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Oct 24 2014

Why I Go Phone-Free for 40 Minutes a Day

By at 9:42 am

Why I Go Phone-Free for 40 Minutes a Day

I walk a loop around a two-mile stretch of a neighborhood near mine in good weather. It’s uphill for the first half, downhill for the second. Sometimes a friend joins me. Sometimes my husband joins me. Sometimes my daughter joins me. Most times I go alone.

Until a few weeks ago, I always brought my phone with me.

Like most people these days, my phone goes with me everywhere, every time I leave the house, and wherever I am in the house. It feels like protection somehow, even if I just use it to check Facebook every five minutes (or fewer). I like knowing my kids can get to me anytime. I like knowing I can check emails right away, that I have access to, well, everything, at a moment’s notice. But I’ve always told myself I bring it on my walks in case of emergency. One time I wasn’t feeling well and, using the phone, my husband was able to come get me. Another time, it started to rain suddenly so I was able to call for a ride. See, I defended to myself, the phone is necessary. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 22 2014

Randi Zuckerberg Welcomes Newborn Son–And His Name Will Make You Smile

By at 3:06 pm

randi zuckerberg

Mazel tov, Randi! The CEO, media maven, author, and member of Facebook royalty gave birth to her second child, a baby boy, on Friday, October 10th.

The name, you ask? Get excited. It’s super Jewy!

Simcha “Simi” Tworetsky is apparently already living up to his name, which is Hebrew for joy. Randi tells People, “[He's] bringing so much joy to our family. We are in love and so thankful for this new addition.” Simcha joins big brother Asher, who is 3. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 14 2014

I Miss The Simpler Days of Pen & Paper

By at 9:46 am

love-letter

It was the 80s when I started dating my husband. It was a simpler time. Not just because we were younger and just falling in love, but also because it was an era that, in my opinion, was more conducive to love and courting.

My husband is fantastic, but when it comes to expressing his feelings, he’s generally not a man of many words. I guess he leaves that to me. Yet as I sit here surrounded by his old letters and cards, nostalgically reading and rereading his words from almost three decades ago, I realize how untrue that statement is.

My husband’s handwritten love letters, from an era before email and text messaging, were filled with emotion, with meaning, with love, with yearning, and mostly, with vulnerability.  Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 29 2014

For The First Time in Nine Years, I’m Not Going “Back to School”

By at 11:05 am

Newborn-playing

As soon as I discovered I was pregnant at the end of last summer, I set the wheels in motion to take a half-year sabbatical from my job teaching music, theatre and English at Maine’s smallest K-12 public school. We’re allowed a full year at half pay every seven years, but my family wouldn’t quite be able to swing that financially. Besides, between my six-week maternity leave, summer vacation and a four-month sabbatical, I piled up eight months of time at home with my daughter Penrose. The second half of the school year might be a nice break from around-the-clock parenting.

The word “sabbatical” is derived from the word “Sabbath,” and it’s supposed to be just that–a rest. In an academic or ecclesiastic context, you’re supposed to do something wholly unrelated to your job. But a public school teacher’s sabbatical is a little bit different. I needed to come up with a plan for somehow enriching the school. Writing a book and caring for a member of the class of 2032 wasn’t quite enough, so I’m going to be working on curriculum mapping and taking clarinet lessons.

School started the Tuesday after Labor Day. Ordinarily I’d have already been in workshops for two days, agonized over a bulletin board (cutting out letters has never been my forte), and picked out a back-to-school outfit. Instead, I woke up on a pee-soaked trundle bed next to a happily kicking 4-month-old. We weren’t on a schedule and we didn’t have an agenda, so I cleaned up and moved us into my bed to get a few more hours of sleep.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2014

Why I Will No Longer Post Photos of My Kids on Facebook

By at 10:56 am

facebook-photos

“Take it down,” my 12-year-old told me emphatically when I entered the TV room where my family gathered to watch an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game last week. Prior to the game, I had taken an adorable picture of him and his 9-year-old sister, linking arms, decked out from head to toe in their favorite team’s attire.

The picture was “likable.” It was fun, happy, and symbolic of our family’s love for my husband’s alma mater and the university that my oldest daughter’s currently attends. It was a must-share. Therefore, I captioned with, “We’re ready! Go BLUE,” and did what so many of us proud, kvelling Jewish mothers do–I posted the photo to Facebook.

“Take it down,” my younger son told me again, as I semi-pretended not to hear him. “But people have already liked it and commented on it,” I responded, realizing I was pleading with him. “Mom, please do not post pictures of me without asking,” he said with annoyance. My youngest daughter chimed in, “Yeah, mom, same goes for me!” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 26 2014

Facebook “Likes” Are Great, But How Can We Help Children like Colin Make Friends?

