Posted by Mihal Levy
I am not a perfect mother, nor do I claim to be. Still, some mothers irk me. They really irk me. Do I have the right to judge? Probably not. But will I? Of course.
First off, mothers who nurse in public restrooms bother me. I am just curious. Do these same mothers that feed their children in public restrooms also eat in public restrooms themselves. If not, they should really try it some time. Grab your PB and J or side salad and Café latte and eat it in the public restroom of your choice. Like the mom I noticed in the Macy’s bathroom the other day. (Thank you for inspiring this story by the way.) She was eating a sandwich and sipping a soda in a crowded extremely dirty public restroom while nursing her child. The two of them were lunching together.
Perhaps it is quite delightful to be surrounded by the smell of cheap pine scent barely masking the stench of the excretion of bodily functions. Who knows? I just assume that if I can not even stand using a public restroom for its original purpose, that eating in one probably would not work for me, or my child.
But I see no reason to stop nursing your child in a germ-filled pine-scented (not to mention other scents) space, if you do it yourself. In fact the sound of simultaneous flushing toilets may be soothing. Right? And no it does not make a difference if you are sitting just past the hand dryers on a comfy couch or chair surrounded by lighted mirrors and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. You are still in the restroom. You might as well nurse on the toilet.
But I have been told, “don’t knock it, ‘til you try it,” and I haven’t tried it.
Along with restroom feeding moms, I also despise mothers who leash their kids. (Even dogs should be free of their leashes.) I don’t care if the leash is attached to a cuddly teddy bear on their backs or chained around their necks to a spiked dog collar (or child collar). A leash is a leash. And mothers who would argue with me should really try it some time. Next time you are out with your husband/significant other/lover/date/partner/(insert politically correct noun here), have him/her/them hold one end of the leash while you wear the cuddly teddy bear backpack on your end or back, rather, and go about your date. If it feels good to you, then by all means, continue to leash your child. By the way, whatever happened to hand-holding?
What about the baby-
covering moms? You know the type. The ones that cover their infants’ car seat with a blanket to block out
light. Have they heard of the saying “sleep like a baby.” Babies really don’t need darkness to sleep in. In fact, aren’t children afraid of the dark? After this experience, they may equate darkness with suffocation. I’m just saying. Did these moms notice it is harder for the baby to breathe? (There are some moms who make sure there is an opening for air flow. These are not the moms I am talking about.) I wonder if Mom wears a blanket over her face while she naps.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. If it works for these moms because they have tried it themselves, I have no problem with it (as long as it is not hurting their child). I will now be on the lookout for moms wearing teddy bear backpacks attached to their partners by a leash. You moms I will excuse. And to the Macy’s Mom lunching with her newborn (Yuck.) You are excused, as well. But maybe I shouldn’t knock it, until I try it. Nah.
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December 19, 2010 | 11:30 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I rejoined Facebook the other day. (I know I said I left for good in a previous post a few months ago.) But, before you judge me, hear me out. I rejoined Facebook, but Facebook had other plans fortunately.
I rejoined facebook not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I did not miss it, as people assumed I did. I just found life a bit more complex without it. (Thank you Mark Zuckerberg for making us drones.) Let me explain.
I began meeting people who wanted to stay in touch (much like the K.I.T’s signed by classmates I barely knew in highschool, only I did not know that at the time). We would trade emails and phone numbers and…nothing. “Facebook me,” they’d say. But how could I Facebook you if I am not on Facebook? Couldn’t I just pick up the phone instead? We all now have fifty thousand monthly minutes on our cell phones, what could possibly be the problem? Then there were other people I would meet who decided they would add my husband on Facebook and send me messages through him. I even met Mommies in Mommy groups who preferred to communicate through Facebook. “It’s just easier for me,” they’d say. “I have the app on my phone.” Your phone also has a keypad and most likely email and text messaging as well. O.K. But where did this leave me?
