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Oct 28 2011

Weekly Roundup: Taking Kids to Occupy Wall Street, Performance Birth & More

By at 12:03 pm

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

occupy car seatOccupy Wall Street becomes a family affair, and our own Jordana Horn writes about it. (TODAYMoms)

– Fodder for the next Republican debate? A federal advisory committee is advising that 11- and 12-year-old boys be inoculated for HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer and other cancers. Since 2006, the CDC has been recommending that girls, ages 11 and 12, receive the vaccination. (The New York Times)

– Orthodox couples struggling with infertility say they face social isolation. (Ynet)

– Children who receive what a Stanford researcher terms “process praise” (“You must have tried really hard”) are more resilient and less risk-averse than their peers who receive “person-based” praise (“You are really smart”), a new study shows. (Motherlode)

– Babble picks its Top 50 Dad Blogs, with Lesbian Dad taking the top spot in the “most groundbreaking” category. The Busy Dad Blog was named “funniest,” and Matt, Liz and Madeline “most confessional.” (Babble)

– Among the things that stay-at-home moms and working moms feel most guilty about: Their messy homes, according to a new report. (The Juggle)

– Off-Broadway, Linda Lavin takes on the “esteem-shrinking” Jewish mother. (The New York Times)

– The performance artist we told you about last week, the one who was planning to give birth before a crowd of gallery-goers, had her baby, inside Brooklyn’s Microscope Gallery. Clearly the mother, Marni Kotak, wasn’t using Kveller’s Jewish Baby Name Finder; she named her nine-pound, two-ounce son Ajax. (The Washington Post)

Happy Challah-ween!

Oct 17 2011

Weekly Roundup: Performance Birth, The Cost of Kids & More

By at 2:36 pm

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

Aviva Shalit

– Debra Nussbaum Cohen details the deep sense of kinship she feels with Aviva Shalit, the mother of the longtime Hamas captive Gilad Shalit. (The Sisterhood)

– Performance artist Marni Kotak says she plans to give birth before an audience of Brooklyn gallery-goers. (The Daily Mail, via Mom365)

– Raising a child through age 18 costs the middle-class American family an average of $226,920 — and that’s apparently without a Bugaboo Donkey. (CNNMoney)

– Room for Debate has a lively discussion (though one in which female voices are glaringly underrepresented) about the repercussions of declining birthrates on the Earth and the economy. (Room for Debate)

– More than one in 10 families don’t adhere to the vaccine schedule set out by the Centers for Disease Control — with many parents delaying, or skipping altogether, inoculations that protect against such illnesses as chicken pox and measles, a new study shows. (The Associated Press, via NPR)

– After three years, and more than 1,200 posts, Lisa Belkin, the writer who has helmed The New York Times’ Motherlode blog since its inception, packed up her diaper bag, and headed to The Huffington Post. (MotherlodeWWD)

– While many European countries limit the number of children that single sperm donors can father, there are no such restrictions in the U.S. or Canada.  And one Toronto-based filmmaker, conceived with the help of donor sperm, believes that he may have as many as 1,000 biological siblings. (Montreal Gazette, via Babble)

– Dr. Perri Klass explains how a bilingual baby’s brain processes language, and why children exposed to two languages from an early age are “more cognitively flexible” than their monolingual peers.  (The New York Times)

– And “Dragon Mom” Emily Rapp writes poignantly about raising a child with Tay-Sachs, a genetic disorder prevalent among Ashkenazic Jews (though Rapp is not Jewish). “[My son] won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say ‘Mama,’ and I will never be a tiger mom,” she writes. “The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity.” (The New York Times)

Oct 10 2011

Weekly Roundup: Questioning Ketchup & the Origins of the Jewish Mother

By at 4:13 pm

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

– Katie Rophie, who famously compared newborn care to narcotics, wonders why single motherhood remains taboo, even in otherwise “tolerant liberal” circles. (Slate)

– Ketchup: Three decades ago, America was all but ready to classify it as a vegetable; today, the French don’t even want it as a dipping sauce. The French government has ordered school cafeterias to reign in their use of ketchup. And the condiment is banned from being served up altogether when traditional French dishes, like beef bourguignon, are on the (school lunch!) menu.  (Fox News, via Babble)

