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Sep 11 2014

The Three Things I Never Thought I’d Let My Son Do

By at 3:32 pm

sippy-cup

Back when I was pregnant, I had many preconceived notions about the type of parent I’d be and the things I would and would not tolerate. But now that I’ve been a parent for over two and a half years, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to let go of those thoughts, plans, and ideas, and instead adapt to your circumstances. Case in point: There are three things in particular I always said I’d never let my toddler do–but now he does:

1. Drink Juice.

As an avid baker and self-proclaimed sweet tooth, I believe in letting my toddler indulge in moderation. But to me, juice is just a waste of sugar. At playdates, I’d politely decline when parents offered juice as an option. And at daycare, I gave my son’s teacher strict instructions to provide him with water instead of juice at snack time. But one day at pick up, she informed me that my son had gotten very upset when he realized he was the only child at the table with water instead of juice. I thought about it and realized that causing my son to feel left out was far more detrimental to his wellbeing than the small amount of sugar the daycare’s watered-down kiddie juice cups contained. I still do my best to avoid serving him juice, especially if we’re home or in a controlled environment. But if we’re in a situation where he actively requests it, I don’t automatically say no.  Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 9 2014

I’m Freaked Out by the School Bus Horror Stories on Social Media

By at 11:12 am

School-Bus-Horror-Stories

I have watched the stream of first-day-of-school photos flood social media these last couple of weeks, and all these beautiful, shiny children, smiling with carefully chosen too-large-to-fail backpacks have made me look forward to my son starting school next year.

To me, the defining moment of my son’s first day of school will be when I watch him get on the bus and wave goodbye until the bus turns the corner. Until a few days ago, my biggest qualm about him getting on the bus was that I didn’t know how I could put on a brave face when all I will probably want to do is cry.

But when the bus horror stories started popping up in my newsfeed, I started to have a lot more second thoughts about putting him on the bus. The anecdotes I heard from mothers I personally know include: Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 8 2014

That Time I Almost Picked Up a Hitchhiker with the Kids in the Car

By at 3:52 pm

hitchhiking

I saw a hitchhiker this morning. It was a woman. She looked like she was in her mid-40s. Scraggly, blond hair, a tiny butterfly tattooed on her neck, a defeated look in her gray eyes.

My first instinct was to pick her up. In fact, I slowed down and pulled up so close that she slung her grungy backpack over her shoulder and started to move towards our car. The lines by her mouth rippled out into a tight lipped smile.

“Who is that, Mama?” Evi strained to get a better view. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 11 2014

How Do We Protect Children From School Shootings? Bulletproof Blankets, Apparently

By at 3:20 pm

bulletproof-blankets

It’s safe to say that security blankets have taken on a new meaning. Meet the Bodyguard Blanket, the latest bulletproof product on the market to protect children in schools from increasingly tragic events like school shootings and natural disasters.

Created by Oklahoma company ProTecht, the $1000 bulletproof blanket is designed to withstand being punctured by debris falling at 200 mph and protects against “90% of all weapons that have been used in school shootings in the United States.”

Gun-control lobby groups say there were at least 44 school shootings in the U.S. between December 2012 and February 10th, 2014—that’s an average of about three per month. 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 →

Jun 21 2013

Why You Should Never Leave Your Kids in the Car

By at 12:54 pm
My little guy, safe in his car seat and not alone.

My little guy, safe in his car seat and not alone.

I have dozens of childhood memories that include me and my siblings waiting in the car for our parents. Most notably, I remember us waiting at the bank and my little brother, probably preschool age, backing the car into an adjacent lot. The story is told in jest now, and my mother was most definitely a helicopter parent of her time. That’s just how it was.

But it’s 2013 and we use car seats and bike helmets and you can’t leave your kids in the car anymore. There is no “running in” anywhere and even going to the bank to deposit a check is a full blown ordeal.

I ran errands one day last week and pulled my two kids in and out of the car no less than 15 times before noon. It was 80 degrees outside and I was taking our cat to the groomer. Here I am holding a 20-pound infant who is diving out of my arms with a cat carrier in one hand and attempting to wrangle a bolting preschooler with the other. Add the diaper bag and I’m a walking circus. Once I finally got everyone loaded into the car I realized that I forgot the checkbook and the grooming salon ONLY TAKES CHECKS. Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2013

How Worried Should We Be About Flame Retardants in Our Furniture?

By at 11:50 am

couch with flame retardantsI am a champion worrier, and I do not limit my worrying to the logical or the likely. I worry about there not being enough food at Shabbat dinner, and about stranger danger. I worry about my step-daughter refusing to eat vegetables and becoming anemic, and about animals escaping the zoo. But these days, I spend most of my time worrying about two big, terrifying environmental dangers: flame retardants in furniture, and fracking. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 24 2012

Guns Have No Place in My School

By at 11:50 am

security guard badgeLast week, the NRA responded to the unspeakable, horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut with the proposal to have an armed guard in every school in America. Several NRA supporters went further: the phrase “arm the teachers!” frequented Facebook and my Twitter feed for days.

I fumed.

Guns have no place in schools. They have no place around children. They have no place in a learning environment wherein the most fundamental tenets are tolerance, respect, community, and peaceful conflict resolution.  Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 5 2012

The Killing at the Pittsburgh Zoo

By at 11:00 am

Sunday afternoon a 2-year-old was killed at our zoo in Pittsburgh after falling into the Painted Dog exhibit.

The words “mauled to death” almost made me sick as tears welled up in my eyes. I take my kids to that zoo almost weekly. My 2-year-old just started walking on his own instead of seeing the animals from the safety of his stroller. I wear my infant and push the empty stroller, just in case he gets tired and wants to climb in for a ride. I am often preoccupied with the bulky stroller or fussy baby and he runs ahead a little. The other day I turned my head for a moment and lost him over near the Komodo dragon exhibit. A moment.

Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 21 2012

Worst Case Toddler Scenarios

By at 12:53 pm
baby on the move

My baby's on the move.

My first boss in Washington was like an honorary big brother. In between directing our little staff about housing policy matters, he offered life lessons. “When you have a kid,” he assured me, “you’ll be ready to hurl yourself in front of a moving car just to make sure it doesn’t hit them.” I guffawed. Throw myself in front of a moving car? That sounded dangerous (and crazy).

And yet, he was right. He had the benefit of already being a parent and knowing about danger and fear from the other side. Read the rest of this entry →

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