It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m catching up on Facebook after spending a lovely morning disconnected from technology and reconnecting with my body and soul.
I was blissfully unaware of the ugliness happening around me. With a quick scroll through Facebook, that ignorance quickly faded away.
I read post after post about Virginia. I see pictures of young men who would rather I not be in this country, let alone exist. It doesn’t matter that I’m a third generation American — more than many of them, I’m sure. It doesn’t matter that both of my grandfathers fought for the United States during World War II. I’m Jewish, so that’s just not good enough. My family isn’t good enough.
The fear, worry and anger of my friends is reflected online. As I scroll through my feed, my heart sinks. This is not the world I want for my kids.
From his earliest days of playground exploration, my son would be in constant contact with other children. Whether it was an angry push, an enthusiastic hug, or just a curious touch, he never kept his hands to himself.
He’s only one, I told myself. He’ll grow out of it.
My son grew older and more agile. He could climb and jump and keep up with kids three times his age. He still pushed. He still hit. He still tackled kids he loved.
Organized activities, like story time or music class were a nightmare.
I was in awe of swim staff the moment I put my toe in the lake at summer camp. I was 10 years old, a fair swimmer, with aspirations of one day becoming good enough to work there as a lifeguard. The swim staff was strict, and often downright mean, but everyone respected the waterfront.
In all my years as a camper, and subsequent years as a lifeguard, I never witnessed a serious water emergency. An impressive feat, considering the thousands of campers, staff and visitors who swam, splashed and played in that upstate New York lake.
While drownings and other horrible accidents are often the result of sheer bad luck, and I am not one to point blame at anyone, I believe the reason my camp had such an impressive record, was because the waterfront staff created a culture of safety.
Though my lifeguard days are behind me, I still use what I learned then to help keep my kids safe now.
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.
“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 →
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“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 →
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 →
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 →