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.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dryer Findings

In addition to the usual - enough ponytail holders to hold every one of Rockette's hairdos firmly in place, and enough change to buy a packet of ponytail holders - here are 2 interesting dryer findings:

1. A keychain with Nadav's picture on the front and the words, "Tamid itach/always with you" on the back. Which? Oh God, really? ALWAYS? I find this a threatening, not heartwarming message. Kind of like a dire warning which will be acted upon later when I try to pee alone and have to explain AGAIN why mommies can't do it standing up. Also, the keychain popping up suddenly in unexpected places is not helping me feel any love toward this particular gan creation. (On my night table! On the floor! On a dresser! Next to my cup of coffee! In my skirt pock - AHA! Now I understand how it got to the dryer).

2. A stick of gum. It proved surprisingly resilient after going through the washer and dryer cycles, retaining its shape instead of melting and sticky-fying the rest of the wash. Which makes me:
a. Grateful and
b. A little alarmed and wondering if gum is really a thing I should be allowing my family to place in their mouths.

(Because, Life Lesson, kids: things that go through the wash unscathed - clothes, ponytail holders, change, action figures, rocks - are usually not things you should be eating.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Something Slowly This Way Comes

So a few months ago I started running. (Because of, you know, all the cookies.)

I will now answer some FAQs about my running:

Q. Whaaaaaa???? [This was from my parents.] (This came as a surprise to them because my main goal in life is to sit on the couch in pajamas eating cookies and watching TV, and the only reason I even exercise at all is because on the elliptical, I can at least do the last part).

A. Yes, running.

Q. So, you're a "runner?"

A. No, I am not "a runner." People who are "runners" are usually:
1. Training for some type of marathon
2. Fast

I am neither of those things.

Q. How can we know you're telling the truth about this "running?" It's not like you ever post it on Facebook.

A. I don't post my runs or times on Facebook, because:
1. I am rather slow
2. I don't get very far (although if you hear of any good 2Ks, lemme know)

So I keep it offline, because posting my times on Facebook would be the equivalent of saying, "Hey everyone, look how awkward and uncomfortable my kid looks here!" or, "Look at this soggy pie I made!"

Q. Do you pass people on the right or on the left?

A. Well, I don't really have to worry, since usually I am the one being passed. In fact, the only people I pass are:
1. Going in the opposite direction
2. Stopped on the side of the road to let their dog pee
3. Older couples who are taking a leisurely stroll holding hands

Q. When do you run?
A. I run early, at like 5:30 in the morning, for the inspiring reason of "I like to get exercise over and done with first thing." Also, also it's cool then. Also, at 5:30 a.m. there are very few people out that can see me running. This is important. Running Me is not the sort of rapturous beauty over whom wars are fought. When the great minds at Maxim are discussing their next magazine cover, I'm pretty sure no one exclaims,"Hey, I got it! Sweaty woman in mid-30s huffing down the road in baggy swim skirt and old t-shirt!"

Q. Can I run with you?
A. Yes. Just don't look.

First, a pre-announcement announcement: I am going to talk about charity and something other than myself, so hold on.
Now, back to our Announcement:
Someone who IS training for a marathon is none other than my own husband and infrequent-ABA contributor Donny. He is running the Jerusalem Marathon as part of the Crossroads Jerusalem team. (I'm waiting for them to open a 2K option before I join). If you want to join or sponsor, get in touch with me or sign up on Crossroads' website. Bonus: If you live in Modiin, Donny will even train with you, though you may end up cursing him out. Don't worry, you won't be the first.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Cookie Primer

Things that belong in cookies:
sugar, white/brown/confectioner's
chocolate in any form
peanut butter
raisins or craisins
science things that make them cookie-like (baking soda, baking powder, etc)

Things that do not belong in cookies:

If you are having trouble remembering the Dos and Don'ts of cookie baking, it may be helpful to think of it this way: "Don't be a rookie - no veggies in a cookie." Or (now this one isn't going to rhyme, so don't get your hopes up), "If I can put it in my soup, I shouldn't put it in my cookie dough." I mean, would you make chicken cookies? Minestrone cookies? Of course not. So stop, I beg you, just don't do it.

Another helpful way to remember is to think of when you can eat these things. For example, vegetables and legumes belong in the meal, like in an appetizer, entree or side dish. Cookies, on the other hand, belong in your hand at any time of day or night. Mmmmmm.

There have been lots of recipes going around on Facebook promising delicious cookies using very non-delicious ingredients. Do not be duped. I promise you that that cookies made with mashed chickpeas will taste like ... well, exactly as a cookie made out of chickpeas should taste. What were you expecting, fool???

You know, I'm not anti-vegetable at all. It's just that it's so tiring having to worry all the time about "being healthy" and "things that are good for you" and "how can I sneak some lentils and broccoli into this dessert?" Can't we, once in a while, make delicious food (cookies come to mind, for example) and eat it just because it tastes good???

RT if you believe in the Pure Cookie Movement.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rollin' with the Roses

Here's how it all went down one night last week:

First, Ariella made a picture out of cucumber and etrog peel.

She was devastated when I told her later we'd have to toss it eventually, because Science would happen to it in the form of mold and rot.

Nadav conducted his own science experiment. Turns out, if you place your sippy cup of Nadav chocolate milk* upside down on top of your cup of Nadav coffee**, it will drip into the coffee. #gravityizkewl

*Recipe for Nadav chocolate milk: Make sure he's not looking. Pour regular milk into a sippy cup. Shake so bubbles form. Serve.
** Recipe for Nadav coffee: Add about 1/8 tsp decaf instant coffee to cup. Mix in a little hot water to dissolve the coffee. Add milk and spoon. Serve.

Then, it was time to sit on each other in various configurations:

(Say hi to Mt. Laundry in the corner!)


and finally

"Don't worry Mommy, we're not really laying on Nadav." So there's that, at least.

Then, naturally, it was time for last year's broken umbrellas to come out to play.

Because our chances of Poking Each Other's Eyes Out with Pointy Objects was teetering dangerously on the low side (now that the lulavim are finished). But don't worry, the children rose the occasion admirably and corrected that problem. Eventually Mommy persuaded them to put the umbrellas away, in the form of snarling and grabbing the umbrellas. Worked like a charm.

There was also Ariella practicing judo moves on Mommy, but, oh well, no picture of that. Just imagine an agile little monkey trying to topple, well, a big, slow, lazy monkey and nearly succeeding until the bigger monkey cried, "Ohmigod Ariella stop I'm going to fall!"

It was like that.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's Tuesday. Do you know where YOUR ramblings are?

(^ It's now Wednesday. Deal with it. Thursday. Sheesh!)

It's been a while since a good ramble. Here we go!

1. First (which I guess I didn't need to write, because, you know, "1."), mazel tov and מזל טוב to my good bliend (blogger friend) over at Jerusalem Stoned, on the birth of her son! Yay!

