And pursuant to our poplar trimming (pursuant may be the wrong word, but it's my blog, so it's perfectly cromulant), I took the longer cut branches, trimmed off the twigs and leaves, and stored them to use as sukka poles.
That's right. We grow our building supplies right here on the property.
We chopped off the top of our poplar trees today (well, half done).
The trees were stunning and beautiful and tall and lovely. But they thought they were done growing tall, and so all their energies went elsewhere- specifically, into making little shoots of themselves pop up everywhere in the yard (and threatening under the porch tiles as well).
(Of course, I cannot now locate the source I had for trimming off the top in order to halt this problem... oh well. I'm sure I read it on the internet somewhere. And if you read it on the internet, it must be true.)
I could not avoid the comparison, as we worked, with the day I had with the girls.
No, we didn't give them haircuts.
For all their wonderful, well-behavedness, lately we've been having a real problem of Listening. As in, they aren't. I repeat myself over and over and over, and occasionally with Llama, even my growing-fury count of 1-2-3 will sometimes be met with a blank stare. Argh.
And so I am trying to analyze what needs to be changed, what needs to be worked on in my parenting, because this is so totally not cool - and frankly, it's sprouting all over the place.
In my offence, much of this may be because I'm telling them to hurry so much of the time, and as we all know, telling a child to hurry is a sure way to have them stand stock still. I realized that I've been saying the words "come on, it's really late" multiple times each morning AND each bedtime. That's a nasty weed that needs to be taken care of too.
I asked Sroch for ideas on how we could help with this problem (I asked Llama too, but she just wanted to cuddle). She said she thinks the problem in the mornings is that I am sleeping too late and I need to wake up before them and get ready and then wake them up, and that "Abba gets up early and we don't have a problem with him."
Ouch. I do believe I've been pruned back meself.
So we'll give it a try. Gulp. Parenting: not for people who like to sleep late. I'm getting it, I'm getting it.
As I alluded to in my Savta Simcha post, some afternoons with the girlies are more quiet than others.
I have noted to many friends how my job as a mother is different than most of my peers. Well first of all, I have two delicious, gorgeous perfect children - most of my peers have a higher quantity (but certainly no higher quality, ahem). So that is probably what influences the second difference, that I work morning and afternoons. So my "parenting" is basically from 4 PM to 7 PM daily (or 9 PM, which was when I sent Sroch back to bed for the nth time tonight). The household dynamic when everyone is home for the craziestworstkvetchiest best time of day before bedtime, when the kids are tired from 8 hours of school and I'm tired from 8 hours of commute and work - well, it's very different, since that TiredTime(TM) is also the Time To Get Anything Done with the kids, be it projects, shopping, visiting with friends and so on.
It's very different.
And so some afternoons we're extroverted. Yesterday I didn't even get the girls home; on the way back from gan, I dropped one at one friend's house, one at another friend's house, and I came home and made food for sheva brachos we were co-hosting last night.
And some afternoons we're just content to cozy into our cave, the three of us (four, Abba schedule permitting). Reading on the couch, which often segues into cuddling, tickling, giggling, coloring, playing (with a 30% chance of weeping, wailing, "she grabbed it from me!"-ing). Talking about school. Today, watching old home video clips of them as babies. Eating...something (tonight: cheese on crackers, with apples on the side. Yoav and I had refried beans and salsa and cheese on crackers, but my children opted out of the jalapenos). Talking to grandparents on the computer.
And seamless, easy peaceful bedtimes. Yeah, well, eventually they go to sleep, after stories read and told, boo boos examined and comforted, noses cleaned (or not), faces washed (or not), hair brushed (or not), teeth brushed (95% of the time), sippy cups refilled, shema said once (or twice, as in "you confused me and I couldn't say it with you!"), and many, many last kisses. And last tucking-ins. This is REALLY the last time. REALLY! Okay, now THIS is the last time.
These cozy afternoons are, I think, very important for the kids' emotional health. They are basically the equivalent of a three hour hug, most of the time.
That's not too bad for my emotional health either.
I have been composing in my mind a massive blog post all about why it is I really feel compelled to stay up so incredibly late every night.
It will include literary elements such as a mother's need to have time alone, the lure of quiet, internet addiction, feeling "in" by relying on a social media of other people ignoring their responsibilities, and maybe even a little bit on passive-aggressive martyrship of motherhood.
But it's 1 AM and I haven't been to bed before 230 this whole week, so...
The danger in having a blog is, of course, a tendency to say TOO much.
In the course of my several years of motherhood, I have had the opportunity to spend time with many, many other people's children, and my impressions are not always, um, positive.
(I also hold a grudge like whoa - for example, I remember what 4 year old callously broke the letter 'N' piece from our set of foam bathtub letters approximately five years ago... and it still bothers me that we have no N.)
So this evening, when Sroch was by a friend (after a day spent with Mommy at Mommy's office, she is miraculously recovered from her vomiting bouts last night), Llama had a couple friends over, both who have been here before. Well, this time...
They trashed the room.
