Monday, January 26, 2009

criblog: touché, mon frère. touché.

overheard one morning:

BET: [barely beginning to whimper] I want Eema.

ALEPH: Bet, you can't cry because crying is for babies, and you are not a baby you are a big boy.

overheard another morning:

ALEPH: [barely beginning to whimper] I need Eema.

BET: You don't need Eema, you want her.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

criblog: cold season

Scene: 3 AM. Aleph wakes up crying, probably because he can't breathe. I go in and rock him, then Bet too, after Aleph wakes him up. Finally escape at 3:30 AM.

[silence until 4 AM. then the following:]

ALEPH: Bet, are you there?

BET: I am lying down.

ALEPH: [I missed this part because I started laughing]

BET: Eema said goodnightsleeptight, and she will come back in the morning.

[silence resumes]

Friday, January 23, 2009

blast from the past: aleph and bet learn their manners


Bet walks up to Aleph and shoves him out of the way.

Eema: No, Bet! No pushing! If Aleph is in your way, say excuse me.


Bet walks up to Aleph, says "Askoome!" and shoves him out of the way.


Bet walks up to Aleph and grabs his toy.

Eema: No, Bet! No grabbing! Give it back to Aleph. You have to say please.

Aleph voluntarily gives toy to Bet.

Eema: Awwwwwww, that was so nice, Aleph! Good sharing!


Bet walks up to Aleph, says "Awwwwwww!" and grabs his toy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the words i've waited 2 years 7 months and 20 days to hear

"We want to play hide and seek with each other."

And they did, too. For a few minutes.

My mouth is still hanging open.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Aleph is the original No! boy. He says no-I-didn't! even if he did have a good time. He says no-I-won't! even while he's doing exactly what you asked. The other day I tried not to laugh, watching him struggle to change no into yes when offered chocolate pudding. "N-... ny-... yo."

So we're walking two of our other lunch guests to the door, and somebody asks Aleph if he wants to say goodbye to Julie and Shai. Naturally he says no.

"That's okay," Shai jovially says. "I'm going to say goodbye to Julie and Shai." He waves. "Goodbye, Julie and Shai!"

Aleph gets a concerned look on his face. "Uh... that might be a little weird if you say it to yourself."

Monday, January 19, 2009

return of the pint-sized critic

Coincidentally, we've been listening to No! too. Bet has taken quite a shine to Clap Your Hands; every few minutes he asks me - intensely - to play it "many, many times." It's been a challenge to get him to even wait out the other songs.

At supper, though, he asked for In the Middle, listened for a while, then said what sounded like "I dislike it."

Did you really just say that? "You don't like it?"

"I duslike it."

"You... do like it?"

"I don't love it. I dus like it."

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You just like it.

Good grief.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Scene: Bet decides - too late - that he didn't finish saying goodbye to someone. Bawling ensues.

BET: Nooooooo! Don't go awaaaaaaay!

EEMA: Aw, Bet. That was pretty sad, huh?

BET: [voice breaking] I just want to be happy!

[drops face onto my shoulder, then rubs tears and goes off to play]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

criblog: first day home

This morning on the monitor:

ALEPH: mumble mumble mumble mumble



           mumble mumble mumble.

It is sweeter than I can even explain to be home.

The phone calls got worse before they got better (EEMA: I love you. ALEPH: I can't answer right now. EEMA: You don't have to answer, sweetheart, I'm just going to talk to you. ALEPH: I don't want you to talk to me right now.) but the reunion was amazing. Aleph launched himself at me and gave me more forward-facing hugs* than I've ever received from him in his life; I guess it was essentially one long hug, since he'd pull away for a moment and then just relaunch himself into my arms. Bet was too excited to even hug me, and stood quivering like an arrow and talking nonstop. Then they spent an hour snuggling and crawling all over me like puppies.

They're still shaky, and there's some crying every time I'm out of their sight unless I explain I'm not going to Israel, I'm just going down the hall.

And it was hard on me, too. I had a tough time on the plane ride there, thinking intentionally putting an ocean between myself and my babies? what am I DOING? But I knew it had to be done. And as one of my sisters told me, it might not be their favorite way to learn it, but it's still worth learning:

Eema has to go away sometimes. BUT! she comes back.

* More on that another time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

phone call day 3: the guilting

EEMA: Hi Aleph! I love you!

ALEPH: I can't answer.

MARY POPPINS: Aleph, do you want to say anything to Eema?

ALEPH: [crying] No! No! [runs away]


BET: Eema, are you still there?

EEMA: Yes, sweetheart! I'm still here.

BET: Eema, I want to tell you something.

EEMA: Ok, sweetie! What do you want to tell me?

BET: I - um - I want - um... are you still there?


MARY POPPINS: Ok Bet, we have to say bye bye now. Can you give me the phone?

BET: I'm just going to hold it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

phone call day 2

EEMA: Hi boys! I love you!

ALEPH: I can't answer.

BET: Eema, I think you should come home in half a hour.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

phone call day 1

BET: Eema, will you come back?

EEMA: Yes, sweetheart! I'm coming back on Monday.

BET: I'm just going to wait for you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

six before breakfast

One Tired Ema asked me the other day if I spend a lot of time mediating Aleph-Bet conflicts. All $#%^* day, I think I replied. But where I draw the line - I should say, where I'm trying vainly to draw the line - is mediating the imaginary ones.

Today's example:

BET: [apropos of nothing whatsoever] It's okay.

ALEPH: It's not okay.

BET: It is okay!

ALEPH: [starting to cry] No! No it's not okay!

EEMA: [losing cool slightly] OKAY OKAY OKAY! We are not having this conversation!!


So apropos of nothing, I'm leaving the country and my husband and my TWO SMALL CHILDREN (sob) tomorrow for a much-needed visit to my sisters in beautiful war-torn Israel. I've never left the boys for as much as 24 hours before.

I'm trying to make a sticker chart so the boys can cross off the 8 days I'll be gone, but it's reminding me very unfortunately of the felt menorah hangings we made for them to count 8 days of Chanuka. This is like the anti-Chanuka, I'm thinking of explaining to them. Woo-hoo.

I hope it's not too self-centered to use worrying about the political situation as a way to distract myself from worrying about the kids. They will be okay. I will be okay. It's going to be okay.

But if you have any good thoughts to spare in our general direction, they'd sure be appreciated.

Friday, January 2, 2009

my other son the lawyer

SCENE: Aleph is completely tranced out munching a cookie. I'm trying to get the kids dressed and out the door.

EEMA: Aleph, come here please. I need to change your diaper.

ALEPH: I want to finish my cookie.

EEMA: I know, but I need to change you first. Why don't you put the cookie down, and you can come back and finish it when we're done.

ALEPH: I'm just gonna put it down in my tummy.