September 2011 archive

You Wanna Know How I know I’m a Good Mom?

You wanna know how I know I’m a good mom? The best maybe?

Because this morning, I made my child a piece of toast with almond butter in a complete pre-8am haze, same as many mornings before. And when he was finished the entire piece of toast, I trumpetted, “Good job, Abe! You ate an entire piece of peanutbutter toast!”
That would be when my heart stopped beating. Because anyone who knows anything about anything ever in the world knows that you don’t give a child PEANUT BUTTER before the age of TWO. How old is Abe? Come on, who’s been paying attention?? HE’S ONE.
Could it be true? I peeked into the kitchen to see an open jar of peanut butter, a butter knife, and a small, black ribbon with the words, “Worst. Mother. Ever.” on the counter. I immediately grabbed Abraham and started wiping him down (because that’s proven to ward off anaphylactic shock)¬†and asking him, “Can you feel your tongue? Is it bigger than before? Can you breathe? Is your mouth itchy?” Of course, this frantic sponge bath totally freaked him out and caused him to cry loud and hard. In turn, this convinced me he was dying of peanuts and it was my fault. I sat on the floor and held him for 17 hours before I was certain letting him go wouldn’t require a trip to the ER.

So, you wanna know how I’m a good mom? I found out my kid isn’t allergic to peanuts when he was only a year old. 100% sooner than normal parents. You’re welcome, Abe.

Let’s try shellfish next, mommy.


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??

Just Eat It

Abe loved broccoli.

Then Abe didn’t love broccoli.

Then he did.

Then he didn’t.

Sneaky Ingredients. You can't hear it, but the hummus is snickering.

I decided this week it was time to start sneaking greens into Abe’s diet so that he is used to the taste, and so it’s less of a fight when he’s 2. (I said LESS of a fight, all you mothers-of-2-year-olds).

I sat down and made a list of the foods Abe loves and eats with some consistency. Today I pulled homemade hummus and Ezekial bread from the list. Then I got sneaky.

I mixed up 3 tablespoons of hummus with 2 broccoli tops and a tablespoon of leftover quinoa from last night’s supper. I spread it all on a warm piece of Ezekial bread, added some kidney beans to his tray, and a healthier lunch you’ve never seen. ūüôā

I don't care how cute your kid is. Mine is cuter.

Life Well Spent

At about 3am the other night, I awoke to what felt like my husband repeatedly smacking me on the arm. When I opened my one eye it turned out that, yes, my husband was repeatedly smacking me on the arm.
I opened my other eye with a scowl and snapped, “WHAT?” Then I thought of the baby. My face immediately changedand I begged, “WHAT?” He put his hand on my mouth Dumb and Dumber style.

“Shh. Listen. Do you hear that?”‘ he asked.
“What?! No! What? What do I hear?”
“It sounds like someone is upstairs.”
Now, for those of you who have never been to my house (and if you haven’t, please, I make a mean marinara), my son’s room is upstairs. So when someone wakes you from a dead sleep by smacking your arm and tells you that your child is alone upstairs with potentially Hitler, or worse…
My husband jumped up and I jumped up after him. I do not remember leaving the bedroom but after a few miliseconds I found myself in the middle of the living room, all lights on, dogs completely freaking out. No bra.
“Go up there!”
My husband just stood there. I was squinting and jumping and completely losing my mind using all of my extremities.
We both stood there staring at each other for another 10 seconds or so. It then became clear that something was scurrying across the roof. Likely one of the 8200 cats that we share a neighborhood with because NO ONE LISTENED TO BOB BARKER.
“That’s a cat. On the roof. Isn’t it,” my husband sighed.
“Yep. That’s a cat.”

The next morning I was making breakfast when my husband decided to suddenly ignore the fact that I am not and never will be a morning person and started talking about our finances.
“You know, babe, we still haven’t spent our tax return. And I was thinking about…”


“Adding the gate to the fence on the back porch?” I’ve been begging him to call the fence guy back and put a gate up in the back yard. We live on a postage stamp and it became apparent shortly after buying our home that two Boxers on a postage stamp does not a Better Homes and Gardens Cover Story make. After briefly discussing astroturf, we decided to paver the back yard almost entirely and create an outdoor living space.
“Oh. Yeah, we could do that.” It was obvious that he wanted something for himself that I was clearly going to hate and immediately veto.
“What, David. What do you want…” They were statements. Not questions.
“Well, after last night I went to sleep thinking that I can’t really defend this family if someone were to break in.”
“So you want to take tai kwan do?”
“No, no.”
“You want to be more consistent with setting the house alarm?”
“No. I want to…”
“Don’t say it. No.”
“I want to buy a…”
“I want to buy a gun.”
“No, because I want to be able to protect us from intruders.” He stood his ground like a 5 year old with a really good explanation of how he “accidentally” peed on the guest pillows.
“Who the hell is going to protect us from David with a gun, then, huh????” I asked.
He didn’t answer that.
That tax refund was still sitting in the account because neither of us could agree on¬†what¬†to do with it. I wanted a gate. He wanted a gun. And isn’t that the ultimate male/female battle? Gate vs. Gun?

