Tag Archives: children

Tips for Long-Haul Air Travel with Young Kids Featured on Parent Hacks

Would you rather spend 24 hours on three flights with your young kids while you try not to throw up again, or…

  • replace your right hand with a monkey?
  • shower with Red Bull as the water and molasses as the soap for a week?
  • open a consignment store for slightly used feminine products?

Luckily the monkey types well, the molasses is keeping my left-hand stuck to the computer, and the consignment store doesn’t open until 11 p.m.: I can still blog!

I would choose anything over a full day’s worth of being cramped in a flying machine with young children, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get where you want to go. My husband and I were very, very grateful we sucked it up and took off for India over New Year’s 2014–2015. …and we will do it again!

It has been a pleasure to share my 10 tips for long-haul travel with young kids with Asha Dornfest over at the incredibly useful and well-written site Parent Hacks

Click over to see the full list, including how to be the boss of potty accidents and throw-up in the air, what kinds of melatonin worked for our family, and when and where to septuple check your seat assignments.

India 2015. MomsicleBlog

Want more travel tips?

Here’s a great list of guest posts and additional writing on travel with young kids here at Momsicle.

And here’s a great article on Science of Mom with more tips about international travel with kids.

Bon voyage!

Recent Family Fails

Part 1

We’ll Trace All Our Future Problems Back to this Brunch


Mimosas, the Gateway Drug

We went to Mother’s Day brunch at my grandmother’s retirement community.

There were six of us at a round table, but no one was sitting—everyone was flitting about.

When the waiter came over to ask if anyone wanted a mimosa, my grandmother said she’d take one, and I preemptively ordered mimosas for my husband, who was off at the waffle station with the boys, and my sister Hillary, who was on her way.

Then I left to hit the buffet.

It was sensational: giant cocktail shrimp, frittata, asparagus with béarnaise, pastries, tropical fruit.

By the time I got back to the table, K-Pants and Baby Woww were sipping orange juice in fancy glasses.

K-Pants said, “It’s spicy!” which is what he says for anything carbonated.

“It’s not spicy. It’s orange juice,” said Hill and my husband. And the kids drank some more.

At this point it all came together in my head and I and blurted out, “Those are mimosas!”

“They’re mimosas!?” Hill said.

“We’re giving the kids mimosas!?” my husband said loudly.

When you’re giving your toddler and preschooler alcohol at brunch at a retirement community, it’s best that everyone involved shouts.

By this point, the kids still had the mimosas, and most of the waitstaff and nearby brunch-folk were looking. The situation had to be dealt with.

The boys were disappointed that we took away their special drinks.

I was disappointed that they liked mimosas and wanted them back.

Plain orange juices with no Champagne were ordered in special glasses.

The question remains: Were the after-brunch meltdowns because it was past nap time, or because the alcohol went to their heads? We’ll never know.

(Strangely, all photos of this event have been deleted from my phone by the gremlins.)

Part 2

Is Preschool Graduation Really a Thing?


The Body of an Email is an Important Information Vessel

K-Pants Gradumacation. MomsicleBlog

Our preschool likes to send parent newsletters every few weeks via email attachment.

That is where they put the information about K-Pants’s graduation from his fours class.

I have a hard time accepting preschool graduation as a thing. I like to think of preschool as having an end of the year.

Graduation seems a little hyperbolic. I mean, you learn to write your name and interact in groups. Don’t get me wrong: These are critical skills, and frankly more than I was hoping for K-Pants. I would have been fine with him getting socialized to the point that it doesn’t seem like he’s being raised by neighborhood coyotes.

But I guess kids need to graduate from something every year.

I’m not good about opening email newsletters via attachment, because I feel like the body of an email is the place to put important information (most people who rely on communication in professional settings know this, right?).

So due to my disproportionate rage at email attachments as communication vessels, and my strong desire for a nap on the last day of class, I missed out on preschool graduation.

That nap was amazing, and I did not feel guilty at all until I arrived at preschool, having forgotten about the potential graduation, and one of the moms said, “Don’t worry, I think Ricki’s mom took a picture for you.”

Then I felt bad.

But more about the fact that preschool graduation was something I have to internalize and then consciously choose not to do, rather than the fact that I actually missed it. Hey, we got a photo. And you would never know it was from after the actual show, unless I told you.


