So Yaakov was home sick on Sunday, because, as the title indicates, some things never change. Also I have a migraine. (See: above.) I waited around in the morning before taking him to gan to try and get a doctor's appointment in the morning. They have this automated system you can call to make an appointment, but when I called it, it said, "The next available. Appointment. Is. Wednesday. October. Eighth. At. Eight-Forty AM. If you would like to take this appointment, press. One. Now." Hmmm. I didn't think. That waiting three days. Would be prudent. Luckily, once you are "in the know" there's a direct number you can call to speak to the receptionist and make an appointment. So I called at 8:30 and made an appointment for 5:30. ("At least it's not Wednesday" is my new motto.) In the meantime, Yaakov perked up, so I took him to gan. I forgot to mention that because of the time change, the children were up clomping around in their high heels at an unforgivably early hour this morning. I told the ganenet that Yaakov might be tired, but he was acting fine and went straight for his chocolate sandwich. However, an hour later, they called me during ulpan and said that he fell asleep and woke up crying inconsolably. So I rescued the boy from himself and brought him home. We read his favorite book of nursery rhymes, including the old standby, "Blah blah black sheep," (as rendered by Ariella.)
Then we went to a little Judaica store (surprisingly, or maybe not so, there are very few Judaica stores in Modi'in) because Ariella decided that her happiness was dependent upon having a siddur like a lot of the other kids have in gan. And I am desperate to make her as happy as possible in order to alleviate the crushing guilt I carry around with me every day. You know, the guilt that you get when you drop your child off at school, knowing that she can't communicate with either the teachers or kids, doesn't understand what's going on, and says the girls are mean and the boys are wild. That guilt. So if Ariella wants a siddur, she gets a siddur. If she thought bringing in a pink elephant in a tutu would help, I would get her that also. (As a digression, in true Israeli-style, we never received any kind of notices or parent handbook type of thing when we brought her to school. At SAR, the parents would have gotten a directory, maybe not until November, but still, a directory, as well as a handbook, and all kinds of goodies. So I am learning through my many mistakes what she needs and does not. For example, I sent her with rice cakes instead of bread for a few days. Whoops - they're supposed to bring a sandwich. Then, I sent a baggie of noodles along with her sandwich and fruit. Double whoops - can't bring anything but the sandwich and fruit. The first Friday, they sent home stuff in a blue denim bag. Cool, I thought, a bag! Next Friday, the teacher asked, "Why didn't you bring back that bag? You're supposed to bring it back every Monday!" Oy. Now the siddur. I would have bought it for her earlier if I had known she was supposed to have it. Oh well. She is now the proud owner of "Siddur Sheli" and was very excited to bring it to gan today. End of digression.) After the trip to the store, we stopped at a bakery of course - chocolate rugelach for Yaakov, cinnamon one for Ariella, coffee for me. Then we went to pick up Ariella. In the afternoon, the kids played and fought and put on heels. We had an early dinner, then we walked over to the pediatrician in Dimri at 5:30. Here's something weird, in a good way: The few times we've been to the doctors in Israel, we've never had to wait. In Riverdale, much as I loved my pediatricians, seasons would change as we waited for the doctor. Not sure what they are doing different here, but we approve. So it was quickly our turn. We went in, and I immediately saw that this doctor was not English-speaking. I believe there are 3 pediatricians in Dimri, and 2 of them are Anglos. I, of course, end up with the native son. I could tell he was really Israeli because even when began in my broken (more like shattered) Hebrew, he didn't switch to English or anything. He just let me muddle through. (Shalom. Hashaym sheli Gila. Mah shlomcha? Bseder.) Luckily, I had looked up the Hebrew word for cough in the morning, so when he asked me if Yaakov was coughing, I was like, "Yiippee! I know that word! Yes, in fact, he IS coughing! Would you like me to say that again? Cough, cough, cough." He examined Yaakov and said everything was clear and looked great, except for the tiny fact of his fever. So he has a random, untreatable virus, something my children specialize in. Determined to get a prescription for something, I asked the doctor about his (Yaakov's, not the doctor's) itchy scalp. So he gave me a prescription for a shampoo to help with that. Plus, when I asked about getting Yaakov's second Hep A vaccine, he told me (although I should corroborate this with someone to make sure I understood) that all I need to do is go to tipat chalav, tell them he needs a Hep A shot, and that' s it. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good about myself, getting through a doctor's appointment in Hebrew, albeit with a lot of gesturing and pointing.
Well, that self-confidence took a long, slow climb up a high dive ladder, them jumped off, arcing beautifully before shattering into a million pieces. This is because I had decided to call Ariella's teacher in the evening. Donny came home after getting a haircut - it's quite short now - we had dinner, and then I decided to call. I asked her last week if I could call her sometime, because even though it is apparently accepted practice here to just call teachers at home, having been a teacher in my former life, I just could not be that parent who called the teacher at home without warning. I had carefully rehearsed the speech in my head, looking up a few difficult words. I had been practicing what I was going to say for about a week now. Basically, I wanted the teacher's perspective on Ariella's day - did she play with anyone, besides Aiden? Was she understanding a little more? Was she happy? I picked up the phone and dialed. After all my preparation, what came out basically sounded like, "Hummmana, hummana, hummana. Ariella, ummmm, ummmm, ummmm, Ariella. Ptooey." Morah Maya even said to me, not unkindly, "I see you are having trouble with the language, too." Oh, was it noticeable? Anyway, the gist of what she told me (which, lest you think I am a total doofus, I did pretty much understand. Provided she was saying something about Ariella riding a donkey and smiling pink shoes. Just kidding.) was that Ariella doesn't really play with anyone besides Aiden, who she confirmed was the only other English-speaker in class. She said the language barrier is very tough right now, even though there are a few kids who reach out to her. The morot try to help her out, teaching her Hebrew words for things. They realize that Ariella is bright, but at this point everything is still difficult for her. However, Maya did say that Ariella is involved, happy, likes doing the activities, etc. So that was good to hear. After Sukkot there is going to be a chug for kids in gan chova to help them out with their Hebrew, so I'll sign Ariella up for that.
In other news: I've been blogging about inanities like hot water and rice cakes for a week, but I neglected to report something truly exciting: Donny has an actual job with Microsoft! Yay Donny! The Haifa team gave him an official offer last Sunday. We are all feeling excited and relieved and happy and all manner of good things.
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