This past Shabbos, my in-laws co-sponsored a Kiddush in their Shul in honor of my niece’s Bat-Mitzvah and for Baby S.’s birth. The Kiddush was a long time coming and, while I had delayed it as much as possible, it got to the point where I couldn’t delay it any longer. My in-laws really wanted to give the Kiddush and no matter how uncomfortable I felt with myself, I had to suck it up and attend. It was so nice of them to want to celebrate Baby S. with a Kiddush, that I felt bad even having issues with it.
But, let’s be real here, 12 weeks after Baby S.’s birth and I’m in that limbo stage. The stage where my old clothing close but are super, super tight so that I can’t breathe when I sit down, and wearing maternity will make people think that I’m pregnant again.
And then, there was the Kim Kardashian hair debacle. Oh, how I adore Kim Kardashian’s hair. It’s beautiful: raven tresses, thick and shiny, flowing ever so gently over her shoulders in lustrous waves. Last year, I decided that I was going to get me some Kim Kardashian hair. And so, for more than 11 months, I’ve been growing my hair. With the pregnancy, my own locks have gotten really nice and thick. But, I’ve been blessed with the typical Jewfro, and no matter how much product I pump into it, or how often I apply the hair mask, I just can’t tame the beast. Granted, I cover my hair and have a couple of falls and wigs, but I still wanted to be able to wear a fashionable hat over my Kim Kardashian hair. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and my hair dresser was completely booked up on Friday and so I couldn’t even schedule an appointment for a nice blow out. And, as become typical for our little household on Friday, I once again found myself taking my pre-Shabbat shower during the siren and there was no way I could blow dry and hot iron my hair in the 18 minutes.
So, there I was, welcoming the Shabbat of our daughter’s Kiddush with soaking wet, ratty hair and nary a thing to wear. I tried not to be anxious about it, but it was very difficult to do, and so instead I concentrated on making sure DH and the girls looked their best.
And boy did they! Baby J. was wearing a beautiful sundress from Children’s Place that was hot pink and tangerine (According to June’s InStyle magazine, those are really hot colors for this summer) and while we had a little fight over her hair, she managed to allow me to put it half up in a ponytail so that everyone could see her beautiful face (I am biased). DH looked handsome as ever in a crisp, yellow button down shirt and black slacks. He got a haircut last week and so his hair looked really nice. And, the girl of the hour, Baby S. wore an adorable onesie dress with ruffle sleeves that showed off her adorable rolls of thigh fat. There’s nothing I love more than a baby with rolls, and this gal’s got plenty!
As for me, I ended up grabbing a black maternity skirt and a plain, white t-shirt. I wore my fall and a black and white silk scarf in my hair, and managed to put on a little eye makeup to minimize the dark, black circles underneath my eyes.
Shabbat was a scorcher! We got a bit of a late start and I decided to wear Baby S. in the BabyBjorn while pushing her carriage. In hindsight, we never should have bothered with the carriage as I literally wore her to shul and wore her home. She never even rested in the carriage and so it was just an extra piece of baby gear we didn’t need. Baby J. was super excited, she LOVES DH’s family and couldn’t wait to see her Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts and Uncles, and all her cousins.
By the time I got to shul, I was literally drenched. When I took Baby S. out of the baby carrier and handed her to my mother-in-law, there was a baby shaped sweat stain on my shirt. I’m sure I smelled wonderful too! I waited until after davening and the shul to clear out and head upstairs to the Kiddush to feed Baby S., so she would be calm and happy for the crowded Kiddush.
It was a good thing I fed her, as the room was jam packed with people and she would have been screaming her head off. But, with a full belly, she was able to take the crowd in stride.
And that’s when DH and I became absolutely overwhelmed with the Kiddush. We were surrounded my well wishes, family and friends, and we were trying to figure out how to give everyone attention while taking care of our own children. At some point, I thought Baby J. was with DH and DH thought Baby J. was with me. I spied her, minutes later, with white powder covering her face and mouth, with a giant piece of chocolate chip cake in her fist. Laughing, I asked her where she got the cake, and she just smiled at me and ran away into the crowds. I managed to track DH down and he told me that he had force fed her some chulent and kugel, and that she somehow got into the Linzer cookies (good taste my child, those are some delicious cookies!) and has been helping herself to whatever she could find on the table.
I had a couple of friends at the Kiddush, and also had to be social with my in-laws friends who came over to wish me a Mazal Tov, that I was beyond overwhelmed. I just wanted to sit in a corner with my friends and hide. And, honestly, that’s exactly what I did. DH felt the same way, and he took up camp on the other side of the room with his friends. My friends took turns holding Baby S. and, in all honesty, we just let Baby J. do her thing.
And then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my pediatric cardiologist standing at the Kiddush table talking to someone. When I was pregnant with Baby J, our nuchal translucency test results came back very bad. Anticipating the possibility that she could be born with Downs Syndrome, we went to a pediatric cardiologist to do scans of her heart while in vitro to make sure she was okay. A lot of baby’s born with Downs Syndrome have heart problems, and we wanted to know in advance so we could be prepared. Our Doctor happened to also attend my in-laws shul and he was wonderful during my pregnancy. Baby J. did, in fact, have a hole in her heart while in vitro and so it was a good thing we knew before the birth, so that we could be prepared when she was born to make sure that she didn’t have any heart problems.
Now, 2 1/2 years later, we are very blessed that the hole in her heart closed up on its own and that she is B”H healthy. And what does she do? The child, who was running around like a crazy child at the Kiddush, chasing her cousins and having a good time, decided to give a giant shove to her pediatric cardiologist.
At that point, I had wanted to get up, take her by the hand, bring her over to the Doctor and make her apologize for shoving. I wanted to take that opportunity to teach her the lesson that we do not push or shove people.
What did I do? Nothing. I just let it go. I watched her grab another piece of cake off the table (which she didn’t eat, she just held in her hand), and then go running after her cousins again. The Doctor looked annoyed but he just went back to his conversation.
Hours later, during the walk home, I told DH the story and how helpless I felt about making it an opportunity to discipline our child. I felt like the Shul Kiddush just isn’t a normal, social situation. The atmosphere almost invites pushing and shoving, as people literally jostle their way to pile plates full of chulent and kugel. So, how could I actually discipline her when she was literally just doing exactly what all the adults in that room had been doing?
So, what would you have done in that situation? Would you have disciplined the child for shoving? Also, when you’re in a place where there are a number of family and friends, and everyone is vying for your attention (mostly brief, not necessarily people looking to hold deep, meaningful conversations), how do you balance being social with taking care of your little children?
Let me know in the comment section below!