growing up · raising strong girls · slice of life

Pierced Ears… Finally!

Yesterday morning, I discovered Isabelle had placed our Mother & Daughter Journal on my night table. I went through the pages she tabbed with sticky notes and discovered she was finally entertaining the idea of getting her ears pierced. (NOTE: As I mentioned last month, the contents of our journal are private. However, since earrings are a public thing, I don’t consider this to be a breach of mother-daughter confidentiality.)

I approached Isabelle about what she wrote while we were coloring in the mid-morning. She seemed interested until I uttered the words my mom told me when I was six years-old, “Even if the first one hurts, you still have to get the second one done.”

And just like that, Isabelle changed her mind.

Throughout the day, we talked about it — with Marc — a few times. She vacillated as many times as we discussed it. Eventually, I told Isabelle, “It’s your body. It’s not my place, or anyone’s place, to force you to do something you aren’t ready to do. However, if you’re going to do it, it needs to be by next weekend since you have to care for the holes for six weeks after you get them pierced and I need the care to be done before you get in a pool on Memorial Day Weekend.”

She said she understood.

She said she wasn’t doing it.

Until she changed her mind again.

And then back again.

Isabelle had a day off from school today so I asked her, “Would you like to go to the mall to take a look at the earrings. Maybe they can show you the gun they use to piece the holes in people’s ears?” I was shocked when she replied affirmatively to my question.

We went to the mall.

She found a pair of earrings she liked (pink crystal flowers with 14K gold posts).

She inspected the equipment.

Finally, once she understood the process, I asked her, “Do you think you want to get your ears pierced today or come back another time?”

In the faintest murmur, I heard an affirmative response. However, I wanted to be sure.

“I didn’t hear what you said. Would you like to get them done while we’re here?”

“Yes,” she replied with a strong voice.

I watched Isabelle hop up in the sanitized chair. The man marked her ears. (Me, being overly fastidious, asked him to readjust one of the markings.) Then, he started explaining to Isabelle how he was going to clean her ears to get them ready for the piercing.

“Do you want me to stand close to you or away from you?” I asked.

“In front of me,” Isabelle replied.

Oh my G-d, she’s nervous.

“You can stand in the center, right there in front of her,” the man told me as he removed the alcohol swabs from their envelopes.

I stood in front of Isabelle watching her watch the man as he approached her left ear. He asked, “Do you want me to just do it or to count, 1-2-3?”

“1-2-3,” she stated.

He counted and Isabelle didn’t even flinch.

Tiny 🌸! And, of course, as 😷, because it’s 2021!

But then he informed me that backing didn’t release onto the back of the post, which it was supposed to do. I thought I was going to pass out* as I watched him check to see if the earring went through Isabelle’s ear.

Luckily, the post passed through the ear and he was able to get the backing on without a problem. Before I knew it, Isabelle’s second ear got pierced without any drama.

I took a few photos of Isabelle before we left the mall and sent “surprise” messages to Marc and both sets of grandparents, the latter of whom knew nothing about Isabelle’s desire to get her ears pierced.

* = A TOTAL SIDE STORY: I threw up all over the jewelry store after getting each of my ears pierced. I remember feeling light-headed after the first one got done, but I knew I needed to get both done since I didn’t want to walk around with one pierced ear and one regular earlobe. I vowed, at the tender age of six, never to have anything pierced for the rest of my life. I’ve stuck to that self-promise.

When I was trying on earrings for my wedding at age 30, I almost passed out in two different jewelry stores. The first salesperson told me that maybe I was getting cold feet about the wedding. (Idiot, I thought, before walking out of the jewelry store.) The second salesperson who saw me get nauseous and dizzy mentioned I might be having some kind of vasovagal response. I told her I rarely changed my earrings as an adult since I often felt woozy when I did. Something clicked into place at that moment! That’s when I realized I probably threw up in the jewelry store as a kid for the same reason that I rarely change my earrings. Something strange happens to me any time a piece of metal passes through my ear lobes. After nearly a quarter of a century, I no longer felt like a wimp after throwing up in the jewelry store as a kid.

family · growing up · slice of life

Next Stop, The Milkhouse! #SOL21

I minored in American History with a concentration in war. (Cheery, I know.) I did a semester-long study on the Kennedy Family in my senior year. Therefore, when I tell you that our family finished a 12-day standoff with one of our kids — that was on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis — you must know I do not say this in jest.

