On Marathons, Vomit and Motherhood

Stamina is something moms understand quite well Read more

Philadelphia Marathon moms

This past weekend was, as most of you know, the Philadelphia Marathon. I have always marveled at people who run marathons, as running for 26 miles straight is an extremely impressive feat that I have absolutely no desire to do. I feel about marathoners nearly the same way I feel about people who climb a really huge, dangerous mountain or do 21-day cleanses or tackle some other theoretically good-for-you-but-terribly-difficult thing in order to push themselves to the limit, to prove to themselves that they can, in fact, do this terribly difficult thing. Good for them, I think; for me, no. I do not have that gene. I would no sooner decide to climb Mt. Everest than I would decide to break my own jaw.

I’ll be honest: Sometimes these particular disinclinations makes me feel … I don’t know. Lazy? Unambitious? Incurious about my own abilities? I recently found myself thinking about this — about stamina, and pushing the boundaries of what I think I am capable of doing — in the middle of the night. My child, suffering from the same tummy bug that felled his father, threw up pitifully in his hallway on the way to the bathroom, and then slipped and fell right into it, snow angel-style. I watched the whole thing in slow motion, then died a million tiny deaths as my brain put together what just happened, and who, exactly, was supposed to be in charge of this situation. (Brain: “Wait. Oh, God. It’s me.”)  

And then, that thing kicked in — that drive that you hear runners talk about, that feeling like you’re at mile 20, and you still have to keep going or collapse, and so you keep going. You know, a magical, almost out-of-body sense of forward motion that happens in spite of you and your desires and perceived limitations. (A.K.A., motherhood in a nutshell.)

I picked my son up, stripped off his befouled PJs, clucked in sympathy while I carried him into the bathroom to finish barfing, then got him washed and settled back in before scrubbing the floor, gathering and washing the towels, and taking a second pass at the hallway when I realized the baseboards and walls had gotten hit, too. And reader, I didn’t so much as flinch. Me! Lifelong sympathetic vomiter! Not so much as a dry heave. It was nothing short of a parenting miracle.

I should say right now that there are millions of moms out there who do legitimately heroic things for their children every day — mothers who are refugees, mothers whose kids have health issues, moms who overcome real and seemingly impossible obstacles for their kids, who battle way more than just a strong aversion to vom.

But my point here is that parenting small children in general is an almost-daily exercise in showing you that you are capable of more than you ever imagined you could be and in surprising yourself with your own grit. What, you didn’t know you could carry a napper, a backpack, your laptop, a purse, a bag of diapers, a baby, and a stroller onto a Philadelphia bus. (“Ha,” some of you are saying. “I do that every day — with two kids!”) Or that you could function shockingly well on 4.5 hours of sleep for 6 months of your life? Or that, like one friend of mine, you were capable of removing an almost-dead mouse from the trap, killing it, and taking it out to the trash before the children came down and saw it and were forever scarred?

You see what I’m saying, here. It’s basically mini-Mt. Everests day after day. (With less layers and more laundry.)

And anyway, forget the mountaineers — they’re nuts. But I will say congrats to all the marathon runners out there (impressive!), and congrats, too, to all the regular mothers (also impressive!). I consider us all very deserving of cheering sections and people handing us bananas for fuel and also a giant carb-heavy brunches celebrating stamina, commitment and goals met.*

*And you marathon runners who are moms?! They need a special medal just for you. 


Photo courtesy: M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia 

NEW! A NEW Center City Aquatic Facility Opens Soon

And it’s going to have swim lessons, lap-swimming memberships and more! Read more

fitness alive philadelphia pools swim lessons

Y’all have read here before about Fitness Alive, the South Philly-based swim school (headed up by the longtime Phllly fave Holly Waters and partner — and Wee friend — Emily Leaman), which is beloved for its small-group classes, popular Friday-night family swims and private lesson for littles and grownups. Well now Waters and crew have just announced that they’re expanding into Center City with a NEW SPACE — a four-lane indoor lap pool at 1425 Arch Street.

The pool will open in early 2019, and you’ll be able to take lessons there, attend small-group classes (from Baby Bubbles to adult swim sessions), throw birthday parties or other events, and hit up the Family Swim Nights. Also at this new location? A lap-swimming membership for adults, water-and-land personal training (using in-pool and on-deck workouts), aquatic fitness for adults, and swim clinics and camps for kids. (Bonus: Brand new locker rooms with spa-like showers, a family-changing bathroom and elevator access for strollers.)

“We’re different from a lot of other swim programs in that we keep our class sizes intentionally small,” Leaman says. “Our instructors aim to personally connect with each swimmer and understand what makes them tick, so that our swimmers learn faster, have more confidence and feel more secure in the water.”

Excited? Curious? You can get more info about the opening here, and we’ll keep you posted when the place debuts. Yay!


