Lucky penny

This story describes handling a medical situation involving a child ingesting a foreign object. Some language might be offensive to some readers. Also, every child and situation is different. Please consult your doctor if you need medical advice.

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“Mama, I swallowed a penny!” So began the series of events leading to me kneeling beside my toilet searching for the coin my four-year-old ingested.

How I managed to make it through two kids and more than four years of parenting before either of them swallowed a foreign object is nothing short of a miracle. I never fully baby-proofed my home and my little ones are always getting into precarious situations. I’d like to think I did a decent job of enforcing certain rules like, staying away from the stove and crawling backwards down the stairs until walking has been mastered. I am humble enough to admit keeping my kids safe is equal parts quick reflexes and just plain good luck. Continue reading

Band-Aids, branding and blogging

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No trademarks were harmed in the posting of this picture

“You have three days to make ‘band-aid’ a thing in a post, article, meme, or live video.,” so were the words of the great Ms. Mary Katherine Backstrom, award-winning creator of Mom Babble, in the writers group she hosts.

I actually heard about this challenge after seeing an odd number of posts referencing band-aids. My initial reaction, before I knew what was going on, was to respond with: “No! Band-aid is a trademarked name by Johnson and Johnson.” I wanted to help my fellow bloggers avoid potential legal pitfalls for unwittingly publishing copyrighted material. Continue reading

Stop bitching about how much better being a kid used to be

Being a kid in the 1970s, 80s or 90s was so much better than today, or so says countless essays, listicles and Facebook rants. We played in the street, stayed put until dark and used our imagination instead of iPads. Our parents were stern, but still gave us freedom to explore. We tell our own children of the good old days and wax poetic about how wonderful their lives would have been back then.

Raising children today can never be like it was. Society changes, values evolve, technology grows, new challenges emerge, etc., etc. Our grandparents grew up very differently from our parents, as did our parents from us. Our great grandparents may not have had much of a childhood because, back then, kids were expected to work at a young age.

Our ancestors are looking down on us and wondering what is wrong with us. Our kids are fortunate in so many ways. They are not suffering the burden of a Great Depression or the terror of a World War. And while, as a New Yorker, I do not discount the real fear of terrorism, the truth is, kids in the United States are safer than ever. Instead of bemoaning the fate of our children, let’s give them the childhood they deserve. Continue reading

Break the rules, not their spirits

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My mother often calls me, “Miss Law and Order,” not because I work in the legal field, but because, from a young age, I tended to always follow the rules. If my family played a game together, you can bet I observed everyone’s moves closely, lest they attempt to cheat. My mom, who is never one to just go with convention, would chide me for being no fun.

My innate desire for things to abide by a predetermined set of regulations regularly clashes with my desire to let my children engage in free play. I fight my urge to grab the instruction manual and shout, “No, this is how you do it!” Continue reading

Sitting back, waiting for my brows to be cool

I, like many of my fellow darker-haired gals of European descent, are “blessed” with being a little hairier then our fairer friends. Skipping a day between shaving is a no go, and you eagerly wait for the summer sun to naturally bleach your arm hair. 

Then, there’s the eyebrow dilemma. When you sport unibrow before the age of ten, you quickly become adept at the finer art of browshaping. Plucking was a daily ritual. I don’t know how many tweezers I have purchased over the years, but let’s just say the amount spent has helped keep many a drug store in business.

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The meanies lost, or how I taught my four-year-old about the Holocaust 

I watched my son gaze curiously at the wall of the synagogue; his eyes falling on a worn and tattered scroll behind a glass display.

We were visiting my parents’ synagogue during the first two two days of Passover, and my son wanted to learn more about the Torah, the hand-scribed scroll of the Old Testament, which hung on the wall. This particular Torah was desecrated by the Nazis during World War Two and was recovered by the Jewish people. This sacred object was very much a symbol of the resilience of my community and a source of pride for the synagogue.

My inquisitive four-year-old examined the tears and burnt markings and wanted to know what happened. He understood the Torah was usually kept in the Aron Kodesh, or holy cabinet, and is used during Jewish prayer service. He wanted to know why this particular Torah was behind glass.

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Play in the rain

Rainy days were awesome at summer camp. We put on our least favorite clothing (hopefully for our parents’ sake),  find an open space in the middle of the field and plunge on to our bellies. Sliding through the mud we didn’t care how wet and filthy we became. We were kids having fun.

I’m guessing you have a similar story from your childhood. Remember how amazing stomping in puddles felt? The sound of the splashing water. The squishy sensation of your boats. The smell of rain. Continue reading