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Sep 2 2014

What Do You Do When Parents Don’t Know How to Share?

By at 4:03 pm

what do you do when other parents don't know how to share?

Following a rainy Saturday, my husband and I decided to take our toddler to a local playground once the weather dried out. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who had this idea, because the place was packed. Though it’s a pretty large space that can accommodate a fair amount of kids, the 2 to 5-year-old area only has two swings. Once my son grew tired of the slides and tunnels, we headed over to the swings, where a small line had formed. On the swings were two children–presumably siblings–each being pushed by what seemed to be one of their parents.

My husband and I chatted with our son as we waited our turn. But after a solid eight minutes had passed–I timed it–I started to get antsy. Didn’t the couple pushing their kids notice the long line of children waiting to swing? I said something to my husband along the lines of “that’s kind of selfish, isn’t it?” The woman in front of me turned around to nod in agreement. Yet nobody said anything to the couple hogging the swing set. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 6 2013

I’m the One Who’s Ruined Facebook with All These Pictures of My Kid

By at 10:07 am

camera

It took me a long time to admit it, but I’m the person everyone has been talking about. I’m the person who uses Facebook as a world-wide picture sharing site, a 21st century baby brag book. It’s me; I’ve “ruined” Facebook for the cool kids.

I wasn’t always this type of person. In fact, before I turned into me, I used to hate people like me. You know the people I’m talking about: the kind of people who post funny things their kids say (or things they think are funny), share anecdotes from playdates, or statistics from doctors’ visits; the kind of people who (gasp) use their kids as their profile picture. You’re not your child, I would silently fume as I would see yet another one of my friends fall victim to the rampant child-picture-appropriation on Facebook. Your child is not your identity! Your role as a parent doesn’t solely define you! I would swear that I would be different–I would still be ME (as signified by the oh-so-telling Facebook Profile Picture). And yet, as soon as my baby was born and was big enough to wear a hat with ears–bam, he was my profile picture. I mean, come on, how could I resist? He was wearing a hat. With ears!

So how, after consciously trying not to, did I turn into this person? Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 2 2013

How I Accidentally Learned to Share the Grunt Work of Parenting

By at 4:02 pm

shutterstock_139032803 (1)

“Thank you. Thank you for going away. It was really nice for me to be able to spend so much time with the girls. We had a great time.”

My husband said those words to me last week, as we were discussing the week before, when I had been away for four and a half days on a mindfulness retreat. I had thanked him several times for postponing a business trip and working from home so I could go away. It never occurred to me that I was doing him a favor.

The night before I was supposed to leave, I decided I wasn’t going to go. There were so many reasons. We had just made it through a dizzying few weeks of one final summer vacation, Labor Day, the High Holidays, and the start of preschool. Things were just starting to settle down, and I didn’t want to shake them up again. We had just put up our sukkah, and I didn’t want to miss even one day of my favorite holiday. Most importantly, though, I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from the girls. Children need their mothers, right? Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 16 2011

Remember That Thing Called Privacy?

By at 3:13 pm

do not disturb sign on dooro“Um…what do you do at night…you know… when you want to be together?” asked my friend who was pushing her first child’s stroller as I pushed my fourth child in his.

She knew I left the door open at night, that the kids often came into bed with us, that as infants, they slept with me all night.

“I lock the door.”

“Oh, makes sense,” she replied, almost meekly.

I loved having my kids in bed with us but there were times, of course, that their parents needed to be alone together.

This concept is known as “privacy.”

In an era of TMI and oversharing, it might be a good policy to review.

Of course, I did not pee in private for about 15 years as I raised my kids. And now that I take care of my grandchildren frequently, there are times I am demonstrating to yet another generation what it means to use the toilet. But, in the immortal words of James Marshall’s hippos, George and Martha, “There is such a thing as PRIVACY, you know!”

We take for granted that we need to teach our kids to share – Elmo, Big Bird and friends talk about it all the time. And we do, too, especially when screaming and pulling are involved. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 27 2011

My Two Boys Finally Like (and Love) Each Other

By at 11:29 am

Mayim Bialik's two sons, Miles and Fred.