March is a busy month for me due to the SOLSC. Therefore, when Ari decided to assert himself as a stubborn human, things got stressful. Conversations didn’t work. Offering rewards didn’t work. Taking away privileges didn’t work. NOTHING seemed to work.

Earlier today, he blinked. As a result, we had to make good on a promise: ice cream for dessert! It didn’t matter that it was a weeknight. A promise was a promise. So, a little after 6:30 p.m., the four of us piled into the car and drove to a local ice cream shop.

As our minivan turned into the parking lot, I noticed the store front was dark. “Why does it look like they’re closed?” I asked Marc.

We drove up and sure enough they’re closed Mondays – Wednesdays. (They’re open seven days a week during the spring and summer.)

“Rolled Cold?” Isabelle asked, mentioning the name of her favorite ice cream store in the City of Lancaster.

As much as I knew she’d enjoy that, it isn’t Ari’s favorite place. Ari loves The Milkhouse at Oregon Dairy. Before driving 15 minutes in the opposite direction, I called to ensure they were open.

When we arrived, I witnessed a smile on Ari’s face even through his mask and despite the fact that we wouldn’t be making use of the Dairy’s playground, which was a favorite in the pre-COVID days.

“Family picture by the cows!” I said.

A beat later, Marc and I told the kids, “Don’t touch the cows!”

Too late! Ari touched the stationary cows all over their bodies. Thankfully, The Milkhouse has had antibacterial hand wipes long before the pandemic. We walked in, grabbed a couple, wiped Ari down, and placed our order.

Even though it had been over a year since any of us stepped foot into Oregon Dairy, Ari rediscovered the model train that rides around The Milkhouse and the restaurant on an elevated track. He stood in awe of it as the rest of us ordered. He took his eyes off of it just long enough to give me his order (i.e., chocolate ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, and whipped cream).

We took our ice cream back to the minivan where we devoured it. Once Ari declared he was finished, he stood up in the back of the minivan and did what can only be described as a happy dance.

I admire kids with strong wills. Stubborn isn’t a good look on anyone. It’s my sincere hope that Ari stays strong-willed and doesn’t show this kind of stubbornness again.

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.
COVID-19 · growing up · imitation · slice of life

Standing on the Cart

My husband lets our kids stand on the end of the shopping cart.

I do not.

Why? you might ask. First of all, I don’t feel like pushing around an extra 40 – 80 pounds when I’m at the grocery store. Second, I don’t think it’s the safest thing in the world.

Nowadays, I go to the supermarket infrequently. I do a lot of online ordering and parking lot pickups since there are too many noses sticking out of masks for my comfort level. As a result, my kids don’t go to the supermarket much either since we want to keep them home as much as possible.

But today, I needed to go to Whole Foods to pick up an item for my daughter. Since Whole Foods has been great about mask enforcement, I felt comfortable enough to take Ari there.

The two of us were waiting for our deli order to be finished when he decided to hop on the back of the cart. I asked Ari to get off of the cart. He didn’t. Instead, he replied with, “Well, Daddy lets me ride on here.”

“I’m not Daddy,” I reminded him.

Because he’s four he stated, “But Daddy lets me!”

With that, he stretched and wiggled around on the end of the cart. I was wearing a mask and almost finished with my deli order so I decided to grasp the front of the cart tightly so he wouldn’t topple over.

Eventually, my deli order was finished and it was time to walk to the cashier. I looked Ari square in the eye and gave him a choice: walk beside me or push the cart.

He selected the second option.

Once the pandemic is over and we return to grocery stores with the kids, I believe we’re going to have to adopt a more consistent parenting approach to cart riding!

Head over to Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday to read more slice of life stories.

growing up · raising boys · slice of life

Mommy, will you snuggle me?

It started in late May with a simple question.

“Mommy, will you snuggle me?”

I knew I should say no, but Ari was so sweet when he asked. Plus, the missing preposition — with — was endearing. So, I said yes. And thus began a terrible habit: laying down beside my son for weekend nap times.

After a month of him taking an eternity to fall asleep, I told him I couldn’t stay for nap time. I told him I’d head out once he fell asleep. I promised to leave if he didn’t fall asleep after a half-hour. However, I often found myself dozing off and staying in his room longer than expected.

