Monday, May 31, 2010

Incoherent Blatherings

1. If we just dilated to 20 cm instead of 10, wouldn't that make the whole thing easier?

2. Ariella has stopped calling the baby "it." During his first week of life, Ariella found it hard to transition from all those months of referring to the baby as "it" to now referring to the baby as "he." Don't get me wrong, "it" was meant in a loving, big-sisterly way, not a scary, Stephen King-y way.

"Look Mommy, it's scratching its face!"
"I think it just made again!" (That was a popular one.)

It was like instead of a little boy, Mommy had brought home an exotic pet iguana. But now that Nadav has a proper name, he has regained human status and is either referred to as "Nadav" or "Nadavoosh."

(However, the sentiments remain the same. "Look Mommy, Nadav is scratching his face!" "Ooh, Mommy, Nadav just made again!")

3. When Ariella wrote "Punja," she spelled it like this: PUNG'A. Is that girl Israeli or what??

4. I hate hate hate hate baby books. I never remember to write down all those cute things the kids do, then I feel guilty for not writing in it because when they get older Ariella will want to know why there's nothing written about her after she turned four, Yaakov will want to know why there's nothing after he turned two, and Nadav will want to know why I couldn't be bothered to at least write his name on the book. Oy the guilt. Then I'll tell them to read the blog, where I recorded all their cute goings-on, but they might not appreciate some of the entries about them, and I think they will especially resent the name of my book on child-rearing, and then we'll all have to trudge out to therapy at night, when I really just want to be in my pajamas eating ice cream and watching something, though not Lost, because that has now ended, and I have to say, even though I hated the finale at first, it's kind of growing on me and I've made peace with it.

See what I'm saying? Me neither.

5. For those of you wanting to know aliyahbyaccident's opinion on the Flotilla of Fun (which I have been keeping up with via my favorite news source, ....well, then, you probably haven't been reading this blog very long because otherwise you would know that I rarely comment on Unfunny Things. However, you can read very intelligent and interesting viewpoints on the blogs of some of my esteemed bloggy friends: One Tired Ema, Baila, and A Mother in Israel.

Extra Credit: Since I just put Nadav in his crib, under his mobile thingy, in order to finish this post, do you think I should change the name of my book on child-rearing? "Leave Me Alone so I Can Finish This Blog"? Opinions?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Arrival of Nadav "Punja" Rose

Well. It's been quite a week. Thanks for all of your mazel tovs and comments. I can't promise regularly scheduled blogging, but I do have this; so, without further ado, I will now regale you with the tale of How Punja Came Into the World.

In Which I Am Told in No Uncertain Terms I Am Definitely NOT in Labor
Sunday, May 16, marked my official overdue date. Mazel tov! No more doctor visits, no more nurses - I was under the jurisdiction of Merkaz Briut HaIsha (hereafter known as MBH). So I went for my appointment in the afternoon. Ultrasound, fetal monitor, talk to the doctor. She informed me that I was a little dilated but I was definitely NOT having contractions and definitely NOT in labor and I should NOT go to the hospital. She told me to make an appointment for Tuesday (erev Shavuot) and we would get to do this all over again.

In Which I Drive My Parents Crazy
Meanwhile, my parents were scheduled to be on a flight in a few hours. I called them and told them to reschedule their trip; no point in coming now when I am definitely NOT having contractions and am definitely NOT in labor. They agreed that coming and watching me be pregnant would not be so helpful, so they managed to get tickets for the following Monday.

In Which I am DEFINITELY in Labor
I picked up the kiddies, did the dinner-bath-bedtime dance, and awaited Donny’s return to the homestead. During dinner, I started to feel not so great. I convinced myself that these couldn’t possibly be real contractions. After all, I had just told my parents not to come, so I refused to believe I was actually in labor. Well, two painful hours later, I called my mom. It was 11:00 PM in Israel.
“Hi,” I said. Silence.
“You’re in labor, aren’t you?”
Mothers just have a way of knowing these things. She of course got to work on re-re-scheduling their tickets. (In the end, they were able to get on a flight on Monday, one day after their original flight, and they arrived erev Shavuot. Phew!)

In the meantime, I woke up Donny and texted my friend whose husband, Cyril, was on-call for coming over in the middle of the night. I finished packing the bag, and attempted to give Cyril last minute instructions for the kiddies. His response? “We’ll be fine. Please go to the hospital before you have this baby on the floor.”

In Which I Think About My Loyal Readers
When we arrived at the hospital (Tel Hashomer), we had to go past the guard booth. I was having some kind of fun by this point! The guards stopped the car. My contractions were of no concern to them. They moseyed on over and asked us where we were coming from. They nodded sagely. They asked us where we were headed. Mmmm-hmmm. Then they slo-o-o-o-o-w-l-y jotted down the license plate number. Finally we were allowed to enter the parking lot. In between contractions, I said, “I have got to remember this for the blog.” During no other visit to the hospital did they spend this much time letting us in. Must be something they reserve for laboring women.

