Monday, May 30, 2011

Ramblings; Including My Life Expectancy, Explained

Exciting News From the DFF (DADZ Fashion Front)

DADZ got some funky new glasses. They're very cool, in a retro kind of way. Which is ironic, because DADZ has been around long enough that he witnessed the original retro. Back then, they just called it "groovy."

The Reunited Jerusalem
History of Modern Israel 101 by Yaakov

"Before the מלחמת ששת הימים, Yerushalayim was cut into two. Then, they put it back together. Then they builded the Bet HaMikdash." And there you have it.

Yaakov Explains My Life Expectancy
"Right that you and Daddy will die before us? You will have a few more birthday parties, then that's it, you die. Then Ariella and me will be married together."

What I love about this:

1. He counts life expectancy in birthday parties.
2. He assumes he and Ariella will take over the job of the Mommy and Daddy once we have passed on. Someone's gotta do it, right?

High Art
Ariella came home from school with this:

I asked her what the assignment in art class had been. The answer? "To draw a nof yisraeli (pretty view, vista in Israel.)"
Note to self: Must take children out more often.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Nadav

Thank you, Baila, for understanding my need to get some of my ideas out. It was a good idea you had, that I should write a blog to celebrate my first birthday.

Apparently there was poem written, ostensibly "in my honor," though I believe I was muchly mocked. I wouldn't know; I can't read. In any case, I thought I should set some things straight, and Mom was able to tear herself away from her precious computer for a few brief moments to let me share my thoughts.

(Oh, how I compete with that computer. And you should see her! If I fall on my face, does she care? Not a whit! "Oh, you're okay, you're okay," she says, but if the Internet is down, now THAT is a tragedy. "Quick, quick we have to fix it!" she cries frantically.)

Anyway...uh oh, hold on a sec....Mom, where are you going??? I know you said I could use the computer, but you're not going to leave the room, are you? You know that you must be within my grabbing distance every waking moment!

Okay, that's better. So let's begin.

"He doesn't sleep through the night." Um, the night is like, a really long time to be by myself. Of course I want to get up in the middle and have some time with Mom. Also, I don't have to share her with the other 3 kids (Ariella, Yaakov, and Laptop.) It's just us. Also also, she kvetches a good game, but I'm in bed by 7:30, so I get a nice long stretch of sleep until I wake up at 2 or 3 or 4. Is there anything stopping her from going to sleep at 7:30? In fact, I think she'd be a lot less grumpy if she started on the Nadav Sleep Plan.

But nooooo, she has to wait for the other person, I like to call him Not Mommy, to come home and they eat dinner and watch TV together. (I know this because in the early days, I was able to join them for these evenings. No longer, my friends, no longer.)

"He's a picky eater." I look at it this way: I've reached the peak! Instead of spending weeks, months, years figuring out what foods I like and don't like, I'm finished! I got it all covered. Yogurt, fruit, cheddar cheese, Waffle Crisp, and cake. What's so wrong with that? I'm not a picky eater if you just only, and always, give me what I like! And then when they try to sneak in some chicken or meat, they complain...

"He spits out food and throws it on the floor." Well, duh! If you'd already put in the hard work of figuring out your dietary needs for the rest of your forseeable future, and then someone came along and tried to mess with that, you'd have some words, too! But I don't have any words. So I spit and throw.

"He flings his toys." Yes, I do! What a rush!

"He tries to climb into the toilet." Well, they shouldn't have made it baby-sized if they didn't want babies to climb in it. That seems pretty obvious. Same thing with toys. If you don't want me to put it in my mouth, don't make it so temptingly small! It's common sense, folks.

Oh, and then she "plays" with me by sitting on the floor and flipping through a magazine while I entertain myself, thank you very much. It's no wonder I have to invent games like Eat the Marker and Tissue Toss. I'm totally on my own!

So that's all I gotta say. It's time for us to take naps, part of the Nadav Sleep Plan - wait, what's that? You don't all sleep in the afternoon? Ahhh, that does explain a lot about the grumpiness.... anyway, I'll check in with you all later. Thanks for listening. And remember, let's keep this between us, shall we?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Crazy Baby Turns One

We're on the birthday train, here in the Rose household. This week's stop: Nadav, who turned one year on Tuesday. Yes, he's gone from being this tiny little baby who used a diaper and couldn't walk or a much larger baby who uses a diaper and can't quite walk or talk. But now he eats Bamba.


We love you, Nadav! And in honor of your first birthday, we present to you...

The Cat Crazy Baby in the Hat Apartment

Nadav just turned one
He's full of good fun
And we wanted to show him
Our love, with a poem

Our Crazy Baby is full of good tricks.
A lot of good tricks.
He can show them to you.
Your mother will not mind if you watch one or two....

And so....
So so so....
We will tell you all of the tricks that he knows....

