DISCLAIMER: Hi Dad. While I think it’s great that you read my posts on kveller.com, this article is not for you to read. Kindly find something else to do until I write Shabbat Dinner in the Hader Ohel or how I’ve become allergic to falafel or whatever. Thank you. Shalom. Love, Your Nice Jewish Daughter.
OK. Ladies, I may have some bad news: While it’s usually ok to screw your brains out when you’re pregnant, using a vibrator may be a little more risky.
It’s like this: No matter how incredible and mind-blowing your partner may be in bed (or in the backseat of a car, or in the shower, or on a pool table,) orgasms from a vibrator are… well… more electrifying. Sorry B. It’s nothing personal: Anything battery operated that pulsates like 1000 times a second is bound to deliver the goods harder and faster. And this in turn can stimulate uterine contractions.
So, It was a sad, sad day when I developed uterine irritability during the second trimester of my first pregnancy, and my doctor put me on pelvic rest. It was like he had stapled a giant HAZMAT sign to my Lady Business—Hard times, my friends. Hard times. And, so, along with the whole enforced celibacy thing, I had to pack up my neon purple iRabbit - (and I thought giving up alcohol was hard!) - for the sake of my unborn child.
But then, as soon as my doctor gave me the green light, my iRabbit made it’s triumphant return to my bedside nightstand drawer where it lived happily ever after… until the day of my daughter’s Simchat Bat.
Now the Simchat Bat is a relatively new custom in Jewish tradition. Unlike the typical Brit Milah for baby boys, the Simchat Bat is fairly low-key: Usually, the Rabbi will say a few prayers, and make a special blessing over the infant, and there is almost always singing, hand-clapping, feet-stamping, and the like, followed by some seriously good noshing.
All said, it’s pretty chill—especially since there’s no scalpel involved. Ahem.
And when we had our first child—a girl—was born in a sunny day in May, we decided we wanted our family to take part in this Rite of Passage. So, when M. was six weeks old, we invited close family and friends over for this special Jewish naming ceremony.
The thing is, when M was born, I developed this intense fear of germs and the havoc they could wreak on my tiny baby and her fragile immune system. Doorknobs touched by unwashed hands were the enemy. An errant sneeze could be as disastrous as nuclear fallout. Thoughts of Staph and Strep and Salmonella plagued my sleep. So, the idea of 50 people traipsing through our house and—Heaven Forfend –kissing my infant with their mouths and touching her with their fingers sent me into a tizzy.
(Yeah, welcome to Crazy Town. Just make sure you sanitize your hands at the door.)
Anyway, while our guests (and their germs) poured in to our home, M. and I hung out in the bedroom, where we were waiting to meet with our Rabbi to discuss a few things about the ceremony. Now, let me tell you, our Rabbi is awesome. I’ve known him since I was a little girl: He presided over all the services my parents and I went to when I was growing up. He told the best Jewish scary stories at sleep-away camp. He officiated at my Bat Mitzvah. And my mom’s funeral.
It seemed fitting that he be part of this Rite of Passage, as well.
(In other words: L’Dor V’Dor.)
Also? Despite my stint poll dancing at Cat Club in San Francisco when I was 23, (seriously, Dad? Please tell me you’re not reading this…) and the six weeks I spent dating a guy in the Israeli Mafia when I was in high school, I’m basically a Nice Jewish Girl. No, really! I always did the extra credit assignments during Hebrew School. I never snuck out of my bunk at Sleep Away Camp. Hell, I was even selected to receive a special college scholarship from the synagogue. And the Nice Jewish Girl in me was happy that my Rabbi would see that B. and I were bringing our daughter into the community in such a meaningful way.
(“Wait, what does this have to do with vibrators?” I hear you cry. Trust me. I will tell you.)
Anyway, the Rabbi arrived, greeted us with many “Mazel Tovs,” and we got down to business. He asked if M. was named for anyone, as is Ashkenazi Jewish custom. She is: In fact, the poor kid has not one, not two, but three names to honor the souls of my mom, my Aunt Judy, and my Grampa Fred, and B’s Saba Moshe and Savta Yeuhdit. Yeah, the birth certificate lady at Kaiser wanted to cut me.
Well, given the long list of family members we chose to honor when naming our baby, the Rabbi stood up and said he needed a pen and paper to write it all down.
And before I could stop him, he reached over to open the bedside drawer.
My mortification. Let me tell it to you:
First of all, I do not have a pen in my bedside drawer.
Nor do I have paper.
Instead, I have a bottle of K-Y Jelly, enough Trojans to take over Troy, and my neon purple iRabbit vibrator.
As cliché as it sounds, it really was like the whole thing happened in slow motion. I tried to block him, but I was still a little unstable with the baby in my arms. And so, I had to make a split-second decision: Either I drop M. on the floor and keep my secrets safe in the bedside drawer, or sacrifice my dignity while protecting my baby girl.
Well, Shalom, Dignity. Via Con Dios, and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
Now, since I’m pretty much a slam-bam-thank-you-iRabbit kind of gal, I’m not always careful when I put my vibrator away, so when the Rabbi grabbed the knob and pulled, the drawer stuck. And at first, I thought I was saved. But then, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, the Rabbi yanked the drawer open, and in the process, (somehow) activated the iRabbit’s on-switch. Whirring, buzzing, and gyrating, this vibrator, unlike so many smaller, more discrete models, leaves very little to the imagination: It comes complete with a fairly girthy shaft, a well-formed glans, and—YES—it even appears to be circumcised.
(Vibrator: 1, Foreskin Man: 0.)
(The neon purple tempers things a little, but not much.)
Well, the Rabbi slammed the drawer shut, and we both pretended that we couldn’t hear the rhythmic buzzing as we continued to discuss the upcoming ceremony.
“So, her first name is in honor your mother, may she be of blessed memory?” He shouted while the vibrator bumped in the drawer, and the entire bedside table shook, and he turned the same festive shade of burgundy as the yarmulke he wore.
“Yes!” I yelled back.
And as the vibrator did a bump and grind against the drawer, my entire Jewish life flashed before my eyes—Sunday School story time in the synagogue sanctuary. Reciting the Aleph Bet at Hebrew School. Singing Hinei Ma Tov around the camp fire at sleep-away camp in Malibu. Reading from the Torah during my Bat Mitzvah. Singing in the choir during Hanukkah…
But still, even though I wanted the earth to swallow me up like a Jewish Rumplestilsken, I reveled in the complexity of the moment, because guess what? You can be a Nice Jewish Girl and a mother and still have a vibrator.
Just ask my rabbi if you don’t believe me.
This post originally appeared here on kveller.com.
Kveller.com offers a Jewish twist on parenting, everything a Jewish family could need for raising Jewish children—including crafts, recipes, activities, Hebrew and Jewish names for babies…and advice from Mayim Bialik.