Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mommy's Law

A variation on Murphy’s Law that states: the moment your computer finishes booting (and you log on), your children will wake up.

(No sooner did I think of this than Ahuva opened her eyes, proving it true.)

Friday, October 02, 2009

My mail to Moma

Let's see how they respond:

On Wednesday afternoon at 2:00, I visited Moma with my 7 –week old baby. As soon as we arrived up to the 6th floor to see the Ron Arad: NO DISCIPLINE exhibit, my son stirred in his carrier, indicating that he was hungry. I chose a spot at the end of the long couches outside the exhibit, near the audio guide counter, and began to nurse him. Within a few moments, I was asked by a guard to move to a less comfortable bench down the hall. Stunned, I asked him why. He made it clear that he was “not telling” me that I “could not nurse my baby” but that I was “making people uncomfortable” and would prefer if I would do it “over there”.
Uncomfortable? Were people uncomfortable viewing the 1947 surrealist work depicting a breast on top of a book, not to mention countless other representations of the human form on display at the museum?
Perhaps the guard was unfamiliar with New York law, specifically:
Civil Rights Law Article 7 CVR Article 7 § 79-e. Right to breast feed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

Clearly, that law gives me the right to nurse in the area outside an exhibit of the museum. I suspect that I was the only one made “uncomfortable” by the guard’s insensitive harassment. I would appreciate clarification and an apology.
Yours truly,
Moma member

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Check it out!

http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A00789 Thanks, Foster!

And specifically:
Civil Rights Law Article 7 CVR Article 7
§ 79-e. Right to breast feed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

Still Outraged

Melech, milk on chin, enjoying MOMA despite the breastfeeding outrage.
Part of the exhibit on the surrealist object, this breast from 1947 is one of many breasts as art on display at Moma.

Trying to enjoy the free time remaining on my maternity leave, I took Melech to MoMa today. As soon as we arrived at the first exhibit I wanted to see, he stirred in the Moby wrap, indicating that he was ready to eat. The sculpture garden was open and might have been a good place to nurse, but we were all the way up on the 6th floor. And then lo and behold, right outside the Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibit, there were these fabulous couches. I picked a spot at the end and, finding the couch comfy indeed, started to nurse.
A guard gave me a confusing sign, a kind of wave. He asked me to move.
"What?" I asked. I didn't get it. He wanted me to move.
"Why?" I asked.
He made it clear that he "wasn't saying I couldn't feed my baby" but "you can't do it here". He wanted me to move to a bench somewhere down the hallway.
"But this is comfortable," I said. Yeah, but he told me to go.
"Um, this museum is like, full of pictures of breasts!" I said in dismay, feeling a bit stunned now. "Can I ask why I can't sit here?"
He told me I was "making people uncomfortable". I surveyed the people around me. They appeared to be mostly Europeans. They appeared quite comfortable, especially those seated at with me on the long couch.
I thought about asking to speak with a supervisor.
But I was afraid that if I opened my mouth, I would cry. The hormones work that way, you know. Slowly I moved towards the direction the guard had indicated. At first I saw only two very exposed benches behind a fenced off area where a bauhaus sign was going up. Then I saw where he really meant: a narrow bench in a hallway on the way to the restroom. Absurd. But I went.
Needless to say this made my visit a lot less fun.
I would like to go back with more mothers to have a nurse in. About 40 of us could fit comfortably at the Ron Arad couch. Where can I find lactivists?

RE: outraged

raquelshira comments: no!! We need to mobilize. What mamaspiritrising org exists in nyc to do a quick turnaround nurse_in at moma?i hope u flashed some serious nipple at the agent!!


