Monday, January 31, 2011

How Nadav and I Are Different

Nadav: Waaaaah! I am in my crib and they are leaving me all alone! They're closing the door! I'm all by myself! Waaaaaah!!!

Me: Ahhh..... I am in my bed and they are leaving me all alone! They're closing the door! I'm all by myself! Ahhhhhh.....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kupait Syndrome and Other Ramblings

An Award-Winning Blog
First, a number of Loyal Readers have wished us congratulations on receiving an award, which you can see on the right-hand side of the page. Full Disclosure: We were not exactly the only winner of this award. We were among dozens of others who won the "Expat Arrivals" award.

However, I do believe that I am correct in saying that we are the only accidental blog to receive the award. I did not notice any other blogs entitled, "Moved to Kenya By Accident." Or, "I'm Living In Ireland - How'd the Heck Did I Get Here?" So we are special, in that regard.

Weather News
Well we have been having some fabulous weather here. The rain is supposed to arrive, thank God, next week. Which is good, because otherwise we were going to have to start washing our hair with our own spit.

Kupait Syndrome
So I’m in the mall. I see someone. She looks soooo familiar. How do we know each other? Shul? No. School? No. Gosh, where do I know her from? Then it hits me. She’s a kupait at Rami Levi. Or she’s the nurse at Maccabi, the secretary at the doctor’s office, the pharmacist at MaccabiPharm.

This is what I call Kupait Syndrome. In Riverdale, there was little chance of running into the checkout lady anywhere else but the checkout aisle. But here in Modiin, we’re all one big happy family. But it is very jarring to see Intense Israeli Pharmacist Lady drinking a coffee at Aroma. I feel like a little kid, seeing her teacher outside of school. But you don’t belong here! You should be in a white coat, writing things down on a medicine box and talking quickly and telling me I don’t need to refrigerate the Moxyvit! Why are you here????

The worst is when I can’t place the person, and then I walk around for days with the image of this person’s face in my head, trying her out in all sorts of scenarios. Here she is, scanning my groceries. Nope, that’s not it. Now she’s telling me to pee in a cup! No, wrong again. Swiping my Maccabi card? No! Darn it! Who are you?????

Riddle Time!
And finally, a Tu B'Shvat riddle from Dadz. I know TB was last week, but so what?

"I guess in Israel, Tu B'Shvat becomes Tu B'Pvat."

Anyone who guesses correctly wins a delicious piece of fresh, dried-out buxor! Good luck to you all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Test, Part Shtayim

A few blogs ago (see what a bloggy blogger I am? I no longer think in terms of "days" or "weeks," but in terms of "blogs.") I posted about the renowned (for something, I'm sure) Henrietta Szold Institute and the TEST they wanted my daughter to take. I would link to it but I'm lazy so I'm not gonna. Well, yesterday was the Big Day.

Digression: Before I begin, I would just like to say how nice it is to be among friends, where no one (or, at least, almost no one) thinks I am abusive.

You see, Facebook has banned me from posting comments because they think I posted a comment on my status 130 times, which I agree is abusive behavior. Indeed, my comment did appear over 100 times (the same one, and it wasn't even that witty, nothing you'd really want to read 130 times.) However, I promise you, and I promise the powers that be at Facebook, that I did not sit there typing and clicking my comment 130 times. Even I have better things to do with my time.

But for now, for anywhere from a "few hours to a few days," I cannot comment. So it is nice to be here, where I can comment freely. Comment, comment, comment.

Plbbbtttt, is what I say to Facebook.

Now, back to our regularly schedule test.

The letter said the test was starting at 2:30. And I, my friends, am hopelessly American. Even though I no longer blink when parties for 3 and 4 year olds end at 7:00 and dinner wasn't even served, I am still not Israeli. I figured like this:

"Well, there are a bunch of kids taking the test. I'm sure there's some kind of check-in process, because they said we had to bring the letter. So we'll get there at 2:15."

At 2:15, Ariella, Nadav, and I show up to the school where this test is. The doors are locked. Parents and kids are milling around outside.

Haha! Surely, if the test starts at 2:30, they don't plan on opening the doors at 2:30!

But yes, Loyal Reader, in fact, that is EXACTLY what they planned on doing.

