Category Archives: Holidays

Scheduling Summer

Summers of my childhood were fairly unstructured except for the long family vacations we took in the car and camping. I remember lots of going to the library and pool, eating popsicles, and running through sprinklers. One summer later in elementary school, I attended the city run summer camp for a session. After that I either worked or was scheduled.

My wife and I have had our summer zoom by. We trade off getting work done with taking care of the kids. We finally scheduled in a few days to have family outings before the summer disappears completely, but it is a far cry from my memories of driving as a family to mountains or beach and camping there together.

Perhaps there was a lot more hectic planning that I never saw, perhaps my memories are seen through rose tinted lenses, and perhaps we will do more of this when my son is a tad older. I wonder what my daughter’s perception of this summer is.

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Filed under Holidays, routines

More Puzzled

For a while, I have been thinking that my daughter was ready for 100 piece puzzles. Tuesday during quiet time, she sequestered herself with a round 100 piece puzzle of a seder plate. I came up later to find her making patters with the pieces and some wooden tiles. She had given up making it by herself, but with minor assistance, she and I whipped through the puzzle. I think the unfamiliarity with the round shape as well as the smaller size of the pieces initially stumped her. Now that she has made this one, I think she will be able to make it independently again and move on to other 100 piece puzzles.

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Filed under Holidays, Toys

Am I the Religious Nut?

Yep, another parent helper day come and gone. Several of the children were having tough days, and the teachers handled it with amazing calmness and caring. Today’s snack, always provided by the parent helper, featured the orange through purple colors with carrots, purple grapes, strawberries, and matzos. I was hoping to get some of those crackers that are a little more palatable, but there were none at the store. The kids didn’t mind, anyway. They munched up the food.

It is a bit weird for me to be the one bringing matzoh to school. I think a few kids kept Passover in my high school; not too many at my elementary school did. When I was a kid, the culture from home that I brought to school was literally a culture in a Petri dish. I remember bringing in glow-in-the-dark mold and slime mold to my fifth grade class. That is what happens when you have a biologist for a mother.

Not being terribly religious, not much at all, my brushes with codified faiths ranged from seeing my best friend come home from church in a skirt. She was a tomboy, so she instantly changed and threatened to hit me if I laughed. I sat through some services for weddings and on the occasions my sisters played in a church. Bar and bat mitzvahs were the only Jewish services I went to. One of my friends often invited me over for Shabbat dinner on Fridays. These were enough to get a small taste, a flavor, but I was never immersed in the regular ritual gatherings of any group.

I do remember thinking kids who brought different foods on certain days stood out. Now I have that role, and I pass it on to my children. How will they respond to the inevitable questioning and less-than-subtle reactions to difference that will come. Hopefully they will see it as a source of strength and pride.


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Filed under family, Holidays

Holiday Festivities

Yesterday and today we have been at my father-in-law’s for Passover Seders. My son conked out before things got started before things got starts yesterday, but he managed to last longer tonight. I did have to take him out of the commotion a few times as he was overwhelmed with the noise. I was, too, so that worked out ok. My daughter responded by getting very amed up with all of the attention and noise. Luckily there was a cousin her age, and they played well together for the second half of the evening.

If we lived like this every day, it would be a disaster for raising kids, but on occasion, it is a very good thing. It makes these events special, and it gives the kids a big change up from our normal routine.

After driving home, however, I will be very happy to get back to that routine!

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Filed under family, Holidays

Hearts in the Mail

Our preschool has a policy of not celebrating holidays in school, and I love it. A school I worked in previously also had this policy, and it was hard for people who became frenetically wrapped up in the holiday spirit to see how it affected them, other adults, and the children they were teaching. The almost manic fervor some people put into their observance ranges outside what young children developmentally can handle well. In addition, we are so bombarded by merchandising at holiday times, that it is a relief to have a space free of the constant music and colors of each festival.

That being said, I do enjoy Valentine’s Day. I remember it being pronounced Valentime’s Day repeatedly when I was growing up. I still have some hand-made cards from elementary school that came from a friend. My daughter got one today in the mail. A family that respects the requests of the school to not hand them out during the day sent one to our daughter, and I imagine they sent one to each kid in the class. She hasn’t opened it yet, but I look forward to her doing so because I am sure it will be special to her.

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Filed under Holidays