This past Friday, as you may recall, Donny and I went into Ariella's class to do the Kochav Nolad activity. Well, I must say we pulled it off with panache. Or something. At least, the kids had fun. Well, I think they did. I mean, overall Pictionary seemed to go well. Maybe.
The only glitch was that the words I had chosen, despite trying my hardest to pick easy ones, were often above the artistic capabilities of seven-year-olds. The funniest were the body parts. I had many cards which named a body part - ear, eye, nose, finger, etc. - figuring those were easy to draw. The problem was that these children are very literal. So the first one came up and had "finger." So she drew a finger. That's it. A line that went up, curved around, and came back down. No hand, no knuckle or fingernail. It could have been a missile, a glue stick, or a pen. And the poor kid couldn't figure out why no one could guess it. I tried to explain to her to draw the entire hand, but then, the time ran out. (And in case you weren't sure if the time was up, luckily, there were 31 first graders to scream, "NIGMAR HAZMAN!!!!!!!") The kid who got "nose?" Drew a circle. Then looked at her team hopefully. Strangely, they weren't able to figure it out. For "tongue" we had a "U" and "ear" was a little hook. I attempted to explain to the class that if they got a body part they should draw the entire face and then an arrow to the part. But this was beyond them. However, their eagle eyes noticed if I inadvertently held the timer to the side, thus allowing the other team more time. So they have their talents, these first graders.
Anyway, kol hakavod to all you first grade teachers out there. They are quite the handful, although it was very cute how the class stood up when we walked in. As they stood there fidgeting, Moriah, the teacher, had to whisper to me, "Um, they're waiting for you to tell them they can sit." Cool.
And Ariella informed me of only one child who laughed at me. Huzzah! as they say.
In other news, Yaakov had the thrill of his life yesterday. On Friday, he brought home from the class library his all-time favorite book, "Tiras Cham." Technically this means "Hot Corn" though it refers to corn on the cob. It is one of those Israeli children's classics, comparable to "Cat in the Hat" or "People Magazine."
Yaakov looooooves this book. He must have taken it out 3 or 4 times. I, however, am not such a fan. I have found that Israeli children's books are very....strange. Lots of non-sequiturs and plot developments that make you go, "Huh?"
For example, in what might be my least favorite "classic," a book called "Shmulikpod" (about a porcupine), there are so many random plot points that I'm not even sure what the point of the story is suppoesd to be. A boy is sick. Then, a porcupine comes. The boy makes fun of how the porcupine looks. The porcupine makes fun of how the boy looks. Berries are consumed and become stuck on the porcupine's quills. The porcupine is homesick. He goes home. Like I said, "Huh?"
So back to "Hot Corn." At the beginning, we are introduced to Ofir, who loves to sing a little ditty about tiras cham. Even better, on a hot summer day, he loves to EAT tiras cham. (As a friend of mine pointed out, this is perhaps the book's greatest flaw. Wouldn't he rather eat an artik on a hot summer day???)
So there is Ofir, singing away about his tiras cham. Soon, a gaggle of other children join him on his march, each one with a different instrument, all enthusiastically singing the song. (It goes like this: Bim bam bam bam, tiras cham, tiras cham, bim bam bam. Occasionally, for excitement, the "tiras" and "bim" lines are flipped. Can you handle that?)
Then, they arrive at Ofir's house. Here's where it gets fun. No one is home! There is no tiras cham for the children to eat! So, naturally, being raised in the Land of Clasping Your Fingers Together and Shaking Them At People, the children attack Ofir! "Chutzpah!" they yell at him. "You promised us tiras cham and now you're reneging???!!!"
Ofir is sad and tries to explain that he never quite promised them corn, he just likes singing about it. "Never mind," the children sniff at him. They do an about-face and head over to the house of the sabba of one of the other children. All is forgiven, Ofir is back in their good graces and they all sing merrily as they march to Sabba's. Luckily, when they get there, Sabba is waiting with a big pot of tiras cham! How did he know! Chow down! Everyone munches and keeps on singing the song until the corn is gone. Then, the story is finished until Yaakov requests that you read it AGAIN. (If you see me on the street muttering "tiras cham, bim bam bam" to myself, just join in!)
Yesterday, I happened to have bought some corn on the cob at the store. Well, Yaakov was crazed with delight when he saw this. Because this meant that we could EAT tiras cham while we READ "Tiras Cham." And so we did. I had to keep reading the book until Yaakov's tiras was finished. Anyway, I do believe this is the highlight of his young life to date. And, we got to do it again tonight!
Too bad they don't make a book called, "Bim bam bam, whatever Mommy made for dinner, whatever Mommy made for dinner, bim bam bam."
Meanwhile, my sister Leezy seems to recall that last year when she was pregnant, I called her frequently to ask if she'd had the baby yet. You know, to annoy her. It's what sisters do. So she is not wasting this opportunity to call every afternoon and greet me with, "Didja have the baby yet?" Ariella often answers these phone calls, because she has become the Rose Household Secretary. One day, she said in expaseration to Leezy, "Listen Aunt Leezy. Why don't I call you when Mommy has the baby? Then you can stop calling and asking every single day!"
Clearly, Ariella still needs to hone the fine art of revenge.