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A New Life in New York

Once Upon a Time in New York City (Huey Lewis & The News) - Part Two

January 6, 2020

“How did the doctor go?” my Mum asked as I walked into the living room carrying Harper and the bag from the pharmacy with her prescription, some juice, and a few other things Dr. Vicki had suggested.

“Dr. Vicki gave her some medication to take which I need to get to her right now.” Mum stood up from her normal spot in her favorite chair in our living room and took Harper from my arms.

“Let me take care of her for a minute; you get her medication ready.” I went into the kitchen and opened the bag. I read quickly through the instructions on the medication. Keep in the refrigerator. Fill to the line on the spoon thing. Make sure she takes it all. Give it to her with juice and maybe some crackers. I poured a glass of juice and grabbed the goldfish crackers that Janie had given me in the waiting room. I then filled the spoon and went to where Mum was now sitting at the island holding Harper.

“Alright, Harper, love, I need you to drink this for me. Dr. Vicki gave you the bubblegum flavor, just like you like.” She frowned at me. “No frowning, sweetheart. You need to take this to get better. Okay?”

“Okay,” she relented. She took the medication and continued to pout at me. I handed her the cup of juice and she took a drink of it.

“Have some of the fishy crackers too, sweetheart.”

“Where did you get fishy crackers? Didn’t we run out Saturday?” Mum asked.

“We did. Harper and I made friends in the waiting room with the Mum and little boy sitting next to us. She had some extra snacks that she gave us because she made it in the room before we did. She didn’t want Harp to get hungry.”

“Well, that was sweet. Her little boy sick with the same thing?”

“Yeah, it must be going around. The entire waiting room was full. She had been waiting for nearly an hour. We somehow lucked out and only had to wait 35 minutes to get in. They called Harp’s prescription in so that by the time we made it to the pharmacy, it was waiting for us. I need to make her some real lunch though.”

“Are you going to go to your studio today?” I owned a recording studio not far from our apartment. When Harper was born I’d transitioned into writing and producing more so I could be home with her while she was really young. Someday she’d become a road warrior, but for now, we were enjoying just blending in with the crowd in New York and spending time with my Mum.

“No, I called and canceled this morning for my afternoon session.”

“You don’t need to do that,” Mum said. “I can watch Harper.”

“It’s fine. It was with Ed. When I told him his goddaughter was sick, he asked what he could do to help. I think he’s coming over for dinner tonight instead. Promised Harp he’d sing her to sleep tonight when we were on FaceTime this morning.”

“Uncle Teddy!” Harper screamed. She loved her godfather.

“That’s sweet of him,” Mum said.

“Yeah, he just got in town Saturday, and I think he said he’s here for two weeks. We just rescheduled for tomorrow.”

“So you made a friend in the waiting room?” Mum was always curious about me meeting women. She sometimes pushed me to try and date. Whether it was telling me someday Harper was going to need a mother or that I was too young to settle for life alone she was always a bit nosy about my love life.

“Well I accidentally elbowed her, and then we started talking. Her son looked a couple of years older than Harper.”

“Anything interesting that you talked about?”

“She taught me a game. Mummy or Nanny. You try to observe the people in the waiting room to guess whether they are the child’s mum or nanny. She was good at it.”

“Were there actually lots of nannies in the waiting room at the doctor?”

“Yeah, there always are.”

“That seems strange.”

“Lots of working parents in the world who can’t always be there to take care of their kids. Remember Mum, I tried that for a while.”

“I know,” she replied.

I had tried it for a while. When Harper was six months old, I thought it would be okay for me to jump back into writing and recording the way I’d always done. I bought the studio in New York, hired a nanny and went about my life. But then I realized that I hated leaving her during the day. And the nursery I’d set up in the studio, while convenient, wasn’t working with the nanny. Especially when the nanny spent more time trying to convince me that I should fall in love with her or flirting with the artists I worked with. I spent way too much time on the phone crying to my Mum and my friends who are parents about how missing out on things sucked.

So when Harper was nine months old, Mum readied the house to be a country home, packed herself up and moved to New York to help me care for Harper. I slowed down on what I was trying to do for a while, realizing that being there for the first time Harper crawled was more important than being in the studio working on a song that might sell a few copies. I was selective about who I worked with and made sure it was people who understood that being a father was more important than being a producer and writer. Most people respected that and even loved when I’d bring Harper to the studio. The nursery in the studio got good use, and Mum often made sure that artists were fed and that Harper took her nap.