He can toss up a ball
Then it lands on his head
He throws food off his tray
Tries to crawl off the bed
With joyful abandon he flings all his toys
On the mirpeset he watches
All the traffic-y noise
He's drawn to the "NO!" toys like a dog to a bone
And none more exciting than Mommy's cell phone
He stands up by himself
And claps his hands with a smile
Till he falls on his tush
And zooms to a pile
Of papers and magazines that someone left out
He will crumple or eat them, of this have no doubt
When there's food on his hands
He wipes it right in his hair
He gets where he needs to
By zooming around with a chair
The bathroom door's opened!
The toilet does beckon!
We stop him from climbing in
At the very last second. (Again)
The Q-tips, he deems, belong in the bath
And pencils are chewed
Not used to do math
He shrieks with delight when he finds something funny
He doesn't even mind
If it's corny or punny
He sucks on his fingers when he needs to think
Or if he's tired or sad
Or needs a stiff drink
So, sweet Nadavoosh, Crazy Baby of ours
With your blocks and your balls
And your super fast cars
We wish you joy and laughter and Bamba a-plenty
Happy Birthday, dear Nadav,
Till one hundred and twenty

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Earring Holes

But first, an apology: Apparently Blogger had to do some "maintenance" on their site, which included removing all posts and comments from last Thursday. They reinstated the posts but not the comments, so to all the Loyal Readers who posted comments on the previous post, I apologize that they have become the Lone Socks of cyberspace, swimming around aimlessly and bumping into spam emails and passwords.

And now, onto our regularly scheduled blog post.

In honor of Ariella finishing reading the Torah, we promised her we'd get her ears pierced before Pesach. And so, the Sunday before the Sunday before Pesach, I took her out of kaytanah early and we marched over to the jewelry store. They made the little dots on her ears, asked me to make sure they were even, and then stuck her with the earring gun. No tears, no flinching - I was very proud. It was even sort of anti-climactic. Where was the confetti? And the balloons and marching band? But so it goes.

Immediately upon arriving home, I noticed something: The holes were not even. Gulp. The left ear was fine, but on the right ear, the hole was a little off-center. But I could not admit this, even to myself. We just did this monumental rite-of-passage, and I did not, would not, believe that I had screwed it up. So I engaged in some fancy mental gymnastics to convince myself that it was just an optical illusion.

1. She has a freckle on that ear and the freckle's placement makes the hole look like it's off center, when really it's not.
2. It's just the way the earring is sitting. Really it's fine.
3. I'm just looking at it from the wrong angle. It's totally fine!

I could not voice this fear to anyone, least of all Donny. My hope is that he would say, "What are you talking about, it's totally fine!" and then I would breathe a sigh of relief and wag a finger at myself for being so paranoid. But I knew better. The man who has to have the bills in his wallet organized and facing the right way would definitely notice an off-center hole. My motto became: Don't tell Donny. That will make it real. And once it's real, it needs to be fixed. So don't tell Donny.

I couldn't ask my mother, either, because she goes into fits of panic if the tablecloth isn't even, so an off-center earring hole probably made her batty. I should be thankful she kept it together during Pesach and didn't run out of our apartment screaming. But I also knew she wouldn't say anything, not being a boat-rocker. And remember, as long as I did not voice this thought, I could continue to convince myself it was all in my head.

But then, I imagined a 15-year-old Ariella yelling at me, you screwed up my ears, and now I have to get the ear re-pierced, and it's all your fault, Mom, and why didn't you fix it when I was younger, and I hate you, and I'm moving out and taking all the Bamba.

So I took a deep breath, and said, "Donny, I have to say something. I am very scared to make this real, but I'm going to say it. It's about Ariella's ears."

"The holes aren't even."

AHHHHH!!! NOT the answer I was hoping for, though the answer I was expecting.

"You noticed it too??" I wailed.

Just as I suspected, Donny had a motto as well: Don't tell Gila. If she didn't notice, this will just make her upset. So don't tell Gila.

So we had both been letting this thought bounce around in our heads for a month, each too scared to voice it to the other person. But now it was out, and, of course, it had to be fixed, naturally by me.

I was worried Ariella was not going to be so into this idea, because even though the piercing didn't really hurt her, getting a new hole would mean having to wait another 3 weeks before wearing new earrings. What if she refused? Should I force her? Should I have 8-year-old Ariella be mad at me, or wait for the wrath of 15-year-old Ariella?

I spoke to her in the morning about it. She took the news well, especially since it meant I would pick her up early from tzaharon. We went to the store, the woman agreed it was off-center and gave us a discount on the new pair. (Of course, they were out of the kind she had picked originally, so instead of just paying for one earring and using the old one in her left ear, I had to buy a whole new pair.) Plus, she got a pair of dangly drop earrings for her birthday, as promised. The lady promised the old hole would close up quickly, and that she only has to wait two weeks before changing earrings.

