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Singing in the bath

By now, you know that Shaina loves to sing. She barely talks but can belt out the lyrics of dozens of songs (admittedly, with her own pronunciation). Shaina insists that I sing along with her and can’t understand how her verbal dad doesn’t know all the songs. She often surprises us with words from a…

It’s not always fun as the sibling

Whohoo! We survived the summer vacation and returned our kids to school intact. Ask us how our summer went, and we’ll politely respond that Shaina is happy to be back in the structured social environment of the classroom. I wouldn’t suggest you ask our other children how their holiday was. Luckily, they’re too old for…

Sometimes, it’s exhausting

Naomi had turned her back for less than a minute. It was enough time for Shaina to empty a bag of baking powder over herself and the kitchen floor. She mixed in a vial of blue food colouring for good measure. I arrived home to Smurfette and her exasperated mom.  Shaina is delightful. She’s fun,…

Summer vacation?

“Joburg is wonderful at this time of the year”. Half the people who make this claim are never here over December. The rest of us find it “wonderful”… half the time. Johannesburg used to grow blissfully tranquil at this time of year as locals flocked to the coast. We would enjoy hot but not humid…

I Keen!

A great big wooden chair sits at the front of our Shul, right next to the Ark. One of our Sephardic members donated this “Sandek” chair a few years ago. Grandfathers and respected rabbis have since held infants for their bris while sitting on that chair. It is a chair that represents joy, new life,…

Thawing out in the New York winter

New York offered an icy welcome when I landed there last Monday. My daughters tell me the mercury dropped as I stepped off the plane. Frosty as the weather was, I looked forward to a warm experience at the annual Kinus conference.  Or did I? This trip to New York would stir up past traumas…

Pre-flight jitters

In a few hours, I will please G-d fly off to New York for the annual “Kinus” conference of Chabad rabbis. Historically, that would have excited me. Considering I haven’t been there since 2019, I anticipated being pumped for this inspiration-filled mega reunion. Instead, it has triggered a series of unanticipated memories and emotions.  Perhaps,…

Seeing life the right way

“It must be an issue with her left eye.” Shaina’s teachers and therapists all seemed to be in agreement. We had been sitting in Leah, the school principal’s office. Being called into the principal’s office is daunting for a child. It is overwhelming to be there to hear an assessment of your special needs child’s…

Passport Blues

Applying for a passport doesn’t rank too high on the fun scale. When your child defiantly sprawls herself on the floor while an official drawls on about the sluggishness of her computer, you need a stiff vodka. Hey, here’s an idea: Alcohol dispensers at government offices. Okay, that might be irresponsible. How about Xanax? We…

How to collapse in style

Yes, it has been a while since I last posted- thank G-d, for good reason. Our daughter got married a few days before the frenzy of the High Holiday season. Between the wedding and Yom Tov, I’ve been run off my feet. Shaina’s been busy too. You get no prizes for guessing who was the…

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