Dec 9 2013
Recently, Kveller has been running a series of posts with professional sleep coach Batya Sherizen, in which she answers readers’ questions about issues they are having with their children’s sleep. I’m not a professional sleep coach and I respect people like Batya, but there are actually other perspectives on sleep, and I wanted to share some of the “other side.” I speak from the perspective of someone who got (free) sleep advice from people who don’t support sleep training and I also come from my training as a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor. Some of us don’t prescribe to sleep training, especially for the first year, and especially if you are breastfeeding. Here’s why.
I wrote a book a few years ago called Beyond the Sling. It was a very straightforward, very honest, very accurate portrayal of what Attachment Parenting looked like in my home. More specifically, there were chapters on my experiences with natural birth and homebirth, breastfeeding on demand as well as extended breastfeeding, not using harsh discipline or punitive discipline, the magic of baby-wearing, and other such enthralling AP-related topics.
And of course there was a chapter on sleep. Sleep training and sleep management is one of the most profitable and difficult topics for new parents. I chose to safely co-sleep with my sons, participating in the subset of co-sleeping known as bed-sharing. That means my sons and I shared–and still share on many nights–a sleeping surface. As I discuss in my book, this arrangement is not for everyone and it is most certainly not for people who cannot or will not abide by the rules of safe co-sleeping. However, from my experience as a mother of two breastfeeding and securely attached children, as well as a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (C.L.E.C.), I have a lot of things to say about babies and sleep.
Here are the reasons why I don’t believe in sleep training. If you want to be conservative about the matter, these beliefs of mine hold most strongly for children under 6 months of age. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 5 2013
Since the last night of Hanukkah was last night, today is technically the 8th day of Hanukkah. Here are my top 10 photos of my Hanukkah, including some highlights from Thanksgiving, which coincided with Hanukkah this year.
1. As I discussed here last week, my parents hosted Thanksgivukkah dinner. Here is the name card that was at my seat at the table. Note the Jewish star name card holder and the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah stickers adorning it. It should be noted that there were only six of us at dinner, but I think it’s kind of adorable that my mother insists on making name cards just the same.
2. Here is my mother’s perfect fusion of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah: a Hanukkah placemat with Thanksgiving paper plates and napkins.
3. Ditto. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 2 2013
A still from the video of the Maccabeat’s cover of Matisyahu’s “Miracle.”
Since Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving this year–or did Thanksgiving fall on Hanukkah rather!?–I wanted to share eight things I am thankful for so far this Hanukkah. Context: I just got back from the weekend with my ex and our sons at my ex’s mom’s house. All of us together. In one house. For three nights. Cozy wozy, indeed.
1. I am grateful that my ex and I communicate so well, even when it’s hard. We planned the gifts, the travel, the meals; everything together.
2. In my dreams I would do a “No-Gifts” Hanukkah, but in reality, the ex and I made modest choices that suited both of us not perfectly, but reasonably. We chose medium and small gifts our boys truly have been wanting and will hopefully enjoy for a long time.
3. I love celebrating Hanukkah with my ex’s mom who converted to Judaism from Mormonism about six years ago. She is such an inquisitive Jew, and she studies more Torah and Talmud than most Jews from any denomination that I know. She makes a mean latke and even buys vegan sour cream for me to smear on mine. And she doesn’t even complain about how every Jewish food is destined to make us all fat, and her kitchen stove top all greasy. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 25 2013
To watch the booty swatting scene from “A Drunken Thanksgiving,” click here.
1. In the original draft of the script, there was no booty swatting. I can’t remember exactly what was in its place. It was some other awkward/inappropriate drunk Sheldon comment to Amy, but the swatting was added a few days into rehearsal.
2. This is not the first time that Sheldon has smacked Amy’s bum and I have a feeling it won’t be the last. The first and most memorable time was in the “Amy’s Sick” episode. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 19 2013
1. History. I have been on “Arsenio” before. Well, I was on his former show in the 90s about five times. The first time was after “Beaches” came out and I played the trumpet on his show. Yes, I was that precocious actor kid giggling and playing a musical instrument for the pleasure of the audience. I was on again a bunch of times when I was on “Blossom” and if you go to my website you can see the video clips of all of those cringeworthy (for me) moments of me on “Arsenio.” Some include me in a floppy hat, dress, vest, and Doc Martens. Awkward!
2. Backstage. Sherri Shepherd from “The View” was on “Arsenio” last night, too. She came into my dressing room and was very sweet. I have been on “The View” to discuss my book on Attachment Parenting, Beyond the Sling, and they sort of gave me a hard time about a lot of it but they were also fairly nice. Then when I got divorced, some of the former hosts were not really nice at all. But Sherri has always been kind and supportive and we had some good laughs backstage. She also specifically said she wishes she could bottle and sell my hips which surprised me but I guess they are nice in the right light. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 14 2013
I’m not always the best daughter. Sometimes I’m impatient, short-tempered, bossy, and annoyed with my mother. I work hard to promptly apologize to my mother when I’ve not behaved nicely but I admit that I don’t always do that perfectly either. I may be able to make up for every prickly thing I’ve ever said or done to my mother with this post, because I would like to talk about how she prepares for holidays such as Thanksgivukkah, which happens in a few weeks.
