Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 1309 of parenting, in which I once again did not kill Sarah Rochel

...but it was a much closer thing this time than ever before.

Sroch stalls at bedtime, not always, but often. This is a known fact. We give a little leeway, so she wheedled me into a second book plus one in bed, and then we had to get out of bed to pee. Fine.

Immediately returning to bed, she said now she had to poop (pardon my language, gentle reader). Insert me waxing eloquent about always speaking the emmes (truth), and if she really doesn't have to poop I'll be upset that she didn't tell me the emmes, etc, etc. No avail. Off to the toilet, therein to sit for several minutes until she said "nope!" and hopped off.

And it started to deteriorate.

Much kvetching about getting our pajamas back on, who will put her hand in the sleeve, etc, etc. "Fine, just sleep with no pajamas," wail, wail, wail. "Sarah Rochel, you did NOT just hit Mommy, right? RIGHT?" (Yes, I know, I tell her to tell me the truth, then I invite her to lie - this was not my finest moment.) Finally into pajamas, I tell her for the first time (of many) that "I am very, VERY upset," and off to bed.

And then she just turns into Uber Terror Toddler. We get the loud "NO!"'s, we get the kicking and screaming (waking up Llama, natch), we get the defiant glares, we get the running out of bed into the other room. I threaten to turn off the light, she continues, I turn off the light. I try leaving, she follows. I try sitting on the bed, she attacks. Now we have kicking, screaming, hitting and biting. And snatching my glasses off my face! The biting and glasses snatching are SO beyond how she behaves even when she's upset that I gasp, and I push her away from me and into the bed.

I push her away from me quite strongly. And I haven't been scooping her off the floor and dumping her in the bed too gently either.

Finally, I say to her, "Sarah Rochel, I'm very angry, and I'm leaving. I'm leaving because I want to hit you. But I won't hit you, so I'm leaving." And I go. She follows, I go back in to quiet the baby, she tries to come back in, I tell her to stay away from me because I'm too angry, she stays in the hallway wailing until I hear her throw up a little (sigh), baby goes back to sleep (thank you God!). Back out there, I take her to my room, put her on the bed, and sit next to her for fifteen minutes. She quiets. I tuck her in, adjust the light, give her hugs and kisses and leave.

Now, notwithstanding the fact that she STILL came back out a few minutes later (when I had already started typing the above) and asked for her blankie (I told her do whatever she wants, I have no strength left)... I think she's okay now.

So what happened???

On her side, she was overtired... and she was testing. She hasn't had a bout of testing that strong in more than a year, I think.

On my side... I have said before that NO ONE can make you as angry as your child. I, thank you God, really almost never get angry. Maybe once a year - seriously. It's a gift I am grateful to God for. But Sarah Rochel has the ability to make me furious in about twenty seconds. It's truly amazing, and - I have said this before too - it is truly amazing how few children are abused, since when you have a hysterical person smacking and biting you, the part of you that saw this scene from 'Airplane' too many times as a child can only think of hitting the kid just to make it stop. Which of course it wouldn't.

Whenever I have wanted to hit Sroch, it was almost always to do just that - stop the flow. Tonight was the first time I wanted to hit her punitively. I don't like that.

Now, why am I blogging this, as opposed to hiding this deep in my heart?

I will answer with a quotation:
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Thank you Dumbledore.

Nothing makes me more ashamed than that anger made me want to use physical force to discipline my child.

Nothing makes me prouder than the fact that I defied the anger and chose not to do so.

So this was a cathartic blog post for me, but I also want to let the rest of you out there know, it is capital-N Normal to want to do the wrong thing. But you are also capital-A Able to do the right thing too. And while I was sitting on the edge of my eldest's bed, hearing the baby stirring and getting kicked and my clothes bitten, I asked Hashem to help me.

And that's the best parenting tool we have.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Tooth number two just broke through!

Sarah Rochel: "Now she has a teeth, not a tooth!"

Llama's first birthday aftermath

Sarah Rochel - regressing into baby clothes.
Llama - trying to sleep on the floor.

