Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sukkos: Day 4

This morning we went to a bris at our shul (mazal tov, mazal tov, especially because my daughter ate chicken and rice and we were, oh, so proud!). Afterwards, we eventually got our vacationing acts together and went to Yerushalaim.

Many companies in Israel do what my company did this year, which is to give vouchers for a variety of stores in lieu of a cash bonus at Rosh Hashana time. This way neither the company nor the recipient pay taxes on it, I think, so the company is able to give us more money, or something like that. Anyway, while we COULD have spent them at the grocery store, it was more fun to use this 'fake' money on stuff we wouldn't have bought anyway.

So we didn't use it all (yet), but we went to Ace in J-town (bigger than ours in Beit Shemesh) and bought all manner of fun things, including a slide for the backyard for the girl (all of 100 shekel - we would've bought it anyway, probably), a juice pitcher, a seat cover for the Toyota backseat (not that my daughter would ever leave crumbs or leaky bawkles behind, heaven forfend), a cheapy car duster, some batteries - you know, important stuff. I'm most excited about the slide - we got one that she can already climb the ladder herself, so we look forward to many hours of uninterrupted shabbos naps as she amuses herself in the backyard.

Right. As Jareth said, "Well, laugh?"

The girl was BUGGING out in the store, so much so that I had to forcibly hold her and do rhythmic noises to calm her. Vacation is hard for her. When it's yuntiv / shabbos and we have guests here, they are amusement and parents are comfort. When it's just us alone, we're everything to her - and thus she's secure enough to test every single limit she's ever heard of (from gravity to "we don't touch things in stores!").

We opted not to go to another store.

So into the car, and we drove off to the tayelet (promenade) in Talpiot, where I haven't been in 10 years or so. It was hopping with holiday makers, but still had plenty of room for a cooped up Tochter to run around, saying "No birds!" and "No cats!" to the local fauna (and then for us to hold her when she wasn't convinced her techniques were working).

Since Sarah Rochel and I were in our matching mother-daughter clothes, and it was gorgeous, we took a lot of pictures. A lot a lot. Very few were any good, alas, due to the child's own activity level, the aforementioned fauna, and of course, the mysterious overweight lady who snuck into so many of the frames (she seems to follow us around sometimes - very annoying). So the below is the best of the bunch, alas, certainly until I brush off my Photoshop techniques.

Discussion question: Why are multiple chins cute on a baby and not on an adult? Provide examples (but, not to me).

Then we sat in traffic for the better part of an hour, thus botching our plans to go visit the Savta Raba. We then went to Har Nof to help a friend make labels for her daughter's wedding, (she called and told me, "If you come over, I'll babysit SR and feed all three of you," and we said - Okay!), then visited Mama Nechy and Reuven, and then transported a pooped-out (literally), sleeping baby home. I brought her upstairs and got her out of her shoes and dress, into a backwards inside-out onesie, and into her crib, all without her waking. Yummy!

And lastly before the pictures, our Shalom Bayis Lesson for the week: If after your husband falls asleep in the sukka, and you lock the door for him and put the keys under his pillow where they always go (using another set to let yourself in, of course), you may think it's better to let him sleep and assume he'll know the keys are in place. However, it may be prudent to wake him up to let him know what you've done after all, lest he awaken in the night and start hitting the bars outside your window with a stick because he thinks he's been locked out of the house (and you, foolish child, don't have the phone near you so you miss all his calls), to say nothing of said noise awakening your sleeping child. Remember - communication is key! Pun intended!

He locked the door himself this evening, and shalom bayis reigns ever still.

In the store testing slides. We did not buy this one, the 300 NIS one, since she couldn't climb it AND it seemed like it was made out of old plastic garbage cans.

This is we, watching a large crow swoop down and inhale my daughter's dropped partially chewed lump of cheese. Delish!

She was WAY too busy to take a picture WITH the two of us. So we took this with one eye on her to make sure she didn't roll off the mountain (not a chance - she was busy bossing the cats).

Sarah Rochel, hey, this is a nice picture opp! Stay still so Mommy or Abba can get there too... rats. She's gone.

Here's part of the view. It's not remotely the lovliest part (for example, Har Habayis wins hands down, even with that pesky gold dome in the middle), but I enjoyed how you could see the security fence way back there. Can't they like paint it or something?

Birt! Birt! Sky-i!

We musta taken some 30 pictures trying to capture my daughter's inner Laura Ingalls in this dress, frolicking in the grass. Would you believe this is the best one? Here is where digital cameras aren't better (unless you have the REALLY expensive ones - sponsors, anyone?), because they want to wait and focus on the subject as opposed to just CLICKING - and by the time you focus, she's gone!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sukkos: Days 1, 2 & 3

Anyone hungry? Hordes of food in the fridge, if you are, including kashrus-scare meat (guest: "I saw a sign somewhere that the Star-K says anything with their hechsure on it in Israel is wrong." (turns out they mean restaurants, not our meat!)), dubious salmon, scandalous apple soup, and more!

