Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Janna on August 02, 2011

A couple of nights ago, the mister and I were watching one of our favorite television programs for grown-ups (I’m pretty sure it was True Blood). Our 16-month-old was in his play area, not watching but apparently listening. One of the characters dropped an F-bomb, which is not unusual for this show. All of a sudden, my angelic baby boy jumped up and yelled “FUH! Fuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuh!!!” Oh, crap.

Obviously, we need to be more careful. Our son is definitely becoming more aware of what is going on around him (on television or otherwise) with each passing day. Since it is clearly time to start monitoring what’s on television when he is watching (or within earshot), I have started checking out some of the programming available for his age group. I know he shouldn’t watch too much television, but he does enjoy it, so I let him watch a couple of shows each day.

My other super swell sister-in-law (both of my sisters-in-law are awesome, but here I am referring to the one who does not also write for this blog) introduced me to the coolest program. It is called Ni-Hao, Kai-Lan and it’s part of Nick Jr.’s lineup.

Image courtesy of

On each show, Kai-Lan and her friends are typically working on some sort of “project,” such as planning a party. While the characters are working together, something occurs to cause one of the characters to become frustrated, angry, sad or afraid. When this happens, Kai-Lan and the gang try to figure out what is wrong and then help their friend deal with the problem in a positive way.

I think these lessons about feelings and how to handle them are so important for young children. I think that they are probably more important than learning to count – at least for my son’s age group. I can remember being little and feeling frustrated and adults telling me “It isn’t nice to be angry. Be a sweet girl.” That was so not helpful, because in addition to being mad, I also felt like I was being a bad girl because of something I really hadn’t learned to control. I can also remember going to an amusement park for the first time and being too frightened to ride a rollercoaster. I got so nervous that I was teary-eyed. I was told that I was “being silly” and I should just “get over it” because I was keeping the others from having fun. Again, not helpful. It just added shame to the fear I was already feeling.

Yuck, right? But seriously, I think it is very easy to fall short when addressing behavior and emotions with a child. As a teacher, I know I have screwed that up on many occasions. Telling a kid to “knock it off” or to “get over it” really does not work that often. However, I was actually able to help a student make a positive change to his or her behavior those times when I did take a moment to talk to the student to find out how he or she was feeling (and how that feeling led to whatever behavior that he or she was exhibiting). It definitely takes effort to help a kid understand that anger, boredom, fear, frustration, etc., are okay to experience. And it takes even more to help them find good ways to express those feelings. But that extra effort is effective.

I really want to do that for my child. I know I will have to discipline him once he is old enough to choose to misbehave, but I hope I will always do it with love instead of vexation. And, following little Kai-Lan's example, I hope when he does act out because he is frustrated or sad or bored that I will always be willing help him find a better way of expressing those feelings rather than just telling him to “be a nice boy.”


Posted by Chelsea on May 27, 2009

Kate, Kate, Kate. Did no one ever tell you that when you’re going through a big “life change” (or book publicity tour?) that you’re never supposed to get a radical new haircut? Especially one that looks like you did it yourself with a Flowbee?

Despite all of the media blitz surrounding Kate’s husband Jon’s alleged infidelity, most of the talk among my pals surrounds her hair.  “I haven’t seen a wedge that cheesy since my last trip to Whole Foods,” my best friend Jessica remarked after seeing it. Another friend referred to it as “The Volcano”- things flying into the air in the back, lava down the front. Momtourage member Hallie asked, “Imagine shampooing it? Or what it looks like wet?”. Me, I wonder what her hairstylist was thinking when cutting it, and how s/he instructed Kate to style it to replicate the look at home. Did s/he say, “I’m going for a Posh Spice meets ‘There’s Something about Mary’ sorta thing!’”? Kate, you need to petition your state’s cosmetology board to revoke the license of the person who butchered you like this, pronto.

Jon, however…even though he’s clearly a cheating little weasel, I don’t feel like he deserves as much outrage as Kate’s hairdresser. Scream, write me nasty comments, whatever, but here’s why I feel this way: Unlike much of America and most of The Momtourage, I have never been a fan of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus Eight”. I watched once - it was the episode where Kate ripped Jon a new one for not using a coupon - and just couldn’t deal. First, seeing that much chaos caused by little kids was not my idea of entertainment - it was like watching the parts of my life that I watch t.v. to get away from. Also, and perhaps most difficult for me to witness, was Kate’s treatment of Jon. Sister is mean. I didn’t find it funny or charming; it just made me sad. Even though I never found him exceptionally likable, I felt badly for Jon. Poor dude has eight little kids and a wife who treats him like one of them. I bet he looooooves coming home to that.

