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Sep 2 2014

When “Meet the Teacher” Night is Scheduled on Rosh Hashanah

By at 10:12 am

when "meet the teacher" night is scheduled on rosh hashanah

Sitting at my rising 6th grader’s middle school orientation, I was reminded, once again, that rearing our kids in a secular society can be a tricky proposition.

There it was, up on the PowerPoint slide: “Meet the Teacher Night: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014, at 7:00pm.”

September 24th…September 24th. Sounded familiar. A frantic check on my iPhone confirmed it; September 24th is the first night of Rosh Hashanah this year. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 28 2014

Is Your Toddler Obsessed with What’s Fair? So Was Moses

By at 8:34 am

toddler-angry

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Shoftim. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

My kids, like yours, most likely, are obsessed with what’s fair. Sure, this is a classic toddler hang-up: Nothing is fair, but everything is fair game for a tantrum. And when you have twins, the fairness stakes rise exponentially. Beware the tiny fairness police.

The thing is, it’s very, very hard to predict what will elicit an “its not fair” from the peanut gallery. My husband and I try to anticipate–purchasing dual copies of the most coveted items, spending one-on-one time with each child as often as humanly possible, being generally far more patient and attentive than either of us have the bandwidth to be, and yet, we’re repeatedly surprised by how our kids can find unfairness in the most unlikely places. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2014

Am I Pushing My Toddler Too Hard?

By at 8:45 pm

potty-training

So we’ve officially failed at potty training, or at least the first round of it. After spending well over a month trying to coax my toddler onto the potty, bribing him with candy, and even going as far as letting him watch me do my own business for motivation, I’ve decided to table the toilet training for the time being.

In reality, I probably should’ve given up after the first week. My son, from the get-go, was more than simply not interested in going to the potty, he was actually frightened to use it. My mother insisted that he just wasn’t ready. His teachers at daycare confirmed this, as their attempts to help our efforts were met with resistance.

And yet I pushed. I pushed him for over a month, at 2.5 years old, when all around me, fellow parents with children six months older than mine reassured me that they’d yet to start potty training because their children, too, just weren’t ready. I pushed because I thought he could do it, and because I wanted him to do it. Read the rest of this entry →

Ask a Sleep Coach: How Do I Wean My Child Off of Co-Sleeping?

By at 8:34 pm

sleeping-toddler

Dear Batya,



My son is 28 months. My goal is to have him sleep in his own room, in his own lovely bed, to NOT wake up every two hours asking for milk, and to sleep through the night. I have literally been woken up every two hours for the last 28 months and I’m exhausted. 

Some background: I had a C-section that ruptured on the INSIDE (it was horrible) and was not diagnosed right away. As a result, I literally could not lie down and sleep in a bed and I was having a lot of trouble with my balance, so I slept in a recliner with the baby on my chest. I nursed on demand. At one month post-partum, my condition was finally recognized. At two months post-partum, I endured a long surgery to rebuild and fix my abdomen. When I came home from the hospital, I started to co-sleep (since I wasn’t that mobile). We put guardrails on the bed and removed pillows, etc. It was amazing. I was able to get a good night’s sleep, I was nursing on demand, baby was happy, etc.

My husband, however, feels that it has been two years and it’s time for Jacob to be in his own bed. I am really starting to wholeheartedly agree. Read the rest of this entry →

I Think It’s OK That My Daughter is a Brat

By at 3:10 pm

Lela-brat

The other day I was sitting in the dentist office with my daughter. For the first half hour, she looked at books and fiddled around with the spattering of baby toys in the waiting room. And then it began.

“I’m bored, Mama!”

“It will be our turn soon.” Read the rest of this entry →

Welcome to the Month of Very Loud Noises

By at 10:42 am

Shofar

This morning started with a blast. Actually, many blasts. Our shofar has emerged.

