Monday, January 25, 2010

Lunch; or, Mah Pitom???

All year I have been force-feeding my son sandwiches for aruchat eser. This is because I learned my lesson last year. At the beginning, when we were fresh off the boat, I tried to send Ariella to gan with rice cakes, or pasta, since she's not much of a sandwich kid. I was told, "Mah pitom?" Aruchat eser is to consist of a sandwich, a fruit/veggie and THAT'S IT. I think I even blogged about it at some point. It definitely made an impression on us.

This year I have tried to be a good gan parent. I know that Yaakov's class washes and does birkat hamazon, so I assumed (and there's where it alllll goes downhill) that the same rules applied. You MUST bring in bread for washing; you CAN'T bring in anything else.

Now, I should have been a little wiser, having been introduced to the Theory of Random Gan Rules. (In first grade, things seem to be pretty standard, across the board. Ariella, and her first grade Chashmonaim counterparts went on the same tiyul (Goose World) and had the same Letter Party.) However, the each gan is a kingdom unto itself, with the head ganenet reporting directly to the Prime Minister.

To wit:
"You must bring a lunchbox to school."
"Do NOT, under any circumstances, bring a lunchbox to school!"

"Only ONE parent may come to the party."
"Both parents MUST come to the party."
"Parents MAY NOT attend the party, under pain of death."

"The parent of the Shabbat Abba/Ima is expected to come in and talk about the parsha."
"Parents attending when your child is Shabbat Abba/Ima? MAH PITOM??!!!" [Insert Israeli "tsk tsk tsk" here.]

But I did not learn my lesson. So all year I've been trying to find something Yaakov will eat on, with, or next to bread. Jelly. Various cheese spreads. Plain sliced cheese. A hard boiled egg. (He already hates peanut butter and chummus.) I actually had to receive this note in my child's lunchbox, "Please stop sending cheese. Yaakov does not eat it." Which, of course, I read as, "You twit. Don't you know what your own kid likes????"

Finally, in desperation, I started giving him a piece of plain bread along with his fruit/veggie. And even that, he would only deign to eat one circle from the middle and no more. The only sandwich he gobbles up with gusto is his Friday chocolate sandwich, but though I have been known to let him eat cookies (on occasion) for breakfsat, I couldn't lower myself to a daily chocolate sandwich. At least with jelly I can pretend there's some nutritional value. So I relied on the old standby - if he was really starving, he'd eat the damn bread.

And that's how it came to be that on a clear, sunny Sunday morning (5 months into the school year), when I dropped off Yaakov, I innocently asked the teacher, "So they have to bring bread to aruchat eser, right? Because you all wash and bentch together?"

The reply?

"Mah pitom? Send him what he likes to eat! We all say the brachot together, but he doesn't have to bring bread. We've been meaning to tell you, in fact, that he doesn't like his plain bread."

So now, a whole new world of food is open to us. Today he brought a Gamadim to school. And, I believe, ate it.

Well, as the saying goes in our house right now, "At least we'll get it right for little Punja." (Don't worry, it's just a placeholder name, created by Yaakov. Check back in May - God willing - for both the real name and to see how, despite our best efforts, we continue to bumble our way through parenthood.)


Sara said...

B'Sha'ah Tova! Nice of you to sneak that in for all of us "back home".

Sara said...

PS - Do I get poofahs for being the first to notice?

Arica said...

Funny you talk about the stupid sandwich rule. I also try to send chocolate once a week however when I am lazy they get chocolate more often. This weeks blog is actually going to discuss how I am a bad parent and my kids had chocolate many times this week.
In addition, when I was pregnant with Nadav we referred to him as Dolphin because the Israeli baby name book(which we borrowed from Lisa) actually lists that as a name.

Commenter Abbi said...

Chocolate sandwich tip: Nutella has nuts and milk in it, as opposed to Shachar or Elite which is really really just frosting. (you can pretend it's just like peanut butter or cheese).

B'shaa tova. May is the best time to have kids in Israel. I had two in May and the weather and vacation timing are great. August 30 is the absolute worst. Try never ever to do that.

Baila said...

Well, a little sabra. That should be great blog fodder. B'shaa Tova!

trn said...

B'sha'ah tovah!

kathleen said...

B'Shaah Tova!

Gila Rose said...

Thanks everyone! Poofahs all around! Extra for Sara!

And I TRIED the nutella! And it failed! He came home (not knowing I had replaced his beloved frosting with something else) and said, "I do not like this kind of chocolate, Mommy." Grrrr.

And Baila, it's allll for the blog. I'm that dedicated.

OneTiredEma said...

Um, I believe *I* was the first to notice, and did not say anything to Gila for weeks until she copped to it at the shabbat park.
(Because, as I explained to my dear, clueless husband, a compression stocking is not a fashion accessory. Though Gila does wear it with panache!)

PS If you could get the rules down on paper for me before gan starts next Sept I'd really really appreciate it. Kthxbai.

Gila Rose said...

First of all, I think compression-stocking-as-fashion-item is really going to take off soon.

Also, re rules for next year: You will get something wrong. Just accept it and move on.

Cheryl said...

B'sha'ah tova! I'm surpised you didn't blog about it earlier.

Commenter Abbi said...

Was his next line "I do not like it Sam I Am"? :)

You have one tough customer there.

I'm experimenting with healthy muffins for my picky eaters. Also, the carrot kugel in the kosher palette is a big hit with my non-eating toddler and travels well (i've heard of other mothers sticking it in the tik for gan/school)(not the whole kugel, just a piece. :) ).

My friend's compression stockings were also a tipoff for me as well. I don't think my husband would know what a compression stocking was if I wrapped it around his head.

If this is your first Israeli baby, I recommend taking a doula who knows all the Hebrew birthing lingo, and even taking a birth prep class here, so you know what to expect when you get to the hospital. I think it's very different from the old country. Starting with not knowing who will catch your baby unless you shell out a lot of money for a private doc.

Chaya said...

Had to delurk to say B'Sha'ah Tova!!!!! Also, we do the "child welfare" sandwich. You know, so that the child welfare people don't investigate us for starving our child.

Gila Rose said...

Thanks for delurking, Chaya. I love the child welfare sandwich idea.

And carrot muffins! What a good idea! Look at all these culinary options that are open to me now that we "don't have to bring lechem!"

Risa said...

B'shaa tova! I hope that you are feeling well. Please blog about the differences between prenatal care in Israel and America. I have a picky eater, too, and am always stumped for lunch ideas and how to get him to eat his vegetables.

Gila Rose said...

Risa! Welcome back to Commenter's Circle! We've missed you!