Sunday, October 30, 2005

Subway nightmare?

Ha! No kidding. Take it from someone who barely survived it - with two children, a baby, and a husband! What was supposed to be a ride with one simple cross-the-platform transfer turned into a mess of three trains and a shuttle with staircases galore. Every time I ride the subway, I'm reminded of how inaccessible the system is to wheelchairs (and strollers, for that matter). It is impossible for a handicapped person in a wheelchair to ride the NYC subway system. There's no way around it. It's shameful, in my opinion. But, I digress. Sunday's chol hamo'ed train trip was not in vain as the whole family enjoyed the Children's Museum of Manhattan tremendously. Definitely worth a trip - by car.

Sari to Rivky:

(looking at a wedding picture of Rivky and her three youngest sisters around her) “Are them your grandchildren?”

Sari can help

I was coughing as I have been wont to do these past several weeks or so. Sari turns to me and asks, "Are you need me to burp you?" What? Then by way of clarification: "You know, like when I cough and Namie burps me." She proceeds to demonstrate by whacking Ada on the back two or three times. Oh. I see.


Mordechai: You know, Mommy, some buildings are higher than ours. Like they can have 13 floors!
Me: that's true.
I hope only goyish people live there.
Oh? (wondering what's so bad about tall buildings)
Yeah, because on Shabbos it would be hard to go up so many stairs. (pauses, thinking) Probably those buildings are not for living anyway, just for offices.

A word of explanation

You may be wondering why I haven't posted in so long and am suddenly posting by the ton. The answer is that, sadly, I seem to no longer have internet access from my home. I have continued to write on my beloved laptop (yes, I do still love it even though my comma key is broken. Nobody's perfect.). I am now posting from Mom's computer all the stuff that has been written over the past couple of weeks. Sorry for the overload. Feel free to read only a bit in one sitting. Anyone interested in sponsoring internet access in my home can contact me. Smaller donations also welcomed.

That's a good question (and we all know what that means!)

Dad dug up some world maps for the kids after some badgering from - guess who - Mordechai. One of them is currently hanging on our kitchen wall at kid height to allow for regular study. Mordechai gets a real kick out of learning this kind of stuff. Lately he has taken to comparing his map with the one on the wall and trying to find the same country on each one. At first he assumed they were the same which led me to point out out the differences. I don't think he was getting the whole idea of projections and stuff, but, I guess there's no harm in hearing about it. He has some really good questions, too. Dovid apparently branded some countries as bad places. Mordechai pointed out Algeria and Libya as two of the "bad countries". I explained that they're not all bad but the people who live there are Arabs and they usually don't like Jews.
Why not?
Well, they don't like that Jews live in Israel and want them to leave. That's why there's a lot of fighting sometimes.
Where else do Arabs live?
I showed him Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Iraq, and Iran. I'm sure I missed some in my list but he got the picture. Then came,
Why do the Arabs want Israel so much if it's so tiny and they have so many big countries already?

Next topic, G-d. Why didn't Hashem just make us goyim so we could have a lot of countries?
Well, Hashem made us special because he gave us the Torah. He did that so he could give us a lot of good stuff. Hashem said if you do the mitzvos, then good will come to you and you will go to Gan Eden.
How do you get there?
When a person dies, his neshama goes up to shamayim and if he has a lot of mitzvos, he gets to go to Gan Eden. Imagine your favorite things. Gan Eden is a hundred times better than that. You could eat all the nosh you want and you won't get a stomachache.
(wide-eyed) And you let?
You let me eat all the nosh?
You bet. And there's hundreds of rides and moonwalks to go on and you never have to go to sleep and you don't even get tired and there's tons of toys and books and people to explain interesting stuff and answer all your questions.
How does my neshama eat anything in Gan Eden if my body is buried in the cemetery?
It's all very magical, so it's hard for us to understand.
How does my neshama get there? It can't drive or walk without a body.
It kind of flies.
What does it look like?
It's an invisible part of you but it's really there.
Oh like - what's it called when the water turns into air but it's still there?
Yeah, that! Is it like that?
(thinking what a great analogy that is) yes!
Where is my neshama? In my heart?
Sort of.
How does my neshama know where to go when I die?
It knows because it's going home. That's where your neshama was before you were born. When you were born it came into your body and when you die it goes back home.
Like it's going to school?
Yes - and your neshama takes a knapsack to fill up with as many mitzvos as it can while he's at school. The more mitzvos he gets the better spot he gets in Gan Eden. The mitzvos are like his tickets to get in.
What was here before Hashem?
(eyes darting searching for escape route) Um…. Hashem was always here, even before the whole world.
Yes, but what about before Hashem was here?
It's hard to know exactly and it's very hard to understand.
Was I born in Manhattan?
(with relief) Yes….

Whew. Sometimes his questions really drain me. That conversation was totally exhausting. I hope I'm giving him the "right" answers. I worry that he takes things to seriously and feels too much pressure to do things "right". I realize this is all pretty heavy stuff for a kid his age, but what am I supposed to say when he asks? I pray I'm doing okay.

