After months of studying, attending temple on a regular basis, exploring the Jewish holidays, and seven anxiety-laden essay questions, I stood in the Children’s Library of an unfamiliar synagogue.…Keeping my 20-month-old daughter entertained was a welcome reprieve from the nervousness that left me biting my lip as I waited for my turn with the beit din (rabbinic court). It was a meeting with my converting rabbi, the director of Jewish education from our own temple, as well as one of the rabbis of the… >> Read More
I first started thinking about my 40th birthday when I was 35. My youngest daughter was just over 1 and nursing like a fiend. My 4-year-old had such severe separation anxiety that I didn't dare send…him to more than a few hours of preschool a week. And my super independent, enthusiastic 6-year-old was struggling to adjust to a new school in a new state. The time I spent by myself was limited to showers (if I remembered to lock the door) and illicit trips to the grocery store for chocolate.… >> Read More
"I lost another tooth!" my 8-year-old daughter shrieked as she ran towards me with the little bloody specimen. I pretended not to gag (I survived as a pre-med student for two semesters before…dropping out, following a gruesome dissection lab involving a nasty rat). We carefully placed the tooth in a miniature plastic chest under her pillow. "Try to fall asleep early tonight," I whispered in her ear as I hugged her. "I hear the tooth fairy is very busy these days." We walked back into the kitchen… >> Read More
I write for a living, so choosing words carefully has always been a priority for me—that is, when I type them or put them on paper. With talking, I'm just like everyone else. I chatter away (often…to myself). I ramble. I snap. But now that I'm home a lot with my toddler, who picks up not just on every word I utter but my tone of voice as well, I've learned (the hard way) that I need to be more careful with what I say. Case in point: I can no… >> Read More
In the last 24 hours, I’ve had to wipe yogurt out of my son’s belly button and yank a tampon out of his mouth (don’t worry, folks, it was wrapped). So, yeah, I don’t have my mom act together.…My fellow moms assure me the concept of “having it together” is more of a Georges Seurat/pointillism type situation, anyway. From a distance, it may seem a mom is on top of everything. However, when you get closer, things can look a bit different. That gives me solace, and I try take little victories where… >> Read More
I have epilepsy. I also have two children. And for the six years of being a mother, I was able to, mostly, operate on a “and never the two shall meet” basis. Until April. In April, I had a…seizure early in the morning. My 6-year-old son found me recovering from it on the bathroom floor. After that, there was no more hiding. It’s not that I never talked about it with him. He knew why I had a Medic-Alert bracelet because he has one for his allergies. I don’t have seizures regularly as… >> Read More
I was an avid diary-keeper as a teenager, sharing the ongoing drama and trauma of attending three very different high schools to the anonymous listener that was my burgundy-bound journal.
From…agonizing about my looks—“Yeah, beauty is within, skin deep, whatever. Beauty is everything…”—to worrying about the first day at a new school—“A little nervous...hoping that ppl won’t find me too weird or uncool to talk to. ‘Kay, just get through the first day...be optimistic...”—to where I wanted to be in 10 years—“I wanna speak fluent… >> Read More
This week marks the playoffs for my son’s Little League team, which means that win or lose, his baseball season will soon come to an end. While some might think I would be eagerly looking forward…to reclaiming hours of my weekend that are now spent on dirty, windy fields, and no longer having to plan my laundry schedule around the seemingly endless need for a clean uniform, I am actually sad that the season is coming to a close. Growing up, I never participated in team sports. My elementary school… >> Read More
I’ve always loved taking pictures. As a kid, I stumbled upon a huge bag of undeveloped film in my parents' closet. I begged them to develop two rolls a week until all of the film was developed.…Then my mom and I sat together pouring over thousands of pictures and arranging them into albums by year. I loved hearing the stories that went along with the pictures, and I still love taking some quiet time to look through those albums now and then when I visit my parents. I went into hyper-drive… >> Read More
If a stranger followed you around for a few days, how long would it take for him to figure out that you are Jewish?
This question was posed to me in a parenting discussion group many years ago and…has intrigued me ever since. My husband and I put everything we had into creating a Jewish home and raising our four children to be strongly, proudly Jewish. Now it is their turn to raise Jewish children. And so I ponder the question again, this time from the vantage point of a grandparent of infants… >> Read More
Teaching Hebrew to 12-year-olds is probably my favorite thing to do in all the world. And when you add the…whole blind-teacher-uses-Hebrew-Braille-while-her-sighted-students-are-using-print-Hebrew thing, lessons become even more interesting and encompass much more than three letter roots. Why is that? Maybe it’s because I “see” each of my students in a different way. Maybe they have fewer visual distractions since, unfortunately, beautifying bulletin boards and walls is not my forte. Maybe it’s my guide dog Ari who greets them happily as they… >> Read More
As little as I know about art, I know this: Art is subjective. If the kid believes it's “art,” who am I to say otherwise?