Melech and i are at moma and i was just asked to move from comfy couch to isolated bench to nurse! Because apparantly ppl who came to see paintings of naked breasts (they had a few here last time i checked) were "uncomfortable" seeing the real thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Best Meal I Had this Week

Was probably the salad I had today at three in the afternoon. I ate it on the subway, over Melech's sleeping head with him Bjorned to me. I was on my way way downtown to pick up his passport. The salad was from Westside Market on my corner. It was made of spinach leaves, red onions, a hard-boiled egg, shavings of Parmesan cheese, corn, hearts of palm, a few slivers of peppers, and a mediocre vinaigrette. Without thinking I had approximated my favorite Sylva salat italki (Italian salad). Like that one it needed salt which I was unable to add on the subway.
It was the best meal because though he was attached to me, no one was climbing on me, sucking on me, or screaming in my ear.
Other meals today: as soon as I got breakfast ready, screaming baby boy demands his breakfast. Ahuva is about to be late for her 3rd day back at school (the precious "phase in" period involving gradually increasing intervals of supervised attendance) unless I cede my ready bagel half to Adi for his breakfast. I do have a nice coffee to enjoy as I nurse, but the actual eating will wait at least another hour.
Dinner? Ordered Chinese food. Was inspired by Ahuva, now 2 years 8 months, who, on the way home from day care (today was also the first day with lunch at school) grabbed my hand at the entrance to Ollie's and said, "Let's go out for dumplings! C'mon, Mom!". It was crowded with returned Columbia students so I said "No space!" but promised dumplings for dinner. Hardly my ideal shabbat dinner but delicious. Well, the first two warm bites were, despite Mel at breast. Then he kept howling to the point where I decided to comply with Ahuva's suggestion to take him into my room to bed. That didn't work, but it did make my food cool before I got back to it.
Ah, but there was that salad...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vive le roi!

Laura, Adi, and big sister Ahuva are proud to welcome our baby boy



Melech Karl Mahalel

7 August 2009

9 lbs 4 oz (4.2 kg)





So far his main interests include eating, sleeping, and looking around while making cute squeaking noises. We’re all feeling great after a relatively easy delivery but as you can see by the lateness of this mailing, he keeps us busy!


Melech means “King” in Hebrew. For more about why we chose this name, see my blog entry: http://cookingcholent.blogspot.com/2009/08/melech-karl-mahalel.html

For pictures from Melech’s bris:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=mah.dav&target=ALBUM&id=5370758890473021361&authkey=Gv1sRgCJG9oeeoub7qVQ&invite=CICblrYF&feat=email  http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=arqv28k3.3c1metdn&x=0&y=qye3fh&localeid=en_US

More and ongoing family pics on our phanfare site: http://mahalel.phanfare.com/

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's an interesting structure

At Ahuva’s wonderful school (aka day care) they have certain conventions about language. Instead of “labeling” the childrens’ building by saying, “what a nice house”, they unjudgementally refer to all their creations as “Structures”. As in “That's an interesting structure, Jakey.” It can be quite amusing to hear toddlers saying to each other “No!! don’t touch my STRUCTURE!” when they build with others.


The other day we were thrilled (and a little grossed out) to greet Ahuva in the morning and find that on her own she had pulled down her night-time pull-up, pooped in her little potty, and pulled up her pull up.

I  enthusiastically praised this achievement while Aba bravely emptied the contents of the potty.

“That was great, Ahuva. A big poop!” I said. In fact it had been a towering pile of mulit-colored excrement.

“I made a STRUCTURE of poop!” she exclaimed.



Monday, August 17, 2009


Photos from the Bris:

