Friday, September 19, 2014


(Adapted from Dr. Suess' Oh The Places You'll Go!)

Today is your day.
You now are "postpartum"!
You’re off and away!

Your brains left your head!
You can't find your shoes.
You can no longer roll back to sleep if you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the Mommy. So there's no where to go.

You'll look up and down closets. Look'em over with care. About some you will say, "How did that get there?!"

With your head full of fog and shoes on the wrong feet, you're too tired to care if your house isn't neat.

And you may not find any time to lay down. In that case, of course, you'll want to skip town. But sorry my dear, you're needed right here.

Right here things can happen and frequently do, and mommies are needed; mommies like you.

And when things start to happen, don't worry. Be cool. Just go right a long. It's a job just for you!

And Oh! The Places You'll Kegel. 

You'll want to get thin!

You'll climb up and down flights!
And you will do kegels all day and all night. 

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the need. You'll pass the whole gang while you kegel with glee.

Wherever you kegel, you'll be best of the best. You'll even do kegels while you take a rest. 

Except when you don't.

Because, sometimes you won't.

I'm sorry to say so but sadly, it's true that spit-ups and throw-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up on a diaper clothesline. And your baby will poop. And you'll want to cry.

You'll look down and frown at your unpleasant bump. And chances are, then, that you'll be a grump.

And when you're a grump, you're not in for much fun. Un-grumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a point where you can't move in a hurry. Some days are alright. But mostly they're blurry. A time you could lose both your calm and your grin. Do you dare to go out? Do you dare to stay in? Have you kegeled enough for your clothes to fit in?

And if you go out, should you turn left or right...or climb down one more flight? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? To check on the babysitter; what might you find? Oh gosh if only you could make up your mind!

You can get so confused that you'll start to wander around at a slow-pacing speed, and grind on for days in a half-asleep state, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. 

The Wailing Place...for people just wailing.

Wailing because the baby won't sleep, or the kegels won't keeg, or the other kids are wailing because it's their speed. Everyone is just wailing. 

NO! That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape all the wailing and whining. You'll find a nice park, or a bed, or a spa. You'll take care of yourself because you're a great Mom. 

And all great moms know, yes they certainly do, that taking some Mom-Time is what you must do. Mom Time is important, it's proven, it's true. Mom-Time is just something that keeps all the Moms cool.

So don't feel all guilty, don't worry, don't wait. Go plan your Mom Time and make your escape. You can kegel during Mom Time, you can simply stare on. You can sleep during Mom Time or just lay on the lawn.

Except don't. Because your kids will find you there. 

Monday, August 18, 2014


The other week my daughter and I went grocery shopping together. In the pasta aisle (duh) I met a cousin of mine and we chatted.

"Mommy, who was that Mommy that you were talking to?"

"That's my cousin, sweetie."

"Your cousin? How come she never comes to our house?"

"Oh," I answered, "We're not so close."

That comment was, perhaps, my greatest Motherly Lie.

This past weekend my mother's extended family gathered together for our first family reunion, commemorating sixteen years since my maternal grandmother's passing. I don't know how to describe the joy, the laughter, the love; it was family. We shared some tears, some sniffles, some deep thoughts; but mostly we celebrated.

We celebrated the legacy my grandmother left behind. We celebrated her life, her lessons, her focus. We celebrated the beauty of our too-many-too-count growing families.

I was young when my grandmother passed and I don't have many tangible memories of her. (Although, as my relatives stood up and shared their memories of her, I could have sworn they were talking about my own mother.) I didn't share my strongest memory of her because it occurred when I came marching through her house in a pre-teen (is that tweenage?) huff, slammed the bathroom door behind me so I could wail in "privacy", and promptly dislocated a tile from her bathroom ceiling. My grandmother wasn't one to promote bouts of pointless tears, especially at the cost of her ceiling. I don't remember my grandmother reprimanding, me, however; perhaps that speaks louder than anything else.

