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Jul 16 2014

My Sons Grow Farther Apart Every Day

By at 2:10 pm

Two-brothers-other-worlds

There are moments in parenting when all the rules go out the window and only pure instinct remains. This was one of those moments.

My son Dalen climbed into bed with me, his long lanky body curling into a ball of elbows and knees that jabbed into my stomach every time he sobbed.

“Charlie said he’s never going to play ‘Crazy World’ again!” The words bubbled up with each wave of tears and got stuck in his throat.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jill Abramson is Not Ashamed of Getting Fired from the New York Times

By at 1:22 pm

Jill-abramson-instagram

There’s a little Jill Abramson in us all.

The first-ever female executive editor of the New York Times opened up to Cosmopolitan about getting fired from her position and the media brouhaha that followed. Spoiler: Abramson was careful to dance around the reason for her dismissal (though she acknowledged that the way women’s management styles are viewed “is an incredibly interesting subject”). Still, she made it clear that being fired is nothing to be ashamed of:

Is it hard to say I was fired? No. I’ve said it about 20 times, and it’s not. I was in fact insistent that that be publicly clear because I was not ashamed of that. And I don’t think young women–it’s hard, I know–they should not feel stigmatized if they are fired. Especially in this economy people are fired right and left for arbitrary reasons, and there are sometimes forces beyond your control.

We’ve compiled the best snippets from the Cosmo piece for you, but definitely read the full interview here. Read the rest of this entry →

My Daughter Came Home From Camp a Vegetarian

By at 11:20 am

Vegetarian

Every time my daughter goes away to overnight camp, there is something different about her when she returns home.

The first year she went away, she came back practically self-sufficient. I was so impressed at how well she took care of herself. I didn’t have to remind her to brush her teeth. She didn’t need any help in picking out her clothes. She even made her bed without my asking for a short period of time—and then she went back to forgetting how to do it altogether.

Last summer, she got into the car and had something important to say. I could tell that there was a big announcement on the horizon. She had a look like she knew something that we didn’t know. I could tell she was taking a moment to enjoy that with a satisfied smile on her face. Read the rest of this entry →

From Birthday Parties to Bomb Shelters

By at 10:14 am

children lighting birthday cake candles

Thursday morning. Hundreds of rockets have hit Israel in the last few days, but for the moment, my city seems to be in a sirenless bubble, even though Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which lie to either side of it, have been targeted. We in Modi’in are an island of warlessness in a sea of war, reading on Facebook as friends report their siren stories. The mother of a classmate of my almost-5-year-old daughter calls. Is the birthday party still on? It’s going to be in the park across the street, the same shady spot we’ve had it for the past two years. The party is also for my other July baby, who’s turning 3. I say it’s still on unless the situation changes. She says her son will come.

I should be asleep, but I’m not. I think I hear the beginnings of a siren wafting in through the kitchen window. Well, that’s it, I’ve gotta cancel the party. Can’t have it in the house, there are still boxes lying around from our move, no time to clean up. A second later, the wailing morphs into the late-night laughter of teenagers in the summer. Oh, just a joke, ha ha, well, okay then.

Friday dawns beautiful. We set up the crackers and pretzels, the pita and hummus, the cucumbers and peppers. I had initially thought hiding out under one of the cement benches next to the sandbox would make more sense than running across the street with more than 20 kids. Just in case the sky explodes. But we settle on a plan to herd the kids into the parking garage under the apartment building on the other side of the street, and from there into the stairwell. We have 90 seconds, plenty of time, not like the people who live across from Gaza and only have 15. The kids start coming and I show them where the bubbles are. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 15 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: Cutting Out Baby’s Midnight Snack

By at 4:18 pm

Midnight-feeding

Dear Batya,

I have a 6-month-old and, thank God, she is an incredibly happy and cheerful baby. She is now eating solids and she is on a predictable daytime sleeping and eating schedule. She goes to sleep without difficulty, however, she still does wake at least once a night. I have let her cry it out several times, but she can scream for hours if I let her. She also doesn’t take a pacifier. If I give her an ounce or two (not more) of formula, she’ll go right back down to sleep. How can I cut out the midnight snack?

Thank you! Read the rest of this entry →

Win a Free “Wish I Was Here” Movie Poster Autographed by Zach Braff

By at 2:17 pm

Zach-braff

If we didn’t know any better, we might have thought Zach Braff’s latest film “Wish I Was Here” was created for the sole purpose of being talked about on Kveller. Topics explored in the movie range from what to do when you can no longer afford to send your kids to Jewish Day School, raising young children while also dealing with the heartache of aging parents, and grappling with different levels of observance and personal beliefs within the same family.

