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Feb 10 2014

Why Do We Keep Telling Our Kids “You’re OK”?

By at 11:58 am

Why do we keep telling our kids "You're OK"?

This thought first occurred to me when my son was maybe 4 or 5 months old. He bumped his head during some tummy time and began to cry. I immediately picked him up and repeated the phrase, “You’re OK,” over and over again.

Was he OK? Of course. Perhaps he was scared. Either way, what I was really doing was ignoring his emotions. And trying to make them go away. Think about it: When an adult hurts herself, do you immediately respond with, “You’re OK”? No, you ask her what’s wrong and if there’s anything you can do to help.

So why don’t we show that same care and respect for our children? Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 18 2013

The Lesson of the Sprained Ankle on Sukkot

By at 4:00 pm

broken ankle in a castThe memories from last Sukkot are still painful. I recall hobbling into my family’s sukkah on the first night of the holiday, desperately trying to avoid putting pressure on my tender right ankle which I had sprained just a few weeks earlier. As the holiday of Sukkot, uniquely referred to as the “time of our joy,” was about to begin, I was not feeling particularly joyous. I was actually feeling pretty dismal and not just because of the ache in my ankle.

I have been an avid runner for the past two decades and I rely on my daily early morning runs to keep me grounded amidst the craziness of life. Since spraining my ankle–which ironically occurred while I was leisurely pushing my toddler in her stroller–my workouts had come to a grinding halt. After a few weeks and many missed runs later, not only was the pain in my ankle still lingering but I was feeling increasingly dejected about my situation with each passing day. Despite my best efforts to alternately ignore, suppress, rationalize, and even accept my negative feelings, I could not shake the sentiment that for some reason unbeknownst to me I was being punished from above. Now, both my body and soul were in pain. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 8 2013

The Slide: A Cautionary Tale

By at 2:09 pm

little girl in leg castHave you, like me, gone down the slide, like a million times, with your toddler on your lap?

Perhaps you vaguely recall reading something or maybe actually learning in a parenting class that there is a high injury rate, especially for broken legs for the kid on the lap, when you go down together. Perhaps like me, you throw caution to the wind, because it’s so much fun to go down the slide with your toddler, to count down one – two – three and weeeeeeee down the slide, just so you can hear them say “Again! Again!” and do the hand-sign for more and climb up and do it again. And probably like me you thought: my baby will never break her leg going down the slide on my lap.

Well, it happened to me. Or more significantly it happened to my 18-month-old who is now in a cast for four to six weeks with a fractured tibia. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 4 2013

A Fun List of Every Time My Kids Got Hurt

By at 1:08 pm

arm castRonnie’s post last week about accidents sure brought back memories!

We’ve all been where she was (or we will be)–speechless with terror that, because we weren’t watching for that half a second, or that we didn’t react quickly enough, our child was hurt. But, believe me, the child will recover a lot faster than we will as we struggle to forgive ourselves. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2013

The Real Blessing of the Skinned Knee (and Bruised Forehead)

By at 2:10 pm

My son has become a rabbit.

A 3-year-old rabbit with pale blonde hair and a blue Angry Birds ski cap pulled low over his forehead.

I didn’t get it at first. And I didn’t understand why he was hopping out of the classroom when I picked him up from preschool.

“Do you have to go to the bathroom?”

He wiggled his nose.

“Did you hurt your foot?” Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2012

Breaking My Child’s Arm, and Other Parenting Fails

By at 10:22 am

boy with broken arm in castWhile I wrote about the multitude of ways I’ve failed professionally, and how I make a point of telling my children all about it and even encouraging them to fail, as well, I realized, after the fact, that one area of failure I’d managed to leave out (consciously? Unconsciously?) was my parenting failures.

Let’s rectify that right now, shall we?

When my oldest son was 4 years old, he got into the habit of shrieking everything. This, as you may imagine, was not pleasant. My husband and I told him to pipe down and, when that didn’t work, we yelled for him to pipe down. (Yes, I can see the irony now. But, when you’re in the moment, it seems to make perfect sense.) He didn’t. So we yelled at him some more. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 4 2011

The Kind of Mom I Want to Be

By at 1:57 pm

"Little did he know that when he pulled out his plastic doctor’s case and gave me a few firm pats on the back declaring, 'there, I fixed your back' how right he was."

I never thought my kids would motivate me to take care of myself.  Over the past three years, when it came time for self-care, they didn’t exactly turn into my personal coach.  Instead, in all of their cuteness, they would distract me (on a good day) and sap the living daylights out of me (on a not so good day.)

But over the weekend, after wrestling my almost three-year-old into his Shabbat clothes (who wants to wear a button down dress shirt when its 80 degrees out?) and pulling a muscle that rendered my lower back non-functioning, I had never been so motivated to heal, both physically and spiritually.

When it first happened, the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel came racing into my mind (I was on the way to synagogue, so a biblical story would be appropriate.)  Jacob wrestled with an Angel (aka God) and his hip was dislocated as a result.  Wrestling with kids is nothing new for a mom.  Many a bedtime has ended in tears wrestling the little guy into his pjs.  But wrestling to the point of personal injury?  Really?

This game of nerves (who can yell the loudest, Tamir? I don’t want to get dressed, or Imma? We are getting dressed now!) came on the heels of a little vacation that he had with his dad down in Florida to visit grandma.  While he was away (and I only had my infant daughter in my charge) I reveled at how much free time I had and how much less work I had on my plate.  When they returned, while I was glad to see them, I was a bit resentful that all the work returned too.

But last week, when I was injured and my mobility severely curtailed (think healthy woman in her late 30s turned centenarian), I was crushed when I was incapable of doing even the slightest bit of caretaking.  While I wasn’t exactly able to reframe all of the physical pain as a blessing there were some things that reminded me of the kind of person and mom I want to be.

Slow down – I am always doing 10 things at once (sound familiar?)  Because that simply was not an option, it was a thrill to realize that if the dishes didn’t get done, that e-mail didn’t get answered, or the laundry didn’t get folded, the world would not collapse.  Once I was situated on the floor to play with them, I stayed there and delighted in whatever game was on hand.

Have compassion – Whenever I encountered someone in emotional or physical pain (pre-injury) I listened to them and offered help when I could.  But the long list of other things I needed to do would sometimes distract me from giving them my full attention.  While my day would continue, pain-free, theirs wouldn’t.  I am developing more patience and capacity to be fully present for those who need me.

Have Courage – While I try to cultivate this quality in my children, it’s certainly easier said than done.  When my chiropracter told me that the only way to heal was to “keep moving” (the most counter-intuitive thing when each step hurts!) I did.  After being my own little cheering team (“you can do it” muttered with each step.)  I found that my 3 year old was happily joining in “you can do it imma!”).

Being temporarily incapacitated did not only have an impact on me, but effected them too.  My son, with his own hands clutched on his back, identified with me, “my back hurts too”, and gave me a lot more hugs.  Little did he know that when he pulled out his plastic doctor’s case and gave me a few firm pats on the back declaring, “there, I fixed your back” how right he was.


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