Dec 6 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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 →
Aug 27 2013
So last weekend was my daughter’s simchat bat, or baby naming ceremony…
First of all, I’ve got to say that the baby naming was SO much easier to deal with than the brit (circumcision) was for my son J. Of course for starters, you don’t have to worry about any snipping. My wife was thankful for that if nothing else.
Also, it was really nice to be able to decide for ourselves when the ceremony would take place. The eight day requirement is kind of restricting. For E, we were able to look at a calendar and say, “Hmm, when would be the best time for us to do this? When will family be able to come for sure?” Plus the fact that you can basically create your own ceremony that fits your style is really nice, too. So, for all those reasons, there was a lot less stress with the baby naming than the circumcision.
However, the second child’s ceremony does introduce a different type of stress–how to take care of the elder child. J is at that unique age where he isn’t young enough to totally ignore everything that is going on, while still not being old enough to fully understand why people would all be gathered for his baby sister who doesn’t really do much and certainly can’t play with trucks or trains like he can. Read the rest of this entry →
To have another or not to have another? That is the question. That is what I am thinking about as Rosh Hashanah approaches. Not about apples and honey and atoning for all my lashon hara the past year, but is it time to have another baby?
Thankfully, I got knocked up easily the first time around. I don’t take it for granted that at 33 I became pregnant our second month of trying. Isn’t it ironic how much of our 20s we try NOT to get pregnant? Then when we start trying in our thirties, it’s not quite as easy as my high school health teacher made it seem. I remember Mr. Putnam saying if there was any semen within five feet of your vagina, there was a chance you could get pregnant. If we do have another one, I pray that it is as easy to get pregnant the second time around. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 1 2013
The letter-writing baby herself.
When Jordana heard that one of her sons was homesick at camp and missing, of all people, his baby sister Orli, she quickly banged out this poem from Orli to tell him it was okay to miss her and that she was proud of him… and he’s been better ever since. Future at Hallmark, perhaps?
I know I’m just a baby, and everyone thinks I’m cheeky –
But look at me! I learned to write! I am SO DARN SNEAKY!
I took the books down off the shelf, and reading took no time!
And look how amazing I am now: I even learned to RHYME! Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 26 2013
You are 3 years old today. You should know this because we’ve been talking about it for weeks and your older sister threw an unbelievable tantrum yesterday morning that was allegedly about socks, but we both know it’s about you getting birthday attention when she’s not. Also, your Bubbe and Zayde bought you a fancy cupcake with sprinkles for your birthday dinner last night.
Now, I know that when your sister turned 3, she got a big birthday party at the park with all of her friends and a lot of fancy cupcakes, and all you got was dinner with your parents and grandparents. Don’t worry. We’ll get to the party just as soon as I can find the save the date email that I cleverly sent out to our friends and then promptly lost. (Let’s be honest, you’re a second child. You don’t really have your own friends. Fortunately, you seem to like most of the younger siblings of your sister’s friends.) Read the rest of this entry →