Monday, November 05, 2018

Carless whispers: Leaving the family car, and the Mom on Wheels, behind

image

It's been five years since we gave up the family car.
Sometimes I don't think about that huge change, because it came at a time of so many other huge changes in our lives.  But I realized today it was worth stopping for a moment and reflect back on what that's meant and how we are with it.

For about 15 years, I was a Mom on Wheels.  I had the big family car and drove it almost everywhere.  And it was a huge part of my identity even if I didn't like to admit it.

I didn't start out that way... although to be honest, who does?
And incongruously enough, I always thought of myself as more of a public transportation person.  I guess that's cognitive dissonance for you.  I took public transportation everywhere -- except when I drove the car, which much of the time was ALWAYS.

And the shameful truth is, I quickly came to love being behind the wheel.  How could you not?  You're in charge.  You set the schedule -- although traffic sometimes has something to say about it, too.

Having a car beats taking a bus in so many ways when you have kids:

  • Your kid can be hungry / tired / screaming / soaking / naked / vomiting, and you just whomp them into the car and nobody has to know (why, yes, I have experienced all of these!)

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Why I keep 2 days of Rosh Hashanah, even in Israel (a dvar Torah)

image

One of the main differences between Rosh Hashanah and other Yamim Tovim is that we keep 2 days, even in eretz Yisrael. And I think many of us realize this is connected to another difference between Rosh Hashanah and other Yamim Tovim, which is the problem with the bracha shehechiyanu on the second day.

On the second day of most chagim, when we lived outside of Israel, we made the bracha shehechiyanu at night on the second day without a problem, because each day is considered a separate Yom Tov.

But on Rosh Hashanah, we’re told to wear a new piece of clothing or have in mind a new kind of fruit when we make the bracha (though you should still do it even if you don’t have something new). The reason for this is that Rosh Hashanah is considered

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A little one, a wallet

image

Spotted this lying on the table last night. Recognize it?

Right—it’s a wallet. Specifically, it’s a kid’s wallet, my kid’s. My baby’s wallet, property of my 10-year-old baby boy. Which is hilarious, if you think about it.

When YM was just a newborn, he had some little prescription we needed to fill, and my husband couldn’t stop staring at the piece of paper with his name on it.

“He has his own prescription,” my husband said, in awe and wonder.

Two weeks before, he hadn’t existed, hadn’t even been a “he,” as far as we were concerned. And now he had his own documents, a health card, a doctor, an identity. He was a person.

But of course, for the first little while, it’s just a joke. You joke about his brand-new ID, or the well-meaning friend who made out a baby-gift cheque in the baby’s name, or some letter he gets in the mail from the government.

Later, you laugh about his library card, his swimming lesson registration, , his college savings account, his nursery “school.” Because none of it’s real. Everybody goes along with your little joke: pretending this tiny, squirmy, drooling blob-thing is a person.

People even bought him pants, and I was like, “He’s going to wear pants?”

image

We all do this, don’t we?

Your baby gets a gift of money for Baby’s First Chanukah and you’re like

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Picture Book Unboxing! Fast Asleep in a Little Village in Israel

image

It’s finally here!!!  These are my advance author copies.  The actual book is being released exactly two years from when I submitted it to Apples & Honey Press, which is almost lightning speed in the children’s-book industry.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely a video is worth a couple million pictures.  Here you go!


But just in case you’re the type who prefers pictures…

Here are NR & GZ, hamming it up and pulling out the first copies…

image

This is where I told GZ, “Feign an expression of delight!”

image

I think he literally has no idea what human emotions are or how they work.

Now… displaying

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

The annual summer-schooling post: 5778 edition!

image

Well, we're back in the homeschooling saddle, if only for a few days before I'm heading off on a crazy-stupid two-day gallivant across Europe.

The entire month before summer vacation, every Israeli parents' WhatsApp group is on fire with camp registrations and plans to ensure that our beloved sweeties don't have to go more than ten minutes without a “misgeret,” or framework. 

It's mostly for the parents' benefit, so they don’t have to miss work, which I get, but I also believe kids need a break.  I mean, school let out last Friday, and on Sunday morning, most of my kids' friends were off to the various "day camps" run by the schools.

That one Shabbos can't have felt like much of a vacation.

I was wondering how it would go with summerschooling this year, because NR is getting older and GZ is the same amount of stubborn as always, or perhaps more so with age. 

But if these last 3 days are any indication, it's actually going better than in previous years.  This is our fifth summer in Israel, meaning they're well-versed in the routine and I guess things feel comfortable and summertime-normal with our learning schedule.

But it's more than that.  When we were finished school stuff for the day, NR was dancing around the kitchen waving her arms around like a victory dance, feeling absolutely great.  I think at that age, there are probably so many conflicting impulses running around in her mind that to fall into these familiar childhood patterns for a couple of hours, sitting with me to do math, or working in a workbook with GZ, must be very grounding.  Or something.  Whatever the case, I'm 100% sure she was happier than if she'd sat around moping in bed reading all day.

(I know because

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Who's YOUR tribe? Finding yourself in a crowd

image

Have you ever had the feeling that you completely belong someplace?

Before we left Toronto, I got to go to the Torah homeschooling conference twice.  And the biggest thing I felt, both times I walked through the door of the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore for the conference, was "Here I am."  Not JUST me, but people like me.  My tribe.

"Finding your tribe" is a popular expression that goes back maybe about a decade.  I have no clue where it comes from, or who coined it, and if you know more than I do, I'd be happy to find out.  Google isn't showing me any references before 2012, but that's because Google, like most of us, is entirely now-oriented.

Finding your tribe is a primal thing, locating the people you click with and clicking.  It's about what Kurt Vonnegut called