Thursday, October 27, 2011

Screen time

B.A. was not pleased. The girls were off to gan and I was davening. Usually, he plays by himself quietly or eats breakfast while I pray, but today he wanted my attention. He planted himself between me and the meditational print that I use to focus my intention in prayer. He turned his anguished face up to me and howled, “Ima nooooooo, stop daveniiiiiiiiing!.”

At least he’s honest about his motives.

He grabbed my skirt in fistfuls and tugged until he heard threads rip. He stomped around the apartment, raging and sobbing. This is a common scene in our house. B.A. and A.N. have, let’s say, heightened emotional responses. And Y.B. is an epic sulker. I’ve got a high threshold for pint-sized drama.

But it was difficult for me to concentrate. I thought, “Maybe I should start letting this kid watch videos.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Going nowhere

Happy Sukkot! Moadim lesimcha! Do you have any trips planned?

That’s what everyone seems to be asking during these days. And every year—twice a year, at Pesach and Sukkot, I feel pressure to Go Somewhere. So we make a plan, and we get everyone ready to go and we pack the food and the water and the diapers and the hats and the sweaters and the toys and books in case we need a distraction and on and on and on and we try to work the trip around the naptime and . . .

And then we get where we are going and Everyone Must Have Fun because we have put in the effort and it is a holiday, after all, and holidays are Supposed to Be Fun. Seven days of nonstop, action-packed fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here's how it was

Hey, Rosh Hashana was great! How was yours? My mornings (if morning can be said to end at 3:00 PM) at home with the kids were relaxed and pleasant. We didn’t get stir crazy, and I even got to fit in quite a lot of davening. I really liked not having anywhere to go, just focusing on prayer, teaching the kids about the holiday, and getting ready for our guests. We had a lot of guests for lunch both days, which brought a lively and festive energy into our home.

I was worried that it would be hard to step into the awesomeness of Rosh Hashana without the physical environment of the synagogue. I found that it wasn’t so challenging after all—the liturgy itself is awe-inspiring, and that was true even for solitary prayer.

I wasn’t sure how I would fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the shofar. This is a mitzvah from which women are technically exempt for exactly the reasons that made it difficult for me. But historically, Jewish women have accepted shofar as an obligation. And really, what’s Rosh Hashana without the shofar. I thought about going to shul with my kids and standing just outside during shofar. Don’t think Chana’s comment didn’t haunt me! In the end, my husband blew the shofar for me and the kids, which was really special. And I heard multiple other shofar blasts through my open window—our neighborhood is packed with synagogues.

So it was a wonderful holiday. And throughout it, I thought about my choices, and how personal this beautiful outcome was, how dependent on the specifics of my life and my family. For example: