I had high hopes for swim class, and it seems they were justified: both girls are taking to the water like... uh... like ducks to water! But I had an unfortunate situation arise at the pool today,…and I'd appreciate some opinions (polite ones) on the subject. Neither girl has had swim lessons before, and they're just 22 months apart. Still, I thought I'd try having them in two separate classes. Abby, 23 months, was in the Mommy and Me class, and Penny (3.5) was in the Starfish class. Both do roughly… >> Read More
Passover is but a distant memory--I've returned the matzah beach ball to its storage box, the seder plate to the top of the fridge, the boxes of matzah to the dusty back of the pantry to await their…eventual destruction in the food processor, when I need bread crumbs for meatloaf. And yet there's another Passover tradition that we're still playing out. You see, for three years running now, we've joined our wonderful friend Judy at her home in the beautiful, tempting 'burbs for a kid-only seder, held on an afternoon just before… >> Read More
I was absolutely astounded the other day when my younger stepson, Eli, who is 11, was musing about his sister Penelope’s new-found princess obsession--it had to happen sometime--and he said,…“You know what’s funny? There’s no Jewish princesses.” Bless his heart! No Jewish princesses? I had a vague sense of the existence of the JAP stereotype in high school. I remember my friend Fran speaking dismissively of both WASPs and JAPs and wondering why she hated bugs and Asians so much, but soon enough I… >> Read More
I grew up in a home where "Jewish" meant sneaking into High Holy Day services without a ticket, and "kosher" meant we didn't eat bacon. We did a raucous version of Passover where one sister always…replaced "God" with "Great Spirit," another referred to the Pharoh's army as "the band of ninjas," my mom never sat down, and my grandpa patiently read aloud from the Maxwell House haggadah. I took it upon myself to be way ahead of the curve and write our own haggadah as a teenager. I didn't get… >> Read More
Like another Kveller blogger, my husband and I are getting back to the land. It's not something we set out to do--when we met, we both worked for large corporations, me as a freelance journalist and…sometime marketing writer, him as a video-game producer. Then 2008 happened, and suddenly our cushy corporate jobs wanted nothing to do with us. There we were, with first one kid and then two (thanks to a careless nap-time nooner to "celebrate" my layoff), with no more savings and increasingly impatient parents. What were we to… >> Read More
I'm not the only one who loves the TV show "Up All Night," right? Starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as, basically, more successful and with-it versions of me and my husband, and probably…yours, too? Oh, cut it out. Don't pretend you don't own a TV. We're all hanging around this site hoping Blossom will actually talk to us. We're sad little pop-culture addicts, and that's okay. But just in case you haven't watched the show... it's hilarious. The first episode featured a one-upping argument between the main… >> Read More
Here's an update to my earlier post about losing my daughter's Special Blanket: We found SB!
Actually my husband found SB. I was sitting in the living room when he shouted (he does not shout!)…from the back room: “I FOUND IT!” “You found what?” I asked. He thundered into the living room, all six-foot-four of him, holding aloft a bit of shabby pink fabric. “Special Blanket! I found Special Blanket!” >> Read More
It can be really, really hard, as a Reform Jew, to actually admit that religion involves...God. I know that sounds silly, but I think there are a lot of us who want to live Jewish lives, but who…grew up in an environment where religion was either an afterthought or very openly expressed as "something we do culturally and for the community, but not...you know...to believe in." My parents are proud atheists, my mother's a "cultural Jew," and my grandfather warned us that he might seem to get more religious as he aged,… >> Read More
There's something missing around our home.