– In an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, two Johns Hopkins epidemiologists reaffirm the health benefits of circumcision, and call efforts to ban the practice “ethically questionable.” The authors also come out against cutting Medicaid funding for the procedure. (JAMA, via Science Daily)

– What do you do when your little boy wants to attend the annual Purim spiel dressed as Queen Esther? That’s the subject of one of the 19 monologues in “Motherhood Out Loud,” a new off-Broadway production that parses the range of maternal experience.  (The New York Times)

– Over at Salon, one young mother who has begun to recognize her mother’s overprotective tendencies in her own parenting style searches for “the origins of the Jewish mother mentality.” (Salon)

– And Haaretz book critic Shoham Smith takes issue with the new Hebrew-language pregnancy guide “OMG, I’m Pregnant,” calling the lighthearted manual, which devotes ample ink to pregnancy weight gain and maternity fashion, a “dangerous” piece of “bimbo lit.” (Haaretz)

Oct 3 2011

Weekly Roundup: Older Moms & Dancing Pregnant Ladies

By at 9:30 am

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

- New York magazine returns to one of its favorite topics, fertility trends among the city’s professional class, with its cover story on the rise of the over-50 mother. (New York)

– The average American woman has 2.1 children. But that number belies a “fertility class divide,” in which the rate of unplanned pregnancies among poorer women is rising, as is the rate of childlessness among their wealthier counterparts. (Slate)

– Raising children according to one’s ideals — not to mention American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines — is no easy feat, and Forward columnist Sarah Wildman explains why it’s okay to bend the rules on occasion. (Forward)

– It’s become increasingly popular, especially among academic-minded parents, to delay kindergarten enrollment — with the expectation that this will give children an advantage over their younger classmates. But in this Times op-ed, Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, authors of the new book “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows From Conception to College,” argue that this practice, known as redshirting, is likely to backfire. And be sure to listen to this recent “Fresh Air” interview with Wang and Aamodt. (The New York Times)

– Finally, here’s some inspiration for the 5772: Watch modern dancer Rachel Feinerman perform this graceful routine — at 36 weeks pregnant. And to think I struggled with the subway stairs with my baby bump! (YouTube)

Sep 23 2011

Weekly Roundup: Boob Jobs, Tefillin Allergies & Grown Men Drinking Breast Milk

By at 3:29 pm

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

– Breastfeeding won’t mess up your boob job, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons wants you to know; it’s pregnancy, not nursing, that causes a woman’s breasts to sag. (Cold comfort, I know.) (HealthDay News, via Baby Center)

– Parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall is troubled by the rationale given by the Museum of Children’s Art for canceling its planned exhibition of artwork by children living in Gaza; she is equally troubled by the Oakland museum’s decision to schedule the show, absent of context, in the first place. (Tablet)

– You’ve heard of peanut allergies, but “tefillin allergies”? (The Jerusalem Post)

– On Wednesday, President Obama, speaking before the U.N. General Assembly, challenged the international community to move to “break down the economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls.” The following day, young girls and their advocates marked the first-ever international “Day of the Girl” — an effort by the non-profit School Girls Unite to promote fair gender practices through programming and legislation. (Day of the Girl)

– If you think the $1,500 Bugaboo Donkey is extravagant, check out the latticework, and the leather and lace appointments on the vintage prams featured in this slideshow on the evolution of the stroller. (Babble)

– Vaccinating young girls against HPV, a common sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer, has long had critics on the right. But presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s suggestion that the vaccine is “dangerous” and might even have caused a case of mental retardation — remarks that physicians groups promptly refuted — could lower HPV immunization rates for years to come. (The New York Times)

– For writer A.J. Jacobs (who we’ve interviewed here), of “The Year of Living Biblically” fame, new scientific evidence showing that fatherhood causes men’s testosterone levels to plummet was no surprise. “I knew that my testosterone was at a low point when I found myself wearing my wife’s polka-dotted breast-feeding pillow strapped around my waist in an attempt to feed a bottle of milk to my infant son,” Jacobs told The Times. (The New York Times)

