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The ONLY Exception to the Rule

It is the human lot to exaggerate. We always wait for forever, repeat things a million times, and we’d never ever do [that]. It’s ok really, all this pseudo –lying; we all do it, and we all don’t believe each other for a second. We take whatever the other person said and scale it down appropriately. Forever becomes 5-10 minutes, a repetition of a million is also probably in the number 5 range. And the thing we’d NEVER do, well, sometimes that is a never, but most people have a price or warranting circumstance that can change that never to “….well, maybe, sorta…once..twice..”

There is one circumstance life where people are not exaggerating, no matter how far-fetched, improbable, and seemingly impossible their claim may be, and that is in regard to parenting, particularly a newborn.

Yes, I held my baby the entire day.

No, he did not stop crying, not for a moment.

Yes, I changed his diaper 20 times today.

And yes, I was up the entire night with him.

And no, this was not a one-time phenomenon; this is standard operation.

I’m not exaggerating.

Yes, I know you are conditioned to minimize anything anyone says by 20, but you should probably inflate mine; I think I may be downplaying it to come across as a semi functioning person.
So you can continue to doubt and reduce the implications of what anyone, or I say regarding anything (“I love that song, I could listen to it all day…I hate her and will never forgive her…They’re bajillionaires…”) Remember there is one topic that is irreproachable, and don’t ask me to repeat myself, I barely have energy to eke out this kvetch once.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Mein Leben

I will no longer judge those women. Those women by the dairy section piling cartons of Lebens, cheese snacks, and puddings of the sort. I used to (as of yesterday) wonder if they knew what garbage they were feeding their child. And if they didn’t, why not. And if they did, why are they still doing it.

Now I’m not a health nut. I will not send my kid to school with just carrots and rice cakes. However, they will not be bringing two snacks for every recess. I’m not against Lebens and pudding, they taste great, but they’re treats, not every day breakfast.

Today that all changed. As I passed the Dairy Section in my grocery contemplating which yogurt to buy my malnourished child, there was one of those women there. She had two boisterous brats sitting in the cart seat, one lagging alongside her, and man was she going at them. She bought 3 dozen, all neatly lined and stacked.  They looked good, I think I wanted one for myself. After I gave her nasty sidelong glances and she obliviously went on her merry way I looked at the nutrition label –just out of curiosity.

Did you know there are close to 200 calories in one Leben, and it has a 20% daily value of calcium? My kid needs calories, and calcium. I bought one, just one, to see if he’d even eat it.

Unsettled by my purchase, I planned waiting a day or two to give it to him. He found it though while I was unpacking and asked for it with a fervent,

“uuh, uh, uuuuuuuuuuh!!”

I gave it to him.

He inhaled it.

First he downed it with a spoon, (really a straw, but he got impatient that it was so thick and he had to suck for so long before it came, that he gave up and demand a spoon [more fervent “uuh, uh, uuuuuuuuuuuhhs!!), but when the spoon wasn’t adequate, he drank it, used  it like a cup. There was nothing left.

I’m torn, my kid ate, which is wonderful, miraculous really – but I really don’t want Lebens to be commonplace in my house. If I continue down this road, I’ll soon be listening to Uncle Moishy, and Morah Music, despite me having standards.

The slippery slope of parenting, I’ve only started the decent, but I think I get it. I’m only a few weeks away from buying stock in Lebens, please don’t judge me.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Humor, Parenting

 

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Raising an Individual

Mommy

Image by liquene via Flickr

I was in one of those ponderous moods, the ones where you start to think about life’s deep questions that don’t really make much of a difference whether you have answer or not, or even if you have an answer, nothing’s changing, if it’s accurate or not.

So my question was, at what point is my son no longer an extension of me, but rather his own individual being. When can I no longer say, that he is I, but rather, just, he’s mine. I’d like to think that my kid would always be an extension of me; I love him so much, more than me, really. Him becoming an individual, well, part of me feels almost like it’s a betrayal to my love – aren’t I good enough?

Well, I came up a vague answer, something like, when he exhibits his own will. But I wasn’t really buying it, because babies exhibit their own will and desires from day one, and we, the adults submit to them.

And then I thought, when he does something that shows he’s an individual. Eh, to that too, not really quantifiable.

