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Apr 23 2014

The Twins Are Turning One!

By at 10:18 am

Cara-twins-one

I walked into a baby mega-store the other day and passed the clothes section. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made me stop in my tracks…the tiniest onesie 3-pack on a hanger. I couldn’t believe how small it was and checked the size: Newborn. I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My babies, my little girls, almost one year ago swam in the enormity of newborn onesies. I was momentarily stunned at the recollection of how small they had been and got ferklempt as I realized how far they have come in the last year.

Almost a year ago, at 35 weeks, I was on bed rest with pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure flirted with dangerous territory, and after a few weeks of “wait and see,” the scales finally flipped–it was safer for the twins to come out than to stay in. To this day I don’t have the words to express how worried I was from the moment that decision was made until the I heard my babies cry just a mere two hours later. Terrified is too mild a word.

Pepper arrived first. They opened my womb and we could hear her shriek as soon as oxygen hit her lungs. We named her well, I thought to myself. Elora arrived a minute later, and her healthy cry allowed me to take a deep breath of relief, a breath I felt as though I had held for 35 weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 2 2014

As My Son Turns 18, Looking Back On a Life With Autism

By at 10:20 am

hannah-brown

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. To learn more, click here.

When I turned 18, I had my first legal drink–a strawberry daiquiri–at Windows on the World, the bar/restaurant that was located on the top floor of the World Trade Center.

When my oldest son, Danny, turns 18 next week, we will take a train from Jerusalem to Haifa, and then we will ride the Carmelit subway for a good part of the day.

Danny loves trains and has ever since he was diagnosed with autism when he was 3. In addition to marking his birthday with a cake in the evening, his father and I will become his legal guardians that day. When he was born, there was no World Autism Awareness Day, but it’s hard not to see the irony in the fact that April 2 is just six days before his birthday. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 18 2014

10 Pros and Cons to Being an Older Mom

By at 11:25 am

40th-birthday-cake

For a long time I was an anomaly among my friends. Most were married in their 20s and started their families then. I watched and waited as I went through my days of being single. I did some more waiting and dating while I held babies and changed diapers. This was never easy for me as all I wanted was a partner in life and to have babies of my own. I did not meet my partner in life until I was almost 32 years old. This felt downright elderly in comparison to my group of friends. Married at 33 and a mom at 35 (after a lot of fertility treatments) and you know what? I would not change it for the world.

When I would go to my OB appointments while pregnant, the words “advanced maternal age” was constant. I would laugh as I certainly did not feel “old.” What was even more interesting was my OB told me that I was on the younger side of her practice and that the average age of women seen was 38 years! That blew my mind! While I understood that more women were waiting for various reasons to have children, in my group of friends, this was not the case.

What have I learned (so far) from being an older married woman and an older mom? I’ll first start with the harder parts: Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 28 2014

A Love Letter to My 7-Year-Old Teenager

By at 10:13 am

homework1

Dearest Sugar Bee,

It was your birthday yesterday and I fell in love with you again. We were out in the desert with friends and you were your beautiful, lively self, enjoying your family and friends and soaking in the sunshine. We spent a lot of time holding hands and swinging in a hammock and talking about life. I gave you your “7” charm to wear around your neck this year. It’s the charm that I wore when I was 7 and Grandma wore and Aunt Lenore too. The charm that Grammy brought into our lives. Lucky seven. We are indeed lucky.

Flashback a week and we are fighting about homework. Again. You are giving me that look. Slack jawed, tongue forward, eyes rolled, wobbling your head like a car ornament. And I want to kill you. I feel my chest tighten and I want to shriek that I can’t stand you. That I don’t understand why you treat me the way you do. Why only me? I try to diffuse your frustration and anger which I have gotten pretty good at after this much practice. My encouragement falls on deaf ears. You are too far gone. I excuse myself from homework and give myself a time out in my bedroom and hold my head in my hands until my anger dissipates. When you calm down too you knock on my door and we hug. You give me the picture you drew of us together. I smile and thank you and add it to the pile. We continue to work; you finish your homework and peace is restored to our home. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 5 2013

And Suddenly He’s Four

By at 4:35 pm

sarah tuttle-singler spiderman son

My son turns 4 on Saturday.

He is suddenly long-legged and lean, leaping into the air. He makes up songs and chats on the phone. He crouches down in the grass and looks for snails with his flashlight.

He is Spiderman.

And suddenly, somehow, in between non-stop nursing and not sleeping, in between crying and cooing, my plucked-chicken newborn baby boy grew eyelashes and eyebrows.

Last night, in the late hours when moonlight fills the room and the jasmine green tea has kicked in, he joined me on the futon while I worked. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 19 2013

Forget Thanksgivukkah–I’m Dealing with Birthdaykah

By at 11:49 am

birthday

Over the past several weeks, my inbox and newsfeed have been filled with various reminders that we are approaching a once-in-70,000-years event: the overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, endearingly named Thanksgivukkah. While I am very much looking forward to cranberry-sauce-stuffed latkes and turkey menorahs, I am having misgivings about another far less public overlap that will be happening in my home this year; that of Hanukkah and my son’s birthday.

