Friday, December 29, 2006

The Dreaded Carpool Talk

This morning I was innocently driving my 7-year-old daughter, Chana, to school. Here's what transpired:

Chana: Where are babies kept when a mom is pregnant?

Me: ???

Chana: What part of the stomach?

Me: It's called a womb. Or a uterus. It's a part that women have that men don't.*

Chana: Oh.

Me: (whew!)

Chana: Are there any parts that men have that women don't?

Me: (!!!) Um, er, well, pretty much just the parts you already know about.

Chana: What do you mean?

Me: Have you been talking to Iguana?

Chana: What?

Me: Here we are at school! Have a great day! See you later! Love you!

*completely extraneous, possibly obvious, information that I should have not mentioned.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Dreaded Dinner Talk

Around the dinner table, a few days after our last talk...

Iguana (10): So today, we had a nurse come in and tell us what has to happen to have a baby.

Abba (40): >choke< >gag< >cough<

Iguana: So she told us that we have a womb, and our wombs are growing now. And then pretty soon we're going to start get our periods.

Abba: >clears throat<

Iguana: Are you OK?

Abba: ...yeah...

The PT (5): What's a woom?

Iguana: So what I want to know is, like, how am I going to know when I need to put one of those pads on?

The PT: Is that like, a bedwoom? You

Abba: Well, I think that's a great question for your mother.

Iguana: Yeah, but you're here, and she's like way over there. (Gestures at Mrs. B minding her own business by the sink).

Abba: (Tries to get Mrs. B's attention)

Mrs. B: (Totally ignores Abba but seems to be smirking)

Abba: Yes, well most women have some kind of...stuff...that they can tell their period is coming.

Iguana: She also said that we wouldn't start having children until after we were married.

Abba: Good.

The PT: Hahaha I said BEDWOOM!!

Iguana: But what I want to know is, how does your body know that you're married?

Abba: Huh?

Iguana: I mean, what, you have the ceremony and suddenly your body knows you're married and you have a baby?

Abba: Sounds like maybe they didn't fill you in on all the details.

Mrs. B: (smiles and shakes head)

The PT: Hey, Iguana, let's go up to our bedwoom!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We have the technology

Mrs. R. took the girls to Disney on Ice (which is not, as I believed, a display of Walt's cryogenically frozen brain), where upon admission they received wristbands that light up when you press a button. Rivka, 5, needed to call me on the cell immediately.

Rivka (After explaining the wristbands at length): So, can you make them into walkie-talkies, so we can talk to each other on them?

Me: Um, I don't think I can do that, but you can use your imagination.

Rivka: But you have computers.


From the morning of December 25th, while making breakfast:

Oldest Son (one week shy of 6 years old): How come I don't have school today? [Oldest Son goes to a Jewish school]

Me: Because it's winter break.

Oldest Son: Is that why Abba's home too? Because it's winter break?

Me: No, Abba's home because he doesn't have to work today.

Oldest Son: Why not?

Me: Because today's a holiday.

Oldest Son: Then how come we're not in shul?

Me (concentrating on pouring pancake batter): Because it's not our holiday. Today is Christmas, which is a very important holiday for Christians.

Oldest Son: Oh, so today's a day when they go sing prayers in church?

Me: Many do, yes.

Oldest Son: And Abba doesn't have to work because it's Christmas?

Me: Yes.

Abba: My work is closed today. Lots of places are closed today for Christmas.

Oldest Son: Like my school is closed on Christmas?

Me (trying to phrase the distinction in simpler terms): Umm... it's closed for winter break, which includes Christmas.

Oldest Son: Oh. Well, if everything is closed for Christmas, does that mean people will think we're having Christmas, too, since Abba doesn't have to go to work and I don't have to go to school?

Me: I don't think people will think that.

Oldest Son: I know! I'll go put my kippah [yarmulke] on and then everyone will know I'm Jewish and I don't have school because it's winter break, not because it's Christmas. Abba, you should put your kippah on, too, so people know you're not having Christmas while you're not at work.

Abba: I'll get right on that.

Oldest Son: Quick, Abba! Before someone sees you!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Class dismissed

Chana (7): How much money do we have, at home and in the bank?

Me: Why?

Chana: I'm just curious. Do we have a thousand dollars?

Rivka (5): We have as much money as we need. We're middle class.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Dreaded Talk

Discussion while sorting laundry...

Iguana (age 10): Abba, why don't boys have to wear swimming suits?

Abba (age 40): Boys do have to wear swimming suits.

Iguana: Na-uh, they wear swimming pants. Why don't they have to wear whole suits like girls?

Abba: Oh. Um.

Iguana: ?

Abba: Be...cause....girls have to....

Iguana: ?

Abba: Cover up...their....

Iguana: ??

Abba: ...cover

Iguana: Oh. Well my [DELETED]

Abba: I see. Well, that's something I didn't need to hear.

Iguana: Mommy says that when your [DELETED] it means you're going through puberty.

Abba: She did, did she?

Iguana: What's puberty?

Abba: Yah. Puberty is start changing from a kid...into more like a grown-up.

Iguana: Oh, so you suddenly start talking about politics all the time?

Abba: Riiiight.

A little too real

(Sometimes I wonder if other people will find Sweetie's words as funny as I do. This time I'm not wondering.)

<Sweetie (7) was talking about wanting to pull my emergency brake>

- Do you remember there's an invisible wall between us? You don't mess with stuff while I'm driving.
- Oh, right... Ow!
- What?
- I got hurt.
- How did you get hurt?
- On the invisible wall.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What rhymes with Ninja?

I dressed up my 5 year old for the cold Milwaukee air with a coat, scarf, mittens, and the kind of ski cap that has a hole cut out for as much of your face as you are willing to part with. As I pulled it down over her head and tucked it into the coat she said - "Hey what do I look like? A Binja?"

Popular prophets

I took Chana, 7, to see "Happy Feet" last week. One of the previews was for "Evan Almighty," and it started with a list of prophets: "Abraham. Noah. Bruce." ("Bruce" is a reference to the previous movie in this series, "Bruce Almighty.")

Chana turns to me and asks, in a whisper, "How do they know about Abraham?"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another Reason Not to Watch Football with the Kids...

Iguana: What did Terell Owens do?

Mrs. Balabusta: He gave the crowd the finger.

Iguana: ??

PT: He flipped the bird at them.

Iguana: ???

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fickle taste


Sweetie(7): That looks 'asgusting.
Me: Then you don't have to eat any.
Sweetie: Well, I could try it...
Me: <give her a bite>
Sweetie: I don't like it.
Me: <shrug>
Sweetie: Hey, can't I have some of that?
Me: I thought you didn't like it?
Sweetie: Well, I can try one more...
Me: <give her another bite>
Sweetie: I want more of that!

While eating burritos for dinner:

Beloved: This isn't spicy at all.
Sweetie: No, mine isn't spicy either.
Me: Well, it's too spicy for me.
Sweetie: This is too spicy! I don't like it. <starts fussing and complaining>
Me: <puts ranch dressing on hers, like mine> There, now it won't be so spicy.
Sweetie: It tastes nasty! I don't want it!
Me: You're not getting anything else.
Beloved: Was that a good dinner?
Sweetie: <rubs tummy> A'licious!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Clean-Up Time

We were expecting an important guest that was interviewing us for a position. I was kind of stressing out about getting the place in order. (I actually considered using my neighbor's apartment which is always immaculate, but decided it would be tough to explain the large number of pictures of a different couple around the entire apartment.) Mordechai(6) came up with a plan:

"Don't worry. We'll just make the closets messier and the room will be neater!"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Under control ;)

I was in my bedroom tidying up while the kids were playing in the living room. Ada (2) waddled into the room and announced to me, "Muchai bozzing Sayi." (translated from kidspeak: Mordechai is bothering Sari).

Me (concentrating on the pile of socks that seemed to have not a single pair): Mmhmm.

Ada (with added emphasis to convey a strong sense of urgency): Mommy, Muchai bozzing Sayi!

Me (shaking my head over the socks): *sigh*

Ada (giving up): I go tell Muchai.

With that, she bustled off importantly. And I was left to deal with my socks with the knowledge that Ada had everything in hand. Such a help, that little one ;).

cross-posted at May Cuties.


Overheard at dinner Friday night...

Chana (7): Where's the wishbone?

Rivka (5): Chana, the wishbone is just a lie they tell us.

Chana: Nuh-uh. If you get the bigger part, it comes true.

Rivka: Well, on my first Thanksgiving, I made a wish, and still... NOTHING!

(She raised her fist to punctuate the "NOTHING!")

(Also worth noting - on her first Thanksgiving she was six months old.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Age calculations

My uncle Menachem is visiting from Israel. Menachem is something of a clown and drives everyone crazy sometimes. We were at my mom's house today and so got to see them.