By late July, I realized my weekend afternoons were no longer my own since I was being compelled to lay beside him for over two hours on both Saturdays and Sundays. It was over. I told Ari as much.

Sometimes I wake up in advance of Ari on a Saturday. When I do, I cannot help by watch him sleep while feeling immensely grateful that he is my son.

Sometime in August, Ari overheard me saying, “I could really go for a Shabbos nap like I used to take on Saturdays when I was in college.”

A beat passed. Ari realized it was a Saturday and said, “You’ll could take a nap with me today since it’s a Saturday.” (Cue his sweet grin.)

I considered. I was tired. It was Shabbat. What harm could one little nap do?

It’s been over two months now that I’ve been snoozing next to Ari on Saturday afternoons. Sunday afternoons are mine, but Saturdays are for snoozing and snuggling with Ari and all of the stuffed animals who join us. Every time I think, this is it… this is the last Saturday snooze, I realize something. Ari will only be a little bit little for just a little longer. Seeing as Ari naps by himself the other six days a week and sleeps by himself at night, I think these Saturday naps are a-okay right now.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.
COVID-19 · elementary school · growing up · slice of life

Getting Ready, Take Two

Last night, Isabelle and I reviewed the Tuesday – Friday schedule her new teacher sent. We were set…

Until this morning when I received a call from Isabelle’s principal who told me there was a change of plans. Instead of each fourth grade teacher having a few remote learners on their roster, there would be a dedicated class for all of the remote fourth graders at Isabelle’s school.

With less than 24 hours to go before the school year began, I remembered the phrase my father liked to repeat when circumstances changed throughout my life. It goes like this:

Everything is subject to change with no notice.

Isabelle’s Workspace

If ever there was a theme for the 2020-21 school year, I think this would be it!

About an hour later, I informed Isabelle of her new teacher and class placement. (Kudos to her for taking it well.) A few hours after that, I downloaded her new teacher’s schedule. After her evening shower, the two of us sat in her bedroom (aka: her classroom until there’s a vaccine) and reviewed the new Tuesday schedule.

A new adventure awaits tomorrow! Hopefully Zoom won’t have another Northeast USA outage. But if it does, we’ll just have to laugh and chalk it up to the 2020-21 school year theme.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.
growing up · slice of life

No Big Boy Bed… Yet

We had a plan. Sometime over the summer, we’d convert Ari’s crib into a toddler bed. We’d give him time to sleep in the toddler bed while we were still living in our temporary home. Then, as soon as we moved into our house mid-fall, we’d transition him into a full-size “big boy” bed.

Best. Laid. Plans.

Halfway through the dismantling of the crib, Marc realized some of the parts were missing. He went to our garage to search through his toolbox. He came up empty handed. Then, Marc searched through some boxes we’re storing in the garage. He found a whole lot of nothing.

That meant that the “bed” had to be converted back into a crib.

So much for the big boy bed. It’s going to have to wait until we move — again — in October.

I’m wondering what Ari’s thinking as he’s witnessing the transformation back to a crib again. After prepping him for sleeping in a big boy bed tonight, I’m assuming he must be confused.

growing up · slice of life

Little Man in a Belt

It was early. Too early for summertime. Regardless, we were up for the day. That’s when Ari surprised me with a fashion request.

“I want to wear a belt,” Ari stated.

“Why?” I asked.

“I wanna wear a red belt!”

Of course he wasn’t going to tell me why. He. Is. Two.

He doesn’t need a belt because his pants fit him thanks to adjustable waistbands. However, I didn’t feel like getting into a battle of the wits before 5:30 a.m. Therefore, I grabbed a pair of jeans from his drawer and found the “red belt,” which was really burgundy, white, and blue. Close enough.

I stood in front of Ari and snaked the belt through the loops. I encouraged Ari to turn a bit after each loop. What did he do every time he turned? Giggled. And I mean BIG GIGGLES.

“What’s so funny?” I asked while feeling a little cranky that putting the belt on couldn’t be quick. (Remember, I hadn’t had coffee yet!)

“I’m wearing a belt!” Ari declared.

I smiled. “Yes you are!”

By the end of breakfast, Ari’s navy shirt was untucked from his jeans and was covered in oatmeal. Therefore, I grabbed a gray shirt — that kinda matched — and put it on Ari. Because, as I told Marc, “There’s no way he’s taking that belt off today!” Marc nodded knowingly.

