Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting ready for Sukkos!

Yes, it's 3 AM. But my turkey-corn beef-deli roll-fish-broccoli kugel-brownies-lemon bars-baby carrots-unstuffed cabbage-pineapple kugel is (are) all done.

And I am UberMom (TM) for doing a Fun Messy Project on the eve of all that cooking.

(Have I mentioned my Filth Wizardry inspiration yet? More on that, skirts and swords another time.)

Good yuntiv to all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Low and high holidays

None of you mentioned that we had our 11th anniversary recently!

Thanks a lot. What, you just come here for the kids?

Oh. Right. You do.

Anyway, we had a lovely evening of chinese takeout and frisbee on the Rechovot beach, thoughtfully lit by a full moon (impossible to photograph by my camera). Fun fun!

Why is it that I'm 32 years old and still feel like I'm being sneaky and defiant when I have a beer? Discuss.

And then of course, we had our Rosh Hashana. It was really lovely (we had Cheryl and her husband, yay!) and it was managable, since we ate out two meals and I used my crock pot and freezer freely. According to the calendar we have more three-day-yuntivs in store, which means I really need to buy another freezer. But since Sroch worked out that to have room for it, she'd have to keep it in her bed - we may have to find another solution.

First picture is Sroch basting the challahs I made. Then before yuntiv, the girls were splendidly uncooperative in posing in their holiday finery, so here's the best I got.

Shana tova to all of you, and gmar chasima tova for Yom Kippur this shabbos. Go take a drink now in anticipation. Glub, glub.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Sroch was walking Llama down the steps on shabbos (or maybe it was yuntiv day number one, or yuntiv day number two. Well, one of the three), and I hollered for her to take care of Llama and help her down, and Sroch hollers back -

"Don't worry, I'm saving on her."


For those of you, dear readers, who don't understand my sigh, a brief lesson. In Hebrew, the word 'shamor' means guard, watch, or save. Correct Hebrew grammar would have her say "shamor alaia" (Savta, feel free to correct), which if you translated it painfully literally, would be "guard on her" or as Sroch said, "saving on her."

But realize, my sigh is a happy sigh. Why? I'm not worried about her English grammatical constructs; they are already quite excellent for a child her age ("four and a HALF!") and she reads (well, we read) a ton and I think she'll be fine. No, I am delighted that her Hebrew is so good that she seeks to make English conform to it.

(This specific example may not be the best one, since lots of her friends say "saving on her" as well.)

Sroch will come home from school and tell me in great detail what she learned about the parsha or the upcoming holiday... in English. Last year's teacher spoke English as well, and I was never sure how much Sroch got from the straight Hebrew, but this year's teacher does not speak English - and Sroch not only retains it (bless her, bli ayin hara), but is fully comfortable and able to spit it back translated.


Llama is now in English gan, and it has been amazing to see her verbal English blossom. Because until now she was in a Hebrew metapelet situation, where there's less language because there's less instruction, as well as her being corked part of the time, her English is really taking off. That's not to say she's totally intelligible. For example, we couldn't get her to take a video (sigh), but this Rosh Hashana she sang...

"Dip da appa in da chaney, mik a bracha lauw an keer, shana toba u mesooka, ave uh appy seet new ear!"

Right! Shana tova to you too!

(Aside: tonight during her mad freak-out bedtime thing, I was singing "Down in the Valley" and when I got to end and said "valley" she stopped crying, stood up, said "chani!" (honey) and we sang the entire "Dip the Apple in the Honey" together - whereupon she finished and went right back to having a tantrum.)

She's also talking about colors a great deal - but I have no clue if she knows them, or just the words. But "yehllow" is her favorite, followed by "geen" and "puhple."


In the inevitable comparisons you try not to make of children and their skill acquisition, I realize the truth of what I was told back with Sroch, that Sroch was exceptionally verbal for her age, because gosh she was counting and having conversations and learning songs and saying 'Mitsubishi' (I tried getting Llama to say it - she just said "bishi" - there ya go, Micah). So I think to myself, self, Sroch was just Ahead, and Llama is Just Fine.

But then, I look back on vintage Druyanity when Sroch was this age (i.e. just short of 2) - and you know what? They're not so different at all.

The difference is - who gets spoken to.

For better or worse, most of what comes out of our mouths is directed at Little Miss Know Everything, her Highness the Elder, as opposed to the Princess Floppy Llama.

So I'm trying to make more of an effort to recall what Llama is capable of, linguistically, and speak to her accordingly. It's working too.

And I'm wondering why not a single child raising book EVER mentioned that this extra effort was necessary. Was I dumb to overlook it? Or is this the plight of all second children?

(Item: I'm a second child, and my brother's vocabulary is better than mine, but I blame his high-scoring Scrabble habits for that.)

I welcome your opinions.


And now, gentle reader, a virtual bedtime at the house of Druyan.
(This does not include schedule exceptions such as three days of yuntiv (!!), shabbos, Daylight Savings Time changes, teething (yes, teething - Llama got two teeth a couple weeks ago, and was a feverish wreck!), or, I don't know, full moons, etc.)

5:30 PM: A nutritious (snort), well-balanced (snigger), thought-out meal (neh!) is served to two tidy, compliant, table-mannered children. Who eat every bite.
Well, usually there's protein and a starch and cucumbers. Ah, cucumbers, last bastion of vegetable matter that both children will - sometimes - eat. My challenge lately has been what one will consume, the other will not touch.

Like mashed potatoes - Sroch loves 'em, Llama not with a 10 foot pole.
Or hardboiled eggs - ditto.
Or sweet potato - Llama yes, Sroch big fat no.
Lately even corn shnitzel, we've been having Sroch eating Llama's for her (!).