2. Second, I realized, flipping through the pages of a precious, colorful, picture-y, shiny,  howdoIloveyouletmecounttheways magazine, that at 34 years of age, I can pretty much give up hope of ever understanding "makeup." To wit: If I haven't figured out by now how to "apply blush" without looking like I've overheated or contracted some rare, tropical cheek disease, it ain't happening. (But: Where was I that it was so tropical? Maybe I can go back, when I'm healed?) Also, I will never be able to make my eyes "pop," no matter what In Style promises. (Except to walk into the living room during Tent Construction. "But we NEEDED every single blanket and chair. And we needed all the books, game and puzzle to keep the blankets on the chairs!" They pop pretty nicely then.)

3. First day of school after Sukkot: Like the first day of school, only with more of the dread and none of the excitement. Blech.

4. Note to self: Nadav is not always truthful when he announces: אמא, אני הולך לישון ואז לא עושה פיפי במטה שלי!

5. Also, do not call his new shoes "shoes." What are you, a commoner? They are to be referred to ONLY as "na'alei sport" are you writing this down??

6. Fact: When offered the choice between a flu shot for my children (just show up) and the flu mist (requires a prescription and signing up in advance) I say, "Shoot 'em up."

7. For you Parenthood fans out there: Much as I loved Gilmore Girls, Sarah and Amber are a MUCH better mother-daughter combo than Lorelai and Rory ever were. Rory always kind of annoyed me.

8. Could this week BE any longer? #chandlerforever

9. Sorry, Nadav, the thing you found in Mommy's bathroom with the brightly colored shiny wrapper was NOT a lollipop.

10. I'm a big fan of DIY fruit. My heart sinks a little when the kids spy a mango.

11. People! It is NOT a "sheva bracha." Even if you are referring only to one of the parties, you still say all seven blessings! Sheva brachot. "Seven" is always plural. Except if it's the name of a movie, or some weirdo celebrity's kid.

12. You guys, the state of the house is so bad this week, even the Emergency Layer* has an Emergency Layer.
*Emergency Layer: The worst of the filth in your house that you must clean before you puke. You spend about five minutes cleaning it, because that's all you have. You just have to remove the grimiest layer. Here, it usually entails wiping the sticky milk off the counters and sweeping so you stop crunching with every step. Basically, "When Your House Resembles a Slum, It's Time to Break Out the Broom!" is what I always say.

13. I have ANOTHER cavity. This makes me irrationally indignant. Like, I take good care of my teeth! Why is this happening? Why do bad cavities happen to good people? And I keep feeling the need to clarify to everyone -- dentist, his assistant, the secretary, random people in the office -- that I don't really deserve these cavities. Because I don't want them to think I'm hygienically negligent. (You can just see them dragging me out of Oral Hygiene Court whilst I yell passionately, "But I floss every day, Your Honor!")

14. Today's Heblish: Ariella didn't hear me waking her up this morning "because I was sleeping so tight."

And that's a wrap. How are things with you?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Some Good Old-Fashioned Fun with Hebrew

In honor of the 5th anniversary of our aliyah, a good old-fashioned Immigrant Parent moment:

Donny and I had to take Ariella to the orthopedist a few weeks ago. We entered the room, explained to the doctor why we're here, blah blah blah. He nodded doctor-ly and turned to Ariella, telling her (in Hebrew), "I'm going to ask you to do 2 things for me. One is a somersault. Your mother can help you if you want. Then I need to look at your back."

I was a little flummoxed. There wasn't really a ton of room on the floor for a somersault. I supposed it would help him evaluate her back and posture, but I was worried because the floor was kind of ... hard. Wouldn't that hurt? But, I reasoned, she is a good somersaulter, so I guessed it would be okay.

Ariella and the doctor looked at me expectantly. Were they waiting for me to "help?" What was I supposed to do, anyway? Push the chairs out of the way? Gently roll her over? I looked back at them and contorted my face into what I hoped was an expression of "Can't wait to see your awesome somersault! You can do it!" I prayed that would be sufficient. I added an encouraging nod.

"My hair," Ariella whispered. Huh? Did she want me to put her hair up so it wouldn't interfere with the somersault?

Then, the doctor, thankfully, blessedly, intervened (in English), putting us Immigrant Parents out of our misery.

"Her hair. I need you to put her hair up in a high ponytail so I can see her neck and back without her hair in the way."

Turns out, the word for "bun" (as in the hairdo, not the bread; needless to say, I am much more well-versed in foodstuffs than I am in hairdos) is "gulgul," very similar to the word for cartwheel, "galgalon." Hey, stop giving me that look! They ARE similar!

(Oh, and yes, cartwheel, not somersault - my confusion was further compounded because I constantly mix up the words for "cartwheel" and "somersault.")

So that is my humbling lesson, 5 years in. For every "paam shlishit glidah" that rolls so effortlessly off my tongue--mainly because there is no "reish" involved--there is a cartwheel that needs a bun. But it's okay. I make up for it with my winning facial expressions. (In addition to "Can't wait to see your awesome somersault!" there's "Happy laughing face although I have no idea what you just said," and "Pensive thinking face, so I hope you didn't just make a joke or ask me my name.")

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Next Safety

Are you tired of answering endless variations of the eternal summer question: "What are we going to do now?" (Also known as, "What are we eating for dinner?" and "Where are we going?")

Fellow parents, suffer no more! With "Next Safety," you are protected from ever answering this question again!

Next safety is easy to use. If you've ever played Dodgeball, or its Israeli equivalent, the inexplicably named "Chayei Sara," then you're halfway there! Just like head safety protects your head, next safety protects your sanity.

Here's how it works:

Kid: What are we dooooooooing todaaaaaay?

Parent: Next safety! [This gives you automatic immunity from having to answer the question.]

Kid: Grumble, grumble [Which is what they've been saying all summer, and, let's face it, probably would have replied to anything you would have said in response to their question.]

The reason it works, at least in our family, is because the parents really don't know! Eventually, when we are doing the activity - it could be hiking, swimming, or "Yes you can watch another Curious George," depending on what point of the summer we are in - everyone will have, at long last, the answer!

What the children can ask, as often and freely as they want, is "What are we doing right at this very moment?"


Kid: What are we doing right at this very moment?

Parent: We are eating breakfast. OR
We are hiking. OR
We are driving. OR
We are threatening to turn this car around right now.

Because I love you all, I am sharing this fine piece of parenting advice with you, my Loyal Readers. I encourage you to implement it early and often.

A good day to you, and god luck in whatever it is that you are doing. (Don't worry, I won't ask you what it is.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More #MomFails

While we are on the subject of #momfails, here are some more parenting things I truly suck at:

1. Pretty girly things
When Ariella was little, God and His minions were looking down at me--it was a slow day--and lo, they said to each other, aghast, "Behold, but this mother knoweth not how to tie a bow so that it doth hang flatteth. Nor does she bear knowledge of French braids, nor has she divined the secrets to making pigtails eveneth on both sides. It is hereby ordained that her next children be male, for though they may set their pee to wander freely all over the bathroom, lo, at leasteth their hair may be kept short and their clothing free of boweth, flat or otherwise."