(My mother did reprimand me.)

(And I deserved it.)

This weekend I learned about simplicity, love, generosity, encouragement, belief, and happiness. I learned about struggles, triumphs, obstacles, and success. I learned about my grandmother, my mother, myself, and my family. I close my eyes now and will these moments to stay with me forever.

So, my dear daughter, I was wrong. My cousin and I; we are very close. We share an unbreakable bond that was melded years ago and will last for eternity.

Why doesn't she come over? That might have more to do with the hundreds of cousins thing. But I'm going to make a greater effort now to help you feel how close we all are.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Positive Parenting


Eight is the amount of times that we chased our baby toddler out of her big sister's bed last night and back into her own. This occurred well after eight O'Clock in the evening. This was not fun.

Maybe it's summer fever.

I read all the books, all the magazines, all the just-be-firm-and-say-it-positively articles and I try to put them into practice. My latest adventure has been trying to word things in a positive way, as in "Rivka sleeps in Rivka's bed," with a big fake smile, rather than the negative, teeth-clenched version, which sounds like "DONOTGOINTOCHAYA'SBED!"

So I tried to concentrate on my wording the other day.

I walked into Rivka's room (on grounds of suspicious silence) and found that every single book was removed from the book shelf and several had already undergone her rehabilitation efforts. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and carefully said:

"Rivka. Books are for reading. We treat books nicely. We read books and turn pages of books and we are so gentle with books."

When I opened my eyes she was in the kitchen, self-selecting snacks from the pantry.

So I tried again at bedtime.

"Rivka. I see that you are very excited (acknowledge her feelings). Bedtime is for sleeping (state the rule). I would like to see you lay down now (state the objective). It appears that you disagree with me (state the obvious). STOP JUMPING (give up.)

There is only one magical word that can stop Rivka mid-action and I (try to) use it sparingly.

That word is: raw.  She has seen my dramatic, full-fledged horrified panic when she once reached out to touch raw chicken and has been cured from ever attempting to touch something labeled "raw" (salmonella, hello!).

So far the disgusting water fountain at the park, the bucket of rain water near the front lawn, and the filter on the air conditioner have all tested positively for raw.

Any chance I can make her sister's bed turn raw at 7:00pm?

By the way, this is what reasoning looks like when your toddler spent most of the night jumping out of bed.
Not to be confused with what reasoning looks like with a toddler at any time. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Somewhere between I Can't Believe This and Finally, my baby is turning two. Thankfully I don't feel like I've just given birth yesterday but it still seems entirely too soon for a second birthday.

Twenty four months.

It's been twenty-four months since she was born, a rainy Friday morning. Months since we brought her home only hours later that afternoon. Months since we introduced her to her older sister, who was wholly unimpressed with our decision to create this new addition. Months since postpartum depression caught me like the plague and threatened to never let go. Months since I came out of the fog, smiled with my baby's smile, laughed with her first laugh, squealed and cheered on her first crawls, and full-out jigged when she began to walk (spoiler alert: rapidly progresses from wobbly to dangerously quicker than Mommy.)

Tonight my husband and I are sitting and reminiscing about time gone by. As we talk, it becomes painfully obvious that my memory has been significantly damaged by pregnancy, childbirth, and an unnatural amount of night feedings. (Sorry but there's nothing natural about feeding another human being when I'm supposed to be sleeping.)

