Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For the Good of the Tissues

Nadav loves a good tissue. Actually, any tissue will do. He's not quite crawling, but when he spots an unattended tissue on the floor, that kid scootches so fast he's got little fast cartoon lines coming out of him. He likes to crumple it, then shove it in his mouth until it starts to dissolve.

Now, I know you're probably thinking I should take the tissue out of his hands. Or his mouth, if it's gotten to that point already. But, you know, when you forbid something to a child, it just makes it all that more enticing. Before we know it, he'll be grabbing tissues when he thinks we're not looking; then it's just a slippery slope to sneaking out at night to score some tissues or hoarding them when he's at a friend's house.

So I think it's better to let him have some tissues here, in his own home, where I can supervise the grabbing and munching. I don't want to think about him loose on the streets, scootching around, frantically searching for a tissue.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Late to the Party

Okay, I know Chanukah is, like, sooooo over, but for some reason it wasn't until last week that I decided to show my kids the Maccabeats video. Actually, I do know the reason - once they know something is on Mommy's computer, they want to watch it over and over and then I am prevented from doing important computer-related things such as updating my Facebook status.
("Gila Leibtag-Rose why did I show my kids that video?? Now they won't leave me alone!")

Sure enough, once they saw it, Yaakov has asked at least once a day to watch "the thing that the mans did." He is totally mesmerized. His favorite parts: "When the man does that thing with his hands, and when the man pushes the other man, and when the levivah goes flying into the air." For those of you who are as obsessed - or whose children are as obsessed - with this video as mine are, you will know exactly what scenes I am referring to.

In typical fashion, Yaakov enjoys the video, while Ariella tries to deconstruct how they did it and where they did and why are they called the Maccabeats, and ohmigod just sit and watch it! But, folks, that is just not how she works. We love her for it. We just don't love watching videos with her.

Yaakov did have one question,"Mommy, how come they say, 'Nes gadol hayah sham?' It's 'Nes gadol hayah poh!'" Which led me to realize that not only is he growing up without singing "I have a little dreidel" every year and trying to remember that second verse about the skinny legs, but he has no idea that most of the world sings another version of "Sevivon sov sov sov."

So we have our work cut out for us, trying to inculcate the children with important lessons from the Old Country. Such as teaching the dreidel song and how to properly pronounce "shaloshudis."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Guest Post From Momz!

Momz was called to do her civic duty this week. She was bored. To pass the time, she offered to write a guest plog about jury duty. Without further ado, I present:

Momz' Poem About Jury Duty

My name is Juror
It's on my sticker
The justice system here
Could be a little quicker

Six hundred souls from Baltimore
Ready to serve one trial, no more
Murder, robbery, all types of rot
We will decide – did he do it or not?

Hours 1 through 5 have now passed by
Reading, crosswords, movies I've tried
We wait to hear the voice which we fear
Telling us which group should go for voir dire*

But the magical voice hasn't spoken at all
Telling us to go somewhere down the hall
To answer questions about our 'tudes
On crime and lawyers and criminal dudes

Once in a while you hear a jingle
And no, it is not old Kris Kringle
It's a prisoner in shackles in the hall
This is a lovely place to hang out, y'all

At 3 we are released from service
Whew, now I am no longer nervous
At $15 each they spent 9,000 bucks
For nothin' – I wonder if they feel like [redacted]?

*Momz knows lots of fancy words. Like "emoticon." And "viceroy." And "redacted."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Feeling Royal

Well, I would like to thank all the Loyal Readers, LOyal Readers, and DADZ (you're in a category all your own, colon + right parentheses) for one of the most spirited discussions to ever take place in the comments section of aliyahbyaccident. I am looking forward to meeting all of you when we have our grand Cable is NOT Crap Party at Momz and DADZ's new pad, may it be built speedily in our days.


And now, I present Scene from a Bedroom.

I am sitting on Ariella's bed, and we are saying shema together.

Ariella: Mommy, why do we have to say "baruch shem k'vod" quietly?

Mommy: Because it's what the malachim say and we don't want to act like we are like the malachim. [Or something. As I'm saying this to Ariella my brain is frantically whirring. Am I making this up? I'm pretty sure I learned this at some point. But is this one of those explanations that we give kids - like the whole covering-the-challah-so-it-won't-be-embarrassed thing - and then there's really a grown-up explanation that I never learned? Oh God. She's going to find out that Mommy doesn't really know anything - except for nivim, for in those I have no equal - and I will be so embarrassed. Like the challah. Or not. Help!]

