Tuesday, August 20, 2013

making a day great

Lately we've been having bad days. Not just a little blech, but, really bad. no good, rotten days. My husband had been on call, the baby insists on being held most of his waking time, the older kids have been cranky and I have been quite moody. Everything was setting me off, and there were many objective things, but I know that a lot of them were more trigger points.

Last night, as I was tucking in 9 yo, I whispered to him that tomorrow will be a great day. He looked at me, and did not believe me. He wanted to know what am I going to do to make it great. I said that I just know it will be great and we left it at that.

This morning, the baby woke up early, before 7. Nevertheless, by the time I brought him out, I saw that 9 yo was dressed and in the middle of davening. I made berry muffins for breakfast that he likes. While they were baking, he finished writing out the mishnayot summary that his mishna rebbi assigned. He did his script practice and math before the other kids even had breakfast. His math was confusing him a bit, but he stuck to it. Then we did chumash. He pleasantly reviewed the pesukim, and even asked me a question or two about the flood. We read new ones, and he did not throw his Rashi avoidance fit. All in all, he was done by 9 am.

In the next hour, he watched a bit of Pokemon and I got to go for a short walk (by myself!) When I got back, the baby was ready to nurse and 7 yo was ready to finish his first perek of Lech Lecha. He kept his word, and we have been doing a pasuk a day lately, with him reading and listening to baal koreh. He has quite a few of them memorized.

9 yo's  mishna rebbi came at 10:15 and they studied till 11. While they were learning, I did HWT with two younger ones. 3 yo is coloring in different shapes and 7 yo practiced copying rhyming words. Then he did his math, a page on even and odd numbers. By 11, he was long done with his work. 9 yo got a homework assignment to record himself reciting and translating mishnayot. He was also told that the next time they have a class, he will get the dimensions to build the smallest kosher succah.

I packed up lunch and told the kids we are heading out either to IKEA ( we lost three glasses a few weeks ago) or to aquarium. 7 yo decided this is ripe time to throw a fit about how he does not want to go to either place. I tried staying calm. I sent the other kids to the car. I tried talking to him about why he does not want to go. Finally, I said that I cannot leave him home alone and he has to come along. Sure enough, as soon as we started driving, eh calmed down and he had a good time there. I just felt getting drained.

At the aquarium, we saw the tropical fish first. Even the baby watched intently. He reminds me s much of his older brother, also very serious and studying things from a distance. I doubt he will be the kid rushing into things. Then we had lunch and I discovered that I left a bag of pretzels at home. 9 yo pointed out that the main is missing. Oh well...

Then we saw the ocean exhibit. They love the tunnel with the moving sidewalk and the fish swimming above. I love the room with a giant observation window. It is dark in there, and just so peaceful. The boys chatted with the docent about the whale sharks and groupers. WE found out that there are black tip sharks and black tip reef sharks, and that groupers stand still when they are waiting to be cleaned by wrasses. Those groupers parked themselves right by the window, so the boys joked that they should bring toothbrushes next time and help.

When we came out from the exhibit, we saw a sign-up table to test a new app for the aquarium. The reward was a behind the scenes peek at the ocean exhibit. I usually say "no" yo such things, but an inside peek was irresistible, so I signed up. It did not take long, and we got to go to the top of the giant tank and see the whale sharks from above. We actually saw the fins menacingly cutting through the water! Moreover, there was another opportunity for questions.

whale shark fin
We finished the aquarium trip with a visit to a cold water exhibit. 3 yo has a special affinity to anemones, and she just had to touch them. Meanwhile, the penguins have a special affinity for boys' kippas: they will follow them along the wall. 7 yo tormented one penguin by swinging his kippa in circles, and the bird craned its head to follow every movement. By the way, an older lady objected, and he stopped, so the village is alive and well.

tracing the ocean currents
driving penguins batty
I tried getting kids to write Shana Tova cards, but we hit a snag, nobody's heart was in it, so we will attempt again tomorrow. When it came time for dinner, they picked out sweet meatballs and gladly broke into stations to assemble them: 3 and 7 yos rolled them, while 9 yo stirred the sauce, the noddles and the string beans. Everyone was ravenous, and enjoyed dinner. To me, it was a relief, so often one kid starts complaining about food, and just get annoyed, that they will not contribute, yet criticize. We tried having a whole dinner conversation in Hebrew, we just break into it spontaneously sometimes. 7 yo used to freak out about it, but seemed better now. I think he was able to follow more. I did not know how to say "meatballs" or "string beans", and after a while, it was silly to keep saying it in English, so I called them "kadurim basar". 9 yo laughed. By the end of dinner, I pulled out dictionary, and, lo and behold, it IS kadurim basar (literal translation). Then the kids were asking for dessert, and I did not know how to say that, either. 7 yo thought for a second and asked for "hanegba" ( to the desert, the construct that he picked up from Lech Lecha). I thought it was pretty clever.

Overall, this was a good day, maybe not great, but it was nowhere near as bad as our days have been. Was it power of suggestion, or we were just due to have a good one, I do not know, but it feels nice to come out

and survey it and feel good about it.

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