I can’t believe I’m cloth diapering

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I am not an earth-hugging hippie. To hell with “natural” products. I am a staunch believer in the miracles of modern science, and you can pry  my preservative-filled Tastykakes and DEET laden bug spray from my cold dead hands.

And now I’m cloth diapering, something labeled “too crunchy” for some of the crunchiest parents I know.

Why? Because my daughter is peeing us out of house and home. She can’t stand to be in a diaper that is even a tiny bit wet for any length of time. Other babies might pee two or three times between changes, but I’m throwing out 15+ diapers a day – most of which have only a tiny spot of pee on them. No there is nothing wrong with her, yes we asked her doctor. She just hates pee.

Hates. Pee.

Not only is this expensive (~ 20 cents per diaper), but it’s creating a horrifying mountain of waste. Even I, the prototypical consumer who is far too lazy to do things like compost, am disgusted by the amount of garbage we’re producing here. And so I embarked on a cloth diapering experiment.

After contemplating a dizzying array of options (prefolds! all in ones! pocket diapers!) I purchased a 6-pack of osocozy prefolds and one Thirsties Duo cover. Worst case, if I hate it I can use the prefolds as burp cloths and give the cover to a cloth diapering friend.

Diaper cover. Also, baby foot.

Using these is pretty simple: you place the prefold in the cover sort of like a maxi-pad, and then snap the cover around your baby just like you would a disposable diaper. I swap out the prefold every time Bitmap makes a mess of it, and give the cover a quick once-over with a baby wipe. If she’s made a huge mess or I’m out of clean prefolds, I chuck the cover in a plastic bag with the dirty prefolds and we’re back to disposables until I run the wash.

Diaper cover (green) + prefold diaper

So far it’s going pretty well. Since I’m already doing at least one load of laundry a day, throwing some diapers in with it is not a big deal. Because Bitmap is exclusively breastfed at this point, even her messy diapers aren’t too gross. They do however tend to stain the prefolds, which I’m told is just something I’ll have to get over.

Cloth Diaper
Snapped closed diaper

The initial investment was $22, so if we replace 4 disposables a day with cloth they’ll pay for themselves in about a month. Maybe a little sooner, since we use a Diaper Genie pail for the disposables, which requires special bags (yes, I know, we’re suckers).

An update!

As of mid-August, I’m still pretty stoked on part-time cloth diapering. On days we cloth diaper we’re saving 6 disposables, but I haven’t been cloth diapering every day.

The good news is Bitmap is spitting up a lot less, so I’m not doing her laundry constantly. But since I’m not willing to run the wash just for 6 cloth diapers it means we’re only using them every other day or so. This is fine, and it’s still a financial win. At 20 cents per disposable, I need to replace 110 disposables with cloth to break even.  At this rate I’ll hit that the first week of September.

As soon as I mentioned trying out cloth diapers, a friend offered up some prefolds and a cover her son had outgrown, thereby doubling my stash! So now I’ve got 12 prefolds and 2 covers. One thing I’ve noticed is that many people who like cloth diapers are really into cloth diapering, so if you want to try it out without making a huge investment check to see if any friends have diapers they’d be willing to pass on.

A few people have mentioned diaper services, but the ones I’ve checked out in my area aren’t any cheaper than disposables. The good news is they’re not any more expensive either. Since finances are a big part of why I’m doing it, it just doesn’t make a ton of sense for us. As Bitmap moves up in disposable sizes (and therefore prices) it might be more of a win, so I’ll reevaluate in a few months.

I don’t think I’ll ever do cloth full-time, for a handful of reasons. Disposables are a lot more convenient when we’re out and about, as well as overnight. There’s also the question of whether I’ll keep doing cloth once Bitmap starts eating solid food. I’m not so sure I’ll be dying to launder Serious Business myself. But even if we only get 3 months out of these 12 diapers, we’ll be saving 540 disposables from the landfill and about $86 cash. I’m going to consider that a huge win.



