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Sep 11 2014

The Three Things I Never Thought I’d Let My Son Do

By at 3:32 pm


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 →

Sep 9 2014

Seven Steps to Potty Train Your Toddler in a Weekend

By at 12:29 pm


This is a sponsored post.

Potty training time: A major milestone for both you and your child, but a lot more work than coaxing out that first gummy smile. Potty training can take weeks, months, or even years to master.

However, there are several reasons why you may want to try a quicker, more focused, and streamlined potty training method for your ready-yet-potty-resistant-kid. Maybe he’s starting preschool and they have a potty policy; maybe a new sibling is on the way; or maybe you are both just ready to move on with this growing-up business and think a little independence can be an emotionally healthy thing.

Plus, you know, diapers. Am I right? Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 8 2014

Free Stuff Alert: Win a Semester of KesheTot Classes in Brooklyn

By at 3:41 pm

IAC-giveaway Living with little ones in New York? Looking for a community of fellow Jewish parents with an Israeli flair? Then you need to check out IAC KesheTot, an innovative program for families with infants and toddlers from birth until 3.5 years old.

At KesheTot, programming varies week to week, but includes art, music, stories, and movement. Families also celebrate Jewish holidays together in a uniquely Israeli way. Each session includes open play time with toys and gym equipment. It is also features story time and an age-appropriate music class. IAC KesheTOT is conducted exclusively in Hebrew and run by Israeli teachers. This unique program is great fit for Hebrew speakers and non-Hebrew speakers alike. Classes meet at Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn.

If this sounds as good to you as it does to us, you’re in luck: We’re giving away one free semester membership for one child, a $250 value. To enter, fill out the form below and we’ll choose a random winner next Monday, September 15th. In the meantime, to learn more about KesheTot and register for this coming semester, check out their website here. For more information, contact Sivan Ben Nun at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So You Want to Go On Vacation With Five Kids?

By at 10:05 am

Family picture par excellence.


About two weeks ago, I came back from a two-week family “vacation” in Europe. Our group was four adults (me, my husband, and my parents) and my five children–three of them aged 3 and under. Nine suitcases, two of them duffel bags full of diapers, wipes, bottles, and baby food. And three strollers.

It was wonderful. And I have only just now recovered from it.

Have you ever fantasized about taking a big trip with your little ones? If so, read on for some unsolicited advice. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 4 2014

Dear New Parents: It Gets Better, I Promise

By at 11:53 am


“I shower. ALONE. While my girls are in the house. {Insert dramatic pause here.} And my husband is AT WORK. And they’re FINE.”

At this declaration, my friends’ eyes got wide as they watched their 18-month-old daughter smear a mushy banana all over her face. Their little girl was beyond adorable, but like most toddlers, she poops in her pants (OK, actually in a diaper, but you get the point) and sleeps in a cage crib and wanders aimlessly around the house flinging toys and pulling plugs and breaking things her parents didn’t even realize they owned.

Those days are long passed in my house. (OK, mostly passed. Mostly.) My daughters are 4 years old and 5 and ¾ (God help me if I forget the ¾) and they sleep in big-girl beds and they can pee in the potty (I’m not saying they always do. I’m saying they are capable of it). When they’re being annoying it’s mostly because they are choosing to be annoying, which is more than we can say for most toddlers. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 28 2014

Is Your Toddler Obsessed with What’s Fair? So Was Moses

By at 8:34 am


This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Shoftim. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

My kids, like yours, most likely, are obsessed with what’s fair. Sure, this is a classic toddler hang-up: Nothing is fair, but everything is fair game for a tantrum. And when you have twins, the fairness stakes rise exponentially. Beware the tiny fairness police.

The thing is, it’s very, very hard to predict what will elicit an “its not fair” from the peanut gallery. My husband and I try to anticipate–purchasing dual copies of the most coveted items, spending one-on-one time with each child as often as humanly possible, being generally far more patient and attentive than either of us have the bandwidth to be, and yet, we’re repeatedly surprised by how our kids can find unfairness in the most unlikely places. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2014

Am I Pushing My Toddler Too Hard?

By at 8:45 pm


So we’ve officially failed at potty training, or at least the first round of it. After spending well over a month trying to coax my toddler onto the potty, bribing him with candy, and even going as far as letting him watch me do my own business for motivation, I’ve decided to table the toilet training for the time being.

In reality, I probably should’ve given up after the first week. My son, from the get-go, was more than simply not interested in going to the potty, he was actually frightened to use it. My mother insisted that he just wasn’t ready. His teachers at daycare confirmed this, as their attempts to help our efforts were met with resistance.

And yet I pushed. I pushed him for over a month, at 2.5 years old, when all around me, fellow parents with children six months older than mine reassured me that they’d yet to start potty training because their children, too, just weren’t ready. I pushed because I thought he could do it, and because I wanted him to do it. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 15 2014

If You Think Toddlers Are Bad, Just Wait For the Teens

By at 9:46 am


I remember a day back when my older daughter was 2.5. We’d had a perfectly lovely morning at the library–story time, one of her favorite activities–and we were headed home for lunch. We walked down the stairs outside the library and all of a sudden, without provocation, she sat down on the grassy area and refused to get back up. I asked, I told, I begged, and then finally, in frustration, I walked away towards the parking lot and threatened to leave her there.

It was definitely not my finest mothering moment. When I told my mother the story later that day, she said, “The toddler years are the first adolescence.”

I didn’t really get it at the time. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2014

Teaching My Kids to Be a Better Version of Myself

By at 11:19 am


This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Va’et’hanan. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

After her bath tonight, my kid wanted to comb her own hair. Knotty, wet, matted baby hair doesn’t want to be combed by a 3-year-old and yet, I sat on my hands and let her pull at her hair with the brush. I bit my tongue as she struggled with her part; I winced when she left big bumps and knots at the back. I didn’t help.

Post-bath routine takes forever these days, and not just because my kids want to comb their own wet hair. They want to brush their own teeth, apply their own lotion, pick out their own pajamas, and put those pajamas on alone. They put them on backwards, then they switch them around, they try again, they fall on the floor, they lose focus, they squeeze toothpaste on the floor, they pee on the potty, they sometimes miss the potty, they pull toilet paper from the roll laughing hysterically as any sense of order collapses, they run like tiny maniacs around in circles until they fall in a pile of matted hair and Q-tips.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 23 2014

Are My Kids’ Tantrums All My Fault?

By at 10:09 am


I love those afternoons when I arrive at camp pick-up after a long day of work and my children come running, faces smiling, eager to jump into my arms and share their accomplishments of the day.

Yesterday was not one of those days. Instead, when I arrived at camp for pick-up I found both 5-year-old twins crying.

The older twin is hardly a mystery. He struggles on some days, particularly after a late night, because he no longer gets a mid-day nap. He is also a very picky eater and admittedly not fond of camp food, though I serve a variation of the menu (chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, or hot dogs) every night at dinner and he rarely complains. These factors, combined with the summer heat and too little water throughout the day, make for a cranky little boy. Read the rest of this entry →


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