What Do They Tell You About Israel?

Alice goes to a Jewish camp. It was a fluke that she wound up there. The Jewish camp is affiliated with her Jewish school - it’s also kind of a fluke that she went there - so all of her best friends go to this camp, and the price is great, and they have taught her how to swim and to do cartwheels, and she is insanely happy and confident as a result, so what else could I possibly hope for? The fact that it is a Jewish camp was never a selling point for us.

Last camp visiting day parents were serenaded with Jewish folk singing - I’ve Got Ruach (spirit)! and Shalom Alechem were sung on the top of little four year old lungs while parents ate watermelon and fanned themselves with programs of the day’s activities. It was casual, and frankly she could have been singing Old Mac Donald and I would have been equally moved by the content of each song.

Tonight I asked Alice if they are talking about what’s going on in Israel at camp. She paused and said “Eitan died”.

I said “What? Oh my goodness! Your friend Eitan did not die. What do you mean?”.

She happens to have a friend named Eitan, who is Israeli, so I was really thrown for a second.

"No, not my Eitan. The Eitan soldier in Israel. My friend Eitan is too little to die, right mommy?"

I whispered “Thank goodness he is safe”

I couldn’t answer her squarely because if he was a Palestinian boy living in Gaza, he would not be too little to die.

How do you talk about these complicated and devastating matters with a five year old who will dress in blue and white for Israel Day, wave an Israeli flag and then eat Popsicles before getting on the bus home? She loves Israel for no reason other than people told her to.

Someone is talking about the mess in Israel at camp, and I can only hope that they are talking about it in a way that includes the ugly, the heroic, the brave, the tragic and everything else I know I have missed. I am struggling to find the right words to talk to her, and I can only hope that other adults around her feel equally shaky in what to say.

I read my Facebook feed, and see my friends posts that say “Read This - All You Need to Know About What Is Happening In Israel” linked to an article from the Jerusalem Times. Others link to articles criticizing the Israeli Military for using advanced combat strategy on civilian populations. Each side comes at this conflict with so much conviction as if their Facebook opinions had any sort of real impact on the outcome.

I am lying in the Dead Sea covered in mud. None of us know anything, and none of us know what to say to our children. I hope that by the time Israel Day happens at camp, there is peace.

So I Drank A Few Beers With Ti Ti

My husband’s sister is my sister. We call her Ti Ti, and I feel totally confident in saying that if I die everyone will be OK because Ti Ti will tell everyone to get their shit together. Then she will tell everyone to get in their bathing suits, get a big cup, fill it with ice, fill it with water, get a straw and lay outside while the sun is still out so that they can all get a tan.

Ti Ti took me out for my birthday because she knows that I need a god damned manicure. She knows that I need a minute to gossip and shoot the shit and frankly, I think she likes spending time with me too because I say ridiculous things.

We went downtown and had a few beers. They were delicious and we also ate some bread and mushrooms with our beer and had the kind of fun you can only have with the friends that you trust and you know they know when you are full of shit. She calls you on it, and loves you more for it.

I love my Ti Ti, and my kids love her more. Days like today make me feel lucky. I am crying on a train back to the suburbs. Perhaps beer # 2 is making me emotional. Perhaps I am feeling gratitude. I like to believe it is the later.

Fireflies

Sick days mean that I watch Thomas the Train.

Sick days mean that I spend $30 at the doctor so that they can tell me me Owen has a fever.

Sick days mean I eat chocolate and soup.

Sick days mean I answer emails, watch The Real Housewives and play “Animal Sounds” on the iPad at the same time.

Sick days mean Alice needs extra love

Sick days mean she and I get to go to a free concert.

Sick days mean we chew gum at the concert.

Sick days mean that on our walk home from the concert Alice discovers fireflies.

Sick days mean that she begs Peter to have a sip of beer while we sit on the front steps, and we give it to her. She likes it.

Sick days mean Peter gets a jar and they run around the front yard and catch fireflies.

Sick days mean Alice gets extra cuddles before bed and we both say that we are lucky.

