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Jul 25 2014

The Miracle of Life Begins with Housework

By at 12:06 pm

Mopping floor

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

Baby #2 is due any day now. Since I never went into labor with my daughter–long story short: “failed induction” ending in a c-section–in a way, I feel like this is my first birth. So, now I’m back where I was a couple years ago during the last weeks of my pregnancy with Sylvie: curious, nervous, excited, wondering what it will be like, and reading a lot of birth stories to try and prepare.

The first time around, reading these birth stories, I was just trying to get a handle on the process. Transition, timing contractions, pushing…it was all new information. This time, even though I haven’t experienced those things, I know about them, so I’m focusing a little less on those details and more on the overall stories. And I’m noticing a common thread, which surprises me: Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 18 2014

Some Promises Are Made to be Broken

By at 2:31 pm

ginger-snaps

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

My vows about what kind of pregnant lady I’d be went out the window early, when I realized that eating an entire bag of gingersnaps would cure my morning sickness.

I had a lot of ideas about what kind of pregnant lady I’d be (cute, active, not too huge); what kind of birth I’d have (natural, empowering); and what kind of mom I would be (cute, active, not too emotional). Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 11 2014

The Amazing Things You Can Learn From a Toddler

By at 10:12 am

ice-tea

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

This week, a dear old friend came to visit. We haven’t seen each other for a long time, but we seem to be on the same mama schedule–we both have 2-year-olds and are pregnant again.

We sat outside drinking iced tea, talking about birth and motherhood and the 15 years since we met. We talked about how confident, driven, and maybe a little entitled we both were in our early 20s. How much has changed since then. And how much of what we’ve learned, we’ve learned from our kids.

Both committed to a natural birth, we ended up with C-sections. Both committed to exclusively breastfeeding our babies, we ended up with serious nursing problems that made that goal physically impossible. And we’d both carved out wonderful and unusual careers that grew out of our passion for our work, involving tons of travel, and have turned out to require some major re-adjustment–especially as we head into two-young-kids territory. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 3 2014

The Secret to Dealing with Your Toddler’s Infuriating Tantrums

By at 10:08 am

The secret to dealing with your toddler's tantrums

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

Oh, the terrible two’s. It’s almost like Sylvie sees things I can’t see.

One moment it’s all sweetness as Sylvie carefully spreads a blanket over my shoulders, stroking my hair with her small fingers and singing: “Go to sleep, little baby.”

The next moment, during a diaper change, she’s truly distraught: “I want that diaper!” (Pull down clean diaper from pile). “No, that one!” (Take down second diaper.) “No, I want that one!” (Pointing to first diaper). Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 27 2014

What If Moses Just Needed an Afternoon Off?

By at 11:34 am

HOMEBIRTH

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

Like many of us modern, educated ladies, I was spectacularly ignorant about babies until I had one a couple years ago. So the learning curve, similar to my pregnancy weight gain, was pretty damn steep.

Now, with baby #2 due in a month, I’ve been noticing how different it feels this time around, and taking stock of what I’ve learned…(Though yes, I know every baby’s different and I’ve been told a million times how much harder it is with two kids!) Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 20 2014

Take a Deep Breath And Don’t Throw Your Kids in a Canyon

By at 10:04 am

grand-canyon

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

This week’s torah portion, Korah, really resonated with me. Basically, Korah, a Levite, was tired, hungry, and generally pissed about wandering through the dessert. He gathered together a few buddies (who were presumably also hungry and in desperate need of a shower) and they threw a collective tantrum at Moses–something along the lines of “Who died and made you God?!?”

Moses responded by falling on his face. Traditional commentators praise him for this, noting that rather than reacting by yelling something back (possibly along the lines of “God did, you giant douche! And he’s not even dead! So suck it!”), he took the time to reflect and collect himself. I love that idea, although I also like to think that Moses was feeling the same way I often do when the girls are whining at the end of a long day, when I barely have the energy to stand, much less engage with the latest round of whatever they’re all worked up about.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 13 2014

Battling The “What-Ifs” of Life

By at 10:14 am

momentary-adina

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

As a kid, my parents affectionately referred to me as the “Queen of the What-Ifs.” I could what-if with the best of them. New experience? Bring on the what-ifs. What if I don’t make friends? What if I don’t like it there? What if I don’t pass that test, get accepted into that school, find my way?

My folks would jockey with me as much as possible, and often, they’d try and help me live with the uncertainty. Not an easy feat. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 6 2014

Even God Had His Bad Parenting Days

By at 2:13 pm

toddler-feet

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

I recently read something I loved in a book about Buddhism and parenting:

Impermanence, the fact that all things change, can be a mother’s best friend.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2014

Blessing My Daughter on Friday Night

By at 9:55 am

shabbat-candles

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

I can still remember the tingly feeling of holiness that went through me when the rabbi blessed me at my bat mitzvah as a pipe organ played minor chords, and a choir in robes sang solemnly. (In retrospect, I wonder if all huge Reform congregations in 1990 borrowed a lot from Christian worship. I’m pretty sure mine did.)

The pipe organ was a new twist, but the blessing was ancient. Rabbis all over the world have been blessing their communities with three simple lines from this week’s Torah portion, Naso, for thousands of years. That suburban Reform rabbi was continuing the tradition of the priests of Biblical Israel, reciting the words God gave for blessing the people of Israel:

May God bless you and keep you.
May God shine God’s face on you and give you grace.
May God give favor to you and grant you peace. Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2014

I Can’t Stop The Earth From Drowning, But I Can Save My Own Sanity

By at 12:44 pm

flooding

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

Among the mind-blowing things I have learned from my first two years of motherhood is what it means to care about someone else’s existence as much as my own, to the point where their pain literally becomes mine.

It’s not that I didn’t care about anyone before…just that I had more boundaries. Of course when someone is suffering–someone I love or just know or even someone on the news or in a movie–I feel terrible for them. I cry. I ache for them. When my daughter is hurting, though, I find that it literally hurts me too–emotionally rather than physically, but it hurts. Read the rest of this entry →

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