Fortunately, the two of them now equally like bread and butter. So that's a starch and protein and fat right there.

6:00 PM: Sated from their feast (or sedated with igloos), the children happily scurry off to the waiting bathtub, to take off their immaculate clothing and get into the water without a fuss (I can't even type this with a straight face), happily awaiting their favorite part of the bath, getting their hair washed.

I put soap in the water so if all that happens is their tushes sit in soapy water for two minutes, it accomplished SOMETHING. Llama especially hates having her hair washed, despite us doing it exactly the same way for almost two years, night after night. Oh well. She will not linger in the tub almost ever, but she still gets in the tub pretty nicely. Sroch, on the other hand, will drag her feet to avoid getting in, kvetch and moan "you're HURTING meeeee!" vwhen you try to help her take off her shoes and socks (and avoid the sandfall that comes out of them - I wonder if the playground at school has any sand left by the end of the year), and then once Compliant Llama (TM) is in, will protest "but IIIII wanted to go in FIRST!!!", etc, etc. And then later, "but IIIII wanted to get out first!"

Yeah, well, whatever. Wash their hair, rinse their hair, put conditioner in Sroch's, scrub behind four ears if I remember, rinse again - well, except when I forget - and remove squirming bodies to the room. Usually Llama comes out first, leaving Sroch alone in the tub to either frolic or kvetch that SHEEEE wanted to get out FIRST, etc. She actually often climbs out herself by now. So onto...

6:30 PM: Grooming.
We're actually pretty good here. Both girls get their curls brushed out, and then special-combed (bli ayin hara, no unwanted guests have been found - but constant vigilance is our watchword.. um, are our watchwords... oh, whatever.*)

Into pajamas, often after both girls reject the ones we choose for them (who lets them have opinions?). Llama gets the plug of her choice (lately "puhpul tzetzi" is her favorite). And then...

6:45 PM: We quietly read two books to the yawning, calmed, attentive children, who then immediately get into bed without a fuss.
Well, each girl gets to pick a book. Llama will 99% of the time pick one of the Rikki Benenfeld books, of which we have all but the new farm one (and yes, we'll be buying it ASAP). Llama will request them by name - "Doctor! Shooool! School! Vistin! Shoppeeng!" Sroch actually sometimes reads them to her, since she - and we - know them by heart. Srochel, Queen of The Stall, will try to pick the biggest, longest book we have.

We sit in the big blue chair, Llama sharing the cushion with me, Sroch perched on the cushy arm. I manage to turn pages with my arms around the girls (aw). Llama's book is first, and while I read Sroch's she'll often scamper down and look at other books or take toys out of their designated toy boxes, because goodness me there aren't any toys just laying on the floor in disarray. Heaven forfend.

And then...

7:00 PM: to bed.
Usually I start by snuggling the Llama, turning off the light, and putting Llama in her cribby, where she has me cover her either with her blankie or with an old head-scarf of mine (kids are weird).
Then I go to Sroch, who is either
1) in bed
2) still in the chair, complaining that I "held Shulamis FIRST! You NEVER hold me first!", or
3) in the bathroom for the last-minute-bladder-emptying-please-God-no-wet-bed-again effort

She then gets into her bed where we have to wrap her blanket around her like a sleeping bag, make her blankie into a ballie for her head (note, I've been making her ballies for about three years now), make sure baby and sippy cup (YES it has like two tablespoons of water in it) are in place - and she's ready for...


Well, we might say shema and sing a bit, but often Sroch is too busy with "I just want to tell/ask you ONE more thing..." (followed by 45 seconds of stammering as she tried to think something up) or whatever. But, finally, and usually with a smile, she lays down to go to sleep.

Or lays down, and comes out five minutes later because "I need to make again." Right.

Llama is usually wonderful about just laying down and even if she doesn't drop off for thirty minutes, she's quiet in her crib. Sroch, though, once she lays down for real, usually lasts about two minutes.

(No, I'm not giving myself an ayin hara by saying Llama usually drifts off nicely, since tonight at bedtime - just like last night between 4 and 5:30 AM - she had a OHMYGOSH TEMPER FIT, thrashing and screaming and making herself choke and no holds barred protest like whoa about going to sleep. Like my baby was possessed by... by... um, by Sarah Rochel at that age. Shoot. Hopefully it's a - very - brief phase! She's probably teething again, although she has 16 teeth already...)

7:15 PM: Oh, shoot, I forgot to brush their teeth.

*But never forget, better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know.

Whatever happened to my blog?

I read some other bloggers - like the brilliant Filth Wizardry and the funny and poignant Bad4Shidduchim, the wise writing-industry advice of Pub Rants, and others.

And I don't know how they have the head space.

It's not that we're doing any less cute things than this post, exactly three years ago today.

Part of the problem may be work, that is, I use my home computer for work, so I'm less likely to drag it out to blog.. maybe. Some of it is Facebook (jeepers! The first time I admit to having it on this blog!), where ideas that used to germinate into blog posts are more likely to be spat out as undeveloped status update seeds.

And - part of the problem is head space. Keeping track of TWO kids worth of cute things they said is HARD. (I should only have such problems, amen.) And also, poor Llama, there isn't the novelty of First Child (TM) - meaning when she learns a Skill, it's one we already know a child is capable of learning, whilst with Sroch a new Skill was like discovering, I don't know, kryptonite.

But I'm a-gonna try (new year's resolution much?) to do better, because I am sad to not have my blog as bloggied.

So here goes!

Oh, and it's totally not my fault I don't have many pictures; the Union of Grumpy Kinderlach (est. 2008) keeps refusing to take nice pictures.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

First days of school!

Llama started on Sunday...

And Sroch started, after two days of us holding sit-in protests at one school's office, a different school on Tuesday...