April 22, 2024
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April 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I am not a perfect parent. I do not have perfect children. I am a poor to average parent, who feels lucky that her boys have not ended up in foster care. I pat myself on the back for keeping them clean, clothed, and fed (of course what I feed them is an entirely different story, but I will always maintain that fruit-by-the-foot is actually a fruit). I have never lost them or beat them in public, and I always tried my best to keep them quiet and calm when necessary.

Growing up, whenever we would go out to eat with my parents, if there were little kids making noise, my dad would turn to them and tell them to be quiet. I always thought this was ironic because he delivered babies for a living, but this used to drive him crazy. For that reason, when my kids were little, I never took them out to eat, except Thursday nights at the pizza place where there were more noisy kids with runny noses and coxsackie virus than there were adults. We would all let our adorable monsters run free, and if there were ever any other customers in the store, woe unto them.

This brings me to Rosh Hashanah. In addition to paying annual membership fees to our beloved houses of worship, one also pays an additional fee for seats on the High Holy Days. One would think that with this exorbitant cost one would be guaranteed an arena where prayer was the number one priority. You would be able to communicate with God in a peaceful, silent atmosphere. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of speaking to the people on either side of me, but I always try to whisper (which is getting harder to do as my hearing gets worse) and be mindful of others around me. When my kids were younger, I looked forward to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because they were the only days of the year when I got a babysitter. I looked forward to those few hours of being with other grown-ups and not having to discipline anyone (who am I kidding, I never discipline…I was just looking forward to not having to change any diapers and put them to sleep…) oh, and the whole praying thing, the reason, of course, I was there.

Even though I thought my children were adorable (and I still do), and I thought it was precious when they would sing their “dip the apple in the honey” song and wear their matching outfits and play with their toys, I didn’t think that the folks around me would appreciate those things (which I learned from my dad, all those years back…). But, alas, there are others who do not feel the same. Tell me why, when I am sure you get babysitters during the year, you cannot find someone to watch your annoying baby/children during the holidays and you have to bring them to shul? Tell me! And you can always tell if the grandmothers are the mothers-in-law or the mothers by how much the kids scream when they see them (and as a future MIL, I am not easily fooled). It is not adorable; funny to watch, but not adorable. They stomp their little feet running up and down the aisles, not having a care in the world if the rabbi is speaking, if they step on your foot, with the mom running after them…really??? KEEP THEM HOME!!! If they are wearing Burberry outfits, I am safely assuming you can afford to have someone watch them. You rip open their little bags of pretzels so they can “keep quiet” while eating them and they get crumbs all over the carpet and start crying if they don’t like them and need their juice cups…really??? KEEP THEM HOME!! I often like to play the “over-under” game, which has me and the person next to me taking bets on how long it will take before the squirmy little thing starts to scream his/hers brains out…Ah, and the poor mom who got all dressed up with makeup and her new hat, will now have to leave the premises and, hopefully, take the kid home and put him/her down for a much needed nap. No, wait, what is that on the other side of the mechitzah? Yup, it is the screaming, annoying baby with dad taking a go at it. Sorry dad, if the kid isn’t going to behave for mom, you don’t stand a chance. Cut your losses and KEEP THEM HOME!!!!!

Please don’t be offended if you think I am talking about you…no babies were harmed writing this article and the babies in this article are all fictitious, yet, based on a reality that happens every single year. Just KEEP THEM HOME…. Yup, I am turning into my dad…. Happy Quiet New Year everyone!

Banji Ganchrow is a self-proclaimed writer who actually does like babies, just not the ones that cry a lot.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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