Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Windows: Full Snack, Full Mother

C. Spira

What do you know? Every woman above the age of 40 sided with my father. They were completely unimpressed with my chinuch

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

 Mishpacha image


I f you see a kid wearing a white Shabbos shirt on a regular weekday, it’s not my child. Ditto if you see a kid in long pants in the sweltering heat.

How would you know that? Simple: I’m under the age of 40 (and I don’t have boys).

The kid you’re seeing is likely my baby brother. Or another mezhinik out there who decided that it’s time to take ownership of his dressing habits.

The other day, I visited my parents after 9 p.m. My six-year-old brother was munching on popcorn and drumming on the table while schmoozing with my father. Apparently, his bedtime is three hours later than mine was at that age. “What do you say to his ear for music? It’s a pity to put him to sleep. You gotta listen to him, he’s adorable!”

Um… okay. I get the logic. I guess.

My father of a jam-packed schedule. My mother of serious bedtime routines and teeth-brushing charts and a rigid rule against drumming on tables. Oh, well. Who am I to judge 50-year-old parents?

But I would never stoop so low. A case in point: Friday night I was getting my daughter into pajamas. I managed to take off her tights and then the tantrum started.


For 20 minutes. Straight. And it was after 10 p.m. But I, good mother that I am, did not lose my cool. Did not yell. Or potch. Or reason with her. (She was only semiconscious, anyway. And yes, I know, I’m worthy of taking kvittlach for my patience.)

Even though I suspected my neighbors were labeling me abusive, I knew I was doing the right thing. A kid needs to learn. Sleeping with tights is bad for the circulation and it can cause a rash. And your feet can rot. I could hear my mother’s voice in that last one.

Let’s not forget that the same kid had the same tantrum just a few hours before about the same pair of tights. Only then, she didn’t want to put them on. She wanted thick cotton gray winter tights. To go with a mauve summer robe, no less.

So this was daily fare. And yes, I know she’ll outgrow it. And yes, I know that these kids grow up to be the builders of Klal Yisrael, and those that break when they’re young build when they grow up.

But until then, I’m left with a lot of broken things. Like patience and aplomb and confidence in my mothering skills.

Problem is, I live next to my grandparents. There’s only a thin door separating my apartment from theirs. Hearing the noise, my father, who had come to wish them good Shabbos, ran into my apartment and picked up the poor, crying kid. I filled him in, waiting for good old sympathy from one who’s been there, done that. From the man who raised me and taught me not to sleep with tights. Okay, that was my mother’s job. But he backed her, I’m sure.

“Big deal. Let her sleep with tights. Nebach, she’s crying.” He gave her a candy and kissed her.

He was serious.

I checked his beard and his eyes and his glasses. It was definitely him.

Ruchy’s out-of-body tantrum stopped instantly. Zeidy was on her side. I’ll spare you the rest of the details. Bottom line, she did not sleep with tights.

Shabbos afternoon at the rowdy weekly Shalosh Seudos at Grandma’s, she brought up this story. “Why was Ruchy crying like that yesterday?”

I told her. I told her how special I am that I didn’t lose it. And then I told her my father’s reaction. What do you know? Every woman above the age of 40 sided with my father. They were completely unimpressed with my chinuch. “What do you care if she sleeps with tights? How can you cope with the crying?”

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 584)

Related Stories

I Dare Me: Friday Night Oneg

As told to Elisheva Appel

They are unanimous in their opinion that no one will make fun of me or hate me forever for trying to...

Tempo Fiction: Solo

Rivka Streicher

It comes to him there in the chilly dressing room, kicks him in the gut — what happened before he le...

Lifetakes: Goodbye for Now

Elana Rothberg

But in the muted, mint-green corridors, I learned how very fallible the body is, how little we can t...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you