Monday, August 22, 2005

On vacation

Vacations are exhausting! But nice, too. The Mayfam is spending the week at Aunt Phyllis's in Gladwyne, PA - a hop and a skip from Philadelphia (you have got to hear Sari say that word!). We are staying in the barn, which is, for those of you who have no idea, actually a very lovely guest house that used to be a barn. With two bedrooms, full bath, living room, dining room, play area, and kitchen plus a loft, it's bigger than my regular apartment. The kids adore it because it comes pre-stocked with toys (Tante P has 8 grandchildren, b"ah) and we all know that somebody else's toys are much cooler than your own. Mordechai is old enough to have memories of previous stays at the barn as well as Chanukah parties that are traditionally held there. Last week, he was talking excitedly to Sari about the prospect of staying there for a while. She joined him in celebrating their future stay at the "barm" but later asked me, a note of concern in her voice, "Are the cows bite?"

On Sunday, we visited the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA. It's about 1 hour and 45 minutes from New York. The trip to Gladwyne from Easton was another hour and 20 minutes. Mordechai was doing the classic "Are we there yet?" routine, and, at one point, I told him we were 25 minutes from the barn. He looked at his watch and noted the time was 5:57. After a moment of mental calculation, he sighed, "That's not till 6:22!" I know grown-ups who can't do that math in their heads!

Today's activities included meeting up with my cousin, Abby, and her two daughters, Chaya and Eli, at Shalom's Pizza. That would be the only kosher pizza shop in town. Suffice it to say we are very spoiled in New York. After lunch, we headed to the very lovely Philadelphia Zoo. I'll post pics when I get a chance.

You might notice some changes to my bloglists in the sidebar. In appreciation of my dear aunt's hospitality, I have deleted some links. I have also added a few which you will find under the title "Blogs Tante P Wants You to Read". I'm sure she'd love your feedback, especially if you like them! (Dear Tante P, I love you!)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Well, what would you do if your son asked you?

It's been a long day. Fasting is never fun although I don't imagine it's meant to be. I don't logically expect kids to understand that your patience may just not last as long on Tish'a B'Av. But on an emotional level... Couldn't they just try?

I was on duty with the kids all day. They had gone to sleep late for two nights already, thanks to a great weekend at Meema and Zaidy's house. Their sleep deficit was manifesting itself in general crankiness, kvetchiness, and inability to be satisfied. If I gave him a gummy worm as a treat, it was the wrong one. If he was thirsty, he only wanted orange juice, which we were out of. And, no, he did not want to take a bath even though he was sweaty and dirty from a long, fun, but hot weekend. I was not enjoying. To add to the festivity, Ada has a double ear infection. I know this because she was irritable all weekend and hasn't slept three consecutive hours in several nights. Also because I took her to the doctor in the midst of a drenching thunderstorm late this afternoon to have my diagnosis confirmed so I could get her started on antibiotics and hopefully give the poor baby some relief. By the time, bedtime rolled around, I was not the most cheerful mommy in town. I finally got Ada to sleep. Mordechai was finally in bed after a prolonged search for the police car he wanted ("No, not that one, the other one!"). Sari was out of bed for the third time and I had adopted the ignore-her-and-she'll-eventually-
get-so-tired-she'll-go-to-bed-herself approach. I collapsed on the couch, weak with exhaustion. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sari go to the bedroom and breathed a mental sigh of relief. Hah! Spoke Thought to soon! I hear Sari and Mordechai arguing loudly. By the time I made it to their bedroom, Ada was awake, wailing. Sari was clinging to the top of the ladder trying to get on Mordechai's bed and he was pushing her trying to prevent her from succeeding. And I was doing everything in my power not to break down in tears. I banished Sari to the living room, commanded Mordechai to lie back down, and plopped onto the glider with Ada to nurse her back to sleep for what felt like the umpteenth time. V'Kan HaBen Sho'el (and here the son asks): Can you write me a mitzvah note for letting Mommy and Daddy rest when they were fasting?

Another genius in the making

A pile of red and black checkers lay invitingly on the floor beside an overturned Connect Four board that had been discarded some minutes earlier by the two older children. Ada sidled up (the only word I can think of to describe her mode of travel) and got to work. At first she put a checker over a hole - remember: the board was overturned and thus lying on its side. I was immediately stricken by her incredible talent and singular intellect. Then, with the most adorable look of concentration - puckered lips, tongue held tight between her gums - she tried to insert some other checker the way she had seen it done by her siblings. It took several attempts before she succeeded, but, when she did, she got a rousing cheer from her audience of one, her doting mama. The best part was her blinking look of surprise as she realized that someone had shared in her moment of triumph. Little does she know that her proud mama is always cheering her on, even when she doesn't hear it!

