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Mar 13 2014

That Time My Daughter Didn’t Let Me Walk Her into Preschool

By at 10:32 am

sarah-tuttle-family

“I want you to have roots and wings,” my mother used to say to me from as early as I can remember until the day she died. And I think of this during preschool drop-off on cool mornings when the sun slants softly through my 5.5-year-old daughter’s curls.

“Honey, do you want to go in without me? We can do our hug and kiss goodbye out here if you want.”

And some of the other kids go in alone without their parents: This is the beauty of the community we live in–the Middle East’s answer to Mayberry, USA, where every child is everyone’s child, and we all live and love and learn together even when it ain’t easy. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 18 2014

When These Sleep-Deprived Snow Days Feel Like Forever

By at 10:22 am

jordanas-kids

This Will Never End.

I’ve had my fair share of this feeling lately. If you live in the Northeastern United States, you understand. Houses look like they’re auditioning to be an extra in “Frozen” with icicles the size of big foam fingers dangling off every gutter. You can’t so much as drive your car in reverse without hearing the “crunch” sound of car bumper meeting up with mountain-of-aspiring-glacier-that’s-been-plowed-into-tremendous-piles-with-nowhere-to-go.

Between snow days and vacations, it feels like we haven’t had five days of school in a row since the week before Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 29 2012

Hannukah Gift Ideas: Board Games for Preschoolers

By at 9:56 am

where is hello kittyMy big girl just turned 4 years old, and she got several games for her birthday. I’m psyched. I love games. I spent my childhood playing Parcheesi with my father, Boggle with my mother, and cards with my grandmother and cousins. I spent a summer slamming Dominos on a small wooden table in the countryside of the Dominican Republic, and I’m still trying to beat my father at gin.

Armed with these happy memories, I gladly sat down on our living room floor to play Chutes and Ladders with my daughters. Twenty minutes and many, many chutes later, we weren’t much closer to anyone winning, and I was ready to poke my eyes out. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 27 2011

The C-Word

By at 12:52 pm

pink potty and toilet paperNow that my kids go to an actual school, I feel a whole family-pack of mixed feelings, starting and ending with the simple fact that I’m no longer the one who’s in control of the flow of most of the information in their heads. Like, there are 13 other kids that my daughter talks to more often than she talks to me. (Except for the kid who doesn’t talk to anyone and pisses in his pants every day… but even he’s around her more often than I am, so no dice.)

I really never thought this would happen. I had a vision that I was going to be able to raise my kids differently than anyone ever had, that they’d grow up free of racial prejudice and television and only wearing pink and all the other bad stuff that’s wandered into the head of any other kid, ever.

Sadly, that is not always the situation. Case study #1: Language.

In college I read Inga Muscio‘s amazing book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. (I was a feminist! I was the only guy in Womyn’s Issues Now! I could do anything!) Essentially, the point of that book was that the word “cunt” used to be an honorific term for the female ruler of a country, whereas the word “vagina” is an Old English Latin word meaning “sheath for a sword.” And, in the earliest days of changing nappies and learning how female people wipe, I was quick to teach my gurgling baby proto-feminist girl to say “cunt!” instead of “vagina” — or instead of whatever other term you’d use. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 1 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: Night Terrors and More

By at 11:20 am

When the kids are waking up every night and need your help to get back to sleep... it's time to call Batya!Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,
My 5-year-old slept pretty well as a baby but around the time he turned 3 1/2 he started coming into my bed in the middle of the night. It started occasionally, sometimes preceded by a night terror. It has since become a nightly event. We have tried making him a bed on the floor next to mine but he needs to feel a body next to him. Sometimes he says it is because he is scared of an intruder, but not always. His doctors have told me both to try the walk back method (Supernanny) or that he needs to be in my bed and I should just let him. I am not sure which way to go. As a baby, I let him cry it out since I believed that he needed to learn to self-soothe. I have done that with each of my kids with good results. I just wonder if at this age it is a different story. I need my sleep but don’t want him to suffer. Any advice?

-Aliza

Hi Aliza,

A 5-year-old coming out of his bed is definitely something that needs to be addressed (especially since you are not enjoying these midnight cuddle sessions!) Assuming that he is not truly frightened at night, I would do things on an incentive basis in attempts to change his habits. Buy him a very special treat, toy or something that you know he’d love. Show it to him before bed and tell him that if he doesn’t come out of his bed the whole night then you will give it to him in the morning. Be sure to clearly define the rules though: if he has to go to the bathroom he can come out, or if he has a scary dream he can come out and you’ll calm him and put him back in his bed, etc. For a week or even two I would offer him this special incentive every night before bedtime to help encourage him to want to stay in his own bed. After that point, you can gradually phase it out or move to a weekly prize instead of a daily one. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 7 2011

Ask Bubbe: Why is My 5-Year-Old So Obnoxious?

By at 10:03 am

Dear Bubbe,

What should I do about my sassy 5-year-old daughter? I tell her to do something, she responds, “NO!” She’s been getting increasingly defiant lately, despite our efforts to discipline her.

Jody, California

Hi Jody,

I will preface any comments here by saying that, whatever you think a 5-year-old can get up to is NOTHING compared to what a 15 -year-old can get up to. So in the face of whatever your Miss Sass can throw at you, try to maintain perspective. (Little children, little problems, big children, big problems–old Yiddish proverb, sounds better in Yiddish.)

Children are mirrors; children are sponges; children have friends, but the grip of the peer group is unlikely to be driving her behavior at this stage. If you want respect from her, you need to show her respect, too. This does not mean that the relationship is democratic; you are in charge. You want her to WANT to please you but it is natural that there will be some desire on her part to differentiate herself and to test the limits.

Let’s look at the background here. Is she getting enough sleep? There’s a whole world of poor behavior triggered by lack of sleep, overstimulation, lack of fresh air  and exercise, and poor diet, too high in processed foods, etc. Read the rest of this entry →

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