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Jul 2 2014

I Cried on the Last Day of Preschool, But Not For the Reasons You Think

By at 4:26 pm

Crying-Preschool

Our son’s last day of Jewish preschool has come and gone, and there are still times I cry, but not for the reasons you may think.

I wasn’t one of those moms posting on Facebook about my son’s first day at preschool and my overflowing tears and anxieties. We took a picture of him outside with his backpack–which was posted on Facebook–and drove on, knowing he was going to have a great time. This mom wasn’t sad or worried, not one bit.

Deciding to send our son to preschool was fueled by a couple of factors: our son’s need for more activity and my history with Postpartum Depression (PPD). We were expecting our second child in the fall, and a difficult pregnancy kept my son home with little opportunity for active play, which he desperately needed. I also felt it was important to prepare for the possibility I may experience PPD again; being proactive was important to me. Read the rest of this entry →

What Happened When My Middle Child Went to Sleepaway Camp

By at 11:11 am

schoolbus

My 9-year-old just went off to sleepaway camp for the very first time. On the flight down, she was all nervous smiles and excited chatter. But after an hour of standing around with a growing number of kids she didn’t know, waiting to get on the bus to camp, her excitement dwindled. Tears began to well in her chocolate brown eyes, her lower lip trembling, and her whispering pleas of “please don’t leave me mommy” tugged at my heart.

Yes, saying goodbye is hard, but there was a part of me that couldn’t wait for that bus to hit the road. Of my three daughters, Ruby is the one I need a time out from the most. She crosses my boundaries more than the others, sauntering into the bathroom while I’m peeing, unwilling to break a hug or conversation until asked–no, begged–a hundred times. She is emotionally demanding, excitable, and thrilled one minute, anxious and frowning the next. Her amazing brain leaps from one subject to another, stringing it all together by a thread so quickly it’s easy to lose track.

Finally, the bus driver gunned the engine. Ruby waved goodbye through the tinted window and I waved back, praying she wouldn’t cry all the way to camp. The bus pulled away and…yes! My older daughter left for camp a few days ago and with Ruby gone, that left just the 3-year-old at home. When you have three kids, dealing with just two of them is totally manageable; having just one around is like a mini-vacation. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 1 2014

My Country Weeps

By at 10:05 am

Israel-hills

I was on the train when I got a phone call.

“The rumors are true,” a colleague told me. “It hasn’t cleared the censors yet, but they found the boys. Not alive.

For 18 days, we stood together as a nation, waiting by the windows, looking for three silhouettes over the horizon. United by an exquisite hope that there would be a happy ending to a dreadful story, that our boys would come home safe and sound. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 30 2014

The Hobby Lobby Decision Just Screwed Over a Whole Bunch of Women

By at 4:46 pm

hobby-lobby

“The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.” –Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her dissent of “Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.”

Today, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling that says the government can’t require certain employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control and emergency contraception that conflict with their religious beliefs. The case centers around Hobby Lobby, a self-proclaimed Christian corporation and chain of craft stores, and their refusal to cover birth control for their employees. These Supreme Court cases can be tricky to fully understand at times, so let’s break it down a bit.

Some background: Hobby Lobby, which has used their Christian values to explain away their lack of Hanukkah decorations in the past, decided that once the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, aka Obamacare) made it mandatory to cover birth control and emergency contraception, they were having no part of it, and took it to the Supreme Court. Then, after reviewing all the evidence, five out of the nine judges ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor, noting that in some cases, religious values was enough to get out of covering contraception care for female employees. Read the rest of this entry →

Jennifer Weiner On Her New Book, Her Boyfriend & Tweens With Santa Envy

By at 11:40 am

FINAL-Jennifer-Weiner-author-photo_credit-Andrea-Cipriani-Mecchi

Thirteen years ago, a friend gave me a book to read saying that I would love it. And I did. A curvy, Jewish girl who had a neurotic dog and is dating a doctor? Check, check, and check. I felt an immediate kinship with Cannie Shapiro and the woman who created her. With each subsequent book by Jennifer Weiner, I, and thousands of other women, fell deeper in love with her heroines and their creator. 

I sat down with Jen to discuss her fantastic new book, All Fall Down,” about a suburban mommy blogger who succumbs to an addiction to prescription meds, her boyfriend (he loves her kids!) and what makes her kvell (same thing as most of us!).