In which I remind her of someone she knows

I'm at the stove mixing furiously at a pot in which I've just added beaten eggs to a hot mixture. Some splashes out of the pot onto the stove prompt me to mutter to myself that I'm making a big mess. Sari glances up from her activity nearby and asks innocently, "Like Daddy?"

Monday, August 08, 2005

When I grow up, I wanna' be just like Daddy.

Am I doing this right?

Look, ma! My hands! I can make them clap!

At the Hall of Science in Queens.

Please pay careful attention to the intense look of concentration on both boys' faces. Neither would give up. The 30-year-old boy finally agreed to give another kid a turn at the bubble table - but it took a lot of convincing!

Move over kids. Mom will show you how this is done.

That's my little dare-devil (?) halfway up the web in the Science Playground.

My daughter in heaven. Do you think this love of washing dishes will last? (I think that's how my responsibility of folding the family's laundry started out. I wanted to as a kid, but, somewhere along the line, the allure faded. Meanwhile, I'm apparantly traumatized by my parents' employment of child slave labor because I hate doing laundry to this day.) Note to self: Be careful not to over-use Sari's "help". Considering she nearly flooded the apartment in the dishwashing process, I think she's pretty safe from me!

Beach babes

Hmmm, this pizza is awfully crunchy. You know what, though? I kinda' like it like this!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What language do you think in?

It's fascinating to think about what language we think in. (Yes, grammar cop. I know I should be saying "the language in which we think" but it's just too damn awkward. Live with it.) I'm not truly bilingual of course, but, even so, I used to surprise myself by thinking in Hebrew once in a while. That happened the year I spent in Israel after high school. Nowadays, I think in posts.

Fellow bloggers understand. As I experience my life, blog posts are writing themselves in my brain. An already enjoyable moment takes on an exciting new meaning if it evolves into a viable post. Even mundane tasks become less tedious as I tap away at my internal keyboard and amuse myself with the wit of my words.

Some of these posts never make it to this blog. They may be too brilliant; I am, after all, a modest soul. They may be too dull; no amount of editing manages to breathe life into those. They may be too personal; the downside of foregoing anonymity. They may even be inappropriate for a public forum such as this, however entertaining they might be. The fact is, it matters not whether the post ever gets published. The fun of composing my mind's blog is in itself…exhilarating.

Oh, the anxiety!

My internet access has become somewhat erratic. My neighbor with the 24/7 router that allowed unrestricted access moved in with his girlfriend and had the nerve to take his gear with him. These nights, it is with trepidation that I flip open my laptop and watch the little bars in the corner to see if they will fill with green or - horrors!- remain empty, barren. Just last night, I was greeted with the message "No Wireless Network Detected in Range". How callous! How cruel! Don't they realize how much the internet needs me?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Genetic fingerprints

My mom (Hi, mom! I love you!) will always say with a shake of her head and a world-weary sigh, "You drive just like your father." And really, I owe a debt of gratitude to my Dad because I don't think I'd have had the patience to live with myself had I inherited my mother's driving habits. Although, I like to think of myself as having reached a happy medium between two extremes.

Sari's got my huge smile, abundance of hair, and love of the spotlight. Mordechai has that inquisitive nature, brilliant mind, and sweet tooth. Ada? Well, I was a really fat baby, too. But as far as I can tell, I've passed on my driving genes to all my progeny.

A sampling for the purpose of illustration:
  • When the light turns green, my kids shout "Go!" even before the first honk rings out (and I live in New York!).
  • Sari had a suggestion for me as we were creeping along the entrance ramp to the BQE today. (tangent alert: We were on our way to the ENT. Ada's getting tubes next month. What a shocker. Not.) "We need to go a different way." Not immediately grasping her meaning, I asked why. Her reply - "There's too much traffic."
  • While waiting (patiently, I might add) behind another car in a left-hand turn lane as oncoming traffic whizzes by us, Mordechai grows impatient. "Beep him already!" Ah, my adorable little booster-seat driver.
  • Ada doesn't add much in the way of suggestions but, whenever she cries, you can be sure she's somehow dissatisfied with my handling of the reins.
You get the picture.

Educated by his Savta

The story begins right before bedtime when Mordechai asked if he could keep a piece of gauze he found. Sure. Why not? Knowing his vivid imaginative skills, I didn't even think to ask what a 5-year-old boy could possibly want with a strip of gauze. A short while later, I come into the kids' room and Mordechai is sitting up in his bed. "The polish on my toenails is drying," he announces and points to his foot. The gauze is expertly wound 'round his toes in perfect imitation of a freshly pedicured foot! (My boy has his future cut out for him. Lord! A Jewish mother's nightmare! If you won't be a rabbi can you at least go to medical school?)

I imagine my mom convulsing in horror at this story but, Internet, let it be known that this is her fault. Mordechai explained that all he ever learned about pedicures was on a trip with his Savta for her weekly Friday manicure.