What’s the difference?

Each and every one of us is beautifully different. That alone is worthy of celebration.

Bei mir bis du sheyn. To me you’re beautiful. 

      

     

Turns out, I’m insanely jealous

This Yiddisheh mama has a major confession to make. I’ve been holding this one in, so bear with me. It comes from a lifetime ago. You SAHM’s, like my Mrs., oh how I want to be you. Let me schmear (spread) some broad, sweeping caveats, loudly and clearly, that you, by far, have the single hardest job on the planet. 

Dem, ikh visn. This, I know.

You may find me to be the schmegeggy (doofus, idiot). Hours suck. Pay worse. Days are ongoing and relentless. Sleep? Vos iz dos? (What is that?) Tantrums, bickering, and ‘hangry’ (tired and hungry) whining. The driving, the traffic, the geshrei-ing (yelling).  There are enough scattered organic food scraps strewn across the car to easily feed a small city to enrage me. I am aware of the mistreatment and abuse you encounter. Selective deafness. Your voice sounds like the adults on any episode of Charlie Brown — Whaa whaa whaaa whaaaa whaaa… And, like the air they breathe, they take you for granted daily, hurling sweaters, trash, already-chewed gum, back-packs, boogers from their noses that they don’t ever pick, and whatever that was, that was stuck on the bottom of their boots at you on their way to play. Ewww. Disgusterous. The spills, messes, laundry, groceries and constant wardrobe changes. The lack of privacy and ‘me time.’ The lack of adult conversation. I feel your pain when a craft, carefully chosen with thoughtfulness and love, causes utter unhappiness, and you experience the ‘epic mom fail.’ Oy vey iz mir (OMG).

It’s this momma’s mishegas (craziness) for which I yearn. Who’s meshuggah (nuts) here? I know it’s me. I’m in awe of you and your daily sacrifices. I value you in ways society always overlooks. You have the charge of building little human beings that are kind and empathic in a world that is not.

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Oh the quotes I remember

Ich hob dir lieb! I love you!
Ich hob dir lieb! I love you!

You know, sometimes, forgetting, it’s a good thing. Not when you are searching your brain for a missing word mid-sentence, or for the name of the person quickly approaching with open arms. Then, it’s a little scary — am I already an Alta cocker (old fart) losing my marbles? Oy vey. Some memories, good or bad, come rushing back at you with a smell, a sound, a familiar face, a feeling in your gut (shpilkes), or reading a great post about a national movement to battle body image for young girls.

Please know , that this post was inspired by Allison at Mad House Mom. She wrote an amazing post, Be Real (istic) in early February that dislodged the floodgates that fed (that is some effing pun) my inner voice as a kid. Hell, this voice was feeding me well into my thirties before I started fighting back. Before I wanted to fight back. And it was some battle.

If you are a woman in this world, chances are pretty damned good that you have had a bout of feeling a bit ‘less than’ throughout your life. If you grew up as a people-pleasing perfectionist, that sponged up all the dysfunction in a family to make it all seem okay, well let’s just say, that really sucks that is meshugenah (crazy) making.

Having mr t in the big office, bragging about ‘grabbing women by their ‘pussies’ (this has happened to me) after popping a few tic-tac’s; suddenly earning 21.4 cents less per dollar isn’t your biggest worry. How do I parent and protect my girls, my babies from what can be a cruel world?

Here are just a few doozies that broke the damn dam for me:

“Both girls, they’re too fat. I’ll allow two cookies a year. One on Christmas, and one on Easter.”  Our pediatrician said this to my mother with my shvester (sister) and me in the room when I was 5, maybe 6 years old. The age of my Little. A doctor really said that in 1969.

“Lisa, come here. Look in the mirror with me. When you put your legs together, you should be able to see three perfect diamonds. This is a problem.” My mother, she brought me into her ‘dressing room’ in the summer of 1974. I was wearing my, “I’m Lisa. Fly me.” t-shirt. You baby-boomers may remember this overtly sexist campaign from Delta, that actually sold the allure of the flight attendants as an absurd, racy extension of the actual airline. I had on my favorite matching yellow shorts. I saw no diamonds in that room, wall-to-wall mirrors, showing every possible angle of ‘diamondlessness.’

