Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Negotiating Table

[Scene: Shabbat afternoon, post-lunch. Donny and I are struggling not to fall asleep directly on our cholent.]

Me: Guys, if you let Mommy and Daddy sleep when Nadav goes in for his nap, I'll pay you four shekel. Each.

Yaakov: Five shekel.

Donny: Four shekel if you play nicely together, one shekel if you also clean up after.

Me: "Playing nicely" means no fighting, no screaming and don't wake us up unless a limb is missing or there is a copious amount of blood spurting from somewhere.

Yaakov and Ariella: Okay.

We shake hands all around.

I sleep for two hours.

Best 10 shekel I ever spent.

Monday, July 18, 2011

An Afternoon at The Roses

Well it seems that another blogless week has gone by. Where does the time go? In the meantime, summer has been rolling merrily along, or maybe it has been rolling around on the floor, hitting its sister. Either way.

We are now in our 3rd week of kaytanah, otherwise known as the second to last week of camp, or the final full week, since next Tuesday marks the last day of camp. Then it will be Camp What Are We Doing NOW? for two weeks, then VACATION! followed by another week of Camp WAWDN.

Yes, kaytanah is sadly very short in this country. And the children are not in tzaharon, so their day is very short as well. They've been entertaining themselves in Tzaharon Shel Ima. Here's how a typical day goes:

1:10 I walk in the door with Yaakov.

1:10 - 7:00 Yaakov eats.

1:30 - 4:00 Yaakov wanders around the apartment, sucking his thumb with Blue Blanket over his head, completely uninterested in any of the hundreds, nay thousands, of age-appropriate activites we have lying around. (Unless it's a designated Movie Day. On those days, Yaakov sits, sucking his thumb with Blue Blanket by his side, glued to the tiny portable DVD screen. But only Yaakov fully understands the complexities of movie-day designation.)

1:30 I put Nadav in for a nap, because everyone, especially Mommy, needs some Quiet Time.

1:45 Ariella walks in.

1:45 - 7:00 Ariella eats.

2:00 - 4:00 Ariella finishes another "Minheret Hazman" book, which is a shame because we were just at the library yesterday and she's now finished her allotted 3 books. (2 for Yaakov, 3 for Ariella. She reads one on the way home from the library, one that night, and one the next day. I exaggerate. But only a little.) I suggest reading an English book. She suddenly decides it's time to cut her nails.

4:00 - 5:30 Time to Do Something. Pool, playdate, buy Nadav shoes (hey, it counts as an outing!) Doing Something usually involves packing a very large bag full of everything, except the one thing we desperately needed.

5:30 Ariella sighs dramatically, "What do you want from me??!!!" (The events that precipitated the declaration change from day to day.)

5:45 Nadav climbs on a stepstool (from which the only way down is Falling), eats a fuse bead, tries to escape through an open door, empties the contents of his dresser onto the floor, eats wipes, toddles around the house shrieking (it's his War Cry), gets his fingers caught, tests the theory that the sippy cup is 100% spill-proof (it's not), eats something he found lying around somewhere, and then is very, very quiet because he's busy coloring all over the floor.

At some point, there is dinner. Don't ask me why.

6:00 Yaakov and Ariella get into a screaming/hitting match. Which is amazing, because neither of them started it.

6:15 Something I do or say is "Not Fair."

6:30 Baths, maybe?

6:45 The children sense that bedtime draws nigh. Suddenly, everyone is calm. Pajamas are put on, teeth are brushed, and Yaakov decides he wants to get into an intense game of Cars and Trucks, the same Cars and Trucks he refused to even look at during the afternoon. Ariella sits down quietly to do an art project. Nadav happily plays with blocks and kitchen toys.

So that's a typical day at the Roses. Times and activities are subject to change without notice. Yesterday, for example, I surprised them with Play-Doh. "Why don't I do this more often," thought I, as they entertained themselves happily, making Play-Doh creations. Then I saw the Play-Doh stuck on the floor, their clothes, and a box of seltzer. Nadav was picking off the Play-Doh Yaakov had squished into the table and eating it. And then I remembered why.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ramblings: Special Shout-Out Edition!