Sroch actually went ahead and tore Llama's birthday hat in two, and then with a great deal of self-awareness, told me because she wanted Shulamis not to have it anymore, and was ready for it to be HER second birthday. I am SO proud of her for...

-taking out her agression on the hat, not the sister
-understanding that what she did was bad BUT she knew why she did it*
-taking 24 hours of Little Sister's Birthday before she displayed any jealousy

*So after she ripped it and told me why, I said, "Do you feel good now?" I was expecting her to say no. But she said yes.

Say it with me...




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Birthday pictures - the I-have-no-time initial post





(Why does Picassa only let 4 pictures at once?)
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Sunday, October 18, 2009


"Mommy, where's Shulamis's birthday party going to be?"

It's going to be at our house, silly goose. Where do you think it should be?

"It should be in a CLEAN house Mommy!"


Monday, October 12, 2009

Unrelated to Srochs and Llamas - Shlock Rock is now pay what you want

Attention music lovers!

Beit Shemesh resident and paragon of Shlock, Lenny Solomon, has just
released an amazing new album called "Shlock Rock - No Limits."

In an amazing move, however, allows you to download the
new album for the low price of.... whatever you want!

Want to pay $5? It's yours. Want to pay $10? It's yours. Want to pay
$450? You won't be turned down! Want to pay $20,000? Well, if you

12 ORIGINAL songs* - pay what you want - delivered immediately to your
computer. It's amazing!

By all means, support a Beit Shemesh local, but more than that, treat
yourself to an amazing, great new album.

*I personally love Shlock Rock parodies, but Lenny's original stuff is awesome AND when you walk down the block whistling it no one
thinks you're whistling a secular song that sounds just like it! Not
that there's anything wrong with that.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Silly and sweet

Sarah Rochel started telling me a story at dinner, and I asked if I could get the camera and video it. She kindly agreed. She made it up all by herself, and truly, out of thin air as far as I can tell. I am most impressed that the stirring in Ramat Beit Shemesh is loud enough to be heard in America:

By the way, I am really impressed with her grasp of geography. She understands that America is so far away and over a big ocean, so you can't drive (she really wants to take a boat, though). She knows Uncle Boaz lives in the same part of America as Saba and Savta, and Uncle Micah lives in the same part as Bubbie and Zayde, AND she understands those two parts are far away too. (Sometimes she remembers one is New York and one is Houston or Texas.) She did ask, however, why Abba wasn't going to be going to see Bubbie and Zayde upon leaving Saba and Savta.

Speaking of which, she has asked why Yoav is there, and I told her because Saba needed him more than we did. She asked why, and I said because he was sooo sad. And not only was that all she asked about it (I am willing to talk to her about death, but she didn't ask, so I do NOT feel compelled to bring it up), but she was magnanimous enough to be happy to 'share' Abba. I was really, really proud of her.

Our Simchas Torah was a bit of a challenge, although our neighbors were terrific and hosted us for meals, danced with Sarah Rochel in shul and so on. But it is hard for a father not to be with his children on this particular holiday, and vice versa. Both girls also missed Kol Hanearim (unlike previous years) but please God, there will be many, many more yom tovim we spend together, amen!

Anyway, here's some sleeping Llama action (that's the sweet part).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Almost one...

I was about to write a post (new motto - blogging: it's better than cleaning) about Llama's developmental level of 'doing stuff' now that she's, yikes!, almost one. And I was inspired to look back at my blogs of Sroch at the same age.

You can see all of the February 2007 posts, or just this one, with Sroch's first word list.

Inevitable comparisons? Check!

With Sarah Rochel, I didn't know what was normal, developmentally (well, except from books) and so I didn't think it unreasonable to try and teach my 11 month old where her nose was or to speak to her as if she understood. With Shulamis, because she is The Baby I think of her as The Baby and thus not yet ready for words, ABC's, body parts, pre-calculus, etc, etc.

