Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This cannot go on

Around the time Y.B. and A.N. turned two, they started to Talk. Not just words, but sentences, and then plans and games and conspiracies. Where they had previously been mostly indifferent to each other’s presence, suddenly they were partners in crime. They would stay up for most of the night, chatting and laughing and playing.

I placed them in their cribs at 7 PM as usual, but now, instead of quietly thumbing board books and sleeping until 7 the next morning, they would party.

My husband and I would go to sleep around 11 or 12, lying in bed with clenched teeth as we listed to our daughters carry on from the nursery down the hall. The next day, they were miserable company: cranky, short-tempered and whiny. Each day, the cumulative sleep debt was worse.

And naptime was a problem, too. They wouldn’t nap at all in a room together. We set up a pack-n-play and carried Y.B. down to the laundry room each afternoon, where she would often be woken early by the doorbell.

This cannot go on, I said.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mini-victory: pepper bracelets and cucumber snakes

My daughters love vegetables. Crunchy raw vegetables of every color. It’s solely my doing: I've been pushing the vegetable thing and eating veggies in their presence and, in short, not offering them an alternative since they could chew. I beam at you contentedly from my tower of maternal achievement, flanked by my healthy, glowing offspring.

And then there’s my son.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My son: a soldier?

Nefesh B’Nefesh has a photo campaign called “This is My Israel.” Participants submit photos representing what Israel means to them—images of them posed in cafes, at the beach, etc. My personal favorite was on Har HaBayit; how’s that for Jewish chutzpah?

A memorable photo featured a young mother and her toddler, posed with a group of Israeli soldiers. The caption was something like, “Someday my baby will be a soldier!”

To many Jews, the Israeli soldier, the chayal, is a powerful symbol. A Jewish soldier! After 2000 years of exile, oppression, mass murder, forced conversion, foreign occupation of our land and wandering unwelcome in the lands of others. We are a sovereign entity in our own homeland. We have a defense force.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My welcome comeuppance

As you may remember, I had some ambitious plans for Pesach. And on top of everything, we were hosting a Very Important and Beloved Relative. In our apartment. Our small and noisy and toy-strewn apartment. I was nervous, but we managed to put together a nice space for our guest.

We hosted our first seder. We had a lot of wonderful guests. I totally forgot about the kos shel Eliyahu, but other than that, things pretty much went according to plan. It was high and enlightening and the best part was that I managed to enter Pesach in a decently rested state, with many many hours of audio Torah classes in my spiritual reservoir. Throughout the Pesach preparations, whenever a stressful situation or a challenge would arise, I would close my eyes and think one word: Dvekut.

I usually leave translations and explanations to the glossary. Dvekut is a hard word to translate, but I guess it means that whatever I’m doing, my ultimate goal is to be close to God by emulating Him in my own unique way. And when I remember that, I keep my focus.