In Which I am Given No Drugs; or, A Drug-Free Birth by Accident
We enter the hospital. After we rustled up some nurses, who had all decided to go on coffee break at the same time, they took me into the delivery room. Donny’s first request: “We need an epidural. NOW” I have had a very simple birth plan since the beginning. Get drugs. The sooner, the better. In fact, when I was born, after admiring my ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes, the nurses said, “Ooh, and look! She has ‘epidural’ stamped on her forehead! How cute!” Now don’t get me wrong. Donny and I took a Lamaze when we were pregnant with Ariella. We dutifully took deep cleansing breaths and learned how to huff and puff. And when I got to the hospital, I got my epidural and never needed to huff. Or puff. In fact, when a friend said, “Oh you don’t need an epidural, this is your third!” I replied, “It’s precisely because I know there’s an epidural waiting for me that I am willing to have a third.”

However, the nurse had a different story. She told me I was already 8 centimeters. She offered the epidural – IF I waited until the entire bag of saline they inserted in my arm was finished, and IF by that point I hadn’t gotten to 10 centimeters and IF the doctor was available and not busy with another lucky, lucky woman. Well, there were a few too many IFs for my liking. Plus that saline bag was dripping waaaaaay too slowly. “Forget it,” I said, “I’m not waiting for that. Let’s just get started.” Donny managed to pick up his jaw from the floor, and they sent in a midwife. Approximately an hour and a half later (Real Feel Time: 13 years, 6 months, 5 days), Baby Boy Rose entered the world. It was not easy or fun for either of us, but we pulled through. At various points during the labor, I tried calmly explaining to the midwife that this child was clearly not going to ever come out, and she should just call in a professional to come and get him. She didn’t believe this, however. She told me I could do it. In the end, she was right.
For the record, I could have been used as a case study for actresses playing Screaming Woman in Labor. I was totally TV-worthy. Though, also for the record, I did not curse out my husband. He was pretty brave, considering he was expecting Calm, Drugged-out Wife and was instead presented with Crazy Screaming Wife.

As we sat there with BBR, we made the requisite phone calls to parents. They then whisked BBR away and I got put in a room with 4 other inmates. I mean patients. Around 4 AM, Donny left me to return home and printed 2 pictures of the baby for the kids to take to school with them. The teachers were me’od impressed with this impressive display of technology.

Baby Boy and I hung out for most of Monday. Unlike in America, where your meals are brought to you, there were designated food times in the little cafeteria, and you need to get up and go eat there during those times, or, No Food For You! As I sat there eating an institutionalized breakfast in a room with long tables, with other women all wearing the same uniform, I once again wondered: Hospital, or jail?

In Which the Kiddies Come Visit; Or, “Mommy, How Come Your Tummy is STILL Fat?”
Donny picked up Ariella and Yaakov and came to visit me around 4:30 that afternoon. We all had to sit on my bed, because that was all my “room” (aka curtained off section) included. The meeting went well, the kiddies had a good time holding and kissing their new brother, and Donny brought me food from one of the restaurants (which Yaakov helped me eat. Whadda guy!) He brought me two sandwiches, one of which I put, clearly labeled, in the designated fridge. So of course when I went to eat it the next day, it was gone.

Luckily, Donny had also brought oatmeal packets, fruit, and a bottle of water (I did not know that water was not provided for you, and thus spent the first day hoarding little cups of water near my bed), so I did not starve.

Also, improvement came that second night in the form of a move. To a much nicer room. With only one roommate. And – wait for it – a chair! Donny came Tuesday afternoon, with the kiddies, to pick me up because I was being discharged at 4:00. Which meant, of course, that I was finally discharged at 5:30, and told, “Oh, and, by the way, you need to come back tomorrow because his bilirubin is high. He’ll need to get checked.”

Anyway, we made it home in time for chag, with two kids and a yellow baby. Our very wonderful friends brought us tons of food, so at least we ate well.

In Which Everyone is Sick
Quick rundown of the first week at home:
Baby: We had to return to the hospital three times in the first five days to get his bilirubin level checked. So much fun! Just what you want to be doing 24 hours after giving birth! By Saturday night, the number had started to go down, and a quick visit to our pediatrician Sunday morning told us that all was fine and the bris could go on as scheduled.

Yaakov: Got sick Shavuot night, took him to doctor Thursday morning. She said it probably wasn’t strep. I started him on antibiotics anyway. And? It was strep. At least someone got some drugs this week.

