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Jun 17 2013

When Doing a Good Deed Backfires Completely

By at 1:56 pm

swervy road signI have a habit of always wanting to help people out, and it’s a habit I want to pass on to my children. But, how do I explain that doing good doesn’t always pay off like you think it will? Like the time I tried to help a guy who ran off the road nearby by our house…

I saw it all happen from my porch and I’m all, “Let’s go help him!” while shoving my feet into whatever shoes I find laying in the foyer. My husband usually thinks a tad bit more rationally but he knows there is no sense arguing because I’m going out there, with or without him.

“Hey, do you need some help there buddy?” my husband asks. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 13 2012

So He Left His Kid in a Pub, Big Deal

By at 3:13 pm
david cameron

PM David Cameron

Let’s be honest: Who HASN’T left their kid in a bar? Show of hands, please.

Well, me, for one. But I’m not the Prime Minister of Britain. PM David Cameron was lunching at a pub with some family members recently, as is his prerogative. He and his wife went home in separate cars–and inadvertently left their 8-year-old daughter behind, triggering (go figure!) a debate on neglectful parenting, “drinking while parenting,” etc. etc.

Let’s start with the neglectful parenting bit. This seems like much ado about nothing to me. First of all, surely the children of England’s leader have Secret Service equivalents, right? I mean, I don’t really think it would be possible to leave Malia or Sasha Obama somewhere unattended (POTUS: “Where are my kids?” Secret Service Guy One: “Oh, CRAP. I knew I forgot something at the Olive Garden.”). So we don’t really have to worry for the poor Cameron kid’s safety–even “unattended” by her parents, I figure she’s probably got more people watching her back than our kids would. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 1 2012

Why I Won’t Get Wasted on Purim

By at 9:39 am

Getting drunk on purimPurim is just around the corner, so I’m already wondering where I put our blue wigs after last year’s celebration. Yes, I said blue wigs. They have been our family’s signature Purim accessory since well before our girls were born, back when Josh and I would put on some of my old bridesmaid dresses, adorn ourselves with makeup and bling, and wander around our synagogue’s Purim celebration saying, “I’m Estha!” and “No, I’m Estha, you bitch!” in our best Brooklyn accents. We weren’t drunk, but we might as well have been. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 17 2011

Being A Parent Means Being Nicer

By at 12:07 pm

I think kid-chasing is part of what makes parents nicer. Strange, I know.

I like to think I have nice friends. But lately I’ve noticed that people I knew before they had kids are different as parents. They’re nicer. And a lot more tired.

During a recent visit to my hometown, I got to see eight college friends in this new light. At a pool party, I drew some interesting contrasts between our past and current lives.

Then: The guys thought chasing was drinking something after taking a shot.
Now: They tried to hold conversations while running after their toddlers.

Then: The girls monitored every morsel that went into their mouths.
Now: They compared how much nutrition their kids were getting from dinners of Cheez-Its and organic chocolate milk.
Also Now: The moms were happy just to have a chance to eat. If what they ate was also healthy, well then bonus.

Then: Everyone recounted how much they drank the night before.
Now: Everyone recounted how many times their kids asked for a drink before finally going to bed.

Then: Going out before 11 p.m. was nerdy and getting up before 11 a.m. was insane.
Now: Going out at all is insane and getting up after 8 a.m. is a blessing.

As for being nicer, I have theories. First, I think the new need to look out for someone other than yourself extends beyond the baby; it makes you more aware of others in general. Plus, you’re more interested than ever in what other adults are doing. You’re a lot quicker to remember that someone had a big presentation due at work or is returning from vacation because you want to live vicariously through your pals.

You’re also much quicker to ask for help or advice, and it’s always great to feel needed. Not only does having a friend ask you how you kicked your kid’s gas problem enable you to use multisyllabic words, it makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, you know what you’re doing.

Finally, parenthood is another common denominator. If silence settles in, you can always talk poop.

Apr 6 2011

An Open Letter to the Drinking Police

By at 11:35 am

The infamous photo of Kate.

Kate Hudson is a lovable, sassy pregnant Jewess. So as you can see, she and I have a lot in common (much like me and my Oscar-winning doppelganger, Natalie Portman).  Kate’s pregnant with her second child, fathered by her beau, Matt Bellamy of Muse, and is on a little jaunt through Argentina with Bellamy and her 7-year-old son, Ryder.  I totally wish she had called me before she left, because I love Argentina and could have given her a lot of hot tips. You snooze, you lose, babe.