We started a bedtime routine about two weeks ago. It sounded silly, having “bedtime” for a 6 week old baby who sleeps on and off at all hours of the day, but I needed the routine. Our nighttime strategy wasn’t working. I’d go to bed at 9:30, RD would stay up taking care of her until 2:30, and then I’d take care of her from 2:30 onwards. Except her erratic sleep schedule meant that she might or might not be hungry at 2:30, and I’d sit there awake wondering if I should go pump or just wait for her to wake up.

So we instituted bedtime. At around 8:30, Bitmap gets a bath and nursing session. Then we either read her a book (not that she cares) or sing her a song and put her in her crib. Before we started “bedtime,” she’d never slept in her crib.

At first, we had about a 50% success rate with bedtime. Half the time she’d sleep for an hour or two, the other half of the time she’d cry after a few minutes and we’d bring her back downstairs. Still, an hour to ourselves every other day was more than we had been getting before.

After about a week of bedtime, Bitmap started sleeping through 2:30 am “shift change”. So RD started leaving her in the crib and bringing me the baby monitor instead of the baby. Now after two weeks she’s started to sleep through her midnight feedings, sleeping about 5 hours at a time from 9:30 to 2:30. I know that at least part of the change is simply because she’s getting older, but I know the routine has helped me sleep better.

She still doesn’t sleep well after her 2:30 feeding, I’m lucky if I get another 2 hour stretch at that point, but at least now we reliably get some quiet time in the evenings. She also seems happier during the day now, with more periods of quiet alertness. I’m hoping she’ll start sleeping a little in the wee hours of the morning, but for now I’m happy with what we’ve got.


Feeding the Kid

I can’t say I put a lot of thought towards breastfeeding before I had Bitmap. I figured it was something I’d do, and didn’t really think about it beyond that.

I don’t consider myself an activist, and certainly don’t feel the need to participate in any nurse-ins at Target. But after spending the last 2 months with my life more or less revolving around feeding my kid, I’ve got a new perspective. Mostly it’s this: if you’ve got a problem with seeing women breastfeeding (or pumping, for that matter), get over it. It’s something we need to do, and it’s hard enough without having to worry what someone else will think.

Breastfeeding can be really isolating. Bitmap eats roughly every two hours when she’s awake, and feeding her takes about 15 minutes. If we’ve got friends over or want to go out, I’ve got two choices: leave the conversation and hide myself in a spare room, or feed her in front of other people. I spend enough time cooped up with the baby, it’s hard to convince myself to sequester myself for the sake of modesty.

I make what I think are reasonable accommodations while feeding Bitmap. I’ll pick a seat in the corner rather than the middle of the room. I choose tops that allow me to stay mostly covered. If it’s cool enough, I cover up with a blanket. Most of the time, you can’t see anything but the back of my baby’s head. Sometimes, you can. Sorry.

Pumping while out is definitely weirder, and I try to avoid it. The machine is noisy and requires considerably more set-up and tear-down.  I can usually plan things so I don’t have to pump when I’m out, but when I went to Brooklyn for the day last week I knew I was going to have to figure out something. Not only do I have to pump frequently to keep supply up, but it’s actually incredibly uncomfortable to go more than about 4 hours without feeding or pumping. There weren’t any private rooms I could sneak off to on Amtrak or at NYC Resistor (before you suggest “bathroom,” please tell me if you would like to spend 20 minutes sitting in the bathroom of an Amtrak train).

The good news is between the roar of the train and the fact that everyone else is on their iPhones, no one even noticed me sitting next to the outlet with a strategically placed blanket over my shoulder. And if anyone at NYCR had something to say, they kept it to themselves.

I’m not saying we need to get up in everyone’s face about breastfeeding in public, but I do think it needs to become a little more normal. A lot of my fears about doing so aren’t because anyone has ever said anything negative to me, but because it’s not something I’ve seen anyone else do. So it seems weird to me too. But I’ve already given up a lot of my flexibility and independence in order to meet the needs of my baby, I’m not giving up more just because people “don’t want to see that.”