In Llama's defense, she came and told me her friends were taking apart the ABC carpet. I told her as long as they put it back it was okay. I assumed they were taking apart a couple squares. But, no.
As you see, we cleaned it up. Only took 45 minutes! Oy. Impressive, since they made that mess in only about 15 minutes.
But really, three 3 year olds, they did nothing WRONG. Sroch at that age also loved to pull apart the letters. But there is a large temptation to judge these precious, adorable girlies as bad-mannered.
And then, there's a temptation to blog about how I can't BELIEVE children would EVER act like such ANIMALS and ohmigosh I mean REALLY, blah blah blah.
So I won't.
And I'll have these girls over to play again, many times, please God.
Instead, I'll just blog about kiwi. I just ate a kiwi without peeling it. It was a revelation. I may go have another.
Sroch, awake in the middle of the night after throwing up (!) (but now she's fine, B"H) and I are having a conversation about a girl in her class, who she thinks doesn't understand Hebrew. Her words:
"When she speaks Hebrew she talks like, like she doesn't know it. Like you."
Hey! Sroch, I speak Hebrew just fine! "Yeah, I know, but I mean it's not... regular. Like when I say 'shalom' it sounds right, but when you say it it sounds all blurry."
So I'm going through my old typed routines. I make fun of men a lot. I make fun of motherhood. I make fun of men some more. I make fun of how we put so much sugar in our salads that dessert is less caloric. Then I make fun of men some more.
Darn, I'm funny!
But I still don't know what to mock tomorrow night. And that's why I'm not blogging any more than this tonight. Sorry guys. :)
The first is Llama singing a song she learned in school. Don't worry if you don't understand Hebrew; not all of the words she uses count.
The second is Sroch singing a song of her own composition as she ate her dinner, about a girl who goes to learn in the cave with Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and her weight gain and loss. Fascinating stuff.
I do so utterly enjoy how the girls are so similar, but so different. Both of them love to sing, and will happily walk up and down the street / grocery store aisle just singing away to the world.
The Sroch style of singing is: free form, meandering but also musical. She makes up her own songs all the time - and sometimes even remembers them day to day. For example, she made up a song on the way to America with the refrain "Even Ago" and she had a couple lyrics and the refrain... and she sang it the whole time we were there. Even Llama learned it.
The Llama style of singing is much more musically accurate to the original.
It's like Sroch is more of a composer while Llama is more of a singer.
And their mother is mostly full of garbage that she is labeling her childrens' talents at their ages of 6 and 3andahalf.
Yoav is telling the girls a bedtime story about why we have Lag Baomer, and how the Romans didn't allow us to do mitzvos and about how the signal fires (that we emulate with our bonfires) were so important since we didn't have email, didn't have phones, etc. Llama: And the Romans wouldn't let the yidden have com-poo-ters. Right, they didn't have computers. And so they used the fires because they needed to tell everyone quickly about Rosh Chodesh, and it took too long any other way.
Sroch: But they should have just gone down to the south, and up to the north, and told them. But Srochel, they could only walk or go by horse. So it would take too long.
Sroch: So they should have gone another way! Like what?
Sroch: By rocketship.
Sometimes I write the titles of these posts just because I think they're funny.
Anyway, thanks to Michelle, I have a copy of the original Savta Simcha book. I actually remember my mother reading this to me, which since I learned to read so young is notable; it meant that part of the wonderful memory of the book is experiential rather than just the story.
It also means that what I saw with Sroch and Llama is what I myself experienced, that the book is so well done that my children listened to it even when there were pages with no pictures on them. If you can imagine.
We've been reading a chapter or two many days after school, just the two of them on the couch and I, reading. Sroch loved books from infancy; Llama didn't, as much, and then once Llama did, we had the conflict of reading a book that SHE wanted, thus disenfranchising what SHE wanted - well, sorta (don't tell anyone, but my six year old still enjoys baby books, shhhhhh). Anyway, what with everything we stopped reading a minimum of three books a day like we used to.
So I really enjoyed this daylight-reading time, also nice because it's not sacrificed on the alter of 'get your tuchas into bed right now it's already thirty minutes past your bedtime and no we can't have another book because you took twenty minutes just to take off your socks before the bath'. And then I really enjoyed the girls' engrossment with the story.
Today we read the last chapter, and as is my wont, I was crying so hard I could hardly read. Afterwards, I was trying to figure out why I was crying so, so hard (I mean, it's SAD that she leaves the children in America to go back to Israel, but okay, come on, I knew it was coming and all that - and there are four more books!).
I think it was this:
My mother, in America, read me this book, that closes on "Next year in Jerusalem!"
I, a child in America, enjoyed it, felt closer to my mother, and added another weight to the internal scale that would determine if I would, indeed, live my life in America or Israel.
Now I, a mother, in Israel, read this book to my children, and when I get to "Next year in Jerusalem!" I cry.
For my girls, children of Israel, are sitting here, being close to their mother, in Israel.
It's like... Yaffa Ganz (the author)... Savta Simcha (the character)... Mom... We listened. We got it.
