Monday, February 27, 2006

Don't Read "Hiyah", Rather "Chaya"

Every time our twenty month-old son said "Hiyah" for the past few months, my wife and I thought he was saying just hello. My wife just called me a few minutes ago and told me that she discovered that he wasn't saying "Hiyah", but rather "Chaya"; the name of his little girlfriend who still hasn't turned one.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Baltimore Girl

My six year old daughter attends a moderately orthodox day school. The girls do have to wear dresses or skirts and shirts with sleeves and the boys wear kippot and tzitzits, but most of the mothers wear pants, not many cover their hair, and are very cool with our level of observance (ok more like lack of observance.) But there are some teachers and mothers who do cover their hair, but it's nothing that I would have thought much about. It's something that I am just use to seeing. I know the reason for it, but I never thought my daughter would ever take noticed.

I should have known better. My daughter notices EVERYTHING. She may not be actively or directly paying attention to a conversation, or her surroundings, but she is listening and observing and when you least expect it, it will come out.

About a month ago, we were in the car and my daughter pipes up and says,

"Mommy, you're suppose to have your hair covered."

"I am, why am I suppose to cover my hair?"

"Because you are a married, Jewish woman, and all Jewish women are suppose to cover their hair when they get married."

"Natalie, how do you know that? Did you learned that at school?"

"No, mommy, but Morah (teacher) Dina and Morah Becca cover their hair and they are married."

The next day when I was at her school, I was kidding around in the office about what she had said and the Rabbi, looked at me and said " Well, she didn't learn that from us."

I told him that I believe him and that she is just a very observant child and no doubt that she came to that conclusion on her own.

Well, like I said, that was about a month ago and I haven't heard anything more from her about having to cover my hair.

But, it doesn't mean she is not thinking about it. As we were cleaning up her room today, Natalie stopped, picked up her beret, and went over to play with her doll.

She said, "this is a Baltimore Girl."

"Huh? A Baltimore girl? What do you mean?"

Just then, she put the beret on her doll's head and covered all her hair. Then she said, "If you are a girl from Baltimore, then you cover your head."

I didn't say anything, just giggled to myself. I can't wait to share this new one with her teachers and the Rabbi.

Anyone interested in discussing a shidduch (match)? She's a girl from a poor and shrimp-eating family, but she is very bright, quite beautiful, and I think will be covering her head when she gets married.

The Olympics

It has been so fun to watch the Olympics with my 4-yr. old. I didn't think she'd be very into it, but we have watched together every night. Here is a conversation from Thurs:

Olivia: Mommy, Pleshenko was great last night. I'm glad he won!

Me (almost spitting out my tea, not believing she remembered his name): Honey, I am so impressed you remembered his name!

Olivia: I remember who won the fast-skating (speedskating), too.

Me: Who?

Olivia: The Italian.

Me: Yes, he did (in disbelief at what her 4-yr. old mind retains!). But do you remember his name?

Olivia: Yep, I do.

Me: What's his first name?

Olivia: "The" (she said proudly)

Me: And his last name?

Olivia: "Italian"

Friday, February 24, 2006

Warning-Only for Jews

Our son, Stretch (10) was in Orthodox day school until the middle of third grade. Then, we had to put him in public school for reasons that aren’t funny so I'll leave them out. He is currently in fifth grade. We would like him to go back to day-school for middle school. With that goal in mind, he is tutored weekly by a Rabbi. I follow-up during the week with review. Here is what transpired at our last review.

Stretch: “Ka-Dosh. Kadosh. Oh, like ‘Kadosh, Kadosh Kadosh’ (doing the requisite foot motions)."

Me (encouragingly): “That’s great! So what does Kadosh mean?”

Stretch: “Jump?”

Time to seriously consider Catholic school.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Old Tapes & God

SIL e-mailed two stories of my nephew Ben (3)...
1) We have an old Mordechai ben David tape, c. 1981. I told Ben that the tape was made when I was his age. He asked me, "It still works???"
2) Yesterday we forgot to bring the stroller to the babysitter so I had to carry Henna Bayla (1) all the way home. This morning when we dropped them off, Ben said, "We have the stroller, Baruch Hashem! Hashem always takes care of His children."

The Runaway Bunny

I had the moment yesterday when panick sets in and your mind goes completely blank.

Yesterday, I was at Target (the Greatland Store, the type that is the Super Duper Size) with my 4 yr old son. He decided to run down the aisle, far away from me, but still within eyesight. I called out for him to return, but he didn't. So after a few more times, I went to go find him and bring him back. I kept looking down different aisles and couldn't find him. Now, I am getting worried. Where the heck could he have run off to?

There were a group of store employees standing in the direction where he had run towards and I asked them if they had seen him. "No, is he lost?" I said "yes", and they immediately got on their radios and ordered a code red or yellow or some color, which meant there is a lost child in the store, and to guard all doors. They then asked me what he was wearing, what color hair he has, etc.