So at 2:30 the doors opened. Actually, just one door, so we all - parents, kids, siblings, strollers - had to walk in (read: push), single file.

Now, the kids were divided into groups - each letter had a group number, which designated the room they were to take the test in. Again, I thought:

Well, why don't they send the kids straight to their rooms, and in the room the proctor can do the five-minute explanation about the test?

Wrong again! We all had to gather in the lobby of the school, where a sweet-voiced lady stood on a chair and tried to hush everyone.

Now, the same part of the Israeli genetic code that is responsible for "I must get on this elevator/bus/train before you have a chance to get off!" told the entering parents to enter ju-u-u-st enough, and then stop. None of this go alllll the way in so there's room for everyone. Silly, how American of you!

So we waited until everyone had inched in j-u-u-u-st enough for the whole crowd to fit. Finally, Sweet Voice read her instructions, and sent the kids to their separate rooms. Of course, the poor kids had to squeeze through the various parents, siblings, and strollers, since we were all packed in like a jar of herring.

In the end, the test was close to an hour and a half. Ariella went straight from the test to her chugim, and pretty much collapsed in bed when she came home.

And now we wait. We don't find out the results until the end of June, or about 50 blog posts from now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Driving Miss Rose

Background: This coming Friday night, we are hosting some of Donny's (not dati) colleagues for Friday night dinner.


Scene: The Shabbat table

Ariella: Are we having company this Shabbat?

Me: No, but next week we're having Daddy's friends from work.


Ariella: So, they live in Modiin? (Strange, you'd think we would have seen them before.)

Me: No, in Tel Aviv.


Ariella [incredulously]: So they're going to walk all the way from Tel Aviv and then all the way back???

Donny: They're going to come here before Shabbat starts.

Ariella: But they still have to walk back!

Me: Well, we're going to offer them a place to sleep here, but if they don't want to, they can choose to drive back.


Since we live in Modiin - not only in Modiin, but directly above that renowned thoroughfare known as Sderot "Rat-a-tat-tat" Hashmonaim - Ariella is certainly aware that people drive on Shabbat. We've had many discussions about not Jewish vs. not dati, different levels of mitzvah observance, etc. So she accepted the fact that they would drive back on Shabbat.

Unlike a colleague of Donny's, who grew up on a religious yishuv and thought that cars simply did not work on Shabbat. They were just programmed to shut off every 7th day. For better or worse, Ariella is wise about the world. She even knows about issues:

Yaakov: Awiella, what aww issues?

Ariella: Yaakov, issues are things you have.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Presents! Or; Don't Come Home Without People Magazine

Yeah, yeah, Donny's back. The real question - whaja bring us?

And so, I give you....the Present Rundown

1. For Ariella - a Tetris game. But not the Gameboy kind. (Sing with me! Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doooooo. Digression: Why isn't there a better way to type tunes? You know the song I'm talking about, though, right?) It's real, live, plastic Tetris blocks, and you're supposed to be able to take them and form a cube. Supposedly there are over 9,000 solutions. We're still working on one. Also, they only fit into the box when they're in a cube, so when Ariella puts them away at night, there are always some Tetris limbs akimbo, sticking out of the box at awkward angles.

2. For Yaakov - a Transformer! It's more than meets the eye! (Apparently, the theme of the presents is "The Late Eighties.") Anyway, it looks really awesome - a green car that turns - transforms, if you will - into a robot dude. But the first hitch - it came with an instruction booklet.

Now, I understand needing instruction booklets for really complicated, one-time assembly items, like a Space Station. Or a crib. But a Transformer? A toy that a child should, in a perfect world, be able to do himself? Also, the extent of Yaakov's reading, thus far, is:

1. He recognizes the "O."
2. He writes his name (usually backward) in Hebrew.

Anyway, Donny worked on Tedious Prime for a while, and at the end, had a car in one hand, and an arm in the other.


Scene: Yaakov has a friend over to play.

Yaakov: Do you want to see my Transformer?

Friend: Yesh!

Yaakov: Let's turn it into a car!

Friend: Yesh!

Yaakov: Okay, it's really easy! All we have to do is sit here and wait five hours till my daddy gets home from work!

Friend: Let's just go back to gluing our fingers together.

