Listen up: NOBODY IS MORE CONCERNED WITH THE WELL BEING OF MY CHILDREN MORE THAN I AM. Got it? Just as I've wrote before about nobody wanting them to "Shut the F up more than I do," this rings just as true. I don't want them to be cold. I don't want them to get sunburn on their face. I don't want them to fall off the top of the jungle gym and crack their heads open. Really. I don't. So you can put your copy of "Happiest Baby on the Block" back in your Bugaboo and mind ya business. Living in NYC we walk a lot. I guess because I'm out in public with my kids so much it gives people free reign to start vomiting opinions at me. A little sun is good for people. We're not on the equator. Or in Jamaica. But thanks for your concern. My child is naturally hot all the time and gets unbearable cranky when she sweats. And she speaks. Actually, she rarely STOPS talking. She will tell me when she's cold. And my 2 year old? She's thrown her hat out of her stroller 5 times already and I'm only 2 blocks from home. And if I have to pick it up yet again I'm going to have a nervous breakdown on the corner of 155th Street and Broadway. And that would be very very sad. And PS- its 50 degrees. But thanks. And I know you've perfected your helicopter parenting skills, but I can see my kids from over here. I WANT them to learn how to climb the big slide. I WANT them have a go at the "big girl" swings. I want them to experience things and be independent and I'll step in if I FEEL they're in real danger. It's not my fault that the one time your kid took a header and knocked out a tooth it was because you were checking your email on your phone and now you feel like you have to be on top of every kid at the playground. Look, if a child is truly in harm's way, of COURSE any and every sober adult should do whatever they can to help. A child's LIFE is more important than the bruised ego of a distracted mother. But, a little rain is not going to kill anyone. That's my favorite. The kid is stuffed into the stroller a la Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," umbrella, plastic wind shield, sunscreen, canopy, hat, boots...and is chowing down on a packet of Fun Dip. Fun Dip! Sheesh. But, I mean, he's protected from the DANGEROUS poison rain that falls in Harlem. So it's all good. And you're looking at ME cause my kid isn't wearing a hat. I mean, do you KNOW the fight we just had trying to brush that rat's nest? No hat. Mind ya business. (Now, I know there are COMPLETELY clueless people out there who happened to create a child through basic biology that posess ZERO knowledge or instincts when it comes to parenting. I hope, in these extreme cases that are beyond my expertise, child services are involved. That's a horse of a different color.)
I general, as much as I may dislike it at times, I can handle whatever people throw at me. I've always been able to. I can take criticism as easily as I can take a compliment. Ya know, it's not to always FUN to be criticized, but it doesn't break me into pieces. Not in public anyway. I also feel like I know when to accept help and recognize that I didn't know EVERYTHING. I'm always wanting to learn how to be...better. For myself and my girls. There's definitely a time to listen. I find it very important to surround myself with mothers and everyday humans with whom I can have a candid conversation, where we can express our opinions and give advice and take it. When it's comes to my "core," often words aren't even needed. It takes but a raised eyebrow from my gals Jenn or Abby when they catch me giving Pats a "fake timeout" or using the microwave when I don't REALLY need to. I know what they're trying to say. And I appreciate it. It takes no more than a deadpan stare for me to know how my friend Craig feels about a performance I've given. On stage or off. So yeah, it's vital to be able to accept praise and words of encouragement and also a little tough love from those you really trust. It's also important to know when to keep your mouth shut. To strangers and friends.
I've become obsessed over the past few years with baby wearing. The proper carriers, holds, etc. Through my research and advice I've gained from EXPERTS, I've found my two faves. (In case you're wondering: MOBY WRAP www.mobywrap.com and BABY HAWK www.babyhawk.com). If expectant to new moms ask me about carriers, I give them my opinion. As much as it makes me cringe, I do NOT go up to every woman (or man) carrying a 5 month old front facing in a Baby Bjorn and tell them they're "doing it wrong." I don't classify improper hip placement as a life or death situation. I also don't consider consumption of straight up sugar from a paper package life or death. Well, it kind of is, but I choose my battles case to case on this one. If I see the child choking on said vibrant colored sugar, I will step in. And I've still not been able to figure out a way to confront mothers who are smoking while pushing a baby stroller. It makes me so crazy I could never eloquently address them. I welcome advice in this arena.
