Shamu the Goldfish

1/3 parenthood, 1/3 food, and 1/3 oversharing and whining, because I like to write -- and the more writing, the less talking (or so I say). I am a mom of 2 and a wife of 1, living and loving New York City. Yes, you can have kids here.

Kajal is a winner of Top 25 New York Moms - 2012

In what ways is New York unique from other places you've lived or traveled?

With all the TV shows and movies set in New York, being here is like living in one. You do your business in the world of Seinfeld, the Friends people, Spiderman, Carrie Bradshaw, and of course Harry meeting Sally. You get their jokes, understand their apartment hunting plight, and eat where they eat. Who hasn't heard the Law and Order doink-doink introduce a scene in front of their favorite bodega? I just love it.

And there's the celebrities (eee! they're just like us!). I hear how vapid this sounds. But you can't help but get giddy when you find yourself running next to Julia Stiles by the East River*, sneaking a pinch on Chris Noth at a bar (in his Mr. Big days), and pushing kids on swings next to Padma Lakshmi at the playground**. If only one of them would invite me on their private jet.

*I passed her, thank you very much. Granted, she was likely on mile 9, while I was on 2.

**This woman is sickly gorgeous to the point I almost went up and poked her to check if she was a fembot. Also, this list constitutes half my celeb sightings in over eight years. I am apparently blind.

What's the best part of raising kids in New York?

There is always an adventure around the corner -- zoos, museums, playgrounds, parks, shows, even the simple thrill of just riding the subway. But this is obvious. Apart from those things, I most value how raising kids in a big city puts the world right in their face. They see people -- all people. They get around WITH these people, as opposed to in their own car. This simple exposure forces all kinds of interesting conversations -- innocently hilarious, difficult but necessary, or both at the same time.

The world is beautiful and ugly, and appreciating its diversity requires seeing it. I love how it's just part of the day.

What's the biggest misconception about living in New York?

That we can't enjoy the outdoors. My daughter chased fireflies on summer evenings on a giant lawn we share with 20,000 neighbors. All 20,000 neighbors don't come out at once, so it's roomy. We go on family runs by the river, with picnics and flowers on the right and the Brooklyn skyline and Statue of Liberty on the left. The beach is a short train away (note to self -- go sometime). There's always a park to clear your head in, and it's even better to have a latte available just steps away.