Thursday, August 1, 2013

Keep it Dry

Took the kids to a movie (Smurfs 2). Went smoothly, then I took them to get a bit to eat in the mall after. They all wanted McDonalds (it's Kosher in Raaanana). At ordering, I got confused, and the kids all said they wanted the Happy Meals (instead of just an individual sandwich and sharing a large fries).

Barely balancing two trays of Happy Meals and drinks, I navigated past the other parents and got to the table. I took each chicken burger out and gave it to the kids.

D. unwrapped his and lifted up the bun.
"Lettuce!"  he declared, and started scraping the lettuce off.

"Uh Dad," said H. "this has lettuce...and ketchup!"
I looked at him, feeling as though a key support pillar in a building had collapsed. "Well could you just eat it this time?"
"Nope," he said, shaking his head side to side.
I examined the chicken burger, and the ketchup had been spread in good and deep so that I couldn't just scrape it off.
H. was looking up at me with those hungry eyes. I felt like more support pillars were falling and any moment that whole building would collapse. I took a deep breath.
"Ok, come with me," I said, "what do you get with Mom?"
"Mommy always orders it saying to Keep it Dry."
"Keep it dry?" I asked, "ok, no problem." (I can do this!)
We went back up to the counter. I ordered just the sandwich and told them to 'keep it dry'.
H. stood there and waited for them to serve him. I went back to our table and sat with the other kids to make sure they would finish eating.
H. came back over with his chicken burger sandwich with absolutely nothing on it, and sat down to eat.

Note to self: check with kids about condiments that may be put on sandwiches and burgers and confirm that each gets his sandwich the way they like it.

Until the next vacation.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Setting Boundaries

"Just 5 more minutes," my 10 year old son, H. said, "please can I stay and watch just 5 more minutes."
"No, I'm sorry," I said, "we're leaving now."
It was late on Saturday night, after 9:30 at night.
"Oh come on," my mother in law said, "let him just watch 5 more minutes of television."
I looked at her and gave her a stern look. "No, he doesn't know what 5 more minutes is, as far as he is concerned he would like to stay and watch television for another hour."
"But I just wanted him to leave happy," my mother in law said.
H. had stayed at his grandparents for the weekend. He packed up his stuff and we went home. After getting in the car, he had already forgotten about his request to stay another 5 minutes.

I asked my wife about the divergent approaches between the generations.
"Look when I grew up, we were free. We stayed up as late as we wanted to watch television and ate what we wanted. Now it's different. There are so many more enticements to lure our children, there is no end. I knew that after Dynasty that was it, no more shows and I went to sleep. Now it's shows on cable, the internet, YouTube - it's overwhelming."
"So it was Ok that I told your mother that we had to go?"
"Yes, it's just different points of view. Different generations."

The enticements that tempt are children are all around. Either they want to get on the computer, or have the tablet computer, or get in the car and go somewhere and be on the iPhone. There are no natural boundaries of television schedules or reception to confine these devices to a certain space and time.  We, the parents, need to be especially vigilant in maintaining boundaries so as to not overwhelm our children by all the attractions and entertainment of the world.

Brilliant Insight from an 8 Year Old

I was helping the kids get ready. My 8 year old, D. was up first and wanted to brush his teeth. I went into the bathroom and looked at the boys' toothbrushes - they were exactly the same!

I went back to D. with the toothbrushes, "Hey which one is yours?"
He rolled his eyes and looked at me, "Just put the toothpaste on both brushes, then I will pick mine."
"Oh!" I thought, "yeah, that could work too."
Why had I mad a task unnecessarily complicated, trying to cater to him? I could just do the simple thing, and rely on him to work out what to do.

D. went ahead and brushed his teeth.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Post on Me Myself and Kids Blog

My guest blog has published on the Me, Myself and Kids blog. This great blog is published by Larry Bernstein, a high school English teacher from New Jersey who is a writer and blogger, sharing his experiences, insights and philosophy on his popular blog.