I was beginning to miss out on major life cycle events and announcements. People bought houses, moved to different countries, had babies or died. And these were my friends? I would hear it after the fact and the grand announcement status update when it was already old news. And as it turns out, most of my “friends” refused to communicate any other way but through statuses. (It is always about one’s status, isn’t it?)
I felt I had no other choice but to rejoin…unwillingly.
So I gave in. And shortly after my wall and inbox were filled with nothing but I told you so, I knew you couldn’t stay away, hypocrite, and you came crawling back comments. A simple “Welcome back” would have been fine (I think I did have one of those.)
Was I a hypocrite, a sell-out, a pawn, a drone? I would like to think I was none of these, but someone who was left with no other choice. And perhaps the only person left on Earth who still picked up a phone to dial, not text or update my status. (Call me old fashioned.) But what was the use if no one answered on the other end?
After approximately twenty four hours or so in Facebook land, I tried to log on again to see just how many of my friends became my “friends.” I entered my email and password and could not get back in. I retried while looking down at my fingers as I typed carefully. Still nothing. Was it a sign?
Finally I got an error message stating that I would have to “verify” my account with additional information and went through a tedious process where I had to share more information than I cared to, and still nothing. Needless to say, all roads led to Rome or deletion rather. My account was set to be deleted in fourteen days if I did nothing.
I decided to do what I do best. I did nothing.
I am happy to announce that within a few days I will officially be deleted once again. This time for good. Now I am just sitting by my phone waiting for a “friend” to notice. One did, in fact. But what about the other fifty or so I managed to add?
Until someone notices, I will just have to spend more time with my son than with my keyboard (when I am not working, that is) and perhaps share a cup of coffee instead of a status updated with a friend.
However, you can still follow me on Twitter…for now: Jew Mama (or pick up the phone).
November 30, 2010 | 6:14 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I’m not a fan of this time of year. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my father died eleven years ago during this time. While latkes were frying and sleigh bells were ringing, there were no falalalalas for my family. We were busy prepping for my father’s funeral.
Frankly, the in-your-face merchandising, Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays and Taco Tuesdays (there has got to be a Taco Tuesday at some bar’s happy hour, right?) are a bit too much. They have taken away from what the holidays really mean: family
get togethers. (I would take Taco Tuesday over family drama any day and would probably chase it with a margarita as well. And I don’t drink, so that should tell you something. But I digress…)
I have also noticed this year that when I actually try to be festive, I can’t. It is not all my doing. I have searched all over Los Angeles for Chanukah decorations and voila…nothing. No sign of Chanukah anywhere? Has anyone else noticed this, or is it just me? It seems a tad bit scarce this year. Michael’s Crafts And Hobbies did not have one Chanukah item/craft. The same with Toys “R” Us. Not even Chanukah wrapping paper for the Legos I bought my son. I find it a little odd and disturbing. I was born and raised here all my life and always found some knick knack or Ode to Chanukah with at least a “Happy Holidays” written in red and green (with a cross above the “happy”) on network television. And now, nothing. Did anyone realize that Chanukah is here, while there are about twenty-three more days until Christmas? Has Mel Gibson left Hollywood to head up holiday merchandising?
How can we all be merry when the makeshift Chanukah decorations I did find were located behind the aisles of Christmas décor? I saw blue and silver paper plates with Jewish stars on them that frankly were more appropriate for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah than Chanukah. I have to hand it to Bed Bath and Beyond for actually having a Chanukah section out in front (at least in my area). (They were obviously not afraid of the wrath of Mel Gibson.) They tried. Although along with menorahs and dreidels, they did include Passover Seder plates and a “matzah man” musical stuffed doll. (I still appreciate the effort and may have to have a piece of matzah on Chanukah in their honor.)
It is not only Chanukah that has been ignored; what happened to Kwanzaa? I used to see plenty of items for Kwanzaa as well. Were Chanukah and Kwanzaa simply cancelled this year? I will check my calendar to see if they are even happening this year. Maybe not. That would explain the Chanukah Boycott in the city of L.A.