Anyway, we promised Yaakov we'd get him a new toy. A regular car. That does not come with a spare arm.

3. For Nadav - an awesome, soft, cuddly, light-blue Snoopy dog. Two of them, actually, because we learned the hard way what happens when your child becomes addicted to her stuffed animal and there is only one. One. And you can look into every store, search online, call the company, climb every mountain, ford every stream, and at the end of the rainbow, there is STILL no other Bunny to be found. But that's a story for another time. The point is, we have two Snoopy dogs.

4. For me - a brand-new office chair. But that has to wait to come on my parents' lift. Until then, lots of candy (ohmigod - dark chocolate Reese's PB cups) and magazines, and DVDs of The Nanny. Eh, who needs the chair?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is It Naptime Yet?

Well the Nachlieli has landed and will be home shortly. So I wave goodbye to my evenings of Private Practice + Cocoa Krispies. But don't feel too bad, because I can now welcome back evenings of How I Met Your Mother + Milkies.

We have had some late nights, here in the Rose household, and I am hoping today will be a more calm, shlep-less sort of day. On Sunday, Ariella went straight to a friend's after school to work on a project that's due this Friday. The busy life of second graders - last Sunday, the mother of the other girl and I tried to pick a day, but every single night was taken, either with chugim or birthday parties. So the first available night for these busy social parparim was this Sunday night. Meanwhile, Yaakov had to go to a birthday party.

Of course, it was pouring Sunday evening when I had to take Yaakov to the party. I decided (in my head), that I would wait until I saw another mother go in to the party and ask her to escort Yaakov, because Nadav was with me and my Car Babysitter was working on her project. ("Dear Moriah, Ariella was unable to do her project. She needed to sit in the car with Nadav.")

And just as I pulled up I saw my opportunity. The only hitch was that I sort of hadn't explained this plan to Yaakov, so he was a bit dazed as I yanked him out of the car, threw his sweatshirt on, tossed him the present, and shoved him toward Ima shel Ido "HicanyoutakeYaakovup? Greathanks!" I think Ima shel Ido was a bit dazed, too.

Yaakov was not too traumatized by my bad parenting; later, he gleefully related how he and Ido had to step in puddles to cross the street.

For the pick-up portion of the evening, my plan was to first get Car Babysitter, and then get Yaakov, but the girls needed every extra second possible. So I went to the party, parked (it had stopped raining) and dragged Nadav inside with me.

Inside was a haze of end-of-party craziness. Kids smeared in chocolate, wandering around shoeless, waiting not-so-patiently for their goody bags. I needed to round up 5 boys and take them down to their waiting parents. Until we located everyone's umbrella, sweatshirt, shoes, then put on the shoes, and got the goody bags...well, it was starting to get close to my bedtime. Eventually, boys were rounded up, Ariella was retrieved (with the project only half done), and everyone got into bed. Cue Cocoa Krispies.

Last night, Ariella went straight to her friend's again to finish the blessed project. (Is it bad that when I read in the daf kesher: "For the end of Parshat Lech L'cha, instead of a test, the children will be creating projects," my heart sank?) Our contribution to the project was hosting the brother of Project Girl for a playdate here, and it ended in another late night.

Good news: The other family did the driving for the Child Exchange Program.
Bad news: It was shower night.

We needed 2 episodes of Private Practice to take the edge off.

Friday, January 14, 2011

במקום שאין איש...

....then Mommy has to be the Ish.

Donny has been away this week. He is on the east coast, instead of the west, in Washington. (DC. Not state, and not Heights, as Ariella thought: "Is he going to be where Uncle Elie and Aunt Leezy used to live?") He went for work, of course, though I think he had as many trips to Goldberg's Bagels as he had meetings. Also a trip to the Spy Museum. And some fancy restaurants.

But it's okay; I'm not jealous. This whole week, after the kids went to bed, there was no second dinner to prepare, so I ate Cocoa Krispies and watched Private Practice. (Halfway through season 3; three-quarters of the way through the box of cereal.) Expensive steak and wine it is not, but I do get to do it in my pajamas.

