Daddy, Why Are You Wearing Make-up?

Daddy, Why Are You Wearing Make-up?

There is nothing like being chastised by a five year-old first thing in the morning. Barely awake, semi groggy and in need of my caffiene drip I rolled out of bed and shuffled towards the bathroom. I didn’t make it more than ten feet when I was grabbed in a bear hug by the dark haired beauty.

Five years-old and going on 30 she reached tugged on my hand and told me to bend over and kiss her good morning. I was only too happy to oblige, the girl gives great hugs and I am a sucker for her. What I didn’t expect was the reaction that came with it.

During a pick up basketball game this week I took an elbow to the head and received a black eye. Well, it is not exactly black now. At the moment it is closer to purple, blue and black. She took one look and exclaimed, “Daddy, why are you wearing makeup!”

Since I was half awake it took a moment to realize what she was looking at. I must have stared at her for a moment because she put her hands on her hips and told me that she wanted an answer. I smiled and told her that it wasn’t make up. As I explained what happened to me she shook her head and told me that she doesn’t want me to play with boys because they play too rough.

I laughed and told her that I don’t play with boys. I play with men. As I said “men” I growled and then picked her up and twirled her around. She squealed with laughter and told me to hold still. With a very serious expression on her face she kissed my eye and then told me that she doesn’t want me to play anymore.

So I thanked her for her concern and told her that I am a big boy and I can make my own decisions now. This did not go over well and she told me that I always get hurt. I shook my head and gave her a list of my injuries.

In more than 25 years of basketball I have had very few injuries. One broken ankle, one broken nose, one dislocated finger, a few jammed fingers and two black eyes. Now mind you that I broke my ankle when I was 20. I received the first black eye three years ago and the dislocated finger about 18 months ago.

As I sat there rattling off the list of injuries and ailments I started to laugh. What the hell am I doing arguing with a five-year-old about this. I love the dark haired beauty, but at five she thinks that a week is forever, telling her about injuries from twenty years ago is ridiculous.

Slowly lowering myself to one knee I thanked her for her concern and told her that I appreciated it. And then she proved that she has been listening to me. With a plain expression on her face she looked me in the eye and told me that I can ignore her, but I am not going to like the consequences of my actions.

I can’t wait until she is a teenager, life is going to become so much more fun and interesting. 😉

Advertisements

Are We Poor

Are We Poor

If I had a chalkboard inside my house I would have written the following three lines on it:

Are We Poor.
Are We Poor?
Are We Poor!

Then I would have taken the erasers and clapped them together and laughed while the dust went everywhere. It must be close to 25 years or so since the last time I got in trouble for that. But I don’t have a chalkboard inside my house and I really didn’t want to take the one on my porch inside.

So instead of writing those three lines and speaking with my son about the influence of punctuation on the sentence I launched into a relatively brief discussion about why I don’t care what others think and neither should he.

It seems some other child at his camp told him that he thinks that we are poor. Being a man of class and distinction I told him that when he sees this boy tomorrow he should ask him if his father still beats his mother and whether his uncle still buggers the dog.

Take a deep breath, I didn’t say any of those things. I thought about it, but not in an angry way. I grew up in a middle class home and have spent my entire life with people who were less fortunate and more affluent than we were. During my professional career I have had my ups and downs, but have had far more ups than downs. Overall I can say that we have been very fortunate.

But the advantage of being 40 is that I have all sorts of life experience to rely upon and he at 8.5 does not. So now opens a new chapter in his life, the awareness that some of his friends have more than we do.

I am pleased to say that this is a recent event. For years now he has been playing with other children whose families are very well off. There have been lots of play dates at homes that are much larger than mine and trips in cars that cost more than both of mine. It didn’t faze him, until now.

And I suspect that the reason it has is because the kids are getting a bit more aggressive and a bit nastier about some things.

Anyhoo, when he told me that this other boy said this I told him that he needs to remember three things:

1) His own sense of self esteem and self worth comes from within. It is not based upon how many friends he has or doesn’t have.

2) We make decisions about others based upon their actions.

