And we’ll have the rest of the talk in about 8 years

Yeah, yeah, I need to shave. It gets WAY more complicated than just getting dressed, Bebe.

Let today be marked as the day my 2-year-old daughter discovered… armpit hair.

Dozing in bed together, Bebe’s head nestled into my side, she’s stroking her fingers against my inner arm. Suddenly, she lifts her head up, eyes wide.

“Ima! Ima… Ima… what’s this?”

I stir and look over at where she’s staring. “Huh?”

“Ima’s arm?!’

Oh. Even without my glasses I can see the shadow of one-day lazy dark fuzz.

“It’s hair.”

“Hair?! Ima’s arm?”

“Yeah. It happens, B. Hair under armpits.”

She’s in shock.

“Hair in Ima’s armpit?” She looks over at her snoozing father, bear king on the other side of the bed. I know what she wants to say.

“Ha, yeah it’s like how Abba has hair there, too.”

She turns towards my huz, looks back at me and then calls out to him, in a voice of desperate concern, what I can only translate as:

“ABBA! Look! Please, look! Look at YOUR WIFE’S ARMPITS!”

The potty process (or, toilet-training literature).

Toilet-training has officially begun. It unofficially began way before Koala was even two years old and took a serious interest in all the peeing Mama was doing (pregnant, perhaps).

But in the laid-back fashion that my life is stitched in, we didn’t really try too hard. We let Koala explore the facts of toilet-training. He’d sit on it if he asked, he’d just watch or stand in the bathroom if he felt like it.

But last week, it started getting serious… so we did, too.

Which is when I realized something: For a while, we’ve hosted potty-friendly literature in the bathroom: Alona Frankel’s ever-helpful Once Upon a Potty and the ever-role model Elmo’s Potty Time With Elmo. Also, by chance, the 50s-inspired photo book, When Food Was Fun is available.

Koala’s toilet library: Isn’t that a funny selection, given what happens to food after it was fun? It’s like, “here’s what you do on the potty – and here’s how you can remember how awesome it was before you have to go through all this shit.”

Back to gan.

We got back from Australia/Hong Kong late Monday night, kept off the radar yesterday and went back to respective offices/gans today.

The report from Koala’s ganenet was – shockingly good, for a kid who doesn’t sleep much on airplanes.

  • He is definitely taller than when he left.
  • He went to the play kitchen and did netilat yadayim with a cup in the sink – just like his Bubbe taught him every day in Australia.
  • He hugged all the kids.
  • He asked for things he wanted using words – food, water, etc.
  • He pointed to each motzetz and matched it with the kid it belongs to, from memory, along with their sippie cups.
  • He kissed the mezuza (and forced me to kiss it) on the way out.

So much about being away, being with family, being with eight cousins, really did a lot for Koala. He’s opened up, he’s expressing, he’s figuring things out, and he’s gotten over his fear of monkeys.

More on that later; I’m jet lagged.

What have I done?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaked.

Though the truth is it’s only starting to dawn on me how awe-some and terrifying it is.

I’m beginning to comprehend what I’ve done. It really is dawning; first the expectation of the rise, and then the initial tips of the rays. Pretty soon I think I’ll need the sunglasses.

With Koala proving to us more and more – by the day – how much his toddler vocabulary includes Hebrew words, I find myself stepping back and holding on to the counter for stability. I’m raising my child in Israel. Another country. Not where I grew up. Not where English is society’s first language.

It took an Israeli friend at our house on Shabbat to realize this. Sure, the huz and I  have joked about his sudden bursts of ‘mayim!’ or ‘dai!’ but when a fellow native speaker hung around him this weekend, we started to realize that a lot of the gibberish we take for granted was actually Hebrew words like ‘rega’ or ‘sicah.’

And all the questions I used to casually wonder about come crashing down on me…

Will he have a thick accent in English? Will he be able to fully express himself to my parents? Will he shun everything related to my home-culture? Will he embrace it too much?

When I mentioned the weekend as a humorous anecdote to Koala’s ganenet today, she looked at me quizzically and replied, “Ma at rotza? Hu Yisraeli.”

