When children are young; their parents talk about how smart they are; when parents are old, their children talk about how stupid they are. Ven di kinder zaynen yung, dertselyn di eltern zeyere khokhmes; ven di eltern zaynen alt dertselyn di kinder zeyere narishkaytn.
Oy vey iz mir, may they stay young! May we all stay young(ish).
And another one for all:
Time is more precious than money. Di tsayt iz tayerer fun gelt.
Spring break and we have been counting the days to our trip to see my mishpocheh (family). We’ve had four Nor’easters in 3 weeks, snow up to my tuchas (tush, derriere) and all too much tsuris (troubles, stress, woe) filling our minds. The thought of 80-degree weather, sunshine, swimming, and laughing my ass off with my shvester (sister)until we literally wet ourselves was naturally the stuff of dreams… like unicorns, L.O.L surprise dolls, and glitter falling from the sky. And the kinder (my girls), they love seeing their Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins more than anything!
T minus two days, and the fever, she burns through my Little.A temperature of almost 104. She had complained of a tummy ache, and like all good Jewish-atheist momma’s, I told her to sit on the potty. She has had so much junk food of late, a good poo would be a relief like it would for all of us. She tried, my madelah (sweet girl). We watch The Greatest Showman on the telly.
T minus one day, fever sticking around like gum underneath the table in a diner. Lethargy and skin as pale as fine porcelain said porcelain will play a role very soon. We plan, we pack, we share the news of germs and we try to stay positive. We watch The Greatest Showman, then we snuggle off to bed, myLittle wrapped tightly in my arms. A few tired hours pass and we all awaken to a fountain of vomit. Nothing really says love more than getting thrown up on, and only worrying about the helpless, unhappy, scared little patient in your arms. We clean her up. Big, she helps us to change the sheets and blankets. The Mrs. presses the ‘sanitize’ button on the wash cycle.
There is a strange calm in the air, with a scent none too pleasant. Little, she fell fast and hard to sleep, again tucked close by my side. I could hear the soft crying moans from Big, realizing that we wouldn’t be taking that big ol’ jet airliner in a few hours time. Tears roll down my cheeks, silently. At 4 am I text my shvester, our friend who was to stay with Gatsby. We are a no go. Ix-nay on this oliday-hay.
Has the world ended? No. Are we grateful that we only have a petite passing pathogen that will eventually vanish? Of course. Are we all desperately disappointed? Big time.
Day of. I let all three of my girls sleep. I promise my Big that we will find a way to make it fun. That we will take turns taking her out of the sickly house and have some well-earned fun. I speak several times with my mishpocheh.My schvoger (bro-in-law), hepunches frantically in the keyboard to see if we can squeeze out different dates of travel, salvage our trip. We have teary-eyed FaceTime calls. So many plans they had in store for us! Vey iz mir. (oh my effing G).
Little, she cries for my Mrs. to stay with her, so Big and I make our way into the world. We have a nice nosh (little something to eat) at Starbucks. And head to the movies in a gray, teary day. We see A Wrinkle In Time. The woman at the ticket sales booth is 803 years old if she is a minute. In the past, she has given me the senior rate, to my dismay. Today, she again rings us up, 1 senior, 1 child. I feel the dark cloud above, rather than reveling in the 8 dollar savings. f*ck it and enjoy the show with your daughter
We had a lovely afternoon and decided Little, she would have been afraid in this movie. We bring home a vast array of popsicles (they used to call them poppa-sicles) for the sick one, in hopes of getting her to eat/drink. We learn of the day spent in (and close to) the porcelain seat, now the excrement exodus from the southern region. Oy. This reaffirms our tough decision. We watch The Greatest Showman.
Little finally wakes up with no fever and no symptoms. We convince her of just one more day indoors. The 24 hour, fever free rule — to keep the rest of humanity safe.
Her hair has begun to form dreadlocks. We all fear the brushing of that mop. The Mrs., she starts round one, and Big, me and Gatsby head out the door to explore our new ‘hood. We walk for an hour, in hopes of better hair days. We have such a good time! Gatsby is loving the spring and leaving pee-mail messaging around for all his new friends.
We open the front door to a geshrei (shriek, loud, unearthly Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween cry). At least another hour goes by, and I amsummoned soBigcan get out’a dodge withthe Mrs. Armed with a brush, conditioner, and really bad TV, I sit with my muse. It will be 4:45pm before I claim victory. Her head, like a BP oil spill, finally combs through. We did it.
Later that night, we watch The Greatest Showman. Who knew our spring break, our circus, would also be our groundhog day. Aud-o, Steve-o, Max, Vic, we love and miss you all so much.
