Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to Read to Kids

Reading to your kids is an inevitable part of parenthood, like contemplating cutting your heart out with the plastic gingerbread man during Candy Land, cursing while you sweep up pasta and it just keeps tumbling away from you, and lying that your daughter is 10 so you can take her to Yad Vashem. (What? Not everyone does that? Also - see what I did there? Linking to the non-snarky blog I write for. So sneaky).

There are a number of ways you can read to your kids. As an example, I am going to use Curious George (the Original). A book that Nadav is currently enthralled by. "Monkey? Abba?" (Abba = other people's daddy; here, the Man with the Yellow Hat.)

Now, I love me some Curious George, although reading the book as an adult has left me feeling somewhat concerned about H.A. Rey's ethics. Stealing indigenous animals to sell to a zoo? Giving tobacco to young impressionable primates? Arresting a minor and throwing him in prison because of a prank call? The lack of guards in said prison? The balloon man selling balloons right outside the prison wall?

Anyway.

Nadav does not seem bothered by this at all. So we read Monkey over and over. I've been doing the Full Read lately.

The Full Read
"This is George. He lived in Africa. He was a good little monkey and always very curious."

Although it takes a long time, it requires little brain power. You can read every word without paying attention, freeing your mind to think about something more important, like how long till Grey's comes back. (Thursday Jan. 10. I'm already on to thinking about something else. Like playing "Dust or bug?")

The Summarizer
"Look! Here's George! He's trying on the man's hat! The man put him in a bag and took him to a ship! Oh no! George is in the water!"

This, I find, is actually the most difficult way to read a book. It sounds promising in the beginning - just tell them the gist of the story, no need to read every word. However, summarizing involves analytical skills. So, no thanks.

The One Sentence Per Page
"This is George. He picked it up and put it on. George was caught. Across the water to a big ship. But it is easy for little monkeys to forget. Finally he HAD to try. And almost all tired out. At last he was safe on board. And on into the city to the man's house. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Just then the watchman came in. What a nice place for George to live!"

If your kids are young enough, they won't understand that what you're saying makes absolutely no sense. They'll be happy that you are turning the pages and reading the familiar words.

The Board Book Version
(My personal favorite, but there is a limited amount of time you can get away with it.)

George!
Hat!
Ship!
House!
Fire engines!
Balloons!
THE END!

What method do you prefer?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Which Two Boys Cannot Both Play Nicely at the Same Time

What happens when the brothers play:

Nadav finds a toy --> Yaakov's older brother instincts kick in --> Yaakov does something small-enough-to-seem-innocent-but-enough-to-upset-Nadav (knock something down, touch a toy) --> Nadav's nice playtime is over --> Yaakov now settles down with a toy --> Nadav notices Yaakov has the motorcycle he wants --> Yes, the same damn motorcycle from last time! --> Nadav grabs the motorcycle --> I try to placate Yaakov by doing a puzzle with him ('cuz I'm out of money) --> Nadav wanders over --> Nadav also needs to do a puzzle --> But not one that is, God forbid, age-appropriate --> So I end up doing a 60-piece puzzle with a two-year-old --> Lining up each piece precisely so he can push it in, after which we discuss if it's "matim" (fits) or not --> "Matim?" --> "Matim?" --> x60

This was a day of Chanukah vacation; I had thought that since we spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon running around, I had earned myself a few moments of quiet while the Boys Played Nicely. The Parenting Gods, were, of course, looking at each other and shaking their heads in exasperation. "'Earn myself a few minutes of quiet?' HA! When will she learn??? It doesn't work like that! Hey guys, come on, let's go hide one of the kids' shoes or water bottle so she can't find it in the morning!"

They have a mean streak, those Parenting Gods.



Friday, December 7, 2012

Mommy Points!

It's time for the weekly roundup of Mommy Points! Let's see how well I did this week!

Cut up leftover chicken and meatballs into cubes and speared it with toothpicks and added a plate of dipping sauces, resulting in a creative and attractive lunch for my children that also used up my leftovers: +7

The "dipping sauces" were just ketchup and mustard: -2

Engaged in a fun game with Nadav... +3 just for that.

...that involved me blowing up a balloon over and over (and over) and letting him hold it while the air phlbbt-ed out. +5. Did I mentioned the over and over and over part? +3 Till I got lightheaded? +2

Paid Yaakov a shekel to let Nadav play with a motorcycle that they were fighting over: -5, for not using the opportunity to teach about sharing, taking turns, blah blah blah.

However ... it wasn't an actual motorcycle: +2

(Seriously, this is the smallest, plainest motorcycle imaginable. It doesn't move, or beep or light up. In fact, its only attraction is He Has It. No points. Just mentioning).

Helped Ariella study for her Chanukah chidon, which meant I had to scan through 8 pages of very dense Hebrew about the history of Modiin and understand it enough to ask questions, and understand it even more to make sure she was saying the right answer. +7 because I attempted it; -3 because I didn't do such a hot job, especially when it got to the end, about various battles that took place here in 1948, and I just said to her, "You know what? Why don't you just read these last two pages and make sure you understand them. Okay? Great!"

Yelled way too much: -10

But didn't use actual curse words: +2

The children are alive, reasonably well-fed and not visibly filthy. +one meeeelyon

Yay! I won! My prize? Doing it all again next week!!

How well did YOU do this week?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nadav Writes a Story

A Very True Story, narrated by Nadav and written by Meema. This Very True Story occurred in our own house, just this past Shabbat.

(Amended to include the correct chapter six; see comments.)

Bee

Chapter 1: Bee! Bee!

Chapter 2: Bee! Cookie! [Ed. note: The bee had landed on the bag of cookies.]

Chapter 3: Daaaa-dddyyyy!!

Chapter 4: DAAAA-dddyyy!!!

Chapter 5: DAAAA-DDDDDYYYY!

Chapter 6: Bee. Go.

The "bee" in question was actually a fly, so don't be too concerned that Daddy doesn't make an appearance until Chapter 6.

Also, for all of you Save the Flies activists (flyctivist?), Daddy did not kill the fly. He simply opened the window. First, the fly failed to notice the open section and hurtled himself into the glass a few dozen times. Because let's face it, even you flyctivists have to admit that flies, as a species, are rather dumb. After a few dizzying minutes, though, he (the fly) found the opening and zoomed out.

Till next time, Bee.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Parenting: A Confession

Here it is, folks: I have no parenting philosophy.

Before we had kids, I never really stopped to consider what "parenting" meant. We had some vague notions about not getting much sleep, telling little people to "Brush your teeth!" and going on family vacations. Mostly the immediate pre-baby time was spent on stuff; namely, staring in a bewildered manner at the aisles and aisles of stuff at Buy Buy Baby, which ended with me running out of the store in tears and Donny standing there helplessly, holding the list of Stuff You Must Have Lest Your Child End Up a Tattooed Juvenile Delinquent Who Never Brushes His Teeth, wondering, for the love of all that is covered in spit up, what the hell are "oh-nay-sies." (Onesies, is the answer. Have I blogged about this story before? It seems vaguely familiar, but I couldn't remember and anyway, you've gotten this far, might as well finish.)

And then our children came, one by one, like the ants, and we began the whole process of child-rearing, sticking close to our non-philosophy philosophy. Which meant that we basically fumbled through, hoping for the best and keeping a sharp eye out for tattoos. I never even read a real parenting book, except for the "What to Expect" variety, which tells you things like, "This month your child will learn to clap!" and if your child learned to clap last month, you feel smug, and if the month passes, clap-free, you panic and break into hysterics, envisioning heartbreaking scenes of your child sitting at their child's Siddur Party, banging pathetically on a tambourine while all the other parents are madly applauding.

Oh, also, I've read the chapters of my own book on parenting, "Leave me Alone So I Can Read the People Magazines from Three Months Ago. Or the Back of a Cereal Box. Please." (My expectations have gotten lower.) 

Anyway, I just figured this was how all parents raised their children. But as I have met more and more parents, it seems that I am in the minority. Lots of parents have parenting philosophies, which include very definite ideas of how they do or do not want to raise their children. They even read books about it. And have discussions. And post things on forums. And sound generally intelligent and non-fumbly.

So my point here is: Am I alone? Do you have a Philosophy or are you a Wing-It-er? Should I put more thought into this whole parenting thing other than idly wondering how much longer it is till bedtime? Tell me your thoughts. Just to try to keep them to cereal-box-length. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

War Stuff

Well.

Here we are again, at war. Though it's not a war. It's an "operation." But we are "at operation" does not have the same ring.

My Tired friend was lamenting how exhausting it is to constantly explain the situation (via, FB, Twitter, etc) to the masses. Especially the masses that think like this lovely CNN newscaster. See her at her objective journalistic finest during an interview with Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Prime Minister! (PS: I am employing the use of sarcasm when I say "lovely," "objective," "journalistic" and "finest.")

But Yaakov has it all figured out, Tired. So you can turn to him as your expert commentator during these troubled times.

Me: Rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel fighting back, etc etc.

Ariella: Isn't Gaza part of Israel??

Ahem.

Ariella, continued: Why are they doing that?

Yaakov, in his most exasperated, I-can't-BELIEVE-I-have-to-explain-this-to-you way: It's like in Power Rangers! They are the BAD GUYS. And since [Yaakov-speak for "except"] they are people, not monsters.

So.

May God give strength to the Good Guys and protect us from the Bad Guys. Shabbat shalom.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Actual Thing That Happened To Me

So we've discussed my memory problems before. At least, I think we have.

Here's a new story for the annals:

Scene: I am in the kitchen, slicing apples for Yaakov's lunch.

[Open drawer.] Hmmm, no plastic sandwich bags left. Lemme go to the cabinet in the laundry room to get another box.

