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Aug 4 2014

How a Terrifying Encounter in the Woods Prepared Me for Motherhood

By at 3:42 pm

Brown-bear

The most poignant lesson I learned about parenting happened seven years before I became a parent.

Unlike many friends of mine who married in their 20s, adulthood was not “delivered” to me in a pink or blue receiving blanket, cooing and drooling. Instead, I became entrenched in the world of directing summer “teen tours,” which involved supervising a bus full of about 50 teenagers, as well as a group of recent college-grad counselors.

In preparation for running this “camp on a bus,” counselors and directors participated in an intensive weekend of First Aid and CPR training, exercises in group dynamics, and instruction on how to light a lantern without setting fire to the campground. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 29 2014

How Becoming a Mom Forced Me to Face My Fear of Snakes (And So Much More)

By at 10:49 am

garter-snake

Like a lot of primates, I really don’t like snakes. In Maine, we only have non-venomous, ecologically beneficial, pest-eating garter snakes and rat snakes, but the unexpected sight of one gliding eerily past my feet in the garden gives me major willies.

This wasn’t always true. I remember happily holding a little red-bellied snake that a preschool classmate brought in for show and tell. I was 3 or 4 years old. Shortly thereafter, I was playing outside when my Birkenstock-clad mother nearly stepped on a snake on the way to the mailbox. She reacted like many people would–an operatic shriek and a leap backwards. And from that moment on, I reacted the same way.

As outlined in this article from Parenting Science, some fears have to be taught. And some are learned very quickly, whether by baby humans or baby monkeys.  Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2014

What Does the Fox ACTUALLY Say?

By at 11:45 am

YLVIS

At this point, every child in America has danced to Ylvis’ “What Does the Fox Say?” You may have even seen the children’s book version in stores. I am not ashamed to admit that I know the lyrics by heart and have caught myself singing the interlude softly on many a morning commute:

The secret of the fo-o-ox

Ancient Mystery-y

Somewhere deep in the woods

He is hiding

What is his souuuuund?

Will we ever know?

Well, inspired by Ylvis, the other day, my kid and I–being the intrepid scientists that we are–decided to do a little research into what the fox actually says. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 17 2014

Pongo The Baby Orangutan and His Mama Are Just Like Us

By at 2:44 pm

Last Friday, a baby orangutan named Pongo marked his 1st birthday at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia. The Huffington Post featured a video of Pongo and his mama acting remarkably “human-like” along with a series of cuddly, adorable photographs.

Pongo almost looks like a human baby. So much so, it’s freaky in some shots. But the mother/son bond captured in these photographs is not quite unlike the one we’re all familiar with. Happy Friday all! Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

Apr 18 2013

PJ Library Corner: The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street

By at 10:51 am

the cats on ben yehuda streetIf you’ve ever visited Israel, you may have noticed that one thing the small country definitely does not lack is cats. And while this may pose a problem if you, like me, are allergic to anything with fur (or pollen or hay or grass or dust or melon; yes, I’m a mess), cat lovers will find themselves right at home.

Little cat lovers will love The Cats on Ben Yehuda Streeta picture book that gives kids a taste of Jerusalem through the story of its cats. Featuring Mr. Modiano, the curmudgeonly owner of a fish shop who hates cats, and Mrs. Spiegel, his customer and owner of a little gray cat, Ketzie, the book tells the story of an unlikely friendship, of both the human and feline variety.

The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street is just one of the great Jewish kids books sent out by PJ Library this month. If you’d like to get free books delivered right to your home every month, be sure to sign up for PJ Library today. If you live in the New York metro area, you can sign up directly through Kveller here. If you live elsewhere, check out this map to find a PJ community near you.

Sign up for free books from PJ Library today.

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