Nov 18 2014
When my two youngest children decided they were ready to embrace the internet experience like their older siblings and friends, I panicked. Even a 53-year-old seasoned parent like me gets panicky sometimes. So I said no, which was of course totally thoughtless and unoriginal, especially to a 12-year-old. But I said it to buy time.
Recently, my daughter’s classmate came to school with an announcement. She was getting an iPhone because she had proven she was old enough to handle it. “My dad said if I can fast the whole day on Yom Kippur like an adult, then I can have an iPhone like an adult. So I did and he added me on to his plan.” Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 8 2014
Noah Ritter was having the best day of his life–that is, until it rapidly spiraled into his worse nightmare. The 5-year-old, who is crashing with Grandpa Jack in Wilkes Barre, PA for the summer, became an overnight internet sensation when he reviewed rides for a local TV station at the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania and hijacked the interview with his adorable overuse of the word “apparently.”
But by the next morning, throngs of TV reporters–vultures, really–had descended on Grandpa Jack’s lawn. Everyone wanted a piece of #ApparentlyKid, who seems more confused and overwhelmed by each interview. The questions keep coming: “What does apparently mean?” (He’s not sure.) “How does it feel to be a superstar?” (Good.) “What do you want to be when you grow up?”(A paleontologist.) But all Noah really wants to talk about are dinosaurs. The whole thing seems rather exploitative, especially as we see Noah become increasingly flustered.
Watch the media corner poor Noah on his bike: Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 18 2014
Did you know “nvm” means “never mind”? I didn’t.
My almost-teenage son explained that to me. When he texted me to ask how he could get my online signature for a board he’s applying to. But when I didn’t reply because I was in a different time zone, he figured out he could ask his dad, so “nvm.”
I didn’t understand why he didn’t ask his dad to start with–I was clearly out of town and not very available, or even at all available. And I didn’t know what “nvm” meant. Oh, and I also didn’t know he was applying for a position on this board. Because I think he has a secret life. Actually, I’ll rephrase: he thinks he has a secret life. Or at least one that need not involve his parents. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 6 2013
It took me a long time to admit it, but I’m the person everyone has been talking about. I’m the person who uses Facebook as a world-wide picture sharing site, a 21st century baby brag book. It’s me; I’ve “ruined” Facebook for the cool kids.
I wasn’t always this type of person. In fact, before I turned into me, I used to hate people like me. You know the people I’m talking about: the kind of people who post funny things their kids say (or things they think are funny), share anecdotes from playdates, or statistics from doctors’ visits; the kind of people who (gasp) use their kids as their profile picture. You’re not your child, I would silently fume as I would see yet another one of my friends fall victim to the rampant child-picture-appropriation on Facebook. Your child is not your identity! Your role as a parent doesn’t solely define you! I would swear that I would be different–I would still be ME (as signified by the oh-so-telling Facebook Profile Picture). And yet, as soon as my baby was born and was big enough to wear a hat with ears–bam, he was my profile picture. I mean, come on, how could I resist? He was wearing a hat. With ears!
So how, after consciously trying not to, did I turn into this person? Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 11 2012
A few months ago, our own Mayim Bialik decided that it was time to pullback on Facebook. It got me thinking about my own social media habits and if I was revealing too much online about my family. Read about it here in my latest column for the Forward.
A few hours after my daughter was born, she made her big debut on Facebook. My husband posted a photo of her, wrapped in the hospital-issued blanket, with the message: “Exhausted but now the father of this little girl. Her name is Mika (that’s Mee-ka), born last night around three in the morning.”
In a matter of minutes, 44 people commented on the photo and five others “liked it.” In the following days he posted dozens more, encouraged by all the support and affection. Also, we liked posting photos and updates because it felt nice to have our child adored by others, not just us.
More than two and a half years have passed since her birth, and Mika has already had quite a public life. In addition to Facebook, Mika has been the subject of blog posts on things like breastfeeding, teething, co-sleeping and more. This has a lot to do with the fact that I, her mother, am the editor of a Jewish parenting website, Kveller.com, that traffics in these sorts of parenting conundrums.