There, I vented. I feel much better now. Well, not really. I will just decorate my home with blue and silver tinsel and string popcorn around my birthday candle-filled menorah.
Let the family
festivities begin, with or without decorations.
November 30, 2010 | 12:00 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
If you can’t celebrate Chanukah at the happiest place on Earth this year bring a little bit of Disney home.
Before you fry up the latkes, enjoy a fun family activity with your children. Create your own Disney dreidel, featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. Print the dreidel pattern online along with two other crafts; Mickey Mouse Chanukah Candy Box and Chanukah Gift Tags. All you need is a printer, a pair of scissors and glue or double-sided tape.
Make as many as you like and give them as gifts. Fill the candy box with gelt to give as a gift. Enjoy a fun family time preparing for the holiday with Disney…and you don’t even have to stand in a long line to do it.
Click here for patterns: Disney Chanukah Printables
November 23, 2010 | 11:57 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
We have spoken Hebrew at home since my son was born four years ago. I have to admit that it has not been easy, since I don’t think in Hebrew and always have to translate everything in my mind first. So with each passing year we have begun to speak Hebrew a little less, to the point where I am worried my son may begin to forget everything he has already learned.
Luckily his interested once again piqued with the help of a little panda; Little Pim. Ok, not a real panda, but a plush one that came with three learning DVDs; Eating and Drinking, Wake Up Smiling, and Playtime.
When the set arrived on our doorstep, I handed Little Pim to my four-year-old, who was not impressed at first. Then after much convincing (let’s face it is a plush panda, not a racetrack, Lego set or soccer ball) I placed the first DVD in. The DVD reminded me of the popular Baby Einstein DVD series for babies and toddlers, only with real children not puppets. The DVD began with a short introductory cartoon with the panda and then showed children engaging in different activities (in this case Eating and Drinking) with music and a voice over that names the activity, food or drink in Hebrew.
He knew many of the words and was thrilled every time he heard something familiar.
Little Pim is a great learning tool and a must for anyone trying to immerse their child in a new language (Also available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, German and Russian.)
We have now watched all three DVDs several times. My son actually became interested in learning and speaking Hebrew with us at home and even with his grandparents. I believe that Little Pim was beneficial in helping pique his interest in learning the language (since I thought he had forgotten so much of it already and was not interested). He even repeats phrases that he has learned throughout the day.
Although Little Pim is recommended for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, it appears to be geared more toward babies and toddlers without enough engaging activities for older preschoolers. However, that being said, my son did still pick up new words and piqued his interest in learning more.
I hope that Little Pim continues teaching little ones and even comes up with a few new DVDs for older children. Adults will pick up a few words along the way as well. And I thought I knew it all…go figure.
I think Little Pim is a great tool in helping your little one learn a new language.
November 1, 2010 | 1:28 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I took my son to the park a few days ago, and there she was- a fairy princess. “Look Mommy it is Snow White,” he said, his eyes beaming. He wanted to meet Snow White. However, Snow White had other plans that did not yet include Prince Charming.
Snow White was all of four years old. She was adorable. She was building a sand castle in her beautiful gown, constantly untangling herself from the dress, and pushing her headband up over her eyes every time she knelt down to add more sand to her castle. She looked like Snow White with fair skin only lighter hair and bright pink tennis shoes (can’t remember if Snow White had those).
My son was smitten. I have never seen him like this. “She is so pretty Mommy,” he said. (I turned off my Motherly yentaness..”Is she good enough for my son?”) Before I could comment or even comprehend what was going on here, he was off to meet her.
He knelt down beside her in the sand box. “Hi Princess. Can I build the castle with you.” Without even staring up at him, she answered, “No.”
“I would really like to help you,” he continued.
“No! I don’t need your help,” she said affirmatively.
“Then can I just watch you as you build it?” he asked.
She ignored him. He tried again. “Is it ok if I sit here and watch you Snow White?”
