Sunday, July 21, 2013


So a while ago, there was this absolutely hysterical blog post going around called "Worst End of School Year Mom Ever." I kinda want to be Jen, the author, when I grow up. Except maybe for the running a church part. Although, never say never.

Anyway, I am experiencing a similar phenomenon. I had plans to be an awesome Summer Mom. Our summer was going to be filled with Structure, Reading and Being Nice. There were charts, people. Charts. Every day, Ariella and Yaakov were going to read in Hebrew and English. Yaakov was going to practice his math as well. (This is important because post-first grade, the reading and math facts are barely holding on for dear life inside the child's brain. Slipping, really, scrambling for purchase. They don't have a solid foothold yet, and they lose more and more traction as Power Rangers, Curious George and all the Harry Potter movies muscle their way in.) Also, the children were going to write down--on the chart, natch--the nice things they did for other people. (I know, I'm totally cracking up also at 3-weeks-ago-me. She was so ambitious! And naive! And, well, kinda dumb.)

(Oh, and in case you are wondering where Nadav fits into this, he has one simple directive, which he is failing miserably at: Do not spray toxic stuff in your eyes.)

This is what our chart looks like now:

[emptiness and nothingness]

That's right, there is no chart. It's gone, along with my hopes and idealism. The only marks made on it were done by Nadav, who strangely took a break from drawing in holy prayer books to try some old-fashioned paper art.

So, this is where we're are at, a mere 3 weeks later.

The davening is, at least, is happening every day. (That's right, You're welcome, God.)

And Ariella has been rereading Harry Potter in Hebrew so I am patting myself on the back for that, even though she's only doing it because she wants to and she hasn't picked up anything in English in about 6 weeks. ("I. Don't. Like. English," she informs me; she thinks that the reason I keep forcing her to read is because this fact was never explained to me.) There's an English reading assignment she needs to do, which I'm assuming will be completed under duress, with much eye-rolling and feet stomping and it's-not-fair-why-doesn't-Yaakov-have-to-do-one. At some point during the dramatics she may offer me money if I don't make her do it and will most likely tell me I'm mean, unfair and I love Yaakov better. Some of those accusations are actually true, so, you know... Also, I'm kind of thinking of taking the money.

Meanwhile, Yaakov is happily zipping through his math and reading workbooks and constantly wanting to read his English books with me. Except replace "happily zipping through" with "grudgingly scribbling in" and "constantly" with "never."

I just can't. I say to Yaakov, all chirpy and cheerful, "Come on, let's read your new Arthur book!" And when I get moaning and kvetching in response, my will to be a good parent just dies (even more, if such a thing is possible) and I literally give up and let his brain continue to marinate in Mega Zords and plots of revenge on his sister, while dipthongs and digraphs and magic e words slip silently, sadly away. "Goodbye Yaakov," they whisper, "Ye hardly knew us."


As for the being nice and polite part? For one thing, I LIKE having to repeat myself over and over, and having the same arguments every single day. Which means that part is going awesomely.

Also, in some ancient cultures, physical violence between siblings was a way of expressing love and respect. (I may have made that up.) So they are totally bringing that back.

Anyway, that's how it's going over here. (And this, by the way, is with the kids in camp most of the day.) Maybe it's because they had their own summer charts that I never knew about? 1. Go to camp. 2. Come home. 3. Fight with sibling 4. Kvetch about [TBA; also subject to change] 5. Watch TV 6. Watch a movie

That must be it. Well, they are almost home, which means it's time for me to do the next thing on my chart: Drink more coffee.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nadav Checks In

Hi everyone. I'm back. I've been really busy making demands of the big people in my life so I haven't had much time for blogging. And honestly, I wish I didn't have to make the demands. If my people truly loved me, they would bring me the chocolate milk and candy without me even having to ask.

It's bad enough that I have to say the whole sentence out loud: "Ba li shoko/Give me chocolate milk" [Ed. note: "ba li" is one of Hebrew's worst contributions to language. It essentially means "this is coming to me, so give it to me." We cured Ariella of saying it and its partner, "lo ba li," aka "not gonna do it," by making her pay us a shekel every time she said it. Nadav, though, knows not the value of money, only caring about the size of shekel that will fit into his shirt pocket. That is, on the days that he demands a shirt with a pocket. On the other days, do not dare suggest a shirt with a pocket. LO BA LI!!!!]

