Monday, August 25, 2008

Drive of fancy

(As we exit the highway onto tree-lined road 38)

"The trees are crying."

"The trees are crying?"


"Why are they crying?"

"Because they're sad."

"Why are the trees sad?

"Because I hit them."

"Oh." (Note - that's the same 'Wise Parental Oh' from last post. I'm thinking about trademarking it.)

"The cars are hitting them."

"Well Sarah Rochel, we try not to hit the trees with our cars."

"No hit trees! Stop! STOP cars!" (We've been saying 'stop cars!' to our fellow traffic a lot lately. Hasn't done a lot of good, something I'm grateful for at 100 KPH on the highway. Now if only 'move cars!' would work when we're bumper-to-bumper, but I digress...)

"Yes, cars should not hit trees." (See how supportive I am?)

"Trees happy now. No more hitting." (I'm NOT making this up:) "La la la laaa."

We continue to talk about other things, and fortunately the cars all keep moving and one can only presume the trees keep smiling, when she gives a big yawn.

"Sarah Rochel, why didn't you take a nap today?"

"Because Nesanel took the nap."

(Here it comes...) "Oh."


My mother wants to make sure I have duly blogged other recent poetic flights of my daughter... for example, before our beach trip when I showed her an animated gif of waves crashing on the beach, she said "waves kicking the ground." And she will often lay down on the floor and move her arms (like the classic snow angel) and say, "I dragonfly." She's never even SEEN a real dragonfly, just pictures in a book!

Bli ayin hara. Bless her little imaginative, active, smunchy loveable brain. Her substitute metapelet (who loves her, as of course she should) said to me today, "She's so bright and so verbal, she really could be trained!" As in, toilet. As in, yes, baruch Hashem, she is so bright and so verbal... that she ain't getting trained to do nuthing she don't wanna do, honey. And that's the truth.


Oh, postscript. Wanted to add that due to a little too much experimentation with the lid of a sippy cup, we had opportunity yesterday to completely machine wash and dry our 1984 vintage Cabbage Patch preemie (aka Sarah Rochel's "Baby", whose name I had had 'legally' changed back in 1985 to Sarah Rivka, I kid you not)... and thank God, it worked like a charm. She was washed and cleaned and dried in time for bedtime.

Yet another useful household tip by Ah, the Druyanity.

Now go click on my Google ads and make me wealthy.

I didn't tell you that, of course.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Where we holding?

Item One: Bedtime. Bli ayin hara, on the up and up! Last night I even left her in her bed wide awake and content, and she went to sleep really on her own. Of course we still had books and songs, but not ad shloof. So we're getting there!

Now we work on naptime. It's hard, since we really only put her down for a nap twice a week, on Fridays and shabbos. Today she took about 20 minutes of being really great and staying in her bed... but calling for us, wanting songs, etc, and generally NOT sleeping. But bli ayin hara, I think she's out now.

Item Two: Cats. Barely a mention in the last few days, thank God! She did say as we were getting into bed today for her nap that "Cats won't come in?" and I was quick to agree that no, they will NOT.

During the first couple nights of the Cat Terror, I even went so far as to tell her, "I promise the cats will not come in." I subscribe to the theory of Rav Orlowek (and others) that you should never make promises to a child on a day to day basis, firstly because you should never BREAK a promise to a child (they can't understand "I promised I'd be here but there was traffic"), and secondly because then when you need something to really affirm your statement to a child ("I promise you are not adopted, no matter what your brother tells you") then you have that tool.

I don't think she noticed though. Hmm. Will save that tool for when we're a little older. I'm not sure she even knows what the word means, since we're so careful not to use it!

Item Three: Potty training.

...Let's just move on.

Item Four: Getting rid of the bawkle.

Right. Any day now. At least we didn't just use it for her nap! And she's combining the comfort mechanism that is sucking/bawkling with playing with her Curly Hair (TM), so we may eventually be able to get rid of one and leave the other . So - do we chuck the bottles or shave her head? You'll just have to tune into this blog to find out!

Item Five: General cuteness. It continues, thank God. A few examples:

----> In the bath the other day, after I sang her something or tickled her or whatever, she said (and this is a quote - it was so cute I wrote it down):

"Excellent, that's a GOOD game! You da best! (pause) I'm in charge, and you're the best.... Okay, I'm the best, like Abba. You're the no best."

