My two boys wrestle. They roll around on the floor, alternating who is pinned to the floor and who is on top. My oldest drags his brother around our home, all the while the little guy is laughing along gleefully. I have seen things escalate to aggressive headbutts and forceful shoves. And, I’ve seen them soften to cuddles, gentle pats and kisses.
My husband and I joke about our boys inability to be away from one another. Whether they are playfully roughhousing, kicking one another in anger, or sleepily snuggling together in our master bed, our boys are almost always engaged in some form of physical contact. Their emotional language is touch.
As a boy mom of more than five years, I have learned a fundamental difference between how young males and young females express themselves. I see this not only in my sons, but in other boys as well. Boys are are physical communicators and us female parents, teachers and caregivers need to respect that. Continue reading →
Long before marriage and family was a possible thought in my brain, I watched an episode of a daytime talk show (I want to say it was Oprah), which would shape how I would eventually set up my home.
In this episode, a very famous decorator/designer (I want to say it was Nate Berkus), was the special guest, whose task was to revamp a couple’s home. I can’t recall what colors he painted their walls, or what artwork he picked for their living room or what curtains he hung on their windows. However, when it came to their bedroom, one thing the designer said planted itself in my brain:
Raising children is a lifelong lesson in letting go. From the moment they are born, our instinct is to protect them, to shield them, to make their lives easier. We help them with as much as we can — not because we are overprotective — but, because we love them and want them to succeed.
Ultimate success, however, comes by stepping back, and letting our kids do more on their own. Each age offers new opportunities for growth, and each family can decide what works best for them.
I look out for signs from my kids to guide me about when they might be ready to try new tasks. So, when my son, who is five, started insisting on making meatballs on his on, I let him. Continue reading →
I am a member of several Facebook groups for moms. They have become so common, that poking fun of them has become standard practice. For better or worse, they have a huge influence on parents, and can be quite helpful. I know lots of parents who say they could not survive without them.
What if our little ones had the same access to Facebook (and knew how to read, write and engage in snarky banter)? What would their posts look like?
Social media has changed the way we do things for our kids. Birthday parties, especially, have become a bit over the top, as we parents try to mimic those beautiful pictures we see on Pinterest.
It’s hard to remember a time when parties were simpler, and nobody was making 5000 Moana statues for a two-year-old’s birthday party. Not that I’m dogging on anyone who does that, because, seriously, that is impressive.
Before the Internet, the only people you had to impress were the people at your party, and you probably only saw them once in awhile anyway, so you didn’t care too much about what they thought.
My mom was a bit ahead of her time, when it came to birthday parties. We always had them in our house, complete with homemade desserts, craft projects and entertainment provided by friends and family. Continue reading →
Staring up at the young performers in “Dear Evan Hansen,” watching in awe as they masterfully captured the angst, confusion, boredom and small joys of being teenagers, two thoughts popped in my head:
Wow, this reminds me so much of high school.
Is this what my kids will be like?
I am privileged to say I have attended a number of Broadway shows, several with strong, emotional stories and engaging characters. When I watched these shows in my teens and my 20s, I felt their struggles and connected with their emotions. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what it was like to be a 20-something in the late 80s living in the East Village (RENT), or a sexually-confused teen in 19th-century Germany or green witch struggling to find acceptance in Oz (Wicked); I saw myself in those characters.
We all see ourselves in fictional characters, whether on the stage, screen or the page. It is what drives us to experience these stories. That deep connection. That sense of knowing exactly how a character feels. We are moved by them, because we are them. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: In order to provide my readers with the best information, my family’s visit was compensated by the museum. All views expressed are my own.
Imagine That!!!! is a favorite destination for my kids, so when I learned the popular children’s museum in Florham Park, N.J. was under new ownership — and getting a totally revamped design — I knew I had to check it out.
My family visited the museum over the break, and we were all thrilled by the wider space, updated play areas, expanded climbing section, new features and more.
Read on to see why Imagine That!!! is a must-visit for families in the New York/New Jersey metro area. Continue reading →
Growing up as a child who went to school in the 90s, there was definitely a stigma around special education. Autism diagnoses were much rarer back then, and you maybe saw one or two kids with ADD or ADHD in an entire grade. Most people had never even heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. At least, that is what it seemed like to me, living in my world as a developmentally typical student. The few kids who did need extra help existed in another world to me. I didn’t really understand what challenges they and their families faced.
What I did understand, however, were labels. And the label of being a kid who needed “special education” was full of stigmas. The stigma of not being smart. The stigma of not being normal. The stigma of not being able to cut it in the regular world.
I would like to think that I was a kind person in my younger days, but I am sure I had my moments of looking down on those students who couldn’t cut it in a regular classroom. Maybe I thought, if only they worked harder. Or they are just making excuses. Or why do they get extra help?
As someone who had a relatively easy time in school, I often failed to comprehend why others might struggle. I didn’t know that many students learn differently and that didn’t make them any less intelligent or curious or eager to achieve than me.
I gained a whole new perspective on how kids learn, after having two kids of my own. Continue reading →
I have two small boys, and while I may joke my oldest, extremely picky, child is “allergic” to food in general, I do not know what it is like to raise a child who has food allergies. I do not know what it is like to spend hours in doctors offices. I do not know what it is like to rush my child to the E.R. because he accidentally ingested a harmful food. I do not know what it is like to overhaul my life to ensure I don’t endanger my child.
I do, however, know plenty of parents who know all about those things and more. They are living life as parents of children with food allergies. As their friend, I have learned much about their struggles and how they navigate the world a bit differently than the rest of us. I have tremendous respect for them, and as a fellow parent/decent human being, I want to do my part to help keep their kids safe. Continue reading →
I am a bit of a “type A” personality. I was involved with everything in high school, from the student newspaper to a Jewish youth group. I then went on to college, where I became president of my sorority. For much of my adolescent and early adult life, I was in charge of something, planning something, delegating something — always doing something.
I thrived on deadlines and responsibilities and was able to manage the stress that comes with them. I was also a lot younger, sleeping a lot longer and only had to worry about myself.
Since becoming a parent, I have found my interest in doing all the things has waned. Managing my family has occupied so much space inside me that I often dread adding another responsibility. Some might call it lazy, or poor time management skills, and they might be right. But, I know what I can handle, and I don’t want to push myself over the edge. Continue reading →