Right after we changed shirts and retucked the gray shirt, I insisted on a photo. Ari sported his silliest “Cheese!” face and I got my photo.

family · growing up · slice of life

Welcome Home

Isabelle has never been a run-to-the-door-to-greet kind of girl. It used to bother me, but I’ve come to understand she isn’t into big hellos and good-byes.

This afternoon, I heard the pitter-patter of footsteps as my keys jingled in the doorknob.

“Daddy! Daddy’s home!” Ari cried out with delight.

“Not Daddy. It’s Mommy!” I said.

Ari rose up and down on his toes several times. (He can’t jump yet.) “Hi Mommy!” He threw himself towards my legs.

“Hi, little guy,” I replied kneeling beside him. “Can I have a hug or a kiss?”

I got both.

I walked in the house and looked around. Isabelle was there. She didn’t stop what she was doing to say hello and I know her well enough not to interrupt. I chatted with Ari as I put down my things. Then I asked him for another hug and he obliged.

Kids are different. Ari gives me grand greetings, while Isabelle gives me casual ones. I’d be lying if I said her aloofness didn’t sting, but not everyone responds the way you want them to in life.

I love these delicious hugs.

growing up · slice of life

You can always come back home.

Inside Waiting

“Can I go outside and wait with Fox?” Isabelle asked.

I checked my phone. Two minutes until the bus would arrive. I checked the sidewalk. Fox was already waiting — between his driveway and ours — for the schoolbus.

“Sure!”

Isabelle looked surprised so I continued. “I’ll watch from the window until you get on the bus.”

Isabelle donned her backpack and walked to the door. I stooped down, though not quite as far as I used to, and kissed the top of her head. I opened the door, waved hello to Fox, and felt the cold hit me.

“Are you sure you want to wait outside? It’s cold.”

“I’m sure,” Isabelle replied.

“Have a good day!” I called to both of them as I closed the door.

I cradled my coffee while Isabelle walked towards her 12-year-old neighbor. Next, she walked to our mailbox and opened it. She noticed it was empty and promptly closed it. Then, she walked in a couple of small circles. She peered longingly at our house. She walked closer, but not too close.

I opened the door, “Are you cold? Do you want to come back inside and wait?”

She nodded. Fox and I exchanged knowing looks.

“Do you want to come inside and wait too?”

He replied with a polite no, reminding me he’s always warm.

Isabelle hustled back to the front door. I smiled and reminded her, “You can always come back home.”

Those words lingered in my mind. To me, it meant more than coming inside on a cold morning, but I doubted she picked up on the dual meaning.

Less than 30 seconds later, the school bus rounded the corner. Time to say goodbye again.

growing up · slice of life

Belt (Object Slice #2)

Waterlogue-2018-03-03-16-35-13“I’d like to take a picture of you and your brother on the couch before we drive to synagogue.”

Isabelle started to grumble, “I don’t wanna take a picture.”

“You never want to take pictures. But I would love to take a picture of the two of you all dressed up for services,” I said.

Isabelle had a choice. She could protest or give in. Typically she’d protest. Today, for whatever reason, she gave in. My heart swelled.

“Come and sit on the couch,” I said.

“Can Ari sit on my lap?” she asked.

“I don’t know if he’s going to even be willing to sit still let alone sit on your lap, but we can try.”

Isabelle sat down on the couch. I plopped Ari beside her. He stayed. “Why don’t I just take a few like this and then we’ll try your lap.”

Somewhere in-between getting Isabelle to look at the camera’s eye and trying to get Ari to smile, I noticed something. Ari was wearing a belt.

Now let me be clear. I put the belt on him about a half-hour earlier. However, it hit me… HE IS WEARING A BELT FOR THE FIRST TIME.

He didn’t really need the belt. After all, his pants had an adjustable waistband inside. However, now that he’s in an 18-24 month size, the belt loops looked gargantuan on him so I thought I’d put a belt on him. Initially, I didn’t even think it would fit since it was a 2T-3T size, but somehow it didn’t look all that large.

I lost track of the on-the-lap photo opp because I all I could think about was that my 17-month-old son was wearing a belt and that means that very soon he won’t be so little anymore.

From Skitch
Little Man in a Belt (after services)