8 things I’ve already learned this Chanukah

It’s only the fourth night and I can point to eight things I’ve learned this Chanukah:

  1. Chanukah is really really really hard with comprehending kids and not much/no family around. Watching your other immigrant friends run around to local family parties with parents, in-laws, siblings, etc. is tough.
  2. Giving out-of-the-blue presents to a small child is not simple; even when attached to a ‘reason’ like Chanukah.
  3. A second child opening a gift is different to a firstborn in his loner years; the paper used to be the most fascinating thing. A second born knows from watching closely that the paper’s just a distraction.
  4. I really don’t love sufganiyot. There, I said it. There are exceptions, but most are simply not worth it. But for the love of miracles, keep the fried potatoes coming.
  5. My 3.5-year-old can handle holding a burning candle and lighting his chanukiyah by himself… and I didn’t even think twice about letting it happen?!
  6. My kids are already starting to gang up on immigrant mom and they don’t even know it yet. For days Bebe has been pointing at things and saying ‘apiphon! apiphon!’ I asked Koala what she was saying, and he said ‘chilazon!’ which, oddly, I took as a valid answer. Then a couple days ago I heard her sing, ‘apiphon, sov sov sov…’ and felt immigrant-dumb.
  7. I can burst into the Twelve Days of Christmas carol in an instant, while my kids watch in amazed wonderment, replacing all the words with Hanukkah-friendly lyrics – freestyle, just like that, not a pause. And Koala doesn’t miss a beat, sings parts back while on the toilet in the next room. Lyrics below.
  8. A family technologically-savvy enough to get it together from four corners of the world – in this case, three different American cities and one Israeli suburb – and sign on to a Google Hangout to have a virtual candle lighting with their grandchildren/nephew and niece, is a truly amazing miracle.

Eight Nights of Chanukah, remix, lizrael style:

On the first night of Chanukah, my true love gave to me… a dreidal in a dreidal tree…
On the second night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 2 hot latkes…
On the third night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 3 fried doughnuts…
On the fourth night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 4 colorful candles…
On the fifth night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 5 golden menorahs…
On the sixth night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 6 wrapped gifts…
On the seventh night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 7 hanukah songs…
On the eighth night of Chanukah my true love gave to me… 8 bottles of oil…

Yeah, ‘a dreidal in a dreidal tree’ is not the best, I admit.