The Same Moon

Lady J has an Israeli pen-pal through a wonderful program called The Same Moon, set up by our former religious school.  She has spent the year writing back and forth with her pen pal in preassigned topics.  We spend time discussing each topic and what she wants to say before and she dictates the letter as I type.  Last month’s topic was “good deeds.” Below is the letter she composed.  There are no words for the simultaneous pride and heartache I feel:

“It was so nice to talk to you last week on Skype! What time was it in Israel when we talked?  My mom said it was close to dinner time.  It was still morning where I was.  My little sister always gets excited when tomorrow becomes today.  I guess in Israel my today is your yesterday, at least for part of the day.  Is that confusing?  It confuses me too. My mom calls me a philosopher.  I don’t know what that means.

When is your birthday?  My birthday is in the summer.  I think I want to have a sleepover party for my birthday.  But this year, instead of getting gifts from my friends, I want to collect sleeping bag-coats for homeless people. They’re called “The EMPWR Coat” and it’s a coat that turns into a sleeping bag for night time and then a bag on days when you don’t need a warm coat.  It looks really cool and can help save lives. I learned about it after I told my idea to collect sleeping bags for homeless people to my mom.  She showed me the website and I knew I had to try to give as many coats as I could.  My mom says that’s a Mitzvah.

I try to help homeless people out whenever I can.  One time, I saw a homeless man and asked my parents if we could give him some food.  He looked so lonely and hungry.  I bought him a blueberry muffin, a banana, and some water.  I wish I could do more.

Sometimes I run with my mom, too.  When she runs, she uses an app on her phone that’s called Charity Miles.  We choose a charity to run for and for each mile we run, some money gets donated.  We usually run for Back on My Feet, because they help the homeless too.

A few years ago, our house caught fire.  I don’t remember that much but I know it was really scary.  Sometimes I remember the house but only bits and pieces.  After the fire, we had to live with my mom’s parents for a little while and then my dad’s parents too.  We finally bought a new house this year, but we were really lucky we had our family to help us before that.  I guess I just want to help the people who don’t have family to take care of them, the people who don’t have homes.

Another thing I do with my family is donating things we don’t use anymore.  We go through our toys, clothes, and books every few months and decide what needs to be recycled, handed down, or donated to those in need.  I’m glad I can help.

Other ways I try to do Mitzvot are just by being a good leader and doing the right thing.  In school we learn about the 7 habits and I try to follow them. I’ve won a few “Leader In Me” awards. In Hebrew School, it’s called Mench of the Month. I won a few of them too.  I just try to follow the rules, try my best, and treat other people nicely.  It seems to be working so I guess I’ll stick to this plan.

I can’t wait to get your next letter!  Maybe we can FaceTime with each other sometime.  That would be cool.”

Convos with Kids #247365711: How to get your Children to Never Brush Their Teeth Again

Overheard while doing the dishes:

MTK, for the 4th time: It’s time to brush teeth! 

Kids: continuing to ignore him

MTK: You have to go straight to bed if you don’t brush your teeth. 1, 2… K-Mad, where are you going?

K-Mad: Stwaight to bed. 

MTK: But you have to brush your teeth. 

K-Mad: But you dust said ta go to bed if I don’t bwush my teef…

#wellplayed #touché #parentingfail

Convos With Kids #247365711: A Glimpse into the Future

The following conversation happened 5 minutes ago, but I’m fairly certain it was supposed to take place 12 years from now…

K-Mad, out of nowhere and with all the sass and attitude of a full fledged teen, left hand on hip, right hand waving in the air: Uh! Mom! Why do you always ask me if I’m smoking?!?! I told you alweady! I! Do! Not! Smoke! 

Me, having no idea what she’s talking about: Uuuuummmm…. What are you talking about?

K: I don’t smoke. It’s just not healfy, ya know. I know that alweady! I’m tired of telling you this! Uuuuh! I! Do! Not! Smoke!

Me, still scratching my head: Well, alrighty then… Thank you for not smoking? 

K: You! Awe! Welcome!

Seriously looking forward to her teenage years…and possible bording schools…

#ThankYouForNotSmoking #GlimpseIntoTheFuture #NoJustNo

Convos with Kids #24.7.365-7.11: Observations of a 4 Year Old

Part 1: Childhood Is

Childhood is the view from the car window and sudden realization with honest awe that geese really do fly in a V formation while “Here Come the Geese” by Barenaked Ladies plays in the background… 


Part 2: Amore

Me, singing mindlessly to myself: When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…

K-Mad: That’s a funny song! What does it mean?

Me: Huh. I never really thought about it. I guess it’s that feeling you get when you see someone you love. It brightens your mood up like the light from a full moon brightens the sky. I guess it makes your eyes brighten up too when you look at someone you love. 

K: Like how Daddy looks when he sees you?


Part 3: Here We Grow

K-Mad: Mom, did you know vat da wowd is Vvvvvery not berry? I can say it! Ver-ry! Very! Did ya heaw that? Guess I’m gwowing up and gettin’ bigga…

Convos with Kids #24.7.365-7.11: Anticipation 

Me: K-Mad! It’s time to get ready to go to Eva’s birthday party!
K, very excited: Is tomorrow today?

Me: Yes! Yesterday, today was tomorrow, but now tomorrow is today!

K: Oh yay! I waited a whole day for that to happen and now it’s finally here! (Runs to share the news with J & B) Guys! Guess what! Tomorrow is today! It really is! I’m so excited! It finally happened! 


