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: " blah blah...." Me: "Blog....Rami Levi.....thing I learned on 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....