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Oct 15 2014

Torah MOMentary: Goodbye Past, Hello Future

By at 1:32 pm

goodbye-sippy-cup

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 →

Sep 29 2014

My Toddler Brings Out the Best & Worst in Me

By at 11:52 am

Toddler-Mess

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 12 2014

Motherhood Brings Out My Superstitious Side

By at 9:45 am

Alicia-Elija

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

Sometimes, during these first few weeks of my newborn son Elijah’s life, I find myself overwhelmed by gratitude for him. I tend to write about the harder parts of motherhood, but in this moment I’m just bowled over by the beauty, mystery, and ridiculous cuteness of this little guy in a froggie onesie.

What do I do with all this raw emotion, this overwhelming love? Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 5 2014

How to Navigate a Difficult World With a New Baby

By at 11:21 am
Elija-2

Photo by Stephanie Rabins

 

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

It has been quite a summer over here. Elijah Wilder, aka Eliyahu Nachman, arrived a month ago, joining his big sister Sylvie.

I’m doing a few things differently this time around, partly in an attempt to avoid postpartum depression like I had with Sylvie. I’ve asked for more help. I’ve protected my maternity leave more carefully. And when I do go back to work, I’ll make sure I have adequate childcare for Elijah rather than trying to do some impossible juggling act. All this makes me appreciate every minute with him right now, and I am happy to say that so far, it’s working. I am loving these early days. 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

toddler-angry

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 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 →

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