Thursday, March 25, 2010

I think this is healthy - making myself useless.

Because I'm a fairly new parent of multiple children, I wasn't always confident about how to handle disagreements between my children. I would do what my parents used to do, which was get involved in the arguments and adjudicate as I saw fit.
And then I read something about how parents should minimize getting involved for a few reasons:
1. Better to let your children work it out so they can learn interpersonal skills and how to deal with each other in a positive way.
2. You could damage the family relationships because your children may see your decisions as unfair and it could appear that you favor one child over another.
3. There are two sides to every story and let's face it, it is tough to be objective.

All of this sounded reasonable to me but I was still unsure until a few events precipitated that made me realize that this really is the way to go. For example, once, I heard D crying and hurling insults at S. So I went over to tell D about how I'm going to put her in a timeout. A friend of mine happened to see the whole incident unfold and told me that I focused on the wrong child. S actually started destroying all of D's handiwork and it made D upset.

So what I do now, even when one of them comes to me to plea their case, is tell them to work it out amongst themselves. And any gripes they have should be directed towards the person and not to me. And I like to remind anyone who comes to me with an issue or gripe towards their sibling that it's not nice to be a tattle and that you need to confront the person who made you upset.

Come to think of it, I can remember when my parents got involved in a situation and the frustration and resentment that I felt when I thought it was patently unfair.

I like knowing that I don't need to solve my children's problems but teach them how to do it themselves. At the end of the day, if they don't need me, I've done my job well as a parent.

Harvard Reunion Social and Judaic humor

My husband invited me to come with him to his class reunion social in Manhattan the other day.
We were in an amazing apartment with serious views and priceless artwork.
It felt very stuffy.

But anyway, I ended up talking to someone who I'd known in the past about circumcision of all things. He just had a baby with his wife and he told me that he was relieved that it was a girl. He also said something that surprised both me and Josh - that he wouldn't have circumcized had it been a boy. His reasoning was novel - he felt that he and his wife were Jewish enough or rather so Jewish that they didn't need to adhere to customs that they felt were just pure insanity.

He had commented that Jewish guys who marry shiksas feel like they need to circumcize to validate the Jewishness. Food for thought. It made me think of two of my favorite Jew jokes -

One, that I could possibly be more Jewish than my husband since I married Jewish. Ha! I love that one.

Two - this is a joke I heard from Josh who heard it from his friend. A boy and his father are standing outside a synagogue during Rosh Hashana. A line of people have formed and the boy asks his father what they're doing. The father explains that they're Jews going to service. The boy is puzzled and tells his dad, But I thought we're Jews?
The dad clarifies, "Son, THEY are JEWS. We are Jew-ISH."

I have been finding myself in a lot of social situations where people ask me, Are you Jewish?
And I sometimes reply, "Yes, I'm Jew-ISH."

Still a little mad

I'd like to think that I'm not one of those sensitive and partially out of touch mothers who refuse or won't admit to any of their children's faults. In fact, I freely talk about my children's faults and will call a behavior like I see it - bitchy, whiny, slow, emotionally disturbed, lame or whatnot (not in front of them because I'm not into giving any of them a complex).

But there is one thing that someone has said about my son that I've taken umbrage with. It's been 7 weeks now, I didn't even hear the comment firsthand and I'm still a little upset over it.

My husband told me that as the mohel was about to perform the circumcision, he remarked as he pulled back the foreskin, "See there's schmutz in it already." Poor Dillon is just a baby, about to experience the greatest pain of his albeit heretofore short life. And he's so innocent. Does he deserve such a mean-spirited, narrow-minded and insensitive comment? We're about to circumcise the poor thing, the moment is already filled with a lot of nervousness and tension and for me, a little bit of fear, doubt and guilt. Did I need such a scornful and gratuitous sales pitch from the person who is the most in control of the situation?

It makes me think that there must be a special place either in heaven or hell for those whose job it is to inflict pain and perform elective surgery (as requested by parents) on baby boys penises day in and day out.