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Jul 22 2014

My Son’s First Jewish Friend

By at 10:04 am

baseball-bat

My son made his first Jewish friend. His name is Dan, and he’s got dark curly hair and wears glasses.

Charlie was so excited when he told me about him. “He celebrates Hanukkah, Mom, just like us! And he has a shirt with Hebrew writing on it.”

He continued to talk about Dan for weeks afterward. “Dan hit a home run at recess, Dan is better than me at math, Dan brings peanut butter fudge for dessert.” Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2014

Why I Worry About Other Kids’ Food Allergies

By at 11:16 am

supermarket

I recently hosted a play date for several moms and their children, two of which happen to have food allergies. One child, a little boy, doesn’t have it so bad, at least according to his mother. He can’t eat dairy or drink regular milk, but for the most part, his parents are able to take him to restaurants and other people’s homes without having to worry about something going horribly wrong. The other allergic child–a sweet little 3-year-old girl–is not as fortunate. Her mother told me horror stories about her darling daughter breaking out in hives and gasping for air after eating foods that were supposedly nut-free, but somehow contained nut traces nonetheless. And so when I decided to have these children over, I told myself I would need to go above and beyond to make sure my home was truly nut-free.

The first thing I did was purge my kitchen of all the nuts and nut-related products I could find, and store those items down in the basement, where they wouldn’t be accessible. I then proceeded to disinfect my countertops, kitchen table, chairs, and floor, even though I’d done a pretty thorough job of cleaning and sweeping several days prior. In my mind, it was up to me to scrub away all traces of nut, no matter how long it took.

When my husband found me on my hands and knees, he asked why I was once again cleaning the floor. “To make sure nut particles didn’t somehow get lodged in the hardwood,” I told him. (His response was something along the lines of “you’re a nut particle,” but I took it in stride.) Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2013

Five Things My Young Kids Have Taught Me

By at 10:17 am

kids playing with tableware

I always assumed that being a parent meant teaching my children the basic skills–and with luck, perhaps a few extras they’d need to become productive members of society. As it turns out, I’m learning just as much about life from them. Remember that book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? I think the lessons start much earlier. Here are some that I’ve learned:

Lesson 1. Be yourself. Somewhere along the way, we–or at least I–got caught up in worrying about how others see us. We put on our best face and maybe if we’re starting to wear our hearts on our sleeve, we throw on a cardigan. I’m not advocating for throwing public temper tantrums or sob fests, but I’ve noticed that if my kids are tired or otherwise having a cranky day, they don’t hide their feelings and most people cut them slack. As adults, we’re quick to dismiss others as rude or snobby when they might simply be having a bad day.

Perhaps one of the worst places for a kid to lose it is on a typical commercial airliner when 100-plus people are stuck riding out the tantrum. When I flew alone with both my kids (ages 3 and 1), from Virginia to Florida, I felt prepared for anything. Except for what I got: My daughter, Ellie, decided to flip out at the end of the flight. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 15 2013

Dad, Don’t Bring Your Gun to My House

By at 5:03 pm

no guns signMy dad and his wife are coming to visit this weekend. In addition to the various conversations we’ve had about his travel plans and restaurants preferences, there was one more logistical issue I had to address.

I had to tell them to leave their guns at home.

My father and step-mother both carry guns with them on a regular basis. They are fully licensed to do so, and they have both undergone extensive training and practice in the use and maintenance of firearms. Even so, I’m not comfortable with guns in my home. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 30 2012

Should Our Kids Not Have Best Friends?

By at 10:02 am

bff necklaceI’ve sat silent as I read about teachers not using red pencils to mark up students’ work because the color is “too stressful.” I’ve soaked up articles about helicopter parenting, Tiger Moms and a “Bad Mother.” But this piece about schools dissuading children from having best friends or circles of close friends has me meshuga.

Disclaimer: I know the author. I have a picture of myself holding hands with him at maybe my third birthday party. Today we are loosely in touch via Facebook, which is how I came across this article, and I want to make clear it’s not necessarily him with whom I disagree. It’s the whole idea of sparing children emotional pain, which is the basis for the movement he writes about. Read the rest of this entry →

May 25 2011

Mom Cards: The Next Stage in Making Friends

By at 11:23 am

Remember when making a new friend was as easy as stealing a sand toy?

Has this happened to you?

Last week I met a new mom friend. She was new to the neighborhood and her daughter was a few months younger than mine. We chatted about summer vacations with extended families on the beach, kiddie activities in our neighborhood, and why our children seemed determined to eat sand in the sandbox (disgusting, but that’s another blog post for another time).

But then her daughter got a little bit cranky and it was time to go home for nap. And we said goodbye, they left the playground, and I realized I had no way to ever find her again, besides the chance that we’d see each other another day at another playground. (And in Park Slope Brooklyn that is harder than it might seem.)

Enter this brilliant idea: mom cards. I first learned about them from our friend and blogger JulieSue Goldwasser, and since have done an extensive Google search. This is an INDUSTRY, people. And it turns out mommy cards aren’t just for mommies.

They’re for Grandmas:

They’re for dog owners:

And they’re for kids with allergies (this one is actually BRILLIANT. Hand it to every person your child meets and they’ll think twice about eating peanuts near him!)

If only I had a mommy card when I met my new friend. I think her name was Sarah. And her daughter’s name was Bea. Anyone know that mom? Ooh, now I have an even better idea: a Craig’s List-style missed connections section specifically for moms at the playground. Who’s with me?

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