Menachem to Mordechai: How old are you now?

Mordechai: Six.

Menachem: How long did it take you to become six?

Mordechai: Two years.

Menachem: Two years? How do you figure that?

Mordechai: Well, the last time you were here I was four!

(How he remebered that Menachem was here about two years ago is beoyond me.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Snowman in the Laundry Basket

Being Jewish (and young), my boys know very little about Christmas celebrations, secular or otherwise. Particularly, they know next to nothing about Santa, which is just fine with me. In fact, I knew that I was on the right track when a well-meaning woman at the grocery store asked Oldest Son (age 5), "What do you want Santa to bring you this year?"

Oldest Son: Santa?

Woman: Yes, what's Santa going to bring you for Christmas?

Oldest Son: Oh, we don't celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Chanukah. And guess what? We get to light candles and sing songs and tell stories and read books and play dreidel. I love to play dreidel! I can spin it all by myself! I can't wait for Chanukah!

Woman: Oh. Well, Mery Christmas.

I didn't even care about her Christmas wish after hearing all about our Chanukah celebrations. What I loved was how excited he was and how he never mentioned presents (which we do very little of, admittedly).

This was all reinforced days later when Oldest Son saw a huge inflatable yard decoration of Santa's legs and feet sticking out of a chimney. Now, both of my boys refer to Santa as a snowman (man in the snow - makes sense), and I haven't bothered to correct them.

Oldest Son: Look! A red snowman is upside down in a laundry basket. That's silly! [laughs] Hey Eema (Hebrew for "Mom"), are we gonna get to play dreidel again this year?

Me: Absolutely!

Monday, November 27, 2006


For a few months, Sweetie (7) has been wanting to learn how to do a cartwheel. She tries, but it ain't happenin'. Today she told me:

"Somebody taught me how do a cartwheel. But then somebody taught me un how do it, backwards."


Monday, November 20, 2006



The PT: Abba.

Abba: ...

The PT: Abba.

Abba: What.

The PT: Abba, are you in the baffroom?

Abba: Yes. Go away.

The PT: Abba. What are you doing in there.

Abba: I'm busy. Go away.

The PT: Abba.

Abba: WHAT??

The PT: Er, what kind of sticker do you want.

Abba: I don't want a sticker. Go away.

The PT: You have to pick one. Which one do you want?

Abba: Can we discuss this in a little while?

The PT: Abba. I'm sliding the stickers under the door. Here they are. Do you see them? Which one do you want?

Abba: I really don't need a sticker right now.


Abba: Uh...I'll take the Menorah one.

The PT: OK. So peel it off and put it on your shirt.

Abba: Uh....OK. NOW GO AWAY.

The PT: Abba.




The PT: You sure are taking a long time in there.

KJ's First Hero (Prot)

For some odd reason KJ, three almost four years old, wanted to watch K-Pax and I told him, that's not a cartoon, you probably won't like it. He was determined to watch it so I put it in and he watched the whole thing almost. Now when we go places, he wants to wear his sunglasses, "like K-pax" he says. Even in the dark, he'll be sitting in the back seat wearing his sunglasses. His first hero isn't Spiderman or Superman, it's Prot from K-Pax. Go figure.

First Haircut

Oh boy.

My sister-in-law was watching my niece and nephew last week, when she got tired and fell asleep. (Everybody say "Uh-oh...") Ben (4) and Hen (2) decided this was a great time to play. So what did they play?
Now, let's give a little background. Henna Bayla's hair just started growing in. As SIL put it, they loved the way it looked when she'd wake up - like one of those little troll dolls. It was finally long enough to make little ponytails and the like, and she looked really cute, even if her hair was a little nutty-looking.

So, when Ben decided to take a pair of arts and crafts scissors to his little sister's hair, the outcome was... actually, not too bad. He cut it short - really short, about as short as his. They saved all the hair on the side, and SIL's sister evened it out a drop that night and it actually looks pretty nice and perfectly normal. She just has short hair now.

Thankfully, nothing bad happened in this escapade, and they have a wonderful memento for the future:
Henna Bayla's first haircut
by Binyamin 11/14/06

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sharing dreams

Sweetie (7) shares upon getting up in the morning:

- I hadda dream 'bout snow!
- Cool! I'd like to have a dream about snow. Can you give me your dream?
- Sure, you can have it.
- How are you gonna give it to me?
- <ponders> You can just look at this bottle.
- <looks intently at bottle> I don't think it's working.

(Of course, if she were PT's daughter, she'd already know about mind melds and all that.)

A public reading

Cross-posted at May Cuties.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In a word

Ada (2) was playing with a baby doll in a play stroller. Suddenly, she leaned over the baby, sniffed, and said, "Eeeew!" She whisked the doll out of the stroller, marched her over to the bed, and proceeded to "wipe" the doll's bottom, all the while muttering, "Eeew. Uch. Ichy." (Of course, she peeked up at me with a mischievous smile playing at her lips to make sure I was enjoying her show :))

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookie

We had a couple of friends for Shabbos this week, and one told this great story...

She works in a special-ed school near the UN with young kids. They often walk to a park nearby to play, and on the way, they pass the UN buildings. There are usually protests of some sort taking place, and one of her students was asking her all about it - what do the signs say, etc. The student - I want to say he was about 5? - asked who the protesters were, and she noticed that one of the signs said Taiwan, so she answered him, "They're from Taiwan." He looked up at her and said, "Wow Ms. -----, you are one smart chocolate chip cookie!!"

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another Reason Not to Watch the News with the Kids...

A Washington bus driver was fired for "flipping the bird" at Bush.

Iguana (age 10): What happened??

PT (age 40): They fired this bus driver for...uh...being rude to the President.

Iguana: Huh? What did she do?

PT: know...she made a rude gesture...

Iguana: She threw a bird at him? That makes NO sense.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Crunch Crunch

My niece Henna Baila (2) receives speech therapy. As part of the speech therapy, they teach her to eat certain ways or methods so she learns how to use her jaw properly. (Or something like that.) Apparently, the different techniques have been working quite well, and Henna Baila is enjoying them. [Interestingly, this has helped with Ben (4) as well.]

Anyways... when SIL was giving her some good, soft chulent this past Shabbos, she didn't realize that Henna Baila still had some in her mouth. Henna Baila cried out, "Nooo! I'm not done with 'Crunch Crunch!'"

Monday, October 30, 2006

The taste of blood

<Sweetie (7) was playing with Daddy's blood sugar meter. We let her prick herself in hopes that she'll be less scared of needles at the doctor.>

- Ooh, I licked the blood!
- Ohh-kay. Does it taste good?
- Yeah. If you take a drink it'll taste even better!
- Hmmm, does that mean it doesn't taste so good, really?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

When South Park visits Sesame Street

So tell me, do we encourage our kids to try to count their numbers, even if what they are counting is absolutely disgusting?

I am not one for potty humor, but if I was in the public restroom overhearing the conversation of my son, I would be laughing very hard.

A few years ago, my girlfriend taught my daughter, who was 4 years old back then, the terms "number one" and "number two", but she didn't quite grasp the concept and thought it was literal. Whenever she would go to the bathroom, she would always give me a report on the "number" when she was finished.

Somehow, this misinformation was passed down to my 4 year old son and whenever we take him to the bathroom, especially, of course, in a public restroom, he will start to count, and count, and count (he has a great digestive system.)

I played along with him because, unlike his sister at his age, my son's counting skills are still quite immature, so what a great opportunity for him to practice and listen to him count.

I just can imagine the expressions on the other women in the restrooms - probably everything from giggling to annoyance to have to hear this little voice counting his poop.

Oh the joys of childhood and the rewards of parenthood! : )

In the Eyes of a Boy

My four year old, after blowing his nose.

"Look mom, my snot looks like a slug!"

(Mom - rolling her eyes in disgust - oh yuck - THANKS SO MUCH for sharing!)

Even Dinosaurs Kept Kosher

Last night I was reading to my children, ages 4 and 7, a book on dinosaurs. When describing one dinosaur it said it was an herbivore. I asked my oldest if she new what that meant and she said no. So I asked her if she knew what a carnivore was.

"It's a meat-eater."

"Ok then, what do you think an herbivore is?"

"A milk-eater."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Psychotoddler Definitions:

Plastic Surgeon: One who operates on action figures.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sponge Bob

For some reason KJ (3.5 y/o) likes Sponge Bob. He's never seen the cartoon but he says things like, "Would Sponge Bob like it?" or "Is he like Sponge Bob?" The other day he got off the bus wearing a Sponge Bob jacket. I asked him, "Where did you get that jacket?" He said, "It's mine." The teacher aboard the bus said, "He told us that was his." KJ said, "BYE." wanting her to hurry and leave. Silly boy. I snuck it back to the teacher in a black plastic bag the next day. What is the deal with Sponge Bob that children like him?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Rosh hashana according to Mordechai

From last year's playbook when Mordechai was five:

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.

