Fifty-Two Frames: Abstract.

I suppose this wasn’t 100% abstract photography, but as the concept of abstract photography comes to me as pretty abstract, I got lost in it.

This was a product of last week’s cardboard box and toilet paper roll play time with the kids. Actually, some really cool photography is shooting through a paper roll with your kids at the other end.

Week 17: Abstract.

They’re coming…

My valuable verbal lesson (or, the lives of tag-teaming Wile E. Coyotes).

Because it’s not all cuteness and button noses, but also plenty of 3am ugliness, headachey whining and life lessons, I’ll share my valuable verbiage lesson from last night this morning.

It’s been a rough few nights. Bebe is having the delayed reaction to the one-year vaccine cocktail, and Koala is going through some kind of behavior-sleep issue during the nights. Which has basically lead to a situation where their parents are doing a Wile E. Coyote dance with dynamite strapped to our backs, slowly burning away at the last threads of our shredded sanity.

I won’t get into specifics because anyone with small children knows what I’m talking about, and anyone who doesn’t have small children has plenty of time to live through it later on.

Anyway, by 3 4 5 6 in the morning, my dynamite wick was pretty much burnt out. So when the boy began his dramatic cry of trivial nearly-morning-but-please-it’s-still-dark issues, I just… exploded:

“ENOUGH! I’M SICK OF THIS! I JUST SPENT 5 HOURS IN YOUR BED SLEEPING WITH YOU BREATHING INTO MY FACE, COUGHING UP MY NOSE, AND NOW YOU’RE IN HERE AND COMPLAINING! JUST STOP TALKING TO ME!”

Somehow, the episode fizzled as Wile E. Coyote II managed to reign the drama in.

An hour later, as we were slowly rousing, I overheard a new cryfest brewing between Koala and a surprisingly-patient-considering-the-night-we-had huz.

And like some boomerang mirror, I opened my eyes and witnessed, well, the boy was just like me. After any words huz tried to put forth, Koala, covered in tears and anger, spewed –

“STOP TALKING TO ME! STOP! TALKING! TO! ME!”

It couldn’t have hit me any harder.

 

 

Which came first, the bird or the meat?

Koala: “What’s this?”

Me: “Chicken.”

<Koala looks at it with horrified wide eyes>

Koala: “Noooo. What is it?”

Me: <gulp> “A… chicken. A תרנגלת.”

Koala: “This no chicken.”

Me: “It’s… not the same chicken you eat. It’s chicken the animal, not the food.”

Koala: “This no chicken. This תרנגלת.”

Countdown ticker to innocence-fail: begun.

 

Koala update: Three years.

Koala, if you’ll wait patiently over there a minute (ha) while I tell the future parents/new parents a little secret:

One thing I’ve learned this past year is that the ‘terrible twos’ is a misnomer. The alleged phase starts way earlier than two, and by the time that two is turning into a three, it’s long over and out.

The fun’s begun way before they’re blowing out three candles.

Back to you, love.

Yes, it was tough in the beginning of the year. Let’s put side the new baby sister just three weeks shy of your second birthday. And the moving on to a big boy bunk bed with its share of scary aspects.

We weren’t communicating very well. You were sorting out language – two languages – and we were trying to figure out how best to make you understand while learning, most of the time, we were the ones who needed to understand…

That our kid was actually trilingual – Hebrew, English and… crying.

But time’s gone on and you’ve dropped that last one; we know it’s a ruse and you know we know. That’s allowed for more attention spent on the fun stuff.

Like when you started playing ‘same as’ with language… ‘cat’ ‘חתול’ – same as! ‘Umbrella’ ‘מטריה’ – same as! And the game has evolved in the last month… paging Princess Bride, we are full on rhyming and laughing while doing it. ‘Hand ‘sand’ – same as!

But man oh man. The first few times I heard you break out your resh… I could stand up and say HaTikvah with my hand over my heart. Now there’s an oleh milestone. You’ve come a long way from when the kids at gan laughed because you pronounced your girlfriend’s name Shee-ra… like an אמרקאי.

No one’s laughing now that you’ve got two languages to show off at gan (and your ganenets are always kinda curious slash showing off anything they know in English).

But what’s still cute is that your L’s in English are actually, oddly, NG’s. So it’s good your favorite color isn’t yengo. (But it is orange. What is up with that? And the fact that you LOVE olives?)