Ariella: Got sick Thursday afternoon, started her on medicine right away, but it took until Sunday night till she finally felt better. (Which meant that Monday, the day of the bris, turned out to be the most relaxing day of that first week, because finally both kids were back at school!)

In Which Punja becomes "Nadav Yam"
You can read the speech below. Bris was successful; bagels were consumed.

So that’s the story. Of course I have many other random thoughts and stories, but they will have to wait for another time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

... and here's what I said...*

שלום לכולם ותודה על ההשתתפות בשמחתינו. ברצוני להגיד כמה מילות ברכה ותודה לכבוד הבן החדש שלנו.

משהו מעניין שרובכם לא יודעים עלי הוא שלפעמים אני קורא לעצמי "זיו". זה קורה פעם בשבוע כשאני מפנק את עצמי ב-"קפה ומאפה" בדרך מהחדר כושר לרכבת. כשאני מזמין את הקפה, הם שואלים אותי מה שמי, כדי להתאים את הקפה לקונה. בהתחלה, הייתי נותן את שמי הנכון, "דני". אבל – ואני לא יודע בדיוק למה – הם לא יכלו להבין נכון את שמי. פעם הם שמעו "רוני", פעם אחרת הם שמעו "לוי". פעם אחת אפילו איחרתי לרכבת בגלל הבילבול בשם. מאז התחלתי להשתמש בשם חדש. אחרי מחקר מעמיק, אני בחרתי בשם "זיו", שם שאני יכול לבטא כמעט בלי מבטא. ועכשיו, כשהם שואלים "מה שמך?" אני אומר "זיו", ועד היום לא היה שום טעויות בשם והספקתי לרכבת כל פעם.

מה יש בשם?
אני בחרתי את השם הבדוי "זיו" כדי לקבל את הקפה שלי בזמן. אבל בדרך כלל אנחנו נותנים שמות עם יותר מחשבה על משמעות השם. יש מנהג לתת שם לילד על שם קרוב משפחה שנפטר. אני חושב שהמשמעות של מנהג זה היא לתת ברכה לילד: שהילד יחלוק את התוכונות הטובות עם קרוב המשפחה.

מאיפה בא השם "נדב ים"?
אני אתחיל מהסוף. נדב ים מקבל את השם "ים" מסבתא רבה שלו מצד האמא, זאת אומרת האמא של האמא של גילה, שהשם שלה היה “Mary Weintraub”, בעברית "מרים". מ"מרים" לקחנו את שתי האותיות האחרונות והגענו ל "ים".

מה היו התכונות של Mary Weintraub, או Bubby Weintraub כמו שגילה ומשפחתה קראו לה?
באמת היו הרבה ובאמת אני לא יודע את כולם. אני בעצמי לא זכיתי להכיר אותה. אני מכיר אותה מהזכרונות של המשפחה שלה – מגילה ומחמי ומחמתי. ואם יש מילה אחת שמתארת את Bubby Weintraub היא: "אהובה". אני אספתי זכרונות מגילה והינה שתי אנקדוטות מעניינות על Bubby Weintraub:

- גילה זוכרת את החנות של “Bubby & Zeyde Weintraub” – היה מאד כיף לעבוד שם איתם. (היה ל-Jack and Mary Weintraub חנות בשר משהו כמו 40 שנה! לכמה סבתות שאתם מכירים היום עובדות במקצוע של קצב? ... כנראה לא הרבה...)

- Bubby הייתה נוהגת לתת מתכונים ללקוחות. Bubby לא רק מכרה את הבשר היא שמרה על הלקוחות לכל צרכיהם. (אני זכיתי לקבל אחד מהמתכונים האלו ישירות מחמתי ואני אגלה לכם את המתכון: 1) קנה חתיכת בשר הכי זול. 2) השרה במרינדה ל 24 שעות. 3) תבשל את הבשר עד שהוא רך. זהו. כל פעם שאנחנו מבשלים ככה, אני חושב על Bubby Weintraub.

זאת הייתה Bubby האהובה בזכרונות נכדתה.

עכשיו לגבי "נדב".
השם "נדב" נבחר אחרי דיון ארוך וחקירה עמוקה שנמשכה המון זמן. והגענו לשם נדב... כי אנחנו אוהבים את השם. אני מודה שזה נכון, אבל זה רק לפי הפשט. לפי הדרש יש להגיד יותר.

אנחנו היססנו טיפה על הבחירה בשם נדב משום שבפרשת שמיני אנו קוראים על שני בני אהרון נדב ואביהוא שמתו כשהם הביאו אש זרה לפני השם. ואם אנחנו נותנים את השם נדב, מה המסר בזה?

