Feb 28 2014
Dearest Sugar Bee,
It was your birthday yesterday and I fell in love with you again. We were out in the desert with friends and you were your beautiful, lively self, enjoying your family and friends and soaking in the sunshine. We spent a lot of time holding hands and swinging in a hammock and talking about life. I gave you your “7″ charm to wear around your neck this year. It’s the charm that I wore when I was 7 and Grandma wore and Aunt Lenore too. The charm that Grammy brought into our lives. Lucky seven. We are indeed lucky.
Flashback a week and we are fighting about homework. Again. You are giving me that look. Slack jawed, tongue forward, eyes rolled, wobbling your head like a car ornament. And I want to kill you. I feel my chest tighten and I want to shriek that I can’t stand you. That I don’t understand why you treat me the way you do. Why only me? I try to diffuse your frustration and anger which I have gotten pretty good at after this much practice. My encouragement falls on deaf ears. You are too far gone. I excuse myself from homework and give myself a time out in my bedroom and hold my head in my hands until my anger dissipates. When you calm down too you knock on my door and we hug. You give me the picture you drew of us together. I smile and thank you and add it to the pile. We continue to work; you finish your homework and peace is restored to our home. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 9 2014
There have been a few times so far in my life where I have taken my kids on an outing and everything works out perfectly: the birds chirp and the sun shines, I’ve miraculously packed enough snacks, and the kids behave like mensches. Perhaps most importantly, there are eyewitnesses to note my kids’ wonderful behavior and shoot me admiring looks for this Gisele-like scene of perfect parenting.
Listen, we all need a little external feedback sometimes for emotional validation. Even if you’re Gisele.
These rare occasions have falsely instilled a belief that most outings will go as smoothly, despite considerable evidence to the contrary (baby poop explosions and the realization that I forgot the wipes at home, temper tantrums in aisle six, etc.). So with a confidently optimistic attitude, I blithely set off for IKEA on New Year’s Day with two slightly hungry children who were antsy to get out of the house. I had never been to IKEA before, but people love it and the catalog makes it seem like a fun place. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 2 2013
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This past Shabbat we read Parashat Miketz. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
Last week’s Torah portion, Miketz, is full of large-scale drama: fortunes rising and falling, pilgrimages for survival, power struggles, and internal journeys of the heart.
Pharoah dreams of extremes: seven fat cows, seven emaciated cows. Joseph, called to interpret these dreams, rises from his prison cell to a position at Pharaoh’s side. The earth goes through seven years of plenty, then seven years of famine. Joseph’s brothers journey across a great desert to beg Pharoah’s assistant for grain, not realizing that Pharoah’s assistant is actually Joseph. Now in power, Joseph plays a game of cat-and-mouse with them, withholding his identity, alternating between public sternness and private weeping.
Yep, this is the stuff of great family drama. Will Joseph reveal himself to his brothers? How far will he go to punish his siblings’ past cruelty? How can siblings do this to each other?
Meanwhile, at my house, a different drama is playing out. I call it toddler drama. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 31 2013
When I was giving my 11-month-old a bath the other night I immediately flashed back to an evening I spent with my then boyfriend, now husband, about seven years ago.
We had made plans to have a low-key evening in. I headed over to his apartment to find him going for a night swim with his roommates. I felt uncomfortable, out of place, and awkward. I thought this was going to be a night for the two of us. As I watched my guy and his pals having a great time in the pool, while I stood there dumbfounded, I saw five options:
1. Calmly express my frustration at the situation and request that my boyfriend get out of the pool and spend time with me.
2. Demand some respect and request that my boyfriend get out of the pool and spend time with me.
3. Head home in a huff, frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed.
4. Passive-aggressively tell my boyfriend to have fun with his friends…that it’s no big deal, I just drove over expecting us to have some alone time, but I’ll just go home and eat my feelings. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 18 2013
I was totally feeling Jordana’s piece on Toddleritis. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni’s recent parenting critique? Not so much.
The childless Bruni considers modern parenting too indulgent and democratic. His self-described parenting credential is being Uncle Frank, but the gap between aunt/uncle and parent is like that between dessert and spinach. Kids enjoy aunt/uncle’s doting; they don’t test limits. It’s different with parents. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 9 2013
The pediatrician looked in G’s mouth in a somewhat desultory fashion. “Maybe she’s getting her molars. Maybe.”
He was basically throwing me a bone.
I’d taken 20-month-old G to the pediatrician three times in the past week. Fine, that makes me sound a little crazy. Well, I’d become a little crazy. This was our “well” visit, and yet again, the doctor was telling me she was…well. Healthy, speaking well, unusually tall considering her mom’s genetic contribution. Everything was just as you’d want it to be, pu pu pu. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 19 2013
One of my favorite pictures I ever took of my daughter came during a tantrum.
She wasn’t quite 3. We were in the middle of a family party with our best friends–and their two kids, the de facto cousins. My daughter had just hit her BFF. I scooped her into my arms and carried her upstairs for a time-out. A photographer friend once advised me that photos of crying people were always good to take, aesthetically (you can quibble about the morals). There my daughter stood in her crib in a white satin dress-up princess frock. Her face, framed by tired pigtails, revealed the sadness and regret just beneath the frustrated, overtired impulsivity. Her dark eyes were slick and teary and her rounded cheeks appeared rounder, all pouty. And the camera happened to be around my neck. She was so freaking adorable I had to sneak in one quick shot. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 8 2013
Every duo fights. It’s inevitable, especially when you’re always together.
Until recently, Lila and I have had a pacific relationship. But increasingly, I’m interacting with a rapidly evolving and independent little person. This is wonderful overall, but Lila is less predictable and more difficult to manage than she was only a month ago, stretching me as a parent (sometimes uncomfortably).
One recent evening, I picked up Lila downtown. She insisted on walking to the Metro. I pushed her stroller with one hand, using the other to navigate Lila along the sidewalk, while my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. Thankfully, Lila listened when I told her to stop, especially near street corners. Our journey home was mostly manageable until Lila sat in a busy street, while we crossed; I immediately scooped her up and said there would be no more strolling after dark. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 24 2012
Claudia Gold is a pediatrician, writer, and perhaps most importantly, a mother. She took some time out of her busy writing schedule to share her experience negotiating the challenges of balancing family and work.
How many children do you have? How old are they?
I have a 14-year-old son, an 18-year-old daughter, and a 24-year-old stepdaughter.
What kind of work do you do? Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 21 2012
“Daddy, you’re my best friend,” our 2-year-old told Scott a few weeks ago. So. Freaking. Cute. But was it good? I wondered.
I know Ellie is only 2 and that her concept of “best” might not be fully developed yet. But the notion as a whole got me thinking about the parenting books and articles I’ve read that state it’s more important to be your child’s parent than his or her best friend. The reason, according to the publications–my favorite among them being The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel, which draws on the Torah, Talmud and Jewish traditions–is that children need structure, boundaries and a reliable support system. More simply: your best friend doesn’t send you to time out. Read the rest of this entry →