Thanks, Squirt.

----> Yesterday in the car, after we were talking about how her friend Nesanel has a new baby sister (mazal, mazal tov!), she volunteers:

"I like babies. I like GIRL babies. I don't like boy babies."

Yoav and I turn to each other, he accusingly, me protesting that I did NOT encourage this! (Note: When I was pregnant with SR, I lived in fear of having a boy, because who understands them anyway??)

So I, drawing upon generations of parental wisdom, say... "Oh."

We ask her why she doesn't like boy babies. She says, "Boy babies are icky."

We try to explain that Abba himself indeed used to be a boy baby, and he isn't icky... Or, Yoav tries to explain it. I am too busy hysterically laughing in the front seat.

----> "I firty, and you two," she says to me. I say, "Oh, you're thirty and I'm two? Sounds good to me!" And she replies, "I firty, now I drive the car."

----> During dinner, she likes to get up and serve as opposed to eat. Last night she went to the drawer with all the paper plates, etc, and brings out the package of straws.

"You want green? You want blue?" (her interrogative tone is SO high it like goes up an octave, and combined with her head tilt and bent arms makes her the cutest little maitre'd in the world)

No, SR, we don't want a straw, thank you.

"You don't want? No?" (this is totally failing to convey how painfully cute this is, so much so that Yoav and I both end up with straws. Because you CANNOT say no to this girl when she's trying to do you a favor. I dare you to try.)

(Our usual napping spot. Note the wipe tenderly placed on the baby's head to shield her from the sun)

Good shabbos ya'll!

Monday, August 18, 2008


(I often tell people that the good thing about having such a verbal toddler is she can tell me exactly what she wants. And the bad thing about having such a verbal toddler is she can tell me exactly what she wants. I'm not sure how this exactly relates to the below, but.. oh, leave me alone..)

Sometime last week Sarah Rochel had a nightmare about "cats hurt me." It's not the first time she's had cat nightmares, actually. But she was WIDE awake for a full hour and very hard to calm. So during the day we talked about how she's so much bigger than the cats (we've been saying that for months now, actually) and they Cannot Come In to her room, and she's safe and fine and so on and so forth.

That night, bedtime was horrible. She was SCARED, like really frightened, like running out of the room, death-grip on the parent (like she was at the ocean, grumble) - one of us (gosh, do I remember who? Yoav was still away, musta been me) had to stay with her until she fell asleep, and it was rough.

Something in all those books I read musta clicked, cause I decided that she and I would make "No Cats!" signs. She was into the idea, we made six of them, hung two facing out (so the cats can read them, duh) and four facing in because... shh, don't tell SR... they were really for her reassurance. All was going well.. Until bedtime. That was Thursday night, when Yoav came home from (thankfully) the last overnight. Lights out to tochter sleep took about 2 hours. It also included Yoav moving all the furniture in the room so her bed could be out from under the window.

But... since then, it's been getting a bit better. Which means she's forgetting the level of terror from the nightmare, and she's smart enough to remember (when she's rational) that there's nothing to be scared of. But it's not perfect yet, and last night when she woke up at 5 and wanted me to sit with her, she was still darting her eyes fearfully at the window... but she didn't mention cats. At bedtime tonight she gave a "no cats!" when I closed her window... and that was all the specific cat protest she made. But she was still stalling bedtime as much as she weepily could. Poor babe. She fell asleep in the end with me singing (again, the "Abba Loves Me" song), or was drowsy enough that when I left the room she didn't protest.

Shoot. Musta been some nightmare. That, or it was just that all the unsettledness of Yoav's schedule and other summer maddness was gearing us up for some bedtime disruptions anyway, and the nightmare compounded it. That and Yoav says because I let her watch an hour of "Little People" movies on Tisha Ba'av. Um, maybe. Only happy, cuddly cats in there though.

Shabbos afternoon I walk into her room and say, "Sarah Rochel, how did the crayon get on the wall?"

"I drew Saba!"

We concluded that this had probably happened on Friday afternoon, before I had cleaned up that errant crayon from the floor and when Yoav fell asleep while trying (unsuccessfully) for an hour to get her to take a nap.