Read the rest of the article here, and feel free to chime in about where you draw the line.
May 2 2012
Remember my 12-year-old son? He who points at the Kremlin?
Say hello, son.
Because, just as Sarah Tuttle-Singer was wondering: What Will Happen When My Kids Google Me?, my son… did.
And he ended up on Kveller (which, I guess, yay, for Kveller’s Google search ranking). And he read everything I’ve written up to this point. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 30 2012
Me with my parents, not being embarrassing.
Growing up, my biggest fear was that my parents would embarrass me.
This fear wasn’t completely unfounded:
My mom was known to waltz down the produce aisle at Trader Joe’s like the leading lady in a 1950’s musical, sometimes singing in Tagolog, which she learned while serving in the Peace Corps.
And my dad was worse: When he would “bring it,” (his words, not mine, people) on the basketball court at Mar Vista Park, he would insist on playing “skins.” Even when no one else was going shirtless. Bellowing on the court, he would wave his arms in the air, a force of nature that could easily wipe out a 13-year-old’s reputation. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 12 2012
We just got hip to this new site, Gifts From Your Mom, whose tagline–She gave you the gift of life. She should’ve quit while she was ahead–says it all.
Red leather thriller jackets and vibrators abound on this new site devoted to the worst gifts received from your mother. We’d like to think our crew of Kveller mamas would know better than giving a filled-out profile on Spirtitual Singles, but if you need some help on what not to do, here you go.
Jan 3 2012
A friend of mine recently went to observe a mother’s workshop with a “parenting guru.” She said that it was clear that the mothers were very invested in being good moms and wanted guidance on the challenges they face with their children. One mother brought up her confusion about how to handle her 11-year old son’s viewing internet pornography.
Confusion? How about horror? Disgust? How about pulling the plug on the damn machine and then sitting down and talking about it?
Well, apparently she did talk to the boy, although she doesn’t seem to have restricted the use of the computer. She described how she felt about pornography and pointed out that the women who participate are often exploited and are doing it out of desperation. The boy reasonably responded that the women still had the choice to do it and was unconvinced by his mother’s position.
ELEVEN-YEARS-OLD AND WATCHING PORNOGRAPHY! OY VEY!
When my son was about 14, he went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. About an hour after he got there, he called and told us to come pick him up, that he was going to say he felt sick and would tell us what happened when he got home. We did pick him up and he said that the kids were looking at things on the computer that he knew “wasn’t for him” (that was a phrase we often used, along with “well, we do things our way.”) We praised his good judgment and integrity and were proud that he was able to extricate himself from an uncomfortable, inappropriate situation. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 11 2011
Mayim in the Kveller office (and yes, that's a "What Would Blossom Do" postcard).
I spent last weekend in scenic San Jose, California, where my husband is from. His mother still lives in the house my husband grew up in, and we visit several times a year with our boys, who delight at the fact that their Safta has saved every single one of their father’s toys.
The house is a veritable treasure of 1970s and 1980s Star Wars, GI Joe, Fisher-Price, and the like. It’s sort of Miles’ and Fred’s Shangri-La. Once we set foot in the door, they only come to us for food and to complain that we’re ruining their playtime when we request that they bathe and change their clothes once a day.
This past weekend, though, we were in San Jose so that I could speak at my mother-in-law’s synagogue. Once she began her conversion process (my husband, Mike, was raised Mormon), she joined the Reform synagogue where, coincidentally, my aunt and uncle have been members for over 20 years. I was asked to speak about the “Universal Values of Jewish Parenting: For Families of All Backgrounds.”
The talk and my 40 minutes of Q & A were very well received. I especially loved talking to people on the break and after the talk ended, including a man named Sheldon who had no clue who I was but liked my talk anyway (the irony of the fact that he shares a name with my on-screen boyfriend was lost on him). I also met a bunch of awesome mamas; many of whom are fans of Kveller. Read the rest of this entry →