The salmon... We bulk-ordered a bunch of fresh salmon before R"H, which was steaks not fillets to my chagrin, but whatever, we froze most of it. I made some for sukkos, we ate it first night. Fine. Right at bedtime, the girl throws up all of it that she ate (and much else), all over...
a) the floor
b) my new yuntiv suit. Thanks kid! I musta worn it for like 3 hours!

Anyway, she then felt fine, went to sleep, was perfectly okay. Several hours later, at 3 AM, I awoke all icky and nauseous. At 4:05 AM I walk out to the sukka to wake up my husband, because, ladies, why else do we get married if not to have someone to wake up in the middle of the night to tell them we just threw up?

Unlike two years ago when I woke up on sukkos in the middle of the night and had to wake up my husband to tell him I threw up (remember that, old friends? When I was pregnant? Such fun!) this did not result in any repeat occurrences or fainting or hospital stays. B"H! I did, however, feel very, very icky for the next 24 hours or so (let's hear it for seminary girls who took care of home and child) (as well as for SuperAbba, hurray!). So while Abba had no ill effects, I blame the salmon and won't be touching it.

(You might ask, what about the guests? Well, only one was "into" salmon. She ate it. Late today she started feeling nauseous, albeit about 2.5 days after eating the salmon. Conclusion? We have a bug going around. I'm still not touching the fish!)

To reiterate, the girl, thank God, is perfectly fine and healthy, bli ayin hara!

The only really creative thing I cooked (besides Lumps O'Challah, or "what you get when the dough doesn't rise") was Moosewood 'Scandinavian Apple Soup,' or as my guest misread it, scandalous apple soup. It's basically onions and apples and milk. My daughter liked it!

Anyway, we had three lovely girls for the past three days (we made 'second day' meals for them), and various others dropped in for various sundry meals and games out in the sukka. Today (shabbos) we were blissfully out for the night and day meals (thanks to the Eisensteins across the street and the Bergers ALL the way up the hill), and Yoav finally taught me how to play Risk this afternoon. We've been married for 8 years. Well, if you ever played with him, you'd know to be scared too!

He had to leave to learn before we could finish the game. Whew. Shalom bayis reigns.

Speaking of rain, when we snuck into the back room to check the internet on Friday (we were trying to keep it yuntivdik for the girls), we saw that thunderstorms were seriously predicted for Friday night. So erev shabbos we rainproofed the sukka, moving some of the real artwork under cover and putting plastic tablecloths over the textiles... and fortunately Hashem trumps even meteorology (sorry, Saba) and eretz yisroel stayed in favor enough that the rain was postponed. Hopefully it will descend upon us in lovely torrents... after sukkos.

So days 1-3 have included a ton of noshing (a big change for our South Beach selves) and lounging and, um, barfing. We hope to use the remaining chol hamoed days to get to the zoo, visit Savta Raba, do a little shopping in J-town, and maybe sneak off to see Shlock Rock in concert.

And now that you have read all of that, you deserve the reward of this small picture gallery (because I'm on Yoav's computer, I can't send you all the good ones I have because they need red-eye work and so on. My computer is having a little overheating issue at the moment that I hope to address after sukkos).

This one is actually from a few days ago in her pretty butterfly jumper. This was before we left the house in the morning. Our standard morning routine is waking up, getting dressed, washing, and immediately going over to our packed 'tik' to extricate the bawkle Mommy has prepped for us and put in the outside pocket. This then is her Highness with her hand in the metaphorical cookie jar.

I couldn't help it. With that gold ribbon (from the 'dressed up' popcorn the girls brought for noshing) around her neck in the tubby, she looked like one of those rock stars in a sauna with their gold chains still on, you know? Okay, well, I thought so.

Finally, a sukka picture. She was very cuddly the other day, and wanted to lay on the sukka couch with her two favorite things, bawkle and Mommy. I had my glasses off since cuddling can be booboo-ful when they stay on. And no, I don't recognize myself at all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

No bathtime

Sound is great, even if picture is lousy.

Remind me, next time I want to write a treatise on the emotional weight of 'cat.'

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I had a baby!

Well, I did have a baby, personally, about 18 and a half months ago. But what I'm referring to is not the cunning child in the Baby Bjorn above, but Sora and Yehuda Cohen's brand new baby girl, that I helped deliver!! Well, I labor coached, but close enough, I got to be there for a brand new baby girl's birth, back in good old Sharei Zedek. Deja vu, except of course I wasn't in pain even before the epidural kicked in... and then, this was a much shorter hospital experience than the advent of Sarah Rochel, but still - such fun!!