Naming rights

Mordechai (6): I'm going to name my first kid Avi 'cuz that's Sabba's name. And if it's a girl, I'll name her Elisheva like Savta.

Me: Usually, Ashkenazi Jews like us only name after people who have already passed away.

Mordechai (quite matter-of-factly): Yeah, I know. But they'll probably be dead by then.

Me: I don't think so. You know, they're not that old.

Mordechai (starting to calculate): Well, I will probably start looking for a wife when I'm twenty and Sabba and Savta are around 55, right? It might take me a while to find someone so let's say I get married when I'm 23 or 24. So they'll be around 75 and that's pretty old....

Me: I see. Well, I hope they'll still be living to see you have lots of kids.

A note to the reader: This is a true story!

Friday, September 29, 2006


Need some cheese with that bread? From Tashlich yesterday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We Need More Movies

It was time to pop in a children's DVD for KJ to watch I gave him his DVD case and asked him to choose a movie that he wants to watch. He started flipping through his big book of DVD's, flipping, flipping, flipping. Then he'd stop and look at one, and flip some more, then he looked up and said, "We need to buy more movies." He says. It's was funny because that's like walking into a chocolate factory and saying, "There's not enough chocolate in this place."

Not So PC

As I was driving by yet another panhandler on the side of the road today, I was struck by his sign and then I started to chuckle. No, it wasn't funny that he was supposedly homeless or crippled or in dire straights, but it was something that my 7 yr old said to me in the car a few months ago, that really brings up an interesting question.

She said, "Mommy, if they are homeless, where do they get the markers to make their signs?"

Excellent question. Has anyone else ever wonder about that?

Thursday, September 14, 2006


<after I finished arguing with MCI about the bill, telling them they're losers, Sweetie(7) was discussing the choice of words>
- They're LOSERS!
- But don't say that about the kids at school. I'm saying that about the company, not the people.
- But they're LOSERS, huh?
- They're losers because they're doing things to lose my business.
- And mine!

<her business is very important; she makes so many phone calls! And has the money to pay for them, HAHAHAHAHA!>

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where Did She Learn That?

Today on our way to shul, my daughter and I were playing a word game. We take a letter of the alphabet and then take turns thinking up words that begin with that letter. Today it was the letter "B", which fortunately kept us entertain since so many words begin with that, including some that I never thought I would hear my daughter not only use, but able to give a very accurate description of the definition. So here we are playing, and Natalie says "Bitch".

"Um, excuse me," I said. "What did you say?"


"Do you mean as in a female dog?"

"No mommy."

"Well what do you mean?"

"You know when a girl or woman is very mean, she is called a Bitch."

To say that I was a bit stunned would not completely describe the moment. I was also trying not to laugh either. I just couldn't believe what I just heard. I could understand if she knew of the word because of hearing it on tv or from us grown-ups, but the fact that she could give me the exact definition of it, just really threw me.

Well, I didn't tell her that it wasn't appropriate. I just said that a Bitch is a female dog, so if she wants to use that word, it's ok if that is what she means, like using the word Ass for donkey.

Oh, btw, Natalie is only 7 yrs old.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Overheard on a nature walk

Kid (3-ish): You can't throw rocks at the ducks.

Tour guide: That's right! And why can't you?

Kid: You need them for those other ducks.

TG: No! We don't throw rocks at any of the ducks. It would hurt the ducks and they would be sad. Do you understand?

Kid: Yes.

TG: Excellent.

Kid: We can hit the swans.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Whole World's Jewish

Driving in the car today down Toronto's "Jewish" street -- Bathurst Street -- I was with my two younger children. My youngest, who'll be entering grade 1 next week, G-d willing, is actively reading anything and everything, including signs.

Out of the blue, he announces to his sister and me, "The whole world's Jewish."

Both his sister and I say no. She explains nicely that not everyone is Jewish; people go to church and not just synagogues.

The little guy was adamant but gave in after a while. "Okay, maybe not the whole world. But all of Toronto is Jewish."

I said, "I don't think so... Yes, there are a lot of Jews here, but neither the whole world or all of Toronto is Jewish."

And his sister also tried to convince him of the fact.

He relented. "Okay, but some of the people are Jewish."

And with his next announcement, I understood from where this entire dialogue had materialized.

"But I saw the sign that said:"


The PT (age 5): I can't wait for Sukkos!

Curly (12): Really? Why?

The PT: Because I LOVE eating Matzah!

Curly: Uh...I think you mean Pesach.

The PT: I'm confused.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Are there any nice rattlesnakes?

As anyone who has seen my blog over the summer will know, this year we had the excitement of seeing a timber rattlesnake at camp. So shortly thereafter, my 16-yr-old brother, Izzy, was giving a lecture to my 2-yr-old brother, Squirt, on snakes, hoping to discourage him from approaching the rattlesnake if he saw it again. As he reports, it went something like this:
Izzy: Squirt, if you see a snake, don't touch it. It is dangerous.
Squirt: Can dey hurt me?
Izzy: Yes, they can hurt you. Well, not all of them. Rattlesnakes can hurt you. They are very dangeorous. Don't go near them.
Squirt: Can I pick dem up?
Izzy: No, they will hurt you. Rattlesnakes are very dangerous.
Squirt: Are dere any nice rattlesnakes?

Thankfully, Squirt never saw the rattlesnake...but if he had, I think it would have been very interesting!

Monday, August 28, 2006

More Teenspeak:

Moe: Did you notice something different about Grampa's hair? I think he got a haircut or something.

Larry: I didn't think that was even possible.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stop laughing!

<Sweetie does something funny, and I start laughing.>
- Stop laughing!
- <chortling> Oh, but you're so funny!
- <fighting a smile> No I'm not!
- <still smiling>
- <hiding face> Stop laughing at me!
- <starting all over>
- <laughing harder>
- <trying to stop> I can't stop laughing until you stop telling me to stop.
- <angry face> STOP LAUGHING!!!
- <losing control> How can I stop laughing when you keep acting so funny?
- <pretending to cry> STOP LAUGHING!!!
- I told you, I'll stop laughing when you stop telling me to stop.
<exchange continues ad infinitum>

(Can you tell she really enjoys me laughing at her?)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Hey, Rabbi..."

Overheard in the van this morning:

Oldest Son (5): Abba [Hebrew for Dad], why did G-d choose the best rabbi for us?

Abba: G-d may have helped him decide to become a rabbi, but the congregation decided they wanted him to become our rabbi.

Oldest Son: Oh. So G-d didn't say, "Hey, do you want to be a rabbi?"

Hmm... how to explain the concept of free will and career choices to a 5-year-old...

Teenagers Can Be Funny, Too...

Over the summer I've been practicing driving with Moe, my 16 year-old son. Part of this involves teaching him to fill up the car with gas.

After watching him fumble around trying to open up the gas cap while already holding the fuel nozzle the previous time, I thought I would remind him this time what to do.

Moe: (Gets out of the car and moves to the pump)

Me: (Gets out on the other side of the car): OK, what did we learn last time?

Moe: (Blank stare)

Me: Take off the cap first.

Moe: (Confused, blank stare)

Moe: (Takes off his hat and lays it on the roof of the car)


Once I was a little girl, and I shared a room with my sister, and we used to get scolded for talking too long instead of going to sleep. I think now I'm getting punished. I've tried a whole variety of methods to make the gigglers drop off, but haven't found anything that really works besides separating them, which has its own problems. So here, for your reading pleasure, is a typical bedtime dialogue between myself, my stepdaughter (6), and the girl I babysit (4).

<everybody uses toilet, brushes teeth, gets drink>
<each of us prays, I sing bedtime song chosen by each child>

- I hot.
- Take the blanket off you, then.
- I'm hot too.
- Take the blanket off.
- I go schoo' tomorrow?
- No, you don't have school tomorrow.
- Do I hafta go to school tomorrow?
- Yes.
- But I don't want to.
- But Mrs. Jones will miss you.
- But I'm gonna be sick tomorrow morning.
- If you're sick you'll have to stay home.
- I'm gonna be sick.
- We'll see.

- My arm hurt.
- As soon as you fall asleep, it'll stop hurting.
- My arm hurts too.
- As soon as you fall asleep, it'll stop hurting.

- I can't sleep.
- You don't have to sleep, you just have to lie still and be quiet.
- I can't be quiet.
- Yes you can.
- I can't coze my eyes.
- Then don't, I don't care.
- I need my puppy.
- You have your baby.
- But I need my puppy too.
- No, you get your toys before you lie down.

- My legs are cold.
- Then put the blanket over them.
- My yegs code too.
- Put them under the blanket.

- My head hurt.
- Well, don't spin on the chair and you won't get hurt next time.
- NO! You 'pos say, "You fah seep--"
- Okay, as soon as you fall asleep, it'll stop hurting.