I came across Larry's blog through a mutual friend, and was impressed the frequency, volume and quality of his articles. His blog is part of a well developed network of bloggers sharing life experiences, parenting advice and overall expounding  on personal ideas. After starting to follow his blog, I was inspired by what he shared, pushing me to create this blog and to start sharing my family life experiences.

My post can be found at: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Soy Sauce: A tip for getting through the dating jungle

His blog is also updated on his Facebook page.

The Magic Box

Do you have a magic box? Have you always contemplated having a magic box that you can dip into and find all kinds of surprises?

Recently my oldest son H.P. wrote a short piece in his English class, called The Magic Box. I liked how he empowered his boundless imagination and threw all kinds of objects and images into this short piece.

I posted it over here in My Write blog, a blog about writing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Camp Justice

I opened the door in the morning and saw the boys wrestling with each other on the sofa. They were locked in a bitter fight.

"Give me my shirt!" H., the older one, said.
"No!" cried D. defiantly.

I came over and pulled them apart, asking what is going on.

"He took my shirt for camp and hid it," H. said.
"Is this true?" I asked.
"Yes," said D. satisfied with himself.
"Well can you give him his shirt so we can all get ready and go to day camp?"
"No," said D. "it's his shirt, he should find it."
"What?!" I said.
"Yes, he should find his own shirt."
I looked at my older son, who had no idea where his shirt had been hidden, and we were all rushed to get ready and be off to camp.

A Gentle Confrontation
I told my older son to get ready, put on his shoes, brush his teeth and to wait for me. Then I approached D.
"Can you please tell me where you put his shirt?"
"No, he should find it."
"Why are you doing this?"
He just shrugged his shoulders and curled his lip, crossing his arms.
"Well then, if you don't want to share with us where the shirt is, then you can stay home today from camp."
D. seemed to bubble up into a heated rage, taking cushions from the sofa and throwing them in all directions. He threw himself on the sofa, screaming in anger and frustration. I took a few steps back.
My wife tried to ask him too, what was going on. She also suggested he would miss a  fun day at camp. His rage grew worse, and my wife retreated to her room.

I picked up my laptop bag as though I was going to work, taking my older son. Finally, D. went into our bedroom and confided in my wife.

Trying to reason with D. she explained that she knew he was a good boy, but some demon had crawled inside him in the morning sent him in the wrong direction. She implored him to try to go with the flow in the morning, and not get into needless fights. She explained that she was baffled for what would motivate him to take his brother's camp shirt and hide it, something that he absolutely needed for his camp day. Then, moreso, insisting that his brother should find his own shirt.

"Well yesterday after camp," D. said, as tears started to flow, "I waited outside at the bus stop like I was supposed to. I looked for H. everywhere, but he wasn't there to wait with me."
"His group went to the playground yesterday, and I picked him up from there."
"Well it wasn't fair that I waited by myself, so I punished him and hid his shirt."

Wiping his face, he went and found the camp shirt. H. put it on and we went off to camp.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teamview Saves the Day

Now that summer vacation has begun we have to fight the battle of how the children spend their days. The boys are going to day camp, so my 6 year old daughter saw her opportunity for fully monopolizing the computer. She has her time, but she also has to do things according to our terms. She has some tasks to go through in the morning before she gets her play time.

Today she disregarded all her tasks. She wanted to be on the computer, and she wouldn't eat her breakfast, or brush her teeth or change her clothes. She had seated herself down in front of the computer, and she wasn't moving. I tried to approach her, but she yelled for me to back off. She seemed like she had the upper hand and was fully in control.

So I threatened to turn off the computer using.

No I wouldn't wrestle the computer away from her or pull the electrical plug out of the wall. I just waved the iPhone and she shuddered. I had ...Teamviewer.

TeamViewer provides fast and easy remote access to computer systems. It's also free.
After setting it up on the target computer, and configuring the app on the phone, you are in business to remotely control your home computer. You can even turn off the computer or lock a user out with just the flick of a finger on the iPhone screen.