2. Teaching by example
To the kids: "No, you can't watch another Power Rangers."
To Donny: "More 'Community?' Why not?"

To the kids: "Have an apple."
To myself: "Time for a Snickers!"

To the kids: "Get off the computer!"
To myself: " I can get back on."

3. Watching homemade kid-performed plays
"Mommy Mommy watch our show!" has got to be one of the most dreaded 5 words in the Momiverse. (After "Mommy? I don't feel - BLARGHGHGHG!" and "Promise you won't be mad?") Omigod. The shows. I can't stand them. They are bad! Just bad! I don't care that they are using their imagination, being creative, blah blah blah. These shows SUCK! And you have to sit there the whole time and look interested and don't you DARE clap before it's over, which is exactly what you did, hoping that if you clapped, it would be over. The plots of these "shows" make "Keeping up with the Kardashians" look like highbrow drama. In our house, they always involve Yaakov in one of my old hats, mid-show shouting of stage directions, many, many fight sequences and shooty noises and Ariella stomping around as both star and type-A director.

Also, there is yelling at inattentive parents (if, as the show net is rapidly closing in on you, you should be so lucky as to get caught in the trap with a friend, don't think you can spend time talking to him/her. You will incur the wrath of the temperamental starlets. Try discreetly texting instead. Unless it's Shabbat, as it often is. Then, you can only suffer in silence, dreaming of a peaceful land filled with "Community" and Snickers bars.)

And these shows are Always. So. Long. (You: "Great jo-" [attempted standing ovation] Kids: "NOOOOO! WE AREN'T DONE YET!")

As afternoon activities go, this one may tie with Chutes and Ladders for Parenting Things That Make Me Contemplate Grabbing the Wrench from the Conservatory and Whacking Myself Senseless.

However, in case you think I am bad at all things parenting, here are some things I excel at:

1. Macaroni and cheese. It's really good.

2. Puzzles. I love puzzles. And I have passed that on to my children. And when I do puzzles with them I reach deep into a well of patience I didn't even know I had and it allows me to say "Try turning the piece around" for the millionth time and not even think about grabbing the piece out of their hand and putting it in myself. Well, maybe I think about it a little, but I never do it and I love watching them figure it out for themselves.

Which is why, on a long Shabbat afternoon, when I see their gazes wandering to the dress-up box and little director's chairs light up in Ariella's eyes, I shout enthusiastically, "Who wants to do a puzzle?????" And if I don't get a response, I can bribe with candy.

There is always candy.

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.

Friday, June 21, 2013


So 2/3 of the Rose children are now wage-earners. Of course, the wages they are earning are from me, so it's not like it's going to help pay down the mortgage or anything. In fact, it's kind of putting me in even more debt. But, now, instead of hanging up the post-swimming gear and folding towels, I get to nag my children about it 100 times a week and then pay them for that privilege. Everybody wins?

I have noticed two distinct methods to money-earning and spending:

The Saver
Ariella saves her weekly 5 shekel. Her wallet is bursting with coins. This is helpful for me, because I use her as my personal bank. Need to break a 100? Just visit the World Bank of Ariella. I've asked her what she is saving up for. She has no clue. She just knows that having money is good and by spending it, she will no longer have it, so that's bad. Frugal. Thrifty. Between her fat pile of coins and her collection of Everything She Drew Touched Made or Received Ever Ever in Her Entire Life, she'd be a good candidate for one of those preparing for the apocalypse shows. Or maybe Hoarders. I do make her pay for certain things on her own, but other than a few shekel here and there, she is saving, saving, saving. For her, the whole point of having money is having money.

*This reminds me of certain friends of ours, who made aliyah nearly 6 years ago with a stash of Bounty paper towels. It remains untouched, because our friends are waiting for the Big Spill. And you just never know when that will come, so better save up those soft absorbent squares. I hope when the Big Spill happens, they will call and let me know. I want pictures.

Anyway, that's type #1. Type #2 is:

The This-Money-Is-Burning-a-Hole-in-My-Wallet-er
Yaakov, on the other hand, has had his eye on a Zord for quite some time. A Zord, by the way, is a registered trademark of Power Rangers, and it is NOT to be confused with a "sword." When I, ever so dumbly--where was I born, under a Power Rangers-free rock?--suggested that the Zord is a special kind of sword, Yaakov rewarded me with a look of utter contempt. The same ohmigod-how-is-my-mom-so-clueless look he gave me when I wondered once why his shirt was covered in all sorts of colorful stains ("BECAUSE my desk was dirty so I had to clean it!" With your shirt? "Well it was the MIDDLE of class! I couldn't leave to get a paper towel!" Too bad he didn't have any Bounty ...)

Anyway, once I had made my complete lack of Powers Rangers knowledge abundantly apparent (I'm still not sure if Power Rangers Jungle Fury are the same guys as Power Rangers Mystic Force, but I'm afraid to ask. I want to keep some shred of dignity.) Yaakov explained that the Zord is ... damn, I totally forgot what he said. Anyone?

Well, whatever this non-sword-Zord is, Yaakov wants it. Bad. And he is saving up for it. He had a nice head start with some money from Saba last summer. And last night, after receiving his 5 shekel piece, he realized he had exactly 100 shekel! Just enough for a Zord! (Although, I think he may have been counting his agurot as shekel. A sad day when you count all those 10 agurot pieces and realize that after all that effort, all you have is ... 1 shekel. Not even enough for the 1.5 Shekel Store.)

After his exciting discovery, he ran over to me and asked if we could go to the toy store. Now. (It was 9:00 at night). Okay, fine, tomorrow? he asked. He cannot spend this money quickly enough. It does not bother him that owning this Zord (although, really, does one ever truly "own" a Zord?") will bring his balance back to zero. For him, the money is a means to an end: MOAR TOYS.

Anyone else give allow-mints? Do you have savers or spenders?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How I Spent My Day

Full disclosure: These events did not all happen in one day. Some, of course, are regular occurrences. Others, thank God, are rarer events. Think of this like the blog form of a photo montage. 