3) Money and possessions do not make people happy. They may help, but the ultimate source comes from within. Not to mention that he needs to get used to being a middle of the pack kind of kid. In this family we are not driven by money.

So I think that he followed what I was saying and that he got it, at least I hope so. In the interim I am going to monitor what happens with him and this other boy. Just another one of those life lessons that we get to experience.

You Can’t Bully My Child Part II

You Can’t Bully My Child Part II

Part one of this post is here.

I became a father sooner than most of the guys in my circle of good friends. As a result I have often found myself being used a resource that the other guys sometimes use for consultation on parenting issues.

Most of the time they are relatively simple questions dealing with issues that we have worked through already. During the course of these conversations I have been asked if I am worried about pedophiles or rapists. I always respond by saying yes, but I am not seriously bothered by it.

It is not that I don’t think that it can happen, but that it is not as common as other issues. The bullying is an excellent example of something that happens with more frequency. And it is a great example of the pain/frustration/anguish of parenting because no matter what you do you cannot insulate your child from the world. And the great fear is that somehow your child will be harmed because you failed.

But the reality is that you cannot view life through a black and white prism of success versus failure. There may be times when it is clear that your child was hurt because you failed, but more often than not you are not going to be blame. Things happen that are beyond your control.

Still, this doesn’t lessen the pain of watching tears stream down your child’s face because they are hurt. So you have to come up with a plan and we did. It is relatively simple and now we will see if it works.

The mothers had a discussion about the situation and it was made clear to the mother of this other boy that there is an issue. She in turn had her son call mine to apologize. During the conversation my son clearly expressed why he was angry and told the other boy that this cannot continue or there will be consequences.

I told my son that if things happen again he is to tell the other boy to stop, twice. If he doesn’t listen then I told him he is to defend himself. Furthermore I told him that if he hits him I expect him not to hold back. Hit him hard and then hit him again.

You see, the bullying wasn’t limited to words. This other boy smacked my son and pinned him down. So I haven’t any problem telling him that it is ok to hit him.

I hope that it doesn’t come to that point, but there are lines and limits that you cannot cross. The physical is one of them. We’ll see what happens, hopefully this is the end of it.

Still, I am sorry to see one more piece of his innocence taken away from him. Childhood ends far too quickly, no need to rush it.

You Can’t Bully My Child

You Can’t Bully My Child

I tried to sit there impassively so that I could hear the story be told without interruption. I tried to sit there and look supportive so that he would feel comfortable telling the tale, but I am not sure that I succeeded.

Had you seen my face it likely would been contorted in a snarl, my hands pulverizing the rocks contained within them into dust. He struggled to get the words out. He struggled to tell his mother and I that another child had been bullying him. Hot tears of shame rolled down his face and I felt my stomach turn.

Anger, revulsion and sadness coursed threw me. My son, my son. Another one of life’s lessons taught before I would have chosen for him. I would have preferred that he remain innocent for a bit longer. Let him be naive for just a while longer. He is young, at 8.5 he doesn’t need to know that humans can be so cruel to each other.

But we don’t get to make those decisions. Life moves, things happen, and changes take place and you are forced to respond. And so we listened to him describe what had happened to him and my heart sunk.

As I listened I remembered being that boy. I remembered the anger and the shame of it. I remember not wanting to tell my parents and thinking that they couldn’t help me. Eventually the kid who was bullying me pushed me too far and I exploded.

Thirty years or so ago it was a different world in some ways. I used my fists and learned that they could be very influential. That ended the bullying. It didn’t solve all of my problems, but it helped fix a big one.

But it is not about me. It is not thirty years ago. Fighting is seen differently now. There is far less tolerance of it and it brings different issues. But that is not where I want this to go, not really.

More importantly, this situation is different because the bully is a friend. Another boy who my son once considered to be his best friend has been taking advantage of my son’s good nature and I am sad. I am sad because I feared that this day would come

I am sad because it just makes the situation worse. It doesn’t matter to me that the boy who did this comes from a good family or that his parents will be horrified by this. He robbed my child of a certain amount of innocence. The thief has stolen something that can never be returned.

