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 →
When hearing about the actress’s yearly trend of indulging every whim, no matter how much it beat her down in the process, I wondered if I could ever commit to a full day of only saying yes to my kids.
I already do my own version of this with my kids, in a way. During the week, for example, I limit things like junk food and screen time, but on the weekends or special occasions, I let the kids indulge a bit. It’s why you might see my kid eating nothing but cookies at a birthday party. He rarely eats them, so for him it is a splurge. Surprisingly, this method has taught him some self control. At a recent synagogue function, he ate a few cookies and declared he had enough.
I learned quickly as a parent that in order for those “yes” moments to work, I need to be able to say, “no,” too. Continue reading →
If you have young children, you have likely heard some iteration of the phrase, “Enjoy every moment,” repeatedly. They are the words uttered to you with a smile by the store cashier as she sees your toddler yanking at your hand. It is the comment on your Facebook post about finally getting the kids to bed.
Being a new parent is tough, but not tough enough to ever be sad, angry or even just a tiny bit annoyed by the situation.
That is what you are telling a new parent when you say, “Enjoy every moment.”
I was elated earlier this month, when I received an official packet from my son’s school. The manila envelope was packed with information about his teacher, his bus route, special programs run by the Parent Teacher Association and important dates to remember.
One piece of paper stood out among the rest. A letter from the principal informing parents and guardians about the school’s new policy of not allowing food for classroom celebrations. Instead of bringing in treats, caregivers are asked to work with their child’s teacher to create a special project, game or other fun way to celebrate the birthday. Continue reading →
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.
One parenting joy is the ability to bitch about the difficulty of raising a (insert age of child here). New parents struggle to stay sane while caring for a helpless, poop-machine. Toddler parents contend with tantrums, crayon murals and picky eating. School-age kids bring constant questions and whining. And, the adolescent years? Yeah, not even gonna touch that.
Seems almost every stage of parenthood has its challenges. So, is there an age when things are not so bad, or even great?
After nearly five years of completely unscientific research, I have concluded the period between four and six months is the most pleasant age for children.