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Jun 17 2014

So, I Tried Meditating…With Children

By at 12:02 pm

meditating-alina

Back in March, I wrote about the case of shingles that knocked me flat on my back (though that hurt, too) after a month of covering the Winter Olympics, and my subsequent decision to basically… change my entire life.

I resolved to learn how to relax, so we wouldn’t have a repeat of that stress-induced chicken pox virus. Naturally, I focused all of my Type A personality on the endeavor because, well, Rome wasn’t built in a day….  Read the rest of this entry →

May 22 2014

The Sacrificial Broken Mug

By at 12:08 pm

broken-cup

I broke a mug today. My favorite one. It was half-filled with miso soup when it shattered. Jagged cuts of blue porcelain and tiny tofu clouds hurled across my floor like a child’s version of The Big Bang.

I’ve always marveled at how containers can enhance the enjoyment of the contents. This cup, with its elegant patterns and exaggerated curves had elevated my nightly green tea into a royal refreshment.

Now this magic goblet lay in pieces on the floor, bleeding its fishy contents onto the thin carpet. Read the rest of this entry →

May 13 2014

The Insane Traffic Jam That Forced Me To Stop Controlling Everything

By at 4:07 pm

traffic-jam

I am one of those people who always wants to be in control. Before I go to sleep at night (way later than I should), I pack everyone’s bags (diaper, work, lunch), make sure the tasks I want the babysitter to do the next day are all listed on my notes and that she’s got all she needs to take the kids out (metro cards, money, fresh water bottles, etc), and clean the kitchen. Then I wake up at 5 a.m. to make sure the kids’ lunches are all organized and their clothes are laid out. After I make the coffee that my partner and I live off of, I prep dinner and make sure the house in order.

It was one of these mornings when my partner called from the road; her route to work was flooded after the recent storm in DC. Could I help her navigate an alternate route, she asked. It took me a few moments to realize my route this particular morning would be the same because this entire semester, I have the honor of teaching (thanks to an amazing colleague) future Episcopal Ministers at a seminary in Virginia, a course introducing them to the world of rabbinic Midrash.

On these days our babysitter arrives early at 7:30 so I can hustle out to Virginia in time for an 8:45 start time. The car ride is normally about 30 minutes but I leave the extra time for thinking, finishing up my prepping, meeting with students, and such. I do not like being late–it is a pet peeve of mine. Read the rest of this entry →

May 12 2014

When the Terrified Non-Jewish Mom Hosts the Bris

By at 3:06 pm

newborn-bris

My husband Marc was Jewish, I was not. We hadn’t decided, not entirely, what that would mean for our kids. We already had a 3-year-old daughter, and she was happily celebrating Christian and Jewish holidays with both sides of our extended family. But having a son made any theoretical discussion suddenly incredibly real.

For Marc, the idea that we wouldn’t circumcise our infant son wasn’t an option. It was an absolute. This wasn’t a topic for discussion, not like whether or not we’d have a Christmas tree or should we not give our toddler cheerios during the week of Passover. I had to honor Marc’s right to make this decision. I had known he was Jewish, I had chosen to create a family with him. I had to respect his feelings on this topic, but I was surprised at the strength of his conviction.

I knew about circumcision. All of the little boys in my family had been circumcised in the hospital before coming home, so it wasn’t a foreign idea for me. Having it done at home was new, but my husband (and a Jewish friend who was also a resident at the local hospital) convinced me that having it done by an experienced mohel, as opposed to an exhausted and inexperienced resident, would be the best choice. If we had to do it, at least it would be done in a loving and gentle environment, by someone who was incredibly experienced and competent. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 4 2014

What Not To Do When You Think Your Child Has Lice

By at 11:33 am

lice

It was a typical weeknight. My son was having dinner while I was tackling my leftover work emails and sorting through the coupon mailer. In fact, it was actually one of those rare evenings where the ratio of food in the child’s mouth to food on the floor was pretty favorable. Things were looking good until I noticed that in between bites, my son seemed to be aggressively scratching his head.

At first I assumed he’d gotten food in his hair–a feat he’s managed on many an occasion. But upon further inspection, I saw nothing of the sort.

