Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This morning, on the way to Gan:  "Mommy, when can I get a real tattoo?"

Delicacies and Danger

This morning's random topic on the way to school was:  Puffer fish.  After explaining to Raphaela that this fish has a special gift to keep it safe under the sea, I mentioned that it was basically poisonous to human beings, and therefore we would not ever eat the puffer fish.  I added that the Japanese make this meal as a luxurious  version of "truth or dare," that some people trust that the chef has removed all the bits that could kill you.

Raphaela (contemplative): Why would a person purposely choose to eat a food that is dangerous and poisonous, that could kill them if it is not prepared properly?
Mom:  Good question. Some people take risks where others don't. And maybe it even tastes yummy...
Raphaela:  Snow White ate a bite of the poisonous apple and died, and then the Prince kissed her and saved her.
Mom:  Also true, but fortunately only a very small group of random magical apples are poisonous.  Most fruits will most definitely not kill us.
Raphaela:  That's good, because I like apples.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Running with Scissors

On Friday, Raphaela asked for the child-safe scissors, so she could cut up some paper project in the living room.  She came back to me about a half hour later and said, "Mommy, I decided that my hair needed a trim, so I gave myself a haircut."

In a panic, I checked her long beautiful hair for signs of random destruction, and other than looking "floofy," it seemed undamaged.  I stared at Raphaela, straight in the eyes, and said, "Honey, I need you to know that I am not going to be angry at you, and I need for you to tell me the truth. How much hair did you cut off?  Can you go to the living room and bring me those pieces of hair so I can see?"

Indeed she did return with the smallest clump of hair, and I told Raphaela how proud I was, that she had told me the truth and showed me the damage even though she thought I might be angry.  I also explained that if she really wants a different hair style, we need to go to a professional hair stylist, we cannot take care of this at home.

On Saturday night, after Shabbat, I tried to use my iPad, and it had quite simply died some time over the weekend.  Fearing that Raphaela had done something, I again called her over and reassured her that I would not be angry, and that I needed to hear the truth; had she played with and/or dropped the machine when I was not in the room with her?

Raphaela swore up and down that she had not touched it, and then conjured up a potential explanation, a la classic Greek mythology:  "Maybe the iPad thought it had wings and tried to fly, and then failed and fell on the floor."  (Very Icarus of her...)

I wanted to believe Raphaela, and since she has in the past been unafraid to admit to the truth I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Raphaela then added, "Mommy, why is it that we need all these machines around us anyway?"

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's the Little Things

This morning I went to take a shower and left Raphaela to her own devices.  As long as she doesn't burn the house down I am good to go.  When I came out of the shower, I heard her "reading" from memory the entire text of Dr. Seuss's  classic The Cat in the Hat.  When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I am reading my favorite book to my friends."

You've never heard a great rendition of this book until you've heard it in the cutest Israeli accent.

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After dropping Raphaela off at Gan, I happened to pass by her most excellent nursery teacher (H) from last year, she works in the same building as Raphaela's classroom this year.  H casually mentioned to me, "I heard that Raphaela is adapting really beautifully to her Kindergarten this year."

That's enough to keep me smiling all day.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Speech Therapy II

Apparently Raphaela performs better in many areas when I am not present in the room, so yesterday I dropped her off at Speech Therapy and took a walk.  When I returned a half hour later, Raphaela had just finished playing a game, and the speech therapist  (Y) asked her, "Who won, you or me?"

Though Raphaela had more points than Y, she hesitated and not wanting to create hurt feelings, she then answered, "We both won."

Y insisted that Raphaela do a re-count and told her that it was OK, even good, to win a game, and it was OK, even good, to own the feeling.

Then Y told me a story about the session:  in the middle of their therapy/play, Y pretended to cry because she was losing, and Raphaela got out of her chair, gave Y a big hug and said, "There there, we don't cry over a card game!"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

One of Raphaela's classmates and friends came back to school this year with significantly shorter hair, she had donated her long pony tail for wigs for cancer patients. Kudos to this little girl, and the moral education she is getting from her parents.

Today Raphaela and I were discussing the theoretical concept of haircuts, since she has made it clear that princesses have long hair, now and forever.
RR: But I will get my hair cut very soon.
Mom: When?
RR: I will give you a hint...when is it that I turn 12 years old?

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Brushing Raphaela's hair in the morning can become traumatic for all involved;  this morning instead of crying, Raphaela said to me, "Mommy, we have to pray to G-d for help in getting rid of all these knots!"

(Apparently, in response to the upcoming Jewish holidays, the Gan has been doing a segment on the power of prayer.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tales of Horror Dating

Shortly after I moved to Israel 17 years ago, more Jerusalem-ites than I could count -matchmakers, friends, random humans - would say, "Oh, there's this guy 'M' who would be the perfect match for you, he's your soul mate. You must date him!"  After several years of continually hearing this name, I told these well-meaning people to convert their thoughts into action and actually arrange for us to meet. I gave them permission to give him my cell phone number, so we could talk and start the process rolling.

One afternoon, my cell phone (which serves as the primary contact for my clinic) rang and I answered the phone, professionally, "Hello! You have reached the doctor. How can I help you?"

After a minute of silence and static on the other end, M ripped into me for close to ten minutes;, calling me an arrogant bitch, how dare I use my professional credentials to make him feel lousy about himself and the fact that he is "in between jobs," and how having called me now makes him unwilling to ever meet me in person.  Before hanging up, I calmly explained to him that he had called my work phone during the day, that he had ginormous issues, and that I was grateful that we would never meet in person.

Flash forward to this week, and a matchmaker called me to suggest "a boy" who might be appropriate for me, "in certain respects."  Not more than ten words to describe this boy/man and I asked the match maker if his name was M; the woman seemed surprised that I had guessed at this information, because when she told him about me he didn't know who I was and did not remember having ever spoken to me.

I suggested that it was near impossible, since there are so few female Chiropractors in Jerusalem, and because he had in fact spoken to me rather rudely that last time someone tried to set us up as a potential couple, way before I became a single mother.

"No," the matchmaker woman insisted, "he doesn't know you or remember you.  He seemed very pleased to learn that you are a doctor, because he is looking to get married so he can increase the income in the house, in order to pay his bills and his alimony to his ex-wife, and the child support he owes for his three children."

Yep, that's what she really said, no more and no less.

"Perhaps I misunderstand," I stated carefully, "but are you telling me that the only reason he wants to meet me and the only reason he sees me as a potential wife is so I can contribute my bank account and my earnings toward his unsuccessful life and his unpaid bills?" 

"Oh no, " the matchmaker said, "he thinks it might also be nice to meet you.  But he wanted me to be honest and upfront with you regarding his true intentions."

"OK," I started, counting to ten in my head before continuing, "please let him know that I remember him very well, and that it is most convenient to discount and berate a woman for being a professional when it bruises your ego, and then embrace her success when it works out to pay off his debts.  Please tell him, and please consider this for all your clients, that when a man or a woman says, 'I want to marry for money,' it is a complete turnoff."

I ended the conversation by respectfully requesting that this terrible matchmaker  take me off all of her lists, that I had no interest in working with an insensitive individual who obviously learned the craft at the Kris Kardasian School of Greed and Barely Human Interaction.