– Slate’s Jessica Grose, writing on the Opinionator, worries about raising her apparently yet-to-be conceived children in brownstone Brooklyn, a.k.a. “fertility junction.” (Opinionator)

– And, the site that many of us who do raise our kids (sans car) in brownstone Brooklyn rely on to deliver those 234-packs of diapers to the front door of our walk-ups, is now offering a selection of 20,000 toys through its sister site,, which launched this week. (

– How long can a grown man survive on a diet of his wife’s breast milk? Ewwwwwww. (Gizmodo)

Sep 2 2011

Weekly Roundup: The Nintendo Habits of Breastfeeding Moms

By at 1:11 pm

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

- The woman made famous by her cheeky Twitter parodies of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-ish, Rachel Figueroa-Levin, is a Jewish (and Puerto Rican) mamele. She blogs at The Misadventures of Mrs. Levin and tweets @jewyorican. She even tweeted while she was in labor with her now 8-month-old daughter, Adiella. (“Holy Frijole OWWW!” read one of her pre-delivery dispatches.) (The New York Times)

– Babble is out with a new list of the “Top 20 Hipster Baby Names.” (Think Atticus and Clementine.) For the record, we prefer the names on Kveller’s Jewish Baby Name Finder. (Think less pretentious.) (Babble)

– A new study purports to show that nursing mothers are more aggressive (while playing video games, that is) than their non-nursing counterparts. But perhaps the study’s real value is in proving, once and for all, that breastfeeding moms are less-than-ideal Nintendo opponents. (io9)

– Responding to a groundswell of Internet ire, J.C. Penney is no longer selling girls’ t-shirts with the intelligence-insulting message of “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” Good riddance. (The Washington Post)

– Soleil Moon Frye, the Jewish actress whose portrayal of Punky Brewster taught children of the 1980s a thing or two about individualism (not to mention saying no to drugs, learning CPR and healing after a national tragedy), is out with a new book: In “Happy Chaos,” Frye, now a 35-year-old mother of two, advocates for embracing the messy chaos of parenthood. (The Today Show)

– Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Eve Weinbaum and Rachel Roth discuss the legacy of the early 20th century feminist Crystal Eastman, who, they say, was ahead of her time in understanding that “women’s freedom depends on resolving what we now call ‘work/family’ conflict.” (The Los Angeles Times)

– The mother of the free-range parenting movement, Lenore Skenazy, reminds us that 30 years ago, children weren’t considered ready for first grade unless they could “travel alone in the neighborhood [four to eight blocks] to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home.” (Free-Range Kids)

– And just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Beyoncé is pregnant, revealing (and reveling in) her baby bump onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards. B’sha’a tova, Ms. Knowles. (MTV)

Aug 26 2011

Weekly Roundup: Eating Placenta & Other Weight Loss Tips

By at 2:40 pm

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

– Eating placenta (in a vitamin-like capsule, granted) is apparently all the rage (in Brooklyn, at least), New York magazine reports. One proponent-turned-afterbirth-entrepreneur even sells “I Love Placenta” t-shirts. (NY Mag)

– Thanks in large part to advances in reproductive medicine, the rate of multiple births has risen dramatically in recent years. This week, Slate takes a posthumous look at the psychoanalyst who changed the way Western society looks at, and raises, twins. (We’ve got a new personal account of twins, here.) (Slate)

– A new study shows that hiding vegetables in your kids’ favorite meals — a form of deception popularized by Jessica Seinfeld (or was it Missy Chase Lapine?) — goes a long way to curbing children’s caloric intake, and could be a key to fighting childhood obesity. (Science Daily)

– Or there’s always the more heavy-handed approach of reading “Maggie Goes on a Diet” to your youngster. That forthcoming children’s book about an overweight 14-year-old who, through healthy eating and exercise, transforms herself into a svelte soccer star has sparked a debate over whether children as young as four should be encouraged to “diet.” (Time)

– An Australian college professor has some advice for baby-wearing parents: The next time you put on that Bjorn or Snugli or K’tan, make sure your infant is facing toward you. Catherine Fowler told The Daily Mail that outward-facing carriers create “a bombardment of stimulus” that she calls “stressful,” even “cruel,” for infants. (Daily Mail)