On the whole, Ariella made out very well on this deal. And I got to breathe normally again. Plus, when Ariella's 15 and begs for another hole, I can tell her we already let her get three.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

In Which I - Spoiler Alert! - Pass a Test

The Modiin municipal pool has opened for the summer. It is right down the block from us. So close that even I may choose to walk there instead of drive. Anyway, notices went out a few weeks ago saying that the swimming season was opening on May 11 and memberships were limited.

I went to the pool's website to check out the prices. Last year, it opened so late (August), that you could buy tickets, but not a membership. I figured this is a city pool, the people's pool, if you will, so the prices are probably going to be reasonable, right?

(To me, "municipal pool" makes me think of the movie "The Sandlot." Also, when I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the movie, I googled "movie baseball dog forever" - and The Sandlot was the first thing that came up! I love Google! Bing! I mean I love Bing! But really Google.)

Anyway, instead of making the prices reasonable, the powers that be said to themselves, Hey! Let's go ahead and make them unreasonable. About double what some of the nearby pools are. However, this one is, as I mentioned, down the block, so they had me by my tznius bathing suit sleeves. What could I do? I went in last week to see if I could get a membership.

(See, the whole "memberships are limited" thing totally works on me. I envision lines and lines of people, snaking around the block, from six in the morning until late at night, grabbing up all the memberships till there are none left. And I was determined to get my very expensive pool membership, by golly.)

So I go in and the woman beckons me to a chair. I tell her I want a membership and I am here with my credit card. But I do not see dollar signs in her eyes. Instead, she looks at me suspiciously.

"So, how much do you know about the pool? Everyone comes in wanting memberships but no one seems to know any information about it," she scolds, as if I'm applying for a job at McDonald's and forgot to research how many burgers they've served so far.

Well, I thought, I know how much your freakin' membership costs. That number is burned into my eyelids.

"For example," she continues, "when does our season end?"

Oooh, I knew that one!

"October," I answer confidently.

"Yes, October 22." Whoo hoo! I got the first question right! I love doing well on quizzes.

"And how many tashlumim (installments) can you pay in?" Now, this was irrelevant to me, because other than our mortgage, we do not pay in installments. (This was one of our first pieces of aliyah advice. Whenever they ask you if you want to pay in tashlumim, say NO!)

"Well, I don't want tashlumim. I want to pay it all at once."

This confounded her.

"Hmmm. Well, the answer is 2. You can pay in 2 installments."

She continued on with the barrage of questions. I was starting to sweat and my collar was feeling a bit tight.

"From what age do you need to pay for a child?"

Now this could have stumped me. I didn't think about this beforehand because I knew that the (almost) 8 year old and the 5-but-when-am-I-five-and-a-half year old for sure "counted" and I was fairly certain the (almost) one year old did not. So it was irrelevant to me, BUT I happened to see a sign on the way in stating that kids needed to be paid for from 3 and up.

"Three," I answered smugly. I felt a little bit like I had cheated, like I wrote the answer on my hand or something, but hey, whatever it takes, right?

"Good," Test Lady smiled at me. "You have passed the test! Now we will allow you to fork over your money to us!"

So that is how I had to pass a test in order to apply for pool membership. A moment as Israeli as Telma Cornflakes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So, how was the party?

I know you're all wondering: How was Yaakov's my-mom-is-crazy-and-agreed-to-invite-all-35-kids-in-gan birthday blowout bash?

Well, the short answer is that it's Over. And the next party I plan on throwing for him is his bar mitzvah.

That said, it really wasn't too bad. There was a ton of planning and purchasing that went into it, but it turned out well. The one upside to living in Dimri is that there's this "party room" in the lobby which is FREE to building residents! So we had the party there and I was spared having to clean the apartment BEFORE the party only to have to clean it again AFTER the party.

The entertainment - storyteller/magician/comedian - was great, and the kids mostly behaved themselves.

There were a few "moments" - like telling a group of 5 kids (boys and girls) that they could not all be in the bathroom at the same time, in, um, the prepratory stages for using the facilities. Or when a few of the wanderers - these were the kids that couldn't get themselves together to actually sit and participate, and instead wandered around the room - started pulling on the big helium balloon that was on Yaakov's chair and Yaakov saw (he was not in the chair at the time, but still) and began to cry.

Dinner - hot dogs - was a hit, although the kids who were "not hungry" used this as an opportunity to run around turning off the lights and use a chair to see if they could climb out the window. (The room is on the ground level, but still, I thought it prudent to stop them before their experiment reached its natural conclusion.)

Then it was time for singing, lifting Yaakov up on the chair, and feeding everyone cake. Yes, we did this the non-Israeli way, and served the cake during the party,instead of waiting for pick up and then, as the kids leave, handing them a piece of gooey chocolate cake on a flimsy napkin which they can smear all over their hands, their seatbelt, and their mothers.