- I need go potty.
- You already went potty.
- I need go potty too.
- You both went potty ten minutes ago.
- But I need go again.
- No you don't.
- But I gonna wet a bed!
- Me too!
- Go for it.
- <whining, grumping>

(Observation: the bed stays dry.)

Monday, August 21, 2006


Chana (7): Look! A falling star*! Make a wish.

Rivka (5): OK.

Chana: What did you wish for?

Rivka: I can't tell you or it won't come true.

Chana: No, I can help it come true.

Rivka: How?

Chana: I just can.

Rivka: I wished that Daddy and Mommy would let me do whatever I want, that I could get a new teddy bear, and a Polly Pocket.

Chana: OK, that's never gonna happen.

*it was just an airplane, but who's counting?

Karate Kid

Rivka (5): I wanna take Karate

Me: Why?

Rivka: Because I'm good at hurting people.

Me: What?

Rivka: You know, like kicking (she kicks the air a couple of times for good measure)

Me: You don't learn karate to hurt people. You do it to exercise.

Rivka: No, you learn it in case someone doesn't do something you want them to do.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Animal and/or Mineral

A trip to the Zoo's Nocturnal Mammals House:

Moe (age 16): Look, The PT, a bat!

The PT (age 5): Look, Moe, a......rock!!

Moe: A rock?

The PT: It's a nocturnal rock.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Makeup tests

When Chana was in kindergarten, I used to walk her the three blocks to school. Grades 1 - 5 had their state exams and for the past few days there had been announcements about make-up tests. On the way to school one day, Chana asked why kindergarten didn't have the make-up tests.

Me: Well, kindergarten didn't have the tests in the first place so there's no reason to have make-up tests.

Chana: But why don't we get to?

Me: Um, like I just said, you didn't have the test in the first place.

Chana: But why can't we have the makeup test?

Me (after a brief pause): Do you know what a make-up test is?

Chana: I think it's a test where you get to wear makeup.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just a little funny

So I'm giving Honey (5) a banana today. "Wait," I said "don't take this one, it has a bad spot." I peel and hand her a different one.
"Does this one have a good spot?" she asks.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Chana (7): Guess what my favorite number is?

Rivka (5): 8.

Chana: That's one of them. My favorites are 6 through 18.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Friday night at the Shabbos dinner table, my eldest offered something to the conversation that was so brilliant and amusing at the time. My facial expression must've changed and been noticeable to my son. I was now grinning and my eyes must've lit up 'cause he said, looking straight into my eyes, "Don't write that down!" meaning, "Don't blog about what I just said."

I said, "Okay, I won't. But I'll probably blog about you saying, "Don't blog about what I just said."

[My kids now know that I take notice of what they say or do, realizing that I might or might not write it down for the public eye. Perhaps this is not a good thing, after all...]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More evidence my son isn't normal

Letter from Stretch (now 11) from camp.
"Today it is Tisha Ba'av. There was a holocost simulation. it was fun." Either the "holocost" simulation was poorly done, or my kid needs serious help.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'm in trouble

Me: What are you doing?

Rivka (5): Shaking my butt.

Me: Why are you doing that?

Rivka: I like getting some wiggles out. It feels good.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's A...Whatchamacallit

This a.m., my 6 1/2 y.o. son complained of an itchy foot -- inside his Crocs. We pulled off his shoes and socks, indeed saw a red foot and no doubt a bug bite, put a cold compress on it and forgot about it.

Later in the day, he was resting beside me, barefoot. I looked at his foot again, saw the raised skin and said, "Oh. So do you think it's a mosquito bite?"


"Do you think it's a rash?"


"Do you think it's a blister?"



"No. It's a...whatchamacallit? It's a...BOO-BOO!"

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Too Blond To See?

My youngest, 6 1/2 y.o. boy, was reminding me this morning about how he got hit in the eye by a hardball a couple of months ago. He was all shaken up by the event and crying hysterically, but after he was calm and had an ice pack on his quickly-swelling eye, my husband and the kids and a cousin continued with their plans to see a movie at the theater.

He announced he'd like to get hit in the eye again! I asked why. He said, "'Cause after we can go to the movie!"

I told him he was lucky he wasn't hurt worse; it could've done serious damage to his eye, to his vision and he could've gone blind.

This afternoon we brought up the topic again at the lunch table. He repeated to my husband and other two kids what we'd talked about. My husband laughed and said that he doesn't need to get hit by a ball in the eye to go to see a movie.
My little guy piped up and said, "Yeah. If I get hit in the eye again like that, I could become blond!"

Friday, July 28, 2006

Why kids shouldn't be doctors

Chana (7): Leora (her best friend) can't drink soda because when the bubbles pop in her throat she gets weasels.

Me: That's not right.

Chana: I mean measles.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Like a Fox

Mommy: Tell Abba what a good job you did swallowing your pill.

The PT (age 5): I swallowed it like a fox!

Abba: Wow, great!

Abba: ?

Abba: Are foxes good at swallowing pills?

The PT: Well...they're good at swallowing what they chew!

Abba: ??


This morning the kids watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie in which a character pretended to be a werewolf.

Chana (7): What's a werewolf?

Me: It's a pretend character where a man becomes a wolf, but only at night during a full moon.

Chana: Oh, so that's why it's called a werewolf - because it wears off.

Head shrink

I realized recently that one of my kids' new friends is a friend of mine's daughter (obviously I hadn't seen this friend in quite some time). Just to be sure I asked her about her dad's profession.

Me: Your dad's a psychiatrist, right?

Girl (7): He works with the forehead.

(She dutifully pointed to her forehead)

Bugging her

- <distressed> There's a moth inna kitchen!
- Don't worry about it.
- It's a really big moth! I want you kill it!
- Moths won't hurt you.
- It's freakin' me out!
- Okay, show me where it is.
- Look, right there! (the moth is a half-inch across, big deal)
- <going closer>
- <aghast> Don't touch it!
- How can I do anything if I don't touch it? Settle down.
<I put my toe close, Sweetie squeals, moth doesn't move, I pick it up>
- It's dead, silly.
- <sympathetically> Aw, poor moth.

This reminds me of another episode over a year ago:

- Why can't you go out in the hall?
- There's a spider.
- It's a dead spider! (for the tenth time)
- No, it's sleeping!
- <hearty laughter>

For a few days after that, our bedtime story was about Jesus resurrecting the little girl. We very much enjoyed the similarity between Jesus' words and Sweetie's.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

PB&...Cream Cheese?!

From SIL: Last week Ben (3) had convinced me to send him a peanut butter and cream cheese sandwich for lunch. I don't know if he actually ate it, but on Shabbos morning, he again asked me for a pb/cc sandwich, assuring me that he would eat it. He took a few bites, put it down and said, "Imma, I really like it but my tongue isn't available to eat it right now."


Henna Bayla (1) scribbled a picture on the magna-doodle which she claimed was a turtle. As Ben was leaving the room, he commented "that's not a turtle." HB was so insulted - she ran down the hallway, yelling at him "yes it is! yes it is!" she wouldn't stop until he agreed that it was a turtle.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One of KJ's Latest

He runs in going, "Mom, come look!" We go out to where he kneels next to the strawberries and says, "Look, straw-cherries!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just Jokin'

You know how in this world you meet people who are always "on" -- always talking (often about themselves); always wanting to be heard; always trying to top another person's story. Always assuming that they are funny and that people will laugh at their jokes.

I'm sometimes"on," not always, and yes, my jokes often miss the mark, so I've seen both sides of the coin. But I know several people who actually get on my nerves when they try to outtalk, outjoke, outdo other people, and the best thing is either to just nod my head to them, and not encourage them by asking questions or making comments, if I have to be in their company.

Recently I spent a Shabbos meal with such a person. That person makes it sound as if he/she is the best, knows the most, tries the hardest, all the while looking for the audience reaction to his/her comments and stories, no doubt hoping they'll laugh.

After listening to this person go on and hog the conversation a lot of the time, in spite of there being several guests around the table, and overshadowing both his/her spouse and others, there was a momentary lull after a string of one-liner type bits.

Suddenly my 8 1/2 -year-old daughter fills the silence: "Are these jokes?" (implying very discreetly: "Are we supposed to be laughing?")

Saturday, July 15, 2006

'my hobby is pizza'

(conversations overheard on playdate between the PT, aged 5, and the PT's cohort, aged 5 and 1/2)

PT: what's your hobby?

CT: what's a hobby?

PT: it's something you like very very much.

CT: oh....well then, my hobby is everything!

PT: my hobby is pizza.


PT: i have to eat all my food so that when i grow up i can be an airplane pilot!

CT: i have to eat my protein so i can be a librarian.

PT: but when i'm an airplane pilot i won't have children.

CT: why not?