Ariella: Mommy, that's not true.

Mommy: I knew it! Oh boy, here it comes.

Ariella: Because you told me we don't have malachim anymore. We have a rosh memshalah.

So we discussed the difference between a "malach" and a "melech." Something I know about. Phew.

Monday, December 13, 2010



1. After Momz and DADZ make aliyah, with whom shall I chat in the middle of the night when I am up with sinus pain or other middle-of-the-night ailments? (Including, but not limited to, strep throat and sick children.) Although, it's more Momz than DADZ that does the chatting. DADZ is usually telling Momz to get off the phone so they can watch one of their many television shows on CABLE, yes the same CABLE that we were not allowed to have growing up, and yes I'm still bitter about this. To Dadz, I say colon + capital P.

(This is a private joke between me and DADZ. He is emoticonally-challenged.)

2. Why, when bad things happen to the Jewish people, it's all, "We are such sinners! We must fast and pray!" but when good things happen, not once do you hear, "We are a nation of righteous do-gooders! Let us proclaim this a day of feasting and rejoicing in the streets!"?

3. That's all I've got for now. Said cold and sinus pain has wiped out most of my brain cells. It's amazing I'm even able to type thislcnaoitehoh 3*&(*U#FJSI*(fhdkU^&%U.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And This is Chanukah

The Festival of Lights Draws to a close. It felt like the longest week ever that just whizzed by. A round-up of the second half of the holiday:

1. In case you've been waiting with bated breath, Ariella's sleepover was a huge success. You can stop bating now. She returned home Monday morning. Glad to see me? Oh no, just sad that it was over and when can we have another one, Mommy???? Love ya too, kid.

2. We had my sister and brother-in-law Leezy and Elie (of donut-eating fame) for dinner on Monday night. Our food - I made soup and latkes, and Donny made his famous sufganiot - was a big success. Last year, Donny did not have time to make the dough, so I attempted it, but I forgot that in the Gila Instruction Manual (yes, I come with one) it clearly states that: "Do not let Gila attempt to make a yeast dough. She will end up taking pictures of the yeast with her cell phone and sending them to Donny to see if it's bubbling correctly. And in the end, the product - say, a sufganiyah - will more closely resemble a hockey puck than a doughnut." So you can imagine the end of that little story....

3. On Tuesday, we went with the Misrad Haklitah on a "Chanukiot tiyul" in the Old City. Despite a lengthy stop at the Knesset menorah and numerous stops to explain stuff, the kids had a great time. They do love a good march through the Old City, and we took a secret, circuitous route to the Kotel. The trip had something for everyone: Ariella had her BFF, Yaakov got to go on a BUS, and Nadav was attached to me all night thanks to the Baby Bjorn. What could be better? Plus, there were doughnuts!

4. On Wednesday, we hung out at the Dimri park for a while. Sadly, I missed my chance to meet a mother in Israel. No, sorry, I know lots of mothers in Israel. But I missed my chance to meet A Mother In Israel. That's right, she was in Modiin, about two blocks away, but the timing didn't work out, so all we did was talk on the phone about how the timing is not going to work out. But now I've heard her voice. So we're one step closer...

5. On Wednesday - yes! Wednesday is a TWO-PARTER! - we had the annual Funnest Day of the Year Ever Ever Ever. You know it - the yearly trip on the train to the Microsoft Chanukah party. (I once accidentally called it a "holiday party," harking back to the old days of political correctness in the US of A.) For a successful party, just follow these 17 easy steps:

1. Wake up at 7:50 (yes, I know, very late, thanks to the 10:00 bedtime that happened in #3).

2. Ask, "When are we going to the train?"
"At 2:00."

3. Eat breakfast.

4. Ask, "When are we going to the train?"
"At 2:00."
"When is it 2:00?"
"Not for another six hours."
"Oof! That's not for a long time!"

5. Repeat step #4 all morning, each time lessening the amount of hours left, until, finally.....


7. Take backpacks that are filled with enough activities and food to sustain and entertain a small country for a month (provided the citizens like to color and eat apple slices). Walk to the train.

