Dec 27 2012
“Whoops. That’s another nickel in the therapy jar.”
“If I have to spend another day at home with a sick kid, I’m going to end up on the psych unit.”
Most parents I know have made those jokes, or similar ones. I certainly have. As someone with a fairly sarcastic sense of humor who has spent a good deal of time on both sides of the therapy couch, the potential problems with this particular joke never really occurred to me. Then I had kids. And then Sandy Hook happened, and the all-too-often neglected conversation about mental health treatment was revived. Then a friend pointed out that perhaps such off-hand remarks about therapy might be doing more to stigmatize the issue of mental illness rather than normalize it. She’s absolutely right. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 24 2012
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
- Nanny Interviews Get More Aggressive. They now sometimes involve lie-detector tests and private investigators. [Insert nanny-state joke here.] (Wall Street Journal)
-The Ultimate Amenity: Grandparents. Some families are choosing to buy or rent apartments for their parents so that grandparents can be nearby. (NY Times)
-Since Newtown Shooting Sales of Kids’ Bulletproof Backpacks Soar. No surprise that lots of parents are snapping these up (they’re $200-$500). (Washington Post)
-Why Is My Kid Such A Picky Eater? Here are some ways to help get around your child’s aversion to leafy greens and anything that isn’t light brown. (Slate)
Last 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.
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 →
Dec 20 2012
Do you ever read something online and get really mad, almost to the point of fury? That’s how I felt when I read a piece posted on Facebook by friends from the National Review Online which alleged that the Newtown massacre was so terrible because there were no men around to stop it.
No, really. Read the rest of this entry →
We don’t have any toy guns in our house.
Okay, that’s not 100 percent accurate. We have a handful of miniscule, grey, plastic Lego guns so tiny you don’t even notice them until you step–barefoot–upon them, and then you notice them plenty. But they don’t count. They’re not real approximations of guns that can hurt or kill.
I’ve battled with myself over the toy gun issue for years now. When my son was 4 he suddenly picked up an interest in guns. I’m not sure where his intrigue or even knowledge of guns came from. Television and other media was limited to family-friendly shows from PBS and the like, and neither my husband or I are gun enthusiasts or ever felt the need to discuss guns around the house. I may have watched one or two seasons of 24 while nursing my son on the couch in his first few months of life–but I can’t imagine that’s what turned him on to guns… right? Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 19 2012
The fear can sometimes be so intense that it feels nearly unbearable.
True, being a parent brings with it unparalleled joy, fulfillment and, of course, exhaustion, but the knowledge that our primary responsibility in this world is to keep our children safe is almost too much to handle; it is both an incomparable responsibility and incomparably fear-inducing.
We need to keep our kids safe from choking while nibbling their first soggy Cheerio. We need to keep them safe in the bath, even when the water is no higher than their chubby thighs. In the car we strap them in. On the playground we call out “slow down!” We try to protect them from the wind on their chapped cheeks, from the rash on their tush, from the concrete as they learn to walk, and run, and bike. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 17 2012
Normally the one to talk our kids through the milestones and tragedies of life, I found myself in the odd, and rare, position of being out-of-town as the tragedy in Connecticut was unfolding. From a thousand miles away, I could not hold them. Nor could I really talk to them from that distance.
Arriving home late Sunday night, I had no idea what, if anything, they knew about Sandy Hook. I didn’t know if they were afraid. Or sad. Or anything. What I did know is that I wanted to control the information. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Read the rest of this entry →
I have made many mistakes as a parent. But none as terrible as the one I made this weekend. I am struck by this realization as I drive my son to school this morning.
Perhaps it is the act of tapping the brakes that triggers my remorse. This is exactly where I sat on Friday when I heard the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was sitting in the driver’s seat when I mistakenly decided not to discuss this news with my son.
Turning off the car radio and wiping the tears from my face with my sweatshirt sleeve, I inched forward in the carpool line. When he closed the car door behind him and tugged his seatbelt into place, I asked the same question that I ask every afternoon: “How was your day today?” Five words. Then I listened intently as he answered, glancing in the rearview mirror, memorizing his animated expression, making a deliberate choice to attempt to shield him from the horrific story I’d heard before he got into the car. Read the rest of this entry →
A Huffington Post article that was published over the weekend asked the question that so many of us have been struggling with since the news broke of the school shooting in Newtown, CT: Where were you, God?
Here at Kveller we write a lot about various aspects of raising Jewish children, but it’s not often that we write about God. Perhaps it’s because a belief in God isn’t necessarily a requirement for full participation in the Jewish community, or perhaps it’s because faith and God are such incredibly difficult topics to think about, much less write about in a public forum. Yet when such an unspeakable tragedy occurs, one that left so many of us parents of young children in tears over the weekend, it’s hard to imagine that we weren’t thinking about God. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 14 2012
This morning, I forgot to pack my kids’ lunches and realized it about 10 seconds before we left for school. I slapped peanut butter and jelly on bread like I was on an assembly line, threw it into backpacks, had the kids race into the car and buckle their seatbelts. I yelled a “Love you!” as they clambered out of the car and shut the door behind them, not sure if they heard me.
All over the country, parents had mornings like this.
But this morning in one town in Connecticut, parents dropped off their kids at elementary school and they will never see their 18 children alive again.
I’m writing at a point where facts are still being assembled. I’m sure in the days to come, we’ll find out the names of those involved, the victims, and the murderer. We’ll find out “why” the person did it in stomach-turning articles and TV profiles.
There is no “why” that will ever be adequate. There is no explanation that will suffice for robbing these children of their lives, for robbing these parents of their joy. And the fact that “school shooting” is even in the American lexicon is a disgusting blight on a wonderful country, and we should all be angry and ashamed. Read the rest of this entry →