Monday, December 23, 2013

What did you do today? One question, Two Perspectives

[Note: All names and identifying details have been changed.]

Here's what happens when I ask the children what happened at school.

What did you do today?

A Certain Child: We finished our Yerushalayim project.

Oh? A Yerushalayim project? What was it?

It was ... it doesn't matter.

What did you do today?

A Certain Different Child: So we had a Yerushalayim project, remember when I told you about that? So the teacher put us in groups and I was with Meytal but then Meytal didn't come today because she had a wedding last night for her cousin. No, I think it was her uncle. Maybe her cousin. I don't remember. So she didn't come for the first period when we were doing the project, so instead the teacher said I could be in Rotem's group but Rotem always bothers me, she's so annoying, she thinks she is so cool and smart and she talks like this, "Oh reeeeaaallly?" all the time and I was so mad I had to be in her group. Then we started the project, we have to do a game about Yerushalayim. So I was going to say Bingo, but Liat, she's also in my group, but I like her, and did you know her mom is going to have another baby? She really wants it to be a girl. Then Liat said, maybe we should do a game where you have to answer questions. And I really wanted to do my idea you know why? Because with Bingo you can just come up with different names and things about Yerushalayim and with a question game everyone has to come up with questions and not everyone is so good at that but no one else wanted Bingo even though I really think it's the best idea. So we said everyone would think of five questions because there are five people in the group so that's 25 questions altogether and one of my questions is "Which is a name of Yerushalayim?" but I have to think of 3 wrong answers also. Do you any ideas? What are some wrong answers? Mommy? Do you have ideas? So then after we decided that everyone would think of questions at home, we started making the board for the game but then Ora from another group, I sometimes like her and sometimes don't, she was going out to the bathroom and she stepped on our paper and we were so angry but she said "I didn't do it on purpose" but you know she could have been more careful where she was walking so now we had done so much work already but we had to color over where her footprints were. And the teacher didn't even do anything to her! Even though she messed up our board! "It's not so bad, it's easy to fix." Humph. Well, she's not the one who had to fix it! And we used Tali's markers, she has those really cool sparkly ones, can you get those for me Mommy? So it came out so pretty. Then we said we would all get together after school to finish because we didn't have time to finish it all because the bell rang and we had to go to science. Science is so boring, oh and we have a test on Wednesday. So, Mommy, can I go to Shirat's house after school? Or maybe I'll tell them all to come here - can we have pasta for dinner? Mommy?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Hidden Costs of Vacation

This past week was Chanukah vacation. Various kids were home for various chunks of it. Today, Nadav has decided to grant me a vacation extension. In the form of being sick. "Ani lo holech gan hayom," he explained to me. "Yeladim acherim holech, aval ani lo holech." (Question, Loyal Readers: Do you prefer Hebrew written ככה or kachah? In Hebrew or transliterated? I often transliterate because of this thing I have called Lazy. As in, too lazy to press alt+shift and then hunt and peck. But let me know. Your opinion Matters.)

So he's sleeping - in my bed, natch - and instead of using nap time to clean or shower or work I'm spending it on this post. Cuz I love you.

Right. Where was I? Vacation. We didn't do anything this past week, as my children pointedly reminded me. No chu"l, no Eilat. One quick trip to Kever Shmuel Hanavi/Nebi Samuel on the Friday of Chanukah and then a Microsoft day at the movies on Sunday comprised our entire family fun-ness. (Ulpan by accident digression: The movie we saw was "Frozen." We had to see it in Hebrew of course, because that's how kids movies work here. Adult movies = English with subtitles. But because many children, especially under the ages of 8/9, can't read that fast - dumb kids - they can't use subtitles in kids movies. They have to dub them. This means that instead of watching "Hunger Games" in English, we had to watch "Frozen" in Hebrew. That, right there? It's called "good parenting," people. It's called "sacrificing for your kids." So we didn't complain, too much. On the upside, the movie was actually pretty good and I understood most of it! This means I now have Disney-level Hebrew! The first step on the ladder to News-level Hebrew! Also, I learned another word. As we passed a "Hunger Games" poster (we'll see you soon, my sweet), I said "Why does it say 'התלקחות?' Doesn't that mean taking a shower?" Ariella looks at me. "It means something that catches fire." Which makes MUCH more sense.)