And we finally got to shoe-donning time. Because somewhere, in the Israeli Birthday Party Constitution, it is written that upon arrival at a birthday party, every child must remove their shoes. I am not lying when I say there was about a foot of sand on the floor. (Well, maybe lying a little.)

Once shoes were donned, each child received a balloon animal, courtesy of our magician, and they spent the last few minutes attempting to maim each other using their latex swords. (Don't worry: No children were harmed in the production of Yaakov's birthday party.) But at that point, I was cool. The party was nearly over, and we had survived!

After cleaning up, I came upstairs to find Yaakov sitting in a sea of presents. (We told him ahead of time he needed to pick a few to donate to "aniyim." Do you think poor kids enjoy playing badminton?)

His favorite gift, by far, was a set of "Cars" cars. But of course, these were not, ahem, authorized reproductions. In fact, although it has the "Cars" logo design, instead of "Cars," it says something random, like "Spacesuits." But don't worry! Because the package promises me that these are "very funny, collect them all!"

And, in a piece of packaging poetry almost too eloquent for the cardboard it was written on,

"Once possess nothing can instead / The trump product, every body like / the best welcome gifts for the children."

I couldn't have said it better myself! No, really, I couldn't have!

Anyway, Yaakov is enjoying this "most newest choice." He also got a package of combat soldier dudes, so he can truly be like Toy Story's Andy. Although Ariella took one look at it and said, "Look! Somebody bought Nazis for Yaakov!"

No more Yom Hashoah discussions for you, young lady.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We're Back!

I apologize for the dearth of posts recently. Donny's crazy in-laws were here, and you know how high-maintenance they are.

JUST KIDDING! I mean, Donny's crazy in-laws were here, but we loved having them and they really aren't high-maintenance at all. Just give Momz an Internet connection and Dadz a bed and they are very happy.

(A warning though - if you give a Dadz an internet connection, you'll have to give him a mouse, and if you give him a mouse, he'll need a pad to slide it on, and if you give him a pad to slide it on, it'll remind him of a coaster, so he'll need his cup of coffee, and when he drinks his coffee, he'll want something to go with it, like a rugelach, so he'll go out to the bakery, and when he goes out to the bakery, he'll suddenly remember that it's time for shul again, so he'll try to walk to shul, and when he walks to shul he wanders in circles for hours and gets very lost, then, because of all the wandering, he's tired. So he'll need a bed. Which is why it's easier to just start with the bed.)

Anyway, we got an extra week post-Pesach with Momz and Dadz aka Bubby and Zaidy which was super fun, especially the parts where we ate out. And especially the part where they stayed home with Yaakov and Nadav during Crazy Tuesday Chug Day so I was able to run out and get Ariella all by myself.

Also, I am happy to report that Nadav became best buds with Bubby and Zaidy and enjoyed many games of Tissue Shredding and Traffic Staring. He was sad to see them go.

In other news, things have been busy around here.

Ariella the Torah Scholar

We celebrated Ariella's siyum on Thursday night after Pesach. Ariella, as a proud member of the Coalition of Independent Brainiacs, decided to read through all the chumash (the first Five Books.) She would just sit there and read.

She finished a while ago but wanted to wait for Bubby and Zaidy's arrival to make her siyum. So we had a lovely siyum, complete with a Mishkan cake (since that was her favorite part. Mishkan, not cake.) And here I will give a shout-out to my talented cake-decorating friend, Chanina, who is also a fellow former Baltimorean, and if anyone needs cakes in the shape of a mishkan or anything else, sacrilegious or not, give her a call.

Interesting note: There was an amazing thunder and lightning storm last Thursday night. Do you think it's related to the fact that it coincided with us biting into the ohel moed?

Ariella Gets a Crash Course in the Holocaust

We were driving to Bet Shemesh (something about route 38 brings out the philosophical side in Ariella) on Yom Hashoah, and she started asking me lots of questions about it. We discussed:

Countries affected/not affected by the Shoah
Who started it
Difference between labor camps and extermination camps
How the Jews were killed
How they got to the concentration camps
Chasidei umot ha'olam (righteous gentiles - she learned about that in school)
Anne Frankel (aka Anne Frank)
How does a bullet kill someone
The ghettos
If Jews got food in the concentration camps
Which side won
How one side wins a war

For thirty minutes straight. And then thirty minutes on the way back. It was intense.

Yaakov piped up at one point:

"Mommy, I saw TWO cement twucks! And they waw mixing!" You can always count on Yaakov to keep it real.

Yaakov Turns Five - AGAIN!

Preparations continue for Yaakov's massive invite-all-the-gan birthday party, which is tonight, God willing. Of course, if God should will that the two hours between five and seven just disappear, I would be okay with that.