It Happens

That moment when you have just finished a lovely ladies afternoon with your youngest daughter and friends and you’re on your way to your older children’s school to wait for dismissal and the school nurse calls to see if you can pick up your middle child early from school, because there was an apparent accident in his classroom that he was not directly involved in; however, he did step in it, literally, and is in need of a change of clothes and shoes {and to be sanitized in a clean room decontamination area from head to toe just as a precaution.} So you ask if you can pick up your oldest daughter early too because you don’t have time to go home to get him showered, changed, and return before actual dismissal time, which of course is fine because the school recognizes what a crappy situation this is.

Minutes later, you arrive at school and carry your now sleeping child instead of waking her because she is shoeless from getting her first pedicure, it’s a cold, rainy, winter day, keeping her locked in the car is generally frowned upon in the parenting {and legal} world, she’s often quite unpleasant upon waking, and frankly, you have enough schtuff to deal with, so you keep it real and carry on. 

In the school office you begin to sign your children out but get stuck on the section that asks for a reason for the early dismissal and want to write in “it happens” but politely defer to “minor accident” to decrease the load of paperwork that may follow. You and the school office manager have a good laugh in apparent solidarity, I-can’t-evens,and what-the-hell-just-happened-ness, while your {now awake} youngest shows off her toes and you instruct your son to stop moving around and not to touch ANYTHING, especially with his shoes which is a problem because, as he points out, he can’t fly, all the while forgetting that his CLEAN rain boots are in his book bag…

You walk to the car where you open the back of your SUV to put him in and remove his shoes with a plastic bag. As he begins to climb over the back seat you notice that he had clearly sat on his feet before realizing his shoes were covered in it so you remove his pants and place them in the plastic bag and wonder what the parent parked behind you must be thinking as your son climbs pant-less into his seat, but you don’t really care all that much, and you head home for a glass of wine (or 2) because, on days like today, it doesn’t much matter that it’s not 5 o’clock anywhere…😳💩


Redefinition: Male Polish

Male Polish: noun

Nail polish for males; especially for those closely related to young females who enjoy pampering themselves and others; mainly fathers, brothers, grandfathers, and uncles. Color selection includes but is not limited to: blue, green, yellow, orange, and white. Also includes option of glitter sprinkles. 

(This redefinition is brought to you by P&BS {Parenting & Baloney Sandwiches} and sponsored by  Murphy’s Law Firm, the only firm you can count on for true accountability.)  


CWK 24.7.365-7.11: On Dementia 

(The original convo took place on January 14, 2014. Thanks “Facebook memories” for this gem 😉)

A group from a nursing home was at the community center while I was there with Lady J & Bud. One woman was particularly drawn to the kids and wanted to play air hockey with them. After leaving the kids were wondering why she was playing with her hands and why she didn’t know the rules, among other behaviors. A conversation about getting older, more forgetful, and dementia ensued. This was the end of it:

Bud: Oh gee. I hope I don’t get de-men-ta

J: That’s ok if you do, buddy. You won’t remember anyway!

CWK #24.7.365-7.11: The F Word

Lady J, timidly: Mom? What does fuck mean?

Bud: Heh, heh. Fuck.

Me, more than a bit dumbstruck: Where did you hear that word?

J: Stewart* asked me if I know what the “F” word is and I told him, “No.” Then Mathew* spelled it: f-u-c-k. I told them I didn’t know that word, but I could sound it out. Mom? What does fuck mean?

Inner-momologue: Oh Fuck! Crappity crap crap fuck this shit and the asshole who mentioned it to a second grader and now my kids know it, even though I’ve probably fucked up a few times in front of them too, FUCK!

Me: Well, first of all you should both know that it is a word that is rude, disrespectful, and will get you sent to Mr. Wollensky’s* office immediately, should you say it at school. In school, it’s worse than “stupid” or even “hate”. It will also get you sent to your room at home.

J: I know that, but what does it mean?

Me: Well, most adults use it when something goes wrong, like “Oh no!” or, “Oh dear!” 

J: Why wouldn’t they just say, “Oh no” or, “Oh dear” then? Or even, “Oh my goodness?”

Me: Sometimes, in the adult world, things go so wrong that a stronger word comes to mind first. It’s not polite, but it happens. 

Bud: Fuck! I can’t buckle my seatbelt! Heh, heh, heh. 

Me: Bud, you may not use that word. Not even to repeat it. Next time, it’s a timeout. No warnings. 

Bud: Poop. Well, I guess that’s ok. 

J: But, Mom, if it just means, “Oh no,” then why is it a bad word. What does it really mean?

Inner momologue: Fuuuuuuuuuck!

Me: I honestly need to discuss this with Daddy before telling you the real definition of the word.

J: Why do you need to talk to Daddy about what a word means?

Me: You asked a great question and I want to answer it honestly, yet appropriately. It’s a word that has some pretty grownup meanings and I want to make sure Daddy and I are both present for this conversation…

… The conversation we had at dinner included explaining that the word “fuck” was a derogatory word that often referred to disrespectful references towards outer appearances and inappropriate behavior. In their language we used terms such as “bucket dipping” and “bullying” and made sure that they knew it was a word that is never acceptable to use towards another person nor to be accepted in a humorous manner when directed at another person. We let them know that anyone who refers to them using that word is not a friend and that they may stand up for up for themselves, while they also have an obligation to stand up for others if that word is used against them and to report it to us, a teacher, or another trusted adult….I hope it fucking worked….

#innocencelost #herewegrow #convoswithkids #thefword #sothathappened

*all names have been changed