[Walk to laundry room. As I open cabinet, I see the stuff sitting in the washer.]

Oh, whoops, I never switched this laundry before. I'll put it in the dryer now.

[Switch laundry. Turn to leave laundry room.]

[Annoyed.] Geeze, who left this cabinet door open! I could have hurt myself!

[Back in kitchen, faced with Yaakov's apples.]

Hmmm, no plastic sandwich bags left. Lemme go to the cabinet in the laundry - OHHH!!! [Plastic bags. Door left open. It allll comes together. Is it too late for another cup of coffee?]

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ariella, Meet Email

But first, a Language lesson:

Ariella: Did you ever play wallball?

Me: Sure. 

Ariella: We play it during hafsakah.

Me: [curious] How do you say "wallball" in Hebrew?

Ariella: Woohl-boohl

**********************************************************

So I got Ariella her own email address. She was bugging me to, and because it didn't involve candy or me getting into a car, I said yes. 

This has led to some interesting and surprising conversation. Interesting, 'cuz you know, I don't really understand the Internets myself, so it makes it hard to explain to someone else. Me, I'm still trying to figure out magnets. And surprising, because she is so tech-savvy in other ways. (See her Powerpoint presentation for Zaidy's birthday. 30 slides, transitions, pictures, sounds, you name it.)

We had previously discussed the difference between closing the browser vs. closing a tab. (OMG! You got rid of everything I was working on!!!!) We also discussed the importance of using different browsers for email, so we won't be constantly logging each other out.

Other questions about the mythical, wondrous Land of the 'Net:

1. "Now that I have email, will I also have tabs?" (Email is on a tab. It does not come with them.)

2. "I went to Webtop [her class website] and my email disappeared!" (You need to open up a new tab if you want to be on two websites at once.)

3. [I taught her how to ar-chive - as she calls it - her emails. For example, she could archive her introductory emails from Google, and then if she wants to find them later, just type in "google" in the search box.]
"Mommy, I typed in 'google' but I can't find that email from Bubby!" (Cue discussion about search terms.)

4. And my favorite: "When will I get spohm?" (Rhymes with bomb)

(Fret not, my dear, the Hon. Mr. Thembelani T. Nxes, from the South African Ministry of Works and Housing, is hurtling through cyberspace to an inbox near you.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Story About Eggs

So yesterday I did my weekly food shopping.

[Pause for a nap. Just thinking about it makes me tired.]

I was by myself. Which is a shame, because the big kids were getting to be terrific shopping helpers. In addition to loading the belt while I bag, they can get the cheese at the cheese counter. But their schedules this year did not leave an opening for food shopping, unless I go after 4:00 and take the Small Tornado with me. And I really didn't want to play his two favorite games: "Eat Your Way Through the Store" followed by "I've Had Enough of This Cart Hold Me" (the second of which always occurs while I'm frantically bagging.)

Anyway, I did all the work myself, and was bumping my cart through the parking lot when, SPLAT, my eggs fell. And, as anyone whose eggs have gone SPLAT in the parking lot will tell you, the eggs will break. I was feeling very annoyed and figured I would just dump the eggs in the garbage and get more a different time.

But a helpful man was standing near the garbage and suggested I go back. "I think they will exchange them for you," he said. I was thinking probably not, since after all it was my fault they dropped, and it would be a great opportunity for them to say that beloved Israeli catchphrase, "Zeh lo kashur elay."

However, it felt churlish to then ignore this nice man and dump my eggs anyway, right in front of him. But, I had a cartful of groceries. So in one hand I held the carton of eggs, which at this point had started to gently drip, and with the other pushed the cart to my car. I unloaded the bags into my car, placed my dripping egg carton in my now-empty cart and headed back into the store.

I waited at the main desk. I put my eggs on the counter and explained my situation. Can I exchange the eggs? (Drip, drip, drip). The Man nodded thoughtfully. "I don't know. See that lady next to the front door? Go ask her." Back into the shopping cart. We wheeled over to the lady. Can I exchange my eggs? She thought for a moment. Yes, she decided. You can exchange your eggs. Get a new carton and then put the broken eggs (drip, drip) onto the counter at the main desk.

So my dripping eggs and I went careening through the store to the egg section, which of course is on the complete opposite end. I got a new carton and cradled it gently, like I was holding something fragile. Such as eggs. We re-careened back to the main desk (drip, drip) and left the broken eggs on the counter. For what purpose? I'm not sure.

After clearing nearly all the eggs-tacles (obstacles? An attempt at an egg pun? Did it not work?), there was only one left: Receipt-Stamping Lady. And naturally, my receipt was in the car, with my now-melting groceries. You could have probably made a decent hafuch with the milk at this point. She looked at me, pushing a cart that was completely empty save for a single carton of eggs.

Her eyebrows shot up. "Kabbalah?" she inquired. I, once again, explained my situation. Luckily she let me go.

And that is how Rami Levy managed to do the right thing in the most complicated way possible.

Drip, drip, drip.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Which I Score a Point. Just One. But Still.

Problem #1: Nadav does not want to put on pajamas. Pajamas mean sleep, and sleep is bad. Or, in the Heblish that Nadav has perfected, "NOOO lishon!!!"

Problem #2: Nadav does not want to get dressed in the morning. Clothing means going to gan, and leaving Meema, and we can't do that! Poor Meema! What will she do all day without her little helper?? How will she get anything done without someone clinging to her hip?

Solution: Instead of having two battles, I have eliminated them completely with my Get Dressed To Go To Sleep method (patent pending). At night, we put on fresh clothes of Nadav's choosing. They even remain relatively clean when it's time to go to gan in the morning. Also, he sleeps in his shoes, so he is ready to go, go, go. All he needs is a quick diaper change and we're outta there! Score one point for Meema!

Future Problem #1: As you may recall from a few sentences ago, Nadav sleeps in his shoes. This is okay now, during sandal weather (Choref Outlook: Continued Warm and Sunny), because at least some air circulates. Although, pieces of his sandals are constantly flaking off and sticking to his feet. Also, his feet stink. Bad. But okay. The big Future Problem is going to be winter. One cannot wear socks and thick leather shoes 24/7. One (Nadav) will certainly want to, but one (me) cannot let that happen. My standards are pretty low, but even I draw the line at wearing winter shoes straight through from November-March.

No solution yet, other than poking some air holes into his winter shoes.

In other news...

For all those following my RealIsraeli Meter, there have been a number of significant developments in recent weeks that are making my Israeliness go off the charts, leading me to run through the streets shouting "Oyoyoyoy TZION! TZION" or maybe just "SABABA!"

1. My personal Hebrew email checker (Ariella) complimented me on my "עברית עשירה" in one of my emails. Okay, I know, it's even more Israeli if you don't need a personal Hebrew email checker. But still. (In case you were wondering, it was my correct usage of the word "עקב" that elicited the compliment.)

2. I am a member of a first grade Facebook group. A member posted a question about an email that had been sent out and I - I! - was the veteran olah who went ahead and explained what it said! I think I even got it right! It makes sense that the kids need to come to school on Friday with 31 live chickens, right?

3. I bought Yaakov some jeans today and thought, "Good, now he has Shabbat clothes."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scary Things Kids Say

Striking fear into the hearts of mothers everywhere....

1. "....so I stood on a chair to reach the bowls, but it wasn't high enough, so I put a stepstool on top of the chair..."

2. "The teacher said that instead of a test, we're going to do a project on the parsha. With a partner."

3. "B-R-R-R-R-I-I-I-I-N-N-N-G-G-G" [Followed by child's gan/school on caller ID]

4. "Oh, I need to bring 30 lollipops for our party in school. It's tomorrow."

5. [Silence]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Goodbye Sukkot; Hello Winter. Or: Not

Choref Lookout
Now that Sukkot is over, we are officially in Choref Zman, which means no vacation until Pesach. Yes, school will be off for Chanukah, but not work, so me + kids - Donny = Not Vacation. BUT, the upside of choref zman means we can now eagerly anticipate the days of less hot weather. This is the time of year I actually check the forecast, because it may deviate from Hot and Sunny. So without further ado (though in general I love a good ado), AliyahByAccident is proud to present our Official Choref Lookout:

7-day forecast: Hot and Sunny

Blech

Sukkot Roundup
In other news, Loyal Reader f/e asked about our sukkah. And I never like to leave Loyal Readers hanging.

In the 13 Sukkot Donny and I have celebrated together, this is only the very second time we've had our own Sukkah. It was very emotional. And large. Well, we were emotional. The sukkah was large. Though after 2 weeks of non-stop partying, we were kinda both.

Anyway, the sukkah spanned the entire mirpeset, which is like, super big. It's some number of meters by some smaller number of meters. Or maybe it's some number of meters by some larger number of meters. I forget. But it was big. We could seat 18 people  and still have room for a couch and some armchairs. Because what's a sukkah without a living room? Maybe Donny will post some pictures later. And really, all the credit to our fabulous sukkah goes to Donny, who, if you were stuck on a desert island with him, would totally have an ingenious way to rig up some shade to protect you from the beating sun. Although, he's really the planner, not the builder, so before you get yourself stranded, you might also want to grab Ron, who built the poles which held up the s'chach. So yes, with Donny and Ron, you would be well protected. Oh wait, also take the grill. Donny makes a mean steak. And some marinade. You know what? Forget the desert island. Just stay here. There's plenty of room in our sukkah.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

For Shame!

Geeze, who runs this blog? No update in almost a month? It's downright embarrassing. Who is in charge of things around here???

Oh wait....

Like a true Israeli, all I can tell you is that we'll be back to our irregularly scheduled posts "acharei hachagim."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well. I was going to blog about a traumatic school books experience, but that seems so two weeks ago. The trauma is still continuing, due to the unfortunate combination of me needing books + book stores not having books + publishers unsure if they will even print the books. But it's a less intense trauma, since now I've simply accepted that there won't be books, and that's that.