So - on Sunday... Sarah Rochel scrubbed the wall. Now, despite the promises on both on the wall paint and on the crayons, I'm awfully glad it's green paint and blue crayon, because soap and water definitely left some slight markings. But it's essentially clean and IY"H her Highness will remember that "we only draw on paper" excludes walls as well as tables, floors and people. Nu nu, it's a milestone.

Let's see... Our faithful metapelet, Yardena, said goodbye to all the kiddies last Thursday, so now SR is bouncing around until gan starts in two weeks. Yesterday and today she went with her buddy Nesanel to HIS metapelet. I just got off the phone with her, and she gave me a nachas-full earfull about how verbal and communicative and wonderful she is and how well she did in a strange situation with strange kids (although with one good friend, which makes a big difference). The first day neither one of us even dropped her off - Nesanel's mother did! Thank God, it's so good to know she's truly adaptable... in daytime (insert grimace).

Oh, and of course last week was the arrival of the Eitan and Chana Friedman clan! (Gosh, hope they don't mind that I wrote their names on the blog - some people do - of course, it's pretty safe to write olim chadashim's names on this blog, since you know whatever they're doing, reading my ramblings is certainly NOT on the top 10 list of things to do when you move to a new hemisphere - things like finding good toothpaste, a place to live, a job, food your kids will eat, etc, somehow come before. We wish them a klita kala!) Anyway, SR has enjoyed hanging out with them IMMENSELY, and she really enjoyed our shopping trips where we kept putting things in the cart for the Friedmans, as in, "Sarah Rochel, PUT THAT DOWN, it's for the Friedmans! Here, we'll buy a bag of Doritos just for you!"

Which reminds me, she's really cute when she finally learns what you teach her... sorta. Like we go grocery shopping, and by now she knows, we can't open what's in the cart until we pay for it. Well, at Yardena's little goodbye party each kid got a little toy, which SR wanted to open SO badly. I told her we'd open it when we got into the car. And again. And again. She accepts it, moves on, comes back in a minute asking to open it again. I say, "Sarah Rochel, we'll open it when..." and she answers ..."We pay for it!"

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Good chinuch is all about brainwashing.

And good blogging is NOT about me rambling (as I have been mercilessly doing), but about cute pictures, so here they are:

I don't remember what she was so pleased about here, but boy, was she. Thumbs up!

For the last day at Yardena I let her dress up a bit. This is her downstairs in the garden of the metapelet's building, which has a bunch of grape vines amongst other fruit trees. We've enjoyed nibbling the hefker shmita grapes on our way home some days.

Sarah Rochel will miss Shulamiti, her good buddy from the metapelet (as in "I want a tik that goes on my back like Shulamiti, I want a kookoo over here like Shulamiti," etc), and of course Yardena, who as I said before has raised my daughter practically!

ps - My sunburn is almost all healed, thank you very much for your concern. If nothing else, it was wonderfully instructive to show my daughter WHY I make her wear sunscreen. Our latest bit of brainwashing, brought to you by Coppertone and Oil of Olay.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


You know how books say that sunburn is worst about 24 hours after exposure, or something like that, meaning that basically you get sunburnt and it only shows up a bit later?

Watching it happen is fascinating. And hurts.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We went to the Ashdod beach today, since it was of course Wednesday (my day off) and I figured the girl should have one Official Summer Experience. I had my slight doubts, however, that she would enjoy it.

I was right.

She hated the water, wouldn't stand on wet sand, wouldn't even go in the still little pool of sea water that was left from a higher tide.. And while she was happy to sit on the blanket and play with the sand and toys, if her buddy Yisroel was off in the water with HIS mother, we spent the whole time moaning "Yisroel come back."

Oh well. So our Official Summer Experience was sitting on a beach blanket (sheet) in our cute bathing suit looking for boys. I was so hoping to skip that specific experience in her life history.

Anyway, sun-wise, she and I both were wearing the same SPF 60 super-duper protective sunscreen. As you know, an SPF just multiplies your own skin's tolerance (so that if your skin burns in 10 minutes, SPF 15 will allow you to stay out in the sun for 10 X 15 minutes before burning, etc). By that token, I clearly have more fragile skin than my daughter. Either than, or I do a lot better of a job in applying her sunscreen versus my own.

On the way home, I had a smidgen of red on my knee and she had two little dots on her cheeks.

By the time we bathed/showered and changed (and failed to nap, sigh), my knee was bright red and almost painful, and her little dots were a tiny bit larger.

