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Dear Dr. Yael: I now see why so many children are insecure. I have been a day-care provider for many years. When parents initially consider day care they want a small group so their children will not be neglected. But problems arise when their children turn two, and nursery or playgroup becomes an option. All of a sudden a group of 20-25 children is not a problem because it is much cheaper. I refer to two-two and a half year olds, whose parents feel that they need to exclusively be with children their own age.
Dear Dr. Yael, I gave birth a little over a year ago and, even though it was not my first child, I felt differently this time around. I have always been a happy-go-lucky person, but after having this baby I could not seem to return to my previous self. I was moody, short-tempered and gloomy. While some of these symptoms could have been chalked up to normal baby blues, they persisted and I was becoming scared.
Dear Dr. Respler: The holidays are a great time to learn about ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly – and then try to make lemonade from the lemons, turn the positive into building blocks, and generally create good things from the lessons learned. The Yamim Tovim are saturated with kedushah, leading to beautifully crafted creations from what one learned and experienced during these holy, spiritual days.
Dear Dr. Yael: Although I agree with your advice to A Passive Reader (Showing Respect Gets Results, 4-20) about how to deal with difficult people, I emphatically disagree with your decision to take the blame for the impatient frum guy who was honking his horn. If you saw him run someone over with his car, would you take the blame for that too? If you had gotten a ticket, would you have paid it? If the officer had arrested you, would you have gone to jail? I am not a rabbi, but I would be surprised if not informing means taking the blame as well.
Dear Dr. Yael: I am having a very difficult time putting my children to sleep at night. My four-year-old son constantly barges out of his room after he has been put to bed. This usually goes on for about an hour - no matter how many times I put him back in bed or threaten to punish him. I also have an eight- year-old who is afraid of bedtime because she can't sleep.
Dear Dr. Yael: My five-year-old son is a very difficult child. Most of the time he will not do what I ask of him, and he has a tantrum when he does not get his way. Interestingly enough, he is much more obedient when it is just the two of us, but if the other children are around he is very hard to manage. I know that as he gets older, things will become more difficult. Thus, I want to help him change his middos now.
Dear Dr. Respler: I am, Baruch Hashem, a healthy mother and grandmother who was recently trying to be helpful to my married daughter. After Shabbos my daughter, who has a large family, had many dishes piled in the sink. I planned on rinsing the dishes and placing them in the dishwasher, and then straightening up downstairs while she put her younger children to sleep. Aware of my plans my daughter, who loves me and means well, said, “Ma, please don’t work so hard. I will put the children to sleep, and then I can clean up and load the dishwasher quickly. I will do it quicker than you, and I want you to relax.” I was hurt. I know that she really wanted me to take it easy, but suddenly I felt like an old, useless woman. Do you think my daughter was right? How can I tell her how I feel without hurting her? My husband and I are planning to move in with my daughter, son-in-law and their children for Pesach. We always enjoy going there, but I do not feel good when I cannot be useful. I would like to help my daughter over Pesach, and would feel better if she allowed me to help her. Please advise me. A Healthy Grandmother
Dear Dr. Respler: I recently lost my husband of 51 years, and I am very depressed. He was a true talmid chacham and a loving husband. Every morning when he was well, he went to shul early. He never missed a minyan and he learned every day. All his life he ran a business and, baruch Hashem, he worked hard and took excellent care of our children and me. I look at my grandsons and my grandsons-in-law and they don’t hold a candle to my husband. Even the children who learn in kollel are not as careful as my husband was about being on time for minyan. Everyone seems too busy for me, and I feel very lonely.
Dr. Yael replies to a woman who feels like she's playing second fiddle to her husband's myriad phone calls, business deals, medical emergencies, and everyone else who needs him so desperately. Despite the fact that he buys her beautiful jewelry and gifts, that they live in a stunning house and have cleaners and babysitters, all this does not substitute for the intimacy and warmth that she craves from him.
Dear Dr. Respler: I will never forget the following situation that happened to me in high school: Some of the boys picked on a boy who behaved inappropriately, causing the boy to feel terrible about himself. The rosh yeshiva, hearing about the situation, spoke to a few boys separately. I was one of those boys.
Dear Dr. Yael: I love your column, but I’ve read enough about the husband who wants to daven vasikin and the in-laws who feel that their married children do not express hakaras hatov to them. What about addressing the singles who love to read your column and want to read something about relationships? But instead of complaining to you, I would like you to answer my question.
Note from Dr. Respler: In A Plea To My Husband’s Ex (The Magazine, 12-9-2011), I mistakenly left out one important detail. Her husband has legally sanctioned visitation rights to his children, and despite this his ex-wife has largely prevented their children from having contact with their father. The father has been advised by his rebbeim and many legal experts to refrain from returning to court to fight for his relationship with his children. He is following this advice. This letter is in response to my reply to that letter.
Dear Dr. Yael: My husband recently started davening in a vasikin (sunrise) minyan. Our problem is that I am a light sleeper, and he sleeps right through his alarm. I realize that while he is not trying to be cruel by intentionally leaving on his radio in the middle of the night just to hear what is going on in the world, my patience is extremely thin at 4 a.m.