Later that day I was putting dishes away and I realized that we are really lucky. When I was little we had more plates than I could count. All the same color and size. A set. We could host a party with 30 people and all eat off of the good plates. As I grew older I¬†learned¬†that Target only sells plates in sets of 4 (and even older when I found out they sold plates at Bloomingdales). It wasn’t until I purchased my second set from Target that I started understanding the magnitude of owning that many plates. It means you’d made it. You were a grown up. Living with only 4 plates was so The Twenties. Living with enough plates to feed all of your friends without a touch of Dixie was very Thirties.

“Why don’t we get both?” I asked my husband that night at dinner while eating grass-fed beef on the good plates. “I mean, it’s not that much money either way and it sure would solve the problem of spending that refund. ”
“That’s not a bad idea. We could probably swing that if we look at the finances. And if you want, I could get you some classes over at the range.”
“One thing at a time, Sir Shoots the Cats. One thing at a time.”

FYI, we still have neither a gun nor a gate. I did buy some more plates the other day, though.


The Saddest Face Evah

And this, ladies and gentleman, is the saddest face evah…

Fix this face immediately.

Abraham woke up with a snotty nose and nasty cough yesterday and it got exponentially worse over night. Of course, the doctor says, “It’s a virus, keep him hydrated, blah blah blah.” I did my best to explain to them that he is sicker than ever baby has ever been before but she said something about having other patients and hung up. Whatever.

I am actually surprisingly calm. We can’t get our hands on any of the meds the doctor recommended until later this afternoon (Whole Foods is a pretty hearty drive). Six months ago that would have slayed me. I would have packed Abe up, snot and all, to ensure the correct meds were being administered AT THE VERY MOMENT OF INFECTION. I don’t know if it’s because he’s older, because I’m older, or because the postpartum depression thing is a sweet, distant memory, but I am just not that concerned.

I am, however, taking volunteers. Please sign up for your time slot to come to our house and look at Abraham and say, “Awww, hunny. You look so sad.” It really seems to help.

Big Brother

Ok, so in all seriousness, I can’t get away from the “Abe’s baby brother or sister” comments and it constantly forces me to rexamine the question. Do we want another one? Do we want to do it all again?

Well, I guess I don’t have much of a choice in the matter because I’m pregnant.







Just kidding.

Ha! Haha! You should have seen your face.

This was your face.

Anyway, most mothers know before the first one is even born whether or not they want to do it all again; and most of the time it’s “yes”. I’m not sure if they feel like they can’t change their minds because they already told everyone they were having 2 or something. I told everyone I was having 4. I’m not having 4. Not if I can help it. And I can.

This woman I sat next to an on airplane told me I had to have another one because she only had one and her daughter was now 18 and was poorly behaved because she’d been “lonely” her entire life. Of course, it was very difficult for me not to poke her nose, yell, “You’re a bad parent!”, giggle, and then run away like a¬†leprechaun. Mostly because I was in a middle seat.

Another guy told me it’s important to socialize Abraham with siblings so he will learn important lessons about how to interact with other people. I hadn’t yet mentioned to this guy that I’d planned to let Abe meet folks outside of his nuclear family, so that’s probably where he got tripped up.

A lovely and unsolicited lady informed me that it would not be fair to Abraham if I did not give him a sister or a brother. Yes. You read that right. Fair. I think I looked down towards my vagina, then at Abe, then at her, and laughed my way all the way out of the looney bin I appeared to have wandered into.

It’s my firm belief that no family has a set amount of members. David and I never promised each other we would have children.We always knew we wanted dogs, but children…Abe is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to us. He’s healthy and beautiful and smart and we are OH SO lucky. I’m just not sure I see the reason to have another kid so Abe can have a playmate or learn to socialize. Besides, that kind of means Abe’s sibling already has a job before he/she is even born. That’s not really fair¬†either. I was an only child and I don’t feel like I’m missing some huge part of my life because I don’t have a sibling. I have a few incredibly close friends that I consider family and I CHOSE them. What’s better than choosing your own family?!