1979, said to my parents by a person I had never met, as we stood in line at the Rascal House for dinner: “I had no idea you had another daughter, Morty? I only knew about your sports all star!” Then my mother interjected in a very faint whisper, after looking from side to side to make sure no one of stature was listening, Lisa likes to paint. She’s an artist.” Insert shame here.

Lisala, you're cheeks are a little chubby, no?
Lisala, you’re cheeks are a little chubby, no?

 “I apologize, my daughter is wearing her glasses today, and I just   don’t know why? Then under her breath, she looked directly at me and sneered, Why would you do this to me?”  Mom again.  We were meeting for dinner, maybe 1987-88? For the record, I was at least 25 years old, my glasses were brand spankin’ new and my eyes were irritated from a flight from Philadelphia to Miami earlier that day. She spent the rest of that evening with her back to me. Never once looking at me or speaking to me during the entire meal. 

“Don’t you ever share food with her again, she has cancer. You’ll catch it. When you go to the bathroom, in her house, don’t sit on the seat. In fact, try not to go at all.” 1986, mom again. We were  in NYC and I took a bite of dessert from my most favorite aunt   in the entire world. At this point, she should have been pleased   I took a bite of anything at all. I would go days at a time eating absolutely nothing. Seeking invisibility and gauging my worth  by the numbers on the scale.

“Lesbians, like Martina (Navratilova), have a genetic mutation, just like retarded people. That’s why she is gay. It’s the mutation.  And, she is obviously the man in the relationship.” This gem, also from my mother, was declared over dinner at the TGI Friday’s in the Princeton Market Fair, NJ. Circa 1992-ish. ‘Dear old dad’ went on to pontificate about how she (Martina) disgusted him, and he couldn’t even watch her play tennis. Don’t you worry Martina, I defended you from this incompetence.

These couple of quotes, just the tips of the iceberg that tried to sink me like the Titanic. My dear friends, don’t you for one second be sad for me. I am alive and well, living and loving a life free of toxicity. My Mrs. and me, we met at a group for women with eating disorders. Good luck / bad luck. We worked through our shit hard in therapy before having little ones.

We do our best and bend over backward to raise our shana maidelehs (sweet girls) with love, respect, and self-esteem in a world that tries too hard to steal it from them. They will never hear what I heard or be subject to the pernicious parental spiel (empty jabber, talk) that formed my invalidating inner voice.

We want for them to learn to love themselves first and foremost. To know they are loved by us, no matter who they are, what they do or how they look. They will understand the value of being a good person on the planet, helping others and living a life with empathy and a strong voice. They will learn how to take their space and own it. We will not let them succumb to the vile sexist and misogynistic messages of the media, or mr t. That the ‘P’ word (perfect) only sets you up to fail.

We want to build their house on a strong foundation, ready to weather the storms that blow in and out of our lives. Mighty girls become brave women.

I wish that I could have pain instead of you my child. Mir zol zayn far dir, mayn kind.

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UPDATE: The Rule of Kind

Silly shvesters
Silly shvesters

A Kinder Kinder 

I thought now a good time to provide you all with some good, hard data anecdotal evidence on how we are doing as a family, with our one, single, solitary family rule: BE KIND. Some of you may recall this inspired post meant to get our little mishpocheh (family) out from under the tiny terroristic grip of Big and Little’s mood swings, urges and tantrums and back to the matriarchal quasi-control of the mamelehs (me and the Mrs.).

It was mid-August. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. We were feeling the worst of the heat, reeling from the weariness of endless pool days and we had hit the ceiling on late night movies. The kinderlech (kids) and the Mrs. had become nocturnal. By the time I joyfully strolled up the Manor steps after a hard days work, it was batshit crazy with a capital BAT all hell had broken loose. We had grown accustomed to our tsuris (troubles). It was pure mishegas (insanity and chaos).

Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel—kurts un bash. Life is like a child’s undershirt—short and soiled.

Shvesters and goodies
Shvesters and sugar

Be Kind. How f@cking hard is that to do? I knew we could do it. I believed. The first coupla’ weeks were exhausting and awful filled with tears, apologies and repetition of our golden rule. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind.

Siri, How long until something basic, simplistic, and all encompassing becomes a damned habit?

