Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Children = way closer to God than adults

On the way home from the dentist last week, Llam and Sroch both wanted to sit in the stroller. Finally when Llama got up, Sroch grabbed it - and Llama had a fit. After a couple moments, Sroch got up and let Llama sit down. She then whispered in my ear:

"I did it because I want an extra mitzvah on my moznaim (scales)."

Wow. Nice education, gannenets!

So couple days later, when we're getting home from gan, I go pick up the mail and Sroch, totally educated and tuned into just about every aspect of Rosh Hashana by now, starts to holler, "Mommy, there's a maatafa, (envelope), we have to take it and put in tzedaka (charity)!"

Now, thank God, we live in a religious city in Israel. We have people knocking on our door collecting every day or two (or around holidays, several a day), and we get envelopes in the mail all the time. And we never, ever use them (we do recycle!) because we give our charity money to other places that we know and trust, not just any organization that sends us a leaflet (sadly, not all are legit).

Sroch has seen us throw away (um, recycle! Sometimes!) many, many of these. But she will NOT let this one go.

Upstairs we go, she grabs my wallet out of my bag and starts scrounging for cash. She finds 20 agurot (that's about 5 cents). She puts it in and asks for a stamp, and I tell her gently that it will cost far more to mail that than what we are donating.

"How much does it have to be?"

"Um, at least 5 shekel."

"Oh, good, so we need 3 more!"

Well, okay, great math skills for a five year old (5 minus 2 = 3, nice!) except, hmm, lack of comprehension that 5 10-agurot coins don't make 5 shekel, but nu nu.

"Sorry Sroch, I don't have any money."


Um. Long answer. Let's skip it.

"Sorry Sroch, we have to wait until Abba comes home. Maybe he has some money."

"No. We'll just put your credit card in the maatafa."

"Sroch, no, credit cards don't work like that."

"But you use them to pay for things!"

Um. Shoot. Am I allowed to drop the I'll-tell-you-when-you're-older?

"Sorry, no."

WAAH!!! WAAH!!!! "But we HAVE to!!"

Fortunately, God loves me and I recall that outdated system called 'checks,' and I offer to write one.

So Sroch helps (she tears it off, then decorates the outside of the checkbook with her backwards Hebrew writing) and I write out a check for 18 shekel. We seal the envelope, and I tell her I'll mail it. I did so too, the next day.

Now, why do I find this story so remarkable?

Remember, gentle reader, this story that I sometimes tell Sroch at bedtime:

Once upon a time there was a man and a lady who were married and very happy, except they were also sad, because they didn't have any kinderlach. And so they davened and davened to Hashem for many years, and so did lots of other people, and then finally Hashem gave them a HUGE bracha of a wonderful little girl they named Sarah Rochel, and they were SO happy and everyone was SO happy for them!

For you see, the tzedaka organization Sroch insisted with all her might on us supporting was Bonei Olam - a Jewish infertility organization.

Like I said, they are a lot closer to God than we are.


The poeticism of Llamushkanuna

Between the pacifier in her mouth and her, um, non-quiet older sister, Llama isn't always so so talkative. So every now and then when she comes up to me and expresses a complex thought in multiple coherent sentences, I'm like - huh? Aren't you a baby?


And she's so rational and coherent, that I can't even remember later to blog what wonderful rational coherent things she said, because it was just talking to a Person, and you don't blog People.


Although yesterday she did ask for a different purple towel. I told her I didn't have one, and this, verbatim, enunciated, is what my 2 year old said:

"So why don't you go to the towel store and give them money and buy a new purple towel?"

Who says Llamas only hum?

Anyway, two cute things, this week she had a candy (okay, like every day she has candy, but whatever) and she sucked it for a bit, then swallowed and said, "my candy flew away from my mouth!" And then yesterday, when we were in the stroller, she said, squintingly, complaining, "the sun is looking at me!!"