It's hard to think that these Mommy Brains of mine might not remember all the things I love about my little girl. So here are twenty-four of them that I never want to forget:

  1. The way she climbs out of her crib in the morning and barrels straight out of her room like a cannon.
  2. The way she calls me "Mama" in a baby voice, when she needs me to melt. 
  3. The way she refuses to separate apples from other fruits. Mommy, I want one apple-pear.
  4. The way she throws in extra consonants into long words. Mommy, I want a banalanalalana.
  5. The way she eats yogurt with her hands.
  6. The way she brushes her hair with the bristles facing out. 
  7. The way she swallows the (fluoride-free; relax) toothpaste and then spits out saliva. 
  8. The way she runs, by kicking her feet forward and bouncing on the heels of her shoes.
  9. The way she smiles for a picture, by tilting her head and blinking rapidly.
  10. The way she jumps off ledges without looking and then runs frightened from strangers.
  11. The way she says "eweven." It comes after ten.
  12. The way she beckons with her tiny little hands when she wants you to follow.
  13. The way she bellows "SHHH!" when she's hiding.
  14. The way she cheers for her accomplishments. Even the ones that follow my desperate cry of "No!" Like when she jumps off the back of the couch. Or swings off the table. 
  15. The way she wiggles all of her fingers when she tries to hold up just two.
  16. The way she holds out her hand and says, "Stop!" when you're going too fast. 
  17. The way she pronounces her name as Rishka.
  18. The way she sings Happy Birthday to herself nearly every morning.
  19. The way she swings off the counters and climbs onto nearly any surface. 
  20. The way she opens the refrigerator and helps herself to its contents. 
  21. The way she puts soggy cereal back in the box when she's decided she's had enough.
  22. The way she puts her face directly into mine when she wants my attention.
  23. The way she watches men working out in the park and then proceeds to work out with them. 
  24. And G-d knows why, but the way we found her in her crib tonight. Sleeping peacefully in her birthday suit.
The hours between 4:30 and 6:30 every night feel like an eternity each time around, but somehow it is still hard to believe that all this time has passed.

Happy Birthday Rivka! 

Here's to another year.

Full throttle. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Living-In-Brooklyn Milestones

I Killed a Cockroach Before Breakfast and Other Living-In-Brooklyn Milestones

Table of Contempts

Chapter 1: Parking Tickets are Part of my Monthly Budget.
Chapter 2: I Refuse to Watch Ratatouille.
Chapter 3: I Don't Really Know the Difference Between the Upper and Lower Ends of Manhattan. But I Can Tell You Which Trains to Take.
Chapter 4: I Pay More for Rent Than I Do For...Anything.
Chapter 5: Cement + Swingset = Park.
Chapter 6: Pigeons are Only Afraid of People in Other Cities.
Chapter 7: Um...Sure, New Yorkers Have a Real Inclination for Ice Cream at 3:00am.
Chapter 8: Brooklyn Mice can Outsmart Mouse Traps.
Chapter 9: What Sun?
Chapter 10: I Killed a Cockroach Before Breakfast.

But I told my kids that the Raid just put him to sleep. Cockroaches don't belong in our house, I told them, so I'm putting him to sleep and putting him in the garbage. And then the garbage truck will take him to where he is supposed to live.

I didn't want to pass on my cockroach fears. So we all said hi to the dead sleeping cockroach.

And now my toddler looks for cockroaches every morning. Her face lights up as she imagines saying hello to her friend with the ugly, huge, ugly, huge, and also ugly, antennas. I tried explaining that the cockroach only came around because the kitchen floor had been partially taken out to be fixed.

She's still looking for the cockroach.

Should I be proud that I am raising open-minded children with an appreciation for nature?

Or recognize that I have created a monster.

Pass the Raid wine.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Conscious UnPesaching

On Friday afternoon my daughter walked into the house with a chocolate wafer that she received at a party in school.

"I have to eat this over the garbage," she said.

I looked at her. And laughed.

"Not in this house, you don't. This place isn't a drop ready for Pesach, kiddo. You can eat that where you stand!"

It appears that I was so busy worrying over the past  few weeks (as well as working and studying for finals), that I never actually got around to cleaning the house. Which is nice. A very wise woman told me that Pesach is only one week long (give or take), so we don't need to stretch it any longer. That sounds healthy.

And so, it is with this in mind that I inform you of my decision to Consciously Unpesach.

