17 Reasons why you may be the Person of the Year

person-of-the-yearTime Magazine has recently nominated their person of the year for 2016. (For the record, they’ve also had Stalin and Hitler on that list and their reasons are anything but complimentary.)

Of the seven billion people on the planet, many do pretty fabulous things on a daily basis. I’d like to propose someone that may be a worthier candidate.

So, gentle reader, you deserve the title, if:

1. If you’ve lost work and sleep to care for an ailing relative.

2. If you saw a nut job draw a weapon in an attempt to kill innocent civilians and you intercepted him.

3. If you grit your teeth and kicked a bad habit.

Continue reading

My Russian Doppelganger

(Written in 2011. Image by Zoya Cherkassky)

There’s a Russian woman living in my building.

Technically, she’s moving out, as evidenced by a “Furniture for Sale” sign taped downstairs by the elevator, a sign with her name, Tatyana. And though I’ve never met her, having recently moved here myself, I’m becoming acquainted with her stuff, which she’s been depositing on the “free for all” bench in the lobby.

Not that I need anything. Still, every day on my way out, I now anticipate the thrill of noticing something new on the bench, rummaging through the books, exploring the textures of the domestic accessories left behind – and piecing together the personality of their former owner.

Continue reading

No, our nation isn’t one of bigots – but here’s what to do if you meet one. Or two.

On November 8, the glass ceiling didn’t shatter, the balloons didn’t drop, though the champagne was consumed anyway, right out of the bottle, for different reasons.

It hasn’t even been a week since the election, and there’s already an uptick in racially-motivated verbal and physical violence, with Trump-lovers tearing off Muslim women’s hijabsscribbling slurs on public and private property and going on anti-Semitic rants. As someone who once moderated a Facebook page for an official U.S. Navy Command, I’ve never seen as much trolling as in the wake of this election and following it. And let me say, that Navy Facebook page saw some brutal content, what with people swearing like sailors and outbursts by enemies of the state.

Continue reading

Okay with preschool dress code? Psst, you might be a little bit Russian

Turns out my kid’s preschool has rules. Not just your usual “Refrain from biting others, bringing allergens in your lunchbox and showing up with infectious diseases.”

It’s dress code rules.

Disney and fantasy characters are prohibited, since the preschool is based on the principles of Maria Montessori, a physician and educator, who believed children until the age of six have an absorbent mind, unable to discern between concrete and abstract (not to be confused with creativity or imagination). Jewelry and flashing lights on shoes are not permitted, to avoid distractions.

Learning this sounded familiar and Soviet. As in, “Eww, Soviet,” not “Yay, Yuri Gagarin, first man in space!” Soviet.

Continue reading

The Washington Post: How I lost and rediscovered my self-image after having kids

This essay was originally published by The Washington Post on Sept. 16, 2016

Our culture’s obsession with weight, from diet fads to the thigh gap, takes a particular toll after childbirth.

According to medical books, a 25- to 35-pound gain during pregnancy is considered healthy. A woman becomes roughly 12 pounds lighter immediately after childbirth. The rest is supposed to just melt away.

But instead of fitting a statistical bell curve, many new mothers feel like outliers.

Continue reading

Kveller: 6 Parenting Lessons I Learned As a Restaurant Server

This post was originally published by Kveller on Sept. 13, 2016

Waiting tables at a Moroccan restaurant in New York isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about parenting. If you’re a student who lives off a credit card and walks 30 blocks to save on subway fare, yet splurges on cocktails and believes fatherhood potential and artistic talent are the same thing, children are not in the picture. Continue reading

The Parenting Aptitude Quiz

Ever wonder how your parenting stacks up in our world of benchmarks and parenting philosophies? Take this quiz to find out, picking one best answer for each question.

1.Baby transportation: Baby wearing or stroller?

http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/7-reasons-i-will-never-give-up-my-stroller/

From Babycenter.com

a. Baby wearing forever! Or at least until he tells me he prefers to drive.

b. Stroller. My back hurts.

2.Manners: Your toddler said he hates you and threw goldfish crackers in your face. Your response:

https://a.dilcdn.com/bl/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2012/03/23a9e3d3280c21eeca818407f95391c2.jpg

From Babble.com

a. Discuss why throwing and name-calling is wrong, suggest postponing anti-parent angst until he is a teenager. Work with your toddler to pick up the goldfish from the floor together. Name the goldfish. Find an appropriate container for storing the goldfish. No, not the green cup. Incentivize as needed.

b. Deal when you have the energy. Pick up the goldfish yourself and eat them.

Continue reading