PT: i'm last born. there can't be any more babies.

CT: well then the person you marry will have to have the babies.

PT: hmm...i guess, but then who will be firstborn?

Friday, July 14, 2006

We've Got the Green Light!

Scenario: dinner table.

Conversation: talk of Shabbos and shuls.

Specific conversation: 6 1/2 year old N. asks, "Abba, can we go to the BAYT (one of the two shuls we belong to; a 30 minute walk from our house) next Shabbos?"

Abba: "Im yirtzeh Hashem."

N.: "What?"

Abba repeats: "Im yirtzeh Hashem."

N.: "What does THAT mean?"

Abba: "If Hashem wants us to, [we'll go there]."

30 second pause...

N.: "He does."

Monday, July 10, 2006

5 Year-Old Reasoning

Iguana (age 10): I like swimming class, but that girl keeps teasing me. It really makes me upset. I can't hit her in the pool, and I can't hit her in the locker room.

Abba (age 39): I'm really proud of you, Iguana, you're showing great restraint.

The PT: I know! Why don't you hit her in school!


The PT: Why does Iguana get to stay up later than me?!

Fudge (age 17): Because she's older than you. Her brain is bigger.

The PT: ?!?

The PT: brain is BIGGER because I think a lot of thoughts.

Fudge: Yeah? Name one.

The PT: I can't. There's too many. Maybe one day, when I'm much older, and I can write, I'll write them down for you. But I can't tell you until then.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Truth in advertising

Me: Wasn't that woman's baby cute?

Rivka (5): Yeah, but it was fat.

Me: I prefer the term "pudgy."

Chana (7): What does "pudgy" mean?

Me: Um... fat.

Chana: Uh-huh.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hello, gentlemen!

Tonight I was recording some Bible verses so that Sweetie(6) could memorize them. Of course, the idea of recording and playing back her voice was quite a novelty, so after I finished she had to do it too. Here are some of the very cute results:

John 3:16

Hello, gentlemen!


All this was improv, except for the Bible verse. I don't know where all the sisters and the brother came from.

**Free file hosting from File Den**

Friday, July 07, 2006

To Buy or Not To Buy

When Mommy wants to go shopping and baby doesn't:
Ima:Come on, Squirt, we have to go grocery shopping.

Squirt (2)
: No!

Yes, we have to go to No Frills. (One of our local grocery stores)

No! No Frills is closed! It is not open!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

C'est la vie

So the kids are performing "Phantom of the Opera" at Drama camp. My five-year-old, Rivka, wanted me to help her with her lines. She can't read yet, so I have to recite the lines so she can repeat them.

Me: "Welcome to the show, everyone"

Rivka: No, Dad, you have to say it in French. Like this (here, she assumes a higher voice and some sort of weird dialect): "Velcome to zee show, evereewun."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Youngest Son (3) has learned his first Word We Wish He Wouldn't Use: "stupid." Husby and I have told him that he may use it in his room and the bathroom as much as he wants, but it is not acceptable to use anywhere else in the house, or out in public, and we do not use it to describe people.

So the other day, while driving down the road, Youngest Son uses it again and Oldest Son (5) calls him on it.

Oldest Son: Eema! (Hebrew for Mom) [YS] just said stupid again.

Me: I heard. [YS], where can you use that word?

Youngest Son: In my room. Or the bathroom.

Oldest Son: Then how come you said it in the van?

Youngest Son: Because I have a mouth.

Monday, July 03, 2006

High hopes

The girls are in a performing arts camp, which culminates in a production (sort of) of "Phantom of the Opera."

Rivka (5): Is "Phantom of the Opera" famous?

Me: I guess so.

Rivka: So we're gonna be famous?!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Macabre hopes

Mordechai: Oh, shucks. There's so much traffic!

Me: I wonder what's causing it? Maybe an accident or construction...

Mordechai: I hope it's an accident.

Me: (duly shocked) Why?

Mordechai: Construction can continue for a lot of days.

crossposted at May Cuties

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It starts with F

Sweetie(6) and I were playing I Spy, where one person describes an object we can both see, and the other person has to guess what it is. I spied something that was white and gray, shaped like a square on the outside and a flower on the inside, starts with F, and the inside spins. (fan) After several nonsensical guesses, Sweetie stood in front of a Packers collage.

- This!
- Does Packers start with F?
- No, but this spins.
- What spins?
- This. <pointing>
- I can't see, what are you pointing at?
- This, um, bassetball.

I think we need to work on our sports.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lost in translation

Rivka (5): I can't wait til the baby comes home, I'll sing her a lullaby.

Me: You're going to sing her Hamalach (a traditional lullaby in Hebrew, taken from words of Torah)?

Rivka: Daddy, she won't understand that. I'm going to sing Rock-a-bye Baby.

The Reluctant Superhero

The Mrs. and I enjoy playing this game together on the PS2 called "X-Men Legends," which is a role-playing superhero game. We can each be a member of the X-Men (The Mrs. prefers Wolverine; I like Storm). Of course, as soon as the two of us sit down to play (in one of those extremely uncommon lining up of planets where we both have time), The PT insists that she wants to play too. Usually, we'd give her an unplugged controller and she wouldn't know the difference. However, she has become sophisticated enough to figure out now that the uplugged controller doesn't do anything. So last time, I just gave her my controller and allowed her to use my character.

Being a member of my household, she picked up the controls pretty quickly and was able to keep up with my wife as she went from room to room, beating up bad guys.

However, several statements The PT made indicated to me that she might not be superhero material yet:

The PT: fight those bad guys...I'll stay here behind the crates.


The PT: Hey! A bad guy! Help!


The PT: Oh, no, here's another bad guy! Mommy, you get him!


Mommy: Here. I've collapsed the bridge. You go down there and get that health kit.

The PT: I'm not going down there!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Speak Up

I came home a short while ago from a lovely celebratory dinner at an upscale restaurant on behalf of my dear parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Close friends and family attended this special event, and my two brothers made speeches, I made a speech, and two out-of-town cousins made speeches.

As we're driving back home, it's pretty late, and my kids are half asleep.

I was saying aloud to my husband and parents that one my cousins' speeches was really beautiful.

Suddenly I hear from my almost dozing 6 1/2 year old: "So was yours, Eema!"

That was the best accolade I could have had; he was listening to our conversation now, and apparently he'd been listening to my speech/recitation of a personalized poem in the restaurant.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

baby thoughts

Chana, 7, on holding her newborn sister:

"She's light and fluffy, like a marshmallow."

Cool Shades

Quick prayer note

While I was at the hospital today I learned of a woman who almost died - she had to be resusitated - while giving birth to triplets on Tuesday. Please pray for Avigail Ilana bat Sara Reizel. (For the non-Hebrew inclined just go with Abigail)

The family is also requesting that people recite Psalm 31.


So spoke the newest girl in the Ralphie household, at 5:43 pacific daylight time, Saturday, June 24, 2006 (Shabbat Shlach). Mother and baby are doing fine.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Powerful soap!

Fresh from the bathtub tonight:

<Tiny is squirting Sweetie with a water gun>
- You 'posa be sad!
- Me? I'm supposed to be sad?
- Yeah.
- Why?
- I kill her.
- Oh, no! Don't kill my Sweetie! I'll miss her!
- Okay, I make her alive again.
- How can you do that? Are you God?
- I put soap on her face.
<touches Sweetie with bath pouffy>

Tiny has an impressive imagination. Any object can be any other object.

A few minutes later:
<Tiny is all distressed, like she has a boo-boo>
- I gotta rock in my finger!
- A rock in your finger?
- Yeah!
- How can you have a rock inside your finger?
- Come see!
<gingerly holding her finger>
- Right there?
- Yeah!
- That's not a rock, it's your knuckle. Everybody has knuckles.
- Oh.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Forever Dad Strong Bad


From SIL...

Rachel came for Shabbos. It was late Friday night and Ben (3) was using the "I'm hungry" stall tactic to avoid bedtime. He was sitting at the table, chatting away, and not touching his food. I reminded him that he was staying up so he could eat and if he wasn't going to eat than it was time to go to sleep. He reponded, "I'm talking before I eat. You and Auntie Chelli were talking before you ate, so now I am talking before I eat."

Also that night, he and Rachel were planning to play Candyland on Shabbos day. He asked Rachel if she knew how to play and Rachel asked him to teach her. "Everyone picks a color and you move the color. If Imma wins then you will be so happy for her." On Shabbos afternoon, they were about to play when Ben decided he was hungry. He told her "I'm going to eat. You can read the directions meanwhile."

Monday, June 19, 2006


Rivka (5): I need a scooter.

Mrs. Ralphie: Why do you need a scooter?

Rivka: For transportation to school. I don't need you to take me anymore.

Defending first grade

Chana just finished first grade. Yesterday I was reading her a book in which a character says, "First grade is a flop."

