Woman to Women
New Kid on the Block
How a “City Kid” saved this Manhattan Mommy
By: Dara Rosenthal
I know I’m lucky to have a job where I can work from home, and be there for my kids Noah, 3 and Lily, 5. But I never imagined the balancing act would get so difficult.
I’m a Manhattan wedding planner; a profession that becomes almost like a competitive sport at times. It’s not too often I can get through a phone conversation without feeling like I’m neglecting either my kids or the bride-to-be. Most of the time, sentences like “No, of course pink peonies won’t clash with the peach bridesmaid gowns,” are interrupted with a loud “HE’S COPYING ME!” “THAT’S MIIIIIINE!!” or my personal favorite, “WIPE ME!!!!”
To make matters even more hectic, my sister, a busy corporate attorney, drops off her 4-year-old, Julian, four mornings a week for playtime, which I’m not sure she also understands is my work-time, but hey, what are sisters for-right? (Translation: I’ll get her back someday.)
I feel guilty plopping them down in front of Noggin all day; their little eyes glaze right over. V.Smile only has two controllers, so when Julian is there, that’s a huge fight that I try to avoid all together. And the toys? Let’s just say I’ve gotten my fair share of foot injuries stepping on Barbie’s stilettos (does the woman not own any flats?), and Noah is still not convinced that the Lite-Brite pegs are not candy.
My latest solutions have been various kids CDs. For a while, they were enjoying The Laurie Berkner Band. The problem was, I couldn’t tune it out, and she just got too repetitive after awhile. And don’t get me started on The Wiggles.
So, you can imagine I wasn’t expecting anything too different when two weeks ago my sister dropped something else off with a runny-nosed Julian-a new kids album called “City Kid” by Joanie Leeds. She had purchased the album from cdbaby.com after hearing Joanie perform at a Central Park birthday party, and couldn’t believe how enthralled the kids were with her. Forget the scary clowns and hokey magicians, the kids were simply gettin’ down to a girl and her guitar.
I gave it a try and now I can’t wait to share this gem with all of the other Manhattan mommies I know, although parents anywhere will love it too. The three kids are convinced that this album was written for them. They’ve never heard songs that reflect their own little city lives so accurately. I asked the kids to weigh on which “Joanie-song”, as we call them, is their favorite. Noah’s choice is “We Wanna Ride” which is about ways to travel through the city- yellow cab, subway, and bus. Lily loves “Tongue Twister”, and never gets bored with trying to memorize the lyrics; and Julian, a boy after my own heart, is a big fan of “Sushi”. As for the most requested, it’s easily “Ice Cream” -they love to “melt” down the side of the couch.
My favorite song on “City Kid” is Joanie’s version of “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The harmonies are absolutely ethereal-sounding. I was worried that a kid’s cover of one of my favorite songs would ruin it for me, but it’s beautiful. You should have seen the look on my husband’s face when he came home one evening, and was approached by Lily singing, “Our house- is a very very very fine house!” Priceless. I have to admit that I listen to some of Joanie’s songs when I’m in the car without the kids too. The soulful “Happy Song” and the multi-lingual lullaby “My Love” are standouts for me.
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial-it worked for me, and what have you got to lose? Of course there are still fights, and my life is not perfect- but I’m getting a whole lot more work done, and with a sweet soundtrack in the background.