I think pacifiers are disgusting. I realize that the pacifier debate has a lot more to do with the fact that they bother adults rather than causing problems in infants. But I still think they’re gross, and wanted to put off introducing our daughter to one as long as possible.

Then the screaming started. Two days of nonstop inconsolable crying. Two days of no sleep for myself. I held her, I rocked her, I read The Happiest Baby on the Block like it was my new bible. The only thing that vaguely calmed her was nursing and sucking on my pinkie finger, neither of which are things I can do while I sleep. So caved and introduced her to a pacifier. I worried about it affecting her latch and causing nipple confusion. But more importantly both RD and I were concerned about the lack of sleep wearing down my mental health, so I popped the infernal device in her mouth. And she was magically quiet. And I felt completely inferior to a little nub of plastic.

Now that I’ve slept, I have made my peace with the stupid thing. I feel a little better that sometimes when I offer it to her she reaches up, grabs it, and pulls it out of her mouth and looks at me like I’m a moron. As if to say “no, I want the real thing.” It’s the most deliberate use of her hands I’ve seen so far.  So she hasn’t completely abandoned me for the pacifier. She’s still trying to figure out how to get her own fingers into her mouth, but I think in another week she might get there.

We also introduced her to her first bottle of expressed milk. I wanted to put it off another week, per recommendations from lactation consultants, but in the interest of my sleep sanity RD needed to be able take some of the night feedings. I was terrified that she’d decide she preferred the bottle to me and that would be the end of breastfeeding. And I still am. If breastfeeding is awkward, pumping is downright ridiculous looking and getting a bottle ready / cleaning it afterwards is so much more effort than just popping her on a boob.

Like most new parents, I’m learning that there are some things you just have to let go in favor of something more important. Like sleeping for more than an hour. A baby who nurses well isn’t as important as having a mother who can think straight. And thankfully neither the pacifier the bottle hasn’t affected her latch as far as I can tell. She’s still my little lamprey.


One Day at a Time

Yesterday was really hard. Our little puke machine is now two weeks old, and for whatever reason decided to spend 48 hours being inconsolably fussy and not sleeping at all. Was it gas? Was it something I ate? Is she getting too much or too little to eat? Maybe a UTI? Who knows. I was on the verge of taking her to the doctor, fully expecting to be told “yeah that’s how babies are,” when she finally settled down and slept.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel too.

Even with help – I had no less than three people come by at various points yesterday – dealing with a screaming newborn when you yourself haven’t slept at all is hard. RD was away on business and gone from 6am to midnight, by far the longest stretch I’ve had to manage without him. Not that he had it much better, going on a business trip on no sleep isn’t much fun either. I spent most of the day curled up on the couch, desperately wishing I could sleep while Bitmap’s great-grandmother took care of her. By the time my mother-in-law came over to keep me company in the evening I was pretty well cracked.

But today is a new day, and thanks to getting four whole consecutive hours of sleep I’m back to merely “exhausted” instead of “delirious.” Which may not be a ringing endorsement of my mood, but it’s enough to keep me going. Today was more like the fable of motherhood: great-grandma came over and helped with the cleaning while I did some work and caught up on email. Then we loaded my happy baby girl into the carrier and walked to the coffee shop where I listened to Granny complain about politics and the Catholic church, with a dash of neighborhood gossip for good measure.

Most days aren’t like today, but most of them aren’t like yesterday either. At two weeks old we don’t really have a “normal” yet. I celebrate the small victories, like going a whole day without being puked on, and every now and then find an opportunity to squeeze a part of my old life into my new one (like tending to my plants, most of which are dying from neglect). Every day I get a little better at it, and every day my daughter has something new to challenge me with.


Greetings, Program!

If I could use only one word to describe becoming a parent, it would be “disarming.” I am someone who, until this week, possessed no maternal instinct and quite frankly does not find babies to be cute. And yet one look at my wrinkly little blob of a daughter drains me of all my jaded, snarky comebacks.

I think she's adorable, but my objectivity is questionable.

Our little Bitmap (a nickname which I only barely convinced RevolvingDork not to use as her middle name) is settling into her first week. RD and I are overwhelmed, but thrilled.

