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Sep 30 2014

The High Holidays, According to Daniel Tiger

By at 11:39 am

via Youtube


“What’s teshuvah?” my 3-year-old daughter asked as we were getting dressed for services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and talking about the holiday.

I explained that during this time of year from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, we can change things about ourselves and how we act in the world. I said, “If you don’t like how something is going, you can turn it around.”

She thought for a moment, then her face lit up and she said, “Like Daniel Tiger says!” Before I could figure out what the heck she was talking about, she sang, “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 10 2014

Why I Let My Son Watch (a Little) TV

By at 4:07 pm


There are plenty of parents out there who are adamantly opposed to the idea of young children watching TV. And I should know, because I used to be one of them. For the longest time, I refused to let my toddler sit on the couch fixated on a screen. I wanted him to spend his time playing with puzzles, building with blocks, and moving around–not glued to the television.

But one day I had no choice but to try a TV-related experiment. My son’s day care lost power overnight during a storm, and I found out the next morning that the center would not be able to open that day. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as I had a (pre-nap time) work deadline looming and needed at least an hour to complete a major project. Rather than ignore my son, I decided to try turning on the television to see what would happen.

At first I wasn’t even convinced he’d have the attention span to sit there watching Barney (yep, I went old school), but after a few minutes he seemed fairly content. I, on the other hand, was not. Even though we were only talking about two back-to-back kids’ shows, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this one concession would kick-start an unhealthy habit that I’d previously gone out of my way to discourage. In fact, following that incident, I made a promise to myself that TV would be limited to “emergency” situations alone. And for some time afterward, it didn’t actually go on at all while my son was around or awake.  Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 13 2014

Purim Costume Evolution: From Princess to Star Trek

By at 4:19 pm


Like many little girls, my daughter went through a Princess phase. I never had a problem with it. Frankly, I’m thrilled my youngest child has somehow managed to pick up a knack for those feminine graces which I incontrovertibly lack. She was Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” a couple of years running for both Purim and Halloween. That lasted up until she watched “Fiddler on the Roof” and, 15 minutes before the start of Halloween 2012, decided she now wanted to be one of Tevya’s daughters, instead.

I was OK with that, too, even when she stressed that she wanted to be “the daughter that got married and had a baby,” not the one “who read too many books.”

This Purim, my first-grader has a new passion. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 28 2013

What Kids’ Cartoons Teach About Intermarriage

By at 9:48 am

Elana Gartner’s piece about “adjusting” the fairy tales she tells her son and daughter reminded me of how my poor children are forced to bear the brunt of my Master’s in Media Analysis every time they watch a movie or television show.

Most recently, my 13-year-old son and I discussed how in Les Miserables, the noble revolutionaries who only care about the plight of the poor set up their barricade and destroy the poor people’s (whom they care so much about) neighborhood. Then, while said poor people are literally on their knees cleaning up the mess, the only revolutionary left goes back to his rich grandfather’s house and proceeds to celebrate his lavish wedding without a moment of irony or even self-awareness. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2012

Positive Girl Role Models (Who Can Fly)

By at 1:37 pm

I seriously suspect the reason I had kids was so that I didn’t have to feel like I was the only one in the room reading comic books and hoping we get to have pizza for dinner every night. I’ve gotten toughened up on the pizza front, but comics are still close to my heart. And I am so freaking happy that Super Best Friends Forever now exists–that it’s about superheroes who are giddy and good-natured and a little bit snarky, and are Positive Girl Role Models that my daughters can get down with.

A few months ago, DC Nation, the animated wing of DC Comics, put out a call for proposals for new DC animated adaptations. One of the people who replied was Lauren Faust, a former producer on Powerpuff Girls and the creator of the unnervingly popular new My Little Pony series. The first brief episode, which you just watched (what? you didn’t? go back and watch it like now) was just posted two days ago.

Once I interviewed Matisyahu and he sort of admitted that his favorite part of parenting was watching Kung-Fu Panda with his kids so that he gets to watch it himself. I kind of feel the same way about Super Best Friends.

And can I just say how TOTALLY AWESOME it is that Batgirl is a short and skinny little stick and Supergirl is a little chubby? I mean, it doesn’t negate 53 years of creepily inappropriate outfits, but it’s good to know they’re headed in the right direction. (And as a former drastically underweight kid who was faced with images of He-Man all over the place, it’s nice to know that superheroes can be scrawny, too.)

And, hey, there’s some inappropriate stuff for kids in the Torah, too, but does that mean I’m confiscating their Dovid the Little Shepherd Boy books? NO WAY. Super best friends forever!


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