She gave him the silent treatment. My son glanced up at me and shrugged his shoulders. I tried not to make eye contact. I did not want to get involved. I wanted to see how it would play out.
Suddenly Snow White dropped her shovel and ran off. (Glass slipper, plastic shovel, what’s the difference?) My son stood there glancing first at the shovel and then at Snow White on the run. He picked up the shovel and decided to run after her.
“Hey! Wait! Snow White. You forgot your shovel.” They ran out of the sand box and over the grass. I wanted to stop him. (“Don’t run with the shovel in your hand.” “Don’t run after her if she doesn’t want you to play with her.”) But I let them play.
She kept looking back to see how far behind he was and would giggle. (Was she playing hard to get? Hmmm, it appeared so. It must be an inherent characteristic in girls.) He finally stopped as if noticing the game. “I’m going to put the shovel down here. If you want it, come and get it,” he said as he walked away and went on to play elsewhere. Just as soon as he gave up, she gave in, walking back to claim her shovel.
She watched him play on the jungle gym. He kept looking back at her without saying a word. Finally she headed over to her mom and decided to remove her costume. It was getting in the way of her “getaways.”
He then recognized her without her costume. “Hi Princess,” he still shouted.
She looked away. He came up to me as I watched from the sidelines.
“Mommy, will you help me pick flowers for the Princess. I need to bring her flowers.”
There were no flowers around, I told him to pretend. So he found some leaves and gathered them in a bouquet. They were beautiful fallen leaves; red, orange, and yellow. I watched as he walked over to the princess, who was now playing with two other girls.
“Princess, I brought you flowers.” He handed them to her.
She looked at them and took them from his hands and threw them on the ground. “I don’t want your flowers.”
He was saddened for a moment. I had to chime in. How could I not. She rejected my son and his kind gesture? (I know they are only four, but still.) How hard was it to be guy and make the first move. Was it intrinsic? What was he thinking? He just liked her.
At this point, it was time for us to leave. We walked away. I asked if he wanted to say bye to the Princess. He said, “No thanks.”
Just as we were half way to our car, we heard the pitter patter of tennis shoes behind us (pink ones). It was her. He stopped and smiled at ther,“Yes, Princess?” He asked.
She held up her pail in her hands and asked, “Will you help me fill up some water for my castle.”
I helped him help her. (A true yenta mom at this point.) I turned on the drinking fountain, as he held her pail to fill it. He smiled. She did not. He looked at her. She looked down. “Anything else you need?” he asked.
“That’s all.” She said blushing as she ran away. And my son smiled all the way to the car.
October 20, 2010 | 3:26 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
I was thrilled to be invited to the 20th annual Environmental Media Awards for the third year in a row. The awards ceremony, which honors environmentally conscious programming and themes in films and television productions, took place on Saturday night, October 16 at Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank. As thrilled as I was to be there, I was even more excited at the prospect of meeting Glee’s Jessalyn Gilsig, a fellow Jew Mama (Jewish on her father’s side). I met a lot of great people involved in greening Hollywood and celebrities, but was still waiting for Jessalyn.
I have admitted before that I am, in fact, a Gleek and not afraid to admit it. I also mentioned in previous posts that I have almost met the entire cast of Glee in one way or another (no stalking involved or paparazzi-like strategies). I could not wait to meet Jessalyn to talk about Jewish mommyhood and, of course, Glee.
I arrived just as the guests walked down the green carpet. First to arrive was CNN founder and environmental activist Ted Turner, who was being honored for his efforts and contributions toward environmental issues. I met Mr. Turner and his ex-wife, Jane Fonda (who was there in support of her ex-husband and presenting him with the honorary award) as they arrived. I think I was a little over-enthusiastic when I met Jane Fonda, maybe even plain hyper, recalling dancing to her aerobic videos (yes, videos) in a leotard, shiny tights and leg warmers as a child. (Why I had to wear that getup in my own home while I aerobicized, I have no idea.)
