Dec 10 2014
I never had a baby shower. Sure, there was the obligatory surprise lunch-time shower my colleagues threw for me, where I got to bask in my own glow for a 45-minute power session of crock-pot mac ‘n cheese and a marathon opening of a dozen onesies my students had all sponge-painted for me. That was pretty awesome. But I was never surrounded by friends cooing over miniature shoes, eating Noah’s Ark-themed goodies, and playing stupid party games with chocolate bars in Pampers and blindfolded baby food taste-testing.
Whenever I’m asked why I didn’t have a shower, I simply reply, “Jews don’t do that kind of thing. It tempts the evil eye.”
This is easier than explaining that after we miscarried our first pregnancy at 10 weeks, and had to painfully “untell” a handful of close friends and family, the importance of secrecy provided a layer of insulation against disappointments, awkward conversations, and jealous gazes at coworkers’ growing bellies. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 5 2014
It’s the season again—my children, ages 9 and 11—are in a hundred thousand different activities between them. That’s my own fault—I accept full responsibility for the daily scheduling insanity that is my Google calendar. But what I don’t get—maybe someone out there can shed some light for me—is why, why when I ask my children’s teachers, coaches, and activity leaders to kindly (I always use the word “kindly” in my request) email both my husband and me with their frequent updates, these seemingly competent people seem unable (I won’t go so far as to call it unwilling) to add a father’s email to their distribution list?
I’m the kind of parent who wants to play with you—we’re trying to do the right thing in our home. I will sign up for snack and remember to bring it, and with god as my witness, it will be nut-free. I will make sure my daughter brings in a recyclable container to make a new home for an insect without ever questioning whether it is better for the insect to remain outdoors. I will bring my son to his special needs soccer practice an hour early for group photos, to run around the field with the Philly fanatic, to partake of a special snack from our local food co-op—whatever damn thing you want the kid to do, he shall arrive on time for it and do that thing!
But I can’t manage to make the magic happen on my own—I need that guy, my husband Fred, who is my partner in co-parenting our kids, to get the reminder, too. We work best when our aging brains can act as wonder-twins and remember that this is the night that the piano teacher’s benefit is happening and all of the students are strongly encouraged to attend. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 8 2014
I don’t like surprises.
That’s how I explained our decision to find out, as early as possible, if we were having a boy or a girl. And as soon as the verdict was in, out it went on Facebook and into excited texts to our parents. My mother-in-law found out while she was in an airplane, en route to Maine for Christmas, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she told the whole plane.
So there you have it, right? Penrose is a girl. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 1 2014
So I saw this Verizon commercial going around on Facebook that had really good intentions. The purpose was to help encourage girls to go into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). And while I fully support that idea, the way they did it really ticked me off.
If you haven’t seen it, it starts with a young girl (maybe 1 year old or so) running towards the camera and a parent calling her a “pretty girl.” Then it moves onto the girl growing up and exploring and trying new, mostly science/engineering things, and the parents continually stopping her from trying these things and reprimanding her for getting dirty or whatever else. The commercial ends with the girl, now in high school, looking at a sign for the science fair, but then getting out lip gloss–choosing instead to focus on her looks. Read the rest of this entry →
May 5 2014
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week
-The learning and behavior gap between girls and boys is growing even faster than the gap between rich and poor children–with boys falling far behind. This has some scary implications for boys’ future earning potential. But the reasons for this trend are unclear. (New York Times)
-On a related topic, the number of stay-at-home dads in America is once again declining. One writer speculates the short-lived rise in hands-on dads was mostly a result of the bad job market during the recession. (Slate)
-Tennessee is a terrible place to be a pregnant woman. First the state declined to expand its healthcare program, and now women can be criminalized for their birth outcomes. It’s a catch 22. Seriously, ladies, stay the hell away from Tennessee. (Salon)
-Oops, your kid’s in high school and you’ve saved nothing for college! No worries. Here are eight great tips for giving your kid a great education on the cheap, from Ron Lieber, the New York Times’ money columnist. (New York Times)
-Not all mohels are the same! This great new series interviews eight of America’s most popular mohels, highlighting their humor and individual styles. (JTA)
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Feb 12 2014
I’ve always found the nature versus nurture discussion interesting. Now that I am the mom of a boy and a girl, it’s downright fascinating. It’s from that perspective that I rolled my eyes after I watched the commercial for GoldieBlox that Kveller posted.
The thing I probably love the most about my daughter, Ellie, who’s 4, is that she will dress herself in full princess garb, crown to slipper, and then march outside to examine bugs with her yellow magnifying glass, moving dirt around and onto her tulled tushy with a red or blue shovel. This is also her outfit of choice to wear while she does experiments from her multicolored science kit.
Ellie’s favorite color is pink, with purple in close second. She plays with her dolls – stuffed and Barbie–and is always the mom. She has a jewelry box stuffed with plastic baubles that she wears with the pride of a woman who just received an engagement ring. Ellie couldn’t be girlier if she tried. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 10 2013
More than any other article of clothing, my children’s shoes have borne, for me, emotional weight. This started before they were born.
When I was pregnant, too superstitious (pu pu pu) to populate the apartment with nursery furniture and too nauseous to think about a layette, I allowed myself a single indulgence from among the hand-me-downs that I otherwise kept stashed in the brown paper bags in which they came through our door: Evil eye be damned, I placed a pair of rabbit-eared booties on the nightstand next to my bed.
Tiny and surreal next to the growing stack of pregnancy books left unread, the shoes seemed a stand-in for the hope lodged in my swollen belly, the embodiment of a promise that by some miraculous combination of effort, modern medicine, and fate, my 40-year-old body would bear fruit. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 15 2013
If Father’s Day and Mother’s Day threw down in a commercialized holiday ultimate fighting championship, Mother’s Day would serve up a knock out win, hands down. Using the greeting card aisle as the litmus test, mothers are honored for selflessness and beauty while fathers are honored for farting and grilling. Mothers are pampered and fathers are mocked in a time where Y chromosomes are stepping up and into the parenting arena like never before. What used to be touted as novel, hands-on fathering is now just considered: being a dad.
Here we are in the middle of viral posts and best-selling theories about how to have it all, do more with less, and bend over backwards transcending physics to prove we can truly be in two (or five) places at once without anyone suffering. But one of the major accomplishments of our generation is the blurring of gender roles in child rearing. How can we celebrate what women are doing in the workplace without honoring what men are doing at home? Al Bundy didn’t cook a meal or clear a plate and now if Daddy isn’t changing diapers you better believe he’s getting the stare down. Fatherhood.gov (in addition to producing the most adorable PSA on the planet) reports that almost 90% of today’s dads spend more time with their children than their own fathers did with them. Being a dad, more importantly being an involved dad is, dare I say it–trending. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 16 2012
So, my wife works wayyyyy more than full time. She’s an elementary school principal. It gets better! She’s also currently eight months pregnant. So, even if she had a flexible schedule, she doesn’t have any energy left at the end of the week to make Shabbat. I run a part-time law practice out of a home office, but I shut it down at noon on Fridays.
Just about every week, I take my 18-month-old son to the store to get challah (unless I baked it myself). I buy flowers. I cook a meat dish, usually in the sous-vide cooker starting days in advance. I make a chopped salad with a dressing recipe I’ve evolved by making it every week. I make sure we have wine. I set the table and make sure there are bentshers (Grace after Meals booklets) for everyone. During the week, I’ve put it out to my friends that they’re welcome to join us as long as they give me some notice so I know how much food to make. On top of this, I sit at the head of the table, make Kiddush, sing the songs, and say the blessings, just like a traditional male should. Read the rest of this entry →