My mom is a great cook. Her Hungarian mother was also a great cook and I bet my grandmother’s mother was a good cook too, and so on, all the way back. My mother specializes in all kinds of food but her presentation, her attention to detail, and the joy with which she cooks and serves food are also noteworthy.
Since I had my first son eight years ago, my mother has started the mini-tradition of writing up menus before holidays. This serves a dual purpose. She is a Type A list-maker and, thus, making menus satisfies her list making needs. Secondly, she likes me to consult about the menu, make changes as needed, and select which items I will be helping with. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 12 2013
This year, for the last time until about 80,000 years from now, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. Thanksgivingfully (hahaha), Hanukkah goes on for eight nights but Thanksgiving is only one. This means that for those of us who value the religious, spiritual, and cultural significance of Hanukkah, it won’t be completely engulfed by Thanksgiving. We’ll have seven more nights to sing Maoz Tsur and spin the dreidel.
However, for those of us with children raised in a day and age when Hanukkah has become synonymous with gift-giving, this coincidence becomes a problematic one. Case in point: my 5-year-old seems to think that Thanksgiving is a gift-giving holiday since he has heard that Hanukkah falls on the same day. I keep telling him it’s Hanukkah that he thinks of as a gift-giving holiday, and he looks at me like I’m insane. In his little brain, they are on the same day, and he therefore expects gifts on Thanksgiving. Hence, it’s a gift holiday. Sigh.
Why do I have a problem with my son associating Hanukkah with gift-giving? The first reason is that historically it hasn’t been associated with gifts, both in the greater Jewish population and in my family in particular. When I was growing up, my parents typically gave me new pajamas, a new wall calendar, and some collection of stationery items (pencils, note cards, erasers) as gifts. I always got at least one new dreidel for my dreidel collection. And of course, chocolate Hanukkah gelt. There may have been some years when I received a toy but my immediate association with Hanukkah when it comes to the notion of gift-giving is one of small gifts that were primarily functional and generally elicited eye-rolls and complaining from me because I thought all of that stuff was lame.
Except the Winnie the Pooh PJs I got when I was about 8. Those were awesome. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 7 2013
People ask me a lot how it’s going on The Big Bang Theory this season. We are about eight episodes into the seventh season, and I barely remember what these episodes have been about!
I learn scripts week to week, and once I have to learn the next one, I pretty much forget the previous week’s. That’s just the truth.
I know I sang with Simon Helberg’s character, Wolowitz, and we sang Neil Diamond. I know this week’s episode is our –first ever!–Thanksgiving episode. I know Johnny Galecki’s character was on a boat in the season opener and he came back, and I know that I’ve had some great scenes with Jim Parsons, but I can’t quite remember what they were about!
Here are a few other surprising things about working on The Big Bang Theory that you may not know. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 6 2013
This post in response to Tamar Fox’s blog post “The Great Fashion Debate with My 5-Year-Old Step-Daughter” that ran on Kveller yesterday.
I have tremendous respect for you as a stepmom to a 5-year-old girl. I have no experience with girls or being a stepmom, and I applaud you for all of your awesome mommying.
However. Several things jumped out at me from your post about wanting to control how she dresses that I wanted to weigh in on. Disclaimer: I come from a family of snazzy dressers. Sometimes my parents dressed super unusually, but they were really snazzy dressers always and they encouraged me to have my own style and be as funky as I wanted to be. My sons are 5 and 8 and they love clothing. They are very particular about what they wear, and they have definite ideas of what’s “snazzy” for them. I love it. I have clothes for them they only wear on Shabbat, and when we see plays or go to kids’ birthday parties, my sons are always encouraged to wear slacks and dress shirts, or “dress jeans” and dress shirts. I love clothes and I understand the importance of clothes. Even though I have boys.
So. Here are the four things that your post made me think about: Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 5 2013
As I have written about here, I have started taking my sons on approximately once-a-month family Shabbat sleepovers to religious neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We stay with friends/acquaintances who aren’t intimidated by the fact that we’re vegan, my sons bring along their little travel KidKits, and we learn about another family and how they celebrate Shabbat.
This past weekend, we had our Shabbat sleepover in a very religious neighborhood. Like even more religious than I am used to, which you would probably describe as Moderate Modern Orthodox. This was not that. Everyone was very nice and welcoming, and I didn’t feel unwelcome at all, but it was very different from what I’m used to. It was more like ultra-Orthodox. Streimels, you know, those big furry black hats. And I might have been the only woman I saw with my hair peeking out from under my tichel (headscarf), since all of the women in this neighborhood wear expensive sheitls (wigs) or hats with no hair showing.
Here are the Top 7 Things I learned this past weekend.
1. Heads Up. Some women never uncover their heads. Like ever. Meaning: they even sleep with their heads covered. There’s a whole reason, it’s not just someone misunderstanding the rules of halakha (Jewish law). The woman who described it to me is a very educated, smart, and interesting person. I had never met someone who never uncovers her head except in the shower, literally. Fascinating. Read the rest of this entry →