Sep 10 2014
My 4.5-year-old has been jumping the baby gate at the top of our stairs before we are awake to sneak into the kitchen and eat treats. He has his fill and creeps back upstairs. Last week he used a stool to get in the freezer and eat ice cream sandwiches; we later found a half-eaten 16 oz. bag of marshmallows in his bed and some baking chocolate under his pillow.
But one thing agile, sneaky 4-year-olds don’t do well is cover their tracks. One morning I came downstairs to find that my son had used a GRILLING SPATULA to serve himself a piece of his little brother’s birthday cake onto a plate. There was a dirty plate and fork on the counter (because if you are going to sneak cake you MUST serve it to yourself on a plate and use a fork like a sophisticated criminal), an open Tupperware with sugar cookie crumb-trails and a half-eaten nectarine. He looked at me innocently and asked, “What’s for breakfast?”
My blood was boiling. Lying and sneakiness makes me bananapants crazy. But lectures, warnings, and punishment have gotten me nowhere (don’t even get me started about the positive parenting sticker chart and the bazillion “good behavior prizes” rotting in our closet). All I could think to myself was, “I give up.” And then I thought, GIVE UP. Just GIVE UP. And I replied, “You’re in luck! I know how much you like to eat treats so today you are having cake for breakfast!” Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 10 2014
This Monday, for the first time, my eldest son and I saw eye to eye.
I do not mean in the metaphorical sense.
After I’d driven the other children to camp, Aryeh joined me on the sidewalk outside our apartment building so we could take our morning walk. Glancing over my left shoulder to ask him which direction we should walk in, I discovered that I no longer had to look down to catch his eye. Our gazes were exactly level. My son–my baby!–was now as tall as me. Read the rest of this entry →
May 29 2014
One Sunday morning I found myself at a mandatory parent workshop during my daughter’s religious school titled “ The Magical World of Talmud.” I must be honest, I usually head across the street to the local coffee shop during these sessions and have what I refer to as “independent study with a latte.” However, my husband and partner-in-crime was at home and the rule-follower in me took over, so here I was.
As the rabbi proceeded to read and discuss different passages from the Torah, I sped ahead and found the following passage from Deuteronomy:
If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not head his father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the public place of his community. They shall say to the elders of the town, “This son of ours is disloyal and defiant; he does not heed us. His is a glutton and a drunkard.” Thereupon the men of his town shall stone hime to death. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 24 2014
This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a new mom. This Shabbat we read Parashat Mishpatim. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
As a former wedding-industry employee, I can say with confidence that the Revelation at Sinai would have been a very high-ticket event. It had all the elements of the perfect day: a dramatic natural setting; elaborate sound and lights; and at the center, those simple, moving ten commandments –the vows that would eternally bind the Israelites to God. This all happened in last week’s Torah portion.
Rabbis do compare the revelation to a wedding–it’s not just me–and after such a blowout celebration, you might expect a bit of a honeymoon. But instead, the Torah launches straight into a highly unromantic list of rules and laws, ranging from the mundane to the disturbing. Like what to do if someone asks you to watch their cow and the cow dies (depends what happened to the cow). What to do if a man seduces a virgin (he has to marry her). What about the punishment for violent attacks (“eye for an eye,” though as a side note, the rabbis pretty much legislate that out of existence in the Talmud). There are rules about letting slaves go free every seven years, and not taking interest on loans, and, well, I’ll stop, but the list goes on.
It seems a little weird as a wedding follow-up. On the other hand, as the parent of a toddler, this litany of rules feels disturbingly normal. Read the rest of this entry →
May 8 2013
I admire those who can evolve on their own, shedding old bad habits through sheer mindfulness and mental discipline. For me, it takes acute laryngitis.
“You’ll become a good listener real fast,” a friend joked. So true! Here’s what else happened when I lost my voice: Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 23 2013
In my opinion, it is always wrong to spank your children. Even a single shmeits (Yiddish, slap).
And let’s call it what it is: spanking means hitting. “Giving a spanking” means hitting repeatedly.
It is an abuse of parental power and teaches the use of physical violence to solve problems.
In my own experience, I remember the few times I hit my kids. And I was wrong. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 8 2013
Every duo fights. It’s inevitable, especially when you’re always together.
Until recently, Lila and I have had a pacific relationship. But increasingly, I’m interacting with a rapidly evolving and independent little person. This is wonderful overall, but Lila is less predictable and more difficult to manage than she was only a month ago, stretching me as a parent (sometimes uncomfortably).
One recent evening, I picked up Lila downtown. She insisted on walking to the Metro. I pushed her stroller with one hand, using the other to navigate Lila along the sidewalk, while my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. Thankfully, Lila listened when I told her to stop, especially near street corners. Our journey home was mostly manageable until Lila sat in a busy street, while we crossed; I immediately scooped her up and said there would be no more strolling after dark. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 19 2012
I think I’m turning into Mrs. Wolowitz. (If you don’t know who I’m talking about, she’s the Jewish mother on The Big Bang Theory. You never actually see her, as her primary mode of communication involves yelling guilt-inducing rants from the other room.)
Just last night, I found myself in the kitchen, loudly and firmly “announcing” (ahem) to my daughters in the living room that if I had to come in there one more time, there would be no TV show tonight. Yes, I do dangle the possibility of 20 minutes with Olivia or Caillou (gag) over my daughters’ little heads on a regular basis. I’m ok with that; we all need to learn that our actions have consequences and that Mommy can take away your fun if you take away hers. In this case, the girls needed to figure out how to share the latest American Girl Doll magazine (I haven’t yet introduced them to the idea of the catalog, a magazine from which things can actually be purchased). From the way they were managing it, you’d think I’d asked two starving orphans to split the last morsel of bread. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 17 2012
Oy. Did I cringe reading the piece in the Sunday’s New York Times about the bad behavior at bar and bat mitzvahs! A shanda!
(Although why the Times thought that article was worthy of publication has me bewildered.)
I’ve been to those affairs–and seen the disrespectful behavior. On the other hand, the speeches are long and boring. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 17 2012
Someone new is at our house. (Bonus points if you know what book that’s from. Double bonus points if you’ve read it over one hundred times.)
This someone new is a superhero. Her name is Weather. Her costume consists of flowered underpants, an undershirt rolled up into a bikini top, and a ducky blanket for a cape. Her superpower is… uh… weather. She can control the weather. When she feels like it. Which she often does not. But, she still can, so don’t you call her on it.
Unlike the entire population of Metropolis, which seems to have trouble telling Superman from Clark Kent due to his clever, clever use of eye-glasses (did you know that Superman was created by two Jewish kids barely out of their teens and is actually both a Moses parable and a metaphor for “passing” in Gentile society? I have been told this), I’m pretty sure that, by now, you’ve figured out Weather’s secret identity.
She is my 5-year-old daughter. Read the rest of this entry →