The New York Birthday Show comes to town on Oct. 20, complete with copious amounts of glittery swag, pint-size spa stations, the Big Apple Circus and TLC’s Cake Boss. Don’t we already live in the capital of the world when it comes to spoiling children? Read More
By Una LaMarche 8/06 7:16pm
There is a stoop a few blocks from Union Square that catches my eye every time I pass it. It’s been beautified over the years: its formerly soot-colored iron railing painted silver, its door finished in slick, bougie mahogany and brass. Two identical potted plants now occupy the space that during my childhood was largely reserved for lazy-eyed pigeons and hypodermic needles.
But the most marked improvement is in the concrete itself, which is now smooth instead of crumbling and which has been outfitted on each step with small skid-proof pads. These pads in particular would have been helpful to me in 1984, the year when I famously fell down the stoop of 138 West 15th Street headfirst. Read More
By Una LaMarche 6/18 6:29pm
I have, for better or worse, the opposite of a stage mother. It’s not that my parents didn’t think I was secretly brilliant as a child—thanks to the educational Disney cartoon Ben and Me, I could recite the Declaration of Independence before I was out of diapers—it’s just they just didn’t seem to care what I became when I grew up, so long as I voted Democrat and understood that my “life partner” was not obligated to have a Y-chromosome.
I only noticed their indifference because my best friend growing up in Chelsea was a child actor who was tragically let go after the Roseanne pilot, reportedly for having a beef with Sara Gilbert. Since I often accompanied him to his auditions, I actually had a few agents approach me to slap my mug on Shrinky Dinks boxes and the like, offers at which my mom just rolled her eyes. This was circa 1983, but I’m sure she’d roll them much harder right now, 30 years later, if she knew that I recently sent photos of her grandson to a Gap casting call.
I KNOW. I swore I’d never be that parent, the one who gazes beatifically at her toddler bashing a rock against a white picket fence and thinks, catalog model! But it’s legitimately hard to not view your kid as exceptional in every way; in my experience, procreating is like donning a pair of person-specific permanent beer goggles. Read More
By Una LaMarche 4/30 6:30pm
Over the weekend, my friend told me about her 2-year-old son’s anal fissure. We were strolling through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, admiring the cherry blossoms as our kids scampered Frogger-style through three lanes of Bugaboos, when she confessed that he couldn’t poop without crying.
“Poor guy,” she sighed. “He won’t take baths, either.” Then she proceeded to describe the wound in detail, before adding, “It’s the kind of thing some people would put on Facebook.” I didn’t need to scroll through my news feed to prove her right. In the past week alone, I have seen photos of a grotesquely infected eye, a placental encapsulation and a “potty” full of urine. Read More
By Una LaMarche 3/19 6:42pm
A childhood drawing of mine hangs above my son’s changing table. It’s a mostly unremarkable work, a giant, floating rectangular head with spiky Bart Simpson hair and a nose that resembles an electrical outlet, rendered in fading green marker on flan-colored paper. And yet it has one feature that distinguishes it from the average preschooler’s half-assed artistic endeavor. Emerging from the head is a speech bubble as round and buoyant as a cumulus cloud. And inside the bubble is one word: FUCK.
The story behind the drawing is disappointingly mundane—I was coloring on the floor of my dad’s office, overheard him drop an F-bomb, asked him how to spell it and rewarded his honesty with a Take Your Daughter to Work Day souvenir that only Louis CK’s refrigerator could love—but hindsight imbues it with profane meaning.
Because some 30 years later, I am still that snub-nosed potty mouth (albeit with a neck and a few more teeth), but now the matriarch of a household in which cursing—or “cussing,” if you live in a state that contains a Waffle House franchise—is wholeheartedly embraced. Read More
By Una LaMarche 2/12 6:34pm
One day not long after giving birth to my son, I looked down and noticed that my ass was gone. It had just cut and run—didn’t say goodbye, didn’t even leave a note. (Evidence suggested that my breasts had started to give chase but tired by the time they reached my lower ribs.)
“BUTT DISAPPEARED!” I frantically typed into my Google search bar, which has recently suffered through such wide-ranging queries as “celebrities eating” and “what is dry cleaning?” Alas, the Internet offered me no solace, only a variety of links to weight-loss message boards. And yes, I have lost weight: 30 pounds of baby weight plus seven extra pounds of constant breast-feeding, acute postpartum anxiety and a diet that consists almost exclusively of infant tears and orange Fanta. But still, it seems unfair. I have a belly that’s as soft and pliable as fresh pizza dough and which merrily jiggles when my kid climbs into my lap for story time. Why couldn’t that have magically melted away? Why should my butt have to pay for what my uterus has wrought? Read More
By Una LaMarche 1/08 6:35pm
Every morning, after getting up, emptying his bowels and painstakingly bestowing at least four spoonfuls of yogurt onto the living-room carpet, my 15-month-old son turns and jabs a stubby finger in the general direction of our television.
“Dis!” he cries insistently. “DIS.”
As a TV addict myself—someone so far gone that she actually paid for Read More
By Una LaMarche 12/04/12 7:17pm
A few years ago, my friend Kabir raked in an amazing Christmas haul at work. “I got a cashmere sweater, really expensive wine, a super nice pen, a Le Creuset pan, a free dinner at Craft, opera tickets to the Met and a $150 watch,” he remembered. “Plus gift cards to everything from Dean & DeLuca to Banana Republic. I never got cash, but the gift cards added up to over a thousand bucks!”
Kabir is not a hedge fund manager, a high-end male escort, or—despite the fitting first letter of his name—a backup Kardashian. In fact, at the time of this unbelievable bounty, he was a 25-year-old assistant kindergarten teacher at the Grace Church School. Read More
By Una LaMarche 11/06/12 7:20pm
As Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the East Coast last week, an Atlanta mommy blogger named Jenny took to her keyboard to opine that the storm—which had as of press time killed at least 110 people—might just be a consequence of biblical negligence. “Some of the most liberal and [God]-mocking areas of the nation are threatened by Sandy,” she wrote on her blog, Toddlers, Teens and In-Betweens, making sure to note that a number of states that had legalized same-sex marriage were in harm’s way. After receiving a slew of what she called “rude and obnoxious” comments, Jenny fought back, insisting that she didn’t care if she offended people. Then she deleted the original post. Read More
By Una LaMarche 10/09/12 7:10pm
The other day at playgroup, my son, Sam, hit another baby in the face. He didn’t mean to hurt him—it was more like a wave gone awry—but still, it was open-hand, at point-blank range, like the first blow in the kind of slap fight you might see break out on Maury Povich. The other baby winced, and I swooped in from my crouch approximately two feet away to break it up. And then, from across the room, I heard the other child’s mother start to … laugh.
“Awesome,” she said, not making the slightest move to get up from her laid-back lean against the wall. I stared at her. Was she drunk? (Unlikely; it was noon.) Did she just not give a shit? Again, no; I’d seen her kissing her son and feeding him orange slices just moments before. As her baby shrugged off the attack and crawled over to investigate a nearby wall outlet, I had to accept the truth: in the world of helicopter parenting, she was the equivalent of a T-bird on blocks. And I was a military Black Hawk. Read More