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Nov 3 2014

When Naming Your Child After a Loved One is Just Too Painful

By at 9:53 am

I Named My Daughter After My Sister

“And would you like to know the gender of the baby?” the cheerful technician asked. We both laughed and acquiesced. I really wanted to know my baby’s gender, and my husband did not want to be left out in the cold. “You look like the type of couple who will be happy whatever it is,” she said. We smiled and shared that newly-married grin. Then, after a few minutes of gliding the glop around my stomach, and hearing the heartbeat, she said, “Ready? I am pretty sure it is a girl.”

“A girl, a girl, a girl… ” The words echoed in my head, swirling and sliding. Somehow, we thought it would be a boy. We wavered daily, vacillating between boy and girl, but most days it was the blue dreams. Later that day, we began discussing name choices. The name was sort of a given, yet it was still a complex matter.

Hindy is a name that means everything to me. Hindy—my sister, a princess, a fighter, a teenager—is no more. We were three sisters, five years apart each in age, with two brothers between us. (That fact, we always joked, showed my grandfather’s CPA gene coming through.) Hindy was the youngest in my family. I vividly remember sitting in the kitchen, 5 years old, strawberry yogurt sliding in my mouth on the Friday morning she was born.

We grew up together—matching dresses, sharing school buses, books, and eventually jewelry, clothes, and more. We also shared our secrets and our feelings. But when Hindy was 14 years old, she began getting sick extremely often. The mumps, a cold, Swine Flu—you name it, she caught it. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2014

Hey Kids, You Have a Choice–Grumpy Mama or Fun Mama?

By at 10:14 am

photo (11)

“Mama, we’re booorrrrrrred,” the kids whined while I was under the covers, one eye open.

“You have a choice: Grumpy Mama can wake up now, or Fun Mama can wake up later.”

The two deliberated for a minute, and my daughter whispered something in her brother’s ear.

“Fine. Fun Mama, later.” Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 31 2013

Finally a Disney Movie That’s Not About Boy-Girl Love

By at 3:03 pm

frozen disney movie

Fine, I admit it: trekking to the movie theater after a day of heavy snow against my husband’s generally sound advice was not my best plan. But I had promised our 4-year old that I would take him to the movie theater for the first time that Saturday night, to see Disney’s Frozen, and I loved the symmetry between the white-covered world outside and the premise of the movie featuring a snow queen (which is about as much as I knew about the plot).

Clad in boots, gloves, and puffy coats, we drove ploddingly to the mall, where I skidded terrifyingly a couple of times and vowed to always take my husband’s advice from then on. But we made it safely and, tickets and popcorn in hand, settled in to enjoy the show.

It was magical. And not just because I loved seeing my adorably inquisitive son’s eyes grow wide with wonder as he took in a new experience with “the biggest TV screen ever,” but because the story itself was a revelation. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2013

All Three Kids Are Asleep & Happy. How Did This Happen?

By at 9:37 am

cara

I woke up sounding like a frog again. Remnants from my cold on Thanksgiving, I suppose. But as I sit here in bed, sipping my coffee that my husband has brought me, with my son ensconced in my lap playing on his iPad, my thoughts are not on this nasty scratchy throat I cannot get rid of, but rather, on how, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have done something right in this world of parenting. That somehow, something I did, or didn’t do, was actually a good decision. The sacrifice was worth it. My children, at this exact moment, are all happy.

I don’t recall this feeling. It is foreign to me. But it feels damn good.

You see, my 3-year-old son has never liked to sleep. Never even seemed to actually need sleep. At least not like all the other kids I know. Parents would roll their eyes at me when I said he didn’t go to sleep at night until 10 or 11 p.m. Surely I must be a terrible parent, or a push-over, I could see their judgment in their eyes. But his teachers and caregivers have continuously told us he has more energy than any other child in his class. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate, but clearly, not sleeping 12 hours a night worked just fine for him. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 6 2013

Torah MOMentary: A Bond Between Brothers, Even Those Who Sell Each Other into Slavery

By at 10:30 am

joseph-and-his-brothers_hp

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This past Shabbat we read Parashat Vayigash. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

As the mother of two boys, and someone who grew up with only a sister, I have recently taken an interest in stories of brothers.

I wonder about the special bond that some brothers share and what I might be able to do as a mother to nurture such a bond between my two boys. In looking to stories as role models, at first glance, I would not think that the biblical story of Joseph and his brothers would be one to which I would turn–jealousy that runs so deep that it causes Joseph’s brothers to plot together to sell him into slavery and then to deceive their own father into thinking that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. If anything, it reads like a worst case scenario, and the only thing I can take from it is relief that my boys’ jealousy of one another is not that bad, and that their greatest deception to date is hiding behind the couch to eat a candy bar that I had explicitly told them not to.