Conscious Unpesaching

It is with a heart full of relief and a tiny drop of apprehension that I have decided to push off Pesach preparations. I have been working hard for well over a few weeks to see what might have been possible with regard to cleaning and cooking and the conclusion is that too much organization isn't healthy. And so while one part of my home is ready, the rest remains carefree and crumbful. I am first and foremost mother to two adorable, rambunctious, walking-chometz little girls who do not have school for the next few weeks. It is my greatest wish to keep them happy and my greatest hope that the rain will go away, the sun will come out, and the park will save us.

Ps. Of course I'm going to change my mind later today.
Pps. But I'm serious about the rain thing.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Favorite (Pesach) Things

Torching the counters till chometz is smitten
New water kettles and new oven mittens
Brown paper matzah bags tied up with string
This is why Pesach makes my head ring

Idaho potatoes but no apple strudel
Chicken and veggies, no shnitzel, no noodles
Wild kids that miss all their chometzdik things
This is why Pesach makes my head ring

Girls need new dresses, my bank needs more stashes
Searching for chometz, burn it to ashes
Thankfully wine to the seder we bring
This is why Pesach makes my head ring

When the cleaning lady, calls to cancel
And the job becomes mine
I simply remember my chocolate bars
And then I don't even whine...


Monday, March 10, 2014

Let the Countdown Begin

On Shabbos afternoon my daughter and I make our way to the home of my wise eldest brother and his also wise, super-organized wife. We are going over to say hi. Also, I want a sneak peek at her Pesach lists.

This year will be the first year that I make Pesach. And I don't even know what the term "make Pesach" really means. Which should give you an idea of the compassionate head shaking my brother and sister-in-law engage in as I ask my newbie questions.

"Okay, guys, so should I be freaking out? 'Cause I feel really calm about this and I'm guessing that it might be because I don't know what I'm getting myself into."

They smile at me. My sister-in-law says, "There's no reason to panic. I have all these lists prepared and you can adapt them to what you will need. Here is the cleaning schedule that I follow, the shopping list with the amounts that work for our family, and the cooking schedule."

My heart rate increases significantly. "Wait, there's shopping, cleaning AND cooking?"

My brother looks at my quizzically, "Are you wheezing?" he asks. I deny the allegations. I am not wheezing. I am so totally fine with this. I laugh.

"Of COURSE there is shopping, cleaning, and cooking, guys! I was just kidding around. Okay, so let's talk about the food for a second here. Where do you buy everything? Wait, where do you KEEP everything? I don't have space in my house for boxes of fruits and vegetables! Should I keep them on the porch? No, I can't keep them on the porch. Where do you put your food on Pesach? What am I going to do? I need a garage like my mother has! She puts her boxes of fruits and vegetables in the cool garage and then she doesn't have to -----"


I nod meekly. Out of the corner of my watering eye I can see my brother searching for an inhaler or a paper bag. I wave the gesture away. I am so totally fine with this.

My sister-in-law reminds me that I live in a place with plenty of Kosher L'Pesach stores. I do not have to stock up beforehand on all the food we will eat for an entire week.


"Oh thank goodness guys, this is going to be much easier than I thought. I don't really have to do any shopping in advance now, right?" I think my sister-in-law is holding her head in her hands now but it's hard to see because my eyes are starting to roll back into my head.

They're kind to me, my family. And this is going to be so totally fine.

And probably I was just tired that day. Because I am not panicking about this holiday. I can clean my house, right? And what's so difficult about buying a few new appliances? And the cooking...I mean, I can manage to whip up fruit-meat-nut-egg-chicken-potato smoothies for 8 days, right?

Let the countdown begin. #36DaysUntilPassover

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not-As-Possible Ideas

I read the Parenting magazine religiously. And when I find something that sounds smart, I dog-ear the page so that I can review it and memorize the plan for later.

Sometimes, though, when later comes around I wonder why I even thought the advice was sound. Or possible.