When I found out I was having a second boy (my older son, Miles was 2 when I got pregnant), I was thrilled. I love raising boys and I think that, as a non-feminine female who has no clue how to handle adult women who like shopping and manicures much less a 3-foot tall version of that incarnation, raising boys suits me. I envisioned my boys playing together peacefully and lovingly, making each other better people because they had each other. I pictured David and Jonathan from the Torah, but without the gay innuendo most people like to insinuate.

Anyway.

Fred was born in our living room as Miles watched from his highchair, and Miles loved Fred by ignoring him for the better part of two years. He was never mean to him or aggressive with him (he saved that for us), but he did not find anything interesting about Fred. Except that Fred got to nurse and he wanted to start up again.

Anyway.

Cut to Fred at 3 and Miles at 6. There’s been a lot of kvetching, to be honest. A lot of “Fred, NOOO!” or “Fred STOP!” and also “Fre-ed!” (with two syllables devoted to that vowel, first high, then low; like a true teenager-in-training).

Fred is a very late talker, but he learned how to communicate with me. About six months ago, Fred and Miles were playing within my line of vision, but I was tucked away in the kitchen. I saw anger from Miles over Fred wanting a toy. Then he pushed Fred. Not hard, but hard enough so that Fred’s feelings were hurt and he started to cry. Fred came to me and pantomimed exactly what happened. Miles, not knowing I had seen the whole incident, played it off well, like a true thespian (he is, after all, my son), but I informed him that the day had come when Fred’s reporting had surpassed Miles’ fibbing.

Anyway.

They have finally started to play together after a long period of me waiting and wondering if it was ever going to happen.

Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 12 2011

Friday Night: Sharing

By at 11:38 am

Why would you ever want to share your birthday?

My husband and I have birthdays that are only six days apart. Which, when we first got together, was annoying. Because who ever wants to share a birthday? (I mean, I guess some people don’t mind, but it wasn’t anything I ever wanted to do.) I might have been known for forcing our friends to celebrate twice within a one-week period so that I didn’t have to share my birthday.

And then I had a child. Suddenly, I got better at sharing. After all, I have a kid who takes food off my plate, who gets to choose what tv we watch, and whose sleeping schedule dictates when I’m allowed to leave the house. I just can’t be as selfish about birthdays anymore–or anything else, for that matter.

So this year we’re sharing our birthday celebration. We’re getting one fancy night out. Getting to go out (with free grandparent babysitting!) is such a treat that I’m willing to share it. We can let the waiters sing to both of us at the same time, even. And though we’re going on on Saturday night, I’m going to spend all of Shabbat anticipating. Because after all, it is my birthday (celebrated). I’m allowed to take one evening to have my life be (almost) all  about me again, right?

Jun 23 2011

Ask Bubbe: Grabby Toddler

By at 10:52 am

Welcome to our new Ask Bubbe advice column. Remember, if you’ve got any parenting-related questions, we’ve found a woman who’s been through it all, so send any and all questions to info@kveller.com.

Dear Bubbe,
My 2-year-old daughter frequently grabs toys out of other children’s hands without asking first.  She’s verbal enough to use her words, but sometimes she gets so excited about the toy that she just snatches it away.  How should I respond?
Thanks,
Carla

Dear Carla,

Darling, I don’t want to belittle your problem, but repeat after me: she is only 2. She is only 2. She is only 2.

She may be the most lovable, clever and compassionate 2 year old in the world, but she is only 2. This behavior is normal.

If she takes a toy from another small child who is distressed about it, give attention to the distressed child, point out to your daughter that she hurt the other child’s feelings, that she wouldn’t like it if it was done to her, and ask her to return the toy. Praise her lightly for doing so, give her a hug. Or you can continue to give soothing attention to the wounded party and offer her a BETTER toy; Miss Grab may feel a bit left out and maybe she will learn something from this but–she is only 2.

If that doesn’t work, and it most likely won’t, try to distract both the children with something else. Resort to a treat if you have to.

Don’t forget, in a couple of minutes this will all be over and they both will move on to something else anyway. (They are only 2!)  Any tantrums are to be completely ignored.

If the other child, however, is not distressed by the loss of the toy, I wouldn’t bother; there’s a lesson there for the other kid too. Fight back or lose! (Only kidding.) (Not really.)

Save your anguish for really anti-social behavior, like biting. That’s a hard one.

Keep up the good work!

Want more bubbe? Go here and send your questions to info@kveller.com

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