For years I have listened to stories about him. For years I have listened to mothers and fathers tell stories about this boy was mean to other kids. I have warned my son about him, told him to be cautious. I always wondered when he would turn upon him.

But we are loyal to a fault. And my son was not just a friend, but a good friend. He tried to help this boy be better. He tried to show him how to be a better listener and student. We tried to explain to him that you can only be responsible for yourself and that you can’t change people.

And then tonight I listened as he talked about his friend and how sometimes he’ll hit him or hold him down. I listened as he told the story in between tears about how he didn’t want to tell on his friend and my broken heart was torn open again.

Even now he tries to protect his friend. Even now he tries to shelter him. Even now as his body shakes because he is crying so hard. Even now he fights for his friend and in return this boy is almost assuredly asleep.

And when he tells me that it has only been going on a short while I cringe because I know my son and I can tell it has been longer. It is only now that it has reached the point that he can no longer take it.

As I console and reassure him I cannot help but think that I want to grab this boy and show him what it means to be terrorized. Let him cry for help as I drag him by his collar. Let him cry as I use my strength to force him to dance for me.

But that won’t happen. I am 40 and he is eight. In my anger I might appreciate the idea, it would never happen. I would feel guilty immediately. It would be as wrong as his behavior. But what can and will happen is that I will impress upon his parents the urgency of the situation.

They will understand that this is unacceptable. They will see that his behavior changes immediately. They will see that he apologizes. And then they will see that their son has destroyed a friendship, likely beyond repair.

I can’t say for certain that the friendship is completely done. My son will have to make that decision, but it has been damaged to the point that it is not what it was.

In truth I am ok with that. I am still sad and angry about it all. I am disappointed that he had to learn such a hard lesson, but this is what it is. Life is filled with these moments. And as much as I want to protect and shelter him I won’t coddle him to the point that he cannot cope.

In the end we cannot always be there. Our job is to love, teach and support him so that he can be a good person who can easily navigate through the challenges that life presents. And we’ll keep doing that.

Before I go I’ll share just another thought or two. My son has been taking Krav Maga for a number of years now. Tonight as he lay in bed we talked for a few more moments about it all. In a soft voice I told him that we had a plan. I told him that we were going to speak to the parents of this other boy and that it would be taken care of.

And then I told him that sometimes need to have a back up plan. I told him that if this behavior didn’t change he needed to tell his friend to stop. And then I told him that if it didn’t, that he is entitled to defend himself. I could feel him looking me in the dark. He said, “but he is my friend” and waited for my response.

I told him that friends don’t treat their friends like this. I told him that people in general should never treat others like this. And then I told him again that if he did as I said I wouldn’t be angry. “If you have to hit him, hit him hard.”

He fell asleep a moment later.I leaned over and kissed his forehead and walked out of his room. Hours have passed since I had that conversation, but it has stayed with me. Some life lessons are harder than others. Sometimes the pain is…considerable.

Harry Potter & Haveil Havalim #226

Harry Potter & Haveil Havalim #226

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term ‘Haveil Havalim,’ which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other ‘excesses’ and realized that it was nothing but ‘hevel,’ or in English, ‘vanity.’

Hello and welcome to Haveil Havalim #226, the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince edition. This is a different sort of edition for me. I hadn’t intended on doing it, but a change came up at the last minute and I found myself standing in the on deck circle.

I had several ideas for what I wanted to do with it, but it just didn’t work out that way. So my apologies because this isn’t up to my normal standards. Anyway, if I can find time I’ll update this a few times and try to give it a little more spit and polish.

And in response to some reader emails here are some links to some of the music that I listened to while constructing this. Please be advised that some of these videos are adult in nature. I didn’t have time to go searching for clean versions, so do what you will with it.

Mansions of the Lord
It Was a Very Good Year– Frank Sinatra
I Gotta Feeling– Black Eyed Peas
King Without a Crown– Matisyahu
You’re Gonna Miss This– Trace Adkins
Come Back– Moshav

If this is your first time here, welcome. You’ll find almost seven thousand posts about life, parenting, politics, Judaism and more. Links to some of my favorite posts can be found on the right hand side of the page.