Do you know, I couldn't remember anything? I just knew the color of his jacket and I even told them the wrong hair color. I said light blond, but I meant light brown.

Thankfully, they found him, completely on the other side of the store, in the total opposite direction of where he ran off in. He wasn't upset when we caught up with each other, he only said that he was looking for me, and he got a a little scared, but the nice man walked him back to me.

Thank God, the nice man was a store employee who knew I was looking for my son and was escorting him back to the area where I was at. My little one is very friendly and I can just see him, happily going with a stranger to help find a "lost doggie."

This isn't is the first time this has happen with my children. You just turn your eyes away for a second, and boy are they fast. This has happen twice with my daughter, and OMG, although it's only minutes, if not just seconds that they are gone, it's so scary.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Innocence is Bliss

(originally posted here)

A few months ago, we celebrated Sukkos. Here's a cute story from then that I found while I was going through my archives.

Ben (3) was making a sukkah decoration. He took a little strip of paper and rolled it up.
Ben: "Look - steam is coming out!"

SIL: "What do you mean?"

Ben: "Like the man standing next to the stroller. He had a paper in his mouth and steam was coming out."

The guy was smoking!*

Innocence is bliss.

* Man smoking next to a stroller. What a jerk.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Art is Subjective

My 17 year-old daughter, Fudge, in College in NY, spent Shabbos with my sister, her Aunt R. R is the mother of two adorable boys, ages 5 and 2. We'll call them Thing 1 and Thing 2, respectively.

Thing 2 was showing Fudge a picture:

Fudge: What's that?

Thing 2: A bicycle.

Aunt R: No it's not! It's a tree.

Thing 2: Yeah.

Thing 2 then turns to a picture of George Washington chopping down a tree.

Fudge: What's that?

Thing 2: A bicycle.

Aunt R: No it's NOT! It's George Washington!

He then turns to a picture of Curious George, the monkey.

Fudge: What's that?

Thing 2: George Washington.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What Does That Mean?

My nephew Ben (3) enjoys playing with those Fisher Price magnetic plastic letters that so many people have on their refrigerators, including my brother and sister-in-law. He knows how to sound out certain sounds already, and can spell certain names such as Ben or Imma.

Of course, he sometimes moves around letters and sounds it out - then asks what it means. A few days ago, he switched the "A" and "M" in Imma.
Ben: Ee-MOM. What's an Imam?


SIL: Umm... Nothing.

Some answers are just easier.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

My 4-yr. old excitedly greeted me at the door to show me her bagful of valentines from her party at preschool.

Me: Did you get one from George?

Olivia: Yes! (said very dreamily)

Me: Is George your boyfriend?

Olivia: Yes, Mommy. He's my man. I loooooove him!

Me: Really? And why do you love him, Olivia?

Olivia: Because he likes to show me his green boogers.


The baby (TM)is now two-years-old. She is an excellent talker and a all-around funny child. She also has a bizarre security object-tags. She prefers the tags that come on pillows and the like. You know the kind. The white, rectangular crisp ones. She rubs her arms, hands and fingers over them and sucks on her tongue to fall asleep or calm herself. You can hear the "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" in the baby monitor as she sleeps. She particularly prizes two toys that have large, crunchy tags. We call these toys "taggy bear" and taggy dolly." Recently, I had strep throat. When I went into her room to tuck her in for the night, I covered myself with a blanket because I had chills (one might ask why I wasn't in bed with Dr. Bean tucking her in, but that's another post). She saw the blanket and wanted me to take it off. I told her "Mommy's sick. I need the blanket." She said "You need taggy. Here, take taggy bear." That's alot of empathy for a baby. Maybe she'll be a psychiatrist. Or a hooker.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Better Toy

Enough Times

In my brother and sister-in-law's car, my nephew Ben (3) was quite content listening to "I Was Created Perfect For Me" or some such CD - over, and over, and over again. After a while, my brother and sister-in-law were pretty sick of it, so they took it out. Well, they wouldn't get off so easy:
Ben: Why did you take it out?

OD: Well, I think we've had enough for now.

Ben: Why?

OD/SIL: We've heard it enough times.

Ben: Oh. Okay.

The next day, Ben walks over to SIL.
Ben: Imma, Henna Bayla (1 - uh huh) and I want to listen to this CD. But you and Daddy shouldn't listen.

SIL: Why not?

Ben: You heard it enough times yesterday.