Being a labor coach for real, as in, for pay, would be such fun. But actually, I think this is one of those things that doing it for free might be even MORE fun. It helped, however, that Sora and Yehuda are two of the nicest people in the entire world. A less amazingly nice couple might have been less fun to do this with...

B"H Sora sent her (first) daughter to my same metapelet up until a month or so ago, so the metapelet was happy to keep our girls until such time as Sora would deliver. So she bathed Sarah Rochel, changed her, fed her... so that when I got in the car around 8 (Yoav picked her up), I had only to meow at my daughter a few times before she dropped off into such happy shloofland that when I got home, I took her out of the car, brought her upstairs, took off her shirt and jeans (!) and put her (clad in her onesie) in the crib, and she didn't even open an eye. Now that's service!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gmar chasima tova!

Caption: I know they're fanatically religious, but oh I hope they don't make ME fast on Yom Kippur! Of course, I've been living on milk again lately, so it's not like it would be a huge difference...

Never fear, tochterbean. We just bought her a puzzle, a toy broom (she loved one at our friends' house) and a toy stroller (ditto). I think she'll enjoy Yom Kippur JUST fine!

Actually, I spoke with Rabbi Nissel earlier today, about what my obligations were for Yom Kippur in terms of davening, since I am (B"H!) at the part of my life now that I don't get to spend all day in shul (indeed, I am not planning on going to shul at all). So we discussed what to do (i.e. say all the shmone esres, don't need to say vidui in chazaras hashatz, you can pick up a crying baby during vidui since it's after s"e technically ended even though your feet are still together, etc), but he also mentioned that he saw a letter from R'Pincus addressed to women who feel bad that they have to stay home with small children on Y"K, as opposed to going to shul, that they're saying "Itsy Bitsy Spider" when their husbands are saying "Hashem Hu Elokim." He points out that staying home is EXACTLY what the women are supposed to be doing - that is their service of Hashem - and if in all that they manage to give one little krechtz of tshuva, of begging Hashem for forgiveness - then that is worth more than all their husband's fancy wordwork at shul.

Gmar tov and chamisa tova to all of you, all of us, and everyone!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Da bears

She kept saying "Ditka" today. What does this mean??????

Sarah Rochel - the partial dictionary
(meaning, the words she says that you mightn't know what the heck she meant if it weren't for this guide)

Bawkle: bottle, as in "BAWKLE! BAWKLE! Now, lady!"

Tee: tree, as in "I don't care if it's shmita, I can rip this leaf off!"

Hello: phone, as in, "It's my turn to talk on that thing now."

Tik: her lunchbox, actually a Hebrew word. She sometimes picks it (or her diaper bag) up, walks to the door and says, "Bye bye." It does not matter if we have just arrived home. It also doesn't matter that her tik weighs as much as she does.

Toot toot: this Wiggles video clip that we should never have shown her, because now whenever she sees an open computer lid she starts going "Toot toot! Toot toot!" until we show it to her, or distract her.

Hi tair: High chair, as in "Please stop forgetting to feed me, and I don't care if you're on South Beach - I need carbs!"

Jews: Not a religious reference, but a request for a colored beverage.

Sayta: My sheytle, accompanied by "make nice" motions on the side of my head.

besides her father, her bouncy zebra toy outside. I have no idea how "zebra" became "abba," and SR ain't talking. Well, she is talking, just not explaining.

Abear: a bear, as in, "look, abear in the woods!"

Dirty word we do NOT like that she says instead of 'poop' that rhymes with "docky": "Please pick me up and look at my tushy. I might have peed, I might have pooped (although usually when I poop, besides this word I ALSO say "pooppp"), but most likely I just want the attention of someone picking me up and looking at my tushy."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

R"H, a BMA, and a birthday

Gut voch, gut yor everyone! I hope you had a lovely Rosh Hashana. We got through just fine, despite the 3 day yuntiv, something that strikes fear into the hearts of Israelis, who almost never (R"H is the only possible time) have three days strung together like this. We ate out for three of the meals, and I'd like to publicly thank those holy host families, without whom we wouldn't have made it!

As it is, all the food DID get cooked. The only cooking we did on yuntiv proper was the chulent for shabbos of course (we left the crock pot on, used it for soup one meal, for hot water for coffee (parve) for another, etc), and an 'eggie' (SR likes eggies) for my daughter. For the latter, I Pam-ed a frying pan and threw in two beaten eggs... and came back later. Yes Mom, you're right - you really CAN cook on our hotplate, although the egg was more dried than cooked... same thing I guess... and once I cut off several inches all around to get rid of the plasticy edges, the girl was very happy to eat it. Glad we could accommodate you, your Highness.