But it was ok that no definitive answer was reached, the mood passed, and I was on to more pressing matters, like how to remove pen ink from the toilet seat cover.

The next day, while playing with my son, I put out my arms for him to come to me. He looked my square in the face, and then shrugged is shoulder. I didn’t read the gesture at first, and reaffirmed my outstretched arms, and he shrugged again. This time I noticed. Where’d he pick that up?

And then the next day, I handed him a book, and instead of coming to sit on my lap, as he usually would, he raised the book over his head, and said,

“Un, doo, doo” and threw the book to the floor. I was puzzled, not really getting what he just did. But before I could question too much, he proceeded to pick the book up, raise it above his head again, repeat “Un doo doo,” and he threw it to the floor – again. A moment’s thought and I realized he was counting presumably to three, and throwing the book. How odd a behavior, where did he think to do that?

And then finally on the next next day, I asked my son, like all mothers do, in a high pitched rhetorical question voice, “E, right you love Mommy, right you love Mommy?!” And instead of looking at me dumbfounded, or possibly giggling, he responded,

“Nu- uh.” I ashamedly retorted with a mature “Yu-huh” before I even recognized the exchange.

First a shrug, then counting (and violence), and now a premature teenager doubting his mother’s love with a nu-uh? My kid was learning stuff, and it wasn’t from me. The obvious answer was, (cue ominous music) –the babysitter. The next day (which is the day after the next next day for those keeping track), I confirmed my suspicions with the babysitter.

“Do the kids shrug here? Do they count to three and throw stuff, do they say nu-uh” I demanded more than asked, in an indignant accusatory tone. She laughed – quite heartily, I’d say.

“Yes, they do, and your son, he likes to play with the big boys, so he’s always copying them, and learning from them, adorable, no?” she answered in her jovial Israeli accent.

And I then had an “Aha” moment. My son was no longer me. He was no longer me, because I was no longer his sole source of influence. But don’t I teach him enough, I protested to myself, don’t I teach him everything he needs to know, why am I not enough.

My son presses every nose he can lay his hands on (mine, the doll’s, the stuffed dog’s, the neighbor’s newborn) and says “Beep Beep.” I taught him that. Score one for Mommy influences, and I was feeling better

But then he went down the slide headfirst in the park the other day –It was so freakin’ cute, but I definitely didn’t teach him that, though maybe I should have, and maybe it’s a good thing there’s someone else who did.

It takes a village to raise a child, no?

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Parenting, Slice of Life

 

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Almost Parenting

Shiny and colored objects usually attract Infa...

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I’m fascinated watching my son. He’s on his stomach, supported by his hands, and reaching for a toy. He can’t crawl yet, but he’s well on his way there; he picks up his knees, scrunches his body, reaches forward, rocks. But he can’t do it yet.

So he’s reaching for the toy, and his fingertips keep grazing it, but not enough to get a grasp of it. I stand there, watching, fascinated, for about 5 minutes until he manipulates himself enough to reach it. I was so proud, and I knew then what it meant to shep nachas.

But seriously, the whole time I was watching I was sorely tempted to just give it to him. He wanted it, he couldn’t reach it, why watch him struggle when I can just make it easier and give it to him. It was very easy to counter that logic; he needs to learn, and try, and struggle, or he’ll never learn, or reach any developmental milestones if I just hand everything to him. I’m sure most mother’s would agree that I did the right thing by letting my kid do it all by himself, even if there was a kvetch or two along the way.

So why is parenting so clear and straightforward when our children are infants, but when they get older we just lose our way?

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Parenting

 

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Misplaced Pride

People have very different opinions on reward and punishment when it comes to children. When a child misbehaves people generally punish the child (not getting into how they punish, whether it’s a stern talking to, silent treatment, withholding a treat to spanking – irrelevant in this article).

However when a child does what he’s supposed to do, this is where people begin to differ. I hear the side when people say, “don’t reward a child for good behavior, he’s supposed to be good regardless, it’s not an extra something they’re doing”. It makes sense, why needlessly spoil a child and basically give them tools to manipulate you with.

