13 life lessons my kids taught me in 2013

Though I’m not really one for the Gregorian calendar’s drunken marking of a new set of 365 days, I am one for lists.

(They are a relatively inexpensive way to help keep me sane.)

As far as this list goes: Whether they mean to or not, my kids have plenty of life lessons to offer me. If you’re out there listening, children, know that either of you can easily fall back on ‘teacher’ if the astronaut/fireman/princess/brown soldier thing doesn’t work out.

13 life lessons my kids taught me in 2013

  1. I may not actually finish this list. And it’ll be ok if I don’t.
  2. You can’t possibly tell someone too often that you love them.
  3. Ask more questions. Keep on asking questions. Relentlessly. (Why?)
  4. Sometimes a fake laugh is worth it… sometimes it leads to real laughter.
  5. Give more compliments.
  6. The right kind of soft touch at the right moment can change everything.
  7. Cuddle in the morning. Make it the first thing you do.
  8. Eye contact is important (or, in other words, put the phone down).
  9. Trust your gut to know when it’s truly ok to say no.
  10. It really is sometimes all about having a good cry.
  11. I wield some pretty heavy power. Must use it responsibly.
  12. Just do it – just chase your creativity. Stop overthinking.
  13. Every breath is a gift, even while I’m staring at you creepily while you sleep.

As always, I’m looking forward to every single day to come. Especially the ones when I can ‘why?’ right back atchya.

So that’s what an Oedipus Complex looks like.

Experienced quite the strong Oedipus Complex of a 4-year old… (I officially apologize to both AP English and Psychology 101 for the doubt).

After sleeping in my bed with me last night, Koala decided:

“Ima, I want to be the abba again tonight and sleep with you.”
“But I sleep with Abba!”
“I want to be an Abba.”
“So get married.”
“I am married.” Looks at his sister.
“Great, so you sleep with Bebe and I sleep with Abba.”

All of a sudden… he’s wailing as if he’s been thrown into this emotional hell of pain and rejection… “But I want to be the abba with you…”

So huz let him walk a few steps in an abba’s underpants.

(Maybe huz ought to keep one eye open while asleep tonight).

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?

 

That awkward moment when… (#tmi)

…your 3.5-year-old son pulls a wrapped pantyliner out of your purse in public and continues to ask, ‘what’s this, Ima?’

…your 1.5-year-old daughter’s been playing around on you and then you look down and realize she’s made inconveniently-located saliva-sucking marks on your t-shirt.

…your son is reviewing with you the fact that private parts are private – “mine is mine, bebe’s is bebe’s, ima’s is ima’s, and abba’s is ima’s.”

…your daughter is trying out the toilet, pointing to the pee, and then handing you her wet fingers.

…you have a stand-off with your son about him wanting to come into the bathroom with you and you’re trying to convince him to stay out while clenching a tampon in your fist.

Those awkward moments, brought to you by Are You Mom Enough?

What are yours?

Koala update: Three and a half years.

Dropping off my brother at his giyus this week did a funny thing, Koala. It made me realize how very big you are. And how very small.

And how those two qualities will constantly be true, and constantly conflict, and constantly pose a challenge for me, and constantly fill me with love.

I do hope when you’re older, doing your high school roots project, you finally realize how much cooler it is that you’re uncle was in a brown uniform than green (and sorry about the disappointment when you realized he didn’t match the machsom soldiers; but airplanes are cooler than checkpoints, no?).

Aside from your new chayal exploration, you’ve been figuring how to…

…be a fireman… always being a fireman…

…showing up your farmer’s tan with real farmer work…

…doing new things you’ve been excited to try…

…exploring everything, everywhere, with your own stylistic flair…

…leading your sister, taking the wheel…

…or letting her lead, in the next rumble…

In any case, it’s quite clear… you become a bigger Koala every day…

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…

Birthdays.

New parenting milestone: the kindergarten birthday party.

I’m not a big birthday person. When I was a kid I was, as much as any other kid. Who doesn’t want presents? But at some point it switched off. I don’t like the attention for something I didn’t do. It feels a little forced and awkward.

I also don’t believe in making an enormous deal out of the occasion while the kids are so young and are capable of enjoying the simplicity of a leaf, stick, paper bag. I’m not into flashiness. I believe in good old fashion fun (my mom held out pretty long before we had any video games in our house).

And then there’s all the party planning, preparation, socializing… I could be good at it, but it’s just a lot of energy I don’t have right now. Or maybe my own mom was so good at it, I just give up.

Plus… the idea of throwing a birthday party in Hebrew pretty much makes me crap myself. If there’s one thing that freaks me more than getting up and public speaking in Hebrew, it’s doing it in front of a room filled with little kids. Whose Hebrew is better than mine.

So when I found out the gan will do the birthday party for you – in fact, prefer you aren’t even there – well, hey, go for it! Yesterday Koala had his first gan birthday, and from the dozens of photos the ganenet took, seems he had a great time.

I know it’ll change; maybe even next year he’ll ask for his own party at home like the other kids. I’ll let future Koala’s mom deal with that.

Fadichot leaking all over the place.

Every other week or so when I pick up Koala from his gan, his ganenet passes me the pants I dressed him in that day and I look down and see him wearing the poofy red replacement pants we keep there.

Always with the same explanation: “He leaked again so we changed him…”

I guess I figured his diaper wasn’t changed enough or he was getting water all over himself. At least, it always sounded that way.

Today, my husband went to pick him up and got the same story. Only, he actually understood what the ganenet had been trying to tell me for months:

His pants are too big and fall down his legs.

She said: “Nozel lo.” I heard: “He leaks.” But apparently, she was being poetic and saying that his pants are sliding down his legs because they’re too big.

And I kept sending him in them every week.

Why didn’t she ever tell me they were gadol midai???

Immigrant parenting fail: 2840635 Me: 0.