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I’ve enjoyed blogging for Babes Around the Beltway for the past few months. It’s been fun, it’s been exciting, and I’ve really appreciated the time so many readers took to post comments and react to the variety of posts. Unfortunately, this blog is not going to continue with regular postings here. But please continue to follow me on my original blog, Wired Momma and on Twitter @wired_momma. I’ll post with more frequency on WM and will continue the posts and reviews of events and activities for kids for the weekend. I will also post reviews of great products, discussions with local moms who are experts in areas we all care deeply about, and of course breaking news. Please feel free to email me at and I look forward to more comments and discussions on Wired Momma

Posted at 01:14 PM/ET, 06/09/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus celebrate music at the Kennedy Center or the arts at the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival By Monica Sakala

BabyLove DC Carnival
What better way to spend a Saturday than fundraising for a great cause and rubbing shoulders with some famous faces? Head to the second annual BabyLove DC Carnival on Saturday from 10 to 1 at Tudor Place in Georgetown, hosted by Claire Shipman and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, White House press secretary (and Shipman’s husband) Jay Carney, actress Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order SVU, and John Bemelmans Marciano, author of books in the Madeleine series for children (created by his grandfather Ludwig Bemelmans). Carnival activities include story time with Hargitay, book signings, arts and crafts, face painting, and food courtesy of Design Cuisine and Sprinkles Cupcakes. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for kids over age two. Proceeds benefit needy kids and families in the area.

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Posted at 04:29 PM/ET, 05/19/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Seeking strong, durable, and flexible partner By Monica Sakala
Clearly my addiction is out of control. Photo courtesy of Monica Sakala.

Almost six years and four international partners later, I’m still seeking my perfect match. Each exotic and foreign mate has been cast aside, kicked to the curb, collecting dust in my house. Is it me? Or is it them?

Let’s face it, I am a stroller whore. I own four. And yet that’s not enough. With my wandering eye, I stare down other people’s strollers on the street, I study them, and I covet them. “Would they want to trade?” I wonder as I’m willing to kick my stroller to the curb on a whim. Like old boyfriends, each of my strollers serves a specific purpose but not one is the perfect match. Is it really ever me? Isn’t it always them?

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Posted at 03:41 PM/ET, 05/17/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Or if you don’t want to head out this weekend, some ideas for science experiments at home By Monica Sakala

Pups in the Park at Nationals Park
Saturday marks the return of the popular Pups in the Park event at Nationals Park. Pack up the kids and dogs and get to the stadium before the Nationals take on the Marlins at 1 PM to participate in the “pup parade,” led by Tillman, the famous skateboarding dog. A special section of the park will be designated for fans and their dogs. All proceeds from the dog ticket sales will be donated to the Washington Humane Society. Owners must bring proof of vaccinations to the park and sign a waiver before entering. Tickets are $20 for humans, $5 for dogs.

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Posted at 02:16 PM/ET, 05/12/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
“Mommy wars” version 2.0? By Monica Sakala

Stirring the mommy-wars debate is a tempting and seemingly fun thing to do, especially in the media. Even before becoming a parent, I was mildly fascinated with this idea of working moms and stay-at-home moms, the choices they made, and the way they apparently judged one another. In one corner of the boxing ring is the self-consumed, career-addicted, absentee parent and in the other, June Cleaver, the woman disappointing the women’s movement and future generations of girls by turning back the clock to tend to her home and husband.

Over the past six years, I’ve been on both sides of the fight.

If you define “mommy wars” by how parents are judging each other, it seems more nuanced to me: It’s a person’s approach to parenthood, rather than his or her career choice, where the juicy arguments really start. The fault lines in that discussion fall more evenly between those who feel they are actively raising their children and parents who are accused of treating their kids as accessories.

Trouble is, the baby-as-accessory parents all look very different. They’re just as likely to be driving a Prius and composting as they are to be driving a luxury SUV that’s towing a boat. What the baby-as-accessory parents share in common is selfishness. These parents have a vision, an expectation, and things they need to accomplish on their terms; the baby gets to fit in accordingly. I suppose the degree of their selfishness is subjective, left to the lens of the gossipers.

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Posted at 04:41 PM/ET, 05/10/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Moms always deserve a break—make sure yours gets one this Mother’s Day By Monica Sakala

National Train Day

Saturday is National Train Day, so pack up the train lovers in your house and head to Union Station from 11 to 4 for free events for all ages. Kids and parents can climb inside the trains, tour historic locomotives and cars, or enjoy the model-train display. In addition to kid’s crafts and activities, Radio Disney and the Diggity Dudes will be performing.

Bears, Bears Everywhere at the Kennedy Center

On Saturday or Sunday, head to the Kennedy Center with the little ones for “The Teddy Bear Concert: Bears, Bears Everywhere,” a performance by National Symphony Orchestra musicians and storyteller Lynn-Jane Foreman. The concert, for ages three to five, incorporates the sounds of bears paired with the style of music from their homelands. Musical playtime starts a half hour before each performance. Tickets are $18, and there are two 45-minute shows each day.

