Posts Tagged ‘Marx Brothers’

  1. Snowy Day + Clueless Mommy

    March 2, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Despite having spent pretty much my entire life in places with snowy winters (three decades and counting in New Hampshire, plus 7 years in Chicago), I still tend to underestimate the impact that winter precipitation can have on one’s daily life. This has been particularly true this winter, which has been warmer and less snowy than any I can remember.

    It’s been really nice both driving on the ice-free roads and walking on the ice-free sidewalks, as in the course of my daily life I tend to fall down more than anyone I know, other than the Marx Brothers.

    Anyway, when they were hyping the “storm of the season” a few days ago, I pooh-poohed it as the delusional ravings of snow-starved skiiers. And the original timeframe for the storm (Wednesday afternoon into evening) came and went with barely an inch on the ground.

    So yesterday morning, I paid no mind to the few flakes of snow in the air. I absentmindedly used my sleeve to brush the accumulated dusting off the car, bundled Lorelei and her go-cup of Cheerios into my trusty Subaru Impreza – a car that easily plows through all but the most serious storms – and we set off on the short trip to daycare.

    Where we discovered an immaculately plowed, completely empty parking lot.

    Have you ever tried to explain the concept of a snow day to an almost-2-year-old? It’s a little tricky. We did a 3-point-turn and started home, and I could sense confusion turning to anguish in the backseat.

    “Daycare!” Lorelei wailed. “Ella-dit!” (Elliott is Lorelei’s very favorite partner in crime during the week; I’m sure Lorelei was convinced that Elliott was happily ensconced in the church basement with the other friends and myriad toys – why on earth were we turning back?)

    We got home, and I turned on the local news to see if daycare was closed for the whole day, or if it was just a delayed opening. Turns out the storm was indeed bearing down precisely as hard as predicted – just a little late. The scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen indicated that pretty much the entire state was closed for the day.

    Note to self: Assume nothing from October through April when it comes to snow in New Hampshire.


  2. A Day at the Children’s Museum

    August 16, 2011 by Jennifer Carsen

    We had a very dreary, rainy weekend here – the sort of weather that makes you resort to sticking an inverted Carmex cap onto your greasy forehead in an effort to keep your child entertained. (Then again, sticking things onto our faces seems to be a rather integral part of our parenting style; I don’t know whether we should be concerned about this.)

    In any event, by early afternoon, we were out of new things to stick on our faces, and we’d watched all the Elmo I could stand, so I loaded Lorelei into the car for a trip to the children’s museum a few towns over.

    I think I need to start doing a better job with her foul-weather attire – as we arrived I could see other kids decked out in tiny raincoats, umbrellas, and galoshes. My strategy, on the other hand, consisted of springing Lorelei – in her standard summer outfit, and barefoot – from her car seat, clutching her to my chest (they don’t allow strollers in the museum, so I didn’t bother bringing ours), and sprinting through the rain into the building, saying “Wet baby! Wet baby!” over and over. She seemed to enjoy it, but the other parents look at you funny when you do this.

    We weren’t the only cabin-fevered folks with the bright idea to escape to the children’s museum. The entrance lobby was bedlam – little kids running around, littler kids being nursed in a corner, kids of various sizes being removed (some with a marked degree of resistance) from their strollers before being allowed in.

    Adding to the excitement, a woman on crutches made a dramatic pratfall entrance right in front of us, which would have been funny had it been in a Marx Brothers movie rather than real life. It’s the kind of scene that makes you want to turn around and run back to the car with your wet baby, but Lorelei was taking in all the commotion and absolutely loving it.

    She just couldn’t get enough of everything. We played with the musical wood panels on the wall. We banged on the drums in an Africa exhibit. We played post office with some bigger kids (who were a little annoyed at Lorelei’s penchant for sticking the laminated letters in her mouth). We had a brief stint at the play-doh table (once again, in the mouth). And we scootched.

    The scootching, it must be said, was a huge hit with the crowd at the children’s museum. The throngs repeatedly parted to let her through, with many admiring smiles and comments. It was a little like being out with a celebrity – picture a very small, preverbal Angelina Jolie.

    Things got even better when we got upstairs and discovered the area specifically designated for ages 0-3. It was enclosed, so the little guys could crawl/scootch/loll around without fear of being trampled by the bigger kids. Lorelei remains rather massive for her age, but she’s still not as mobile as most of her contemporaries, so I was helping her stand up at the model train table (she was playing with a boxcar, a small wooden cylinder that must have gone with something else, and a small stuffed ice cream cone that definitely went with something else).

    A little boy wandered over, gazing adoringly at Lorelei. He started stroking her hair (she raised her hand to her head; I think she thought he was getting a twig out of her hair) and then leaned in for a big cheek-to-cheek hug. Lorelei looked a little flummoxed, but not unhappy. She returned her focus to her stuffed ice cream cone.

    “Domenick!” Domenick’s mommy hurried over and gently removed Lorelei from his clutches. “I know you’re a little love-bug, but not everybody wants hugs.” Domenick, unfazed, toddled off in search of his next target.

    We played a little longer at the train table, until it became clear that Lorelei was tired and overstimulated (a point I’d hit almost as soon as we entered the museum). She loudly protested our departure; I think it’s safe to say she had a good time. We’ll be back.


  3. Maternity Ward: Officially Nicer Than Our House

    May 17, 2010 by Jennifer Carsen

    Yesterday, Eric and I went for our tour of the Portsmouth Hospital’s Maternity Unit, part of a brand-new $65 million renovation project. It looks more like a Marriott than a hospital – there’s a little kitchenette stocked with snacks for moms and dads; flat-screen TVs and wi-fi in every room; a lovely “family waiting area” with couches, wingback chairs, magazines, and yet another flat-screen TV; a lactation room with expert consultants for the breast-feeding-challenged; and decor in calming shades of peach and green (Eric said to the nurse who gave us our tour, “It’s just so nice and soothing, but the next time I’m in here I’ll probably be running around like a Marx brother”).

    There are separate rooms for labor/delivery and post-partum, and the nurse said there are certain standards you must meet before you’re transferred. “If you have an epidural, for example, you need to be able to feel your legs before we move you.” This struck me as eminently reasonable (how else would one access the snacks in the kitchenette?) She also noted that the hospital provides literally everything you’ll need for your new arrival – departure clothes, diapers, etc. – putting a fresh spin on the notion of BYOB(aby).

    I don’t know if baby-snatching has been a problem in the past at Portsmouth Hospital, but no longer – the floor is completely secure (all visitors must be buzzed both in and out from the front desk), and they use a “Hugs & Kisses” security system that electronically matches a baby’s anklet with his or her mother’s bracelet. “When a baby and mother come together,” the nurse told us, “the system plays a lullaby. But if the mother picks up the wrong baby, or even gets too close to the wrong baby, an alarm goes off.” Clearly, we will not have the option of surreptitiously trading up if we wind up with a blotchy screamer.