All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.- Here’s a round up of some of the worst parenting advice from the last three hundred years. Our favorite is the theory that colic was caused by angry mom’s breast milk. (DoubleX)
- A religious Jew, active in her synagogue and married to a rabbi, is also an agnostic. She writes in the New York Times about answering her childrens’ questions about God. (Motherlode)
- A preschool teacher decided to get rid of all the toys in his classroom and replace it all with cardboard boxes. The new “toys” spurred more creative play, and empowered quieter kids to speak out and be creative. (Huffington Post)
- Two moms in Oregon started a non-profit to combat the staggering levels of malnutrition in orphanages all over the world. (Huffington Post)
- Now that Kevin Clash, the man who voices Elmo, has resigned from Sesame Street amid some torrid allegations, the rest of the puppeteering team has to forge on without him. (NY Times)
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
- Pregnant women should get two months of sick leave–that is, before they have their baby–says a new Norwegian study. This is awesome, but unless you live in Norway, you probably can’t expect two months of sick leave :( (Science Blog)
- Want to read some of the best parenting tweets about the election? We like the one about mommy stealing daddy’s margarita. (Huffington Post)
- Kaytlynn Welsch, 12, and her younger sister, Heather Welsch, 10, regularly run–and win–13 mile trail races. Are their parents pushing them too hard? (New York Times)
- A study showed that kids only act generously when they think people can see. I guess kids are pretty savvy operators. (Washington Post)
- And in horribly sad news that we hope turns out not to be true: Kevin Clash, who voices Elmo on Sesame Street, is on leave from his job after allegations (which he claims are false) that he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy. (CNN)
Full disclosure: I’ve never been an Elmo fan. I didn’t especially like him when I first met him on my television screen–he seemed too relentlessly happy, too sure that I would care “what he’s thinking about today.” He made me think about throwing shoes at the television. My boys, of course, loved him. They watched Elmo constantly during the most harrowing time of my life–my year-long divorce. When I hear that red guy’s high cloying voice, to this day, it makes me shudder.
So I’ll admit that, in a weird way, I felt slightly vindicated when I found out Elmo was a recidivist racist. Okay, fine, it wasn’t the REAL Elmo. I mean, to the extent any Elmo is real, of course. Racist Elmo is not the one with the ™ symbol next to his name, the legitimate Elmo. No, racist Elmo is one of the illegitimate Elmos. New York has a bunch of Elmos (and other characters with sidewalk child appeal) who wander around tourist sites to pose for photos with kids and make some quick non-taxable cash. Read the rest of this entry →
When I was a child I thought I could talk to God and my dead grandparents. I thought they could hear me, watch over me. I thought they knew what was in my heart.
I was jealous of my Christian friends who prayed at night before bed. I had seen children kneel at the side of the bed, hands pressed together. And I saw it on Little House on the Prairie. One night, I actually tried it. I didn’t know about the crossing myself part, but I was afraid my parents would walk in and find me praying and I would get in trouble. It just wasn’t something a little Jewish girl was supposed to do. We don’t pray before bed.
When my children were born, I read to them every night. Even when they were newborns and couldn’t focus on pictures let alone words, I read to them. And I sang to them. Every night. I sang the Yiddish lullabye, Ofyn Pripichik and Kenny Loggins’ House at Pooh Corner and Sesame Street’s I’d Like to Visit the Moon, as sung by Ernie and Aaron Neville. These were the songs I sung. These were my prayers for them. That they’d be adventurous and bold. That they’d know that however far away life would take them, they would always be grounded by love and home and tradition.
But I didn’t teach them to say the Shema before they went to sleep. I didn’t know I was supposed to. And quite honestly, even if I did know, I don’t think I would have done so. Read the rest of this entry →
My 16 month-old daughter has recently become utterly obsessed with Sesame Street characters. Her grandparents got her a few puppets and turned on the TV one day and now I’m stuck with a toddler who can say Elmo, Cookie, Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie (though somehow that one comes out Noo-Noo). And asks for them daily. Almost hourly.
Luckily for me (and all of you), Sesame Street is really smart. Their website not only has an incredible amount of videos, but they even divide these videos by character. So when Abigail wants to watch Elmo, I head over to the section of the site where Elmo interviews celebrities so that I can be entertained too. Which is where I discovered this clip—Adam Sandler sings a song to Elmo, but he can’t find much to rhyme with “Elmo.” So he makes up words—and at minute 1:49, one of those words is–well, you’ll just have to watch and see.