Kids or no kids, here's the deal: Other people will never, ever stop bringing you down. Or trying to. And the more successful you become, the worse it gets. The people that are doing it and don't realize it, are stupid. The people who are doing it on purpose are assholes. Neither of these people are worth your time or tears. And most of the time, we KNOW what our shortcomings are, right? I'm not a professional writer. When I become one and I have books or articles published I assume I'll have a capable editor. Until then, I may have grammatical errors and misspelled words from time to time. I KNOW THIS. I'm short and I have thick thighs. I KNOW THIS. You see, "Constructive" implies building you up in some way. This takes very careful delivery and tact. The right forum. Most unsolicited criticism or "advice" from peers is not constructive. It's just pointing out your flaws. And, its usually done passive aggressively by people who are your "friends" and not your FRIENDS.
Look- I love Joan Rivers and Fashion Police and US Weekly and all the celebrity gossip I can handle. Guilty pleasure. But the way our society is so quick to judge and pick apart people we don't even know is out of control. Yes, most of the time it's all in good fun. It's entertainment, I get it and I love watching. But a poor girl who's on the red carpet at her first Golden Globes, glammed out from horn to hoof in the best duds money can buy - well, borrow- and there's 5 different networks criticizing her lipstick shade?? It's truly nuts. So it's no wonder with this type of blatant judgement we see and hear everyday that we, the peasants, start following suit. Maybe it's just "the way things are." But I've said it before and I'll say it again: Being a mother is HARD. I've always been a proponent of women sticking up for and building each other up, but ESPECIALLY mothers. Don't judge, don't be shady, and don't talk shit. HELP. ENCOURAGE. LISTEN. UNDERSTAND. This WILL work. And eventually it will all come around. It will.
And before I button this, let ME offer a tidbit of "advice": PUH-LEEEASE teach your children to chew quietly and with their mouths closed. That way, they don't grow up to be the asshole I have to listen to while I'm in the "relaxation room" at the spa waiting for the ONE massage I'm able to get each year-smacking their lips, shoveling almonds and dried apricots into their gullets like barbarians. It's annoying. And rude. And not at all relaxing. Theenks.
A dish EVERYBODY has an opinion about: ribs. BBQ. I am neither a BBQ nor a ribs expert by any means. But, I know what tastes good, I know when other people think something tastes good, and I know when something is super easy and no fuss. This recipe is that. I'm on a slow cooker kick, so get over it or get on board! My new lifestyle practically demands it. So here we go!
KICKIN' [me in the] RIBS
4 lbs pork back ribs (this was two full racks at the Farmers Market)
1 bottle of Thai chili sauce (in Canada I use President's Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili sauce, in The States I use Trader Joes.)
Season ribs with basalt and pepper. Place in crock pot up and down (as opposed to laying them flat. Dump the whole bottle of chili sauce over the ribs. I kind of massaged it in a little bit. Turn on LOW. Cover and let sit for 9 1/2 hours. Remove ribs and set aside on serving platter or baking sheet. Pour the drippings from the crock into a small saucepan. Whisk in Wondra on Med-High heat till you have a BBQ sauce consistency. Serve on the side or directly over the meat. Jeremy likes his without extra sauce, so I always serve in the side. Eat alongside potato salad and veg, or your favorite BBQ staple. These guys are so absolutely scrumptious they will shut up even your most outspoken dinner guests!
1 lb waxy little potatoes (new, red skin, fingerling- that's what I used. They cook quick and you don't have to chop them up)
2 small hard boiled eggs (if using large or extra large eggs, maybe just one)
2/3 c mayo (I use low fat, use whatever you like)
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp spicy brown/deli mustard
2 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
Handful of flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped- about 1/4 c
Dump potatoes into a large saucepan and cover with water. Liberally salt. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain. Boil eggs**
While you wait...make the dressing. Whisk together mayo, sugar, mustard and spices. Then stir in the celery scallions, and parsley. Add the potatoes, once they're drained, to the dressing while they're still warm. This way they absorb the max flavor. Refrigerate right away. The longer the better, but prob not longer than two days. You have to wait for those ribs, anyway...
The ribs and the potato salad fed 4 adults plus Jeremy for lunch the next day.
***OK. Hard boiled eggs. This method never fails. Perfecto every time. Place eggs in sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes. The remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes. Drain the water, then fill with ice water for 5 minutes. Drain that water. Peel and enjoy right away, or refrigerate with shells on.