6:40 Wake up kids
6:45 Wake up kids, with cajoling
6:50 Wake up kids, with threats ("There will be no time for breakfast. NO TIME!!")
6:52 Wake up kids by blanket-and-ankle yanking
6:55 Breakfast. Nadav picks his cereal. I confirm his choice (Cheerios) before pouring. He requests craisins. I confirm his request before adding. I pour milk
6:56 OH MY GOD! Disaster of hitherto unheard of proportions!! There are CRAISINS in Nadav's Cheerios! Do you hear me! CRAISINS! How did they get there???? "LO ROTZEH!" he demands. They must be REMOVED. Immediately! Nadav refuses to touch them, so the task falls to me to remove each one, wet craisin by wet craisin. "Better now?"
6:56.5 No, it's not. Cheerios in the bowl! Red alert! "LO ET ZEH!!!" Nadav cries, pushing away his bowl of the detested Cheerios. He wants his favorite thing to eat, "mashehu acher (something else)." I refuse to waste expensive Cheerios by tossing them down the sink so we have a few rounds of Breakfast Is Over Do You Hear Me?? before he deigns to eat it.
6:57 - 7:35 Bark commands: Get dressed! Brush your teeth! Put your lunch in your tik! I watch Nadav as he slooooowly put his shoes on himself ("AMARTI RAK ANI!") and I must sit on my hands to stop them from shooting out and grabbing the #$#@$#$# little Velcro strap myself and pulling it through the slot. Oh dear God he's almost there, just pinch it and yank it through, pinch and yank dammit, we're so close I can taste it, although, I do NOT want to taste it, since Nadav has insisted on wearing closed sneakers and socks and it's freakin' SUMMER in ISRAEL.
7:35 We bundle out the door. Ariella, as usual, is not ready ("I needed a few minutes to stretch!") so she says she will meet us at the car. We strap ourselves in and wait, while I mumble, "Next time, she's WALKING," and Yaakov is cheering me on, because his dearest ambition in life is to get a ride while Ariella has to walk, and then just to be contrary I yell at him, "Is that nice? To hope she has to walk? How would YOU feel? blah blah blah, be nice, do unto others, blah blah blah." Ohmigod I am so tired of saying those words.
7:50 I return from drop off. I open the door and notice a disgusting dead bug, upside down, its little gross buggy legs sticking up in the air. I feel willies up and down my back. I climb out the passenger side of the car.
8:00 I drink coffee/work/drink coffee/work, going to my virtual break room every so often to see what's going on.
10:00 I am hungry. I go to the fridge. It contains a mushy peach and a container of olives. I drink more coffee.
10:30 I have to go to the bank. The bank is like The Machine in "The Princess Bride." Every trip = one year off your life.
10:50 Still waiting at the bank. I admire Teller Window #2. So pretty! What? No one is ever working at that second window, so I assume it's for decorative purposes.
Eons later: It is my turn. I fight to convince them that the thing they think I can't do at the window I actually can do.
12:00 Home again. That trip to the bank deserves some more coffee. I look around. No one seems to object, so I make more.
1:30 I pick up big kids and we go to the pool. We get artikim. I wash off the artik in the bathroom sink after it falls onto the grass.
4:15 I pick up Nadav. He quietly contemplates what his afternoon tantrum will be about. Perhaps he will decide, once we are already home, that he MUST have his hat from gan and wail about it for 45 minutes. "AVAL ANI ROTZEH!!!" (In Nadav's world, this is a perfectly logical reason. "But I WANT it!" Oh! You WANT it! Now I understand! I shall rush to bring you the very item you covet, forthwith and without delay! Also, while we're talking about one-sided logic, I will note that while it is perfectly acceptable for Nadav to use "kachah zeh (just cuz)" as a reason, if he is deluging me with an endless barrage of  "AVAL LAMAH"s, I best be coming up with a satisfactory response. As Nadav tells me: "You lo say 'kachah zeh.'"
5:00 The tantrum has subsided. Nadav and Ariella are playing on the mirpeset. I overhear the following language lesson (for Nadav, who is hopeless about his male/female in Hebrew): "Nadav," says Ariella helpfully, "if you have a penis, you say 'Ani yodeah.' If you don't, you say, 'Ani yodaat.'" Which? Pretty much sums it up.
5:30 Doctor's appointment. I take Nadav because he had a weird cough in the morning. Yaakov happily plays on my phone during appointment. Lungs are fine. We leave.
6:00 Dinner. Nadav eats "mashehu acher." Yaakov complains that his head hurts. We were just. At. The doctor. Couldn't you have told me this an hour ago????
7:00 Getting Nadav ready for bed, wondering why Yaakov is running the water in the living room.
7:01 Come out to the living room, see the contents of Yaakov's lunch + dinner on the floor. Make another doctor's appointment for tomorrow.
7:02 Nadav fascinated by puke. "Ani rotzeh see. Yaakov oseh mashehu (I want to see. Yaakov did something)," he explains. So - and I can't believe I am actually typing this sentence - I take Nadav to look at Yaakov's vomit. "Rachok mee-die (too far)" Nadav comments, and I think he's commenting on Yaakov's impressive trajectory. But no. WE are too far. So - and I can't believe-oh who am I kidding, I can totally believe it - I bring Nadav closer to the puddle of puke. He is fascinated. "Yaakov oseh mashehu. Lamah?" I explain about feeling sick and vomiting. "Achshav Yaakov go mechonit rofay. Hu lo margish tov. (Now Yaakov has to go in the car to the doctor. He doesn't feel well.)"
7:15 I read Nadav his 3 books, the same 3 books (2 Curious Georges and a strange Hebrew ones about shoes who go to a party, except the army boots don't go because they have to protect the country, so the high heels bring them cake and a balloon.) We must read these three books EVERY NIGHT in the RIGHT ORDER, or ELSE.
7:30 Nadav falls asleep. I commence floor-cleaning and grownup-dinner-making.

Hoping for a quiet dinner free of puke, craisins and mashehu acher.

So how's by you?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Things I've Been Saying Lately

Take your car out of the yogurt
Everyone gets privacy in the bathroom [Ed. note: Excluding me. Obviously]
Yes, you can bring your shoko into the bath
Is there anything molding in your tik today?
No, Nadav, we can't pee together.
I will pay you not to hit people
Hang up your towel. Hang up your towel. Hang up your towel. Why is your towel still on the floor????
Come here, I'll kiss your teeth. [They were hurting.]
Any homework? [Dear God, Please, please let the answer be no. Kisses, Me]
Did you even LOOK for it?
Stop being a davka-nik [DAVkanik (n). Origin: Me. Def: Touching your sibling's chair ever so lightly with your foot so as to annoy the hell out of him while you innocently proclaim, "What? I'm not doing anything!" Or: When you don't really want the red car; in fact, you may despise the red car. But hell will be so frozen that the icicles will have icicles before you will give the red car to your brother. He will have to pry it out of your cold, dead hands. Which he may be able to do, if you don't stop it and just give him the car]
Fine, get the sandwich out of the garbage and finish it.
You're right. If someone does something to you that you don't like, the best response is to do that same thing back to him. I'm sure that's what Hillel really meant. [Talmud, revised: Can you tell me the Torah on one foot? Yes: Don't let your sibling get away with squat.]
Put. Your. Clothes. In. The. Hamper.
Yes, I was listening to everything you said. [Ed. note: Not really]
Where's your other shoe? Why are they never together?
Yes, you need a bath. Yes, you need to change your underwear
When you  choose one thing, that means you are un-choosing something else.
What was I saying?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Toddlers: They Cannot Tell a Lie

Scene I: Nadav whacking an older sibling with a toy. I remove toy from his hands. Cue gloating (older sib) and crying (Nadav).

