Nov 25 2014
I’ll admit it: I’ve had it with this “no screen time under 2” thing. I have always suspected that this “no television” thing is bogus—and at last, someone is saying so.
A guide released last month by the nonprofit group Zero to Three called “Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight” notes that “children should have lots of time for play in the real, 3-D world,” and parents should, “make screen use a shared experience.”
In other words, the new group posits that maybe, just maybe, the whole “no screen time under 2” thing isn’t getting to the essence of the problem, which is the fear that parents will substitute television for themselves on the regular. In other words, you do not need to fear weirdo rays emanating from screens morphing your child’s brain—instead, you need to fear your own inadequacy as a parent. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 21 2014
As the mother of a 2.5-year-old, I’m no stranger to tantrums. Like many children his age, my son has the ability to go from calm and content to unsettled and outraged within a matter of seconds. Sometimes all it takes is a simple “no” to set him off; other times, he’ll start throwing a fit in response to tripping, falling down, or dropping one of his toys accidentally.
For the past few months I’ve tried responding to his tantrums both by reprimanding him for acting out and soothingly trying to talk him down, but neither tactic has worked particularly well. So recently, I’ve been trying something new: responding to tantrums with silliness.
When my son starts getting out of hand, I’ll respond by dancing around like a lunatic, making funny faces, or taking his toys or books and trying to balance them on my head (yes, I know that last one is particularly weird, but it’s funny–to him–and it helps snap him out of his screaming spirals). Combating those inevitable tantrums with silly behavior has been my most effective tactic to date. Acting nutty somehow disarms him in a way that talking soothingly does not. Or, maybe it just serves as a better distraction. No matter the logic behind it, I’m on board as long as it continues to work. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 15 2014
Editor’s note: This post is the last entry in our year-long Torah MOMentary series. We are so grateful to Alicia Jo Rabins for taking us through the Torah this year with insight, honesty, and some very cute photos of her kids–as well as all the guest contributors to the series.
This Friday night we read V’zot Haberakhah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
When my daughter Sylvie turned 2, we decided she was ready to transition from her bedtime bottle of milk to a cup. To prepare her, we told her we were going to say “Goodbye, bottle–hello, cup.” She loved saying it with us: Goodbye, bottle—hello, cup. It seemed to help her understand what was happening. And it helped me understand, too. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 6 2014
The Jewish New Year is all about the sweetness of apples and honey, so that the genesis of our upcoming year is saccharine, free of the travails of the year before. As the mother of a busy 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, what better way to ring in the year than with apple picking? Great idea, right? We get to drive out to the country, fill our urban lungs with fresh rural air, take in the autumnal sights of the changing colors of the leaves, and hopefully get our kids to take a nap en route.
This adventure began with nothing but hope and good intentions. We also hoped to avoid going to a very popular apple orchard, frequented by many people we know, because they charged each person over the age of 3 (of which I’m many, many years over) a cover charge. With my clubbing days long behind me, I had no intention of paying to get into the orchard only to then have to pay an overpriced amount per pound of apples, which made the price of buying organic ones at the most expensive grocery store in my city more appealing. So, we did our research (well at least my husband said he did) and off we went.
The kids cried the entire way there. No nap. Not even a hint of one during the almost hour-long drive. Two screaming children makes for a less than serene atmosphere in which anyone could appreciate the mélange of candied-apple, golden, and bronzed hues of the aging leaves mixed with the leftover bits of green vibrancy desperately trying to hang on to the dog days of summer. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 1 2014
And you thought CrossFit for adults looked intense.
The folks at CrossFit have created a new workout program designed specifically for those uncontainable, terrible 2 and 3-year-olds. CrossFit, if you are unfamiliar, is a super-intense exercise program that involves weight lifting, gymnastics, and cardio.
According to an article in The New York Times, the nationwide obesity epidemic is prompting parents to sign up their kids up for exercise classes while they are still in diapers. Currently, there are 700 toddler CrossFit classes across the country. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 30 2014
“What’s teshuvah?” my 3-year-old daughter asked as we were getting dressed for services on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and talking about the holiday.
I explained that during this time of year from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, we can change things about ourselves and how we act in the world. I said, “If you don’t like how something is going, you can turn it around.”
She thought for a moment, then her face lit up and she said, “Like Daniel Tiger says!” Before I could figure out what the heck she was talking about, she sang, “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.” Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 29 2014
Move over, Apparently Kid.
Three-year-old Ty Willmott, from Sloan, Iowa, won over the internet this week when a friendly preschool tiff over the weather with a pair of twins came to blows. (Happens to the best of us, right?)
In the video, presumably taken by their teacher, the three pint-sized blonds can’t figure out whether it is raining or sprinkling (or, rather, waining or spwinkling?). The boy’s mom told him that it was sprinkling while the twin sisters’ mom had informed them that it was raining. Read the rest of this entry →
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This past Shabbat we read Parashat Ha’azinu. (Apologies for the delay, we were busy dipping apples in honey.) To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
For me, being a mother is the spiritual equivalent of looking into one of those magnifying mirrors that points out every pore and flaw. I am forced to face myself, not as how I’d like to be, but as I am.
This year, as the Ten Days of Awe descend, I am realizing this part of parenthood is a great preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. After all, during this time we are supposed to examine ourselves and take stock of who we are on the deepest level. We are supposed to consider our failings of the past year, the ways we could have been better, the parts of ourselves we don’t like to see. And as a parent, all those things are in my face pretty much every day. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 18 2014
Every year around this time, Jewish families visit the graves of their relatives. Tradition. The high holidays are lurking around the corner. The shofar gets sounded in synagogue on a daily basis during the month of Elul, a time of eager anticipation. Maimonides teaches that the shofar is a type of alarm clock for all of us immersed in a spiritual slumber. Wake up, cries the ancient ram’s horn.
Somberness has been my recurring theme these past several months, given the violent climate of our world: The war in Israel. Violence in Ferguson. ISIS’ ongoing murderous rampage. I have also spent my summer working as a chaplain in a hospice, having been inspired to do so after my bubbe’s passing last winter. And I realize, as much as I would like to, I’m not quite emotionally ready for an alarm clock just yet.
I feel overwhelmed. How do we release ourselves of the imminence of traumatic feelings, especially when the disasters have not fully resolved? Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 11 2014
Back when I was pregnant, I had many preconceived notions about the type of parent I’d be and the things I would and would not tolerate. But now that I’ve been a parent for over two and a half years, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to let go of those thoughts, plans, and ideas, and instead adapt to your circumstances. Case in point: There are three things in particular I always said I’d never let my toddler do–but now he does:
1. Drink Juice.
As an avid baker and self-proclaimed sweet tooth, I believe in letting my toddler indulge in moderation. But to me, juice is just a waste of sugar. At playdates, I’d politely decline when parents offered juice as an option. And at daycare, I gave my son’s teacher strict instructions to provide him with water instead of juice at snack time. But one day at pick up, she informed me that my son had gotten very upset when he realized he was the only child at the table with water instead of juice. I thought about it and realized that causing my son to feel left out was far more detrimental to his wellbeing than the small amount of sugar the daycare’s watered-down kiddie juice cups contained. I still do my best to avoid serving him juice, especially if we’re home or in a controlled environment. But if we’re in a situation where he actively requests it, I don’t automatically say no. Read the rest of this entry →