Recently, it’s being reported, Jon’s been seeking some affection - and who knows what else - in the arms of a young Pennsylvania teacher, and not in Kate’s. Now, I’m not condoning infidelity - it is wrong, and bad and wrecks homes, but I can’t help but wonder if Kate’s repeated beating down of Jon had something to do with his lookin’ for love in all the wrong places. Sure, he was never a perfect guy - far from it. And yes, she’s under a lot of stress, caring for all of those kids, but it’s tough for me to ignore the possibility that Jon’s actions are a result of his getting really sick and tired of being treated like crap. It also seems Kate sought out the spotlight more than he did, so perhaps she got a little more into the fame game that he did (or was invited to by the media - she is clearly the one with more star quality), which likely caused tension in their marriage. I wonder, though, is the bottom-line reason behind Jon’s cheating that he wanted to be in the company of a woman who treated him like he was great, the best, the sexiest, the smartest…whatever - and not like a raging moron? In other words, not Kate - bad hair or otherwise?

While watching “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” the other night, cheese-tastic housewife Dina remarked “You gotta be your husband’s girlfriend, or he’s gonna get another girlfriend!”. I chuckled, then pondered. At the risk of setting the women’s movement back 50 years, I see some truth in Dina’s statement. I don’t see “being your husband’s girlfriend” as needing to be a different or more attractive person so your spouse doesn’t cheat. Instead, I interpret it to mean that you should strive to be a person he enjoys being around, someone to whom he looks forward to coming home.  If you love him, that shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, right? Yes, we are all so stressed between work and the kids and the house and God knows what else, but being kind to your husband (assuming he’s worthy, which he likely is because you married him in the first place)...well, I think that’s worth it’s marriage-resilience weight in gold. You have to wonder: would you want to be all nice and loving back to a spouse who wasn’t?

Was Jon?

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Posted by Chelsea on January 07, 2009

There’s an article in today’s Washington Post about a 6-year-old boy who after missing the bus, elected to drive himself to school this morning. Sadly, some crap parenting seems to have likely been the precursor. The article says that the boy’s father was under a court order not to leave the 6-year-old and his 4-year-old brother alone with their mother at their home in the town of Wicomico Church, VA. But Dad left for work at 6:30 a.m., and Mom was still asleep when the 6-year-old missed the bus and then drove off at 7:40 a.m. for school. A court order not to leave the boys alone with their mom? Yikes. Fortunately, the authorities are on it: the parents were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment.

Thankfully, the poor kid, who was desperate to get to school so he wouldn’t miss breakfast (this makes me especially sad) and P.E., avoided injury, as did the other drivers he was sharing the road with. He crashed the car into a utility pole and, understandably, was majorly freaked out, but ultimately, fine.

Because the story ends relatively well (moron parents nonwithstanding), I can admit I find it rather hysterical. Especially the boy’s justification for getting behind the wheel:

“The sheriff said the boy told him that he had trained on video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam.”

Big Bro, though too young for Grand Theft Auto, is obsessed with monster trucks - especially the kids cartoon “Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks”. Monster Truck Jam video game, monster truck cartoon, what’s the difference? Will he, too, one day hop behind the wheel of my car and send it into motion, certain that he can handle it because of his “training”? He’s enough of a wild man that I’m sorta concerned that the answer is yes.

New Policy in the Kaplan home: television viewing is limited to “Handy Manny” only. 3-year-olds receiving premature training on fixing things: good, 3-year-olds receiving premature training on driving, bad.

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Posted by Chelsea on March 11, 2008

American Idol contestant Brooke White, former nanny to twin baby girls.

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Posted by Chelsea on January 07, 2008

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who I really, really dislike, returned to The View this morning after having been on maternity leave following the birth of her second child, son Taylor Thomas. Check out her glorious homecoming to the lamest group of daytime talk show hostesses ever by clicking here.