I also think some kids are just “only kids”. Abe is very independent, very social with other kids and people, and not very freaked out by unknown situations. He’s kind of the ultimate cool guy. I don’t want to ruin that just because I’m pregnant right now with David and I’s second baby.

Just kidding.

Ha! You’re too easy.


As soon as Abraham turned one I got the next question on life’s “Annoying Questions that Everyone Asks You” list. You know, there’s, “When are you guys gonna make it official?” and, “When can we expect a little Cohen?”
Now, apparently, the in-fad question is:

“When is Abraham going to get a little brother or sister?”
Here are the answers I’m considering:

  1. Are you propositioning me?
  2. As soon as I figure out how I ended up with this one.
  3. How long is the gestational period if I don’t ever have sex again?
  4. When we find the store that sells them. Cheap.
  5. The next time you feel like carrying a human around in your stomach and then pushing it out of your vagina.
  6. I don’t know.
  7. Abe already has a brother and a sister named Charlie and Bella.
  8. When are you going to become a surrogate?
  9. Who is Abraham?

Any others you want to add to the list?

You say Frittata…

Since I’ve got a new site here I decided it would be fun to share more of my life, not just the infertility/pregnancy/labor/raising a kid side.

So I made a frittata for dinner. Such an easy dinner to make when I’m almost out of food and need something hearty. All this was in my fridge/pantry:

pine nuts
marinated jarred artichoke hearts
3 gigantic olives
a cup of leftover spaghetti sauce from last night
a bag of arugula
a small wedge of feta cheese
some whole wheat spaghetti
a dozen eggs

I warmed up the pine nuts in an oven safe pan and threw everything else in once they started to brown. I tossed it altogether with a little (maybe 3 tablespoons) of the pasta water. Then I whipped 7 eggs (because I lied in the ingredients list up there, turns out I only had 7) and poured them over the entire thing. I left it on low for about 5 minutes until the eggs started to cook around the edges.

Then I popped it under the broiler for about 5 minutes on low. During that broiler part I taught my son how to high-five. That was awesome.

And when it came out, it looked like this:


I took this with my phone. I'm no Pioneer Woman, but it will do.

And dinner was awesome. ūüôā

Use this idea anytime you have lots of weird ingredients and a bunch of eggs!

Target: A Mom’s Voice

I was recently sent this blog posting by a friend. While I read it I did one of those looking around the room to see if anyone else found this as funny as I did kind of laughs. I was alone.

Inside the Mind of a 2-Year-Old.

Later that week I made a trip to Target (please pronounce it correctly, and roll the “r” if you’re feeling spicy). It reminded me of the post above and I decided to write my own. So I present to you, Target: A Mom’s Voice.

Ready, Abe? Here we go!
I wonder if there is anything good in the $1 bins! Let’s look and see.
Ooo! What a funny squishy ball. I’m going to wiggle it in your face! Isn’t that funny? That’s funny! Ok, sit down.
Hmm, do you think we need some more of these storage containers? They might not be here the next time we come. Let me think we have 3 in your room, 1 in the sit down Abe, 1 in the play room. Yeah, let’s get 2 more.
Mommy has a list, Bubba. We need avocados and tomatoes and candy and a toy. Let’s go get those avocados first! Ok you hold the list, good idea.
Don’t eat the list. Mommy needs it.
Stop eating it sweetie or I’ll have to take it away.
Ok, Mommy’s taking the list now. I’ll hold it, thank you. Here, you hold the keys.
Three avocados, these look good. Want to hold one? No, don’t eat it yet. Just, here I’ll take it. Thank you.
Now we need to pick a fun candy out for your cousin. It’s his birthday. Sit down, Abe.
Which one do you think? Sit down. Abraham, if you stand up you  might fall out. Sit down.
Ok, let’s pick this kind. It’s a sour kind of candy. Wow, very colorful!
Please don’t scream. Use an inside voice. Where are the keys?
Alright, I’ll put the keys in here to be safe. We can’t get home if we don’t have the keys.
Shhh, too loud.
Ok last thing is a gift for your little friend. She’s turning 2! Wow!
Sit down, sweetie. No yelling.
Please, quiet voice. Too loud. Let’s keep it together to get the gift.
Wow! Look at all these toys! Sit down, you can’t reach that. It’s too high. Sit down.
Abe please stop screaming.
Do you want to get her this Abe you are going to fall out. Ok, does mama need to carry you?
Ok, here, I will carry you while we look at toys.
Look, push this button! It makes a sound! Should we get her that? Ok great, let’s put it in the cart.
Shhhh, Abe. Stop. That’s too loud.
Mommy can’t hold you if you squirm. Just hold on.
Ok. You need to sit back down. Mommy cannot hold you if you’re going to wiggle.
Abe, stop screaming. Put your feet through here. Now sit down.
Shh. Abraham, why are you screaming?
Ok, we’re going. All finished. Let’s go.
Sorry, I’m sorry everyone!
Shh, quiet. Sit down.
Ouch. Abraham that hurt. Do not scratch me. Just sit down we are leaving right now. We’re all finished.
What? I’m sorry ma’am, what? Yes, credit. Thank you.
Abe, stop it. Too loud. I’ll pick you up but only for a minute. Come here.
I cannot hold you if fine, sit in the big part of the basket.
I don’t think it’s safe to stand up in there. Sit down.
Thanks, you have a nice day, too!
Ok, no if you stand up in the basket and fall I am going to be on Dateline. Sit down.
We’re outside now, why don’t you scream now? Go ahead. Scream it up.
Seriously? Quiet as a mouse, huh? Awesome.
I’m going to leave you here. That’s what I’m going to do. What do you think of that?
Do you mind if I leave you here? Someone will probably come and take you home if you stay this quiet, huh?
Ok, mama’s going to leave you here. Love you. Byeee.

