Aug 17 2012
Someone new is at our house. (Bonus points if you know what book that’s from. Double bonus points if you’ve read it over one hundred times.)
This someone new is a superhero. Her name is Weather. Her costume consists of flowered underpants, an undershirt rolled up into a bikini top, and a ducky blanket for a cape. Her superpower is… uh… weather. She can control the weather. When she feels like it. Which she often does not. But, she still can, so don’t you call her on it.
Unlike the entire population of Metropolis, which seems to have trouble telling Superman from Clark Kent due to his clever, clever use of eye-glasses (did you know that Superman was created by two Jewish kids barely out of their teens and is actually both a Moses parable and a metaphor for “passing” in Gentile society? I have been told this), I’m pretty sure that, by now, you’ve figured out Weather’s secret identity.
She is my 5-year-old daughter. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 3 2012
A few minutes past 5 a.m., our 3-year-old son decides he wants to play. Since becoming a dad, I am incrementally morphing into a morning person, so the early shift doesn’t faze me like it once did.
The problem is that my son, Benjy, doesn’t want to play with me–he wants “somebody else.” And that somebody else is mommy.
Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 27 2012
Ronia has not been digging her bike trailer. While she is apparently the envy of every adult we pass, she longs to pedal under her own steam, to be cushioned from the unavoidable potholes of our hilly neighborhood. She doesn’t understand what the rush is, why I can’t simply ride slower or allow her to take her own balance bike (a bike scooter hybrid with two wheels and no pedals) wherever we need to go, whether we have 10 minutes to get somewhere or are heading across town. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 5 2012
For generations, Jewish girls collected and played with their Barbie Dolls. Yes, both Barbie and Ken looked quite Aryan but I don’t believe many little Jewish girls were complaining about their dolls’ non-Semitic looks. Now, all of a sudden, there is a plethora of very Jewish looking dolls on the market. I know this because I was escorted through the American Girl Place in Chicago this past August by my own little Jewish doll. She grabbed me by the hand and dragged (yes, dragged) me past dozens of dolls to show me the elaborate display of American Girl’s answer to religious pluralism. And that’s when I met Rebecca Rubin for the first time.
Rebecca Rubin is not a stereotypical Jewish girl. At least not from this century! She’s a cute little brunette growing up in New York City in 1914 (think Fievel from “American Tale” but a little girl instead of a mouse). Rebecca Rubin now lives with our family. We’ve adopted her, but she’s maintained her Rubin surname and Lower East Side Depression-era attire.
As if Rebecca Rubin doesn’t look quintessentially Jewish enough, my daughter can beJEWel her even more until this doll has been tricked out with the Jewy-ist accoutrements imaginable. For $68 (that’s not a typo), Rebecca can enjoy a beautiful Shabbat with “The Rebecca Rubin Sabbath Set.” (For much less than $68 I can feed my family a delicious Shabbat dinner, complete with brisket and wine.) The Sabbath set is advertised as featuring “everything Rebecca’s family needs to celebrate the Sabbath: A Russian samovar and tray for heating water and serving tea, a tea canister and a ceramic teapot, two glasses, pretend hallah bread and a scalloped cloth, a pair of Sabbath candles that the women in Rebecca’s family ‘light’ before sundown, and two blue candlesticks that were a gift to Rebecca from Mr. Rossi.” Based on the price of the set, I just assumed those candlesticks from Mr. Rossi were real silver and that I wasn’t getting ripped off too badly. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 18 2011
“My sister has five children,” I told an Israeli friend who lives in my apartment building.
“House or apartment?,” he asked.
“House,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s not the same then. It’s a totally different game. She can send them outside to the yard and go read a magazine. You’re not on top of each other like you are in an apartment. In an apartment there’s no escape.”
Now listen—I know that my friend is delusional. Life with five children is incredibly demanding, house or no house. I don’t think my sister has gotten to sit down for more than five minutes in 16 years. But there’s some truth to what he says.
Over Sukkot I took a mini-vacation from my cramped urban apartment to a close friend’s big house in a tree-filled Boston suburb. It was a break from work, nanny-shares, cooking and—I hesitate to admit—my 5-year-old, who spent hours on end playing fireman in the basement playroom with his 3-year-old friend.
When I checked in periodically to maintain my peace of mind, everyone teased me for being overprotective. But they don’t get apartment parenting.
You see, our “playroom” is our living room (which is also our dining room). When I’m at home my son and I are rarely farther than ten feet away from each other. It’s lovely—I get to observe all sorts of enchanting creative play that I’d otherwise miss—but it’s also really demanding, and a little stifling for us both. Read the rest of this entry →