One of the hot tips I would have given Kate would be something like this: “Hon, when you’re pregnant and out to dinner, whatever you do, don’t sit near the window and take even so much as a sip of what appears to be red wine, because the paparazzi will get you and you will generate an undeserved Internet shitstorm.” Shoulda called, sweetie.

But she didn’t call (sigh), and now, here we are, with articles on line showing the photo sporting obnoxious headlines like, “Pregnant Kate Hudson drinks wine?” “Kate Hudson drinking? Call the pregnancy police!” and “Don’t Cry (or Wine) for me, Argentina.”  “The mom-to-be worked up quite a thirst during her stint in the South American country, although her choice of beverage came as a bit of a surprise to onlookers,” one schoolmarmish publication wrote. Can’t you just hear the “tsk tsk”ing in the background?

How about “Don’t Preach To Me, Argentina”? All of this bitchery from the anti-drinks-for-preggos crew is a bit much.  Earlier this year, a woman in Illinois was told to leave a bar, because she was “heavily pregnant.” (If anyone EVER calls me “heavily pregnant” in print? Seriously, I’ll sit on you. It’s bad enough that my boys go around the house singing “Fat” by Weird Al Yankovic.) Not that it matters, apparently, but the pregnant woman at that bar was at a friend’s shower, and was just drinking a glass of water. But you know, proximity to alcohol even outside the body can be dangerous to the fetus. PLEASE.

Many American sources recommend total abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy, saying they don’t know what kind of effect even the teensiest amount of alcohol has on the fetus. I know America has its roots in Puritanism, but let’s lighten up a little, people.  The French think there’s nothing wrong with red wine during pregnancy, but feel salad is an anathema cesspool of dangerous bacteria.  My ob-gyn says not only tuna is potentially dangerous, due to high mercury levels, but I should watch my intake of salmon as well. Just think: all this, and cankles too! A girl just can’t win.

Well, it’s time to come out of the closet. I’m 26 weeks pregnant (that’s not the coming out part–it’s obvious to anyone I lumber by) and I would say I’ve had a sip of wine about once a week, and about 4 or 5 glasses of wine in total, since knowing I was pregnant. I drink a cup of coffee a day. I don’t exercise as much as I want to or should, in no small part because I work and already have two children, all of which keeps me pretty freaking busy. I have eaten salmon while pregnant, and have abstained from tuna, but have done so because I don’t like tuna. For that matter, I have eaten sushi while pregnant, numerous times. While we’re in the confessional booth here, I also rode at least 3 rides at Disney World with my kids where it explicitly said that “expectant women should not go on these rides.” And all signs thus far (pu pu pu!) are that all’s well inside my burgeoning belly.

Look, I read Michael Dorris’ book “The Broken Cord” about his adopted son with fetal alcohol syndrome when I was in high school, and it made quite an impression. That’s powerful stuff. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying: I don’t feel that regular drinking during pregnancy is safe, and certainly believe that those who have a problem bordering on alcoholism should seek treatment, ideally before conceiving.

But I don’t actually believe that all the allegedly horrid things I’m doing will really cause my baby harm. If I did, I wouldn’t do them–examples of things I don’t do are smoking, drugs, and bungee jumping off a cliff. What I resent is that we live in a society where it’s even controversial to say or think these things, and articles like the ones about my BFF Kate are written solely for the purpose of making me and those like me feel intensely guilty, worried and scared for doing them.

And all the preachy would-be Puritans writing these articles? I am willing to bet that they’re out there, driving without seatbelts (you know how I feel about that one), having unprotected sex with strangers, eating foods drowned in pesticides, depleting the ozone layer, eating nuts from the common container on the bar, re-using the same sponge when they wash their dishes, using untested beauty products, getting manicures twice a week…the list goes on and on.

Our ardor and ink is ill-spent on idiocy like taking a pregnant woman to task for having a sip of wine. If we’re genuinely concerned about the health of pregnant women, how about improving health care for them in this country? Or making sure that baseline health insurance programs cover all the tests pregnant women need to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth?

Start fighting about things that matter. I’ll drink to that.

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