Then I was going to write a post about how to make the perfect round challah, except that I don't ever bake challah.

Then I thought about writing something inspiring and spiritual, but then I remembered this isn't that kind of blog.

So!

Before this Eat, Pray, Eat fest begins (and yes, let's be honest, it starts tomorrow), I will take my head out of my freezer (I spend a lot of time there, trying to rearrange Existing Things so New Things will fit, and ohmigod why is there so much damn frozen pita in here) and wish all my Readers a shana tova, filled with health and happiness, of course, but also quality ice cream, minimal doctor visits, plenty of coffee, friends you can dump your kids with last minute when something Unexpected comes up (Momz--I see the joke coming a mile away), days that your spouse comes home early, speedy Internet, very many "Awww, my kids are so cute!" moments and very few "AHHHHH my kids are insane monsters!" moments, paired-up socks, warm chocolate chip cookies, naps, at least a few times when you think you're going to die laughing, merrily humming appliances ... and people you love (or very much like) to enjoy it all with.

Did I miss anything? Shana tova!



Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Which We Fail

How the smugly have fallen.

I used to be a Tipat Chalav snob. Everyone had horror stories from their well-baby checkups at Tipat Chalav. The baby's too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, can't hear, hears too well, eats both too much AND not enough. Oh, and may the Lord protect you if your child fails to stack the blocks correctly. 

But I had a great nurse. So I felt very smug, listening to all my poor friends complain, thinking how lucky I was to be placed under Nurse Simcha's care.

And then. We got switched to Nurse Debbie. Nurse Debbie is a dour little woman, who called Nadav "chamud" but without any real feeling. I mean, what kind of person is that?

Look at that face!



[Pause.]

So she sees in her notes that Nadav had a speech delay. She asks me some questions about that. I explain: "Surgery....tubes...hearing tests...improvement..." expecting that this is the end of the conversation.

But no. Alas, for the days of Nurse Simcha. Nurse Debbie gets an evil glint in her eyes and pulls out a colorful, laminated card. On it is a picture of a little boy in bed, hugging a teddy bear.

Aha! She's going to ask him "Where's the bear? Where's the boy?" He can totally do this. (Whether he is willing to is a whole nother story, of course.)

But no. It's not a pointing activity. She asks, "Tell me what you see here, Nadav," waving her hand vaguely around the picture.

Nadav and I were thinking the same thing, "For the love of Ben Gurion! Are you hafuching crazy????" Well, Nadav actually smiled serenely, clearly believing this to be some sort of hilarious joke. But I'm sure he was thinking it, on the inside.

She kept asking, changing the words around. "Describe what's here. What do you see? Can you tell me what you see?" Yes, because that's the problem. He just didn't understand you the first time.

Anyway, I started to panic. Was he supposed to be able to answer this open-ended question in full sentences, with a capital and a period? You see, once I have left a child-rearing stage, I have absolutely no recollection of what is supposed to happen at that age. I have to start again with each kid. So I had no idea if Ariella and Yaakov frequently offered elaborate, detailed explanations of colorful laminated cards when they were two.

But as for Nadav, he clearly Failed, which I think makes Nurse Debbie quiver with an excitement normally only felt during SuperPharm's 1 Ploose 1 sale. She made us an appointment for the beginning of November, to assess his speech again. She then asked me what words he does have.

"Does he put two words together? Three?"

"Yes," I responded happily, "he says, 'lo rotzeh et zeh."

"That's only 2 words," she snapped.

Oh boy. None of my other 2-3 word combos counted either, apparently. Even his "DIE!" which he can draw out to as long as four or five words.

I have been humbled. I now join the ranks of all of you inferior parents, raising your inferior children. Let's get together and practice stacking blocks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On Hold; In the Meantime, Homework



Well, I started some blogs and finished none. Stay tuned for some rants about schoolbooks and Tipat Chalav. Two things near and dear to my heart. (Not!*)

*Note to youngsters: "Not!" was how we cleverly and wittily--at least, we felt clever and witty when we said it--denoted sarcasm, back in the late '80s.

In the meantime, check out some kitah aleph homework, brought to you by Yaakov. And see for yourselves why Yaakov is awesome, and also why I worry about his school career.





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Foiled Again!

So one of my favorite parenting blogs discussed a formerly favorite hobby of mine: Eating your child's ice cream cone to "help" him or her finish it before it melts. Cone so big, child so small, parent must intervene.

However, Nadav has recently thwarted my efforts. Not with the bloodcurdling scream he emits should I venture close to his beloved ahh-tik (i.e. artik, i.e. ice cream). I mean, I can still sneak in a few stealth round-the-cone licks while he's distracted by some bird. ("Tootie shamah!" by which he really means "tuki shamah" which sort of means "Bird! There!" except "tuki" is really a toucan and we don't see many of those nibbling cone droppings outside the ice cream shop, but that's the only word for bird he seems to know. Sheesh, translating Nadav-speak is hard work.)

No, he has stopped me in my ice-cream-thieving tracks by using the ultimate anti-parent weapon: bubble gum ice cream.

GAAAAGGGGG!!!!

Tastes like an unholy mixture of penicillin, sugar and concentrate of nastystuff. Oh, and the color. Surely neither God nor man ever intended us to eat something that resembles Barbie's convertible. And Nadav insists we top the whole frozen delight with rainbow sprinkles. Of course. Gotta make sure you get your daily serving of red dye #5.

So I sit there, watching the ice cream cone sadly drip onto his hands, shirt, shorts, shoes. Drip, drip, drip, "TOOTIE!!! SHAMAH!!!" drip, drip, smear. And there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

(I could just ... get my own cone? I need to check my Parenting Manual to make sure that's allowed, though.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy September!

(In case you're confused....in my world, "August" is the month that starts when camp ends and limps to a sweaty close on the day school begins.) So happy September!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's STILL August

Well, the blog posts have been piling up in my head and I haven't had the time to write them down, leading to a severe case of blog-stipation, which has made me break the #1 rule of blogging, which is never allude to digestive problems when describing your writing process.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the topics On My Mind lately.

Eilat...wasn't so hot. In the temperature sense. I mean, don't get me wrong, it wasn't like you needed a light jacket at night or anything, but it didn't really feel that much hotter than Modiin. We were happy, and yet a bit disappointed, after all the hype. All in all, the trip was a success, plus we got to visit FOUR national parks on our way up and down, so we are well on our way to checking all of them off our list...

...in other vacation news, we also visited the beach, which became a very expensive trip when my prescripton sunglasses became a tribute to the wild seas of the Mediterranean; we went to Kastel, a place with terrific ruins where we played, of course, a game of Harry Potter; and we learned, through personal experience, that one really should not visit Gan Hashlosha, aka Sachna, during Eid-ul-Fitr.

... in case you were wondering, girls really are awesomer than boys. (I know most of you were not, in fact, wondering about this, since many of you either are awesome girls yourselves or are married to one and can testify to their supreme awesomeness.) But in case you needed confirmation: We (read: Ariella) were bemoaning yet another year with Annoying Boys in the class. Yaakov smiled smugly and said, "I'm lucky because I'm a boy and girls aren't annoying!"...

... another sign that I am getting old: I am losing my mem- ... hmmm? Oh, hi there!! Yes. Ahem. Anyway. So, the whole, "Why did I walk into this room again?" is become fairly routine. And I stride into the room with such purpose, such force! Only to stop short and have to retrace my steps, hoping something along the way will jog my memory as to why I was headed there in the first place. It is also becoming harder to play games with the children. Obviously, Memory is the hardest. The children regularly beat me. If I end up with 4 matches, that's good for me, and usually one of those was plain dumb luck. ("What??? That's not the other tree? Damn!") as my young opponent, waiting impatiently, gleefully swoops in and correctly matches the pair of trees. Even simple games like Go Fish are challenging. For example: I pick up a turtle (we have a new animal version from Saba and Sarah). Yay! I know that one of the children recently asked me for a turtle! But...which one was it? I can't remember! People! This should not be challenging! There are only two of them! ...

... in Harry Potter news: The children are banned from using the Unforgivable Curses on each other. Also, I told Ariella she is absolutely forbidden, under any circumstances, to use the phrase, "Bloody hell!" However, "Merlin's beard!" is completely acceptable.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Greetings from the South!

Hello! Can you hear me? We're in Eilat!

This year, we took a departure from our normal northern vacation spot to head dow-nee ocean (that's a Baltimore-ism for you out-of-towners).

Why Eilat?

Everyone told us, from personal experience, that we should not go to Eilat in the summer. So it was obvious that to be true Israelis, we need to go to Eilat in the summer and then tell other people not to do it. Check!

So far, there has been eating out, artikim and pool. (You had me at eating out.) In the hotel, the kids were fascinated by the "big mat that covers the floor." (Israeli children, meet carpeting). And Ariella's new goal in life is to order room service.

Tomorrow we head to the aquarium and ice city. We will keep you posted from Eilat, The City You Should Never Visit in the Summer but Everyone Does.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Time Travel, Revisited

The excitement is palpable here in the Rose household. Aunt Leezy From Australia is coming! (Because Donny and I both have sisters named Leezy, we need to differentiate them. When we are talking to each other, we modify it with "my Leezy" or "your Leezy." For the kids, who have never met Donny's sister, we call her Aunt Leezy from Australia. Well, Ariella has met her, but was 9 months old the last time they saw each other).

