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Jan 29 2013

How Jewish Teachings Helped Me Be a Patient Parent

By at 9:36 am

Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to parenting.

My most recent journey into impatience came last night as my 2-year-old daughter twirled and sang her way into the wee hours of the night.

I had been trying to put her to sleep for three hours, and it just wasn’t working. Given the fact that she had experienced a transatlantic flight, and we arrived in Israel a few hours before (and that she was excited about being in a new place, and sharing a room with her older brother and being out of a crib, and and…) I had to cut her a little slack. But my ability to empathize and (what seemed like) the Herculean task of mustering the patience I needed had grown thin. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 13 2012

Top Five Bedtime Books with a Surprising Jewish Twist

By at 6:18 am

jewish bedtime booksDo you read lots of books to your kids before bed? Are you always looking for new titles to add to the collection? And are you interested in instilling some Jewish religious values in your kids?

If so, consider adding one (or all) of these five books to your bedtime routine. Each one teaches the tykes a Jewish value* (even if its not immediately apparent). Lilah Tov!

* These values can all be traced back to the Torah or Jewish scripture. That said, these are human values, too, and each of these books can be understood that way, as well.

room on the broom1. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

What it’s about: The witch has a broom and a cat and a tall hat and long red braids. On her travels, she meets a dog and a frog and a bird that all ask if they can join her on the broom. The witch happily invites them to hop on. The broom breaks, and then the crew is accosted by a dragon. But the animals band together and save the witch. In gratitude, she builds a souped-up broom with something for everyone. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 10 2012

My Daughter Got Too Old for the Shema

By at 1:19 pm

bedtime shema“No, Mommy. No Shema tonight.”
“Why not?”
“Nobody else does it at bedtime.”

And so it begins.

We were on vacation last week, and my 3 1/2-year-old was overjoyed to be sharing a room with three other preschoolers. Every day, she would ask again if she could sleep with the “big kids” again, and every night she bounded up the stairs to the kids’ room, eager to get into the trundle nestled between three twin beds. At which point, she got to see how other families do their bedtime routines. The other families aren’t Jewish, so needless to say, they weren’t singing the Shema each night. So, my daughter didn’t want it either. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 15 2012

Following Through with Threats, and Feeling Guilty

By at 10:09 am

shrekUntil recently, my husband worked nights, so I was on my own for the girls’ bedtimes. What I worked out was this: Penny watches about a half hour of TV while I put Abby down, then Penny and I lay down and read and she falls asleep. Judge me not, ye women of only kids: you, too, will pray to the demon-god television when you’ve got two toddlers.

Anyway, the other day, Penny was really acting up. I knew she was just kind of worn out and frazzled after a too-active day, but Abby was very, very tired and having trouble falling asleep. I needed her room silent and dark, just for a quick 10 minutes. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 31 2011

My Gigantic Jewish Family Bed

By at 11:28 am

Mayim Bialik in the family bed with her two sons.

Last week, abcnews.com posted an article by famed co-sleeping expert Elizabeth Pantley about how to stop co-sleeping and get your kids out of your bed.

If you’ve read my writing before, you know I’m a big proponent of co-sleeping. My husband, 3- and 6-year-old sons, and I share a gigantic family bed which consists of a king and a full futon pushed together on the floor, and I believe our co-sleeping will end when our family sees that it is time to end it. But it’s not my intention to tell you why co-sleeping is good and beneficial and natural and fun (my book which comes out in March devotes a whole chapter to that). I want to share two things that go on in our family bed that are specifically Jewish, because I don’t hear it spoken about very often.

Disclaimer: the things I describe can (and do) also occur in non co-sleeping  families, but this is simply the experience of our family bed from a Jewish perspective.

1. Bedtime Shema. After teeth are brushed (Fred fighting the brushing with varying intensity on any given night), and everyone has gone to the bathroom one last time (ditto; he’s 3, it’s normal, right!?), we read books, Fred nurses, and we sing the first two lines of the Shema. As a child, my parents recited the Shema to me and just as it was technically my first full sentence as a toddler, it was our boys’ first as well.

Read the rest of this entry →

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