Nov 18 2014
The bumpy ride and cacophonous roar of the kids’ voices were giving me a headache. I was on a bus with 45 sixth graders, full of hormones and fart jokes, on our way to the Lower East Side in Manhattan. I’d volunteered as a chaperone for my twin sons’ class trip to visit New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. I was interested in the exhibits but I also wanted to be close by as my boys witnessed a memorial to the darkest time in modern Jewish history. I wasn’t sure how they, or the other kids, would react upon seeing such vivid images, and if they had the requisite maturity to process what they’d be witnessing.
The kids had been studying World War II in their social studies classes, so there was certainly preparation by the teachers in an age-appropriate manner. However, I knew there was a difference between learning about the Holocaust in an academic setting, and actually seeing the depth of the destruction that took place from relics and vivid documentary testimonial.
As we made our way through the narrow streets of the Financial District, a kid shouted, “Look, there it is!” I was surprised at their enthusiasm about spotting the museum until I realized that the kids had spotted the gleaming Freedom Tower, the new building under construction in the former location of the World Trade Center. We all craned our necks and took pictures of the magnificent building and I realized that the kids had historical context from their own lifetime with which to understand the Holocaust. Read the rest of this entry →
My Jewish grandmother is stereotypical—and proud of it. She’s short, round, warm. She loves to bake (or, as she puts it, “to potchke in the kitchen”) and to play bridge and Mah-Jongg with her friends. She finds nachas in her family. Perhaps above all else, she’s desperate for great-grandchildren.
So when she found out that I was gay, her first response to me was a despondent, “You’re not one of those, are you?” Then she sobbed. And for a while, she would only say, “We’ll see,” when invited to meet my partner.
My partner, now wife, wasn’t upset by any of this; her parents had her quite late, so her mother is of the same generation as my grandmother, and thus Fi is experienced with the quirks and prejudices some elderly people can have. She kept me calm by reminding me that it would take a while for my grandmother to absorb this news, and that we had to understand that it’s painful for people to give up on the dreams and expectations they have for their relatives. And, if the worst happened and Grandma never came around, well, that would be dreadfully sad, but we reside in another country and could just go on with our lives as we liked. She felt sure we’d get through this together, as we had gotten through many other things. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 17 2014
With our 8-year wedding anniversary coming up (whoa!), my husband and I were talking the other day about going out to celebrate. We were trying to decide on a dinner spot when suddenly he asked, “Actually, when’s the last time we went out by ourselves, period?”
I thought about it and realized: The last time we’d gone out on a real date was… our 7-year anniversary. Almost an entire year ago.
Now I know we’re not the only couple whose dating habits have changed drastically since having a child. We have plenty of friends who are happy when they get to go out once a month, or once every other month, or even 3-4 times a year. But what got me was the fact that not only had my husband and I not been out on a date in almost a year, but that we—or at least I—hadn’t even realized it. Read the rest of this entry →
Adam Mansbach is an author of contemporary literary fiction, including the books “Rage is Back” and “The End of the Jews.” However, he’s undoubtedly best known as the author of the New York Times best-selling classic of subversive parenting, “Go the F**k to Sleep.” In that book, Mansbach articulated the deep, almost primal frustration of a parent whose kid just won’t go the…well, you get it. The book was an immediate sensation. His new book, “You Have to F*cking Eat,” taps into that same seemingly bottomless reservoir of parental annoyance, also to humorous effect.
Mansbach took time last week to chat with Kveller contributing editor Jordana Horn about Lenny Bruce, radical honesty and when it’s OK to unleash parental F-bombs.
When you’re not writing these books, would you call yourself a “potty mouth” in real life? Is your internal narrator a Lenny Bruce-esque salty sailor?
