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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 →

Jan 3 2013

My Preschool Daughter’s Buzz Cut

By at 11:47 am

hair clipperLast autumn, nestled near my preschool daughter’s scalp and obscured by her thick hair, were lice. Our immediate desire was to rid her–and the household–of the pesky critters. Out came the clippers. Her hair was buzzed short enough to glimpse her scalp.

From birth, she’s been admired for her dark hair, which never fell away. Instead, it grew fast, first curly, and then it pitched itself right down her slight toddler back. More recently (when the formerly equally longhaired brother got lice, then a buzz cut) she sported a sassy bob. Post-buzz, she may have had less hair than at any time in her entire life. It shouldn’t have surprised me that the sudden buzz cut revealed how primary a role her hair played in people’s perception of her. What surprised me more was her own reaction to her self-perception. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 11 2012

Yep, My Son is Definitely a Boy

By at 1:05 pm

toy truck

My son loves garbage trucks. Every morning, without fail, he keeps his eyes peeled. When he finds one, he says, Mommy, Ga-bage Tuck! Watch it?

Having raised three girls before him (and another girl after), this vehicular fetish is a bit new to me. The novelty of his request is a big part of why I am so willing to indulge my waste-dump-loving little man whenever possible. Plus, I never tire of seeing his wide, saucer eyes light up as the stinky garbage cans get dumped into the truck and crushed by…whatever that crushing thing is. Read the rest of this entry →

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