כמו רב מהמפרשים אני לא מבין את הסיפור של נדב ואביהו. לא ברור לנו בדיוק מה הם עשו לא נכון. האם זה היה לא הזמן להביא אש? או אולי לא היה בעיה להביא אש, אלא הם הביאו אש זרה, זאת אומרת "אש ממקור לא נכון".

אני חושב שהיה לנדב ואביהו הכוונה הנכונה אבל תוצאה הלא נכונה. “the right intensions, but with the wrong action” .אני חושב כך משני סיבות. אחת – התורה צריכה להסביר מה היה לא נכון "אשר לא צוה אותם". אנחנו צריכים את ההסברה בגלל שהרבה פעמים זה כן נכון להביא קטורת מתי שיש גילוי שכינה. זה אחד, שני – אהרון לא אכל את הקרבנות אחר כך, וכשמשה שאל אותו למה, הוא ענה שזה לא הדבר הנכון לעשות, "הֵן הַיּוֹם הִקְרִיבוּ אֶת חַטָּאתָם וְאֶת עֹלָתָם לִפְנֵי ה', וַתִּקְרֶאנָה אֹתִי, כָּאֵלֶּה וְאָכַלְתִּי חַטָּאת הַיּוֹם הַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי ה'?" והוא צדק, כמו שכתוב בהמשך "וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה, וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו." משה הסכים איתו. למה? אני חושב כי נדב ואביהו היו נחשבים לאנשים טובים ואהובים.

איך להשלים את השם "נדב" כדי לספק מה שחסר – היכולת לדעת מה שצריך לעשות ולעשות אותו בדרך הנכונה? דיברנו כבר על מרים ממקור Mary Weintraub. וזה היה לפי הפשט. לפי הדרש, נדבר על מרים הראשונה, מרים הנביאה.

מפעם לפעם אנשים שואלים אותי – "איזה פרשה בתורה אתה הכי אוהב לקרוא?" ואני אומר שאני אוהב לקרוא כל פרשה בצורה שווה לחלוטין. וזה נכון לפי הדרש, אבל לפי הפשט יש פרשיות שאני אוהב לקרוא ביותר ואחת מהם היא פרשת בשלח.

היה רק מקרה אחד בכול היסטוריה שלנו כמו קריאת ים סוף. ברגע הזה כל עם ישראל כאחד התחילו לשיר שבח להקב"ה: "אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל את השירה הזאת" ...נפלא! ואחרי השירה, אנחנו קוראים שלא רק משה הוביל את בני ישראל בשירה, אלא גם מרים: "ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרון את התוף בידה, ותצאנה כל הנשים אחריה התפים ובמחולות". אני מבין בזה שמרים הבינה שבמקרה המיוחד הזה, אנחנו צריכים שכל – ואני מתכוון שכל, לא רק הגברים, אלה גם הנשים – צריכים להודות על הנס הגדול בשיר. היא הבינה מה עם ישראל היה צריך לעשות ברגע זה, ומילאה את צורך בלי היססים.

הכוונה שלנו היא להשלים נדב עם מרים, ולתת לבן החדש שלנו את הברכה גם להכיר את הצורך, וגם את הבינה לדעת איך למלא אותו.

עכשיו לדברי תודה.

תודה קודם כל "לכם" – לקהילת השימשוני. אם אני צריך לתאר במילה אחת את הקהילה הזאת, אני חושב שהיא: "כולם מוזמנים". אני לא ראיתי קהילה אחרת שמקבלת כל אחד כמו שמקבלים בקהילה הזאת. לא משנה מאיפה אתה בא. לא משנה מה אתה יכול לתת. כולם מוזמנים להצטרף, להשתתף, כפי שהוא רוצה וכפי שהוא יכול. תודה לכם שאספתם אותנו להקהילה ותודה שבאתם להשתתף בשמחתינו.

תודה לכל החבירים שלנו שבאו היום גם מקרוב וגם מרחוק לשמוח איתנו.

תודה לכל המשפחה שלנו שבאו היום לשמוח איתנו, מירושלים ומבית שמש. תודה במיוחד לחמי וחמתי שבאו מארה"ב. אתם לא היו חייבים לבוא. זה נכון לפי הפשט, וגם נכון לפי הפשט שאי אפשר להבין איך לקיים את הברית לנדב בלעדיכם ובלי עזרה שלכם.

תודה להורים שלי, לאבא שלי ואשתו, וגם לאמא שלי שלא הספיקו להגיע היום. אתם מאוד חסרים. אבל נשלים את החסר שתבקרו בקיץ הקרוב.

תודה גדולה ומיוחדת לאריאלה ויעקב, האחות הגדולה והאח הגדול. שכבר התחילו להיות אחים גדולים מדהימים.