Heh. :)

Can't argue with that logic

2000. Chana is 1 1/2 years old. She started crawling out of her crib, so we switched her to a toddler bed. Since we don't want her wandering around at night, we put a child gate in her doorway. She still hasn't slept through the night (since she was born, not just since the switch). It's 2 AM, she's at the gate, shaking it, screaming (if she had a tin can she'd be rattling it against the gate). I have finally reached the end of my rope. I kneel down so I'm eye-to-eye with her, and lose it. I'm screaming at her. Yelling that this is unacceptable, that we all need our sleep. I am right in her face. I finally stop my screed, but remain where I am, staring her down.

She reaches over the gate, touches my schnozz, and says, "Nose."


The other morning Chana (6) asked for a leftover meatball for breakfast. As I was getting it ready, she starting waxing philosophic about eating animals. "I wish we didn't have to eat animals, Daddy. It's mean."

"Well," I said, "you don't have to if you don't want to, but we'll have to make sure you get all of your nutrition elsewhere."

"But it's sad, Daddy. You have to kill them. It's not nice."

"Do you still want to eat a meatball, Chana?"

"Two, please."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I was in the shower one morning when Sari (3) walked in and announced that she needed to use the bathroom. "Go ahead," I told her. Before she got started, she assured me, "It's okay. I don't need my privacy."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Team loyalty

Chana (6) needed a sports-related shirt for "sports day" at school today. I'm from Houston originally, and I showed her my Houston Rockets World Championship T-Shirt. She said, "That's really special, 'cause it's from your Homeland."

Early motherhood

While I was sick, Tiny's dad couldn't get a substitute, and I was unhappily stuck. One night, from the bed, I instructed Sweetie in microwaving chicken nuggets for them. She's never managed the whole process by herself before, so I was pretty happy she did it without any shenanigans, until I got up two hours later and found the bag of chicken in the middle of the kitchen floor, rather than in the freezer. Anyway, as I lay, half-sleeping, half-listening for misbehavior, I heard from the other room,

"I didn't make 'em for you play with, I made 'em for you eat."

Well, I think she's gonna be a good mother someday.

Quick Thinking Son

Okay, I will admit it... I don't have much control over the children -- and dog -- in my home. My husband insists they don't take me seriously because I offer them empty threats and don't follow through.

That was just some background info. Now for the story.

This evening, my husband was out and I was trying to get the kids to eat dinner, but they kept getting up, being distracted, etc. The radio in the kitchen was on and it was a rock station playing. My daughter got up, disappeared for a moment and came back with a colander lid with a long handle, which she then proceeded to use as a guitar. She played air guitar to accompany the song on the radio.

I told her to put away her "guitar" and sit down to finish her dinner. She did...for a short bit.

She disappeared again and came back with her "guitar," ready to accompany the next song on the radio. Again I told her to put it away.

Me: "What's the difference between now and what I told you two minutes ago, when I told you to stop?"

Quick Thinking Son: "Two minutes."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Halachic Precedence

Sari (3) does whatever she wants. That's the way it is. Especially with Dovid (husband -32) because he doesn't have the willpower to stand up to her. She's difficult to bribe and there's not much you could do to her that she wouldn't just take in stride. In fact, sometimes when she misbehaves, she'll announce "I'm going into time out" and march off contentedly to her room to curl up in the big yellow rocking chair.

One of the things she routinely gets away with is sleeping in Dovid's bed. The truth is, for me, it's much easier this way. She goes to sleep without complaining and falls asleep quickly. The alternative is that she plays around in her bed, keeps Mordechai up with her chatting, and sometimes (horrors!) wakes up Ada (1). When Dovid's ready for bed, he transfers Sari to her own bed. Works fine for me. Not so, understandably, for Mordechai (6). He explained his side of the argument to Dovid tonight as I eavesdropped from the other room, writing furiously. The transcript follows:

Dad, do you remember by Parshas Toldos there was Esav and Yaakov? And remember Esav was the oldest so he was supposed to get the better thing? Well, I'm older than Sari so I'm supposed to get the better thing.

cross-posted at May Cuties

More literal humor

My older daughter, Chana, was about four, and banging on my sister-in-law's piano. She was really getting into it, bouncing around and sort-of dancing while she hit the keys. I shouted above the din, "All right, Kayla, shake it!" She stopped in her tracks, gave me a puzzled look, and then started shaking out her hands.

Jumping on PT's bandwagon

I'm jumping on PT's stories-about-myself bandwagon:

My mother's favorite story about me:

I'm not sure exactly how old I was, but I was old enough to talk right and I couldn't pronounce the letter "L." My parents took me to this speech therapist, to that speech therapist, but nothing was working. Then, one day when I was sitting in the back seat of my mom's car, I started singing a song from Sesame Street: "La-la-la lightbulb. La-la-la lollypop." And then shouting, tune be damned: "La-la-la lightbulb! La-la-la lollypop!"

