Nov 13 2014
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 more →
Nov 13 2014
Since the day our 11-year-old was born, we’ve poured on the love, hugs, and Legos. But we slacked big time on his Jewish education.
Although I was raised Reform and my husband Conservative (the nephew of a rabbi, no less), we’re both essentially agnostic and take our cultural Jewish identity for granted. We really get Jon Stewart. You say sheket bevakashah, and we’ll both say “hey.” My husband can read Hebrew (never mind its meaning). I really like salty fish slathered in mayo. We feel Jewish. Unfortunately, that sense of identity was formed at the knees of Yiddish-speaking grandparents—it’s not something that can be passed on. And while our son has his own quad of adoring grandparents, they’ve long since abandoned their parents’ more traditional ways (my side leans towards atheism, my husband’s towards guilty apathy). And so our son’s sense of being Jewish is surface, at best. Read more →
Nov 12 2014
My 4-year-old daughter comes up the stairs in our three-story home carrying a heavy pink basket filled with wooden toys. She stands in the door frame, smiling and proud of herself, waiting for me to notice how strong she is.
“Audrey, wow! Did you carry that all by yourself? You are so strong!” I say, ignoring the fact that she’s not supposed to bring those toys upstairs. I am too impressed with her. I’m not impressed that she’s strong. We’re all strong; we just forget about it sometimes.
Rather, I’m impressed that this is what she’s proud of. Read more →
Nov 12 2014
Moms, did you ever wish you had a quick and easy template for a playdate invitation to stick in a cubby or hand to a woman who looks like a potential friend? Well, you’re in luck. Just check off the applicable boxes, and you’re good to go. Soon you—I mean, your kid—might have a new best friend!
Dear Mom of: (Check off one)
[ ] child my child’s same age and gender, so come on, it has to work
[ ] child that is more popular than my child so I’m trying to help my child out
[ ] child I have never seen but this one time I saw you reading a book I like so I’m hoping we’ll be friends
Ever since we talked at: Read more →
Nov 12 2014
When I was 23 years old, I naturally birthed my first child, my sweet Chava Rachel. I gazed down at her in disbelief—this gorgeous little girl was mine. A perfectly round head covered in damp, dark locks, tiny fingernails almost translucent pink, as if she’d had a manicure in the womb.
As we struggled to latch those first few hours after birth, my lactation-consultant mother led me through skin-to-skin, attempts at biological nurturing, and the baby crawl. No luck. Eventually we called in for a hospital-grade pump. As my frustration mounted, my mother whispered furtively, “Let’s get out of here. Tell them you’re nursing just fine, and let’s go home.”
She and I agreed that a hospital was no place to learn to breastfeed a baby. It wasn’t until Chava’s second day of life that she finally latched on. At my mother’s suggestion, I got on all fours and lowered my breast into Chava’s mouth—success! It was painful for a few days, but with the visit of another lactation consultant we were able to get on the right path. Read more →
Nov 11 2014
Credit: Laura Miller
My mom is a midwife. Throughout my childhood, she delivered babies in hospitals. She stroked my head to sleep while on the phone with women in early labor. Long before I learned how a baby is made, I understood that one isn’t in active labor until you can no longer walk and talk through contractions. I picked up on the meanings of “bloody show” and learned that babies come at all hours. While there were inconveniences, there was one big upside: insider knowledge. Friends’ moms disappeared, reemerging with squishy, pink siblings. How it all went down, nobody knew. Except me.
My mom’s career began as a scientist, running a laboratory. A data-driven, rational bent extends into her midwifery practice, which is to say that she is on the more medical end of the midwifery spectrum. But like all midwives, she believes in staying with women throughout labor, helping us birth our babies in our own ways. I also learned as a child that an obstetrician is not inherently better or worse than a midwife, but offers different services and sometimes a different philosophy. Read more →
Nov 11 2014
My daughter’s 6th birthday party didn’t start off a total disaster. A handful of kids joined us at an art studio for a drawing lesson and other activities. I had a peculiar feeling that morning that the party wouldn’t be a good idea–I still can’t explain why–but when I saw the old-fashioned fun they were all having playing “Duck, Duck, Goose,” I started to pat myself on the back for a job well done.
But then, right in front of my eyes, yet too far away to do anything, my daughter Julian rounded the corner between one of her “ducks” and “goose,” slipped on the carpeting, and flew face forward into the sharp metal corner of a chair. We ran out–before even serving the cake–to tend to a nasty puncture wound just below her right eye.
Our pediatrician examined the gash and automatically mentioned a pediatric plastic surgeon who could revise the scar once it healed. After all, he explained, “If she was a boy, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. For them, scars are cool. But she’s a girl; it’s totally different.” Read more →
Nov 11 2014
“My daughter, the Hebrew School dropout.” Those weren’t exactly the words I had in mind when I enrolled Hannah in Hebrew school when she was in kindergarten. And all went well for a few years…until there were some rumblings in 5th grade. But I gamely ignored them, and we soldiered on.
And then middle school hit like a tsunami. Hannah was normally a fairly calm, methodical kid. Not anymore. Her anxiety levels spiked as her secular school workload increased. She placed high expectations on herself, expecting straight A’s every marking period. I remember begging her, “Get a B. Just get a B in something and you will see that the world won’t end.”
Add in a long drive to Hebrew school and an extra two hours of class once a week, and Hannah was on the verge of cracking. When she came home from Hebrew school she would sob in my arms. She didn’t connect socially with her peers and she wasn’t learning anything new. She would stay up late at night to finish her homework and then do cartwheels and handsprings in her bedroom to calm her nerves. It was wearing both of us out. Read more →
Nov 11 2014
A boisterous game of “Monkey in the Middle” overtook our family room after Shabbat dinner last week. Astonishingly, nothing was broken and nobody got hurt. Laughter, happy yelling, and lots of good-natured teasing kept the blue-and-white beach ball airborne and away from the “monkey,” who in this game, was my daughter.
My only little girl is a feisty 8-year-old. She holds her own with big green-gray eyes, a smattering of freckles, a knowing smile, and a steely grip amid the three brothers who love nothing more than to give her a hard time about, well, everything: that she mispronounces “bird,” that she’s something of a busybody, that she prefers to keep her room testosterone-free, and yells “out” as soon as a male body, canine or human, places a smelly toe over the threshold. Read more →
Nov 10 2014
Getting ready for your winter getaway? You’ll be happy to hear we’re teaming up with HydroChic to give away one of their bestselling swim shirts to one lucky Kveller reader.
HydroChic is lifestyle active wear that doubles as swimwear, is sun protective, and is designed to be worn both in and out of the water. Their tops and bottoms–including short sleeves, long sleeves, skirts, skorts, shorts, and pants–offer a full range of UV protection and coverage, and are super fun to mix and match. There is a style for every shape and size: Missy XS-XL and plus sizes 0X-4X. Read more →