Take this one for example. I recently read about the cure for cranky kids at the grocery store. The author wrote all sorts of sensible things like "don't go shopping when your kids are tired," and "make a list so you aren't walking around aimlessly."

Both sound. Both possible.

But then the author went on to describe her transforming shopping experience with her in-need-of-reform toddler. She brought a snack with her. She warned him that meltdowns would not be tolerated. She was calm and firm and perfectly not stressed. She followed her organized-by-aisles list. And when she arrived at the snack aisle with a nearly full cart and Junior started to scream about the treat that he wanted, she calmly took him out of the store and with her her perfectly not stressed voice she told him that shopping was over until he was ready to behave appropriately.

I closed my eyes and imagined how that could be translated into my own life.

1. Snack would be finished before we got to the store.

2. Walking through the aisles would remind me of all the food that we need and I would want to buy it on account of we need it.

3. I would probably get yelled at for leaving a nearly full cart in the store.

4. I would probably be shopping with both kids, in which case one of them would definitely need the bathroom at the time the other one started The Tantrum.

5. Reflecting upon the earlier issue of needing the food in my house (incidentally, the original motivation for shopping with my kids) I would not be able to leave the food behind in my cart in the store because if I did I wouldn't be able to get the food into my house.

6. I would go back in the store, get a new cart (since an annoyed employee would have already emptied mine), and start over at the snack aisle, in which I would buy my kid a snack. And then run through the rest of the aisles like I was in a marathon. And I would plan not to bring a snack to the store next time. And I would instead buy a snack for my kid at the start of the shopping experience. Because unless I missed something here, the original plan was to have the child eat during shopping (no judgement, I get hungry when I shop, too) and the food that the child would be eating would be food that I had purchased at a previous time. So what's the harm in buying food at the store at the actual time that I'm in the store to buy food?

7. Most likely, however, I would buy a snack for all of us.

And so, my friends, if you find that pages of the magazines in my house are missing corners, it's because I couldn't smooth out the dog-ear crease.

And know that those are the pages with not-as-possible ideas.

Here's my advice: it IS okay to let her shop in a princess costume. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The National Geographic Experience

Growing up, my siblings and I learned most everything we knew about the world from National Geographic. I don't think I could get my kids today to sit and watch a single National Geographic video, but those things kept us entertained for hours. We dedicated so much time to watching animals in their natural habitats, my baby brother thought that walking on all fours was the norm...and I mean for years past his crawling days.

When we had seen all the cheetahs and hyenas that were to be seen in the Serengeti, we moved on to the 'Seconds from Disaster' series. Now those were something else! Those are the ones that we'd watch gleefully, while simultaneously shaking our heads in disapproval and instructing the people on the screen to make better decisions. After watching so many of these videos, it would be natural to assume that we'd have expertly honed skills in the "uh-oh-something-bad-is-about-to-happen-I-got-to-do-something-about-it-quick" department. So did I? It's complicated.

I think I'm good at figuring out when things are on the edge, about to head south. I think I'm great at jumping into action seconds before disaster strikes. Unfortunately, I think my go-to response is ingrained as grab for a camera. Nat-Geo Style, what can I say?

For example, these stills from my upcoming movie:

I saw the toy had wheels. I knew the toy had wheels. And yet...

Note to self: toddlers-not-in-tiaras should not wear heels.

"What goes in can come out," is really misleading. 

Could it be that I actually thought she would only look and not dive in?

How could this possibly fail?

When I look at this picture the only thing that really concerns me is that one of her shoes is missing. 

Alas, not one of my smartest moments. 
Yes, all of these pictures are of my second child. How astute of you to notice. In my defense, I think Seconds are born with Boy Scout worthy survival skills, so this what you might call dangerous, I consider to be adventurous.

Carry on Mamas and National Geographic fans. Have your cameras ready at all times, don't fear disaster, and keep your Arnica supply well stocked.

By the way, if you continue filming during the actual disaster? #ParentingFail. There's probably a blog for that.