ותודה אחרונה אחרונה חביבה לגילה. בחודשים האחרונים, אני חשבתי הרבה על המספר שלוש. מה יש בשלוש? לפי תנ"ך, המשמעות היא "קביעות". כך אמר קוהלת: "וְהַחוּט הַמְשֻׁלָּשׁ לֹא בִמְהֵרָה יִנָּתֵק" ולא רק קוהלת. לאה גם חשבה כך. על הולדת בן שלישי, כתוב: "עַתָּה הַפַּעַם יִלָּוֶה אִישִׁי אֵלַי כִּי יָלַדְתִּי לוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה בָנִים" לאה אומרת שעכשיו יש לי קשר חזק ביותר עם יעקב כי ילדתי לו לא אחד, לא שנים, אלא שלשה בנים.

ויש עוד שלוש שעד לחודשים אחרונים לא שמתי לב אליו. במגילת שיר השירים אנחנו קוראים שירה של אהבה בין בחור ובחורה. ודבר מעניין שרב אנשים לא יודעים הוא שהשירה של שיר השירים היא מיוחדת בכתיבות דומות שיש לנו היום מהמזרח התיכון הקודום. בסגנון השירה, שיר השירים דומה לשירים של אהבה שיש לנו ממצרים מהתקופה העתיקה, אבל יש הבדל מעניין: בשיר השירים יש קשר רומנטי בן הבחור והבחורה, ובשירים ממצרים אין.

מה שלא שמתי לב עליו עד כאן הוא שזה קורה שלוש פעמים בצורה מתגברת:

1 – פעם ראשונה זה קורה רק כמשחק מילים. הבחור אמר: "כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, כֵּן רַעְיָתִי בֵּין הַבָּנוֹת". והבחורה עונה: "כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר, כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים"

2 – פעם שניה זה קורה בשיחה מליאה: הבחורה אומרת: "יָבֹא דוֹדִי לְגַנּוֹ, וְיֹאכַל פְּרִי מְגָדָיו." והבחור עונה שהוא כן יבוא: "בָּאתִי לְגַנִּי, אֲחֹתִי כַלָּה"

3 – ובפעם שלישית זה קורה כברית בניהם. הבחור מתאר את יופי של הבחורה בשיר, ופתאום הבחורה משלימה את דבריו: הבחור אומר "וְחִכֵּךְ, כְּיֵין הַטּוֹב" הבחורה מסיימת עם: "הוֹלֵךְ לְדוֹדִי לְמֵישָׁרִים"

ואולי מתוך זה נוכל להבין את המטפורה בסוף השיר, כשאמר הבחור: "שִׂימֵנִי כַחוֹתָם עַל לִבֶּךָ, כַּחוֹתָם עַל זְרוֹעֶךָ, כִּי עַזָּה כַמָּוֶת אַהֲבָה קָשָׁה כִשְׁאוֹל קִנְאָה." נשמע טיפה מוזר, לא? – להשוות "אהבה" "למות". איך הם דומים?

לפי התפישה המובילה בתנ"ך המוות הוא סופי: “Dead is dead”. והבחור אומר שאהבה שלו לריעתו היא חזקה כמו מוות. As “dead is dead” so “love is love” it cannot be reverted, it cannot end, it is final and forever. הקשר ביניהם באהבה הוא לתמיד כמו שמוות הוא סופי.

גילה אהובתי - תודה לך.אחרי 10 שנים של נישואין ואחרי הולדת השלישי כך גם אני מרגיש.

תודה לכולכם שבאתם להשתתף בשמחתינו. כולם מוזמנים לאכול איתנו בסועדת מצווה. מזל טוב.
* A very special thank you to Alon Yardeni for his behind the scenes help on Hebrew language speech writing.

And the Name Is....

Nadav Yam.

Nadav, 'cuz we liked it.

Yam, for my mother's mother, Miriam.

(But in English it's just Nadav, because we didn't want our child to have the same name as a root vegetable.)

I promise a more exciting, longer post is coming.....

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Thanks to all the Loyal Readers for all of your comments and mazel tovs! Definitely my most popular blog post so far.

Details to come, of course.....we appreciate your patience....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ariella's Performance: Blink and You Miss Her!

Wednesday night was Ariella's dance performance. (Note to Punja: That was the last thing I needed to do. Feel free to come out now. Anytime would be good.)

So Ariella has been in this dance chug for a few months. I know nothing about it except that for 60 shekel she got a really nifty leotard and dance pants. It's in the school, so she goes straight there on Thursdays when class ends, and when the chug is finished, she continues to tzaharon. I've never met or even talked to the teacher. I just know that on Thursdays I need to remind her to wear her dance clothes. That's the extent of my investment in this chug.