We’ve also gotten a kick out of your navigating language concepts… life concepts… mainly the concept of ‘something’ which is everything and nothing, all at once, but to you, it’s just one thing, one specific thing you know you want but can’t name, can only describe, and that something – that sumping – well, it’s everything until you can get your hands on it.

Moving on… lower down in your universe. You were toilet trained this year, a while ago. The undies were an adventure, still are on a day-to-day as you carefully select the pair you’ll wear backwards today (as you so rationally explain, you want to see the picture on the front).

But you’ve also set out on the long and windy road to knowing the differences between girls and boys, Imas and Abbas. Ima and Bebe vs Abba and Koala.

Though, for the good portion of the year, as you grew more and more excited for your big, first time haircut, you did believe that the key difference in the world of people was long hair and short, or as you call it – not having a haircut – like Koala and Ima – and those who do have a haircut – like Abba – and Bebe.

As you talk more, play more, sit on the floor and imagine more… as you take lines from gan stories sugar coating יציאת מצרים and repeatedly cast the characters of your imagination ‘בתוך הבור’ – you become sweeter, you become happier and you become more and more fun. More of the little partner in play I always hoped for, ever since I was a camp counselor for three-year-olds way back when. Ever since it became my favorite age.

The secret spice is innocence… driving through the checkpoint the other day, you spotted the soldiers, and told me they’re carrying drills. Like Abba. Like Grandpa.

I hope so, Koala. I hope that’s all you ever know.

And I have a confession to make, Koala. Please don’t report us.

You didn’t really get to go on a beach until you were three. Exactly. As in today. Literally.

Yes, your native-islander mother and Australian father denied you that pleasure until you were three.

But we had a blast today, didn’t we? Before you go back to therapy and work it out, I’ll say this: I don’t think as a smaller child you would have enjoyed it as much as today, as I swooshed you up for the waves, as you basked in a salty face full of a rite of passage childhood pleasure.

It’s all a lot to squeeze into one big happy birthday post, Koala. There’s so much about you I love, I become inspired by… and that I feel challenged by. You’re constantly teaching me about patience, even if it seems like it’s the other way around. You’re inspiring me to keep going forward because there’s a million worlds to discover in a single soul. You’re putting the fear of god, man, evil, loss in me.

You’re keeping me on my toes. You’re guiding me through life. You made me a mother three years ago today.

And with every day born, you make me a mother all over again.

Welcome to my favorite age, Koala.

Fitting that on the eve of Koala’s third birthday (!) I had the most fun I’ve had in a while.

I saved the Supersol Yashir boxes so we’d have something to do when he got out of gan early today. We had some rare mama-son time alone in the house.

Ima and Koala into the box, a box over our heads, a flashlight in tiny hand, fits of laughter as we hatch our evil plan, that being when Abba walks in he can’t find us – we’re in the box!

Also, 2 boxes + flashlight + a lil boy = cool photography.

 

 

My own personal tekes.

For the past few years I’ve been home on Yom HaZicaron and I’ve sat on my mirpeset and listened to the tekes that goes on the school down below. Tzur Hadassah, from my home’s perspective, is a giant amphitheater, so I hear some of it pretty well.

So without yet having my children there, I stand with the students and teachers during the siren, I let  their speeches waft into my head, and I sing HaTikvah with them as we end the tekes.

Every year it gets more intense as my kid gets closer and closer in age to attending school and being a part of these ceremonies, dressed in blue and white, singing in the chorus.

The siren sounds, I stand, my legs are a little more wobbly. My heart beats a little faster. My eyes are a bit wetter.

Every year it gets more intense as my kids delve deeper and deeper into Israeli society, swallowed up by blue and white, consumed by Hebrew, and one day, drafted to serve our country in the IDF.

Patriotism through the eyes of a kid.

A couple days ago, unsure of whether my son’s gan would cover it extensively, I started teaching him about Yom Haatzmaut myself.

Which actually just meant teaching him the word דגל.

Yesterday, he discovered the Israeli flag in our house… the very one we had been talking about. That made him mildly excited and less skeptical that I’m just spewing useless information half the time.

On the way to gan today, through streets covered in flags, lamp posts draped in flags, homes decorated in flags – he just. couldn’t. believe. it.

At every turn, at every new kikar, he squealed in laughter and cries of ‘degels! degel! more degel! DEGELS EVERYWHERE!’

 

And lest you become concerned with there being yet another zealous zionist in the world, well… I’m pretty sure it was more about the wonderment at there being so many of something he just learned exists.