We delivered in a hospital downtown under the care of a large midwifery practice. We hired a doula, a support person who helps both the mother and father stay calm during what is likely to be an intense experience. Bitmap’s entry into the world wasn’t all what we expected, but we knew that we’d get a curve ball no matter what we planned for. This is her birth story.

Welcome, Bitmap

24 hours after my water broke I still wasn’t in labor. We went to the hospital, and decided the best option would be to induce. Induction was pretty much last on the list of things I wanted, I think I feared it even more than a c-section, but with absolutely no labor signs it seemed like the best option. I was admitted and given an IV of pitocin.

Bitmap's foot in her grandmother's hand

The plan was to labor without pain medication, and only get an epidural if I really felt I needed it. Early labor was tough, but my husband was amazing. The doula suggested different positions for managing the pain. I was free to get out of bed, so we moved all around the room with each contraction. The peak of them sucked, but I could rest between them. Pitocin often makes contractions much more painful than unmedicated labor, and because my water had been broken for so long I was on a pretty aggressive schedule. By 4 hours in the pitocin was cranked up to 14mu/min, and I could no longer rest at all between contractions. I started feeling delirious from pain and exhaustion, but wasn’t anywhere near fully dilated so I got an epidural. The anesthesiologist was great and within minutes of him placing the line I was feeling lucid again. I could still feel every contraction (and had to breathe through some of the bigger ones), but I no longer felt like I was going insane.

As the contractions got more intense, the baby wasn’t handling them well and I was put on oxygen. It actually helped that I had to breathe through the contractions, because inhaling the oxygen deeply kept the baby’s heart rate rock solid.

For one reason or another, my temperature started spiking and because my fluid had been ruptured for so long they had to assume it could be due to infection. I was started on antibiotics and given a fever reducer. An infection in the mother during labor is likely to affect the baby as well, so the baby would need to be given a course of antibiotics immediately after delivery. This was a pretty huge bummer, because it meant that the baby would have to go to the NICU for observation rather than come up to room with us.

Pulse monitor

As that information sunk in, I started to lose it. I was having the exact experience I dreaded – strapped to a bed covered in tubes getting every medical intervention on the planet. I started feeling like we were circling towards inevitable c-section, and really started fearing for the health of our baby. It seemed like every time the nurse came in, something new was going wrong. High temperature, high blood pressure, baby wasn’t handling contractions well again. There was a shift change and the new midwife wasn’t very communicative, which left me feeling frustrated and scared. Thankfully our nurse was AMAZING and was on top of everything, and did a really good job of explaining the things the midwife didn’t bother to. She and our doula managed to get me to a point of feeling at least OK, if not great.

After that low, things started turning around. My temperature dropped, and we found a position where the baby tolerated the contractions just fine. They even managed to get me into a sit-squat position where gravity could bring the baby down, which I thought was pretty impressive given the epidural. I got to 10 cm, and they said I could start pushing whenever I felt the urge, but I had this really intense back pain and I wanted to rest a bit before the Big Push, which I figured might take a while.

Unfortunately the back pain just got worse and worse, no matter what. It was strong enough that I had to use a lot of natural labor techniques during contractions, and my husband’s poor arms were shaking with exhaustion from doing so much counter pressure. I was mashing the button to increase the epidural (which was of course on a timer). After about an hour which was not at all restful, they suggested I just try pushing.

The second I started pushing, the back pain was GONE. It wasn’t muscle fatigue, it was the baby pressing on down on her way out the door. Pushing felt GREAT, which is to say it was still really hard work, but oh my god not having that back pain was AMAZING. They told me the baby was almost out, and I didn’t believe them. I started grinning like a madman and said all sorts of stupid things like “I’m having a baby!” over and over. In four contractions she was born. She was 6 pounds, 14 oz and 21.25 inches long.

Babies come with hats.

