Saturday, March 10, 2007


The scene: a silent auction for the bais yaakov. I have Iyyar in the sling. A lady in a sheitel spies me and frowns. She comes up to me. I sense the beginnings of a mothering drive-by. I am not disappointed.

Lady in sheitel: What is that you've got him in?

Me: A sling. It's called a Maya Wrap.

LIS: Oh, how interesting. Where did you get it?

Me: It's made in Guatemala, but I got it online.

[Pause while LIS tries to figure out how to tell me indirectly that I should not have my baby in the sling.]

LIS: Is he comfortable in there?

Me: He looks pretty happy.

LIS: Doesn't that hurt your back?

Me: Not if I wear it right, no.

LIS: Wouldn't he be happier in a stroller?

Me: I don't think so. He's close to me like this and he can see everything much better.

LIS: Do you carry him in that a lot?

Me: Pretty often.

LIS: Aren't you afraid he'll get a little... too attached?

Me: No.

* * *

The scene: Our kitchen, late Shabbos afternoon. Barak is eating yogurt, I'm feeding Iyyar mashed banana, and MHH is eating leftover cholent.

Barak: Wassat?

MHH: It's cholent!

Barak: Abba eating a cholent? Iss yummy?

MHH: It's cholent! It's so geshmak!

Without any warning, MHH and I burst into the Uncle Moishy cholent song, at full operatic throttle. "Cholent! Cholent! Cholent a la kiddush! Cholent! Cholent! Cholent so delicious..." He sings a line, I sing a line, we sing a few lines together. Barak watches and grins. After the grand finale "... say, l'chovod Shabbos kodesh, and put it on the flaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!" MHH is bent into the refrigerator looking for something.

Me: Are we weird?

MHH: We have character.

* * *

The scene: The bathroom, erev Shabbos. I'm getting dressed. I'm getting over being annoyed at MHH, who was an hour late getting home from work and put about 3/4 of a stick of butter in the two-people's-worth of pasta I'd asked him to take off the stove when I raced out to get a few things before Shabbos. Drain it in the colander, put it back in the pot, and add a little butter so it won't stick, I said. He obediently added three quarters of a stick of butter. And some olive oil, because, you know, that's healthier than butter. And then he returned the pot to the flame, because I hadn't said anything about turning the stove off. [Think Amelia Bedelia.] So the noodles that had been destined for Barak's eponymous doodles cheese became deep-fried doodles. Good intentions and all, but I am slightly grumpy and MHH knows it.

Barak: Poop potty please. Abba, read a book please! Read a cat book!

MHH: I can't read you the cat book [Millions of Cats]. That's a library book. Imma doesn't let you read library books in the bathroom. Should I tell you the story?

Barak: Yeah!