And now on to our carnival:

Politics

Many people are questioning some of President Obama’s policies. You can read about some of that at The case against Obama.

Seraphic Secret reminisces about a man from his youth who would scream about and the end of the world and those who do it now in Apocalypse Now and Then.

The Muqata reports about Washington and Israeli Ambassador in Michael Oren hold his ground.

Avi Green presents DC becomes Dhimmi Comics posted at The Four Color Media Monitor.

At the Rubin Reports take a look at A brief guide to the differences between Palestinian Authority, Syrian, and Iranian Strategies toward the West.

While you are there you might be interested in reading The Obama Ideology and World Affairs Part I, II andIII.

Yaacov Lozowick has a must read piece entitled Complicated Afghanistan and Just War. Daled Amos shared Israeli Settlements: Olmert vs. Obama.

Yourish covered Obama ups the ante on “settlements”

Israel

I really enjoyed reading Nostalgia Sunday – Asimonim, maybe because I still carry one on my keychain.

Israelity also sent in the descriptive post, Tel Aviv’s Sh*t Mountain Gets A Green Light for Environmental Remediation.

And in technology news you can read Just another ghost in the Wall, a new Internet startup G.ho.st, launched last night by an Israeli entrepreneur and Palestinian software developers.

Batya said I Could Never Understand The Mentality.

Cosmic X relates a number of news stories in his post Truth Sprouts From the Land!

The Occidental Israeli discusses the Haredim and says thatTerrorism Pays. Agree or disagree? Go read it and let him know. Ask Lady Light about Civil Strife in Jerusalem: Protesting a Parking Lot.

Child Ish thinks much of it has to do with boredom.

Tel Chai Nation blogged about the impact of the Gaza war with British Antisemitism in Britain stops arms exports to Israel. Yourish covered it also in The U.K. Israeli arms embargo: Hypocrisy defined.

And let’s not forget the marriage proposal that Meryl included in Thursday Snark News.

Jewschool covered Gaza Soldier Testimonials.

Soccerdad sent over a link I had missed Breaking the Silence: More Rumor & Hearsay. Daled Amos shared Again, The Media Jumps On Questionable Report Of Israeli War Crimes (Updated)

Dave shared A Video Postcard from Hell: The Gaza War Up Close and Personal

Over at My Right Word I had to read about the Erotics of the Occupation twice because I just couldn’t believe it.

Our friend and long time blogger the Elder has The transcript of the “plot to assassinate Arafat” and the story about Hamas belief that they will acquire a WMD within 20 years. Now what nation of non Arabs who are descendants of Cyrus might say that.

Back at My Right Word there are beautiful pictures of the Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue in Jerusalem and don’t forget to read Tourism in Tuscany, Sorry, Make That Binyamin.

My friend Snoopy and co-blogger writes about the mishegahs surrounding road signs in Minister Yisrael Katz, road signs and Zionism. Eric wrote about it as well in Battle of the Signs in Israeli Cities.

In between rooting for the Bruins Ben Yehudah keeps a fine blog in which he writes about many things. One of his recent topics covered the protests, go read The Other Story: Israeli Leftist Rags And Feminazis.

At The Muqata you should read Israel’s High Court Targets Widow and Orphans of Fallen IDF War Hero.

Here is An interesting perspective on why the Palestinians keep saying no to peace deals. And then again there are posts that illuminate A senseless and irresponsible provocation.

Don’t forget to read Religion and State in Israel – July 13, 2009 (Sections 1 and 2) Ben Yehudah discusses an ad right here.

From Solomonia What Olmert Offered Abbas.


Judaism

I am not sure if there are topics that are more important than protecting children. Chabad offers Responding to Child Predators in the Jewish Community.

A good philosophical discussion can be found in the questions of Isn’t it Enough to Just Believe? – What Does Judaism Think? From Chabad we have Lightning Doesn’t Strike the Same Place Twice
Divine Providence Does!

Mother in Israel has practical tips you can use to keep your food warm and your house cool on Shabbos.

Questions, questions, questions, Is the Ran an apikores, by his own definition?
Don’t forget to read part two.

