Jul 17 2014
Being a very young kid in Southern California in the 1970s meant lots of beach time. It also meant minimal bathing suit wearing until around the age of 4 or so.
No one made anything of it. Maybe my grandparents had seen everything during the many summers spent in the crush of humanity on Coney Island, and a couple of naked small kids was par for the course. My parents have family photos of one particular beach excursion with visiting relatives, our smartly solar-phobic Great Aunt Lil completely covered up while my sister and I rocked our birthday suits. I love those faded, orange-hued pictures. (A teenager would probably ask which Instagram filter we used.)
That was then. This is now. Americans historically don’t have a laid back attitude when it comes to public nudity compared to say, Europe. But based on a couple recent experiences I had trying to quickly change my kids at public parks, I think our puritanical ways have hit new levels of intensity. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 13 2014
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Sally shares how a Jewish Day Camp diligently worked to make sure her daughter with special needs could attend and thrive.
“Ah-lay-ah-chickee-changa.” This cheer, from Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, New York, is heard often in our home, taught to us by Adi, our 7-year-old daughter.
Adi, who has sufficient speech and language delays and sensory issues to warrant attending a special education school, attended Camp Ramah last summer and experienced one of the highlights of her life so far. Her experience at Camp Ramah, with typical children in a typical edah (unit), was also a highlight for us because her joy was infectious. She was receiving the Jewish education we desire for her–skills, knowledge, and a sense of belonging in a community where Judaism in integral, joyful, and awe-inspiring.
This experience is not one we take for granted. Adi is a wonderful, happy, and inquisitive child who, quite honestly, couldn’t be successful in any existing dual-language Jewish day school, so we never really considered this option. However, we want her to be a knowledgeable Jew who knows that her participation in the Jewish community matters. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 5 2014
It’s a snow day here in Boston. You know what that means: kids that have to be dragged out of beds on school days are up before dawn and weary parents are staring glassy-eyed into their coffee as they negotiate who gets to go to work and who will stay home with the Tasmanian devils who have somehow managed to trash the house before the garbage truck has rumbled by.
I logged onto Facebook this morning and wrote: “They woke up at 6:30 AM and are currently wandering around the house in thin cotton summer dresses. My girls are terrible at snow days. At least it’s beautiful out.”
It was your run of the mill, slightly less than clever, semi-whiny, halfhearted attempt to garner sympathy from my friends and find something positive about the day. A few friends “liked” my picture of the snowy scene from my front door, and in the midst of a few sympathetic comments, my former boss wrote this:
“You need to get in full camp counselor mode! Bake cookies, dance party, art and crafts, story time, sledding, etc… hopefully, by later in the day the roads are a bit more cleared…I am hoping our Y is open to get them out of the house and swimming….good luck!” Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 16 2013
Ever wonder how other parents handle (or try to handle) the day-to-day grind of raising young kids? We were, which is why we started this series. Here’s a day in the life of Kveller contributing editor, Carla Naumburg.
6:00 a.m.: My alarm goes off just as my 3-year-old starts screaming because she can’t find her lovey. I head in to her room only to find it in her hand. The 4-year-old sleeps through it. I get the baby back to sleep and head to the computer to revise an abstract that’s due later that day, only to realize that my brain isn’t functioning. I shoot off an email about rescheduling a play date, and go downstairs to meditate.
I sit down on a small cushion in the corner of my living room and try to focus on my breath. Within seconds I find myself ticking off items in my mental to-do list: finish the abstract, edit a book chapter, drop off the dry cleaning, buy a gift for tomorrow’s birthday party, call my grandmother. I notice that my mind is wandering, and I come back to my breath.