By at 11:42 am

colin2

I have been watching the Happy Birthday Colin movement on Facebook for the past couple of weeks. I have been both fascinated and touched by the outpouring of compassion and generosity that seemingly millions of strangers have expressed towards Colin, a boy with special needs who has trouble making friends. After Colin told his mom not to bother with a birthday party since he doesn’t have any friends, his mother, feeling awful, took to social media, built a Facebook page for his birthday, and shared it, hoping some messages would help to lift the boy’s spirits on his birthday.

The thing has gone completely viral; more than 2 million people have liked the page and offered messages. Based on the photos that Colin’s mother posts every few days of them picking up what looks like carloads of birthday cards and gifts that are arriving at Colin’s PO Box, it looks like Colin will have the surprise of a lifetime on his birthday (and he will probably be opening cards every day until his next birthday from the looks of it).

It’s really been great to see that people recognize the need to make every kid feel good on their birthday and to reach out to this boy. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 19 2014

How Do You Tell “That Parent” that She is Being “That Parent”?

By at 12:14 pm

facebook

Somewhere between watching the twentieth video clip of my friend’s son doing his signature jig to Gangam Style and listening to an epic recap of his latest trick, I realized I had just about had it. And this is how I came to find myself googling “How to tell your friend to please stop talking incessantly about her child,” my search yielding 8,600,000 hits and making me immediately feel less alone.

Do I sound heartless? I hope not. I really don’t begrudge new parents their abundant zeal for waxing poetic about their child’s adorableness or their eager recounting of sleepless nights and diaper disasters; I tend to indulge their rambling stories with pleasant equanimity, and with close friends I sometimes possess a genuine interest. And heck, I was that parent once too. I remember what it’s like. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2014

What Fakebooking Looked Like in the 1950s

By at 5:03 pm

GrandmaDolledUp copy

In the old video we just had restored to DVD, my grandmother wears bright red lipstick and a sparkly blue sweater as she undresses my mother for her bath. Her hair is perfectly coiffed. She smiles and bats her eyes. The year is 1951.

Impressed, I told Grandma that I’m usually in mismatched PJs and a shower cap when bath time rolls around, screaming downstairs for my husband to fetch me the last clean towel. “I think I’m doing something wrong,” I admitted.

“Oh, honey,” said Grandma. “I’m sure I dressed up for the camera–and the camera man.”

And there I had it: proof that “Fakebooking” thrived well before Facebook rolled around. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2014

Talking with Randi Zuckerberg About Parenting, Technology & Kids Who Use iPads

By at 5:01 pm

randi zuckerberg interview on kveller.com

We recently had the total pleasure of Skyping with mom of one, Randi Zuckerberg. If the last name looks familiar, yes–she’s the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the former Director of Market Development and Spokeswoman for Facebook. Now, she’s the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and the author of two new books: Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives and Dot, a picture book for kids about a young girl who’s both tech-savvy and interactive with the actual world around her (imagine that!). We talked to her about the various ways technology influences modern day parenting.

In what ways have you found technology makes parenting easier or harder?

In some ways, I think definitely both. You have so many other ways you can interact with your children; you can expose them to apps that encourage learning and creativity. I think it’s easier for kids to learn art, music, and reading then ever before. But in other ways, sometimes you have to pry the devices out of their cold hands, and I think that can be very difficult to remind children to develop human-to-human personal interaction skills–like reminding them to go outside and use their creativity in other ways as well.

And you have one son, correct?

I do, I have one son. I have actually found that technology has been tremendous in our family for fostering a love of Judaism and Jewish education because there are so many great apps. I actually helped advise on a Rosh Hashanah app, where you blow into the iPhone like a shofar. Apps like that have been so fantastic. On Pandora we use the Hanukkah and Shabbat stations. So I feel tech has helped bring Judaism in our life much more, but on the other hand I have to make sure I’m not using it as a babysitter. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 8 2014

Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum Goes for Adults, Too

By at 4:03 pm

don't yuck someone else's yum

“Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”

That’s what they say in my daughter’s 1st grade class when it comes to wrinkling your nose and making gagging sounds about what your friends brought for lunch.

And that’s what I’ve made my New Year’s resolution. Though it has nothing to do with 1st graders or food.

Rather, it has to do with Facebook. And Twitter. And message boards. And comments. And life in general (both on- and off-line).

I’ve turned into one of those people who yucks someone else’s yum–just for the heck of it. And it needs to stop. Read the rest of this entry →

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