Chanukah is well under way here. Our Chanukah actually started last Wednesday, when we attended the Misrad Haklitah party and lit our first menorah. It continued Thursday, when we had Yaakov's gan mesibah, and we lit menorah #2. To prepare for the Chanukah party - AKA The Event of the Year - the gan finished at 11:00 that day. You know, so Yaakov could spend time taking a long scented bubble bath and getting his hair and makeup done.
Clean Faces and Backs of Heads
Speaking of which, I thought it would be easier getting Yaakov ready for a party than Ariella, because there is no hairdo. But although there was no requirement for Nice Hair, there was one for Clean Face, and Yaakov's has a perpetual ring of chocolate around it. So between locating the kippah and tzitzit, buttoning the shirt, and cleaning off sticky chocolate, it was about even, time-wise. We arrived at gan - at night! Yaakov thought that was the coolest! - and Yaakov took his seat. Last year, at Ariella's gan, only one parent could come, due to space constraints. But this year, we were both invited. Which is good. Because of the Israeli custom of having the parent sit behind the child. So one parent sits behind, with a nice, clear view of the back of the child's head, and the other parent stations him or herself at the opposite end of the room, camera in hand. During this event, Donny played the part of photo/videographer.
A Great Miracle Happened Here!
Now, last year, Yaakov refused to do anything at his gan party. He did sit with the kids, but did none of the singing, dancing, hand motions, etc. It could be that the lateness of the hour, combined with the dark room, black light, and frequent costume changes, proved too much for him. Or maybe now he's just grown up. But this year....the Chanukah Miracle of 2009! Yaakov participated! He sang, he shook the right props at the right times, marched around the room, did the complex hand motions. The program was relatively short - only 45 minutes - and the choreography was fairly simple (march, shake, repeat. Yes, there was black light, but for only one song, when the children were seated). It was such a treat to see him singing his little heart out and following the morahs so intently. (He never looked at me, just at his teachers. He didn't want to mess up.)
In Which the Author Claims a Disclaimer:
Disclaimer: Of course we love our children even when they sit at their various mesibot and do absolutely nothing except suck their thumbs/twirl their hair/cry. Of course, we are still proud of them, we still think they're adorable, blah blah blah. But, let's be honest, it is soooooo much more fun to watch Dancing Yaakov than Deer in Headlights Yaakov. (Dancing Yaakov - coming soon to a toy store near you!)
Party Wraps Up
Then we ate sufganiot (of course), and took our bag of Yaakov Goodies home - a chanukiah, natch, a dreidel, and other sundry items.
Now Chanukah Starts....Without Yaakov
Every half hour on Friday Yaakov asked me if it was time to light his Chanukiah. Then, twenty minutes before candlelighting, he falls asleep on the couch, and is suffering from such bad PNM (post-nap misery) when he awakes that he refuses to light, dance, or sing. Oh well, Thank goodness there are 8 nights!
The Blogging Event of the Century! With Baked Goods!
Motzei Shabbat we headed over to the Tired family for a Chanuka Chanukat HaBayit. The shindig started at 7:30; we arrived promptly at 7:28, so much the better to eat the coffee-chocolate chip-pecan bars. Which, by the way, were milchig. Oh yeah. The second highlight of my night was meeting the one and only Baila! She's much taller in person.
"Judah Maccabee Wuz Here"
So all in all a fantastic start to our chag. Stay tuned for more dispatches from Modi'in - the place where it all happened, where Judah HaMaccabee himself spun his dreidel thousands of years ago and ate sufganiot from Roladin, after which he exclaimed, "Are you freaking out of your mind? 200 zuz for a donut?"