The one where we lose our pet snail

It was a dark and rainy day… oddly, since it was May 3rd in the Middle East.

We had piled into the car, giddy about the surprise rain, and drove to the nearby nursery to pick up new flowers and herbs for our modest mirpeset garden. The kids were delighted by the plants, the rain, the 10 seconds of hail. And then, clinging to the bag of soil we picked up – the snail.

We packed our trunk with the plants, the soil,carefully placed to preserve the snail. Who wants a pet chilazon?! 

When we parked and unloaded – first the kids, then the box of plants, then the bag of soil – the snail was gone. I searched the trunk while huz searched the plants and packet of soil.

The kids were anxious to find the snail. Bebe was nagging, calling over and over, “Abba! Abba! Abba”

“One second, B.”

“Abba! Abba! Look! Look Abba!”

“Just a second, Bebe, we have to find the snail.”

“Look Abba! Look Abba! Look Abba!

At the same time, we looked towards where she was pointing… right at the snail, clinging to the bottom of the plant box.

And like that, no laugh track necessary, the four of us stood cracking up in the driveway under the grey May sky.

Koala named him Gluben (the third time he named him). He’s still kickin’ it on the porch.

P.S. I really like photographing snails.

 

Koala update: Tale of the horse prince.

Koala has been going through some stuff at gan lately.

Boy stuff, school stuff, three stuff, soon-to-be four stuff (stuff Dr. Seuss didn’t write about this one so it looks like I may do the job for him).

Anyway, on Friday I took him for a mother-son ‘adventure’ (his word, not mine) through the valley that splits Tzur Hadassah. It’s my favorite place in our area; it looks small and insignificant on the outside, but it’s an illusion… When you’re in it, it’s suddenly this untouched world of rare grass, thick bushes, climbable rocks, blue mountains in the backdrop. A unicorn might bound past you at any moment.

Quiet, serene, and the perfect place to let a boy think out loud.

We chatted about some of his gan troubles, and held a quick hippie therapy session:

“When this kid tries to hit L, she says to him, אל תרביץ לי!”
“That’s a great thing to yell. Let’s do that.”
“What?”
“Yell, don’t hit me! Just the way L does. Go, do it.”

He stares at me.

“I’ll do it with you. Ready?”

We stop walking, I look at him, and together we yell at the forest: אל תרביץ לי!!!

Koala took my hand and we climbed up rocks, took in the view, sought out flowers, discussed trees, and my little boy even broached the subject (once again) of why girls don’t have penises.

Our moods were good – his troubles off his chest for a bit, and I was finally getting some fresh air after a long depressing week.

We walked deeper into the valley, along the muddy road, which had frozen horse tracks in soft ground leftover from the week before.

‎”Hey, Koala! Check it out! those are the footprints of a horse – horse prints!”
“Yeah! I see so many!”

We live next to a horse farm, but Koala hadn’t put the two together. To him, this was magical.

“Let’s count. Wow. Horse prints everywhere.”

…15 minutes later…

“So Ima, where is it?”
“What?”
“This horse prince…”

Parents of kindergartners.

Parents of kindergartnersRemember when you were young, sweet-innocent-young, not boyfriend-naive young, no, really really young, sheltered-from-the-meaning-of-war young, and life was a big friend grab, and you managed to get yourself a pair of great friends, so you didn’t have to be left alone at play time, most of the time, and sure, they were already an inseparable pair, best buddies, but there was room for a third, sometimes…

“It’s a jungle out there.” It’s not fair to say kindergarten is ‘survival of the fittest.’ Darwin’s grand formulas take generations to brew. While every day in kindergarten may feel like a millennium, surely it’s packed with more cruelty, more raw emotion, more human-ity than 8 hours in mother nature (ever watch a documentary on lions?).

And while mother nature sits and waits, the parent of a kindergartner is doing the impossible every day, right here (anywhere), between the hours of 7 and 8am.

The parent of a kindergartner is splitting their soul.

You stand there and watch a piece of it break off and get swallowed into the mouth of the cave, and on cue, you turn your back and let life take its course. And daily, the little being you protected for so long is now becoming responsible for its own protection.

You don’t even get to be the one rolling the dice all day.

Then again, while you’re not some god, and despite your capability to love and hug tight and make triangle sandwiches, you also have the power to split your soul in half, and then half again, and again, and the knife doesn’t even have to be all that sharp.

You’re a parent, and no amount of fear or tears will change the fact that this is your job. Every day. Forever.

And then with time and experience you morph into the parent of a grade school kid. A high school student. A soldier.

And your soul keeps regenerating, or regrowing, or expanding to accommodate the splits, the breaks, the tears… leaving a young parent to wonder, how is it possible anyone makes it out of here whole?

 

Candle.