Me: Nadav, you can't use your toys to hit.


Me: Do you want the toy back?

Nadav: כן (Yes)

Me: If I give you the toy, are you going to hit [sibling's name, probably Yaakov] with it?

Nadav [solemn nod]: כן

Scene II: Nadav has scampered away from me during the Bedtime Triathalon (PJs - Pee - Teeth!) I find him in Donny's office, eyeing the bag of the American M&M's he (Donny) is supposed to bring into work. We are ever so slowly whittling away at the supply. Note to Donny's colleagues: What candy?

[Nadav looks guiltily at me.]

Nadav: אמא תלך! (Mommy, go away! Ed. note: For those keeping score, the conjugation mistake is all his.)

Me: Okay [as I leave, I move the candy bag out of reach.]

Nadav: לא!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Noooooo!!!)

Me: Did you want me to leave them there so you can eat them after I left?

Nadav [bursts into frustrated tears]: כן!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, toddlers, they may not give you privacy (although, who doesn't enjoy an audience while they shower?). And they definitely do not give you peace of mind (No, please don't show me how you slide around on one leg in the bath). But at least you can count on them for total honesty.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fun at the Dentist!

Oh, my poor, poor aliyahbyaccident blog. It's gone from being the beloved first child to the neglected ... first child. (Yes, in our house, we neglect all the children equally.)

Now that I'm a world-famous blogger for Jewish Values Online and Times of Israel (in which "world" = my FB friends and "famous" = some people know who I am and don't even cross the street when they see me coming), I have little time to dedicate to my first love.

But I'm here now, with some sad news.

I have a cavity. My first one, ever. At not-quite-34 years, The Streak has ended. (Cal called to offer me his sympathies. And if you don't get that joke, then clearly you did not grow up in Baltimore in the '90s. Which is a shame, because we had Chapps back then.)

The saddest part is not that the streak is over, or that they are going to stick needles in my mouth (I'm going to have to take all the soothing advice that I dole out to my children during their dental exams. I may even hold my own hand. But you know what? It is soooo much easier to be the doler than the dolee. Especially when needles are aiming at a part of your mouth that should only feel soft soft things.)

No, the saddest part is that I have to go back. I have to make another appointment. When I innocently asked, "So are you going to fill it now or do I need to come back?" the dentist looked at me as if I asked, "So, are you going to spread that dental paste all over the floor and line dance on it?"

Mah pitom???? was his indignant response. This was just a checkup! OF COURSE you need to [scary music] come back!

So. Gotta make another appointment and head back over. Here's a peek at what we're dealing with: When I called to make this appointment, I stressed that it was really important to have an early morning appointment, even if it meant waiting a few weeks. Their response: Okay, sure, how about this Thursday at 12:00? Sigh.

Anyway, sorry to return with such downer news. I hope my cavity hasn't ruined anyone's day. But cheer up! I will hopefully return soon with a Close Reading of Curious George. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Confessions: Part II

So, kids, it's time for me to let you in on another secret. You know how you get really sad when the TV show is over? And you beg Mommy to let you watch justonemore???

Well, I'll tell you something: Mommy is sad too! Mommy realllly wants to let you watch another one. Because when you are sitting quietly in the front of the TV, absorbing the critical life lessons Power Rangers has to offer (the importance of an aesthetically pleasing mask? Never leave home without your Zord?), you aren't fighting, talking back, spilling something, fighting or talking back. That show starts, you are quiet, and the lack of hanging-on-us-ness allows us to commence important evening-time activities, such as sweeping up the bits of Nature Valley granola bar that you ever so cleverly spilled all over the floor. (Except for the bits that you wedged into your sandals while you were wearing them. Obviously not those.)

We have to move quickly during TV time, faster than the mad dash of a kid who heard from the other room that a sibling might be touching something of theirs. So there we are, frantically cleaning up from dinner, making lunches, cleaning up from breakfast, throwing out moldy tik fruit and, of course, checking Facebook. Then we hear the dreaded end-of-show jingle, one of the saddest known sounds for Mommykind. And we have to fortify ourselves to say no, not to give in to the seductive idea of hours and hours in front of the television, because, sigh, we should give you food and possibly even attention. And we all know that too much TV will turn you into law-breaking drains on society who never brush their teeth. (Note: productive non-criminals with clean teeth = my parenting goals.)

However, erev Shabbat or chag? Brain-rot away, kids. See you when it's bath time.

(In another news: I'm thinking of developing a new line of baby books, with the really important milestones. You know, first curse/bad word ("shuddup" or, my favorite Israeli one, "sheeeet"), first poop in the tub, etc. Suggestions?)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Taking Care of Blizzness

(That's Blog Business)

First, two new blogs added to my blogroll:
Apartmentality, by my friend Shira. She knows about color and materials and, you know, design-y stuff. And she's an interior designer! Here in Israel! She has taste! Call her!

Also, an aliyah blog by Loyal Reader Eliana, Oys and Joys. Clever name, no? (I'm talking about the blog name, to clarify. Eliana is a great name also. Though I don't know that I would describe it as "clever." But maybe. Eliana herself is very clever. Okay! Let's move on, shall we?) You can become her Loyal Reader too! Except I've trademarked "Loyal Reader." (No, I haven't). So you'd have to be a "Devoted Follower" or something. And don't worry about jealou-blogosy, like you'd be cheating on this blog if you went ahead and read that one. Loyal Readers (or Devoted Followers) have room in their hearts for everyone's aliyah traumas! Anyway, our blogs are really good friends and even go out together for coffee and wonder why the cups are so freakin' small.

In other business:
In this crazy big-yet-so-small world, we recently had the opportunity to meet two Loyal Readers, who were previously unbeknownst to us. They made their way to us through the blog, and we got to meet them! In person! The best part was that when you talk face to face, you don't to type in random strings of letters and numbers before each exchange.
Anyway, one Loyal Reader-turned-friend is none other than the aforementioned Eliana. We had started emailing before they made aliyah and we recently got to meet the entire Oy family! And we liked them!

The other is Craig; a mutual friend of ours suggested ABA as good reading for those considering aliyah. And then - this is the crazy part, so I hope you are sitting - he said this very blog helped inspire him to make aliyah!

Naturally, the first question we asked him, once we stopped choking on our food, was, "Are you sure you're reading the right blog?" He assured us that he was, and even pointed to the specific post that served as the inspiration: the one about my stolen purse. (Or maybe it was this one.) In his words(ish), "If you can survive a stolen purse with humor, then you can probably survive anything aliyah throws at you. So let's go!"

So. There you go. In addition to constantly helping us all become the best parents we can be, ABA also helped bring one whole family to Israel! Nefesh B'Nefesh, I'm waiting for your phone call.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Confessions: Now Updated with the Thing that I Forgot!