For those of you sharp-eyed readers, you probably caught on that Ariella is waaaay older than 9 months now. So this means we have not seen Aunt Leezy from Australia for a very, very long time. The last time we saw her was at her wedding in 2004. But this week, Aunt Leezy is doing a whirlwind tour of the world, visiting Baltimore and Israel. (My favorite part of the trip? Besides, you know, getting to see her? How she leaves Australia on Sunday and arrives in Baltimore that same Sunday! The International Date Line rocks!)

A certain child who wishes to remain nameless asked, "But why is she coming all by herself? Why doesn't she bring her kids?"

I tried to explain. "More expensive...blah blah blah...hard to travel with kids....quick trip....blah blah blah." But this was not computing. "So just bring the oldest kid!" (Spoken like a true first-born. If, you know, it was the first-born who said this.)

Then I remembered, "Well, Aunt Leezy's kids are starting school now. So if her kids went, they would miss school." Enter discussion of backwards seasons, now it's winter, etc. etc.

Nameless child pauses for a moment, considering this.

Then, "So it's already 2013 there?"

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Age of Innocence

[From the trenches of Harry Potter]

While Ariella and I have had the how-do-babies-get-in-there-and-how-do-they-get-out discussion (Horrified - "But it's so small!" Yes. Yes it is), Ariella is less well-versed in matters of the heart. So as we head into Harry Potter 4, with balls and crushes and flirting, she's a little in the dark.

(Apologies to all my non-Potterphile readers; feel free to skip this one).

Ron, as you recall, is grumpy because Hermione is attending the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum.

Ariella: Oh, so Ron's jealous... [Exactly! Feeling impressed that she's picked up on that nuance] because Hermione gets to go with Krum! [Um ... sure].

Later, Snape is using his wand to blast pairs of students who are, um, in the rosebushes together, deducting House points when the couples scamper out. He sees Ron and Harry sitting on the bench and tells them to get a move on.

Ariella: Why didn't Harry and Ron get in trouble?
Me: Well, they weren't doing anything wrong.
Ariella: But what were the kids in the bushes doing wrong?
Me: Well...
Ariella: They were probably just playing hide and seek.

Okay, we're going to go with that.

Enjoying the innocence while it lasts.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My (Clean) Little Secret

So Ariella has been asking lately how she can get more money. She keeps pestering me to think of ways she can earn some money around the house, and I keep pushing her off, using the line that has been used for thousands of years, all the way to when Cain asked Eve how he could earn some extra pocket cash: "I'll discuss it with your father." (Digression: If Eve had said, "Here's five shekel, try not to kill your brother," would history have turned out very differently? See, parenting by bribery is not always bad!)

Of course, then her father and I forget to discuss it. Because we're so busy discussing other, exciting topics, including but not limited to:

1. The shade/sukkah on our mirpeset
2. The latest Nadav-capade (like his recent predilection for munching on plums in his crib during vigil).
3. Our Day (Donny: "Work...meeting....PMs....cloud....specs....blah blah blah...." Me: "Blog....Rami Levi.....thing I learned on Google...kids...blah blah blah....")

And then she asks again, and I use the line on her again, and she's frustrated that I am not keeping up my end of the bargain. So tonight I threw it back to her, telling her to come up with a list of things she thinks might be allowance-worthy.

She came back with: Taking care of Nadav, Folding Laundry and Helping with Dinner.

The laundry was an interesting idea. In theory, this is perfect for her. I could teach her how to fold clothes correctly, a lesson she is long overdue for, if you've ever opened her drawers and seen a pile of colored wrinkles staring back at you. It's age-appropriate, helpful and necessary.

But here's the thing: I don't want to give up laundry folding.

That's right. Because the bigger the laundry pile, the more TV I get to watch while folding. And I so look forward to my weekly dates with laundry +  Gossip Girl (Yes, Gossip Girl. Don't judge/laugh...oh fine, go ahead. Judge. Laugh.)

So....we are still undecided. I'll have to remember to speak to her father about it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Embarrassing Stories

Tomorrow night, Ariella has her first camp sleepover. She's had lots of friends sleepovers, but this is her first industrial-strength one, with a schedule that includes "Movies all night long." While discussing the upcoming overnight this past Shabbat, I was reminded of an Embarrassing Story that happened on my first overnight at camp. It is so embarrassing that I still cringe thinking about it.

Naturally, I will now share this story with you.

First of all, let it be known that my counselor ("What's a counselor, Mommy?" Sorry, "madrichah,") wasn't ever going to be nominated for Most Compassionate Teenager of the Year. It was very obvious to all of us tweens that she was just there for the Boys. Now, Boys our age were sticking pencils up their noses and wrestling each other and generally smelling pretty bad, so we did not get this infatuation. But the point is, I did not have a particularly warm relationship with her, which might explain how the situation later got away from me. Literally.

So there we were, spreading out our sleeping bags in a big room. We all slept in the same room--it was a gym or auditorium or something. The counselors announced that if anyone needed a bathroom run, they were taking a group right before bed. There was no bathroom in the gym, so if you needed to go, someone had to accompany you. (Many of you probably see where this is going). I kinda had to go, but for some reason, still a mystery to me lo these many years later, I declined the offer. Before bed, the counselors reminded us that we were not to go to the bathroom alone; if we needed to go in the middle of the night, we had to wake one of them up to take us.

Fast forward a few hours. I am awoken from my slumber by the insanely terrible urge to pee. What to do? A normal person would have woken up a counselor and asked to go. Maybe a risky person would have snuck out alone. But I was (and am) an afraid-people-will-be-mad-at-me person. I was faced with two untenable choices:

A. Wake up my counselor (for whom, if you recall from earlier, I did not feel the warm and fuzzies), which ran the risk of being yelled at - "Why didn't you go earlier? What's the matter with you?" -  or at the very least getting grumbled and eye-rolled at.

B. Hold it in till morn.

Neither of these options suited me. Being left to my own devices, I....went. Right there in my sleeping bag. Relief, followed by oh-my-god-what-did-I-just-do??? I honestly can't remember if I changed or suffered through the night in cold pee-jays. It was one of the lower points of my tween years.

However, one parent's tragedy is her child's comedy, right? Needless to say, Ariella LOVED the story. (So did Donny. Apparently he had never heard it before. See? 12 years later, and the mystery is still there!)

She then requested an Embarrassing Overnight Story from Daddy.

Which I now present to you: Donny's family had gone camping. After swimming in the lake, he realized his bathing suit was full of lake dirt. So he changed and then decided to rinse his bathing suit. As he approached the bathroom at the campsite, it dawned on him: "Hey, I could rinse my bathing suit in the sink...OR, I could swish it in the toilet, which already has water in it!" And that is how Daddy came to wash his bathing suit in a toilet.

After the stories, Ariella was bursting. "I have to go downstairs! [To our neighbors.]" she exclaimed. "I have to tell these stories to Noa right now before I forget!"

Within two days, not only did Noa know the stories, but so did every girl in Ariella's bunk (sorry, "kvutzah") -- "I told all the girls in my kvutzah about how you washed your bathing suit in the toilet!!!" she told us excitedly, her face shining with unbridled joy -- as well as the children on her bus, in our neighborhood, the greater Modiin area, and most of the Merkaz. In fact, I would not be surprised if, as you were reading this, you said to yourself, "Oh yeah, pee in sleeping bag and bathing suit in toilet stories. Heard those already."

Anyway, now would be a highly appropriate time if any Loyal Readers would like to share their own Embarrassing Overnight Stories.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We're Doing Something Right (?)

So Ariella bought me a present for my birthday! Whaaaaa....???!!! That's right! Displaying maturity, affection, kindess. Whoo-hoo!! There are some parenting points in there for me!

The present? A toothbrush from the shekel store.

Okay, it was probably a shekel she earned when I bribed her to play nicely with Yaakov. So I lose some points for parenting-by-bribery.

But, when I thanked her for spending her own money at me, she looked at me and said, "Well, you spend your own money on me all the time!"

Possibility of children turning into actual mensches? I'll take those points back, thank you very much.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time Turning, Head Spinning

I recently had "the Talk" with my kids.

You know, the one about time travel.

Lately, the discussion at our house has been all Harry Potter, all the time. I'm reading the books to Ariella (and Yaakov, who occasionally pops in for a listen), and then she's rereading in Hebrew, and then I let them watch the movie. So we are very heavy into practicing our wingardium leviosa and expelliarmus spells using random pencils we find around the house. And asking many, many questions.

Some are questions I have always wondered myself, like "Where do the professors live?" And some I never even thought of. Such as, "How did they choose the house ghosts?" Hmmm. No idea.

We just finished book 3, and by far the most difficult sugya we have dealt with to date is time travel. (Luckily, snogging doesn't happen until book 4).

If you recall, back in those heady days when you were reading Harry Potter for the first time, the trio listens from afar as the executioner kills Buckbeak (or so they think.) We keep reading, and we see that in fact Harry and Hermione went back in time, using Hermione's Time Turner, to save Buckbeak and Sirius. (I would have posted a "Spoiler Alert," but honestly, if you haven't ready Harry Potter by now, you're a Muggle with a capital "M.")

Ariella asks, "Okay, but who saved Buckbeak the first time?" ("See, but this is the first time! Even though it's later and it happened already!")

Yaakov wants to know, "So which ones are the real Harry and Hermione and which ones are the fake ones?" ("They're both real, 'cuz they went back in time and now can see themselves from three hours ago!")

Oh boy.

Next up: A Wrinkle in Time and Back to the Future.

It's good to have the proper resources when explaining complex matters to your children.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nadav Speaks

Well, folks, this may be my final guest post. I am getting ear tubes tomorrow, and Mommy thinks I'll soon be speaking lengthy, sophisticated and articulate sentences, and she also thinks it's not as funny to imagine what I'm saying when I can, you know, for real say stuff.

