. Almost 100% of the time, that shriek means a diaper has failed. I sit up in bed because, obviously, my husband slept through the shrieking. My feet hit the floor and I take a deep breath.
“What? What? Are you ok?” He still has a reflex that startles him awake when my feet hit the floor from my pregnancy. I couldn’t roll over in my sleep without him waking me up to ask, “What? Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. The baby’s awake. I think he peed through.”
“Oh. Ok. Do you want me to go?”
I paused. When I’m up, I usually just go. But this time I thought Hey! He’s offering! Why don’t you let him go?
“Sure. Yeah. You go.” I don’t think he loved that answer, but he went. I rolled over and worked on going back to sleep. I could hear Abe screaming, meaning that David was trying to change his diaper in the dark. Screaming subsided. I drifted off.
About ten minutes later I hear, “Babe! Babe!” I open my eyes and look to see my husband standing over me.
“Yes? What?”
“Where do we keep the blankets?”
I didn’t move, didn’t answer. Instead, I calculated how long we’ve had Abe, and how long ago I stocked his closet with things like clothes, diapers, and blankets. It must be about 16 or 17 months ago.
“In the closet,” I answered.
“I know, but where?”
“The same place they always are.” I pick up the monitor to see Abe sitting up, wearing only a diaper in a bare crib. I stand up and begin trudging up the stairs. This is what I get for letting David go.
In the dark, I reach into the closet to grab a blanket. I wrap Abe up and rock him for a few minutes until he can relax again.
I stomp loudly back down the stairs to find a sleeping husband. It’s now 6:15am.

During breakfast later that morning I ask, “How do you not know where we keep the blankets?”
“I don’t know. I just couldn’t find them.”
“They’ve never moved.”
“I know, I just didn’t know. I couldn’t think, I mean.”
“Why didn’t you turn on a light to find them?”
“I didn’t think of that.”

Does anyone else have this problem? You get married and suddenly all the systems you put into place in your home, all that organization, all mean nothing at the end of the day because no one can remember where we keep the ice. Should I legally change my name so it doesn’t feel so bad the next time I hear, “Where’s the?” Or maybe make some sort of map of the house, complete with a legend, showing routes to everything we use regularly??

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