Melech Karl Mahalel

We deliberated a lot about his name. In fact, the last things keeping us at the hospital were two blank spaces on his birth certificate (first name, middle name). Although we were still discussing until the last minute, Melech Karl's name was the one that stuck in my head for months now. Adi finally agreed.
Melech ("king" in Hebrew) is named for one of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King. King was a modern-day Moses who stood for justice not only for his own people but for all mankind. When I watched an interview with him this pas MLK day I saw a man who was deeply thoughtful, highly intelligent, wonderfully articulate, and very handsome. But most of all what struck me was his sense of dignity. I believe it is this sense of dignity, dignity of self and dignity of humanity that led him to pursue his causes through practice of non-violent means. This sense of dignity has been sorely lacking amongst most of the leadership I've seen during my lifetime both in this country (the United States), in Israel, and amongst those we consider to be our enemies.
I hope that our Melech will treat all people with respect and dignity, for there is no King but God under whom all people are equal. Or, if you don't believe in God (nod to Adi ;) - there are no kings among men, only equals.
According to wikipedia, it is likely that it was not for Dr. King's groundbreaking civil rights work that he was assassinated. Rather, it was for his radical vision of economic equality for all which preoccupied his final days (as well as false rumors that he was a communist) - that terrified his destroyers.
Economic equality is not a goal that King lived to realize. As he put it, “It is much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee a monthly income.” We are not even close to the mountaintop on this issue.
Which brings us to Melech's middle name, Karl with a "K". Yes, for that Karl!
Karl Marx's revolutionary analysis of class divisions gave us a solid understanding of how capitalism deprives many people of their dignity. I believe that the solutions to the problems raised by King and Marx are far from clear. If they were, then I'd like to think that we'd be seeing some signs of their success somewhere.
In the meanwhile, I hope that our children will come closer to that time of economic and social equality where the dignity of all is fully respected and realized.
And if all this - my comfortable praise for both God and communism in the same speech is too much to process, then consider this more simple explanation: the name Karl comes from a Germanic root meaning "manly".
We can sum up everything I just said with the instruction to our son in Yiddish:
Zai a mensch!
Be a mensch.

Baby Boy's birth story - to be written

Quick summary: it was a lot like air travel. Much waiting that wasn't painful but was nonetheless more waiting than you want to do. But once we got there the actual birth went great.

Baby Brother, Baby Brother!

Big Sister came to visit her new Baby Brother on the day after he was born. She was very excited and said "Baby Brother, Baby Brother!!"
She was reluctant to join me on the bed. It seemed the hospital gown made her nervous. I changed into a pyjama shirt and that helped. She was very curious about the bandage on my hand from where the IV had been, and about my wet hair (I managed a glorious shower just before she and Aba arrived).
"What's his name?" she asked.
"He doesn't have a name yet," we explained.
"He don't have an Ima and an Aba," she said. He doesn't have a Mommy and Daddy.
"Actually," I explained carefully, "He has the same Aba and Ima as you do."
Ahuva grew silent. Later Aba told me that they had had the same conversation in the taxi to the hospital. Bub and Zaydee had had the same conversation in the morning. So when I corroborated their stories, she must have started to get the picture.

Great News: No. 4!

Baby-boy* Mahalel was born Friday night August 7 at 9:27 to Adi and
Laura Mahalel. Ahuva is very pleased to be a big sister at age two
and a half. As Ahuva would say, "He's a big one", weighting in at 9
lbs 4 oz (4.2 kg) and 21.5 inches (54.6 cm). Baby and mother are
both doing exceptionally well -- Laura looks terrific, is not too
tired, and expects to come home on Sunday.
*In keeping with ancient custom, his parents are keeping his name a
secret until his bris at age 8 days.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A priceless donation that costs nothing

I’m very excited to report that my birth hospital accepts donations for cord blood. I’ve done my research and strongly encourage you to look into this mitzvah opportunity for your baby:


Note: This is *not* the “bank your baby’s cord blood” guilt-and-fear-inducing RACKET where it is (maybe) stored for the 1 in 1,000,000 chance that your baby or someone in your family will – G-d forbid – need that blood someday. Rather, it’s kept in a bank where it can be used someone - anyone who needs it to live. It costs you nothing and causes no pain to you or your baby to donate. Please spread the word. Think about it: if  everyone donate, then everyone who could benefit from a transplant could have access to the matched blood they needed without anyone paying the rip-off fees of the private banks.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Diapers.com discount



They now have a lot more than diapers, incluidng maternity wear and baby gifts.
Save $10 on your first order at
www.diapers.com when you enter the code IMAMA10.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Triple washed and ready to eat

Those have to be 6 of my favorite words when it comes to salad greens. Equally exciting to me is that for the last two days I’ve been able to actually eat salad for lunch.

