Next post: our shabbos with the DSIL family. First, though, let me tell you the tale of Barak's Best Day.
Thursday. I had a work-at-home day, and Barak did not have school. When our babysitter arrived, he was still asleep, so I disappeared into my office--to discover that the notes I needed to write the speech I had to do had not materialized, and since it was midnight in the country they were supposed to be getting faxed from there was not much hope of their arriving. (Yeah, I do run-on sentences like that in my speeches too. They go over great. That's why I get paid the big bucks.) I'd already worked enough hours for the week, so I didn't really need to work. But our babysitter was here. What to do? I ran through my options. I could do some work anyway. I could cook for Shabbos. I could do some laundry. I could give the babysitter the day off. Or...
I came out of my office. Barak was sitting in his highchair grumpily eating breakfast.
Suddenly, breakfast is much less grumpy. "Imma go to work?"
"No, I'm all done working."
"Imma all done go to work?"
"Barak, do you want to go on a trip?"
Barak stops in his tracks.
"Go onna trip? Go onna trip wit' Imma?"
"Yeah. Do you want to go on a trip with Imma?"
A Trip, by the way, means that we are going somewhere by means of a mechanical conveyance--bus, car, or plane. Right before I went back to work, I decided to take Barak in to my office. He, MHH, Iyyar and I all took the bus 25 minutes to where I work, I picked up what I needed, we went to Ben and Jerry's, and we took the bus home. It was a memorable trip. For weeks afterward, whenever he saw a bus, he'd ask to go onna trip.
So, we went onna trip. It was raining, so we got our raincoats on, his with the blue frogs and mine without. I got the big orange backpack and the umbrella. I asked him to hold my hand, and we said bye-bye to Ada and Iyyar, and we went out the door. First stop: the ATM. I used the wheelchair-accessible kiosk and let Barak push all the buttons. "Help Imma! I help Imma!" Then we went to the bus shelter. "I go innair!" He climbed up on the bench and sat there, very businesslike, while we waited for the bus. The bus shelter is at a pretty busy intersection, and we saw many exciting things--trucks, tow trucks, schoolbuses, even--wonders!--a concrete mixer. And then the bus came! Oh, the joy and excitement!
"Go innair schoolbus please!" "Yup, we're going on! Hold my hand please!" He climbed up the big stairs all by himself, got up on a seat, and looked around with absolutely enormous eyes. In the bus. I'm in the bus! "Barak, do you want to sit in my lap or sit by yourself?" "Sit by myself." "Okay, but if you sit by yourself you can't see out the window. You can't see all the trucks." Pause while Barak considers this. "Sit in my lap please."
He sat in my lap and we pointed out all the heavy machinery we saw going past. Look, a dumpster truck! A garbage truck! Another concrete mixer! We got off the bus. Barak looked around at the intersection, got a thoughtful look, and said, "Ice cream cone please."
Unbelievable. We have been on two city bus trips with Barak. The one where we got an ice cream cone was in July. He remembered. "No, we're not getting an ice cream cone today. But we can get a present for Chanuka, okay?"
It was the sixth day of Chanuka, so I thought a present or two was reasonable; we got some new Play-Doh and I let Barak pick out a Caterpillar backhoe loader. (Total cost: $7.) Then we crossed the street to the grocery store--the one that has shopping carts with cars. Meaning, the carts are like those big Little Tykes cars, but with a shopping cart on top. Barak saw them and gazed in wonder. "Go innair car?" "Sure, go in!" He raced over, got in, and I don't think he stopped giggling and laughing and screaming with joy the whole time I shopped. He climbed around in the seat, stuck his head out the rear window (bad driving practice, as I told him), and turned both steering wheels in opposite directions (another safety hazard). When the climbing around got to be a bit much I told him I couldn't move unless he stopped playing and drove already. I stopped the cart whenever he wasn't driving. "Imma go please!" "Barak, I can't go! You have to drive! Otherwise the car doesn't move. " "Iss notta car. Issa forklift!" "Okay then, could you drive the forklift please? I want to pay for the groceries in this lifetime," "Yeah. Drivea heavy loads!" The grocery store delivers, and we were having Shabbos guests, so I did indeed have a heavy load; Barak noted with pleasure the addition of orange juice and Chex ("I gotta Chek! I gotta two Chex!") to the cart.
On the way out, I decided to get a smoothie. We paid, and I stuck the straw in the smoothie and asked Barak if he wanted to share. "I'll take a turn then you take a turn, okay? It's my turn, so I'm going to take a sip." I took a sip. "Now it's your turn." I handed it over, he took a sip, and a look of I-can't-believe-how-awesome-this-is spread over his face. I was crouching down by the car door, waiting for him to pass it back. "Iss my turn. Imma stand up please." Nice try, buster.
A little gentle persuasion and the turn-taking was reestablished. On the way out, Barak remembered the backhoe loader. "I holda bag please! Hold it!" "Do you want your backhoe loader?" "Yeah!" "Okay, you can hold it, but we're not going to open it until Abba lights the menorah tonight, okay?" "Kay." I put the bag down and he opened it up and rummaged around for the backhoe loader. "Chex please!" I had relinquished all my groceries to the delivery service at this point--my cartload of groceries was gone and all I had was the orange backpack. "Barak, look, I don't have the groceries anymore. They're at the store. " "Chex please!" Did he really think that all the groceries, or even just that huge box of Chex was in the backpack?
We took the bus home, with much rejoicing, and there were Ada and Iyyar, waiting for us in the kitchen. "Barak, do you want to tell Ada what we did?"
"I go onna trip! Go onna trip onna bus wit Imma! Drive car inna store! Heavy loads!"
It takes me an hour to write a post to say what we did. Barak, he can tell it in four sentences.