Plus, there’s a dog named Kugel.

In anticipation of the movie’s release on July 18, we’re very excited to host an exclusive giveaway for Kveller readers. We’ll be giving away an official movie poster autographed by director and star Zach Braff to three lucky winners.

To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below. We’ll choose three random entrees on Tuesday, July 22. And whether or not you come away a winner, we highly recommend checking out “Wish I Was Here” in a theater near you and letting us know what you think. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This Rainbow Loom Dress Can Be Yours for Just $230K

By at 12:08 pm

Rainbow-loom-dress

Turns out those teeny tiny rubber bands all over your carpet are good for something.

Behold: the Rainbow Loom dress–available on ebay for a mere $231,000.

Hand woven by Helen Wright, an out-of-work single mom from North Wales, the novelty dress is actually really cute! Here’s the full photo, modeled by Wright’s daughter:

Read the rest of this entry →

Not Your Bubbe’s Baby Shower

By at 10:58 am

baby-shower

I am expecting twins any day now. The excitement is rising and the worries that these babies may arrive too soon are being relieved day by day. But when my colleagues offered to give me a baby shower months ago, I cringed.

As a rabbi, the idea of disappointing every bubbe in my congregation by having a baby shower did not feel right. Members of my own family had already asked, “You’re not going to have a baby shower, right?” As if that is a question and not a statement. Jewish women are not afraid to share our opinions, and often baby showers are simply taboo.

The conversation continued and the other rabbi’s wife, who happens to be a mentor and friend, reminded me that communities like to celebrate with their rabbis, so we had to come up with something. Read the rest of this entry →

Why I Don’t Talk About Israel With My Stepdaughter

By at 10:03 am
three women in Israel

The author (c.) with her mother and aunt in Israel.

 

For the past three weeks, I’ve been quietly absorbing the news from Israel. I lit candles for the three missing boys on Shabbat. I was hopeful that they would be found alive, and inspired by the words of Rachelle Fraenkel. When their bodies were found, I felt a familiar horror and pain at the loss of more lives, which increased as the violence ramped up from the IDF, and from Hamas. These days, it seems like half of my Facebook friends are in Israel, spending hours of every day in bomb shelters. I’ve seen videos of weddings interrupted by sirens, pictures of children playing in grey stairwells, and last week I cried upon hearing this story about Jews going to try to pay their respects to the family of the Arab Israeli boy who was killed by Jewish extremists.

Normally, a news event this big in my life would be dinner table conversation. My stepdaughter, at 6, is more politically engaged than most adults I know. She has attended rallies in support of gun control laws, and went to a memorial for Trayvon Martin. She spent the night at Occupy Philadelphia when she was 4, and routinely protests fracking and cuts to Philadelphia public school funding. She knows about the war in Syria, and about Wendy Davis standing up for women’s rights in Texas. But I can’t bring myself to talk about this with her.

I am a product of 13 years of Jewish day school, and in that time I learned to love the State of Israel. I wore blue and white on Israel’s independence day every year, I sang “Hatikvah,” and I was carefully taught that the Arabs always wanted to kill us, and that despite this, we had been the victorious underdogs. Abba Eban’s famous words were used to explain all of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” We tried to help them, but they only wanted to kill us. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 14 2014

The Strange Things Strangers Say To Pregnant Women

By at 3:53 pm

Strangers-pregnancy

With this pregnancy, as with my first, I’ve found that there is no need to wonder what strangers are thinking. They regularly share their thoughts unprompted, those thoughts are often rather strange, and they are typically about three things: size, gender, and timing.

1. My Size. When I was about 6 months pregnant, I attended a dinner. A stranger approached and announced, “You’re pregnant!”

“Yes,” I responded.

She asked how far along I was and then informed me, “You look too big for six-months.”

“Well,” I explained, “I’m very small, so the baby only has outward to go.”

There’s a reason I look like a three-sided plus-sign (again), and comments about my being “too big” are both rude and false.

2. Dreaming of Boys. Opinionated Washingtonians have consistently insisted that I must be carrying a boy. According to a woman who saw me this winter, my gaining weight only in my belly, rather than all over my body, was the give-away. My body must like head-faking, because several sonograms have confirmed that Matzah Ball (our nickname for my baby-to-be) is indeed a girl. Read the rest of this entry →

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