Today is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the first day of the Hebrew month preceding Rosh Hashanah. There is a minhag (custom) of blowing the shofar every morning during Elul except for Shabbat and the day before the New Year. Though this traditionally takes place at synagogue after Shaharit (morning services), my spouse and I have a practice of blowing the shofar at home. We’ve been doing it for over a decade, having bought a shofar for our first wedding anniversary, but it takes longer than it used to. Instead of one person waking up the neighbors, now all four of us blow the shofar each day, my two kids eager and impatient for their turns.

We keep the shofar on our mantel until the High Holidays are over. When we have guests, they have a uniform reaction upon seeing the long spirals: “Isn’t that type of shofar harder to blow?” They are surprised when we tell them that not only is it easier to get sound from a long shofar than a short one, but even our kids can produce a recognizable “tekiyah.”  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 26 2014

I Was Juggling Too Much–So the Dog Had to Go

By at 4:24 pm

Doggie

After nearly a decade of practicing law, I embarked on a journey to become a writer, causing a 180-degree shift in my life. I had to juggle being a mom to two little humans and a canine, a wife, a lawyer, a daughter, a friend, and now, a writer.

Having no clone to delegate to and not being an octopus myself, something had to give. I’m good at multi-tasking, but I’m no superhero. And, I don’t have a nanny. My husband and my body were telling me to slow down. So, I sat down and looked at the sobering reality of my existence:

1. I’m a wife. That will never change, unless I kicked my hubby to the curb, and he’s not going anywhere. Read the rest of this entry →

WATCH: In Your 30s You Finally Get It

By at 2:57 pm

best-friends-photo-sessions-elizabeth-craig-intimates-pittsburgh-0001-4

“Sisterhood: A Documentary” is a lovely short film about friendship, self-reflection, and what it means to be in your 30s.

When she received tenure from her job as a professor, one Pittsburgh woman decided it was time to celebrate her accomplishments in a meaningful way. Watch what happens when nine smart, accomplished ladies get together to enjoy a day of pampering and glamour:

Elizabeth Craig from John Craig on Vimeo.

(H/t Tamara Reese)

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Standardized Testing Was Brutal, But I Won’t Let My Son Opt Out

By at 11:43 am

Standardized-testing

As a kid, I used to look forward to standardized testing days. For us, it was the CTBS tests, and it meant a day or two of testing and playing board games and eating snacks with our friends when the testing was over. It was a welcome change to the routine of school. It came and went, and at some point I’m sure our parents got the results in the mail. I have no idea.

Anyone with a child in public school now knows that the carefree testing situation is a thing of the past, much like the slap bracelets and Hyper-colored shirts we used to wear.

Last year my third grader, Joey, who was recently diagnosed with a language processing issue, went from a kid who loved school and felt smart, to a kid who was terrified of failing the FCAT and called himself stupid on a daily basis. Unfortunately for Joey, the major skills that the FCAT tested were being able to inference, pick out a main idea, and answer multiple-choice questions, the very skills he struggles with. Read the rest of this entry →

A 12-Year-Old Weighs in on Jewish Camp in the Colorado Rockies

By at 10:25 am

camp-ramah

Kaspar M. Wilder, 12, is a published poet, National Latin Exam Gold Medalist, a mythology buff, and all-around science fiction geek. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder while in early elementary school. She recently celebrated her bat mitzvah by leading services at Temple Beth El in her hometown of Portland, Maine.

For the past four summers, Kaspar has been a camper at Ramah Outdoor Adventure (ROA) in the Colorado Rockies. Kaspar has participated in ROA’s Tikvah Program for campers with disabilities, both as a participant in the Amitzim edah (division) for campers with disabilities and, most recently, as part of the camp’s inclusion program.

Ramah Outdoor Adventure has become her second home and, according to her parents, has been a big part of her everyday happiness and success. Kaspar hopes someday to become a member of ROA’s tzevet susim (“horse staff”). Below is her take on life at Ramah Outdoor Adventure. Read the rest of this entry →

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