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Feb 12 2014

My Little Girl Loves Pink and Princesses (and Bugs!)

By at 9:56 am


I’ve always found the nature versus nurture discussion interesting. Now that I am the mom of a boy and a girl, it’s downright fascinating. It’s from that perspective that I rolled my eyes after I watched the commercial for GoldieBlox that Kveller posted.

The thing I probably love the most about my daughter, Ellie, who’s 4, is that she will dress herself in full princess garb, crown to slipper, and then march outside to examine bugs with her yellow magnifying glass, moving dirt around and onto her tulled tushy with a red or blue shovel. This is also her outfit of choice to wear while she does experiments from her multicolored science kit.

Ellie’s favorite color is pink, with purple in close second. She plays with her dolls – stuffed and Barbie–and is always the mom. She has a jewelry box stuffed with plastic baubles that she wears with the pride of a woman who just received an engagement ring. Ellie couldn’t be girlier if she tried. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 6 2014

Here’s to the Three Jewish American Male Figure Skaters at the Sochi Olympics

By at 5:04 pm
Charlie White with ice dancing partner Meryl Davis

Charlie White with ice dancing partner Meryl Davis


First, I was a figure skating fan, then I was a figure skating TV researcher/producer, then I was a figure skating mystery novelist, and currently I’m a hodge-podge of all the above.

I am referencing my C.V. in order to explain why, while I don’t know the total number of Jews on Team USA for the Sochi Olympics, I do know that there are three of them in the figure skating delegation: two-time World Ice Dancing Champion and defending Olympic silver medalist Charlie White, singles skater Jason Brown, and pairs skater Simon Shnapir. (Ladies’ singles skater Gracie Gold is, alas, not Jewish, despite the name.)

That’s right, the US is being represented at the Olympics by three nice, Jewish boys. The latter actually emigrated from Moscow as a toddler.

It stands to reason. Figure skating is a huge sport in Russia. It’s a huge sport in America, too. But, primarily for girls. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 27 2012

How To Throw the Best (Cheap) Star Wars Birthday Party Ever

By at 11:36 am

star wars birthday party light saber kidsWe’ve made some pretty lovely budget-friendly birthday parties in our day. For my older son’s 3rd birthday party we celebrated him reaching the “age of education” by decorating kippot and tzedakah boxes and doing Aleph Bet Yoga. For the baby’s 2nd birthday we did an all-out Elmo party that cost just $25.

But our schedules have been jam-packed these days, and poverty be damned, I was totally resigned to throwing money at the birthday party problem this year. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 11 2012

Yep, My Son is Definitely a Boy

By at 1:05 pm

toy truck

My son loves garbage trucks. Every morning, without fail, he keeps his eyes peeled. When he finds one, he says, Mommy, Ga-bage Tuck! Watch it?

Having raised three girls before him (and another girl after), this vehicular fetish is a bit new to me. The novelty of his request is a big part of why I am so willing to indulge my waste-dump-loving little man whenever possible. Plus, I never tire of seeing his wide, saucer eyes light up as the stinky garbage cans get dumped into the truck and crushed by…whatever that crushing thing is. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 30 2012

Teaching My Autistic Son How to be Cool

By at 4:06 pm
pokemon characters

I guess these guys are cool?

I knew as a mother, I was going to have to teach my kids things, like teach my daughter to put on makeup, or my son to ride a bike. But this? Seriously?

I am now expected to do something as a parent I never expected to do. I need to teach my 6-year-old how to be cool. (Huh, what? Can’t I teach him about sex instead? That might be simpler.)

To the outside world, Reuben is like every other 6-year-old. But we have a secret. What comes natural to other kids can take upwards of 100 hours to teach him. My son is on the Autism Spectrum. So far every issue we have faced, I have taken in stride, until now…. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2012

What is it with Boys and Trains?

By at 12:03 pm

wooden toy train setMy toddler has a new nickname for me: Milk Carton.

This started off as Milk Car, my designated portion of the train as I follow Asher–who goes by Engine–around the house or along the edge of the sidewalk (in his worldview, curbs are tracks). Asher still nurses, so the nickname is quite literal. My husband is Caboose–as he walks behind me, he likes to joke about my Dairy-ere. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 1 2011

Parenting Boys: Is it Different?

By at 9:08 am

Liz and her two sons.

“I see your daughter’s enjoying the tractor today,” said an overcompensating stay-at-home dad whose son was busy zooming around the room on the back of the plastic fire truck.

My daughter was 2 and we were at a toddler class. There were a bunch of toys huddled in one corner and the rest of the room was left open for a handful of play cars, grocery carts, and doll strollers. The dad and I stood on the sideline having one of those conversations parents of toddlers have: attention divided, no eye-contact necessary.

“Yeah,” I said. “She loves those ride-on toys.”

“You’re lucky most of the boys aren’t here!” he called out to my daughter, Hot Shot, cupping his hands around his mouth. “You’d never get a chance if they were.”

My daughter was out of earshot; his message was really for me. And I was livid. Because it was true what he said.  She was getting a longer turn than usual that day. And there were a number of boys who monopolized the ride-on toys. But more to the point, there were a number of parents who let their boys monopolize the ride on toys. He being one of them.

But I didn’t take him on, because you can’t win that argument, not when you don’t have a boy of your own. I’d learned that by then. Parents of boys insist their sons are hardwired for hording and destruction, and since I had no exhibit B to disprove them, I knew they would continue to dismiss me. So I held back my judgmental parent tirade and threw a half-hearted comeback pretending, like him, that the rolly toy shortage was our children’s problem, not ours.

“I think she can hold her own,” I shot back. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2011

What (Not?) To Wear

By at 9:05 am

Our boys are starting to pick out their clothes in the morning. Sometimes they change multiple times a day. Recently our 2-year-old, Ankle Biter, grabbed a yellow construction equipment t-shirt out of his drawer and held it triumphantly over his head.

It was, of course, only moments before Moon Boy, big brother by one year, arrived streaming hot tears and screaming for the same shirt.

I tried explaining that the shirt is really too small for him now, and was just about to move on to a lesson on kind and respectful requests, when Ankle Biter lost interest in the shirt and handed it over with a quick, “he you go.”

Moon Boy took a deep breath and put the shirt over his head. By the time his eyes emerged through the neck-hole, Ankle Biter was jumping up and down waving a second shirt: lime green with a fuzzy pink gerbera daisy covering the belly. The lettuce finish on the waistline and sleeves really makes it work.

“Me flowah shoot! Me flowah shoot!” Ankle Biter yelled with delight. And immediately (of course) Moon Boy was writhing on the floor, his cry, “I want the flower!” muffled only slightly by the digger shirt now pulled back up over his head. Read the rest of this entry →


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