“I am so grateful that I don’t have to do that anymore. Thank you for being here with us Mum.”

“I wouldn’t want to miss out on all of these little things for you and Harper.”

“But what about when Gem becomes a Mum?”

“Well, then I’ll become an International Nana and fly back to London on occasion. But she has a partner to do that with when she decides to. You decided to do this on your own.”

“And everyone thought I was crazy.”

“I didn’t. I knew you could do it. And you are an amazing father.”

“I’m trying.”

“You’re doing great. So tell me about the woman from the waiting room. What was her name?”

“Janie and her little boy’s name was Finnigan; she called him Finn. He was a cute kid.”

“And Janie?”

“Yes, she was pretty Mum. But that wasn’t my focus this morning. It was Harper.” I was standing over the stove making some macaroni and cheese for her knowing that she’d happily eat some noodles and crawl into bed for a while. “But Janie seemed funny, very quick-witted. And clearly was Super Mom this morning because she had a ton of stuff shoved in her bag and I made it out the house without even an extra diaper.”

“You were in a hurry, and she was a handful this morning.”

“She was. You’d think with as little as she slept that she would’ve been tired and not running laps around the kitchen.”

“Kids are strange beings.”

“You’re telling me.” I dished Harper’s macaroni into a bowl and put it in front of her. Mum and put her into the chair we had for her at the island so that she could help her eat.

I poured myself a cup of coffee and grabbed my laptop so I could sit next to Harper and go through my email and catch up on my reading. There were several writers I followed on a variety of blogs and news websites. One, in particular, was someone I always found myself reading and laughing at in the middle of the night when Harper was little and would wake up for middle of the night feedings. I’d discovered her through an article that had been picked up by The Huffington Post and quickly became an avid reader. She was a single mother with a daughter who was a week older than Harper and a son who was a couple of years older. She was funny and honest and talked about everything from being puked on while riding the subway to what it was like doing everything on your own. It was something that made me feel like I wasn’t crazy and also wasn’t ruining Harper’s life because she’d been fed formula and still sucked her thumb at nearly two. Her latest piece was about her oldest having been sick over the weekend.

January 5, 2020: Down With the Sickness

Seriously? I didn’t realize it was possible for a human so tiny to vomit so much. He may be four years old, but it felt like I was back in college holding my roommate up while they were vomiting after one too many jello shots at a party. My poor little guy came down with whatever is infecting all of Lower Manhattan.

It all started Friday afternoon.

We’d gone to a playdate Friday morning. A group another Mom friend suggested I join. It’s for single parents, and she thought that I might meet a cute single dad, but she would swear that it wasn’t because of that. Why do all of my friends think they need to try and covertly set me up on dates? We will get back to that later.

So we are at the playdate in some indoor play area in a luxury apartment building, and I hear it. The cough. It starts with the little girl who is the daughter of the host. Then a little boy sneezes. And it grows. A girl, the twin boys, slowly but surely every kid in the room is coughing and sneezing until the first girl coughs so hard she pukes…on my kid. I had to drag him home while trying not to gag at the smell of vomit on his shirt and then throw him in the bathtub while trying to wash the kool-aid dyed vomit out of his shirt. It just happened to be the day he was wearing his absolute favorite shirt, which was white.

Remind me again why I allowed my four-year-old son to develop an attachment to a white shirt? I clearly wasn’t thinking while that happened.

So I get F settled into bed and go into the kitchen to get him water. I begged and pleaded for my sister to take my daughter to our parents’ place in Brooklyn for the weekend, but she was headed away for the weekend. A last-minute trip to Miami with her boyfriend because she has the winter blues. Sure hope you’re enjoying yourself Nellie and all of the sun doesn’t go to your head.

So as she runs out the door, I call my Mom begging and pleading with her to come pick up G for the weekend so that she doesn’t get sick. Thankfully she agreed and said she’d head our way. So I had to hurry and pack G for a weekend at Grammy and Pop-pop’s. As soon as Mom walked in the door, she knew it was going to be a long weekend for me. She promised to keep G through Monday afternoon, so I could get F to the pediatrician.

