Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baby bullies, Part 1

Tonight I managed quite a feat-- I garnered several horrified faces from fellow parents of little kids. We were attending Tot Shabbat services at our synagogue and my little Josh was dancing around the rabbi trying to keep his yarmalkah on. The kids were running amuck as usual while the adults sang along to the simple songs in Hebrew, English,Yiddish and a smattering of words from no particular language such as "bim-bom."

My Joshy was about to get pushed down for the fourth time by an otherwise adorable curly-haired three-year-old half a foot taller than him, when I intervened. I'm not sure why I did it. I'm not sure that I decided to do it. I am sure I was immediately red-faced, ashamed and imploringly apologetic. I babbled for a good minute about why I did it and why I shouldn't have and what I should have done-- tell them and let them deal with it obviously--O blatant hindsight!

In that split-moment, I must not have had enough time to pull Josh away. I must not have been able to block him either. In that partial-second, that curly-haired toddler transformed into every monster of my childhood-- the pretty little girls who didn't want to play with me, the teenage boy that mocked me for being an observant Jew by singing prayers at me on the school bus. The incessant laughter of children emotionally torturing an innocent must have been swirling like a tornado in my amygdala.

And I grabbed the boy's arm as it was about to come down on my son.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Lentils for boys big and small


With ten weeks to go before my return to work I've been reflecting on the idea of a schedule, which my free-spirited non-planner husband loves to mockingly call shed-jule, as if it were for boring people and chumps.

After teaching high school and living on a rigid forty-two minute bell schedule for nine years, my leave with Joshy has been such a relief. We meet up with other moms for playdates when we are up for it, we nap when we are tired and bedtime happens at various times depending on whether we napped that day.

So I'm realizing my go-with-the-flow lifestyle is one of the many losses I'm experiencing in preparing to return to work.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011


Joshy has an endearing habit of picking up items around him and handing them off to people nearby-- he hands me globs of dusty cat hair, he hands his grandpa pieces of mail and he hands strangers pieces of toys he finds. So it was no surprise when he plopped himself by the trainset in what we fondly call Barnes and Nobes today between a little boy and his dad and began handing off worn down scratched up Thomas trains to the elder. He did what most of us would do politely took each piece with a smile and after thanking him, placed them back with their train engine comrades on the big wooden set. The surprising part (which maybe shouldn't have surprised me) was when Josh passed a toy to the man's son. It was a plastic magenta wing with assorted colors swirling around a sticker on its side. The boy quickly inspected it and refused it, slapping it to the ground with a firm, "girl toy!"

I think it's so beautiful to see my Joshy in this pre-gender-role state-- he loves trucks and he loves baby carriages-- both have wheels, which is pretty much all he cares about. He loves his overstuffed lion and he loves his fluffy "Mr. Pinky Head" doll--they are both soft. He loves grabbing Mama's purple hat and his bro's skull baseball cap-- both go on and off his little head while he makes silly faces of glee. How much longer do I have before he shuns his pink-headed toy and worries butterfly toys have cooties?

As I ponder this, I find myself in need of more cloth dipes before I go back to work. When I posted on all my favorite mama Facebook pages that I'm looking to trade or buy more fuzzibunz for Joshy's buns, I immediately got an offer that would test my ability to withstand gender roles for Joshy and his "bunz"-- pink and purple size mediums! Procrastinating any color-based gender-role decision, I offered to trade, but not buy the dipes-- way to go half-way mama!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Toddlers and the spiritual life

What role should Gd play in my little boy's life? He's seventeen months and can only say a handful of words-- at least ones I understand. He loves to wear a yamakah when we attend Tot Shabbat at synagogue, but then again he loves all hats, and wears my underwear as a hat quite often. How do I enrich his spiritual life?

When I say my prayers in the morning and night and in between it is always silent-- a kind of Gd-reads-my-mind sort of thing. Occasionally I remember to include Joshy by saying these thoughts aloud. They are usually simple and cliche prayers of gratitude or requests for aid of some sort. When I say them out loud they sound so silly and uncreative to me, not as heartfelt as I'd like. But does that mean they aren't good enough for my son to hear?

Does the metaphor of Gd as a parent and we his children apply any more literally than here? Joshy has faith that I'm always going to take care of him, but who takes care of mama?

My boy loves people, he is naturally social and he's teaching me to see the light of goodness in each person, no matter what. When a man was rude to me Joshy smiled at him, part of me was thinking "save your smiles for nice people," but the truth was this guy needed it. What can be more disarming than a smile from a baby to a stranger?

Please post comments on how your spiritual life intersects with mommyhood of your little one.