The chug is run by the Matnas, sort of like the community center. A few months back (perhaps I blogged about it), they had "Matnas Day" at school, and all the kids in Matnas chugim showed off their stuff. I dutifully attended, watched Ariella dance, and took videos for the grandparents. A little bit after that day, we got a notice stating that the all kids in this dance chug (which encompasses more than one school) were going to have a big performance at Heichal HaTarbut (the cultural center) on May 12. For about a month, I had to bring Ariella to practices on Friday afternoons from 1-3. Because, really, who doesn't want to schlep around Modiin, aka Traffic Hell, on Fridays? It's not like I have anything else to do. But I am a good mother. Sometimes.

The practices themselves were "baalagon" personified. If Mr. Baalagon himself (and you just KNOW it's a man) had walked in, he would have totally felt at home. All the dance chugim from all the different schools were there, and they took turns practicing their dances. Finally, the big night arrived. I brought Ariella to the hall at 2:00. Donny came home early, and the 3 of us (plus some very necessary gum) made our way to the hall at 4:45. We got tickets for good seats. Yay!

Then, at 5:00, they opened the doors. You are already seeing the problem, some of you. If you only open the doors at 5:00, it makes it very difficult to start the performance at 5:00. And there were no repurcussions for lateness, so parents moseying in at 5:20 didn't have to worry about being late. So happy for them! Really!

FINALLY, at 5:30, they started. (Later, the organizers did apologize for the lateness. But still.) The first performance had alllllll the girls, and was so short I couldn't even find my little ponytailed, leotard-wearing chick among all the other ponytailed, leotard-wearing chicks.

In the end, the performance was over an hour. There were 13 different dances. Ariella appeared in all of She was view-able for about one minute of the five-minute dance. And it was the SAME freakin' dance I saw two months ago and already videoed! WHAT have they been doing all this time? And why did I need to shlep her to Friday practices for a MONTH? Meanwhile, some of the other dance troupes were up there so often I'm on a first-name basis with the dancers. The most disappointing part was that I saw "Avnei HaChoshen" listed on the program twice. Okay, I figured, at least we're getting two Ariella showings out of this. But it was 2 different groups from her school - the 1st and 2nd graders, and then the older kids. Sad.

After the performance (which ended 2 hours after we arrived) and after various members of the Matnas got up and congratulated themselves on running a chug, the children were released into the wild and we had to figure out how to find and collect them. It was complete pandemonium. No one knew where they were exiting from, parents and children were running all over the place. Some parents gave up and just took the first kid they saw, in hopes of getting out sometime in the near future. And I must say, little Rotem is just adorable!

Haha! Just kidding! I did find my own child, who was not happy because when she was on the stage and looked out into the hall, full of hundreds of parents, she couldn't find hers! This was greatly upsetting. But finally, we all packed into the car, and after fighting with the other cars for the privilege of being able to leave, we drove through all 9 circles of Traffic Hell and made it home. Of course, the kids were starving. Out came a gourmet dinner of cereal! Then, Yaakov went to sleep and Ariella and I attacked her mound of homework.

Finally, it was done, she went to sleep, and I crashed on the couch with a pounding, loud-music induced headache. So. Glad. It's. Over.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still here

Does that count as a post?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's a Nose, Silly!

This past Friday, as you may recall, Donny and I went into Ariella's class to do the Kochav Nolad activity. Well, I must say we pulled it off with panache. Or something. At least, the kids had fun. Well, I think they did. I mean, overall Pictionary seemed to go well. Maybe.

The only glitch was that the words I had chosen, despite trying my hardest to pick easy ones, were often above the artistic capabilities of seven-year-olds. The funniest were the body parts. I had many cards which named a body part - ear, eye, nose, finger, etc. - figuring those were easy to draw. The problem was that these children are very literal. So the first one came up and had "finger." So she drew a finger. That's it. A line that went up, curved around, and came back down. No hand, no knuckle or fingernail. It could have been a missile, a glue stick, or a pen. And the poor kid couldn't figure out why no one could guess it. I tried to explain to her to draw the entire hand, but then, the time ran out. (And in case you weren't sure if the time was up, luckily, there were 31 first graders to scream, "NIGMAR HAZMAN!!!!!!!") The kid who got "nose?" Drew a circle. Then looked at her team hopefully. Strangely, they weren't able to figure it out. For "tongue" we had a "U" and "ear" was a little hook. I attempted to explain to the class that if they got a body part they should draw the entire face and then an arrow to the part. But this was beyond them. However, their eagle eyes noticed if I inadvertently held the timer to the side, thus allowing the other team more time. So they have their talents, these first graders.

Anyway, kol hakavod to all you first grade teachers out there. They are quite the handful, although it was very cute how the class stood up when we walked in. As they stood there fidgeting, Moriah, the teacher, had to whisper to me, "Um, they're waiting for you to tell them they can sit." Cool.