MHH: [I am totally not going to do this justice. I was hurting myself laughing. But I'll try.] So, this is a story about Jimmy. [All his stories are about Jimmy. Jimmy has sort of a Brooklyn accent, and sounds like he drives a cab.] Jimmy, his wife, she's lonely. She says, Jimmy! Go get me a cat! And Jimmy, you know, he wants to make his wife happy. He's a good guy, and he wants to make his wife happy. So what does he do? He says, sure, I'll go right now. I'll go get you a cat. And his wife says, I really want a cat, okay? So don't come back without a cat. And Jimmy, you know, he takes his wife very seriously and he says [with determination] okay, I'm gonna go get you a cat. And he goes to get a cat. So he walks and walks and walks, and it's really late, and he's kind of tired, but he's gonna get his wife a cat. And because he really loves his wife, he stops and picks her up a diet coke, too, 'cause she likes that. So he's looking for a cat. And you know, it's not easy, because this isn't Yerushalayim where you just shoot a tranquilizer dart down the middle of the street and you hit a fifty-pound cat you can haul home. No no. This is America, where it's harder. And Jimmy, he's a yiras shamayim, so he's not going to go steal someone's cat. What's he going to do? Well eventually, he hears the sound of meowing. He hears kittens meowing, and he thinks, gevaldik! Cats! He goes to the house where he hears the meowing, and he rings the doorbell. And this lady, she answers the door, and he says, "Lady! I'm lookin' for some cats! My wife, ah, she needs a cat. You gotta cat?" And the lady says, well, yeah, I've got this cat, but she just gave birth to a hundred kittens. And Jimmy says, "A hundred! Well, my wife only wants one." And the lady says, well, my cat, you know, she was having some a, some difficulty conceiving, you know, so we got her on ["What's that drug that makes you have triplets?" "Clomid."] So we got her on Clomid. And we didn't know, you know, that she's a Yerushalmi cat. And I guess they react funny to Clomid, because she had a hundred kittens. But they're all very attached to each other, so you'd have to take them together. And Jimmy, he looks at this cat, and she's like a tiger! Like a saber-toothed tiger! ["Tiger so scary?" "Yeah, they're very scary."] She's like fifty feet long! She fills up the whole living room. And Jimmy thinks about it, because they live in a one-room apartment, but the room is pretty big and he thinks she'll fit as long as she doesn't stretch out too much. So it's okay. So he says, okay, I'll take 'em. Boy, is my wife going to be happy! She only wanted one cat, and looka what I got her! And he takes the mother cat--she's looking kind of tired, because you know, she's nursing a hundred kittens, and that's not easy--and he thinks, my wife will really like this, because it'll be some company for her while she's nursing the baby--and the hundred kittens, and he takes them home. But his wife's not there when he gets there, so he doesn't know what to do. Because the cats, they all, you know, they need to poop potty. Just like you. And he doesn't have a litterbox. Now all these kittens, they're crossing their legs, all four hundred of them--four hundred and four, counting the mother--and he doesn't know what to do. And they're hungry. So he goes and..."

[I forget the rest. But I forgave him for the noodles.]


uberimma said...

Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, Jimmy proceeded to take them to the playground where they took turns using the sandbox. Subsequently, realizing he couldn't always bring them to the playground each time, he actually managed to transport the sand to his living room. Also, he was feeding them tossed out sushi from behind the local grocery store. I'm not sure that I ever said "sabre toothed" in the original, but that's a pretty good addition. Oh yeah, Jimmy's wife went to her mother for a week, but maybe she came home a little early because she missed Jimmy (you know, he's just one of those guys who really does mean well, even if things sometimes go awry). There was some other details I could change, but I feel that it's probably close enough now that there's no need to tweak it.

Cecilia said...

I'm reading your blog in HK!

LeahChaya said...

Me: A sling. It's called a Maya Wrap.
I *LOVE* my MayaWrap. But it usually only got used for around the house and shlepping sleeping kids out of the car into bed.

And boy, do we know about Amelia Bedelia syndrome around here :) as well as what seems to look disturbingly like, "if I do a lousy job can I get out of it before it's done?" Grrr.

LeahChaya said...

And oh, yeah - DH doesn't generally sing Uncle Moishy songs, but he has frequently been known to burst into a zemer (full volume) walking home from shul on Shabbos.

. . . and I used to wonder why my oldest (at age 2) would burst into Tzur Mishelo in the middle of the grocery store Tuesday morning!

Deborah said...

Huh. Both my kids were in something very similar to a sling for much longer than any American kids--of course they started much later, too.

And I carried Isaac on my back in an ayallo like Indian ladies do in Bolivia sometimes also--couldn't do it there, though--too scandalous!

Neither one seems to have suffered from being overattached. In fact, I think it helped both of them overcome institutional-type behavior troubles they each had from being in orphanages.

How funny (in a sad way) we are in the US. Make those kids be on their own ASAP.

Deborah said...

Oh, and I love the phrase 'drive-by mothering'!

Yasmin said...


Yasmin said...

Oh, I wanted to clarify: I love the story about Jimmy!

More Jimmy stories in the blog, please, Imma!!!

Pat DeLeeuw said...

I wish they had had those slings in the 70's/80's when I had 3 under the age of 5!!!! Always follow your own instincts about what works for you and your children and you and they will be happy!!! Maybe the LIS would be happier if a sling was available when she was a baby!