I made a rather delicious one by combining:

·         Spinach leaves

·         Red seedless grapes

·         Avocado

·         Fresh thyme leaves

·         Chunks of yummy cheese

·         Dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, and sea salt

Why is this so exciting? Because well past the 1st trimester, I’ve experienced so-called “morning sickness”. Mine is usually worse in the evenings. It flared up again during and after traveling too. If Ahuva’s pregnancy is any predictor, I can expect to have some vomiting all the way through to the end.

Some more good news, I just read that morning sickness is associated with high IQs of babies: http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerderby/archive/2009/04/24/sick-in-the-morning-good-your-kids-will-thank-you.aspx


Yes, I am now (quite) pregnant again. Expecting Bambino, a boy, August 6th.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Yesterday morning in the kitchen, Ahuva said, “I wanna work with FLOUR.”

“Great!” I said. “We can make pasta.”

I took out a big blue bowl and put it on the low end table that is her work station. She knelt on the little white stool and helped me measure the following ingredients. First the dry, then making a well in the center we added the wet:



·         2 c. all-purpose flour (I would try substituting 1 c. whole wheat next time)

·         1 c. semolina flour (YUM!)

·         ½ tsp. salt (I think it needs more)

·         2 eggs, plus 4 egg yolks, beaten together  (Or, I followed the recipes suggestion and “For a nutritional boost, replace one of the eggs with ½ c. pureed beans or vegetables.” That comes to 2 2 oz. jars or one 4 oz. jar Earth’s Best baby food. I used Spinach and potato flavor and used 3 full eggs which I did not bother to beat together first).

Working with spoons and hands, we combined the ingredients and formed a stiff dough. It was not unlike play dough. But at this point Ahuva wanted to wash her hands and left me to knead the dough “until just smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes”. Well, closer to the 5.

I refrigerated the dough in a little container and took Huvie off to school.


In the evening, with lots of extra semolina flour around to sprinkle, I rolled out the dough until it was nearly paper-thin. I used a bottle to do this. Then I cut the dough in uneven strips using a pizza cutter. I was aiming for spaghetti but mostly got closer to the kind of egg noodle you put in kuggel. No matter.


It is already summer-like here and Aba and Ahuva ended up staying a very long time at the playground with many of her classmates. They came home happy, flushed, dirty and hungry.


Water boiling, I discovered that much of my laboriously cut pasta strips (it took considerably longer than the listed “30 minutes active time” to create them, especially if you discount the morning efforts of ~10 min) had turned into tangled pasta mass.


“What’s that?” asked Ahuva.

“That’s pasta,” I said, “You made it, remember? We’re going to cook it now. Here, help me untangle these.”

“Yah!” But her little hands pressed further, making doughy masses that were even more stuck.

“I wanna eat it!” she said. I let her try a bite, forgetting for a moment that it contained raw egg, remembering only the pleasure of raw dough and wanting to let her experience that.

“Mmmm, pasta!” she declared, reaching for a fist-full of dough.

“Noooooo! We have to cook it first!”. I had to confiscate the bowl. I salvaged what I could from the strips and while they boiled, set about re-forming the tangled masses with aid of bottle and pizza cutter into whatever I could quickly create: thick new rolls and chunky little gnocchi-esque cubes or mushed cubes approximating orecchiette.  


The noodles emerged thick and chewey from the pot. I didn’t think they tasted so hot when I took them out. They needed salt and were a bit bland. But at the table with additions of butter, parmesan cheese, some lovely grey French sea salt and some broccoli I’d pan-steamed with garlic, they were delish. Both Ahuva and Aba cried for “MORE!”. There were just enough left to pack in her lunch box for the next day.


I will try to score a pasta maker on www.freecycle.org next time I have something to offer there since it seems like the rolling out the dough was (for me) the hardest part. With slightly bigger kids, I imagine that could be a fun, play dough like task.