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Dec 13 2012

Breastfeeding With an Extra Dose of Jewish Guilt

By at 11:56 am

“Your daughter is not gaining weight,” the pediatrician explained to me at my daughter’s two week checkup.

That pediatrician’s appointment still haunts me. It took me from a place where I thought my milk was just slow in coming into full panic mode. It took me to a world of pumping around the clock, supplemental feeding devices, formula, herbs and teas, weight checks, never leaving the house, and endless tears. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 8 2012

I’m Not Going to Make My Kids Weight Crazy

By at 5:35 pm

Last week my mother came to visit us for the first time in almost a year. Because my kids know my father and his wife (who I lovingly refer to as my second mom) so well, I was very excited for them to get to know my other mom, too.

She got off the plane, jumped in the car, and immediately began talking about her weight.

It didn’t take long for me to remember what I thought I’d forgotten. My life, for the first 18-20 years, had been consumed and terrorized by weight.

My mom never called me fat. She always said that I was “perfect.” She never criticized me at all.

She criticized herself endlessly. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 5 2012

My Jewish Guilt from Hurricane Sandy

By at 9:33 am

running showerLast Thursday, I took a shower that easily ranks among the top five best showers of my entire life. Maybe even the top three. The water was hot. And there was plenty of it.

Contrary to my habit of short showers, instilled at Jewish summer camp during the California water crisis of my youth, I reposed in the steamy Nirvana for something just shy of an eternity. And at its conclusion, I had an urge to put it up as my Facebook status; an urge that I quelled, choosing instead to remain silent about my newly-restored electricity.

Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 29 2012

My Daughter Keeps Kosher, But I Love Pork

By at 3:15 pm
lobster roll

I love lobster, too...

My name is Rachel, and I’m a treyfaholic. I like bacon, and shrimp, and lobster rolls. I really love lobster rolls. I’m craving a lobster roll right now.

Mmmmm lobster rolls…

My 15-month-old daughter, Adi, is kosher.

How can a 15-month-old keep kosher? I keep her that way. But it’s not sustainable. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 20 2011

Back From Vacation & Stuck with the Kids

By at 11:25 am

So a few weeks ago, I swanned off  to Los Angeles to be surrounded on all sides by friends and family, and engulfed in English and ­­­cultural familiarity. And Vanilla Lattes from Coffee Bean.  And sushi from a place near an actual ocean and not made by some guy named Shlomi from a kibbutz in the Negev Desert. And of course, Sephora. OK, and  my good friend, Jose Cuervo. It was grand.  It was glorious.  It was everything I wanted in eight days and more.

And my kids? They survived. (And so did I.) Sure, there were moments of guilt, and flashes of uncertainty, but nothing so debilitating  that a walk in Venice Beach with my dad, or dinner with my best friend, or an attempt to break into Taco Bell at 3:00 am while jonesing for a coronary wrapped in a tortilla couldn’t cure.

Yes, I missed them. But I had also missed Los Angeles.

In hindsight, I think the hardest part was the plane ride over because I was palpably aware of the difference between where I was and where they were during the entire flight: While flying over France, my children were coming home from preschool. While we soared over Iceland, my family was eating dinner.  As we dipped over Greenland down toward Canada, they were going to sleep.  And when I landed in LA at 11:00 PM Pacific Time ready to crash headfirst into sleep I knew that on the other side of the world and ten hours into the future my kids were starting their morning.  Without me.

(You know, assuming that they had survived the night in the first place.)

Read the rest of this entry →

May 11 2011

Fool With No Mama

By at 11:21 am

When I was in high school, our principal used to come on the PA every morning to make the following announcement: “Make sure you’re on time to class. Don’t be a fool with no mama who gets caught in the Tardy Sweep.

(Incidentally, our high school mascot was a unicorn. Because we are special and magical and we all shit rainbows. Fools with no mamas or not, we have Unicorn Pride.)

But I digress.

(Please forgive me – I’m a little more tired and neurotic than usual.)

Anyway, if one more person asks me “Why are your kids getting sick all the time?” I swear to Yoda that I will aim Little Homie at them and hope he’s in the mood for a good old fashioned round of projectile vomiting.

(Usually, I don’t like to see my kids hurl chunks everywhere. It’s messy and sometimes kind of scary, but again, if I hear this asinine question ah-gain, I will make an exception. You’ve been warned.)

Ok, let me qualify this: If the question comes from a place of love and genuine concern, then I might let it slide. In fact, if I’ve had more than an hour of sleep, I might even smile and shrug and say something about how “oh, you know how kids are.”

Because kids get sick. Period. The End.

BUT it seems more often than not, this question is really just a treacly disguise for the real question:

WHAT ARE YOU – YOU, MAMA! YEAH, YOU! — DOING WRONG?

(Because let’s face it, no one ever asks B. why his kids are getting sick all the time.)

When Little Homie throws falafel on the ground, the waitress glares at me. Not B.

When M. has a five alarm meltdown at the petting zoo, and B. tries to sooth her, it doesn’t matter whether he succeeds or fails. All that matters is he’s trying. And everyone smiles.  But, if I can’t calm her down, I look incompetent. Big time Mama Fail.

If B. takes Little Homie out for a walk and forgets to put socks on him, three people — THREE FUCKING PEOPLE, I KID YOU NOT — will ask him “Why didn’t his mother put socks on him?” Because clearly, it’s my fault. Always and forever. My. Fault.

And when the kids get sick, everyone peppers me with questions about their health habits, what they eat, and how many times they poop. No one thinks to ask B.

Even though B. and I are co-parenting–we both work, we both raise our kids, and we both try not kill each other or ourselves in the process–when he’s helping out it’s called “helping out” or “giving me a break.” And the whole fucking world throws a ticker tape parade in his honor.

(I bet some of you know what I’m talking about.)

The grunt work. The scut work. The nails-on-a-chalkboard-grind. The dirty dishes. The lost socks. My fault. All of it.

My. Fault.

And one day, if my kids get caught in a Tardy Sweep, they’ll be fools with no mama. And they probably won’t be wearing socks, either.  Call Child Protective Services and arrest me! Throw me in Bad Mother Jail without a trial because I’m guilty until proven otherwise.

It’s all my fault.

(Anyway, at this point, I was going to turn this post into a mordant commentary about sexism and family dynamics vis-a-vis sick children, but I spent all my energy looking up “vis-a-vis” to make sure I was using it in the correct context. And I’m still not sure. Google Fail. And that sound you hear are my graduate school dreams getting flushed down the toilet.)

Look. I’m tired. I’m scared. I’ve got a sick kid who may or may not have an underlying health problem. After all, two cases of Pneumonia in three months is a bit… weird.

And, on top of all of that, I feel guilty.

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