But by reading this week’s Torah portion, Vayigash, I have found a more positive lesson in the story of Joseph and his brothers. Toward the end of last week’s Torah portion, Joseph hid a silver goblet in Benjamin’s (the youngest and his father’s most beloved son) bag as a test to see what the brothers would do when the goblet was discovered. Joseph demanded that, as punishment, Benjamin stay in Egypt as a slave. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 5 2013

What My 2-Year-Old is Teaching Her Older Brother

By at 9:53 am

transit

When my daughter received a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday, we were not surprised that she immediately took to it and started pretending to make food. She had started pretend play several months earlier, complete with character voices for her animals and worlds that she created with Legos. What we were surprised by was that her kitchen prompted our 5-year-old son, who rarely showed interest in pretend play, to participate, as well. It was only after this that we started noticing that, because my daughter was interested in certain activities or in experiencing things differently, that my son was starting to open himself to them.

Pretend play was a very noticeable one as he is very focused on realism and organized, linear thought and experiences. But he suddenly started leading the way in acting out stories. He still didn’t fully understand when his sister announced that a character from a show they were watching was sitting at the table with them or that she was going to go on a train in the living room. In fact, he argued with her that the trains in the living room were not big enough for her to get on. We’ve had to explain to him that her pretend play can be whatever she wants. But, despite this, we can see his mind opening to the possibility of imagination on another level than he is used to.

Could it be that the younger sibling was actually prompting the older sibling to expand his horizons, rather than the usual other way around? Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 4 2013

How My 3-Year-Old Took the News of Another Baby on the Way

By at 12:22 pm

So with Jordana birthing her absolutely beautiful baby girl last week, somebody has to keep the Kveller baby boom alive so it might as well be me. I’m just finishing up the longest, most tiring first trimester of my life but we’re thrilled to welcome another little one in May. In case you had any questions,

….nope not an accident

….nope not just trying for a girl

…..yes we will need a bigger car

…yes we are staying in our two-bedroom apartment

….no I have not been feeling well

….yes I’ve lost weight, dry heaving day and night will do that but don’t worry I’ll get fat soon enough Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 1 2013

Torah MOMentary: Even Esteemed Matriarchs Play Favorites

By at 10:17 am

sibling rivalry jacob and esau parashat toldot

This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Toldot. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Maybe you’ve been feeling a little guilty about your parenting lately; you shouldn’t. There is no one perfect way to be a mom, and you’re doing your best with the resources you have. (Remember, #YouAreAGoodMama.)

Still, it’s so easy to feel insecure sometimes–especially when you constantly see other mothers who seem to have it all together, all the time: they take to breastfeeding with the greatest of ease, they throw birthday parties that are Pinterest boards come to life, and they look damn good doing it in their little black dresses two months after giving birth. Meanwhile, you’re desperately tossing back Fenugreek like M&Ms for just a minute increase in your milk supply. Your nipples look like Mike Tyson’s face (or Evander Holyfield’s ear) after a brutal round in the ring; your parties are fly-by-night operations with whatever was left over at Amazing Savings; your fashion style is more worn beatnik than city slick. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 14 2013

Divorce Isn’t All Bad for the Kids

By at 5:02 pm

building castles

For all y’all out there who think divorce is like the worst thing in the world for the kids, let me tell you something: it doesn’t have to be.

My son and daughter are best friends and allies. Born a year and a half apart, they tandem nursed (think National Geographic Magazine, and you get the idea), go halfsies on the last slice of mushroom pizza, and fall asleep holding hands in a queen-sized bed in our one-room apartment.

They’re closer than any other sibling pair I’ve seen their age. Just last week, my daughter chased down two boys from her class who were teasing her brother:

“You will NOT talk to him like that. He is my brother, and he is awesome.”

And a few days after that, when his sister slipped and fell, my son ran over to help lift her off the dirty ground before I could even say, “Sweet Girl, are you OK?” Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 10 2013

Will Your Only Child Turn Out OK? Don’t Ask Me!

By at 1:17 pm

shutterstock_149227610

The other day, I was chatting with a mom friend of mine who has a baby a little younger than my 9-month-old. (We’ll call this baby B… ya know… for “Baby.”) After a lengthy chat about which solids we’re feeding our babies (we’re still doing fruits, veggies, grains, and she’s trying baby led weaning), she gave me an apologetic look and said:

“I think we’ve decided that B is going to be an only child.”

I wasn’t sure how she wanted me to react. It’s up to everyone to decide (with their partner) how many children they would like to have. Sure, sometimes life throws a curve ball with multiples, “accidents,” or fertility issues. So, I was happy that she and her husband came to a consensus together that they wanted baby B to be an only child. But the fact that she was looking at me with almost a disappointed look on her face left me confused. Read the rest of this entry →

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