A mensch tracht un Got lacht.Man plans and God laughs.
From The Greatest Showman:
‘Cause we’re dreaming with our eyes wide open.
So come alive!
And of course, a bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy! Stop by tonight! The Greatest Showman, 8pm.
Today is a day of infamy! My hero, the Notorious R.B.G turns 85 today! Happy Birthday, Ruthie! RBG, you make this world a better place every day, and for that, I am very grateful.
In your honor, I happily re-run this post of mine, where I salute you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as my hero! I am certain I am not alone.
Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.
Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.
Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice
Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists?Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.
Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.
She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.
President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”
RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.
As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.
On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.
Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you do.
What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.
Vey iz mir. (OMG.)I am in the midst of what can only be a true epic mom-fail. I need your help. You see, I believe, no matter what you are doing, how big or how small the act, you must always set up the next person for success? Nu?Is this so hard?
Let me get to the point. No matter which bathroom, loo, water closet I enter, I am often always left high and dry. You know, you rush in for a tinkle, hope that maybe, just maybe, you can pass water in peace. Alone. The door won’t fly open with a concern, a to-do needing arbitration, a question like, “What are you doing, mommy?” Just trying to pee alone, just this once. And you reach across to the toilet paper holder, usually placed convenient to the action at hand, only to find…
Am I the only one capable, culpable, hell-bent hung up on hanging up a new roll of toilet paper when I reach the cardboard holder which is effing recyclable people? The other day, in the course of just a few hours (I have the bladder of a flea) I was left as dry as the Sierra Desert at high noon in all three technically 2.5 of our bathrooms.
Some facts for you: We are four women. Two moms, two shana maideleh’s (sweet little girls). That’s a lot of estrogens well, it used to be more… coursing through this home. No one leaves the seats up. No one can technically, er, um, drip dry (Gatsby, our man of the house, uses the outdoors mostly).
Not two weeks ago, I had that alone moment every parent craves and snuck into the kinder’s (kids) bathroom. I went, I turned, I reached… NO! I stayed seated. I took a deep breath. I called for my kinder. They came joyfully running. The entered without abandon. “Hi mommy, what’ryou doing?” I asked, “What is wrong with this picture, my kinder?”They both cocked their heads, like when I ask Gatsby if he wants to go in the car or have a treat.“What do you mean, Mommy?”
I pointed to the sad scrap of paper attached to the TP holder. I said, “Have you girls ever changed the toilet paper roll before? Let me show you how, so this can stop happening to Mommy? Nu?” Since I was, well, indisposed, I asked Little to reach for a new roll. She handed it to me with her playful, almost spritely smile. I said to them both, “Watch this.” I held the new, plush roll in my lap still seated on the throne as I lifted the cardboard insert and the metal bar that holds it in place. I showed them how to emancipate remove the empty roll and did a shtick (shpiel, speech) about recycling. Then I gently placed the lovely, fresh roll onto the metal bar and lowered it into place. Thus securing the new roll, with a clean top-over pull, ready for those in need me.
Still sitting atop said porcelain, I explained a bit about setting each other up for success in big ways, in small ways, in all ways. They nodded as if they understood. Giggling at my vulnerable state, I’m sure. Then, they scurried off to play. I completed my transaction and went about my day, thinking, “I made a difference today.”
… Later that same day, the commode conundrum reared its ugly head yet again. This time, upstairs, in the bathroom I share with my Mrs.(and kinder too) I didn’t even try to shut the door. I went, I reached, NO! Gatsby was curled on the mat near the shower. I looked at him and his tail wagged, making a lovely noise as it smacked the floor. He knew nothing of the tsuris (trouble) I was facing. I looked up, and across the room which felt a million miles away, atop the sink, sat a brand-new scroll. I laughed cried. I waited for eons. I stood and walked over like Elvis, with my pants around my ankles and seized my prize. Oy!
So my friends, If as a human being, living and sharing space on this precious planet we call home, you are looking to bring solace to your fellow dwellers, simply follow these easy steps.
You will need some basics.
1 new roll of (whatever ply suits your system) TP
A free hand put down the smartphone
Recycling bin (YES! It’s recyclable should not be sent to the landfill)
It’s simple really.
Remove empty roll.
Replace with new roll, paper coming over top.
Place empty roll in the recycling bin, or save for reuse as beautiful junk in a craft project with your kinder.
Beautiful. Now watch Helen Hunt do it… you won’t be sorry for these 25 seconds, I promise.
Anyone having these same issues? Do tell!
If the Student is successful, the teacher gets the praise. Az der talmid iz a voiler, iz der rebbi oich a voiler.