I got to spend a little time with her before she was whisked away to the NICU. Once I was cleaned up we went to visit her – compared to the rest of the NICU babies she was gigantic. She was covered in monitor leads and had an IV in her right arm, but her vital signs were good and she was sleeping peacefully.

Thanks to an amazing husband, doula, and the hospital nursing staff, I was able to have a really positive experience despite despite nothing going to plan. It was really hard, emotionally moreso than physically, but I feel like every decision we made was the right one. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it, and I’d definitely be willing to do it again. In a few years.



Shopping for a small family car

We knew it was only a matter of time before we would need a car. Sure, there’s a zipcar lot near our place, but as my baby bump gets bigger I realize that installing/removing a car seat from a car on a regular basis would pretty much suck.   After procrastinating as long as possible, we broke down and started looking at cars for real.

The new vs preowned and buy vs lease discussions are covered extensively elsewhere, so I’ll cut to the chase: after crunching numbers we determined that buying a car new would be the best option for us.

I like small cars. However, we ferry large objects on a regular basis, and no one makes a Tardis yet, so we focused our search on hatchbacks.  To start, we armed ourselves with a Consumer Reports car buying guide and a handful of relevant articles from Car and Driver.

Our priorities included size (we live in the city, smaller is better), fuel economy, cargo / backseat space, and enough of an engine to safely get us up the incredibly short highway on-ramp  near our house. Neither of us commutes via car, so a lot of the creature comforts that commuters crave are lost on us.

The models on our list included the Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Scion xD, Hyundai Accent, and Honda Fit. We also contemplated some other manufacturers, but there’s only so many cars you can test drive before you start going insane.

We shopped for cars over two days, about a week apart. Test driving cars takes about 3 times longer than it seems like it ought to. Compared to my husband, I’m a little more critical of how a car drives (particularly acceleration and handling), so RevolvingDork drove on day 1 as a coarse filter, and then the cars that passed his liking got scrutinized by me on day 2. Heading into test drives, the Prius was our top pick.

Toyota Yaris

Does anyone else find it concerning that Toyota needs to tell us it's a car?

The Yaris is cute! The Yaris is peppy! The Yaris is tiny. It didn’t take long to realize that the Yaris was just too small for us. If it was just the two of us it would be adorable. But with a kid on the way it didn’t seem like it could possibly fit the gargantuan car seats children apparently require, let alone the mountains of accessories everyone says we will soon carry with us everywhere.

Verdict: We took it for a quick spin, said “meh,” and moved on to the next one.

Toyota Prius

Only a douchebag would use disposable bags for transporting things in their Prius.

With gas prices around $4, hybrid cars look pretty attractive. A friend of ours has an older Prius and it’s served him well. There are a few different models of Prius, including the new Prius C (which has a body very close to the Yaris). We looked at the Prius “Two.”

The Prius is the most expensive of the cars we looked at by a long shot, but it’s a small price to pay for earth-saving street cred, right? I’ll keep the comments about the earth-hostile battery packs to myself. Unfortunately, the newer Prius’s incredible fuel economy seems to come at the expense of acceleration. The car didn’t feel like it drove as well as our friend’s older one. RD was unimpressed when we took it on the highway, and compared to the other Toyotas I thought the interior looked cheesy. You have to go up to the Three to get something nice looking, which I might not mind except the car starts a good $5,000 more expensive than the others.

Verdict: “The lack of acceleration on this car would drive you nuts unless you put it into ‘power mode’ every time you merged on to the highway,” said RD. Out.

Scion xD

xD looks like an emoticon laughing so hard it's crying. Cannot unsee.

First off, every time I see the xD I think it’s a laughing emoticon. It makes it impossible to take the car seriously.

We liked this car a lot more than we thought we would, but the engine still felt underpowered (which we realize is a theme with small cars), and RD wasn’t into the overall feel. It does have a nice tall cargo area, but the back seat felt a little shorter on car seat leg room than some of the other cars we looked at.

The taller height makes it feel kind of SUV-ish, but it still handles well and gets good gas mileage. Unfortunately for the xD, both my husband and I actually dislike being higher off the ground.

