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Sep 8 2014

How Queen Elsa Helps My Anxious Daughter Let It Go

By at 2:01 pm

Princess-wand

Just like millions of little girls and boys across this country, my daughter is pretty enthused about the movie “Frozen.” Obsessed, really. She runs through the hallways with her long blue cape (or, more specifically, my formerly-favorite scarf that I got on our honeymoon to Italy) flowing in waves from her shoulders, leaping and singing “for the first time in forever….” She has refused to be called anything but Queen Elsa at dinner on more than one occasion. Every Lego tower built is now “The Frozen Ice Castle.”

But, I think for her, singing, “Let it Go” is more than just about being a girly 4-year-old who is embracing her high-heeled-fancy-shmancy-princess-loving stage. For Noa, “Let It Go” has become an anthem.

At 3 years old, Noa was diagnosed with anxiety. She’d always had a rough time: Breastfeeding was a struggle, complete with emergency weaning at nine months, Noa refusing to let anyone but me hold her for the first full year of her life, nutritional therapy because she wouldn’t eat, and the list goes on. Now it’s clear to us that she has some sensory issues, too. Noa had been a fussy baby, but at 3, her meltdowns seemed completely unmanageable and out of control. We couldn’t predict what would set her off. Once triggered, these meltdowns would last up to and sometimes over an hour. We could be anywhere and she would explode. Like a wild animal fighting for her life, Noa would scream, hit, kick, and slam her knees to the floor. We couldn’t connect with her, couldn’t reach her. She didn’t want to be held. Her eyes wouldn’t focus. She couldn’t speak. We just had to let her rage. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 12 2014

I Tell My Daughter Looks Don’t Matter But I Know They Do

By at 12:04 pm

lip-gloss

My daughter sat on the floor watching me get dressed. She was wearing her brother’s ripped t-shirt and her hair was bunched into a knotty knob on her head.

“That’s a pretty dress, Mama.”

Her eyes shone when she looked at me, tiny mirrors that reflected my face back to me in rainbow colors. Read the rest of this entry →

May 23 2014

Pennsylvania Just Became Better for Same-Sex Families–And The Rest of Us

By at 11:48 am

LGBTQ-flag

I was watching “Frozen” with my 3-year-old daughter when I heard the news: the Pennsylvania ban on same-sex marriage was overturned! My Facebook feed exploded with cries of “Mazel tov,” as well as, “Finally, PA,” and, “Welcome to the 21st Century.” This was big news, and not just in an abstract, I believe in equality and social justice kind of way. This was news with measurable impact on people I care about, news with the gravitas of, “I remember where I was when I found out.”

That means, I will always remember that I was watching “Frozen.” Disney’s latest blockbuster is being heralded by parents everywhere, even while they can’t stop singing, “Let it Go.” It’s notable for depicting princesses who defy the waiting-for-Prince Charming stereotypes, but it’s not quite defiant enough for my taste. One of the opening songs still has Princess Anna say, “What if I meet…the one?” I was as devoted a follower as anyone of “How I Met Your Mother,” so it’s not that I’m opposed to the concept of “the one” being portrayed in popular culture. Rather, I think that marriage doesn’t make sense as the primary plot device in a movie marketed towards kids who haven’t started kindergarten yet.

Even so, my daughter is no stranger to weddings, having already attended three in as many years. Last June, she attended the wedding of two of our family’s dear friends, and she talked about nothing for weeks before or after the celebration. Leading up to the wedding, we talked a lot about being quiet during the ceremony, giving gifts, and eating a special meal, but we made no mention of gender, even though the marriage was (and is!) between two women. To our then 2-year-old, a party was a party, and the particulars mattered not at all. Even now, even after seeing “Frozen,” when I asked her this afternoon, “What does ‘married’ mean?” she said, “It’s when people love each other.” Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 13 2014

Purim Costume Evolution: From Princess to Star Trek

By at 4:19 pm

star-wars-purim

Like many little girls, my daughter went through a Princess phase. I never had a problem with it. Frankly, I’m thrilled my youngest child has somehow managed to pick up a knack for those feminine graces which I incontrovertibly lack. She was Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” a couple of years running for both Purim and Halloween. That lasted up until she watched “Fiddler on the Roof” and, 15 minutes before the start of Halloween 2012, decided she now wanted to be one of Tevya’s daughters, instead.

I was OK with that, too, even when she stressed that she wanted to be “the daughter that got married and had a baby,” not the one “who read too many books.”

