Thursday, January 27, 2011

A day in the life

The alarm goes off at 6:15, but I never hear it. I wake up when my husband pokes his head in the bedroom and says, "It's almost 7, you'd better get up." Almost 7 is WAY too late, so I get up and get dressed and hear assorted small boys in assorted states of undress shuttle around the house, looking for shoes, discussing lunches, requesting peanut butter AND HONEY AND CINNAMON NOT JELLY PLEASE. Is there a string cheese left in the fridge? Can I have a red apple, not cutted up? Marika is usually still asleep so once I am mostly dressed I go in and pick her up, all warm and sleepy with a funky bedhead, and nurse her and change her diaper and get her dressed; at this point it is around 7:15 and Abba has put Iyyar in the neighbors' car for his trip to gan. Barak and I should be out the door by 7:20 but it's usually more like 7:30 these days (we need to work on that). Check for keys, bus pass, phone, and wallet, put Marika in the snugli (which is really a my tai) and out the door. Turn right, through the gate, down the stairs, and along the dirt path; over the bridge over the highway and across the street to wait for the bus. Invariably, the bus trundles past as we are crossing the bridge. On the bus, which is usually packed but on which someone almost always gets up to give me a seat: Barak usually ends up standing, which used to freak him out but he's used to it by now.

On the highway, off the highway, and we get off the bus right by the Bridge of Strings, on Herzl at the bottom of Yamin Avot. Look to see if the new light rail trains are there today (they haven't been for a while, but the other day Iyyar and I saw two of them, actually running, in the early afternoon--a first, and very exciting). Hike up the hill with Barak, and then down the hill, discussing everything from the concept of negligence and criminal negligence to what treats we want for Shabbos this week. Barak and I have a deal that he is allowed to stop at the bakery we pass once a week for a treat; it's too much to never stop there, because it smells so good, and this way he doesn't hock me every day because he knows it's his decision. If he decides today is the day, he can pick two things, and invariably goes for sandwich cookies because by his logic, that way he's getting FOUR things. (I get a little cheese danish for me and an oatmeal cookie for Marika.) Get to Barak's school usually just as the kids are going in; some days he just marches in without a word, some days he asks for a kiss and even gives me one too (!) I tell him I love him and wish him a wonderful day, then turn around and go back to the corner.

If it's Thursday, I turn right and go grocery shopping. I used to go to Hechi Kedai, the less expensive, more crowded, much smaller chareidi grocery near us, but haven't been lately; I can't go there by myself, logistically, and it is just not a fun experience if I take Iyyar, who wants me to buy everything and is not good at keeping his fingers off things. So I go to Supersol, which has the fun cheese counter, but charges for delivery and really isn't as cheap in general. I know I should go to Hechi Kedai for everything but cheese and the few fancy things you can only get at Supersol, but it hasn't happened for a few weeks.

If it's not Thursday, I turn right, walk back to Herzl and get there just in time to see my bus rumble by; I sit down and wait, get on the bus, go home, and have a snack with Marika--bread and cheese usually. Put her down for a nap, and take a nap myself if I am lucky. Both of us wake up sometime before lunch, and I either go and get Iyyar or Avtalyon, usually Iyyar because his gan is farther away and I have a monthly bus pass but Abba doesn't. Up to the bus stop and on the bus, which only goes halfway up the hill; walk through the park, up the rest of the hill, cross the street, down the hill, and wait until the gan's doors open at 1:30 bi'dyuk.

Greet a smiling Iyyar, then walk halfway home and take the bus from where we can catch it, at the top of where all the stairs start. By the time we get back Abba and Avtalyon are in the kitchen eating lunch, from the dining hall, and Avtalyon is usually covered in hummous and missing most of his clothes, because although he is now down with the idea of using the toilet he still thinks he has to be naked to do so.

Abba heads back to seder at 2:45, and then we play or read books or find other things to do (laundry! baths!) until Barak comes home at around 4:30; sometimes we go outside, sometimes not. Wrestle with Barak a bit over homework but don't push it; I don't believe in forcing homework, which is his job, not mine. Sometimes Marika takes a short nap at around 5, sometimes not. Barak gets his milchig snack as soon as he comes home from school (usually cornflakes and milk, sometimes also yogurt) and always forgets to clean up; I always remind him and then he does. The boys start falling apart and fighting at about 6, like clockwork. They're tired, they want dinner, it's been a long day. Get kids in pajamas and do cleanup (you don't clean, you don't eat--yes I am mean like that) before Abba comes home with dining hall food, if it is a day that seems soy-safe. If the menu looks dangerous, allergy-wise, which is about half the time, I make dinner at around 5 and everyone is happier. I'd do it every day, even with the terrible kitchen setup, if it weren't for the fact that the dining hall food is free and the Supersol food is anything but.

Abba gets back at about 7:15, which is way too late, but what can you do? 20 minutes for dinner, max, and then herd the kids into the bathroom for teeth-brushing and pajamas. Bedtime at 8, which is when Abba goes back for night seder. The kids are usually in bed at this point, but rarely asleep before 9. I am at my computer working, having also been checking in by email throughout the afternoon from when the workday started in America. I don't make phone calls until I'm sure everyone is asleep, and sometimes that isn't until really, really late.

At 10, night seder is over and Abba comes home; he stays in the kitchen, checking email or sometimes doing dishes/laundry/taking out garbage. I try to get him in bed before midnight, but it doesn't always happen. I work until at least 1, often 2, depending on what time the kids went to sleep and I started working; then shower, teeth, bed.

And then the alarm goes off. And I don't hear it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post -- it was very very interesting. I'm not surprised you don't hear the alarm, though, and although you have a "desk job" I see you don't have to worry about getting physical exercise as well. It looks like a complicated but workable schedule has emerged at last for everyone.

~ Jasmin

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I love that Barak can choose for himself when he gets to stop at the bakery and what he's getting. Brilliant solution for everyone!

~ J