Wee Bits: Free Ice Skating, Chestfeeding, Diggerland Sales, T-Giving Shopping Guide, and Top Night Creams

News, happenings, reads and other tidbits for Philly parents this week Read more

News Bits and Pieces Philadelphia

This is not a new infographic, but I believe I missed it the first time it was published in the NYT in March. It shows how insanely easy it is to buy a gun in the U.S. — where there are almost no barriers —  compared to, like, every other place. (Except Yemen. Yemen’s gun laws suck as much as ours. But everyone else’s? Way better.)

Ah! It’s officially the time of year we start bombarding you with a million things you guys should be doing this holiday season. (There’s always SO MUCH GOOD STUFF!) First up? The Family Day at Lemon Hill Mansion on Sunday, December 2. Santa will be there, ready for pictures, and Gritty will be there (in the form of a cheese sculpture). There will also be kid-friendly activities … and it’s free admission for kids under $12. ($10 for everyone else.) 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Read more →

Spotlight: PhillyTweens

A new site in town for parents of kids who refuse to stop getting older Read more

Philly Tweens

You guys know that we are for anything that supports this city’s community of parents — particularly if it makes raising kids in (and around) the city a little bit easier, and/or a little more fun. So we were pretty psyched to hear that Wee friend, mom, author, publicist, activist and in-the-know Philadelphian Paige Wolf was launching a new website for parents of kids who have made it past the baby/toddler/young-grade-schooler phase and who had entered the big kid/tween/teen years, between 8 and 14. Welcome, PhillyTweens.com. Read more →

Gear Up: Late Fall and Winter Must-Haves

Our annual round-up Read more

cold weather faves

Once again, it’s quite suddenly cold outside, and once again, the onset of late fall/early winter has caught me (and my poor, un-mittened, hatless children) unprepared. Also, I meant to run this post two weeks ago,  before this moment was upon us, but — well, here we are. Shivering, and ready to discuss the best cold-weather kid stuff to have on hand now, as the weather gets chilly, cold-and-flu season kicks up and we all want to get cozy. It’s a list we’ve accumulated over about 6 years of parenting, asking other moms, and reading your comments, and there’s so many good gift ideas here, too.   Read more →

Wee Bits: A New Preschool, Meat Taxes, Birthday Baskets, Wizarding Weekend, and The Best Year In Music

News, reads, happenings and other good stuff for Philly parents this week Read more

wee wander bits

Another tragic, maddening, horrifying nightmare of a shooting. Our hearts break for the innocent lives lost, ruined. This Atlantic article about addressing the gun violence was true when it was published in 2012, and it’s true now. “There are complex, hand-wringing-worthy problems in our social life: deficits and debts and climate change. Gun violence, and the work of eliminating gun massacres in schools and movie houses and the like, is not one of them. Gun control works on gun violence as surely as antibiotics do on bacterial infections.”  (And related? This piece from Inquirer: A new research paper from Stanford University Hospital has found that more stringent gun laws on the state level can help prevent devastating gun-related injuries and deaths.)

New (Spanish-immersion!) preschool alert!

NPR asks: Was 1993 the greatest year in music?

At first, the headline of this piece from Streets Blog seemed a little extra to me, but the story was really intriguing.

I thought it was a joke … but no! Good idea, I guess? From Parents.com.

Upcoming! Wild Wizarding Weekend at Academy of Natural Sciences.

Hm. Meat tax.(Via the Cut.)

So often, I find celebrity mom stuff to be very boring/irritating. But some of these observations from famous people about motherhood were funny or sweet, so I’m sharing this. (Also from the Cut.)

This wonderful, lovely idea from Lulu’s Casita — birthday baskets for children — just about brought me to tears. What an awesome new program.

Yikes, boxed cake-mix recall. (Via Parents.com.)

Interesting article from EdSurge (which I found, I think, via The Notebook) about how to teach kids how to learn.

On Tuesday, November 13, Whittle School & Studios — a “global school” that will educate 2,500 kids from pre-K through 12th grade, including boarding students — is hosting a reception in Philadelphia from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Union League.You can learn about the school and the the approach Whittle takes to education (including language immersion, cross-cultural education and off-campus opportunities in cities around the world).

Everyone — this is fun.The lovely EGG Boutique in Bryn Mawr and Never Give Up Training a fitness studio in Manayunk are pairing up for a Mommy + Me Bootcamp at the boutique. Never Give Up owner Ali Jackson (who’s pre- and post-natal trained) will lead six classes for parents and babies (aged 0-1) every Wednesday at 9 a.m. from November 14-December 17. (You can check out some of the moves attendees can expect to do with their babies in this video!) Parents can purchase 3 classes for $55 or 6 classes for $95, and attendees get 20 percent off full-priced purchases while they’re in the store for the class.

Read more →