Feb 5 2013
I, the cool and interesting mama, have been demoted. By my kids.
Unnamed child, age 9, invited me to participate in Career Day at school. Then uninvited me because “Daddy works for Crayola and you just stay at home now. I don’t think the kids at school will find you very interesting.”
For those who don’t know, I was a pulpit rabbi for 12 years before off-ramping to stay at home full-time to do a better job of caring for our kids, one of whom has autism. A difficult decision at the time and many days since. Read the rest of this entry →
May 8 2012
In my speechwriting days, whenever I was on deadline and stuck for inspiration, I’d turn on the radio and look through famous quotations. Given their way with words, the three men I always turned to first were Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King, Jr. I never had a favorite quotation, but in recent months, I’ve found myself frequently mulling this King comment:
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 6 2012
Raising a child with autism comes with a lot of crap. I’m not talking about the stares from strangers, the battles with insurance companies and school boards, or even the underlying, ever-present stress of wondering what my son’s future will look like. That’s all part of it, of course. But the crap I speak of today is of the tangible, dust-collecting variety.
What can I say? Autism takes up a lot of freaking space. There are the binders of therapist-recorded data, the pendaflex folders filled with evaluations and invoices, and, of course, the endless piles of teaching materials.
From the huge dry erase board on which we draw Benjamin’s daily schedule, to the card next to the bathroom sink featuring a pictorial breakdown of the act of hand washing (water on, wash hands, water off, dry), to the playroom closet stuffed with toys and games and visuals his therapist uses during sessions, our house is pretty much blanketed with tools that help Benjamin learn to communicate, follow routines, and transition more easily.
Benjamin, 8, was diagnosed 6 years ago, so by now these items have become a natural part of the landscape of our home—a part I rarely think about them. That is, until Passover rolls around. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 28 2012
Whether you’re cleaning your house in preparation for Passover, or just getting into the spring cleaning season, we’re excited to announce our latest giveaway, sponsored by Dapple. Dapple makes natural-based cleaning products for households with children, all made exclusively with baby-safe, non-toxic ingredients. From toy cleaning wipes to dish soap, Dapple’s got you covered.
We’ll be giving away baskets of cleaning products to three lucky winners in need of a good scrub. To enter, just leave a comment below with the first word that comes to mind when you hear “Passover.” Enter by Monday, April 2 at 5 p.m for your chance to win. Good luck, happy cleaning, and happy Passover!
Even now, I can't handle a messy room like this.
When I was growing up, any item of mine not put away in its place was, more likely than not, tossed out the window by my mother. At the time, my parents and I were living within an 18-square-meter room (“A very good size by USSR standards,” my father assures me. “Usually it was 4 meters per person.”) in a 1970s Soviet communal apartment (i.e. a single family dwelling crammed with as many people as the government felt like cramming there, with a shared bathroom and kitchen). There wasn’t exactly a lot of space for clutter.
As a result, this was how I learned to clean. Something not in its proper place? Out it goes.
My husband, on the other hand, likes his stuff. He likes his stuff a lot. His love for his stuff extends to a transitive love for all stuff, especially our kids’ stuff. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 6 2011
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
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.
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 →