Tuesday, June 02, 2009

To kvell is (to) swell

I'm reading: To kvell is (to) swellTweet this!

This is my first post inspired by wonderful author Neil Gaiman. Last night MythBuster's host Adam Savage referenced Gaiman in a tweet, and I clicked over to see Gaiman's tweetstream. I was intrigued by this:Apparently I'm not the only one intrigued by @NeilHimself kvelling on Twitter as it spurned this post as well as a ReTweet from me, and an exchange with my Tweep, Dani. (Mmmm. check out those recipes.)

Kvell is a Yiddish term, derived from German that means to gush, well up or swell. I think it's a word that is not fully understood until one becomes a parent. It's more than a feeling of pride or satisfaction, but it's also more of an internal feeling than an outward boast.

For me, kvelling is an uncontrollable reflex. There are times when I've just been so damn proud of my kids that I gushed, my chest and pride swelled.

And yet, it's not always appropriate.

For example, when Pikachu was about 16 months old he had an allergic reaction to penicillin. A few days after finishing up his meds he broke out in hives. This was no ordinary rash, he looked like the child abuse poster kid, with raised red welts all over his chubby little body. It was horrible.

After talking with our pediatrician, I rushed Pikachu off to the allergist for a closer look. The allergist took one look at my stripped down boy whose body was covered in hives and turned tail out of the room, announcing he'd be right back.

Moments later, the doctor returned with his entire nursing staff on his heels. "This," he pronounced pointing to my boy's bumps, "is a perfect example of target lesions."

Upon hearing those words, my chest swelled and I gushed. I kvelled over my wonderful boy and his perfect lesions. I was aware that my reaction was completely inappropriate, that my job was to be a concerned mama and find a solution to my son's hives, but when it registered in my brain that my young son was a fine example, a role model of sorts, my parental pride spiked. I couldn't help it.

Was there a time you couldn't help but kvell even in an inappropriate situation like mine? Do tell.


WkSocMom said...

Well, yesterday my son proclaimed - "I went down the slide on my scooter" to his brother. This was a giant cement scooter that ends in sand. Before I could stop him (and to be honest, I was already kvelling a bit, so not sure I would have) - he went down again, this time falling and smacking his head, which fortunately had a helmet, when his scooter abruptly stopped in the sand. "That didn't happen last time." It's probably quite inappropriate, but I was a bit proud of my son for his daredevil stunt, and me for not being all over protective.

Naomi said...

Lately I've been kvelling over Jasper's excellent burping prowess. Actually, I tend to do it whenever he does something that is unabashedly BOY-like: oh, look at my son throwing a rock at the window or bullying other kids on the playground.

stacey @ tree, root, and twig said...

I have many moments of somewhat inappropriately-timed pride - I'll share one about myself.

I used to donate plasma to make a little money while my husband and I were in college (and trying to raise little kids). Every time I went there, the nurses and staff would comment on how excellent my plasma was - something about being just the right color, I think. Now, I think I was probably competing with some not-so-healthy individuals in the chairs all around me (it was a pretty liberal college town!), but still, I used to get SUCH satisfaction over the fuss!

And I kid you not, I saw one of the staff members at a restaurant about 5 months after I stopped donating, and she actually came up to me and said, "You're the one with the great plasma!" I couldn't have been prouder. ;)

Kristina said...

I kvell all the time (only never knew I was doing it since this is a new vocabulary word for me). Most recent time was this p.m. when my 4 yr old daughter got all bossy on a little girl who usually pushes her around. Wait. Am I using this right. Because that just might be appropriate pride.

Carrie said...

LOL, when my first was born the pediatrician brought in a student to observe her multiple fontanelles, which apparently is harmless but not the norm. I was all, "My kid is so special! She has extra holes in her head!"

KTP said...

You had me at Neil Gaiman, of course.