Internally, I’m very much a Lenny Bruce/Richard Pryor mash-up. I come from the school of thought that, when properly deployed, profanity can be the most eloquent form of language we have. I grew up around people who cursed with skill and took pleasure in it. When I’m talking to myself, I sound like this in my head all the time. Read the rest of this entry →
I should expect to spend $2,500 out-of-pocket for a standard labor and delivery, according to my health insurance plan. Full-time childcare runs us around $18,000 a year in Seattle. Add the cost of diapers, wipes, goldfish crackers, and an occasional trip to the zoo—there’s another thousand at least, per year.
When we decided to have our first baby, we definitely didn’t factor in the cost or really grasp the financial consequences of having a child. I remember the first week of paying our nanny in Brooklyn and heading to the ATM to withdraw $400 in cash. I thought back to the last time I handed someone that much money in actual bills—it was when I paid my rent in shekalim to a man named Shimon, in Jerusalem, during my junior year abroad. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 14 2014
Kim Kardashian broke the internet this week, and all of cyberspace seems to be pretty disgusted. Everyone but me.
Yes, she’s the poster child for what-exactly-is-your-claim-to-fame pseudo-celebrities. Yes, she sets an appallingly bad example for young girls who are being taught that sex sells. And yes, she’s become the symbol for all that’s wrong with modern culture. But I give her a pass.
Why am I willing to put my beliefs that a woman’s worth should be determined by what’s on the inside and not on the outside temporarily aside? Because Kim looks just like me. Don’t get me wrong–we really look nothing alike. I’m not nearly as beautiful, glamorous, or, well, bootified. But I have dark hair. I have brown eyes. I have olive skin. I have a hard-to-peg ethnic look. I’m curvy. Hell, I’m even 5’2–the same height as Kim. Read the rest of this entry →
My 5-year-old daughter was supposed to earn her yellow belt in karate last month. She’d prepared for months for this moment. When it was time to be tested, she stood proudly before her instructor. She kicked and punched and upper-cut like a pro. There was no doubt that she was ready to move forward.
But, when it was time to receive her new belt, she froze.
“I don’t want to give up my old belt. I’ll miss it too much.” Her lower lip quivered as she spoke. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 13 2014
After many weeks of diligent wiggling, my daughter has finally lost her top, front tooth. It happened at school, during lunch, which meant that not only did she get to be the center of attention as blood gushed out of her mouth, necessitating a trip to the nurse—stat!—but she also got a cool necklace box to put her tooth in. It’s every 7-year-old’s dream!
But here is what else happened because she lost her tooth at school: A whole host of people, from kids to parents to teachers to even the security guard, made her promise that she’d tell them the next day what the tooth fairy brought her.
Except…the tooth fairy doesn’t stop at our house. Read the rest of this entry →
One Friday night in early August two strangers showed up at my door and dropped off a baby. It was almost anticlimactic.
My partner and I had gone through the foster care certification process months before, and had been patiently waiting for a call, but there was no morning sickness, no bloating, no endless doctors’ appointments, and no labor. There was just me, getting a call on my cell phone while I cooked Shabbat dinner. Would I like a 1-month-old baby girl? Yes? See you in a few hours.
Those few hours were a blur. I called my partner and told him we were having a baby, and could he stop on his way home and get diapers and wipes? (God bless Jesse Bacon for being the kind of person who was not only not horrified by this turn of events, but was in fact incredibly enthusiastic and happy.) Read the rest of this entry →
School lunches are my enemy.
Well, not the actual lunches, just the process of making them. You see, my kids go to a Jewish Day School, which means that their lunches must either be parve or dairy. I have no problem with that, as we keep kosher and therefore won’t make the mistake of accidentally sending in shellfish or a ham sandwich. Rather, the issue I have with lunches is that my kids constantly tell me how they no longer eat this or no longer like that. They change their minds as often as a new parent changes a diaper.
My kids eat perfectly well at dinner time, despite sometimes saying that they don’t like something my husband or I are serving. But lunch is a different story. Things that they would normally eat at home or even order in a restaurant are somehow off-limits when they come out of a lunchbox. I don’t get it. Read the rest of this entry →