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Sukkos 017Tick, tick, tick. 

Erev anything is a minefield around here; everybody eventually explodes. 

I have no idea why... I really, REALLY don't. 

I prepare as much as possible ahead of time.  I work hard to stay calm and be nice and start the day on the right foot:  a good breakfast, making bourekas or other lunches.

Me to YM:  “We need folding chairs from Bubby’s house, and we desperately eggs.”  (we were out of eggs to make kneidlach, blintzes and a banana cake, despite buying over 2 dozen in the last couple of days and feeling happy in the grocery store that at least it wasn’t Pesach so we wouldn’t be going through so many eggs… sigh)

YM:  “I can’t go now, it’s raining.”

Me:  “Yes.  I recommend a jacket.  And shoes.”  (okay, I guess a bit less sarcasm might help – but sometimes humour feels like the only way to deal with stuff!)

YM:  no answer… vanishes from the room…

A while later.

Me to EC, who’s wandered in from somewhere:  “Where’s boy?”

EC:  “Downstairs, in his room.”

Me:  “Do you feel like going to Bubby’s house to pick up folding chairs and the eggs we desperately need?”  (yes, I really do talk like that)

EC:  “Sure.”

Me:  “Okay.  There’s an egg-taker in the drawer downstairs and a dolly in the garage.”

EC:  vanishes…

A while later.

YM wanders in.

Me:  “Where were you?”

YM:  “Downstairs in my room waiting for the rain to slow down a bit before I go to Bubby’s house.”

Me:  “No need.  Elisheva went.”

YM:  “What?!?  You let her go?!?”

YM:  Angry.  Shout some more. 

Me:  Send him outside for 10 minutes, which is our rule for shouting during the little kids’ naptime.

YM:  kick, kick towards steppy-stool with baking pan, doubtless to make a nice loud clattering noise of protest.  But he misses the steppy-stool and kicks… MY FOOT.

Me:  “Ow!  That HURT!”  (it really did!  a lot!  he kicked hard!)

Me:  “Get out!  You are not staying here, do not come back here tonight!  Get out!”

YM:  leaves out the front door… gone… well, probably to the library.

How do people accomplish a peaceful erev Yom Tov???  While asking their children for help along the way, I mean…

It’s not like they are slaves.  Both kids had 2 hours at the library this morning playing on the computers.  Both kids had a relatively long time to sleep in this morning.  And what are they asked to do erev Shabbos/Yom Tov?

Let’s see…

  • ~ 5 in (5 minutes of tidying the house, which Ted thinks is ridiculously little for teenagers)
  • ~ 5 out (5 minutes helping outside; ditto)
  • ~ childcare task
  • ~ food task
  • ~ dvar Torah
  • ~ call the eruv (YM)
  • ~ clean the upstairs bathroom (EC)
  • ~ take a bath/shower (does that even count as a task???)
  • ~ lights and timers (YM) – just added this one because I hate doing it at the last second!

To me, this list seems positively anemic compared with the amount of work that actually needs to be done around the house to get ready for 2 days of Yom Tov.  I mean, what does 5 minutes of tidying accomplish? 

In that time, they can tidy a few toys, clean off the sofa and coffee table, clear the dining room table, clear off the downstairs steps… we’re not talking about Cinderella-type scrubbing the house top to bottom here.

Not that it couldn’t use it.  Sigh.

And now he’s gone, and he’s gotten out of all his tasks, not just the one he was shirking by lying on his bed to avoid getting wet in the rain.

Sometimes I feel so useless as a parent; so ineffectual.

Good Yom Tov, one and all!


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