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Aug 20 2014

Why This Dad Smothers His Daughter with Love

By at 10:07 am


Although I’m not a mother nor a daughter myself, I enjoyed Jordana Horn’s recent review of “The Jewish Daughter Diaries” in her post, “Do Jewish Moms Smother Their Kids With Too Much Love?” While some of the book’s authors’ have their gripes with overbearing, meddlesome mothers, I’d like to repeat Horn’s statement that you can never love a child too much.

My mother says I was a very sensitive child. She guesses that it was because I was gay. That might very well be true, but I do know that my parents’ response to my sensitivity wasn’t right. In their attempt to help me develop thicker skin, they didn’t kiss or hug me, or tell me that they loved me.

And I felt unloved. Read the rest of this entry →

May 6 2014

Turns Out I Don’t Have a Monopoly On My Toddler’s Love

By at 1:08 pm


I visit the toddler’s room first. After seven months of day care drop off trial and error, I’ve discovered that this routine works best. The 3-year-old runs ahead. I follow her into the classroom, hauling two massive tote bags and a squirming 16-month-old.

The toddler waves frantically at her lunch bag. My 3-year-old finds a toy to play with while I locate her sister’s breakfast. I hand the toddler off to *Miss Jane, the teacher, and dig out a container of mini pancakes. I relay the morning’s events: wake-up time, last diaper change, and the most recent meal.

“She didn’t sleep well last night,” I add. “Teething, maybe? I don’t know, but she might be a little cranky this morning.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 21 2011

Ask Bubbe: Too Young to Smooch?

By at 11:14 am

Dear Bubbe,

At friend’s for Shabbat lunch, my 6-year-old daughter played with my friend’s 6-year-old son. They pretended to marry & kissed. Now what? Should I make a big deal? It was innocent (enough) but not something I am comfortable with. Or is it normal growing up stuff?


Hi Gail,

So were there 2 witnesses and a ring? And were they alone afterwards? And are they adults? No, wait! They’re 6. Whew! Close call.

Nothing to worry about, rather sweet actually. If they were playing ‘cops and robbers’ or ‘cowboys and Indians’ or whatever, you wouldn’t worry either, unless one clobbered the other or someone wasn’t having fun. Role play is normal and natural, this is age-appropriate. Kids reflect the values around them. In fact, if you observe their play you can sometimes see a reflection of yourself, and find yourself wondering, ‘wow, do I really say things like that?’

So ‘getting married’ and having a little kiss is OK. This is not sexualised play with one child molesting another, which would be a serious concern. Even playing ‘doctors and nurses’ is pretty harmless unless it isn’t, ie if one child is taking advantage of the other and if the play is clearly sexualised (in which case the kids would not generally be doing it in front of an adult observer so you may never know it happened anyway unless your child tells you later.).

By the way, if the children are over bat- and bar-mitzvah, a ‘mock wedding’ can really be a serious matter. I know of one case where the marriage, which took place at a summer camp as part of the entertainment, really was according to Jewish law and the kids had to have a get (Jewish divorce) afterwards, which means, in theory, the girl can’t marry a Kohen (priest); although common sense usually prevails, you have to be careful. My great-grandfather married his first wife when he was 13 and she was 12, in the 1870’s in Tzefat, Israel. They had 8 children, she died, he remarried, had 6 children, one of whom was my grandfather. Interesting, no?

But I digress. 2 little kids having fun–nothing to worry about. But get them running around in the fresh air too.



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