Monthly Archives: December 2010

Parents and Homework

My twitter buddy @noahroth tweeted that he got 100% in his third grader’s recent homework assignment. I wondered if he would get a sticker for his hard work.

Apparently Noah and/or his lovely wife spend 2 hours a night helping their third grader with her homework. Which is ridiculous! (No offense Noah or Mrs Noah). If there is to be 2 hours of homework for an 8 year old – what will it be like in 4th or 5th grade? There are other kids in the family – will they be needing help for 2 hours while the 5th grader needs 4 hours? We do 30 minutes a night in third grade, and I am just supervising from the kitchen.

Recently my littlest had a project that he had to do. He is also a third grader. He had to make a travel brochure on the Pacific Ocean. He didn’t want my help at first. So I stood back. He put something together, submitted it and we got a note back from the teacher that she had wanted it more detailed and inclusive of this type of picture and that type of description. Please redo.

Bear in mind, this school prohibits its children from going on the Internet. So I had to do all the googling and printing of appropriate images and simple descriptions of algae and sharks and treasure chests and volcanoes. The child himself was having nightmares that he wouldn’t do a good enough job the second time around, so I knew it had to be something that he would be proud of.

One Sunday afternoon we sat together at the dining room table for over two hours – cutting and pasting, colouring and writing. Granted he had to do all the writing and the pasting and colouring, but I had to supervise. After the first hour he wasn’t talking about failing any more, and close to the end of the work he told me how much fun he had with his project and if he had known that it would be this much fun he would have had me help the first time around. He was so excited to take it in to school the next day.

His teacher let me know that his project was awesome. They each got to present their brochure in class and he did well. (Actually I was told “he did good” but, well, you know…).

What lesson did he learn here? That when Ima does homework he scores high, and when he does it on his own he is a failure? Or that because everyone else has their parents “helping” them with their projects, he needs to have Ima help or else he cannot have a hope of passing?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved spending this time with him, and I wouldn’t let him write about anything he didn’t understand and couldn’t explain back to me – but when I was 8 I had to do my own homework and was graded accordingly.

He has homework every night – I am there to explain to him if he needs it (usually its Math and we all know I cannot help him with that) or to help him with his vocab words. I don’t do it for him – how do they learn that way??

No Kiddush between 6pm and 7pm

Again, thanks to the mommy websites for bringing this question to my attention. #JewCrew – is there an inyan against making Kiddush on Friday night between 6 and 7 pm? Or 5.52pm and 6.52pm , or is it between 6.52pm and 7.52pm? If there is such an inyan, why, where did it originate, and how come I never heard of this before, having been frum my whole life??!!

Barmitzvah Line – do not cross!

I am totally excited to be planning this barmitzvah, after all, I have done two already, so this should be a breeze, right? I have spent the last hour or so updating the guest list spreadsheet that I made right after we were done with the last barmitzvah 15 months ago. Adding people. Removing people. Question-marking people.

There are always people who are upset not to have been included. But the thing is you cannot invite everyone. There is a set budget and limited space –  plus other variables – the hosts have to draw the line somewhere.

There were a few people that were upset not to have been included in our wedding – we were less than 40 people sitting down to dinner, and it was the perfect size for us. We wanted something small and intimate that was about the KoD and me. We drew the line where we felt it was necessary and didn’t make exceptions. Feelings were hurt, unfortunately, and there are a couple of people who don’t talk to me any more since then. There are those who weren’t included and were just happy for us and didn’t care that they hadn’t been invited.

This barmitzvah is coming up and there are four families to consider now. Mine, KoD’s, my Ex’s and Mrs Ex’s. Just family alone – that’s a lot of people. Granted not everyone will come, but that’s still a sizable number. Then there are those people we are close with, and then there are those that we are not so close with but they invited us to their simcha, so we should invite them to ours. If you are not careful, the list can get out of hand.

What gives me pause is deciding where to draw the line this time. We are new in our community and don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but we do have to keep the budget in mind, and more importantly we want to ensure that the day is about the barmitzvah boy, not about who was invited and who wasn’t.

I wish it weren’t so complicated.

So – when you made your simchas where did you decide to draw the line? Was there fall out? How did you deal with it?

Let it snow!

We were hit with about 15 inches of snow since lunchtime yesterday. The kids are off for a snow day and enjoying it – they have been outside building various snow forts. I went outside for a bit, picked up a shovel and was told by one of my sons that seeing as I am older than 35 I am not supposed to be shoveling. I wasn’t sure how to take that – is he being a gentleman because I am old, because I am his mother, because I am decrepit, or what??!! But then he redeemed himself. He told me that I should be making snow angels – because I am an angel myself.

So this is a pic of me in the snow!

Snow Angel

Emunah and Childbirth

Please go and read this article “ Emunah and Childbirth”, then come back here and read the rest of this post. I get what this lady is trying to say – that you need to have faith in God. I agree. However, her letter is dangerous. She is advocating ignoring medical advice in order to give birth naturally. There are situations where a caesarean section will save the life of a child and / or the mother and ignoring that urgent need could result in death. I will concede that there are many c-sections performed that are unnecessary – but it is all on a case by case basis. You cannot say flat out that the science of obstetrics is stupidity!! Being stupid is ignoring that the doctors are Hashem’s shlichim, his messengers, given the knowledge to help bring the next generation into our world.

I am flabbergasted that in this day and age there are people out there advising women to ignore the medical world – what does she want us to do, give birth out in the fields, have birthing mothers die because there are complications and no doctor around? Have babies die due to lack of prenatal care? Yes there are many instances where there is no need for medical intervention – but what about when there is a problem, what then? You can have all the Emunah you want, but trusting in God will not save your life or that of your baby if you are not in the right medical environment and need help.

What are your thoughts?

(Hat Tip @mikeage)

Happy Birthday to my KoD!

Happy Birthday! This is the third birthday that the KoD has had since we have met, the second since we got married. However, it is the first birthday that we will actually spend together under the same roof in the same country. It is so special to be able to be with him on his special day – having been through such a hard time waiting for my papers to be in order, well, it just makes us all the more grateful to have one another. Sharing special times is such a blessing.

Happy Birthday my love – may you have a wonderful day and an awesome year, filled with love and light and continued nachat from all our children.

WWYD – wrong crowd

So you find out that a friend has started hanging out with someone that you know is bad news. You know for a fact due to past experience with him / her that this person has the morals of an alley cat and that your friend will end up used and or hurt. Your friend is actually a principled person but cannot see the bad in their new association. You know that if you speak up you might lose the friendship, but sitting idly by while your friend puts him / herself at risk is something that feels alien to you.

WWYD? Speak up and risk the friendship? Stay quiet but take some distance? Warn your friend anonymously?

Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

The latest school fund raiser

It seems that the latest way round here to raise money for the schools is to make a deal with a local energy company. They give preferential rates to the families affiliated with a certain school. Some schools have gone so far as to threaten re-evaluation of financial aid agreements if the parents refuse to switch to the specific company and lock into that specific rate.

Can they even do that? What if you have children in four different schools who all have a deal with four different companies – all at different rates. Obviously, IF you are going to switch you will choose the lowest rate, no? But what about the other 3 schools? Can they really re-evaluate a parent’s signed agreement if they do not switch? Isn’t this akin to extortion?

Sad

Today I count my blessings. We should really count them every day, but sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us sit up and take note. A local school teacher was killed yesterday when a large passenger van crashed into a nail salon, pinning her underneath. Her funeral will be today. So much pain for her family, so much suffering, and a life snuffed out so quickly. I didn’t know this lady, but my heart breaks for her family. May her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.