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Oct 22 2014

Why I Won’t Let My Son’s Allergies Be Anyone’s Problem But Ours

By at 11:48 am

Why I Won’t Let My Son’s Allergies Be Anyone’s Problem But Ours

At the age of 4, my oldest son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. He was also determined to be allergic to dairy, chocolate, and eggs, i.e. The Four Kid Food Groups.

The allergies weren’t life-threatening. The biggest problem was that he’d get congested, the fluid would clog up his ears, and, in addition to recurring infections, he ended up suffering a hearing loss and speech delays before we caught on and removed the above four products from his diet. (The amount of time that it took us to notice goes under the heading Parenting Fail. I have many.)

For his entire elementary school career, he was extremely diligent about his diet. Even as a 5-year-old, he knew that he couldn’t partake in the pizza, cake, and ice cream served at most birthday parties. If my husband and I could arrange it, we’d send him with his own treat (my husband, the engineer, had figured out how to bake his own cakes out of more or less flour, sugar…and air). But, if it wasn’t possible for us to pack him a special meal, he just abstained. The practice taught him amazing self-discipline that I can only hope will come in handy now that he’s a typical, risk-taking teen. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2013

Five Things My Young Kids Have Taught Me

By at 10:17 am

kids playing with tableware

I always assumed that being a parent meant teaching my children the basic skills–and with luck, perhaps a few extras they’d need to become productive members of society. As it turns out, I’m learning just as much about life from them. Remember that book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? I think the lessons start much earlier. Here are some that I’ve learned:

Lesson 1. Be yourself. Somewhere along the way, we–or at least I–got caught up in worrying about how others see us. We put on our best face and maybe if we’re starting to wear our hearts on our sleeve, we throw on a cardigan. I’m not advocating for throwing public temper tantrums or sob fests, but I’ve noticed that if my kids are tired or otherwise having a cranky day, they don’t hide their feelings and most people cut them slack. As adults, we’re quick to dismiss others as rude or snobby when they might simply be having a bad day.

Perhaps one of the worst places for a kid to lose it is on a typical commercial airliner when 100-plus people are stuck riding out the tantrum. When I flew alone with both my kids (ages 3 and 1), from Virginia to Florida, I felt prepared for anything. Except for what I got: My daughter, Ellie, decided to flip out at the end of the flight. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 8 2013

Traveling Alone Has Never Been So Sweet

By at 4:02 pm


I recently returned from a trip to Boston for a good friend’s baby shower. I got to reminisce with friends I hadn’t seen in years as we cheered on our beloved Michigan Wolverines football team over beers and takeout, just as we did in grad school. And although all the togetherness and nostalgia was wonderful, can I tell you what I enjoyed most about my trip? The flight.

I have no particular love for flying. But since I became a parent few years ago, I’ve discovered the sheer bliss of being on a plane without my children. I’ve even half-joked to my husband that someday, when I really need a break, I’m going to buy the cheapest airline ticket I can find, just to indulge in the experience of flying alone. “I can come right home as soon as I get there,” I tell him, “all I need is the flight.”

Both my children are in daycare, so it’s not as if I lack time away from them. But that time is usually spent working, doing chores around the house, running errands–or, on the occasions when I allow myself some leisure time, feeling guilty that I’m not doing one of the above. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 1 2013

A Change in Travel Plans–and a Reminder to Let Go of Control

By at 12:59 pm

family waiting in the airportGetting to and from the airport is sometimes a challenge when we visit my in-laws in Maryland; we are six people and they don’t have a minivan. In an effort to make things easier on my in-laws, we’ve been flying in and out of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in DC when visiting them, since there is a metro right at the airport, instead of flying into the Baltimore Washington International Airport.

So that’s what we did last Friday when we landed in D.C. Sure, it wasn’t a breeze taking the metro from the airport to their town in Silver Spring with four cranky kids, three suitcases, three backpacks, and a guitar after traveling for two and half hours on an airplane, but it was doable and we know helpful it was to Nana and Zaide. We decided, however, to make the trip to the airport more convenient for the way home, and so we came up with the perfect, not to mention, stress-free grand plan. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 24 2012

Flying Internationally With Kids is a Lot Like Giving Birth

By at 9:54 am

Flying internationally can be rough. It’s a lot of hours to be cooped up in an oversized bus with 300 strangers, stale air, and chicken or beef. But flying internationally with children is not unlike the process of childbirth itself. Hours of torture followed by sleepless nights and only a fleeting sense of accomplishment.

It begins many months before. You buy your tickets knowing there will be some amount of discomfort involved though you figure, how hard could it be? People have been flying with their kids for at least half a century. But seasoned parents are frank with you. Get your sleep now. Don’t get too excited about your personal video player since you’ll be nursing your baby the entire flight. You nod but secretly you think it will be different for you. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 15 2012

A Cheap Person’s Guiltiest Secrets

By at 3:01 pm
first day of school

First day of school!

