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Aug 18 2014

Win a Free Copy of “The Kissing Bandit” Book & Reversible Puppet

By at 11:15 am

Kissing

“The Kissing Bandit” is an indie children’s book that celebrates the importance of positive affection between parents and kids. The brainchild of Jewish dads Jason Menayan and Aaron Dence, “The Kissing Bandit” started as a kickstarter campaign and eventually became an interactive story about the dapper Professor Roade who magically transforms into colorful bandit Edora, and a hand-made reversible puppet to go with it. This week Jason and Aaron will be giving away a book and puppet set to three lucky winners (enter the raffle below).

Meanwhile, we sat down with Jason to talk about his inspiration for the book and what he kvells about. 

1. What was the inspiration for “The Kissing Bandit”? Read the rest of this entry →

My Son’s First Overnight Trip is a Milestone for Him–and Me

By at 9:58 am

Sleeping-bag

Today marks a milestone in my oldest son’s life: his first “big” camp trip–a day at Sesame Place, followed by a sleepover at our local Y/JCC. My son could not be more excited. He has been talking about this day since June. This morning, as he confidently swung his sleeping bag over his shoulder and headed for the door, he told me that he has been waiting for this day “forever.”

Time is a funny thing in a child’s eyes. I am guessing that this same child does not remember that last summer, as he watched the kids one year older than him head off on this same trip, he said that next year, when it was his turn to go to Sesame Place, there was “no way” he would sleep at the Y.

The change in perspective from one summer to the next epitomizes how much my son has matured over the past year, and how greatly he desires to be independent. I am left simultaneously nostalgic for the days of his infancy, proud of the person he is becoming, and uncertain about how to best parent him during these transition years. How do I nurture his growing independence while keeping him safe in a world that appears to be growing more threatening which each passing day? Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 15 2014

Ricki Lake’s New Documentary Shows a Whole Lot of Boobs

By at 1:30 pm

Rikki-Lakes

Since becoming a mom, Ricki Lake has been cranking out feminist-y documentaries about birth and family planning like it’s nobody’s business.

In 2008, she partnered with director Abby Epstein to make a documentary about homebirth and midwivery called “The Business of Being Born,” followed up by a well-received book about birthing options titled “Your Best Birth.” Read the rest of this entry →

Why We Tell Our Children Stories

By at 11:08 am

Stories

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

Driving home from my sister’s house last night, I did what so many parents do when it looks like their kids might fall asleep in the car and it would be highly inconvenient if they did so. I flapped my lips for 25 minutes about whatever I could think of. We reviewed all the major Jewish holidays and what they represent (read: what we eat on the holidays). We sang the unabridged version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” (someone’s always in the kitchen with mom-my, someone’s in the kitchen they know-o-o-o) and we talked about who’s a cousin and who’s a friend and how the brake pedal and the gas pedal work and why some people choose to get tattoos and how much we like meatballs. Then, Maya decided it was her turn to tell a story.

Five exits later, and Maya’s story was still going. In her tale, she and Daddy went for a walk, saw a ghost with big eyes, met a giraffe who wanted a bath, ate some apples, swam in a lake, took a nap, got scared, saw a fire-breathing dragon, got saved by Avi (Maya’s twin), tripped on a rock, said “it’s OK, you’re alright, it’s no big deal,” to each other, and got mosquito bites. Read the rest of this entry →

If You Think Toddlers Are Bad, Just Wait For the Teens

By at 9:46 am

Two-adolescence

I remember a day back when my older daughter was 2.5. We’d had a perfectly lovely morning at the library–story time, one of her favorite activities–and we were headed home for lunch. We walked down the stairs outside the library and all of a sudden, without provocation, she sat down on the grassy area and refused to get back up. I asked, I told, I begged, and then finally, in frustration, I walked away towards the parking lot and threatened to leave her there.

It was definitely not my finest mothering moment. When I told my mother the story later that day, she said, “The toddler years are the first adolescence.”

I didn’t really get it at the time. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 14 2014

As an Oncology Nurse, My Heart Breaks For My Patients Every Day

By at 4:01 pm

nurse

“He needs some TLC and gentle handling,” says the assistant head nurse as she hands me the chart of a new patient. “He’s young, he’s a career soldier, and his wife just gave birth to their first child two weeks ago.”

I look at his chart. All that goes through my head is that he is seven years younger than me and has Stage 3 colon cancer. Yet again, I find myself standing there and wishing there was no cancer in this world, even if that meant, as an oncology nurse, that I would need to find a new career. I go look for my new patient in the waiting room. Read the rest of this entry →

Larry David Wrote a Funny Play About Shiva–And it’s Coming to Broadway

By at 2:02 pm

Larry-David-New-Play

Larry David is coming to Broadway!

David plans to star in a comedic play he wrote about death and mourning–something only Larry David could pull off. Initially titled “Shiva” but renamed “Fish in the Dark,” Larry says the show was inspired by the death of his friend’s father.

David told The New York Times that he will be playing “somebody very similar to Larry David–it might even be Larry David with a different name.” Read the rest of this entry →

After 10 Years, Finally a Diagnosis For My Son

By at 11:46 am

woodlands-sign

My son Joey is turning 10 this fall. His development has been anything but normal.

Since Joey was 18 months old, we have seen countless professionals who have attempted to evaluate and diagnose him. None of the doctors, therapists, psychologists, or teachers were ever able to satisfactorily define Joey’s behavior. I often wondered if he was autistic, but that didn’t totally fit. He also exhibits a lot of Asperger’s characteristics, but again, not a complete match.

Allow me a moment to give you an idea of what I’m talking about: Read the rest of this entry →

Three Lauren Bacall Scenes That Prove She Was Not Your Average Jewish Mom

By at 10:04 am

lauren-b

Lauren Bacall, who died this past Tuesday at the age of 89, was a model, an actress, a movie star… and a Jewish mother.

Born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx to a Romanian mother and a father whose parents emigrated from Poland, she had three children herself, Stephen and Leslie with Humphrey Bogart, and Sam with Jason Robards. Her stage name, Bacall, was actually her mother’s maiden name. (She is also a cousin of Shimon Peres on the Perske side.)

In her autobiography, Bacall recalled being fired from an early modeling job because she was Jewish. It was the reason she didn’t tell the reportedly anti-Semitic director Howard Hawks about it, and why she allowed the studio’s PR department to claim that their new star was a descendant of some of America’s oldest families. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 13 2014

I Never Thought I’d Let My Son Watch TV–Until Now

By at 3:25 pm

Boy-watching-TV

I love television. I always have. I love to talk about TV with friends, I love to rewatch shows I haven’t seen in years, and now with services like Hulu and Netflix, I love catching up on shows I missed the first time around. I don’t usually have much time for TV, but while recovering from a C-section this past February, I watched almost the whole 10-year run of “How I Met Your Mother” while caring for my newborn. Hundreds of episodes, probably.

I can’t believe I just told you all that. Because I love TV, but boy, do I feel guilty about it. Whenever I am watching, I always feel that I should be working, or cleaning the house, or exercising, or pre-cooking healthy meals for my family to be pulled out of the freezer at a moment’s notice, or, or, or… you get the idea.

For better and for worse, I have used TV as a method of self-care, distraction, and procrastination for decades. It’s not as destructive as drugs or gambling, I know, but it isn’t exactly virtuous either. Read the rest of this entry →

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