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.