My Tired friend has a gentle way of nudging me and reminding me that I need to blog. Usually she calls me "Dude." Then I know I'm in trouble for being a neglectful blogger.

So I dedicate this post to her. Even though I am jealous that she is leaving me to sweat here in 35-degree weather while she picks blueberries in beautiful 80-degree Maine. (I may not be bilingual, but I am bi-degree-al.)

Here are some thoughts swimming around in my head, similar to my children, swimming around the Modiin pool, although my thoughts do not shout at me, "Watch me, Mommy! Are you watching? YOU DIDN'T LOOK!"

1. Why does God, in His infinite wisdom, give children the ability to desire things before the ability to articulate said desires? ("Unnnnnhhh! UNNNHHHHH!" is just not cutting it.)

We often "UNHHH!" our way through the entire toy basket. Nadav clearly wants something, so we take out everything. The red ball. No! The blocks? No! Mommy's old pocketbook? NO! Piggy bank, MagnaDoodle, truck, frisbee? Nononono! ball? YES!

2. Why do Israeli children count starting from three? Anywhere you go, when kids want to count, like before jumping in the pool, or starting a race, etc., you hear, "Shalosh arbah VIH!" And they never finish. It's never "VIH-chamesh!" Just "VIH!" Like a numerical cliffhanger. I wonder if this continues in adulthood.

Surgeon, preparing to move a patient from the stretcher to a bed: On my count everyone!
[Staff, in singsong]: Shalosh arbah VIH!

3. A special shout-out to a new blog on the blogroll: kidsarenapping. The blogger is a friend of mine and mom of twins (boy and girl, since I know you wanted to ask). She writes in a way that will have you nodding your head and going, "YES! I know EXACTLY what you mean!" Even if your kids have come one at a time, I guarantee you will enjoy her blog.

4. Another shout-out to my "SISTERS" in Baltimore, on the birth of a son/nephew. However, let me be clear that this is the LAST shout-out until I see some COMMENTING!!

5. And a shout-out to myself, the newest blogger at Jewish Values Online. (You can access the blog here ). If you want to know which blog entries were written by me, just look for my code name at the bottom: "gila."

I'm always on the lookout for interesting topics to blog about over there, so if something catches your eye, let me know and I will bring my formidable blogging powers to bear on the topic of your choice. (And yet another shout-out, this time to A Mother in Israel, for unwittingly providing me with some of the recent blog topics.)

6. Well, I am just about hoarse from all these shout-outs. Time to rest the blogging voice. (But hopefully not for too long, Tired.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Q&A With Yaakov About Camp

Yaakov started camp on Monday. It is not in our neighborhood, and I didn't know any other kids going. So I asked him after the first day if he knew anyone.

"Yes, Ben! We play togethaw!"

"Did you know Ben before?"

[Exasperated] "No, I just met him today!"

"Do you have davening at camp?"

[Very seriously.] "No Mommy. We are VEWY busy. We have a LOT of pwojects to do and we don't have time faw davening."

"So, did you go the park at camp today?"

"Of cawse! We go to the pawk EVEWY day!" (This is after Day #2 of camp.)

So he's having a great time, though he's not thrilled with the aruchat eser choices, but I'm not offering to make him anything different because it is SUMMER and I am declaring my Freedom from Aruchat Eser until September 1st. It is the God-given right of Israeli parents to have 8 weeks off from aruchat eser every year.

Though, as Ariella pointed out, "But since we're not in tzaharon, you have to make lunch every day." Hmmm. Fair point.

Speaking of Ariella, she is going to camp ON A BUS. Her camp is in a nearby park/forest/campground (Ya'ar Ben Shemen) and she needs to get there ON A BUS. Also, she comes home from camp ON A BUS. Her BFF is also ON THE BUS with her. And they spend endless hours creating detailed plans about who sits where, and when, based on when each of them gets on and off THE BUS. The camp also has swimming almost every day (a rarity, from what I've seen so far) and lots of trips. So that's lots of fun.

But did I mention THE BUS????