Verdict: Not a bad car by any means, but nothing to get excited about

Hyundai Accent Hatchback

The Accent has kind of a Tron thing going on with the interior. This makes it incredibly desirable.

I came into the test drive prejudiced against the Accent; we’d just rented a 2011 Accent the previous weekend and it was one of the most pathetic cars I’ve ever had the misfortune of driving. Part of this was because it didn’t have power locks, but in terms of handling and drive it really was a miserable little beast. Thankfully, the Accent has been completely redesigned for 2012. It looks almost sexy! For a compact hatchback, that is.

The Accent has an impressive amount of cargo space and rear leg room for such a tiny car. The engine is still under powered, but it felt punchier than the Scion, Prius, and Yaris. Hyundai has really improved their dashboards, it feels like a much classier car than previous model years. At 30 MPG city / 40 highway, the fuel economy is excellent.

Verdict: Oh hey, we actually like this car a lot!

Hyundai Elantra

Wait, Elantra? That’s not a hatchback! No, but since everyone and their mom has been talking about how awesome the new Elantra is, we decided to test drive it anyway.

It sure is nice driving a car with a real engine. Don’t get me wrong, the smaller cars are totally adequate for the type of driving we generally do, but you can really tell that the Elantra’s engine is better matched for the size. The sedan-shape was kind of a bummer (though there are rumors of an Elantra hatchback this summer), but the trunk is pretty cavernous.

Verdict: At the end of day 1, it looked like we were going to have to stage a death match between the Elantra and Accent. Which would win, the nicer drive on the Elantra, or adorably festive and considerably cheaper Accent hatchback?

Honda Fit

What a great car for transporting potted plants! That's a thing, right?

After the first day’s 5 car marathon, I didn’t really feel like looking at the Fit when we came back on Day 2. But in the interest of due diligence, and because the Honda dealership was all of 200 feet from the Hyundai dealership where I assumed we’d make our final purchase, we stopped in.

Holy cargo space batman! Though the exterior dimensions aren’t much different that the Accent, the cargo space is huge thanks to some Transformers-like contortions of both the rear and front passenger seats. In addition to folding down, the rear seats can fold up into “tall mode” which would be handy for transporting tall things that need to stay vertical, like ficus trees (?).

The drive was on par with the 2012 Accent. It wasn’t super exciting, but not bad and certainly better than the 2011 Accent we rented (the 2011 Accent is my new benchmark for suck). Visibility felt considerably better on the Fit than on the Accent, which is important when you live on a  busy city street. The dashboard was uninspiring, but still not as blah as the Prius. At 27 city/33 highway, fuel economy was the worst of the ones we looked at (though still decent).

Verdict: Just think of all the oddly shaped things we can transport in this car!

Final Decision

The Fit and Accent were both close to what we were looking for, but for us the visibility and cargo space pushed the Fit ever so slightly ahead. With the Accent out of the arena we came to the final battle: the Honda Fit’s cavernous maw of holding versus the Hyundai Elantra, which has an actual engine instead of a wind-up toy. The Fit felt more utilitarian, the Elantra felt classier and more fun to drive.

Priced with the options we cared about, the Fit came in considerably cheaper than the Elantra. Additionally, Hondas retain their value slightly better than Hyundais, so if we need to trade in for a minivan when our kid is president of the Mathletes it may be a better option. After some hemming and hawing over the numbers, we decided to go with the Fit. What it lacks in sex appeal it makes up for in practicality, and that’s why we’re getting a car in the first place: to haul stuff around.



Separating personal life and hacks

It’s been super quiet over here, huh? It’s not that I haven’t been blogging, it’s just that I’ve been seeing another blog. In an effort to keep my hacking blog for hackers and leave the mushy personal details out of it, I’ve moved all posts on my huge upcoming life changes over to their own subdomain.

I wrote a longer post about the nuts and bolts of the transition over on (the only parenting blog I can stand), but the short of it is: if you’d like to keep up with my posts about cooking, home decorating, and sprouting a family, then you’ll want to add to your RSS reader.