Her turning one changes all that, because a one year old is NOT a baby. And let's not forget, I was reading by the age of 2, which I'm sure has something to do with all of this.

SO anyway, Shualmis's's's Current Word List:
1. Um! UM! UMMMMM!!!!!: this is a recent one. It means either 'food!' or 'general excitement!' which in her life, of course, usually means 'food!'
2. Buh: like bye-bye. She will wave bye-bye nicely as soon as you give up on her doing so on command.
3. Tongue-click / smack: obviously a sign of her proficiency in global languages. Means "look, I entertain you," or "gimme some of that food you got there, because, hey, I entertain you."
4. Abba. Abbababababa. A-buh: means Yoav. Maybe. I think so...
5. Mah / Muuh: Me. Right.
6. Wow! / Woah!: this is more 'general excitement that is not related to food.'

She is also developing a conscience, like when she stands up in the tub now, you just have to make a face at her and she shakes her head no and sits down. For about four seconds.

Thank God, she's been a lot healthier this year than Baby Sarah Rochel was (bli ayin hara!). Good thing too, cause unlike her big sister, Llama hates medicine. Now she has a bit of a cough, and I actually only gave her a partial dose of the expectorant tonight because I was tired of fighting to get it in her mouth. Sroch woulda taken for her, easy.

We (Big Sister and I) tried sending Llama down the slide at the park, but Llama was so clearly baffled as to WHY, if it's clearly a drop downward, you would do that on purpose, when we try to AVOID going over precipices? Of course, her avoidance of those is only downward. She climbed up our slide in the backyard today, all the way to the top. And then I took her down, because she hasn't the foggiest idea what to do once she's up there, much like her climbing onto our kiddie chairs and the couch, which she can do now!

Oh, and I let Sroch give her a piece of Bamba today. Somehow I managed to avoid nuts and chocolate for her for (just about) a full year, VERY impressive considering her big sister, She Who Eats Junk Food. Of course, I'm assuming here Llama has never picked up a piece off the floor when we were out of the house, or at the metapelet. But it's her first peanut exposure that I know of!

Hmm. Maybe that's why I've already had to go in her room twice since bedtime? Nah... I think it's the cough instead. Shoulda made her take the medicine...

Ein Chemed (and a bonus Yeladudis video)

Bonus video from yesterday:

This morning after the promised thrill of Sroch and I organizing my closet (well, one shelf, and most of it is still laid out on the bed, but nu nu), we got our act together and went to the Ein Chemed national park.

It is SO great.

And it would have been greater with two parents there. Sarah Rochel was just... kvetchy. Titchy. Picky. Everything was stressful - me walking with the stroller too far ahead of her (four feet), being anywhere near the random camel waiting there to give people rides, being on the trail, being off the trail. She was more or less okay much of the time, but the capital-Q Kvetch was there beneath the surface at all times.

Still, we had a lovely time. Or I did, anyway. The natural spring was all but dried up - we did eventually find a little bit of running water (more like a moving puddle, but at one point it did cascade in a stunning two inch waterfall). Some of the natural rock formations reminded me strongly of the much-missed Pedernales area back in Texas. As a destination, it is VERY well done, with full wheelchair (and thus stroller) accessibility, lots of ropes to keep you from falling into the, ahem, rushing water, and even a decent playground (which is where we spent most of our time). I really hope to go back this winter when there will be water, and husband too.

The only time Sroch really perked up was in the cool Crusader-era farmhouse ruin that's on the grounds. I started explaining to her that it was 1200 years old (-ish) and you can learn things from what is left, like the hole in the ceiling meant they cooked or had a heating fire there, etc. So then she started telling ME what I saw (and what was cute was not what she was saying, but the authority with which she said it). Hope it came out well - it was like the dark ages in there.

(Sorry, couldn't help it.)

Look! Water! Really!

Note Sroch's expression of abject fear because I had stepped away from her posing on the 'turtle' in the 'stream.' I asked why she was scared. She said the camel. Item: the camel was a five minute walk the other way and was nowhere in sight.

