Brooklyn, a Love Story


Since we’re leaving Brooklyn, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back on these past ten years, the Brooklyn decade. This is a love story.

After graduating college in Manhattan I found an apartment in Brooklyn Heights, my first apartment in Brooklyn. It was a share with a couple who would soon become engaged. Lovely Orange Street. My room barely fit my full size bed, but it had its own half bath.

Soon after I moved in I met D. He was living in Red Hook. We took walks to the Pier. Such a quiet, peaceful place, water lapping against the old sugar factory, that perfect, secret view of the Statue of Liberty. We cooked our first meals together. Every morning I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to work. Some days it was so foggy you couldn’t see the city at all.

My second Brooklyn apartment was with a friend in Park Slope. Again, my room just fit my full size bed. D and I split our time between this apartment and his apartment in Sunset Park. I remember the constant carrying back and forth of clothes, toothbrush, deodorant. Feeling like an imposition. The sound of birds early in the morning, the fire escape out the window. How chilly it was getting out of the shower. We fell in love.

We moved into our first apartment together, in Prospect Heights. Having our own space was amazing. Everything felt settled. And the bedroom, much bigger than the bed, felt cavernous. I began a love affair with Prospect Park, just a ten minute walk away. D and I took up birding. Then we got married. We had a wedding party in that apartment.

From Prospect Heights we moved further into Brooklyn, to our current apartment in Sunset Park. We had a small extra room. Every morning I walked through Sunset Park on the way to work, gauging the air quality from that panoramic view of Manhattan.

Then came pregnancy. On bed rest, I watched spring arrive on the street trees outside the window. My water broke in that apartment. Our little office became a nursery with two cribs, and the babies grew from preemies to chatty eight-month-olds.

It’s been a full decade. In the future, I see us showing the babies pictures of Brooklyn, telling them the name of the hospital where they were born, how we walked from our apartment to the NICU to hold them, stroke their tiny arms. But they won’t remember this place.

Brooklyn has been our city. This decade the story of our meeting, courting, somehow becoming adults. Now we’re moving to Pittsburgh as a family of four. It will be a new story.


How to Follow Every Single Piece of Parenting Advice You Hear


So this post on tumblr has been making the rounds for a while now, but I just saw it again and thought it was worth sharing here. “I Learn By Going Where I Have to Go,” is a mashup of all the extremely “helpful” baby sleep training advice showered on new parents.

It’s so easy to get all stressy about what we should and shouldn’t be doing with/for/to help our babies that we forget there’s actually no one right answer. Period. It seems like there is one, somewhere, if only you read the right article or ask the right person, but it turns out the right answer is different for everyone. You have to decide for yourself what feels right. That’s true about parenting, and it’s also true of life in general, but I digress.

Lately I’ve been stressing about how to start the babies on finger foods. They seem to want to feed themselves, to move past the tiny jars of mush, but I worry about them choking. Some people use Baby Led Weaning, some start with cheerios, some say just continue with the mush. Everyone has a different opinion.

I bought some Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusk snack things (try saying that ten times fast) at the store.  They are supposed to dissolve easily in the baby’s mouth. Then I tried one. They didn’t seem to dissolve immediately. Then I looked online… 10-MONTH OLD DIES EATING BABY MUM-MUM and I turned off the Internet and put away the snacks.

Lately, mealtimes have become more interesting. The babies’ personalities are really emerging in full force. When I bring out the baby food, M is all over the place grabbing the spoon dumping it on the floor, leaning way forward to lick the tray, grab the bowl with her mouth, mash her fingers in the mush and smear it around. In contrast, Bean seems content to sit back and let me spoon the food into her mouth, watching M curiously, taking in her surroundings.

Maybe the ideal way to start each of them on finger foods is different. But that’s not my point. I’m trying to get past this “ideal” way of thinking. My real point is, they’re different, I’m different, our circumstances are different, and we’re just going to do what feels right. This morning I finally got out the Mum-mum box and gave them each a piece. They carefully brought it to their mouth and sucked on it a bit, nibbling tiny pieces. They did not immediately shove it down their throats and choke to death. We’re figuring it out.

The New, New Way of Getting Out of the House Sucks


This morning started very, very early. It was dark and I don’t remember clearly except there was crying and I said to D, “Maybe you should go check if her diaper’s wet.” And it wasn’t long after that that I had to get up anyway. In spite of the tiredness, though, I was determined to get the babies out of the house today since the weather is okay and they didn’t go out all weekend.