Fear not, friends. I know what a terrible parenting philosophy I have. I’m also completely aware that K-Pants will have plenty more things to feel bad about, and plenty to work on with his therapist. But I still think I’m a great parent, and K-Pants said this morning that he wants to marry me. So we’re good. I think. Then he said he was going to marry my husband, and that I should marry Baby Woww.

Plan C: When Everything Mostly Falls Apart

You know how you always start with plan A, and when something goes wrong, you move on to plan B? And then when that all falls apart and the fire alarm is going off, dinner is burning, and the kids are freaking out, you move on to plan C, which, in general involves a lot of deep breathing and apologies?

We operate a lot with plan C at our house. Especially after 4 p.m.

Plan A is solid. Plan B strips out the bells and whistles. Plan C takes it to the bare bones.

I used to be a plan-A kinda gal. I could set high expectations because I was 95% sure I would meet them. Now I try to get plan A out of my head, because comparing what really happens to the ideal is not a good idea.

Are you with me, people? Expectations only lead to trouble. 

For example…

In plan A, I take my kids to a number of pumpkin patches to ensure great weather and fabulous photo opportunities of adorable children and squash.

In plan B it rains and the kids are grumpy, but they’re at least in the photos.

In plan C, I get home and realize that I’ve only taken pictures of a llama and a goat.

I consider this a win. MomsicleBlog


In plan A we brush Baby Woww’s teeth every day and he goes to the dentist before he turns two (the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends one-and-a-half, I think).

In plan B we brush his teeth every day.

In plan C he fills a sink with water and throws all the family’s toothbrushes in, plus a hairbrush.


In plan A, I get some “me time” by writing a blog post and taking a bath after the kids go down.

In plan B it gets late and I just take the bath.

In plan C I forget to set the bath plug, and check on the bath after all the hot water in the house has  gone down the drain. So I sit in a tepid bath for a while, pretending it’s the world’s smallest hotel swimming pool.

Any stories you care to share from your own plan C lifestyle??

Let’s Get Real

Rocky. MomsicleBlog

I’ve been hiding behind pictures and interviews for a while, and not talking about the raw parts of life—those bits that we all share but don’t share on Facebook.

For our fifth anniversary my husband and I went to marriage counseling.

He found a therapist, and after we got massages to celebrate our anniversary, we went to sit on her couch.

We went to see a therapist not because our marriage is on the rocks—in fact I would say that it’s the strongest it’s been. But the reason it’s strong is because we’ve hurled huge stones at it and had to find a way to protect it from the onslaught.

It’s strong. Like the skin on the bottom of your feet is strong.

But you don’t say that your calluses are the most beautiful parts of your body. Even if you think they are because they show your endurance, you sand them down while putting blush on your cheeks.


So these five years got me thinking. I recently heard Casey Affleck describing his movie “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” as the story of how a relationship grows from romanticism into real life.

Romanticism into Real Life.

You’ll enter Real Life after college, everyone said.

And I did, and I discovered Real Life was romantic: It was a wonderful circus of friends and road trips and faith and work and deep connections. And I was good at it.

It’s always been easy for me to connect with people. Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve woven together a strong net of relationships to support me should I fall.

So the minor blisters of Real Life were nothing in comparison to the tasting menus it would serve up.

There was one thing, though.


But we found each other, my husband and I.

And together we’re good at this thing. We’re resilient. We built a little house to protect ourselves from the huffing and puffing of Real Life.

And five years ago if I’d heard you talking about how a relationship changes from romanticism into Real Life, I would have nodded while adding seismic protection to my little house and secretly thinking, the romanticism can’t be shaken out of my real life.

But here I am five years later sitting on a therapist’s couch, and realizing Real Life isn’t a success or failure sort of thing. It’s not something I’m good at. It’s a survival thing. It’s endurance. And there’s nothing sexy or romantic about that.

Mortgages strain you. People die. Families break apart around you. Children drain the blood from your face and leave you pale and ashen.

It doesn’t matter if you’re good at Real Life. At some point your reserves will be depleted and you’ll be exhausted, and you need more fuel for the road. And that’s when it’s nice to sit on someone else’s couch.