And Ariella informed me of only one child who laughed at me. Huzzah! as they say.

In other news, Yaakov had the thrill of his life yesterday. On Friday, he brought home from the class library his all-time favorite book, "Tiras Cham." Technically this means "Hot Corn" though it refers to corn on the cob. It is one of those Israeli children's classics, comparable to "Cat in the Hat" or "People Magazine."

Yaakov looooooves this book. He must have taken it out 3 or 4 times. I, however, am not such a fan. I have found that Israeli children's books are very....strange. Lots of non-sequiturs and plot developments that make you go, "Huh?"

For example, in what might be my least favorite "classic," a book called "Shmulikpod" (about a porcupine), there are so many random plot points that I'm not even sure what the point of the story is suppoesd to be. A boy is sick. Then, a porcupine comes. The boy makes fun of how the porcupine looks. The porcupine makes fun of how the boy looks. Berries are consumed and become stuck on the porcupine's quills. The porcupine is homesick. He goes home. Like I said, "Huh?"

So back to "Hot Corn." At the beginning, we are introduced to Ofir, who loves to sing a little ditty about tiras cham. Even better, on a hot summer day, he loves to EAT tiras cham. (As a friend of mine pointed out, this is perhaps the book's greatest flaw. Wouldn't he rather eat an artik on a hot summer day???)

So there is Ofir, singing away about his tiras cham. Soon, a gaggle of other children join him on his march, each one with a different instrument, all enthusiastically singing the song. (It goes like this: Bim bam bam bam, tiras cham, tiras cham, bim bam bam. Occasionally, for excitement, the "tiras" and "bim" lines are flipped. Can you handle that?)

Then, they arrive at Ofir's house. Here's where it gets fun. No one is home! There is no tiras cham for the children to eat! So, naturally, being raised in the Land of Clasping Your Fingers Together and Shaking Them At People, the children attack Ofir! "Chutzpah!" they yell at him. "You promised us tiras cham and now you're reneging???!!!"

Ofir is sad and tries to explain that he never quite promised them corn, he just likes singing about it. "Never mind," the children sniff at him. They do an about-face and head over to the house of the sabba of one of the other children. All is forgiven, Ofir is back in their good graces and they all sing merrily as they march to Sabba's. Luckily, when they get there, Sabba is waiting with a big pot of tiras cham! How did he know! Chow down! Everyone munches and keeps on singing the song until the corn is gone. Then, the story is finished until Yaakov requests that you read it AGAIN. (If you see me on the street muttering "tiras cham, bim bam bam" to myself, just join in!)

Yesterday, I happened to have bought some corn on the cob at the store. Well, Yaakov was crazed with delight when he saw this. Because this meant that we could EAT tiras cham while we READ "Tiras Cham." And so we did. I had to keep reading the book until Yaakov's tiras was finished. Anyway, I do believe this is the highlight of his young life to date. And, we got to do it again tonight!

Too bad they don't make a book called, "Bim bam bam, whatever Mommy made for dinner, whatever Mommy made for dinner, bim bam bam."

Meanwhile, my sister Leezy seems to recall that last year when she was pregnant, I called her frequently to ask if she'd had the baby yet. You know, to annoy her. It's what sisters do. So she is not wasting this opportunity to call every afternoon and greet me with, "Didja have the baby yet?" Ariella often answers these phone calls, because she has become the Rose Household Secretary. One day, she said in expaseration to Leezy, "Listen Aunt Leezy. Why don't I call you when Mommy has the baby? Then you can stop calling and asking every single day!"

Clearly, Ariella still needs to hone the fine art of revenge.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pictures and Conferences

So there was a sign outside Yaakov's gan on Sunday: "Picture Day on Tuesday!" Writing "Picture Day!" on a sign is basically akin to posting: "Yaakov, Time to Get Sick!" So he obliged. Woke up Monday morning complaining that his "forehead hurt." My children are very specific about their head pain. It's never "My head hurts," always, "My forehead hurts." So he was home on Monday, doctor said nothing was wrong, so no diseased stick for us. He came with me to my English chug in the afternoon and participated very nicely by watching a Care Bears video while I taught.

Tuesday he was up from about 3:30 on. No fever, just couldn't go back to sleep. Then, at 6:00, "My forehead hurts again Mommy!" So another day at home with Mommy in pjs. I asked him if he wanted me to take him to gan for his pictures. He looked at me. "No," he said. I might have forgotten to add that:
1. He is a boy
2. He is four
Being at gan for picture day is not really all that high on his list of priorities. I would say it comes after "Learn the difference between numbers and letters" although maybe before "Care what I look like."