Facebook Status: (Erin Salem Cohen) He's in the Target parking lot on Roosevelt. First come first serve, but keep in mind he's got lungs on him.

360 Months


So, I’m 30. I am from now on going to be labeled a “grown-up”. Like, an official one. You can get away with Big Kid during the twenties decade. But during the 30’s it’s way less endearing to say things like, “I’m never going to be an adult.” You end up on Dr. Phil in a show called, “My Daughter Refuses to Grow Up” if you say things like that in your 30’s.

Poor older drunk girl.

There are some pits in my stomach regarding the social mores of turning 30. One of them is never being able to get away with getting drunk at a bar again without someone feeling sad for the poor older girl who can’t talk to anyone without leaning against a¬†wall or putting her head down on the bar to “think”. Another is never being able to wear the mini-skirt again (although never having to shave above the knee is a plus). And obviously I’ll have to let it go when a high schooler says, “Wow. Thirty? I hope I look as good as you when I’m thirty.”

An adventure 10 years ago was going on a random camping trip with some friends and 4 people we met at 7-11, inspiring a brief love affair with not wearing a bra. Or driving to the Keys with no money and no place to stay with killer bikinis and toothpaste and ending up in some bar owners house on the river drinking his beer and eating his cereal. An adventure at 30 is getting through Ikea on a Saturday (because that’s the only day you can go) and doing minimal checking account damage; likely ending up with the same chair everyone has in their living room.

You know the chair.

My relationship with my husband has been at a lovely and comfortable stage for a while now, and I only see it getting more “comfortable”. While he did buy me a whirlwind cruise to the Bahamas for the big 3-0 that I’m extremely grateful for, I wonder how much of the “night life” we will be experiencing on the ship. I can only assume night life continues past 9:30. At night now, I like¬†settling in with a good book or an episode¬†of 48 Hours about a torrid love affair in Greece turned ponzi scheme, ripping¬†money from the very hands of the African Orphans who need it most. And while watching intently to find out if the security guard will ever remember seeing the man in the white suit after the concussion he suffered while boogie boarding, my husband will turn to me from his side of the bed, put his hand gently on my shoulder, and with a determined look in his eye ask, “Baby, how do I beat this level of Angry Birds?”

You're welcome.

And then I show him. And he’s so grateful.

My relationships are much more honest, and I’m far more willing to say what I want/need to someone I used to consider my “superior.” I accept a lot more about myself, and also know what I shouldn’t accept from myself (I.E. The 8 pounds I’ve yet to lose from AbeFest 2010.) I admit when I don’t like something, and indulge when I do. I say it when I’m wrong and leave my ego at the door, unless I’m not wrong and even then I might just let you have it. Turns out I actually like gardening and I actually don’t like riding a bike. Oh, and if I want the dress at Target I’m going to buy it. Life’s too short.

All in all, 30 feels liberating and exciting. And while I’d like to write more about 30, it’s almost 8pm as I write this and that is when I brush my teeth and put on my jammies.