Do you see how much hair someone has? And can you imagine how it smelled after three days of not bathing it? We served both salmon and gefilte fish, and neither improve in odor with time... Fortunately, she is back to her pristine, sweet-smelling self.

Oh, so the BMA (Bad Mother Alert) number 145,323... this was a doozy. I'm downstairs in the parking lot with the girl (aside: why did we all buy apartments with backyards, if we play in the parking lot? End of aside.), and she's with some other kids, several of whom are older. And they drift away out of my sight for a minute or two, and I'm just hanging out shmoozing with the other mom, and.... honk. HONK! So I get up, and around the corner find a lady waiting in her car to access the parking lot (imagine, she wanted to park!), and the older kids moving the littler kids (mine included) away. (At this point, one of my child's grandmothers is sitting in America, dialing a travel agent to find out how expensive it would be to fly in for each playtime.)

So I naturally go and pick up my only mildly startled baby (baby? Toddler!) and wait for the car to finish parking. The driver then gets out and proceeds to tell me how she couldn't see my daughter in her line of vision at all, and it's really not a place for children to play, and I really need to watch her, etc, etc. And I agree with her and tell her so - she's right, I was negligent, no question about it. (She also adds as a parting dig, "You waited long enough for that baby." Truer words never spake!)

The crucial BMA, however, isn't the incident. The incident was, on some level, bound to happen as I realize my daughter is old enough to a) get away from me when I'm distracted, b) get far away from me, c) get into serious trouble. Lesson learnt.

But... why wasn't I freaking out? Why, even when I heard the beep, wasn't I scared? Why wasn't I all a-tremble, checking my daughter for injury, hugging her despite her squirming to get down, etc?

One reason is the other mother I was with is exceedingly laid back, and also someone whose parenting techniques (as a whole) I admire, so I no doubt took some cues from her (her child, about 5 months older than mine, had been honked at too).

But I think (BMA majore) that some of my teenage invulnerability is being projected on my daughter as well. Mind you, I'm not a teenager anymore (heck, I'm 30 in less than a year, gulp), but I have almost never really been scared that I would be hurt. And I'm not really scared that Sarah Rochel will be either.

This... this worries me, a little. And yet, I'm not unduly reckless with her. I'm exceedingly cautious with her health (that is, she's had more doctor's visits than most children have by the puberty), I feed her whole wheat for heaven's sake, I won't let her hit and bite and so on. But it troubles me that I wasn't upset.

Feedback, friends? Was this a BMA (not the letting her wander into traffic, no no, but my calm reaction)?

Anyway, the above picture is Sroch on her 'Wee.' As in, "Weeeeeee!"

And lastly, today was Yoav's birthday - his Hebrew and English dates coincided, which is after all only supposed to happen every 19 years (I asked to confirm - he's not 38). But it's still cool. And since we came home, Tochterbean went on and on, "Abba goda birdtay." SENTENCES! Wow. But fear not - BMAs or not, we will strive to raise her not to end sentences with a preposition.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My new favorite picture

I love it so much I almost want to keep it private. Except, of course, I'm planning on blowing it up to life size and framing it in gold.

Real updates to come soon, soon... My daughter has been making two word sentences all over the place, by the way. I miss her. I almost have to go wake her up now to play with her.


Monday, September 03, 2007

What, me sleep?

Last shabbos, wait, no, it was the shabbos before last, we were honored to have Return of the Scion* Tzippora R. back with us again, as well as the Lady Gorf, who has only been here twice, harumph. Ms. Gorfinkle did give our daughter her first ponytail, however, as seen here.

After a wonderfully extended stay, Savta is alas leaving us tomorrow, and we could NOT have survived the last couple weeks without her. Thank you for everything Savta!! Thanks especially for buying SR's brand new shoes. That's right, she grew out of her sandals. Let's see, if she continues needing new shoes once every three months or so, by the time she's 10 we'll have spent about $1300 on her footwear. Savta, do keep coming back!! ;)

Sarah Rochel is now back at the regular metapelet (hurray!), who reports my daughter is still hitting all the other children. SIGH!! She's so bright, BA"H, she follows along in davening with the other kids (hand motions too!) and dances and covers her eyes when you say 'shema' and everything, why can't she get this whole 'no hitting' thing?! The aforementioned Gorf taught her how to high-five in an effort to redirect her hitting tendencies... Maybe she's high-fiving a few too many toddlers in the face. Hmm... So much for my aidel princess. I mean, check out this picture - shapely little arm muscles, huh?

Rosh Hashana is coming WAY too quickly for me, so we're not discussing it. :) Goodnight!

*not the scion of the Druyan dynasty, of course, who as this blog's bannerhead states is clearly my daughter, but that scion of all shabbos guests, all-time record holder (is it 14 now?), alum of three g-laurie-ous years at BTI, etc...