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Alright boys and girls, it's time for another exciting edition of self-help through blogging, where the blogger, in lieu of private reflection or costly therapy, just rambles on about herself in a public forum, thus achieving some sort of catharsis, or something.

Except no one actually reads this. Except for you. Thanks, by the way.

Right, so, tonight's topic is Anger, a common theme when I blog before 8 PM, because it means that Bedtime was the Badtime, know what I'm saying?

It actually wasn't so heinous, is the truth - especially since a few minutes ago when Yoav walked in I walked out.

It was more like the afternoon. I am always totally and utterly amazed that these darling little creatures can get me angrier than anyone or anything else. Before they were born, I just about never got angry. Hurt, insulted, possibly indignant, but not seeing-red capital-A Angry, but with these precious little kinderlach? Gevalt, watch out.

Anger, as I mentioned in a shiur I gave (wow, people think I'm an actual rebbetzin or something) last week at Kever Rochel, is classically rooted in pride and an inability to accept God's will because our own will is more important. Hmm.

So today, when Sroch, Llama and I had to go to the dentist (Sroch = no cavities. Llama = refusal to have dentist examine her), then according to that I should have gotten angry because the bus didn't come. Nope. I should have gotten angry when the bus didn't follow the route I saw online but instead went to the other side of RBS, so I had to call Yoav to bail us out with the car (because I had no money for a cab) and we were late.. but no, that didn't make me angry.

What made me angry was my child (no need to name names, but you're smart, you'll figure it out) running away from me, not coming when I called, practically running into the street, occasionally hitting and kicking. ARGH!



Hey, this therapy by blogging is great. That's it: anger is due to pride. My hollering at my daughter and her ignoring me negates my motherly existence. Child, I am your MOTHER, and so help me you will LISTEN to your MOTHER, or ELSE! Grrrrrr!!!

So is it possible that it is my pride as The Mommy, and not my pride as Miriam, that is why I am angry?

And if so... well, isn't that appropriate? The children are obligated to listen to me - that's clear from the Torah. Chutzpa is one of the greatest sins, and are not willfully ignoring your parent and spiting them (hitting them!) perfect examples of chutzpa?? Are we not taught we should have a righteous anger to defend the Torah!?!

Yeah right. I should be on such a level.

I think the problem is even if I get angry for Noble Reasons, once the anger is there it percolates through my Coffee Filter Brain and creates the Brewed Beverage of Harshness.

... and with that metaphor, my therapeutic blogging ends, because I DON'T have the solution. Yes, my children have to listen to me. No, I should not waive my motherability by allowing them to forgo that. My challenge is to be stringent on that point without actually seeing red. (Item: walking home from the dentist with the offender strapped into the stroller somewhat forcefully, we passed the pediatrician, and it occurred to me to threaten the child that if she didn't listen, I'd have to take her to the doctor to get a shot to make her listen. I mean, I didn't SAY it, but it DID come to mind!)


Feeling a little better.

Do we have any chocolate?


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Quite possibly the world's perfect food

No no, not bananas.

On Twitter (thanks @bydahway) I got linked to this recipe: 1 Minute Peanut Butter Cake. Now 'cake' isn't strictly accurate, more like 'cup-o-goo' but wowsa, it's yummy AND I think it's actually healthier than the honey-coated corn flakes they eat for breakfast.

It has an egg.
And peanut butter.
And whole wheat flour.

Hello! This is health food! If it actually had banana in it, I would feed it to them day and night.

Because, gentle reader, they both ate it!

And, ahem, um, we both had a bite or two as well.

...EDIT: Okay, so I plugged in the nutritional information and found that this is a LOT more caloric than I thought it was. Well... Actually, if I could get that many calories into them for breakfast, and all that protein - well hey, this IS a good breakfast!

For a picky almost 3 year old and a skinny 5 year old.

And, most likely, no one else!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Today's update

Wow, blogging. I could get into this.

