Monday, April 30, 2012

The Vigil, a Poem

Some background:

Once upon a time, a cute young couple went to the hospital to have a baby. 13 hours of labor later, I was born. Then a bunch of stuff happened - growing up, blah blah blah, orthodontia, a bat mitzvah, blah blah blah, more orthodontia, high school, still with the orthodontia, year in Israel, blah blah blah, college, got married (told my orthodontist, "Enough already!"), blah blah blah, had some kids.

One of these children, we'll call him N because that is how he is referred to in text messages, requires a nightly vigil to fall asleep. This means I sit on a folding chair next to his bed until he is sound asleep. During the vigil, there is finger sucking and requests for water (N) and iPhone solitaire-playing and Whatsapping (me).

During one of these Whatsapp sessions with a fellow vigiler across town, I composed this poem. It's not Shakespeare, but on the bright side, you can pretty much understand it without CliffsNotes. It also may be the first highly-regarded (by me) piece of writing to be composed entirely using Whatsapp messaging.

A vigil of one
Is not that much fun
But suddenly with two
There's someone to text to

It helps pass the time
It isn't a crime

In the dark lonely room
[At this point I an interrupted by my contemporary, and the following Whatsapp exchange ensues:
"If i laugh, Raph doesn't sleep."
"Quiet I'm working"]
If there is a boom
It will wake up the chillin
And turn me into a villain

The breathing is quiet
But leaving? I wouldn't try it
The eyes are still fluttering
"Go to sleep already," I am muttering

A dirty kitchen awaits me
I think my floor hates me
Fingers have fallen out of the mouth
A sign that it's safe to go outh

(If the New Yorker calls, looking for submissions for their 33 under 33 issue (I still have 2 months...), feel free to send this in on my behalf.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Signs I've Made It (Updated with New Sign!)

Recent signs point to my complete and total absorption into Israeli society.

1. Reported my first chefetz chashud (suspicious object). There was a suitcase, hanging out nonchalantly at the staircase to my building. Hands behind its back, casually whistling, acting all, "Hey, don't mind me, I'm just hanging out unsuspiciously at the staircase of this building." So like a good citizen, I called the city number (106) to report it. It was gone when I came back.

2. Went into meenoose on our bank account. New apartment + Pesach = #nomoneyleft

3. (New one I just remembered!) I find it difficult, when counting omer, to say שני שבועות. I really want to say שבועיים.

4. Yelled at some obnoxious children at the park. In Hebrew. Two of Ariella's classmates (I won't say which gender they were, but it's the one closely associated with cooties) were running around the park with water guns. When they saw Ariella, they decided it would be fun to chase her and shoot water at her. I stalked up to them, soaked daughter in tow. They were, naturally, refilling their guns at the water fountain. And when I asked where their parents were, they told me - surprise! - they were at the park by themselves. So I unleashed my full Israeli on them, yelling for a good 2.5 minutes, including my favorite Israeli parenting phrase, "Ani lo marsha!"

I actually think I made it through mistake-free. At least Ariella didn't correct me, mid-yell, and was pretty impressed afterward.

Speaking of Ariella, there are still signs that I have a long ways to go:

When I made yet another noun/adjective mix-up (masculine with feminine, or vice versa), she said to me, in exasperation, "Just use the "yafeh/yafah" trick. If you would say this word is "yafeh," then you use a zachar adjective. If you would say "yafah," then you use a nekevah adjective."

Um, yeah. But what's the trick to tell you if it's yafeh or yafah?????

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cows and Swords

Well, Pesach has come and gone. And just like every year, we cleaned, cooked, asked, sang, ate, hiked, and got chased by cows. Well, that last one happened only to me. The annual Running of the Cows in Modiin. Although, frankly, I would perfectly happy if it stays a one-time event.

We also added to our post-Pesach list, our love notes to ourselves that we started way back in 2000, with little nuggets like "We need non-leaky tube pans." We tend to write to ourselves in very strong language, and we are fond of exclamation points. This year's additions: "We have 2 dish drainers. This is enough! Stop buying them!" and "We got 2 serving dishes as a gift. They need to be toveled!"
We also added to our file of Unique Parenting Phrases:

"Has anyone seen the sword?" and, related:

"You may not take the sword to street maariv!"

(The reason one would be looking for the sword, by the way, is because it is excellent for sweeping toys out from under the couch.)

Also, Nadav decided to place my collection of return-for-desposit bottles into the washing machine. I would ask why, but really, does one need a reason?

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Pesach Acrostic

P is for privation that our children feel before, when there's naught to eat but apples and crumbs found on the floor.

E is exclamations; while cleaning we declare "Just how long has this string cheese been stuck under the chair???!!!"

S is for the sitting that we do not dare attempt, for when we need to rise again it'll make us all fahklempt.

A is for the apples, of which I needed MORE, necessitating yet another trip into the store.

C's for creativity, in our recipes; matzah meal, friedboiledbaked, how would you like it, please?

H is for hametz, Happy Pesach! and haggadah. May you have a peaceful chag and lots of matzah topped with buttah.