– Over at the Forward, Kate Fridkis, a home-schooling ‘alumna’ herself, writes about the (still tiny minority) of Jews who are educated at home by their parents. (Forward)

– This JTA article about new efforts to promote genetic screening contains a jarring statistic, courtesy of Mount Sinai School of Medicine: One out of every 3.3 Ashkenazic Jews living in the New York area is a carrier for at least one Jewish genetic disease. (JTA)

– And finally, a reason not to embrace your inner supermom: Working mothers with unrealistic expectations about ‘doing it all’ are at higher risk for depression than are their counterparts who do not expect to balance seamlessly their professional and child-rearing responsibilities, according to a University of Washington researcher. (Fox)

Aug 19 2011

News of the Week: Hot sauce or time out?

By at 4:27 pm

All the parenting news you probably missed this week.

-European or child abuser? That’s the question Jezebel asks about this mom who dared to leave her 1-year-old outside a coffee shop on the mean streets of Amherst, MA while she ran into to pick up food. As it turns out, she’s Swedish and in many parts of Europe parents are much more relaxed (and don’t get arrested) for that sort of thing.  (Jezebel)

-Women at Bloomberg LP lost a major lawsuit that accused the company of discriminating against pregnant women and women and moms. In issuing the decision the judge added, “In a company like Bloomberg, which explicitly makes all-out dedication its expectation, making a decision that preferences family over work comes with consequences.” (New York Times)

-A mom in Alaska (no, not THAT mom!) was arrested after it was discovered that she put hot sauce on her 7-year-old’s tongue as a form of punishment. The mom’s disciplinary tactics came to light when she went on Dr. Phil to talk about the disciplinary problems she  and her husband, a local police officer, were having with the twin sons they adopted from Russia. (The Anchorage Daily News via WSJ)

Aug 5 2011

Weekly Roundup: International Kids’ Rooms, Jewish Love on Reality TV & More

By at 3:30 pm

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

This photo essay of children’s rooms in the New York Times is really astounding. From a dump in Cambodia to a gated Orthodox community in the West Bank to the top floor of a 5th Avenue apartment building, it gives you a lot to think about. (NYT)

– Welcome to the tribe, Bachelorette! Apparently Ashley Hebert, who chose JP Rosenbaum, a construction manager from Long Island, as her mate for life on reality TV, is going to convert to Judaism for him. We’re all waiting for the 2-hour “Rabbi Tells All” special. (6nobacon)

– We mentioned this last week, but hearing the full story about the women who went into labor while taking the bar exam, “breathed through the questions,” finished the test and gave birth two hours later is truly amazing. (And we’re pretty sure she’s Jewish, too, so there’s that.) (Chicago tribune)

– We’ve spoken up about genetic testing for Jewish genetic disease, but this story brings to light another important issue–testing for certain cancers that may be more common among Ashkenazi women. Jill Steinberg took the test that saved her life. (Forward)

Jul 29 2011

Roundup: Giving birth during the Bar Exam, not banning Circumcision, and Octomom

By at 3:30 pm

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

-It’s over! It’s over! Remember all that brouhaha about banning circumcision in San Francisco? Well guess what? It’s off the November ballot. “After a judge ruled Thursday that state law expressly preempts local jurisdictions from regulating health care professionals.” Where will Foreskin Man fly off to next? (San Francisco Examiner)

-Speaking of the law, a pregnant woman went into labor yesterday while taking the bar exam in Illinois. That wouldn’t be so remarkable except that she finished the exam! And then gave birth two hours later. Before the test she informed the proctor that she was nine months pregnant and asked for permission to leave in case she became a screaming bloody animal (what, was that just me?) went into labor. (

-Mayim Bialik tells all about choosing her baby names. Find out why she chose Miles Roosevelt and Fredrick Heschel and what their connection is to  the names Meir Rosh and Ephraim Hirsch.  (NameCandy)

-An awesome slide show about how to handle tantrums in public. (MadameNoire)

-Octomom and her brood on the Today Show. My favorite part is when Ann Curry has to rescue one of the kids who is trying to escape. (Today Show)


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