Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bits and bobs

1. I mentioned that a few weeks ago--three?-- I was graced with a visit from my knitting buddy, Cecilia. Apparently, she took some surreptitious photographs of [what my husband gets very uncomfortable when I call] our knitting orgy. You know you've had fun with your knitting when your guest room looks like this: What you see here is the basket of fish I mentioned (well, you can just see the edge of the basket in the left of the photo; the fish, clearly, have been involved in some jumping.) Cecilia was supposed to turn that into this:It didn't happen, in the end, what with all the noodlemaking and so on that went on. But I can't complain, because not only did Cecilia bring sweaters for the boys, she also brought something for me:Actually, she brought two somethings (shawls, not wheels), and let me pick. I picked the other shawl, but I show this one because, upon seeing it, I immediately had to do what any knitter of lace will be tempted to do: pull off my wedding ring and try to slide the shawl through. It fit--and I have size 5 fingers.

2. In non-knitting-related news: I keep thinking, as Barak comes up with new and ever more articulate sentences, that I have got to blog about this one, or this one, or this one. And then when I sit down at my computer, I can't remember any of them. One I'm thinking of now, though, was--well, let me back up. Last night, erev Shabbos, I discovered too late that the noise machine that mimics the sounds of the dishwasher (it says "surf" but really it is "dishwasher with seagulls") had been turned off by our babysitter without anyone noticing prior to candlelighting. I subsequently had the chance of discovering that no, it was not coincidence that the baby started sleeping better the day I got the machine, and no, he does not sleep any better now without it than he did a month ago. He woke up every half hour or more all night, and did a lot of screaming. By the time the sun came up, I was wiped, and by the time he stopped screaming (9 am or so) I crashed. MHH, being kind, decided to have mercy on his wife and daven at home instead of going to shul.

Back to Barak. He noticed that this was very odd. Abba goes to shul every day. When Abba was davening in the living room, he came back to me, still trying to calm the baby in the kitchen.

"Abbas davenen?"

"Yes, sweetie, he's davening."

"No Abbas davenen innen shul?"

"No, sweetie, he's davening at home today."

"Abba daven innen room?"

"Right, he's davening in the living room."


3. As you may have noticed from the foregoing, Barak has a little bit of an issue with pronouns, personal and possessive. If he sees something that is Iyyar's--toy, blanket, pluggie, whatever, and wishes to identify it, he'll say, "Dass for baby's?" If it's mine, he'll say, "Dass for Imma's?"

4. (I'm remembering all the language stuff now.) Barak's new phrase of choice, unfortunately, is "I can't." It means, of course, "I don't want to." It makes sense. If he asks me for something and I definitively won't do it, I say "I can't." I can't give you juice, we're out. I can't turn the light on, it's Shabbos. I can't take you to the park, it's pouring rain. So it's logical, really, that when asked to do something he absolutely, definitively, doesn't plan on doing, he says, "I can't do it."

5. Shabbos ends early now, early enough that Barak is not only up for Havdalah, but an hour or so thereafter. Tonight, I wanted to deal with some of the three overflowing baskets of laundry that had been parked in our bedroom since Thursday. I put the baby on the bed and started folding the clean stuff at breakneck pace while MHH was at maariv, so that I could load a basket with sorted dirty stuff for him to take down to the basement when he got home. Iyyar thought this was fine; he enjoys rolling around in piles of clean laundry and chewing on a handy sock or washcloth. Barak preferred to play in the living room, which made me nervous; I like to have him a little closer, so I can keep an eye on him. "Barak, do you want to come help Imma with the laundry?" To my surprise, he dropped his forklift and came right in. "Barak help Imma!"

And wouldn't you know, he started out by actually helping--he pushed a basket full of clean clothes from the hall into the bedroom. "Push it! Help Imma!" I applauded this effort, while still folding. Then, of course, he wanted to help more, by taking laundry out of the basket and putting it on the bed--just what I was doing, of course, except that I was taking the clean laundry. I encouraged him to move laundry between dirty baskets--forget having it sorted for Abba--and he got into that. Then he discovered something he hadn't realized--that the cosleeper (now in bassinet format) had a zip-open storage section underneath. What's the logical thing to do here? Why, unzip it and fill it with dirty laundry, naturally. I was so glad he wasn't stopping me from putting away clean laundry I let him, with a mental note to get it all out of there before putting the baby down. Just as he was finishing, I heard the back door open and in came Abba. "Where'd all the dirty laundry go? Did you put a load in?" Not exactly...

6. Next motzai Shabbos we are getting not one but TWO very exciting guests--Grandma E AND Grandpa M! Grandpa M being, perhaps, the only person I know more excited about choo-choo trains, trucks, and big engines than Barak. They should get along well...

7. Oh, and on the subject of large machinery--there is a construction project a few blocks from us that we've been watching for a while. It's a three-story apartment building that started going up early summer and is now nearly done. On Thursday, on my way to get Barak at playgroup, I discovered that there was a genuine concrete mixer parked out front. Hmm, I thought. (Barak, if you have not guessed, LOVES what he terms cememixer trucks.) "Are you going to be pouring any concrete any time soon?" I asked the bored-looking man standing next to the truck. "Any second now, " he said. "As soon as the guy comes around with the wheelbarrows." Well then.

I picked Barak up. He didn't want to go, because he knows that after school (which he still calls camp...) comes the Dreaded Night-Night. "Barak, do you want to see a concrete mixer? Should we go watch!" "Go watch!" We walked back to where I'd seen the truck, and sure enough, they started to pour the concrete for the path on the side of the building. Ooh. Very exciting. I started explaining to Barak, in Hungarian, what was going on: "See, that man is bringing the wheelbarrow to the other man, and he has to run very fast so that the concrete doesn't get hard before he puts it down." In a few minutes, a Chassidisch woman with her young son (aged three or so) and baby came by and stopped to watch as well. She started explaining to him in Yiddish the exact same thing I was saying in Hungarian: "See, that man is bringing the wheelbarrow to the other man, and he has to run very fast so that the concrete doesn't get hard before he puts it down." A little microcosm of East European Jewish mothering there. Or something.

8. I mentioned over the summer that we have a Nigerian family living upstairs. They have a little boy, around Barak's age, named Hakim. Hakim does a lot of screaming, and I hear his mother trying to get him to do things in Yoruba. To me, it sounds like "Blah blah blah blah blah cookie blah blah blah." Yesterday, we heard Hakim crying very loudly indeed. Barak, busy with something in the kitchen, paused. "Hakim crying?"

"Yeah, I think he is crying."

"Hakim go innair crib?"

Oy. The world according to Barak, right there.

9. Wow, this has been my longest post in a while. I was going to say something about MOChassid's new CD, which we love, but I think I'll just leave it there and save the haskama for another time.


Nancy J said...

With Winter coming on, the boys will love watching the snow removal equipment! Gorgeous shawl. And fun tessalating fish!

jasmin said...

Very cool post! Enjoyed reading it.

When my son was at the same linguistic stage as Barak, I had a write on-wipe off type of board on my fridge. I'd note what he'd said on there as soon as I could (most of the time he seemed to be saying those things in the kitchen anyhow) and then once a week or two I'd transcribe them in his baby book and e-mail them out to doting relatives. That's how a lot of the Chronicles got started too. Just a suggestion for recording more of those too-quickly-past developments.

Deborah said...

I love the multiple E. European language comments on the cement pouring. I wonder what the guys doing the work thought if they heard you.

And I have thought for years that the demarcation between childhood and adult status may have something to do with sleeping changing from something to be dreaded to something to be looked forward to.

Well, your family may be the exception to the rule.