It's been quite a few weeks since I had a conversation with the owner of one of my fave mama/baby hangouts about appropriate baby (hence mama!) behavior. The conversation had been spurred by a recent visit by some renegade toddlers who 'decorated' the walls and furnishings with markers and chalk while their mothers apparently did nothing to curb the inappropriate behavior.

Newhavenbaby and I go to a lot of non-baby places where he is frequently the only (or one of two when he brings a date!) baby there, and we leave if he seems to be disturbing anyone unneccesarily. We even leave my fave mama/baby hangout, coffee-in-hand frequently, because he gets restless and there are 2 or 3 other groups of people there enjoying the day who I am mortified to be disturbing.

Regardless, the conversation got me thinking about parenting in public places like restaurants. What do you do when babies or toddlers aren't acting appropriately? How can a business cater to the baby-set and ensure that the mama-dada-set keep them in check?

It seems like there should be a better way than this... Right?

via bloggingbaby


Dog (and Cat) Days at the Peabody

We had a lot of fun this morning at the Peabody's Dog and Cat day events. The highlight was the sheep herding demonstration on the lawn---the sheep kept getting tangled up in the plastic fencing during the demonstration, which is apparently very exciting to an almost two year old.

Inside we met Handsome Dan, and newhavenbaby practiced his bulldog pout, and we made tiger masks which he didn't understand how to use at all. Newhavenbaby was thrilled to get his hands on some child-sized (and blunt-tipped!) scissors. There was also a table to make feathery cat toys, and several games to play.

The music "freestyle" was going on when we left---a little bit strange in this bloggers opinion---with a woman dressed in red, white, and blue polyester dancing to a disco song with her dog, who kept trying to run away.

The Dog Day event continues tomorrow (Sunday) from 12-4.
read the full article



Newhavenbaby is a bookworm and a half, so we are always on the hunt for new books. Newhavenbaby and his Dad found Rap-a-tap-tap today at the library (Thanks Myra for the rec!), and we have a whole list in the wings from the daddytypes.com Book Review Contest.
I was even inspired to write my own review of newhavenbaby's current fave, Madlenka.


Pilot Pen

I went with a few co-workers to Pilot Pen tournament today (sans the baby). It was a pretty interesting experience. Unfortunately, the woman that we were rooting for, Meghan Shaughnessy, lost to another player. There were several kids in the crowd, all above the age of 4. They also have an interactive playzone for kids, which looked pretty fun. My friend's four-year old was having a great time. She got some autographs, and was cheering really hard.

SWAGAT = casual deliciousness

I am adding another few restaurants to the Eat page, but I thought I'd highlight this one here too.
We have been craving Indian food for months, so went to Swagat last night for dinner. One of our former neighbors (thanks Ian!) had recommended it a while back. We drive by it all the time on the way to Shoprite in West Haven (best cheap produce we've found), but it's always the wrong time of day to stop for food.

The food was delicious, and served in cool metal cups, plates and bowls. We ordered dosa to start (heavenly!), chicken saag, and a lamb dish that's I can't remember the name of, and bread. Newhavenbaby loved the spicey basmati rice and the dosa with chutney. Newhavenbaby and I split the kahlfi for dessert while his daddy drank sweet Indian coffee. All for about $25. Next time we decided we are going to order a vegetable dish--and maybe some extra spicy rice for newhavenricemonster. Or we'll come back at lunch and try the $4-7 lunch specials.

The decor is sparse, there are only about 6 tables. Two highchairs---one plasticky and one the standard wood restaurant variety. We were the first dinner guests to arrive at 5:30pm on a Tuesday night, but by 6:45 there was only one table left.

Swagat, 215 Boston Post Rd West Haven, CT 06516 (203) 931-0108 (nestled in a little strip of shops on the right before you get to that funky campbell st / fountain st intersection)


The effect of work on your kid

I am a working Mom, so I am always on the lookout for research on the effects of work on kid's development. I came across an interesting new paper that relates to this. Apparently, having Mom work benefits (or at least does not hurt) disadvanatged youths, but does hurt "advantaged adolescents." For more details on the paper, go to SSRN. The paper's author is Christopher Ruhm.


Out-of-house Guests

Newhavenbaby's grandparents came to see us a few weeks ago during our big move, and they stayed in Westville at a guest house that was listed on one of the Yale travel pages. We missed having them nearby, but our guestbedroom / babybedroom was a un-navigatable sea of cardboard boxes. We loved their help with newhavenbaby while we were setting up our new home.