So yes, surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, and I'm hearing lots of phrases that make me vaguely uncomfortable, such as "can't give him anything to drink" but also things that sound most excellent like, "will have to stay home after the surgery." I could have sworn she also said, "though I wish I could just take him to gan afterward." I shall assume that was just my fluid-filled ears playing tricks on me.

Before I sign off, I would like to give you some final pellets of wisdom:

1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating cereal with your toothbrush. Don't listen to Mommy.

2. I am the favorite and she did find the other two in a box on the side of the road, no matter what anyone says.

3. One can never have too many sippy cups.

4. When you're doing something wrong, don't try to hide it. Go on the offense. If a bigger person approaches you while you are deep into their stuff (throwing Yaakov's money around, sweeping all of Ariella's art projects onto the floor, wearing Mommy's headphones as a necklace), scream "DIE!!!" (the Hebrew "die," not the English "die" - I'm not violent) as loud as you can. After all, they're not so innocent! They are bothering you. And you're not going to take it anymore!

5. I am not spilling. I am simply freeing the liquids from their constraining environs. If you love it set it free, and all.

6. Yes, really. (This is in answer to Mommy's frequently asked question, "Really Nadav? Really?")

7. A PSA to my dear mother: I know I've said this before, but get off the freakin' computer. No one has emailed you in the five minutes since you last checked and the only exciting thing happening on Facebook is someone "pinned" something that you are never going to craft or bake anyway. Go do something useful, like clean up the yogurt I just freed all over the floor.

8. Here's a simple guide to understanding two-year-olds. I love it, unless I hate it. (The opposite also works.) It's a lack of understanding of this simple premise that leads to the inaptly named "terrible twos."

9. Also, all Meema has to do to make me happy is give me everything I want right away. Is that so difficult?

10. Daddy rocks. Even when he disappears into the phone for a week, I still love that guy.

Folks, it's been real. Soon, Mommy will be able to blog about all the adorable bon mots that will surely emanate from my lips. Until then....

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Joy of Chalk

So I bought some sidewalk chalk. Images of happy children, entertaining themselves for hours, creating original, whimsical works of art, danced in my head.

Problem #1: We have no sidewalk.

The children stared at the box of chalk, their initial excitement at Something New having worn off. "Where can we use this?" they legitimately wanted to know.

Well, Daddy's parking spot is generally empty during daylight hours. However, like Yosef's pit, the parking spot may be empty of car, but it is full of dirt and dead bugs (the little black ones.) So I vetoed that idea, images of children squatting in dirt and bugs dancing somewhat less enthusiastically in my head.

Okay, so Mommy could park her car on the street, and the children could color in her spot. But Mommy's spot is not covered. With the weather lately reminiscent of an oven turned on, full blast, in Hell, Mommy vetoed that idea as well, not wanting her children to get heatstroke. Honestly, she is too tired and hot to take anyone to Terem.

So that left the mirpeset. Although the mirpeset is tiled, and thus not the ideal surface for chalk, they actually did a fairly good job creating original, whimsical works of art on Friday afternoon.

Problem #2: Creating original, whimsical works of art grows old quickly.

Yesterday, the children and a friend discovered that you don't only have to color with chalk. If you bang the chalk really hard on the mirpeset, it breaks and creates chalk dust! Then, you can scoop up the dust and rub it all over your arms and legs! In fact, this dust is so precious that the children gathered it into a container to save for another day.

Problem #3: Nadav will find the container on a day I'm wearing a black skirt, dump out the chalk dust and annoint himself with it.

When I pick him up to take him to Ariella's gymnastics show at school, he will rub his legs--really grinding those shoes--into my skirt, making it look like I'm the one who rolled around in chalk dust, and I will grab the nearest damp dishtowel (so recently used to wipe yogurt and snot off Nadav's face) in a wild, pathetic, and okay, failed, attempt to make myself look somewhat presentable. Then I will wonder--not for the first time--why, in fact, do I own any articles of clothing that aren't dust-colored??

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ramblings: It's Been a While

1. No matter how often I sweep the boys' room (and, okay, I admit, it's not that often), it's always...crunchy. It seems a thin layer of grit has taken hold and refuses to leave. ("Hell no! We will be here forever, mocking your poor housekeeping skills and making you fear to tred without slippers!" is what their placards say.)  Most of it is Pocket Sand. (If you thought Shoe Sand was bad, it's nothing compared to accidentally turning a pair of shorts upside down.) And the rest of it? #doireallywanttoknow?

2. Surprise! We did not make a big "friends party" for the kids' birthdays this year. They are exhausting and expensive (parties; but, you know, also kids) and we did them last year. But Ariella's friends, an intrepid group known for taking matters into their own hands, called me up last week. "We want to make a surprise party for Ariella." How nice! I said. However, "We want to make a party for Ariella" really means "We want you to make a party for Ariella. And invite us." And all I need to do is:
Send out the email invitation.
Buy the food.
Host the party.
Set up.
Clean up.
Buy haftaot, because what is a party without cheap cheapies?

The girls are "planning the activity," which it seems involves some sort of game asking Ariella what her favorite color is. In the event this scintillating activity doesn't use up more than 30 seconds, I added "Buy art supplies" to my list.

Really, it's very sweet that her friends are doing this. And although I considered telling them "No!" I didn't want the Sourpuss Party Pooper Mom Award to mess up the wall with all of my other parenting awards. So we are sallying forth. It'll be Monday at 5:00. (Don't tell Ariella.)

3. A fashion dilemma: Today, Nadav came to me with a red striped t-shirt and a gray striped polo shirt for his outfit. I know what you are thinking, "Why are stripes the only design they can put on a boy's shirt????"

So I put on the first shirt. Nadav handed me the second shirt. I took off the first shirt and put on the second shirt. Nadav handed me the first shirt. I took off the second shirt and put back on the first shirt. Eventually, he conceded to wear only one of the shirts and a pair of shorts. And so he learned a fundamental fashion lesson: Pants are necessary.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quality Family Time, With Other People's Family

We apologize for the long absence. We got slowed down last week by right transient synovitis. It's a real thing. Look it up. Thank God, the synoviter in question (Nadav) was back to his usual bouncy self after two days.

So Friday evening, post-candlelighting, kids are having playdates with friends in the building, aka their Downstairs Dopplegangers. Everything is going along swimmingly. Boys are running around making shooty noises, girls making chatty noises, etc. etc. Dinner time comes, and no one wants the playdate to end. So we decide to split the kids - we took the boys, downstairs got the girls.

Now, in theory, in principle, ideally, I am opposed to sending a child away for Shabbat dinner. Because in my mind, family dinners look like this:

We talk about our week, the parsha, what the kids are learning in school and gan.
We bond.
There is quality time.
We reconnect as a family. There is gentle banter, discussion, give and take, laughter.

Everyone compliments the chicken.

(So what if it's the same chicken I made last Shabbat. And the one before that. It's just as delicious every single week.)

In reality, family dinners look like this:

"S/He started it!"

Or, if they are getting along, they get their crazy on, running around the dining room table shouting random words:

"Jaaa-koooooo-zeeee! Jakoozee jakoozee jakoozee! Jaaa-kooooo-zeeeeee!"

And the floor is covered in rice.

Not that we can't have a successful family dinner. But on Friday night, I realized it's okay, even nice, to shake things up once in a while. Everyone enjoyed their dinner with  their adoptive-family-for-the-evening.

The next day, we went back to our regularly scheduled families. And we did talk about what happened in school and gan and had in-depth discussions about Harry Potter (which I am reading to Ariella now. Wingardium leviosa!) And, yes, there was craziness and button-pushing and rice all over the floor.

But everyone did compliment the chicken.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hair Tape

Yes. Yes, I am using those two words together, on purpose, as in a thing you would want. Like "denim skirt" or "chocolate ice cream." Hair tape.

Yesterday, Nadav (I know! Shocking that a blog post entitled "Hair Tape" is about Nadav) found the forbidden tape. I try to keep dangerous or messy objects away from him, like: tape, scissors, glue, markers, keys, peach slices (he likes to squeeze them over his legs), cheese sticks (he eats the first one like a normal person; the second one becomes a sword or is squeezed into a warm, mushy, nauseating mess), yogurt (just use your imagination), writing implements, packages of diapers, the Tupperware drawer, foil pans, puzzles, toys and clothes.

But Ariella had been using the tape and it is now Out in the open. So Nadav tries to rip off a piece; I decide, wisely I think, that instead of waiting until he slices open a finger, I should just give him a small piece.

A short while later, I notice it is in his hair. Better take that off; it's gonna hurt him. I remove it. He screams - but not because I pulled out some of his overlong hair. Because he wanted the tape there. On his hair. So I...put it back.

We carry on with our evening, going to pick up Yaakov from a playdate. "Is that tape in his hair?" asks the mom, reaching out to remove it. "Yes," I quickly reply, moving Nadav out of reach. "Leave it, he likes it there." Luckily, this mom has her own two-year-old, who is currently refusing diapers but doesn't want to go on the toilet (too scary) or the potty (too pretty), so she understands where we're coming from.

Next we head out to pick up Ariella. (I had 2/3 out on playdates last night. So I gave Nadav a nice, simple dinner of cheese sticks and yogurt (see above.))

We enter the house. "Yes, there is tape in his hair, don't take it out, it's there on purpose." Again, very understanding mom, who had to deal with two almost-nine-year-olds (one of whom, I confess, was mine) deciding to use fish tank water for a water fight.

We finally get home and begin the bedtime nightmare routine. I'm settling down to vigil with Nadav, after extinguishing the double-whammy temper tantrum of "Why can't I have a sleepover?" and "Why can't I watch a movie?" and reading Goodnight Moon five hijillion times. (Honestly, it might not have been that many; I lost count after four hijillion).