Today's update:

  • Llama, on the way to gan: "I like Morah Rivki's gan!" I, with false security, paused at drop off to talk to the morah for a couple minutes, resulting in Llama realizing I was still there and then needing to be peeled off of me, crying. Oh well. 
  • Only one pair of wet underthings today. Woo hoo!
  • Yes, Llama's. 
  • Llama still doesn't want to be big. For example...

Remember I mentioned lots of baby-ish regression? This was her temporary crib in her 'house' (Sroch's too, clearly. Nice flexibility, no?).

So anyway, now that she's doing the whole toileting thing (and yes, thank you Hashem, we're on the toilet now, so I can stop cleaning out the little plastic potty) to say nothing of gan shalosh, Llama recognizes that she isn't little anymore.

But she still doesn't want to be big.

Her new label: "I'm big little."


  • Sroch came home from school in her inimitable fashion of repeating like everything the teacher taught that day. Well, give or take. I continue to delight in her ability to understand the different teachers - nice to know this year's are able to reach her as well, bli ayin hara. Of course, Llama is still working on her language acquisition; she learned to say "I don't let!" in Hebrew this week.
  • Sroch continues to choose to wear her Land's End oxford shirts to gan, preferring them to others (I think because they look like first grader shirts - fortunately, the ones she has we got for $6 each on clearance, phew). I can only imagine what her new teachers think of her. Kindergarten preppy comes to Ramat Beit Shemesh. There goes the neighborhood. ;)

(I actually thought she was so impossibly deliciously gorgeous today in her shirt and belt and denim skirt I didn't want her to get in pajamas.)

(And yet, I overcame that.)


Sand: toy, food and litterbox

According to Yoav and Sroch, Llama didn't cry at drop off today - yay! - and only cried when it was time for her to leave the sandy play area (and incidentally, leave Sroch who was having recess at the same time).


Thinking question: Can you really call it recess when they are 2 years old, and their 'school work' involves Lego(TM)? Discuss.

Anyway, last Wednesday afternoon we went off to the beach, as our one-afternoon-long Official Summer Vacation. That way my children, who have been bounced from camp to kaytana to camp all summer, could feel like they had an actual Summer Vacation.

(True story: in the backseat on the way to beach, Sroch actually said: "This is our vacation? I can't wait to tell Rina and Elisheva I had a vacation!")

Thinking question: Does contributing to the Israeli economy as well as keeping the family solvent "excuse" the Druyan parents from allowing their children to experience boredom, sunburns and long lines that are normal Summer Vacation staples? Cite examples.

So off we went to Ashdod, planning on just not blogging about it if there were any missile attacks while we were there! Ha ha ha! Just kidding! Except we weren't kidding! Sigh. Long summer.

ANYWAY, I was worried, because the last time I took Sroch to the beach, she was miserable, it was miserable, all was misery, etc, etc. (BTW, how predictable am I that that post also has discussion questions? Egad, no new humor Druyan!)

BUT - this was awesome!

We found a deserted spot, and waded on in. The girlies both loved the sand, loved the water, loved it all, didn't want to leave, didn't complain about sand all over them or even their dinner (not that they ate it anyway), wanted to take home ALL the shells, etc, etc.

(At one point, Llama is standing in the water with Yoav, and she asks to walk in more. He does. She asks MORE - they go. Then she points to the tankers on the horizon and says, "let's go there.")

Yoav and I weren't dressed to swim, just to wade, which is good because the idea of taking my kids into water deeper than my knees where a big old wave (or shark - or missile - or gosh, I don't know, hostile seaweed) would have access to them, yeah, well, I'm not old enough yet.

(Another true story: friend of mine at work had her daughter in the sea with her in a little inner tube thing - and a wave came up suddenly and flipped over the tube with her like 3 year old in it. Heart palpitations just thinking about it. B"H, kid didn't slip out, but, yeah, way too scary for me. If we go swimming for real in the water, my children will be duct-taped to me.)

