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Oct 24 2012

My 3-Year-Old Ate a Sticker (and Other Ways Having a New Baby Changes Everything)

By at 9:35 am

It’s funny how perspective can change in the blink of an eye (or in this case, 14 hours of labor). Before having my son, I thought my 3-year-old was still a baby. She was so little! She could barely do anything!

But then I had a baby. And when you compare a 3-year-old to an infant, that 3-year-old is like a giant. Not only can she walk, she can run, trip, scrape her knees, and shake it off. Not only can she talk, but she can express an argument as to why she should really be allowed to watch one more TV show. She can open the refrigerator, get out her own string cheese, and pull it into strings. Meanwhile, the baby really just sits there (though he’s an excellent smiler these days!) Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 4 2012

My Daughters Drove Me to Drink… Coffee

By at 1:05 pm

cup of coffee on tableI remember back when I was in graduate school, over 10 years ago. Late one afternoon, when we were both stifling yawns, my supervisor confessed to me that she kept a coffee maker on her bedside table, and literally wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning until she had had her first cup of coffee. I thought she was crazy, an addict.

Now I think she was brilliant.

It wasn’t always this way, though. I made it through my undergraduate years, four years of long nights up studying and talking and dreaming about all the ways we were going to change the world and grey Vermont mornings when the air was so cold my wet hair would freeze on the way to class. I made it through my master’s degree when I was working almost full time on a psychiatric unit, writing a thesis, and planning a wedding. And I made it through the busy years of my early career, when I was working at my job and on my doctorate, at the same time. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 14 2012

How Do You Discipline a Toddler?

By at 12:00 pm

baby climbing the stairsIf you’re looking for a way to spin your wheels, get frustrated, and not actually accomplish much of anything, I recommend that you try disciplining a toddler.

Before you get all riled up with mental pictures of my little girl in a stockade under a burning hot sun, let’s interject a quick dose of reality. The toddler in question, aka Baby G, is only 13 months old. She barely speaks English. She has a generally cheerful disposition. Her understanding of cause and effect is weak at best.

Baby G is not being BAD, per se. She’s not plagiarizing other people’s blogposts and passing them off as her own, for example, or embezzling hard-earned funds from charities. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 20 2012

This Too Shall Pass, Even If You Don’t Want it To

By at 10:12 am

this too shall pass hebrew necklaceWhen I was a new parent, celebrating a baby who was finally sleeping through the night or bemoaning the challenges of introducing solid foods, a more experienced parent would inevitably tell me that it was only a phase. This response irritated me to no end. Perhaps it was because I didn’t fully get what that meant, perhaps it was because I felt patronized, but for whatever reason, I didn’t want to hear it.

Over the past three and a half years, as I have watched my daughters grow from newborns to infants and then toddlers, and now that my older girl is a preschooler, I have come to see the wisdom of those words. Yet I prefer to think about it from a slightly different perspective, one that a fellow Jewish Mama reminded me of recently.

This too shall pass. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 15 2012

Reading This Will Make You Tired: Diary of a Mom of 2 under 2

By at 3:00 pm

box of raisins spilledHere’s why you should clean your house–sometimes, you go into the archives of mess and find inadvertently-preserved glimpses of an older life. Six and a half years ago, I took a writing class when I was mother of a 2-year-old and an infant, and had to write a transcript of 15 minutes of my life. I don’t know about you, but reading it makes me pretty tired. Is this your life, too?

If you want to come down from the highchair, you say, “Down, please.” That’s good. But can you eat a little more of your egg before I put you down? Great. Go bring me a book, please, and then we can read it together. Read the rest of this entry →

Following Through with Threats, and Feeling Guilty

By at 10:09 am

shrekUntil recently, my husband worked nights, so I was on my own for the girls’ bedtimes. What I worked out was this: Penny watches about a half hour of TV while I put Abby down, then Penny and I lay down and read and she falls asleep. Judge me not, ye women of only kids: you, too, will pray to the demon-god television when you’ve got two toddlers.

Anyway, the other day, Penny was really acting up. I knew she was just kind of worn out and frazzled after a too-active day, but Abby was very, very tired and having trouble falling asleep. I needed her room silent and dark, just for a quick 10 minutes. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2012

When Your Toddlers Start to Act Like Teens

By at 9:03 am

little girl in heelsThere is a saying that the way your kids were as toddlers is how they’ll be as teens.  (Only bigger and louder and, in some places, with the legal right to drive.)

If that’s true, then we’re really in for some fun times over at my house.