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Posted at 04:20 PM/ET, 05/05/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Reconciling our pre-parenthood selves with our current lives By Monica Sakala

Last spring, during a lunch with a handful of my closest friends in Washington, something so jarring happened, so disturbing, so shocking, and yet so hilarious, that it forced me to recognize a parenthood truth: Our past selves probably wouldn’t like our current selves a whole lot. Fabulous shoe-wearing, celebrity-gossip addict Past Me would shake her head with disdain and horror at some of the kid-focused antics of Current Me.  

While we were enjoying lunch with our children in tow, the inevitable topic of celebrity gossip and summer movies came up. One friend started to say she was dying to see—wait for it . . .

“Toy Story Three!” a second friend jumped in, with such enthusiasm that the rest of us practically spit our food out across the table.

The first friend had actually been going to say Sex and the City 2. Embarrassing in its own right, to be sure, but at least geared toward adults.

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Posted at 03:50 PM/ET, 05/03/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
From Aviation Art to Family Day, ideas to help you plan your weekend By Monica Sakala

College Park Aviation Museum
On Saturday from 11 to 4, head to the College Park Aviation Museum to create aviation-related art. Kids of all ages can participate and enter their finished works into the museum’s art competition. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for kids ages two to 18 (kids under two are free).

Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo Park’s annual Family Day celebration is Saturday from 11 to 4. Activities include magic shows, balloon animals, face painting, hula-hoop lessons, and art activities. Plus, the antique carousel will open for the season. While you’re there, stop by the Adventure Theatre box office for tickets to A Year With Frog and Toad, opening May 10.

Race for Hope
If you haven’t already registered, you can still do so on the day of Sunday’s Race for Hope, benefiting brain-tumor research. Brain tumors are now the number-one killer of young children. The kids’ quarter-mile Fun Run begins at 10 and is free. The start line is on Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th streets, Northwest.

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Posted at 04:19 PM/ET, 04/28/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
And should anyone be held accountable when things go terribly wrong? By Monica Sakala

With dismay and profound sadness, I read the Washington Post’s recent story about the death of a baby delivered by Karen Carr, a Baltimore-based midwife, in an Alexandria home birth last September. I know I wasn’t alone in these feelings. But frankly, I also felt rage. Rage at Carr and with the parents who had access to hospitals that come staffed with doctors and nurses and everything else you could possibly need during a high-risk delivery. These parents still chose to deliver at home. They eventually called an ambulance, but it was too late.

To be clear, today’s piece isn’t an attack on people who choose to deliver at home, though I have yet to understand this choice. I don’t understand it because even when all the signs of a normal delivery are there, anything can happen, and I can’t get my head around opting out of delivering in a hospital in the event something goes wrong. Call me risk-averse, if you want. I’m open to hearing the rationale behind taking this risk, and I’m even willing to suspend judgment to hear it because I know people deliver children safely at home all the time.

My problem is with people who choose to deliver babies at home when they go into the delivery knowing that they’re a high risk. In this case, the baby was in the breech position. The Post’s piece noted that other midwives had passed on the chance to deliver in this instance because of the baby’s position. The article also noted that babies in the breech position are typically born via C-section.

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Posted at 11:04 AM/ET, 04/27/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fun for kids, “fun” for parents By Monica Sakala

Welcome to The Meltdown Meter, the newest addition to Washingtonian’s parenting blog, where we rate supposedly “kid-friendly” events in Washington for enjoyment and ease of attendance with actual human children.

The event: Bunnyland at Butler’s Orchard (Germantown)

On paper, Bunnyland is a great idea. The egg hunt, the baby animals, the three giant and crazy long slides, the hayride, and moon bounce. In reality, it’s expensive and overcrowded, making the parent-meltdown risk high. Like masochists, we go back every year. What can we do, the kids love it.

This year, however, we were prepared for Bunnyland. Our strategic plan: first in, leave as the crowd swells. And miraculously, we executed said plan with precision early Sunday morning. At 9 AM, there were relatively few people roaming the wide-open fields, and though the wind always seems to be fiercer at Butler’s than anywhere else in Washington, my husband and I almost enjoyed ourselves on this outing.

First, the Butler’s staff appears to have finally learned some lessons from the chaos of previous egg hunts. This year, they divided field into three parts and directed families to a specific area; it helped manage the crowds. You can either bring your own Easter basket (though remember you’ll have to carry it the rest of the outing) or use Butler’s baskets. Unlike years past when I’ve had to bark at nine-year-olds for snapping plastic eggs from the hands of my unsuspecting 17-month-old, this year my girls hunted for the eggs at their own pace and without being on the defensive. It was a great change, so kudos to Butler’s. 

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Posted at 02:07 PM/ET, 04/22/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()