Saturday, June 28, 2008

First shabbos in the holy land

I will confess it didn't begin totally auspiciously--there was much screaming and jumping around at bedtime. But everyone was in bed by the time Abba go home from shul, the table was set, and, for the first time in (cough cough), I actually davened maariv. So amazing--I could look out the window and see the orange sun sitting on the horizon, and when I came back down from putting Avtalyon back to sleep it had just vanished, right at shkia. I know of course that this is just a function of being on the fifth floor, but still--it's pretty cool and we don't get it at home.

One delicious dinner of food I didn't cook later, I fell asleep on the couch, waking up at 2 am to hear a screaming Avtalyon. He's been sleeping really, really badly this week, and Thursday night woke up every single time I put him down, all night long--the only sleep he got was in my arms, and I only got sleep sitting up. Friday he had some long naps in the stroller, and Friday night was back to his "but I can't sleep!"routine. I decided to try him in the little folding baby cot, instead of the carseat he's preferred his whole life, and guess what--he slept! Till 5 am! I, however, was wide awake, as was MHH. He gave up by around 4 and got up to learn, and I got up at 5 when the baby did for an hour and a half of playtime. At 6:30, the kids woke up, just as MHH got back from davening vasikin. I gave them a quick breakfast and then off to the park.

The morning was not off to a fabulous start; nobody had slept enough and the crankiness was already in evidence. Even with the carrot of a crack-of-dawn trip to a brand new park dangling in front of him, Barak whined and kvetched and rolled around the floor with the "I need you to get me dressed for me!" routine that drives me absolutely berserk. We finally made it out the door (and down the 5 flights of stairs) a little before 8, and walked outside just as the first non-vasikin-davening men were heading past with their tallitot tucked under their arms.

It is very quiet here generally but since we are in a religious neighborhood on Shabbos morning there were no cars at all. I pointed this out to Barak.

"Barak, is it so quiet? Why is it so quiet?"

"I don't know."

"Is it because it's Shabbos? Look, are here any cars?" Barak looked around but didn't seem to know what I was talking about.

"Are we allowed to drive cars on Shabbos?"


"So, look around. Are there any cars?" He pointed at the cars parked on the side of the road.

"Dere's cars over dere."

"Yes, but are here any cars driving? Do you see anybody driving cars?"


"Why not?"

"Because we're in Israel."

"Oh. Can I climb up dere?"

He didn't seem to be getting it. And then it hit me.

"Hey Barak, do you want to do something that you never ever did before in your whole entire life?"

Barak perked up. Lately this has been his thing--saying, "I never did that before," about whatever it is he's doing. "Yeah!"

"Do you want to cross the street by yourself?"

He looked at me as though I had completely lost my mind. "You can if you want." We stopped at the side of the road and I looked up and down to confirm that it was in fact completely deserted, which, so far as vehicular traffic anyway, it was. "Okay, go ahead." Barak's mouth at this point was gaping open and he was staring at me in complete shock. "It's okay. Go ahead." So he did, walking with an I-can't-believe-I'm getting-away-with-this grin, very quickly and carefully, across the street--all by himself. When he got there he turned around and started giggling madly. "I did it! I did it all by myself!" I crossed over with Iyyar. "Barak, how come I let you cross the street by yourself? Do I ever let you do that in America?" He shook his head. "Not in a hundred million years, right? But here it's okay because it's Israel [okay, it's a dati neighborhood in Israel] and it's Shabbos. So there's no cars. So it's okay."

Barak, still with the dazed grin, "I like Israel. I like crossing the street all by myself."

More later--Avtalyon's up. Again. Everyone had way too long naps this afternoon so I think it's going to be a wild kind of a night.


miriamp said...

Don't forget the "except in case of an emergency" thing, (that is, he should know) and teach him to look first anyway, and listen (for ambulance sirens -- are they the same in E"Y?)

But that is very, very cool, especially from a 4 year olds' perspective.

Anonymous said...

Now he's never going to want to leave Israel. All you need is for a big construction site to open up next to your subletted apartment so he can see backhoes and excavators all day, and he'd be in heaven. :-)

Jet lag is wretched. Ugh. Hope you all adjust quickly!