So he had a restful, lazy morning, no fever, but not really interested in going to gan. He came again with me to tutoring; this time, I was only able to keep him occupied by letting him watch slide shows of our Picasa pictures on the computer. But we managed. I could tell he was feeling better because he kept begging me to take him outside to play ("Yaakov, see, Mommy has ALSO been up since 3:30 and has no desire to sit with you in a park and watch you fill your pants with sand.") Later, he celebrated his feeling-betterness by chasing Ariella and attempting to beat her up. Where is Smackdown Daddy when you need him? Ariella kindly offered to wrestle with him instead. Hmmm, let me count the ways why the answer is NO.

When he finally went back yesterday, (YAY!) I reread the picture sign. It said, "If you miss picture day, it is your responsibility to take your child to get pictures at Solomon Center."
Solomon Center is a little shopping center right across the street from gan. There were no more instructions. Not where, or what we should do, or if there would be money involved.

So I can only assume their intention is that we just show up one day, in Solomon Center, stand in the middle, hold up Yaakov, a la Simba, and announce, "We are here!" Then, someone will quickly jump out from behind a potted plant and snap Yaakov's picture.

Meanwhile, Ariella's parent-teacher conference was on Tuesday. We are pleased to report that Ariella is doing an amazingly good job of being in kitah aleph. Go Ariella!

Tomorrow is the kochav nolad project, for which Donny and I are going in and playing Pictionary with Ariella's class. Wish us much hatzlachah! We will certainly be needing it!
("Come, boy, to drew the picture over there, on this board. Markers to use here!")

Sunday, May 2, 2010

And the Winner Is....

Kol Hakavod to our three Find the Lost Clues participants - Libby, Dadz, and Momz! Though it was a close race, the winner is DADZ, due to his sheer persistence and creativity. Also, he noticed that I left out #6, which was actually inadvertent, but I like his idea that it's because this is Season 6 of Lost. Runner-up is Libby, because she is not only a participant but ALSO a clue.

For those interested, the answers were:

Random Thought #1 - No clues, though both Libby and Dadz came up with interesting ideas.
RT #2 - Desmond in the well
RT #3 - The Incident (referenced in the many Dharma videos)
RT #4 - "Don't tell me what I can't do." - John Locke
RT #5 - The Hatch, natch.
RT #6 - Whoops. Doesn't exist.
RT # 7 - The numbers
RT #8 - A veiled reference to "Dead is dead."

So thanks for playing! Dadz, I'm throwing the log over the Atlantic Ocean right now. Catch!

Ok, no more Lost. I promise. At least for now....

This Shabbat featured the Roses, in their rendition of the famous Pesach song: Paraoh b'pajamaz b'emtzah halaylah.

This song - in which you simply repeat the words, which mean "Pharaoh is in his pajamas in the middle of the night" - has reached venerated status among schoolchildren in Israel. I have no idea why. It's not particularly funny - I mean, aren't most people in pajamas in the middle of the night? I guess the idea is to imagine the powerful Pharaoh running in his little jammies to tell Moshe that his people can leave now, thank you very much. If we're going to start talking about made-up Pesach songs, though, I think the Frog Song beats out Pharaoh b'pajamaz any day.

Anyway, this Shabbat, Mommy, Ariella, and Yaakov were b'pajamaz ALL DAY LONG! That's right! I decided I couldn't make it to shul, and I tried to bribe the kids to go with Donny in the morning. But Ariella would hear nothing of it. What if something exciting happened while she was at shul, like Mommy having the baby on the floor, and she missed it???? So they both elected to stay home. Mommy did not, in the end, have the baby on the floor. Oh well.

I thought at some point Donny would take them to the park, but that never happened, and the kiddies surprisingly managed to entertain themselves pretty much all day. There was a rockin' Smackdown session, featuring Daddy and the Kids, in the afternoon. Otherwise, it was puzzles, reading, dress-up, eating, flying off the couch (Yaakov), and crying that the baby hasn't come yet (Ariella). Repeat until 7:00. We made it! Whoo-hoo! We put the kids in bed and enjoyed the one benefit of summer Shabbat - reading quietly until Shabbat is over. (That is, until Punja makes an appearance.)

All in all, a successful, if lazy, Shabbat. Once motzash arrived, we celebrated Lag B'Omer by....counting the omer. I am personally not so much into the holiday of fire and foil-wrapped potatoes. Last week, Ariella noted that the people doing their "medurot" (bonfires) before Lag B'Omer weren't doing the mitzvah. I had to gently let her down and explain that in fact, there IS no mitzvah of medurah on Lag B'Omer. In fact, the only mitzvah on Lag B'Omer is....counting the omer. We did not make it to any medurot this year, how sad, maybe next year.