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Sep 4 2014

Dear New Parents: It Gets Better, I Promise

By at 11:53 am

Showering

“I shower. ALONE. While my girls are in the house. {Insert dramatic pause here.} And my husband is AT WORK. And they’re FINE.”

At this declaration, my friends’ eyes got wide as they watched their 18-month-old daughter smear a mushy banana all over her face. Their little girl was beyond adorable, but like most toddlers, she poops in her pants (OK, actually in a diaper, but you get the point) and sleeps in a cage crib and wanders aimlessly around the house flinging toys and pulling plugs and breaking things her parents didn’t even realize they owned.

Those days are long passed in my house. (OK, mostly passed. Mostly.) My daughters are 4 years old and 5 and ¾ (God help me if I forget the ¾) and they sleep in big-girl beds and they can pee in the potty (I’m not saying they always do. I’m saying they are capable of it). When they’re being annoying it’s mostly because they are choosing to be annoying, which is more than we can say for most toddlers. Read the rest of this entry →

May 29 2013

The Secret of Parenting: Do Less

By at 2:36 pm

little boy washing dishesI have finally unlocked the secret of parenting. Here it is: Most Of The Time, The Less You Do, The Better Your Kids Will Turn Out.

Counterintuitive? Perhaps. Throwing a goose into the rotors of helicopter parents everywhere? Yes. But true? In many cases, yes: benign neglect is GOOD.

Important caveats: obviously, this theory does not apply to babies, children with special needs, or children who deal with some sort of disability. This also does not absolve you, the parent, of any and all childcare related activities. And, of course, results may vary. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 16 2013

If You Give a Kid a Leopard Broom

By at 2:03 pm

little boy with leopard broom

In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, we’re sharing this story of how one American mother is raising her kids to be independent in Israel.

Let me tell you something: When you move across the world with a 9-month-old who spends more time with your boobs than your high school boyfriend did back in 10th grade, and a 2 1/2-year-old who has mastered the word NO (in Hebrew and in English), and you have no friends, and you don’t speak the language, and your whole entire family is in another timezone, and your marriage is as flaky as filo crust, it’s a freaking mess.

And during the clusterfuck that was the first year in Israel, when no one was sleeping when they should, and when we were bouncing back and forth between the hospital and Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of the Interior), and when there was no one to talk to about how much it sucked, there was one reason and one reason alone that I didn’t haul ass back to Ben Gurion airport.

It wasn’t because I felt like I was fulfilling my Jewish destiny. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 4 2013

Why I Won’t Let My Kids Do the Laundry

By at 9:45 am

laundry spin cyclePerhaps the most difficult thing about parenting teens is letting go–ceding control over their lives, or recognizing that you never really had any control–and preparing them to leave you. When my girls were toddlers, their wise grandparents told me this, but until I faced the challenge myself I didn’t understand a word of their sage advice.

My eldest’s recent acceptance to college was not only a source of pride; it also triggered some anxiety in me, which I tried to dispel with humor. I claimed my greatest fear was that she would bring her dirty laundry home for me to wash during her vacations. One friend’s shocked response of, “You don’t make her do her own laundry?!” made me wonder if my stranglehold on the family’s laundry signaled an inability to let go.  Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 6 2011

The Power of a Clean House

By at 4:12 pm

Turns out that vinegar, baking soda, and lemons are more powerful than I thought.

As my past roommates can attest, I’ve never been what you’d call a neat-freak. I’m a little bit messy. (Not dirty-gross, just messy-cluttered.) And I never worried about that. Of course, I liked having a clean house, but I didn’t like having to keep it clean. So life was just cluttered.

But then we had a kid. And whatever level of messy I used to be is nothing compared to what my life is filled with now. Two-year-olds generate a massive amount of mess. (If you’ve ever given your 2-year-old rice, you totally get where I’m coming from.) So I’ve started thinking more and more about cleaning up messes, and how we do it.

We recently moved into a new apartment, and we very much needed to clean our dishwasher. (Though you might think that’s a self-cleaning product, it’s not.) So I googled “how to clean a dishwasher” and discovered that the best way to do it is really just with white vinegar and baking soda. And elbow grease. So an hour later, I’d removed a lot of gross stuff from the innards of my dishwasher (and a few pieces of porcelain and broken glass–thanks so much, people who lived here before us) and had an incredibly clean dishwasher that now cleans dishes better than any dishwasher I’ve ever had.

So now I’m wondering about those simple things I always have in my house: vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Is it better to use those around young children than the harsh chemicals in traditional household cleaning products?

Help me out Kvellers–how do you clean your home? And what else can I do with vinegar and baking soda?

Jun 13 2011

The Dirt on Laundry

By at 11:24 am

Here at Kveller we work hard to provide our readers with relevant and useful information about all different aspects of parenting. From toilet training and knitting to books and toys to friendships and divorce, we’ve got you covered.

Well, mostly.

I’m sorry to say that we have neglected to explore one aspect of parenting that is universal, pervasive, stressful, and often unmanageable. It impacts our physical space, our relationships, our routines, and our appearance. Like I said, pervasive.

I’m talking about laundry.

You may think I’m kidding. Unless you’re a parent, and then you know I’m not. It’s hard to describe the extent to which laundry takes over your life when you have kids. There just aren’t words to explain how quickly the piles of clean and dirty clothes spiral out of control, covering every surface in your home. It defies logic, really. The children are so small, and their little onesies and overalls and socks-that-look-like-shoes are just so tiny, and yet they multiply and expand and then do it again. I still haven’t figured out how the four of us produce such shocking amounts of laundry, but we do. Week after week after week.

If you’re a new parent, you might not understand what all the fuss is about. You may feel like you’re on top of things. Enjoy it while you can. Your relationship to all of this clothing will quickly change.

At first you’ll take the time to sort the clothes into different piles, separating out the children’s clothes from yours, the colors form the whites, and you might even go so far as to take that fancy little dress the baby wore to her brit bat to the dry cleaners. You’ll put the baby into a new onesie every time she spits up, and you’ll make sure the diaper bag is stocked with a clean burp cloth every time you go out. You’ll do laundry once a week or twice a week, and the clothes will be folded and put away by the next morning. Read the rest of this entry →

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