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Nov 5 2014

I Can’t Say These Words to My Kids, So I’ll Say Them to You Instead

By at 3:16 pm

shut up

It has been one of those days.

The kind where I wake up in the middle of the night to find that my 5-year-old daughter has crawled into my bed again and now her feet are wedged under my head and I can’t fall asleep for hours, and when I finally do I am woken up by a steady clunk of big boy feet and arms and bodies. They’re happy and excited to start the day. They want me to make them breakfast, check their homework, hug them, kiss them, find their jackets, mediate their arguments, solve their problems.

That’s when I hear the words in my head. They’re small at first, tiny whispers that could be soothed with just a few moments of peace. But, the bus is coming and they NEEEEEEEEED me and there is no peace. So those words swell into an enormous bubble that is going to erupt any minute. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 3 2014

The Only Thing Keeping My Son From Being Independent

By at 3:33 pm

Fruit loops spilling on a table

Independence Day has come a bit early in our house.

As a mother of just one, all my maternal energy is focused on my single offspring. With no sibling living full-time in our house, Emmet gets all my attention–undivided and unsolicited. I watch every tennis lesson, bring him to every birthday party, and beg him for all the minute details of his day: who he sat with on the bus, what games he played during recess, and exactly what he ate for lunch.

While I am lucky to have three lovely teenage step-kids who dote on Emmet, he is my only biological child. One of the pitfalls of being an only child is having a mom who clutches to moments and milestones, knowing that each one is the first and last time she will be able to experience it. I know, I know: in order to fly, baby birds need to leave their nests, snag some air space, and spread their wings, sometimes with a push from their mamas. But sometimes, their mamas need a push, too.

This became abundantly clear these first days of summer. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 4 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: What to Do About Your Early (Reeeally Early) Riser

By at 10:01 am

sunrise

The following question for Batya, our resident sleep coach, comes from contributing editor Jordana Horn:

Hi, Batya. I am hoping you can help me out. My 2-year-old, whom we’ll call G, is an early riser. I mean EARLY, to the tune of 4:30-5:30 a.m. She naps two hours a day from 1-3. She goes to bed around 7 p.m. She wakes up totally chipper and raring to go. Sadly, my husband and I are not the same way. We have decided to say we will not get her from her crib until 6 a.m. and have gotten her a clock that turns green when it is 6 a.m. In other words, you don’t have to be asleep, but you can’t yell for us till 6 a.m. We put books in her bed that she can read by the light of her night light (“read” = look at pictures). 

Unfortunately, 95% of the time, she yells for us well before 6 a.m. We have tried telling her to stop. We have tried reward systems. We have tried punishments. We have tried going in and shushing/holding her. We have tried not going in and letting her scream her head off, waking up the rest of the house in the process. She wakes the whole house up every morning. It isn’t fair to the other kids, let alone us. 

I asked our pediatrician what to do and she said there is nothing we can do: some kids are just early risers. That’s fine by me but I want to make sure she knows that before 6 a.m., she’s gotta keep the early morning love to herself. What to do? Please help! Thank you!!! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 31 2011

My Gigantic Jewish Family Bed

By at 11:28 am

Mayim Bialik in the family bed with her two sons.

Last week, abcnews.com posted an article by famed co-sleeping expert Elizabeth Pantley about how to stop co-sleeping and get your kids out of your bed.

If you’ve read my writing before, you know I’m a big proponent of co-sleeping. My husband, 3- and 6-year-old sons, and I share a gigantic family bed which consists of a king and a full futon pushed together on the floor, and I believe our co-sleeping will end when our family sees that it is time to end it. But it’s not my intention to tell you why co-sleeping is good and beneficial and natural and fun (my book which comes out in March devotes a whole chapter to that). I want to share two things that go on in our family bed that are specifically Jewish, because I don’t hear it spoken about very often.

Disclaimer: the things I describe can (and do) also occur in non co-sleeping  families, but this is simply the experience of our family bed from a Jewish perspective.

1. Bedtime Shema. After teeth are brushed (Fred fighting the brushing with varying intensity on any given night), and everyone has gone to the bathroom one last time (ditto; he’s 3, it’s normal, right!?), we read books, Fred nurses, and we sing the first two lines of the Shema. As a child, my parents recited the Shema to me and just as it was technically my first full sentence as a toddler, it was our boys’ first as well.

Read the rest of this entry →

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