Here's the scoop from newhavenbaby's grandma:

"We really enjoyed our stay in Margaret's beautiful home. Visiting with Margaret was a real treat, as she had so many interesting stories to tell, as well as old time family recipes. We felt completely at home. She is so kind. I feel like I've left behind a good friend. The last two nights we were there two other guests arrived. The lady worked for the United Nations in Haiti. Again, we enjoyed visiting with them and we gained insight into their very busy lives. Margaret's bed and breakfast made our stay in NewHaven very memorable, and we hope to stay there again in the future. If you call to stay there, tell Margaret "Pat" sent you!"

61 Alston Street
Margaret Saars


Cranky, Critical and Sane

It's my last weekend at my summer internship and hubby took the day off to help pack up while I went to work. The thing is, baby T was thrilled to see daddy and celebrated by tossing routine out the window! Both baby and hubby got underfoot as I was scrambling to get out of the house on time, which led me to blow a gasket, which got hubby wondering why he had taken the day off, which made me wonder whether he really was helping etc...

At work and at school, I'm in control, cool as a cucumber, unflappable and chilled! At home, Monday to Friday, I'm a pressure cooker, hissing gently, with the occasional loud steam releasing yell. On weekends, I try to chill out - but it's challenging to just "let it go!"

It goes deeper than that ... As a single mommy through the week, I'm wound up tight and constantly on guard, relying on my wit, sanity, energy and strength to keep baby and myself well looked after.

On the weekends, I have the liberty to drop my guard and relax but it's the hardest thing to do! Suddenly, I don't know what to do with my excess guard dog type energy. In theory, I should just allow poor hubby to be the daddy and take over, but the guard dog rears it's head. "You didn't fix the cereal right, you didn't put him on the potty the right way." Or the unkindest jab of all..."He's upset, it's because you don't know how to handle him."

This conversation goes on in my head every weekend...
Critic: He's doing everything wrong
Sane:So, let him figure it out.
Cranky: I wish he'd just let me show him exactly what to do
Sane: Hey, it's not likely that your method would work any better.
Critic: Whaddya mean... Of course it does, haven't I perfected it.
Sane: ay carramba! Get a drink, read a book, go for a walk, take a long shower - let them work at it.
Cranky: yeah, like that's going to happen! The minute I try to do anything it will be "mommyyy", "Babe! Where is the milk./diaper/clean clothes..."

Some days cranky wins, and those weekends are highly forgettable. Other days sanity wins and we have a great time!
I'm trying to work out the right mantra to handle this... Maybe when I'm back in school or maybe when I've graduated and we're all living under one roof, maybe it will be different.

It's a choice we make as to which persona will dominate the day - somedays it's so hard to do the right thing and other days life is so zen! My hope is to evenutally send cranky to a dark closet and let sanity be the ruling force in my life...

This weekend I'm going to be sane, enjoy the weather and pack. If cranky starts rearing her head, I promise to go for a walk and work off that cheesecake I ate last night.

Have a sane, fun weekend ya'all.



Baja Mexican Restaurant

Coming from Texas, we really start to miss a nice plate of tacos and enchiladas.

Last night, we took newhavenbaby to Baja, on the Boston Post Road in Orange. They have lots of highchairs, and a super-friendly waitstaff. And newhavenbaby loved the orange slices that the kind bartender brought over while we were looking at our menus.

Baja has something that our Texas joints did not: a salsa bar that includes 3-4 different types of salsa, pico de gallo, and pickled jalapeno peppers. Much better that the standard little bowl for us to fight over. These days, newhavenbaby will eat just about anything as long as he can dip it in something else, in this case his broccoli (brought from home to snack on while we waited) was garnished with a very mild orange salsa.

I had the combo #2 (taco, rolled taco and enchilada--yum!), hubby had a burrito, and newhavenbaby had a side-order of spanish rice to go with the pieces of shredded beef from my taco. The fish tacos are also excellent, fyi.

Baja is located at 63 Boston Post Rd. (near the new Target, across the street for Lowes). 799-2252


Orange St. Market--you made my day!

So, I have to gloat a little bit about the article in today's New Haven Register.
I LOVE it! Especially because you can see newhavenbaby's bellybutton in the photo.

And I was thrilled to walk into Orange St. Market early this morning, and instead of my every-day friendly "Hello!" or "How are you?" I was greeted with: "So, how many papers do you want today?" I couldn't decide whether I wanted to buy them all, or to leave as many as possible for other people to read about newhavenbaby.

Where else can I go today...



Hi everyone,

I am the newest contributor to NewHavenBaby.com and would like to say hello to you all.

It's almost term time and I am in the middle of the last frantic few weeks of wrapping up my internship, organizing my move back to New Haven and gearing up for classes.