When my oldest was a toddler, he didn’t talk much.  But–Bad Mommy confession–we really didn’t notice until our pediatrician got a concerned look on her face and started asking questions while taking notes and measuring the size of his head (boy had a really big head. Literally off the charts big. He still does). Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 29 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Toddler

By at 10:24 am

My 21-month-old son is the light of my life. He is kind, loving, giving and he takes a three hour nap everyday without fail. He is a quiet, gentle soul that speaks to me in ways I cannot explain. He shares his toys without hesitation, he freely gives hugs and kisses and wants nothing more than my love and attention. I, on the other hand, have a huge personality and practically bounded out of the womb dancing and singing.  My husband and I wonder repeatedly how this sweet soul was ever created from the combination of our candid and mildly abrasive DNA.

I hesitate to even write this next part, for fear of sounding like a “tiger mom” or worse have it seem like I am less than enamored with any aspect of my sweet son. But, over the past few months, I’ve wished my son were a little more fearless.

It took my little one 17 months to muster up the courage to walk. He doesn’t run, jump or climb and he is thoughtful and cautious at the playground, and with everything he does. Just last week he was pushed down the slide by a burly 10-month-old girl. He sat at the bottom, tears streaming as she whizzed past him at twice his walking speed.  And instead of scooping him up and smothering him with kisses and Mama fuss about how that little girl shouldn’t have pushed him, my husband and I looked at each other and laughed. We laughed after our twig of a boy was manhandled by a chick half his age.

I know we must seem like insensitive parents and while most days I do assume the role of “helicopter parent” or “referee” that afternoon I just wished my kid would haul off and push someone. I wish he would snatch back a toy at playgroup, instead of passively finding something else to play with. I want him to explode with giggly energy; running, jumping and playing until he passes out from exhaustion. After a day where he’s been pushed, shoved and had every toy he tried to play with ripped away by another toddler, I sit and pray for the strength to not strangle another mother’s child. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 23 2011


By at 3:48 pm

We’re closing up the Kveller shop and heading out to celebrate Thanksgiving. But before we go, we want to leave you with this post that offers an important reminder about the small stuff and why it’s really the big stuff. See you Monday!

So far this fall, my husband has stuffed 75 yard bags full of leaves. He didn’t mind, though, because as he blew the never-ending pieces of yellow, red and brown into piles on the lawn, our 2-year-old jumped into the middle of them, kicking and screaming with delight.

And that’s sad. Because next year, when he makes those piles again, a completely different girl will leap into them. A 3-year-old version of this weekend’s Ellie, with more abilities, more words, more thoughts. And that’s great. Except that it’s also sad.

My husband’s outlook on parenting lately has had this edge of sadness steeped in reality. He said he has been making a point of relishing every moment with Ellie because the child he plays with today will be gone tomorrow. Don’t get me (or him) wrong. He kvells from her development and knows that growth is the point, but he still mourns the changes, especially because they happen so quickly.

I’m busy. I am a stay-at-home mom with a full freelance writing schedule and a house to take care of. I confess that even as I play with Ellie, I am thinking about a story or wondering if the laundry is ready to go from the washer to the dryer. I’m not the best at being in the moment. So when my husband first mentioned how he felt to me, it stopped me in my tracks – and not much does.

A few days later, Ellie started jumping properly, catching air. I watched and applauded and hooted and hollered as she bounced around the basement testing out her new skill. And I got what my husband meant. Gone forever were the awkward yet hilarious movements she made when she thought she was jumping as well as a frog. Now she gets her feet off the ground and reaches new heights.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I feel thankful for many things but especially that I have a thriving daughter and a husband who is sensitive enough to notice the small stuff (which is actually the big stuff) and to nudge me into noticing it, too. We spend plenty of time on this blog complaining about our kids – they don’t eat, they don’t listen – so I wanted to take a moment to nudge you into thinking of those little bittersweet joys of parenthood and be thankful for the opportunity to bear witness to them.

Oct 17 2011

Ask Bubbe: My Child, the Genius

By at 9:58 am

Dear Bubbe,

My 2.5-year-old son is really developmentally ahead of everyone else — talking, walking, teething, clever observations. Does that mean he’ll be a genius for life? Seriously, though, what should I do to keep him challenged and intellectually stimulated?


Dear Jodie,

So it’s hard for me to separate the parental pride from the objective fact, but if you say he is more advanced than his peers, I believe you.

There is no doubt that some little ones are really bright sparks, whether physically or behaviorally, way ahead of their peers or even siblings. And we are often a bit conflicted as to what to do with this. We all want normal, happy children who fit in, who do well enough in learning, and who are pleasant, nice, kind people. But we don’t always get what we want.

I don’t need to tell you that people come in an endless spectrum of ability and personality, and some kids can be real challenges. “Severely gifted” children are an example here; the fear is that the child may become arrogant and unbearable or won’t have any friends. What do you do with a child who seems to display innate talent, whether in math or music,  drawing or athleticism?

If you advance them to their standard, they will be mixing it with the “big boys,” literally, and that can create social dislocation. If you don’t advance, then you risk the child becoming bored and disruptive. Read the rest of this entry →


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