My grandmother's favorite story about me:

Again, no idea the age, but young enough for this to be cute. We were at some fancy restaurant, and I ordered French Fries. They turned out to be big, thick, wedges, or possibly steak fries, while I was used to the skinny, crispy, fast-food variety. I took one bite and said, "I don't like these french fries - they got potatoes in 'em!"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Acorn Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

This one is actually about me. My great-aunt Boba has a collection of stories about me as a child. That she will repeat to any and everyone that she meets. Whether they know me or not. She says I was something of a psycho toddler.

So every Saturday we went to her house for Shabbos cholent. And in those days, when I was about 3, my cousin Yossi was about 11, and he used to be in charge of bringing up the soda from the basement. Back then, they would deliver bottles of soda to your house. And they'd also deliver big bottles of seltzer that you'd have to shpritz into your glass. So that was Yossi's job.

But he wasn't very good at it, and more or less every time he would shpritz and it would go just about everywhere except for the glass. Why they continued to let him do this, I'll never know. But every single time he did this, my Aunt Boba would yell, "Cluuuuuummmmsssssyyyy!!!!!"

And that continued week after week, a part of the Shabbos ritual. I didn't think there was anything unusual about it, so I was surprised one Shabbos morning when I asked my cousin, "Yossi, may I please have a glass of Clumsy?" and the whole room erupted in laughter.

Nephew Chipper Jess

I wanted to share a few stories of my little nephew Chipper J. When he was about four (he's 11 now) he always wanted to invite people over to have supper with them. One time he said to my sister, "You can come over to eat if you want, we're having smashed potatoes with meatloaf bread." We started calling mashed potatoes "Smashed potatoes" after that.

He asked mom for a quarter and she gave him a fifty cent piece, he grabbed it and asked, "This big dime?"

Rope or string to him was called, "STROPE"

His thumb was always referred to as his thummy one.

Spaghetti was always sketti and meat bulbs

And one time he walked in and said, "Hey Dani, where's my coffin?"
Dani: Your what?
Chipper: My coffin for my gwassis (glasses)

Pick 'em and Trick 'im

There is a David Copperfield card trick circulating 'round the Internet. My husband got it sent to him and he forwarded it to our home e-mail so that my children could see this trick. Several cards of different suits and different colors are shown. David Copperfield tells the viewer (instructions appear on screen in a slide show) to pick a card and remember it, and eventually that card will disappear from the displayed group of cards.

Apparently, this evening, when my eldest son watched this video and was told to pick a card, he whispered his choice to my husband.

Hubby burst out laughing, explaining that the computer might be all eyes, but it's certainly not all ears!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Recital

Sunday mornings we go to the Nursing Home to visit my wife's grandparents. As the older kids are out-of-state or in school now, we're down to taking my two youngest daughters, Iguana, 9, and The PT, 4.

Iguana has been taking piano lessons and brings her books with her to play for her great-grandfather, who was once in a Klezmer band. The PT insists on playing as well, although she is, as of yet, untrained.

The PT: I want to play piano too!

Abba: OK, but just a little, and then let Iguana play for Grandpa.

The PT: OK, I'll be short.

Abba: Good.

The PT: Because I'm short.

The Nephlet Goes Into Real Estate

I don't have kids, but I'm a nanny and I also have a two year old Nephlet. This story concerns the latter.

The Nephlet's mother, my sister, has been having a heck of a time selling her house...two people have backed out on it at the last minute and "selling the house" has been one of the two hot topics around recently.

When the Nephlet was at Grandma's house last week, the doorbell rang. It was Great-Auntie coming over for a visit. (The Nephlet doesn't see Great-Auntie too often, maybe once or twice a year.)

Great-Auntie: Hi, Nephlet!
The Nephlet: (sticks out his hand, as for a handshake) Hi! Want to buy a house?

What's the point?

Mordechai (6): I have a question. Why does "sorry" make [anything] better? It's just a word.

cross-posted at May Cuties

Thursday, February 02, 2006

And What Am I? Chopped Liver?

I picked up my children this evening from Karate and while driving, I gave them a rundown of what they should be doing when they get home.

My youngest (G-d willing turning 6 next month) pipes up in the back seat and says, "You're not the boss of us. You can't tell us what to do."

Me: "So who is the boss of you?"

Youngest: "Aba. He's the boss of the whole family. He's the boss of everyone."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


No, not the magazine. For kid #2's 4th birthday party, we baked a heart-shaped cake and iced it with pink frosting. She was wildly excited about this cake. Ecstatic when we brought it out at the party as the kids sang Happy Birthday. Thrilled when she blew out the candles.

And then she started bawling. Crying so hard that I couldn't understand what she was saying as she tried to explain. When the kids had all but finished their pieces, she finally managed to tell me that she was upset that the beautiful heart had to be destroyed.

So, for the first time in my life, I used the phrase "You can't have your cake and eat it, too" literally.