I am excited to celebrate both of these happy occasions, but am a little nervous about what will happen with gift-giving squared. Don’t get me wrong; I relish seeing the happiness in my children’s faces when they rip open wrapping paper to find the items that have been topping their wish-list. Yet, I also find that there is an inverse relationship (and I thought I would never again use high-school math) between the number of gifts they receive and their level of appreciation.

I am sure that I cannot be the only mother (at least I hope I am not the only one) who has had a child open a gift in front of the giver and blurt out a particularly inappropriate remark. Something along the lines of, “Is that all?” or, “That’s not the one I wanted,” or, “But my brother’s present is better,” or a similar comment that makes you want to invent a machine that would filter your children’s thoughts somewhere between their brains and their mouths. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 11 2013

Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from 10 Years of Parenting

By at 11:48 am

ten lessons i've learned from ten years of parenting

Today is what LinkedIn would call my 10 year “job anniversary”: 10 years ago today, my first son was born. He was an easy baby. Of course, having had no experience whatsoever taking care of children, I thought he was absolutely impossible.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve had five kids and a veritable boatload of that unquantifiable entity we like to call “experience.” These are the 10 lessons I’ve learned over the course of the past 10 years, in no particular order.

1. There Will Be Nakedness.

When I went into the hospital to give birth to my first son, the nurse in the labor and delivery room gave me that not-exactly-couture excuse for a “gown” (otherwise known as “cloth with a few snaps”) and told me to change. I headed for the bathroom. The labor and delivery nurse cracked up laughing. “Honey, is it your first time doing this?” she said in a half-kind, half-condescending way. “Because there’s no such thing as modesty in these parts.”

After pooping on the table–oh, and giving birth–I got it. But I really only just began to get it. Parenting is nakedness, literal and metaphorical. But let’s start with the literal. Over the past 10 years, I have long abandoned the quaint idea of using the bathroom by myself, whether to shower or defecate. I have had my genitalia critiqued by toddlers (“MOMMY! WHERE IS YOUR PENIS???”). I have been watched by beady little eyes while attaching a maxipad to postpartum disposable underwear (“Mommy! I don’t want a bandaid on my jay-jay!”). I have bared my breasts in non-Girls Gone Wild fashion in airports, restaurants, shopping malls, and in front of the elderly and faint of heart. I have showered and bathed with children. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 24 2013

Reflections on My Twins’ Second Birthday

By at 10:10 am

adina kay-gross twins second birthdayAh, birthdays. They don’t have to mean anything (you’re as young as you feel! I am 100 years old) but to kids, and to parents, they do. My kids turned 2 last weekend, and I am consequentially forced back into reflection mode. No longer on a therapists’ couch but just as plagued by constant analysis, I wonder: where was I one year ago today, when my girls celebrated their first birthday? How have things changed? Do I have this mothering thing down, now? Am I any “better” at it?

Let’s see. For one thing, one year ago today I wasn’t acutely aware of how fast it all goes. Sure, I heard older, wiser people tell me to enjoy every minute and I grumbled because that was (and still is and always will be) impossible. But I hadn’t yet experienced the wistful feelings. I hadn’t yet gazed at their round bellies, acutely aware of how they’re flattening out, how they are less soft and more arms and legs and elbows and less willing to let me cradle them and then fidgety when I manage to.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 17 2013

So, This is 40

By at 3:51 pm

40th birthday cupcakeSo, this is 40.

This morning, I woke up too early, in a dark and peaceful house. Once the haze of sleep began to lift, it dawned on me: Today is my 40th birthday.

More precisely, it’s my Hebrew birthday. My secular birthday doesn’t come until a week into May, and in our house, our kids like to celebrate both. Since this year my Hebrew birthday falls a few weeks before my secular one, I realize it’s like I have a birthday “zone,” an especially welcome transition period for easing into this new decade, one that seems to strike terror in on-the-cusp-of-middle-aged hearts around the world. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 20 2012

I’m Halfway to 70 & Feeling Fine

By at 12:10 pm

35th birthday cakeToday, I turn 35 years old. To some of you, this will seem unimaginably old. To some, it will seem preciously young. And some of you are perhaps just where I am, halfway to 70 and feeling reflective.

On that note, here are 35 short musings on what I know, now that I’m halfway to five years past collecting social security. If you’ve got some to add, I’d love to hear them.

1) I might be halfway to 70, but I kind of like looking at my age this way. It makes me feel like there is a lot of time left to get stuff done. Like figure out who I am, where I’m going, what I want to be when I grow up. Or, when I’m 70. Read the rest of this entry →

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