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Nov 5 2013

The Great Fashion Debate with My 5-Year-Old Step-Daughter

By at 1:58 pm

pink

Just before bedtime I put on a brave face and begin “The Great Fashion Debate.” What will my step-daughter wear the next day? I try to open with a note on the weather or the next day’s activities–long sleeves if it’s cold, something fancier if we’ll be going to synagogue–and then wait for Ronia’s first choice. At 5 years old, Ronia is not as invested in fashion as some of her friends, but she definitely cares, and has a strong affinity for dresses and skirts, pink things, and anything with ruffles.

This could not be farther from my own fashion sense. Seventy percent of my wardrobe is black, and it’s safe to say I wear a cardigan over a tank top with jeans six days a week. Meeting in the middle is a pretty far walk for either of us.

So why do I care what Ronia wears? I know that there are some parents who feel like they have neither the time nor energy to police their kids’ fashion choices, and I salute them. But I find that I really do care what Ronia wears. Partially it’s because I know that I get judged based on how she looks and behaves. Though I did not give birth to Ronia, and only married her father a few weeks ago, when people see us together, the assumption is that I’m her mother, and that I’m responsible for making her look neat, clean, appropriate, and fashionable. I’ll never forget the time that another parent came up to me at synagogue, looked at Ronia, raised his eyebrows, and said, “Wow, you guys let her dress herself?” That stings. And it implies bad mothering on my part, for allowing her out and about in one of her more creative ensembles. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 28 2013

Interview with Interesting Jews: Actress & New Mom Shiri Appleby

By at 9:56 am

newheadshot

Shiri Appleby has been acting in Hollywood since the age of 4, and now she has a baby of her own with chef and husband Jon Shook. The L.A. based pair welcomed little Natalie to the world seven months ago, and since then she’s been balancing the act of doting mama and busy actress. Most recently Shiri guest starred as girlfriend of main character Adam on the hit HBO series GIRLS, and will be appearing on the third season which airs January 12, 2014. Shiri also guest stars on the NBC drama, Chicago Fire.

Recently, I got a chance to chat with the sweet Ms. Appleby about acting, kvelling, being a new mom, and what it was like to work on the set of GIRLS.

Tell me a bit about your daughter Natalie.

Natalie is almost 7 months. She’s not really into toys; we were just talking about it. She’s more engaged in looking around her and seeing what’s going on. She’s really observant and likes to engage with people. She’s not really crawling, yet.

How do you and your husband split up parenting responsibilities?

Jon helps a lot with the night feedings and since he’s a chef, he cooks dinner for us. But I feel like parenting is a bit of a team sport in the sense that you do your portion until the other person is capable of doing their side. But he plays with the baby in the morning, and since I don’t work 9-5 it’s not too stressful. And my parents are really involved and have helped us a ton, too! Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 3 2013

The Case of the Purple Booty Shorts-Wearing Babysitter

By at 5:03 pm

booty shorts

I remember vividly the first day that “Dawn” came to our home. I found her through a babysitting service run by my alma mater, a prestigious women’s college. While many of the Brooklyn mommies I know choose to employ older, more experienced nannies–- Jamaican or Trinidadian no-nonsense ladies who line the park benches at the nearby playgrounds and chat amongst themselves–I had the revolutionary idea to find a college girl–someone who’d be more like a “big sister” to my kids. She would have no problem getting down on the floor to play with them, but could also be someone I wouldn’t mind having extended conversations with as we took day trips to the beach and the zoo.

Dawn showed up at my house wearing a demure, floral print dress. She was so shy and deferential, I wondered if we’d get along. She was considering pre-med, and we commiserated about the perils of trying to find a boyfriend at an all-girls’ school. Everything was going fine until her fourth or fifth day with us, when she showed up at my house in what can only be described as a pair of tiny, butt-cheek baring booty shorts. Dawn explained to me that she had just come from exercising, but that did little to help me reconcile the presence of purple lycra in my living room. More than just running shorts, these purple booty shorts actually had ruching up the sides, with strings that tied at the tender place betwixt her gluteus maximus and her no-no zone. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2013

Overcoming My Eating Disorder & Raising a Healthy Daughter

By at 5:07 pm

scale on a plate with knife and forkI gave birth to my daughter six months ago, and, a few sleep-deprived weeks later, I realized it was right around the 10th “anniversary” of when I was admitted to a hospital for an eating disorders inpatient program.

