The New York Times: The Particular Horror of Long Commutes for Young Families

New York TImes

Credit: Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

“Traffic jams and delayed trains are infuriating for everyone, but they’re especially painful when they make you miss your baby’s bedtime yet again.”

This article was published by The New York Times on Oct. 31, 2018, the Well Family section. Click here for the complete article. 

 

SheKnows: Bilingual parenting matters — even if the White House says it doesn’t

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Originally published in SheKnows on August 21, 2018

Late last year, the White House has stated its intent to create an immigration system favoring refugees who can “successfully assimilate.” A senior White House official confirmed this in a January briefing: “A properly functioning immigration system promotes assimilation in all its forms,” he said.

For much of U.S. history, the country has helped immigrants escaping persecution — so putting the immigration focus on assimilation instead would be a brand-new and troubling way of deciding whether someone can legally live here as a refugee. And it may well spell doom for bilingual parenting — and for foreign languages in the U.S. on a larger scale.

Read more here

Kveller: What do you do when your beloved childhood books scare the crap out of your kids?

Watery Octopus Tentacles

This essay was published in Kveller on August 22, 2018

For three years now, I’ve been blowing a chunk of our budget shopping online. But instead of cashing in on deals for gadgets or baby wipes, I binge buy vintage kids’ books on Etsy — editions no longer in print, dating back to the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s. They aren’t rational purchases. But I have to have them.

Read more here.

Scary Mommy: When a woman in the shoe store called me a ‘monster’

This essay was published by Scary Mommy on August 14, 2018

Mother and baby in shopping mall

When my son was a baby, he and I ventured out into the adult world. Our mission lacked the cinematic complexity of saving the Earth from an alien invasion or defusing a bomb while wearing a leather dominatrix outfit. That winter afternoon, my mission was this: drive to a strip mall by my parents’ home while they watched my toddler so I could return some shoes I’d bought while still pregnant.

Read more here.

The Washington Post: Four challenges work-from-home parents will recognize, and how to keep them in check

This essay was published by The Washington Post on Feb. 6, 2018. It was republished by The Philadelphia InquirerThe Chicago Daily HeraldOmaha World-Herald, The Toronto Star, The Seattle TimesThe Vancouver Columbian and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Telecommuters used to get a bad rap, seen as folks who lounge by the pool with a trashy magazine and a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon.

Article continued here

Four lessons I learned in my thirties

Although I entered my thirties with trepidation, it turned out getting older has its perks, beyond just reevaluating dating and career decisions and no longer being carded at grocery stores.

1. Picking Battles

The human brain keeps developing through adolescence and into our twenties, changing the way we react overtime. It’s not uncommon in our teens and twenties to blow up at the slightest emotional provocation and then regret it (so-called amygdala hijack).

I’ve certainly mellowed out in my thirties. For example, the other day, my neighbor who likes to wear a Make America Great Again hat and a t-shirt emblazoned with “U.S. Border Patrol,” left a note on my car threatening to tow it, because it was parked near his house. I took a deep breath and knocked on his door, my two children in tow. “Hello, neighbor,” I said, smiling. “Is this your note?”

“Yeah, sorry,” he mumbled. “I thought you were one of them soccer moms who park here.” I wondered if he’d personally observed these women’s children playing ball or seen them pushing soccer balls through their birth canals to warrant the “soccer mom” title. I would have asked, in my twenties. Instead, though, I wished the neighbor a good day and left.

Now we are besties who go shopping and get mani/pedis together. Just kidding.  But at least we’re civil.

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Postscript to bilingual parenting article

I’m excited that my Quartz essay on bilingual parenting was picked up by social channels of The Atlantic, The New York Times (The Upshot), National Geographic, Vox, KQED, Flipboard and Pocket Top 10 and government and educational organizations, including Harvard and Stanford, in the past week.

Unfortunately, there seem to be some misconceptions, so I’d like to address them:

  1. Yes, many parents are lucky to raise bilingual/trilingual kids with less effort. That’s indeed wonderful. While this has been my experience, the process is as unique as each family member’s language ability and environment.
  2. Yes, bilingualism has lots of cognitive advantages, too many to list in a short article. It does not cause speech delays, confusion, retardation, measles or rubella.
  3. Yes, unfortunately, this is a particularly American situation, as much of the world outside the U.S. nurtures multilingualism.
In addition to the positive feedback from educators and folks who are in the same boat, it’s been interesting to read some personal comments and messages, calling me a lazy, bad parent and a dumb American (with jabs at my kid).
I encourage anyone interested to check out the work of the wonderful experts that were generous enough to speak to me during the preparation of this article, as well as the resources linked in the piece. I hope parents keep exposing their kids to many cultures and languages and don’t lose the link to their roots, despite the struggles. And that they don’t feel alone doing it.

 

Quartz: A lot of our ideas about bilingual children are total myths

This reported essay was published in Quartz on Aug. 13, 2017.

Note: There are many unique approaches to bilingualism that may or may not work for different multicultural families living in the U.S. This is just one of them. 

https://qz.com/1051986/a-lot-of-our-ideas-about-bilingual-children-are-total-myths/

“What’s that music?” my three-year-old asked as we listened to a song in a foreign language last December.

Could my toddler be showing an interest in her Russian heritage? Maybe this would be a chance to tell her about the revered winter holidays of my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia—calling up images of the falling snow as schoolgirls in black-brown uniforms and giant bows in their hair sang carols about solidarity…

For the complete article, click here

ScaryMommy.com: This one is for the mom who is heading back to work

A version of this essay was originally published in ScaryMommy.com on Feb. 25, 2017

I see you, Mama, pacing from room to room, recalling what still needs to be packed for tomorrow. You pause by the sleeping baby’s crib, in awe of his eyelashes and his measured breathing, unsuspecting that tomorrow someone else will be reading him his favorite bunny story and putting him down for nap time.

You try to cook as much as possible to prepare for your upcoming 11-hour, perhaps 12-hour, absences. You bought a crockpot and bookmarked recipes online; you stocked up on groceries as if Armageddon is fast approaching, and now your freezer door won’t close.

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