After dinner the scratching persisted. And the more he scratched, the more I came to face the realization that we were probably dealing with our first-ever lice infestation. I mean, the kid goes to daycare, so it was bound to happen at some point, right? Only instead of taking a productive, level-headed approach to the situation, I opted to do the thing that came naturally: I freaked out. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 6 2014

Man Plans, God Gives You Shingles

By at 11:44 am

sick-woman

After all the late-night/early-morning work I did covering the Winter Olympics (in addition to my standing freelance assignments and that whole parenting three kids thing), I promised my husband that I would take some time off afterwards and not do any work at all. (Well, except for my standing freelance assignments and that whole parenting three kids thing).

My husband didn’t believe me. God, apparently, didn’t believe me, either, because, literally less than 24 hours after the Ladies’ Long Program ended in Sochi, God decided to make certain I kept my promise to take it easy by striking me down with a case of shingles.

For those unfamiliar with shingles, it’s caused by the chicken pox virus that has been lying dormant inside you probably since elementary school flaring up and making one half of your body feel like it’s on fire. There are also some blood-red blisters (in my case along the back and above the rib-cage; but that can vary from patient to patient) that eventually erupt and scab over for visual effect. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 18 2014

When These Sleep-Deprived Snow Days Feel Like Forever

By at 10:22 am

jordanas-kids

This Will Never End.

I’ve had my fair share of this feeling lately. If you live in the Northeastern United States, you understand. Houses look like they’re auditioning to be an extra in “Frozen” with icicles the size of big foam fingers dangling off every gutter. You can’t so much as drive your car in reverse without hearing the “crunch” sound of car bumper meeting up with mountain-of-aspiring-glacier-that’s-been-plowed-into-tremendous-piles-with-nowhere-to-go.

Between snow days and vacations, it feels like we haven’t had five days of school in a row since the week before Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry →

May 9 2013

No Matter How Many Kids You Have, You’ll Be Stressed

By at 4:14 pm

three kids in car“Apparently I picked the wrong number of kids to have,” a friend and mother of three kids posted on my Facebook wall the other day. “Maybe you are onto something?”

She–and every other mom of three kids I know–was referencing the recent survey by TODAY Moms (full disclosure, for which I’m a contributor). The survey came up with the unexpected finding that the moms who have it hardest are moms of three kids:

Mothers of three children stress more than moms of one or two, while mothers of four or more children actually report lower stress levels, according to an exclusive TODAYMoms.com survey of more than 7,000 U.S.mothers released Monday. Call it the Duggar effect: Once you get a certain critical mass of kids, life seems to get a bit easier.

Let me let you in on a secret that you probably already know: this is bullshit. Sorry. But here are the reasons: Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 10 2012

The Secret Stress-Reducer for Parents: Journaling

By at 3:37 pm

leather journalPassover is a time of new beginnings, a time to meditate on themes of slavery and freedom, a time to consider the mitzrayim, or narrow place, where we may find ourselves. The hametz crumbs that usually litter my dining room have been cleared out, but they were replaced by matzah crumbs just as quickly. The house cleaning that took so much of my time last week was important, but the effects were fleeting, and my internal hametz remains. The details may differ from person to person, but we all have our struggles, including toxic relationships, family difficulties, physical and mental illness, and employment and financial stress. Many of the challenges of life are beyond our control, but what we can change, the hametz we can begin to clear during the Passover holiday, has to do with our own personal attitudes and behaviors. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 23 2012

Friday Night: Stressed Out Shabbat

By at 11:33 am
crib in baby's room

This Shabbat, we may be saying goodbye to the crib.

I submitted an article to Kveller earlier this week, and then asked Debbie, my editor, to ignore it. It wasn’t very good. She read it and agreed–my heart just wasn’t in it, she said.

She was right. My heart wasn’t in it. My heart, and my mind, have been in a million different places lately, everywhere and thus nowhere. I’m packing the family for a long weekend vacation for a cousin’s bat mitzvah. I’m wiping the snot from my toddler’s face, who has been battling the same head cold for a week now. I’m worrying about where my big girl will sleep (or not) in the hotel, as she’s too big for a travel crib, but unwilling to sleep in a bed. I’m thinking about friends with cancer, and friends of friends with cancer. Read the rest of this entry →

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