The East Village Mamele

A Good Read

By Marjorie Ingall

The New York Times recently published its roundup of the year’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books, and I had to laugh: Some of them are the literary equivalent of liver wrapped in spinach and seasoned with mortgages and Xanax. In other words, they have zero appeal to actual children.Read More

Prop 8 and the Right To Love

By Marjorie Ingall

My little friend Jamie, who is 4, was very interested in the recent election. He asked his mother to explain the various political signs stuck into the tidy lawns of his Northern California suburb. She explained the ones proclaiming “Yes on 8” (the proposition aimed at amending the state Constitution to make gay marriage illegal) meant, “Right now the law is that anyone can marry anyone, and those people want to change that so that one group of people won’t be allowed to marry who they love.”Read More

Museum Madness

By Marjorie Ingall

Museums are hit and miss with young kids. Josie, at 6, was enthralled by the Superheroes exhibit at the Met last summer, but Maxine, 3, was less enchanted. (She hung from my arm and wailed, “I have to leave this boring place or I am going to be dead.”) Last year, at William Steig Storybook Family Day at the Jewish Museum, Maxine had a blast designing an illustrated book with me at a crafts table, but when she spotted the guy in the massive green Shrek costume, she let out a shriek of mortal terror and clung to me like lichen. Both girls tolerated the Murakami show at the Brooklyn Museum — bright colors! Cuteness! The promise of a flower-shaped plush happy face pin at the gift shop! — though Josie and her friend Lila exploded in giggles at the statue of a huge-knockered woman jumping a rope of her own breast milk. Thankfully, the kids were oblivious to the nearby statue of the young cowboy whirling a lasso made of semen. I hadn’t read up on the exact content of the show before taking the kids. (And then I collected my parenting medal.)Read More

A Serious Talk

By Marjorie Ingall

Josie, my second grader, came home from school the other day with a book she’d borrowed. (I’m not bragging, but she’s plowed through her classroom’s entire library, so her teacher sends her to third grade for books. Okay, I’m bragging.) When I noticed it in her backpack, I blanched. It was a Holocaust book — “The Night Crossing,” by Karen Ackerman (Yearling, 1995). I’d never heard of it. The cover showed a little girl, clutching her dolls, looking wide-eyed and terrified as Nazi flags loom behind her. Uh oh.Read More

Finding Balance in the Season of Birthdays

By Marjorie Ingall

In our house, the end of Yom Kippur means the beginning of the hell that is birthday season.Read More

Meditations on Forgiveness

By Marjorie Ingall

A few days ago, Josie slapped her frenemy. They were playing a board game and there was an Issue about whether the other girl, with whom Josie has the kind of thorny torturous love-hate relationship I didn’t experience with another girl until high school, was cheating. Matters escalated, there was screaming, and Josie hauled off and did a Joan Collins.Read More

Holiday Spirit: A Political Perspective

By Marjorie Ingall

My 6-year-old is officially obsessed with this election. She keeps exclaiming about how significant it was to have both a black man and a woman as serious candidates for highest office. (“I love history,” she breathed to me this morning. Please remind me of this when she’s in 10th grade, nodding out as a teacher drones on about the fertile crescent and the fascinating origins of threshing.) After John McCain couldn’t remember how many houses he had, we had a great discussion: Does that make McCain a bad guy? Who should be called rich, and who should be called middle class? How much tax should we all pay? Does the government have a responsibility to help out its most struggling citizens, or should that be up to individuals? And when McCain named Sarah Palin his pick for VP, we talked about whether women who were disappointed at Hillary’s loss would vote for her.Read More

For the Love of the Game

By Marjorie Ingall

We have discovered baseball. Oh, sure, we’d played it on the Wii, but that’s not much of a simulacrum: You’re standing in your living room swinging a remote at a screen while your avatar bounces in anticipation, like a goober. Also, there’s no fielding. For a long time, neither of my children understood that baseball involved catching. Maxine still doesn’t really get that baseball isn’t only about smacking a ball. (To be fair, neither did Barry Bonds.)Read More

Comfort (Food) on 2nd Avenue

By Marjorie Ingall

Sue me, I’m a little late to the “Yay, the 2nd Avenue Deli is back!” party. But yay, the 2nd Avenue Deli is back! Party!Read More

Modest Styles on the Catwalk

By Marjorie Ingall

My friend Margaret, who has been known to wear tiny velvet minidresses, bustiers, fishnets and 14-hole Doc Martens, is a little embarrassed of her current fashion predilections. “I’m getting kind of obsessed with the dresses worn by the FLDS [Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] women and girls,” she told me. “I’m googling like crazy for that long-sleeved, high-necked, sober ankle-grazing look. Would it be rude or disrespectful to wear those dresses just as — gulp — fashion? I don’t want to mock anyone’s beliefs! But I like them!”Read More

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