I am a full time MBA student at Yale and will be entering my 2nd and final year at school this fall. I am also a full-time mommy (and I dare anyone to reduce this shift to part-time!) to an adorable little 1.5 year old boy.

It's been a tricky, crazy year juggling business school and a baby but I've learned to plan my days with military style precision making backup plans and back ups for the backups. In the middle of this juggling act I learnt the art of keeping my kid suitably diverted while I tried to get h.w done, attend a group meeting, take a phone call and make dinner all in one go.

In acquiring suitable distractions for the brat, I became very passionate about toys. I have developed my list of "must haves" and "must nots" in toys and would love to share the lists with you. (note this list is very pertinent for a 1-3 age range)

"Top 5 Must Haves"

View Master (Fisher Price)- old technology, but super fun and inexpensive.
Mega Blocks (Mega Blocks) - we have lots of fun building towers and knocking them down.
Baby Tad (Leap Frog) - plays a bunch of songs and is pretty entertaining.
Big Yellow dump truck (indeterminate make) - my kid rolls it around the house.
Cardboard boxes and dinner spoons - the fun a kid can have with these is incredible.

I will share my "Must not" list the next time and in the interim would love to hear from you about your favorite toys!

Have a great week!

QueeniSreeni. :)

Nice to meet you!

I was fortunate to have a really nice conversation with a interesting, delightful and successful journalist and newhavenmama (now newhavengrandmama!) yesterday. Sandi Kahn Shelton called to write an article about newhavenbaby.com for the New Haven Register (check us out next Monday! Newhavenbaby and I also had a lot of fun getting our pictures taken for the article).

In addition to writing for the NHR, Sandi's "Wit's End" column appears in Working Woman and excepts have been collected into several books. I must say, her observations about life with kids really have me giggling.

I was also excited to find a new novel to add to my ever-growing reading list, What Comes After Crazy? Especially one that takes place New Haven!

And Sandi, if you are reading this, please do stop by when you are in the neighborhood...


Haircuts and Tootsie pops

Newhavenbaby had a grand time last week getting his hair cut again at Phil's Hair Styles on Wall St.

The first hair cut was a few months ago. That wasn't all that pleasant for either of us, but newhavenbaby was more than thrilled to receive his first chocolate tootsie pop 3 snips, 4 howls, 7 dollars and 25 teardrops later. I must admit, I was a little horrified at the wisdom of letting newhavenbaby have this new super-sugary treat, but....

This time, 4 months later, when I took him back for a trim before his grandparents came to visit, they were out of lollipops. Apparently, in newhavenbaby's superb recollective memory hair cut had already become equivalent to lollipop. Newhavenbaby's own words "no lollipop, no haircut." So we went home.

His dad took him back the next day with a back-up tootsie pop from the Taft drugstore. Newhavenbaby was again not thrilled with the whole procedure until the lollipop appeared. Now, he has been asking to go back for a hair cut almost every day since!

AND he looks so cute with his little boy cut.

Phil's hair styles is at 82 Wall St. We heard a rumor that the barbers there have cut the locks of more than one former president. Maybe more than one future president too?


File under Smart-mamas

We've recently added some new mama-centric links to our ever growing list of favorite spots on the Web:

literarymama---recently cited as a Best of the Web pick on Forbes.com. There is more to read there then I will ever have time for.

Brain, Child -the magazine for thinking mothers

If you find a local newstand bookstore that carries Brain, Child please send us a note. I've hit Barnes and Noble on Broadway and in North Haven, and browsed the giant selection of magazines at News Haven without success.


In search of Art

We finally made it to the Yale Art Gallery this summer...it had been too long. We hit the British Art Center first, but the 'animal room" was being cleaned and the top two floors were undergoing some renovations, and newhavenbaby and his friend were not excited at all about the naval portraits.
The Yale Art Gallery was fun, but our favorite red Calder mobile in the American galleries upstairs had been taken down, and Duchamp's snow shovel was apparently back in storage.

Not to be completely outdone with our carefully arranged field trip, we decided to take advantage of the summer weather and visit some outside sculptures nearby. Newhavenbaby was facinated with Calder's Gallows and Lollipops in Beinecke plaza. We'll be heading back to the museums once the fall weather drives us back inside and the summer renovations are over.

BTW, the BAC and the Sterling Library/Cross Campus ladies rooms both have nice quiet sofas for calming or nursing your newhavenbaby. (:


All moved in...

Sorry we haven't been around much, but we are now all situated in a brand new apartment on a beautiful street with the friendliest neighbors....can I say more?
Newhavenbaby likes his new room (and new toy room!), and we are having a great time watering the flowers in the front yard.
Now to settle back in to our little home in cyberspace...We've missed you!