Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happiness is...

Happiness is ... running across the trampoline tumble track and landing in the ball pit!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guess Who Turned One?

As Seen in New York Family Magazine:

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,

Happy first birthday dear Elle Belle,
Happy birthday to you!

What I dreamed for my birthday: Today is no ordinary day. I wake up and Mommy and Daddy are right there beside my crib, singing “Happy Birthday” to me. I am immediately showered with lots of big hugs and kisses and then sandwiched in one big squeeze. Mommy makes some sick joke about reenacting my birth but then does a one-eighty, getting all sentimental on me and telling me how I am the best thing that ever happened to her and she cannot believe that her little cupcake is one year old already.

Wow. I cannot believe that I am one year old. It has been the most amazing year. I will have to save my reflections and newfound wisdom for another column, but let’s just say that I came into this world as a newbie and now I am full of sage advice. Today’s bit of wisdom: every day should be your birthday.

After songs and hugs, the magic continued with Mommy reading me a new book, “Where Is Baby’s Birthday Cake?” It is my favorite type–the lift-the-flap kind–and this one was extra-special because it was shiny and sparkly. Then Daddy made me something new for breakfast called an omelet. It’s the most fantastic take on eggs ever. And I got a side of turkey bacon. Now I totally get the T-shirts I see people wearing that say, “Everything tastes better with bacon.”

With my tummy full of yummy, I went down for my morning nap. When I woke up, it was like a page out of a story book, but even better. The entire ceiling above my crib was filled with pink and purple balloons. I was so happy that I produced these high-pitched squeals I didn’t even know I was capable of making. I hardly noticed my whole family was there: Mommy, Daddy, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my best friend, my puppy!

After getting smothered in wet, grown-up kisses, Mommy dressed me in an extraordinary pink birthday dress that my auntie gave me complete with a tutu, matching socks, and my signature hair bow. Then, we got bundled up and headed to one of my favorite places–Kidville!

In true baby celebrity style, there was a whole crew there to greet us upon arrival. I am not sure who leaked it was my birthday, but there were paparazzi cameras flashing from every angle. I tried not to let it phase me. Not that I had time to: when we got off the elevator, the whole third floor was reserved just for me! And guess what? There were more balloons! Plus, a birthday banner, special treats, and all my BFFs. We played in the welcome room and got to make animal masks and then went into the gym—my favorite part.

The gym is a mecca for us little ones. There are oodles of fun things from bouncy balls to trampolines. I did my thing–climbing in tunnels, playing under the giant parachute, and dominating bubble time, of course! At one point, I wanted to swing some more in one of the swings but my friend wouldn’t get out. I cried, “It’s my party and I’ll swing if I want to!” as loud as I could. Still, no swing shift change! But after I started kicking my feet and slamming my hands, his Mommy got the hint and let the birthday girl back in. Sometimes my subtleties are not lost on adults.

Then, it was lunchtime and I assumed my throne at the head of the table. Mommy pimped my high chair with a ginormous cupcake balloon. Rock on! She also tried to bedazzle me with a special birthday hat and a super-size “First Birthday” bib but the hat looked silly and I do not need a bib, so I did my best to pull them off.

The show stealer was the cupcakes–custom made for everyone with glitter (yes, glitter!) frosting in my favorite shade of pink and topped off with a one-of-a-kind cupcake topper—a photo of yours truly (pictured)! Nice touch, Mommy.

But that was not all. Mommy also made me a giant birthday cupcake to match my balloon. I could not believe it was all for me. But it was. (I knew it because no one went near my cupcake!)
Once the singing ended, I claimed my cupcake by going into it head first and licking off as much frosting as possible. I savored each bite, which was fabulous, by the way. It tasted like bananas on steroids. Phenomenal baking, Mommy! Two enthusiastic thumbs up. This cupcake loves cupcakes!
When we got home, the party continued with a pile of presents. There were so many pretty bags with glitter and princesses and animals–it was off the charts. I figured out quickly how to twirl ribbons, fluff crinkle tissue paper, and pull the presents out of the bags–but the wrapping paper was tricky. I had some practice at Christmas and used my nails to rip through some presents, my teeth to unwrap others, and then my puppy was there to help tear into the rest. Honestly, I think the best presents were the boxes the presents came in. I scaled some and climbed into others: it was like a jungle gym.

What really happened: Today, everything I dreamed for my birthday came true! And I had an epiphany: every day is like a birthday because I am so loved all the time. I am the luckiest baby in the universe. And can you believe it? Mommy said that the best present she ever got was one year ago today and that present is me! Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scenes From a Manhattan Restaurant

A bottle of milk, a bottle of juice
It all depends on how you let loose
We’ll go out to eat
Once a week to our favorite place
It gives our family a change of pace.