1. Sometimes I sweep up small toys and throw them out because I lack the energy to call the toy's owner over and make him/her pick it up.

2. I can't get rid of our landline because when I can't find my cell phone, I use the landline to call it.

3. When Donny is away on business, though mostly we miss him, there are also things we (read: I) look forward to: Making only one dinner, using his bed as my dumping grounds and having the toilet seat remain down.

4. Speaking of beds, a confession: I don't make mine. I firmly believe in the old saying, "Why maketh your bed in the morning, when you shall just lieth in it at night?" I have made some strides in this area in that I try not to become frustrated with Ariella when she makes hers. (I mean, it cuts into precious morning minutes! But I do not say, "Omigod, Ariella, stop making your bed!" See? Strides.)

5. The thing I was thinking of last night that was so funny and now for the life of me can't remember goes here.

5. When banks, etc. call on our American line, I get a secret thrill out of saying, "No, I'm not interested in your credit card because I live abroad." It sounds so ... cosmopolitan and exotic. Like I live a glamorous life of sipping lattes, examining fine works of art and leisurely strolling down boulevards instead of removing decaying apples from backpacks and being ignored by my children. Although, the latte part is the same. So there's that.

If you have a Friday Confession to share, please feel free.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In Which I Disrobe

Don't worry, it's for a good cause. Well, not for a "good cause," exactly. It's not like I disrobed for charity. (Is that a thing?) More like, I had a good reason for it. Okay, not like a really solid, can't-argue-with-that reason, it was more like ... well, you'll see what it was like.

Should I just get on with it already?

At the beginning of this story, I was robed. I had gotten dressed all by myself. (And--poofahs for me--I did not have to be cajoled or threatened. No one had to hold my skirt while I stepped in or make sure my shirt was on the right way or find my shoes. Although I will admit that I am not past the occasional missing-shoes freak out. "Where are my shoes?" I might run around screaming in the morning. "Has anyone seen my shoes????")

But this morning I was very independent. I walked out of my room, fully clothed. Nadav saw me while he was sucking the toothpaste off his toothbrush brushing his teeth. He looked alarmed. "Toh-reed (take it off)!" he demanded. I thought he was mad that I was wearing long sleeves today. The back-and-forth weather has been difficult for those change-resistant among us. Today, for example, was supposed to be cooler than previous days, so I had put Nadav in a long-sleeve shirt; he insisted I replace it with a short-sleeve one, because he's switched to short, and that's that. He expressed these thoughts eloquently by tugging on the end of the sleeve and grunting, "Hnnnnh!"

However, it was not my choice of clothes that upset him. It was that I got dressed without him present. You see, Nadav and I are like two girls in junior high. We go everywhere together, including the bathroom. (Don't worry, Nadav always shuts the bathroom door behind him; you know, to give us some privacy.) So he's used to coming along with me while I get dressed in the morning. I usually say to him: "Nadav, Mommy's going to get dressed, want to come?" (Do not think I say this because I am lonely. It is Mommy-speak for "If I leave you alone for two seconds, unattended, you will either cry, find the paint or break a glass. So let's go!")

Nadav is unaware of my ulterior motives. To him, "getting dressed" is just another one of our "together" activities. When he saw that I had the audacity to put on clothes without him, he felt shocked and betrayed. He grabbed my hand and dragged me to my room. He waited patiently. I took off the shirt and put it back on. Ahhhh ... I was rewarded with a big smile. The world was right again. In fact, you probably felt it, around 7:30 this morning, Israel time: A feeling of the world just clicking back into place. We proceeded with our day.

Tomorrow: Nadav finds things in the bathroom drawers. Discussions ensue.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Warning: Old Age Ahead!

Actual thing that happened to me yesterday:

Sat down to write an email to Yaakov's teacher. Mid-composition, remembered that I don't actually need to write this email (because I was going to see her later in the day and could just ask her in person). Got up. Ate Snickers. Returned to computer. Thought, "Hmmm. Why did I never write that email?" Halfway through email, remembered:
1. I am going to see her later in the day and can just ask her in person.
2. I already had this conversation with myself.

Also: I've been turning off the oven mid-cookies. The timer dings, I take out a batch, turn off the oven, and slide in a new batch. When I return 10 minutes later, I am surprised that the cookies are taking soooo long to bake. I concoct a bizarre theory regarding oven temps and cookie batter. I turn the timer on for another few minutes. Only when the timer dings again, and the oven is practically cold to the touch, do I realize what I've done.

And this happened to me twice. Within two weeks. The second time it happened, you could reasonably have expected that when I encountered the strangely uncooked cookies, I would have remembered that a similar phenomenon happened recently, and that phenomenon was due to my twitbrain deciding it was time to turn off the oven. However, if you expected that, then I am disappointed in you. Don't you know me better than that already??

So the mind is not what it used to be, is what I'm saying.

At least I remember both my kids' names.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


So we always complain that kids don't come with handbooks on how to raise them. But equally helpful would be a handbook for kids, from us. In it, we would explain important concepts. Like time.

Here's an example: Two minutes. Two minutes can actually be much more or less than 120 seconds. You see, kids, it depends what we are doing, and if it is something we want to do or not.

So, "We can play War for another two minutes," might actually mean "One more turn each and we're done here, kiddo." Real-time: 2 minutes. Parent-time: 30 seconds.

Whereas, "Get into bed and I'll check on you in two minutes," well, that might not happen till tomorrow. Real-time: 2 minutes. Parent-time: 12 hours.

Sometimes we completely lie about time. Like when we are timing you to do something you don't want to do. "Can you clean up these toys before I get to 20?" Here's a hint: Yes, you can. Because we will stretch out counting to 20 for as long as it takes. See, we just want the toys cleaned up. And we want you to feel successful in your endeavors. So we will make sure you beat the clock. (Note: This is not a sustainable lie. In 7-10 years from now, we will not be able to say, "Let's see if you can study for that really hard chemistry exam before I get to 15!")

Parent-time also comes in handy for peeing.

 "Let's see if you can pee before I get to 10!" we might say, because for some reason, children, you don't want to pee, ever; it is something you must be bribed and cajoled to do. Us parents don't understand it. And the older we get, the less we understand this whole not-wanting-to-use-the-bathroom thing. Probably because for you, peeing is taking precious time away from other, nobler pursuits, such as zooming little cars under the sofa and building a Mega-Zord. For us, peeing means disappearing into the bathroom for a few minutes alone. So you little people dread pee, while we grownups anticipate it, look forward to it, sometimes even invent pee needs just to sit in a quiet room.

What was I saying?

Oh yes. So when we count to 10, we may count ve-e-e-ery slo-o-o-o-o-owly. Because once again, the goal is the peeing, not the rapidity. It doesn't matter to us if it takes you nine seconds or 11 seconds. It just matters that you pee before it ends up on our couch.