In August, I confessed to being cheap, and wondered if it was messing up my kids.

I followed that up in October with Five Easy Ways to Save Money for Your Family.

But, now comes the deepest darkest confession that an out and proud cheap person like me can make. I am going to talk about the things that I actually will–unashamedly–spend money on:

Item #1: Hebrew School/Jewish Day School Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 30 2011

To the People Who Hate Being on Airplanes with Kids: Too Bad

By at 10:36 am

little girl eating on airplaneFor those of you who don’t read the New York Times on a regular basis, allow me to inform you that there’s a lot of hating going on about kids traveling on airplanes. This article opens with the salvo:

HORRIBLE. Annoying. Distasteful. Miserable. These are a few of the words used by readers to describe traveling with children — whether their own or someone else’s — on planes in response to my Nov. 6 article, ‘Are We There Yet? When Families Fly.’

You know those looks you think you’re getting from everyone on the plane as you board with your kids – you know, the ones where you feel like everyone on the plane wants to murder you with their plastic forks? You’re not paranoid: apparently, you’re right. Out of all the responses to the first article sent to the paper, “most wrote in to complain about how miserable it has become to fly with children on domestic airlines.”

I don’t doubt that people can hate other people’s children. I have been guilty of this myself. But I do think the sample pool here is somewhat skewed.

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario. Over a steaming cup of café latte, a couple reads the Sunday New York Times. NPR plays on the radio in the background, and the tranquility is interrupted only by the timer beep which signifies that the couple’s mozzarella and zucchini frittata is done. One member of the couple says, while reading the New York Times travel section, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with travel…children on planes. By God, I’m going to write a letter to the editor.”

Here’s a little secret: this breakfast scenario is something bordering on a sexual fantasy for the parents of little kids. Parents of toddlers do not read the Sunday New York Times. They do not make café latte or frittatas. NPR is not happening. These sad souls, instead, are on their hands and knees in puddles of juice that emerged from insufficiently-sealed sippy cups. They are cleaning Cheerios out of cracks in the kitchen floor. And I can assure you that they would rather brush their hair or go to the bathroom than write an eloquent letter to the editor defending the rights of children and families. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 21 2011

Weekly Roundup: Co-Sleeping With Knives, Airplane Baby Ghettos & More

By at 10:03 am

All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

– A new public service announcement compares co-sleeping to putting a baby to bed alongside a giant knife. (Salon)

– Is the fear of being labeled “sexist” thwarting important research on the differences between boys’ and girls’ brains? (Slate)

Pizza retains its classification as a “vegetable” — at least as far as school lunch programs are concerned. (Reuters)

– Parents with young children are taking issue with airlines’ efforts to relegate them to “baby ghettos” in back of the plane. (The Wall Street Journal)

The New York Times is suing the Huffington Post for copyright infringement. The target of the lawsuit is HuffPo’s new parenting blog, Parentlode; it’s helmed by Lisa Belkin, who, until recently, was the lead writer of The Times’ Motherlode blog. (Adweek)

– Over at Motherlode, KJ Dellantonia, who ably stepped in following Belkin’s departure, questions the zeal of home-birth cheerleaders. (Motherlode)

– Disney buys Babble. (Dealbook)

– And Mickey and Minnie’s latest acquisition introduces us to “Peregrine,” “Samoset,” “Damaris”, and other baby names “inspired by the First Thanksgiving.” (Babble)

Nov 14 2011

Plane Trip Turns Into Road Trip

By at 10:18 am

van on the road

Woman plans, God laughs.

When last we spoke, I was all overwrought about my four month old’s first “vacation” and plane flight. An hour-long plane flight to Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg, specifically) would, I was convinced, turn into an hour-long screaming poopfest. I would be the recipient of looks of pity and disgust from my fellow passengers. My husband would offer to get bumped.

That’s not really how it went down.

The day we left, I woke up Baby G at 5:30 am – yeah, that’s right, I woke up a sleeping baby, which is a violation of the Geneva Convention. She smiled at me lovingly as if to say, “Mommy, don’t worry – I’m the Perfect Baby.” She is, actually, the perfect baby. I haven’t written here about how she started sleeping through the night at four weeks old because it is the biggest keyn eyn hora anyone ever heard of, but the fact of the matter is, this kid is an absolute sweetheart. She gets it from her father.

So we schlep to the airport – me, husband, baby G, the two boys, ages 6 and 8, and my parents, who are simply the best human beings in the world. We get through security, where my mother’s hip replacement and baby G’s car seat stroller are given thorough scrutiny (you know, because both of them are aspiring terrorists). And then we find out that, thanks to the fog engulfing the New York area, our flight is cancelled. The boys’ faces crumple like Kim Kardashian’s ketubah (fine, she didn’t have a ketubah, but you get what I’m saying). Read the rest of this entry →


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