Sick days mean that Alice says we are lucky because there are “homesick” people who have to sleep on leaves.

Sick days mean I tell her she means “homeless”and that’s she’s right, we are very very lucky.

Sick days mean that I kiss her good night and tell her I love her more than life.

Sick days mean that the day was unusual and I liked it more than I have liked a day in a long while.

Getting ready to fly.

I Could Share My First Chapter With You But That Would Be Cheating

I have such an amazing first chapter for the Magical Realism Memoir I am writing in my brain on the car ride to work. I mean it’s so good that every time I think about actually writing it I cry. Then I stop at a red light, check Facebook and look at my Blackberry to figure out what my first meeting of the day is. Then a car honks at me and I make a left.

This blog post was going to be me actually writing that first chapter. Taking the required hour to document the bones, let my thoughts finally breathe on the page, let everyone who follows me religiously (Hi Mom) comment, tell me how awesome I am, say things like “Seriously, you have to write this book”, “You are so dark”, “I’m peeing. You have to stop being so funny”, “I will never read again. This chapter ruined me for words for forever”. But then I thought better of it because I know that all writing this chapter will do is frustrate the boogers out of me.

Nothing in my life resembles the life of someone who is seriously writing a book. I wake up at six with Owen The Terrible - he has become a Godzilla-esq toddler destroying everything in his path. I get the kids to school and then take 15 minutes to daydream my book on the way to work. I work at the office until 7:30-8 most nights and if not there, the work comes home with me. The kids are all consuming. The hubby needs some love too. Bills gotta get paid, food cooked, bath time, bed time and I am cooked. I fold up into a bundle of mush and the last thing I would even consider doing is be creative.

I think the only feasible solutions to my significant lack if time to blow America’s mind with my profundity are the following:
- Bank Robbery - I will either get away with it or go to jail. Either way I will be afforded lots of time to write.

-Organ Donation - Again, I will either have the funds or will be afforded recovery time to write.

-Indescent Proposal - Perhaps a billionaire will wager one night with Peter for the sum of one million dollars?I know Woody Harrelson freaked out on Demi and all, so I’m not saying this would end well, but I would have time and another chapter for my memoir.

Meanwhile, one day I will have time and I will give birth to beautiful prose and you will all cry and laugh and say “She was such a bitch in high school”. And I was, so I get it. One day guys. One day. Not today.

The Way He Talks To Me

  • Me: Owie, what's my name?
  • Owen: Cracker
  • Me: What's my name?
  • Owen: Dada
  • Me: No, Owie. I'm not Dada! What's my name?
  • Owen: Donut.
  • Me: Donut!? I'm not donut! I'm Mama.
  • Owen: Mama,
  • Me: Want to watch TV?
  • Owen: TVeeeeeeeee!
  • Me: Sesame Street?
  • Owen: Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!
  • Me: What's my name?
  • Owen: Cracker
  • He is so mean. I think I prefer Donut to Cracker though.

35

I am 35. It happened yesterday in the same way that someone gains half a pound. Slowly and it crept up pretty quickly. Might be water retention or maybe it’s the bag of Doritos I ate between meetings last week. In either case it happened, and now I am 35.

When my mom was 35, I was ten. She was about to embark on the wildest journey of her life; divorce followed by two children becoming angst-riddled teens. Her mid thirties were tough years for her and tough years for me and my brother ( and father ). There was a lot of sadness, messy ness in trying to figure it all out. It felt like we were all falling apart and chasing one another with a needle and thread to sew one another back together.

When I compare my point in time to hers, which I am prone to do, we could not be further away. Marriage in tact - check. Kids under ten - check. But I am only able to actually understand what the experience of going through a divorce at 35 must have been like. Grueling, heartbreaking, nauseating, maddening, vile, a relief and numbing.

How can a thirty five year old woman be expected to be responsible for all of these people and choices? It seems so silly to write that and even so the sentiment feels so palpable. Really what I think I am saying is How is it possible that I became a grown up? Here I am, having babies, buying a home, working, having a husband and I feel like I am brand new to the world. I can’t possibly be 35. Time has played a wicked trick on me, and I want my twenties back.