A bottle of juice, a bottle of milk
How about a milkshake that’s smooth as silk?
I’ll meet you anytime you want
At a Manhattan Restaurant.

Restaurants have so many great things to try
Enjoying different cuisines and ambiance is why
My family's over the moon
They just give a fork and a new spoon
And they can take me out to eat
It is such a wonderful treat.
I started slow but now I eat like I am a pro.

I sit in my high chair, not climbing out

Chatting with waiters and not giving a pout
I love trying star chef food in this city
The food tastes great and even looks pretty.

A bottle of juice, a bottle of milk

How about a milkshake that’s smooth as silk?
I’ll meet you anytime you want
At a Manhattan Restaurant.

Elle Belle Hits The New York Restaurant Scene

As Seen in New York Family Magazine:

A bottle of juice, a bottle of milk
How about a milkshake that’s smooth as silk?
I’ll meet you anytime you want
At a Manhattan Restaurant. 

Dream: It’s dinnertime and I am oh so hungry. Who’s ready to hit the town? I quietly push open the front door, crawl into the elevator, push the button for lobby, and stand up to walk outside. The doorman nods as I head to my favorite restaurant just around the corner. Once there, I check in with the hostess and call Mommy and Daddy on my cell to join me. In the meantime, the wait staff secures a highchair for me and puts on my favorite tunes while I order a filet mignon medium rare with a side of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes…

Reality: It’s dinnertime and I’m a hungry baby who’s ready to eat. Mommy starts packing her diaper bag with all sorts of food paraphernalia, so I know we’re going out to eat. But she doesn’t ask where I want to go. Doesn’t she know I watch Food Network daily and read Zagat’s at bedtime?

We arrive at the restaurant and Mommy asks for a table for two and a half…well, two plus a baby. Hey! Last time I checked I’m an able-bodied citizen and we’re a party of three. Mommy requests a highchair, but the restaurant doesn’t have one. Why didn’t she just call ahead? Luckily, Mommy brought our portable one just in case. She’s forgiven!

After hooking the chair onto to the table and letting me take my throne, I barely notice as Mommy puts on my special eating necklace. I have them in all different colors and sizes and some even have a special pocket that catches the food that I drop when I’m too busy to care.

The waitress brings us three big glasses of water from the bar. I wave at the bartender to thank him. Since we have to wash our hands before we eat, I immediately sink my fingers in and splash around. I start pulling out the ice and throwing it when Mommy tries to take the glass away. What is she doing? I screech to protest and she holds the glass up to my mouth. Naturally, I open wide and the water goes down my throat like a waterfall. This is much more efficient than my sippy cup. Once my shirt and bib are saturated, Mommy gives me my sippy cup instead. Ha! I try to hand it to the guy next to me but he is busy talking to his date. Rats. His attention is proving difficult to get. I’m much cuter than his date anyhow.

When the waitress comes to take our order, Mommy and Daddy ask for a kiddie burger for me. Don’t they know how hungry I am? I’m growing in two directions and they’re only growing in one. Luckily, the waitress gets it and says their burgers are one-size-fits-all. I smile at her and she winks.

Something smells really good. I turn around to check out the grub being eaten behind me. Using the moves I learned at Yogi Beans, I stretch my toes to my nose and manage to get one leg out of the highchair, turn around 180 degrees, and smile at the nice people with food in front of them. As they smile back I reach out to grab for their plates. Mommy notices and shyly says something about me making friends everywhere I go before turning me back around. Doesn’t she know I need an appetizer?

By the time I’m halfway into my own burger, I get tired of it and move on to enjoy the tomato and pickle. There are so many interesting tastes and textures to all this food stuff. I love variety. It’s the spice of life. Well, at least once you’re allowed to eat solid food.

Now that I’m finished, I kindly tear off my bib and hand it to Mommy with a smile. (Parents should note that these Velcro bibs aren’t baby-proof!) I start clapping to applaud my fine eating performance. And guess what? The waitress claps with me. I clap louder with a bigger smile and another waiter starts clapping. Soon after, the whole wait staff is clapping along and chatting me up. I could be a well-liked regular here. I can already tell.

I wave bye-bye to the bartender who hooked me up with my big glass of water, give a high-five to the waitress who secured my big burger, and clap again for all the others. I think that covers everyone. I hear Mommy tell Daddy to make sure he tipped well for his tiny diner. This tiny diner gives the restaurant three stars and cannot wait to try something new again soon.