Suddenly, Nadav lets out a blood-curdling scream and grabs his head. What? What happened? Did he bang it? Is he bleeding? Is there a monster in his bed?

Then I realize - the Hair Tape is missing.

"Do you...want tape on your hair?" I ask him. Indeed, I strung those words together as a sentence.

He nods, looking up at me with big teary eyes.

I go out, get another piece of tape and hand it to him. He places it on his head and contentedly begins to suck his fingers. Eventually, he falls asleep (before waking up in the middle of the night for his Journey to the Ends of Mommy's Bed, where he spends the remains of my sleeping time kicking me in the stomach or sticking his fuzzy hair up my nose. But that is for another time).

I guess it's true what they* say. If your have your hair tape, you have everything.

*Nadav

Friday, May 25, 2012

And A Happy Basket to You

Shavuot. The time of the harvest, of receiving the Torah, of scrambling to find a tene and zer perachim for your children to wear to gan. (A beloved - by ganenot, at least - and time-honored tradition; the tene, aka basket, represents the bikkurim brought on Shavuot and the zer perachim, aka flower wreath, the flowers that decorated Har Sinai).

In the Rose household, a snapshot of how the (not-so-mighty) have fallen (even further):

The older children, lo these many moons ago, going to gan with a tene and zer:

Ariella, with zer bought from actual flower shop!

Yaakov, with authentic tene!



And this year, poor Nadav, sent to gan with a sand toy and a lei.





(I would like to point out that I kept that darn red basket, pictured above, for a year, knowing I would need one this year. Sure enough, right before Shavuot, it snuck away, probably with Yaakov's kippot and the package of tissues I could swear was right here two seconds ago. They're hiding somewhere, snickering, and will show themselves only they've been replaced/are no longer needed.)

Wishing you all a happy Shavuot.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tweets From a Vigil

So, I don't tweet. I'm one of those dunderheads - oh wait, in Twitter we have to "tw" everything. So I'm a twunderhead - that has an account and hasn't figured out quite what to do with it. In the olden days, I would have sat there for months with flint and a piece of steel, contemplating them, eventually leaving them off to the side and lumbering out of the cave to go feast on some cold raw rabbit. #cavemendontkeepkosher

Also, on Twitter you need to have a following. And who wants to have to gather another following??? I have Facebook friends, and I have you guys. #whatmorecouldagirlwant

But I like the idea of Twitter. And I think hashtagging things is hilarious. So I've decided to present you with my would-be tweets. The ones I would have sent last night, from the Vigil, if I weren't such a twit. (Ha!)
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I am patiently vigiling. Unfortunately, vigilee is in living room playing with package of toilet paper. #atleastoneofusishere

Why can't Yaakov be the vigilee? HE'S already asleep! #ohwell #cuzthatwouldbetooeasy

Sometimes, when I have to hold hands with Nadav during vigil, it means I need to play Solitaire one-handed. #sacrifice #amotherslove

Request for water. Naturally, must be any cup except the one that's ALREADY IN HERE. #themindofatwoyearold #bedtimeneeds #scenesfromavigil

Can I leave? Well, fingers out of mouth, safe to go outh. Yes, I use my own poem as a mnemonic device. #wannamakesomethingofit

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I'm twotally twocking this Twitter thing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Access: Denied!

As you may recall, last year I successfully passed the pool quiz and was deemed fit to shell out a lot of money for a pool membership at the new Modiin pool. It was a big success; in fact, it worked out swimmingly, you might say. So I was determined to get a manui (membership) again this year.

For the last month, I've been obsessively checking the pool's website, calling the number, and even making unexpected visits to the pool, hoping to find out when they would open registration. The memberships run out quickly, so I wanted to be first in line. Determined, remember?

Finally, the blessed day arrived. It was last Sunday; I remember it well. I was notified via my Modiin app and my Facebook news feed that registration was opened! I sped over, my tires making little screechy noises. I sat down, gave them my information (name, number, family members), and they said they would call me in a day or two. I remember from last year that they didn't let you fork over the money right away, so I figured it was the same deal.

And I left, satisfied. I saw with mine own two eyes that they wrote my name down on the sheet. I patiently awaited my phone call. Of course, we all know that "I'll call you back," means I won't call you back, (except for the people who want me to sign up for something or switch banks; they always call back). I therefore wasn't surprised that a week had gone by and - whaddya know - no phone call.

So I grabbed the pool by the diving board and marched into the office this past Sunday. "Just want to check that I'm still getting my membership," I said, ever so breezily. "I signed up last Sunday but never got a phone call."

The Official Pool Lady smiles ever so sweetly and says, "I'm [ed. note: not] very sorry, but if you didn't get a phone call, you didn't get a manui."

Jaw dropping is commencing, but I am sure this is a mistake. After all, I saw my name get written in official blue ink. I was one of the first names on the sheet.

I attempted breezy again. "Yes, but I was here last week, I signed up, I was one of the first ones."

"Yes, I'm [not] sorry, but a lot of people signed up. Coming first had no effect on whether you got a membership."

"But I had one last year! That should count for something!"

"On the contrary. The administration decided to give priority to families who did not get a membership lasat year."

[Stupid socialists!]

"So, coming early didn't help, and having a manui last year only hurt my case?"

[Beaming, since I've finally cottoned on.] "Yes, exactly!"

"So how was the decision made, then?"

"Many families signed up. The administration took all the names and made [random, nonsensical and quite frankly dumb] decisions as to who would receive a manui and who would not."

[Pause. All traces of breezy are gone.]

"You can still buy a kartisiya," she adds, ever so helpfully.

I stalk out, forcefully. This is my revenge. I will not walk out nicely, oh no. I will stalk! Forcefully!

So here's the thing. The advantage of not having a manui to the Modiin pool is that we are free to play the field this summer. We can have a fling with the Maccabim pool, or a one-day stand with the pool in Kfar Daniel. We are free agents.

But here's the disadvantage. The thing I loved about having a manui--besides feeling so super-cool when I used our electronic manui hoojits to enter the pool--is that we could go whenever we wanted, and--this is important--stay however long or short we wanted. Sometimes, the amount of time we spent eating dinner and showering was equal to or greater than the time spent in the pool. But who cared? We had a manui!

This year, I'll have to count our punch-card clicks carefully. A la Elaine of Seinfeld, I'll have to decide if this day is "click-worthy." Are we really going to stay long enough to get the most swim for our click? Hey kids! Get back in the pool! You have not been in there a click's worth of time yet!

It reminds me of the famous zoo story. (Feel free to stop reading if you've heard this before.) DADZ took us kids to some run-down zoo. Not the kind that's all, "Conservation! Research! Saving animals! We do research and save animals! Yay ecosystems!" but more, "We have animals! They are in a cage! Gawk at them!"

But it didn't matter how lame the zoo was. And it was very, I can assure you. DADZ insisted that we stay until 4:30, because then we would have paid some amount of money per minute, and at that point, he calculated, the trip would have achieved worth-it-ness. (Could you guess that DADZ is an accountant?) So we hung around, picking at the grass, until DADZ announced we could finally leave.

I fear that this summer, I, too, may inflict worth-it-ness upon my children.

But here's the real question: Does our first summer of manui ruin us forevermore? Next year, are we back in the running for a manui because we didn't get one this year? Or are Donny and I going to be shuffling up to the registration desk 50 years from now, only to be denied yet again?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rose-Colored Glasses

(Warning: This post may contain explicit language. I may or may not - you'll have to read to find out - use the word s**y).

Recently, I bought new glasses. I've been a contacts girl for a very long time, so this was a big switch for me. In America (or, "the States" as olim are somehow strangely addicted to calling it), I occasionally switched between glasses and contacts, but in Israel, the Land of A Thousand Sunny Days, I had to wear contacts in order to wear sunglasses. (Because squinting = migraines, and who needs another migraine trigger? 'Cuz I have a sneaking suspicion that children between the hours of 4 - 8 pm are also triggers. So I like to eliminate the ones that I can (triggers, not children.)).

However, the Land of a Thousand Dust Particles made me feel like I wanted to rip my eyeballs out at the end off a long, contact-wearing day, but I didn't even want to think about what sort of ishurim and hafnayot Maccabi would make me get for a new pair of eyeballs, so I decided it was simpler to just make the switch to glasses + prescription sunglasses.

I, for one, have been very happy. First, this means no more eye-ball ripping! Also no contacts means one less thing to do in the morning while Nadav is shrieking for me to pick him up and I can't because I need two hands for contact placement, so he stands there in the bathroom pulling on my stretched-out pajama pants until they end up around my ankles. And also, one less thing to do at night, when I am so tired I can barely pull back on the aforementioned overly large pants.

Now that we're a few months into the new look, I asked my darling husband, my knight in shining armor, what he thought. I pointed out that it was really because of him and a conversation we had when we were dating that I started wearing contacts. I recall that he expressed his preference for contacts over glasses at some point during our courtship. I honestly do not remember if he was talking about people in general or me in particular, but back then, in the throes of young YU love, I wanted to look good for my man. (Fast forward twelve years, to overly large brown velour - did I not mention the brown velourness of them? - pajama pants, paired with an equally large old t-shirt of Donny's that is now grayish-white, with many a-stain of indetereminate origin. Trust me, the people who claim, "Wearing your man's clothes is sexy!" did NOT have this in mind.)

Anyway, Donny of course had no recollection of ever expressing his preference for contacts. He does have a hazy memory of discussing why politicians never wear glasses. So somehow, I turned a conversation about Clinton into a directive for me to toss my glasses and wear only contacts forevermore. Again, young, in love, YU, you get the idea.

Fast forward to the present. I bring the conversation around to me again. "You haven't answered my question."