The same is true when we time you for races, because the goal is you running and tiring yourself out. Here's how it works:

Scene: Two mommies at a playground, chatting, while you kids are running around, having a good time, entertaining yourselves bless you. Suddenly, you decide that Mommy has to be involved in your next activity. You run up to Mommy. You see she is in the middle of a conversation:

Mommies: Did you see [that thing] on Facebook? .... So and so is pregnant again ... Can you believe what my husband ... [redacted]. (Ed. note: Don't worry, dear, that doesn't apply to you. You are my knight in shining armor!)

You do not care about this conversation. Because YOU need Mommy RIGHT NOW.

You [interruping]: Mommy, Mommy! Time me how long it takes for me to run around the playground!

We are into this idea! And we even come up with a better one!

Mommy: Ooh! Even better - run around TWO TIMES!
You: Yeah!!!!
Mommy: One, two ... [you start running]

Mommies resume conversation.

Mommies: So this morning, all the kids ended up in my bed ...

You come zooming by

Mommies: One definitely kneed me in the stomach ... SEVEN! EIGHT! ... So did you figure out what you're doing with the kids for the summer? ... FIFTEEN! SIXTEEN! ... Yeah, I also have to go to Rami Levi later. Somehow the food I bought is all gone ... NINETEEN! Wow! You did it in less than 20 seconds! Amazing! See if you can go down the slide 10 times in a row! I'll time you! ... And then, he took the permanent marker - how he found the permanent one, I have no idea ... TWENTY-THREE!

So that's how the book would work. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe we shouldn't be giving away the parenting equivalent of state secrets. We want to keep these timely (Ha! Ha!) tricks to ourselves.Never mind kids, go back to what you were doing. I'll be there in a minute.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Little Phlogging

(Phlog = photo blog. No Loyal Readers were harmed during the production of this blog.)

Here are some things we've been up to in the past month. Think of it like ramblings, but with pictures!

Exhibit A

I have now done 3 things for Pesach:
1. Bought oven cleaner
2. Took picture of oven cleaner
3. Blogged about taking picture of oven cleaner

Exhibit Bet

Nadav writes his own "petek ma'aseh tov." You know, the little "mitzvah notes," as we used to call them. He loves bringing a petek into gan; I've tried explaining that you need to do a ma'aseh tov first in order for me to write about it. So this past Saturday night, he saw a lone notepaper on the floor. He ran to it, shouting "Petek sheli!" Then turned it over to find it was empty. Huh, he thought, seems like Mommy is really falling down on the job. No problem; he just wrote it himself.

Exhibit 3

The POCs live! This is (one of the many, many) reasons why when people show up unexpectedly, I want to cry. (Another reason: Underwear on the floor. Another reason: Mt. Laundry. Another reason: Bags of groceries in the middle of the room. I could go on. But I think I've created a vivid enough image for you.)

Exhibit IV

Here is a random picture of my skirt that I took by accident. Yes, that is my grey-leggings-covered knee. Don't tell my old principal.

Exhibit Five

Sigh. Tzitzit. And boys. Who thought this was a good combination???? This picture doesn't do it justice, but let assure you, the tzitzit are gross. Washing them is a pain. (Both of which also apply to boys.) If girls got the tzitzit, we would take good  care of them. They'd come in pretty rainbow colors and we'd braid the fringes. And then we'd collect Tzitzit Charms and trade them with each other during recess. Instead, we bequeath tzitzit upon our sons and just decide we're not going to ask where that stain came from. (Disclaimer: Before you go all PC on me and tell me about your neat boys and messy girls, let me assure you that I am perfectly aware of my generalization/stereotyping. And I am okay with it.)

And finally ...

Every once in a while, this happens: The Power Rangers take care of vigil for me. (Though not often enough; you'd think, what with their Mega-Zords, they could manage to find a way to put a little 2.5 year old to sleep. Let this be a lesson, kids: Mommy is the Ultimate Power Ranger.)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Step-by-Step Guide to Bringing Pictures Into Gan

Sometimes, your child needs to bring in pictures of the family to gan or school. Here's a handy how-to guide:

1. Read notice taped to gan door that says, “We would love pictures of your family for Family Day!” 

(Family Day, aka Yom HaMishpacha, is a holiday we made up cuz we gots nothin' on the calendar between Tu B'Shvat and Purim, and we need something to teach about since we've already covered winter, water, trees and citrus fruits.)

This is the easy part. This occurred on Sunday. “No problem,” I think breezily as I carry Nadav out of gan, ("Up on Meema!") “I’ll just go home and print a few pictures for him to bring tomorrow.” I mean, it’s so easy nowadays, no sifting through old picture albums and sending in actual prints that you know will never make it home dry and in one piece, and there will forever be a sad blank space in the album next to a caption that says, “Little Joey riding his new tricycle!” and if Joey is your oldest, no problem, you have entire albums, nay, storage rooms, dedicated to “Pictures of Joey on his tricycle.” But if poor Joey is your youngest, woe unto you, because not only do you have no other pictures of Joey on the bike, that picture was in fact the only evidence that he existed between “Our new baby!” and “Joey puts on tefilin!” 

In any case, the Read the Notice stage generally lasts 3 days. 

2. Read notice at gan and remember it when you get home.

This occurred on Tuesday. Yay! I think. I am definitely doing this picture thing today. I even sit down at the computer and open up Picasa. No problem. Mother of the Year, here I come. The trophy shelf is filling up.

But then, Something happens. It could be a fight, dinner, tantrum, the realization I haven’t seen Nadav in a few minutes, a homework question. (“Mommy, do you know [answer to some really obscure question in Shoftim, a book I have not cracked open since I donned my Bais Yaakov 3-piece uniform]?” Um, not off the top of my head, I can help you find it. [Look of intense disappointment that I do not have Tanach and its many commentators sitting on the top of my brain, waiting for Ariella to come pick at it. The top of my brain is reserved for "There are 3 children" and "I'm hungry." So I, too, must look inside the sefer, like a mere mortal.]

So this Something pushes the picture thing right out of my head. In fact, when I sit back down at the computer, lo these many hours later, I haven’t the faintest idea why Picasa is open. I close it and check Facebook.

3. Print the pictures!

This occured on Wednesday. Finally! I sit down while the kids are watching TV and choose those pictures, and I print the hell out of them. Oh yeah! I’ve got Nadav + siblings, Nadav + parents, Nadav +Zaidy, Nadav +Saba, Nadav + family. I am rocking Family Day!

4. Bring the pictures to gan.

The most difficult stage. Has not happened yet. I inevitably take a long detour into Leave Pictures Next to The Computer stage. During this detour, you must enter Guiltville. And there is no trophy shelf in Guiltville. You see, as I'm leaving gan, after drop off, I see the note AGAIN. I wring my hands and say, “Oh, I even printed them and then left them at home!” The gan mommy’s equivalent of the homework-eating dog. 