Chana: What does flop mean?

Me: It means failure.

Chana: That's terrible! She can't say that! What does failure mean?

Thanks a TON

At my friend's engagement party, I notice that sitting on the couch is a little girl who looks quite familiar... but a little older than I remember, wearing glasses. She's my friend's little sister (8 years old?), and I used to be at their house quite a bit when I was single (and even a couple of times after). They moved to Israel this year, and I haven't seen her in over a year. I look her in the eye and start a conversation...
Ez: Hey, Becca!

B: (quizzical look)

Ez: Remember me?

B: Noooo...

Ez: You don't remember me?

B: Nope. I don't think so.

Ez: I'm Jon's friend.

B: I only remember one of Jon's friends.

Ez: How about this - imagine me half the size I am now. Now do you remember me?

B: Ummm.... no.

Ez: You really don't remember me?

B: No. I only remember one of Jon's friends.

Ez: And not me? Well, who DO you remember?

B: It doesn't matter. You're not him.

Ez: Well, try me. I want to know who you do remember.

B: You're not him!

Ez: Well, what's his name?

B: What's the difference? I don't remember you.

Ez: Well, what's his name anyway?

B: His name is Ezzie.

Ez: (OOF) (laughing) I'M Ezzie.

B: No you're not!

Ez: Yes, I am!

B: Nuh-uh.

Ez: Really, I am.

B: Well, you don't look like Ezzie.

Ez: Look again.

B: (peers intently) Okay, maybe a little.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hearing God speak

Before playing a DVD, I used the CD/DVD cleaner. A man's voice gave instructions, but there was no picture on the screen. Tiny(4) asked with great excitement, "I' dat God?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

KJ's "What?" Song (3 y/o)

If there was ever a moment to catch on video for AFV, it would have been this one. Kaiser came out with his little guitar and gave it to me. I grabbed it and pretended to sing, "Bad to the Bone" strumming the guitar between the lyrics. Then I handed it back to Kaiser. He had it upsidedown facing toward him and strummed the guitar in between his lyrics which he made up:
(Louder yet) WHAT!?
I got it. Momma
(guitar goes into a final soft tone)
Dumb momma

Nephlet III

So the Elder Nephlet was three whole years old yesterday, and there was much rejoicing.

The much rejoicing took the form of a Bob the Builder Birthday Extravaganza, the centerpiece of which was a massive devil's food cake with chocolate "dirt" icing and many pieces of yellow plastic earth moving machinery on the top. The Elder Nephlet could, at the age of 2, correctly identify between "mo-mo" and "track" (mower and tractor) and he's only gotten more precocious.

Having learned from last year, when the cake itself was somewhat lessened in presentation when the EN pulled the lovely plastic toys out of the icing along with a handful of cake, my sister pulled them off the cake and took them to wash them while the EN was sort-of distracted by the bounty of chocolate and the promise of presents after cake. I sat down with him to monitor cake-eating and have a chat. And, once the yellow toys were returned to the table, he looked at them very seriously, leaned over the table to me, and said conspiratorially:

I need some dirt.

Next Woodward or Bernstein, I'm telling you. I won't always be able to distract him from the scoop by telling him that he might mess up his presents if he has to open them with muddy hands.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Not buying it

A few days ago we went to the farm to get our milk, and Sweetie(6) had to stay in the car because she was being disciplined. Disappointed at being unable to go see the animals, she tried a variety of techniques to bend the rules, like opening the window and sitting on the sill. The kicker:

- My arm hurts.
- Why does your arm hurt?
- Because I need get outta car.

A few minutes later:

<prolonged yelling>
- Why does your head hurt?
- Maybe it's because you're yelling.
- NO!
<more yelling>

Saturday, June 10, 2006


"Mommy why do grown-ups kiss that way?"

"What way? You mean not the small kind of kiss we give to you?"

"Yes. You and daddy kiss that way, and they kiss that way in the movies. You don't like it when I try to give those types of kisses to you and daddy. You say that only grown-ups can kiss that way. Why?"

Hmmm? Any suggestions on how to explain romantic kissing to a seven year old. I'm stumped. I usually don't have a problem explaining most birds and the bees type of questions, but this, I have no idea where to go with it.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

We Erupt this Program to Bring You a Special Announcement

The PT (age 5): We learned about volcanu's in school.

Me: Volcanu's? Really?

The PT: Yeah. Volcanu's come up from the Earf. The have Lava inside. Remember when we saw the volcanu at the museum?

Me: Oh yeah...

The PT: And there's a cap on the volcanu. You know what happens when the cap comes off?

Me: What?

The PT: It interrupts.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Graham Cracker Cleaner

As most of us are probably aware, graham cracker bags are notoriously hard to open. They either don't open or rip completely, resulting in lots of graham cracker everywhere. My brother and SIL take care of this by placing the crackers into a Ziploc sandwich bag.

Apparently, SIL was in the bathroom when Ben (3) called out:
"Some of the graham crackers spilled. But it's okay, I took care of it.


But they don't all fit. So you'll take care of it, Ima, okay?"

Monday, June 05, 2006

And Now A Word from My Boys...

Scenario One:

While driving home from school today, my oldest son (11 in two weeks) announced "I hope we go fishing this summer"!

I asked: "Who's 'we' "?

"Me, Abba, and Yossi bracket Les."

Yossi is known to some people as Yossi and to others as Les. My son gave our friend's name the distinction it deserves...

Scenario Two:

Dinner time. I doled out into everyone's bowl a yummy pureed veggie soup I make every now and again. It's been such a hit with my kids and visiting family and friends since day one. And I thought today would be no different.

Youngest son (6) did not want to eat the soup. Silly me took the time to argue about it because I wanted him to at least have a few spoonsful. I reminded him that he's eaten it before, and he was adamant that he didn't have a taste for the soup, explaining, "I didn't even like it that Shabbat when I ate three bowls of it!"

War, what is it good for?

This weekend Rivka, 5, misbehaved particularly badly, in a manner that just seemed so out of character for her. I finally asked her why she did it. Through tears, she said, "My heart wanted to do the right thing, but my brain didn't, and they had a war, and my brain won."

(One day I will explain that it's usually the brain that needs to control the impulses of the heart, but for now this was so good I had to let it go.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

That's What I Said!

Today was my turn in the family share plan of a recent 48-hour sore-throat virus, and I was desperate for something to drink. I spotted a Taco Bell up ahead and, not wanting Oldest Son (5) or Youngest Son (3) to start begging for food, said to Husby, "Can we please stop at TB for a drink?"

"Sure," said Husby.

"TB? What's TB?" said Oldest Son.

"It's where we're going to get Eema [Hebrew for "mom"] a drink," said Husby.

"TV?" asked Youngest Son.

"No. TB!" said Oldest Son.

"TV?" Youngest Son repeated.

"No! T-BEEE! It has a bee on the end," said Oldest Son.

"That's what I said," said Youngest Son.

"No, you said TV. It's not TV. It's TB," said Oldest Son.


"No! TB!"

"That's what I said!" said Youngest Son.

"No, you said TV. But it's TB!" said Oldest Son.


For the record, children can keep this up for much longer than parents think they can. And also, laughing while drinking Pepsi isn't a good idea when one has a sore throat.

Cockle Shells?

We watched a commercial with some people at the beach and Kaiser (3) said, "I want to go to the Beeeeesh." Since we live close, off we went to the beeeeesh.

Kaiser: Momma, what is this?
Wickwire: That's a cockle shell
Kaiser: Oh, a taco shell.
Wickwire: NO it's a COCKle shell
Kaiser: Look momma, more TACO shells!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

She's got a point...

As the PT will be turning 5 soon and has been riding her bike more, I took the opportunity to caution her about talking to strangers.

"Remember, we don't talk to strangers. If a stranger comes up to you, and offers you candy or a toy and wants you to go with them, you say, 'No!' "

"Uhhh...well that would still be talking."

Doesn't translate

I have some neighbors who speak Spanish at home. The 5-year-old didn't learn English until he went to kindergarten, which seems like a hardship, but is actually very good because he'll be fluently bilingual without having to study for years. Anyway, sometimes his 2-year-old brother is whining and I can't figure out what's wrong. So I ask, "Jose, what's wrong with Pedro?" "I don't know." "Well, ask him what's wrong." "Pedro, what's wrong?" Um, try Spanish! Silly kid. And whenever I ask him how to say something, he grins and claims not to know.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

"S" Marks the Spot

My youngest child has some trouble with the "s" sound, so a few sessions of speech therapy were in order this school year. And of course, homework was involved, and I was usually the homework buddy.

We did one of the exercises this evening; a chart with pictures was given and my child was supposed to tell me about the pictures, or repeat the phrases I said about them...phrases that were provided as part of the exercise. But one of the exercises involves the child elaborate on the given phrase.The phrase was: ThiS iS the biggeSt Star. My son had to repeat that phrase and elaborate on it.