By the time she went to bed tonight, my kneeburn was flaming and painful. Her dots stabilized, B"H, so she looks more like a china doll than usual.

By the time I got off the computer after recovering from bedtime, my knee still hurts AND a swath of my right arm starting looking red and hurting.

By the time I got back on the computer now to blog, I have matching red swaths on both arms, and oddly enough, the knee hasn't healed yet, but the burnt area seems to be growing.

People are such funny creatures.

Anyway, so why am I grumpy?

I think... Because I did something for Sarah Rochel and she didn't appreciate it. Well, she SAID she liked the beach (but not the ocean). But she really didn't have fun, it seemed, and my laundry didn't get done, dishes didn't get washed, she was out of sorts all day from no schedule or something, I barely clocked any work time, my dumb knee is all burnt because I missed a spot with the sunscreen (or it wore out, who knows?) and tomorrow is my daughter's last day at the metapelet who has practically RAISED her for two years and I haven't got a present for her yet, argh, which means I will have to come in a week or two to give it to her and it's odd and whatever cause it's like, what, I didn't prepare?, and we have no aloe in the house and shabbos is coming and Yoav is still up north for day three zillion and five and my Crocs are all sandy (much like my bathroom floor) and I am SO not used to being with my daughter ALL DAY and my lack of ease in having a toddler with me ALL DAY clearly points to my lack of abilities as a mother and gosh it's a good thing I have to work cause otherwise I'd really blow this whole stay home and raise your kid business.

Hence, I'm grumpy.

The fact that SR was particularly fractitious today (from the getting-dressed meltdown this morning all the way to the stalled delayed bedtime tonight) clearly has no bearing.

As for Yisroel's Ima who invited me to the beach... she ain't gonna believe it, but I did really did enjoy going with her and the kids (they are a lot of fun), and she was really a sport about us taking all kinds of alternate routes getting there and back, and I am glad she got me out of the house and glad I got to give SR a new experience.

And next time I will remember that I like my house and new experiences aren't always what my daughter likes!

Addendum an hour later: Shoot. My foot is burnt too.

Monday, August 11, 2008


(do you know that if you Google 'Abbas' you get very, very few hits on Jewish fathers?)

I never blogged how we made the transition from waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night to sleeping-through-the-night in the Big Girl Bed (TM).


That first night he was home after a few nights out, when she woke up in the middle of the night he went in. She asked for a song and he said (wait for it)...


WHAT a concept - it honestly had NOT occurred to me!

He told her that it was the middle of the night, not time for singing now, and he'd hug her and kiss her and sit with her for a few minutes, but she needed to go to sleep.

Mild kvetch, but... she listened. And went back to sleep. And didn't bother waking up the next night, or the next, or the next... YAY!

What is it about Abbadom which lends itself more to discipline?


What is it about Abbadom which is more susceptible to wound-around-pinky cute little girl guilt?

Item One: Last night her Highness had a bad dream or something.

Item Two: Abba left this morning for a 4 day trip up north.

Item Three: Abba went into her Highness's room, and committed the following cardinal sins...

a) acquiesced to her desire for a bawkle as a comfort mechanism (she NEVER gets a bawkle in the night)

b) took her with him to the kitchen to prepare said bawkle (she NEVER gets taken out of the room in the night, unless she's vomited all over herself, and usually not even then)

c) after administering said bawkle, turned down her request to go into the Mommyabbabed (whew!) but lay down with her in the Big Girl Bed until she fell asleep. Mayday! Mayday! We NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER do such a thing! It's evil! It's wrong! Millions of psychobabble baby sleep books will tell you so!

And indeed, he fell asleep there too, and around 5 AM (two hours later) I woke up again to hear her crying when she noticed him leaving.. but he did get 'away' easy just with singing.

Yoav, I say to him. What WERE you thinking?

He felt bad that he was leaving her for four days.



Oddly enough, TONIGHT she...
1) resisted going to sleep, period
2) resisted laying down
3) asked for Abba
4) asked for Abba
5) asked for a bawkle
6) asked me to sing only the "Abba loves me" song (a song wherein the lyrics run, "Abba loves Sarah Rochel, Abba loves Sarah Rochel (repeat)"). Over and over.
7) asked to sleep in the Abbabed.