But then they say, "Ask nicely, Nadav." So then I have to say, "Nicee." Geeze. And they say I'M demanding. Anyway, having to put in requests for life's essentials is really time consuming. Also taking up a lot of my time? My endless, tireless hunt for candies and cookies. And picking out my clothes in the morning. (Why can't they understand that the specific shirt I'm looking for has to feel like this? You know, this? And why does she make that noise that sounds suspiciously like exasperation when I tell her I want my Snoopy underpants to have ONLY Snoopy on them? I am a purist after all. None of this "Snoopy and weird yellow bird" or "Snoopy and soccer ball." JUST SNOOPY. How difficult can this be???) I am also busy memorizing the entire oeuvre of Curious George and of course, going to gan every day, where I learn lots of wonderful Jewish prayers that I like to belt out when I'm lying, naked, on the changing table.

Anyway, despite my busy schedule, I wanted to stop in and clear some things up, some misunderstandings and misconceptions that really must be clarified:

1. My clothes are mine. None of this, "Oh, I remember when Yaakov/Tani/Amichai wore this!" (Those last two are my cousins; Mommy inexplicably, and without my approval, hugs and kisses them as well. It's bad enough she does that to Yaakov and Ariella. I only barely tolerate this public display of affection for someone other than myself because often when we go to Aunt Leezy's, there is pizza.)

But clearly, these clothes could not have belonged to these other children because
a. They don't fit them! Seriously! Are these parents deranged???? Does it really look like Yaakov could fit into my shorts??? I may try to take my shirt off by shimmying it down my legs, but at least I understand size.

2. Speaking of things that are mine: Mommy. I get that we need the other people in the house sometimes. Daddy is always good for a game of Lions. And the other kids have awesome toys I can play with/steal/break. Also, when Mommy is sitting with me at night till I fall asleep, the other ones can bring me cups of water. But this whole "She's our Mommy, too" line that they try to pull with me? Nuh uh. Not having any of that. They ask irrelevant questions like, "Nadav, who is Ariella's mommy? Who is Yaakov's mommy?" Like I care. Sometimes, they won't quit, they just keep badgering me, so I tell them, "I am." or "Daddy is." That's fine. They can have daddy. He's like the parenting consolation prize. But Mommy is MINE! MINE! MINE!!! (Though I do like to mess with her sometimes and say in my sweetest voice, "Ani ohev rak Daddy. I only love Daddy." It's usually worth a few extra hugs from her and maybe, maaaaybe, if I'm lucky one day, some candy.)

Well, I'm off to spill bathwater on the floor or find a book that Mommy can read to me lots and lots of times in one sitting. She really loves that. I can tell because she rolls her eyes and clenches her jaw, which she does a lot with me, so it must be a sign of affection. Catch you all later. Keep it real.

Lies I Tell Myself

To help you get through that special time of day known broadly as "evenings." Turn your "Waaaaahhh!" into "Ahhhh!"

To deal with whining

Instead of: "Omigod stop whining RIGHT NOW or I will throw myself off the balcony to the neighbor's backyard and you just KNOW how much they hate when our stuff falls down there."

Try: "I just looooove the lilting sound of my children whining. Especially hearing them say my name over, and over, and over, and over and also over. It washes over me likes waves of serenity."

To deal with UFT (Unidentified Flowing Tears, when a child is crying for no perceivable reason, or for a really, really dumb one.)

Instead of: "Why are you CRYING? Again??? Seriously?? You know five bazillion words! USE some of them for [severe breath holding so you stop yourself from saying words you know will be flung back at you some day] sake!"

Try: "Oh, your nose is running? Your fork fell? You need help with something? We ran out of the cereal you like? The air conditioning is too cold? Of course. Go ahead, cry it out, sweet darling."

To deal with the Toddler Temper Tantrum

Instead of: Ignoring it until it abates. You can't possibly say anything anyway; it won't be heard over the VERY LOUD SCREAMING. Also KICKING

Try: Ignoring it. Yep. I got nothing else.

To deal with the Fightin' Siblings

Instead of: Stop fighting! Get your hands off him/her! I don't CARE who started it! Blah blah blah BLAH!

Try: "What a great cardio workout you're getting!"

Try these at home. Let me know how it works for you. (Hint: An afternoon coffee may be necessary.) I'll be over here, having endless patience and smiling serenely.