My Mrs., oh, she is a wise one; and can she spot a deal? A million years ago, or maybe it was just ten minutes, the kinder (children) were still in diapers (nappies for my friends across the pond). As crunchy, granola environmentalists, we would vehemently argue debate about the value of cloth nappies, vs. disposable. Hot water and detergent use vs. landfilling. And point for point I lost there was just no easy answer. Long story short, My Mrs., she purchased some swanky ‘n ‘spensive nappies for the tender tuchas’ (butt cheeks) of my Big and my Little. After paying what easily felt like a gazillion dollars for literally, shit holders these wonder cloths, she assured me they would pay for themselves and then some when she sells them. It’s a wonder I didn’t plotz (collapse) right then and there… Nu? Along the way, she had purchased a prized, rare, limited edition cloth poopie-holder print it was just Tye-dye, very Jerry Garciathat started a bidding war! Vey iz mir (OMG), she made some $350 on that one (1) golden cloth, shat in by my madeleh’s (sweet girls). She made hundreds more on the rest of the lot… she was right, I was wrong and people, they are simply meshuggeneh (crazy)!
Fast forward to today. Welcome to a world run by little plastic babies, no joke. LOL surprise. Have you heard of these? I’ve been working on the side on a startup that is in dire need of life support. How we didn’t think of these babies, oy, gives me a migraine… A perfect sphere. Wrapped tightly, securely in plastic. Unpeel each layer to surprise and delight everyone who watches. Crack open the orb, more plastic wrapped surprises don’t get me started on the environment again. Every layer unearths pure, childlike wonder. It’s nothing but nachas (pleasure, joy, gratification) in enough plastic to choke Flipper it’s own carrying case. Big sisters, little sisters, pets, and charms. These babies have more shoes and accessories than I do! And their own latte cup holders. They are absolutely positively adorable. For this, I gladly handed over $9.99 USD. Oif tsulaches (as luck would have it) they unlock hours of blissful play and imagination for my Big and my Little? Not to mention, they turn colors if you freeze them?
On to the meshuggeneh part… Mrs., so enthralled by our new family additions, so interested, she gets pinterested… Turns out, there is a market of collectors scouring the globe in search of rare LOL babies. Little, she is in custody of one LOL Kitty Queen, a truly magnificent species. Marked ‘Ultra Rare,’ she holds the beauty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon, only smaller and more portable. Silver, sparkly hair, pink kitty ear headband Accident? I think not, pink latte to-go cup, pink high boots, and the biggest, sweetest eyes on her coffee colored creamy skin. A lichtikheh punim (beaming, happy face) for all who see her. Turns out our Kitty, she is retired. I’m working my tuchasoff, trying to eke out a living, and Miss Kitty, she’s retired? Nu?
The Mrs., she tells me, Miss Kitty could bring in about $175 buckeroo’s! WHAT?Meshuggeneh? We tell Little, Miss Kitty is worth a lot of money. If we sell her, she can get two new ones. But first, we must find her missing pink boot she apparently has no value without her footwear. True story. In a plot-line like Cinderella, Miss Kitty Queen is shy one boot. Mittendrinnen (in the middle of) we are packing and moving, and all of us, we are looking for a boot, 3/8″ of an inch tall. I fear the worst. I look at Gatsby, and he looks away, showing me his very guilty, yet handsome look. No, it cannot be. We pack, we move, we sort of begin to unpack. Now a few weeks go by. The girls, they are playing downstairs when Little, she lets out a geshrei (yell), “I found her other boot, Ema!”
Mrs., she snaps a pic, uploads, and in minutes, $140. Meshuggeneh? That is life in these United States….
If luck plays along, cleverness succeeds. Az di hatslocheh shpilt, gilt ersht chochmeh.
Please know my friends, no LOL dolls were hurt during this post, nor provided to me for my glowing review. They are just loved and cherished by my girls. I give them a 10 out of 10! This is the most fun I have had since I was ages 3+. If I were a kid, my pockets would have been filled with the littlest ones, and I do see a pet on the list that resembles my Gatsby. Just sayin’.
Guess what… this a not a political rant or a thumbs down to the tsuris (troubles) our world is facing due to mrt kind of passive aggressive of me, eh?. This is a girls story. My Big, she is growing up. Born not ten minutes ago, yet my shana maideleh (sweet little girl) is soon to enter double digits. She is gaining wisdom, confidence, curiosity and her own personal identity, wrapped in a blanket of kindness and love. Oy, here I am kvelling (enthusiastically bursting with love and pride), again…
I should probably show a Georgia O’Keefe painting right about now because I am going there… Periods. Girls are getting them. There is chatter. We have chatted. And we are doing everything we can to keep it positive, normal and free of shame as we begin to prepare for this milestone gallstone kidney stone. She’s got two moms — this should be a walk in the park for us, right?