Lion of Zion brings up the question of Calling a Sinner for an Aliyah.

From the Real Shaliach we have Say it ain’t so!

Ever wonder about how Jews said Kiddush during prohibition? You might enjoy reading this next piece called Booze and Jews: Some fun American-Jewish history ephemera .

One day Donald Trump may be at a bris for his grandson, maybe. Read more at Mazel tov to the newest Jew – Ivanka Trump.

At Schvach you can read Eishes Chayil, that discusses Jewish Women. Child Ish thinks that many Orthodox Jews haven’t spent time thinking about why they believe what they believe. For more on this read Kiruv: Answering the hard questions.

From the Velveteen Rabbi This week’s Torah poem looks at the slaughter of the Midianites through the lens of the newly-released Breaking the Silence report about IDF behavior in Gaza.

The Rebbetzin’s Husband provides valuable information with How to attract people to your shul. Over at Ilana Davita there is a very interesting guest post by Shimshonit about her Judaism. Go read it.

Schvach’s post The Conflicting Demands of Life is definitely worth a read.

In The Pink has what I consider to be a ridiculous invention, a Tefillin sweater. Twenty seven years of laying Tefillin and I have never had a problem rolling up the sleeve. In fact if you buy one I want to speak with you about loaning me $50.

Prof K’s post gives food for thought. Go read The Things That Bring Us Happiness…Not

Use this link to Tweet your prayers at The Kotel. Or you can go here and ask someone to daven for you at the Kotel for 40 days.

I am a bit of a rabble rouser. Correction, I am big rabble rouser. I am often the fly in your ointment, the guy who will press your buttons. So why am I sharing this, well because I almost didn’t include a few posts from Frum Satire.

Let me be clear, I think that Hesh is a good guy and well meaning. But he intentionally writes posts that stir up a hornet’s nest. I know this because I have commented there and been assaulted by a number of the other commenters.

I mention this because I think that some of his commenters are troglodytes that wear Borsalinos and think that halacha says that you can beat a woman for not sitting in the back of the bus.

Anyway, I do not include Hesh as part of that crowd. And now that he has received a ton of press I am not going to include separate posts. You have the link to his blog. Go spend some time reading there. Not every post is controversial.
Personal

All the really cool blogs started roughly five years ago, just ask Jewlicious.

A Simple Jew is another one of the old time bloggers. He is among the first bloggers that I read and interacted with. Go take a look at “You Seem To Have Removed Yourself From Your Blog.

What happens when you are almost 30
and you have a list of things to do.

The Real Shaliach has Some important questions. Will someone please ask Mottel to move. I have been blogging here for more than five years now. 😉

The Rebbetzin’s Husband reflects upon the impact of being a parent in Changed by a decade of Parenting.

Take a look at some nice photos at I really should get a tripod.


This is the sort of problem I miss having. Go read A hard day [camp] night and Israeli teenagers – 1; Anglo parents – 0.

Apparently there is a new King of All Media. When you are through with that you can read On Tops and Tales because it is all about the people.

There is something very nice about passing on traditions. Home shuling blogged about bedtime issues.

When I read the next title I instantly thought about my post A Bad Case of Stupid Seems To Be Going Around to be clear there is no similarity other than title, which is why you should read We’re Not Immune to Stupid Just Because We’re Jewish

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags: , .

Birthday Party Drama

Birthday Party Drama

Dear Moms of the world,

The fathers of your children and oftentimes husbands have noticed that there seems to be an inordinate amount of drama surrounding birthday parties. We don’t understand what is so hard about scheduling them and the back channel talking about who did what, where and why.

We don’t spend time worrying about throwing the best or most outlandish party. All we care about is seeing that our children have a good time. Water balloons, pinatas and silly string are good props.

Why must this be turned into a big deal. We don’t expect to get a satisfactory answer for this any more than why you have 27 pairs or shoes or need a new dress for every party we attend. What is the point and the purpose.

Now if you’ll excuse us we are off to bang ourselves in the head with a baseball bat, it is faster and more effective than the slow torture methods you engage in.