April 25 13

So, I guess it’s not that funny that I look like a small child to other small children, then? Got it. Point taken. My skin is thick enough to smell a stinker and move on to something that includes more Martell children.

Look! They are cute! And are looking surprisingly calm, considering that they just got the no-I’m-not-curling-your-hair-because-it’s-raining blow. “Fine, then just give me the Aunt Jemima meets Rosie the Riveter.” Fine, Isabella, I will.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 8.58.53 AM

Moving on.

My kids like to talk about ridiculous things over breakfast.

What happens when someone is hanged, drawn, and quartered? Sure!

What’s the difference between a macaroons and macaron? Well, I’ll tell you.

How do eggs actually work? And what came first…the chicken or the egg? Why not? Let’s discuss.


“Mama? Can we talk about GOD?”


It’s not the first time my son has wanted to discuss the holy one, blessed is he.

Okay, fine, I haven’t had my coffee yet, but sure, now’s as good a time as any to get philosophical.

It turns out that in my household, at this very moment, there is a big believer, a semi-believer, and one who isn’t sure since he is a “man of science” and is finding many things about God to be, well, kinda troubling. OKAY. They wanted to discuss about a million things. They don’t think that the story of Noah and the Ark actually happened—”It’s probably more like a Disney fairy tale, I think, meant to teach us a big lesson, but it’s easier to teach the lesson through a story than through the actual truth. The truth was probably much more boring—like our life. No one would write a Torah about our family—no one wants to hear about the night we tried tacos or Game of Thrones or swimming lessons.” See also: The ten plagues.

They have a really hard time understanding how God could let something like the Holocaust happen—how their great Bubbie and great Zaydie’s brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and moms and dads died—because they were Jewish. They have a hard time understanding a God who would let small children die. They have a really hard time explaining medical miracles. They have a hard time knowing if God can hear them if they pray, especially if they are praying words from a book that someone else decided should be their prayers. They have a hard time understanding why turning on a light on Saturday has anything to do with their relationship with God. They have a really hard time understanding why there are so many different Gods and beliefs just in our family alone and “how do we know if our God is the right one?”

They have a hard time understanding a lot of the same things that *I* have a hard time understanding.

I made sure that instead of answering their questions, I responded back with more questions for them to think about, things for them to look up, things to talk with their relatives, their rabbis, their Hebrew school teachers about. I want them to keep this open dialogue happening; I want to help guide their free thinking. I want them to really think about these things, and not believe things simply because I believe them and most certainly don’t want them to believe things because I told them that they have to. That’s not the kind of Jew I am; that’s not the kind of person I am.

Smart kids, mine. Too smart, you might say. Since they are 12, 10, and 7. I was not expecting to use this much brain power at 7 in the morning. I was not expecting to use this much brain power until 2017.

I think I’d prefer to go back to when they thought God could be in your nose, could be Alanis Morrisette, and was the scary burny bush man.

Although after I have my coffee I’m going to be really proud of these three little humans.


  1. I’ve had similar discussions with my little ones… both ask me these questions about God and death and why and I seriously cannot handle it. I don’t know HOW to answer the questions I have no answers for. It’s tough. I want to plug my ears and yell la-la-la I can’t HEAR YOU!


    Comment by Loukia on April 25, 2013
  2. 1. It wasn’t a stinker, I just had a CRAZY day with no time for “fun” Internet time.

    2. Questions are a good thing, and I love that you ask questions back. When my kids ask the “why do bad things happen?” questions, I remind them that God gave humans free will. Sadly, some use that power of free will to do bad things. Sigh.


    Comment by Angella on April 25, 2013
  3. So what is the difference between a macaroon and macaron? They aren’t the same? Are they pronounced the same?


    alimartell replied on

    Oh, they are so, so vastly different.

    Here, this might explain it better than I could: http://theresnoplacelikeoz.com.....ifference/


    Kristabella replied on

    I had no idea! I thought the macarons were macaroons. INSANE!


    Comment by Kristabella on April 25, 2013
  4. Ali,

    We have all kinds of mad discussions in our house too, so I could relate! My son declared himself an atheist at 5, stating that ‘he believes in science’..these conversations are fascinating, troubling, complicated, and I’m fairly sure the best part about parenting. Great talks we get to have with our kids are, I think, cosmic compensation for not being able to inhale their baby smell and kiss their squishy baby tummies anymore. :)


    Comment by Danielle on April 26, 2013
  5. My faith has wavered a lot after a series of unfortunate events. I used to be really close to God and my religion. It helped me through rough times…then crap happened not only to me but to others and well…someone had to get the blame.
    I ended up sending my son to a catholic school because I wanted him to experience what I did as a child. But it’s hard to talk about it at home since we never did. I do try to but it’s kind of awkward. I’m glad that you wrote this.


    Comment by Kimberly on April 27, 2013
  6. I just love your kids, the end.


    ali replied on

    They are really good eggs, those three.


    Comment by Heather on May 6, 2013

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