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Apr 1 2014

After Eight Months of Therapy, My Boy Can Walk!

By at 9:58 am

kanowitz2

Usually adjusting to a new normal has a negative connotation–getting used to life with illness or loss. But I find myself trying to adapt to a new normal that is happy and, well, literally normal.

In August, I wrote about how my 1-year-old couldn’t sit himself up and had to start physical therapy to help him get moving. I knew at the time that he’d continue therapy until he could crawl, and I figured that meant a few visits. Eight and a half months later, we can finally stop. Jared can walk on his own.

It goes without saying that I am elated. I don’t have to watch him cry through his visits or struggle to get where he wants to go. I don’t have to wonder if he will need to be put under anesthesia for an MRI, which would have been the next step, a pediatric neurologist told me last week. He examined Jared and couldn’t offer any explanation for why he wouldn’t walk without help. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 4 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: What to Do About Your Early (Reeeally Early) Riser

By at 10:01 am

sunrise

The following question for Batya, our resident sleep coach, comes from contributing editor Jordana Horn:

Hi, Batya. I am hoping you can help me out. My 2-year-old, whom we’ll call G, is an early riser. I mean EARLY, to the tune of 4:30-5:30 a.m. She naps two hours a day from 1-3. She goes to bed around 7 p.m. She wakes up totally chipper and raring to go. Sadly, my husband and I are not the same way. We have decided to say we will not get her from her crib until 6 a.m. and have gotten her a clock that turns green when it is 6 a.m. In other words, you don’t have to be asleep, but you can’t yell for us till 6 a.m. We put books in her bed that she can read by the light of her night light (“read” = look at pictures). 

Unfortunately, 95% of the time, she yells for us well before 6 a.m. We have tried telling her to stop. We have tried reward systems. We have tried punishments. We have tried going in and shushing/holding her. We have tried not going in and letting her scream her head off, waking up the rest of the house in the process. She wakes the whole house up every morning. It isn’t fair to the other kids, let alone us. 

I asked our pediatrician what to do and she said there is nothing we can do: some kids are just early risers. That’s fine by me but I want to make sure she knows that before 6 a.m., she’s gotta keep the early morning love to herself. What to do? Please help! Thank you!!! Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 2 2013

Torah MOMentary: Bible Drama Vs. Toddler Drama

By at 10:58 am

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.

joseph and his brothers discover cup

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 →

Jul 22 2013

Making the Switch to a Big Girl Bed

By at 10:30 am

big girl bedMy 2-year-old daughter celebrated Independence Day in style: she got a big girl bed. She had asked about a bed for months. I was resistant. Her 4-year-old brother had only gotten his early because we were pregnant with her. And we had no concerns about him getting out of bed; that was not the case with her. Knowing she was in the crib meant I didn’t have to worry about her getting out of bed, wandering around, looking for her brother, for us, or for the nearest thing she could crack her head on. Her crib was the ticket to a little bit of extra time to get ready in the morning. She didn’t need a bed yet.

Around her 2nd birthday, my son made her an art project representing a bed which she clung to and very clearly said, “I want a bed.” Her requests got more insistent after that. My husband and I finally decided what to do: our son would give her his low-to-the-ground Ikea bed that we had inherited from a friend and he would get a new bed (the one we anticipate he’ll have until he leaves the house). They were beyond ecstatic; I was trepidatious. Every night and morning, my daughter would tell us the plan, sometimes before saying good morning.  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 21 2012

Worst Case Toddler Scenarios

By at 12:53 pm
baby on the move

My baby's on the move.

My first boss in Washington was like an honorary big brother. In between directing our little staff about housing policy matters, he offered life lessons. “When you have a kid,” he assured me, “you’ll be ready to hurl yourself in front of a moving car just to make sure it doesn’t hit them.” I guffawed. Throw myself in front of a moving car? That sounded dangerous (and crazy).

