Category Archives: Toddler

Snowtober, monkey #1’s first snowfall

Big Monkey and Monkey #1 enjoying the first snowfall of the season

Big Monkey and Monkey #1 enjoying the first snowfall of the season

Reports yesterday were that New York could be expecting up to 1 inch of snow. Meh. Even I who has been away from North American winter for well over 8 years did not blink an eye at this weather report. One inch of slushy snow was barely going to affect our day.

By around 11 this morning the snow started falling in big wet clumps. Still nothing much to report. But as the day goes on, it’s obvious this snow means business. It’s still falling and now looks a little something like this.

Snow accumulating in my piece of green in Manhattan

snow accumulating in my piece of green in Manhattan

conversation with Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes at Barnes and Noble TriBeCa

Preston and I headed to Barnes and Nobles in TriBeCa for a launch event of Dan Zanes and Friends newest album Little Nut Tree. Preston has been a groover and a shaker from way back, so I thought this would definitely be a good event to go to. Plus, if by chance he wasn’t enjoying it, Barnes and Nobles are pretty big open space bookstores – always a good time.

Dan hit the stage with his guitar and a harmonica, from the moment he launched into his songs, he really seemed to be enjoying what he was doing. His music is an interesting eclectic mix of folk, beatnik jazzy tunes with inspirations from the islands (I don’t think my description does it justice!). What is really nice about his sound is that it appeals equally to adults as it does to the kiddlets.

Preston enjoyed the tunes, and was only a little disappointed that the Wiggles were not there. I explained to him before we left that they wouldn’t be, but he’s a stubborn boy and anything guitar related means Wiggles for him.

Going through the turnstiles back at the subway on our way home, we ran into Dan the man himself. We had an interesting conversation about New York, nannies (though he apologized profusely, he also mistook me for P’s nanny), the Upper West Side and Brooklyn. As we were chatting on the C train Uptown I couldn’t help but think to myself  “This is the first real adult conversation I have had with someone since being in New York”. How sad is that….Besides, people in stores and Chris I haven’t really had a back and forth conversation with any other adult.

Before he got off the train in Chinatown for the Malaysia Noodle Festival he was nice enough to give me his latest CD Little Nut Tree. It was a kind and unnecessary gesture from a stranger that I really appreciated, Preston and I have already had a little groove.

turf wars nanny style {Updated}

Preston enjoying the playground, oblivious to what bothers me

We have a lease on our present apartment til December 1st, the plan is that by that time not only will we have a new addition to the family, we will have decided where we want to settle in the city permanently. It’s not that I don’t like what the Upper West Side (UWS) has to offer – lots of kid’s classes, parks, proximity to Central and Riverside Parks, the many different playgrounds and cafes, restaurants and stores that cater to kiddies all within walking distance. But there is one big thing that I don’t like – the nannies. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against nannies. In fact, I have smiled at quite a few at the playground and said hi as I sat down next to them on the bench. Problem is they look right pass me, through me, anywhere but at me. I’ve had a few perfunctory smiles, but all in all they do not want to talk to me.

I was whining about this to Chris the other night, it went a little something like this.

Me: “I can’t make any friends, none of the nannies at the playground want to talk to me.”

Chris: “Will why would they?”

Me: “Because we are both at the park with kids. Wouldn’t the time at the playground pass faster if we all just got along?”

Chris: “Don’t you understand, you’re not one of them, they don’t feel the need to talk to you.”

I don’t understand. I don’t understand the division between mothers and nannies in everyday situations. It’s so against human nature to not interact with people in your immediate surroundings. I took a sociology of sexuality class in College and will always remember the professor saying that through the ages something like 90% of couples get together because of proximity (co-workers, neighbors, fellow parishioners – you get the picture). So if this division is the way the majority roll on the Upper West Side, I’m not sure I want to be part of it. First off, 4 out of 5 women at the playground, at storytimes, etc are nannies which means the chances of me making friends doing day-to-day activities with Preston look pretty slim. With monkey #2 coming in December, I will be an at-home-mom for the foreseeable future so I need a neighborhood that understands community and whose inhabitants are friendly. I’m not saying that UWS moms are not friendly, I wouldn’t know as I haven’t met any.

It hasn’t taken me long to see the lines of division at the park. At one particular playground, it is circular in shape and the benches are placed in 3 different areas along the gate. To one side you will see the Caribbean nannies chatting and texting on their phones, on another bench are Asian nannies and grandparents, on the third bench is what I’ve been told are Dominican nannies and never the 3 shall meet. So not only do nannies and mothers not talk, but within their own profession they stick to their own race. Is this ludicrous or is it just me?

Chris and I have already decided to opt-out of the turf war and stick with our original desire to be in Brooklyn. Both our gut, research and talking to people at his work has pointed us to Brooklyn since we started planning this move – the creative industry; the community feel; good public schools, parks and museums; mothers who stay-at-home, work-from-home, work part-time, nannies. It all sounds much more blended yet balanced at the same time.

The verdict is still out on the exact part of Brooklyn we will start looking in, but it’s exciting nonetheless that we have at least narrowed it down to that Borough.

October 15 update: Huffington Post recently wrote an article on the war between nannies and stay-at-home-moms. The angle they have written from is surprising to me, I did not realize people could be so petty and so able to make flip judgments on people based on status. Or that mothers could be jealous of other mothers instead of supportive in whatever way they decided to raise their kids (as long as the kids are not in harm’s way). This article and conversations I have had after it solidify my belief that the UWS is probably not for us. Not to mention that storekeepers and people at other UWS facilities have mistaken me for Preston’s nanny one too many times. As his former soccer coach informed me, “you never know in this area. It’s usually only the nannies that we meet.”

The one about the pregnant lady and chickenpox

Poxy Preston

Poxy Preston

Over the past 8 years, every time we arrive at my parents’ house we are incredibly jet lagged. It’s a pity for all of us because anything from a year to 3 years has passed between seeing each other. But unfortunately the 20+ hours of travel from New Zealand plus landing in the complete opposite weather pattern has never agreed with Chris or I. In 2004, when we flew in from Christchurch for a 2 week stay before our wedding in Barbados, we spent the first week either in bed or on the toilet. It wasn’t pretty, but we chalk it up to the change from bitter cold Christchurch winter in July to humid hot summer in Montreal. Two years ago when we visited with a nearly 2 year old Preston, Chris spent a good 3 days straight sleeping and emerged with a chesty cough that lasted the entire trip.