(Gorilla taped, actually.)

(Maybe surgically stitched. But I digress.)

So we had a great time, even practicing our alef-bais in the sand so Sroch also got her Official Summer Enrichment in there too. Man are we the awesomest parents around or what?

Thinking question: Or what?

A special shout out to Tali, who just left today after being an honorary Druyan for the last few weeks. Klita kalah and good luck madricha-ing, and I hope we remember how to wash dishes again!

Well, not really. You know.


Llama endeavored to empty the ocean, bucket by diligent bucket.  She must have made ten trips back and forth, chubby little feet pounding through the 15 feet of coarse sand back to our base camp. Way to go, Llama. You go girl.
We let them wade in about up to their waists. They would have kept going. We held very, very, very  tightly to those little hands.
Next time, they wear inflatable underwear.

And SPEAKING of underwear... poo poo poo!

Wait a second.  Did she mean that literally? What is with her anyway?

Seriously, Llama is really doing awesome with this whole undies big girl thing. She embraces the daily return to pajamas (pajama time = diaper time) but she's really doing very well at home and the first couple days of school. Over shabbos she was perfect except for one very memorable "gadol" accident at Mamma Nechy's house (if you know what I mean and I think you do!) - sorry about that Nech. Welcome to RBS! Ha ha!

Today was the first full day at gan (8 AM - 4 PM) and as we expected, she came home damp (of course, the dry two extra pair, extra skirt and extra socks were all still in the tik, so it's possible she didn't enpuddlize, but was a little tardy to toilet), but hey, we are On The Way.

Poo poo poo.

Which reminds me of the picture of our beach trip we failed to take, watching Yoav walk off into the sunset with a child, a spade, a plastic bag and some wipes - but some memories, perhaps, it's okay to release your tight grip upon.

Was that sentence even legal, grammatically? Discuss with examples and participles. No diphthongs, though - this was a family beach outing.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Spoke too soon

Yesterday on Facebook I linked to yesterday's blog post with the note, "I am crying, they are happy, all is at is it should be."

Spoke too soon.

When I left Llama there yesterday, she was sitting at a table and looking at toys, was perfectly fine, etc. When I went to pick her up, though, other mothers told me when they had dropped off their daughters, they had sat with and tried to comfort Llama, who was freaking out.

Oysh. Poor Llams.

I asked her then WHY she had been crying. "Because I wanted to!!" You were sad? "Yes." Why were you sad? "Because I wanted to be sad."


So today when I went to drop her off, not surprisingly, she had a freak attack as well, but she didn't wait for me to leave to begin it. In the end, the ganenet preferred that I not stay with her in the gan and try to settle her, but just to leave. So I took her outside with me for a couple minutes to calm her down (hah!) which she did - and then we went inside and let the morah pry her hysterical body off of mine.

It is hard to remember that Sroch also had to be pried off of me at times at the beginning of gan shalosh. But upon reflection, she did.

Llama will get there. She just seemed so little today, it was hard to feel confident in my choice to put her in Real Gan this year.

(PS: underwear is going well so far, bli ayin hara - although, much like gan, there's a bit of crying and kicking involved. Sigh.)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Prayer of the first day of gan

May their hearts not sink when they walk in the door.

May they make friends, have friends, be friends.

May they eat their sandwiches.

May they get to the toilet on time. May they recall the use of toilet paper. 

May they keep their fingers out of door cracks, drains, nail-y boards from the construction, and the noses of all.

May the morahs learn their names, and their strengths.

May an alef look like an alef, and not backwards, upside down or wavy.

When (can I pray for if?) they have an accident, may they not feel shamed.

May these 'real school' steps - the first step for Llama, the third step for Srochel - into the world of learning be sure, steady and secure. And may they laugh, and sing, and dance.

 And eat the ENTIRE sandwich, darn it.