I was finally inspired to get her as a special treat Abba's pillow to sleep with. That went over well, but I still had to sing the "Abba loves Sarah Rochel" over and OVER until she mamish passed out, not including the minutes she spent crying at her door after I left her the first time.

Ya know...

Grumble, grumble.

Ya know...

Grumble, grumble.

Ya know, I wouldn't have Abba be any other way. We miss him!

(Do you know our 9th anniversary is coming up?!)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Lady Singsalot

One of the challenges of raising a child in a bilingual culture is differentiating between two languages and gibberish. Srochs does a lot of singing, especially in the backseat (and especially now during the Three Weeks, sans music). So when she sings "yetzer tov, yetzer tov, where are you, where are you?" okay, that's two languages, and also two songs being combined - the "Vesen banu yetzer, yetzer tov" song with "Where is Thumbkin?". But when she sings "agootchie blee rok rok baaaah" - um... huh?

Her diction still isn't perfect - well, correct that. Her diction is near perfect, when she recollects the proper syllables in the proper order and quantity. For instance, looking at a pomegranate tree with me today, she mentioned eating "rimorimnimim?" (a tochterization of 'rimon').

Anyway, it's a fun daily challenge to figure out just what she's saying. Speaking of which, I have a great video of her making kiddush, which I uploaded... and it's vanished. Harumph. We'll try again later.

What else is new in the world of us? I've had a cold or something post nasal and blechy for about a week now - improving, but irritating. The doc told me last week to try to stay out of the air conditioning. Pardon me as I roll around, laughing, on the non-radiant-heated floor. But we're getting there, bit by tissue laden bit. SR hasn't shown any symptoms, thank God ("You sick, and I'm better") except for a tiny bit of runny nose, which can be attributed to that same heavenly gift of air conditioning.

Natural and artificial climate changes aside, I think she's having a good summer. The heat doesn't seem to bother or affect her at all, which is great. She does ask every now and then to go to "camp" (like Abba), but otherwise she seems happy with our routine. Of course, it's about to change - a week from today is her last day at Yardena the Metapelet, so she'll have to say goodbye to the woman who has watched her since she was 5 months old - almost two years! I think Yardena is going to take it much harder than Sarah Rochel, which isn't surprising. Then we have two weeks of juggling with her other babysitter, Yoav being around and so on, and then... Big Girl (and boy) Gan begins September 1! We have to buy school supplies! We have to get ready! We have to miraculously and without any effort on my part get toilet trained! ... Well, fortunately, we don't HAVE to get toilet trained, but gosh, it would make some things easier.

On that front (well, back...side), she still talks about using the potty and every now and then does it very well (as in, she'll sit on the potty and go, as opposed to just sitting for ages and nothing happening). But the vast majority of the time - she just doesn't care yet. Fine, no rush. The fact that her friend who is 9 days older than her is wearing underwear is completely not a factor in my haste for her to get there, no no, totally not.

Our latest pictures are very pose-y, as in the vogue-ing attitude of my daughter, not as in her being as cute as a flower (which she be). Isn't it odd that she's two years old (and more) and we've never had professional pictures taken of her? Not to suggest any grandparents should send us to do so, ahem ahem. (Insert four grandparent tongues simultaneously sticking out at me.)

As you see below also, we dismantled the cribby! So it's all gone (SR was an active participant in the 'breaking' of it (her term - not ours)) and we are firmly ensconsced in the Big Girl Bed and... BLI ayin hara... she's been sleeping the night through in it without a peep, most beautifully. And when she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she usually says is "I woke up in the big girl bed!" She's really great - she gets up, gets out of bed, and walks to her door, calling us until we come and open it for her. (She can open doors on her own, but only with a lot of deliberate effort. If it was every morning I'm sure she'd get better, but plenty of weekday mornings we have to wake her, rather than her getting up on her own.)

As you see, she's certainly SOUNDLY asleep in the Big Girl Bed (especially since my shooting pictures didn't wake her). And we're certainly glad we have the rail up, since she tends to curvette up to it. (Yes, darn it, 'curvette' is a word I know from a book I read as a kid, I just can't find it on Google! (And when you can't find it on Google...) Maybe it's a horse dressage term?)

Oh good, the video resurrected. Here's the girl, in drag (well, wearing a kippa) because she wanted to be the Abba. And in THAT dress, yet.