Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Conference; Or, Hangin' with the Natives

First, a huge aliyahbyaccident welcome to Loyal Reader #54 - "Isobel" - who read the ENTIRE blog, in addition to all the comments! Not only has she proved herself to be a Loyal Reader in the loyalest, readerest sense of the word, but we also anticipate great commenting from Isobel!

Isobel, your engraved aliyahbyaccident tin menorah should be arriving in your mailbox (or "post" as they say in your parts) any day now. Isobel will be making aliyah shortly, and we wish her the best of luck!

Last night was parent-teacher conferences at Ariella's school. At SAR, at least in recent years, parents signed up for conferences via a fancy-shmnacy web site, and parents all over Riverdale would be sitting at their computers, nervously clutching their mice, awaiting for the system to "open" so they could log on as quickly as possible and snatch the prime spots for the teachers they needed. Some parents were known to sneak into each other's houses the night before the system opened and disconnect the internet, in the hopes of lessening the competition. Other parents used the more effective method of stealing their friend's mouse and running around saying, "Na-na-na boo boo, I got the 8:30 and youuuuuu didn't!"

In Ariella's class, there was a simple method. A sheet was sent home. The kids were listed alphabetically by last name. There was a time next to each kid's name. The times ran from 3:30 - 9:10. On the bottom of the sheet was a note: "If the time doesn't work for you" (I certainly hope that by now, you know the end of the sentence was not, "call the teacher to arrange a different time.") "call a parent that has the time you want and see if he/she will switch with you." I thought my time was pretty good - 8:20, which meant Donny would be home - but as I arrived at school puncutally at 8:13, I received a text from my friend (her last name is a "tzadi" to my "reish") saying, "Don't rush. They are super late." However the warning came too late, my friends, too late.

(Digression - was anyone else taught that the Hebrew letter "tzadi" is in never to be called "tzadik?" Well, it seems that in Israel that is exactly what they call it - a "tzadik." Not a "tzadi." And Yaakov calls the "zayin" a "zayit" but I'm not sure if that's just him.)

So I sat in a tiny chair and waited. And waited. My friend - my lovely, wonderful, English-speaking, tzadik-named friend - was called in shortly after I arrived. And then left. So I was by myself. I tried striking up a conversation with the other parents, but that didn't last long. One was a father whose wife had just given birth the day before, and he was at the conference trying to entertain his first grader who had accompanied him. Another was a mom of multiple children, and therefore multiple conferences, who was sending her first grader on recon missions. ("Go upstairs and see if the person who was ahead of us went in yet.") So conversation was at a minimum. Every few minutes Recon Mom would rush somewhere else, disappear for a few minutes, and then come back, red-faced, and sit in the tiny chair. I texted onetiredema to see if she would bring me some food should the situation grow desperate. And maybe some clean clothes, should it become truly desperate.

But finally, only an hour after my appointment, at exactly 9:20, it was my turn! Praise be given! One reason it was so late was because the morah was spending closer to 15 minutes per parent instead of the allotted 10. However, it seemed that Ariella Rose of Kitah Aleph-2 did not need even the full 10. Now, on the one hand I was disappointed not to get my full time, but on the other hand, "Good and short, better than long and bad" certainly holds true.

And it was, thank God, an amazing conference. [Warning: Parental bragging ahead.] Ariella is smart, she participates, she davens nicely, she works nicely with other kids, she's smart, she's helpful, and she's really smart. Now, the smart thing we had known for a while (I can brag about that because I assure you, Dear Readers, the brains are all from Dad. The love of math, out-of-the-box thinking, ambition - all dad. Crying at the end of Charlotte's Web? That is from me.)
We had always been concerned - ever since the meeting we were called to when she was in 3 year old nursery - about her social situation. She can be a little bossy (stop smiling, Lisa, I promise she'll let Moshe eat lunch tomorrow), and sometimes she has too much fun and gets a little carried away. So I wanted to really clarify this to the morah. "And she's nice to her friends? Because we've always had problems in that area." But Moriah assured us that she is a great friend and student, and that if she does get in trouble for something, she takes it to heart and accepts it. Wow! So she had nothing but praise for Ariella - "meuleh" was a word mentioned often. We are super proud of our little girl, who last year at this time had a Hebrew vocabulary that mainly consisted of the word "Die!" (Enough! - the first word every oleh child learns.) I exaggerate, but only a little, and it is really amazing how far she has come in a year. I give us a bracha that all of our conferences should be this terrific!

Okay, bragging over. Back to making fun of the kids.


OneTiredEma said...


Super impressed. And you neglected to mention that Taxman was fully prepared to bring you a (non-Ofer) falafel.

Will definitely keep things in mind for next year. We're waaaaay down in the alphabet.

OneTiredEma said...

PS Did I not say excellent blog fodder?

PPS Did you ever eat the candy in your purse?

OneTiredEma said...

PPPS Please ignore embarrassing spelling mistake in comment #1.

I have got to learn to stop replying to things in Hebrew. But really I blame my children, whose illnesses prevent me from putting in a full week at ulpan.

I think I'm done now.

SaraK said...

was anyone else taught that the Hebrew letter "tzadi" is in never to be called "tzadik?" Well, it seems that in Israel that is exactly what they call it - a "tzadik." Not a "tzadi."

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves!

So glad for your good PTA conference!

Lisa said...

I am so proud of her!! Go Ariella!! Don't worry, Moshe ate 2 lunches today just in case Ariella won't let him eat one tomorrow :)

Baila said...

Your daughter is maksima! meulah!! chamudah!!! Niflah!! And don't sell yourself short, she may have your husband's math skills, but she spends most of her day with you (and with the school hours in this country, I know that's true).

And I've been confused by the tzadi/k things for years.

Sharon said...

We are thrilled about your great report, but the truth is that over here in Navaland we can't help but wish it was Gabi/Soo giving you that report and not Moriah!

Gila Rose said...

Tired - keep up the commenting! It makes me feel popular!

SaraK - thanks for the validation about the tzadiK. I feel better.

Lisa - anyway, he can always eat a big dinner...

Baila - thanks! And I hope your commenting here means you are feeling better and coming out of blog-hibernation. (blibernation?)

Sharon - we miss you too in Ariellaland!

trn said...

I always thought the name of the letter was "tsadik." It's only in recent years that I began to become aware that it may not be. I've realized that I might have misunderstood what I was hearing when I learned the Aleph-Bet song; the next letter, after all, is kuf.

Yay Ariella!

Yael said...

kapayim l'Ariella!!


And it's good to hear Ariella has strong Rose genes.

kathleen said...

I am impressed! I agree with OneTiredEma- That was excellent blog fodder! That poor Mom with the multiple children, that must be difficult!

kathleen said...

Oh, I meant to say that our different Hebrew workbooks have said the tzadi/k both ways. We had an Israeli workbook first so I learned it as tsadik first then kept hearing it pronounced without the k. It was confusing to me too.

Debra (who has not been blogging lately) said...

Just found your blog and love it! Hope to be there one day. And thanks for validating my tzadi/k confusion!!

Gila Rose said...

Welcome Debra! Good to have you with us. It's amazing how many of us are befuddled by the tzadi/k confusion. I'm glad we can get all those feelings out into the open here.