"I haven't?"

"No. So what do you think?"

Silence.

"No matter what I say, I can only get in trouble."

"Oh come on. I have to come kippah-shopping with you and discuss the merits of fifty very similar-looking knit kippot and engage in lengthy conversations about how they fit your head and whether they express hope and optimism. You can answer this question."

"Well, you know I was once in a training session at work and they said when presented with a difficult question you should answer, 'It depends.'"

"You still haven't answered my question."

(Donny is often very successful at manipulating the conversation so I forget my original point, in cases where my original point may have been detrimental to him.)

Finally, he said he liked the glasses, but they created a certain "look" - he threw out a bunch of adjectives a this point - smart, intellectual, funky, he may have even included "sassy," I kid you not - and that the "look" was jarring when paired with certain outfits. Like pajamas. It all comes back to the jammies. I guess "Sassy Intellectual in Baggy PJs" is a fashion statement that hasn't hit Israel yet.

So now when I'm in my pajamas, with my glasses on, I like to get all up in his face and say things like, "Oooh, does this bother you? Huh? Huh? Is it jarring? Is it creating disequilibrium in your world? Well, too bad!"

Just call me an old-fashioned romantic.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Vigil, a Poem

Some background:

Once upon a time, a cute young couple went to the hospital to have a baby. 13 hours of labor later, I was born. Then a bunch of stuff happened - growing up, blah blah blah, orthodontia, a bat mitzvah, blah blah blah, more orthodontia, high school, still with the orthodontia, year in Israel, blah blah blah, college, got married (told my orthodontist, "Enough already!"), blah blah blah, had some kids.

One of these children, we'll call him N because that is how he is referred to in text messages, requires a nightly vigil to fall asleep. This means I sit on a folding chair next to his bed until he is sound asleep. During the vigil, there is finger sucking and requests for water (N) and iPhone solitaire-playing and Whatsapping (me).

During one of these Whatsapp sessions with a fellow vigiler across town, I composed this poem. It's not Shakespeare, but on the bright side, you can pretty much understand it without CliffsNotes. It also may be the first highly-regarded (by me) piece of writing to be composed entirely using Whatsapp messaging.

A vigil of one
Is not that much fun
But suddenly with two
There's someone to text to

It helps pass the time
It isn't a crime

In the dark lonely room
[At this point I an interrupted by my contemporary, and the following Whatsapp exchange ensues:
"If i laugh, Raph doesn't sleep."
"Quiet I'm working"]
If there is a boom
It will wake up the chillin
And turn me into a villain

The breathing is quiet
But leaving? I wouldn't try it
The eyes are still fluttering
"Go to sleep already," I am muttering

A dirty kitchen awaits me
I think my floor hates me
Fingers have fallen out of the mouth
A sign that it's safe to go outh

(If the New Yorker calls, looking for submissions for their 33 under 33 issue (I still have 2 months...), feel free to send this in on my behalf.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Signs I've Made It (Updated with New Sign!)

Recent signs point to my complete and total absorption into Israeli society.

1. Reported my first chefetz chashud (suspicious object). There was a suitcase, hanging out nonchalantly at the staircase to my building. Hands behind its back, casually whistling, acting all, "Hey, don't mind me, I'm just hanging out unsuspiciously at the staircase of this building." So like a good citizen, I called the city number (106) to report it. It was gone when I came back.

2. Went into meenoose on our bank account. New apartment + Pesach = #nomoneyleft

3. (New one I just remembered!) I find it difficult, when counting omer, to say שני שבועות. I really want to say שבועיים.

4. Yelled at some obnoxious children at the park. In Hebrew. Two of Ariella's classmates (I won't say which gender they were, but it's the one closely associated with cooties) were running around the park with water guns. When they saw Ariella, they decided it would be fun to chase her and shoot water at her. I stalked up to them, soaked daughter in tow. They were, naturally, refilling their guns at the water fountain. And when I asked where their parents were, they told me - surprise! - they were at the park by themselves. So I unleashed my full Israeli on them, yelling for a good 2.5 minutes, including my favorite Israeli parenting phrase, "Ani lo marsha!"

I actually think I made it through mistake-free. At least Ariella didn't correct me, mid-yell, and was pretty impressed afterward.

Speaking of Ariella, there are still signs that I have a long ways to go:

When I made yet another noun/adjective mix-up (masculine with feminine, or vice versa), she said to me, in exasperation, "Just use the "yafeh/yafah" trick. If you would say this word is "yafeh," then you use a zachar adjective. If you would say "yafah," then you use a nekevah adjective."

Um, yeah. But what's the trick to tell you if it's yafeh or yafah?????

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cows and Swords

Well, Pesach has come and gone. And just like every year, we cleaned, cooked, asked, sang, ate, hiked, and got chased by cows. Well, that last one happened only to me. The annual Running of the Cows in Modiin. Although, frankly, I would perfectly happy if it stays a one-time event.

We also added to our post-Pesach list, our love notes to ourselves that we started way back in 2000, with little nuggets like "We need non-leaky tube pans." We tend to write to ourselves in very strong language, and we are fond of exclamation points. This year's additions: "We have 2 dish drainers. This is enough! Stop buying them!" and "We got 2 serving dishes as a gift. They need to be toveled!"
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We also added to our file of Unique Parenting Phrases:

"Has anyone seen the sword?" and, related:

"You may not take the sword to street maariv!"

(The reason one would be looking for the sword, by the way, is because it is excellent for sweeping toys out from under the couch.)
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Also, Nadav decided to place my collection of return-for-desposit bottles into the washing machine. I would ask why, but really, does one need a reason?



Friday, April 6, 2012

A Pesach Acrostic

P is for privation that our children feel before, when there's naught to eat but apples and crumbs found on the floor.

E is exclamations; while cleaning we declare "Just how long has this string cheese been stuck under the chair???!!!"

S is for the sitting that we do not dare attempt, for when we need to rise again it'll make us all fahklempt.

A is for the apples, of which I needed MORE, necessitating yet another trip into the store.

C's for creativity, in our recipes; matzah meal, friedboiledbaked, how would you like it, please?

H is for hametz, Happy Pesach! and haggadah. May you have a peaceful chag and lots of matzah topped with buttah.

Friday, March 30, 2012

There's Always Room for Ramblings

Margarine
Yes, I know it's Bad For You. And in general, I agree that we should not consume things that are bad for us. For example, I almost never make Garlic-Asbestos Chicken anymore. And thanks to my crunchy friends, I now have many margarine-free cookie recipes. But still. When you're baking pareve and you want a cookie with just the right amount of crisp, you really need some artery-clogging, lifespan-shortening margarine. Sigh.

Minister of Fun
"Superland!" "Playdates!" "Ice cream" "Ice cream and pizza!" "Cutie [this gymboree-type place in the mall.]" "A fabulous park!" "All of the above!" This is what's running through Yaakov's mind when he asks me, when I pick him up after gan, what we are doing today. 

"Go home." "Play with our toys." "Eat dinner." "Take a bath [if it's bath night]." "Go to sleep," are, unfortunately for Yaakov, usually the answers. And he is crushed. Every time. Why? Did he mistake me for a fun mother? And how many times do I have to disappoint him before he just gives up, resents me and swears to do things differently for his kids?

Also, clearly I have failed in my mission as a parent. Who are these children, who want to "do" things and "go" places? Haven't I instilled in them, by my own shining example, the value of getting into pjs as soon as possible and hanging out on the couch?

Pesach
I am going to invent a new Facebook app. Every time someone posts a status about their Pesach menu, or how much they've bought, cleaned, or cooked, a tiny little fist will pop out of their "Enter" button and bop them in the nose. In fact, you will only be allowed to post about Pesach if your post also contains the words, "haven't done anything for."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Failure, Municipally Speaking

Actual things people said to me today:

[With my little petek at the post office. Petek in mailbox means you have a package waiting for you. Or so I thought.]

Post office lady: It isn't here yet. See the date? (March 19, yesterday). You need to come two days after the date on the petek.
Me: So the petek, which clearly states my package has arrived and is waiting for me, is lying? There is no package?
Post office lady: [points again to the date, in case I am calendarically challenged.] Two days later.

Then, I go back to the old apartment to check our old mailbox. See, for some crazy reason, we don't trust the post office to do the whole mail-forwarding thing. We figured we'd just call the companies directly to change our address, and in the meantime, stop at the old place every so often.

Today I received an arnona bill. Arnona = property tax. The arnona bill was for our new place, but sent to our old place. Now, clearly they have our new address. They're taxing us for our new address! So why are they sending it to our old address?

I called the iriyah. I explained my situation and that I had changed my address on my teudat zehut already. They transferred me.

Me: My arnona bill for my new apartment is still coming to my old apartment.
Iriyah lady: You have to go to the arnona office in the mall.
Me: I did that. When I got the first arnona bill for our new place, I went and set up the account and paid. So why is the second bill coming to my old address?
Iriyah lady: AHA! But did you go to the other arnona office and change your address?
Me: Um, no. But it's changed on my teudat zehut already!
Iriyah lady: That doesn't mean anything! You have to go separately to the Arnona Address Change Window and change your address! B'emet!
Me: And what about the other iriyah mail that comes to my old address - absorption department notices, school notices, etc.?
Iriyah lady: You have to call each department separately and change your address, what do you think?

Silly me! Such forehead slapping that ensued! I am still enjoying some hearty chuckles over my backwards thinking.

So I called the arnona office:

Recording: We are busy with other customers. Your call is important. Your place in line is .... 6.
Recording: We are busy with other customers. Your call is important. Your place in line is .... 6.
Recording: We are busy with other customers. Your call is important. Your place in line is .... 6.

Finally, I got tired of being 6. And I was skeptical that my call was actually important to them.