If you are now, or have ever been, the parent of a toddler, you know…exactly why "art" is in quotes. While these mini-masterpieces take many shapes and forms, few of them are what one might call gallery-ready. These are the nine phases we go through with our toddler “art.” 1. The Prodigy It all started when our little geniuses figured out how to hold a crayon properly in their hand…… >> Read More
We try hard—really hard—to live an observant Jewish lifestyle while giving our children the opportunity to participate in “regular” activities and not feel left out. It’s hard sometimes,…but it’s something that we value. Most weekends we do OK, but this past one was hard, really hard. One of the most celebrated youth programs in America is Little League baseball. Most guys have some memory of getting dressed in uniform and playing ball. For some it’s about dropping fly balls in centerfield, and… >> Read More
I've never been much of a girly-girl. Even before I had kids and my morning routine was far less chaotic, most days I'd have to push myself to slap on a coat of lipstick and run a comb through my…hair before leaving the house. And while I played with dolls and toy jewelry as a kid, the older I got, the less interested I grew in typical (or stereotypical) girly stuff. When I found out I was having twin girls last year, my first reaction was that of utter panic. Not only was I used… >> Read More
When my husband Russ and I first started dating, we decided that we wanted to take on the responsibility of a dog. I always wanted a pudgy, wrinkly, loveable English Bulldog; Russell (my boyfriend at…the time) always wanted a regal, well-trained, loveable German Shepherd. I let him win the battle of the breed, and the next thing I knew, we were taking home a German Shepherd pure-bred puppy who, at 4 months, weighed 27 lbs. We named him Ellis and jumped into training classes. In a true “Marley and… >> Read More
If you look in my bag right now, you'll find:
1. Six different kids of lipstick/gloss/creme
2. A horrible nest of receipts from various food and beverage establishments
3. Rogue…earrings 4. A condom of questionable age 5. My wallet 6. Crumbs 7. Glitter, inexplicably... 8. Rings and bracelets I got tired of wearing 9. Dog poop-scoop bags 10. A pen that stopped working in 2014 11. Keys 12. All my secrets It sounds absurd, because it is. But my purse is way way down in… >> Read More
I’ve always been healthy, but I’ve never been very healthy. You know how it is: maybe exercise every year or two, eat some vegetables, etc. But I’ve always struggled with my weight. I even…have diary entries from fourth grade committing to a diet with, “No more Hawaiian Punch!” I knew I could do more, but I couldn’t find a place for it. And then I had a baby. Immediately my standards plummeted. They say with baby weight, it’s nine months on and nine months off. So when six… >> Read More
After a LONG, very non-hasty process, I am pleased to announced that my conversion will be official, shortly. I have been embraced by my small congregation, and truthfully, it's…really been a group effort. For my own selfish reasons, I am hesitant to invite the lovely ladies of the Temple to share in the joy the Rabbi assures me will be abounding at the mikveh. I have never been to one for anything, ever, and this first time the thought of spectators concerns me,… >> Read More
I am not a Facebook-perfect mom. I love my kids, spend a lot of time with them, and even take lots of pictures of them (certainly more than my parents took of me, hampered as they were by…old-fashioned Kodaks that served no other function and that involved the hassles of film and developing). But my snapshots are frequently out of focus, and I usually don’t think to upload anything to social media until months after the fact. Nowhere am I more deficient in the Facebook mom arena than with birthday parties. It’s not just the failure to… >> Read More
I've never been pregnant. But I've learned, by reading accounts from our amazing writers, that it is a beautiful, but sometimes unpleasant experience. During pregnancy and birth, our bodies go…through a number of changes, many of which are uncomfortable and/or painful. And we just have to deal with it, hoping and knowing the bundle of joy at the end of the road will be worth all of it and more. So while we're in the corner sweating through our clothes, cursing our swollen feet,… >> Read More
“When I get married, will you and Daddy be dead?” my son asked me over Cheerios the other morning, not long after his 6th birthday.
“Well, Daddy and I are married, and his parents are…still alive,” I said. I realized that I hadn’t exactly answered his question. And I hadn’t mentioned my parents. “And your dad’s alive, but”—his faced screwed up in confusion, as if he suddenly understood that things were not as they should be—“how did your mom die?” I took a deep breath. I’d been waiting for… >> Read More
Well, two more months and my family sets sail. Actually, we will take flight. To Israel. For a year. Maybe two. Maybe more…
Several times in the past, I have moved away from Boston—my home,…place of my birth, where my parents still live. The only difference was that I had no kids then. I had all day to think about myself, my own feelings, my own logistics, and I spent little or no time thinking about anyone else, not even my husband. By nature, he is a man who… >> Read More
The writing was on the wall as I bolted awake at 2 in the morning. My left breast, always a little troublesome and prone to blockages, was hard as a rock and hot to the touch. I rolled over on my…front and went back to sleep, hoping the pressure would somehow help it to empty. I woke up again an hour later, shaking uncontrollably. “Are you OK?,” my husband asked. My tremors had woken him up. “I don’t think so,” I said. He got my pump from downstairs and wrapped me in pillows and blankets… >> Read More
When I was three years old, I peed in the middle of a Carvel ice cream shop after giving my mother about a 30 second warning that I a) had to go potty and b) couldn't hold it. This moment, though I…do not remember it, lives in infamy in my household as one of the many times I embarrassed my parents throughout my childhood. We all know that kids are basically tiny drunk adults. They do embarrassing things on a regular basis. And while we are so mortified we want to sink into the ground and die… >> Read More
I never felt ready for children, not the kind of ready where you long for them, eagerly await their arrival, and delve into parenting with an abandoned love. I wanted children, three of them, but…just one year after converting to Judaism, getting married, and moving to Israel, I did not feel ready. Love and nature's time constraints persuaded me to compromise—my husband was eager for a family and I was 29, so I pushed out of my comfort zone knowing the benefits would be worth it. When I held… >> Read More