PSA

If you absent-mindedly notice that your toothpaste looks thicker and whiter than usual when you squeeze it out, it’s probably not toothpaste.

(If you have babies in the house, it might just be a squeeze tube of Desitin.

Desitin on teeth feels really yucky. And it’s practically impossible to remove from the bristles of your favorite toothbrush.)

You might want to keep that in mind.


Comfort Me

I am mourning these days.

I am mourning summer.

Summer is

the sweet scent of

freshly mown grass

nose-tingling chlorine

potent sunscreen

juicy meat on charcoal.

Summer is

the gentle caress of

warm sunlight on dark wet skin

campfire heat radiating onto soft cheeks on a cool night

a mild hair-tousling breeze.

Summer is

the vision of

leaping, graceful deer

the vastness of the star-spangled sky

a never-ending stretch of green mountains

bright ashes rising upward before they flicker and descend.

Summer is

the sound of

chirping crickets at night

the distant thwack of a baseball bat

voices soaring in harmony

noisy, happy splashing.

Summer is

freedom

relaxation

flexibility

and belonging.

Summer is

light blue

soothing green

and earthy brown.

Summer is

nostalgia.

Summer is

youth.

Summer is not Work, or Bills, or Burden.

Summer is not Same Old.

Sigh.

I guess we all need to grow up eventually.

I’m getting there, slowly.

But for now, I pray that my children have Summer too.


Future Vegetarian Here?

Somehow I always thought that kids learn most things through osmosis.

Things are supposed to just seep into their consciousnesses, right?

Yes, there was the somewhat frummified birds-and-the-bees speech, but I don’t remember being explicitly taught most other things.

Yesterday my son and I were discussing the origins of his favorite foods.

We have already established that fruits come from trees, vegetables grow in the ground.

It all seemed to be going well until the conversation took this unexpected turn:

And baby chickens come from eggs, right Mom?

That’s right.

But Mommy, where does “food chicken” come from?

Umm…well…

Kid, do you have to make everything difficult?


The Break

He’s almost a year

I say with a small smile

As I smooth out the dark blond curls

And the burgeoning ache inside

You glance down

At the absence of the swell

I have become famous (infamous?) for

You nod knowingly

Your face, it says

Everyone needs a break sometimes

Shh…don’t tell, I took one too…

Will you still be

So cavalier

So knowing

So astute

If  this “break”

It never ends?


I Lie To My Kids Sometimes

Sometimes, like today.

It was a blatant lie, too.

I always thought I’d be an honest Mommy. Really, I did. I think that kids deserve the truth. In some cases, I might choose to leave out details, but I would never lie to them outright – oh, no, no, no – I won’t be one of those mothers.

My son just recently learned about butterflies.

He is completely fascinated by the whole metamorphosis process, and asks a million-and-one questions on the subject.

(Mommy, what noise do they make?

None, they just fly around quietly.

So how do they daven?

Hmmm….that’s a good question, I really don’t know.

I know, maybe they just whisper very very quietly. But where do they fly to?

To find pretty flowers to drink from.

Where are their Mommies?

Also probably flying around somewhere. Etc., etc.)

He especially loves this classic book.

This past Shabbos was cold and rainy. We ate out for a meal, and he was very concerned about not getting cold and wet. My little policeman made sure that all of us were wearing sweaters (Tatty, where is your sweater? We must keep our sweaters on!) and raincoats (Mommy, the baby doesn’t have a rain coat! We must buy him one after Shabbos.), and he dug up and struggled to attach the rain cover for the stroller. He was fixated on the rain all day, sticking his hand out the window constantly to give us up-to-the-minute weather updates.

Somehow a moth made its way into our living room on Shabbos afternoon.

He was elated.

A butterfly in his own home!

It doesn’t get better than this, people.

Everyone had to come see it, and of course he had to experiment to see what would happen if he banged his Lego on it.

This boy of mine is such a mix of impulse and tenderness; it’s amazing to watch the two tendencies war.

This is a kid who is seriously excited about life.

So much to do, to touch, to explore.

And oh so much to regret.

He is so pure and innocent; I often worry about a time when he won’t be.

Anyway, the moth was just sitting on the windowsill, unmoving, and he of course he needed to know why. I said that it was probably just resting a bit. Flying so much must be tiring, you know. (Here I felt no need to add that being almost dead must be pretty tiring too. Details, details.)

Eventually it tried to fly, but the pitiful thing couldn’t get around much, and landed on the floor, spent.

“Why is it not getting up Mommy, why is it not getting up? Why is it staying on the floor?” (Why are kids so repetitive, why are they?)

“Hmmm…I wonder. Maybe someone wasn’t gentle with it –  like maybe someone touched it too hard with his Lego, and it got hurt.”

I could tell that he felt bad, because he spent the next few minutes protecting the poor insect from all potential threats (i.e. his two-year old sibling) and repeatedly asking me if the butterfly will feel better soon.

My baby spotted it that very second and started speed-crawling to the interesting shaped potato chip (I don’t blame the kid, all things on the floor on Shabbos afternoon tend to be potato chips). I quickly grabbed the closest item (a Ziploc bag) and gently eased it out the balcony door.

My big guy started to panic – “No, no, Mommy! The Butterfly will be cold! And it’s not feeling well, and it will be cold and wet!”

I watched the half-dead moth fall through the crack between the railing and the floor, picturing some nearby cat enjoying the tasty snack. No biggie.

And I came right back in and told my oh-so-trusting child that he flew straight to his Mommy so that she could take care of him.

And I didn’t feel bad. Not even a teeny bit.