Nanny and Ben

Life, by virtue of it's sheer persistence, has not been kind to my grandmother these days. She is 95 years old. For the past 3 years she has been just well enough to survive, but not well enough to enjoy living.

We remember her caring for us when we were little, the aroma of her apple pies, playing dress-up in her jewelry. It's not clear what she remembers. Nanny is just lucid enough to know that she has dementia and that she should recognize us, but doesn't. Her not knowing who we are pains us all. Visits are short: we make small talk, carefully avoid telling stories that might upset her or asking questions that might confuse her.  We were fearful of bringing Benoît to meet her yesterday. We didn't know how he would react - would he cry? Would he be scared? Would that upset Nanny even more?

Things did not look promising when we arrived - she was not feeling well and lying in bed unresponsive, but the most amazing thing happened when we put the baby in her bed - he snuggled up to her and her face lit up. No one spoke. They just grinned and stared into each others eyes. It was the first time I had seen her smile in years. Its unclear if she knew who he was, or why he was there but it was clear that she was happy about it.


Office Wall Paper

OK. Calling the nook in our family room an office is a bit of a stretch - maybe office nook would be more appropriate.Whatever you call it, I am thinking about using wall paper to punch up that space. Here are some ideas I have been looking at.

New York based Moonish has the most amazing magnetic plywood tiles (above) that can easily be moved around or removed. I really only posted the video because I think it looks cool.
(Above left: Ferm Living, right: De Gournay in House to Home)
From top right: Just Kids Wallpaper, Elle Decor April 2009 issue, bottom two from Blik

PS: Remember Surya Bonali?
PPS: Can you believe the CEO of Bayer actually said this? MSF's full response here.



This past Thursday a power failure in Brooklyn forced Dave and I to go to his parent's house in Connecticut. While lovely, their house can feel a bit isolated in the wintertime. Fearing that we might lose our minds staying inside the whole weekend, we went looking for a baby-friendly outdoor activity that would let us take advantage of all of the snow that we have been having lately. We decided to try snowshoeing with Ben.

We were surprised how fun and  baby-friendly the outing was! Snowshoeing is great because it requires minimal skill (the ability to walk), minimal gear (snowshoes, which are quite small nowadays - we rented ours at a local hiking shop), and a snowy trail.  We went to  Bull's Bridge, CT and had the whole path to ourselves. Next time it snows we are going to try going in Prospect Park!

A couple of lessons we learned from snowshoeing with a five 5 week old:
1. Just because it's warm in the parking lot, doesn't mean its warm on the trail. Bundle the baby up, especially if your carrier is outside of your jacket.  About 20 minutes into the hike Ben woke up in hysterics, presumably cold. We had unwisely left his blanket in the car  - we resolved this by stuffing as much of his carrier into my jacket and covering him with a folded swaddle.

2. Carry a bottle in your breast pocket. Both of these are important - the bottle because breastfeeding outside in the middle of winter is less than ideal, and the breast pocket is to keep the milk warm. When we tried to feed cold Ben (see above) with a cold bottle, he was understandably having none of it. After just 10 minutes of snowshoeing with the bottle in Dave's jacket, the milk was warm enough for him to take it.

PS: The Olympics have always been a little gay
PPS: We tried this delicious Salmon recipe, and this Eggplant Steak au Poivre and you should too!