Then today I took my 2 month old to the doctor for a well visit. And boy was I proud of him. I was able to tell the doctor that my Shmooshky smiles at me, tracks me from across the room, holds his head beautifully…I was so proud and I told my son so. And when the nurse informed me that he had gained 2 and ¾ pounds, I was glowing, and told my son how brilliant and special he was. Now really, all he did was what he’s supposed to do. There isn’t even cognitive thought and intent there, this is what is body was made and meant to do at this stage and he was performing a function. When the doctor asked about his skills it wasn’t so much as a yes or no, but rather just checking for conformation. And yet I’m still a proud Mama, because my son is doing what he’s supposed to be doing.

So back to the original quandary…should parents reward their child for doing what expected of them? Looking at my reaction, one may think I say yes, but I think my reward was really more affirming for me than my child. Telling me that I did a good job raising my child that he’s capable of doing the things he should. It sounds a little egotistical to compliment my own parenting skills, so I just coo at my son instead.

So now, are parents just misplacing their rewards? Should we be rewarding ourselves for our child’s good behavior?

I think so. Who’s sponsoring my chocolate?

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Parenting

 

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Saving the World, One Inadequacy At a Time

We Can Do It poster for Westinghouse, closely ...

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I never fully appreciated what a good person I am, and the amazing service I provide for humanity.

You know when you’re nervous about doing something, anxious about the process, can you do it, make it, or will it ever happen to you? Like can you land a job, get a date, get married, pass your road test, manage labor naturally, be a mother, or father?

One tool people find very helpful is to find someone who they would generally think very unlikely to complete that given task or milestone, and to pump yourself up and say “If they can do it, then I totally can!”

Basically, by putting the other person down, because you believe them to be weaker or more incompetent than you, or incompatible in some way or another, you get this reassurance that if they can do it, you can to, and a drive to prove that right.

We’re all guilty of this. I looked at some friends when it came to driving, completing assignments, getting the courage to speak up…

Of course there is a major flaw in this whole system because the whole premise is that you perceive the other person to be lacking, and that you are not. Key word is perceive, perception is not objective reality. But never mind the flaws, the system works for a lot of people (well, most people, until they fail to achieve whatever it is).

So, who are these pathetic beings that people use to make themselves feel better about themselves, give them courage and hope in hard and dark times. Who are these selfless saviors of humanity that selflessly achieve just for others to believe that they can do it to?

Well, one person…ME!

I did the world a great favor by getting married. If I could get married to the type of man that I did, then anyone else can get the man of their dream.

I also encouraged the world by having a baby. You see I’m not exactly the poster child for motherhood, I scare kids, and babies and I don’t have a sweet high pitch cooing bone in my body. I had a baby (well, anyone can have a baby, there are 13 year old doing it every day), am managing just fine, and I am a very maternal cootchie mootchie mother. Never mind the fact that I always said I hated kids, and just give them to me as teenagers.

So for those of you who wondered if you will ever get married, and those who lie awake at night wondering if you could manage the mandatory sleep deprivation that motherhood demands, you owe me one, because today you know YOU CAN!

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2010 in Humor

 

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My Mama

I went to Kever Rochel the other day. It was an interesting experience.

I was having a difficult time relating to the whole “Mama Rochel” thing, when I can just go “Tatte” at the Kosel.

And then I got it.

Me by the Kosel, is a student talking to a teacher.

Mama Rochel is a mother talking to the teacher by PTA.

When a student talks to a teacher, s/he humbles herself, flatters the teacher, asks in the nicest of ways, begs, pleads, and the teacher nods and listens and appreciates the student having the guts to approach her directly, and will definitely consider what the student asked, explained and said, but when it comes down to it, the teacher will do what s/he thinks is best.

Before we get to PTA, there’s the pre-PTA where the child tells the mother all the issues and gripes s/he has with the teacher.

“Tell her not to pick on me.”

“Her tests are so hard.”

“She doesn’t even know my name!”

Then comes PTA.

There is no greater advocate for a child than his/her mother.

“She’s really smart and creative, you have to give her a chance.”

“Call on her when she raises her hand.”

“She needs a modified test.”

“I think a different approach is necessary.”

“My child doesn’t think you like him/her.”

“You give to much homework.”

“My child really tries, I know you don’t see the effort in the results, you should see her work.”

“My child doesn’t think you even know her name.”

And when it comes to parents’ comments, teachers generally listen, because they know the parent will have no problem calling them again and putting them in their place.

So, yeah, I get the Mama Rochel thing now.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2009 in Jewish

 

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