He said: "This is the biggest that Hashem can hug it!"


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nursery grammar and arithmetic

Sari's nursery was visited by mice today. In a cage, thankfully. It was part of a lovely program they're having where every week Adina brings another animal to talk about. Last week was the guinea pig. So Sari was telling me all about today's visit. An excerpt:

Sari: We had a mouse today in school. Adina said it don't bite so don't worry.

Me: Oh, that's good. What color was it?

Sari: They were white.

Me: They? Was there more than one mouse?

Sari: Yes, three.

Me (seizing the teachable moment): Mmhm, three mice.

Sari (patiently demonstrating the math concept with her fingers, and simultaneously attempting to explain the irregular plural form of mouse): No, no. You say two mice, one mouse - so that's three mouses!

Update: That weekend, I read the newsletter sent home to the parents that describes the weeks events. Turns out there were only two mice! She thought there were three because....two mice, one mouse!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Yoda She Is

Observation while riding her bike around the block:

The PT: Someone needs to lawn that mow.

One Big Kiss and Three Little Hugs

This is from my 4 yr old cuddly bear, Noah for Mother's Day.

I love the last line..."Mommy acts out as a monster, and she makes me laugh." Isn't that what it's all about?

Lately Heard 'Round Our House

Child # 3, a six-year-old boy, has lately been trying out his authoritative voice on me, declaring:

1. "You know the rule: I'm nice to you. You have to be nice to me!"

2. "Aba is older than you. We listen to Aba."

3. "You're not the boss of us. Aba is the boss of us."

Okay, youngest child of mine. I'll be sure to remember that when you come cryin' to tell me that Aba didn't let you do/have something that you wanted. Even "I'm nice to you. You have to be nice to me!" doesn't always work on Abbas!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Geometric candy?

Mordechai: I'm a sweet star.

Me: Huh? What does that mean?

Mordechai: Or maybe a sweet square.

Me: I'm confused.

Mordechai: Well, why should we always be "sweetheart"?

Straight from the heart

Sari: Happy Mother's Day! (Nu, so she's a few days early.)

Me: Oh, thank you, sweetie. (giving kisses)

Sari (leaning over and lowering her voice to confide): My morah told me to say that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Daughter, the Doctor

The PT (age 4): pinkie hurts.

The PT: It hurts when I move it like this.

The PT: Maybe I should stop moving it like this.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Drug culture

Rivka (4.5): Dad, why can't we have stairs?

Me: We only have one floor.

Rivka: But me and Chana want an upstairs! Or a bunk bed.

Me: Why?

Rivka: We want to be high.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not Five. THREE

When we had a young couple at my house the other day, Kaiser came in and sat on my lap. The young lady asked, "How old are you?" and Kaiser said, "Five" He is three.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mommy, why is ???

Ok, so as some of you know my daughter has created her own science website (time for a shameless plug - Well, recently she asked me a rather, ahem, personal question about the female body, and though I gave her a generic answer, I made the mistake of then following it with, "but I really don't know, that's a great question."

BIG MISTAKE. Why, may you ask? Because now she wants to post the question on her science blog. She was so cute when justifying her reason for wanting to post it on her website. "See, ____ is part of the body, and the body is science and we don't know the answer, but maybe someone does, and so like, I think I should ask the question on my blog."

Well, it really is a very personal question, but let's just say it has to do with, Ummm, a female body part, and something that almost all mammals have in common.

Man, it never fails to surprise me the observations they make and the questions they ask.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Does It Come Gift-Wrapped, Too?

My husband and the children ran into someone we know, and my husband told her that I was no longer working for my company. She asked if I'd received "a package" -- if I was happy with it, if the terms were decent, etc. (she's a lawyer and asked the right questions.) My oldest son overheard some of the conversation and had comments and questions for his dad.

He asked my huband how much I'd been offered. He didn't want to tell him and my son asked again, so my husband told him some rounded-off number, close to what the package was. Of course my son doesn't know from severence packages and settlements, but he does know numbers!

When my husband told him the amount, my son asked, "Did it come in a box?"

(you get it? package-box)

Scenes from a Villa

Yesterday we paid a visit to the recently re-opened Getty Villa, which houses Roman antiquities on fabulously landscaped grounds.

Chana, 6.5, studied a statue of Herakles , which has lost, um, a key bit of male anatomy. After a while, she said, "I think he might be missing something."

Rivka, 4.5, took one look at an ancient calendar that was a perfectly aligned grid of greek characters and exclaimed, "A word find!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Driving in the car with Iguana (age 9):

Iguana: So....what can we listen to? Do you have anything that's sfirafied?

Me: ...sphere-o-fied?

Iguana: Yeah, sfirafied. You know. What's it called when you have singing but no music?

Me: You mean a capella?

Iguana: Huh?

Me: Sfirafied...did you make up that word?

Iguana: (laughing) Yeah!

Me: Good one.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Venn Master

Rivka, 4 1/2, is running towards me holding a piece of paper.

"Daddy, I made you a Venn diagram."

That's weird. Sounds like she said "Venn diagram," of all things.

"A what, Honey?"

"A Venn diagram. It's matzah and challah."

And indeed it is:

Matzah and Challah

The exclusive Matzah section (left "circle") is passover, obviously. The shared area is "all other nights." I don't know what the exclusive Challah section (right), unless it's just our default mode. She can't quite explain it.

Cross-posted at Kerckhoff Coffeehouse

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I am in TROUBLE when she is a teenager!

We just returned from a trip to Detroit to meet my newborn nephew, Abraham. My 4-yr. old daughter Olivia went to play at her best friend's house today and I just got this email from her best friend's mother:


We enjoyed having Olivia over today. So she was telling my daughter about baby Abraham and she said that he's a boy and he has a penis. And my daughter was like, "Oh, Olivia said penis."

So I told the girls, "Okay, we've established that Abraham has a penis. He's a boy. That's a fact of life. So let's not talk about it anymore."

And so Olivia leans over to my daughter and says, "And it's cute, too."

I had to leave the room. I was losing it.



At Shabbat lunch yesterday, I raised my glass of orange juice and said, "L'Chaim!" My wife raised her cup of water and responded in kind. My 6-yea old then thrust her cup into the air and yelled, "A chaim! To the life!"

I almost sprayed OJ all over the table.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The 4 questions - abridged

Not that he wasn't able to recite the unabridged version. He was even able to manage a reasonably credible yiddish translation despite the fact that it was pure nonsense to him because he doesn't speak yiddish, like, at all (such a pet peeve, but that's a whole separate issue). He just seemed to feel that the traditional text was overly wordy. So, Mordechai's version, lasting all of 6 seconds, went like this:

Why do we eat matza? Why do we eat marror? Why do we dip? Why do we lean?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pesach With The PT

Searching for Chametz:

Moe: Uh...The PT...could you aim the flashlight more towards the floor and less towards the ceiling...
Larry: Yeah, we can't find the bread if you keep pointing it up...
The PT: Look! A bread!

On Vacations:

Fudge: So, do you want to go to New York this summer?
The PT: No!
Fudge: Why not?
The PT: I'm not ready for College yet.

On the nature of things:

The PT: Nobody has a brain like mine.
Fudge: Why do you say that?
The PT: Because nobody knows what I'm thinking.

Monday, April 17, 2006

My little tzaddik

Mordechai and Sari had no school and were home the week before Pesach. I gave my (non-Jewish) babysitter, Namie, "prizes" to use as ammo to keep the civilians in order. During the afternoon, I called to check in and Mordechai picked up.

Mordechai: Hi, Mom. I got a prize because I was behaving very well and did good listening. But, Sari - oh, wait. I can't say 'cuz it's lashon ha'ra.

Me (trying to stifle laughter): That's terrific, Mordechai. I'm so glad to hear that you've been behaving so nicely. Good for you.

Mordechai: Yeah, but Mommy I really want to tell you something and I can't because it's lashon ha'ra.

Me: Well, then maybe you shouldn't even though it's hard not to.

Mordechai: Well, acually, maybe it's not lashon ha'ra.

Me: Oh?

Mordechai: Okay. Let's say Sari got a prize for good listening and I didn't. And let's say she was telling you she got a prize, right? Would it be lashon ha'ra for her to say that I didn't get a prize?

Me: Well, sort of, because then I could figure out that you weren't really doing good listening because you didn't get a prize.

Mordechai (sounding awfully dejected): Oh.

Me (continuing to try to stifle laughter): Mmmm.

Mordechai (brightening considerably): I know what I'll do! I'll tell Namie to tell you.

Mordechai (holding phone away from mouth, talking to Namie): Namie, tell Mom that Sari's not listening.

Mordechai (to me): Okay, Mom. Hold on. Namie wants to tell you something.