If there’s one thing that irks me more than talentless, Fox news-regurgitating, Stepford fembots who are supposed to represent the ladies of my generation, it’s placing unrealistic weight loss expectations on post-partum moms. Despite this, I did tune in to watch Elisabeth and see how she looked. Clad in a crazy-printed, black and white empire-waist dress, you couldn’t really tell how much weight she had or hadn’t lost, and you know what - fine with me. Even though I am sure your producers will have an opinion on how quickly you need to lose that weight, I don’t care, Elisabeth. You just had your second kid, so don’t worry about it. Take your time.

What I do care about, however, Elisabeth, was your decision to get a spray-tan that made you look like a walking clementine. I’m assuming this was the case, as I have only seen babies “yellow” with jaundice post-birth, and not moms “orange “with whatever the heck might turn them orange. You looked like an oompa loompa, Liz. Go home and scrub that crap off with a Mr. Clean magic eraser.

Your, baby, however? Seriously, seriously cute. Call me for a play date. I need to talk some political sense into you anyway.

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Posted by Chelsea on November 14, 2007

Tonight is the premiere of the latest installment of “Project Runway” (Wednesday night at 10/9C on Bravo), and I CAN’T WAIT. I freaking LOVE “Project Runway”. It has everything I love in a television show: high fashion, “reality”, bitchy women and bitchy gay men. As if I could be any more excited about the premiere, this season, according to my most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, is apparently the “gayest ever”! Woo hoo, sisters - I love you all!

For those of you who are already hooked on the wonder that is PR, make sure you download Tim Gunn’s podcasts following the show (they’re free on itunes). On these podcasts, you get more of glorious Tim as well as insider behind-the-scenes info. Additionally, you HAVE to check out Project Rungay, which is a hilarious blog written about the show by two gay men. It’s almost as fantastic as the show itself.

If you’re not already on the bandwagon, get on already! It’s just pure genius. It’s “The Hills”, but gayer and with an overt competition component. You’ll love, love love.

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Posted by Chelsea on October 01, 2007

The October 2007 issue of Parents magazine includes a small feature titled “Is He Crushworthy?” with the subheadline “We polled our married staffers and came up with this list of hotties”. Essentially a mom-version of a Seventeen magazine-esque “Who we think is hot RIGHT NOW!!”, the article includes a list of who the magazine’s married chicks think is “crushworthy”.

The list includes some of the usual/understandable suspects (“any and all firemen”, “24‘s Jack Bauer” and “The UPS Guy”), as well as a few slightly surprising yet still totally understandable choices (“Jon Stewart” - as previously mentioned, one of my personal faves, “Your child’s pediatrician” - one member of the DC Momtourage TOTALLY falls into this category, and “Forest Rangers”).

One choice, however, leaves me utterly and completely baffled , not to mention a slight bit nauseated:

“Steve, the former host of Blue’s Clues”.

STEVE? From Blue’s Clues? Ladies, you have GOT to get out more.

Pardon me while I get my handy-dandy notebook and comprise a list of 8,000,000 other guys who are far more crush-worthy…...

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Posted by Chelsea on September 26, 2007

According to Reality Blurred, Bravo has started production on a new reality docudrama called “Manhattan Moms”, which follows “an eclectic group of Gotham socialites and their families.” In a press release,  Bravo’s Frances Berwick says the following: “We’ll watch as they juggle calendars packed with charity fund-raising galas and the social whirl of the Hamptons, with interviews for elite private schools and high-powered careers.”

Manhattan moms, (and moms to be) who read this blog, is this what your “reality” consists of?

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Posted by Chelsea on May 22, 2007

1) What the hell was Randy wearing? Did he rob some fatty high school drum major of his band costume?

2) Doesn’t Paula Abdul have enough money to purchase hair extensions that don’t look like a den of ferrets crawled onto her head and died?

3) Whose ridiculous idea was it to have the finalists sing an original song penned by an amateur? That song BLEW.

4) Blake isn’t just cheese, he’s pasteurized processed cheese food, like Velveeta. I don’t even like her all that much, but if Jordin doesn’t win tomorrow night, I’ll spend the rest of the week puking all over myself.

5) Am I just old and not in touch with today’s fashion, or were Blake’s clothes absolutely, horrifically awful?

6) I totally think Blake and Ryan are getting it on after the show tonight.

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