When to let your kids misbehave

Silence means trouble. Your children are playing in the next room while you work/talk-on-the-phone/whatever. Time has passed, and you realize that you’ve been working/talking/whetevering for a while. You haven’t been interrupted once. You stop to listen. You hear nothing. Uh oh. What are the kids doing? How much money, time, emotional/physical pain is this lapse going to cost you? You go out to the room where they are supposed to be playing and they’re gone. As you walk around your house, you see a small grayish-black square with a small letter J on it on the floor. You hear some little feet running somewhere in the house. As you follow the noise you find a letter U, then a K.  You hear some giggling and follow it into the master bathroom and almost begin to cry. Your laptop, with you iPod still attached, is in the bathtub. Most of the letters have been picked off of your keyboard. You son and daughter are playing some elaborate form of scrabble for illiterates on the floor. They look up at you and begin to laugh hysterically. Continue reading

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a child’s gratitude, what about your other kid? & God’s love for an atheist

It was brought to my attention that, to date, I have written almost exclusively about my oldest son. I mentioned my daughter in one post, but have yet to mention my youngest son at all. Although he’s adorable, he really doesn’t give me much to write about in the context of this blog.

Here’s why: Continue reading

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Wearing our Pants Backwards?

Last week, on Saturday afternoon a miracle happend. Everyone took a nap.

Our two-year-old went upstairs for her nap right after lunch. About half an hour later my wife took the baby up stairs, put him down and then went to go lie down herself.

I stayed downstairs to play trucks with my favorite fully-potty-trained-when-awake three-year-old. After a little while, I went to lie down on the couch. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep.

Two hours later I woke up to find my son sleeping right next to me on the other couch. He was lying on his stomach with his tush up in the air, as he often does, but something didn’t look right. There was a belt buckle in the back of his pants. Continue reading

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Lone Soldiers, My Daughter’s Crush, Moshiach & Shooting up the Vatican?

I never served in IDF. When I made aliyah, I was 21 years old, married, and had a one-year-old boy. A few months after moving to Israel, I was called in the draft office. After spending the better part of the day there, I was told that I would not be allowed to serve in the IDF.

Though I was unable to serve in the army myself, for the past last couple of years, I have been able to live vicariously through our adopted “lone soldiers” also known as chayalim bodedim. (In the last post, my three-year-old son wrote a letter to God mentioning some of our soldiers.) Having these soldiers live with us has been a really great experience for the whole family, especially our children.

The kids love them. They consider their chayalim to be members of the family. Nothing in our house is more exciting for the kids than when one of their soldiers gets a weekend off. My two- year-old daughter will have nothing to do with anyone else in the house when one of her chayalim is home. She will only sit next to Sammy. Boomy needs to read the bedtime story. Mordy absolutely must hold her hand when she crosses the street. Continue reading

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a child’s note to God & the Western Wall

Today, I took my three year old son the Old City of Jerusalem. He had learned about Jerusalem in pre-school, and had been wanting to go for some time now. He wanted to visit the Western Wall, and put a note in it with a special prayer that he wrote (ok, dictated) himself.

It is often said that God is particularly fond of the prayers of children. I can see why.

When we arrived to the Old city, my son was very upset. He didn’t like that there were so many broken pillars. He was upset about the mosque where the temple once stood. (Pointing at the dome of the rock he said “That isn’t supposed to be there.”)

Once he got over his fear of the tourists and beggars, he went over to the wall and carefully places his note on in a crack.

Here, in his own words, is the letter my son wrote to God:

Dear [God],

Continue reading

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potty training success, fatherly pride, and God

My son woke up dry this morning. He and I made a plan together before bedtime, he stuck to it, and he was successful.

Before bedtime we talked about what went wrong yesterday. We decided that he needed to be woken up twice during the night in order to prevent any accidents. When I finished work, just before midnight, I woke him up and he used the bathroom. Then I woke him up again just around 5:00AM and he used the bathroom again. He woke up this morning dry. I was very proud of him. I knew how difficult it was for him. I hugged him and told him what a big boy he was, and he started to feel pretty proud as well. Knowing that I was proud of him made a real difference.

But if I take a step back, what am I really proud of? He couldn’t have done it without me. I woke him up in the middle of the night. Even if I hadn’t done it, so what? Everyone gets potty trained. It’s normal. It’s abnormal not to get potty trained. It’s something that’s been expected of nearly every person for the last thousand years.

Continue reading

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potty training, tough love, and God

I don't take pictures of my kids on the toilet...

My oldest son was potty trained relatively easily. We had our fair share of messes, but when I got it, he got it. He has been wearing diapers at night, and was reluctant to give them up.

He and I had a talk about this, and he decided he was ready to sleep in underwear. He was actually pretty excited about the idea.

The first night, he wet the bed.

The second night, he wet the bed.

The third night he wanted his diaper back. I gave it to him.

The fourth night I convinced him to try again. He wet the bed again. He was uncomfortable in his wet pajamas, but not enough to really try and do anything about it. Continue reading

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