But I gotta say, she just learned to ride a bicycle. Am I ready for the menstrual cycle?
Which of course got me thinking about my own very strange, first-period experience. It was the Saturday of labor day weekend, 1976 and I was thirteen. We lived in south Florida and it was hotter than hell in a sauna on those particular September days. School had begun in August and I had welcomed the 3 days off. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon played on every TV in our house. I went to pee, and there it was – the small red blot. It was more of a dot than a blot. Definitely a dot. I was rattled I wanted to write, ‘mortified’ but you’ll soon see, my father’s name is Morty. Some of my friends had already gotten their periods, so I knew time was not on my side. I read Judy Blume’s, Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret, a few times by now. I just did not want it to happen. Gay avek (get lost, go away)!
So I very inconspicuously left that bathroom, and quietly went into my room with Buttons, our poodle, and my closest confidant. I closed the door and sat on the floor quickly putting my legs up on my bed. I went vertical, in what I now know was a yogic shoulder stand. I was upside down. Dammit, I was going to send this period back where it came from… Surely if I stayed this way, there was no way for the ‘flow’ of Aunt Flo to wind its way, well, down. Why had no one else tried this? I was brilliant! Buttons agreed.
Day 1: After the initial spatter, I was fine. Feeling positive that I had this entire situation well under control, laughing with Jerry Lewis. Buttons, she was just happy we were staying in the air conditioning. Day 2: Coasting. Not even Dexter could find any blood spatter. I stayed on the phone, watched the telethon, Buttons at my upside-down, side. Day 3:WTF What happened to physics? How could this happen to me? I was in a shoulder stand for three solid days! I was as invested in this endeavor as Jerry was in raising money. I had to do something. I had to call my mom… Ugh!
They were at the tennis club. This was all pre-smartphones. I picked up my princess phone and dialed the club. Max, who manned the front desk and was 90-years-old if he was a minute, answered the phone. He paged my mom. Yes, called her by name over the loudspeaker and told her she had a call. Kill me now, before she picks up. A bolt of lightning. Divine intervention. Thankfully her doubles match was over and I wasn’t too much of a burden. I told her I didn’t feel so good and could she please come home. That was all I said.
Instantly, she screamed across the entire restaurant, “Morty! Lisala got her period! Let’s go!” They came home, my father teased me incessantly and my mother handed me a futon-sized bedroll and called it a maxi pad. She said, “You know everything, right?” I mumbled, “of course I do” and slinked, head down, in shame, into the bathroom where this nightmare began. She added, “Be careful of the sheets at night, from behind the locked bathroom door.
Later, on that dreadful night, they took me out to dinner an alleged celebration at The Rascal House where they embarrassed me by telling everyone in line, the waitress, the guy who brought the pickles, the other guy who cleared the dishes, the cashier, that I just got my period. Wasn’t it bad enough that everyone could tell I had a mattress between my legs? I prayed for invisibility well before Harry Potter had the cloak.
Needless to say, things got way worse before they ever got better, and there will be more stories, to share, I am sure. And I never wore white pants again.
Last week, I was invited with my Big to go with her to Diana Circle. It’s like the happy, hippy, feminist version of Girl Scouts no judgment here, no cookies to sell either. They are an empowering, safe, and inclusive group that celebrates modern young girls as they experience their own, unique rites of passage. In a world filled with mixed messages, misogyny, double standards, a stunning amount of sexual harassment, and thankfully, oceans of #strongwomen in #pinkpussyhats marching the earth, I am so very grateful to Tara R. and her spiritual girl-guidance. She helps us to help our kinder (kids) embrace life, take the bullshit by the horns and grow up to be strong, healthy, and proud women.
At the previous gathering, one of the older girls got her first period and she was celebrated in a beautiful and moving way. The Mrs. and me, we are trying our very best to do right by our kinder. May they never be shamed for their bodies or their natural bodily functions. May they embrace the challenges of growing up as their uniquely beautiful selves free from adolescent misery and filled with love, connectedness, and honesty. A way I never knew was possible until a decade or so of therapy.
And friends, I leave you with this Yiddish Proverb:
No one knows whose shoe pinches except the person who walks in it. Keyner veys nit vemen der shuckh kvetsht, nor der vos geyt in im.
Nu? What’s your first-period story? Share with us and we all become a bissel (little) closer. Here’s to #mightygirls becoming #strongwomen!