Wednesday, April 2, 2014

why I haven't called

Dear mom,

You have been upset with me lately for not calling when I have time. So I would like to share my day with you, perhaps, in an effort to better understand each other.

It started at 6:30, with the baby waking up. Truthfully, it started at 3 am when the baby woke up to nurse, but we'll attribute that little lapse  to nighttime and start in the morning. The older kids went with my husband to shul, and I got myself and the baby dressed and fed by 8 am, so we could drive over to Office Depot and make photocopies for Battles and Weapons class that I am teaching in the coop. When I got there, their system was under maintenance, but, luckily, I was still able to xerox what I needed. I am sure that I should have planned this better, but yesterday my computer shut down and I could not even access the file. At least it resurrected itself last night at 11, so I was able to get the file onto flash drive before it would not wake up again.

By the time I came home, it was close to 9. My husband went to work and I sat down to do chumash with 7 yo. He read two new pesukim, asked me why is Hashem talking to himself ("Should I hide from Avraham what I am about to do?"), and then asked me how did Moshe know to write this down if it happened before he was born. I thought these were terrific questions, showing true engagement with the text. Then I packed up the diaper bag and the bag of materials for the Battles and Weapons class. I spent some time researching a new trampoline net, as the kids tore the one that we had apart and it is not safe any more. Soon, it was almost 10, the baby woke up, and we had to leave for the coop.

We got there a whole five minutes early, which means that I even got a chance to get onto the playground and exchange a few pleasantries with other moms. Then it was time for the kids to go to their classes and for me to go to toddler room. The baby was fine in there, but something bugged 4 yo, as she left her class twice and came to me. I worked it out with her and led her back.

During the short recess, I strapped the baby to the stroller and finally got to use the bathroom. It is funny how those things are so hard to accomplish all of a sudden.

Then it was time to teach my Battles class about Zulus. Even though I prepared, and I found the subject matter fascinating, I do not think that I communicated enough of that to my students. Some of them were even bored. Some of them (my 9 yo) already read all my source material and could not keep their mouth shut long enough for me to steer the discussion in order to engage other kids. 7 yo predictably threw a fit about having to label Zulu spear. It is called iklwa, after the sucking sound that it made as it was removed from a lifeless enemy corpse.

Then I gathered the class materials, gathered the kids, gathered the baby, gathered the diaper bag and headed out to the park. Normally we do not stay for park day, but today I wanted to take advantage of the nice warm weather. I also needed to kill about twenty minutes of time before I had to head back. So when the time was up, I gathered the kids one more time, and then I remembered about the box of granola bars left in the car. Pesach is coming, these bars are chametz, and another homeschool parent was collecting non-perishable snacks to take to the men in the immigration detention center. They need to eat as they get deported. So I dropped off the bars and we went in the direction of home. Really tired baby fell asleep. But we did not go home, we went to a local deli to pick up a platter for a house of mourning. I knew that I could not go in and help cover the mirrors this time, but I knew that we could deliver some food. So I divided it up among the kids: you carry a bag of bagels, you carry cream cheese, and you hold the door for me as I maneuver with the platter.

Then we finally got home. The baby woke up from his too-short nap. I fed them lunch. I tried getting the baby back to sleep, but it did not work. So we went to pick up more Pesach supplies. First we stopped off in the local grocery for foil pans. They had a terrific deal on string cheese, so I got a pack of that. Then we headed over to Costco. There was a lot of traffic and some construction, so it took us much longer to get there. As we were driving, I got messages about kosher food coop delivery: it is on time, between 5 and 6 pm; no, it is delayed, now it is between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. And I got a call from my mother-in-law; I asked her to come in and watch the kids while I will be picking up my order. She was at my house, but we were on the way to Costco. I asked her to stick chicken in the oven, so now we would have dinner when we would be done. The baby fell asleep again, and so did 4 yo. I had to wake them both when we got to Costco. We did it pretty quickly, as the list was not so long. 9 yo started sulking; I talked him into this afternoon by promising as much DS till 5 pm as he wanted, so the faster we moved, the more DS time he was supposed to get. Now it was past 4. I told him that I will extend his DS time.

When we finally got home, the kids helped me unload the car and I got a message from the coop that the delivery is back to regular time, which means that I jump the car and go to pick up my and my friend's order.  The coop was supposed to deliver yesterday, but she does not live locally, so she could not get over here on time. Over there, I go back and forth over the missing meat for my friend, but, finally, it is not there. I have a car full of Pesach food, back seats folded down. I have close to 50 pounds of brisket, which I proceed to weigh out on my front lawn using a bathroom scale. It is frozen in plastic bags. It is literally a side of a cow. There were supposed to be 6 bags, but instead we got four. My kids still have not had dinner, despite my numerous requests to just sit down and eat. As I finally sit them down, people are coming to pick up their orders, and pleasantries are exchanged again. Everyone rolls their eyes as we distribute the meat, and everyone is understanding how it should have been 6 bags, but now it is four. I have food from Costco, food from dinner, food for Pesach, chicken that I planning to make for Shabbos and it is all on my head, now. Oh, and I have my Pesach food to pick up from others.

I ask kids to get pajamas on, buy they do not listen. I lose it when 7 yo bounces a big exercise ball that I inflated in vain hope of getting baby to walk onto a dining room table, spilling a large cup of my father-in-law's tea. There is a puddle, spreading onto 9 yo math that he never cleaned up from the morning. The tea leaves are on the table and on the floor, and I am sopping up the mess with the towel, holding the baby with another hand and yelling like a maniac for kids to GET INTO BED NOW! I also take away DSs for good.

Oh, and 9 yo confesses that part of the reason he has been spacey today was because he was awake from 1 am to 3 am. I wonder if that explains his clothes all over the floor, or the weapons book he left in the bathtub because he was reading in there.

Finally, my friend pulls up, her kids also tired, also screaming, and we load up her order. I pick up some of the mess in the living room, just enough to walk.

My friend calls, the one that I would love to talk to, but we only have 15 minutes, because we are both on the committee meeting for our high school which is about to start. Then I don my alumnus hat and go into phone meeting where I am being told that my committee has to meet again before Pesach and make some headway.

My sink is full of dishes. My husband is on call. Tomorrow I am setting up another shiva house with the kids, because people tend to die when they die, and not when it is convenient. The laundry is somewhere in the process of being washed, not because I want to, but because I ran out of bibs. I am also suspicious that I am washing a load that I already washed, only it did not get put away...

I have been busy, dear mother.

Talk to you later.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Your post has been included in Haveil Havalim: a weekly roundup of what’s best from the Jewish / Israeli blog world. (had to get some homeschool content into there!)