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Aug 22 2014

I’m Trying to Pay More Attention to The Good Parts of Parenting

By at 10:35 am

supermarket-momentary

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

“‘I see!’ said the blind man.”

This was my grandmother Agnes’s favorite saying. She said it when something became clear to her. She saw, she understood. “‘I see!’ said the blind man.” She was the blind man, and then she wasn’t.  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 15 2014

Why We Tell Our Children Stories

By at 11:08 am

Stories

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

Driving home from my sister’s house last night, I did what so many parents do when it looks like their kids might fall asleep in the car and it would be highly inconvenient if they did so. I flapped my lips for 25 minutes about whatever I could think of. We reviewed all the major Jewish holidays and what they represent (read: what we eat on the holidays). We sang the unabridged version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” (someone’s always in the kitchen with mom-my, someone’s in the kitchen they know-o-o-o) and we talked about who’s a cousin and who’s a friend and how the brake pedal and the gas pedal work and why some people choose to get tattoos and how much we like meatballs. Then, Maya decided it was her turn to tell a story.

Five exits later, and Maya’s story was still going. In her tale, she and Daddy went for a walk, saw a ghost with big eyes, met a giraffe who wanted a bath, ate some apples, swam in a lake, took a nap, got scared, saw a fire-breathing dragon, got saved by Avi (Maya’s twin), tripped on a rock, said “it’s OK, you’re alright, it’s no big deal,” to each other, and got mosquito bites. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2014

Teaching My Kids to Be a Better Version of Myself

By at 11:19 am

Girl-messy-hair

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 →

Aug 1 2014

My Family is About to Get Bigger

By at 1:18 pm

starry-night

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

It’s officially my due date with baby #2, and I can feel the days of Sylvie’s only-child status slipping away.

Among all the nesting and projects (and the unexpected drama of my husband’s acute appendicitis last week–thank goodness he’s healing well, and thank goodness we had family in town waiting for the birth who could help out!) I am noticing how this time feels different from the first.

My own experience is different: This time I know how to change a diaper, and in addition to the general anticipation of birth, there’s the specific hope and uncertainty of trying for a VBAC at home. But even more, I’m noticing how this time around I’m not just thinking about me. This baby’s arrival will be a big change for Sylvie too. I’m excited for her to have a sibling, I’m nervous about balancing two kids, and of course I’m wondering how she’ll deal with suddenly having a younger brother. Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

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