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Jul 9 2014

The Skype Call That Gave Me Butterflies

By at 10:37 am


I was nervous. I didn’t know what reaction I’d get on the other end of the call. Would I be met with joy? Apathy? Had I been forgotten? It had been a while since we last spoke and I felt anxious. As the time of the call drew closer, I had butterflies.

No, I’m not describing the emotions of talking to a guy I was really into… I’m talking about the excitement and anxiety I felt when my husband and I Skyped with our 18-month-old daughter while we were on vacation in Europe and she was back in California with my parents.

Before we left on our 12-day journey, we told my parents that we wanted to try to Skype a few times with our daughter. We went into it with the understanding that if seeing us on the screen made her burst into tears, then we would say goodbye and not see her again until we could do so in person with real life hugs and kisses. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2014

My Son Has a Secret Life on Skype

By at 10:05 am


Did you know “nvm” means “never mind”? I didn’t.

My almost-teenage son explained that to me. When he texted me to ask how he could get my online signature for a board he’s applying to. But when I didn’t reply because I was in a different time zone, he figured out he could ask his dad, so “nvm.”

I didn’t understand why he didn’t ask his dad to start with–I was clearly out of town and not very available, or even at all available. And I didn’t know what “nvm” meant. Oh, and I also didn’t know he was applying for a position on this board. Because I think he has a secret life. Actually, I’ll rephrase: he thinks he has a secret life. Or at least one that need not involve his parents. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 20 2013

Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Connected to Faraway Family

By at 9:51 am

greetings postcardWe live in New York and have members of our families that live in California and Beijing, so it was important for us to figure out some ways for our kids to feel they were part of their lives, despite the distance. Here were some things that we did:

1) Photos: Pictures have always been very important to me and it’s a great way to help build the memory. Very early on in both of our children’s lives, I started photo albums for them. I included photos of them with their family members and friends. We would look through the albums with them repeatedly, pointing out who everyone was.

As they got older and had more words, they were able to go through them on their own, identifying people and starting to attach them to experiences. On the same wavelength as the photo albums, my father started making a family photo calendar several years ago. We have strategically kept it in the kitchen, in full view of the children as they eat every meal. Last year, my son was so excited about the calendar that he wanted to help make it which he did. We also keep a website filled with photos of our lives that we share with our family and friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 12 2012

Is On Demand TV Making My Daughter More Demanding?

By at 4:22 pm

on demand remote “I want to watch Blue’s Clues,” my daughter announced in the middle of an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba!

“OK, honey, I’ll record it for you and we can watch it some other time,” I told her.

“What? I want to watch it now,” Ellie said.

And that’s when it hit me. Her technologically advanced world is one in which she thinks all TV is on demand. After all, she watches pretty much two shows–Gabba and Sesame Street–both of which I TiVo so they are always at her beckon call. Why wouldn’t she expect the same for Blue’s Clues? Read the rest of this entry →

May 5 2011

Mother’s Day Shopping Guide

By at 10:08 am

Spring is here, flowers are blooming, people with allergies are sneezing, and Mother’s Day is almost here! We are a big fan of this holiday (do we really need to explain why?) so we wanted to share some of our gift ideas for mothers and grandmothers. We’re taking a look at all of the wonderful gifts that can help your parents kvell over their grandchildren, and some of them won’t even cost you a dime! Remember, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8th.

For Grandma (or Bubbe or Nana or Whatever You Call Her)

This year, we’re going digital. You know that your parents’ favorite activity is gushing over how adorable and brilliant and talented your kids are, so bring your Mom into the modern age with these digital kvell-machines.

1. Digital picture frame. Why show off just one measly photo when you can offer an entire slideshow? Digital frames are easy to use, and you can have a fun time going through all those baby photos with your Mom. Even better, they’re on sale at Best Buy.

2. Kindle or other e-reader. I think a mom of just about any age would appreciate this gift. It can be especially handy for grandparents because of it’s large print feature. Make sure to get one of the covers that comes with a booklight installed for easy reading anywhere. Amazon’s even got some Mother’s Day deals going on to boot.

3. Set up an account. The internet is sort of the ideal bragging space, but depending on how tech-savvy your Mom is, she might need some help getting started. You can set her up with an account on a photosharing site like Flickr or PhotoBucket so she can easily see and share pictures of the grandchildren. Or, if you’re brave, why not introduce her to the lovely world of Facebook? Sure, she might “like” all your posts and write embarrassing things on your wall, but she’ll appreciate seeing the instant baby updates. And if she lives far away and needs more kvelling fodder, a Skype account where she can actually see and hear the baby could be an invaluable gift.

4. Cookbooks. Okay, cookbooks aren’t digital (unless they’re on a Kindle), but your kids will be on the winning end of this gift when Grandma cooks them a delicious meal. The Book of New Israeli Food is a gorgeous coffee-table-size book. Adventures in Bubby Irma’s Kitchen is as delightful as that picture of Bubby Irma. I’ve never read Love and Knishes but it wins for best title. And if you need some more suggestions, check out this list at The Jew and the Carrot.

For You

You may want to start dropping hints to your family about that gaping hole in your jewelry box soon. If you’re too busy being an awesome mom to even think about what you want for Mother’s Day, we did a quick poll on Facebook to hear what presents our readers would like. We got multiple votes for gift certificates to things like a housecleaning service, gardening, or a pedicure. Then of course there’s always jewelry. (Hint to any dads reading: you can never go wrong with jewelry, especially when you let your wife pick it out.) And if you can find time to read a novel, My Hollywood by Mona Simpson is about a mother and her nanny and is a wonderful read.

Of course, you should also prepare for those most amazing of gifts–hand drawn pictures from your kids and greeting cards with scribbled hearts inside and multiple hugs and kisses and just a day for you and your family to be together.


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