Natural Play on the Farm

I am not going to pretend that my children go outside to play every day.  There are plenty of days in Maryland that are too cold, or too hot, or too windy to play safely outside.  But today we took a little walk outside and it turned out to be so inspiring.  I love how creative children are with play especially when they are out in nature. A ladder set aside from a job becomes a natural obstacle course for learning balance. We do not have much in the way of an outdoor playground and it is at these moments when …

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Spiderman vs. the Shammas – A Late Hanukkah Post

Somewhere around the fourth night of Hanukkah, my four year old boy came up with a pressing question. “Who is more powerful,” he asked. “Spiderman or the Shammas.” The shammas is the Hanukkah candle that is lit first and used to light all of the other candles on the menorah. Spiderman needs no introduction.  I am not sure how he learned about Spiderman, but I think it was word of mouth from another child at pre-school. I was stumped. “Who?”  he pressed. “Because the Shammas can’t climb up bridges,  right?” he said. I decided to go for some professional intervention …

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First Books

As a new Kindle reader, I have been giving some thought to the value of paper books over digital and it is sad to think of a world that no longer needs real books.  I am also grateful for the convenience of many books in my hand at once and find myself reading more fiction because it is suddenly accessible to read while nursing or rocking my toddler to sleep. My preschooler is starting a reading program at school.   This week he brought home his second “Bob” book to practice over the weekend.  I instantly fell in love with the …

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Chasing off Bad Dreams

My four year old had his first nightmare this week, or at least the first one he remembered and could articulate.  It came directly from a children’s book that I had been meaning to toss. One of those books where something seems scary and then they realize everything is fine (it’s only a hedgehog, not a monster), but in the meantime they throw in spooky illustrations.  It pays to pre-read all hand-me -down children’s books, but this one wound up in circulation even though I had glanced at it and knew better. So, I googled for a solution and found …

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Jewish Parenting Book Review and Giveaway

Rabbi Ilana Grinblat’s, “Blessings and Baby Steps: The Spiritual Path of Parenthood” recently published by Behrman House offers a refreshing account of one mother’s attempt to infuse Jewish values and education into her parenting. I can attest that her short chapters make reading the book possible — even when you are busy chasing your own small children. I read the book while my children were engaged in sand play — three minutes here, 15 minutes there. Also, the chapters are very topical, so readers will easily hop around to topics of interest. The collection of essays spans pregnancy through age …

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Learning to Swim

I have escaped the Maryland heat for an extended vacation in the Adirondacks, but for the past couple of days we have joined the rest of the east coast in this stifling heat wave. This is the place where I spent my childhood summers, diving into the cooling waters of Lake George, playing on the town playgrounds and wandering around with small gangs of kids in search of tootsie pops. Life here centers around swimming lessons, nap time and chasing after lots of new summer time logistics like sippy cups, sun block and missing sandals (and that is just for …

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