What was the hardest part of writing “All Fall Down”? Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 27 2014

Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones Celebrate Son’s Bar Mitzvah in Israel

By at 1:54 pm
dylan-douglas

Michael and Dylan Douglas (Courtesy of City of David Youtube)

 

After nearly breaking a hip dancing the Hora at his son Dylan‘s bar mitzvah, Michael Douglas flew down to Israel with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and their two kids for a post-party trip, staying in the presidential suite of the King David hotel in Jerusalem. During their stay, the Douglas family explored the “City of David,” an archeological dig.

Here’s a clip of Douglas kvelling for the camera with Dylan at his side (can we get an “awwww”?): 

Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 25 2014

The Dark Side of Dr. Sears

By at 4:15 pm

dr-sears

My little sister is pregnant. This is a big deal. A HUGE deal. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for for years.

So, I do what I do every time someone dear is about to become a mother. I go online and find the Dr. Sears parenting books.

Thoughts of my sister as a beautiful, natural mother dance through my head as I search. I see her clothed in a long white dress, a perfect pink infant wrapped close to her heart as she nurses her in a garden of roses. Read the rest of this entry →

How The Sister I Never Knew Changed My Life

By at 12:37 pm

candle

I say that I’m the oldest of five. But that’s a lie. I’m actually the second oldest of six. Four months before my life began, my 16-month-old sister’s ended. She’d be 38 this month.

Born with a congenital heart defect, her early death was fated–her life clock rapidly marching towards death with her first breath of life. And although her death was certain–an eventuality that could be prepared for–it was no less tragic. It’s taken me 36 years to fully realize just how much impact my sister’s life–a girl I never knew–had on my own.

I don’t know when I began referring to myself as the oldest of five. I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember. At some point, you learn that people you’ve just met (or even those you’ve known and befriended) don’t want to hear about your dead sister. So, you remove any possibility that your sixth sister will ever come up in idle conversation. Eventually, denying her existence just became a convenient habit. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 24 2014

What Oh What Will My Parenting Style Be?

By at 1:20 pm

parenting-styles

Now that I’ve been a parent for a month, I’m hoping to see evidence of an emerging parenting style. Am I an Attachment Parent? Or am I Detached? What are my philosophies on where, when, and how the baby should sleep? Or eat? To wear or not to wear the baby?

Our days go something like this: Wake up. We’ve already woken up several times, this waking up is unique because it’s daylight. Perhaps the baby is in the crib next to the bed. In this case, we’re Room Sharing. More likely, I’ve fallen asleep breastfeeding once again and the baby is draped across my stomach. Both of our mouths are open and we are both snoring. In this scenario, we are Co-Sleeping. (My pediatrician has already given me major stink-eye about this, incidentally. I want to know though, how is it physically possible to not fall asleep breastfeeding in the middle of the night for two hours at a stretch?)

Ok, so we’re awake. The reason we’re awake is that Penrose is hungry. Penrose is basically always hungry, eating, or asleep. That’s fine, she’s 1 month old. So, I’m Feeding On Demand. Which I think is in line with Attachment Parenting. I feed Penrose until she seems calm enough to go back in her crib so I can shower. Inevitably, while I’m showering, she remembers that she’s neither sleeping nor eating, so she must be hungry. She begins to signal appropriately. However, I am in the shower, asserting my Right to Clean Hair, the only right I have retained since giving birth. Since I am not at the moment Attached and able to Feed On Demand, she begins to Cry It Out. This continues until I am out of the shower, whereupon I remember that I am Feeding On Demand and wrap my hair in a towel and get to it. Once she’s calmed down enough to put her back in the crib, I finish my toilette, such as it is. Sometimes she eats again before I can finish getting dressed, and definitely before I can make the bed. Often there’s a diaper change or spit up event necessitating a complete Penrose costume change.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 23 2014

What’s It Like at “No Body Talk” Camp?

By at 4:50 pm

No-Body-Talk-Rule

“NO BODY TALK!”

This is the refrain commonly heard at Eden Village, a Jewish organic farming camp, featured in the New York Times, where boys and girls can talk about anything under the sun except their bodies.

Eden Village joins a growing number of summer camps that discourage any discussion of clothing, nails, hair, or body parts. That means no insecure or negative body comments (“Do I look fat?”), or compliments (“I love your dress”). Even checking out one’s own reflection is discouraged. (A sign on the bathroom reads: “Don’t check your body, check your soul.”) Read the rest of this entry →

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