Ada update

Still doing the tushie-bop scoot thing. Two lower incisors are in. Loves to find articles of clothing around the house and "dress" herself by putting them over her head and hanging them around her neck and shoulders. Gets a big kick out of reading books and pointing to random spots on the page. Likes to get involved with whatever her older siblings are doing: If they're running back and forth and laughing, she'll do the same (scooting, of course). If they're playing Connect Four, she joins right in, putting the chips in the slots. If they're playing a board game, she grabs some cards and, um, sits in middle of the board. That's usually when the abuse starts. She has unfortunately learned to hit when she gets mad. Heh, you thought she was too young? No, sirree. She doesn't talk or walk yet. Fortunately, she's as beautiful and cuddly as ever and does that incredibly charming trick of burying her head in your chest and peeking up at you through her eyelashes. I fall for that one every time.


Passing a cemetery while driving on Ocean Parkway, Sari calls out gleefully from her carseat, "Them dead!" (ba-dum-bum)

Mordechai's flag from school was really quite nice, Tissue paper glued between two sheets of plastic created a colorful stained-glass effect. Bright red yarn was threaded through holes punched around the edges. Mordechai melted my heart when he told me, "I was happy I got red because I know that's your favorite color!"

Sari was quite taken by Mordechai's flag and asked if she could keep it. I told her maybe next year she'd make her own flag in school. Genuine concern could be heard in her voice as she replied, "But I don't know how to sew."

To further demonstrate Mordechai's heart of gold: As my mom served a delicious Yom Tov meal, a serving plate came out with a particular favorite of mine. Mordechai was quick to point out, with whole-hearted happiness for my good fortune, "Oh, Mommy! You like that."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Not so happy Columbus Day

I woke up with the sorest throat I can remember having in a very long time. Plus my neck and shoulders are stiff and achy. My head is pounding. Ada was vomiting. Ditto for Sari. I measured Ada as having a temperature of 101.1 degrees. Dovid just called that he has a massive stomach ache. My TMJ has been so bad that I actually wake up during the night because the teeth grinding is so loud. I have to do two carpools today. But on the bright side, I have a day off today. Somehow I'm not finding such tremendous joy in that.

In any case, thanks for listening to me whine.

Update: We have strep. All of us. That is, except for Dovid who's considering moving out for the night ;). Well, I feel much better now. Not physically but emotionally. There's nothing like having your illness validated by a positive throat culture. None of that "it's just a virus" garbage. I am sick and I've got the culture plate to prove it!

Things that annoy me

  • The dust at the bottom of the bag of Cheerios. In this age of technology you'd think they'd have figured out by now how to keep that out of my bowl .
  • The way that people tell me when they meet me how much they enjoy reading my blog and have many comments about various posts but yet THEY NEVER POST THEIR COMMENTS ONLINE! (Sorry. That one really gets to me sometimes.)
  • The fact that my comma key (right between the "m" and the period) is not functioning well and, when I reread some of my writing, I find, to my utter horror, missing commas where I know I must have typed them. What could be more annoying than missing commas, especially when two are required to offset a clause and one is missing? The answer to that should be obvious to you all. Nothing. Nothing could be more annoying. Except maybe...
  • Realizing that it is 1:16 AM and you had planned to go to sleep early but you couldn't bring yourself to close the darn laptop before you vented to the Internet about things that annoy you.

According to Mordechai

This is how it works: There are three books. One is for mal'achim (angels) and they for sure get a sweet new year. One is for resha'im (wicked people) and they don't get a sweet new year. And most of us are in the middle book. We sometimes do mitzvos and sometimes do aveiros. If we daven and do teshuva we'll get to the book for a sweet new year. If not, chas v'shalom, we go to the book for not a sweet new year. But children don't have to worry so much 'cause this is mostly for grown-ups.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Ada just celebrated her first birthday on Rosh Hashana morning. Seems like ages ago when she was born last year - trip with Hatzola to LIJ, no time for "pain relief" (again!), spending three days (Rosh Hashana and Shabbat) in the hospital with Ada (who was named that Shabbat after I had left Dovid with the final name decision. I kept looking at my baby wondering why I was the only person in Yeshiva who didn't know her name! What was I thinking? Or was I not thinking at all?), lovely roommates (one's husband blew the shofar for us both days), Mordechai and Dovid picking us up after Shabbat and bringing me home to a spotless apartment and a sleepy Sari courtesy of my awesome neighbors (that would be Nachum and Penina, of course), my mom being there for me with all the newborn stuff that was needed. One year later, Ada's as beautiful as ever and is such a joy to our family. She has even been pulling some all-nighters (sleeping, that is) in the past few weeks. In celebration, I thought it was about time I shared some footage of the famous "Ada Method of Ambulation". When you hear someone say "do the Ada", this is what they're referring to: (click on the image)

The next clip was shot in the early morning hours. She's doing what she does best, namely, sitting and lookin' pretty!

Where are thumbkin?

Sari's doing really well in preschool, thank G-d. She told me she made a lulav today and she's "gonna shake it in front and in back and this side and this side and up and down." So cute. But even cuter: What comes after Rosh HaShana? Ask Sari. She'll tell you, "Yom Klipper". (I believe she got confused because in honor of the day they made a pair of slippers.) Check out this sampling of a song learned at school: