I have thought about writing a parenting book for a long time, and toyed with various ideas for expressing my views.
The format I kept coming back to was poetry.
I have always enjoyed creating rhymes, and often find myself composing verse in my head. I felt compiling a bunch of short poems on the various aspects of motherhood would resonate best with my audience.
I don’t remember much about “sex ed,” probably because, like most kid, I turned a lot of it out, and I was lucky to have a good working knowledge of puberty before I engaged in any formal classes.
What I do remember, or rather don’t remember, was learning much about what happens to boys, or kids born with male body parts (though the word trans was not in my vocabulary at the time). As a girl, the focus was on things like ovaries and periods, and breasts and babies. We weren’t learning about sperm or erections or ejaculation.
At the time, I didn’t think much of why we were separated along gender lines. I guess, like the teachers, I presumed only certain things were relevant to me. Why should I worry about what was happening to the boys when I had enough going on in my own body?
I am thrilled to see efforts being made to teach children about the changes bodies go through in an inclusive, informative and, dare I say, enjoyable experience.
One such effort comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose upcoming book You-ology provides an in-depth look at the changes all bodies go through.
Written by gynecologist Melissa Holmes, MD, FACOG, and pediatricians Trish Hutchison, MD and Kathryn Lowe, MD, FAAP, You-ology is a book guardians will appreciate, and children (ages 9-13) will find appealing.
Adults will love the book’s thorough and fact-driven guides to everything from menstruation to erections. And, young readers will enjoy how a recurring group of characters go through familiar experiences like growth spurts, sprouting hair in new places, and hormonal changes.
Unlike puberty books of the past, You-ology, is truly meant for all genders. Transgender, gender-nonconforming, non-binary and other gender diverse children and their guardians will find a wealth of information on navigating their unique puberty experiences, as will cisgender children and their families.
Beyond teaching young people about puberty, this book provides helpful tips for navigating the more challenging aspects of growing up, such as bullying and what to do when they encounter pornography.
Having a nine-year-old son who is about to go through puberty, and a six-year-old who isn’t far behind, I am grateful to have a copy of You-ology to help myself and my kids better understand what they will be going through on their journey to adulthood.
You-ology will be available for purchase in April 2022.
Throughout history, adults have worried about what their kids read. On a small scale, this meant parents limiting what is read in the home. On a bigger scale, this has lead to banning books from schools, libraries and other public spaces.
With rare exception, I believe children should have access to literature. I won’t even add the caveat “age appropriate,” because that term is so subjective and the ability to handle mature material varies greatly from child to child. Furthermore, I believe books are a great way to spark hard conversations.
Warning: Minor spoilers for And Just Like That ahead.
When Sex And The City, first aired I was in my late teens and early 20s. At the time, I was enamored with Carrie’s effortless style and creative spirit, Miranda’s passion for her career, and even Samantha’s sexual freedom and lust for life. While, I had no major issues with Charlotte, I often found her to be the buzzkill of the group, annoyingly obsessed with marriage and family, and far from the modern representation of feminism I admired in the other women.
As a college student, marriage and kids were the last thing on my mind, and I wasn’t even sure if my life would head in that direction. Though others may have casted them off as “old maids,” I thought these four women living incredible lives in New York City were the coolest. So when Charlotte got into her usual mope about never finding a man, I wanted to reach through the screen, grab her, and say, “don’t you realize how good you’ve got it!”
Now as a 30-something woman watching the SATC reboot, And Just Like That, I realize I relate more with Charlotte than anyone else, and she may be my favorite character in the series.
My nine-year-old and I were updating his PJ Library reusable wall calendar for January, when he noticed Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year of the trees, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, fall on the same day this year, Monday, January 17.
As we look ahead to Tu B’Shvat, we can be mindful of Dr. King’s work, how climate justice and racial justice are linked, and how we can bridge the Jewish values of caring for our planet and working toward a more just world together.
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King’s words continue to ring true, as we look back on his legacy and wonder if we have gotten closer to achieving his dream for an equitable world.
While Tu B’Shvat is traditionally a holiday focused on trees, specifically the trees of Israel, and celebrating the land, the festival can be used an opportunity for both Jews and non-Jews a like to consider the topic of environmental justice.
Tu B’Shvat is the perfect time to ask ourselves, and our children, do we have access to clean water? Can we breathe clean air? Do we live in a place that is safe from the impact of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters? Are we close to parks, nature centers, and other places for appreciating the environment?
If the answer to these questions is yes, we can take the opportunity to think about how others might be living, and note how environmental inequality is very much an issue in the U.S. and beyond.
Cryptocurrency. Chances are you’ve heard of this digital form of money, and may have heard of the phrase, “Non Fungible Tokens” or “NFTs.” You may have also read about people making thousands — even millions — of dollars by buying and selling NFTs on various digital marketplaces.
You may be wondering, what the hell is an NFT?
To be honest, I still don’t fully understand how NFTs function, how their value is determined, or if they are a viable long-term investment.
According to Forbes, “An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.”
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah began on Sunday evening, and you may have noticed your friends sharing pictures and videos of their Hanukkah festivities.
Hanukkah is a joyous celebration, and a popular Jewish festival. It is my kids’ favorite holiday, and for good reason! Who doesn’t love eight days of food, family and gifts?
Hanukkah is also one of the few Jewish observances those who aren’t Jewish (or connected to Judaism in some way) are familiar with, yet, despite the popularity of the holiday, many do not understand the full meaning and history behind Hanukkah.
As a Jew, and a mom, who cares about educating the world about Judaism, in hopes this might make others more tolerant and prevent antisemitism, I wanted to write this post to explain a bit more about Hanukkah.
I finished watching “Maid,” the Netflix limited-series, last night, and I still find myself sobbing at random moments, while recalling the powerful, gut-wrenching scenes of the show.
“Maid” touched on domestic violence, alcoholism, toxic masculinity and other heavy issues, which, hopefully, sparked a conversation on breaking the cycle of abuse and doing better by DV survivors, while also acknowledging that many abusers are survivors of abuse themselves.
At the same time the series was shining a light on abuse, “Maid” was reflecting the stark difference in reality for those with financial means, and those without. This point was illustrated by the incredible story arc involving the relationship between main character Alex (Margaret Qualley) and Regina (Anika Noni Rose).
The viewer is introduced to Regina, when Alex shows up to clean her massive home. We quickly learn Regina is a power player, and, so it seems, has little to worry her. Meanwhile, at this point, we have already seen Alex escape her trailer home, sleep on a Ferry Station floor, and, thanks to visual reminders on screen, try to get by with little money.
From this vantage point, Regina seems entitled and self-absorbed, and our sympathies (at least mine) were with Alex, when her DV shelter friend, Danielle, “dognaps” Regina’s dog as payback for Regina refusing to pay Alex what was owed to her.
In a stand-off between Alex and Regina, we see Alex lay into Regina for freaking out over her dog missing for a few hours, when she herself had her daughter taken from her.
Perhaps motivated by Alex’s speech, Regina does pay Alex for her work, and continues to engage her cleaning services.
In what is a pivotal shift in her story, we first see Regina hastily packing up homemade pies for Thanksgiving, while her husband urges her to hurry up, all the while questioning the need for seven pies, which, apparently are for decoration only.
During our first few years of marriage, when my husband and I were in the thick of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, stress-induced fights and the general haze of early parenthood, I would wonder why more couples weren’t splitting up during this time.
I had no data to back this up, just my observations of couples we knew, who had been married for many years, and had decided to separate. I couldn’t understand what had driven them apart. After all, their kids were grown up, or at least old enough to not be a major source of stress, and, in theory, they had more time for one another.
Oh, yeah, and that little thing called, “COVID-19.”
The world can definitely seem fuckity fuck fucked, especially now.
If you are a worrier like me, who gets anxious and overwhelmed when thinking about all the problems in the world, I hear you, and I see you.
When I was a child, I use to randomly think about all the garbage in the world, and where it all goes, and if there’s enough room for it on our planet. I guess when you’re a kid, and a lot of your needs are already met, you have time to think about that stuff.
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