Seconds later, I’ve noticed how humid the air is, and my mind is longing for the dry air and green chile of New Mexico. Green chile. So delicious. So spicy. Will my daughter ever eat it? She’s so picky. Am I getting enough protein into her? Do Americans worry too much about protein? Should we be worried more about organic vegetables? Should I be buying organic strawberries? I realize my mind has wandered, and I come back to my breath. I do this again and again for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Josh makes lunches–his job when he isn’t traveling. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 21 2013
I am pleased to report that Lilly, our 10-year-old, is enjoying her time at overnight camp at this very moment. In fact… she looked ever-so-happy in a picture posted on their site yesterday… in a bikini …the kind that I don’t allow her to wear.
That’s right; I’m one of “those” mothers. My daughter can pick out whatever she wants at the store but knows that I have veto power. Like the president. Only without any provisions to override.
Except she has now figured out a way to get around my veto; borrow the forbidden bikini while she’s at camp. Away from Mama Dictator’s eyes. Very clever. However, she must have forgotten I’d see the photo when she was mugging for the camera.
BUSTED! Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 30 2013
Every summer, in an attempt to escape the New York City heat, I pack up the kids and take them to visit my parents in San Francisco for a few weeks (where as Mark Twain probably didn’t say, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”).
This year, I wasn’t able to go due to work. But, because I think it’s important for my kids to spend time with their grandparents and assorted West Coast cousins, my husband and I decided to send the three of them out alone for a month.
They’re ages just-turned-14, almost-10, and 6 ½. They’ve spent weeks alone with their grandparents before, so we figured it wouldn’t be a problem.
And, initially, it wasn’t a problem. All three were excited about the upcoming trip. (Though I suspect what they were most excited about was the fantastic meals, new toys, and undivided attention they were about to receive; Mama didn’t raise no foolish children, they know where they’ve got it good).
But, the night before they were scheduled to leave, as we were packing their bags, my almost-10-year-old burst into tears. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 26 2013
Summer is officially on, and we’ve got a giveaway to get you super excited about going for a dip. HydroChic makes sun protective active wear for water and sports, and specialize in modest swimwear that will you keep you just as covered as you want to be.
If you’ve been following Kveller over the years, you may recognize HydroChic as the bathing suit actress Mayim Bialik wrote a love letter to last year after her search for the perfect modest swimsuit. (You can see her sporting it on her recent trip to Mexico, too.)
We’re teaming up with HydroChic to offer one lucky reader any bottom of their choosing–skirt, skort, shorts, or pants. To enter, just fill out the form below and we’ll choose a random winner next Friday, July 5th. Good luck, and happy summer!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jun 20 2013
I walk up and down the aisles of a local discount store, filling my cart to the brim. My kids are chattering happily about swimming suits, beach towels, matching flip-flops, and sand pails. I have an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Mommy, what does the beach look like?” my 4-year-old son asks. We live less than a three hour drive away from the ocean, and even closer still is the bay, and yet he’s never been to either. “I know how to swim,” exclaims my daughter excitedly. “I’ve been practicing in the bath!” I smile uneasily. I know it’s time I really teach them to swim, to teach them all about water safety. I can’t keep avoiding it. Read the rest of this entry →
May 9 2013
I need a little advice, folks.
My daughters are currently enrolled in the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy at our local JCC. It’s a great program, and I’m very happy with it (and not just because I don’t have to get in the pool with the girls!). My younger daughter (almost 3) is very happy in her private lesson, but my big girl (age 4.5) is, well, not so psyched about her group lesson. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 22 2013
So according to Judaism, I, as a father, am supposed to teach my son to swim. Seriously, it’s right there in the Talmud. A father is supposed to do six things, and one of them is teach his child how to swim.
First of all, let’s hold off questioning this for a while. I mean, yes, it’s an important skill to have, but if I am living in what is primarily a desert-based society, I don’t think I would rank swimming as one of the top six.
Regardless, this particular decree has been on my mind recently. First of all, I read The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, and it’s talked about in there. Secondly, my father pointedly told me about it when we were outside a local JCC and he mentioned that it was written above the pool. Read the rest of this entry →