My first attempt was around 10 am. I stood for a while at the top of the stairs staring down the steps at the front door leading to the stoop, imagining carrying the babies and everything two flights out of the house. Then I suddenly decided that at nearly 20 lbs each they are now too heavy for me to carry one around in the Ergo anymore. This meant my New Improved Method of Leaving the House, involving the umbrella stroller plus Ergo, was now obsolete. 

Half an hour later, after hauling out our behemoth double stroller from behind the stored AC, banging down the two seat attachments from the closet, lifting babies in and out of seats to adjust and readjust straps, looking up Internet stroller operating instructions, I was too tired to try to go outside. I decided I would recoup my strength and try again in the afternoon. 

So here was the New, New Way of Getting out of the House, which frankly kind of sucked: 

1. Dress babies in layers. Bean commences screaming immediately. M is okay initially but begins to be unnerved by proximity of screaming sister and soon commences screaming.

2. Lug nearly 40 lb stroller plus two unwieldy seat attachments down first flight of stairs, then down second flight of stairs to the street. 

3. Set up stroller with seat attachments at the bottom of the stoop, street level. 

4. Sprint back upstairs, worrying that f*ing expensive, irreplaceable, thousand-pound stroller, which is also the only way I can get out of the house alone, will be stolen. 

5. Pick up both SCREAMING babies. They are now so breathless and overheated with insane sobbing that picking them up doesn’t even calm them down. Consider briefly just staying in the house–imagine being in the house with two screaming babies–recommence leaving plan. Try to lift both babies at once. I can barely straighten my back. Try to lift with my knees, grunting like a bench presser. 

6. Carry them down two flights of stairs (Still screaming). I’ve got one of them around the armpits, but her bottom half is dangling like she might slip out. Can’t reach keys. Leave apartment door unlocked because F* THAT. 

7. Set *SCREAMING* *SWEATY* babies in stroller. (Neighbor arrives home at this point. He says something, I say something. Don’t remember). 

8. Set out on my walk! Outside! Free! Babies fall asleep in stroller.

I am getting to the point where I might be willing to ask the neighbors if I can get a copy of their downstairs key and leave the stroller in the very small space outside their door at street level. It’s taken me…nearly eight months. Almost there. 



Audience of Two

Audience of Two

I did this painting of the twins yesterday from a photo. This captures a bit of their current intensity. D said the other day that when he walks in the kitchen and they are in their high chairs, they stare like they expect him to break into song and dance any second. It’s true.

They used to be content playing on the mat while I was next to them on the computer. Now they stare at me so that I feel self conscious, and I have to get down and nibble their earlobes while making Cookie Monster sounds, dance around the room with a scarf singing The Sound of Music. Then they laugh contentedly, as if they knew it was coming all along.

This morning they watched D stick out his tongue and make raspberries at them with an intensity as if he were teaching them phonics, not laughing until he laughed.

At the breakfast table, Bean grabbed the the magazine I was reading. She ripped out the center page, lustfully crinkling and uncrinkling, her whole body getting into the action like she was playing the accordion. This was seriously amazing stuff. I didn’t mind that now I’d never finish the article. The ripping was worth it.

Strange and Mysterious Investigations

Strange and Mysterious Dialogue 

“Dear Space Monkey Twins,

Thank you for sharing your observations. I wanted to alert you to some interesting work happening in Portland, ME around the Glow Box. Researchers there have initiated oral investigations of the un-lit Glow Box. They were also able to activate the glow…” [click link above]

Dear Portland Interested Party,

Galloping Glow Worms! This is a very exciting development! Was fingerprint recognition necessary for Glow Box initiation? Our efforts at understanding have been somewhat hampered by our thus far lack of mobility. Needless to say, we are working day and night on achieving “texting thumb” grasp and learning to control these jumpy leg appendages! In the meantime, we will alternate between panting excitement and affected nonchalance in the presence of The Glow, in the hopes of securing a closer investigation.

I hope we too might have something to share with the Baby Council.

Your admiring

Space Monkey Twins

Strange and Mysterious Object #6


From the journal of Space Monkey Twins:

01_08_2014 19:54:55:01

Glow box seems to be each human’s computer chip. Both “Mom” and “Dad” carry at all times + must continuously stop to stare, tap, stroke. We believe this object downloads and uploads data to the human brain, conveying information to a central knowledge port. Faces go blank during the upload process. We will make every effort to gain access to glow boxes, as we believe these hold the secret of the human race.

*Note: We will also distract “Mom” and “Dad” from them as much as possible, as they become bleary faced with too much exposure. Belly zerberts seem to help.

As ever, your intrepid
Space Monkey Twins