Long story short, early this shabbos morning I was attacked by what only could have been food poisoning, complete with agony, vomiting and a fainting spell, the THUNK of which awoke my husband (sorry honey). Anyway, B"H after I got off the floor and did some whimpering and sobbing and crawled back to bed, I was fine - crazy weak and headachey (almost like my head had hit the tile floor or something) but fine.
Still weak, getting there.
But yay, B"H, kids not only slept through the whole thing but did wonderfully today with Mommy pretty much out of commission. Llama went to shul with Abba, Sroch hung out with her friends, Tali ran everything else - and we're doing okay.
Man my head hurts...
I explained fainting to the girls as what happens when your body gets so sick of something that it just pitom goes to sleep, irregardless of you being sitting, walking, whatever. I was proud of my definition.
...I'm too wiped out to cleverly end this post. So sorry. Please tune in again tomorrow.
Tonight, as some of you heard already, I was so far past the end of my rope I couldn't even remember what my rope looked like. It has been an incredibly sleep-deprived, multiple jobs worked, high-stressed week... and there is still more to come before the blissful sleep of shabbos night.
Speaking of which...
As I was putting (shoving, taping into, pleading and begging and more shoving) my kids to bed tonight, I was trying to remember what MY bedtime was like as a child. So, circa six years old, I remember...
Taking about one bath a year. It was probably more, since I remember it was my father who gave it to me, which means I'm probably blanking on the 364 other baths I got at age six. Sorry Mom.
Never fighting to stay up later. I knew that I'd never get to see the shows that came on at eight thirty. I'm sure I never even had a word of protest about going to bed, because clearly, I'd remember that.
My room was always clea... never mind, I can't even type that with a straight face. I remember my room was a mess. Always.
My mother singing to my brother and I, either taking turns in each of our rooms, or sitting in the hallway between us. Occasionally, she would move the record player to the hallway, and focus one of the humungo 80's speakers in each of our doorways so we could fall asleep to a Sesame Street record, or possibly 613 Torah Avenue. And we would never come out of bed. Ever.
I also remember trying to fall out of bed (and sometimes doing so on purpose) to make my mother come, but she never came when it was fake, only when it was real. How did she do that?
Hmm. So just about the only similarity between my childhood bedtime and my childrens' is the singing. Except, somehow, I bet my mother wasn't sitting there in the hallway, singing in full voice, slowly digging her nails into the carpet and making ridiculous faces out of total and complete exasperation at another bedtime.
Yoav comes home and relieves me- he's getting the girls into jammas (well, Sroch into a dress for tomorrow; she likes to sleep in the next day's clothes) and putting them to bed. They pop out to say goodnight, one by one.
Llama comes and cuddles with me on the couch (I'm busy cuddling with my Kindle) for a minute, and gives me kisses. Her goodnight kisses are usually a star upon my face: a kiss on each cheek, on my forehead, on my nose, and sometimes a very tickly one on my chin or even throat. She offers up her own "I love you, goodnight" before I can even say it, then scampers off to be Pampered (well, Titulimed) and put to bed.
Sroch comes out and cuddles and kisses me as well on the cheek, and tells me goodnight. We say we love each other. Earlier in the day, she told me that she wakes up in the middle of the night when I think she's sleeping and comes in, kisses her abba, and sneaks back in to bed. As she walks away from me, she tells me, "Mommy, I'm also going to be kissing you while you're sleeping!" I say oh yeah?? And she says, "Yeah, in my heart. My heart is going to be sending you kisses all night long."
At bedtime, we were talking about how boys are bar mitzvaed at 13, and girls are bas mitzvaed at 12. Sroch asked "Why are boys and girls different?" I explained that they are different for this because girls grow up faster....
...and Hashem made us different. So we discussed the differences between boys and girls:
beards versus chins
no babies in tummies versus babies in tummies (including digression while Sroch insists she was in Abba's tummy, she KNOWS cause she was THERE)
Torah versus babies.
That was unexpected, that last one. Sroch said it like this, and I'm really impressed at how she put these pieces together, even if her conclusion wasn't spot on.
"I know why Hashem doesn't let the abbas have the babies. Because of shul! If an abba had to have a baby, but he also had to go to shul and learn Torah, then Torah is more important than babies so he would have to do that and it would be a problem. So the mommies have the babies."
I was a little dumbstruck, because much of that statement was accurate -basically- but it was inside out. So I, and Yoav when he came in, tried to reinforce her independent thinking but also tried to correct her outlook, to explain that YES Torah is the most important but a mommy having a baby kinda trumps everything (like if mom goes to hospital on shabbos to have a baby husband comes with her even though he isn't giving birth, etc) because I didn't want her to think that baby < Torah QED motherhood < maleness. B"H that was fine. And we explained that just like men and women are different in terms of facial hair, they have different minds and rates of growth and different jobs in this world, which usually mean women = mothers and raisers, men = shul-goers and go-outers.
I think it's all good.
Sroch is really... big.
Llama was totally following this conversation, by the way. She does so much absorbing that you forget she's involved in the conversation until she just ups and solves quadratic equations. With her pacifier. And a toothpick.