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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 →

Aug 20 2012

There Was a Rapist on My Kibbutz

By at 2:52 pm

girl on bike no handsSo once upon a time when we lived in the Big Bad City where police helicopters were more plentiful than stars in the smoggy LA night sky, my ex told me about this magical place where children roam free and everyone knows everyone and it’s like Mayberry only in Hebrew and with shmarim instead of apple pie, and blah blah blah.

It’s called a kibbutz. And apparently it’s paradise for children. And dogs. (Because both like to run around and pee on lawns, etcetera.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 28 2012

Should We Be Doing Background Checks on Our Elmos?

By at 2:44 pm

anti-semitic elmoFull disclosure: I’ve never been an Elmo fan. I didn’t especially like him when I first met him on my television screen–he seemed too relentlessly happy, too sure that I would care “what he’s thinking about today.” He made me think about throwing shoes at the television. My boys, of course, loved him. They watched Elmo constantly during the most harrowing time of my life–my year-long divorce. When I hear that red guy’s high cloying voice, to this day, it makes me shudder.

So I’ll admit that, in a weird way, I felt slightly vindicated when I found out Elmo was a recidivist racist. Okay, fine, it wasn’t the REAL Elmo. I mean, to the extent any Elmo is real, of course. Racist Elmo is not the one with the ™ symbol next to his name, the legitimate Elmo. No, racist Elmo is one of the illegitimate Elmos. New York has a bunch of Elmos (and other characters with sidewalk child appeal) who wander around tourist sites to pose for photos with kids and make some quick non-taxable cash. Read the rest of this entry →

May 15 2012

Helping Your Kids Feel Safe in a Sometimes Dangerous World

By at 4:05 pm

child on a leashLooking back, I am quite sure that my great-Uncle Sid was a sexual predator.

In those days no one seems to have known what that was, and certainly no one talked about it. But even when we were very young, we knew he was not the guy you wanted to be with, especially if you were alone. When I was little, he bent down to kiss me and my sister and would stroke our non-existent breasts. When we got older, my father would hold us away from him, but he was still allowed to kiss us. What were people thinking?!

My dad was a good, involved father and yet it would not have occurred to him to confront the situation. He just protected us from inappropriate touching. And that was considered enough. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 19 2012

A Crime Alleged, A Community in Shock

By at 11:11 am

A second grade teacher in our town has just been arrested for allegedly possessing and producing child pornography, among other charges. The evidence, as described in the press, is incredibly upsetting and appears to be quite damning.

We know this man. He went to elementary school, to Schechter no less, with my husband. They grew up together. I met him recently at a school reunion, and he was so kind, so funny, and so thoughtful that I even considered setting him up with one of my best friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 22 2011

Car Seats Are Cool In This House

By at 4:08 pm

Note: This baby is not installed correctly.

I’m glad Jordana survived her childhood car accident, because there a many, many children who don’t.

I’ve heard it all before and it seems each generation is harder to convince than the next.  Yes, I know you managed to endure a rustic childhood of riding in a wooden-paneled station wagon with the seat belts cut out and you turned out just fine but it’s pretty safe to say that your Mom wasn’t driving you to preschool at 70 miles per hour, guzzling Starbucks, and texting on her iPhone.

I’ve been a Child Passenger Safety technician for over six years now and having a child of my own has made me even more passionate about car seat safety and the new car seat recommendations. My husband likes to point out passersby on the freeway just to get my blood boiling, “Hey hun, check out that 8-year-old riding in the front seat next to us. Do you want to perform a citizen’s arrest?” You don’t know car passenger safety until it’s 90 degrees outside and you find yourself knee deep in a 2-door Dodge Neon with a hot EMS guy sorting through gum, papers and rotten popcorn shrimp trying to find enough seat belts to install three car seats across the back while mom talks on her cell phone and tries to keep her triplets from playing in traffic. True story, times 20.

I’ve seen seats strapped in with bungee cords or propped up with bricks. I’ve watched parents roll up in an Escalade with their toddler riding shot gun in a lap belt. Here’s a quick note: if you find yourself reaching for the duct tape, it’s probably time to spring for a new seat. Read the rest of this entry →


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