This is the outside of our crusader house.

Millstones: crusader playpens.

Sroch the tourguide explains it all...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Trying to keep busy.... and have a good time

Well, we miss Abba! Someone asked me today how we were coping without him. The answer is we're fine - bli ayin hara, the kids have been relatively angelic - it's just not as festive here as Sukkos should be.

Anyway, Monday (first day sans padre) we basically drove to Yerushalaim, stayed there for 10 minutes, then drove back (long story), then went to a park in Beit Shemesh with the Kaplans. Poor Sroch - I told her it was a NEW park next to the fire station (reaction: gleeful squeals!), but when we arrived she informed me she'd already been there with her gan last year when they went on their field trip to the aforementioned. Oh. But she enjoyed it anyway. Across the street from there is an army memorial to all the Beit Shemesh fallen soldiers (I think) which was nice and peaceful and quiet, and also deserted, useful since I nursed the baby behind the monument.

Tuesday Sarah Rochel played at a friend's house in the morning (item: when Sroch is stalling bedtime, she will say things like, "But I didn't go to a friend's house today!" to which I usually reply something like, "Yes you did, for four hours"), and then we went to Yeladudis. (The kid's concert we wanted to attend was cancelled due to slight rain.) I had forgotten that Llama would be old enough to enjoy it, but she loved it! Special thanks to Talia the Shana Better for not only coming but taking all the pictures (camera had fallen to the bottom of the bag and I couldn't find it).

Then today Sarah Rochel wanted to go to Yerushalaim. But Sroch, we already went to Yerushalaim. "No, we didn't! I want to go where SAVTA goes, where she DOES THINGS!"

Oh. The mall!

But first, she had a 5 hour play date with Adina. Bless that family! And then... we went to the mall, and ate cookies, watched people, drank an AMAZING peach sorbet fruit drink thing at Re:Bar (I am now obsessed - the girls and I were almost fighting over drinking it, and the bonus was not only did both kiddos get large fruit servings out of it, but it totally filled me up. Feeding three people for 25 shekel in the mall is VERY impressive!), played in the Gymboree-like area in front of Shilav, bought some little pizzas, watched a rabbit for two minutes, nursed in the parking lot - and came home.

On tomorrow's exciting schedule... um, maybe the grocery store? Organizing my closet? The park? Dunno.

At the park. Note Sroch so proud of herself for how high she climbed, and indicated how much higher she will climb still (especially after she made me come up to spot her the first time - but only the first time).

At Yeladudis. Llama liked to crawl over to squishy things and lay her head on them. Llama: I will cuddle with anything that will stay still. It's a new phase, and it's VERY cute.

Sorry about my formatting issues. And then this is at the mall today. Notice Sarah Rochel about to pose with the giant Playmobil man, except seconds later she knocked the whole thing over. Clatter. Fortunately, the mall was so noisy the attendant didn't even turn around.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Hope all our loyal readers out there are doing well (you, you, you, and yes, you over there).

We regret to inform you of the petirah of my girls' Alter-Bubbie Druyan, Yoav's grandmother. Baruch Dayan Emes. Yoav went to America for the funeral, of course (shiva doesn't begin until after yuntiv) and so it's just us girls here in Israel. We're saddened of course and wish we could all be together for the rest of the holiday, but I'm really glad Yoav was able to go and be with his family at this time.

While my girls didn't know her at all (although Sarah Rochel did meet her, unfortunately we don't know if she was aware of the meeting), we know her memory will be a blessing.

Yoav left last night, the funeral is happening at this moment I believe, and thank God, the girls and I are well.

I took these videos of them in the sukkah today, mostly to give Yoav some virtual time in the beautiful sukkah he built for us. Pardon Sroch's attire - she insisted on having breakfast in her little prom dress over there. You can see Yoav's arba minim set on the table too - alas, the US Department of Agriculture frowns on importing palm branches, myrtle and willow leaves, to say nothing of the citron. So at least I have a really nice set!