When I try to reconcile the memory of my scared, enervated teen self with myself today, as a (somewhat) confident mother of two with visibly muscled biceps from lugging around a giant purse, a diaper bag, a breast pump, a baby, and sometimes a 38-pound 3-year-old, it’s difficult. But I still vividly remember the feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and physical weakness. As it turns out, you can be too thin after all. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 11 2013

My Autistic Daughter is Going Through Puberty

By at 5:01 pm

pubertyWhile the world of autism is talking, blogging, and arguing about Autism Awareness Month, over here we have been dealing with another kind of awareness. One in which autism, like with a lot of other things, brings challenges, not just to Maya, but to me as her mom.

Puberty.

A few months ago I wrote a post about how I and everyone around me were noticing changes in my daughter and my fears about how to talk about it with her.  Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 29 2013

The Kid-Dish: Celebrity Passover Edition!

By at 11:28 am

All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.

drake passover seder

- Canadian rapper Drake Instagrammed his family’s seder with the caption, “Talking matzah and plagues…Happy Passover.” (Instagram)

- Tori Spelling shared her favorite Passover recipes on her website, and of course, they all look perfect and amazing and Pinterest-approved. Charoset cupcakes, anyone? (ediTORIal)

- Zach Braff singing one of the four questions in a never-ending loop. You’re welcome. (Vine)

- Check out celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe’s seder set up, which she captioned, “Calm before the storm #passover.” (Instagram)

- Joan Rivers was definitely kvelling over her family, tweeting, “Had a great time at our Seder last night. Love spending Passover with @MelRivers and Cooper! Perfect Perfect Perfect!” Cute picture attached. (Twitter)

- The Four Daughters of the Passover seder, in the style of HBO’s GIRLS. (The Anti-Girlfriend)

Mar 1 2013

My Preschool Daughter’s Bikini

By at 9:52 am

little girl in a bikiniA few weeks ago, my preschooler daughter wore her blue, green, and yellow bathing suit all day long, the one with the bunches of bananas print. Mind you, this was in New England, during one of those frigidly freezing spells, and note, too, that she didn’t wear the entire bathing suit–just the ruffle-banded bikini top. “This,” she explained as she put it on, “is my bra.”

She paraded around the house in just her “bra” for an hour or so–until she got cold. Then, she pulled her shirt over that and continued onward. She wore the getup to the co-op and she made sure to show our 20-something housemates the strap peeking out from beneath her shirt.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2013

My 6-Year-Old’s Baby Talk is Driving Me Crazy

By at 4:24 pm

My daughter turned 6 in January. She’s been going to kindergarten since September, and three years of preschool before that. She can bathe herself and put on her own coat and set the table for dinner and literally shimmy up the front door to click the top lock. She’s learning to read and she takes ballet and she knows the lyrics to several Stephen Sondheim musicals (no, not “Sweeny Todd” or “Passion”).

And yet, despite all her big girl accomplishments, my 6-year-old daughter insists on talking like a baby.

I don’t mean the adorable, natural mistakes, like saying,”We love each others” instead of “We love each other” (anyone could mis-conjugate like that; English isn’t exactly known for its grammatical logic), or getting her two languages mixed up and, as we step outside, using the Russian word for snow (sneg) to tell me, “Mama, it’s sneg-ing!” Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 9 2013

Why Does My Daughter’s Barbie Come With Sexy Lingerie?

By at 12:13 pm

barbie on the beachThat line about how you’re a great parent until you have kids has its kernel of truth–or at least of good intention. I started off–umpteen years ago, as my eldest is 17–very clear: no guns, no Barbies, no blue-for-boys, pink-for-girls, no television. I’ll cut to the chase: the mighty have so fallen. And also, phew, the mighty have fallen.

I don’t regret no screens or my attempt to ensure my firstborn boy had a truck and a doll. It turned out he played with neither of those toys. He lacked the so-called “transportation gene” I’d been assured all boys had. He wasn’t terribly interested in nurturing a baby doll or his stuffed animals. He liked books. I’m a writer and his dad is an antiquarian book dealer. We were fine with books, lots of them. 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 →

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