When Penelope was born, I laid out a supply of items I thought might become her lovey. At first, I thought this really cool brown owl would strike her…fancy, but she was never interested in it. As she grew and began showing a preference for books, we become very fond of Eric Carle, specifically Brown Bear . She lurved Brown Bear. So I went to our local toy store and got three plush brown bears. She liked them! But she didn't luff them,… >> Read More
Until recently, my husband worked nights, so I was on my own for the girls’ bedtimes. What I worked out was this: Penny watches about a half hour of TV while I put Abby down, then Penny and I lay…down and read and she falls asleep. Judge me not, ye women of only kids: you, too, will pray to the demon-god television when you’ve got two toddlers. Anyway, the other day, Penny was really acting up. I knew she was just kind of worn out and frazzled after a too-active day, but Abby was… >> Read More
It’s hard to put into words how much Maurice Sendak means to me. I know I’m not alone in this--
Where The Wild Things Are
touched a nerve from the moment it hit bookstore shelves in 1964, and…even though he comes across as a crotchety old curmudgeon in interviews (we're talking Colbert Report), let’s be serious: the Little Bear illustrations show someone with a deep, sensory memory of a mother’s love. >> Read More
Ssh. Don’t tell anyone, but I have $100 in my pocket.
Not literally. What I actually have is two gift cards, one for an online bookstore and one a pre-filled credit card. I found them when I was…decluttering the shelf in the bedroom with all the wedding cards. Things are tight around our home. My husband spent three years unemployed after his last layoff; six months ago, he nailed a terrific contract position that was supposed to go permanent, but the company got sold, and the bigger company dismantled the team, and...… >> Read More
I love my daughter’s preschool. It’s gentle, the director is an expert at firmly getting kids to do their best while encouraging them to be themselves, and I seriously get a huge charge out of…being on-site one afternoon a week to help in the classroom. I get to watch my daughter in action with her friends, and enjoy the cheerful cacophony of a roomful of kids being amazing, curious little creatures. But the runup to Christmas seriously threw me off, and I don’t know if I’ve done her a… >> Read More
I was at a party a couple of weeks ago, and started chatting with a lovely young woman, a cousin of the hostess. She was in graduate school, getting an MFA in painting, and worked as a ballroom dance…instructor to keep food on the table. Her boyfriend was a musician with a small but loyal local following. I was enjoying talking to her so much, and then she mentioned in passing that her mother had died when she was 3. It was all I could do to stop myself from yanking her to… >> Read More
Both my daughters were born with birthmarks. It’s so common, in fact, for babies to come out with similar marks that the nurses at the hospital use the popular folk names: “angel kisses” for…reddened eyelids and “stork bites” for a pink smattering on the back of the neck. Most fade within a few weeks. As you might imagine, Jewish folklore has its own explanation for a certain “mark” we all have: the philtrum, more poetically called “the flume” on the TV show Ally McBeal. It’s the little divot… >> Read More
We all talk about wanting to cook like Bubbe, but you know what? Sometimes we really don’t. Or we do, until we find out what her secret ingredients were.
Here’s what I mean: Of all the amazing,…delicious concoctions my grandma Rosie made, the one we requested the most – and miss the most – was this incredible, outstanding, lick-your-lips cabbage soup. I know: Cabbage soup? Bist meshugah? But this had a borscht base, contained a cooked-till-it-melts brisket, and was oddly sweet in a way nothing else was. Before she took her… >> Read More
On her most recent visit, my mom stepped off the plane with a huge plastic shopping bag, crinkled with age. It didn't look like much, but inside were sherbet-colored confections redolent with the…nostril-tweaking aroma of mothballs. They were sweaters, made by my grandmother starting half a century ago, and now they were here, ready for my daughter to wear. My mom had four daughters, and her mom, Rosie, knitted for all of us. For Sarah, born in 1958, there was a pink cardigan and matching bonnet. Elizabeth,… >> Read More
I wasn’t married very long--barely two and a half years. So short that I was featured in a book called Starter Marriages. My ex was a nice man, just wrong for me (and me for him), and we went our…separate ways 12 years ago. Our union was dissolved, just like that. Or was it? Fast-forward to 2008, and I was about to allow hope to trump experience, and get remarried. Randy and I adored the Jew-mmunity of the shul we joined together. I loved that it was about as traditional as a Reform synagogue… >> Read More