As he tackles more and more words, I come to realize more and more I’m an immigrant parent.

Koala update: Nineteen months.

Cars. Cleaning. Cartoons of Latin descent.

It’s been a busy month 19 for Koala. He’s managed a girlfriend – one who gives him a kiss on the cheek every morning and kisses up to me when I come in at the end of the day; quite assertive if you ask me (true Israeli woman). He’s fallen in love with another woman, Dora. Grandma is visiting this week. And he was Abba shel Shabbat in gan today.

New words this month: Bear, pear, o-pah!, and beep beep. And for some reason, na’alayim is easier to say than shoes.

Brooms are not safe. The sponja is not spared. Koala likes to clean, or rather twirl, ride, and wave cleaning supplies in the form of sticks. Toddlers will be boys.

In light of the fact that I have Thanksgiving dinner to finish up and Shabbat to make happen, the rest of 19 can be expressed in photos…

Koala update: Eighteen months.

“The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.” (Lawrence Kutner)

I think something clicked when I left town for a workweek and Koala realized I didn’t 110% revolve around his teeny-tiny universe. Well, aside from the fact that a year-and-a-half is a fine age to turn up the heat on acting out… But the hitting seems to have started while I was away (see more below).

“It helps if the hitter thinks you’re a little crazy.” (Nolan Ryan)

The hitting. It’s a bit unpredictable. I’m not too sure Koala is thinking this one through – why hit the hand that feeds you? (Then again, why bite the boob that feeds you?)

Also, it’s dredging up memories (and defense mechanisms) from growing up with brothers. But I’m not taking it personally. Or at least, trying not to.

“Jealousy is nothing more than a fear of abandonment.” (Unknown)

Ok, let’s go with that way to describe it. Koala has whined or flat-out bawled in the past when either of us picks up another baby, but lately it is definitely heightened. Perhaps he senses something?

Even months ago he got upset when I picked up a crying baby at his original daycare. With all the other kids and babies toddling around our lives lately, it’s definitely time to work on it.

“Pawwidge.” (Koala)

One helluva word for a beginner, no?

Koala update: Sixteen months.

Let’s talk about… monsters.

As we have surely learned in the past sixteen months, monsters come in all shapes and sizes, colors and lengths of fur. Some are red and high pitched; others are blue and love to eat cookies.

Monsters have a grizzly, mean side. They roar when they’re angry, turn red with frustration, throw blocks at their mamas, and point at you accusingly. Their tempers run out in a snap, and from 0 to 60 they manage to squeeze out little monster tears to get their points across.

But monsters also have a yummy, happy, ticklish side. They hug their mama’s legs after she comes home from a day at work. They learn how to give kisses properly, so they can cover their parents’s faces with delicious monster kisses. They laugh for no reason and smile at anyone. They poke their belly buttons and point to their noses.

Unsurprisingly, little monsters know how to relish a cookie.

And they love, love, love to help put on their brand new shoes.

Ponder that, my little monster.

Koala update: Fifteen months.

Toddler. Tired. Tantrum.

This koala update is brought to you by the letter ‘T.’

He walk-runs. He reaches tabletops. He knows what he wants and he will damn well tell you.

Also, don’t bother feeding him. He will feed himself, thankyouverymuch. With a fork. And a spoon. Simultaneously.

Language is getting fun. Not only does he recognize dogs in pictures and in real life, and called out to them (da!), but Koala also calls cats, birds and cars by the same name.

Also – shoes!!!! And ices.

We’ve gotten into water play this month. Whether in a bowl on the porch, or in a pool on another porch (we have three for some reason), splashing is fun, squirting is fun, and pouring out is funnest of them all.

The ‘terrible twos-minus-nine-months’ have begun full fledge. Koala displays two main types of tantrum poses: the Muslim (body folded, head down, fists banging the floor) and the  Shove (upright, facing you, everything in his path, pushed away).

But the sense of humor is still awesome. Even when it’s at ‘כיבוד אב ואם’ ‘s expense.