Beware, Ye Non-Believers

Looking to stave off that evil eye? Start with a red string.

If I had read Renee’s blog post about shtetl superstitions before I had kids, I would have thought she was crazy. Nutso. Maybe even going senile a bit early.

But the past two years have taught me otherwise, and I have learned the power of the jinx.  And I’m here to tell you that Renee is wise, and we would all do well to heed her warnings and take her suggestions seriously.

I’d like to think the evil eye hasn’t cast its gaze upon my family–although my toddler did break her leg the day before I was due to give birth to #2, so it’s hard to know for sure.

Rather, we’ve been struck by what I like to think of as Jarma (Jewish Karma) on more than one occasion. It’s a fairly straightforward process that I’ve experienced several times, so you’d think that I would be able to avoid it by now.  But motherhood seems to have destroyed the vast majority of my brain cells, so I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

It always happens the same way.  One of my kids does something particularly brag-worthy (sleeps through the night, eats more than two peas for dinner, poops in the toilet), and rather than noticing it and dismissing away any Mommy-pride I might have with a quick poo poo poo, I proceed to open my mouth and blather on about how great it was.  I’ve found a number of forums for jinxing myself – in person, or Facebook, or Twitter, or even on my blog.  By no matter where I do it, my lack of inhibition inevitably comes back to bite me in the tuchus.

The details are different, but the story is the same. I brag about my kid’s willingness to eat anything, and WHAM! – two days later she has whittled her diet down to noodles, peanut butter sandwiches, or any other foods we can convince her are noodles or peanut butter sandwiches.

A recent comment to a friend about how healthy the kids were this fall landed us in the ER.  Twice–first for a croupy infant, and a week later for a vomiting toddler.  And don’t get me started on sleep.  The minute I even think about how well my daughters are sleeping, we’re up every hour throughout the night.

I could go on, but the only other stories that come to mind involve diapers, so I’ll just leave you to your imagination.  In the meanwhile, I’m going to study up on Renee’s post.  And for the record, my kids are fussy and sick, they’re rejecting every meal I offer them, and they’re not sleeping.  That should cover me for the next few days, right?

Carla Naumburg

Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and writer. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Huffington Post,,, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Psychology Today. She is the author of two books, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Parallax, 2014) and Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family (New Harbinger, 2015). Carla grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Bay Area of California, and she currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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