Now, how would the Chafetz Chaim have felt about amirah l'akum?

cross-posted at May Cuties.

the truth hurts

Me (after consuming yet another matzah-laden meal): Ooh, I think there's a baby in my tummy, just like mommy's.

Rivka (4): No, Daddy, you're just getting fat.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

That's Not Matzah!

Elianna may be too young to be asking the Mah Nishtana [aka "The 4 Questions"] quite yet at the Passover Seder, but apparently my brother and sister-in-law had a nice time by my parents...

My brother OD was explaining to my nephew Ben (3) that the Jews had to bake their dough quickly before they left Egypt in their rush to get out...
OD: Did it turn into challah or something else?
Ben: Something else.
OD: So what did it turn into?
Ben: French Toast.

Good Moed!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Singer Songwriter

Chana: How do you spell "Kooch"?
Me: Say what?
Chana: Kooch.
Me: I have no idea what that means.
Chana: I made up a song about ketchup for Rivka and I want to write it down.
Me: How does it go?
Chana: Ketchup Ketchup Ketchup Ketchup Ketchup Kooch.
Me: Catchy.
Chana: So how do you spell it?
Me: I have no idea.

(She spelled it "Kooch")

Friday, April 07, 2006

Married with Children

Daughter ( 8 1/2) to younger brother (6): "Look at this guy on the computer... Remember the Pink Panther [we're talking original--my kids adore Peter Sellers in his infamous role] movie we saw? Doesn't this guy on the computer look like Inspector Trousseau?"

The Ransom of Red Chief

Our 6 1/2 year old daughter pulled something the other day (and I don't mean a muscle) that only strengthened our worries even more for what to expect when she becomes a teenager. This got me thinking about how many other people have stories to share, of anxieties they are foreseeing.

Natalie has homework every night, both for her secular and Judaic studies. Upon finishing, the parents are responsible for initialing the homework. I was looking over some of her worksheets and spotted my familiar initials BUT I didn't do it. This girl has learn to copy, in cursive, my exact initials, which by the way, is very sloppy.

Man, I didn't even do this until I was 10 yrs old and in 5th grade. And even then, I only did it because I needed something signed and I forgot to asked my dad, or he would allow me to do it (he was a very laid back father.)

We had a serious conversation with her about this and I hope for now, she will be scared enough to know that forging someone's name is against the law. {She is at the age in which she is always talking about what is and isn't against the rules/laws - such as mommy not always putting on her signal, or rolling through a stop sign : ) }

So, I am curious, what type of mischievous activities are your children up to?


From SIL...

Last night Ben (3) told me that his stuffed doggy was only his baby... then he generously said that it was also Henna Bayla's (1) baby. Then he extended it to my baby too... "but not Daddy's baby because he never had a baby in his tummy yet."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Daddies go to Jupiter...

Dad: So do most kids in your class talk about their Moms more or their Dads?

(Mordechai -6- shrugs)

Dad: Well, who do you think most kids like more?

Mordechai: Well... Daddies give more treats.

Dad: Why do you think that is?

Mordechai: Because Mommies are smarter and they know it's not really good for you.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Larryism #32

Moe and Larry were 7 and 6 at the time, or thereabouts. We were at one of these fancy-shmancy Children's Museums, I think in Chicago (so this is about 8 or 9 years ago).

They had one of these rooms full of Duplo-style Legos. I don't know why that was such an attraction to my boys, since if they wanted to play in a room full of Duplo-style Legos, all they had to do was go into our basement. But this is where they wanted to be, so I let them play in there.

A little while later, Moe comes to get me, to show me his latest architectural masterpiece. Moe has always been good with Lego. He made this Lego AT AT from Star Wars that probably could have been turned into a real Lego model and sold to parents like me for $99.95. So I go in and see this model of an elaborate pyramid and Sphinx.

"It's the Sphinx," I say.

Larry doesn't miss a beat: "No, actually, it's pretty good."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Morashaka Heelasyaakov

My three year-old daughter was outside playing with a non-Jewish neighbor this past weekend. She called over to the older girl and said, "Let's play school. I will be the teacher. Repeat after me, 'Morashaka Heelasyaakov' "

Friday, March 31, 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

What an Honor!

There is somewhat of a custom in my brother OD's yeshiva to give something called a "kibud" in honor of the birth of a daughter. (Kibud means honor.) As there is no bris, but to have a full-blown kiddush would be a little much (and expensive!), this is done instead: Basically, set up a few tables in one of the larger rooms downstairs, serve some doughnuts, cookies, and the like, and everyone wishes the proud father a hearty mazel tov.

My brother usually is the one in charge of the kibud, which entails buying everything, setting it all up, and cleaning up after it's all over. A couple of days ago, this caused the following conversation between his son Ben (3!) and his wife SIL.
Ben: Where's Daddy?

SIL: He's doing a "kibud".

Ben: Oh.


Tell him I like doughnuts.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lucky to be a girl

So the baby was wandering around the house the other day. She was holding a bag of cashews. Suddenly, we hear a thunk, then a cry. Dr. Bean went to see what was wrong.
"What happened baby?"
"I fall down on my nuts!"


That was our new daughter Elianna's response to Cruisin' Mom. ;)

[Sorry, just a little excited - thanks CM!]

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sibling worship

I came into the living room this afternoon and was met with sight of Mordechai(6) and Sari(3 1/2) bent over a world map spread out on the floor.

Mordechai: Savta's in Israel now. I'll show you where it is, k?

Sari: Yeah, yeah! Where is it?

Mordechai: It's this little one, right here. See it?

Sari (sighs and gazes at him in wonder): Mordechai, do you know everything?

Science Wonders for Kids

My 6 yr old daughter is very curious about science and is always asking me questions, which I can't ever answer. I suggested that she create her own blog and post her questions and thoughts on it and perhaps she will get feedback. She came up with the name of the website herself.

It's Science Wonders for Kids at

We still need to fine tune the site, but she still wanted to post some of her recent questions.

Please check it out and if you or your kids know any of the answers, she would love to hear from you.

Tiny and New

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm anxiously waiting to hear what Ezzie's little girl has to say!

Friday, March 24, 2006

How to Return a Compliment

Abba: I like your jeans.

The PT: your pants. They're beautiful. Also your shirt is beautiful.

tortured artist

Chana (6), on the way to school this morning:

"Dad, you know how I like to draw a lot? Well, I drew everything. I don't know what else to draw."

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Child tasting a piece of candy at Mordechai's siddur party, with look of extreme distaste punctuating his visage: Eeew! It tastes like salad!


Some kids, by the time they're four, can talk almost as well as adults. Not Sweetie. Some things she says, it takes all my synapses to figure out what she means. The worst was 'tanahat' which turned out to be "Cat in the Hat". I think that took a few days. The funniest is "Holy-you-ya!" Fortunately, she's very patient. I repeat what I thought I heard, and she says it again with slightly different emphasis until I get it right. But now, sometimes she takes advantage of this arrangement, by saying gibberish on purpose, but changing it slightly everytime so that I never win. This is a very funny joke to her, and she tries to keep me going even after I protest that she's pulling my leg.

Tiny has the same problem, but zero patience for my confusion. I usually only have two tries before Tiny starts screaming the phrase, which makes her even harder to understand. (We're still working on the commandment, "Thou shalt not scream") But when I'm lucky, Sweetie is there to translate. Somehow she understands everything Tiny says, even though their pronunciation habits are completely different.

Another game Sweetie likes to play on me is asking the same question repeatedly until I accidentally give a different answer, or asking several questions in rapid succession so I get confused. When in my distraction I give the answer she wants, she tries to hold me to it.

- Can I play in snow when we get home?
- No, you need a nap before church.
- Can I have a snack?
- We have crackers right here.
- I want different kind.
- <checking blind spot> This is what we have.
- When we get home.
- When we get home you're taking a nap.
- I don' wan' take a nap.
- Do you wanna go to church?
- Yes...
- Then you need a nap.
- Can I play outside when we get home?
- <waving pedestrian to cross> No, you need a nap.
- Can I sleep with my baby?
- Sure.
- Can I have crackers?
- Right here.
- Can I have a drink?
- Wait till we get home.
- Can I play in snow?
- <looking for space in traffic> Yeah.
- Yay!
- <confused> No, wait a second, you can't play outside...
- But you said I could.
- That's cuz you were confusing me!
- <grins, giggles>

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Mill by Any Other Name

I was talking to my middle child yesterday about the health club I used to belong to.

She asked about what I used to do there, if I used to swim, use a step machine...if they had a windmill.

A WINDMILL? I tried to think about what kind of machine resembled a windmill, what she might be referring to?

Again she asked if they had a windmill there.

Then it hit me: a treadmill.

And so I told her: "It's not called a windmill, it's called a treadmill." She convinced me that she knew that, but her older brother calls it a windmill, and therefore she does too!