She jumped off the chair and left the computer. She gave in, ate her breakfast, brushed her teeth and got ready for her day.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Today my son had to take some popsicles to school. My wife had them all frozen - the little juicy ones in their own bags that you have to rip open with your teeth. My son being a sharp 8 year old asked that she put them in a bag to preserve the cold. The bag just has an extra lining that looks like foil inside, so that they can stay cold on the ride to school.

However, my sharp son reasoned that if this was a bag that preserves cold, he felt that he was carrying his own personal refrigerator. So instead of giving the load to his teacher to put in the freezer, he kept the bag next to him in class all day.

Finally when it came time to enjoy their treats, he produced is bag of melted popsicles.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Presents for Me Too

Today my daughter came to me with a sad face. "You always buy mommy presents."
"Like what? I get you presents. I just made you a book of all the pictures you drew."
"That's a medium present."
"What's a large present?" I asked.
"Like a box of chocolate or ice cream, something tasty, like you get for mommy."
So today when I got flowers for my wife, I got a few roses for my daughter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Slice of Marriage

"What you didn't touch the chicken cutlets!"
"Well where were they?"
"On the plate over the pot of pasta!"
"Oh! well I thought that was just a plate covering the pot of pasta. Anyway you put another plate over the cutlets."
"Yeah, to keep them warm for you! What? Did you think I just left some pasta for your dinner."
"Well, I thought you probably made some chicken to go along with it, but after I took the pasta, I couldn't figure out where you hid it."
"On top of the damn pasta!"
My daughter runs in. "Oh chicken, yummy!" She starts piling the cutlets into her mouth.
"Well someone's hungry," I say.
"She's starving! Didn't you think of giving her anything to eat?"
"She didn't ask for anything."
"She's five! You are her parent. You have to LOOK AFTER HER."
"I know, but you didn't say to do anything. I didn't want to upset you."
"You can CALL me."
"Ok, well, look I mean, she's still alive."
"What? Are you trying to comfort me?"
"Is it working?"
"So am I a good husband? I'm trying to be better."
"You don't learn. It's the same mistakes. What are you afraid me?"
"No!" I snap, "of course I'm not afraid of you. Why do you want to be afraid of you?"

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Experiences

As a married person with children, I am open to discussing and sharing my experiences. Every day my children do things that drive us crazy.

We have three kids:
H. a boy age 9
D. a boy age 7
S. a girl (princess) age 5

I can share a few from this week.
Every morning coming back from shul, I hope everyone will get ready like clockwork and we can be out of the house on our way to school by 8.|
  • Well one day H. lies in bed, feigning a stomachache saying how he doesn't want to go to school. After yelling at him, and not giving him a choice he comes around and he are out of the house by 8:20
  • The next day everything is going fine, but D. gets the last chocolate muffin.  H. as a fit and spills D.'s range juice on his shirt and pants. D. is super-sensitive to even a drop of water and has a fit, getting changed and yelling at  H..
  • The next day everything is going fine, then S. decides that she doesn't want to go to pre-school and lies on the ground not willing to cooperate, saying how everyone is dumb in pre-school. Finally we convince her that she has no choice and she will not go into first grade if she continues like this. Again we are late.
  • S. as decided she is smarter than everyone and corrects everything we say. Going to pre-school I had the radio going, and the announcer said Prime Minister Netanyahu. S. immediately shouted, "It's not prime minister Netanyahu, it's Bibi Netanyahu!"
  • The next day D. comes home from school with sopping wet shoes, right to the bone. My wife was  livid. He smiles at her and says, "You got new shoes for H. when he got his shoes wet, so I want new shoes too. I jumped in every puddle I could find!"

There is no end to these stories. I don't dread this life. I don't look back on my single years with nostalgia, or that I am missing out on some other activity. I still get together with a friend occasionally for a dinner, or for coffee in the morning. I still go out to see movies, and I even go out for a nice dinner just with my wife. After they go to school, we look at each other and laugh about our crazy kids. They also do a lot of fun things that make us love, and they kiss us and hug us and can make us proud and happy.