Last night I went to dinner with Peter, the kids, my mom, stepfather ( things worked out great for both of my parents. They found great partners whom we all love) and my grandparents to celebrate my birthday. The kids were the worst. Owen was eating and gagging on crayons all night and Alice was doing her best impression of being someone else’s child. I looked over at my mom and said “Happy Birthday to me to you because I actually get it now”. She looked at me and said “It was the happiest day of my life”. I looked over at Alice and Owen chasing my mylar balloon around the restaurant, diving under the tables of the other patrons in the restaurant, screaming at each other as loud as they could, and I knew she was not lying.

If You Get Out Of Bed

  • Me: Alice, you need to stay in bed tonight.
  • Alice: I know
  • Me: I just got off the phone with Daddy and he said he is going to eat your tushy if you get out of bed.
  • Alice: He can't do that. If he does that it will look like he has boobs in his belly
  • True. It would look like he has boobs in his belly if he ate her tushy.
  • Amazing how rational she is considering that she has acted like a gnome on methamphetamines every morning at two in the morning for the past five nights.

Said Today

Alice:

Mommy, I think we should make S’mores for my teachers because they are so nice to me. I know how we can make them. We can take the crackers we have, rub off the salt, put blue frosting on it, add marshmallows and smush them together. They are so kind and I think they will love them.

Owen:
Buuurt (This is either a reference to a bird or Burt from Sesame Street)

Good thing he’s pretty.

Mother’s Day is Magic Until Nap Time

I was awoken at 8:45 to Alice singing “Happy Mother’s Day”. Owen was right behind her throwing his arms in the air and shrieking “Dada!”. He is still confused, but at least he knew that it was MY day.

French toast and coffee was brought to my bed by my adoring husband, and we all piled into the car to drive ME to the spa to get a massage.

My massage was followed by a wonderful lunch where we went around the table and everyone shared their favorite thing about ME! And then I told them what I love about them. It was magic. Hugs and kisses abounded, music softly played in the background and everyone in the restaurant looked at us with admiration and I know that they were secretly thinking “those children are so adorable and that family loves one another so much. We should be more like them”.

Then it was 2:00. Owen started to throw chunks of bread across the table, and Alice started negotiating for candy. Suddenly and without warning Owen started screaming “Out. Owieeout” because the time in his high chair was officially over. The fantasy was over. The entire restaurant turned to look at us and without saying anything, their collective stares said “Get Out! You are ruining Mother’s Day”.

Before we could go, I had to run a quick errand; last minute Mother’s Day gift shopping for my mom and grandma. Alice decides she needs to take pieces of the display in the department store so that she can paint them in her art studio. I said “No, Sweetie. You can’t take home parts if the store to paint on them” in my best “Mother of the Year” voice possible. “But moommmyyy! I have to paint it in my studio”.

It was going to happen, a Mother’s Day meltdown. I had to act quickly. Deep breath Kim. After all, it IS YOUR day. I handed her the plastic ring and said “If you ask the sales lady if you can have this, I bet she will say yes”. “No, you ask her. You have to because you are being mean to me.”

Holy shit little girl. Today is NOT the day to throw around phrases like “you’re mean” or to fold your little arms and stomp your little foot. Today is the day that you paint me pictures and whisper sweet things like “you are the best mommy” and “you smell like yummy flowers” in my ear and then go entertain your self and your brother for hours while I relax and drink sangria and everybody talks about how special I am. Didn’t you get that note this morning? I don’t care that it’s 2:30 and your brother is screaming “No! Cracker!” on the top of his lungs! This is my day and it’s your job to make me feel like I am doing a good job raising you so just be cool, ok?

Make a long story short, she got the plastic thing, rode the wave of good and bad all day, and just cried out from bed “Daddy, you forgot to turn on the fan and now I am too hot to sleep. It’s all your fault”. Friends, there is no escaping it. You can call the day whatever you want, but in end, I am a mom, they are kids and Peter is a dad. The day is way too long for someone not to act like a total butthole. Pretty lucky they are my buttholes though.