And yet, he was right. He had the benefit of already being a parent and knowing about danger and fear from the other side. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 9 2012

After Two Years of Fretting Over Everything, I’m Ready to Breathe

By at 2:36 pm

vanilla ice cream with sprinklesLast night after dinner my son asked for a bowl of ice cream. He sat quietly in his booster seat and carefully guided each spoonful into his mouth and with about three bites left, he handed me the bowl and said, “All done axe-cream.” I sat there and looked at him in amazement. Partly because how could a child of mine not finish a scoop of ice cream, but mostly because he is a kid. A full blown CHILD who uses a spoon and tells me when he’s finished and while he still craps his pants, he’s lost almost every glimmer of babyness and replaced it with kid things like nose-picking and matchbox cars.

And somehow we got to this place after two years of holding my breath that every little decision I was making was absolutely critical to his future development. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 24 2012

Mama’s Baby Milk

By at 11:50 am
fist pump

Pumping takes on new meaning.

Before I had my son, I fully intended on breastfeeding. My mother breastfed three children at a time where breastfeeding wasn’t the norm and in a family where feeding  from your breasts was (and is) seen as disgusting. I went into nursing with the goal of one year because that seemed to be what was socially acceptable and by many people’s standards, “once he’s old enough to ask for it, he’s old enough to stop.” Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 18 2011

Friday Night: Turkey Challah

By at 2:23 pm

Delicious AND fun!

I don’t know about you, but now that I have a kid, I’m much more into holidays. I’m loving teaching my daughter family traditions–and making up new ones. Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain Thanksgiving to her. Taking it down to a 2-year-old level is a bit tough, but I think for now we’re going to stick with the basics: we’re thankful for what we have, we get to see our family, and we eat a big turkey.

Earlier this week Jordana Horn posted a request for some Thanksgiving recipe help, and I think I might have found the best Jewish Thanksgiving recipe on the planet. Are you ready for this?

Turkey Challah. That’s right. Our friend and Kveller contributor Ariela Pelaia does some incredibly inventive things with her challah (and her toddler) and recently, they made this gorgeous turkey-shaped challah. Though it’s time-intensive, it’s also fun-intensive. Sounds like a perfect project for the Shabbat before Thanksgiving–or even to make for Thanksgiving itself. Who says challah and Thanksgiving don’t go together?

Enjoy–and Shabbat Shalom!

Aug 3 2011

Trial By Fire

By at 10:56 am

Our cruise ship, post-fire. Yes. It was really really bad.

Sometimes being a parent feels incredibly overwhelming. The other day my daughter tripped and fell and landed on her chin, cutting her lip with her tooth. It wasn’t so bad as to need stitches, but man, that thing swelled up so fast! Trying to stay calm, get her calm, and get some ice on a 2-year-old’s lip was quite a challenge.

But when I face the tough moments of parenthood, I think back to life before I was a parent, back in the hazy days of when my husband and I first got engaged. A couple of weeks after the engagement, we took a cruise to the Caribbean. We were about three days into the cruise when, in the middle of the night, the ship alarm went off. Before we knew it, we were being told to get our lifejackets, hats, and long-sleeved shirts and report to our muster stations—this was an emergency of the highest level. Smoke was coming into the room and it was clear that the boat was on fire. My husband, being the wonderful romantic man he is, turned to me and said, “No matter what happens, I love you.” I responded, “Turn around and get the f*@% out of here!” (Yes, the boat was on fire. Luckily, we were fine and all of our belongings were fine. Others weren’t so lucky.)

What you’ll notice from this story is that I’m good in a crisis. (When we got home and I told my friends what happened, they universally said that if they had to pick anyone to be with on a burning cruise ship, they’d pick me. Who knew?) I keep calm, I analyze the situation, and I work toward a solution.

I’ve learned this even more now that I’m a parent. Because when you’re a parent, there’s a crisis happening almost all of the time.

Whether it’s a scraped knee, a missing stuffed animal, or the fact that suddenly your toddler hates strawberries with a passion so strong that she throws them across the room, life with a small child can quickly shift from everything being fine to tantrum mode. So how do you deal with the crisis? Deep breaths, assess the situation, and deal with it. And if you need to swear a little bit to get it done, I approve.

Oh, and another lesson I learned from the cruise? After you’ve been in a crisis situation, offer free wine or beer at dinner. You’ll make everyone a lot happier. Including yourself.

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