Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A few weeks ago I abruptly ended the arrangement whereby a neighbor walked Barak to school with her daughter and I picked both kids up and brought them home. I had no problem with this when I agreed to it, until I discovered that I was also going to have the neighbor's daughter in my house for about 25 minutes every afternoon while my neighbor picked her other daughter up from school. I tried to think of it as being neighborly, not as having been taken advantage of, but I wasn't very happy about it.

Yes, I should have said something right at the beginning, but I didn't, and the longer I let it go the harder it was to say, "you know, I really don't want to keep doing this unpaid babysitting thing." It really was a pain, because if I wanted to, say, go to the store, I had to either take everyone along or go home, take off everyone's hats/coats/mittens/boots, wait for the neighbor to come, and then re-hat/coat/mitten/boot everyone to go back out. Also, the neighbor's friend doesn't listen so well (probably partly because she needs tubes in her ears) and was a pretty high-maintenance presence in the household--not least because she and Barak would get pretty wild and crazy post-school and go tearing around the house screaming. Barak, on his own, will usually listen to me when I tell him to pipe down--but with a partner in crime totally ignoring me, it's a lot harder.

Anyway, after Avtalyon came along, the confluence of his presence and Iyyar's later naptimes meant that when Barak and his friend came home, all hell broke loose. So one day, when I returned with two children to a silent house of sleeping babies and, five minutes later, had two screaming three-year-olds, a screaming Iyyar whose nap had been abruptly terminated after 25 minutes, and a screaming Avtalyon who'd been woken up by all the other screaming, I'd had it; when the neighbor came to collect her kid, I opened the door and said, "I can't keep Plonit here any more." End of walking arrangement.

(As a side note, the Israeli friend with whom I share babysitting shook her head when she heard this story. "In Israel, if you don't like it, you say to the person, no, this is not good for me. Here, not only you not say anything--you tell everyone else! So you are mad at me. You don't tell me, but you tell everyone else. The whole city knows you are mad at me. Only I do not know!" I thought about it, and you know what, she's right. I did complain about it to my husband and some of my friends, but did I tell the neighbor? No, not until I actually exploded in her face. Not the best system, I agree.)

What I was getting at, though, with this whole long lead-up, is that now I am walking Barak to and from school. This is fine by me; it isn't far, and I like having a few minutes of one-on-one time with Barak. Lately, he has, predictably, been thinking a lot about the approach of Purim--that one day in the year on which we can eat As Much Nosh As We Want. Every few hours, he'll ask, "Imma, when it's going to be Purim?"

And I'd say, "Pretty soon--next week," or whatever.

"After Shabbos it's going to be Purim?"

"After Shabbos and then another five days."

Today, he asked me when Purim was, and I told him. He was quite pleased to hear "the day after tomorrow." Then he asked,

"What's after Purim?"

"After Purim is Pesach."

"And what's after that?"

"After Pesach is Lag Ba'Omer."

"And what's after that?"

"After Lag Ba'Omer is Shavuos."

"And what's after that?"

"After Shavuos is Rosh Hashana." I thought I'd leave out that whole Three Weeks thing for the time being.

"And what's after that?"

"After that is Yom Kippur."

"And what's after that?"

"After that is Succos."

"Yay! And what's after that?"

"After that is Simchas Torah."

"And what's after that?"

"After that is Chanuka."

"And what's after that?"

"After that is Tu b'Shvat."

"And what's after that?"

"Then it's Purim again."

"That's it?"

"Isn't that enough?!"

Purim is tomorrow night, and today I baked three cakes (two castle cake and another molded cake), about a billion cookies for shaloch manos (next year bli neder I'm doing bar cookies--none of this drop cookie business), and a pot of chicken soup. I also made dough for 40 rolls, which I have yet to bake--MHH is on his way out for eggs. Fortunately I am borrowing costumes for the kids--all of them--from my neighbor, whose three sons are roughly the same difference in ages as our own. They're going to be firefighters, and fortunately Barak is perfectly happy to be the same thing he was last year.

But having Purim erev Shabbos is sort of exhausting--seuda, seuda, and hey! more seudos! And shaloch manos! And costumes!

I'm kind of tired already.

And do you know what's after Purim?

I do.


shanna said...

La la la la la nothing comes after Purim I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA!

miriamp said...

hee hee hee, Shanna, you are so funny.

I know what comes after Purim.

Avoidance Techniques! Gee, I can't possibly clean the house around the 4 kids at home all day, and when the others come home it's even worse, so dh will have to do all the cleaning in the late late evenings after work and on Sundays while I watch and nurse the baby and toddler (alternating, of course, to keep me from being available to help with the cleaning).

Meanwhile, I'll do a lot of sewing, because somehow I can do that around the kids. But clean, uh, uh, not me! Just doesn't work. [wink]

(Truthfully, I will somehow manage to do some. Probably while the big kids neglect their homework and take themselves and the younger kids outside to play every day after school. I really can't do much around the littles.)

LC said...

And I just warned dh - who was whisked away on a 3 day business trip on no notice at all yesterday, with a planned one next week - that he certainly may NOT have a nap (either) Sunday after he comes home from shul and learning, because 'Pesach waits for no man', and I can't do it *all* by myself - especially around the very mobile 10 month old, who is rapidly learning to climb. . . dum de dum dum *dum*.

But we (Shanna warning) have matzah and grape juice already. Kedem on sale at the supermarket is a good thing.

miriamp said...

Oh, I have a cabinet full of shmurah matzo downstairs. But *I* don't do the shopping, and dh has learned the hard way that if you don't grab the ($12/lb!) hand shmurah when it comes in (to our little tiny local Kosher store), you don't get any, and you have to go spend $20-$30/lb at Stop&Shop instead. We have machine shmurah and shmurah matzo meal too. I don't happen to know the prices on those, but I'm sure they were also better than the supermarket.

And I updated the shopping list for him, so we've actually started preparing besides the matzo. *I* can deal with thinking about meal planning and shopping and cooking... it's the cleaning that gets me every time.