Friday, August 29, 2008

All in 20 minutes...

Tonight Jason got home a little early and since we were going to the beach tomorrow I volunteered to go the 6 blocks west to get the car from the garage. It just so happened that I went about 12 blocks north (again with the '12 blocks!' - that's becoming my code for 'long enough away but not too bad that it justifies the subway') to Soho/Chinatown to visit a store that I always want to go to but is always closed every other late night I'm walking around. It's called Madewell and I love it. I made it with 1o minutes to spare before they closed. I browsed the ground level, then went up to the top level, picked up some flip flops, then who should be there but sweet actress Abigail Breslin. She was on the couch, talking in a small voice, as sweet and easy going as she comes across in her movie roles. One of the sales people was obnoxiously asking her questions such as, are you famous? I ignored her, trying to give her some privacy because I felt so bad about the salesperson, and my time was valuable because I can never make it to this store! I overheard bits of her conversations, and she sounded self-conscious enough that I just wanted to hug her. I can't imagine figuring out 'who you are' in the spotlight. Those teenage years are hard enough!
Then as I finally made my way in the direction of the garage, I cut through the quieter streets of Tribeca and was walking along by myself in the dark when I saw a cab pulled over. The front passenger door was open so the dome light from the car shed light onto the sidewalk. There on the ground was the cabby, shoes off, kneeled over on a piece of cardboard that was covered in cloth. He was offering his final prayers for the day. As I walked by I got choked up as this man was quietly honoring his religion. There are going to be some great things for my kids to learn around here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stating the oh-so-Obvious...

We have a few parks we go to around here, Washington Market Park and Rockefeller Park to name a few. Yesterday I took the kids to Washington Market in the early afternoon to play because their school, P.S. 234, had an ice cream social starting at 3 and the school is directly across from the park. Daisy was so excited she ran down the sidewalk to follow her siblings that she tripped, a pretty bad scrape. She was crying so dramatically that 2 little girls came up to her and wanted to know if she was ok. They were the darlingest of kids, so sweet. The one stood very close to me, as if to get in on some of the affection I was dishing out. It melted my heart. 20 minutes or so later that same little girl came up to me and the conversation went something like this:
"Are you her babysitter?"
"No, honey, I'm her mommy."
[long pause]
"You don't look like she looks."
[long sigh, from me]
"No, honey, I don't...."
"Yeah..." And then she went off again to play.

On the street I find myself referring to myself as 'mommy' every chance I get ('Daisy, hold on to MOMMY'S hand/McAllister, MOMMY doesn't want to go that way; let's turn left/London, let's ask DADDY when we get HOME'). Alas, there is nothing 'brown' about these kids. Like calling shotgun, I inadvertently try to establish ownership of my kids among these strangers in the street. Those confused glances are worth my efforts.

Speaking of the kids, they are doing so well adjusting. The worst adjustment is bedtime, they're still getting used to falling asleep together in the same room. But our triple bunk is the bomb!

The best they've adjusted to is the complete reinvention of our transportation. McAllister has become a pro at counting blocks. We went to Soho today to go to the Children's Museum of Art, and instead of taking 2 stops up the subway, I thought we'd walk and scope out restaurants along the way (Jason and I will be dating again soon, we've found sitters!!!). The entire walk he kept asking 'how many blocks is it?' I thought I'd cover my bases and say, '12' not knowing how many blocks it was but figured that it would convey to him 'it's a healthy walk, so quit asking, we're going to be walking for a little while.' But no, after 15 minutes he clearly announced, 'we have 3 blocks left!' Who needs Nav when you've got a McAllister J?

As for London, she cracks me up. She is becoming my own little fashion icon. And the chick is not even trying. She takes her little purse with her everywhere, carrying a stuffed animal or sunglasses or her money, wearing it across her body in a stylishly careless way. She's learning all the neighborhoods downtown, and was talking about some store in Chelsea or Soho. I'm sitting there thinking, 'is there a teenager in the room?' but then I hear her talk about the store only because it carries a new stuffed animal she wants. Phew. She's still my BabyLondon.

Daisy is hilarious. She stopped covering her ears when we're in the subway, or looking around at the sound of a siren. It occurred to me that she will only ever know life in NY- she'll never remember suburbia like the other kids. I don't know what to feel about that, except to resolve to make the life we've chosen the best it can be for all of our kids. Her stuttering that she picked up when we moved 2 1/2 months ago has completely disappeared as of this week. Instead we have these little stories or thoughts or opinions coming out of her mouth, but the funny part is that she only fills us in halfway. She starts the opinion in her head and then finishes it out loud, serious in her efforts to communicate her opinion. Out of the blue, "... and so that is what is my birthday for my turtle and it happened last night." (wha?!?) The hand motions and eye contact are so committed, she could sell ice to eskimos.

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Well here goes. Give me a minute. I am writing this blog not because anything I have going on actually warrants 'publishing', but because after talking to several friends they've asked questions about life here in New York, and I've come up short in providing details and anecdotes. Not because there aren't any, but because being on the phone while stirring pasta sauce ("what? she doesn't cook! Who are you and what have you done with the real Nichole?") or unloading a dishwasher ("cleaning? that's more like it!"), I've drawn too many blanks. I look at this blog as a sort of a sacrifice on my part, because I am clinging more and more to my privacy as I age. My blessings and challenges are becoming more sacred to me because they're refining me in ways I couldn't have imagined. But, I love my friends and I love my family and if by doing this they will feel connected to me and Jason and our kids, then it's worth it.

So just call me Joan of Arc of the digital age. If what I'm doing means something to you, then you yourself mean something to me. And plus there's some hilarious/pathetic/crazy stuff happening around here- it'll be nice to get some of it out! :)