“Ima, what’s this?”

“That? That’s… a candle.”

“But why is it here?”

“Why is it here…

…Remember how I’m from New York? I was a kid in New York. Like you’re a kid in Tzur Hadassah. I grew up there… with Grandma and Grandpa… It’s where I went to school. You know?”

“Ya.”

“So… many years ago… something… very bad happened. In New York. And… a lot of people got an ow-a.”

“And Grandma?”

“…No… not Grandma… people. People I don’t know. But they lived in New York, like me. And they got an ow-a. So every year… after my yomuledet…   I light another candle. For those people. From New York.”

“Oh.”

The time I taught Koala about the atmosphere.

I left at 1:50pm to pick Koala up from gan, which ended at two.

Only by the time I had parked across from the gan’s front yard, and noticed the street was lacking other parked cars, and the yard was lacking children and laughter, I knew something wasn’t right.

And it was Koala’s face. Buried in the shoulder of the saya’at, eyes faintly red, the saddest frown I’d ever seen in my whole life. Staring out absently into the street.

I had done it. His first week of ‘big gan.’

I scooped him up when I got to the gate and I could feel his whole body lean into mine. It was clarified for me then that gan had ended thirty minutes before.

“Everybody went home,” he whispered to me.

“I know, I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…”

“Why did you leave me?”

I’ll never forget his face. A little three year-old with his whole world come apart.

I’m not really sure how, but after we got in the car and started going, the topic changed to spaceships. “What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s an airplane that goes… higher than the sky… so high, it’s not blue anymore – it’s black!”

“That’s my favorite color!” Koala was ecstatic.

We got home, and I drew a picture of outer space.

Then we watched space shuttle lift-offs on YouTube, counting from ten, and drank juice.

New game: Are You Mom Enough?

At least we can gain something from the silly attempt at provocation (I guess it worked actually) that TIME magazine gave us this week with its Are You Mom Enough? cover.

Am I mom enough to breastfeed a grown boy on the cover of a national magazine? No. I am mom enough to give him cause for therapy, but not THAT mom enough.

Anyway, welcome to the Are You Mom Enough game! Please add your own AYME challenges in the comments.

  • AYME to be literally shat on this morning, clean up baby, her clothes, the floor, and forget about yourself until later?
  • AYME to pee standing up to avoid the pee on the toilet seat while your son stands in front of you with his pants down because he doesn’t want to pick them up until you do?
  • AYME to use one hand to block your daughter from crawling between her brother’s legs while he’s bent, ass up, and you’re hunched over wiping his bum?
  • AYME to understand why all my examples have to do with potty???

Go…

Year of me.

Seeing as I’m a mother and there’s really no ‘me’ anymore, here’s what I’m thinking…

As of a couple weeks ago, when Bebe essentially weaned herself, thereby letting my body free into the universe where no one depends on it directly for sustenance, whether in utero or by breast… it marks the first time in four years I’m not trying to get pregnant, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

And though, I have to admit, a part of me is tempted to continue through to the next stop on the child train, I also think I’ll be a better mother if I give myself a break. Some breathing room. Some sleeping space. Some time to wear bras that are kinda pretty.

So I’m declaring Year of Me. Like I said… that’s pretty much a misnomer, but here’s what I’m thinking: I’m going to use the time to perhaps grow back a few of the lost brain cells my kids have eaten and learn a few new things. Do some cranial workouts. Explore the stuff I used to love before I home-made instant-and-forever all-encompassing loves.

Also, in about four months, I turn 30.

I’m all at once apathetic and squeamish. I don’t care about dates but I do care about milestones. I’ve already got a lot under my belt but I feel like there’s something memorable I should do to mark the new decade. It feels young and old. It feels tired and energized. It feels pretty and spent.

And, no, I’m not into skydiving.

Thoughts?

THE haircut.

So this news is a month old… on the other hand, see how I ‘waited’ to post about Koala’s haircut until after Lag Ba’Omer?

The haircut went really well. I was a little reserved about it because I know my child, and he’s the type that if he doesn’t know you, doesn’t want you touching him, and doesn’t want to be anywhere near your scissors, well, it’s best we all just get out of the way.

But he had been talking about this haircut for probably a year. He knew what it was, and he knew he wanted one. “Like Abba,” he’d say. “And like Bebe.”

(“But not like Ima. Ima no have haircut.”)

We decided to have a little party with friends around getting his first kipa and tzitzit, and Abba snipped the first bit of hair symbolically. Then we went home and the haircut happened.

It helped that the hairdresser is an absolute sweetheart and excellent with kids. Koala sat great and loved every second of it. And when we showed it to him at the end, we could all feel the rite of passing, all around us in the room.

The Last Bath.

Enjoying the last hair toss.

The middle of the haircut.

The new look.