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Nov 11 2013

Six Ways a Day at the Zoo is a Lot Like Parenthood

By at 9:52 am

Camel

Thank god for the Bronx Zoo and its family membership plan. It’s just me and the kids on a lot of Sundays, and the zoo not only offers a fun diversion and a surefire way to induce long naps afterwards for all of us, but its membership plan rocks and pays for itself in two visits. Over time, I’ve become somewhat of a savvy zoogoer, and this past Sunday was a little bittersweet, since it’s probably it for us until spring. So as a tribute to all those Sundays I spent huffing and puffing behind a double stroller as I attempted to locate the elusive red pandas, these are the ways I’ve observed how a day at the zoo (in da Bronx or otherwise) can be an apt metaphor for parenthood.

1. You will learn the art of preparation: Any parent knows the importance in life of packing a well-rounded diaper bag or knapsack for outings with the kids. I thought I was a veteran, until I started going to the zoo. No matter how well I packed, my kids became immediately voracious and could polish off three-quarters of the snacks I bought before we’ve made it to the first exhibit. More than once, I was forced to pay for a $6 ice cream cone and a $3 drink box, member discount included, because I ran out of things for them to eat. I don’t know what it is about the zoo that makes them so freaking hungry, but I finally learned my lesson and now habitually pack all the contents of my pantry before we go out anywhere, and it is (usually) enough. These zoo outings have served to fine-tune my prep skills, and I’m a stronger–or at least better prepared–parent for it. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 5 2013

What My 2-Year-Old is Teaching Her Older Brother

By at 9:53 am

transit

When my daughter received a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday, we were not surprised that she immediately took to it and started pretending to make food. She had started pretend play several months earlier, complete with character voices for her animals and worlds that she created with Legos. What we were surprised by was that her kitchen prompted our 5-year-old son, who rarely showed interest in pretend play, to participate, as well. It was only after this that we started noticing that, because my daughter was interested in certain activities or in experiencing things differently, that my son was starting to open himself to them.

Pretend play was a very noticeable one as he is very focused on realism and organized, linear thought and experiences. But he suddenly started leading the way in acting out stories. He still didn’t fully understand when his sister announced that a character from a show they were watching was sitting at the table with them or that she was going to go on a train in the living room. In fact, he argued with her that the trains in the living room were not big enough for her to get on. We’ve had to explain to him that her pretend play can be whatever she wants. But, despite this, we can see his mind opening to the possibility of imagination on another level than he is used to.

Could it be that the younger sibling was actually prompting the older sibling to expand his horizons, rather than the usual other way around? Read the rest of this entry →

May 9 2013

Why Does My Daughter Suddenly Hate Her Swimming Lessons?

By at 1:53 pm

girl afraid of swimmingI need a little advice, folks.

My daughters are currently enrolled in the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy at our local JCC. It’s a great program, and I’m very happy with it (and not just because I don’t have to get in the pool with the girls!). My younger daughter (almost 3) is very happy in her private lesson, but my big girl (age 4.5) is, well, not so psyched about her group lesson.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 25 2013

It’s Tu Bishvat Time

By at 11:37 am

Hello, Kveller folks. Just a friendly reminder that Tu Bishvat, the Birthday of the Trees, starts tonight at sundown. If you need some last minute ideas for food, crafts, and activities, we’ve got you covered.

To Eat

fig and goat cheese sandwichA common way to celebrate Tu Bishvat is to eat foods that contain the seven species from the Bible: figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes, wheat and barley. That means you could make stuffed dates or fig and goat cheese sandwiches. Or you could make this fruity dinner for Tu Bishvat featuring orange and maple baked tofu and persimmon and pistachio cupcakes.

To keep up with the fruit theme, this orange salad is light and refreshing. And what better way to eat fruit then dipped in chocolate? Here comes in the chocolate fondue with fruit. Lastly, a little adult fun can be had with some homemade sangria using any of your favorite fruits. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 10 2013

The Best Ways for Busy Parents to Occupy a 5-Year-Old

By at 3:48 pm

I’m lucky that Ronia loves to have books read to her, and on Shabbat you’ll often find the three of us curled up on the couch reading from a stack of our favorite children’s books.

She’s also recently gotten into chapter books, and is loving this gorgeous illustrated edition of The Arabian Nights so much that we read two thirds of it over one Shabbat. But we’re busy people, and sometimes we just don’t have the time to sit and read to Ronia. I have to make dinner, or do 15 minutes of work, or focus on the drive to Trader Joe’s. So we’ve developed an arsenal of games, activities, and things to listen to that keep Ronia happy and allow her dad and me to take care of business. Read the rest of this entry →

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