Family, New Construction Townhome

Leaving The City for a New Life

Sharing the news of our pregnancy with friends has been bittersweet. While everyone is excited about our newest addition, not everyone is quite so happy about the other big change coming with it: we’re leaving New York City for Philadelphia in order to be closer to family. We’re ditching our Jersey City condo and plunking down a chunk of change on a four-bedroom rowhouse in Manayunk.

New York is an amazing city, and after three years I’ve only see an tiny, tiny fraction of it. There are amazing things happening all the time, incredible people, an infinite number of places to eat, and a 24 hour subway system that means never having to worry about a designated driver. My local fabric store is so immense people make pilgrimages to the city just to visit it. And most of all I have an incredible network of fantastic friends here; the kind of friends who come to your baptism, even though they’re atheists, or help you lug an anvil-bolted-to-a-log across town. For science. But despite everything I love about this area, I realized it’s not where I want to be forever.

Our decision to move was based on a lot of things. We want more space; our current place has so little storage I keep my bike in the bathroom. The cost of living is substantially higher in New York, and the fast-pace of living is starting to wear me down. But ultimately it’s family that’s bringing us south. My husband’s huge closely knit family is in Philadelphia, and even before we got married I knew it was just a matter of time before their gravitational pull sucked us in. Getting pregnant was just the thing that put us over the edge.

Raising kids in New York City can be incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with some unique challenges. The subway system, with its mazes of stairs, is downright hostile to anyone with stroller. A mini baby-boom over the last 5 years has made getting into preschool both competitive and expensive. And just like anywhere else in the country, if you don’t have friends with kids nearby it can be isolating and lonely.

For those with family (or friends with kids) in the area, getting a precious few hours of kid-free time is as simple as dropping them off at Grandma’s – with a bottle of wine as a bribe, of course. For those without, it means shelling out for a sitter – assuming you can find one who is both trustworthy and available. At 6 months postpartum, a friend of mine confessed she hadn’t been out at all because she still wasn’t ready to leave the baby with a stranger.

Only a few of our friends live in our neighborhood, and none of our friends with kids live nearby. I didn’t want to have to choose between wrestling a stroller up four flights of  subway stairs and being a shut-in. We found a place in Philly that’s in a neighborhood a lot like the one we’re in now: very walkable, lots of public transit, good restaurants. It has enough room to have as many kids as we want. Best of all: it’s only a few miles from both my in-laws and great-in-laws.

Plus, New York won’t be rid of us entirely.  We’re both lucky that we’re able to do our jobs from most anywhere, but we’ll still need to pop into the city periodically for meetings.

I don’t have any delusions of my life staying the same as it is now once the baby arrives, but I’m hoping that with a little help from the family we can sneak off to see the occasional movie or grown-up restaurant. There may not be quite as many amazing things happening in Philadelphia as there are in New York, but by moving closer to our support network there’s a much bigger chance of us being able to get out and do them.



Amit Gupta Needs You

Amit Gupta, friend of a friend and the founder of Photo Jojo, was diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone buy levitra canada marrow transplant. Unfortunately, because South Asians (think India, Afghanistan, East Africa) are under represented in the national bone marrow registry his odds of finding a match are only one in 20,000.

Amit is using the power of his social connections to hold bone marrow donor registrations all over the country, in search of “brown bones,” i.e. minority registrations. People of any ethnicity are of course welcome to register but people of color are most desperately needed.

Unlike some events, which only help the high-profile person lucky enough to have such a network, these bone marrow drives will help anyone who matches with a potential donor. So your registration helps bring up the odds for all people in your ethnic group, not just the ones with a big twitter following. And I think that’s huge.

Registration is free, though if you can afford a $100 donation to cover the cost of processing it’s always appreciated. It takes less than 5 minutes – you swab your cheek and drop the kit in the mail. You can also go to any of the registration drives around the country. Should you match, the donation process is similar to a blood draw – “painless but boring.”

And just in case you needed motivation to register sooner rather than later, Seth Godin is offering a $10,000 bounty on some matching bone marrow.