It turns out that the easiest solution might be to show up at the iryah at 8:00 on Thursday and go from window to window, changing my address.

By the time I'm finished with that, my package at the post office should be released from its holding cell. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Perspectives

  • Always wants to be with you
  • Sad when you're apart
  • Loves to accompany you everywhere
  • Has eyes only for you
Wonderful traits in a boyfriend/husband.

In an almost-two-year-old...not so much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fun with Hebrew

[In Aroma]

Yaakov: Did they call your name?
Me: Yes
Yaakov: What did they say?
Me: Gila
Yaakov: So they spoke in English?
Me [pausing to digest that]: Well, my name is the same in English and Hebrew.
Yaakov: So is mine. [Pause] Well, in English it's "Yah-kove" and in Hebrew it's "Ya-ah-kohv."

*********************************************
The Heblish phrase of the moment that's getting my goat (לוקח את הגדי שלי?) is:

"That kid is the lowest kid in my class."

No, they do not mean that this kid cheats on tests, steals other kids' chummus sandwiches or rips up their Supergoal cards (although I would not be surprised if ripping up Supergoal cards was part of the game, since my children hit, blow and spit at them. Oh dear, did all the cards get lost in the move? Shame, that.)

They mean he is short, נמוך. But it sounds so wrong.

Also, has anyone ever noticed problems with Angli-vrit? Not once have my kids said, "הילד הזה קצר מאוד"



Monday, March 12, 2012

Ramb- (because it's too short to qualify as Ramblings)

Gosh. Every time I think I'm going to get back to my Regular Blogging Schedule, something else gets in the way. See-phones (and here is a shout-out to DADZ, for I neglected to mention that he accompanied me on that fateful faucet-finding foray), the 7-day holiday of Purim, making dinner, more see-phones, sniffing hot glue while they install stuff in your apartment...

So I will get away with a Cheater's Post and upload some pictures from Purim.

Yaakov = Yaakov Avinu (hence the green plastic bowl of red lentils)

Ariella = Rivka Imenu (because we have a lot of stuffed camels, on which the costume was based, so naturally on Costume Day at school she forgot the camels at home, necessitating a frantic phone call to Mommy, who had to run back to the apartment, collect the camels and deliver them safely to school)

Nadav = Peter Pan (for about five minutes, until the velcro on the shirt got too itchy, at which point I changed him into a blue polo shirt, so he became Peter Pan Goes to Shul.)


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is "Oy" a word? Discuss.

Nadav, as we may have mentioned before, is verbally limited. Not that he's limited in letting us know what he wants, just that he prefers not to use a commonly recognized language to do so. As Uncle Jonathan and I discussed over Shabbat, perhaps this is because he heard English, he heard Hebrew, he thought about it, and decided "Eh, let's just keep on grunting."

He has a handful of words:

"Addy" = Daddy
"Ode" (not as in a Grecian Urn, but as in "more") = always said in multiples "odeodeodoeodeodeode"
"Die" (not as in Another Day, but as in "enough!")
"Mmmm" (not "Mommy this meal is so tasty," but as the first syllable in "mayim," not Bialik, but water.) Donny thinks he's just turning the "w" from "water" upside down.
"Allah" (not as in God, but as in Ariella and/or Yaakov)
"NNNNN" = everything else

And after he carefully holds his plate, considers it for a moment, then chucks it to the floor, he is absolutely flabbergasted, shocked and distressed that his plate is now on the floor. So he responds to this catastrophic set of circumstances using the words that generations of our people have used to express vexation:

"Oyoyoyoyoyoyoyoy."

So I ask, Does this count as a word?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Has anyone seen my see-phone?

Sharp-eyed readers noticed we stated previously that we received "most" of our faucet order. And these sharp-eyed readers have been asking, nay, pleading with me to find out what happened to the rest of it. (Well, that is technically a lie, but I'm sure inside, they were asking).

Loyal Readers, you should sit down for this. If you are currently drinking shoko b'sakit, I recommend pinching the open end lest you squeeze the contents all over your room. If you are not currently drinking shoko b'sakit, may I ask why not?

Anyway, this will come as a GINORMOUS shock to you, but....we are still missing those last items.

But it's okay, I called my good friend Rena over at Faucets Certainly 'Rn't Us. She said she was going to take care of it and call me back.

Which we all know means...

[all together now, in a sing-song voice]

"I will no-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-t take care of this. And I will certainly not call youuuuuuuuuuuuuu baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!"

So we wait. She promises it will only be another day or two. And we all know what that means.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Apartment Report: 10 Days In

1. Nadav has been enjoying my new bed, frequently and for long periods of time.

2. I have not been enjoying my new bed. (See: #1)

3. My kitchen works! This took no less than 5 different installers, but we are up and running. I am back to cooking my exquisite delicacies, including pita pizzas and macaroni and cheese.

4. Things people want: our packing boxes and American coffeemaker. Things people don't want: our old beds.

5. We were able to clear off the layer of grime that covered our floors in time for Shabbat. Still, I don't recommend walking around here barefoot.

6. We excavated our countertops.

7. We have LOTS of technology. Including a Kinect. Forget the cable party at Momz and Dadz, you're all invited HERE to play Rushing River Rapids (or something; I have no idea how to play--you'll have to ask Ariella and Yaakov.)

8. We moved with a lot of garbage. See, we had the movers pack us. And movers are not emotionally connected to our stuff like we are. So instead of long, intricate discussions on whether this book should be an "apartment book" or a "machsan book," they just shoved things in boxes and labeled it with the name of whatever room it was in. And if there was a random, smudgy paper towel on top of the puzzle box? Pack it! Or an old, empty medicine container? Throw it in!

9. Momz and I had to venture into Givat Shaul today. I was the driver; she was the navigator. Momz and I trying to figure out Jerusalem...well, imagine two amoebas trying to fix the space shuttle. But, in the end, we did manage to find  the place, (I guess if you give even amoebas enough time, they'll figure something out), then find the car (bumping into each other in the parking lot as we were each positive the car was in that direction), then find our way back home! Oh glorious Modiin!

10. Because a list that ends with "9" is so sad.

Monday, February 20, 2012

In Which I Regale You (It's Okay, I Asked Your Permission First)

Hello Loyal Readers.

We have (more or less successfully) moved. Or, as my Heblish-speaking children like to say, "moved a house."

There are so many stories I could regale you with.

Like how I had to track down my faucets and see-phone (it is a Hebrew word; I am not even sure what it means in English, only that is it VERY important to the usability of the sink). How I drove to the store/factory where they were holding my faucets hostage and got my Israeli on and plopped myself down in front of a (thankfully helpful) lady and refused to leave until I had either my faucets or my money, and the Nice Lady called everyone involved in the production/sale/distribution of my faucets, and they all engaged in an intense back-and-forth game of Zeh Lo Kashur Ay-lie (it was like watching pro table tennis, only with my ability to shower at stake) until FINALLY I got the private cell phone ("Don't tell anyone I gave this to you!") of the person who actually had the ability to deliver said faucets, who promised they would be delivered tomorrow, and then tomorrow came and they called to schedule a delivery time for tomorrow (uh, no, today), to my apartment in Nes Ziona (I live in Modiin).

Anyway, the end of the story is that we did indeed receive most of what we had bought and paid for! It's a kablanic miracle!

Well, Donny has just returned with food (we can't cook because even though our oven is hooked up, it is not connected to actual gas), so the regaling shall continue at a later date.

Friday, February 10, 2012

MorningPalooza, Continued

On the next episode of The Real HouseTantrums of Modiin:

Yaakov, 5 3/4 years old, perfectly capable of getting dressed himself. But would rather be playing with cars and/or sucking his thumb on the couch. (Why cars now? Why not cars later when I'm begging, pleading with you to find a way to entertain yourself that doesn't involve a movie or kicking Ariella? Whywhywhy???) So I get him dressed, we have the daily fight about wearing tzitzit, then once he's ready - dressedteethlunchwater - he has to use the bathroom, so off come the tzitzit.

Ariella, 8.5 years old, perfectly capable of getting herself ready, which she does verrrrrry sloooowwwwllly. There are usually a few minutes of stretching involved, or adding something to her private-written-in-code note that's next to her bed (although she helpfully wrote herself a key on the page to decode what she wrote, so every time I'm in there I glance over casually trying to figure out what it says). My favorite line (not written in code) is where she explains to herself that she didn't include all the letters in the code, only the ones she used in her note.

We have different views on the stretching + note writing. On a scale of 1 - 10, where 1 is Essential Morning Activity and 10 is Waste of Time Oh My God How Are You Still Not Dressed...well, you can figure out where we each fall.

Then there is the hair, which she spends a long time on so it won't have a "baluta" (bump.) Although it frustrates me, I do sympathize, having gone through a phase myself where I spent a while trying to get my bangs into a bump. There was gel involved. Yes, you read that right.

Nadav, 1.5 years old, perfectly capable of. Well, I'm sure there's something. Getting him dressed usually requires a SWAT team to hold him down, because he's VERY MAD that I interrupted his leisurely breakfast, and he lets me know by trying to throw himself off the changing table. He also often refuses to wear any sort of sweatshirt/jacket, which horrifies his ganenot to no end.

Eventually, everyone is ready, Ariella with her ginormous tik, Yaakov with his little tik, and Nadav clutching two or three sippy cups to add to his overflowing collection at gan. Maybe he's planning to make a break for it one day, to a place where they let you eat Cheerios all day, and he wants to make sure he has enough to drink. We make our way down to the bowels of the Dimri parking lot, Yaakov races no one to the car and shouts "I won!", I turn on the car, look at the time, and mutter to myself how I can't believe we're so late.

You'd think at this point I'd just believe it already.