Anyway, back to vacation. So there were no big expenses, is what I'm saying. No airfare or hotels or lotsa takeout. But in any vacation, even a lame one, there are hidden costs:

1. Going food shopping with Nadav. (or any of the children, really. The big ones are helpful but still approach food shopping with a "What can I get Mommy to buy for me, and then how can I get her to buy MORE?") But I particularly try to avoid shlepping Nadav with me. However, it was Sunday morning, everyone was home, I announced I was going and offered for people to come with me. But it was not Ariella-who-stands-in-the-cheese-line-for-me who wanted to come, it was Nadav-aval-ani-ohev-et-zeh who came. He was super jazzed, but he's not used to the extended production of a Sunday morning food shopping. I was about 7 minutes into the shopping when he wanted to know when we were going home. Then, after every item I placed in my cart, he asked, "Now? Now we're done?" And, as everyone who has shopped with kids knows, the only way to survive is let them pick out treats:

 a. Box of Kariot cereal  = NIS ~23. Nadav INSISTED that he LOVES this vile, "nougat"-filled Shabbat cereal. Guess what? He doesn't. (The other two were horrified. "But Mommy," they said, munching through their third bowel of Cap'n Crunch, "It's disgusting!" What can I say, my children have an American-honed sense of sugar cereals. Telma just doesn't cut it.)

b. Animal crackers = NIS 8. Yep, another Nadav pick. He wanted to then pick "shalosh" to put in a bag but when I showed him how much "shalosh" was he changed his mind. He meant the "shalosh" that's actually "HARBAY!"

2. Shokos = NIS ~20. Everywhere we went, throw another shoko in the cart.

3. Breakfast with Ariella = NIS 100. I had this great plan that we would go to a cafe, get breakfast, then I would work while she would read. Well, the first part of that plan went well. The bread was delicious.

4. Sufganiot. NIS waytoomuch. Run an errand, get a sufganiyah. Repeat. Though by the end of the week, Ariella had her fill. "I don't want a sufganiot. They are too sweet! [Pause]. Can I get a bag of candy instead?" Because logic.

5. Art projects. NIS 70, bought me an hour of work.

7. Movies at home = $30. (However, watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark as a family was a truly special experience. Especially for Nadav, who fulfilled the important role of "Third child watching movies that are wildly inappropriate for him." Picture your oldest. Now picture him/her watching Indiana Jones when they were three. You're laughing, right? But Nadav enjoyed (almost) every minute. "Ani lo ohev ha'snakes," he declared)

8. Ariella's day of fun in Jerusalem with Aunt/Tante Talia = NIS 100 for bus fare (took it into Jerusalem all by herself, like a boss) and other sundry activities. But, really, a day of fun with the coolest aunt that was pretty much a montage of Ariella's Favorite Things? Swimming-shuk-McDonald's-Book Store-Aunt Talia. Worth every agurah.

9. Overpriced toys in the supermarket. NIS 50. I had a good reason for buying these, I think. Or maybe not. It's possible there was no good reason at all, except they asked and I agreed because it was the end of the week and whatever it will take to keep you quiet and happy.

8. My sanity. (I would say "priceless," but really, it's just the cost of a few cups of  coffee.) When I was working = "Oh my god I'm such a bad mom!" when I was with my kids = "Oh my god I'm such a bad employee!" #can'twin

I always have a love/hate relationship with these vacation weeks. Cuz I love the break in routine, but also I don't. It's like that. Anyway, we are now heading into our longest stretch of routine ever, thanks to Adar I & II. Leap year = money saving strategy. Looking forward to many months of not buying Kariot.