Also, in case you thought I was lonely at night without my roommate - Fret not! The children made liberal use of Daddy's bed this week. Ariella had bad dreams one night; another night, after coming back from my middle-of-the-night bonding session with Nadav, I saw a little shorn, blond head in the bed next to mine. I also noticed my bathroom door was wide open. Apparently, said the owner of the blond head the next morning, "I said your name, Mommy, but you didn't wake up. So I went to the bathroom and got into Daddy's bed."

Ariella had a cold this week, so in kind gesture she offered, "I should sleep in Daddy's bed the rest of the week, because I'm just going to wake up Yaakov with my coughing and sneezing."

Gee, thanks, kid. I explained that the exact opposite was true - Yaakov could probably sleep through a thunderstorm-monster truck rally-hachnasat sefer Torah. (Ohmigod, if they sold tickets to that I would TOTALLY go.)

I, on the other hand, after 7.5 years of cries and pitter patters and whispers of, "Mommy? Mommy?" wake up at every little noise, especially if it emanates from a small person. (With the exception of the other night, it seems.) So I assured her that in fact, I would be the one to be up all night if she slept in Daddy's bed.

For Shabbat we head over the Green Line, to Chashmonaim. This time, Nadav and I will be roomies. Which makes it so much easier to have those middle-of-the-night bonding sessions. ("I'm tired." "I'd like to nurse.") The Rose and Balsam children have been eagery anticipating this get-together for an entire week, or in almost-5-year-old-terms, FOREVER.

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


We have reached 80 Loyal Readers! Now, I know there are many loyal readers who are not Loyal Readers, and there may be Loyal Readers who are not loyal readers, you follow? (Of course you do, you're a Loyal Reader!) But I digress....

So how should we celebrate? Another virtual kiddush? That seems so....last year. You know, back when there were NOT 80 Loyal Readers. Any ideas?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Henrietta Szold, a Woman of Mystery

Exhibit A: Ariella, a very intelligent girl
Exhibit B: The letter.

We received this letter last week. Ariella came home with it from school. It is from the Henrietta Szold Institute, and the topic is "An Invitation to the Test for Phase 2 for Acceptance into the Special Enrichment Program for Gifted and Talented Students." (Very loosely translated from the Hebrew.)

My first reaction to this was, "Whoo-hoo! My kid sure are real smart!" I mean, we've known this for a while, but it's always nice to hear it again.

The letter goes on to discuss this test. Where and when it will be held. How long it lasts (an hour to an hour and a half - sheesh. Like the mini-SATs or something. Will she have to complete analogies?) How important it is to show up for the test since you cannot take it on a different day. You must do everything in your power to come! (Um, okay, just calm down, now.) What to bring and what not to bring. A very long section discussing what will be on the test itself, and that there is no need to study (phew.)

Then we're told that at the end of the school year, we will get a letter letting us know whether our child has been accepted or not accepted to this "program." And if you don't intend to send your child to the program, well then, don't bother showing up for the test.

Following that is a whole complicated paragraph about parents of twins, in a situation where both of whom (the twins, not the parents) have been invited to participate, but be warned that that one might be accepted and one not.

Finally, it ends with a phone number - but only to be used in case of emergency ("Help! I forgot which side of the pencil to use!") and not, in any way, shape or form, to be used to find out any sort of information about this test or program. God forbid. We like our parents to be in the dark.

So I had a few questions about this:

1. HUH????? Who are you people? (No letter of explanation arrived. Just instructions.)

2. And what do you want with my daughter?

3. Phase Two??? When the hell was Phase One????? (And yes, there were that many question marks in my head.)

4. What is this "program?" How do I know if I want to be a part of it? Does it involve shlepping out at 6:30 PM with two tired, cranky boys in tow, to pick Ariella up from a chug, which is located at 123 Ends of the Earth, No Place to Park, Modiin, 71720? Because I'm already doing that this year, for another chug she's in for smart kids. And let me tell you, there's little they can say that is going to make me repeat this daring feat of parenthood next year.

I was able to glean a few bits of information from Ariella. Apparently, Phase One happened in school at the beginning of the year, and the kids who did really well were invited to partake in Phase Two. Still...I'd like to know more about this "program" and this "institute" before I take her to this "test."