So I’ve got an appointment for tomorrow. I’ve got F on the couch with blankets all over, a garbage can next to him and every flavor of Pedialyte in the house courtesy of my Mom who stopped and picked up some essentials on her way.

As soon as F is better, I am literally disinfecting this ENTIRE apartment. There will not be a single germ alive when I’m done.

Then I’m going to drink some vodka, that kills germs, right?

Single Mom in the City is written by Jane Grey Finnigan. Jane is a New York native who was raised by two award-winning journalists and claims to have known she wanted to cover politics by the age of five. She has a Bachelor of Arts from New York University in both Journalism and Politics where she graduated a full year early which she would caution anyone from doing. ‘Don’t grow up; it’s a trap’ is what she tells her kids every day when they tell her they can’t wait to be adults. After graduating from NYU, she hit the campaign trail covering President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 for Huffington Post. As a 21-year-old press pool reporter, she was able to provide a unique perspective on life following the campaign. She continues to cover politics and women’s issues for the Huffington Post. The passion that drove her writing began to change in 2016 when she welcomed her son and even more in 2018 when her daughter was born. ‘I miss the campaign trail but following a trail of Cheerios around my apartment is way more fun…I think.’ Single Mom in the City is Jane’s way of channeling her life as a single mother of two into her writing. She currently lives in Tribeca with her two children and her younger sister, Nellie, who is a contributor at Refinery 29. She promises to try not to get too political on here but ‘you can take the girl out of the press pool, but you can't take the press pool out of the girl…no that sounds wrong, okay I just love writing about politics so it might happen.’

You can follow Jane on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay connected with her and her kids are up to.

I glanced at the headshot that appeared with the bio at the end of the article and realized it was Janie, the girl I played Mummy or Nanny with in the waiting room this morning. How did I not put that together when we were sitting there? I mean, I probably wouldn’t have said anything to her about it even if I’d known or maybe I would have. It was probably best that I didn’t know. The last thing she needed was someone gushing about her writing to her in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office while her son was sick, especially knowing just how sick he was.

I’d had that happen before. I was trying to take Harper shopping, and she was dead set against it. She was kicking and screaming and refused to sit in a stroller. Which of course was the time that a group of college-aged girls stopped to ask for selfies and hugs. I try to do my best to be kind to people when I run into them, but Harper was making it nearly impossible. I’d gotten a text from my PR rep later that day that the photo had gone viral. Me trying my best to smile in a picture with fans while holding my 18-month-old who was kicking and screaming. A few websites had picked it up in their ‘celebrities they are just like us’ section. Needless to say, it didn’t win me any father of the year titles, but it made fans understand a little bit more when I declined selfies if I was alone with Harp. Most of them just wanted to gush and say how cute she was and were good about not photographing her.

I clicked the link that took me to Janie’s Twitter account. I knew she was extremely active on there and it made me even more disappointed in myself that I hadn’t recognized her because I followed her social media accounts pretty religiously. One of the few that still kept me on the platforms myself on a regular basis.

@janesays: Morning trip to the pediatrician. F is now in bed resting. And by resting I mean he has taken his iPad to bed and is watching cartoons. I would today like to thank the internet and @apple for keeping me somewhat sane so that I can clean up this apartment.

Here was the big question: Did I reply to her or stay quiet? She was just another parent in the waiting room.

@harrystyles: @janesays I hope it works here too. Oh and thanks for teaching me the game in the waiting room this morning. #dearharperpleasesleep

@janesays: @harrystyles HEY! You’re my waiting room friend with the super cute daughter! Did you make it out alive? Good luck with the napping. Disney appears to have a marathon of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on right now. Today’s mystery mousekatool is disinfecting wipes and vodka.

@harrystyles: @janesays I think I have both of those mousekatools laying around. We barely made it out alive. Luckily our wait time was only 35 minutes.

@janesays: @harrystyles JEALOUS! I will never get that hour of my life back. Although at least I had a willing companion to play the game with me today. Thanks for that.

She was super quick responses. I opted to send my reply as a DM. Not sure I want a bunch of people asking what game I played in the waiting room at the pediatrician this morning.