8. 2:42 - train departs

9. 2:50 - half the snacks are finished

10. Look out the window, eat, color, read books, eat, color, eat, look out the window, eat until.....

11. We arrive in Haifa! The most fun part of the party is now behind us.

12. Daddy picks us up and drives us to his office.

13. Now we begin the second most fun part...

14. Coloring on Daddy's white board! Eating Daddy's candy! Running up and down the hallways! Phew, this is the best party ever! (Digression: Donny confessed to me, "Now I understand why you're always cleaning up. The kids were in my office for twenty minutes and it's a MESS!" I just smiled.)

15. Now for the third most fun part....

16. The actual party! Get something painted on your hair/hand/face/arm! Do many art projects! Eat some corn! Build the world's most disgusting gingerbread house out of tea biscuits and chocolate spread, topped with candies that every child touched after licking the chocolate off his/her fingers. Mmmmmm!

The kids had a fabulous time at the actual party, and we ended up staying much later than I thought we would. Now for the totally not fun part....

17. Drive home! Listen to Nadav scream his head off pretty much the entire ride. I think it was his way of saying, "I've had enough of this holiday! Feed me when I'm hungry, put me to sleep when I'm tired, and for the love of oatmeal, stop schlepping me around." We hear ya, buddy.

And that was Chanukah.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Exciting Chanukah Happenings

1. Ariella is going to a friend's for her first sleepover tonight.

2. For Chanukah, we gave Ariella the game חת-חתול (Rat-A-Tat-Cat. I have to translate it because when I wrote it in English - Chat-Chatul - it sounds like a game of incessant talking. Although, when Ariella is involved, most games are.) This is a game which relies on memory. Which means I totally suck at it. While Ariella is busy calculating which cards went where and which cards could be swapped and where I put my good cards, I'm busy pondering menus and blog posts and making sure Nadav doesn't actually swallow a piece of the cardboard he's sucking on. So, needless to say, she usually beats me. ("Mommy, you gave away your zero. Again!")

3. Ariella is going to a sleepover tonight. It's her FIRST ONE!

4. On Friday, we got to hang out with some Loyal Readers, who were actually Loyal Friends well before ABA was even conceived. (Can you imagine such a time???) These friends - to protect their identities we'll call them the "Shmoppers" - had traveled all the way from America just to see us. And while they were here, they also had some family bar mitzvah or something. Anyway, our grand plans were waylaid because I ended up at the doctor for an infection. (Not to get one; I already had one, though I could have easily picked up a few more in the waiting room.) And if there is one place you want to avoid on a Friday, it's the doctor's office. Luckily, he gave me a prescription and I headed off to the pharmacy. However, if there's a second place you want to avoid on a Friday, it's the pharmacy. So, a mere two hours after I left for my appointment, I returned with meds in hand.

At this point, it was 12:00, so instead of a great day spelunking in Beit Guvrin, we ended up at the park on Yitzhak Rabin right here in Modiin. Pretty lame; luckily the Shmoppers were good sports, and it was nice to have time to catch up. Plus, the kids were happy because they all got ARTIKIM!

5. Have I mentioned the sleepover???? The packing began on Friday.

6. Yaakov coined a new phrase: "Bouncing my tea." What else do you call what we do with our teabags in the hot water?


8. We had Unka Jonafin for Shabbat. He was delicious. (Ba-dum-dum-CHING!)

9. Unka Jonafin taught Ariella how to play Modiin Hold 'Em with dreidels and sticks. Her life as a cardshark (dreidelshark?) begins. I heard her explaining to Yaakov on Shabbos morning, "Yaakov, you have pocket gimmels."

10. Ariella is finally on her sleepover! I'm receiving updates from the front. The latest: "The girls are painting their nails. But not their thumbs, so they can still suck them."

So big, and yet....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chanukah Check-List

Ate at least one sufganiyah before Chanukah. (Preferably from Roladin): Check

Have at least 3 chanukiot per child: Check

Child using tin chanukiyah from Rami Levi because that is the only one which actually holds the candles: Check

Child came home with dreidl made out of CD + marble: Check

Attended at least one Chanukah gan party in which black light was used: Check (Gan party people: Time for a new special effect. The white shirts turn purple. We get it.)

Forgot whether the candles start on the right or left: Check (Every. Single. Year.)

Warbling Chanukah tunes in my head all day, despite not knowing the actual words (What is a "sacha li balat" anyway?): Check

So, looks like we're off to a good start. Will keep you posted as this Festival of Lights continues.

Happy Chanukah to all the Loyal Readers!