So, please, Ms. Szold. Throw me some scraps here. Whatever you got, I'll take it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Hero

I know I'm not such a link-y blogger (although "Linky Bloggers" would be a great name for a rock band...which is a hint as to the subject of this blog post.....)

....however, on Facebook, Loyal Reader Isobel posted a link to Dave Barry's Year in Review, which of course I immediately read. And I now share it with you. Consider it a Shabbat present. And don't say we never gave you anything.

In deference to my hero, there will be no jokes in this blog. You wouldn't try to out-dvar Torah a rabbi. Or out-"Cars" Yaakov (I'm not sure what that even means, but trust me, you wouldn't want to do it.) So we will not try to out-humor the Master of Funny. I'm serious. Don't even smile. Stop it. Stop it right now! Momz, I can see you. Stop laughing!

Okay we'll have to sign off now before things get too out of control. Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Incoming Transmission

[Crackle, crackle, static, crackle]

"Come in Baby Nadav, come in, come in."

[Nadav inserts the two fingers of his left hand into his mouth.]

"Hold on, just adjusting my Internal Oral-Appendage Transmitter." [Suck, suck]

"Okay, the I-OAT is in place."

"Baby Nadav, this is Baby Bjorn. We have a mission for you."

[Crackle, static, crackle]

"Baby Nadav, I repeat, this is Baby Bjorn. Do you read me? You're not coming in clearly. Try sucking harder on those fingers." [Pause.] "Yes, much better."

"Okay, Baby Bjorn, can you read me now?"

"Loud and clear. Baby Nadav, we have received your next assignment. You rose through the ranks quickly, aceing your Oatmeal Smear and passing Floor Licking with flying colors. Your next mission is more challenging - you must find the garbage can and topple it. So hard that the contents are scattered all over the floor. Do you understand???"

"Yes, sir. Garbage. Topple it. I'm on it. You can count on me."

"We knew we could, Baby Nadav, we knew we could. This is Baby Bjorn, over and out."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beginning of Week Ramblings

Sorry to throw you all - I know I usually save ramblings for the end of the week. But we at aliyahbyaccident like to switch things up, keep you on your toes, make life interesting, so we're doing our ramblings at the beginning of the week. Also, we didn't have time to post on Friday.

1. Why is it that alcohol is so freely available here, and yet purchasing Tylenol requires feats of ingenuity and many meters of patience? If you want beer, wine, whiskey, Scotch, vodka - just go into any supermarket or makolet and fill your cart. You can even start drinking in the store, like a woman today did in the middle of Rami Levi. (Okay, she was drinking from a juice carton, but still.)

But regular OTC painkillers are only available at the pharmacy, and if you want to buy more than 20 pills, then you have to wait in line for the pharmacist, because the mega-boxes are only available BTC, and in front of you, naturally, are people who have never purchased Band-Aids before in their life, and need to hold intricate discussions with the pharmacist about the how-tos of their purchases. ("You're saying that the sticky part goes on your skin? Could you show me?")

If you didn't need that Tylenol before coming in, you sure do now.

2. In other shopping-related angst: I got a Bagger Boy at Rami Levi today! Hoo-ha! However, that explains why, when I was putting the packages in the car, there was one bag filled to bursting with 2 jars of tomato sauce, a large can of diced tomatoes, a package of rice, a package of sugar, and a can of baked beans. And another bag containing 4 rolls.

3. Another non-strike strike: Last night we got a text. The saya'ot (assistants) in the ganim were preparing to strike. Usually, this means that gan opens at 8:00 (when the head ganenet arrives) instead of 7:30, and it will only open if there is a parent volunteer who can fill the place of the assistant. The text said that the tzaharon morah would fill in, thereby depriving us of the privilege of assisting in a class of 35 3/4 year olds. However, this came at a cost of 10 shekel per child. I was more than ready to pay, because the other option was

A. Volunteering myself (Ha!)

B. Not sending Yaakov (Ha ha!)

In the end, the strike was canceled, and everything was "ragil."

But can someone please explain how this system works? I know we haven't been here all that long, but why is it every time the gans strike it's the saya'ot that strike? Do the head gananot ever strike, or are they just very happy and content with their jobs? And if that's the case, maybe the Saya'at Union should hire whoever works for the Head Ganenet Union because he or she is clearly doing a much better job.