Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on May 20, 2007

I’d love to take credit for knowing about this one first and tipping The Momtourage off to it, but alas, I cannot take any such credit. In fact, the opposite occurred: Momtourage member Melissa taught me about this Mom must-have: the Table Topper.

You know how when you go out to eat at a restaurant with your kid and you’re skeeved out by the thought of putting his food on the God-only-knows-if-it-was-wiped table top? If he’s too young for you to put his food on a plate (my kid, for example, would pick up said plate and fling it across the room), you’ve gotta get yourself some Table Toppers. Table Toppers - which come decorated with Sesame Street characters - are thin, disposable plastic placemats with an adhesive backing. When you’re out to eat, you just stick the suckers to the restaurant table and then lay out your kid’s food on the germ-free surface. Once dinner is over, you just peel the Table Topper off the table (scooping up in it the inevitable piles of leftover food) and roll it into a ball. The Table Toppers come packaged in a small bag, so you can toss a whole supply of them in your diaper bag and just peel them out as needed. Genius, right?

A pack of 50 is $18.95 at If they could only get my kid to eat his vegetables…..

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Posted by Chelsea on May 16, 2007

In a previous Monday Mom Must-Have post, I sang the praises of the Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Towelettes. Well, apparently Avon is no longer selling them online (or - horrors! - making them?), so say some of my understandably miffed readers.

I found what could be an acceptable alternative: Teeny Towels Insect Repellent Wipes. They’re expensive ($15.99 for an 8-pack), but they get a high rating and are apparently DEET-free too, so I’m gonna try them out. I’ll report back soon…..

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Posted by Chelsea on May 08, 2007

I’m down at the beach right now with my son and family (alas, my husband had to stay in DC and work), hence the late MMMH. As Momtourage member Linda always says, “When you take your baby on vacation, it’s not a vacation, but a relocation”. Truer words have never been spoken. At least I have some extra hands as help, but I’m about as far from sippinPina Coladas beachside as it gets. Oy. Anyway, onto more important matters, like gear you gotta get:

My friend Val in NYC writes:

“Since B. was born I have been bathing him in an infant tub on the kitchen counter.  At this point, he is so active that it is like a wrestling match every time.  He is literally climbing out of the tub and hurling himself over the side.  I noticed in one of your posts your son was sitting in some kind of a ring. (The post was called Rub-a-dub-dub).  I was wondering where you got it and if you liked it. Thanks in advance for any help or recommendations!”

I’ve been asked this question a number of times, and I always, always recommend the Aquababy Bath Ring by Juvenille Solutions ($19.99, or at Buy Buy Baby stores).

This bath seat suctions onto the bottom of the tub, keping your baby safely anchored down while still allowing him plenty of freedom. I love it because it’s lightweight, easily portable and most importantly, the only thing that keeps my son, the squirmiest worm around, safe in the tub. You can’t beat the price, either. Get it, Val - it’s the answer to your prayers. Another bathtime tip of mine: to keep from getting completely drenched, drape a hand towel over the lip of the tub and sit on the bathroom floor, not the tub’s edge. Both actions will keep you from getting soaked!

Happy bathing!

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Posted by Chelsea on April 22, 2007

Summer’s just around the corner, which means that for me and the Momtourage, time spent strolling around the mall and playing in the germ pit at the My Gym will soon be replaced with days at the park and the pool. Because we all live in DC, this unfortunately means we - and our kids - will be exposed to hordes of bloodthristy mosquitoes.

Perhaps it’s because he’s just so sweet, but my kid always seems to get particularly attacked by these evil bugs; even after just 15 minutes spent outdoors last summer, the poor guy would look as if he’d just caught a bad case of the chicken pox. I wanted to do all I could to protect him from the mosquitoes, but dousing him in acrid-smelling, chemical-laden bug repellent didn’t seem like a safe alternative - especially after reading about how large amounts of DEET, a common chemical in bug repellent, can induce comas in little kids. While I understood the mosquitoes’ phenomenal taste in children/dinner, I wasn’t cool with allowing my child to serve as their version of filet mignon, so I knew I had to find a solution.

Fortunately, I discovered Avon’s Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535 Active Insect Repellent Gentle Breeze Towelettes. These kid-safe, DEET-free handy little insect repellent wipes are not only tremendously effective, but their insect repellent delivery is genuis: the repellent is soaked onto individual towelettes, with just enough to cover one person. They’re so much easier to apply than repellent from a spray bottle; there are no drippy, leaky, sticky bottles to fool with, and you won’t need to worry about squirting yourself or your kid in the eye with chemicals or creating a huge cloud of noxious gasses when you use them. Though the towelettes are pleasantly scented with Skin So Soft’s signature sweet/musky scent, there’s no need to worry that their yummy smell with actually attract bugs. In fact, mosquitoes react to them much like I do when I hear Celine Dion’s music: they leave the scene immediately, knowing that their senses have just been painfully assaulted. The result: you and your kids are free to frolic outdoors without fear of being eaten alive. As an added bonus - the towelettes even have SPF 15 in them. What more could you want, really?

The towelettes - perfect for tossing (and taking up little room) in your summer beach bag -are $5.99 for a pack of 8. To purchase, click here. When you have a bite-free summer, you’ll thank me.