DM with @janesays:
How is Finn feeling?
A little better. He happily took the bubble gum flavored crap Dr. Vicki gave and climbed into bed. I honestly think he’s sleeping now. How is Harp?
Just got done eating lunch and about to go down for a nap. She wasn’t so happy to take the bubble gum flavored crap but didn’t put up too much of a fight.
So how did you find me on Twitter? I mean I obviously knew who you were in the waiting room this morning but wasn’t going to be like “HEY MY ALMOST TWO-YEAR-OLD DANCES TO YOUR MUSIC.”
I mean I would’ve then had to admit I’m the one who played your music for my almost two-year-old.
So it turns out that dad life has led me to be an expert in Mommy Blogs…
Aha! You’re a reader!
I am. I honestly try not to read them all, but yours has always resonated with me. I was tired of reading blog after blog of women bitching that their husbands didn’t help with midnight feedings.
I’m a single dad. I do it all. I mean most of it. My Mum lives with Harper and me now but she didn’t at first. Your blog has never made me feel bad for being the sucker who couldn’t let her cry it out or feed her formula.
Single parenting is not easy. I’m lucky that Nellie lives with me so I can still attempt to have the career I had before kids. Well, somewhat of the career I had before kids. Evidently, Nellie isn’t interested in me ditching my kids with her to go out on the campaign trail again.
Probably not a good idea. Okay time to get Harp down for bed.
Good luck and godspeed.
Thanks, I’m gonna need it for sure. She’s been wound up all day.
I’ve got a few hours of quiet before Grey gets home and then I’m sure I’ll have a wound up on sugar almost 2-year-old and a really angry conversation with my mother. She feeds these kids sugar like it’s her job.
My Mum would tell me that it is her job.
So would mine.

I put the phone down and picked up Harper to carry her into her bedroom. She was agreeable when it came to putting on her pajamas and after two books and a song was passed out cold. I went back into the living room and saw Mum putting her jacket on.

“Where are you headed?” I asked.

“I need to do some grocery shopping for us. We have run out of some of Harper’s stuff, and with her being sick she needs some better stuff than what is left. Plus we will need to have a decent dinner planned since Uncle Teddy will be here.”

“Okay. I’m going to work on getting some laundry done and cleaning this place. Thank you for doing the shopping.” She knew it was a task I hated. Somehow I always ran into someone who wanted my picture when I was standing next to fruit or in the wine aisle. Grocery shopping was a task I happily allowed her to do.

“No worries dear. You might want to take a nap. You’re looking a bit ill yourself.”

“Just tired.”

“Well, I'll be back in a bit.” She was out the door before I had the first load of laundry in the washer. I grabbed another cup of coffee and sat down on the couch. I yawned, and my whole body forced itself into a stretch. Maybe Mum was right, and I did need a nap.


PART TWO! It’s crazy how easy these three parts came to me. Writing has not come this easy in months. It makes me want to do nothing but write…which I can’t do. I have an apartment to pack up and move AND a pretty big meeting to get prepped for tomorrow.

So what did you think of part two? How did Harry NOT catch that Janie was the Single Mom Blog he reads daily? Can you imagine what a picture of Harry and a temper tantrum throwing toddler looks like? I can and in my mind it’s HILARIOUS. I love having Anne around to help Harry with Harper and I think that will provide some really cute stories to go along later.

Part three will be from Janie’s perspective and give us a chance to learn more about her and her two kids, Finn and Greyson, as well as learn about her sister, Nellie, and why she’s a single mother. I will post that either later today or first thing tomorrow, depends on how my day goes but it will likely be later today because I’m SO excited to have it out in the world. I’m also going to develop a post to give you a bit of information about Janie (and a faceclaim!) so that should come later today as well. Check out my
tumblr for additional stuff.

I hope you enjoyed part two. Any feedback is highly appreciated as I start this storyline out.

xx AM.


I am really glad you're enjoying it. These characters are fun for me to write and such a departure from what I've written in London Calling and In the Heat of Los Angeles. Writing Harry as a Dad basically makes me melt.

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That's probably why I love it so much... because Harry with kids makes me so happy.

xXFluffy_GruXx xXFluffy_GruXx

YAY! I'm glad you like it. It's SUPER fun to write. I also really love the challenge it gives me. Plus really, Harry with kids. I'm pretty much dead.

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:) I am so in love with this.

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