Other stars began arriving as I waited for a fellow Jew Mama. They included Lance Bass, Wilmer Valderrema, Eva Mendes, Rosario Dawson, James Cameron, and Ed Begley, Jr., as well as Natalie Portman, who was there to present entrepreneur Jeff Skoll with an honorary award as well.
Finally, there she was: Jessalyn. She was stunning. (“Beautiful” does not cover it.) I waited as she made her way down the carpet and toward the reception area. And then…I lost her. I entered the reception area and continued my search. I couldn’t see over the heads of the guests. Cheryl Tiegs’s supermodel height was first in blocking my way. (She was still stunning and beautiful; once a supermodel, always a supermodel.) Maybe I should have brought a step stool, I thought.
This was my third year attending the EMAs and it seemed that the turnout this year was much larger compared to the previous years, which made it even more difficult to locate Jessalyn. I still kept a lookout for her, however. After much mingling and searching, I gave up.
Needless to say, I did not find Jessalyn. I was just waiting and waiting for
Jessalyn, but enjoyed myself nonetheless. Perhaps I will bump into her one way or another. After all, we are both Jew Mamas.
October 19, 2010 | 11:22 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
I thought I was losing my hearing when I overheard the momversation (also known as a conversation between two moms having something to do with their children, child rearing, cleaning, shopping, or how much more they do than their husbands) right next to me in the grocery store this morning. “I love cleaning,” said one mom to the other.
I interrupted their conversation, “Excuse me, did you just say you love cleaning?”
“I do. Don’t you?” She stated more than questioned, matter-of-factly.
“Um, no!” I said as if I chose the wrong answer. Then I felt the need to explain myself, as if my answer merited some sort of explanation. “Well, don’t get me wrong. (I don’t think anyone did. They heard me.) I love a clean house and try to keep it that way for the most part, but I don’t love the work that I have to do to get there. (And as if this wasn’t enough…I went on. Did they really care? ) How can picking up toys at the end of every day, doing dishes three times a day, laundry and dusting be loved?” At this point I realized I was trying to convince myself that I was an okay mom even if I didn’t like cleaning. (Did I need validation from complete strangers?)
“I don’t know. I just find it enjoyable,” she said unapologetically. “I have time to myself to fix things the way I like them and find it rewarding.”
Time to herself? Okay, now she was bluffing. When I think of time to myself, I think of a good book, a walk in nature, a manicure on rare occasions; but cleaning, was she serious? By the look on her face, she was.
“Wow,” I remarked. “That’s great.”
“I can’t say my home is always clean, but when it is I enjoyed cleaning. It is so relaxing.” Now I felt we were onto something: she was apologizing for an unclean home as well and she liked cleaning.
We chatted for a little bit longer and then she asked if I enjoyed cooking. I told her I actually did, very much so – it was the cleaning up afterwards that I didn’t like. Every time I am done cooking and my kitchen is a mess, I snap my fingers and call for the butler. “Agador?“ (Yes, I picture my butler as the gay Guatemalan butler from The Birdcage, Hank Azaria’s character who prances around barefoot barely doing any house cleaning at all. Not because gay Guatemalan men are butlers, but because if I ever had one, why would he not be fun and entertaining like Agador? Robin Williams and Nathan Lane had one, why couldn’t I have one with “Guatemalaness?”) Of course when I call out to Agador there is no answer, because there is no Agador and the fun of cooking is over as I am left with dishes upon dishes, spoons, measuring cups and a dirty kitchen counter. Was it really worth it, Mihal?
Finally, Cleaning Mama and I agreed to disagree. Cleaning is not always fun for everyone but we all do the best we can whether we like cleaning or not. We affirmed that we were both good mothers. (Why must mothers always do that? Who knows, but we both left feeling validated.) We also agreed that the home is not always perfectly clean. (Phew, not just my home.) We parted ways.
When I got home later with my groceries, I looked around and thought that perhaps I should enjoy cleaning just a little more. I probably would if I had an Agador, however. Maybe the mom at the grocery store did. I never asked.