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Dec 10 2014

My Problem With Those Gender Reveal Parties

By at 2:22 pm

gender reveal

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 →

Oct 21 2014

Too Superstitious for a Baby Shower? Try a Gender Reveal Party

By at 1:36 pm

gender reveal party

My husband, Jeff, and I were three years into our marriage when we got the exciting news of a baby on the way. As an expectant Jewish mother, I knew that I would not have a baby shower due to tradition. But as an expectant Jewish mother excited to celebrate my pregnancy, I was inspired to take part in a different type of tradition–a gender reveal party.

I enjoy a bit of mystery, but Jeff’s not big on surprises. It worked out well in this case, because it made it easy to hatch a plan for the party. Jeff got the news from our doctor while I happily stayed in the dark, ready to share in the surprise along with our family and friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 3 2014

How to Have Male Friends Without Destroying Your Marriage

By at 3:32 pm

can men and women be just friends

Last summer I was a bridesmaid at one of my very dearest friend’s weddings. I wore a fitted black dress with a white sash that made me feel a little Audrey Hepburn-ish.

When I walked down the aisle, I smiled tearfully into his eyes and then I took my place by his side.

That’s right. His.

Ben has been one of my closest friends since I started college. He’s the one I confided in when I failed tests, when I got my heart broken, even when I lost my virginity. We’ve gone on crazy wild adventures together, sleeping in cars and getting lost in the woods. He’s held my newborn babies and I’ve held his. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 14 2014

The Strange Things Strangers Say To Pregnant Women

By at 3:53 pm

Strangers-pregnancy

With this pregnancy, as with my first, I’ve found that there is no need to wonder what strangers are thinking. They regularly share their thoughts unprompted, those thoughts are often rather strange, and they are typically about three things: size, gender, and timing.

1. My Size. When I was about 6 months pregnant, I attended a dinner. A stranger approached and announced, “You’re pregnant!”

“Yes,” I responded.

She asked how far along I was and then informed me, “You look too big for six-months.”

“Well,” I explained, “I’m very small, so the baby only has outward to go.”

There’s a reason I look like a three-sided plus-sign (again), and comments about my being “too big” are both rude and false.

2. Dreaming of Boys. Opinionated Washingtonians have consistently insisted that I must be carrying a boy. According to a woman who saw me this winter, my gaining weight only in my belly, rather than all over my body, was the give-away. My body must like head-faking, because several sonograms have confirmed that Matzah Ball (our nickname for my baby-to-be) is indeed a girl. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2014

Teaching My Son To Embrace The Color Pink

By at 4:29 pm

pink-shirts-for-boys

While giving my children cups for a meal the other day, my 5-year-old son rejected the pink cup I offered. “Not pink!” he said. “Pink is for girls!”

I was pretty astonished, even though I knew he had already been picking up on the societal dictation of gender colors. He had requested purple and pink shirts from my parents when he realized he didn’t have any but his sister had plenty in her multi-colored wardrobe, a wardrobe we have worked hard on. In fact, when we found out that we were pregnant with a girl, we immediately told our families not to give her anything pink, completely aware that this would only manage the flow of pink that she would inevitably receive, not make it go away completely.

It’s not that we actually hate the color pink. Pink used to be my favorite color when I was my son’s age. In fact, when we moved and my parents asked me what color I wanted my room, I said pink. And there I was for the next 10-12 years in a pink room. By high school, when it was time to re-paint, I was relieved to request a green room. I was done with pink as my favorite color. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 3 2014

Burp Cloths Are Gender Neutral, Really

By at 2:08 pm

pinklu

On New Year’s Eve, two of my dearest friends announced that they would be throwing me a baby shower. They also did my wedding shower, a co-ed garden party in my back yard. Guests were only allowed to bring plants or gardening products (seven years of pre-marital cohabitation meant we had all the pots and pans already, and we were doing a travel registry for the wedding itself). It was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and it was exactly the way I thought it should be.

“You have to let us do this one,” they said. “You were too much the boss of your wedding shower.”

Alrighty then! I was only too happy to let them take full creative control. After all, I had a proper registry to focus on, a task that I quickly realized I was in no way mentally or emotionally prepared for. It seems most akin to packing for a trip to another planet, unknown and unexplored.

Friends with similar baby product priorities–chemical free! baby safe! reasonably attractive!–helped out by sending their registries to me. Thus armed, I sat down after work this week and began sorting through the incredible amount of stuff in the world to decide what I thought my friends and family should help us out with for the baby. Read the rest of this entry →

Girls Ditch Their Pink Toys in the GoldieBlox Super Bowl Commercial

By at 10:31 am

Whether or not you care to watch giant men in spandex leggings tackle each other with the hopes of winning a massive bejeweled ring, for many, the Super Bowl is all about the commercials, and this year did not disappoint. One stand out? The much-talked about ad featuring GoldieBlox, an engineering-related game designed especially for girls.

The ad plays on gender stereotyping in toys, insisting that more than “pink, pink, pink,” girls actually “want to think.” So, watch below and tell us what you think.

What were your other favorite commercials of the night?

Jan 15 2014

Happy Birthday to My Daughter Who’s Nothing Like Me

By at 12:48 pm

alina

My daughter will turn 7 on Thursday (not to be confused with The Sound of Music’s Marta, who will turn 7 on Tuesday; though my daughter would probably like a pink parasol, too).

She was born on Martin Luther King Day weekend, the offspring of a Soviet Jewish mother and an African-American father, the younger sister to two brothers, and named after both a man of peace and a God of war. You could say that, from the beginning, we embraced the contradictions.

This year, her birthday also falls on Tu Bishvat.

“Is that like a Thanksgivukkah thing that won’t happen again for another 70,000 years?” my husband wanted to know.

“Uh…sure,” I said. Because, frankly, I have no idea. (Anyone out there capable of doing the math for me?) Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 17 2013

What If I Have a Girl?

By at 9:57 am

Pinky

I’m afraid of raising a girl.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant and very soon we will find out the gender of our third child. This is the longest we’ve gone without knowing the sex of our babies and the longer we wait, the more anxious I’m getting. I’m anxious because I’m afraid this baby will be a girl. And I’m not really sure what to do with a girl.

My husband has always wanted a girl; one he is convinced will hang onto her Daddy’s every word like a sunbeam. With both of my previous pregnancies my husband was sure we were having a girl only to find out they were both boys. I, on the other hand, breathe a huge sigh of relief when we see that little arrow on the ultrasound pointing to the boy parts. I joke we’ll have an entire men’s basketball team before he realizes genetics are working against him.

I can deal with boy parts. I had two younger brothers and am now the mama of two little boys. I have a general idea of how to do the boy thing. It was once said, “If you have a boy you only have to worry about one penis, if you have a girl you have to worry about all of them.” I’m not sure if that’s funny or horrifying. Boys are rough and tumble or sweet and sensitive. They wear shirts, pants, and shoes–no accessories required. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 10 2013

Shopping for Kids’ Shoes is Getting a Lot More Complicated

By at 10:01 am

baby shoes

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 →

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