It’s a shondah (pity) how my Little and Big, such sweet little maidelahs (girls), put each other through fisticuffs, scuffles, scrapes and screeches. Glass shattering screams, pushes, slaps and hair pulling. (It’s almost as if they had watched old reruns of Dynasty from the ’80’s?) I cried me a river. So did the nextdoorikeh’s (neighbors).

Time went on, as it does. We stuck to our one rule. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Patience. We had such effing patience! We were so very, very virtuous with all of our patience. And then, it started. 

  • Listening ears, they listened
  • We heard ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ fairly consistently
  • ‘I’m sorry’ flowed from their tiny little mouths appropriately and sincerely
  • Random acts of kindness happened without begging, yelling, nudging, cajoling any parental prodding
  • When Little ate all of her marshmallows before the hot chocolate was ready, Big happily handed her a handful of hers
  • When Big cried about not wanting to take a shower, Little volunteered to take one with her
  • They shared
  • If one was in need, the other helped
  • When one hurts, the other says, Vu tut dir vai (where does it hurt)?
  • If we said clean your room, they did it together

It was working. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Slowly and steadily our kinder (children) began to treat each other as if we were not behind the walls of the Manor, but as if we were in public and on their best behavior! They began to give one another the benefit of the doubt. My little bubbelah’s (term of endearment) were becoming menches (good, respected people) to one another. Loving shvesters (sisters), friends.

Shvesters plotting
Shvesters plotting

Now, I do not for one minute want you to think that we are all hotsy-totsy and blissful over here. We still have plenty of our moments. We will always have work to do and we still can be kinder, gentler, nicer and more empathetic. But so far, dos gefelt mir (this pleases me) very much! I’m kvelling (oozing with pride)!

Be Kind. Zeit gezunt (Be healthy)!

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Bedtime, in 4 hours or less

It somehow energizes them...
It somehow energizes them…

I know, you’ve been thinking, Lisala, it’s been so long since you shared your parenting perceptions and insights. Sure, a nice rant, a beautiful pic, sweet tender mishpocheh (family) moments. Today, we revisit bedtime. How on earth do you get the kinder to gai shluffin (the kids to go to sleep)? Well my readers, I offer you our thoughtful child rearing insights, in the form of a song. Hum along if you like, to the tune of Let It Be, you know, by the Beatles:

 

When I find myself in need of slumber

Trying to act sensibly

The whole world feels chaotic, fretfully

Retiring Big and Little takes too long

I doze off first expectantly

The kinder, they’re nocturnal, devilry

Empathy, empathy

Empathy, come and see

What, like our bed is the only bed on earth?

Their own room is so beautiful; come and see

 

I wake up to the sound of squealing,

Maidelahs have taken all control

The Mrs. voice is loudly fuming, testily

I muster up some words of wisdom

Pleading with veracity

Yet my babble is not in sentences, regrettably

Remedy, remedy

Remedy, eventually

We need a two bedroom like we need a luch in kop (hole in the head)?

They’ll sleep in their own bedroom, eventually

 

My Mrs., she chortles at my jabber

The kinder loudly laugh and giggle

Reveling in my senseless banter, splendidly

Minutes have slowly ticked to hours

Empty threats thrown about with leniency

We’re a helpless parent fail, professedly

Sleeplessly, sleeplessly

Sleeplessly, hopefully

Other kids go the fuck to sleep without such a gantseh megillah (long drawn out story)

Tomorrow night will be so much better, hopefully

 

Sleeplessly, sleeplessly

Sleeplessly, hopefully

Other kids go the fuck to sleep without such a gantseh megillah (long drawn out story)

Tomorrow night will be so much better, hopefully

 

Well, you know what they say:

Der shlof iz der bester dokter. Sleep is the best doctor.

Is there a doctor in the house? Oy vey iz mir.

 

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Spinach!

This vision of real life is brought to you by Big. No spinach was injured (or eaten) during this display. Big, oh how I love you my bubbelah (sweet girl)!

Spinach! I don't like spinach!
Spinach! I don’t like spinach!
It's not fair!
It’s not fair!

*Es nisht di khale far a moitse. Don’t eat the challah before you’ve made the blessing. (*McKay and Gabe, this is for you!)

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Wordless Wednesdays: In the ‘hood

Slowwwww

Moo

clay

Baa

Dont grow up

friends shadow

Pinkberry

My goal...
My goal…I should only be so good!

Far kinder tsereist men a velt. For your children’s sake you would tear the world apart.

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