The supersweet and warm ganenet says, “Oh no problem! Just bring them tomorrow! The kids love looking at the pictures of Ima and Abba!” which, to a non-mother, means, “No problem! Just bring them tomorrow!" but to a mom residing in Guiltville, what she really said was, “Nadav is so sad! He’s the only one without pictures! He sits in the corner crying, while all the well-loved children clutch pictures of their wonderful families that their attentive and caring mommies brought in! Please bring the pictures before you traumatize him for life!"

At this point, I am so guilt-ridden that I actually consider for a moment running back home and getting those damn pictures, but then I say to myself, buck up, it’s only like the 36,637th time you’ve screwed up and traumatized him for life. 

So I don't return home, because anyway, I have so many things to do today, like blogging about this incident. 

Tomorrow is Friday; I am hoping to complete stage #4 and undo whatever trauma has occurred, so he has a clean slate for the next time I screw up. 

(If you could all text me in 5-minute increments tomorrow, starting at 7:00, reminding me to bring the pictures, I'd much appreciate it. Thanks.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why I Have No Time to Blog

This blog is dedicated to Canadian-Israeli Rachel and American-American Rachel (because she also deserves to be hyphenated), who have both sent gentle reminders that it has been a while since I last posted.

It's not that I haven't had things to post about. I've been writing blog posts in my head for weeks. Like the Emergency Layer, election day, traveling husbands. I have just been lacking the time to write them. Here's how my day goes:

6:40 Drag two very unwilling children out of bed. The third child most likely woke up in my bed, staring at me till I opened my eyes and then whispering, "boker tov!"

6:45 Continue dragging the children, one of whom announces, every. single. day. that he "doesn't wanna go to schooooooool! It's such loooooong daaaaaay! And soooo booooorrrriinnngggg!" and one of whom is describing her latest dream in exquisite detail. Try to be patient when they claim they are "so tired." Yes. I know. 10 hours of sleep can be rough on a person.

6:50 - 7:30 We continue to play, on an endless loop, the hit single "Whine 'n Yell (Have You Brushed Your Teeth Yet?)" from my newest album, "Mornin' at the Roses." Then we make the school/gan rounds.

7:45 I return home.

8:00 - 11:00 Drink coffee, stare at the computer screen, hope for inspiration. Give up and decide to work and check Facebook.

11:00 Time for the Ohmigoditsalreadyelevenoclockonlytwohoursbeforethekidscomehomeahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! freak-out!
Decide to push off my errands yet another day in favor of getting more work done. We don't really need milk. Or toilet paper. Or gas.

1:00 Make lunch. It's not my least favorite household chore, because unlike laundry or dirty bathrooms, you can eat it.

1:45 Kids walk in the door. "I hate school" kid mumbles that his day was "Good." Dream girl tells me about every minute of her day in exquisite detail.

2:00 - 4:00 We engage in a mess of homework, chugim and sometimes I drag the kids on those errands I keep pushing off. This way, they can help me push the car.

4:00 Time to pick up the Man of Mystery, when "Mystery" is defined as "What will he tantrum about today?" Usually these hours involve me printing blank sheets of paper (because it only counts as paper if you can pick it up off the printer), letting him eat a PB sandwich in the bath, and giving him cheese slices to place in a toy pot. Also tantrums.

7:00 Finally it's time for bath ("But we just had a bath!" "No! That was 3 days ago!!")/pajamas/teeth/TV. Nadav takes a little jaunt to make a Toilet PeePee. We engage in a lengthy discussion about how his little toilet seat broke and how we use tissues on Shabbat and toilet paper during the week. Then, Nadav grabs the said toilet paper and doesn't use it, but solemnly throws it into the toilet, like an offering to the Toilet Gods.

7:00-Way Too Late o'clock: Vigil! I play Track 16 from "Nighttime at the Roses" called "Those Big Blue Eyes Still Starin' At Me."

Vigil finished. My wandering Jewess wanders around the house, slowly getting herself ready and filling me in on all the details of her day she forgot to mention earlier.

I politely ignore her. (Just kidding sweetie! I am always paying attention!) (In other news, I welcome our newest Loyal Reader: Ariella.)

I think: I should work. I should blog. I should clean up the Cheerios that are milk-glued to the floor.

So I sit and watch TV.

Too late, I crash in bed, drifting off to my favorite nighttime lullaby "Think I Just Heard a Kid."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Bit of Rambling Never Hurt Anyone

1. I hate the two leftover lasagna noodles in the box. They just rattle around in there, sadly staring at each other, waiting for a can of olives or pickles to land on them and crush them. Every time I'm in the store, I feel like pulling a Steve-Martin-in-Father-of-the-Bride and ripping out exactly the amount of noodles I need.

2. Sundays. Sigh. They are not for the faint of heart. In fact, I wanted to post this on Sunday, but it was such a Sunday, I'm still recovering from its effects.

3. Is there such a thing as picking the right line at the supermarket? Or is the "right line" simply an urban legend, like "pop rocks and soda can kill you" or "celebrities are just like us" or "children who listen the first time." (Have you also gotten stuck behind the young couple paying their grocery bill in 5 shekel coins?)

4. When I talk to myself, I actually talk. Like, my mouth forms words and my voice box makes sounds. Am I alone here?

5. I used to dislike short stories. Why bother getting invested in characters when three pages later you have to forget all about them and learn about new characters? But I recently discovered, thanks to a book of short stories from DADZ, that they are a mom's best friend. You know when you sit down to read a book, and five minutes later you have to stop to break up a fight/clean up a spill/appear to be listening to someone? Well, with a short story that's okay! By the time your attention is needed elsewhere, you've finished the story! You feel accomplished! You actually read a story that did not involve small animals getting ready for bed, that had paragraphs and a font size smaller than 36! Go you!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Going to the Movies

We have been having "movie nights" recently in order to show our kids the Classic Kids' Movies. It's bad enough they are growing up without "I Had a Little Dreidl." We can't also deny them "ET phone home!" can we?

So far we have watched the "Wizard of Oz" and "E.T." It warms the cockles of my heart (what are cockles? And can they be damaged by too much caffeine? I hope not.) to hear them belting out "Because because because because becaaaaaauuuusssse! BECAUSE of the wonderful things he does! DADADADADADADA!" and Ariella's favorite line, "I do believe in spooks! I do believe in spooks! I do, I do, I DO believe in spooks!"

Also on the to-watch list: "The Sound of Music," "The Princess Bride," "Labyrinth," "Superman" and "Star Wars."

"The Sound of Music" will have to be handled carefully for our inquisitive eldest child, who can't last 30 seconds without asking a question. I'm going to have to pre-teach about Austria during WWII, rich English families, governesses, dating and Nazis (and what happens when they coincide), and the basics of Catholicism. (No, she's not actually their mother. And if my children decide to start calling me "Mother Superior" ... I would be okay with that.)

Donny also believes we have an obligation to show them "Home Alone." That one will require decidedly less explanation. Kid. Home by himself. Bad guys getting hurt. Again. And again. And again. Parents come home! The end.

I'll keep you posted - feel free to add to our Must Watch Movie List!