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Posted by Chelsea on April 16, 2007

Kids music that doesn’t suck is right up there with painless bikini waxes and enjoyable visits with your in-laws: purely oxymoronic in nature. It’s usually either too saccharine (Raffi) or just too plain lame (anything from Barney or Disney), which sucks, because your kid is gonna want to listen to that stuff every time you get in the car regardless. You wonder which drivers on the road are filled with the most road rage? It’s moms, because they’re the ones who have to drive around with kids begging for “The Wheels on the Bus” 8 million times over. Can you blame them for wanting to flip other drivers off?

When my son turned 1, Momtourage member Lauren gave him the “We are the Laurie Berkner Band” DVD, explaining that her daughter was obsessed with it. My kid had never been particularly interested in watching t.v., but on one particularly whiny afternoon, my husband popped in Lauren’s gift, hoping it would work its magic on our kid. Well, work its magic it did; not only was my son totally mesmerized by it, but my husband and I were also. The video itself was fun to watch, the songs were completely catchy in a really clever, unique way and the acoustic guitar/keyboard music itself was seriously good; Laurie and her 2 bandmates are skilled musicians who genuinely seem like they’re enjoying what they’re doing.

I’ve since acquired all of Laurie’s other CDs and they rule just as much as the DVD does. My kid loves them, and my husband and I do too. When I catch myself singing the songs in my head or my kid begs me to repeat the words to some of the songs, it doesn’t annoy me in the slightest. Lauren also tipped me off to the fact that Laurie and her band are often on “Jack’s Big Music Show” which can be seen on Noggin and Noggin on Demand. Let’s just say that occasionally Mommy breaks the no t.v. rule to watch this show in hopes of catching a Laurie performance.

The other night when Lauren and other Momtourage members Linda and Melissa and I were all out together celebrating Melissa’s birthday, the subject of Laurie came up. Linda, strangely, had never heard of her. “WHAAAAAAAAT?” Melissa, Lauren and I gasped, incredulous. We then launched into “Victor Vito”, one of Laurie’s classic tunes, right there in the middle of Rosa Mexicano, much to Linda’s horror. I’d love to blame our spirited performance on the pomegranate margaritas, but the truth is that we all just love ourselves some Laurie Berkner Band. The other day Lauren mentioned that a friend of hers saw Laurie at a concert in NYC.

“Noooooooo! Really?” I asked, insanely jealous.

“I know, right? The next time she’s playing, we totally need to make a road trip to go see her, right? I mean, seriously, how awesome would that be?” Lauren asked. You would have thought we were talking about The Beatles.

“Um, totally! We are so there!” I replied with the obsessive enthusiasm most college-aged stoners exhibit for a Phish show or teenyboppers (okay, and me too) feel for Justin Timberlake.

So seriously, go and buy yourself a Laurie Berkner Band CD (“Buzz Buzz” and “Victor Vito” are my faves, but they’re all great) and/or the DVD; I promise you’ll love them just as much as I do. And when you, say, catch yourself driving around solo in your car and you get a hankering to listen to “Victor Vito”, don’t fight that feelin’.

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Posted by Chelsea on April 02, 2007

I’m kicking off a new regular post today: Monday Mom Must-Have. Because of my editorial and radio gigs, my email inbox and snail mail box are flooded with all sorts of PR pitches from people trying to promote their cool stuff. This allows me to keep on top of what’s cool in all sorts of arenas – especially the kiddie market (not to mention be on a first-name basis with the FedEx, UPS and DHL guys). As a result, the Momtourage and my other Mom pals are always asking me for tips on the latest and greatest, so I thought I’d share it with you too. You never know when you might need something for yourself or for a friend’s kid, right? Today’s must have: one of my all-time favorite kid gear items, the Patemm Pad.

The Patemm Pad is a large, circular-shaped changing pad that features inner pockets to hold wipes, diapers and diaper cream, rendering a diaper bad almost unnecessary. What makes this changing pad so freaking great is that folded it’s rather small, but unfolded it’s HUGE, so when you lay your kid down on an unsavory public changing table, you can be certain he won’t touch any part of it’s nasty surface. I was turned onto it by my friend Alicia, and since I’ve owned it I constantly get “That changing pad is sooooooo cool, where did you get it?” queries every time I whip it out. Apparently celebs love the Patemm too - Courtney Cox and Gwyneth Paltrow are huge fans. The pads come in a variety of pretty oilcloth fabrics that are easily wiped down. If you prefer, you can also get one made of organic cotton (Gwyneth has this variety) that is machine-washable. I own the oilcloth Jack Martin print, which, though described on the Patemm website as black and gray, really looks like chocolate brown and light blue, my fave color combination. I own the “large with pockets” variety, which retails for $48 (a chunk of change, I know, but trust me, it’s one of the best kiddie-gear investments you can make). In addition to adoring the pad itself, I love that it was created by Grace Welch,  a mom herself. Patemm, named for her kids Patrick and Emma, has become her at-home business and it allows her to work and be with her kids as much as possible. Now, how good will you feel about supporting this kind of business? The Patemm pads range in price from $30-48. They’re only sold online, so visit to purchase one of yourself or your favorite mom or mom to be. I guarantee you (or she) will become obsessed too.


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