This Purim, my first-grader has a new passion. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 12 2014

My Little Girl Loves Pink and Princesses (and Bugs!)

By at 9:56 am

Ellie-princess

I’ve always found the nature versus nurture discussion interesting. Now that I am the mom of a boy and a girl, it’s downright fascinating. It’s from that perspective that I rolled my eyes after I watched the commercial for GoldieBlox that Kveller posted.

The thing I probably love the most about my daughter, Ellie, who’s 4, is that she will dress herself in full princess garb, crown to slipper, and then march outside to examine bugs with her yellow magnifying glass, moving dirt around and onto her tulled tushy with a red or blue shovel. This is also her outfit of choice to wear while she does experiments from her multicolored science kit.

Ellie’s favorite color is pink, with purple in close second. She plays with her dolls – stuffed and Barbie–and is always the mom. She has a jewelry box stuffed with plastic baubles that she wears with the pride of a woman who just received an engagement ring. Ellie couldn’t be girlier if she tried. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 17 2013

Fairytales for the Next Generation: Beauty Isn’t Everything

By at 9:40 am

I am a storyteller, so my children were first exposed to fairytales through my own storytelling rather than reading them in books.

My son really loved “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” amended slightly to teach the lesson about not walking into strangers’ houses, and “Little Red Riding Hood,” which I was nervous about telling due to the carnivorous wolf but which my son found hilarious. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 14 2012

An Obscene Amount of Princesses for Hanukkah

By at 11:46 am

There’s no easy way to put this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it.

I bought my daughters an obscene amount of princess toys for Hanukkah. No, not organic, hand-made, gender-neutral princess dolls who are engineers in their free time. I’m talking straight-up plastic, Disney, hot-off-the-shelves-of-the-big-box-store, probably-made-by-Taiwanese-orphans, useless-without-a-handsome-prince-to-save-them princesses.

I got them these. And these. And then I bought them this. And this. I wrapped them all up and gave them to my daughters for Hanukkah. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 3 2012

News Roundup: Royal Baby Edition

By at 3:02 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- The Duchess of Cambridge is totally knocked up! And apparently has really bad morning sickness. We’re hoping she recovers quickly and we cannot wait to add her exploits to the Kid-Dish! (Remember how she might be Jewish?). (Washington Post).

- If we go over the fiscal cliff, guess who will be most adversely effected? Women and children living in poverty. Oy. (New York Times)

- Yahoo! CEO Marisa Mayer had her baby, didn’t take maternity leave, and is now saying her baby is “easy.” Some moms aren’t happy with that, but another asks why we can’t just accept that she’s an outlier. (Slate DoubleX)

- There’s a new prenatal test that can detect genetic issues, is way less invasive than an amnio, and can be done earlier in the pregnancy. The catch? The tests aren’t regulated by the FDA and are very expensive. (Washington Post)

Sep 7 2012

Letting the Princess into the Farm House

By at 11:09 am

ariel bathing suit little mermaidIt all started with the arrival of the Ariel bathing suit.

I was whipping a cart through Target when my 2-year-old spotted the suit. “Oooh, so pretty,” she said. “And her hair is exactly the same color as mine.” My daughter has dark brown hair and Ariel’s hair is a shade of red you don’t actually find naturally. Something about her bubbly delight combined with her hilarious use of the word “exactly” softened me to mush and the suit went right in the cart.

Back in the days when parenting was still a theoretical concept for me, I was firmly in the anti-princess camp. Why would we want to expose our children to old fashioned and limiting stories of frilly girls waiting to be saved by a prince? Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2012

What Happened to the Jewish American Princess?

By at 10:26 am

Acrylic nails: one of the markers of the Jewish American Princess.

I was absolutely astounded the other day when my younger stepson, Eli, who is 11, was musing about his sister Penelope’s new-found princess obsession–it had to happen sometime–and he said, “You know what’s funny? There’s no Jewish princesses.”

Bless his heart! No Jewish princesses?

I had a vague sense of the existence of the JAP stereotype in high school. I remember my friend Fran speaking dismissively of both WASPs and JAPs and wondering why she hated bugs and Asians so much, but soon enough I saw Spaceballs and was able to recognize a type–not someone I came in contact with myself very often, but sure, I knew young women sorta like that.

Then I got to college. Barnard, specifically. Hoo boy. Read the rest of this entry →

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